It’s Worth The Effort

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
2 Peter 1:5-8

It’s been interesting here tonight at the Schneider household.  Chase joined band this year.  He is playing the clarinet.  He is supposed to practice at least fifteen minutes every night.  He has a concert Thursday night.  I have been encouraging him to practice double time, so that on Thursday and beyond, he’ll excel at playing his instrument.  Tonight he didn’t want to practice.  He had every excuse in the book why.  But after an hour of procrastinating, he picked up his clarinet and practiced.  I praised him for his hard work.  I didn’t force him to do it … it was his choice and he chose to make the effort.  

Carson runs cross country. His last meet is in two weeks.  It is for the championship, and I encouraged him to run every night between now and then to better his time, increase his endurance.  Tonight he didn’t want to run. I didn’t push him, just reminded him of what he was working towards.  A half hour later he came to me and asked me if I would go with him, as it was dark.  I agreed and off we went, me on the bike, Carson running beside me.  I didn’t force him to do it … it was his choice and he chose to make the effort.

Choosing to make the effort isn’t always the easy way. 

Ten years ago, I made a commitment to follow Jesus.  I didn’t know much about the Bible, a few Bible stories that I remembered from my childhood.  I didn’t realize it was God’s Instruction Book For Life.  But I started going to weekly classes so I could learn more about him.  At first I was hit and miss about attending, but after a couple of months I made a decision that I was going to be in that class every week, unless I was sick (throwing up) or out of town (and I rarely leave Naples).  

That decision has taken a lot of effort on my part over the years.  There have been many days when I didn’t feel like going back into town.  Many days when I was tired.  Many days when I would have rather stayed home with Bobby and the boys.  But I went … week in and week out.  It was my choice and I made the effort. 

God has blessed me for my efforts.  I have grown in my faith, Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

I want to encourage you today … learn all you can about God, how much he loves you, how he gave his son so you could live.  I promise you, it will be worth your effort. 

Jesus, thank you for letting me see the rewards of staying committed to you.  For showing yourself to me over and over and over again.  For bringing teachers who taught me so much about you.  And for leaving us your instruction book to get through this life.  I ask that you give all who read this the revelation that you are worth all effort.

I love you Jesus.
   In Your Name I Pray,

God’s Blessings Upon You!


The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!


I Am – The Movie

On Friday, Oct. 8, 2010, The Tree of Life showed the premiere of the movie, I AM.  A modern day story, following ten people through their day to day live in LA.  The movie gave us the opportunity to examine how God fits into our day to day lives, are we keeping his commandments?

Saving Gravy

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.
   John 19:10

The other morning, as I dropped the boys off at the bus stop, I noticed that the neighbor’s dog, Gravy, had followed one of the kids to the end of the street.  The bus stop is at a busy cross street, and cars are streaming by constantly, especially early morning.  As I saw the little dog wandering around by the kids, I realized that he needed some help. I figured he’d probably stay with the kids till the bus came, but as soon as they all got on the bus and he was left alone, one misstep and he’d be right in the middle of the treacherous roadway.  And he had no idea of the danger that surrounded him.

I couldn’t stand to think about this innocent little dog getting squashed,  so I asked the boys to help me get him into my car, so I could take him back to his home.  He was pretty cooperative and actually made himself comfortable on my back seat as I drove him back to his house.  I pulled in the driveway and deposited him at his front door.  As I pulled away, I saw him heading into his back yard, safe from the dangers of the busy highway.

Gravy reminded me of myself, for many years.  I was following people into dangerous situations, with no clue of the perils around me.  It all started out innocently enough, just out having a good time with my friends.  But I didn’t realize the consequences that drugs and alcohol would have on my life.  And I eventually found myself smack dab in the midst of the danger zone, headed into places where bad things were pretty much in every direction.

I was a lost puppy …

And then God brought Bobby into my life and things started to change.  At the time I didn’t acknowledge God or his gift, but one day I realized, not only did I need Bobby, but I needed God in my life as well.  Even though I had cleaned up my act on the outside, inside I was still lost.  And I gave my life to Jesus, and He picked me up and He carried me safely home.

Thank you Jesus for protecting me all those years that I did not protect myself.  Thank you for bringing Bobby into my life, at just the right time, and most of all, thank you for saving my soul.  For bringing your peace into my heart.  For giving me a purpose for my life and letting me use the stories of my past to help others find the path to you!

I Love You Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,

God’s Blessing Upon You!


The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!

Leadership Attribute #21 (Last One)

VISION:  You Can Seize Only What You Can See

The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.
– John Sculley – Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computer

Vision is everything for a leader.  It is utterly indispensable.  Why?  Because vision leads the leader.  It paints the target.  It sparks and fuels the fire within, and draws him forward.  It is also the fire lighter for others who follow that leader.  Show me a leader without vision, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere.  At best, he is traveling in circles.  To get a handle on vision and how it comes to be a part of a good leader’s life, understand these things:

  •  Vision Starts Within You can’t buy, beg, or borrow vision.  It has to come from the inside.  If you lack vision, look inside yourself.  Draw on your natural gifts and desires.  Look to your calling if you have one.  And if you still don’t sense a vision of your own, then consider hooking up with a leader whose vision resonates with you.  Become his partner.
  •  Vision Draws on Your HistoryVision isn’t some mystical quality that comes out of a vacuum, as some people seem to believe.  It grows from a leader’s past and the history of the people around him.  Talk to any leader, and you’re likely to discover key events in his past that were instrumental in the creation of his vision.
  • Vision Meets Others’ Needs True vision is far-reaching.  It goes beyond what one individual can accomplish.  And if it has real value, it does more than just include others; it adds value to them.  If you have a vision that doesn’t serve others, it’s probably too small.
  • Vision Helps You Gather Resources One of the most valuable benefits of vision is that it acts like a magnet-attracting, challenging, and uniting people.  It also rallies finances and other resources.  The greater the vision, the more winners it has the potential to attract.  The more challenging the vision, the harder the participants fight to achieve it. 


Where does vision come from?  To find the vision that is indispensable to leadership, you have to become a good listener. You must listen to several voices.

  • The Inner Voice – Vision starts within.  Do you know your life’s mission?  What stirs your heart?  What do you dream about?  If what you’re pursuing in life doesn’t come from a desire within-from the very depths of who you are and what you believe- you will not be able to accomplish it.
  •  The Unhappy Voice – Where does inspiration for great ideas come from?  From noticing what doesn’t work.  Discontent with the status quo is a great catalyst for vision.  Are you on complacent cruise control?  Or do you find yourself itching to change your world?  No great leader in history has fought to prevent change.
  • The Successful Voice Nobody can accomplish great things alone.  To fulfill a big vision, you need a good team.  But you also need good advice from someone who is ahead of you in the leadership journey.  If you want to lead others to greatness, find a mentor.  Do you have an adviser who can help you sharpen your vision?
  • The Higher Voice Although it’s true that your vision must come from within, you shouldn’t let it be confined by your limited capabilities.  A truly valuable vision must have God in it.  Only He knows your full capabilities.  Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime, as you’ve sought your vision?  If not, you may be missing your true potential and life’s best for you.

Action Steps

To improve your vision, do the following:

  • Measure yourself – If you have previously thought about the vision for your life and articulated it, measure how well you are carrying it out.  Talk to several key people, such as your spouse, a close friend, and key employees, asking them to state what they think your vision is.  If they can articulate it, then you are probably living it.
  • Write it down – If you’ve thought about your vision but never put it in writing, take the time to do it today.  Writing clarifies your thinking.  Once you’ve written it, evaluate whether it is worthy of your life’s best.  And then pursue it with all you’ve got. 
  •  Do a gut check – If you haven’t done a lot of work on vision, spend the next several weeks or months thinking about it.  Consider what really impacts you at a gut level.

What makes you cry?  _____________________________________________

What makes you dream?  __________________________________________

What gives you energy? ____________________________________________

Also think about what you’d like to see change in the world around you.  What do you see that isn’t-but could be?  Once your ideas start to become clearer, write them down and talk to a mentor about them.

Take Away
From 1923 to 1955, Robert Woodruff served as president of Coca-Cola.  During that time, he wanted Coca-Cola to be available to every American serviceman around the world for five cents, no matter what it cost the company.  What a bold goal!  But it was nothing compared to the bigger picture he could see in his mind’s eye.  In his lifetime, he wanted every person in the world to have tasted Coca-Cola.  When you look deep into your heart and soul for vision, what do you see?

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]–blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. ( Proverbs 29:18 – The Amplified)

The Golden Rule

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

We’ve all heard this mantra.  Most of us learned it in Kindergarten or earlier.  Be nice to others.  Treat them as you want to be treated.  Sounds simple enough.  And it was fairly easy to follow when we were kids.  We took turns on the swing on the playground.  We shared our cookies at snack time.  We let someone else go in front of us at the water fountain.

And then we grew up and life became all about making ourselves happy, and somewhere along the way we forgot this simple teaching. 

Jesus spoke these words to his followers, it was his instructions to them while he was doing his famous teaching, The Sermon on the Mount.  He gave them many examples of how to walk this out, then summed it all up by this statement, So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 

He didn’t mean that they were to toss the laws of the day into the trash can, but simply, if we treat others the way we want to be treated, we would be living life the way we should live it.  We’d be doing the right things.

Wonder what would happen if I thought of others before myself?  If I treated people the way I wanted to be treated?

Maybe they’d see Jesus through me??

Father, help me to love others  as you love them, to see them as you see them, to treat them as I would want to be treated.  Help me Jesus to be better inside.  Help me Jesus to truly follow you … not in word, but in deed.  And Jesus, when I mess up, forgive me.  Help me learn from my mistakes. 

I love you Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray,

God’s Blessings Upon You!


The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!

Attributes of a Leader – #20

Teachability:  To Keep Leading, Keep Learning

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
– John Wooden, Hall of Fame Basketball Coach

Leaders face the danger of contentment with the status quo.  After all, if a leader already possesses influence and has achieved a level of respect, why should he keep growing?  The answer is simple:

  • Your growth determines who you are.
  • Who you are determines who you attract.
  • Who you attract determines the success of your organization.

If you want to grow your organization, you have to remain teachable.  These five guidelines will help you cultivate and maintain a teachable attitude:

  •  Cure Your Destination Disease – Ironically, lack of teachability is often rooted in achievement.  Some people mistakenly believe that if they can accomplish a particular goal, they no longer have to grow.  It can happen with almost anything: earning a degree, reaching a desired position, receiving a particular award, or achieving a financial goal.  But effective leaders cannot afford to think this way.  They day they stop growing is the day they forfeit their potential-and the potential of the organization.  Remember the words of Ray Kroc:  “As long as you’re green, you’re growing.  As soon as you’re ripe, you start to rot.”
  •  Overcome Your Success – Another irony of teachability is that success often hinders it.  Effective leaders know that what got them there doesn’t keep them there.  If you have been successful in the past, beware.  And consider this:  if what you did yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.
  •  Swear Off Shortcuts – The longest distance between two points is a shortcut.  For everything of value in life, you pay a price.  As you desire to grow in a particular area, figure out what it will really take, including the price, and then determine to pay it.
  • Trade In Your Pride – Teachability requires us to admit we don’t know everything, and that can make us look bad.  In addition, if we keep learning, we must also keep making mistakes.  But as writer and expert craftsman Elbert Hubbard said, “The greatest mistake one can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”  You cannot be prideful and teachable at the same time.  For everything you gain, you lose something.  To gain growth, give up your pride.
  • Never Pay Twice for the Same Mistake – He who makes no mistakes, makes no progress is a true statement, but the leader who keeps making the same mistake also makes no progress.  As a teachable leader, you will make mistakes.  Forget them, but always remember what they taught you.  If you don’t, you will pay for them more than once.


There was a sign in a feed store that read, “If you don’t like the crop you are reaping, check the seed you are sowing.  This is a wonderful principle.  What kind of crop are you reaping?  Do your life and leadership seem to be getting better day after day, month after month, year after year?  Or are you constantly fighting just to hold your ground?  If you’re not where you hoped you would be by this time in your life, your problem may be lack of teachability.  When was the last time you did something for the first time?  When was the last time you made yourself vulnerable by diving into something for which you weren’t the expert?  Observe your attitude toward growing and learning during the next several days or weeks to see where you stand. 

Action Steps

To improve your teachability, do the following:

  • Observe how you react to mistakes – Do you admit your mistakes?  Do you apologize when appropriate?  Or are you defensive?  Observe yourself.  And ask a trusted friend’s opinion.  If you react badly-or you make no mistakes at all- you need to work on your teachability.
  •  Try something new – Go out of your way today to do something different that will stretch you mentally, emotionally, or physically.  Challenges change us for the better.  If you really want to start growing, make new challenges part of your daily activities.
  •  Learn in your area of strength – Read six to twelve books a year on leadership or your field of specialization.  Continuing to learn in an area where you are already an expert prevents you from becoming jaded and unteachable.

Take Away

After winning his third world championship, bull rider Tuff Hedeman didn’t have a big celebration.  He moved to Denver to start a new season – and the whole process over again.  His comment:  “The bull won’t care what I did last week.”  Whether you’re an untested rookie or a successful veteran, if you want to be a champion tomorrow, be teachable today.

Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)