Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

It’s not entirely clear where this idiom originated, though some it started in Irish pubs where gambling was common.  A person might boast that they could do something and another person would challenge them to bet on it.  The theory being that if they were unwilling to gamble money on what they were talking about, they were just talk and basically full of it.

Today, it basically means that you need to back up what you’re saying with your actions.  So, what might that look like?  For example, you could say something along the lines of “Have you noticed the trash that seems to collect on that corner? I think someone should do something about it.”  The person you’re telling it to suggest that YOU could go out and pick it up, or organize your neighborhood to have a clean up day in order to ‘put you money where your mouth is’.

One definition I found was

to support something that you believe in, especially by giving money If people are really interested in helping the homeless they should put their money where their mouth is.

We also use the expression “Talk is cheap.”  The other day I saw a bumper sticker that read “Tithe if you love Jesus, anyone can honk.”  Meaning it’s very easy to complain about the state of things, and a lot harder or more expensive to actually do anything to change the situation.  It’s easy to say we want to support the advancement of God’s kingdom on the earth, but another to write the check or go online and give.

So, let’s evaluate our lives, and decide if we’re a honker or a tither, a mouther or a mover, a complainer or a changer.

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The Dark Side

Posted in Character, Heart, Integrity by PCraig on May 8, 2014

In meeting with our elders this morning, we were all reflecting on a book we are reading together entitled, “Overcoming The Dark Side of Leadership.”  Our discussion was about how each of us is responsible to know and watch over our “dark side” so we don’t become a casualty in leadership.  We’ve all seen leaders in government, religion and business who failed to do this.

Further conversation developed about our soul and how we hear very little about it these days.  Back in the day, there was “soul food” and a song “soul man” and having soul.  I don’t hear much about the soul anymore.

Mix this with my reading today from Matthew 26 where Jesus tells his disciples to “watch and prayer” so that they won’t fall into temptation.  This all came together with me on how important it is to watch over your soul (and its dark side) so you don’t fall.

Whose responsibility is it for your dark side?  Who is to keep you from temptation?  Where does the duty lie for keeping your soul healthy?  It’s the same for all of us – it rests with each of us.  In the words of an old hymn, is it well with your soul today?  I’m not talking about; if you die you’re going to heaven.  But, are you watching and praying and keeping your dark side from negatively impacting you and those around?  Is it well with your soul, man?

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Why Famous People Mess Up

Posted in Character, Decisions, Integrity, Mistakes by PCraig on March 20, 2014

Have you every heard the announcement of someone famous messing up and thinking, “How do you do that?  How do you have that much money, fame or whatever you want and mess up like that?”

The problem is that fame and fortune don’t provide character; they only reveal it.  If you have trouble staying out of trouble when you’re poor, getting ahold of more money will only add to the problem.  This is the explanation for why famous people wind up on the news for dumb choices and poor decisions.

A lot of people think that poverty is a great test of character, but the stronger test is that of prosperity.  That’s why Daniel is such an incredible story in the Old Testament.  He had fame and fortune and yet when they snuck around and thoroughly investigated his life they could find no corruption (Daniel 6:4).  The only thing they discovered was he really loved God.

I feel bad for those who get caught up in bad decisions that negatively affect themselves and those around them, but I’m not shocked by it.

Let’s be people who, like Daniel, are trustworthy, free of corruption and negligence; because our character is anchored in our commitment to God, not our money.

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The #1 Ingredient

Posted in Character, Integrity, Leadership by PCraig on January 16, 2014

In my meeting with our Trustees today, we discussed another portion from the book, Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft.  Chapter 8 gives the statement, “Character counts.”  Dave quotes John Wooden, “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Who you are will take you much further than what you can do.  So, we looked around the room and gave the challenge to be people of integrity.

My question is: how’s it going with you?  Anything you’re afraid of being discovered?  Are you the same person in private as well as public?

In a culture that is more concerned with competence than character, let’s be a stand out example for others to follow.  Integrity is the number one ingredient people want in their leaders.  It should be a no-brainer for those who are followers of Christ.

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Tough Questions

Posted in Character, Integrity, Leadership by PCraig on July 24, 2013

During my summer break I’ve been reading several books, one of which is The Lombardi Rules.  The sub title to the book is 26 Lessons from Vince Lombardi – The World’s Greatest Coach.  In this insightful book, which is a great read for leaders, it states, “the first steps on the road to self-knowledge involves asking ourselves tough questions.”

This got me thinking about another great leader who asked this, “Search me O God…” (Psalm 139:23).  What would happen if you and I asked ourselves tough questions and then asked God to do the same thing?  What would those questions look like?

How about some like this:

  • Why do I want this new job…really?
  • Why do I work such long hours…really?
  • Why do I drink so much…really?
  • Why won’t I let go of this hurt?
  • Why do I not want to ask myself these kinds of questions?

What are the questions you are avoiding to ask yourself?  Are there questions you don’t want to really allow God to ask?  What are you pretending not to know?

Lombardi was an incredible coach that suggested one way of getting there was asking tough questions, so let’s start there.  Then, when you’re ready to go the next step, let God start asking as well.  I believe Lombardi was right, and we can learn from his lesson.

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Nehemiah Impact

I’ve had incredible feedback from the Nehemiah series that just concluded this past weekend.  God is stirring up a wave of commitment to get involved in making a difference in the world.

Since the series has had such an impact, I thought I would take some time to recap the principles from each week.

Week 1 we learned to express passion, seek God, and take action toward our cause by:

  • Ask what breaks your heart?  (human trafficking, poverty, other…)
  • Pray and ask God to speak, grant favor, and empower you
  • Activate your sense of personal responsibility rather than excuses

Week 2 we saw that we are a leader whether we think are or not.  God specializes in using ordinary people who:

  • Have clarity.  If you can’t define it you can’t do it.
  • Make a plan.  Define your next step and then take it (repeat this process).
  • Communicate passionately.  Get lit up about your cause and others will too.

Week 3 we learned that whenever you move forward for God, your enemy wants to stop you.  To defeat discouragement you must:

  • Overcome attacks from the outside by taking criticism to God and get back to work.
  • Overcome attacks from the inside by remembering the Lord is with you, and keep fighting for your cause.

Week 4 we discovered that our enemy distract us and discredit us.  To avoid this we must:

  • Not allow the good to keep us from the great work God has for us to accomplish.  We must declare: “I’m doing a great work and I’m not coming down!”
  • Not allow any compromise that would blow our testimony.  We must declare: “I’m not giving up…on my good name, my integrity, or my cause!”

Nehemiah stood the test and completed the project as an ordinary cupbearer.  Without any grand miracles, he just put these principles into practice and with God working with him a great work was done.  The same can happen for you.  What great work does God have in mind for you?  What distractions, discouragements and excuses have kept from making progress?

God specializes in using ordinary people, so why not you and me?  Let’s get busy on the wall today and do something great for God, what do you say?

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Writing Your Eulogy

Posted in Character, Integrity, Personal Growth by PCraig on June 14, 2012

Have you ever wondered what people will say about you after you die?  Would you like to be a fly on the wall to listen at your own funeral?  The fact is you are determining those conversations right now.  By the way you are currently living your life, opinions and influence is being formed.

What do you want them to say?  Things like:

“You know I think he really cared about people.”

“I believe you could always depend on her.”

“His stand for truth was unshakeable.”

We live in a very shallow culture that is all wrapped up in what’s in it for ME or what have you done for ME lately attitude.  A person wrapped up in themselves makes for a pretty small package.  How can we break away from this to become the person we want others to remember?  Here are a few thoughts:

  • Think about the consequences of every decision you make
  • Don’t just think less of yourself, but think of yourself less
  • Remember that a good name is worth more than any money or possessions

Do you have a good name?  What are some things you could change about yourself to rewrite your future eulogy into what you would want said?

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Always Watching

Posted in Business principles, Integrity, One Year Bible by PCraig on May 26, 2010

Nearly every day holds the temptation to cut corners, act selfishly, and withhold some of the truth – don’t do it!  Here’s the thing:  it may not affect you today, but sooner or later it will catch up to you.

In today’s reading from the One Year Bible we find the story of David and his affair with Bathsheba.  It’s one of a continual sliding into more and more sin to cover up the original sin.  That’s usually how it works with most people.  “I told and lie and they acted like they believe it, but now I have to keep lying so they don’t find out.” 

It may look like you can get ahead in business by being a little deceiving to your customers, but sooner or later they will sniff it out and shop elsewhere.  You may think that your parents won’t ask your friend if you were really over at their house like you said, but when they do it’s over.  Or, you may believe that your spouse won’t notice all the time on a chat site with someone of the opposite sex, but sooner or later it will come out.  And besides all of that, God is always watching. 

Even though you may look like you’re getting away with it, or no one’s paying attention, you need to know that it is affecting your relationship with your Heavenly Father.  When you displease Him with sinful behavior, you need to know that it is taking you out of alignment with His will and purpose for your life.  The impact may be delayed, but don’t be fooled into thinking that no one will notice.  God does.

I’m asking God to keep my pure from the inside out and not let anything come between me and His favor over my life.  Anything in your life that you need to come clean about before  God brings it to light?

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