Forgive Others Always

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To my beloved children:

I am certain that you have experienced life well enough by now to know that it sometimes includes being hurt, insulted, wronged, or offended in some way by others. Anyone who lives life long enough will experience some injustices in life. The truth is…there is no one immune from this painful side of life; however, there is one powerful prescription to the emotional pain of life injustices. It is called “forgiveness”.

Forgiveness is the one thing in life that can overcome any and every hurtful injustice we may experience in life. This is true in every case…no matter what. When you have been wronged…forgive always. When you have been insulted…forgive always. When you have been treated unfairly…forgive always. When you have been hurt emotionally…forgive always. Because…to not forgive others always is like taking a bitter pill that prolongs the pain and agony of an unforgiving heart. And it’s just not worth it.

On the other hand, when you and I forgive others always, we become better people and not bitter people. Through forgiveness, we release the pain of bitterness and embrace the gain of betterness as we recognize that we too at times need the forgiveness of others. In fact, the Lord teaches us to pray for our own forgiveness as we forgive others. And do not misunderstand me. I’m not saying that forgiving others always is always easy, but I am saying that forgiving others always is always necessary if you and I want to be better people in life and not bitter people. With God’s grace, you’ve got this and you can do it always!

Your imperfect loving,

Dad

Forgive Others Always Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Forgive Others Always, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Doing Hard Things

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To my beloved children:

I’m not sure if you realize this or not, but my life and your mom’s life has not always been easy. While we have done our best to give each of you a quality and stable family life, the effort it has taken for us to do it has been well short of easy. In fact, it’s been hard and at times, it’s been real hard. But nonetheless, because our family is worth it, your mom and I have not been afraid to do the hard things in life in order to have the good things in life for our family.

For example, it was hard for your mom and I to get an education, buy cars, build houses, raise children, save for retirement, and consistently invest our ourselves today in order to build a better tomorrow. These things I’ve listed are by no means the complete list of all the hard things that your mom and I had to do during our life together, nor is it the end of the hard things that we will need to do during the rest of our life together. The list is not the point. The point is that even though we have had to do some hard things, and still do, doing hard things makes us stronger people and will make you stronger people as well. Plus, doing the hard things in life leads to the good things in life because any good thing worth having – good relationships, good education, good career, good marriage, good family, good health, good finances, good retirement, and a good tomorrow – is worth the hard things we must do to have them.

I wish life was different and I wish I could tell you that life will never be hard, but I’d be lying if I did. So as your father, I want to encourage each of you to make a life-long commitment to doing the hard things in life because the truth is that good things in life most often come from doing hard things in life. An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Taking a journey of a thousand miles is a hard thing, but once you take the first step in doing any hard thing, each subsequent step becomes much easier. So don’t be afraid to take the first step in doing the hard things in life because the journey to a good life awaits each hard step you must take along the way.

Your imperfect loving,

Dad

Doing Hard Things Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Doing Hard Things, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Personal Declaration Of Empowerment

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To my beloved children:

From the time you began walking to the time of your 18th birthday, your mom and I have done our best to prepare you for being a responsible empowered adult. However, in order to actually be a responsible empowered adult upon reaching the age of 18, each of you must personally embrace what it truly means to be a responsible empowered adult and then live your life in such a manner. To help you do this, I have written the following personal declaration of empowerment that can and will inspire you to live your life each day as a responsible empowered adult if you make this personal declaration of empowerment your own and live it each day. I know you’ve got this and you can do it! And because I desire to live my life as a responsible empowered adult as well, I declare the same.

Your imperfect loving,

Dad

Personal Declaration of Empowerment

As a responsible empowered adult, aged 18 or older, I declare this day to embrace personal responsibility and empowerment and I choose this day to reject any entitlement thinking that demands from others the provision of personal benefits that have not been duly earned through my own hard work, study, and achievement. As a human being made in the image of my Creator, I am only entitled to the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that all people created equal have been given by their Creator.  Therefore, as a responsible empowered adult, my entitled right to pursue happiness does not give me the right to expect others to provide for my happiness without my personal responsibility to do whatever it takes to secure my happiness through my own hard work, study, and achievement.  This means that I must work hard for anything and everything that may or may not provide personal happiness in my life regardless of my race, creed, gender, family, occupation, or station in life. I accept the definition of hard work as the highest personal contribution that I can give in making my environment and the environments around me better as a result of my personal efforts.

Because I am a responsible empowered adult, I will not expect anyone else to do for me what I can and should do for myself. However, I realize that all people need help at times in life; therefore, when I personally need help from others, I will humbly ask for such help and I will graciously receive that help in my time of personal need. And when people give me help or anything else through their personal generosity, I will gratefully receive their help and their generosity as a great blessing in my life.

Furthermore, I recognize that every day I am alive is a precious gift from my Creator. With the gift of each new day, I choose to take full responsibility for my daily decisions as well as the resulting consequences of those decisions knowing that every decision determines a path and every path leads to a destination. Because each destination in my life is determined greatly by my personal life choices rather than my personal life circumstances, I will do everything in my power to respond to my life circumstances in a way that will ultimately determine the best possible outcomes in my life regardless of the circumstances.

And lastly, I recognize that my life can only be lived by me and I promise myself that I will put forth the diligent effort to intentionally live my life in a manner that honors my Creator for giving me life and blesses others for being in my life.  All of this personal declaration of empowerment is what it means to be a responsible empowered adult.

 

Personal Declaration of Empowerment Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Personal Declaration of Empowerment, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Learning In Life

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To my beloved children:

As you were growing up and even as you are still learning in life, I am doing my best to be a good father and provider for you and to teach you the life skills necessary for being people of true character and people prepared for real life. At this stage in your lives, I continue to pray for each of you, and when invited, it is my greatest joy to provide fatherly counsel to you for important life matters. However, I also realize that giving and receiving fatherly counsel is not always easy; therefore, to help you benefit from my many years of life experience and hard learned life lessons, I personally write these letters to you as a simple way to benefit you throughout your whole life. And one of my deepest prayers for each of you is that you fully realize each day of your lives that you are each completely and totally responsible for your life and your decisions. In the simplest of terms, this is what it means to be an adult. Without question, to live your life as a fully responsible and healthy adult, you must unequivocally embrace your life decisions as well as the resulting life consequences – the good and the bad – always.

I share this with you because as much as possible, I don’t want you to experience life the painful way. And because I know that we mostly learn in life through two primary means…tribulation and revelation…mistakes and mentors, I firmly implore each of you to please seek truthful revelation to avoid painful tribulation and please choose wise trustworthy mentors to avoid foolish costly mistakes. And trust me when I say…mentors are so much better than mistakes and revelation is so much better than tribulation.

When you live life long enough, I am certain that you will each learn for yourselves that every choice requires a decision and every decision determines a path and every path leads to a destination. Therefore, learn this principle early. Your life choices are yours alone to make and your destination is yours alone to embrace. Regardless of your life choices, I want you to know that I love each of you individually, with my whole heart, always and forever, no matter what. With that said, I trust that you will each take my fatherly counsel to your heart and live your life as if wise fatherly counsel truly matters.

Your imperfect loving,

Dad

Learning In Life Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the letter, Learning In Life, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

Quiet Cry

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Stormy sea, meant to be;

Special grace, appear to thee.

Smooth sailing, tumultuous sky;

Greater love, quiet cry.

 

To truly see, could it be,

Bright lights, dark nights.

Valleys low, mountains high,

Redemption reign, quiet cry.

 

Fractured soul, despairing hole;

Foolish pride, truth collide.

Hopeless place, demons lie;

Mercies new, quiet cry.

 

Oceans blue, tried and true;

Delicate dashes, beauty from ashes.

Through the battle, arms held high;

Forever Faithful, quiet cry.

 

Quiet Cry Copyright 2016, Gary J. Borgstede.  You have permission to reprint the poem, Quiet Cry, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission.  All other rights reserved.

20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year

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As a leader, I am always on the search for powerful questions that can unlock the door to new levels of personal and professional growth for myself and others. The right question asked at the right time can be the difference between grand new possibilities in life and more of the same old stale stuff in life. And because it is the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year, I am especially open to seeking, finding, and asking some new questions that will unleash extraordinary new possibilities for myself and others in the new year.

We Have Not Because We Ask Not

The Bible says in James 4:2 that, “we have not, because we ask not”; therefore, as we begin this new year, let us ask ourselves and others the right questions that can lead us into greater levels of personal and professional excellence in the new year. To help us do just that, I discovered 20 questions that every leader should ask themselves at the end of each year so they can be better prepared to grow in the new year. These 20 questions were initially found on Paul Sohn’s blog at http://paulsohn.org/20-questions-to-help-you-reflect-the-past-year/  and then I slightly modified the list as follows:

20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year

  1. What activities made you lose track of time last year?
  2. What accomplishments did you achieve this past year that deserve a “pat on the back”?
  3. Which areas of life did you thrive in this past year (e.g. spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, financial, vocational)?
  4. Which areas of life did you struggle in this past year (e.g. spiritual, physical, mental, relational, emotional, financial, vocational)?
  5. If someone made a film about your life this past year, what kind of film would it be: (e.g. comedy, romance, drama, horror, action, adventure, sci-fy, documentary)?
  6. Where and how did God work most in your life this past year?
  7. If you had to describe the past year in 3 words, what would they be?
  8. What was your most common mental state this past year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed, anxious, worried, reflective)?
  9. What was the best book you read this past year that had the greatest influence in your personal and/or professional growth?
  10. What was your favorite place that you visited this past year?
  11. What was your single biggest time waster this past year?
  12. What was the most productive use of your time this past year?
  13. For what or whom in your life this past year are you most thankful?
  14. If you could redo this past year, what would you do differently?
  15. What did you think about more than anything else in the past year?
  16. What topics did you most enjoy learning about this past year?
  17. What was your overall feeling about life this past year (e.g. happy, sad, angry, afraid, ashamed)?
  18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this past year?
  19. What was the best compliment that you gave to another person this past year?
  20. What was the most important lesson you learned this past year?

By asking yourself these questions each year, I believe you will learn new things about yourself from the past year that will better prepare you for growth and new possibilities in the new year. So go ahead and do it…ask yourself these powerful questions and encourage others to do the same.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year Copyright 2015, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 20 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves At The End Of Each Year, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

4 Jewels Of Leadership Development

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Jewels

I’ve learned from reading Dr. Crawford Loritt’s book titled, Leadership As An Identity, that there are 4 jewels of God’s leadership development school that He uses to develop leaders in His kingdom. Because a person learns 95 percent of what they teach, I am excited to teach you these 4 jewels of leadership development in this post. The dictionary defines a jewel as, “a precious possession”; however, most people would not naturally consider these 4 aspects of God’s leadership development school as precious possessions. But they are because each one helps to build the character of Christ in us as leaders in His kingdom.

Jewel #1: Personal Suffering

The first precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is called PERSONAL SUFFERING. Yes, God uses suffering in our lives to help us become more like Jesus and to develop radical obedience in our lives. To know Christ is to also know His suffering. To share in the glory of Christ, we must also share in the suffering of Christ where our wills are crucified to His will in every circumstance that we face in life. In Hebrews 5:8, the Bible says that even though Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things He suffered and guess what. God’s people learn obedience the same way. The apostle Paul says it this way in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering.” We must not despise the seasons of suffering in our lives because those seasons bring us into deeper fellowship with our Lord and Savior and make us more effective for His use in the kingdom of God.

Jewel #2: Personal Struggle

The second precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is called PERSONAL STRUGGLE. While personal struggle may seem to be closely related to personal suffering, it is a very different precious jewel of God’s leadership development school. While personal suffering helps us learn radical obedience to God, personal struggle helps us learn radical dependence upon God. Personal suffering occurs during periods of time that are seasonal in our lives; whereas, personal struggle occurs in our lives on a daily basis which requires our total dependence upon God’s grace every day to overcome the struggle. The Bible says that the people of God are overcomers which means that they must have something to overcome. The personal struggles that we face on a daily basis serve as reminders that we can only overcome the struggles by the power of God’s grace in our lives and our radical dependence upon Him. In 2 Corinthians 12:8, the apostle Paul asked God three times to take away a personal struggle and God told Him that His grace was sufficient for him in the struggle. Our personal daily struggles keep us radically dependent upon God and humble in our weakness before Him.

Jewel #3: Personal Failure

The third precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is PERSONAL FAILURE. When I think about personal failure, I like what John Maxwell teaches about it – “personal failure is not final and it’s not fatal.” In fact, a healthy way to think about personal failure is the way Henry Ford would approach personal failure – “as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” God uses personal failure as a precious jewel in His leadership development school because everyone fails in life. The truth is that we all fail in life and must learn from our failures if we have any hope of being effective in God’s purpose for our life. Every great hero of faith in the Bible experienced personal failure. To name a few: Noah drank too much alcohol one night, Moses murdered a man in cold blood, and David committed adultery with his neighbor. There is no one who has ever lived on earth except Jesus, the Son of God, whose life is not marked by personal failure. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all fall short which is why everyone, without exception, needs Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life. And even after salvation, we will all still fall short in life at times through personal failure. However, in Christ, our personal failure is never a tombstone for us with God. If we respond correctly to our personal failures, our personal failures can rather be a stepping stone into greater communion with God because His love for us never fails even though we do. The Bible states in Proverbs 24:16, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.” Failure can never keep down a person who truly loves God and has faith in Christ because the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 that “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” Without question, “all things” includes the overcoming of our personal failures in life.

Jewel #4: Success Through Hard Work

The fourth and final precious jewel of God’s leadership development school is SUCCESS THROUGH HARD WORK. I’ve heard it said that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. I agree 100 percent with this statement. There is no success in life without the hard work that accompanies accomplishment of any kind. The same is true in the kingdom of God. In Colossians 3:23-24, the apostle Paul says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” God honors hard work done with passion because the quality of our work brings honor to the Lord when we are called by His name and do our work as worship unto Him.

To God’s glory, have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!

4 Jewels Of Leadership Development Copyright 2014, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint the leadership article, 4 Jewels Of Leadership Development, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.

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