Christmas is Almost Here…!

It’s finally time for another edition of My Monday Morning Cup. Ok, you’re right. It’s really more like Monday Afternoon Cup, but hey I got busy with some other stuff this morning. And I’m drinking decaf. Does that even count???

Christmas Day will be here a week from tomorrow. That means 2018 is about over and done. Wow. Let that sink in for a moment. What are you most grateful for as you look back at this past year? Maybe you are one of those folks who doesn’t take time to reminisce but squarely sets your sights forward. If that’s the case, what great things are you anticipating will come your way in 2019?

My Monday AM Cup

I roll off the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of Texas in a few days. I’m looking forward to spending some more focused time writing. I’m targeting finishing my devotional book in the next couple of months. I call it a devotional book although it won’t really be a traditional devotional. It’s more of a spiritual formation book—one of my favorite undergrad classes taught by Dr. Jan Daehnert during my time at DBU.

A few months ago, we landed on a new worship leader at church and I’m looking forward to what God will do through our worship team. I’m also looking forward to building my skills as a player.

In a few days, I’ll start a new gig which I hope to tell you more about in the days and weeks ahead. So I’m grateful for God granting me a new work opportunity and excited to see what the Lord does through this new chapter of my God-story.

Sweet T and I celebrated 10 years of matrimony this last October. I’m certainly grateful for that and I’m definitely thankful for her. I’m blessed to have her as a partner in this journey. We first met 18 years ago, after surviving Y2K. Remember Y2K?

I’m always grateful for family and lifelong friends, many of whom I’ve been able to reconnect with this past year, thanks to social media. Helping people connect is one of the cooler aspects of technology.

That’s just my list. What about you? Care to share what you’re grateful for in 2018 as you look ahead to 2019?  I’d love it if you would.

Blessings,

The Devotional Guy™

 

Mentoring: Demonstrating Faith in Action

How do men learn to be godly men? They learn from other men.

The modern American man lacks other men willing to mentor them. In the ministry I do with homeless men, the number one cause of recidivism is the lack of a mentor. The men who work through the discipleship program get back on their feet only to find that after they leave the shelter they are left to fend for themselves due to a lack of an experienced male willing to share his experience and values with other men.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day….
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In the Bible, we see numerous examples of men mentoring other men. Jethro and Moses; Moses and Joshua; Elijah and Elisha, and Paul and Timothy. These are just a few of the rich examples Scripture provides us demonstrating the importance of this relationship.

Mentoring means walking the road together, through thick and thin. As believers, we are sharing our Christian experience and values with other men to help them live out a life pleasing to God. But we aren’t perfect. Mentoring isn’t just celebrating the mountaintop moments. It also means walking alongside our brothers as they navigate difficult seasons and dry desert valleys.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19 (ESV)

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Through this on-going relationship, we establish our faith, witness spiritual growth, and express the love of Jesus. Men need other men to pray with them, examine Scripture together, and share in other life moments.

As believers, we don’t need to restrict our mentoring to fellow believers. We should be willing to mentor those who may not believe as we do. After all, mentoring demonstrates our willingness to help another individual grow. When we do this, we invest in them. We put something in their bucket. Maybe then they might be more open to learning about what we believe or have an increased desire to know the love of Jesus we know. In any event, God is glorified when we demonstrate our love for others by attempting to help them grow into the person the Lord intended them to be.

And yes, women should mentor women as well. This is how the body of Christ grows. This is how we live a life of prayer and action.

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)

Are you investing in someone else’s life? Do you have someone willing to pour into you?

Go in peace.

The Devotional Guy™

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My Monday Morning Cup

“What do you do?” he asked.

“I’m a Destination Services Consultant.” I watched his eyes glaze over followed by a blank befuddled stare. Having seen the look before, I recognized it as being all too familiar. I have tried to offset the awkwardness by stating that I do contract work. Unfortunately, people get confused, thinking I’m some sort of Texas Mafia hit man. It’s similar to the gaze I get when I tell people about my recently completed graduate studies focused on managerial sciences.

Managerial Science sounds like management science-a quantitive discipline dealing with formulas, algorithms, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. Managerial Sciences focuses on leadership, management, communication, and human behavior. In class we examined how people make decisions and solve problems and how those processes are influenced by their culture, generational cohort, and belief system. I mastered persuasion and negotiation and learned how to use technology in virtual team environments. Oddly enough, all of these things I learned are perfectly suited for the work I do as a professional Destination Services Consultant.

Three plus years ago, when I first became a Destination Services Consultant, it was a foreign concept to me too.  I had no idea—ZERO—that such work even existed. As you may have heard, people are moving to the DFW in droves–some 400,000 folks moved to the area in 2017. Apparently, as I’ve learned, many of those people need help adjusting and settling into their new community.

This is a far cry from back in the day when my parents and I immigrated to the States. There wasn’t any official relocation assistance to help you get acclimated to your new home. Culture and language lessons were taught by neighbors, some of whom may have had previous experience relocating to a new country.

Not all my clients are from foreign soil. Many come from North America and from within the United States itself. Assignees are moving at the behest of their employer, either for a project or possibly a promotion, or a myriad of other reasons. My clients are from different generational cohorts and come from diverse intercultural backgrounds. I’ve helped South Africans moving from Canada to Dallas. I’ve worked with clients from Ghana, Eastern Mongolia, the European Union, and the Land Down Under. I’ve had the privilege of working with individuals and families moving from Cupertino, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Shanghai, Moscow, Madrid, New York City and Paris.

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In the three years since I began doing this work, I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people from all over the world. It’s been a great experience overall, although contract work isn’t for everybody. If you don’t have multiple vendors requesting your services, you will weather dry periods and lows when business isn’t booming. Other times, you may wish you had more hours in the day and a transporter to get you from point A to point B. My own business took a downturn when I took time out to help my Mom recover from a bad fall she had last Summer. It’s taken awhile, but business is picking up again. This is a true answer to prayer as I’ve tried to ascertain what God’s will for my life is now that I’ve earned my Master’s degree and as sweet T and I continue to work in different aspects of ministry, including serving the men at Union Gospel Mission through our monthly chapel service and chairing our church’s participation in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child initiative.

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So what exactly does a destination services consultant do? In essence, I offer boots-on-the-ground expertise and a menu of concierge services including finding a home, providing an area tour, identifying school options for those with kids, opening a bank account, and applying for a myriad of things like a social security card, driver license, car registration, and you-name-it. Working as a DSC has also served as a good avenue for employing the skills I received through my Certified Tourism Ambassador training in 2015. This training increased my knowledge of the area and DFW’s history. While some of these things may seem like simple everyday tasks, in the context of packing up the family and moving halfway around the world, they become big things. It’s comforting to have someone you can trust welcome you to the area, show you around, and help you get different ducks in a row.

This type of work requires being friendly and flexible, being able to think and plan strategically, providing superior customer service, and being knowledgeable about a plethora of things critical to making a relocation experience a smooth success. To be successful, you have to be the resident expert on how things work where you live. You have to be able to demonstrate empathy, putting yourself in your assignee’s shoes.

I return my attention to the man asking me questions.

“That sounds like really interesting work,” he replies. “I bet it’s fun too.”

“It is. At least it can be. There are challenging moments for sure. But overall, it’s great to make a real difference in people’s lives, helping them call DFW home, and easing the stress inherently involved in making a big move. “

It allows me to serve others, ministering to their needs in an authentic, tangible way, during a very big moment in their life. The return on my investment features the rewards of meeting new people from fascinating places, recognizing that while we have our unique cultural differences, we also share many human experiences.

Before I got into this line of work, I asked the Lord for work that would allow me to help people and shower others with love and joy. Sometimes, the Lord answers prayers in ways we really don’t expect. This work is one blessing I have learned to be truly grateful to receive.