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“Money is the answer for everything.” – Solomon

How often do you have that day? That day when the answer to every one of life’s problems seems like it could be answered simply by having more money. You could buy a better car, live in a bigger house, pay someone to cook you dinner, take the vacation to somewhere warm and tropical, quit your job, get out of debt, impress your friends, retire, travel, or even afford that one thing that always seems out of reach. There are very few things in life that money can’t buy–they’re important things for sure, but money does answer so many problems.

A more serious problem though is the reality that money so easily becomes our god, the thing we live for. I know, because I’ve lived that way before and am tempted to continue to live that way. The alternative is a much better way to live. And it’s the truth. Money is a gift from the real God. It is something we’re given to enjoy and steward.

Here are the seven most important things to know about money, taken from my book, Money: God or Gift.

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Who’s to Blame?

June 11, 2013

“Me or you?” “Him or her?” “Us or them?”

Who’s to blame?

It’s a question that has plagued the human race since the beginning of time.

I had started this post several months ago and never finished it. But I was reminded of it again this last weekend: for the last 8 years, early June has marked the ending of Little League baseball for the Munson family. My oldest son Caleb is 12 now, but has been playing ball along with his 9 year old brother, Orin. (Today is Orin’s birthday, by the way, Happy Birthday buddy). Anyway, both boys were fortunate to make it to the championship games Sunday, so we spent the day at the ball field.

There is perhaps no clearer life example than the game of baseball to study the use of blame casting. Why did we lose? The error so-and-so made in the 2nd inning, the strikeout by so-and-so with the bases loaded and 2 outs, or the umpire’s bad call at home plate. Yesterday’s game was filled with these types of scenarios, and I wasn’t blameless regarding blame-shifting. Orin’s team won their game and Caleb lost but was not void of controversy.

In situations like this, blame was flying all over the place, and yes, the parents are always worse than the kids.

Two people to blame

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Who is the best sports team of all time? We could debate this subject for the rest of our lives. But, for the sake of keeping things civil, I’ll just tell you: it’s the 2013-2014 Seattle Seahawks… if they can stay out of trouble this year.

Whether in football, business or a non-profit, all great teams have two things in common: Unity and Diversity.

There is a reason that 5’6″ point guards like Nate Robinson can make it in the NBA, alongside of 7’6″ centers like Yao Ming. They’re diverse in their gifts (short and tall, in this case), but they’re united in the mission to create a great team and win. This diversity allows them to fulfill the necessary roles to accomplish their collective mission.

The same idea is true of leadership teams.

Great teams celebrate Diversity.

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Enjoy the process.

This is probably the single most difficult piece of advice for me to follow.

I hear it all the time, but I rarely live it out.

I am so results-driven that it often leads me to be impatient. I want the mission accomplished yesterday. I want the finished product. I want it done. I need it done. The uncertainty of the middle of the process kills me. I’ve written about this topic before—about how we constantly want something more and are not content with what we have. I know I’m not alone in struggling with this.

My tendency towards discontent is most likely a sign of my desire to control my whole life; my need to be in charge of every little detail. It is natural to want to manage my life so that it goes the way I want it to. But it isn’t healthy or godly.

Discontentment is destructive.

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Over the years I’ve spent a fair amount of time consulting with various leaders, helping them think through their personal story and the story of their organization. I’m a big believer in the idea that we’re born into a very particular family, at a very particular time, in a very particular place for a very particular purpose. Our stories aren’t done being written and they grow as we live each day, but they are part of a larger story. I love hearing these stories and helping people think through, and make meaning of the circumstances they find themselves in. The very hard to understand truth is that our lives are full of more joy when we realize it’s not all about us.

Life is bigger than you or me.

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I was traveling on the East Coast for work in March and stayed up way too late one night to finish watching the Mexico vs USA World Cup qualifying game. As soccer so often goes, it was a thrilling match that ended in a tie! …Not my favorite. I tend to be competitive and like to see somebody win, ties don’t do it for me. Just being honest. I don’t always like conflict, but competition is thrilling.

And while we all enjoy a clear win/lose situation on the playing field, the thought of being on the losing side of a conflict at work or at home can leave us anxious, defensive, and discouraged. It doesn’t have to be that way.  

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Last week, my two daughters – 10 and 7 years old – gave me a 15-page PowerPoint presentation about how they want to upgrade their room, including a budget.

Part of their plan was to set up a lemonade stand to raise some of the money, so that we did. They named themselves the “Sweet and Sour Sisters”.


To no one’s surprise, they sold out in an hour.

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I’ve been traveling a lot for my work with Storyville Coffee lately. They’ve all been good and important trips, but nonetheless a lot of time away from home. I don’t mind traveling, except for it always puts me behind. A little while ago I spent a week in Orlando working on a video project (can’t wait to tell you about it). We were on set all day, and prepping for the next day during the evenings. The emails and phone calls stacked up, the text messages from back home surged. I guess that’s how it usually happens: busy in meetings while the rest of life relentlessly stacks up.

I was recently asked by a friend, “How do you manage a career, writing, a family, a zillion soccer and baseball games, involvement at church, sleep, eating, and everything else?” As I pondered the question, two different answers came to mind. The right answer is what everyone will tell you these days, a perfectly painted picture of crisis-free productivity. The real answer is the answer that trumps everything, and I’m afraid that, without it, we’re lying to ourselves.

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A friend once told me that how you process major change in your life is one of the most important things you do.

Change can either be a catalyst to new opportunities or it can create a crisis of identity. Or more likely, as it has been with me, it creates both. Change often is both an opportunity and a crisis of identity. The key is figuring out how to get more of the catalyst side and less of the crisis side of things.

Don’t waste the changes in your life.

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I was recently asked by a couple of people about my e-book publishing process. The actual process of publishing the book is fairly simple, but don’t kid yourself: it’s a ton of work. I’ve learned a lot about it and want to share some of the best practices and tools to help things run more smoothly and efficiently. Tom Corson-Knowles might have the most helpful book on the market when it comes to Kindle publishing in particular. A few of these things I wish I would have learned beforehand.

Here’s some info on how I’ve done it up to this point and how I’ll do it moving forward.

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