4forFRIDAY with ACHUCKAllen

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Each week I like to make at least four suggestions on a resource that has been an encouragement to me. I hope it might encourage you, as well. My suggestions aren’t necessarily churched, or spiritually related, but they are good reads, listens, learnings, gadgets, and restaurants.


Here’s Your 4forFRIDAY April 28, 2017


  1. A great listen/watch from Willow Creek Church as they interview Anne Lamott
    Anne Lamott is quirky, funny and genuine. I love her writings and I greatly appreciate her candid story of how she left a life of addiction and fell in love with Jesus. She’s not for everybody, but I really think you’ll enjoy listening to her on this podcast. Enjoy!


  2. A great little cafe in Peachtree Corners: Black Walnut Cafe:
    I fell in love with this little cafe. It’s a blend of hipster coffee house, upscale local eatery, and old school menu with a few twists. The breakfast is awesome, Give it a shot – You’ll be glad that you did!


  3. A great watch from TED with Angela Duckworth:
    Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.


  4. A really helpful book: Downsize, from Ted Spiker:
    In this often humorous, direct and purposeful book, Ted Spiker offers 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success. If you’ve struggled with weight, try this book.

And a quote from Anne Lamott: “You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus seems to never leave town.”

See you Sunday at Sugar Hill Church for week 2 of BETTER!
Worship Gatherings at 9:30 & 11:00 Sunday Mornings
Streaming Live at Live.SugarHill.Church & Facebook

Thanks for Joining Me Today,
AChuck

Just Let it Go!

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Stressed, fractured, spent, weary, frustrated, maxed-out, overwhelmed.
These are the kind of words that describe so many folks that I meet. We throw around “how are you?” And “how you doing”? But we really just want to know that somebody actually cares. I often resonate with those words . And maybe you do too. If so, lay all that stress and fret down. Just Let it Go! I know – easier said than done! I offer that advice like I actually lay my junk down…Well, I don’t! I worry and stress and allow expectations to eat at me until I actually try to perform like a circus animal and the crowd loves it when I’m “ON.”

Here’s the deal: Do you really believe that the Divine gives a hoot about your mundane and often weird life? The answer, in case you didn’t know, is – You bet He does! He cares about the entirety of you. How you act, react, dress, eat, rest, dance, play and whatever matters to you.

Get this – No really – Get this – Romans 8:17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

Dude! You and me – Every Follower of Jesus! WE ARE CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH GOD! We have been made in His image. We are image bearers of THE MOST HIGH GOD!

At some point, we must realize that as Kids of the Divine, we have access to the Heavenlies. Pick your head up! Put your chest out! Live, Lead and Love like the Child of God that you are!

Let all that other junk go. You are receiving the inheritance of the King. When things have you down, realize that it is just a season! When you feel alone and spent, Sing His name, pray like you mean it, and love your guts out!

Let Your Garbage Go – Let it Go – and Pick Up Your Head. You are CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH GOD – LIVE LIKE IT!

–AChuck

Failure is Definitely an Option

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Failure is definitely an Option with AChuck


This week, I’ll be writing on BETTER! Every single person that I know longs for something BETTER. And there is nothing wrong with wanting something better. In yesterday’s article, I offered up the belief that if I could write a prescription for your life to be BETTER, that prescription would start with the Art and Act of Meditation. If you missed it, click HERE to get caught up. Today, I’d like to offer a necessity to BETTER. I truly believe that anything powerful enough to help you reach BETTER also has had a few failures along life’s way.

Failure, when seen through the eyes of BETTER, is a necessity. Without failure, we never truly grow BETTER. That’s true of some of the Bible’s heroes, like Abraham, Noah, David, or Paul, and the list could go on. It is in our failures that the Divine can truly teach us best. In our failures, we often forget that they are necessary. Failure is simply a conduit to get us from where we are to where the Divine longs for us to be.

There have been hundreds, maybe even thousands of failure stories that have been bantered about, but one that is a bit more recent caught my eye earlier this year when Mike Ilitch passed away.

Mike Ilitch was born to immigrant parents from Macedonia. As a boy, living in the inner city of Detroit, he loved the Detroit Tigers major League Baseball Team. He wanted, more than anything to grow up and play ball for the Tigers. But, like many young men born in 1929, he set his baseball dreams aside to serve in the army. After his four-year military career, his dream got back on track as he was awarded a contract to play in the Tigers minor league system. In his third year, he suffered a career-ending knee injury.

Mike’s dad told him if he intended to stay at home, he’d have to get a job, so he started helping make pizza dough in the back of a local pizzeria. In 1959, Mike launched his own pizza parlor, that grew into the mega chain, “Little Caesar’s.” And then in 1992, the man that dreamed of playing for the Tigers purchased the team.

What’s that got to do with BETTER? Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Don’t falter. The Divine has masterful plans for your life. To settle would be sinful. He has more for you than playing a game, He has a game plan for your life.

Engage and accept failure as a badge of honor – It simply shows that you were trying to do something that matters!

So, if you want BETTER – FAIL – AND LEARN!

–AChuck

Come On Man! Really?

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BETTER with ACHUCKAllen

I started a new teaching series yesterday entitled “BETTER.”
Everybody that I know wants BETTER. Better cars, better jobs, better marriages, better days, better, better, and even more better! Yes, I realize that is poor grammar, but it did make my point!

What if we could define better in a way that felt very tangible, and achievable? What if you could insert one slot of time in your life, of less than 15 minutes and be guaranteed a BETTER YOU? If I could write a prescription for those results, I’d be worth billions, and you’d wait in line to have such a drug.

But I can write a prescription for you. And it is guaranteed. So here it is – MEDITATION! There, I just heard you through the airwaves of unbelief – Come On Chuck, Really? Yep! 

BETTER is a bit like art,  where beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
BETTER is in the eye of the subject.
BETTER is unique to who and where you are. If you live in Haiti, BETTER is quite different than if you live in Sugar Hill, Georgia.
BETTER does have some unique similarities in any culture or socio-economic state. BETTER, for the purpose of this BLOG – This week, includes seeking after:

  • Greater Peace in Your Life
  • Less Chaos in Your Life
  • Better Relationships in Your Life
  • Healthier Habits in Your Life &
  • Happier Days in Your Life

Science and Research have all agreed that DAILY MEDITATION has huge benefits in our lives. Those benefits include HAPPIER LIVES, LESS STRESS FILLED LIVES, BETTER FOCUSED LIVES & BETTER SLEEP & RESTFUL LIVES.


But what does the Divine have to say about Meditation? Some pretty cool stuff, actually!

  • Proverbs 3:1-2  “My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart. If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying. BOO-YAW!
  • Joshua 1:8 “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”  BAM!
  • Psalm 1:1-3 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. What! What!

Are you up for it? Let me make an “as seen on tv” kinda pitch for you, just in case you aren’t sold yet. If you use the Daily AHA Meditation in the Sugar Hill Church APP, I’ll spoon feed you the entire process, that includes:

  1. A short, but power-packed piece of Scripture every single day.
  2. An even shorter explanation of that reading.
  3. A reminder to capture two things that you are grateful for.
  4. Something you learned.
  5. What you are praying for.

And you have just had a time of MEDITATION – NO KIDDING! All in less than 15 minutes, assuming you are one of the slowest readers on the planet.


Come On Man! Even God sealed this deal with a promise! What do you have to lose? Nothing at all. So, let me sweeten the pot. If you work through the Daily AHA! each day, this week and you don’t think it is making you a better you, I’ll send you a $20 gift card from Starbucks or Chic-Fil-A. I know exactly how it has made me a BETTER me, and I know it will you, as well! SO, LET’s DO THIS!

Download the Sugar Hill Church APP in the App Store, or Google Play Store, touch “Daily AHA, touch “More Notes” and off you go!

–AChuck

 

Sunday Meditation 


Read:

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. 17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. 

Read a bit more about the scripture you just read. 

Jesus was there at the creation of the world and He will be there at it’s end. That is why we refer to Him as the Alpha and the Omega. All of life has been created through Jesus – things you see and understand – and things that you do not see. Your life, all of life is supported and sustained by His great power and love. The bid AHA is this; that Jesus is the Head of the Church. Not the priest, pastor, or prophet – Jesus! We, and all of life can have peace with the Divine through living, resting and trusting in Jesus. And that includes you!

Respond: What has the Divine taught you, personally and practically in your reading today? 

Gratitude: What 2 things are you grateful for today?

Serve: Who can you serve today, or what can you do to be a servant today?

See you tomorrow morning for my first BLOG on BETTER!!

AChuck

Saturday Share with AChuck

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Saturday Share from AChuck with Jenni Catron

Each Saturday I try to share a BLOG or article that another writer has inspired me with. My hope is that it might inspire and encourage you as well. Today’s post is from one of my favorite leaders on the planet, Jenni Catron. Her books have helped me lead and invest my energy in such a powerful way. Enjoy Jenni’s Post on COMPARISON from her team, “The 4Sight Group.”

Leaders,

It’s all too easy to be consumed with comparison. Comparison robs us of the confidence that comes from leading from our God-given influence. At a surface level, it doesn’t look all that dangerous. It’s the fuel that propels us forward. It’s often the motivation to do greater things. Comparison in our culture is natural, perhaps even expected. 

From SAT scores to salaries, job titles, neighborhoods, social status, and family dynamics—it’s all weighed and measured. Our American culture begs us to compare and conform from the time we are born. 

Comparison triggers the fear that “I don’t measure up; I am not enough.” The fear of not measuring up robs us of seeing the value in our influence, and it keeps us on a perpetual quest to be better than others. 

 

Comparison berates us with questions: Did I speak as dynamically as he did? Did I lead through a challenge as effectively as she would? Did I encourage and celebrate my coworkers or staff as well as another? Did I prepare the report as thoroughly? Did I outperform my greatest rival on this month’s sales goal? Did I parent as effectively as my friend? Did I plan the most unique birthday party for my child? Did I hit the longest drive of the match?

The problem with comparison is that it doesn’t end with a simple sizing up. It’s humanly impossible to compare oneself to what someone else has accomplished and not be tempted by the sins of envy, jealousy, and greed. The Bible calls comparison the sin of covetousness (Luke 12:15). It lures us to deeply desire what another person has, including God-given influence, gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities, all the while discrediting our own. We essentially reject how God has uniquely created and gifted us and covet what he’s given to others. 

Our temptation to compare distracts us from being who God has called us to be. Rather than focus on what God has purposefully designed us for, we distract ourselves with what robs us of leading from a place of security and confidence. This week, let’s refuse to let the temptation to compare distract us from being who God has called us to be.

Take some time to reflect and be thankful for who God made you to be and where He has called you to lead. Have an incredible week!

Keep leading well,
The 4Sight Team

Excerpts from CLOUT: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence by Jenni Catron

4forFRIDAY with AChuck


4forFRIDAY with ACHUCKAllen

Every Friday I offer up at least four recommended READS, LISTENS, LEARNINGS, GADGETS OR FOODS. 

These aren’t designed to be doctrinal statements or theological underpinnings, but they are recommendations that have encouraged me. I hope they will encourage you, as well. 

So here is this week’s 4forFRIDAY;

  1. A Really Solid Read: Down Size: 12 Truths for Turning Pants-Splitting Frustration into Pants-Fitting Success by Ted Spiker.  Ted takes readers on an inspiring, candid, and comical journey, exploring the art and science of weight loss through his own struggles as a pear-shaped man in a not-so-pear-shaped world, with research about food, exercise, and the psychology of losing weight. He reveals twelve truths about successful weight loss, in areas such as temptation, frustration, nutrition, and inspiration. 
  2. A Reminder of a Great Running Shoe: Hoka One One Constant 2 Running Shoe: I recommended a different model last year, so when it was time to grab a new pair, I went back to Hoka’s. This model is even better. As many of you know, I’ve lost a lot of weight, but I’m still a pretty big guy. Running/walking in these shoes is the only way to go. No shin splints, no heal bruising and super comfortable. 
  3. A Solid and Interesting Podcast from Tim Ferris, best selling author of The Four-Hour Work WeekTim is rude, crude and brilliant. His book “Tools of Titans” is a fascinating read based on hundreds of interviews with world-class performers in multiple fields of expertise. This edition of The Tim Ferris Show winds its way through several high performers and their morning routines. Enjoy!
  4. An Awesome Service or Gift: Instead of Flowers. This service offers some delicious meals, delivered to your home. They are ready to heat and eat. My staff gifted Jenny and I several meals, and it is such a blessing! The food is awesome and the service is excellent. Be sure to enjoy the Shrimp and grits!
  5. As a bonus – Here’s a Quote I’m Pondering from James Cameron “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

Have a great Friday! Don’t miss Sunday at Sugar Hill Church. We start a new teaching series:  BETTER! Everyone wants something BETTER. This will be a super-practical series targeted at A Better You • A Better Y’all • A Better Home • A Better Day • A Better Plan


–AChuck

Listen Up United Airlines!

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Listen Up United Airlines with AChuckAllen


Wow! Just Wow! Just about the time that I regret saying something in a BLOG, or in a sermon, or even in a friendly chat, I realize that I don’t have near the problem that United Airlines does right now! They have rightly been charbroiled over the negative waves of fiery public relations. They have blanketed the airline with really, really bad PR. What can we learn from United? And how can we adapt these lessons into our own interpersonal lives?


  1. The Customer is not always right, but the customer is always the customer.   
    I get it! The airlines have the right to boot you from a paid for seat, even after you have been seated and waiting for departure. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Here is the real problem. The customer has no idea that you are in need of shuttling your crew to their destination. And frankly, they don’t care. What they care about is that you proved your superior position as their chosen mode of transportation and then literally beat them up with it. I’ve read plenty of articles that suggest the doctor should have stepped off the plane when asked, but why? Getting a crew to another city for your benefit shouldn’t be his problem.


    Solution: Plan and make customer-centric decisions. If you risk having a less than an optimal number of paying customers on your flight, then shuttle your crews by some other method of transportation.
    Application: When we start fighting to prove we can or prove we are right, things seem to always go south…in a hurry! Choose to make things right, rather than fighting to prove you are right. You’ll get where you want to go much faster!


  2. Anytime you lean too heavily on a policy, you typically lean away from serving people. Policy, by its nature, is like a barbed wire fence. The reason policy is in place is to keep people in the proper lane, or away from other options. I realize that every organization needs clear guardrails to maneuver through today’s cluttered ethics, but when policy is king, the subjects are often oppressed. I was an interim pastor at a pretty good sized church several years ago. I was asked to come in to settle a rather large dispute over the silliest of things. My first called meeting was on a Sunday evening, and I can still see the pockets of power as they sharpened their pitchforks and honed their knives. When I walked up to the platform, I met a delightful fella all dressed up in his Sunday best! I asked him, “who are you, and what are you doing up here?” I wasn’t bothered by having a little help, as the natives were already restless, and we hadn’t even started. He replied that “he was the parliamentarian.” He was there to ensure the meeting would follow “Robert’s Rules of Order.” I was certainly impressed! At that moment, the first thing that came to mind and mouth was, “sir, you can have a seat with whichever group you agree with, but we won’t be needing Robert’s Rules of Order here tonight.” I don’t think that he had heard such blasphemous words before. As I helped him to a seat on the second pew, I simply stated that I had a “firm conviction that where Robert rules, God doesn’t.” Just as a landing place, that church became a thriving, peace-filled, God-honoring church.


    Solution: Let people on the ground make people-centric decisions that allow folks to be treated with respect…even if they don’t deserve it.
    Application: It is hard to serve people well while dragging them off a plane. If we want our interpersonal relationships to thrive, we will need to serve them, regardless of their attitude or correctness.



Have a great Thursday! 
–AChuck

Trump’s Twitter

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Trump’s Twitter with AChuck

President Donald J. Trump – If you hate him, it’s another arrow in your quiver. If you love him, it’s fuel for your fire. If you aren’t really sure what you think about him, you might think he needs to stop commenting on everything, especially on Twitter. This isn’t about partisan politics, donkeys, and elephants, or even policy. This is some common sense.

While I understand that “being Trump” is what elected him, it most likely will not prove to be helpful in leading and governing this great country. Please! This isn’t a Trump praise or a Trump bashing. This is a lesson for every one of us that have a social media account.

Having the ability to sit behind a keyboard and launch jabs, digs and assaults on others is a fool’s errand. That’s true if you are in Sugar Hill, Georgia or Washington DC. Social Media is an interesting universe. It can be a platform for encouragement, promotion, ideology, and connection. It can also be a place of hate, anger, sarcasm, and personal attacks. I’ve received my fair share of both sides via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And, I’m afraid that I’ve posted a few of those, also.

When any of us, including President Trump, use social media outlets for attacks, it reduces our thought process to the minimum wage of intelligence. The worst kind of social post are the ones launched in defense of the first statement. Restated certainty will most likely prove the need for less certainty and more consistency.

I use social media to communicate with a lot of folks, and I’ve posted a few hundred sunsets at the beach like you have. But folks, let’s challenge the thoughts that offend us and frighten us in other, more personal platforms. Here are three quick thoughts that President Trump, you and I should consider.

  1. Relationships are harder now because conversations become texting, arguments become phone calls, and feelings become status updates. Make an effort to discern the difference in likes, retweets, and shares versus deep and meaningful conversation across the table from your loved ones.
  2. One of the great challenges, as we live on social media is to grasp what is real rather than chasing what only appears to be real. Real and personal relationships are simultaneously more challenging and far more gratifying than social friendships. Here’s a thought – The best sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on Facebook.
  3. If you are willing to attack or disparage someone on social media, especially your family or spouse, you are inviting folks that have no context of the problem to have a seat in your den. Listen, folks, don’t let people know when your home isn’t happy, that’s when they think they’re welcome in. Be sure that your gripe, whine or frustration cannot and will not grow better, but will grow worse when we choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat as our way of “venting.”

Choose to be the adult in the room. Everything doesn’t have to happen on Facebook. It really can happen without a Twitter post. The concert might be more enjoyable by watching the artist, rather than the device screen. The number of people that like, respond and share your posts is not truly evidence that you are making a difference in this world.

As for me, I would like for my President to think a bit less out loud, and a
bit more with trusted advisors. OUCH! As I typed that last statement,
I pondered the reality that there are most certainly folks that think
the same thing about me. How about you?

Under the Same Wing,
AChuck

LEADERS MADE HERE!

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Getting UnStuck with Guest Writer, Mark Miller

I’ve known Mark Miller for more than a dozen years. There is no greater authority on servant leadership than Mark. The following is an excerpt from his most recent book, “Leaders Serve Here.”

I cannot recommend this book enough. There are so many “YES! I get it” moments, that will encourage you, sharpen and strengthen you. Here is my friend, Mark Miller:
How do you overcome fear to start something new?
I’m not sure where the myth of the fearless leader began – perhaps in ancient mythology…thus the name? In my life, and the leaders I know, fear is real. Fear about many things. One of our leading fears often revolves around the unknown – unfortunately, all the future holds is yet unknown.

The past is the only path to certainty. Historians traffic in facts, leaders travel by faith. Not necessarily in a spiritual sense, although that’s an approach I personally recommend. Leaders must have faith in their vision, their strategies and the people they’ve enlisted to make the dream a reality. ALL of this is faith-based. We must have hope is things yet unseen.

Leaders are confronted continuously with the inherent fear that comes with uncertainty. However, leaders must fight with all their strength to not be paralyzed by fear. This isn’t easy – the laws of the physical world create a vivid illustration as to why it’s so hard.
The present is known. Therefore, there is a gravitational pull toward today. This creates inertia. Do you remember this from grade school? A body at rest tends to remain at rest until acted on by an outside force. In our organizations, leaders are that outside force. We must diligently and purposefully push against the inertia of today.

In our lives, we may need others to provide the “outside force” to help release us from the grip of inertia. This could be in the form of a coach, a supervisor, a peer, a spouse, an employee, a friend, an accountability partner, or maybe even a blogger.
One idea I’ve shared with other leaders racked with uncertainty is straightforward:
Rather than focus on what you don’t know, concentrate on what you do know.
Often, if you think deeply about this, you’ll discover you know more than you think. You may also conclude you know enough to act.

This recommendation is not to minimize the need for information to make good decisions. And, granted, the more information you have, often the decision ahead gets safer, clearer or easier. Although, this is not a guarantee. Sometimes, leaders get stuck when they have too much information!

The bottom line, at some point we must act. If we don’t eventually act, we’re not leading. So, my advice, in summary, is: Focus on what you know, face the fear and get started! That’s what leaders do.


Mark Miller is the best-selling author of 6 books, an in-demand speaker and an executive at Chick-fil-A. His latest book, Leaders Made Here, describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization, from the front lines to the executive ranks and outlines a clear and replicable approach to creating the leadership bench every organization needs.