2009: The Contrarian Resolution

As many of you know Kelly writes for HomeWord, a ministry that “seeks to advance the work of God in the world by educating, equipping, and encouraging parents and churches to build God-honoring families from generation to generation.”

On Jan 1, 2009, they published one of Kelly’s devotionals – “The Harder You Try”.  I was reminded that so often the things we try to do or vow to do are not actually the things we should be doing.  Check out her devotional and you’ll see what I mean…

The Harder You Try

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.—Ephesians 2:8-10

A few years ago, I was given an old set of golf clubs and told to learn the sport.  I’m an average golfer, some good shots and some bad.  There was a day, a few months ago, where if you had been watching me play you would have thought I had never picked up a club in my life.  I kept trying harder and harder.  Sadly, like almost every shot that day, each swing seemed to send the ball in the wrong direction.  The harder I tried the worse I got.

The book of Luke records an encounter with Jesus and two sisters, Mary and Martha.  Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was busy doing chores and preparing dinner in order to serve her guest.  While she did this, her sister Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to all Jesus taught.  The more Martha worked, the harder she tried, the more frustrated and angry she became until she couldn’t take it anymore!  She pointed out her sister’s laziness, hoping Jesus would tell Mary to get up and help, only to be disappointed when he commended Mary calling her choice worthy.

What are you doing to please the Lord in your life?  Putting up the appearance of a perfect home?  Volunteering at the local soup kitchen?  Buying gifts for those in need?  These are wonderful ways to give of ourselves and serve the Lord, but don’t get caught in the trap of always trying to do things for God only to miss out on the opportunities to be with him.  We plan, work, and create trying to “do more”, yet only to be disappointed. God cares more about your devotion than about your resumé.  He cares more about your attitude than all the gold stars you have earned. Trying too hard to work for the Lord will only result in frustration.

As this New Year dawns and you make resolutions of all you want to accomplish, be sure to pray and evaluate where you are in life and what He would have you to do.  Be sure to take time this year to sit at His feet.  Commit to stop doing simply for doing’s sake.  Realize that before you can do God’s work, you must first be His person. There’s no better way to become all God intends for you than to spend time with Him. Make this your highest priority, and everything else will fall into place.

1. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus.  When you think through their story, what was Jesus really trying to show Martha?

2. Who are you more like, Mary or Martha? Why?

John 6:27-19; Luke 10:38-42; Romans 9:31-33

I hope you enjoyed.  If you want to receive the daily devotionals in your inbox just sign up here.

Girl Perfect Book Review

Kelly’s first cousin, Jennifer Strickland (Porter), will have her first book ready for purchase this September. Kelly had the opportunity to read it before it was out. Her official review:

“This is honestly one of the best, most heartfelt, most compelling,
pure and truthful books I have read. I have no doubt that Jen’s dream
will come true of being able to reach out to young women everywhere
with the love of Christ through her life story. Hold onto your hats!
You cannot read Girl Perfect without looking deeper into your relationship with the Maker!”

— Kelly Marie McFadden, writer and developer, HomeWord

For information on ordering a book, click here

What some others have said:

“Jennifer writes with a raw honesty about her journey in a world where
your value is determined by your appearance. The girl in the picture
was beautiful, but her depleted, hollow soul was the price. Deep into
her spiral, sitting at a table, she whispers the word ‘God’ and is
introduced to the One who could love her deeply and free her from
‘perfect.’ Few will ever live in the world she did, but many need to
hear her message of the tragedy of getting caught up in a pursuit of
externals and missing where true life, joy, and passion really lie.”

— Nancy Ortberg, Former Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

I wish every young woman could read Girl Perfect to
help them be very careful what they dream for. And every mature woman
who reads it will surely be encouraged to be satisfied with who they
are and how they look. You or someone you know needs to not just read
this book, but to truly take it into your heart and spirit. I pray it
will illuminate truths you have never seen before.”

— Stephen Arterburn, Founder and Chairman, New Life Ministries

To read more reviews click here

“Last Lecture” professor dies

Nearly 7 months ago I discovered Randy Pausch’s last lecture on YouTube (see video below). I was very inspired and many of the words he spoke still resonate in my mind. I read today that he passed away.

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH – Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch died at his home in Virginia, university spokeswoman Anne Watzman said. Pausch and his family moved there last fall to be closer to his wife’s relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

“The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful,” Pausch wrote on his Web site. “But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”

The book “The Last Lecture,” written with Jeffrey Zaslow, leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April and remains there this week. Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal writer, by cell phone. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

At Carnegie Mellon, he was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called “The Last Lecture,” where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to “Journeys” before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

“I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it,” he said.

He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co.

The one that eluded him? Playing in the National Football League.

“If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you,” Pausch said.

He then joked about his quirky hobby of winning stuffed animals at amusement parks — another of his childhood dreams — and how his mother introduced him to people to keep him humble: “This is my son, he’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.”

Pausch said he was embarrassed and flattered by the popularity of his message. Millions viewed the complete or abridged version of the lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” online.

Pausch lobbied Congress for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research and appeared on “Oprah” and other TV shows. In what he called “a truly magical experience,” he was even invited to appear as an extra in the new “Star Trek” movie.

He had one line of dialogue, got to keep his costume and donated his $217.06 paycheck to charity.

Pausch blogged regularly about his medical treatment. On Feb. 15, exactly six months after he was told he had three to six months of healthy living left, Pausch posted a photo of himself to show he was “still alive & healthy.”

“I rode my bike today; the cumulative effects of the chemotherapy are hurting my stamina some, but I bet I can still run a quarter mile faster than most Americans,” he wrote.

Pausch gave one more lecture after his Carnegie Mellon appearance — in November at the University of Virginia, where he had taught from 1988 to 1997.

Pausch often emphasized the need to have fun.

“I mean I don’t know how to not have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it,” he said in his Carnegie Mellon lecture. “You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore. I think I’m clear where I stand on the great Tigger/Eeyore debate. Never lose the childlike wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us.”

Born in 1960, Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

He co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, a master’s program for bringing artists and engineers together. The university named a footbridge in his honor. He also created an animation-based teaching program for high school and college students to have fun while learning computer programming.

In February, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in California announced the creation of the Dr. Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund for university students who pursue careers in game design, development and production.

He and his wife, Jai, had three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.


On the Net:

Pausch’s lecture: http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

A lesson from Bobby Knight?

So I can’t say I’ve learned much from Bobby Knight, although one of my favorite moments in junior basketall can be attributed to him. My coach in 7th grade threw a chair across the court and was ejected – shocking but brilliant. I’m sure Coach Knight was a postitive influence to many players, fans, coaches, etc. I just wasn’t following close enough attention. That being said, today I read a note from Mark Cuban’s blog that is quite profound:

But thats not really what I appreciate most about you (referring to the NCAA win record).

When I was at Indiana you were on 60 Minutes. In your interview you said one single thing that I took to heart. I reminded myself of it while it was in school at Indiana. I reminded myself of it when I failed. I reminded myself of it before any of the many businesses I have started I will continue to remind myself before any of my endeavors going forward. Its also the best advice I’ve been able to give people of any age who ask me for advice.

Its also the characteristic I look for when choosing a partner or hiring. I saw it in Avery Johnson. Ive seen it in Phil Garvin. It was obvious in Todd Wagner and Martin Woodall and many, many others that have put me in a position to succeed.

You said, and Im paraphrasing: “Everyone has got the will to win, its only those with the will to prepare that do win”

Words for every athlete and those of us who partake in the Sport of Business to live by

Thanks Coach.

Mark Cuban’s Post

I need to write it out myself: Everyone has the will to win, it’s only those with the will to prepare that do win.