Death of Steve Jobs

Innovator. Genius. Visionary.

These are three words commonly used to describe the legendary Apple founder, Steve Jobs, who died today.  After hearing of his death from my wife just minutes ago, I visited Apple’s website, and true to form, I was awestruck by their simple, elegant and powerful tribute to their now fallen leader.

Steve Jobs was no doubt a rare type. He will be remembered as one of the great CEOs and business minds of our time. People will remember him for enriching their lives through brilliant technology, which closed the gap between friends, families and businesses around the world; technology that brought simple moments of pleasure to millions. The anniversary of his death will make headlines for years.

This is, of course, how we will remember him.

On the other hand, the Lord knows the real Steve Jobs, like He knows all of his children.

O Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains. Psalms 116:16

Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs.

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Hallelujah

Yesterday, I stepped away from the office for a few minutes to get a cup of coffee. I wound my way through the Pentagon to Starbucks. Yes, there’s a Starbucks in the building. All in the name of national defense!  As I stood there waiting to order, I heard a version of “Hallelujah” playing overhead.  I hadn’t heard it in a long time, and it’s a song I absolutely love.  I find it captivating.

Upon returning to the office, I went to YouTube and pulled up Jeff Buckley’s version, my all-time favorite. It drew me in as it always does. For the next hour, I found and played different versions to include Leonard Cohen’s original and another favorite version by Rufus Wainwright.

The song has always had a spiritual feel to me, but I never took it any further than that.  Clearly many others have though, evidenced by the massive amount of comments below each version I listened to.  To sum up a major thread, some believe the song is rooted in religion and some don’t.  However, this debate, in my view, all came back to the same thing…..love and people arguing over the source of that love.

If you’ve spent much time at all with the Bible or writings from other religions, they’re peppered with words about love.  As a Christian, I believe in Jesus, who was the ultimate lover and who set the example of how to love best.  An example we fall short of every day, but something we should always strive for.

Ever tried loving your enemies?  Yeah, that’s not easy.  How about loving your enemies who nailed you to a cross.  Think you could do that? I may have been able to get past the false trials, but I would have come off the rails when the torture began!

But Jesus didn’t.  He persisted, loving on until he died, was resurrected, descended into heaven and He’s never stopped.

See, love is a funny thing.  We know it when we feel it.  We recognize it when we see it.  Yet we struggle to describe it and struggle more when we lose it.  “It’s just something you feel,” we say. “You know it when you feel it.”

Well, God is also a funny thing.  We know it when we feel Him.  We recognize Him when he see Him. Yet we struggle with Him, especially when something tragic occurs like the death of a child.  But like before, we hear people say, “I can’t describe it, but I felt His presence. You just know when God is there.”

Throughout the Bible, the word of the Lord is tailored to appeal to specific groups of people like business people.  God’s word at times was indirectly told through stories and shown through simple acts of kindness.  This was God’s way of spreading His word to all people, even if it took masking it where it was tough to see, recognize, feel or describe. Sounds a lot like love to me.

God is love.  Hallelujah.

Verses that close the gap

A couple of weeks have now passed since I transitioned the focus on my blog to what the Bible has to say about business, leadership and communication.  I hope what you’ve read is helping close the gap between business and the Book.  For me, the more I read, the smaller that gap gets.

In case you haven’t noticed, I want to bring to your attention the blog page, Verses That Close The Gap.  I thought it may be handy to give you a place to find the verses I write about, along with some additional thoughts about each one.

The page will be updated when each new post is published.  So, if you value it, just check it from time to time and feel free to comment or share it with others.

Thanks for reading!

Adoption of a declaration and a vision for the world

Two-hundred and thirty-five years ago today, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress after 56 men took the brave step of signing it.  The document absolved all ties between the “united States of America,” as it was written in the Declaration, and the King of Great Britain.

Upon ratification, the signers knew unmerciful war would be unleashed upon the states, thousands would die, and they themselves would be branded as rebels and traitors. It was one of the bravest and most selfless acts in world history. Yes, world history.

The originators and signers of this document looked beyond the rights of their fellow citizens as they adopted the language that read, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“All men are created equal” has thus been the vision statement for this country ever since.

Generations later, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world visit the National Archives annually and gaze upon the now badly faded document that launched the creation of the United States of America and the spread of freedom to every man, woman and child.

God Bless America!

 

#WhyWeCelebrate enters second year, founders speak out

Last year around this time, Mike and Heather Whaling of 30 Lines and Geben Communication started WhyWeCelebrate to recognize Independence Day and honor the U.S. military.  They asked people to share their stories on their own blogs, using the Twitter hashtag, #WhyWeCelebrate, or on the Facebook page.

This year, they centralized the effort to create a hub of stories at www.whywecelebrate.com about why we celebrate the men and women who protect our freedoms and defend our country. As an Air Force civilian employee, I’ve worked with our military for nearly a decade now. I witness why we celebrate them up close and personal every day and could go on about them for eternity.  They are the best of America.

After hearing about Mike and Heather’s awesome campaign, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what was behind the idea and what they hope to achieve. Here’s what they told me.

Heather Whaling, aka @prtini

1. What compelled you do this originally?

Heather: During holidays like Fourth of July, it’s easy to lose site of the fact that there are lots of people serving overseas who can’t attend barbecues and fireworks with their families. My brother, a veteran of the 82nd airborne, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, so this is a cause that’s important to me, and I believe whatever your political stance, we can all agree that it’s important to honor the active-duty military and veterans.

2. For 25 of the last 26 years, the military has topped the Gallup confidence in institutions poll. Why do you think that is?

Mike: Whether we realize it or not, I think we have a deep-rooted appreciation for the freedoms we’re provided in this country … after all, that’s really why we celebrate Independence Day. Our continued confidence in the military is just one way to show our appreciation for the institution that bears the greatest responsibility and makes the greatest sacrifices for maintaining those freedoms.

3. What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Heather: Our goal from the beginning has been the same: Use social media to encourage people to take a minute to honor and appreciate the military. This year, we’re asking people to submit photos and stories to www.whywecelebrate.com. The more diverse the stories the better. For example, photos at fireworks selections, letters of thanks to military, memories of family gatherings, links to articles about military families, or even videos of kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. We hope to compile a collection of celebrations, reflections and activities from around the country.

4. What was the most exciting thing about the inaugural campaign?

Mike Whaling, aka @30lines

Mike: Seeing others pick up the idea and run with it … without expecting anything in return. Everyone we talked to seemed to “get it” right away, and they all brought their own unique perspective and stories about their brothers, sisters, fathers and grandfathers who had served their country. To see other people, companies and organizations sharing stories and asking their contacts to do the same was amazing and invigorating.

5. Do you have aspirations for #WhyWeCelebrate in the long term?

Heather: That’s still to be determined. For now, we’re just thankful that so many people are willing to participate in the effort and we look forward to seeing the stories submitted this weekend.