Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Biblical Conflict Resolution

Truth be told, most of us don't like conflict . . . I know that I don't. I respect those people who will face a problem head-on and deal with it but frankly, I'm afraid of people who actually like conflict. The Bible spells out the way Believers should try to work out disputes among themselves in Matthew 18:15-17 MSG. The steps are pretty simple:
  1. Go alone to the person who has offended you, state your case and work out a resolution between the two of you.
  2. If that doesn't work, solicit another Believer or two to come along with you to keep the conversation honest (not acting as thugs to gang up on or intimidate your brother) as you give it another shot.
  3. If even then you still can't resolve it, then it's time to bring the church into it perhaps by talking to your pastor and seeking his direction or asking him to mediate it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nothing new under the sun

Mike Hyatt, the President of Thomas Nelson Publishing, has a blog that I read regularly. In a recent post, he recounts a conversation with one of his editors about an upcoming book by one of their most popular writers. In that conversation, the editor laments that the new book really doesn't offer anything fresh. I don't know which author they were talking about but one name jumped to mind for me. Some writers just to seem to be a "one-tune" player; they have one message that they attempt to repackage in as many ways as possible. Is this an aspect of the the "green" movement and another form of recycling of which I was not aware? I appreciate Mike's transparency in sharing this this story and his efforts to dissect the problem.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The future of Christian retail

With the closing of Crossroads Books and Gifts, the recent talk among our staff and customers has centered around the future of Christian retail. Everybody has an opinion and that includes me. I don't pretend to be a business guru or an authority on the Christian retail industry. I have, however, spent most of the last 13 years in the ownership or management of a Christian bookstore and am passionate about that calling. For what it's worth, here are a few of my observations:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trading local

When I was growing up, it was common to hear people speak of "trading local." By that, we meant that we bought goods and services from people in our town and those people bought goods and services from us. "Trading local" is a term that's foreign to a whole generation now for numerous and understandable reasons. Interstate highways and fast running cars make Mobile, AL local to Gulfport, MS and the Internet makes Bangladesh local to Alabama.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Everybody loves a good funeral!

If the first day of our Store Closing Sale is any indication, then it's a slam dunk that everybody loves a good funeral! The turnout was nothing less than phenomenal . . . I'd give you a head count but I'm not sure that I can actually count that high. It's safe to say that there were hundreds of people here when we opened the doors.

We did twelve and a half times times the number of transactions that we normally do in a day and the average transaction was two and a half times our norm. The end result is that our net sales on Thursday was more than our net sales for the entire month of February or March or April.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The next chapter . . .

We're still several weeks away from the last day of business here at Crossroads Books & Gifts but people have asked me what I will be doing after the store closes. Click here to get a sneak peak but be sure to click the "Read More" button at the bottom of the page.

Once you've read it, post your reaction as a comment on the blog.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Behind the papered windows . . .

Well, the windows are papered and the doors are locked at Crossroads Books & Gifts. Our last day of regular business was Friday, June 12th. We'll be closed until 9:30 AM on Thursday, June 18th when we'll re-open for our BIG LIQUIDATION SALE. In the meantime, the staff will be working hard each day as we lower the prices on inventory and prep the store for the sale. We're expecting Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 18-20) to be, perhaps, the highest 3 days of sales in the history of Crossroads! Come early and be prepared to find some bargains.

Many of you who have heard that we're closing have expressed your support and have asked how you may help. Thank you for that. Well, nothing says, "I appreciate you" quite like dropping a big old wad of cash at this sale and helping us liquidate our inventory! I know that's a bit brash but this will be a great opportunity for our customers to SAVE BIG as we tie up the loose ends and clear the way for the next area of ministry to which God is calling us.

Hope to see you here next weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hope Lives - a book review

A few weeks ago I wrote about a book that I was reading titled Hope Lives by Amber Van Schooneveld . This week, I finish the study with my small group and I'm compelled to tell you that this study has been the most important one that I have done in a very long time. Maybe it's about where I am in life right now or maybe it's not. Maybe it's because I now understand that:
  • I can't change everything but God is not asking that of me,
  • the opposite of poverty is not wealth but enough,
  • the problem of poverty is rooted in hopelessness, apathy and fatalism,
  • God created this earth so that it could provide food enough for all of the people who live on it,
  • poverty is not necessarily the result of laziness or bad choices,
  • I am blessed so that I can be a blessing to others,
  • giving money isn't the only way that I can help, and
  • God shapes my heart through prayer.
This book can change your life. I know that it has changed mine.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Oh, snap!"

One of my my favorite bloggers is Jon Acuff, the author of Stuff Christians Like. This guy is an incredible talent and really fun to read. In his blog recently, he used the expression "Oh, snap!" and even commented on his extensive use of that expression. I had noticed that expression in his writing before and thought how funny it is that many of us substitute acceptable expressions for ones that others might frown upon. Dee Pace, who used to work for me at The Good Book and was famous for yelling, "Oh, sugar!" when startled or frustrated and all of the rest of us knew to steer clear when we heard it. She wasn't announcing that she was about to be extra sweet . . . it simply meant that she was exasperated. For Dee, who now is a church secretary, saying, "Oh, sugar!" is much more genteel and far more acceptable than using the other "S" word.

I can be pretty frank, forthright or coarse when I want to be and when I think it's appropriate but I don't think many people would call me foul-mouthed. The truth is that most people would rather hear snap or sugar that it's four-letter counterpart and they get the same idea. So snap it is for me! The next time I'm frustrated, you'll probably hear me exclaim, "Oh, snap!"

What about you? What are your favorite, family-friendly expressions?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Flat Squirrels

Recently, a man named Wayne Walker told me about a saying that he saw posted in an office. It said something to this effect: "The highways are paved with flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision." That's a pretty good description of some of the squirrels that have run out in front of my car. You know what I'm talking about . . . the squirrel runs out in road, stops and just looks at you. He hesitates as he decides whether to run to the right, the left, or just hunker down. The squirrel that waits gets flattened. I know some people like that, too. They're faced with a tough decision, become paralyzed by it and they, too, get run down.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Course Correction

Following Jesus is never a straight line. While Jesus stayed true to His mission and didn't veer off-course, His mission zigzagged from time-to-time.
  • "Hold on . . . who was that who touched the hem of my robe?"
  • "Hey guys, these folks are getting hungry. See that kid over there with the bread and the fish? Get 'em and bring 'em to me. Now watch this!"
  • "Fire up the grill Zaccheus, I'm having dinner at your place tonight."