"The Noticer" - A Review

The good folks at Thomas Nelson recently sent me a free copy of Andy Andrews' latest book, "The Noticer." I must confess, I was not familiar with Andy Andrews, nor his previous books. Reading the author's small bio on the book jacket, I learned that Mr. Andrews was dubbed a "modern-day Will Rogers who has quietly become one of the most influential people in America" by the New York Times. That's high praise for sure - especially the Will Rogers part! In exchange for the free book, Thomas Nelson asked me to write a brief review. With that in mind, here are my thoughts about "The Noticer."

Undoubtedly, the most powerfully influential messages are often wrapped in small packages. "The Noticer" would be one such message. Reading Andrews reminds me of yet another very influential author, Og Mandino. In fact, I would venture to say Andy Andrews is Og Mandino's clone. Like Mandino, Andrews knows how to tell a story. More importantly, he knows how to weave a powerful message throughout the story. The result is contagious - a book that is equally entertaining and deeply motivational.

Without giving away the plot, the premise of "The Noticer" is based upon true events. The story, set in Orange Beach, Alabama, intertwines the lives and struggles of its residents with an enigmatic figure named Jones (not Mr. Jones, just Jones). Jones has a knack for showing up at a critical juncture in a character's life and dispensing words of wisdom he calls "a little perspective" resulting in a life transformation for the better. Everyone in the community knows Jones, but nobody really knows Jones - which is a great literary technique to keep the reader interested.

The dominant theme of "The Noticer" is influence. Andrews uses this book as a vehicle to make a powerful statement - everyone has the capacity to influence the world. Small choices, made deliberately with passion, do not result in small changes in the lives of others. Again, without giving away too much, Andrews does a masterful job of detailing the influence of a simple choice that ended up saving the lives of millions of people many, many years later. This particular revelation is quite eye-opening!

With that in mind, Andrews has started The Noticer Project. The effort of this project is to encourage people to "notice" or pay tribute to the five most influential people in your life while you still have time to do so. Often, such tributes are saved for occasions such as weddings, graduations, or even funerals. The Noticer Project aims to get people to slow down from the busyness of life and take time to praise those who have impacted your life in a meaningful way. For more information about The Noticer Project go here.

I will highly recommend this book to my friends and family. I am also going to take the challenge issued by Andy Andrews to "notice" the five most influential people in my life. If you don't read this book, I'd still encourage you to become a "noticer" too.

P.S. If you read this book and liked it, I'd highly recommend reading "The Greatest Miracle in the World" by Og Mandino.


Our church is currently in the midst of a series called "Invasion: I Love My Church!" The premise is this: our pastors just show up at members' homes unannounced with a video camera and interview them about why they love their church. If you have time, I'd really encourage you to check out these stories.

Well, the Tulsa Campus LifeGroups Pastor, Aaron Swensen, took it to a whole new level by invading LifeGroup Leaders or members and asking them why they love their LifeGroup. So, with that said, here is the video of Michele and myself being invaded by Aaron. By the way, the videographer is a guy named Bill Aycock. He's a real cool guy and super talented.

I pray you catch the message of this video: God is a MULTIPLIER! He loves to take something small and MULTIPLY it exponentially. Our campus is just one example of this. Others are 5 loaves and 2 fish. small, then LARGE. The widow's flour and oil supply. small, then LARGE. The Acts 2 church. small, now LARGE.

So, what "small" thing can YOU offer to God so that He might MULTIPLY it?

How Much Do You Have to Hate Somebody....?

I don't know about all of you, but this video disturbs me.  I've never thought of myself as a "hater," but I have to admit at times I fit Penn's definition of one.  A good lesson for all of us I think.....you?


Porky Pig - Blue Christmas

Elevator Games

I don't know what it is about an elevator, but it usually brings out the ornery side of me. If you know me well, you know that I'm a prankster at heart. When I first got out of pharmacy school, I worked in a hospital where I used elevators all day long. So here's a list of some of the pranks I've pulled while in an elevator, some of them involving my friends:
  1. One time I walked into an elevator and didn't turn around to face the door. I just continued to face all the people. It definitely created an "uncomfortable moment" because everyone in the elevator didn't know what to do!
  2. One time I got on an elevator, and as soon as it started going up I said real loud "I'm too young to die!" I said over and over until the elevator stopped.
  3. One time I got on an elevator on the very top floor. It was crowded. I rode it down one floor and got off. Then I quickly ran down the stairs to the next floor and when the elevator doors opened I was there waiting and got back on. You should've seen the looks on everyone's faces!
  4. One time I got on a crowded elevator. As I assumed the normal "elevator posture" (you know, facing the door, looking up at the numbers) I looked at the total stranger next to me and said in a loud voice "I've got new socks on!" Their facial expression was priceless.
  5. Another time I got on an elevator and there was someone in there about my age. I quickly got excited and said "Hey, it's great to see you! I haven't seen you since high school! You haven't changed a bit!" It was so great to see them squirm and fake their way through the conversation as if they remembered me.
  6. One of my best all-time great gags was one I pulled on my best friend. He and I got into a crowded elevator on the ground floor. We were going to the fourth or fifth floor, so we were going to be in there a bit. In a loud tone, I asked him "So dude, how's your rash doing?" Immediately, everyone in the elevator got super quiet. My buddy's face turned beet red, but I didn't let up one bit. I continued with "So are you still super-contagious or what? Should I be standing this close to you?" By this time, people were squirming and trying to move away from him as discreetly as possible. At the next stop, EVERYONE got off the elevator! I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants!
What about you? Got any fun elevator gags?

What Are You Bringing to the Table?

Thanksgiving is upon us. I can't tell you how much I love this holiday. Why? Mainly because it's a chance for me to get to see extended family, but I'd be lying if I didn't say THE FOOD! My family isn't shy about bringing the food to the table. In fact, each year there are certain items I look forward to - for example, my Aunt Virginia's taco salad. Now you might think a taco salad doesn't belong on a Thanksgiving table, but her's most definitely does! Sadly, she won't be able to make our Thanksgiving gathering this year, so no taco salad for me. Thanksgiving just won't be the same for me.

I often use Thanksgiving as an example for small group ministries. You see, we all, like my Aunt Virginia, have something special to "bring to the table" for our small group. That something special is your spiritual gift. Maybe it's mercy or wisdom or prophecy or even hospitality. The point is, it can't benefit the group if it's not brought "to the table." Can you imagine Thanksgiving without the turkey? Or your Aunt So-and-so's pecan pie? Your group feels the same when you aren't there.

So, the take home point here is this: you have something everybody wants to enjoy, so be consistent in attending your group, whether it's a Sunday School class or home-based small group. You have something special to give, so bring it!


Our Family Blog

If you're interested, Michele and I have a family blog dedicated to all things related to our new family. You can check it out here.


Gimme my bottle and nobody gets hurt!

Pic #1: Kari was hungry one night, so she latched onto my honker while mommy was making her bottle & commenced to start sucking!
Pic #2: Sucking even harder. I'm laughing so hard I can't move.
Pic#3: Not willing to let go. No mercy. Look how red-faced I am!

Catching Up

OK.  It's been far too long since I last blogged.  Much has been going on and it's been a little difficult to get the creative juices flowin', but I think they are rebounding slowly.  To catch everyone up, here's what's been cooking in my noggin lately:
  • I'm writing a book, which has been fun and frustrating at the same time.  I'll spend an hour or so typing, then read what I've typed, delete it all, and start over again.  So far I've got the introduction and half of the first chapter in the can.  The topic?  Our adoption story parallelled with the adoption story of Moses. 
  • So, did you hear Obama was elected Prez?  He wasn't my choice, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be a hater.  In fact, I believe God (and America overwhelmingly) chose him to lead our nation for the next 4 years, so I'm going to commit to pray for him regularly.  I'm not going to speak negatively about him either.  I sincerely hope and pray he holds true to the faith he proclaims and does a great job.  Oh, I don't believe for one second he's the Anti-Christ.  This kinda stupidity has got to stop!
  • I've been dealing with work drama a lot lately.  I have a staff of three women and I'm the lone male.  Enough said.
  • I just finished teaching a four week class at church on men and leadership.  I called it "MENERGY," and after the final session last night, all the men wanted to continue meeting weekly for encouragement and accountability.  Awesome!
  • Kari is growing like a weed!  She has discovered she has a voice, and likes to use it.  A lot.  LOUDLY!  Each morning she likes to just lay in her crib and babble and scream - just because she can!  Her mother and I just lay in bed watching her on the monitor and laugh.  She's also somehow rearranging herself in her crib.  I'll lay her down in one position only to find her flipped 180 degrees the next morning.  I don't know how/when she does it - she can't even roll over yet, but she's trying!
There you go!  More to come - including pics of you-know-who!  By the way, did you notice the new profile pic?

For Those Who Weren't There......

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how
the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could
have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and
again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,
but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who
spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows,
in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the
worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who knew neither victory nor defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt (emphases mine)

This past Monday night I led a "class" of men from my church in a discussion about this very quote. I challenged each and every one of them with these thoughts:

  • Every man has an "arena."
  • The "arena" is for testing.
  • Many men avoid the "arena" because of fear of failure.
We started off by identifying their particular arena(s). For some their arena was in the area of finances, others it was their family time, some it was their God-given purpose in life, and a few acknowledged it was their marraiges. These were areas they felt led to "fight" for, and yet for some reason weren't giving 100% effort to do so. Why? Because failing was too scary for them.

So, I challenged them to consider this quote I read in Craig Groeschel's new book "It" (provided by my boy Scott Williams from the N-Dub! Thanks again, buddy!):

"Failure is the tuition you pay for success." - Walter Brunell

I don't know Wally, but that guy has it all figured out! We have to change the way we view "failure." Now, I'm not saying we should rush out and fail, fail, fail. What I am saying is we should be willing to risk failure to experience our "triumph of high achievement."

What about you? What's your "arena?" More importantly, are you in it?