Posts by: Brian Dolleman

I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

Go Ahead: Laugh, Smile & Sing. It’s Spiritual.

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Do Christians have a good sense of humor?

Sometimes, I think we need to lighten up a bit.

Should we known for our smiling, laughing and songs of joy?

There does seem to be a biblical precedent for such happy behavior:

“We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy.
The other nations said, ‘What amazing things the Lord has done for them.’
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!” – Psalm 126.2, 3

So go ahead. Laugh, smile and sing. It’s spiritual.

Fire Them Up!

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I recently read Fire Them Up! by Carmine Gallo.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

Only 20 percent of all U.S. employees want to be with their current employer in two years.

What’s truly alarming is that most employees cite a lack of leadership as their reason for going elsewhere.

Today’s workers crave meaning in their lives and a professional role that represents something larger than themselves.

Unfortunately, few leaders communicate meaning, hope, and optimism.


THE CHIEF INSPIRATION OFFICER – This person is an extraordinary communicator. He places a strong emphasis on the way he crafts and delivers his message, vision, and values.

He is successful at getting listeners actually to change what they have come to believe.

He successfully rallies people around the vivid future he sees and helps them find meaning in their roles.

This leader is magnetic. He leaves everyone energized, enthusiastic, and electrified.


You do not need a book to teach you how to act like a jerk.


Poor managers think that motivation means scaring the heck out of people. It doesn’t.

Other managers think we’re all like Pavlov’s dogs: Give us a treat and we’ll perform. These managers believe that offering incentives… is all the motivation his team needs. It’s not.

Financial or material incentives might work for a few hours or days, but they will fail to inspire people over the long run.

Fewer than half of U.S. workers are happy with their jobs, and only 14 percent are  ”very satisfied,” according to a Conference Board survey.’

This low level of engagement costs the American economy an estimated $350  billion a year in lost productivity.

I could offer more statistics, but why bother? Clearly, people are desperate for inspiring leadership.


Be the type of person people want to stick with for the long term, the person whose vision people want to follow, and the person who brings out the best in others.

Your customers, colleagues, clients, employees, staff, team, students, and children are searching for someone to satisfy their chief want.

If you miss the opportunity to engage them, they will look elsewhere for inspiration: another company, a competitor, a boss, a congregation, or, saddest of  all, questionable peers.

We all want to be around someone who makes us feel good about ourselves and engages our hearts and minds with  the vision of a brighter future. You have the ability and, I would argue, the obligation, to play this role for those in your life.


Energize yourself before you attempt to engage the hearts and minds of your audience.


Successful leaders are fired up about what they do and have an extraordinary  ability to generate excitement in others.


When you talk to customers or colleagues, do they leave that conversation inspired, energized, and enthusiastic or uninspired, disillusioned, and bored? That is up to you.


A leader succeeds only when they find a way to make people  excited and confident in what comes next.
- Marcus Buckingham


Create an emotional connection with an audience by articulating a  vision so bright, so magnificent, the rest of us cannot help but come along for the ride.


According to Buckingham, a leader carries a vivid image in his head of what a future could be.

“Leaders are fascinated by the future. You are a leader if, and only if, you are restless for  change, impatient for progress and deeply dissatisfied with the status  quo….

As a leader, you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future, and the friction between `what  is’ and `what could be’ burns you, stirs you up, propels you forward.

This is leadership.”


Ordinary business professionals sell a product or service. But as the leader of your personal  brand, you must offer much more – the promise of a better life for your customer, client, or employee. Peddle hope.


A vision that changes as often as Lindsay Lohan switches nightclubs does no good for anyone.


Life is too short to do something small.

There  are two things that really matter to great people: They want to do something big with their lives and they want to learn from other great people. Those are two very powerful motivators.


Positioning is about what you do for your customers – not  about what you want to become.
- Guy Kawasaki


Stories have the power to inspire, motivate, and persuade anyone in everyday situations.

Stories speak to both parts of the human mind – its  reason and emotion.
- Howard Gardner


We tend to forget much of what we hear, but we remember 100 percent of what  we feel.


Young people are asking themselves “Am I important? Am I offering value?”

The key to managing this generation is to create excitement about the company’s achievements and help employees recognize their own roles in accomplishing that mission.


The opposite of a leader isn’t a follower. The opposite of a leader is a pessimist.
- Marcus Buckingham


Inspirational leaders are beacons of hope. They project an aura of confidence and resolve that is quite literally contagious.
- Celia Sandys


Churchill had an unbreakable spirit, which he transmitted to others in his speaking.

He acknowledged the hurdles to overcome, then shifted the focus to reasons for hope.

Churchill’s genius was to find a way to talk about bad news while finding hope in what others might see as defeat.

He could put nearly any disaster in context.


When people are most likely to see defeat, you must radiate hope, confidence, and possibility.


Surround yourself with builders, not detractors.


Want to be loved? Be an optimist.


Blow them away.

Make people feel better about you, themselves, and the organization in which they are placing their trust.

Peddle hope and possibility.


The ripple effect of a leader’s enthusiasm and optimism is awesome.

So is the impact of cynicism and pessimism.

Leaders who whine and blame engender those same behaviors among their  colleagues.

Spare me the grim litany of the realist. Give me the unrealistic aspirations of the optimist any day.
-General Colin Powell


If you live in a perpetual state of “gimme, gimme, gimme,” you will end up with far less than you deserve.

Building people up and helping them reach their fullest potential as human beings will bring  far more pleasure than you could ever imagine.


Satisfy a Basic Human Need.

Sincere praise is the easiest way to connect with another human being.


In all the years I’ve been studying human behavior  and attitude, I’ve heard hundreds of employees say they feel under-appreciated, but I’ve never heard a single one say they feel over-appreciated.

Your job as a motivator is to make people feel good about themselves and boost their self-esteem, confidence, and courage.


When people receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar.

Don’t Showcase Them – Use Them!

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America’s Got Talent.

So You Think You Can Dance.

We love to compete. We like showcasing our abilities. We try to position ourselves for our shot at 15 minutes of fame.
But maybe the gifts you have weren’t really meant for showcasing.

“Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace.” – 1 Peter 4.10 NCV

Apparently our gifts are for the purpose of serving others.

Lets use our gifts… not to improve our position, but to serve (bless, help, encourage, benefit) others.

Ya, you got talent. You might even be able to dance…

You have gifts.

Don’t just showcase them.

Use them to serve others and be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace!

How to Tie Your Shoes Without Shoelaces

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My 8 year-old daughter has a great sense of humor. She’s a pretty good writer too. Here’s a little something from her school writing journal:

How to Tie Your Shoes Without Shoelaces

Let’s say you come home from school and your shoelaces are muddy. Your mom tells you that you need to wash them, but it takes two days to do that. So, you have to find some way to lace your shoes.

What do you do?

Here’s an idea for tying your shoes without shoelaces:

Simply ask your mom if she can make spaghetti for dinner. When it is done and your mom isn’t looking, find the longest noodle and stick it in your pocket. Then say you have to go to the bathroom.

While you are on your way to the bathroom, bring your shoes with you. When you get in the bathroom, lock the door and lace your shoes with the noodle.

Pack a little box of spaghetti sauce. Put it in your coat pocket.

Later, when your shoelaces are dried, get the spaghetti sauce. Undo the spaghetti from your shoes. Dip your spaghetti noodles in the sauce. Woila! Enjoy.

Choose Your Expertise

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Do you really want to be known as an expert in identifying what’s wrong?

Some are expert critics, gifted in pointing out flaws.

Others are expert encouragers, gifted in pointing out strengths.

You choose your expertise.

Will you be an expert basher or builder, critic or encourager?

“You’ll do your best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” -Philippians 4.8 (MSG)

Perspective Check

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I remember getting started in ministry – I was young, excited, full of hope and couldn’t believe that God actually chose me to be part of His big plan!

I also remember the first time I encountered other ministers who were hurt, jaded, calloused and full of complaints about the ministry. I wanted to blurt out: “do something else, please!”

It’s been 17 years now. I’ve certainly had challenges, difficult days, battles to fight and plenty of opportunities to get hurt.

However, my perspective remains the same: I’m excited, full of hope and can hardly believe that God actually chose me to be part of His big plan!

I think every once in a while, we need to do a perspective check: are we viewing ministry the way Jesus does?

What is Jesus’ perspective on ministry?

MINISTRY ENERGIZES ME (vs ministry drains me).
“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.” (John 4.34)

THE BEST DAYS FOR MINISTRY ARE NOW (vs someday or the good old days).
“I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” (John 4.35).

MINISTRY IS REWARDING & FUN (vs “poor me” working so hard for nothing).
“The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!” (John 4.36)

MINISTRY IS A PRIVILEGE (vs somebody owes me something)
“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (John 4.38)

Church Lesson From Disney

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I just got home from our family vacation to Disneyland. It was my daughter’s first time… and she had a blast.

We spent 3 days bouncing back and forth between Disneyland and California Adventure. We went to Aladdin (the musical) and had breakfast with the Disney princesses (and now I feel so very manly telling you all this).

Here’s something I noticed about the Disney characters who were roaming around the park: they all had a permanent smile… one expression – happy.

I think this is a good lesson for church leaders and volunteers from Disney: since we represent the church (a place of hope, forgiveness, acceptance, love, grace and second chances), we should have a permanent smiles on our faces!

Disney describes themselves as “the happiest place on earth.”

How would we (the church) like to be described?

The church is the most “___________________” place on earth…

I’m thinking the words “joyful, exciting, hopeful, vibrant and alive” are pretty good.

Taking a lesson from Disney: our facial expressions need to match our self-description!

What He Did

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It was our pains he carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

It was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him – our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.

And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.

(Isaiah 53.4-6 MSG)

Misfits, Peeps From the Wrong Side of the Tracks…

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Who have you invited to church for Easter Sunday?

I’m sure you’ve asked some family members, friends and maybe even a few neighbors to come with you. That’s great, but don’t stop there!

Keep inviting. Cast the net out further.

Here’s how Jesus said it:

“Don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor.

Invite some people who never get invited… the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks.

You’ll be – and experience – a blessing.

They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned – oh, how it will be returned!” (Luke 14.12-14 MSG).

I love it!

Invite some people who never get invited.

Invite some misfits, peeps from the wrong side of the tracks.

Jesus died and rose again for us all – the insiders and outsiders, people from both sides of the tracks!

Keep on inviting…

The Comma (a post written by Jon Acuff – Stuff Christians Like)

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This post is written by Jon Acuff, the author of Stuff Christians Like (his book can be purchased here: ).

You can read this post and others like it on Jon’s website:

One more thing… Jon is very funny on Twitter. I recommend following him:

OK… here’s the post:

One Easter I got into a bit of a yelling match with a guy in a visor at an Easter egg hunt. The whole thing was exactly how Jesus imagined us honoring that day.

We were at my in-laws country club, which always makes me feel a little weird. We’re certainly rich in a global way, but I kind of think that they can all tell that I’m just a visitor. I feel like the real members can smell middle class on me. (Which kind of smells like sun ripened raspberry and feet by the way.)

So after I pointed to where a golden egg was hidden to my 5 year old daughter, he yelled at me for cheating. I told him that his white visor made him look like a financial planner who was wearing his “casual uniform.” Whole thing got very out of hand. (I didn’t say that, but I thought it later when we were driving home, which is where most of my comebacks occur.)

The entire incident was gross. My daughter, who lost a golden egg last year has actually asked not to participate in the Easter egg hunt this year. That’s how messed up and tangled we’ve made this season of our lives.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that one of the things Easter is all about is actually pretty simple. I’ve written about it before and I hope to write about it again.

I’m talking about the “comma of grace.”

I found it in Luke 22. In that chapter, Jesus is being led away. He is headed to the cross. A million prophecies are coming true and chaos is breaking out a little amongst disciples that up to this point have sworn to serve until death. In the midst of that, he pulls Simon aside because he knows that Simon will soon betray him.

He says to Simon in Luke 22:31-32:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”

And then, he drops the 9 words that I can’t write about enough. The 9 words that I often turn to when I’ve failed and messed up again and feel hopelessly undeserving of hope.

Jesus tells Simon:
“And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Do you see what Jesus is saying in that first half of the sentence, And when you have turned back? He’s saying:

You are going to fail.
You are going to fall.
You are going to lose it.
You are going to make commitments and break them.
You are not going to always be the man you family needs.
You are going to sin.
But, but, but, you will turn back.

You will come back. You will know redemption. You will know return. You will know a God that not only allows the “comeback” but actually celebrates it.

When I read the phrase “And when you have turned back,” I read a loud, wild picture of what grace really looks like.

And then, if you go too fast, you’ll miss the comma. You’ll miss the gap that sits quietly between the next thought. You’ll miss it because like me, you might misread the second half of that sentence.

Here’s what it says:
“And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

But here’s how we write it sometimes:

“And when you have turned back, repent for a long time and stay a long way from me until you are clean enough to return to my presence.”

“And when you have turned back, please stay far away from any ministry opportunities. You are too broken to help other people. How can you minister to others when your own life is so messed up?

“And when you have turned back, here are the 57 things you need to do in order to earn back my good favor.”

But Christ doesn’t do that! He drops a comma like a grenade.

He gives us the gift of the comma and then asks us to strengthen our brothers. Not beat ourselves with emotional whips. Or lay in a hole of shame. Or stay to the shadows of church afraid to be seen.

He wants you. In his arms. By his side. Surrendered and free in his presence.

Not because you deserve it or have earned it or are perfect.

Because of Easter.

That’s it.

We all get the comma of grace.