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Team_WorkRaising the Bar

By Pastor Calvary Callender

As a youth pastor I got to play all kinds of fun games with teenagers. There is one game that is particularly inventive that we would always play over spring break. This game is called "The Hunt." Basically, it is a water war that lasts an entire week. It begins with each teen putting their name in a hat and then all drawing a name from the hat. Whatever person they draw becomes their target. After they get their target, they had to find out who their target's target was and go after them . It is really fun when 2 or 3 people are all going after the same target. For each target that you get, points are awarded. All the while this is going on, the youth pastor and volunteer youth workers are going after the teens. For each teen you get wet, the teen loses points. If the teen gets you, though, they gain points.

During one particularly intense week of "The Hunt," I had probably the greatest encounter of the entire series of that game. I always prided myself in being "un-gettable," but that wouldn't be true on this day. Of course every teen always wanted to get the youth pastor really bad. It is a week of high stress, sneaking around Walmart and checking my rearview mirrors. One night, I was returning home after dark. I lived on the second floor in the apartment building I was in. I had done my customary drive through the parking lot and come in the back entrance so no one would see me coming. I felt confident I was safe so I got out of my truck and started up the steps toward my door. All the sudden, from under the steps, a black shadow emerged with a black bucket. I had no chance. I was drenched in a matter of seconds.

There before me was one of my freshman boys, dressed in all black and his face painted black, holding an empty bucket and sporting a sheepish grin. He had got me. That day, this boy had raised the bar. He set a higher standard for the game than had been achieved before, and 10 years later I am still telling the story.

All of our lives we have heard about the "fairness doctrine." When you are at a restaurant, what do you do when the waitress doesn't bring you an item you have paid for or gives you poor service? We might complain to the manager, or not leave a tip. After all, what's fair is fair, right? You might have also heard, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."

What if we raised the bar, though, and repaid kindness for evil? If only a few people would begin to change the way they responded when someone wronged them, we could change the world. I believe that we must reject all behavior motivated only by a desire for retaliation and work for the good of those with whom we might otherwise be at odds. Who knows, if you put this into practice and begin to be kind to someone when they are not kind to you, you might change their life.

Just like that gangly Freshman boy who raised the bar of our little game, you can raise the bar on how you treat and respond to other people. Who knows, something you do today might be a story that someone else is talking about 10 years from now.

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By: Pastor Calvary Callender

I heard a story by an unknown author about a woman who was at the airport one evening and had to wait for several hours before catching her next flight. While she waited she bought a book and a pack of cookies to spend the time. She looked for a place to sit and waited.
She was deep into her book, order pharm malady ask when suddenly she realized that there was a young man sitting next to her who was stretching his hand, salve recipe with no concern whatsoever, no rx for sale and grabbing the pack of cookies lying between them. He started to eat them one by one.
Not wanting to make a fuss about it she decided to ignore him. The woman, slightly bothered, ate the cookies and watched the clock, while the young and shameless thief of cookies was also finishing them. The woman started to get really angry at this point and thought, ‘If I wasn’t such a good and educated person, I would have given this daring man a black eye by now.’
Every time she ate a cookie, he had one too. The dialogue between their eyes continued and when only one was left, she wondered what was he going to do. Softly and with a nervous smile, the young man grabbed the last cookie and broke it in two. He offered one half to the woman while he ate the other half.
Briskly she took the half and thought, ‘What an insolent man! How uneducated! He didn’t even thank me!’ She had never met anybody so fresh and sighed relieved to hear her flight announced. She grabbed her bags and went towards the boarding gate refusing to look back to where that insolent thief was seated.
After boarding the plane and nicely seated, she looked for her book which was nearly finished by now. While looking into her bag she was totally surprised to find her pack of cookies nearly intact. ‘If my cookies are here,” she thought feeling terribly, ‘those others were his and he tried to share them with me.’ Too late to apologize to the young man, she realized with pain, that it was her who had been insolent, uneducated and a thief, and not him.
Sometimes we jump to conclusions about people and judge them too quickly. We need to be careful not to become harshly judgmental or looking for faults. Can you think of a time when someone was this way with you? Imagine if they had given you the opportunity to get to know you and your motives. This is how we should respond to others around us. Not only will it make everybody a little happier, it is likely to improve productivity in our work environment.

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If the round of second-quarter conference calls proved one thing, it was how prospective West Texas' Permian Basin has become. The basin is really two distinct halves, comprising the Midland Basin to the east side, and Delaware Basin to the west, which also creeps into southeast New Mexico. And underneath those two halves are vast numbers of discrete formations, stacked atop one another like pancakes. And an increasing number of those formations are proving to hold a lot of syrup.

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Thinking back on my life, I had a good childhood. We were a happy family of, dad, little sister. My sister, Sarah, is 5 years younger than me and we had some wild times. When I was about 12 years old, Sarah and I were playing around when we got into a fight over a large rubber bouncy ball. This wasn't the small bouncy ball, it was the super-deluxe version. You might remember the type. It was about 2 inches in diameter and had some weight to it.

Looking back, I don't remember what started the fight, but it quickly escalated as these things usually do. I knew better than to hurt my sister because my dad had engrained into me that if I ever hurt her, or even threatened her, I would be in big trouble.

On this day, I think I forgot all the rules. Angry, I took off after her, chasing her through the house. Our house had one of those islands in the kitchen and I found myself chasing her around and around this dumb island. One time around the island she made a break for her room toward the other end of the house down a long hallway. I realized I wouldn't catch her before she went into the room. I stopped, took aim, and threw that rubber bouncy ball at her as hard as I could.

It couldn't have been any closer. She had opened her door, and as she closed it, the ball hit the door...right about where her head had been. It put an indention in the door which I am sure is there to this day. There was no denying the evidence that I had intended to harm my sister. Boy, I sure got in trouble for that one. Luckily, she didn't get hurt that day.

As I reflect on those events, I am reminded how anger can affect us. Anger, if left unchecked, can be a poison in our lives. Think about the news that invades us every day. The FBI released some statistics on homicides. In 1994 there were 23,305 homicides, a 22% increase from 1985. The notion that the increase was from gang and drug violence is a myth. In 1994 the most common reason for homicide was an argument, representing 28% of all homicides, most occurring at home. The FBI report states that drug and gang killing accounted for only 7% and .6% respectively.

Anger can destroy us. We cannot let anger wiggle its way into our lives or else we will be eat up with it. There are two things we need to do when we start to become angry with people. First, we need to reconcile. Whatever the problem is, recognize it and resolve it. We cannot help the way people react to our efforts, but we can help the effort we make. The second thing we should do is settle it quickly. If we allow the seed of anger to grow, it will consume us. We must do whatever it takes to resolve the problem.

If we will do these things, we will find that relationships in our personal lives as well as the relationships we build in our work place will be much better. Not only that, but we will be healthier and happier. Don't let anger control the way you live, take control of anger and enjoy the benefits of living without anger in your life.

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