The Whole Life is a “Well-Storied Life”

Everybody loves a good story. That becomes even more obvious during the time of year when the Golden Globes are on and nominations have been made for the Oscars. While I don’t see that many movies, I am always looking for the next movie with a story that captivates at the soul level. The kind of movie where you leave the theater feeling profoundly impacted, energized, impassioned, convicted, and so on. You can probably think of at least one movie that did that to you.

This past week, thanks to a Post-Doc seminar at Fuller Seminary, my wife and I got to spend a couple days around a table with Leonard Sweet. Len’s written 61 books and is only a couple years older than me. I’ve read a few of his books. But sitting next to him for a couple days and watching his heart and passion for story really changed me. In fact, it’s hard to write this blog because I’m now convinced that there is something more powerful than words…images. Images convey a sense of story far better than words do. That’s why for most it’s easier to go see a movie than it is to read a book.

I was challenged by some of Len’s statements, such as:

  • “We don’t know Bible stories as stories – but only as points and principles.”
  • “Take a story you think you know and see how well you know it.”
  • “The new success is not your numbers . . . it’s your narratives.”
  • “You can only build an identity on narrative.”
  • “Our culture doesn’t trust the words, but they’ll trust the stories.”
  • “You’ve memorized a Bible verse – but have you ever memorized a Bible story?”
  • “The first thing a missionary does is learn the language of the culture – but this is what we refuse to do! The creativity in churches today is for a world that is no more and in a language that no one can hear.”

If we’re going to be brutally honest, there are three stories we really don’t know – the grand story of God contained in Scripture, the story of the culture right around us, and our own story in the midst of the first two. Maybe that’s why we hunger so much to watch or read a great story?

So here’s a challenge. This coming year I think we’d all grow a bit, not to mention become better followers of Jesus, if we’d . . .

  1. Get to know the whole STORY of God by grasping the big picture of the Bible, from Genesis to Maps
  2. Learn to see and hear the STORY right around us by looking and listening for what God is up to right around us at work, at school, and in our neighborhoods
  3. Treat our own STORY as God treats it – as sacred and important, and part of the other two

At SOULeader we’re all about WHOLENESS. And if the whole life is a well-storied life . . . then we’d better learn the stories.


Important vs. Urgent

At the end of every year and at the beginning of every new year, I get this strange feeling in my gut that it is important to reflect on what I’m accomplishing. I know I’m not supposed to base my worth on what I accomplish – but I also know when I’m not accomplishing those things that match up with my calling, I’m probably not being a very good steward of kingdom resources.

So the past couple of weeks, I’ve been prompted to resurrect one of my more dormant roles – FranklinCovey Facilitator – and focus on the Time Matrix. In case you’re not familiar with the Time Matrix, it looks like this:

In a nutshell, all the tasks we do and the way we spend our time are either “Important” or “Not Important” and “Urgent” or “Not Urgent.” So which do you find yourself doing most? How you answer that question determines what quadrant you live in. Most of us live on the left side of the matrix – in the things that are “urgent.” And while those things that are important AND urgent must take our time – it’s the things that are not important that seem to dominate. And that’s true whether they are urgent or not.

A great way to think about this is that we spend far too much time “below the line” – in the quadrants that are “Not Important.” Do a little self check and see where you spend your time.

I’ve made a goal this year (notice I said “goal” – I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions) to spend more time in Quadrant II. That’s the place of Important but Not Urgent. In fact, when I spend time here, I rarely even have to pay attention to those things below the line. Many of them take care of themselves. It’s a beautiful feeling . . . and one that most of us desire, if we could only figure out how to get there.

To help me in this endeavor, I’m reading the brand new book that just came out last month . . .

So what are the 5 choices?

I don’t know about you, but I need more Decision, Attention, and Energy Management in 2015. Making that choice has been the best choice I’ve made all year!

And, if this is interesting to you, I can facilitate a training in your church or organization on the 5 choices. Just let me know and we can talk about how to help others live their lives more effectively in 2015 and beyond.

May God richly bless you this year.

New Beginnings

The beginning of a new year always makes me think of new beginnings. I’m not much for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think that one of the most important qualities of a leader is to be a reflective person. And there’s something about starting a new year that just feels right when it comes to being reflective.

So it’s very appropriate that we’ve just launched a new website for SOULeader Resources. Thanks to Trevor Ransom for designing the new site and spending countless hours of hard work transferring many pages of content to bring our website to the next level! In a day when not having a workable website is worse than not having a telephone, I’m so thankful that this new site is finally “live.” Over the next couple months, we’ll be doing even more refining – working on new content, some brand new features, and even a new SOULeader app to interface with our new website.

Our hope is to provide more practical resources and content than our previous site contained. If there are any specific resources you’d like to see on the site (or the app), feel free to comment on this post or e-mail your suggestions to

Michael Bischof

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