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Devotion: Tim Schmidt - September 18, 2012

Recently as part of a leadership conference Richard Davis, CEO of U.S. Bank, spoke to us about the importance of storytelling. In an industry that is driven by numbers like banking you may think where does story telling fit in. Richard says it could not be more important now than anytime other in our careers to be able to tell our story.  It is what will help rebuild confidence and faith in the banking profession, a profession that at its core is trust and belief.

Another speaker we had the fortune to have join us was a fella by the name of Roger Crawford.  Not sure if anyone is familiar with him but Roger grew up with two malformed hands and left leg. He was told he would never walk, but at age 6 was walking and continued to overcome obstacle after obstacle until he was crowned a Division 1 champion tennis player.  Roger is now a professional motivational speaker and extremely dynamic and good at telling stories.

One of the short stories Roger told in his speech that has continued to resonate with me was about a trip where he was traveling from Toronto back into the United States. He prefaced the story emphasizing the importance of understanding your own story.  He describes a scene as he arrives at the border crossing and the patrolmen walks up to his car and asks for his identification and asks three fairly simple questions:

Where are you coming from? He said. And immediately his mind began to take flight on how many different ways he could answer. But in snapping back to reality he said “Toronto”

OK, and How long have you been there?

His mind was now no longer thinking about the conversation with the border patrol but about his life’s journey.

But yet answered politely “about a week.”

Great and Where are you going?

“I am going home” he said and smiled. As he was telling this story he paused after this question, and you could hear the room now transported with him to thinking of their/our own journeys. Some people were thinking about their careers some like me about my faith and family.

Roger took what was probably a very innocuous exchange for I am sure it is the same three questions the border guard asks everyone…and for the next 10 minutes broke each of those questions down into components of leadership.  I share this with you, as we prepare for this series, because I feel those three questions are very easily translated to a journey of faith.

Where are you coming from? How long have you been there? And Where are you going?

Where are you coming from? What has shaped you into who you are today?

How long have you been there? What stage are you in and at what speed are you traveling?

Where are you going? What’s the plan? What’s next? How confident are you?

Powerful questions. As we weave these pieces into a message, and prepare to take that message to those who come to hear it, I encourage you to think of these three questions. My hope is that if you need it, it helps. I hope it helps give some structure to your journey… and a way to tell your story.

Let us pray:

Lord God you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending
By paths as yet untrod, through perils unknown
Give us faith to go out with good courage not knowing where we go
But only that your hand is leading and supporting us.
Soli Deo Gloria

Amen