Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 9 – Tom Krahe

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling and Neighborly Love, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Episode 9 – Tom Krahe

Marc interviews Tom Krahe, Managing Shareholder at Holsinger in Wexford, PA. Tom answers three thought-provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t an issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? Tom shares a new family tradition after watching the movie, The Christmas Project, his heart for serving men to lead their families well, and his dream to grow Manly Camp into an affirming experience that “screams God” for father and sons to lovingly grow their relationship.

Neighborly Love, Episode 9 – Tom Krahe (5-31-21)

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Gossip on Steroids

What is gossip? According to the dictionary, it’s defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true. Here’s another definition. Gossip is sharing information with somebody who is not part of the problem or the solution. By these definitions, it seems like all social media is gossip.

Before the Internet, gossip was constrained to mouth-to-ear encounters. People talked about someone behind their back rather than confronting them directly. In this essence, gossip is a form of retaliation. In the short term, the spreader of the gossip may feel better, however, it is incredibly destructive. It destroys relationships, families, friends, businesses, and communities. Rather than spending time on positive things, it channels all energy to the negative. Social media is like gossip on steroids.

Gossip breeds unhealthy conflict, which is different than healthy conflict. Healthy conflict is in the DNA of great teams. It requires vulnerability-based trust and delivers commitment, accountability, and results that benefit the common good. Unhealthy conflict begets discord and dysfunction. Where there is unhealthy conflict, the focus must be on reconciliation, not resolution.

There’s a big difference between these two words. Reconciliation means re-establishing relational harmony. Resolution means solving every problem. In most cases, resolution isn’t practical because you can’t make everyone happy. There are some things we’ll just never agree upon.

But, we can learn to disagree without being disagreeable. We can learn to walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye. We can learn to have loving relationships with our “neighbors,” i.e., everyone else. The future of the human race depends on it.

This is not a matter of the state. It’s not a matter of social justice. It’s a matter of the heart. We can not make peace with other people until we make peace with God, the Great Reconciler.

Commit to renewing your mind to be ever mindful of Him throughout the day. When this becomes a habit, your thoughts will more quickly and regularly turn to God in dependence, thankfulness, and worship. You heart will be transformed to one of reconciliation, not gossip.

There are things that God desires to release through your life that will change the generations that will share your last name. Don’t let gossip kill that promise.

Happy 143 Day!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Won’t you be my neighbor?

Mister Rogers visited Tatiana Vedeneeva’s Soviet children’s show in 1988. Published March 4, 1988. (Post-Gazette Archives)

The late, great Fred Rogers treated everyone like a neighbor. When Mister Rogers extended the invitation, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” he was genuinely humanizing each of us and modeling the behavior of a loving neighbor.

Today is the 143rd day of the year. The number 143 was Mister Rogers’ favorite number because it symbolizes “I love you”. One letter in “I.” Four letters in “love.” Three letters in “you.”

In the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we celebrate 143 Day as a call to live up to the values Mister Rogers personified. Thank you to Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski for proposing we make 143 Day a national holiday in this Time article. I love that idea and think we should petition the Federal government to do it. We all could benefit from a little Mister Rogers in our lives.

Mister Rogers lived his life free from offense and therefore was freed to love others. He was an ordained minister and honored what scripture taught him, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” He saw past the brokenness to the hearts of those around him. He chose to love the core of the person rather than be intimidated by symptoms of their pain or sin. He saw into people’s hearts and ministered to their hurt. We must follow his example.

This is what Mister Rogers knew about us humans and our tongues:

  • A harsh tongue reveals an angry heart.
  • A negative tongue reveals a fearful heart.
  • A boastful tongue reveals an insecure heart.
  • An overactive tongue reveals an unsettled heart.
  • A judgmental tongue reveals a guilty heart.
  • A critical tongue reveals a bitter heart.

May we all renew our minds and transform our tongues to emulate the heart, wisdom, and kindness of Mister Rogers. Happy 143 Day fellow Pennsylvanians. Let’s hope we’ll be honoring this special day across the entire United States someday soon.

The Good Neighbor

How has the human raced evolved, or perhaps more accurately devolved, into creatures that can’t sit still at a stoplight for one minute without checking their smartphone? Every time I’m stopped, I look around at other drivers to take notice. It makes me so sad to see so many with that addiction.

More than likely, they’re checking a social media feed … Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc … More and more people, day after day, reveal what’s in their hearts by revealing it on social media. They think everything revolves, or should revolve, around them.

The online world is populated with more than a few who disregard one of God’s most basic and serious commandments, “Thou shat not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Many neighbors verbally assault their digital neighbor, tribe against tribe, avatar against avatar, misrepresenting one another, lying about each other, presenting half-truths, and smearing reputations without remorse. Even worse, it’s done with pride and arrogance.

What is a witness? A witness is someone who ought to speak the truth they know. Meaning, they should attest to what they saw and heard. Their words lead to vindication or condemnation.

What is a false witness? A false witness is someone who is a threat to individual lives and the life of the community at large. They stir up animosity and division by lying and perverting justice. A false witness is also someone who refuses to speak about what they know to be true. Being silent when you know the truth is just as bad a telling a lie.

Now, ask yourself a question. How do you talk about your neighbor? Do you publish their faults and mute their virtues? Do you lie and tell half-truths to hurt them? Do you elevate yourself at their expense? The commandment, “Thou shat not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” concerns your name and your neighbor’s name, and the point of it is to not harm theirs unjustly.

Whether or not we’d be better off without social media is not the question. However, one can’t deny it displays the state of our hearts. Based on the evidence, many hearts are envious, bitter, hateful, jealous, or angry.

We need new hearts, new loves, new hopes. We need forgiveness. We need redemption. We need to be people who don’t just avoid falsehood but speak truth and love about our neighbor.

While the world cancels and devours one another by being false witnesses, those who follow God’s commandment will pursue a true justice established by true witnesses. That’s what a good neighbor does.

Would you mind joining me as a good neighbor?

The MindWolves Creed

In daily spiritual battles, there is a special breed of athlete ready to answer God’s call. An ordinary human with an extraordinary desire to do God’s will. Forged by adversity, they stand alongside Jesus’ finest disciples to serve the Holy Spirit and usher in God’s Kingdom on earth. I am that athlete.

My Tetrahedron is a symbol of honor and heritage. It embodies the trust of those I have sworn to mentor and influence in God’s name. By “wearing” the Tetrahedron I accept the responsibility of my calling. It is a privilege that I must earn every day. My loyalty to God, Country, and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my neighbors always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, I value others above myself. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other humans. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

I will lead and be led with humble obedience. Instead of seeking my own way, I will seek God’s way. I will serve God by serving others. I will love others genuinely and consider them better than myself.

I will prayerfully take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish my call. I lead by example in all situations. I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. I will be mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength. I am never out of the fight.

The MindWolves pack demands discipline. We expect innovation. Lives are at stake and depend on us – our technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. Our training is never complete. We train for spiritual warfare and fight in God’s name and for God’s glory. We stand ready to bring the full spectrum of God’s power to bear in order to achieve our calling. The execution of our duties will be swift when required yet guided by these very principles that we serve to defend.

We will not boast in our wisdom, we will not boast in our might, we will not boast in our riches, but we will boast in this, that we understand and know God, and that He is the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness on earth.

In God’s name, we will not fail.

Win Humble

One of my mentors, Seth Godin, said this on a recent blog titled, Compared to what?

Organized sports, particularly for school-age kids, present a real challenge. The results are easily measured and are on just one axis. Points scored. Winning vs. losing.

If we teach a child to identify with the outcomes in this way, we might create arrogance. If you win, after all, you must be better than the others.

This is where the big man on campus comes from, the push for dominance and the brittle self-worth that can lead to bullying.

And of course, it’s not just sports, and it’s not just high school.

But in any scarcity-driven competition, sooner or later, you’re not going to win. You’re not going be state champ, national champ, world champ… Sooner or later, if you’re honest, you’ll need to acknowledge that winning isn’t going to happen.

And then what happens?

If you have a chance to play a game that’s based on scarcity and winner-take-all, perhaps it pays to play a different game instead.

Seth Godin

Well said, Seth. It pays to play a different game instead. In that spirit, I’m launching a new program to play a different game called, Win Humble. What does it mean to win humble? Here are the mission, vision, and values:

Mission

The mission of the Win Humble program is for every athlete to focus on giving their best effort every day. It’s less about the outcome than it is about whether they put in the best effort relative to the team’s potential.

Vision

Win Humble’s vision for every athlete is to use their talents and gifts to serve the team, not themselves. Winning is associated with success, but not wins and losses. Success is peace of mind knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. Win or lose, we do so with humility and gratitude.

Values

  • Start each day with a positive outlook. We have an attitude of gratitude.
  • When something doesn’t go our way, we choose to stay positive. We may not have control over what happens, but we can choose how we react.
  • Learn from losses. We won’t allow ourselves to go into a dark place when things don’t work out. Thinking back on how we felt and what we did on the field is a greater positive than whatever benefits might have come from winning.
  • Be mentally tough. Mental toughness is centered on doing the best we can in the present while believing we can do even better in the future.
  • We are never victims. We gain nothing if we get angry or frustrated. By staying in that place, we will just make things worse. We will get off the X to move forward.

Are you “all in” to Win Humble? I am.

Heartbreak Into Victory

Have you ever had a problem that appears to have no solution? Has your heart hurt for healing and burned in hope for a rescue? What’s the key to seeing an opportunity for good in all the mess and chaos? How can someone look at what everybody else looks at, but sees what nobody else sees, an opportunity for good?

That type of vision is a heart issue. It must stir the passions of a leader. Many people may see the problem, but at least one person must be convicted to take action. Can that person be you? Absolutely. If you want people to warm up to your vision, you must have a fire in your belly. That fire is what propels you from heartbreak to victory.

The standard definition of an influencer is a person who affects the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. They inspire people to accomplish a vision or goal while fulfilling the individual needs of each person involved.

However, I have another definition. An influencer is a person who has been touched by God through grief, morning, and prayer and is ready to humbly serve others in God’s name. There are many great needs, but unless there’s an influencer willing to champion the cause in the world, it will not get off the ground. In my own experience, here’s what’s happened:

  • I became burdened over a hot issue.
  • It broke my heart to see people I care about get hurt.
  • Through sadness and prayer, God planted passion in my heart.
  • A vision was revealed by spending time with the Holy Spirit in His Word.
  • While being aware of the world, I was called to action to be the one to meet the need in the world.

It’s so easy to feel inundated or even paralyzed by what some experts call “decision fatigue.” This exhausted, overwhelmed state is also an indication we are being controlled by the idols of our age – technology, business, work, and the countless other things we consume. Time and time again, this has proven to lead to failure, burnout, and even death. The only way to break free from the cycle is to surrender to God’s will and purpose for your life.

It’s the one true way to transform heartbreak into victory.

Not On My Watch

I’ve always been different. My entire life, it seems like I have been placed into situations and environments where I didn’t fit in. I’ve always wondered why. Why do I always feel like the anomaly? It would be so much easier to simply fit in with the crowd, to row with the current, not against it.

And in every one of those situations, I’ve always wanted to be lifted and elevated. I wanted others to see me. I wanted them to notice I was there. But time and time again, it just never happened. Someone else got the glory. It’s as though I was being told no.

So as I look back over my life, and specifically the past 24 years, I realize that I was not being told no, but rather not now. I was also being told, “It’s not about you, Marc.” I see it all so clearly now.

Everything has led up to this moment. This spiritual battle. And I’m ready for it. Thank you, God, for preparing me for it. Your right, it’s not about my glory. It’s about Your Glory. Your Will. I see that now.

Every situation and environment you’ve placed me in, you’ve done it so that I may be persistently vigilant. So that I may keep careful watch for possible danger or difficulty. So that I may demonstrate bold leadership. As I was selfish in those past moments, I failed the tests. But your loving correction, Father, is not in vain, for I have learned from those experiences. I am so grateful for the good you’ve brought out of all those mistakes I’ve made and the painful experiences I’ve had. I am the wiser for it.

Now, I can serve as the bridge that forges alignment and friendship despite enormous differences in class, temperament, culture, race, sensibility, and personal history. Friendship that is about something. An underlying commonality that builds the most powerful, cohesive team. Thank you for giving me that gift and purpose.

As I sit on the cusp of a new test, I am adequately prepared for Thy Will to be done. I realize that what is at work won’t happen again and this opportunity to make things better won’t happen again.

The entropy of organizations means that difficult conversations and a positive ratchet of culture change are unlikely to occur on their own. This is a moment that I am prepared to say “not on my watch” and provide the bold, loving leadership you’ve groomed me for.

May You get all the Glory.

Neighborly Love Podcast, Episode 8 – John Goda

Ordinary People. Extraordinary Conversations.

If “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” and “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” collided at an intersection, then the Neighborly Love podcast would be the result. It features casual conversations over coffee in a “virtual coffee shop” that lean into the power of empathy. It’s about feeling heard, valued and understood. It’s about serving others. It’s about depositing money in our relational banks.

Neighborly Love is an original podcast by MindWolves. Host Marc Casciani, author of Craft Your Calling and Neighborly Love, interviews ordinary people about their heart for God and serving other people for the greater good.

Episode 8 – John Goda

Marc interviews John Goda, President and Steward, of RTI Insurance Services in Sarasota, FL. John answers three thought-provoking questions: (1) Tell me about a time when you did something nice for someone?, (2) What would you do for a living if money weren’t an issue?, and (3) Do you have a dream that involves serving others? John shares how he believes in the I’m Third philosophy, feels he’s in God’s Sweet Spot of his career and craves a bigger platform and scale for his ministry.

Neighborly Love, Episode 8 – John Goda (4-15-21)

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Conduits, Not Cul-De-Sacs

Are you a conduit or cul-de-sac for truth? Are you a pipeline that allows truth to pass through, or does truth reach a dead end with you? Here are four traits upon which to reflect:

Pride vs. Humility

Do you look out on the family you have, the career you have, the reputation and influence you have, and quietly say to yourself, “Look what I have built.” Pride inflames arrogance and coddles insecurity. Humility sees any progress, success, or status for what it is: a gift from God. Truth flows through humility and is crushed by pride.

Boasting on Yourself vs. Boasting on God

Self-reliance receives any blessing as proof of your strength and ability. The impulse is rooted in pride but manifests itself in boasting about yourself. You don’t merely take credit, but brag about how great you are. Truth is found in developing an allergy to boasting about yourself. Whenever the blessing comes, you instead say, “By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked hard for what I have, but it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

Serving Self vs. Serving Others

Self-indulgence receives the blessing as a warrant for selfishness. You see the whole world as a means of fulfilling your cravings. Self-sacrifice, however, receives the blessing as an opportunity to demonstrate love. Truth is found in seeing blessing as an opportunity to spread neighborly love by serving others in God’s name.

Your Glory vs. God’s Glory

How often have you gloated to yourself over achievement or a possession? Over a good deed or wise word? How often have you stopped to bask for a moment in the false sense of your majesty? Truth is revealed by enjoying the reward of knowing that all we have, and all we do, is from God, through God, and for God’s glory.

Upon reflection, are your more like a conduit or a cul-de-sac? I believe we can train our minds to become conduits for truth. By renewing your mind, you will see the world differently. You will feel like you’ve had an awakening and will be more aware of the Holy Spirit working in and through you. That’s what renewing your mind feels like.

And as you “move 1%” forward in your training each day, you’ll continuously grow in Spirit and truth. You’ll humbly serve others while giving God the credit and glory. You’ll grow in influence in your community and be equipped to expose lies and distortions of the truth. You’ll engage prideful, self-reliant, self-indulgent naysayers with love and forgiveness so that truth, justice, and righteousness will prevail.

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