Wednesday, May 31, 2006

QBQ, final thoughts

This will be my last entry about "QBQ: The Question Behind the Question" by John G. Miller . I have received some really great comments and I suggest that you take a moment and read a few. Thanks to everyone.

The closing thought I would like to leave with you is this:

Leadership is more of an attitude than it is a position.

You may be the CEO of a company or the person that empties the trash after everyone goes home, either way, if you are doing instead of complaining, blaming and procrastinating, you are being a leader. When you are exercising self-responsibility and asking “What” and “How” followed by “I”, you automatically become a leader, because leaders (despite what most people think) lead by example. When you are proactively thinking and doing, you inspire those around you to at least question their motives and attitudes. Who knows? You, just by exercising personal responsibility, may inspire someone to greatness. It’s a powerful thing.

Now, I am challenging you (and myself) to embrace the QBQ and incorporate into your character and spread it to those around you. What a different world we would live in if everyone’s first thought is:

“What can I do to improve this situation?”

Thank you for reading my thoughts on QBQ: The Question Behind the Question. John G. Miller has written a wonderful book. I recommend that you and everyone you know read it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

QBQ, part 5

In a previous post, I said that I would be reviewing "QBQ: The Question Behind the Question" by John G. Miller and this is the fourth of the series.

I am the world’s worst for procrastination. I put off everything to the last minute. In the book, John G. Miller expresses this as a “When” question. “When” questions mean that you are waiting for somebody else to take responsibility to improve the situation instead of taking responsibility yourself.

When will management hire someone to help?
When will my kids start to obey?
When will somebody do something?

If we spend all of our time waiting for the right conditions or for someone else to do something, nothing would ever get done.

As I have stated before, you cannot control anyone but yourself in any given situation, and you may not be in a position to change the existing circumstance, but you are able to choose how you approach the problem and improve what you can. What can I do at this moment? Can I make a plan? Can I get the ball rolling?

There are two reasons not to let “When” dominate your thinking: 1) any progress is progress and 2) small problems grow into large problems given enough time.

I was having a discussion with my wife on getting some things done around the house this weekend when the realization that there wasn’t enough time to complete the one of tasks at hand. I had two options: do nothing or get as much done as possible. We chose to do as much as possible. Any progress is progress.

Choosing to ignore problems they will most assuredly allow them to grow into larger problems. This is why fixing a leaky faucet quickly or early detection screenings for cancer are so important. It’s easier to put things off, but it’s responsible to take care of them now.

When will somebody do something?

The time is now and the somebody is you.

Friday, May 26, 2006

QBQ, part 4

In a previous post, I said that I would be reviewing "QBQ: The Question Behind the Question" by John G. Miller and this is the third of the series.

I’ve noticed while reading and reviewing this book it is easy to exude personal responsibility dealing with pleasant situations, but the real power of QBQ kicks in when problems arise.

Who made this mess?
Who is responsible?
Who dropped the ball?

So, what’s wrong with asking “Who”? One must identify the responsible party.

When we ask “who”, instead of taking charge of the problem at hand, we are looking for someone to blame. In challenging situations, blame will not help fix the problem. Once again, “What can I do to help?” is the most pertinent question you can ask.

“But, isn’t it important to find out who isn’t carrying their weight or is responsible for the problem?” Yes, it is important to identify and improve weaknesses in any group, however keep two things in mind; 1) You can’t “fix” other people. Don’t even try. The best you can do is teach, encourage and coach others. (Ephesians 4:29b) 2) Personal responsibility is personal. Only you can control your reaction to situations. Only you can improve your weaknesses.

“It’s not my responsibility to help.” In any organization, it is everyone’s responsibility to assist the organization in meeting its objectives. This applies to churches, businesses, puppet teams, families and society in general. What would happen if everyone applied this truth to their lives?

I challenge you to stop asking “Who” and start asking “What”.

*thinking out loud*
Blame is a powerful thing. It allows us to shift responsibility for addressing circumstances to someone else. Therefore it isn’t my problem and I wash my hands of this train wreck. What would have happened if God took this approach toward me?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

QBQ, part 3

In the previous post, I said that I would be reviewing "QBQ: The Question Behind the Question" by John G. Miller and this is the second of the series.

Looking at the previous post, I tried to explain why to ask questions starting with "What" and "How" and contain the word "I". Asking questions with these words changes your thinking from reactive to proactive and pushes you to be in control. Self-responsibility is a choice that once repeated becomes habit that eventually becomes a positive character trait.

I want to explain why the other questions are so negative.

Questions that begin with "Why" have a natural tendency to express victimhood.

Why does this happen to me?
Why can't I win?
Why won't my boss give me a raise?

The initial question sounds like an inquiry for understanding, but look again. Each indicates that someone other than yourself is in control of the situation. Some circumstances are beyond your control, however your response is up to you and only you. Understanding the reason behind how situations develop is key to finding a solution, but approaching the problem should start with "What can I do to improve the situation?"

"Why?" by itself put you into "victim mode." Don't be a victim today. Begin to address your problems by asking the right questions-- "What" or "How" containing "I". You are in control. Take it and run with it.

Next time, "Who".

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

QBQ, part 2

In the previous post, I said that I would be reviewing "QBQ: The Question Behind the Question" by John G. Miller and this is the first of the series.

I (and I know I am the only person for which this is pertinent) need to be honest with myself. I complain and blame others for my short-comings. I used to be worse, but in all honesty, I still do it. I am always asking questions starting with "Why", "When" and "Who".

Why is my life so difficult?
When will my kids start obeying me?
Who is to blame?

The questions I need to be asking start with the words "How" or "What" and should contain the word "I" followed by an action word.

What can I do to make today better than yesterday?
How can I be a better parent?
What can I do to correct the mistake?

These are hard questions to ask especially during unpleasant circumstances. I find myself struggling with this daily. Ephesians 4:23 speaks of this: Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. (nlt) Actually, I like the Contemporary English Version: Let the Spirit change your way of thinking...

I am guilty so I am asking myself, "What can I do today to prevent me from asking the wrong questions?" I can let the (Holy) Spirit change my way of thinking.

I challenge you to ask better questions when faced with challenges, today.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

QBQ, part 1

One of my favorite authors, Dave Ramsey, hosts a radio show primarily about personal finance, but it transcends a single topic and is more about winning at life. In the course of Dave’s life, he has been blessed enough to have figured it out and is all about sharing the knowledge.

Yesterday, Dave had John G. Miller, author of QBQ: The Question Behind the Question, as an in studio guest. After listening about Miller’s books, I promptly went to the local library and checked it out. After reading about half of it last night, I can already tell that it will be one I will add to my collection. The premise of the book is eliminating blame, complaining and procrastination- all of which I have chosen to inflict on myself.

I am going to, over the next few days, give a brief synopsis of the book and what I have gleaned from it. This is life changing information if only we choose to listen and apply. Stay tuned...this is great stuff.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

VBS Promo-Arctic Edge

Every year I write a set of skits based on the VBS program my church does in June and make them available for sale at My puppet team usually performs a promotional skit on a Sunday night during the normal worship service a few weeks before VBS begins. Five other skits are performed, one each night of VBS in the opening assembly. We have alot of fun with VBS and this year, we pray, will be no exception as we do Lifeway's Arctic Edge Adventure.

In order to reach a wider audience with our promo skit, we decided to make a short film that could be shown on the media screens in the morning worship service. This is my teams first attempt at film making and I am proud of them. So here it is:

Chobie & Sherb's Extreme VBS Promo

You can down load the original text of the skit (my guys don't always follow) here as .pdf or .doc. The rest of the skits will be available soon.

By the way, the dates are wrong at the end.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Don't Look Back

I’ve read a similar story in a devotional Bible, but the lesson became real when it happened to me on Friday.

A friend and I decided to go mountain biking after work. The weather had started out dreary, but the sun was starting to peak out from behind the clouds and we were on bicycles in the middle of the woods. I was riding strong and felt good until…

We were riding on a smoother part of the trail than what we had been on just moments before when my friend said something. I turned to look over my left shoulder to see what he had said and to make sure he hadn’t crashed, when (I’m sure you see this coming) I found myself going over the handle bars as I had strayed off of the trail. Mountain bikers call this an “endo” and I was in full endo. I’ve endoed before and it is never a good feeling. By the time I had hit the ground, I was on my back.

Whew! No major damage…until…

the back of the bike hit me in the face resulting in an inch long gash in my forehead right between the eyes (so to speak) that needed three stitches. After a few moments, we decided to go on and ride a little longer. (At that point the damage was done and I wasn’t bleeding too badly.)

Moving on, I was reminded of how Philippians 3:13 has impacted my spiritual walk and the fact I now had a graphic example. My mistake was looking back. I took my eyes off of what was ahead to look at where I had come from and I strayed of the path. Paul was telling the Philippians that our past which is forgiven by Jesus is behind us and we must focus on what is before us. We must push toward our goal ignoring the desires to “look back” where we may return to the sinful desires of our past or remember the guilt of those actions. If Satan can get us looking back, he knows we have a greater chance of straying off the trail or at least keep us from moving forward.

I will have a scar from this as a reminder to not look back and focus on what is ahead no matter what it concerns-- be it mountain biking, ministry or whatever else. Best summed up: Looking back will cause you to crash.

I’m sure there’s a puppet skit in here somewhere…

God Bless

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Glorified Sock Puppet Contest

My friends over at are having a little contest to promote their new Glorified Sock Puppet Pattern. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own puppet, this is a good way to get started. The instructions are simple and easy to follow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Inspiration and CAPG

After finishing Wanna Bite of Elephant? A Beginner’s Guide to Starting A Puppet Ministry, I’ve found myself feeling a bit uninspired. In hopes of renewing my creative energy, I decided to celebrate National Puppetry Day with the fine folks of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild. (Okay, so it was a week late, it was still a celebration of all things puppety.) To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect but a road trip to Cincy that involved puppets sounded like something worth doing, and it was.

It was nice to be on the audience side of the curtain and experience the talented builders and performers in and around the Cincinnati area. The performances were fanciful, exotic, funny and a bit weird (in a good sort of way). It was wonderful.

Several of puppet builders in the area had their creations on display and I came to realize that a puppet can be made from about anything when used with imagination. Even my children were using plastic juice bottles and plastic eyes to create their own puppet show.

Therein I found my inspiration by looking at things through the eyes of child where labels and limits don’t exist. You know, God works without limits and this can be seen in the wonderfully interesting world in which we live. Take the time to look around at how “neat” everything really is.