From DSC:
After reading the book entitled “Love & Hate” by Bill Halamandaris — a book about Henri Landwirth, the founder of the Give Kids the World Village — and “On Purpose” by Pamela Landwirth, I was struck with several thoughts. Below are just some of them:

  • There is enormous power in a vision.
  • People want purpose and meaning in their lives. They want their lives to count. To matter.
  • People want to work for an organization that is concretely making the world a better place in which to live.
  • People want to buy from businesses that are making a positive contribution to the world.
  • Both love and hate are powerful. But let’s choose to go forward with love.
  • Parents, grandparents, and/or other guardians of critically-ill children carry enormous, hidden burdens. Let’s try to notice those burdens and help them out.
  • Life is precious.

Let's remember this -- Despite what we may hear and see, life is precious.


From DSC:
Recently, a group from our church went to serve down at the Give Kids the World Village, in Kissimee, Florida. I wanted to relay the specialness of this place and say a few words about the Founder of the Give Kids the World Village: a man by the name of Henri Landwirth. Over the last few weeks in the Orlando area, the Holy Spirit helped me to think about the power of a vision, as both Walt Disney and Henri Landwirth were visionaries.

But first, it’s important to note that Henri survived FIVE concentration camps during WWII. He had no name there. He was known only as B4343.

Henri:

  • Was in concentration camps from ages 13-18
  • He lost both of his parents to acts of mass murder
  • Henri survived FIVE YEARS of hunger, torture, and horrendous conditions
  • He faced what looked like certain death several times

Yet as I was reading the book entitled “Love & Hate”, I kept wondering if I was seeing the fingerprints of God on Henri’s life.

After the war, Henri went in search of former Nazis, for whom he was filled with hatred. And while I don’t have time to relay the fateful day that changed Henri’s perspective and his life, the bottom line was that he didn’t want to become like his former captors the Nazis. Surprisingly and amazingly, he chose love, not hate.

Fast forward to Henri’s coming to America, working very hard, and climbing up the ladder of the Holiday Inn organization.

Then fast forward even further to the time Henri was looking for a location to build his vision. Quoting from page 139:

Henri took his checkbook and began looking for a location for Give Kids the World Village. He found it almost immediately in Kissimmee. When Henry looked at the lot, he could already see the Village there. Where others might have seen rows of burned orange trees and wetlands, Henri saw villages, a place for kids to fish, and a castle. “I could see it all,” Henri says, “as if my dream had already come to life.”

A few last notable things about the Give Kids the World Village:

  • According to the book by Bill Halamandaris, the Village was built with ZERO CONTRACTS and NO ADVERTISEMENTS from those who helped create the village! This is underheard of for $60+ million worth of facilities and the millions of dollars’ worth of donated services.
  • The Village has thousands of volunteers and it takes 160 volunteers per day to keep it running
  • Since 1986, Give Kids The World Village has welcomed more than 188,000 families from all 50 states and 77 countries.

So I want to leave you with the idea that we were witnesses of – and participants in – the tremendous power of a vision.

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
he is faithful in all he does.
The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of his unfailing love.

Proverbs 31:8-9 New International Version

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 13:34-35 (New International Version)

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 

 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Psalm 145:8-14 New International Version

8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
10 All your works praise you, Lord;
your faithful people extol you.
11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might,
12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.[a]
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

 

From DSC:
As a bit of context here…

After the Jewish people had been exiled to various places, the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruins until the fifth century B.C.E.. At that point, a man named Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem as the provincial governor and completed the repairs of the walls. The verses below really stuck out at me in regards to what a leader should behave/look/be like. He was a servant leader, not demanding choice treatment, not squeezing the people for every last drop, and not using his position to treat himself extra right.

I don’t like to get political on this blog, as I already lose a great deal of readership due to including matters of faith. But today’s leaders (throughout all kinds of organizations) need to learn from Nehemiah’s example, regardless of whatever their beliefs/faiths may be.

14 Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor. 15 But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels[a] of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we[b] did not acquire any land.

17 Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. 18 Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

19 Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.

 

 

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds. — from letter.visualgrowth.com by Ash Lamb
If you let other people plant those seeds for you, the garden, no matter how big or colorful, won’t be yours, it’ll be someone else’s.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.

Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.

What you think, you become.
.

Here’s a powerful mantra.

“I won’t outsource my thinking.”

Don’t let that popular influencer decide how you present yourself to the world.

Don’t allow some generic business guru to decide what type of business you should be focusing on.


From DSC:
I thought that Ash Lamb had some solid points here. And as I’ve read the Scriptures through the years, I’ve realized that ideas are like seeds. Like seeds, ideas can:

  • start small
  • take root
  • grow
  • become powerful, while transforming something bit by bit

So ideas can start small and be fragile. Many get squashed and never make it. And others don’t have healthy soil in which to grow. But other seeds grow roots. 

I’ve learned that we are transformed when our THINKING is transformed.

Here are just a couple of verses of scripture that emphasize that point:

When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So ideas and thoughts/ways of thinking can be good/helpful or bad/not helpful. I just like the point that Ash Lamb made — to NOT outsource our thinking to others.

NOTE: The above thoughts aren’t just about our spiritual lives. People working in many types of organizations have witnessed some of these dynamics/phenomena with new ideas as well.

 
 

Psalm 136:1 New International Version

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

John 1:1-5 New International Version
The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

1 Chronicles 16:8 New International Version

8 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.

Daniel 4:37 New International Version

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

 

Proverbs 27:17 New International Version

17 As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.

Psalm 95:1-2 (New International Version)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

 

From DSC:
The recent drama over at OpenAI reminds me of how important a few individuals are in influencing the lives of millions of people.

The C-Suites (i.e., the Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Operating Officers, and the like) of companies like OpenAI, Alphabet (Google), Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Netflix, NVIDIA, Amazon, Apple, and a handful of others have enormous power. Why? Because of the enormous power and reach of the technologies that they create, market, and provide.

We need to be praying for the hearts of those in the C-Suites of these powerful vendors — as well as for their Boards.

LORD, grant them wisdom and help mold their hearts and perspectives so that they truly care about others. May their decisions not be based on making money alone…or doing something just because they can.

What happens in their hearts and minds DOES and WILL continue to impact the rest of us. And we’re talking about real ramifications here. This isn’t pie-in-the-sky thinking or ideas. This is for real. With real consequences. If you doubt that, go ask the families of those whose sons and daughters took their own lives due to what happened out on social media platforms. Disclosure: I use LinkedIn and Twitter quite a bit. I’m not bashing these platforms per se. But my point is that there are real impacts due to a variety of technologies. What goes on in the hearts and minds of the leaders of these tech companies matters.


Some relevant items:

Navigating Attention-Driving Algorithms, Capturing the Premium of Proximity for Virtual Teams, & New AI Devices — from implactions.com by Scott Belsky

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

No doubt, technology influences us in many ways we don’t fully understand. But one area where valid concerns run rampant is the attention-seeking algorithms powering the news and media we consume on modern platforms that efficiently polarize people. Perhaps we’ll call it The Law of Anger Expansion: When people are angry in the age of algorithms, they become MORE angry and LESS discriminate about who and what they are angry at.

Algorithms that optimize for grabbing attention, thanks to AI, ultimately drive polarization.

The AI learns quickly that a rational or “both sides” view is less likely to sustain your attention (so you won’t get many of those, which drives the sensation that more of the world agrees with you). But the rage-inducing stuff keeps us swiping.

Our feeds are being sourced in ways that dramatically change the content we’re exposed to.

And then these algorithms expand on these ultimately destructive emotions – “If you’re afraid of this, maybe you should also be afraid of this” or “If you hate those people, maybe you should also hate these people.”

How do we know when we’ve been polarized? This is the most important question of the day.

Whatever is inflaming you is likely an algorithm-driven expansion of anger and an imbalance of context.


 

 

OpenAI announces leadership transition — from openai.com
Chief technology officer Mira Murati appointed interim CEO to lead OpenAI; Sam Altman departs the company. Search process underway to identify permanent successor.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The board of directors of OpenAI, Inc., the 501(c)(3) that acts as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, today announced that Sam Altman will depart as CEO and leave the board of directors. Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.

Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.


As a part of this transition, Greg Brockman will be stepping down as chairman of the board and will remain in his role at the company, reporting to the CEO.

From DSC:
I’m not here to pass judgment, but all of us on planet Earth should be at least concerned with this disturbing news.

AI is one of the most powerful set of emerging technologies on the planet right now. OpenAI is arguably the most powerful vendor/innovator/influencer/leader in that space. And Sam Altman is was the face of OpenAI — and arguably for AI itself. So this is a big deal.

What concerns me is what is NOT being relayed in this posting:

  • What was being hidden from OpenAI’s Board?
  • What else doesn’t the public know? 
  • Why is Greg Brockman stepping down as Chairman of the Board?

To whom much is given, much is expected.


Also related/see:

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman ousted, shocking AI world — from washingtonpost.com by Gerrit De Vynck and Nitasha Tiku
The artificial intelligence company’s directors said he was not ‘consistently candid in his communications with the board’

Altman’s sudden departure sent shock waves through the technology industry and the halls of government, where he had become a familiar presence in debates over the regulation of AI. His rise and apparent fall from tech’s top rung is one of the fastest in Silicon Valley history. In less than a year, he went from being Bay Area famous as a failed start-up founder who reinvented himself as a popular investor in small companies to becoming one of the most influential business leaders in the world. Journalists, politicians, tech investors and Fortune 500 CEOs alike had been clamoring for his attention.

OpenAI’s Board Pushes Out Sam Altman, Its High-Profile C.E.O. — from nytimes.com by Cade Metz

Sam Altman, the high-profile chief executive of OpenAI, who became the face of the tech industry’s artificial intelligence boom, was pushed out of the company by its board of directors, OpenAI said in a blog post on Friday afternoon.


From DSC:
Updates — I just saw these items

.
Sam Altman fired as CEO of OpenAI — from theverge.com by Jay Peters
In a sudden move, Altman is leaving after the company’s board determined that he ‘was not consistently candid in his communications.’ President and co-founder Greg Brockman has also quit.



 

Why Kindness at Work Pays Off — from hbr.org by Andrew Swinand; via Roberto Ferraro

Summary:
Whether you’re just entering the workforce, starting a new job, or transitioning into people management, kindness can be a valuable attribute that speaks volumes about your character, commitment, and long-term value. Here are a few simple routines you can integrate into your everyday work life that will spread kindness and help create a culture of kindness at your organization.

  • Practice radical self-care. The best way to be a valuable, thoughtful team member is to be disciplined about your own wellness — your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • Do your job. Start with the basics by showing up on time and doing your job to the best of your ability. This is where your self-care practice comes into play — you can’t do your best work without taking care of yourself first.
  • Reach out to others with intention. Make plans to meet virtually or, even better, in person with your colleagues. Ask about their pets, their recent move, or their family. Most importantly, practice active listening.
  • Recognize and acknowledge people. Authentic, thoughtful interactions show that you’re thinking about the other person and reflecting on their unique attributes and value, which can cement social connections.
  • Be conscientious with your feedback. Being kind means offering feedback for the betterment of the person receiving it and the overall success of your company.

“When anxiety is high and morale is low, kindness isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. With mass layoffs, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical tensions, kindness is needed now more than ever, especially at work.”

 

Exodus 23:6

“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Proverbs 26:12

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Psalms 119:108

Accept, LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

 

2 Samuel 7:22

“How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.

1 Timothy 3:16

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.

Proverbs 9:10

The fear (i.e., respecting/honoring) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

1 Timothy 4:8

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Psalms 119:64

The earth is filled with your love, LORD; teach me your decrees.

 

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.

Proverbs 19:20-21

20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Jeremiah 18:7-10

If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.

You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.

 
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