Why Starbucks Beat Quill’s Tonight

First of all, if you read this blog and all you can think at the end of it is, “Man, Dane really loves coffee and I don’t, so this is a stupid blog,” then you missed the point.  We all have things we like and things that we’ll spend money on, so try to think about what you like to spend money on and how you can relate.

Second of all, I saw firsthand tonight how my capitalist little brain works.  In fact, the whole process made me realize just how complicated the process of deciding when to spend money can be… it’s not just as simple as bottom line dollars and cents.

I left our home to go to Quill’s to study, plan the rest of my week, and read the Bible.  I wanted to get some good coffee and get some stuff done, so I drove over to Baxter Ave because I like the atmosphere a little bit better than their Cardinal Towne location.  When I got there, I knew that it was very important to pull out my Macbook and check the wireless connection because it can be shoddy.  Sure enough, I couldn’t connect to the internet after tinkering for a minute or so.  At that point I was faced with a few decisions:

  • I could stay at Quill’s and drink good coffee with no internet, which would be good for my taste buds but not for my to do list, which was on the web.
  • I could go to nearby Vint Coffee, which has a good atmosphere but generally bad coffee.
  • I could go to a Starbucks which is always a gamble for coffee taste, but I knew I could count on a solid internet connection and get free refills with my gold card.

At that point I knew I needed to get to a Starbucks, although I didn’t really want to.  Starbucks could give me what I needed, and even though the price was better, I wasn’t in a great mood about it.  On my way there, though, I realized that Starbucks was a pretty good option for a few reasons:

  • Their coffee is usually pretty good.  It’s not Folgers, which is always a plus.  In fact, it’s way better than Folgers.
  • They have a solid rewards program which made me actually commit more money because of the ease in which I can load $10 (the minimum) on my card via their iPhone app.
  • I can usually count on an outlet for my charge chord and a consistent internet connection.
  • They have also branded well, because I drove past two close ones to go to one that I like (mostly due to the employees that work there and friendly atmosphere).

So, tonight, Starbucks managed to get me to drive further and pay more for product of less quality.  I think the point of this is that it didn’t boil down to one factor, like price or product quality, but a well rounded product/experience that can meet my needs.  This is why I don’t get discouraged when I think about the future of my profession (book selling).  If you can offer a package that meets some or most of your consumer’s needs, you will compete in the marketplace.



Are You a Frustrated Follower?

In this blog, Michael Hyatt highlights what leaders or bosses can do to frustrate their followers or employees. I think he hits the nail on the head when he brings out these areas. I have been in a variety of roles where I have had to follow others, and there’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a weak leader. I especially identify with the frustration of frequent changes, because it forces you to constantly change your expectations.

When I read a blog like this, however, I think I wrongly place myself in the employee’s shoes too often. In fact, all of us are leaders in one form or fashion. Instead of reading yourself as the victim, why don’t you try on the leadership shoes? Rather than reading a blog like this and thinking, “Man, I sure wish so-and-so would read this and change!”, perhaps we should think “How do I need to change?” You see, Jesus condemned the Pharisees for ignoring their own hearts while they condemned others. Don’t miss the pearl in this blog… YOU are part of the problem and YOU are the only one who you can change!

Here’s my question for you:
Which characteristic of weak leadership frustrates you the most AND how is that at work in your own leadership?

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No Compromise Required to Comprise Partnership

The election is over, and it appears that after the dust settles, the Electoral College will reelect President Obama for another four years.  The Republican Party has spent the greater part of two years trying to defeat Mr. Obama, a weak incumbent who shoulders a broken economy and a mess overseas.  We will spend the next few weeks and months analyzing what went wrong with their attempts, with arguments that will suggest Republican Nominee Gov. Mitt Romney was too moderate or too conservative.  Those of us who worked for Mr. Obama’s defeat would do best not to spend too much time looking in the past.  In fact, our best strategy for the cause of conservatism and liberty is to take a page out of the Obama playbook and look forward.

To my conservative friends, please don’t be discouraged.  The future is bright.  I am going to spend the next four years trying to convince you that we need a leader who is able to form coalitions of liberty loving people.  We don’t have to compromise our principles to comprise partnerships in government.  I would suggest that there are a handful of such leaders, among whom is Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul.  We should look to people like this who will lead us into the next generation of conservatism.  Some of you will not be keen on the idea of cutting spending in areas that we should, but let’s have a real discussion about this and not simply run to the way we have always done it.

To my liberal friends, congratulations.  You are sincere, passionate, and full of ideas–bad ideas.  I’m looking forward to a real debate over the next four years.  I am looking forward to leaders who will communicate conservative principles in places like Oregon, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, where the harvest is ripe.  In the meantime, we have to govern.  We shouldn’t raise taxes right now at all, so let’s talk defense spending, entitlement reform, and tax reform.  If we take a look at warfare spending, will you take a look at welfare spending?  Also, don’t be surprised when we still fight for life and when some of us keep fighting for “the sanctity of marriage.”

To Mitt Romney, thank you.  You are a good man who seems to be a somewhat conservative man.  You ran an honorable campaign and picked a decent Vice Presidential candidate.  History will be very kind to you.

To President Obama, congratulations.  We will pray for you, and we are ready to work with you.

For Liberty,
Dane Hays

Why I Am Thankful for Bible College Students

Why I Am Thankful for Bible College Students

Today’s blog hits a little closer to home.  Perhaps not all my readers will understand the place from which this blog comes, but some will pick up right away.  In my immediate context, there are a ton of students—both graduate and undergrad students—that attend an institution in town, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I am in fact a third year master’s student at SBTS myself.  Because of the nature of what Amanda and I do (counseling, small group leading, leading kids ministry), we interact with these students—particularly Boyce College students—a good bit.  At times I will hear some criticisms offered of them:  “They aren’t dependable!”  “They are too philosophical… they don’t live in the real world!”  “They don’t have real jobs or real responsibilities!”

Believe me, there are foundations to these criticisms.  Perhaps I am even susceptible to any combination of the above criticisms, and then some!  We have a lot to learn.  But one thing I have noticed is that for every criticism, I have found two reasons to be thankful for the Bible college students that God has brought into our lives.  Here are a few:

1.  Bible college students love the nations, and are often willing to go to the hard places.

I have an encouraging conversation with a Bible college student regularly about his or her heart for the nations.  They get that the American Dream of prosperity with no personal sacrifice doesn’t deliver.  They are content to so-called “waste” their talents and gifts serving those nations that still need access to the gospel and the Word because they get that their talents and gifts weren’t about them in the first place.

2.  Bible college students understand the importance of relational ministry.

I fear that those in my generation and older have lost the art of having a conversation.  Not Bible college students.  You can’t walk by a corner of this campus, a coffee shop, or a park, without seeing them engaged in deep conversation.  And while they may be about silly things (philosophical issues that don’t really matter, whether that guy really meant “I’m totally into you” when he let me cut in line in the café to get more broccoli, etc.) they are developing a pattern of listening and talking.  They aren’t merely satisfied with listening to a sermon.  They want to talk about what it means to apply that sermon this week.  This encourages me.

3.  Bible college students want to get married.

They may have no idea what marriage is like, or what it means to live in a sacrificial covenant with another sinner, but college students definitely want to get married.  In an age where 30 is the new 20 when it comes to relationships, Bible college students don’t want to establish a pattern for life on their own, and then invite someone into that (nightmare!).  They want to live out the role that God has given them in the context of an institution that shows the world the beauty of God’s relationship with His people.  Granted, they may get in the marriage, and it may hit them in the face because it’s harder than they thought.  But that is the beauty of marriage… it is sanctifying.

So, sure.  Let’s have the tough conversations with Bible college students about what it means to be normal.  Let’s talk with them about how they can be more respectful to authority.  Let’s talk about how they aren’t the next Matt Chandler.  But let’s also thank God for them, let them have dinner with our families, let them lead out in our church ministries, let them fail.  How we minister to them is a stewardship issue, because one day they will be the men and women leading our churches.  How will they know what to do if we don’t love them?

Why are you thankful for Bible college students?  Why are you hopeful for the next generation of ministers and leaders?



An Open Response to Michael Hyatt

An Open Response to Michael Hyatt

You never know what will happen in the Twitter-verse. Wednesday, after reading a blog by former CEO of Nelson Publishing, Michael Hyatt, I offered a brief critique by way of a tweet.  Hyatt, who is great about interacting with his readers, actually responded to my tweet with a question. Being limited to 140 characters on Twitter, I would like to offer my response to him in this blog. It would be quite an honor for Mr. Hyatt to read and respond!

To begin, I would first like to say how thankful I am for Michael Hyatt.  He is a devoted Christ-follower who for months, has encouraged and enlightened me by his leadership insights and the way he points to helpful resources to equip leaders.  If someone were to ask me which blogs to follow, Hyatt would definitely be in my top 3.  Today’s blog was characteristically full of practical advise, yet upon my reading of it, I couldn’t help but feel that it was incomplete.

Hyatt’s blog, entitled “7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Want to be Around” addressed the issue of complaining.  Hyatt, after unpacking the dangers of complaining, gives some steps that  he suggests will reverse patterns of negativity.  After challenging the reader to become self-aware and assessing his or her needs, he claims that the next step is the decision to change.  He says:

“Complaining is a habit.  And like all bad habits, change begins when you own your behavior and make a decision to change… It will take conscious effort at first, but it will become automatic over time.  You can start today.”

Then Hyatt, giving the example of seeing change in his daily exercise when he decided he was an athlete, challenges the reader to shift his or her identity.  He says:

“What if you said to yourself, I am a positive, encouraging person? How would your behavior change?”

These two sections became the most concerning to me.  Something seemed to be missing.  When I tweeted about the concept of change without repentance, Mr. Hyatt tweeted back and asked, “How do you define “repentance”? From the Greek, metanoia— ‘to change one’s mind.’”

My definition of repentance, along with my definition of complaining, has everything to do with my concern about his post.  I am concerned with Hyatt’s characterization of complaining as merely a habit. The Apostle Paul commands the readers in his letter to the Philippians, “Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.  Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Phil 2:14-15, NLT).  In context, Paul seems to place complaining in a category over against living as a bright light in a world of darkness.  Perhaps Hyatt believes this too, and doesn’t see a distinction between sin and habit.  But certainly we can make a distinction between complaining and the bad habit of losing your car keys.

Concerning the definition of repentance, I agree with Mr. Hyatt.  The term means to change one’s mind.  We must not miss two important aspects of repentance however, that seem to be missing from his post.

First, repentance is unto God.  Do we offend other people when we complain and set a negative tone in the workplace or home?  Certainly!  But even more, we offend God.  God seems to be missing from Hyatt’s post altogether.  When David brought his sin before the Lord, he said, “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight” (Ps. 51:4).  David recognized that his sin wasn’t merely a bad habit that had to be managed through a process, but an offense primarily against the Holy One.

Second, repentance is a gift of God.  Listen to what the Apostle Paul says about it:

“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” (2Tim. 2:23-26, NIV, emphasis mine)

And again:

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4, NIV, emphasis mine)

The biblical teaching on true change emphasizes faith in the Lord, who gives his Spirit to change us.  While there’s no denying that the word picture for “repentance” that we see in Scripture is “to change one’s mind,” it is not simply deciding to be different.  Repentance is always associated with changing one’s mind and one’s life through dependence upon God.

All of this being said, I do recognize that many of Hyatt’s readers are not Christ-followers.  Many of them have no conceptual understanding of repentance, faith, and sin, because they have no connection to God and his Word. Perhaps the practical advise that Hyatt gives will help modify some behavior to an extent, though it will fall short of the inward change that must take place to bring about true change.  I do appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with this great leader, and hope to help all of us think through what it takes to change.

How have you seen successful change from sinful patterns in your own life?  How would you walk someone through the process of change?

Date Night

image credit: doccrows.com

Last night, Amanda and I had a wonderful date night. We decided after a bit of a stressful week, it would be good to enjoy a relaxing night out. After seeing a tweet from a SBTS employee about Doc Crow’s, a downtown BBQ/Southern restaurant, we decided to look into it. When we arrived to the location, which is right near the YUM! Center, we were seated right away. We enjoyed beef brisket, ribs, onion rings, and other good sides. We will definitely go again, but I will probably branch out and get some fried catfish or another southern dish. I was compeled to get BBQ this time because I have been missing it, and have yet to find any that is comprable to Alabama. While it’s no Dreamland, I think we’ll definitely be visiting Doc Crow’s again.

After that, we enjoyed the rest of the evening hanging out at Vint Coffee on Frankfort Ave. This is such a good date spot, because we got to enjoy some time outside, then we came in and hung out by the fireplace to watch the end of the Duke game.  Though I have often been a vocal critic of their coffee, Vint has the atmosphere down!

Last night was one more reminder why I love this city.

What has been a good date night/night out with friends that you have experienced lately?


Romney and Obama Sharing Advisors Again?








We first heard here from a Romney adviser about Romneycare being the intellectual father of Obamacare, and both administrations sharing policy advisers.

Now, we have another story coming from Hot Air that says Romney and Obama shared  climate advisers.  The news story above links to a memo from then Gov. Romney laying out the plan to regulate emissions and control prices.

We have seen that Romney doesn’t want to put any distance between the choices that he made as governor and his current campaign.  In fact, he often stumps that “what was good for Massachusetts is not necessarily good for the United States federal government.”  I’m sure that if Perry and company try to use this against him, he will champion that phrase once again.  However, we have to see here that Romney has a philosophy of government that is comfortable forcing companies to cap not only their emissions but their prices as well.  He is also comfortable forcing those living in Massachusetts to purchase a good (health care).

You may very well agree that these regulations are good on the state, or perhaps even the federal level.  However, my question is to conservatives who would generally disagree with such mandates.  Do you really think that Romney will govern differently as president, and not impose mandates on the people of the United States?


I would love to hear from you.  Please post your responses below and let me know what you’re thinking.  You can always contact me directly on Twitter (@danehays).

Fall and Coffee… the new PB&J

Photo credit:  candlefind.com

I am convinced that fall and coffee are best buds.  As a matter of fact, it could become the new PB&J.

When fall comes, I am usually pretty enthusiastic about drinking coffee, because the weather and atmosphere are perfect for it.  I didn’t really grow to understand the goodness of coffee till I moved to Louisville, which espouses great coffee shops like Quills, Sunergos, Heine Brothers, and Java Brewing Co.

I have to admit, though, I’m still a Starbucks nerd at heart.  My favorite drink there is the Chai Latte, and my favorite coffee is Cafe Verona.  I am partial to the location on Frankfort Ave near our old apartment.

So, my questions to you are…

1.  What is your favorite coffee spot?

2.  What is your favorite coffee drink?


Check out Dan DeWitt’s new blog, “A Godless Dream,” about John Lennon’s song “Imagine ” in light of his 71st birthday.

Though I love the Beatles’ music, their godless worldview often haunts me as I think about the fact that 1/2 of the fab four are on the other side of eternity.  May the Word influence us more than culture that rejects the Word.


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