Last fall, I was blessed to give the nontechnical keynote talk at High Point Networks Technical Conference, HiPoCON. I met amazing people and enjoyed the experience greatly. The Fargo event was at Scheels Arena and the Sioux Falls, S.D., event at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The third location was Billings, Mont.

I drove to the Fargo and Sioux Falls events but flew in a private plane to Billings. Tom McDougall, president and CEO of High Point, was the pilot. I had never flown in a private plane before so I had a few nerves as we left the ground, but quickly settled in. We enjoyed great conversation and stunning views. As we hit western North Dakota, the topography began to change. As we got closer to Billings, it was clear we were no longer in Fargo or North Dakota. The flat prairies were gone; replaced by mountains and rugged, isolated terrain.

The next morning, as we exited the vehicle at Montana Pavilion at MetraPark, our driver said, "Be careful not to step in any horse crap as we walk through the parking lot." When I saw the mountains I knew I wasn't in Fargo, but when I had to watch for horse droppings in a parking lot, I knew I was in Montana.

I recently took an emotional health, coping tools for stress and spirituality sentiment assessments as part of our Prairie Heights staff retreat. I recently discussed the results with the counselor. He was excellent and I am so thankful to be part of a church committed to investing in people. The counselor began with this statement, “There are many assessments that tell you about who you are. This assessment tells you where you are.” Wow! Yes! We must regularly discover “where we are.”

While I would love for each of you to take the same assessments and process the results with a counselor, I have another suggestion for you. The Bible is the most practical, helpful guide for healthy and fulfilled living. As we read the Bible, if we ask God to reveal his truth to us, even if it is difficult to hear, I believe he will.

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One option I would give you is to take the description of the fruit of the Holy Spirit from Galatians 3, verses 22 and 23, and evaluate where you are. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Here are evaluation questions for those nine characteristics:

  • Are you loving others unconditionally?
  • Are you persistently choosing a joyful attitude in all circumstances?
  • Are you worrying or peaceful?
  • Are you trusting and obeying God amidst stressful situations?
  • Are you quick to serve and help others regardless of recognition or return?
  • Do you do the right thing towards others whether others know it or not?
  • Do others trust you to consistently do the right thing?
  • Do you treat others with respect regardless of how you are treated?
  • Are you controlling your selfish (and sinful) desires?

Some of these characteristics are easier or more natural for me based on my personality. But several only happen as I ask God for his wisdom, courage, and strength. God bless you. See you next Sunday!