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The Contagious Spirit of Giving

More than an infectious smile. More than a tender hug. More than a kind word. More than a helping hand. More than a giving spirit. Rarely recognized in our modern world, sometimes it is a glimpse of God.

Most of the time, I’m too caught up in myself to see Him. But sometimes, His presence on others is overwhelming and unmistakable. I’m lucky. He sticks to people around me. People like my dad. People like my best friend, Nathan. People like Pastor Mike.

I told Ralph Allen, former Chairman and CEO of Allen & Company, many years ago that the return on investment for money given to the Dream Center would be near the top relative to other local charities.

I stand by that, especially with Pastor Mike at the helm. John Wooden was built to coach. Michael Phelps was built to swim. Usain Bolt was built to sprint. Taylor Swift was built to entertain. Robert Redford was built to act. Pastor Mike was built to serve. He is one of the wealthiest men I know, but his treasure is in heaven.

Pastor Mike is a gifted relater, connector, and empowerer.

He can always be found doing something—driving a mower, handing out tools, leading people in prayer, or visiting with neighborhood residents. I don’t know when he sleeps. He always seems joyful. He always seems grateful. He rubs off on people. It turns out that the presence of God can be contagious.

I first became involved with Dream Center through Highland Park Church.

We have handed out meals, cleaned out vacant lots, worked in their retail shop, played with kids, pressure cleaned, and painted. A handful of my children usually join me. Three of them attend school at Lincoln Academy. I love seeing the progress…buildings remodeled, a new butterfly garden, an outdoor auditorium and picnic tables, new landscaping, and lots no longer filled with trash. However, it is what I can’t see that delights me more. The lives being touched in a part of town you would have once been scared to walk alone.

I am an anomaly of my generation.

I’ve been with the same firm for 20 years, and I probably need to stick around another 40 to set the tenure record. The surest sign of maturity is to see your focus move outward, prioritizing giving and serving above pleasure. Pastor Mike reached that inflection point a long time ago, and I am grateful for his example. A generous employer, an amazing team, and fantastic clients are helping me follow him. I’m just getting started. The flywheel is turning at the Dream Center.

Lives are being transformed. If you haven’t seen God lately, you aren’t looking in the right places. Find Pastor Mike or someone like him, and you’ll see what I mean.

January 2024

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