Living by Six Words

Andrew story    This week’s prayer focus is on sharing the Gospel among the Kakwa. Please pray for sharing the Bible through Storying.

A Word from Curt:   It’s Words


Our words have the power of life or death.

Today’s post shares about the Six Words I strive to live by.

I hope they encourage you.

On the Journey,


Curt's 6 Words from Journal #71 May 2014
Curt’s 6 Words
from Journal #71
May 2014


Living by Six Words

“Why do you focus on six?”

“Because seven’s too many . . .  and five is not enough.”

I’m not sure when I started 6 Words to Live By.

But keeping a list of them has changed my life.


I update them about four times yearly.

Here are my current ones:

  •  My Jesus-Walk     It’s the priority of my life. A walk implies relationship and that’s the hunger of my life. Walking closely with Jesus.

This means there are certain things I must do.

And others I will not.


I’ve been following this Jesus, whom I believe to be the Son of God, for over forty years. I’ve let him down many times.

But I can attest He has never disappointed me.

My Jesus-Walk. The first of my six words.


  • Influence and Impact   These “Twin I-Beams” go together. They are the reasons I do the things I do.


Influence and impact are why I write and share about my life through this blog you’re reading.

Influence is how wide you can touch lives. It’s the breadth of where our life-touch extends.

My hero Luther said it well: “If you want to change your world, pick up a pen.”

I have no pretense of being a world-changer but that’s doesn’t excuse me from having as wide an influence as possible. And I pray for that influence to be positive.

A “LTWBTYFI” Influence.

Leave this world better than you found it.


If Influence is about breadth, Impact is about depth.

It asks: How deep can I influence go into the lives of others?

Impact is concerned with making a difference in individuals.

Whether it’s my eight grandchildren or a stranger I meet tomorrow on the street,

I want the impact of what I say and who I am to connect with others.


Some may think of Influence and Impact as manipulative words.

They can be but should never be.

The two I-words are best built on mutual respect, trust, and integrity.

In other words, I want my Influence and Impact tied together with their double first cousin, Integrity.

(Integrity has been one of my six words in the past. I trust it’s still in my heart.


3 of my 6 Words: My Jesus-Walk, Influence and Impact


  • The next two also travel in a pair.

The twins of Encouragement and Engagement.

Encouragement is not what we do, but rather who we are.

I want to be a descendant of Barnabas who was called “The Son of Encouragement.”

I see the word picture of someone running alongside a weary runner, exhorting them to keep on. Not quit. Persevere.

Encouragement is not a soft word.   It can be assertive. Sometimes the best way we can encourage is to get in someone’s face and urge them to change direction.


  • Engagement is all about connections.

It’s a relationship word.

DeDe and I have lived in Africa for a year and a half. If you asked me what’s the major lesson I’ve learned, I’d say,   “It’s all about relationships.”

Entebbe is no different than East Beauregard.

Kampala and Kinder have more in common than their beginning letter.

It’s about relationships.

Everything rises and falls on relationships.

Africans, like Americans, respond to a smile, kind words, a listening ear.

They love it when you take an interest in them, their culture, and country.

I have flunked out on learning a language. It’s by far my major disappointment of being here. It’s humbled me like nothing else has.

But it’s made me more determined to work hard at relationships.


My Life Manifesto written using my 6 words. Notice that "Economy" is listed as a 7th word.
My Life Manifesto written using my 6 words. Notice that “Economy” is listed as a 7th word.

A young priniciapal once asked me about the key to leading a school. She still quotes me: “It’s always about relationships.”

Engagement is the art of making and keeping relationships.

Our team here is called the Chadan Engagement Team.


Chadan Logo Medium



Our job is connecting with hearts of those in South Sudan and southern Chad.

We want to build a bridge through relationships.

A bridge on which the Gospel of Jesus can walk across into a person’s heart.

Engagement. It’s a good word.


5 of my 6 Words to live by:  My Jesus-Walk, Influence, Impact, Encouragement, Engagement.


  • Just because word 6 is the last does not diminish its importance.

It’s the word Gratitude.

It may be my favorite.

I hope if you see my 6 Words list in twenty years, it’s still on it.

Gratitude is a key to a joyful life.

It’s more of an attitude than anything else.


Just like its antonym: grumbling,  Gratitude is a habit.

We practice it and it becomes more natural. (just like grumbling).

I’m not grateful enough.

But I’m working on it.

I’ve had a song playing in my head for the last three months.

It’s Paul Overstreet’s classic, “Richest Man on Earth.”

It’s refrain says it all,

“We’ve got a roof over our heads

And the kids are all fed

And the woman I love most

Lies close beside me in my bed.

 Lord, give me the eyes to see exactly what it’s worth

And I will be the richest man on earth.”


It’s a song about Gratitude.

Gratitude to God, the giver of all gifts.

The songs stuck with me because lately I’ve spent lots of time with folks who no longer have a roof over their head, or fed children.

Amazingly, those folks with the least often show the most gratitude.


Gratitude is not limited to being rich or poor.

American or African.

It’s a decision word.

A decision to be thankful.

In spite of things.

In all things.


“Lord, you’ve given me so much. I ask for one more thing: a grateful heart.”

Yes, I want to live the Gratitude-filled life.


  • These are my six words to live by: 

My Jesus-Walk, Influence, Impact, Encouragement, Engagement and Gratitude.



Are you familiar with this song?  They sang it recently at our Ugandan church.  It engaged my heart.


Hardly a day goes by that I don’t look at this list of words.

Hardly a day passes that I don’t look in the mirror and see the great need for more of the attributes of these words.

I’m not what I ought to be.

But from focusing on these written words, it’s made me a better man.


I encourage you to have you own list.

You can use 6.

I sure don’t have a copyright on that number.

It may be more.

It can be less.


One comment

  1. Curt, I just wanted you to know what a positive impact you have made on me.It has been almost forty years since the time we spent together at Paradise Baptist Church.I am grateful for your positive influence and grateful for the work that you are doing today in Africa.I follow you and you are in my prayers. God bless you, brother! -Ray Roshto

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