Sunday, August 12, 2018

50 Things I'm Grateful for After a Half Century of Life


As I turn 50, the overwhelming emotion I feel is GRATITUDE...and I just began to write the first 50 people and places and experiences and things that have caused me to thank and bless and rejoice after a half century of life with my Lord...here's my list:


50 Things I’m Grateful for After a Half Century of Life

1. Ingrid—my best friend and the one who most believes in me and calls me to be my best…cannot imagine life without her beside me on our journey together…

2. Olivia—my daughter with a similar passion to engage the issues and needs of the world in new and purposeful ways…she’s definitely one of my favorite and most thoughtful people to talk with about almost anything…

3. Trey—my son who is my sports loving companion as we attend and watch athletic contests all over the world…love doing so much together and watching him already choose to live intentionally and purposefully as a student…

4. Scriptures—The foundation of faith and the vision for how to live the best life…truly been the bedrock of life and an incredible source of vision for how to live through the incredible narrative and wisdom of God-breathed words…

5. Books—I love learning and the power of words…and never get tired of reading stories and great ideas and insights…

6. ESPN—pure bliss for a young sports nut…and I still love tuning in daily as a not so young anymore sports guy...

7. WA Teachers & Staff—the team of folks who I grew up with professionally and built life-long friendships with as we built a dynamic school culture and leaned deeply into the living curriculum life…

8. CU Younger Staff Members—challenged me, gave me people to invest deeply into, and loved chasing vision and serving this generation of students alongside them…

9. CU Men’s Soccer Program, Coaches, Players—people who accepted me first at CU and it’s been a joy to watch them play, travel overseas together, and help tens of thousands of families receive a life-saving bed net…

10. WA Boys Soccer Teams, Players & Coaches—so many memorable victories, tons of great players, global impact, the staff that laughed the most...what sports could and should be in many ways from my perspective…

11. World Vision US & Zambia Staff—cheered me on to pursue Kingdom work…and created beautiful relationships and transformational development work

12. Temfwe Family—our like-minded friends doing remarkable ministry empowering churches in Zambia who make it our second home in this world…and have filled my life with laughter and dance and beautiful African faith…

13. Jubilee Centre—bringing life and hope and a future through the power of Jesus’ name in Africa as a model of ministry and holistic mission has made for a ministry partnership I could have only hoped for…

14. Zambia—the landscapes, the people, the culture, the Kingdom work that draws me back over and over again to a place that is hard to get to but so worth the long flights…truly has become a second home across the world…

15. Noah’s Ark Staff—so many young leaders and lifetime friends who have taught me and blessed me through mountain and river adventures time and time again…

16. Colorado—my place to reconnect with my Creator, contemplate life direction and decisions, and enjoy immense beauty, incredible weather, amazing people, and life away from the flatlands in this life…

17. Golf—a game I love playing outdoors with people I love…and it’s new and challenging every day…playing with Trey and my dad and so many friends has made the golf course I place of great memories and conversations…

18. The Beautiful Game—the world loves FUTBAL and so do I…it’s been a joy to play and watch and been THE connector to so many people and places all over the planet

19. MLB & NBA Games in Person—love watching the best athletes compete in the games I love and often have had meaningful conversations with people next to me…

20. CU Athletics Contests—love seeing our community and our family watch the student athletes we know and love represent our school with joy and grace and excellence

21. Mom & Dad—my greatest cheerleaders who provided everything I needed to thrive in life…and who continues to be a source of wisdom and unshakeable belief as I age…

22. Mindi & Rand—siblings who I love being with and who have always supported me in every area of my life…and been great friends with whom I’ve shared many experiences together over the whole span of our lives…

23. Ingrid’s Family Members—joining a family with deep biblical values and one that cares so deeply for our family…and provides the best vacations in MN & FL…

24. Grace Church Students & Families--the people who helped me discover my love for students, teaching, and the local church in a phenomenal relational ministry context

25. BETHEL UNIVERSITY—a place that shaped me for the rest of my life…an incredible Christian higher education community and experience that truly was one of the very best and most impactful seasons of my life…

26. College Teammates & Friends—the most incredible group of people I could have ever hoped for on a soccer team that would become my support team for a lifetime…

27. Global Leadership Summit—decades of leadership truths and ideas that have propelled me forward to the pursuit of a truly grander vision and a life of authentic leadership…

28. Student Leadership Trips—watching and empowering the next generation of people via experiential learning and incredible curriculum who will do far more than our generation to make the world bring forth beauty and good…

29. Project LEAD Members—where I learned the power of students to change the world…and the power of a team of folks that loved one another and chased a common goal bigger than themselves…

30. Twin Cities, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit—places that became HOME…and are filled with memories that make me smile every day…and every time I return…

31. Podcasts—learning and laughing on daily walks and runs and travel that draws me away from the pressure and stresses of the immediate and urgent that threatens to rule my thoughts and emotions…

32. SCS Friends & Teachers & Experiences—an incredible place to go to HS filled with so much good…relationships that fill me and impact me over 3 decades later…

33. Cross-Cultural Trips & Experiences—my life and faith are so much richer for time spent away from the suburbs and our American way of life…

34. CU Students—they give me energy and life as they seek to know Jesus and discover His vision for their lives all ahead of them…and I simply have loved all the conversations and experiences with them as students and then alums over the last decade…

35. Internet—I’ve loved the access to incredible information and the opportunity to be connected to friends and connections all over the world is such a huge gift…

36. Writing—being able to put ideas and thoughts and reflections down on paper is something cathartic and enjoyable for me…finishing the ZAMBIA PROJECT was one of the joys of my life and I’m grateful for the words that have come from my heart and experiences and life…

37. The Church—the body of Christ truly is the hope of the world…and has been a place to use my gifts, grow deep in my faith, be consumed with authentic worship, train a future generation of leaders, and serve to bring the Kingdom in all of its fullness…

38. University of Michigan Athletics—must see TV and the most special games to attend involve my beloved Wolverines on the football gridiron and the basketball court…

39. Health—I’ve seen the impact of global pandemics and daily thank my Creator for the chance to be healthy, to walk and run, and have health care accessible…and for the chance to seek to care for the body God made…

40. Grace—the undeserved blessings and mercy of God has provided a life and people and future that I feel is truly more than I could expect or ask for…and

41. Global Community of Believers—my faith is broader & deeper & reflects more of Jesus as I have served & worshipped & mentored & discipled & exhorted & prayed for by believers & leaders in many nations & communities…

42. Tony, Cory, Ryan, Ben—a few of the kind of friends who I never get tired of catching up with…and I am way beyond the curve in terms of being a male who has the kind of friends and conversations that fill my soul and allow me to be known and know them at authentic and deep levels…

43. Small Group Studies—so often the things I’ve studied and discovered and talked about with trusted friends and fellow followers of Jesus have reshaped the way I see the world, how I engage the Scriptures, and the way I live…

44. Fall in the Midwest—nothing better than the weather as the leaves change color and the energy of school and campus events explodes…and so many amazing sports events to watch and attend and coach fill up the calendar…

45. Our Sponsored Kids in Zambia—getting to know them, meet them, pray for and with them, and to watch a small investment bring new life and opportunity to their futures and families has given us great joy as we see them grow and change and dream over so many years thru letters and visits and the connection God has made for both of us…

46. Christian High Schools & Colleges—to be part of shaping student lives and minds and hearts in passionate and vibrant Christian communities has been nothing less than one of the best vocations and callings to pursue anywhere…

47. Zambia Project—The mobilization of students to focus on the OTHER in the midst of their suburban American world altered my life and faith and vision in ways that will never leave me and thousands of others…and the connection between WA and KAKOLO VILLAGE was a preview of the global community we will experience in heaven one day…
 
48. The Joy of the Lord—my positivity and my excitement for life and the energy to passionately pursue vision comes from the Holy Spirit and the surprising and remarkable joy found in the God who is the source of real joy that springs from the heart of God outside of circumstances…

49. Night of Nets—harnessing the power of sport and the passion of this generation of students to provide tens of thousands of life-saving bed nets to help end malaria in Africa has been an incredible movement of God and helped transform athletics into something bigger and better…

50. SO, SO MUCH in these remarkable blessings:
Financial Resources & Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care, Bed Nets, Clean Water, Food Security, Housing, Transportation, Churches, Soccer Balls & Pitches, Bibles, Clothing, The Power of Community & Story

PHILIPPIANS 1:3-11
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Thoughts on Athletics & Men from a College Athletic Director...

-->Here are the words I shared as I spoke in chapel this week...


As the athletic director at CU and as a male leader on our campus I feel compelled to say something today as we engage our culture:

Athletics

We need different kinds of athletes and a different culture in our sports world.  Way too often athletics in our culture leads to a sense of entitlement and arrogance that produces behaviors resulting in intimidation, abuse, rape and sexual assault, and significant injustices toward others, often including women. Sports is a powerful cultural icon, and is a massive force for either good or evil based on how character is developed and how athletes are taught and led and held accountable. It can be used to provide tens of thousands of desperately needed life-saving bed nets while equipping its participants for a lifetime of others centered leadership and service. And it can create cultures where unspeakable acts of violence and personal life devastation can be acceptable and encouraged. Winning does not ever make all things acceptable and the Gospel calls us to play and compete and grow in ways that produce the fruit of true righteousness in those who watch, those who play, those who coach, those who administrate, and our very sports-crazed world...

Men

We need different and we need better men. We don’t need men who are just workout warriors in the weight room or geniuses beating the stock market or remarkable video game savants. We need men who view and treat women as our God who created them in His image sees them. Men who believe the women connected to them and who work alongside them have incredible gifts and tremendous leadership capacities that must be valued and leveraged and released and sought out. We need a generation of men who stand up and both grieve and support #metoo and gladly add their voice and behaviors in demonstrations against sexual harassment and assault while modeling lives of purity and authentic biblical love for and toward all women in our lives. It’s the right thing to do and we must do it with great humility and sorrow at the ways so many in both our culture and our churches have failed to do so. This is a moment for us to help create a different, a better future for women and girls in our lives and our world as men who know Jesus and seek justice and hope for all today...

Monday, January 1, 2018

20 TIPS FOR A POSITIVE NEW YEAR--Jon Gordon

Loved this list from an author that has constantly been a source of wisdom and positivity and team building for me personally and the teams we are building and growing as leaders...excited to pursue even greater positivity and impact in 2018!

1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. Take a daily "Thank You Walk." You can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time. Feel blessed and you won’t be stressed.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less foods manufactured in plants.

4. Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Instead of listening to your complaints, fears and doubts, talk to yourself with words of truth and encouragement.

5. Post a sign that says "No Energy Vampires Allowed." Gandhi said, "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."

6. Be a Positive Team Member. Being positive doesn’t just make you better, it makes everyone around you better.

7. Don't chase success. Decide to make a difference and success will find you.

8. Get more sleep. You can't replace sleep with a double latte.

9. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.

10. Look for opportunities to Love, Serve and Care. You don’t have to be great to serve but you have to serve to be great.

11. Live your purpose. Remember why you do what you do. We don't get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.

12. Remember, there's no such thing as an overnight success. Love the process and you’ll love what the process produces.

13. Trust that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.

14. Implement the No Complaining Rule. If you are complaining, you're not leading.

15. Read more books than you did in 2017. I happen to know of a few good ones. : )

16. Don't seek happiness. Instead live with love, passion and purpose and happiness will find you.

17. Focus on "Get to" vs "Have to." Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.

18. The next time you "fail" remember that it’s not meant to define you. It’s meant to refine you.

19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.

20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

http://www.jongordon.com/positivetip/documents/2018_PositiveTips.pdf


Monday, October 23, 2017

Why we’re afraid to let young people lead—and how to overcome it...

Love this post from Daisy Rosales at Fuller Youth Institute...and dearly hope more young leaders are released and engaged in the life and mission of the local church...here's a few excerpts that give you some of the main ideas that have to be wrestled with...
In multigenerational church settings, it’s uncommon to see a young person in a prominent position of leadership. In my own experience, the larger the church, the less likely it is for someone in their twenties—or even thirties—to be included in shaping the church as a whole. If you look at the leadership teams of many churches, you’ll notice that few appear to be much younger than 40, and some are far older.  At my church of several thousand, I host a small group of young adults who love Jesus and have so much to offer. One of them leads the microfinance arm of a large international Christian nonprofit. Another uses photography to tell stories of women and men on Skid Row in Los Angeles, individuals many of us would fear to look at, not to mention encounter up close. Yet another spends her weekdays working with children with disabilities as an occupational therapist, then helps with adults with disabilities on Sundays. These people inspire me. And they’re all under 40.
Not all of my friends aspire to greater leadership and influence at their churches, but some of them do. And yet again and again, we run into the doubt, fear, and fixed mentality of leaders who are more convinced of our untrustworthiness than willing to consider our potential.
Acknowledging the potential validity of God’s call on a young person to lead, would we stand in the way? Would we keep her from responding to God’s invitation?
Or would we instead be willing to unleash her to pursue that call?

So perhaps what we need is a better response to the uncertainties inherent to involving young people. And sometimes it’s simply a perspective shift in the question itself.

See the list below:

Objection: Young people “lack life experience.”

A better question: What experiences does this young person bring? 

Objection: Young people “aren’t settled.”

A better question: How might leadership be a part of this young person’s present and future? 

Objection: Young people “make risky decisions.”

A better question: What do I stand to lose if I don’t take the risk to elevate this young person? 

Objection: Young people “may not be able to handle it.”

A better question: What support would help this young person navigate the challenging dynamics at our church? 

Objection: Young people “will make me irrelevant.”

A better question: How will my partnership with this young person accomplish more than we could ever accomplish alone? 

Objection: Young people “aren’t stepping up.”

A better question: Is our current leadership structure preventing young people from offering their gifts?P
Read more at this link: 
https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/why-were-afraid

Saturday, August 19, 2017

HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE: A New Book Review

A few years ago I listened to a podcast featuring a conversation between Andy Stanley and Clay Scroggins examining the topic of how you can still lead even when you aren't the top dog leader in a team, organization, ministry or group...

The content was so rich that I quickly created a short talk around it that I shared in multiple settings across our Cornerstone University campus...and it was one of the best received talks I had given in a long while...

SO I was thrilled this summer when Clay published a book titled HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CHARGE (https://www.amazon.com/How-Lead-When-Youre-Charge/dp/0310531578)
expanding and growing the content on this topic that is so compelling for millions of leaders who don't have the positional authority they sometime wish they did...





I recently finished reading it in preparation for another school year of leadership opportunities and responsibilities on our university campus...and I can't wait to share copies of it with some of the incredible student development and athletics young leaders I get to work with on a daily basis...

In particular I love his focus on and development of 4 crucial behaviors for all of us who seek to leverage our influence in those moments when we lack authority:

1. LEAD YOURSELF: you are always in charge of you

2. CHOOSE POSITIVITY: ability to see how what you do fits in the big picture

3. THINK CRITICALLY: we must become better thinkers in ways that benefit others

4. REJECT PASSIVITY: you will never passively find what you don't actively pursue

My professional life has been filled with positions and challenges and experiences where I had the chance to lead and challenge up as a leader...and this book is truly a resource that provides a great theological, practical, and inspirational framework calling everyone to not wait till you have the authority to lead and miss out on leadership moments you will never get back...

There's some great resources available as you share the book with others or use it in a leadership development context for those on your team: https://clayscroggins.com/resources/

I'm always grateful for great leadership reads...hope you get a chance to read this one soon!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Root Yourself in Community

Loved these thoughts from Margaret Feinberg...need to be reminded of this often when I run at a pace where I'm falling short when it comes to experiencing real community personally while trying to serve my work community...

You can have all the online friends you want. Just make sure you have more in real life. For eight years, my husband, Leif, and I traveled together. I spoke and he managed me. For several years, we were on the road more than 200 nights per year. My marriage would have dissolved if we didn’t travel together.

During those years, we became detached from our local community. I held onto a handful of long-time friendships, but we were out of sync with a normal paced life. We weren’t free for weekend barbecues or bar mitzvahs with neighbors.

I nurtured long-distant relationships with friends around the country via phone and text, but I missed the local, real-life connection. Since then, Leif and I have nestled into a community and we’re loving every minute of it. No one cares about my profession. They care about me. And that’s a beautiful gift.

Jess and Matt’s kids attack me with bear hugs. Leah hunts treasures with me at garage sales. Ann and Andrea take long hikes with me in the rain. Greg and Jeri share their favorite restaurants. All are all antidotes to that toxic lollipop of online life.
One little secret: I’ve spent a lot of time with the headliners of the largest Christian conferences and all of them—sooner or later—beg to get off the road.
I wish someone had told me that sooner.

https://catalystleader.com/read/catalyst-track-build-a-platform-day-one

Thursday, June 15, 2017

TAKE THE NEXT STEP by Adam Weber

Love this call to action & pursuit of God's often growth producing and risk taking call in our lives from ADAM WEBER...

What I’ve found to be true about most game changers, leaders, and difference makers.  
What I’ve found to be true about most people are who actually doing something worthwhile… is that they really aren’t that much different than anyone else. They’re human. They often feel inadequate. They’re still trying to figure things out. They have doubts. They don’t always know what they’re doing.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM AND EVERYONE ELSE IS... INSTEAD OF STANDING STILL. THEY’RE SIMPLY WILLING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP.
Instead of being limited by their resources. They take the next step.
Instead of always analyzing… and analyzing some more… and… They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until they have (blank). They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until a decision makes complete sense. They take the next step.
Instead of playing things safe. They take the next step.
Instead of waiting until everyone’s on board. They take the next step.
Instead of being frozen by uncertainty. By fear. They take the next step.
Instead of doing only what they can do on their own. They take the next step.
Instead of walking by sight. They walk by faith and… They take the next step.
Instead of dreaming… and dreaming… and dreaming some more. They take the next step.
Instead of just taking one step. One time. Years back. They take the next step.
Is this true about you?
Are you standing still or are you taking the next step?
Is there a step you’ve been putting off?
One that the Lord is clearly asking you to take?
What’s the next step for you?
Take the next step.
Make the phone call.
Make the big ask.
Submit the proposal.
Apply for the job.
Quit your job.
Have the hard conversation.
Send the email.
Sell the house.
Say “yes”.
Say “no”.
Move forward with the project.
Take the next step.

https://catalystleader.com/read/take-the-next-step