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

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Losing my friend TUESDAY...


A couple years ago my brother and sister in law moved from the chill of Minnesota to the warmth of Naples, Florida. We love being with their family and Naples is definitely one of the best Spring Break destinations around.

On a warm and sunny April night we went to a beautiful spot overlooking the Gulf of Mexico to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Ingrid’s parents. We went to the beachfront restaurant at the RITZ-CARLTON in town and enjoyed great seafood, ocean views, awesome desserts, remarkable service, and the always spectacular Gulf of Mexico sunset.

As our dinner was ending and we walked down the path to the beach my phone buzzed with an update from Facebook. It was from all places Zambia, a message from new friends in a remote village community where we had experienced love and hospitality in astounding ways as part of the new ministry partnerships with our dear friends at Jubilee Centre.

One person in particular had made that visit truly memorable because of his boundless energy, brilliant smile, incredible ingenuity and courage, and love that seemed to spill out from the very heart of Jesus. He was the spiritual leader, the community force in this forgotten village. He made an unbelievable meal for us as a group of 25 people and he listened intently as I shared my passion for developing young leaders here in the African church. He had helped start a school, empowered entrepreneurial women, and was a pastoral presence in a place of real hardship and joy at the same time. His name was Tuesday and I remember him kneeling down in thanksgiving for the copy of my book I gave him along with gear from Cornerstone University he immediately wanted to put on.

Tuesday was a fast friend, a person I prayed for and looked forward to seeing again in our next trip to Zambia. We loved soccer, Zambia, and the people God had entrusted to our care as shepherds of God’s flock. As I looked at my phone the message was simple and devastating from our friend Noel: “We are in sorrow. Tuesday is no more.” I found out later he had passed away following a stroke, far away from modern medical care. In the moment I couldn’t think of anyone who would leave a deeper and bigger hole in lives and a community than this man who had quickly become one of our heroes of the faith on the other side of the world.

Our beautiful Florida night continued as I sent back a short Facebook note telling Noel that we sorrowed with him tonight and that we placed our hope in the resurrection with them when we all could be with Tuesday once again. And then I began in silence to ponder the juxtaposition and tension of the two worlds converging in my life on this day.

There I was at literally one of the nicest spots in our country enjoying an experience where the goal of the staff was to make sure that our every need was met to the fullest of Western contemporary expectations and standards. It was something that my friends in Zambia could never even begin to imagine or ever dream they would experience.

In the midst of those moments the reality of early death, absolute poverty and devastating illness, and immense fear for the future came across the oceans with the cries of a Zambian community that had lost its leader and friend to all. And once again I was faced with a litany of questions and feelings about what I was supposed to feel and do and love in this world and my own life.

Should I never enjoy extravagance and luxury? Was the guilt that often rose up in my heart valid or just my way of trying to cope with the fact that I really didn’t experience the life my friends in Zambia did? How could I live in a way that allowed me to engage and enjoy the people and place God had placed me in America while not forgetting or living differently because of what was taking place in a community God had led me to connect deeply with thousands and thousands of miles away? How do you rejoice and mourn both?

I sat up late myself that night and sent a note out to the students who had been with me in Zambia letting them know that our friend had died and left a huge hole in his family and community. And I thought of the many conversations I had facilitated over the years with those who also felt trapped between these 2 worlds. God’s Spirit reminded me again of 2 things I have come to believe over the last decade or so:

1. Live in and embrace the tension—it’s easy to want to seek to get rid of all the tension and ultimately responsibility in our lives, especially when it comes to things we can’t easily solve. But I am and will continue to be for the rest of my life to live in the middle space where I engage the wealthy world I have lived in all my life and learn from and advocate for the African communities with sometimes overwhelming needs and often a lifestyle that reflects God’s heart and Kingdom values. I must have one foot in each...because I think that is what Jesus did as I see him love the rich and the poor both in the Gospels in ways that transformed them from the inside out and created opportunity for new and fuller lives.

2. We have to let the rest of the world into our daily lives. It’s crucial that I know how my friends in Lusaka or Santo Domingo or even Chicago spend their days and the challenges they are taking on in their lives. It is far too easy to live in my own zip code and to believe that my problems, my issues, my reality is what life is like for others in our global community. I think it matter so much that I know what’s happening across the world and to live with the other in mind rather than continuing to be fixated on my own problems and needs.

I recently was corresponding with my Zambian friend Noel sharing that we were still praying for him and his community. He thanked me and simply told me that I couldn’t understand how much it meant to them that we would still care about their lives and community. In so many ways it felt bizarre and out of place to try and put together the Ritz Carlton and a village without electricity or water or health care. But I think it’s exactly the world God has called me to engage...to learn from another, to share resources from the remarkable blessings when needs are present somewhere else, and to pray that God’s Kingdom would invade both places in wealth and poverty and in arrogance and brokenness...because Jesus would have gone and walked among people on the beach and the dusty village road...and may I walk His path today...CHIP

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Cost of Missionless Students--Doug Franklin, LEADERTREKS

Fantastic piece here by my long time friend Doug Franklin at LEADERTREKS...one of my great life passions is helping this generation of students embrace Kingdom Mission as they engage the church and culture both...read and be moved to response...

Missionless students will likely remain on the fringes of the church never to engage with God’s world or participate in Kingdom work. As youth workers, it’s our job to explain to students the mystery of how God uses His people to carry out His will on earth, and the best way to connect them to a life of service for God is to show them how they are uniquely made for an important role in God’s Kingdom.  
Before we can help them discover their God-given mission, we need to first challenge students’ worldview. Students tend to see the world as revolving around them, but when they are exposed to realities of this world–injustice, poverty, AIDS, slavery, and lack of clean water–they have a greater desire to serve and take risks for God. They begin to ask themselves,“What is God doing in this world, and what part do I play in it?” Once students ask this question, we have an open door to teach them about how their wiring points them to God’s mission for their lives.
“When students discover their burden, their passion, and God’s vision, they will have a roadmap for the mission God has for them.”
When teaching this concept to students, I like to use this formula:
Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission
When students discover these three things, they will have a road map for the mission God has for them. To be clear, the discovery of your burden, passion, and vision will only give you clues to the ultimate mission God has for you. It’s not a silver bullet, but it will point your students in the right direction and give them greater clarity. 
Burden
Simply put, a burden is something that breaks your heart. Many times during the week, I will hear of some great tragedy in the world and think, “Lord, when will it end?” But  then I continue going about my day. But when I hear about a tragedy that involves students, often I will feel led to pray, cry, or do something tangible to help in the situation. My burden is for students, and my heart breaks when I am confronted with students who miss the best that God has for them. We need to help students discover what it is that burdens them in such a way that they, too, want to spring into action. 
Passion

Passion is what you love to do. It’s what gets you up in the morning.  It’s where you feel closest to God and where you sense that He is most pleased with you. My passion is discipleship of students. I feel closest to God when I am sitting in a circle of students and teaching them how to use a prayer journal or a new Bible study method. Students can be passionate about any number of things, and LeaderTreks has created a Passion Survey to aid their discovery.
Vision
Vision is what God is telling you to do, and we come to understand God’s vision through prayer. Only when we get our eyes off ourselves and focus our attention toward God will we discern His will for our lives. I encourage students to have a prayer journal to both write out prayers and to see how God is answering them. Those answers are a great indication of God’s vision for their lives.
Mission

When students put burden, passion, and vision together, they will not only discover their mission, they will also find great joy. Students often ask me, “What happens if I hate the mission God has for me?” I share with them that this formula tells us that we will always love the mission God has for us because it includes our passion.
The truth is that when God wants to do something great, He sends a baby into the world to do it. Your students are those babies, and God has given them everything they need to accomplish the tasks He has planned for them. Prepare them for that mission by helping them discover what breaks their heart, what they are passionate about, and what God is telling them to do. After all, that is our mission.
https://www.leadertreks.org/cost-missionless-students/

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Smarter or Dumber: How We Evaluate Our Intelligence

great piece from TIM ELMORE here...love the questions and the comparisons...

Six Questions to Ask Ourselves as We Build Intelligent Graduates:

1. How can we teach them to be focused without being obsessed?
“A dull person has just as quick a peak reaction time as a brilliant person,” James Flynn said in an interview with LiveScience. “The difference is that someone with a low IQ typically can’t stay focused and so their reaction times won’t be consistent throughout an experiment; their scores vary more widely than those of high-IQ people.”
2. Can we foster free thought yet ensure change leads to moral progress?
Progress means change but not all change means progress. We must instill a moral compass inside students to guide, guard and gauge their choices. C. S. Lewis said, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road progress means doing an about turn and walking back to the right road. In that case, the man who turns back the soonest is the one who is most progressive.”
3. Can we help them balance two opposite ideas and see them objectively?
F. Scott Fitzgerald noted, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” This is what enables students to be civilized and wise as they make decisions for themselves, their families and their communities. This is the essence of true critical thinking: The ability to weigh and evaluate all data.
4. Can we be disciplined to listen before we speak and reject the impulse to only think about what we’ll say next?
This one’s tough. Especially since we live in a day of impulsive social media messaging, little critical thought and our innate human need to be heard. We are not a patient population, and I am usually guilty of pondering what I will say in reaction to the person I am speaking with, rather than really listening to their ideas.
5. What must we do to produce graduates who are life-long learners?
Far too often, people finish school and never read another book in their lifetime. They stop seeking, discovering and learning, at least on purpose. Ours is a day of rapid change; we cannot afford to remain “stuck” in thought patterns that may be irrelevant in the future. We must build curious grads who know how to research, identify what’s important and make changes to faulty perspectives.
6. How can we equip students to be both timely and timeless?
Too often, we can assume that a value or virtue from the past is automatically antiquated. I don’t buy that—honesty will always be valuable; discipline will always be valuable. The question is: can we prepare students for jobs that may not exist today, but thoroughly equip them to carry these timeless values with them into the future?
Let’s work to ensure our intelligence translates into wisdom. This means we hear and digest information and learn to “eat the fish and spit out the bones.” Aristotle said it first, “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

https://growingleaders.com/blog/smarter-dumber-evaluate-intelligence/

Monday, September 19, 2016

Critical Things Passionate People Do Differently – TRAVIS BRADBERRY

Interesting stuff from the WCA GLS blog on what makes passionate people different from everyone else...
Passionate people are obsessed. Put simply, passionate people are obsessed with their muse, and I don’t mean that in an unhealthy OCD sort of way. I’m talking about a positive, healthy obsession, the kind that inspired the quote, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” No matter what else is going on, their thoughts keep returning to their passion. Not because they feel burdened and pressured by it, but because they’re just so excited about it. They’re obsessed with their muse because it inspires them and makes them happy.
They don’t waste time. You won’t find passionate people wandering around a park all afternoon playing Pokemon Go. They don’t have time to be bothered with things that don’t matter or things that just kill time. They devote every minute available to their passion, and it’s not a sacrifice, because there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing.
They’re optimistic. Passionate people are always focused on what can be rather than what is. They’re always chasing their next goal with the unwavering belief that they’ll achieve it. You know how it feels when you’re looking forward to a really special event? Passionate people feel like that every day. 
They’re early risers. Passionate people are far too eager to dive into their days to sleep in. It’s not that they don’t like to sleep; they’d just much rather be pursuing their passion. When the rooster crows, their minds are flooded with ideas and excitement for the day ahead.
They’re willing to take big risks. How much you want something is reflected in how much you’re willing to risk. Nobody is going to lay it all on the line for something they’re only mildly interested in. Passionate people, on the other hand, are willing to risk it all. 
They only have one speedfull tilt. Passionate people don’t do anything half-heartedly. If they’re going, they’re going full tilt until they cross the finish line or crash. If they’re relaxed and still, they’re relaxed and still. There’s no in between.
They talk about their passions all the time. Again, we’re talking about people whose passions are inseparable from who they are, and you couldn’t form much of a relationship with them if they couldn’t be real about who they are, right? It’s not that they don’t understand that you don’t share their obsession; they just can’t help themselves. If they acted differently, they’d be playing a role rather than being authentic.
They’re highly excitable. You know those people who probably wouldn’t get excited if an alien spaceship landed in their front yard? Yeah, that’s not how passionate people operate. It’s not that they’re never calm, or even bored. It’s just that it takes less to get them excited, so they get excited more frequently and stay excited longer. One theory is that they devote their energy to one or two things, so they make more progress, and that momentum fuels their excitement.
They’re all about their work. Passionate people don’t worry about work/life balance. Their work is who they are, and there’s no separating the two. It’s what they breathe, live and eat, so there’s no such thing as leaving it at the office. Asking them to do that is tantamount to asking them to deny who they are. And they’re OK with that because there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing.
http://www.followthegls.com/leadership-lessons/critical-things-passionate-people-differently-travis-bradberry/

Monday, September 12, 2016

Are millennials just entitled consumers or are they ready to get to work? BRAD GRIFFIN--FYI

Love this piece from the folks at Fuller Youth Institute...and I'm really excited about their new book GROWING YOUNG...this is truth I've found to be very much true about millennials...and why I love working alongside of them in Kingdom ventures like Night of Nets (www.nightofnets.org)...