Monday, January 18, 2016

A Word from DR. KING to the CHURCH...

Read this quote posted by Skye Jethani on this very important day...

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with a glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love.”

DR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR, 1967

https://skyejethani.com/with-god-daily-devotional/

Friday, January 1, 2016

11 Resolutions Everyone Should Consider Making Next Year--JESSE CAREY, Relevant Magazine

I love this list and the way the author describes them:
 
New Year's resolutions you'll actually want to keep.
 
Excited to pursue a life and family and career and Kingdom ventures with greater purpose and skill and vision that centers on the things that I care most about and know matter most deeply...

 

Read this list and let's pursue them together...

 

To Spend More Time in Conversations that Matter

Too often, days at a time can go by with the conversations we have with our friends, family members and co-workers going no deeper than surface-level chit-chat. Though there’s nothing wrong with joking around, theorizing about the latest episode of Serial or strategizing about fantasy football, if we’re not intentional about regularly engaging in deeper conversations—that challenge us intellectually, spiritually and socially—too often, those types of talks can become increasingly rare. Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken.

To Complain Less and Do More

We’re all guilty of it from time to time: We see something broken—in culture, the Church, the government, in our own personal relationships—and our first instinct is to vent about it instead of thinking of ways we can help change it. Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken.

To Spend Less Time Worrying

Any time spent worrying is time wasted. It’s also counterproductive. As author and activist Corrie ten Boom said in The Hiding Place, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

To Pray More

It’s easy to pray less when we have lots of things to do, but really, life should work in the opposite way. As Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” No matter how busy we become, committing to spend more time praying—even if it’s during our commute, when we’re working out or throughout our day—is a key to growing spiritually.

To Listen to More New Music Every Week

With the rise of platforms like SoundCloud, NoiseTrade, Spotify and Pandora, keeping up with new music releases has never been more involved. But it’s also never been easier to find new artists and get introduced to songs you’ve never heard. Next year, consider making even more margin to check out innovative music and the artists who are shaping culture.

To Cut Others Some Slack

In the social media era, where everyone’s opinion gets a platform, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of getting angry at our friends over things they say that we don’t agree with. Unfortunately, many times, that same mindset of taking offense at dumb stuff people say or do creeps into real-world relationships, the Church and workplaces. The thing is, most of the time, outrage is overrated. In 2016, commit to be offended less and reserving your anger for issues that really matter.

To Cut Yourself Some Slack

We’ve all been driven to try to accomplish things but ended up falling short. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all failed. The good news is, God doesn’t expect perfection from us, and we shouldn’t expect it from ourselves. Next year, when you mess up, drop the ball or let people you care about down, do what you can to make it right, but be quick to move on and show yourself the same grace you extend to others. Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

To Read More Good Books

In a letter to a friend, C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Clearly, one must read every good book at least once every 10 years.” Considering that there are thousands of “good” books to choose from, Lewis’ advice doesn’t seem all that practical, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. No matter how much time you currently spend reading, there is even more potentially life-changing wisdom in the pages penned by some of humanity's great minds. All you have to do is take the time to read it.

To Challenge Our Own Presuppositions More Often

Just take a look at recent news headlines, ongoing current events and debates in the Church, and it’s clear to see that we live in polarizing times. Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Even if we don’t end up changing our position on an issue, questioning our own long-held presuppositions doesn’t just serve to challenge our beliefs—it can actually strengthen them.

To Spend Less Time on Your Phone

When you reflect back on 2016 this time next year, you probably won’t remember your new Candy Crush high score or that listicle of things you didn’t know about the cast of Boy Meets World. Even if you’re not a full-fledged app addict, in the era of the iPhone, we can all use a little less time looking at screens, and more time enjoying the people and places around us.

To Share More Meals with People You Care About

We’re all busy. And, the reality is, a lot of times it’s just more convenient to go to the drive-thru, eat lunch at your desk or use dinnertime to catch up on some Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with doing this every once in a while, but when eating on the run becomes a lifestyle, you end up depriving yourself—and others in your life—of moments that could be used to build deeper relationships.
 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Through the Eyes of Haitian Moms...

This is a short section from Jen Hatmaker's latest book FOR THE LOVE...it grabbed me and presents a beautiful and compelling way for us to look at what we present as the way Jesus followers should live and what we should be doing...read it and be challenged...and then read the rest of the book!

It has taken me forty years to assess the difference between the gospel and the American evangelical version of the gospel. Those were one of the same for ages-no takes backs, no prisoners, no holds barred. I filtered the kingdom through my upper middle class, white, advantaged, denominational lens, and by golly, I found a way to make most of it fit! (It was a complicated task, but I managed. Please be impressed.)

But then God changed my life, and everything got weird. I discovered the rest of the world! And other cultures! And different Christian traditions! And people who were way, way different from me! And poverty! Then the system in which God operated according to my rules started disintegrating. I started hearing my gospel narrative through the ears of the Other, and a giant whole bunch of it didn’t even make sense. Some values and perspectives and promises I attributed to God’s own heart only worked in my context, and I’m no theologian, but surely that is problematic.

There is a biblical benchmark I use now. We will refer to this criterion for every hard question, big idea, topic, assessment of our own obedience, every “should” or “should not” and “will” or “will not” we ascribe to God, every theological sound bite. Here it is: If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.

If a sermon promises health and wealth to the faithful, it isn’t true, because that theology makes God an absolute monster who only blesses rich westerners and despises Christians in Africa, India, China, South America, Russia, rural Appalachia, inner city America, and everywhere else a sincere believer remains poor. If it isn’t true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.

If doctrine elevates a woman’s married-with-children status as her highest calling, it isn’t true, because that omits single believers (whose status Paul considered preferable), widows, the childless by choice or fate or loss, the divorced, and the celibate gay. If these folks are second –class citizens in the kingdom because they aren’t married with children, the God just excluded millions of people from gospel work, and I guess they should just eat rocks and dies. If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, then it isn’t true.

Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere. This helps untangle us from the American God Narrative and sets God free to be God instead of the My-God-in-a-Pocket I carried for so long. It lends restraint when declaring what God does or does not think, because sometimes my portrayal of God’s ways sounds suspiciously like the American dream and I had better check myself. Because of the Haitian single mom. Maybe I should speak less for God.


http://www.amazon.com/For-Love-Fighting-Impossible-Standards/dp/0718031822

Friday, July 17, 2015

HOPE RUNS...A Reflection on Running in Africa

Here's a piece I wrote for our incoming class of new students at CU this fall as they read our summer book HOPE RUNS, a remarkable story about orphans, adoption, running, and incredible love in AFRICA...



One of my favorite moments and memories in life has occurred on a dirt road in a hidden Zambian village...a moment that's been repeated several times where some beautiful and energetic kids come running at the little mini-bus lurching down this bumpy path. They come running with smiles out of their homes and their voices yell greetings with energy and excitement as they recognize my face running alongside our vehicle. In that moment, I am loved, I am welcomed, and I am filled with hope...

When I first read HOPE RUNS these images of kids running in Kakolo Village, Zambia popped into my head. I loved the story Claire and Sammy tell of how God connected them and had their worlds and lives intersect in a surprising and life-changing way. And I loved reading how a similar interest like running was a huge factor in drawing them together. Soccer has been my own running connection with so many of my friends in Zambia, and our mutual love for a beautiful game has often led us to deeper and even more meaningful shared experiences and connections. I've come away convinced that often times God will take something we love and use it as a tool for more than just our own enjoyment. I have pictures all over my office of soccer fields in Zambia that remind me of how God does this sort of thing all the time in our lives.

More than anything, reading this story reminded me of how ultimately we grow the most and experience the best God has for us when we enter into His story and fully engage in a personal and long term way with the people and issues He brings into our lives. Claire's decisions to stay for a year, to come back many times, and ultimately to adopt are the choices that convinced the African kids that she truly valued and loved them...and they were the means by which she truly became a different human being, one who cared more about the things her God cared most about in this world.

The first time I drove into the Kakolo Village community in Zambia hardly any kids ran out of their huts to come greet our vehicle. We were strangers who looked different and whose purpose in visiting their village was a mystery. After several visits and years of getting to know one another and playing soccer, sitting in classrooms, and running together on the dirt roads of Africa, things were totally different. We shouted each other's names out the bus window, they sprinted across fields to intercept our vehicle, and we walked out to hugs and special handshakes. And as we leave after a day of learning and fun and singing and dancing, our beautiful African children often run for up to a mile chasing the vehicle leaving their community. And I believe for both of us there is hope for the future when we will meet again because of what God is doing and through us all, even in the midst of extreme poverty and seeming hopelessness.

My prayer is that your time at CU will help you discover your passions and provide opportunities to connect them to God's people and the issues we face in our world...and that you are inspired to make a great run for a lifetime serving Jesus with HOPE and JOY...

Excited to run together with you during your time at CU and hope to see you at our 5K RUN,

CHIP

p.s. I'd love to have some of you jump on our African bus someday on one of our trips to Zambia...you can read more at: http://cuglobalprojects.com/





 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Entering Into a Life Story...A Video of Jack Black in UGANDA...

There's a video from NBC NEWS connected to RED NOSE DAY getting big traction on social media this week highlighting the day Jack Black spent with a Ugandan orphan boy named Felix who is living on the streets...and whose biggest desire in life is to get to learn by going to school as a 12 year old...
I watch this 4 minute piece and was instantly taken back to my first visit to a small village community in rural Zambia about a dozen years ago where I met several boys just like Felix who shared the very same life story and life desires in the midst of the devastation of a global HIV/AIDS pandemic...
At that moment, the trajectory of my life shifted...and that shift has actually even accelerated and become more significant as we now move through the days of 2015...my life story gained new and challenging and beautiful chapters because I was drawn into the life stories of Peter and Gracious and Monica and Darwin and Anthony in an unexpected, only God could do it way...
I never expected to try and raise a million dollars to help respond to the needs of the poor and oppressed in Africa...I never expected to travel over and over again to a place 8000 miles from the Midwest...and I never expected that even my career and ministry would be most deeply tied to communities in a place I couldn't have picked out on a world map in 2002...
I am quite certain that Jack Black's story in life will now include new words and chapters...because he entered into Felix's life in Uganda...the power of a story to change us and give us new passions and desires and even priorities is truly remarkable...
As I watched this video with tears filling my eyes I thought of many of you at CU...the opportunity you have to enter into life stories in unexpected ways in the year to come...and how excited God must be to set up those divine moments where our lives and stories intersect and new stories emerge...
Whose story do you need to step into? Whose life will you enter into when presented with a surprising moment? It's one of the greatest things we get to do as a leader...and something that invites us to bring change and be changed in Jesus' name...
Take 5 minutes to watch the stories of Jack Black and Felix at the link below...and ask God to prepare you well by giving you courage and love and willingness to enter into stories in new ways in the coming year in the places God has invited you to serve and love as you hear stories...CHIP

Monday, May 18, 2015

Advice for Graduates--JEFF GOINS

We recently graduated another class of incredible students from Cornerstone University. And there are so many other schools across the world sending out the newest batch of grads into the workforce and our global community. It is a time of stress and anxiety...and filled with advice from all kinds of folks! I recently read a book that I am passing on to some of the graduates I know filled with some really meaningful words from Jeff Goins, one of my favorite authors! Here's a little summary of some of his thoughts in his book THE ART OF WORK:
  • Don’t worry about what to do. Worry about who you are and who you are becoming. Focus on continued growth and learning, and what you’re meant to do will become clear over time.
  • Stop looking for the perfect job and start creating it. The best way to do what you love is to build the perfect job for yourself. Start a small business, if even as a hobby, so you’re never completely on someone else to earn a living.
  • Instead of chasing your dream, serve someone else’s first. This will save you years of pain and accelerate your growth in ways you can’t imagine. And it will humble you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

FIGHTING THE SCARCITY MINDEST AS A GENEROUS LEADER…Jenni Catron, CATALYST

I THINK WE LEARN TO FEAR SCARCITY AT AN EARLY AGE. THE FEAR OF NOT HAVING ENOUGH CAUSES US TO RACE TO BEAT OTHERS TO GET WHAT WE WANT.  


Before we know it this mentality infiltrates every part of our lives.

We're afraid of a friend (or colleague) becoming better friends with someone else, so we don't make the introduction
We're afraid the store might run out of that fancy new thing we want so we slap our credit card down and impulsively buy it
We keep our freezers stocked because we don't want to go hungry
We give our financial resources sparingly because we're afraid we won't have enough for retirement
We don't celebrate the accomplishment of a co-worker because we're afraid they'll get promoted sooner


We hoard.
We keep.
We guard.
We protect.

I believe that this mindset of scarcity is one of the most dangerous enemies to great leadership.  Our unwillingness to champion others, to give to others, or to make a way for others is a dangerous place to find ourselves.

In our efforts to guard and protect ourselves we actually sabotage our leadership influence.

Scarcity is in opposition to great leadership because I believe one of the greatest responsibilities of leaders is to generously develop, inspire, and empower those you lead.
 

IF YOU ARE CONSTANTLY PROTECTING WHAT YOU HAVE, YOU RARELY HAVE TIME TO INVEST IN THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.


"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

I'll be honest; scarcity can get the best of me.  It's one of the greatest challenges to my leadership. 


http://catalystconference.com/read/a-dangerous-enemy/