Getting (Less) Things Done

I was reading a short but very effective post by Jenni Catron and responded to her post with my comments, which I’ve included here on my blog, below. “What am I letting go of this year?” In a culture and time when “more is better” and fast beats slow, we’ve entered the life of exponentialism; we have not merely added or multiplied our efforts, tools, technologies, facets and goals, we’ve seen an exponential increase in our time. Problem is, we can’t add, much less get exponentially, more time! The art of subtraction is part of my equation. What was good, but not redeeming, that I can leave behind? Where have I spent too much effort with little ROM (Return On Ministry) or ROL (Return On Life)? Where have I added more balls to juggle instead of deciding to not juggle at all, but instead share those balls with others? I’m all about GTD (Getting Things Done), but not at the expense of exponentially adding to my life’s equation. Less isn’t more; less is strategic. How are you refocusing your life equation?...

Insignificant, Inconsequential Places Birth Miracles

There are no GPS coordinates for the places in our lives that are seemingly insignificant and/or inconsequential. You can’t navigate to the place where you’re lonely, spent, frustrated or disappointed. And just because these oft-visited places are not on a map, they’re still destinations we travel to with some manner of frequency. It is in these places where miracles (yeah the supernatural, you-can’t-explain-that miracles) are most likely to happen. Now before you think I’m talking about walking on water (I’ve done that, but it was just frozen over!), let me be sure to set this up qualitatively: Yes, miracles do happen that are big and supernatural and have zero possibility of scientific explanation, but the miracles that happen with such regularity and miss notice are the ones that you’ve no doubt experienced and just didn’t know it. Have you ever been in a place where your options were limited (or nil) and yet, somehow things “just happened” out of nowhere that you couldn’t explain but, nonetheless, were glad to have happen? Or things you thought you could explain away through “weird timing”? Most of us call these “happy coincidences”. Remember that time you were going to be short on cash flow yet, “somehow” that payment you’d long forgotten or the rebate check that you’d submitted months ago suddenly came through? That’s God, in his sovereignty, revealing His character to you through a miracle. I think the main reason most people would refute those moments as miraculous is because they don’t really believe God is actively in complete control of everything. When hard situations happen that are unjust, painful and...

Tough Conversations

The more I understand what it means to serve, the better I understand leadership. Having been a part of several churches and organizations, I can testify that the best leaders serve others around them which, in turn, inspires them to follow. The difference between inspiring and directing is significant. This past week at WFX I spent dozens of hours listening and talking with people from churches of all sizes and denominations who were struggling with either being a leader or following a leader. I, too, know exactly what this is like. That’s why I felt conviction when I heard this from a friend: We can’t serve well when we have our own agenda. One of the toughest conversations we can have is when we have to ask forgiveness from our leaders for trying to prop up our own agendas instead of aligning with the vision of the house. This doesn’t mean you hide your passions, give up your identity or never push back against ideas. It simply means finding ways to match the goals of your leadership with the courage of your convictions, gracefully. Before your team, organization or church can move forward, pause and exhibit the servant-like humility of Jesus through a tough conversation that aligns your heart and mind with the vision of the house. The vision of the house is more important than your personal vision for your area....

What I Meant Was…

Sometimes, I wonder how what I’ve said can be misunderstood until I get a fresh perspective from someone else to re-read what I’ve said. And then it hits me: “Ooooh. What I meant was…” I’ve learned that email is a poor communication medium for conveying emotion, sarcasm or subtlety. What I’m continuing to learn is that with social media – and the 140 characters of Twitter, in particular – it’s important to re-read what we say before we have it hit the web. This happened to me tonight, and it took me a while to understand what the hub-bub was all about. Here’s what I tweeted: “PASTORS: Please use Twitter & Facebook to share your life instead of spamming scripture. We’ve already got YouVersion.com.” What I Meant Was… I intended to help pastors understand that while tweeting scripture is OK, you’ve gotta do a lot more than send lots of verses our way if we are to get to know you. So, my intention was to help them think about sharing more personal stuff and less about multiple verses a day making up the bulk of their tweet stream. So, I used some humor (or, attempted to) to say that we’ve got lots of scripture opportunities online already with YouVersion.com (online Bible tool). What Happened Was… I had some people read what I wrote as making scripture look unimportant, or, worse, less important than sharing their personal insights. So, as a way to set the record straight, I then sent a second tweet out on the heels of the brewing controversial tweet: “REVISED 4 clarification: Instead of spamming scripture,...

Instruments of Provision

I am not the provider for my family. I am not the provider for my family. I am not the provider for my family. I have to keep repeating that to myself from time to time as a reminder that all – ALL – provision comes from the Lord. It’s a lesson that has taught me to rely on God for my daily bread, regardless of where my income comes from. I can be an instrument of provision, but the provision is the Lord’s alone. Having said that, I’m asking you to be an instrument of provision for someone – TODAY – who needs our help. An Urgent Need This morning, I received an email with a humble but urgent plea from a very Godly husband and father; a man who 28 months ago lost a baby boy to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). They are financially devastated and are asking for help. Having gone through a financial devastation myself, I know exactly what this man feels like. The difference is that he had the guts to post his need online so that the body of Christ could be a blessing to him and his family. $10 – We All Have $10 Since our financial whirlwind, we’ve come out on the other side rebuilding and are now faithful to a new budget that represents our diligence to fully recover and honor God with our stewardship of finances. Yet, even with our tight budget and commitment to being debt-free, we can give a little to help this family. He’s asking for each of us to send whatever we can to...

Mentor & Friend

Recently I saw a tweet from pastor Randy Cochran that asked: “Who is the mentor that has had the most influence on your life?” A name immediately popped up into my head, but I decided to think about it and weigh the first thought against my many memories of people who have mentored me throughout the years. At the end of my pondering, I realized that my first reaction was not only correct, it was immensely justified. I can’t explain it any other way: The favor of God has been upon me in unique ways, one of which is in the quality of my network of friends, associates and colleagues. I remember being a 23 year-old kid teaching at my first conference. I had no business being there teaching, but I was someone leading in media ministry at the time and that was seemingly enough. I’ve since taught for 16 years straight at various conferences. Along the way I have had the privilege of meeting some incredible people. A few of them have mentored me and I am grateful for those men who have held that position in my life. Yet it’s only been in the last three years that I’ve been mentored in the most influential and profound way by one man: pastor Marcus Brecheen. I met Marcus because I wanted and needed someone to help me in my marriage. On that first day, along with my bride, I with him at the Gateway church offices, listening as he spoke kindly and accurately over, about and to us. 90 minutes later, I left there determined to get to...