Archive for April, 2009

Listening to the Overtones – Generosity

April 30, 2009

In the last week, I’ve ‘listened’ to Exponential, Catalyst West and QTalks.

When a choir is in perfect tune, you can hear a note that isn’t there.  It’s called an ‘overtone’.  Sometimes, if you listen between the spaces, you can hear what God is saying.

This is the overtone that I am hearing:

God is calling us to Generosity.

Generosity of emotional resources. It is easy to live in isolation.  We can go through life fulfilling all of our functions and never take the risk of allowing other people to know us for who we are.

Yet in those real relationships we find authenticity, discipleship, and an honest reflection of ourselves as God sees us.  ‘Letting people in’ emotionally means giving to people who will be cranky at times and perhaps hurt our feelings.  This is hard!  But it is in those risky relationships that we find God working on us and through us to show Himself.

Generosity of time resources. Time is our commodity right now.  When we give our time, we give what we hold most precious.  Most people, no matter their background, are lonely and need to be listened to.  Others need you to given your time and energy to help make their life a bit easier.  Giving of our time means letting God set our agenda.  To us, this feels very risky.

Generosity of intellectual resources. Admitting we don’t know it all is the first step to wisdom.  Being willing to be part of  a conversation with others – to share our perspective and honestly listen gives value to others who aren’t like us.  Many  people find others who think just like themselves and find those conversations comfortable.  There is risk in sharing what you know with people who might not understand your perspective right away.

Generosity of physical resources. Whether it is the gift of hospitality, or the gift of giving, we have so much to give.  What would it take to invite a family from the homeless shelter to share an evening meal and game of Uno with your family?  We can give globally, like Tom’s Shoes, but we can also give locally – many around us just don’t have family, a home environment, or the ability to relax for an evening.  Looking at our resources from a different perspective can help us think with an attitude of generosity.

Generosity of spiritual resources. We have forgiveness.  We need to extend it to others.  We have mercy.  We need to extend it to others.  We have relationship with God.  Does it affect our lives so that others can tell?

As Christians, and as church leaders, we stand in the middle of culture and bridge the gap.  You know when you introduce two people?  Where do you stand?  Between them.  You speak both of their languages.

We have relationship with God.  We need to share it with others.  Not just in words, but through forgiveness, hospitality, ministry of presence (just hanging out), authenticity.  All of these take risk.  Risk is good.  It’s what makes bungee jumping a rush, what makes skiing/snowboarding worth the exorbitant price, and why people jump out of airplanes.  Why not risk for the sake of others instead of just for the rush?  It is so worth the landing!

Going to the Theatre

April 29, 2009

Last Saturday I went to see the last night of Tuesdays with Morrie at Taproot Theatre.  What a joy!!!  Here are some quotes that I wanted to share:

  • “Sluff off when you can as long as you can.”
  • “Are you at peace with yourself?”
  • “Dying is only one thing to be sad about – living unhappily, that’s something else”
  • “Are you trying to be as human as you can be?”
  • “giving makes me feel like I’m living”
  • “If you don’t like the culture, make your own.”
  • “A tree’s leaves are most beautiful right before they die.”

Okay – so Taproot put together another fabulous production.

I can hardly wait for the next great adventure.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS,

Action-packed adventure tale opens on May 22

click here for more information

for tickets, see their website:  Taproottheatre.org

Q Conference

April 28, 2009

This week, the Q talks are taking place in Austin.

Great minds giving presentations “on the topics of the future, the church, the culture and the gospel.” Each with an 18 minute time limit.

Yesterday, they requested that nobody tweet or live blog during the event.  Major bummer for the rest of us.  However, there are still ways for us to get the information.

Information from the Creators

Conference Site here you will find information on each presenter, last year’s presentations, and the only authorized blog of the events.

Tweets and Blogs as They Appear:

Twubs

Twitter

Leading Smart – Tim Stevens does a great job of recapping conferences.  Love his notes!

Swern.com – Stephen Redden is a church planter in Denver, CO.  He does an excellent job of blogging his notes.

The View From Her – Conference Quoteables

Inside the Presenter’s Minds:

Here are websites, recent appearances and articles from the presenters.  (Note, these are only those on the website, lots of others presented, and we’ll have to wait for the bloggers to give us better info on that.)

Micah WhiteAdbusters.org

David Crowder

  • David Crowder Band website and
  • David’s Blog – seriously, check out this blog, is really funny.  I have some reservations as to authenticity – will someone please confirm?  It is the one that is a direct link from the DCB sites – but since David Crowder used an overhead projector at Q…

Alan Hirsch

Andy Crouch – “The only real advantage of having wealth is that you can know for sure that money won’t make you happy” (RT @gary4n)

Joel Kotkin –

Mike Foster –

  • Ethur.org – the blog is great, the rest of the site seems to be in process.
  • XXXchurch.com – the site that Mike started.

Heather Larson –

Tyler Wigg-Stevenson –

Chris Seay

Dr. Stephen Graves –

  • Coaching by Cornerstone – their resources page is FULL of great articles.  I would send you to just one or two, but really, you should see the list and pick for yourself.   I saved “9 common mistakes in managing high performers” to read this evening.
  • I’d really like to know more about his talk, so if you took notes, please let me in on them.

Shannon Sedgwick Davis –

Shane Hipps – “I don’t use Twitter because it takes you out of the present moment to commentary on the moment” (RT @willmancini)

Interviews on Out of Ur:

John Burke –

  • Here is the resources page from Gateway Church, John’s church. Innovative ideas throughout the site.
  • Here is his Zondervan page – you can buy his book in eform there.

Tim Keel – “We live in a culture that is struggling to make meaning.” (RT @ChrisMarlow)

Micah M. White – “Advertising is fundamentally a manipulation, even when it’s for something good.” (RT @jan_lynn)

Rick McKinley –

Gregory Berns – “Three brain circuits that sabotage innovation: perception, fear and social intelligence.” (RT @kylezimmerman)

Dave Goetz –

Ambassador Max Kampelman –

Catherine Crouch – The only thing that I could find is that  Catherine is WAY smarter than me, and incredibly amazing.

George P. Bush – “about 1/3 of all Catholics in US are Latino. 2/3 of them go to a Spanish speaking service.” (RT @whatschwandt)

  • The only thing I could find on George is that he is politically connected through his family, but I couldn’t find a blog or writings.

Exponential Conference ’09

April 27, 2009

Looking for all the information from Exponential ’09?

With all those great minds in one place, we need to be able to resource them again and again.   Thankfully, Exponential Conference, along with those who were there, have processed the information so that we can have it readily available.

Here is where you can find the blogs, tweets and recaps:

Exponential Website

Exponential Conference Homepage.  Seriously, if you explore their site, you will be knowledge rich.  They have sooo many resources!

Exponential is amazing.  They are giving away so much for free, right here.  They have put online, all of last year’s conference as well as interviews with many of this year’s presenters.  Remember all those volunteers that you wished you could take? Here is your opportunity.

Other Bloggers

Church Unique – Will Mancini (8am Session) – Scribblelive by Pioneerpreacher

Root48 – Brian covers the sessions in recap – you have to go to this site just to see the intro to Francis Chan.  Hilarious!!!

Imagine by Ron Klabunde  interview with Rick Warren.  From what I read through Catalyst, I think Rick presents his whole talk here as well. (Okay, not the whole talk – and definately not formal.)

Upstream Collective focuses on Ed Stetzer and Alan Hirsch in videos on Third Places, Multi-site Church and Church Planting Models.

Twitter, etc.

Here are the twitter channels.  Start at the beginning and read forward.  It is amazing how much you can get by reading people’s tweets, as they are all listening to the same thing.

Twubs

Twitter

Blogs listed on Exponential Page:

Dave Ferguson

Vince Antonucci

Mark Batterson

Scott Hodge

Ed Stetzer

So here is my question.  What was the most amazing thing you learned from this conference?

Leadership Boost – Catalyst West

April 24, 2009

I’ve been enjoying Catalyst West these last 2 days…virtually.  Although I missed the awesome networking, etc. I gained a lot.

If you, like me, could use a new leadership zap-in-the-arm, I have compiled the best places to find recaps and minute-by-minute notes.

Social Sites:  (I like Scribblelive best for this)

Blogs with Recaps/scribblelive input

Tony Morgan

Leading and Loving (she has a bunch of the people I didn’t list above)

Small Town Pastor (covering the Hirsch Lab)

Evotional.com (covering Blake Mycoskie, Chief Shoe Giver at Tom’s Shoes‘ Lab)

Kevin Beers Blog

Crimmel.com (After the first session, he uses Scribblelive, which you have to figure out how to read, but he takes the best notes!  It’s like getting a transcript!)

Eric Bryant not only has his notes, he also has an interview with Brad Lomenick posted on his teleseminar page.

Cynthia Ware put up information on ParaTweet, pics, links, etc. – this looks totally cool!!!

Trevor Lee has a great list of one-line recaps.

Ben Arment – Pictures of Catalyst from beginning to end.


This speaker list below isn’t exhaustive, but check out this lineup:

Andy Stanley – Uncertainty in Leadership

Guy Kawasaki – Branding, marketing, “if you try to create something that appeals to everyone, you will end up with mediocrity”

Rick Warren – Call to Mission. (I liked the quote “Energy management is more important than time management.”)

Alan and Debra HirschRedefining family for the church today. This was a lab, and not covered except in this blog, so I linked it for you here.

Panel Discussing Sex Trafficking – there are 27 million people enslaved. check out love 146.0rg or Just One.

Erwin McManus – Living a heroic life, calling and helping others to live theirs.

Craig Groeschel – “What we believe determines what we do.” “There are 4 billion people who need Christ, how can we claim to be a megachurch?”

Francis Chan – Pray for boldness. “In conversation, do people talk about you more than the Holy Spirit?”  “I was taught how to teach exegetically, but I wasn’t taught to live that way.”  “Maybe we have scared churches because we have scared pastors.”

Perry Noble – You Can Do This!  “The size of the vision that God will give me is in direct proportion to the amount of pain I am willing to endure.”

Also, here’s a video short connected to Luis Palau’s presentation.

Looking forward to the Fall?  Here’s the new Catalyst Site.

Have fun!

Correcting Theology – Free Book

April 24, 2009

image001Need a brush up on your theology?

Larry Osborne makes it quick and easy to understand.

Bad theology is easy to form.

I’ve investigated the history and lives of some people who really love Jesus, but have tweeked theology.  Believe me, bad theology is easy for people to form.

The root is often focus.  Is your focus on God, who really is in control of the universe, or have you formed a theology that will allow you some form of control in some way?

In this book, Larry addresses these 10 common misconceptions:

  1. Faith can fix anything. “This kind of hopeful thinking is more about faith in faith than faith in God.  Yet it’s what many of us have been taught to believe God wnats from us when we’re confronted with insurmountable odds.”
  2. Forgiving means forgetting.
  3. A Godly home guarantees Godly kids.
  4. God has a blueprint for my life.
  5. Christians shouldn’t judge.
  6. Everything Happens for a Reason.
  7. Let your conscience be your guide.
  8. God brings good luck
  9. A valley means a wrong turn.
  10. Dead people go to a better place.

Larry Osborne is the pastor of North Coast Church, and so his experience doesn’t just come from his study, it comes from working with people like you and me.  His language is plain, and he really gets life.  BTW, while you’re at the church website, go the the pastor’s resources and check out his Contrarian’s Guide book.  I think that looks pretty amazing too.

If you’d like to buy this book, you can grab it at:  Amazon.com

Also, I have one free book to give away to the first person to email me.  Ready, set, go.

Brain Training

April 23, 2009

Did you know that you can change a bad day into a great day?

Your emotions are not just feelings.  They are the result of life, taken in through your senses, over the flowing rapids your body chemicals, and on up to the translators in your brain.

Your brain then sorts out the different information and triggers the right hormone responses to fear, love, joy, anger, etc.  Then it sends information back to your body parts, directing the appropriate actions – all in a matter of nano-seconds.

Okay – that is my interpretation, but essentially, that is what happens.

We take in information, decide what to do with it, and act on it.

We act with both our logical and emotional sides because we are people – not animals who act on instinct only, and not machines, who act on programming only.  We have this wonderful mix of soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit (which can dig deeper and get help from God’s Spirit).

God transcends time and space.  Our bodies get sick, have bad days, get messed up by the weather changing, etc., God doesn’t change.  We can choose to not let our emotions have control.

Have you ever seen one of those pictures that are two pictures in one?  Like the one that is both an old woman and/or a young woman?  Changing our focus is like looking at that picture.

We can keep our eyes on the yuck of life, or we can look for God’s Spirit to give us His perspective.  We change where we get our information, so we change our response.

God’s joy doesn’t depend on circumstances.  Remember Paul and Silas singing in jail?  That was a bad situation – they got their joy, not from their emotions, but from God’s spirit.

This works no matter your situation.  How do you focus your vision on God’s Spirit?  Through the spiritual disciplines like prayer, bible reading/meditation and silence.  God used bible meditation to help me through a worrisome situation just this week.

Have you trained your brain today?

Marketing and Connections

April 22, 2009

Why do people connect with you?

I learned a very basic concept from playing the computer game SIMS several years ago.  It was a concept that I had somehow missed.  You make friends by spending time with people.  If you don’t spend time with people, you don’t make friends.

The book I read awhile back, “Divine Commodity” had challenged me to stop ‘marketing’, and instead to help people learn how to connect with others better.

In our fast-paced society, we have boiled some things down to their least common denominator, and sometimes, that comes out as marketing.  God tells us that we are to love one another.   When we are in relationship with Him, and when we are being the people He created us to be, we will be irresistible – (not the individual, tall, flowing blonde kind of irresistible), but because we will be presenting Christ.

So.  Why do people connect with you?

In short, people connect with you because you care about them.  Here are some ways that people connect with you:

1.  According to Chapman, there are five love languages:  Gifts, Time, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation and Touch.  In some way, you are helping them feel loved.

2.  They will identify with you: either your personality, your story, or your vision.  Something about you gives them hope and helps them see Jesus – in some way, you are a mirror for them that helps them see themselves the way that Jesus sees them.

3.  People see God through you.  If you are honest, we are all just worms.  We growl when we get up in the morning, or when we get to tired at night, or when we are hungry, or… – but for some reason, God uses relationships – trust, compassion, love, care, healing touch, prayer, often words of knowledge and wisdom – He uses people to touch people and share His love.  We get the ability to love others from Him.  We love because He first loved us.

I think God’s marketing plan is irresistable grace.  Our job in His kingdom is to care for people regardless of their standing with Him, and let Him do the marketing.

Gardening Eden

April 21, 2009

blog2You should always read things that are outside your comfort zone – it is good for you.

That’s what they tell me, and it is true.  The reason is because your brain forms certain pathways along which it funnels information.  When you feed it the same sorts of information all the time, those pathways become well formed.

When you change topics, it challenges your brain to form a new pathway.  I usually read leadership, outreach and spiritual formation books, with a smattering of writing and mystery/suspense thrown in.

My husband talks about science a lot, but I don’t read science. Gardening Eden was a new brain pathway for me.

Michael Abbate has created a book that looks at the much-needed topic of creation stewardship from just about every angle imaginable.   He looks at the scientific side, the biblical side, those who believe Al Gore and those who don’t.

Growing up in Oregon (where I’m pretty sure every environmentalist has at least visited) I was already sold on the concept of environmental stewardship.  Therefore, the first half of the book, changing brain pathways and all, was a stretch for my poor brain.  I kept telling my husband “you would really like this book!”  But then, when I was about to pass out from details, I got to the really good part: The Second half!  Practical tips on how to make a difference!

Here’s tip #7:  Cook

“What ever happened to cooking?  I mean cooking, not zapping. The skill of taking raw ingredients and combinging them in ways that result in delicious and healthy meals.”

You know, he is sooo right!  I was at the local market the other day, and met a young girl from (an Asian country, I don’t know which one) who was buying all these natural raw ingredients.  I spent the whole time they were ringing up her purchases asking her what she used several of the items for.  She was so nice and smart!  She took time to explain to me how she used items I had never imagined.

Also, I’ve so enjoyed getting back to cooking this year.  My family grocery bill has gone down, my family is eating together, and my kids are amazed that I can cook!  The best part is that we are eating so much healthier!

Here’s Tip #8:  Eat Less.

“We Americans love to eat.  You don’t hear much anymore about gluttony, but perhaps we have become a nation of gluttons.  You and I are consuming 20 percent more calories each day than we did in 1982.  We’re eating fifty-seven more pounds of meat per year than our parents and grandparents did in the 1950s…Contrasting with our glottony and obesity, 850 million people on the planet are suffering from malnutrition.  An estimated 5 million children under the age of five will die from lack of adequate food this year.

Tip #9:  Buy Organic

Gardening Principle: Eat Your Own

“Can you remember the best tomato you ever ate?  Was it an organic $3.00 tomato from Whole Foods?  I’ll bet not.  I’m guessing it was one that came out of your grandmother’s garden, or perhaps even your own.  Want to be a gardener of Eden?  Then garden.”

Anyway, as you can see, it is good to read things you do ordinarily read.  You stretch your brain pathways and you find some real gems.

This book is available here:  at Amazon.com

False Advertising

April 20, 2009

I received a mailing today that made me stop and think.

First, through the envelope window, you could see Lady Liberty, much like you see on the tax refund checks.  For someone waiting for their tax refund check, this was sure to elicit an open-the-envelope response.

Next, just next to my name and address, it said “Pre-Approval For:”  (me)

After throwing it in the recycle pile, my curiosity got the better of me.  I wondered who was using people’s desire for their tax refund check to get them to apply for more credit.

Much to my surprise, the letter was from Feed the Children, asking me for money! That was a surprise.

When I see problems, I always try to analyze myself and approach to ministry for similar problems.  This piece of mail raised the following questions for me:

  • Are we at fault for similar deceptions?
  • Do we ‘befriend’ people because we really care?
  • Are we on some sort of campaign, and if so, are we using deceptive tactics?
  • What happens if someone acts in a way that is contrary to our friendship?  Do we ‘drop them from our mailing list’?

Jesus said:  John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command.”

John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”

Well, that’s a lot of deep thought over a piece of recycling.  I have suddenly become very thankful for a few people in my life. I have a few phone calls to make to some real genuine friends.