Stuff I Starred

Here’s a short list of some of the stuff I favorited on Twitter, starred in Google reader or clipped into Evernote:

  • In his day, Billy Graham spent millions promoting himself and his crusades, all so people could come HEAR HIM TALK ABOUT GOD. – Donald Miller in Some Thoughts on Self Promotion
  • Jenni Catron on the difficulty of ministry and work.  
  • I am a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth, but I am not an orphan -Vance Havner
  • Barna data on what churches are seeking to improve next year.  What struck me as backwards was only 6% of churches saying they would definitely work with an organization to help increase giving” but doing so would actually help accomplish all of the other goals!
  • There are only three real job interview questions.
  • Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. – Louis Pasteur (via @tonymccollum)
  • The average email user receives 147 email messages a day.
  • Loved this story about a church helping an atheist. We love to point out the dumb things Christians do – so it’s nice to give some love to those who get it right.
  • “When you say ‘My people won’t do that’, what you’re really saying is, “I haven’t led my people to do that’.” @kevinpenry (via @geoffsurratt)
  • Mobile purchases on smartphones and tablets are expected to grow 73% to $4.6 billion in the US this year.
  • “The Father has so much more for you than just letting you come home.” – George Moxley
  • Can you tweet your sermon’s main point? If not, keep working. – @tallywilgis

Jazz Church

A few weekends ago, I met a church planter who loved Jazz music so much that he was actually naming his church Jazz Church. When I asked about the meaning of the name, he shared a couple of interesting things with me. According to this church planter, Jazz started in one location and spread rather quickly throughout the world.

Jazz music started in one location and has since spread throughout the world. In the early 1900s, Jazz music took shape in New Orleans, and some say it truly began when the first jazz record was produced in 1917. Regardless, over a period of a few years, an entire genre was created. This church planter saw this as a metaphor for the gospel and the expansion of the early church. Jesus stepped into a specific culture, preaching a message of grace and Kingdom, and within a few years, the entire world was changed.

Secondly, jazz is both structural and improvisational. There are only so many notes one can play. There are scales and harmony – clear systems and structure. But jazz music calls for improvisation, intentionally going away from the structure in order to produce something beautiful and unexpected. Again, this is another great metaphor for the church. We know that God is a God of order and that structure and systems help the mission of the church advance. But one can’t put the Holy Spirit in a box, and we must continually create space for new ideas and a fresh move of God.

Jazz music isn’t really my thing, but the metaphors are strong.

Do the Dishes

We have three kids, which means that we’ve utilized the services of MANY babysitters over the years. But our favorite babysitter was not only loved by the kids, she was loved by us because of one very simple thing.

She did the dishes.

After the kids were asleep and she was left to her own, she took a little time to straighten up the kitchen and load the dishes into the dishwasher. We didn’t ask her to do this – we were perfectly content with the house not burned down. But our expectations were exceeded with this simple gesture. This action showed me that she wasn’t interested in doing the least amount required but that she really cared.

And this principle is true for the church world, the business world, and relationships. One of the best ways to distinguish yourself in ANY area is to exceed expectations.

Stop doing the minimum it takes to skirt by, pass or move on. Invest a little extra and show that you care.

A Simple Formula for Good Decisions

All leaders must make decisions. And while there are nuances and determining factors that can make some decisions difficult, here’s a simple formula for making good decisions most of the time.

Information + Time = Good Decisions

Good leaders crave good information.

That’s because good information often leads to good decisions. And good information plus enough time to process often leads to the best decisions.

Leaders become great leaders because they can make the right decision with little information. And great leaders can process information in a little bit of time.

But combine information with time, and good leaders will make the best decision in most circumstances.

If you work for a leader, one of the best things you can do is give him or her the best information possible with enough time to think about it.

If you are a leader, as your team to bring you the right information in plenty of time so you can let it simmer.

Money and Time Are Popular Excuses

One of my favorite question in the world is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ve asked that questions to college students and 80-year-olds and the responses are always amazing. Some people have no clue – other people have specific plans. Some people can’t see past their unfulfilling day job – some people can’t seem to put any feet to their passion.

For most of us, the reason we aren’t doing what we want to be doing has little to do with paychecks or time. Over and over again, we somehow FIND the money to do the things we really want to do. This is why Americans spend twice as much on alcohol and cigarettes as we do on life insurance. And it’s why $4.5 billion was spent on St. Patricks Day. Money might sound like a good excuse, but that’s probably not it.

What about time? If you sleep 8 hours a night, and work 40 hours a week, you still have 4,000 hours a year to do what you want. 4,000 hours is a LOT of time to take online classes, get involved in a community group, volunteer, refinish furniture, learn a skill, develop a hobby, train for a marathon, or fill in the blank.

What if we stopped using money and time as the excuses for not being what we want to be?