Tuesday, January 25, 2011

faster vs. farther

1. i haven't blogged since november.  This doesn't mean i don't have thoughts.  It means I haven't planned a day to blog since then: getting married, moving, Christmas, birthdays, new years.  It's been awesomely busy.

2.  My first day at 2|42 my mentor/coach/boss told me about the value of a team.  The value of going being able to go further with a team versus going faster by yourself.

This makes me think of my junior year in high school.  I decided to fill in on the 4x800 relay on our track team.  I hated running anything more than 200 meters.  I really loved getting out of school for a track meet to run for only 22 seconds-pretty sweet deal.  But when one of my friends hurt his neck doing flips on a trampoline I figured it would be funny to run half of a mile competitively with people who had been doing this since probably 6th grade.

Turns out I didn't suck at it.  But what I realized is in a 4x800 relay you actually run 3200m.  No one is attributed to winning their split, it's a team effort.  And the crazy thing, and painfully obvious...is your able to go a lot further as a team...and even faster.

Before funning the 4x800 I would do sprints.  100m or 200m.  In these races I would run as fast as I could go and that was it, but by the end I was spent running only 1/32 of what I ran with my team.

What I really see as valuable to a relay team is not just the speed of every runner, or even the individual.  what I remember practicing more than putting my feet in front of each other faster and further.  Was practicing handing off a baton.  The reason why we practiced this so much was that it was something that could make or break a win.  If you dropped it, disqualified.  If you ran to fast and didn't plan your steps to theirs...you can just add 10 more seconds.

Passing a baton is based on three key things.
and Trust.

You need to trust in your ability to hand off.  You need to trust in their ability to run with the task your working at.  And trust that you communicated long before about how this process is going down.

If you can't boldly place a task, goal, objective to someone else...you won't get the benefit of being on a team.  If you can't trust them with it..you will hesitate and screw everything up.  And if you never talked about this process...you will suck at handing off goals and objectives.

And in my entire time of being in track and competitively running no one person can beat a 4x800 relay team running on their own.

So if you've been running life's race on your own.  stop.  If you have a team and you aren't utilizing it...you probably realize that you suck at running the race the best way possible.

Take some steps back, have some hard conversations, and start passing the baton with trust.
it helps.  seriously.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

who gives a rip

When it comes to using stuff from other people in sermon preparation, there are 3 kinds of teachers:
1. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and admit it
2. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and lie about it
3. Those who rip off sermon material from other guys and are so delusional they don’t even realize they are doing it
Bottom line: Everybody is ripping off somebody, whether they realize it or not.
Of course, there are sub categories for each of these categories. And I don’t want to rehash old arguments about whether or not it’s appropriate to “preach other people’s sermons”.
As for me, I study hard, pray hard, think hard, and preach hard. I feel my delivery is very authentic and unique to who I am. And I discern the heart of what God wants to say to our congregation first and foremost in planning and preparing the context and content of my sermons.
Someone told me today  they were planning on ripping off one of my messages and my response was: “If my bullet fits your gun, shoot it.”
(I didn’t make that line up either.)

I love when something God originates through me goes beyond me. You can call that being ripped off if you want to. I call it being used by God.  Do you think Kari Jobe is upset that worship bands across america are upset that they blast her song probably every week?  NO WAY (well maybe, I'm not sure)  but if I wrote a song and Philip Craig and Dean bought it, or every church in america was rocking their worship experiences with a song I wrote...i wouldn't be offended...I'd be honored.
So, as one who regularly rips off others, and rather enjoys being ripped off, let me give you a piece of advice when ripping off the ideas of others:
Steal the stuff you suck at.Tap the strengths of others to compensate for your weaknesses. This will allow you to play to your communicative strengths.
For instance, I don’t have to steal many stories, analogies, or one liners from other guys. That’s my communicative sweet spot, so I’m usually covered there.
What I tend to suck at is condensing complicated historical backgrounds and thick theology.  But!  I have an awesome lead pastor who can come up with 5 amazing biblical truths about heaven and hell in a writing meeting and equips us to not suck.  Pinpoint where you’re naturally strong as a communicator (I recommend asking others to help you identify this), and lean into these strengths wholeheartedly.  Then identify what components of your communication tend to regularly struggle or drag, and steal approaches and angles from the guys who are good at it.
This allows the uniqueness of the voice that God has given you to cut through the clutter of your natural limitations. It’s not taking a shortcut. It’s just intelligent development.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


bicycles are incredibly stupid.

I say this because if you just look at a bike+gravity it just seems like an idiot created the device to punish small children with road rash and broken limbs.

you start off with a trike or even a bicycle with training wheel (this makes it a quad-cycle)
both these things rely purely on momentum to operate...you sit...you pedal...you go.

but for some reason we take off the training wheels, we make our trikes into bikes and explore the world of balance.

In the past 2 1/2 months I've been learning, experimenting, failing, and succeeding with balance...ie. being part of a ministry with out training wheels.

ministry with training wheels are safe.
bicycle ministries are exciting...and well...fast paced.

But a ministry with out training wheels can become a tedious task dealing with all the multiple balances that it require to continue to move forward.

the big balance that i see over and over that is a hit or miss with ministries is the balance of excellence vs reproduction.

‎"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward" Colossians 3:23-24

that my friends is a dangerous call to excellence.
work as for working for the lord.
and it's mortal call toward excellence.
we know we will receive an inheritance from the Lord. (die and go to heaven)

so we are called to work for the only perfect anything ever...with all our heart...to please him...and we get an eternal reward after we die and are with Him.

if we strive for this in all areas of our lives...even outside of ministry things will change.

now granted this is an africa proverb...but i think it rings a lot of truth...
"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

to go further with the gospel of christ, to administer the grace of God to the ends of the earth...it can't just be a one man show of awesomeness.
we need to train, mentor, and apprentice others to go further with the common goal/command/commission

but this can bleed into so many other areas of your lives
work as to please God, and partner with others to take it further:
parenting, sales, building a house, preparing thanksgiving dinner...

a one man show will get burned out...but then 20 people trying to cook one turkey can prove ineffective
excellence is important...reproduction is important...balance is important.

so i encourage anyone who's reading this...look at the balance in your life when it comes to what your achieving...could you be going a lot faster but cutting some dead weight? or could you be going a lot further by raising people and bringing alongside other people to accomplish the same goal?

and then....begin balancing it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

new starts.

I've never been the nicest person in a bunch, my sarcasm gets in the way
I've never been the smartest person my underachieving gets in the way
I've never been in the "best shape of my life"  dr pepper and salt & vinegar pringles get in the way.

The thing is, is that I've try my best to recognize these things daily.
Through out my life I have strived to be nicer, more compassionate, empathetic to more situations and more people.  I've tried to focus more in classroom settings and coaching seminars.  I've joined countless gyms and spent ungodly amounts of money on supplements.

In the end I'd give up, put down a book, grab my dr. pepper, pop some pringles, and laugh at people falling.

What I've come to realize is that two things have been inhibiting me from reaching my goals.

passion and more importantly...discipline.

I realized that I like the idea to want to get multiple master degrees from basket weaving to neuro-surgery.   Compete and do well in a triathlon.  And reach out to people more than applauding when i hear shattered glass at a restaurant.

I want these things more and more in my life.  among other things...yes I have desires.

But to obtain these goals I can't just sit and hear people tell me how great it is to have a basket weaving degree and six pack abs.  I have to do things.

Thing is...I try...but have a huge lack of discipline...and thus...fall back into being a well insulated bafoon.

A while back I had a little epiphany when it came to my walk with God.
I could listen and see people who had become incredibly close to God who were so far from Him.
I went up countless times and sobbed at an altar and made rededications and new commitments to my walk.  The thing is, my walk with God lacked so much discipline.

Did I love God?  Yes undoubtably and unquestionably! I was passionate about God and what he had done for my life and who He is.  But for some reason Sunday to Wednesday was so dry.  Wednesday to Sunday...dry.  Filled with mistakes and rarely asking for forgiveness.

I'd just wait around for that one worship song to play...and then connect with God.
I'd anticipate an altar call to respond to a change needed to take my next steps.

My relationship with God was circumstantial...and had little discipline besides my attendance.

I read somewhere of a pastor who would literally pray every morning
"God help me love you more today"

WOW!  In a split-second I was passionate about doing that.  And then I read into the chapter a bit more and he talked about how this wasn't just a passionate prayer about how he wanted to be closer than before.  He had to discipline his day, his walk with God, to be disciplined to the first thing he focused his day on was his relationship with God...so it could begin moving into other parts of his life.

So if you're trying to get in shape...get disciplines in your life
If you're trying to get an "A" ...or even a passing grade...set up discipline structure.
If you want to be more considerate...be aware of your actions...guard your heart and tongue from being a tool of the enemy.

and lastly. and most importantly.  If you want to take some effective steps with God.  Set up disciplines in that relationship.  Even if it's just waking up and praying "God help me love you more today"

be blessed.