Archive for August, 2011
1. Call yourself a “writer.”
2. Make a big cup of coffee.
3. Put on a scarf or jaunty cap.
4. Buy a big notebook and nice pen.
5. Sit and watch people.
6. Chew on pen.
7. Think a lot.
9. Marry a writer.
10. Have a couple kids.
11. Go to interesting places.
12. Talk to fascinating people.
13. Take notes.
14. Get motorcycle.
15. Ride motorcycle.
16. Crash, but not too bad.
17. Google “motorcycle travel magazine.”
18. Write an article.
19. Get a camera.
20. Learn to take decent pictures.
21. Email three editors.
23. Send article and pictures to the one who will “pay” you with motorcycle gear.
24. Call yourself a “motorcycle travel photojournalist.”
25. Repeat steps 11, 12, 15, and 16 for a few years.
26. Write column for that magazine.
27. Make sure your writing doesn’t suck.
28. Approach other motorcycle magazines.
29. Fake it ‘til you make it.
30. Get Honda to give you a better motorcycle for three months.
31. Tell other companies that Honda gave you a motorcycle.
32. Ask other companies for gear.
33. Get free helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots, etc.
34. Ride through eight countries in eight days in Africa.
35. Over three months, write 15 articles about “8 in 8.”
36. Meet deadlines.
37. Write web articles for that cool magazine for free.
38. Pitch pieces for print version of that cool magazine.
39. Meet deadlines.
40. Make sure your writing doesn’t suck.
41. Encourage your writer-spouse to write a book.
42. Make sure your spouse’s writing doesn’t suck.
43. Meet Famous Author (FA).
44. Ask FA to endorse spouse’s book.
45. Get name of Famous Author’s Agent (FAA).
46. Learn that FAA also represents George Foreman and Chuck Norris.
47. Flip out.
48. Help market your spouse’s book.
49. Move back to the U.S.
50. Visit offices of that cool magazine.
51. Try not to say anything stupid.
52. Especially, “You guys are all so cool!”
53. Travel and speak to audiences about spouse’s book.
56. Write regularly for that cool magazine.
57. Meet deadlines.
58. Make sure your writing doesn’t suck.
59. Get a job to support your writing habit.
60. Give up your free time to write.
61. It’s 6:09 a.m. as I type this line.
62. Make another big cup of coffee.
63. Regret goofing off during English classes.
64. “Remember that time when…”
66. Open a Facebook page for your writing.
67. Start tweeting.
69. See which of spouse’s ideas FAA thinks is best.
70. Give spouse a backrub.
71. Ask spouse if you could co-author FAA’s pick.
72. Spend months writing the book proposal and first three chapters.
73. Wait months for FAA to sell the book to a publisher.
74. Sign contract with cool publisher.
75. Don’t really think about it for a few months.
76. Take a week off of work.
77. HOKBOC: Hands On Keyboard, Butt On Chair.
78. Write thousands and thousands of words.
79. Yes, another big cup of coffee would be great, thanks.
80. Also, paint your living room.
81. Add your words to spouse’s words.
82. Rejoice that the rough draft of 43,862 words is almost long enough.
83. That’s 190 pages.
84. Post the good news on Facebook and Twitter.
87. Think good ideas.
88. Write them.
89. Convince people they should pay you for your good ideas.
90. Repeat steps 85-87 until you die.
91. Die happy.
Drink all the coffee you want
- We live in a world that’s crying out for better leadership. @billhybels
- Nothing rocks forever. @billhybels
- If you can’t predict the future, create it. –Len Schlesinger
- Little bets and baby steps make all the difference. –Len Schlesinger
- The world you see outside of you will always be a reflection of what you have inside of you. @corybooker
- Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say. @corybooker
- Catalytic events are never nice, easy, or comfortable. @revdocbrenda
- Pray for a divine mandate, name your catalytic event, mobilize people to go! @revdocbrenda
- Competence is no longer scarce. –Seth Godin
- I’m not a psychopath—I’m wearing a tie! –Seth Godin
- There’s no map for being an artist. –Seth Godin
- If it’s worth doing, why aren’t you doing it now? –Seth Godin
- The world is begging for you to lead. –Seth Godin
- To love is to give, to give until it hurts. –Mama Maggie Gobran
- I’m just dumb enough to believe God can do anything. @stevenfurtick
- If the vision isn’t overwhelming to you, it’s probably insulting to God. @stevenfurtick
- One of the reasons we struggle with insecurity is because we are comparing our behind-the-scenes with others highlight reels. @stevenfurtick
- If we aren’t careful we can become addicted to the narcotic of success and growth. @billhybels
- I don’t know a single leader who ever regretted taking a tough assignment from God. @billhybels
- May God grant that we are worthy to stand beside sisters and brothers standing in faith in the hard places. @wess_stafford
- In silence you leave the many and are with the One. –Mama Maggie Gobran
- We choose whether to be a nobody or a hero. –Mama Maggie Gobran
- I would much rather deal with anger than apathy. @m_rhee
- Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. @m_rhee
- People are either wise, fools, or evil. You must deal with each differently. @drhenrycloud
- It takes guts to do what leadership requires when you’re dealing with a fool. @drhenrycloud
- Humility is the noble choice to forgo your status and use your influence for the good of others before yourself. @johnpauldickson
- Humility is beautiful, generative, persuasive, and inspiring. @johnpauldickson
- Enter the danger. @patricklencioni
- People are hungry for those who will tell them the kind truth. @patricklencioni
- Your job is not to look smart. It’s to help your team do more and better. @patricklencioni
- The only thing worse than someone farting in a meeting is someone pretending they didn’t fart in a meeting. @patricklencioni
- We, the Church, need to become cultivators of human potential and narrators of the human story. @erwinmcmanus
- We need a revival of great storytelling. Whoever tells the best story wins the culture. @erwinmcmanus
- Sometimes the truth is lost in a bad story. @erwinmcmanus
- An ordinary human has never been born. But most of us die as tragically ordinary humans. @erwinmcmanus
- Evil men don’t ask permission to create the future. @erwinmcmanus
I’m totally shattered by these two days. I have a lot to think about:
Len Schlesinger: little bets and baby steps with people you want to work with end up as really big things.
Brenda Salter-McNeil: we need to go to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and we need to be the GLOBAL Church.
Seth Godin: today, you control the means of production and you need to be different. Be the artist.
Steven Furtick: believe God for big crazy things.
Mama Maggie: contemplative humility and extreme service. No easy callings.
John Dickson: humility is beautiful, generative, persuasive and inspiring.
Patrick Lencioni: we need to be naked, not fearing embarassment, loss, or failure.
Erwin McManus: the Church must tell the story better and seek excellence.
I’ll close with McManus: “Evil men do not wait for permission to create the future. But godly people often do.”
What is your biggest thing to chew on in the next few days?
Humility will not automatically make you great. And being great will not make you humble. Humility makes the great greater.
Here are five characteristics of humility:
- Humility is common sense. None of us is an expert in everything, so we understand our limits and thus need humility. Within the Church, because the Bible trumps all other knowledge, Christian leaders sometimes think they know about topics and fields way outside their area. Actually, what we don’t know and can’t do far exceeds what we do know and can do.
- Humility is beautiful. We are more attracted to the great and humble than to the great who know they’re great and want us to know it, too. It’s not always been so. Our research found that a humility revolution took place in the first century, stemming from Nazareth. We found it was Jesus’ crucifixion that changed how ancient people thought about humility. Crucifixion was the lowest possible ending to life. “So did Jesus’ death mean he wasn’t as great as we thought he was?” No, they decided, and they redefined greatness, through humility. Western culture has been profoundly shaped by the cross of Christ. Our culture is profoundly cruciform. Philippians 2:38 has had a profound effect.
- Humility is generative. It leads to new ideas. Humility has been formative for scientific investigation and for business theory and practice. The humbling place is where flourishing happens.
- Humility is persuasive. That’s because the most persuasive person is the one who you know has your best interest at heart. If someone serves you tea, you may be more easily convinced by them later because of their demonstration humility through their service.
- Humility is inspiring. If someone is aloof, you don’t feel like you can really follow in their footsteps, as you’re too different. We just admire them. But if someone is humble and open, we feel we can be like them. They are human enough. Some of the most inspiring leaders in history had no structural authority. Jesus comes to mind.
You don’t need armies to change empires or individuals.
I posted this over at Take Your Vitamin Z.
You need to recognize and admit painful truths: You’re a jerk. You act selfishly. You desire evil. You recognize you’re not able to fix yourself. In short, you say, “I suck.” And you acknowledge that God has made provision for your suckiness in Jesus, his death, and his resurrection. That’s the crazy distillation of my faith.
And so, I’ve been thinking lately how the greatest Christian virtue is humility. It’s the element necessary for all the other elements. It is the entrance, the initial, the primary, from which all other Christian virtues flow, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, and the rest.
So why do so many visible Christian leaders seem so lacking in humility?
(All this has me pretty excited to hear John Dickson speak this afternoon.)
I guest posted on Take Your Vitamin Z:
Yesterday I met Seth Godin, while blogging for the Willow Creek Association’s Global Leadership Summit. Godin’s a walking soundbite. One gem yesterday was, “If failure is not an option, you can be sure that success isn’t either.”
Godin’s point is that rarely do you hit perfection right out of the gates. Success is usually iterative.
This got me thinking about the Church. How much do we fear failure? Does it indicate we didn’t hear God right? Does Jesus lead us disciples (“learners”) through lessons in the school of hard knocks, intentionally letting us fail to grow us?
Kind of brings a new meaning to “epic fail.”
Average, average, average. Mass everything is built into our culture.
But right now—on our watch—is a revolution.
Books, newspapers, music–traditional pillars are crumbling.
Now, there are new modes of media. This results in a proliferation of choice. You just need to reach a tiny sliver of the seven billion people in the world.
We’ve branded ourselves to death, guys.
And what we’re seeing today is the death of the industrial age.
We are entering the age of tribes–a group of people who share a culture.
We’re used to a spiritual tribe, a work tribe, and and a community tribe. But now we can have a hundred tribes. People still meet up, connect up, and want to be in sync.
New paradigm: Connect Challenge Culture Communicate Clear Commit. It matters not if you make iPhones or work for spiritual advancement.
Those who control the means of production, and you control the world.
The new means of production is the laptop. Now the worker owns it.
We are facing the the end of the job, the death of the job. And I can see beyond the job. After the job is the artist. It’s the delivering of a human expression.
Following rules has infected the Church because it’s inherited the culture of the factory–it makes people interchangeable. That’s what makes the factory work. The reason why they want you to fit in so that they (the industrialists) can ignore you.
Now you have a chance. You say, “Tell me the map, the steps! I’ll even take a fictional map.” (Cue the Narnia slide…)
You must be different and unique. (Read Lynchpin if you haven’t!) Because if your boss can write down what you do, you are expendable.
Local is like cheap. If local is all you’ve got, you’re sunk. (I wonder what this says to or means for the “local” church.)
Bowling trying for perfect. Who cares?
Bottled water is a commodity: nobody cares, there’s no way to differentiate yourself. Nobody is going to talk about you. Everyone has seen brown cows. Nobody talks about brown cows. Nobody talks about any cows–except for the purple cow. You can’t get there from a Dummies manual. You’re not going to get there because your boss told you to. Because if your boss knew, she’d have done it already!
If failure is not an option, you’ve just made sure that success isn’t either. Art makes us uncomfortable.
Note: I’m working out some of my own thinking on this. Stay tuned!
“Global poverty is unacceptable. Our failure to build logistics system means we produce too much food, and we can’t get it to people who need it. This is unacceptable. Millenials can’t look forward to a better life than their parents’. This is unacceptable. The absence of opportunities for our young people is unacceptable.
Now what am I going to do about it?
Entrepreneurship can go a long way toward providing the kind of world we desire. We need to believe in the future by creating it first. Entrepreneurs are always doing what they want to do. Given your capacity, what kind of step do you want to take?
Entrepreneurs often just launch from “We like each other, and want to work together” with NO IDEA of what they will do.
But what keeps people from doing it? They get caught up in defining what they’re trying to do! They get stuck in the definitions. It is important to start thinking about just what you want to do next. At the end of the day, entrepreneurs just need to act like Indiana Jones! If the future is unknowable, what good is thinking?
So, just take small steps with what you have.
Start with what you care about!
Remember, failure is just an opportunity to start with experience.
And little bets and baby steps are the key.”
Now it sounds a bit squishy to me—not exactly expositional preaching or top shelf lecturing, you know? But what he said resonated a fair bit with me. It helped knowing that Schlesinger is no slouch. Everything he said springs from proper and rigorous research.
We often feel like we need to have some huge, comprehensive vision. But successful entrepreneurs sometimes launch with little more than, “Let’s go do something. We’ll figure it out as we go.”
Do we wrongfully discard our own desires, how God has wired us? How many people feel they should be in vocational ministry and how many simple must be serving that way? We’d be better off with more of the latter. It’s like that Buechner quote: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
And why do we fear failure so much, even when the actual cost of the failure is low? (How’s that pride working out for you?)
Finally, what are the small things we can do today? What’s the mustard seed of faith for today?
Gotta run. But my brain feels like it’s gonna pop.
Prayer: Thank you for bringing us here. Business leaders, academic leaders. From every sector!
Kingdom come, will be done. Asking you to speak boldly and clearly.
Derek and Brenda in England from Fuller, talking on experience in African American church. Trying to figure out redundant churches. They wanted to learn from the US Black church. Jamaican woman met her, and rather than being overjoyed, she angrily, “Where have you been? Didn’t you know what we were experiencing here? We’re foreign in Jamaica and here in England. Classism isolates us.”
I had no idea. Pastors, academicians, none of us knew enough about what was going on around the world. A defining moment for me about how uninformed I was.
It was a catalytic moment. God used that experience in my life to broaden, my experience to humble me, to expand my worldview.
Catalytic moments are never nice and easy and comfortable. It’s like flying in an airplane, and when those little yellow bags pop down during sudden loss of pressure, we would grab on for dear life! That’s what a catalytic even feels like.
Because words fail, I asked for help from the Willow team to create this video to help you experience a catalytic event. One man forced himself past where others had given up, changing our world forever. He broke the speed of sound! He blew out the windows! In 1947, Capt. Chuck Yeager proved that it was possible. People thought it would make the plane break apart. When the shaking was most intense, he resisted the temptation to pull back and he moved forward.
Most of us have been impacted by economic, demographic and cultural shifts. Who could’ve predicted the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and through social media?
This next generation of global leaders have grown up with this under their feet. They’re experiencing more ethnic and generational diversity than anyone ever before. They are global by default, and they know it.
How have you responded? Has it shut you down? Has it made you want to retreat? Or like Chuck Yeager has it inspired you to push through to a new kind of leadership?
Those have challenged me for a year.
In Acts chapter one, I realized the initial catalytic burst happened in the beginning of the birth of the church. Acts 1:8—you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses…all around the world!
It went to the Jews, to the Gentiles, to the whole human race. That’s our mission, to be the kind of leaders who lead the Church forward beyond the sound barrier, to the globalness of what God calls us to be.
There’s a movement outward. We have to move past one barrier after another. We must begin in Jerusalem. This represents our home turf, our comfort zone! People laugh at our jokes and understand our language. It’s where people are mostly like us. It seems like any decent leader could make a church work in their Jerusalem. It takes courage to be a catalytic leader in Jerusalem. Gotta face our own bigotry and ethnocentricity.
You can get your “Amen!” in with me. You can practice with me.
We gotta face some stuff in ourselves in Jerusalem. Gotta confront the people who look like us, in our own family, on our local church. Challenge the practices and policies of our churches and systems.
There’s a VP of Finance at a university in Indiana, and she is passionate about intercultural competency. She gets it on her president’s desk. She pressed on a committee that didn’t want to celebrate MLK Day! She takes on Jerusalem.
Now, onto Judea—it represents the place that’s close to home but not quite home. It’s kind of familiar but there are some subcultural difference. We can look alike but have different political views. It’s like denominational differences. Somehow we’re not quite speaking the same language. Ministry in Judea is not easy. It requires cultural translation. It’s like and elderly woman being preyed upon by a lender. She was getting foreclosed on, but the church heard about it. They bought that woman’s home and sold it back to her for $1! That’s the kind of ministry that happens in Judea.
But next, we need to go to Samaria—this represents people who are hostile to us! They are foreign, totally other. It’s the neighborhoods that we just drive by. Like District 6 in Cape Town or the garbage communities in Manila or India, prisons where people are locked away and forgotten. It’s the place of sex trafficking. It’s the place of child soldiers. It’s the place of corporate greed. Somebody profits from this stuff, it’s environmental injustice. That’s what happens in Samaria.
You will be my disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria!
It takes a Chuck Yeager to head into Samaria! You will receive power, not just intellectual power but spiritual power from God! It will really be tested in Samaria.
Gender and class and tradition—you don’t have to talk about it in Jerusalem. You can’t avoid it in Samaria! It’s like my friend who’s a priest on the Southside of Chicago! He was concerned about how advertising was affecting youth in his neighborhood. So he painted over it!
We need catalytic moments! We’ve got to have something that pushes us!
Acts chapter two pushes them past the sound barrier. Pentecost came and suddenly a sound came and filled the house. Tongues of fire rested on each of them and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Others were amazed and perplexed.
Have you ever been in a prayer meeting and you look over at your brother and he’s on fire! If you catch on fire, someone’s gonna come and watch you burn!
The Church is intended to be a global movement. It’s both amazing and confusing. The Church is supposed to be so utterly and completely countercultural, so others are scratching their heads at how the Church lets their differences go!
What do the catalytic events mean in our day? The Spirit is ready to move just like at Pentecost in Acts 2! Peter interpreted it in 2:17-18. For us, instead of being scared of the rhetoric we’re hearing. Maybe God is doing this so that people who have been isolated from each other have to partner with each other. Maybe just maybe God is moving!
The question is, are you ready? Are you ready to break through your sound barrier? If so, I have some dangerous things for you to do.
You need to pray for a divine mandate. Catalytic events are something we can’t conjure up—God needs to break in. We can do something. God, what things do you want my org to address? What are you calling us to do? The most dangerous prayer you can pray is to take your people to a part of the city where you serve and lead and ask them to walk around, “God break our hearts for what breaks your heart.” Pray it over and over again. Multilingual, multinational—it’s not a good idea. It’s a God idea!
If you still have courage, name your catalytic events. Stop walking by. Stop tsking and saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Ask God how the Spirit is moving in this context, in our country. We’re looking for people who are looking at catastrophes and seeing catalytic events. Summon your courage! Interpret for people that God’s not dead! God’s still alive! Jesus said the Father is always working. Our job is to look around and find what God is doing!
After you ask God for a divine mandate, something that doubles you over, something you can’t stand, then look for the catalytic events that are setting you up for success. Mobilize people to go! Faith without works is dead! We’ve got to move outside of our Jerusalem to our Judea. We need our cross-pollination there. Convene people to talk about sexuality—that’s a Judea move. Try to understand their perspective! Talk to some cutters—hear them.
And don’t stop there—push past the sound barrier into Samaria, where we’re culturally, socially not in control. I’m not looking for people to just help. I want people who will go learn. Go find your Mrs Jones like Cory Booker said who will lead you to success. Learn the language of the people. Immerse yourself in the culture, even when you want to run back after checking off the box. Brenda is learning Spanish and asking for God’s help in Spanish.
It’s unacceptable, like Dr Schlesinger said. That’s where God is calling you, even out to the ends of the earth! I pray that like on Pentecost, God would rattle you. I want to know what Pentecost feels like in our life! You may be lost up to this point. But may I submit that this moment may be your catalytic moment? This spark might light a fire under the people you lead, your whole Church.
Breathe on us, Holy Spirit! Let God give you the courage you need to lead past boundaries that have held you back! Come Spirit of the Living God, fall on us, fired up! God, make us the Church, the Global Church, every ethnicity, every cultural.
I wish I had a witness who would stand up and say, “AMEN!”