Hey guys 210 Leadership Blog has moved. Come and join us over at http://awakengeneration.wordpress.com/
Hey guys 210 Leadership Blog has moved. Come and join us over at http://awakengeneration.wordpress.com/
I saw this story on Jon Acuff’s blog and just couldn’t stop laughing. It’s hilarious. Jon writes:
You probably shouldn’t have a list of “favorite pastors,” but I do, and Pete Wilson is on it.
He’s one of the pastors of Cross Point Church in Nashville and is perhaps the nicest person I have ever met. In addition, he’s also one of the funniest and recently told me a story I wanted to share with you.
One Sunday night, Pete was headed back to church to preach the 6:00 service. On his way there he stopped at Blockbuster to rent a movie. As he walked through the door, the guy behind the counter recognized him and told him how much he loved Cross Point. They chatted for a minute and then Pete walked down an aisle. Twenty feet into the store and another shopper stopped him to talk about church. Turns out that guy went to Cross Point as well. It seemed as if everyone in that Blockbuster attended Pete’s church.
After a few minutes of conversation, Pete made it to the wall of New Releases. Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder, and heard a woman say, “Excuse me.” Believing that this was perhaps another member of Cross Point church, Pete turned, gave the woman a warm side hug and said, “Hey, what’s going on?”
Looking a little startled, the woman, paused, raised the movie in her hand, and said, “I wanted to ask if you had seen this movie.”
She didn’t know Pete. She didn’t attend his church. She wanted a movie recommendation. What she got was a side hug.
Huge congratulations to Jon Acuff uber-blogger of STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE Blog (a Christian satirical humor blog poking fun at the weird things Christians do) who challenged his readers to band together and do something really cool – they all pitched in and donated enough money to can build a kindergarten in Vietnam (through Samaritan’s Purse). They raised $30,000 in 18 hours. That’s crazy.
Here’s the school they funded completely.
They did that in 18 hours. I still can’t believe it. That’s mind-blowing. 18 hours.
And guess what his blog post for today was titled ?
“LET’S BUILD A 2ND KINDERGARTEN” !!!
Speaking at Catalyst One Day recently Andy Stanley introduced a great axiom that says,
“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”
And then he added something along the lines of “think potty training . . .” to which the audience burst out laughing. But bathroom humor aside, to me this is a truly brilliant statement, because of the great lifestyle wisdom it contains in a few words. And here’s why: in our lives as people we can never grow if we do not change. Which means that in order for us to grow in any area of our lives we need to change. And there in lies the dark and dreaded challenge. Why? Because as people we hate change – and we’ll often go to great lengths to resist it or put it off. But it gets even more challenging than that (and here’s the real kicker): sometimes as people whether in marriage, parenting, friendship, as co-workers and even as leaders, we are often called upon to be an important part of helping those around us change and grow. And so then the next big question becomes, “how can I as a spouse, father/mother, friend, co-worker, or leader help or inspire those around me to change when I know they hate change and resist it at every turn?” And it’s here that Andy’s statement offers us hope :
“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”
In other words, one of the best and non-pushy ways we can encourage and even assist people in changing is to celebrate the things we want them to continue doing or the areas we want them to keep growing in. This seemly simple axiom can spare us hours of awkward confrontations and conversations. So that instead of awkward direct talk moments you just celebrate the little things those people are doing in the direction that they need to keep growing in.
Now back to the potty training analogy for a second, imagine a mom standing over her little toddler telling her what to do and how to do it and getting frustrated, and then compare that with a couple who gently shows their toddler how to use the potty and then erupting in celebration and adulation when their baby angel gets it even partially right. Who would you want as a parent ? In the same way we can assist those around us to change and grow if we just celebrated their little improvements and attempts. Because not only is it true that ‘what gets celebrated, gets repeated,’ but the converse is also true: what gets ignored, does not get repeated. And your response will determine which one they choose to do.
Willow Creek presents a FREE webcast. This Thursday, November 5, 2009 from 12:00 – 12:45 CST Jim Mellado, President of the Willow Creek Association will interview John Ortberg, Senior Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, about his 2009 Leadership Summit experience.
Ortberg attended the Summit at a satellite location with a large group of his staff and volunteer leaders. During this webcast, he will share how he’s using Gary Hamel’s content in his own church. Together Mellado and Ortberg will discuss key insights from the 2009 Leadership Summit, with time available for your questions.
You can get more details and information here.
Here are some more pictures from Louie Giglio’s Passion City Church. Now if Louie saw that previous statement, he’d say “it’s not Louie’s Church. It’s God’s Church. I did not start the Church, Jesus did that more than two thousand years ago.” But you know what I mean I’m sure, astute and discerning reader that you are. These pictures were taken from three separate gatherings in different venues. You can see some of my earlier pictures here. I have to say I absolutely love going to Passion City Church. It’s the highlight of my week. I can’t wait for each new gathering. Louie’s truly doing an amazing job, his passion for the local Church is unmistakable. In some ways I’m surprised he never started a Church earlier, it is so clear he is a pastor at heart.
You can also keep up with Louie’s own Passion City Church Blog here.
Ignorance may be bliss . . .
But as anyone who’s experienced the pain of bad decisions will tell you – Stupid . . . hurts.
“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
– Proverbs 18: 15 NKJV
acquires: (verb) to gain for oneself through one’s actions or efforts: to acquire learning.
seeks: (verb) to go in search or quest of. 2. to try to find or discover by searching or questioning. 3. to try to obtain. 4. to go to.
In this verse Solomon is saying to readers: You want to know whether you are wise? You want to know how you can tell if those around you are wise? Look at how they live.
He says here’s how you can tell: the prudent (or wise) man acquires knowledge – meaning they gain knowledge through effort. And secondly, the wise person seeks knowledge – which means they go in search of knowledge, they discover knowledge by actively looking for it, they go after it.
My question to you is . . . Are you wise?
Congratulations to Speaker and Pastor extraordinaire Francis Chan. According to publisher David Cook, Chan’s debut book “CRAZY LOVE” has sold more than 500,000 in just over 12 months.
There are some successes that are simply the result of God’s favor and orchestration and I truly believe the success of Chan’s book is one of those instances. And I am convinced that this book is only getting started, I predict it’s going to follow “The Shack” as a mega bestseller with eventual sales that will top millions of copies sold.
Here’s the official press release:
“Since its release in May 2008, Crazy Love, by author and pastor Francis Chan, has sold well over 500,000 copies.
Crazy Love is Chan’s first book published by David C. Cook. “We have received so much positive feedback about Crazy Love. This is a book that readers can’t wait to share with their friends, whether in the structured environment of a small group study, through social networks, or over coffee,” says Ryan Dunham, senior VP of sales and marketing for David C. Cook. “At David C. Cook, our ultimate mission is to transform the lives of people around the world, and this book is a perfect example of that transformation. Crazy Love readers are making radical changes in their lifestyles, their giving, and their approach to God. We are thankful and proud to have Francis Chan as a Cook author and of the way Crazy Lovecontinues to minister to the body of Christ.””
Sometime ago I did a post about a free online one-day Christian leadership conference that was hosted by the good people of CATALYST Conference and Leadership Network. You can see the original post here. Over 10,000 people participated, and so did I. I thought it was a brilliant conference and concept, there were some speakers who I thought were just incredible, and not just because of the insights they shared, but it was just inspiring to hear these men of God share about the incredible work they are doing in their communities all around the nation. God is truly at work in the hearts of leaders in a way that I think is just really shifting culture. There were several themes that emerged that I thought was particularly interesting as a gauge of what Christian leaders are thinking and feeling at the moment, and one theme that especially stood out to me was SELFLESSNESS. I was so grateful to hear leader after leader in totally different parts of the country share how God is just at work in their hearts to be less self-focused and to look outside of themselves: to surrender their own interests, status and self-centered desires, and to become more kingdom-minded. As any leader knows this is one of the hardest things to overcome in leadership, the tendency to be more occupied with your own success and status, than the kingdom of God. Definitely one of the highlights for me. In case you were unable to attend the whole event online, the good people at Leadership Network actually posted all the talks on youtube which you can check out here. Time spent watching these videos will be an investment in your own development as a leader. But, like I mentioned there were some speakers who I thought were just so brilliant that I wished Christian leaders would really 1. get what they were saying and 2. take to heart, and apply what these speakers shared, in our own leadership growth journeys.
Here is one 9-minute talk about being intentional about your growth as a leader, and the incredible things that God will do in your life and in your organization as a result, that I think every Christian leader should watch and learn from and take to heart. The speaker is Scott Wilson, senior pastor of The Oaks Fellowship in Red Oak, TX, a thriving church with around 3,000 attendees every week. Listen to Scott share about how their whole leadership team changed when they became intentional and serious about their growth as leaders. (You can see my post on becoming intentional about your personal growth here). I hope as you watch this talk that you’re taking notes. (Suggestion: View it in full-screen mode – and you may have to turn up your volume all the way).
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” – John Piper
One of the things that I’ve noticed with all successful leaders, regardless of the kind of leader they are – whether business, non-profit or Church leader – is that the one trait all successful leaders share is incredible passion for, and commitment to, personal growth. And somehow that core trait is the reason for their incredible success (results) as leaders. They have a passion for growth in every area of their lives -intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and even in their relationships- and especially in the leadership ability. If you ever want to be a better or more successful leader there is no way you can ever get there without developing a passion and commitment to growth in your life, especially your leadership ability. Now sure there are many things in our lives that God can use in our lives to grow us, including painful experiences. However, there is another component to growth that is entirely in your hands. And there are two core truths about growth that you must accept and embrace if you’re ever to see tremendous growth in your own success as a leader.
1. Growth Is Always Intentional – it is never accidental. You are not going to grow automatically or even by accident. You will always plateau. But real measurable growth will always be preceded by an intention and commitment to grow on your part. I use the word commitment specifically because it conveys a core truth about intentional growth: that it takes commitment. Meaning, growth in your life both as an intellectual, spiritual and emotional being, and especially your growth as a leader won’t always be inherently fun or even convenient, and many times you just won’t feel like it, and that’s where the commitment part comes in.
2. Growth Is Entirely In Your Hands – it is never someone else’s responsibility. It is easy for us to read a sentence like that and roll our eyes and think “yeah, I know that, I’ve heard it a thousand times” yet our own lives bear testimony that our true view of growth is largely a passive one. That we in fact view growth as something that happens to us, and not something we happen to. That even though we may say we understand and believe that our growth is entirely in our own hands, it is clear from our lives that we think of growth as being a by-product of going to a conference, or the preaching ability of our pastor and how “good of a teacher” they are. Or we think of growth as something that is responsibility of the leaders of our organizations, “if they want us to grow, they better send us to seminars or give us training.” Or worst of all we only go in search of answers when we run into problems that we cannot seem to explain or fix. Either way, a passive grower is someone who expects external forces to be the cause of their growth. But the difference between a passive grower and an active grower is that as a leader you will switch from being at the mercy of the wind (passive) to engine-power where you are in complete control of the pace, quality and schedule of your growth.
So the question becomes am I intentional about my growth? And secondly, am I an active grower or a passive one ? The sad truth for many leaders who are at the top of their organizations, is that there is not going to be anyone looking over your shoulder to see if you are indeed being intentional and active in your personal growth – but the one area of your life that will let everyone know whether you are an accidental and passive learner are your results as a leader. Results don’t lie, just a like the report card of a student is an unambiguous and unmistakable reflection of how much time that student spent learning outside of school, whether doing their homework, reading and studying for tests -so in the same way the results of your leadership will tell you what kind of grower you are. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that the areas in your life or your leadership where you’ve enjoyed or seen the most success (results) recently, are the areas that you have grown the most in over the last few years or months, whether that is in your marriage, in your spiritual walk, or in one area of your business or organization or department.
But best all . . . you can change all that today. And your results will be there to tell the world of your personal growth transformation.
“The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”
– Exodus 15: 2
Congratulations to David Crowder *Band for their career-high first-week sales of their latest release “Church Music.” I’m so proud of these guys and this huge milestone. For years I’ve been saying DC*B does not get enough respect for just how original and creative (and brilliant) their music is. Undoubtedly one of the best Christian bands around, in my view. So thrilled that they are finally getting the respect they deserve.
Here’s the official press release:
“David Crowder Band’s latest, Church Music (sixstepsrecords/EMI CMG), has proven to be a fan favorite raking in over 35,000 units the first week garnering the top spot on the Christian Retail Chart and the #11 position on the Billboard Top 200. also maintained a stay at #1 on the iTunes Christian and Gospel Album chart as well as peaked at #3 on the iTunes Overall Album chart.
Church Music is the band’s highest debut to date, with a 10% increase from the band’s previous release in 2007 of Remedy. David Crowder Band will be taking Church Music to the masses this fall on a 32-city nationwide tour with opening acts Danyew and Seabird starting tomorrow, Oct. 1.”
Check out this hilarious video of David Crowder talking about the new album.
Louie Giglio did an interview on the 700 Club a few days ago that was just truly impressive to say the least.
The one thing I found truly incredible while listening to him, is just the absolute clarity he has on what his movement is about, the vision behind everything they do, and the Biblical conviction that undergirds, and is at the heart of the entire Passion movement. If you ever want to hear a true visionary explain the why of what he does, you couldn’t do better than to watch Louie share his heart about his passion for the glory of God.
The original video can be found on the 700 Club website here.
Next week is going to be awesome. There are 2 brand new Christian Leadership Conferences happening online and best of all they’re all FREE !!! Yep. I mean FREE as in FREE.
The first conference is next Wednesday, September 9, 2009, aptly entitled “The Nines” (d’you get it? ‘The Nines’ comes from the date- 9th day, 9th month, the year 2009).
It starts right here online at 10 a.m. Eastern and 9 a.m. Central. Here’s how the organizers described this event :
“Leadership Network asked some of the church’s greatest communicators: “If you had nine minutes to talk one-on-one with thousands of church leaders, what is the one thing that you would tell them? The result is a series of passionate and personal messages that will help you and your church navigate into the future.
THE NINES is a free one-day event that will take place totally online. It is designed for all church staff members who want to be motivated and stretched in their leadership.”
I think there are between 50 and 100 speakers total. Some of the more well-known names include:
Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
Reggie McNeal (Author and Missional Specialist)
Perry Noble (NewSpring Church)
John Ortberg (Menlo Park Presbyterian)
Steven Furtick (Elevation Church)
Nancy Beach (Willow Creek Church)
Leonard Sweet (Author/Speaker
Ed Stetzer (Lifeway Research)
Mark Batterson (National Community Church)
and a host of others
Even though the event is FREE you must pre-register for the event. So I would suggest you go here and register now.
The last time I heard there were more than 6,000 people registered already and counting.
The other FREE Christian Leadership Conference happening online is a two-day event starting Thurdsay morning, September 10-11, 2009, the following day, right after the Wednesday that “The Nines” is taking place.
It’s called “The National Leadership Forum” a free webcast on September 10-11 featuring Jack Welch, TD Jakes, Patrick Lencioni, Erwin McManus, Craig Groeschel, Dave Ramsey, Tim Sanders, Henry Cloud and more. A total of 12 gifted speakers.
The Leadership Forum does have limited space so you must go here and register immediately to secure your place.
So go ahead and mark your calendar for next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It should be an incredible three days.
Everyday I get a ton of people coming to my blog with the question, “Is Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS Shoes) a Christian ?
And the answer is YES, to the best of my knowledge he is. Well-known Christian author and Pastor, Erwin McManus, who pastors Mosaic Los Angeles mentioned in an interview with the Catalyst Conference podcast a few months ago that Blake Mycoskie is a member of his Church (or at least attends Church there). Also Blake is very good friends with a number of well-known Christian leaders and well-known personalities, and he speaks, and is a regular feature, at numerous Christian events every year.
So take heart, Blake Mycoskie is a Christian.
Saw this video a little while ago – by the guys who were the MC’s for Catalyst West Coast.
This video had me laughing out loud, it’s so funny.
My bet is that if you’re reading this blog post with this title, you’re probably a big Andy Stanley fan. For many pastors and Christian leaders throughout America, Andy stands as one of the most inspiring and exemplary models of leadership excellence – and rightly so. So given his position as a great leadership model, wouldn’t it be cool if you could personally ask him what books have had the biggest influence on his development both as a leader and as a pastor of one of the nation’s largest and most influential Churches? Well if you’d ever thought that, take heart and be of good cheer, for I bring good tidings of great joy.
Not too long ago I noticed in the NorthPoint Church bookstore that they have this special bookshelf over in the corner with a sign that reads “Books Recommended By Andy Stanley and NorthPoint Leadership” so I figured you’d love to know what books were on that shelf – and I took the liberty to compile those books into a list for you.
Here’s why I think this list is a big deal: it’s clear that Andy is an avid reader and student of leadership. So when someone like Andy – who’s arguably read hundreds even thousands of the best leadership books over a lifetime of successful leadership – stands back and looks at the heap of books he’s spent thousands of hours reading, and walks over to that pile and picks out a few carefully selected books and says, “of all the many books I’ve read, here are the ones I would say you should definitely read” – that’s when I run to know which books he singled out.
The books are in no particular order. Enjoy.
1. Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels
2. Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney – Lee Cockerell
3. E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It – Michael E. Gerber
5. The Creative Habit: Learn It and use It for Life – Twyla Tharp
6. Be Our Guest: Perfecting The Art of Customer Service – Ted Kinni and Disney Institute
7. Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – Jim Collins
8. The 80/20 Principle: The Secret To Success by Achieving More with Less – Richard Koch
9. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization – Peter M. Senge
10. The Five Dysfunctions of A Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni
11. The Five Temptations of A CEO: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni
12. Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It – Al Ries
13. Killing Cockroaches: And Other Scattered Musings on Leadership – Tony Morgan
14. Influencer: The Power To Change Anything – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny et al.
15. Integrity: The Courage To Meet the Demands of Reality – Henry Cloud
16. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute
17. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip and Dan Heath
18. The Leadership Challenge – James M. Kouzes
21. Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace – Gordon MacKenzie
22. The Contrarian’s Guide To Leadership – Steven B. Sample
23. Rules of The Red Rubber Ball: Find and Sustain Your Life’s Work – Kevin Carroll
26. Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us – Seth Godin
27. What The Best CEO’s Know: 7 Exceptional Leaders and Their Lessons for Transforming Any Business – Jeffery A. Krames
This video is so intense. And inspiring. It gives me goose bumps.
You will love it.
One of the cool things about having a blog on wordpress is that it allows you to see what phrases people searched on search engines to get to your blog.
Every now and then I get these really hilarious, crazy search phrases, I thought I’d share some with you from today’s list:
|1. “dell jewish center”|
|2. “quote from the outliers”|
|3. “smile its a new day”|
|4. “fellowship church, grapevine, texas”|
|5. “catalyst conference themes”|
|6. “make god appear right here in my living”
did you catch number 6 ? I think someone’s got too much time on their hands.
Was listening to a really cool interview that the guys over at the Catalyst Podcast did with Rick Warren at the recent Catalyst West Coast Conference. A definite must-listen-to interivew. You can listen to it the here. It was really fascinating, but there was something particular that Rick talked about that I found really note-worthy.
He says that he has a special file, that he’s had for many many years – every time he sees a story of a Christian leader who’s fallen into sin, he cuts it out and throws it in his file – he’s done that for many years now. And he says that every 6 months or so, he’ll pull that file out and read through it to remind himself to live a life of integriy – and everytime it puts the fear of God back into him.
I thought was such a great idea. So often we come across something that makes us think and make us pay closer attention to our own lives, – or convicts us – only to forget it too soon. We all need to be reminded that momentary pleasures aren’t worth it. ever. I call his file the “Purpose-Driven Fear of God File.”
One of the biggest complaints I often hear from leaders and people who want to be more successful is, “I need to improve my time-management skills, I spend way too much time on things that waste my time.” Or “I need to be more productive, I’m really not being productive enough with my time.”
But what I’ve come to discover is that time-management is never the real problem; it’s only a symptom (a consequence) of a larger root problem. The larger root problem of poor time-management is lack or a clear and compelling vision. You see, without a strong vision, poor time-management is inevitable. It is INEVITABLE.
Nothing will motivate you to manage your time more effectively than a strong vision. Nothing. And by ‘a strong vision’ I mean a captivating, almost tangible belief in the promise of a future reward, or a crystal clear picture of where you want to be, at a specific time, in the future. In fact, I would go so far as to say the strength of your vision will determine the effectiveness of your time-management. After-all, what is successful time-management, but making the most of your present. Nothing will motivate you to make the most of your present more, than a powerful vision.
Do you struggle with with watching too much TV? Do you struggle with bad eating habits? Do you struggle with procrastination? These are the inevitable results of a person who doesn’t have a compelling dream for their life. They may claim to have a dream or a vision for their life, but the truth is -as is evident by their daily actions- that that dream or vision they claim to have , is not strong enough; they can’t feel it, see it, and taste it – their blood is not stirred, their senses are not engaged, and their hearts aren’t set on fire by their dream.
Making sense of effective time-management to me, really comes down to what the purpose of your time is, in the first place? What is it given to you for? Either time is the space you are given to work toward your goals, to make them a reality, or time is meaningless – void of any real purpose. When time is meaningless, and void of any real purpose, then it starts to become a source of discomfort and displeasure – even frustration- because I’m stuck in a moment and I don’t know what to do with it. When that happens our only solution is to find something to pass the time, something to distract us. To find some source of entertainment or activity that would distract me from the inescapable moment I find myself trapped in, and somehow make me forget the dilemma I’m in (even if it’s only for a little while). So when my time is void of any real purpose – that’s when I reach for a an activity, a job, a person, a magazine, a TV show, a movie, a youtube video, a restaurant etc. to keep me busy – so that I don’t have to confront the real void in my life – the void of not having a dream I’m striving toward, the void of not having a compelling dream or an inspiring vision to give every moment for.
So when you don’t have a vision that makes your heart jump out of your chest, you will have no reason to manage your time, but rather you’ll waste your time or you’ll become a prostitute with your schedule, letting everybody sleep with your time. Because when there is no future goal, there is no need for any kind of management or stewarding of your present. But, on the other hand, if you do get a great vision for your life, a dream that makes you want to leap off the couch – then successful time-management will be a natural result. And your time will not be something to escape, but something to make the most of while it lasts, because you have an incredible goal that you’re working toward, and you only have a moments to accomplish it. That way your time – your present- is infused with meaning, and brims with purpose and promise. And your present begins to serve your future. When Stephen King was a young husband and father in 1984 he had a compelling dream to be a writer- but there was only one problem: he was a high school teacher struggling to make ends meet, and living in a one-bedroom trailer. But his vision was so strong, so compelling, so real, that every evening he would go into this cramped, little furnace closet they had in the trailer, and he would there sit for hours with a type-writer on his lap, in the blistering heat,writing novel after novel-because there was one dream that had captured his imagination: being a successful novelist. Today more than 25 years later, Stephen King has sold more than 250 million copies of his books worldwide. King’s powerful vision made him manage his time effectively. What’s the vision you need to revisit? What’s that spark that you need to be reminded of that just makes you come alive? Because that’s the source of your successful time-management. Because ultimately nothing else will determine where you end up in life, than how you manage your time. Remember, John Maxwell was right when he said, “the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda.”
So what is your dream? Does it make you do this?
Saw a cool interview on Donald Miller’s blog the other day. Miller is the author of the cult favorite “Blue Like Jazz” that has sold more than 1 million copies to date. His new book, slated for a Fall 09 release, is called “A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.” From what I can tell it sounds like the inspiration for this new release came from the experience of trying to adapt “Blue Like Jazz” into a screenplay a few years ago. Seems like that was a life-changing experience for Miller, as he came to see just how boring and unexciting his life has been so far – and this birthed a longing in his heart to be more and do more with the rest of his life. So his new book chronicles his journey of trying to live a better story. It’s an experience all of us identify with – the desire to be all we can be for God. This new resolve caused him to make quite a few changes in his life, as well as attempt new things, for example, he increased his efforts with his mentoring organization for kids without fathers, as well as a bunch of other things he did in response to wanting to live differently.
But the part of the interview that I found really interesting was when the interviewer asked him about his writing habits. I’ve always been curious about how much time he spends writing, and for how long etc.
I thought it was interesting, that he only writes for a few weeks at a time. Fairly seasonal, in a way. Interesting – every writer has their own habits and writing schedule, so it was interesting to hear Miller describe his.
Here’s The Excerpt:
Tell me about your writing process. Are you disciplined?
Extremely. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog. [laughs]. No, it’s seasonal. I block out weeks at a time, so I’m in a writing mode now. And that’s the only thing that really works for me. If it gets really hectic around the house, a friend has a cabin on Orcas Island and I’ll go up. And it’s a beautiful place, but I hate being there because it’s just so lonely and I like people around. But it’s unfortunately productive. And so a lot of times I have to go up there.
And the other thing is I just have to turn off the phone. I get up, I usually take the dogs for a walk, come in and for the next several hours will kind of wrestle with the book, which means I do a lot of reading. And at some point I force myself to sit down—because I never want to—and within about five minutes I’m lost in the book. I’m really enjoying it. Which is just weird: to enjoy something so much and not actually want to do it. I think it’s because every fourth or fifth writing session is so bad. I can’t get the words to go where I want them to go. It creates a fear that that’s going to happen again.
Miller also posted an excerpt from his new book on his blog – you can check it out here.
Had an incredible time tonight at Passion City Church. Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Christy Nockels led worship and Louie Giglio spoke on “Made To Worship.” Really an incredible night – thought I’d share some pictures with you. Some of the pics came out blurry, forgive me, but I figured you’d wanna see them anyhow.
I came across this really cool song a few weeks ago by Hillsong Australia, off their latest album “This Our God” and I’ve just fell in love with this song – it’s incredibly powerful and really just draws you in.
I don’t know about you, but it often happens to me that after hearing a song for the first time I generally am not all that impressed, unless it’s like a song like Phil Wickham’s “Cannons” that just blows you out of the water, right out the gate. But it generally happens that the more I listen to a song, for a few more times- if it’s good, -only then I’ll begin to love it like crazy – and that’s what happened to me with this song –
So if you listen to this song once and you think, “okay this song’s average, what’s the big deal?” try listening to it about once a day for a few days – and I’d be very surprised if you don’t just fall in love with this song too and go crazy over it – (or . . don’t).
It’s called “Stronger” –
— BREAK THE VISION DOWN —
Unleashing The Power of Personal Vision In Your Life One Step At A Time
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.” — T.E. Lawrence
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.”
— James Allen
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: nothing will scare you more in life than the potential of your own life. Nothing will overwhelm you more than the experience of peeking behind the incessant pursuit and activity of daily life, and casting your eyes forward and beholding, with breath-taking clarity, the possible future that lies before you. To see with fresh eyes the expanse on which you could write the measure of your life. That moment when the voice of God comes to you and says, “you are this, but that is what you can be.” There are few things in life that will scare you more than the experience of coming face to face with all that you can be in life.
This is exactly what happened to the famous Biblical character, Moses, one day. Moses had a life-changing encounter with God, when one day God invited him to glimpse the future that he could have, based on the potential inside of him. The Bible tells us:
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”” Exodus 3: 1-4 (NIV)
In this story we find Moses, an 80-year old man- married, with children, a job – settled. And one day Moses is leisurely strolling along, as his sheep graze on the side of the mountain. Then out of the blue, God shows up and confronts him with what his future could be. The Bible continues:
“[Then] the LORD said [to Moses], “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land . . . So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3: 7,8,10 (NIV)
In one moment God reveals to Moses all that he can be in this life, before he takes his final breath. God tells him that he can be the deliverer of the children of Israel. It’s like God was saying, “Moses, you’ve been a shepherd now for the past few years – but that’s not all you can be, it’s not all I want you to be- it’s not all I created you to be.” In an instant Moses gets to peek behind the veil of the incessant pursuit and daily activity of life, and stretch his eyes forward and behold, with breath-taking clarity, the possible future that lays before him. The expanse on which he could write the measure of his life.
And this is where it all goes downhill- fast. This is where we are gripped with fear, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. ‘Why does this happen’ you ask? Because nothing will scare you more in life than the potential of your own life. It is in this moment that we experience what Helmut Khun referred to as “the true arrest [of life],” and we experience, “[a] total paralysis.”
Just like we each feel in that moment, we see this same angst in Moses’ response to God:
“But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”” Exodus 3:11
“God are you sure I am the one you want for this?”
“Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”” Ex. 4:1
“God what if I fail, and none of it works out?”
“Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”” Ex. 4:10
“God I don’t have what it takes. I’m not gifted enough for this”
“But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.”” Ex 4:13
“God, . . . . please not me God, I’ll do anything else you ask, but please send someone else to do this.”
(By the way, I’ve always found it incredible that right at this moment – when Moses is giving God all these excuses – that the Bible says, “Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses . . .” Ex. 4:14 (NIV) Why, right at this moment would God get angry with Moses? Because what God wants to do through you, is not about you – it’s about those many precious people that God wants to save.)
But the mistake we make here – in this moment when God gives us a glimpse of what He has called us to – is that we fixate on the size of the (entire) vision before us. We are standing looking at the vast expanse – the total vision – and are overwhelmed by the size dream, and our obvious smallness. That is why the key to being all that God wants you to be -to lay hold of the incredible future that can be yours- is to break the vision down. You must break the big vision down into smaller goals. So that as you achieve your goals bit by bit, it will bring you closer to your overall vision.
So how do you break down your vision? There are 5 steps that have helped me to unleash the power of personal vision in my life one step at a time. And I’m sure they will do the same for you:
1. Forget The Vision. First you must forget the vision -not completely, but keep the big picture- the end goal – in the back of your mind, but out of sight. Now many reading this will say “that’s wrong – you’ve got to always keep the entire vision, the big picture, before you.” Well that way everyday you will be confronted and overcome with feelings of fear, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. The key is to break your big vision into smaller goals that don’t overwhelm you with feelings of being adequate for your vision.
2. Small Goals, Small Steps. Small goals make you feel up to the task. And most of all, it inspires confidence and longevity. It will help you to keep going, and to stay the course. So instead of thinking “Oh man, I have to deliver more than a million Israelites from Pharaoh himself, and lead them into the Promised Land.” Take it one step at a time. Small steps like: 1. Go tell my family that I’m going to have to leave to go back to Egypt (for a while). 2. Work on speech I have to give Pharaoh. 3. Pack and prepare to make the journey to Egypt. 4. Work on speech I have to make to the Israelites in Egypt. All these baby steps will bring you closer to your overall vision systematically.
3. No Great Things, Only Small Things Everyday. You have to do small things everyday. The key word here is ‘consistency.’ You must be consistent. It means doing a little bit everyday. Every. Day. Small things everyday. You must ask yourself at the start of each day, “what small thing, am I going to today that will bring me closer to my larger vision?”
4. You Will Make Mistakes. On your path toward the vision that God has called you, you will make mistakes. That is the one part of this journey that you can count on. Things won’t always go as you thought or planned or hoped. Sometimes you’ll misjudge things, you’ll make missteps, you’ll wish you could go back and do things differently after miscalculating things. Sometime you will be plagued with feelings of self-doubt in your own ability, long after you thought you laid that demon to rest, other times you may even feel discouraged, plagued with the fear that your efforts won’t pay off. Moses struggled with these things all the way through his journey. When Moses went to Pharaoh the first time, it never went as he had expected. The Bible tells us:
“Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go,” Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.” That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: “Make the work harder for the men.” [When the Israelites heard this] they said [to Moses], “May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”” Ex. 5:1 -23 (NIV)
But the good news is that if God has given you the vision, then all you have to be care about is this: that God has called you. After all, it’s the only thing that matters. So with this knowledge, be bold, fail early, and fail often. Because there is no such thing as failure, only giving up.
5. If God Has Called You To Your Vision, You Can Be Assured That He Will Be With You. I never for a moment want you to think that you could achieve all that God has called you to be, in your own strength. That it is somehow all up to you and your own ability. You need the power of the Holy Spirit. But if God has given you the vision for your future, then celebrate the fact that the God of heaven and earth is with you. God was even more specific than that when he called Moses, God told him, “go, and I will be with your mouth.” Ex. 4;11 (NKJV)
Remember Billy Graham, never became Billy Graham by focusing on the bigness of the task before him. He became Billy Graham one night at a time, one crusade at a time. One prayer, one shower, one sermon at a time. And at the end of it all, years later, he was able to look up and say “wow, we actually did all that – for the glory of God?” It’s at that moment that God will look at you and smile “it’s because you broke the vision down.”
I came across this really cool video a few days ago. It’s from Ed Young’s video blog, and in it he shares how he prepares his sermons every week. Ed is the Senior Pastor of the 18,000-member Fellowship Church, based in Grapevine, TX. He’s especially known for his provocative sermon series titles like “Forgiveness: The Real F-Word” and “Get Your Fear In Gear,” and his out of the box, creative stage design – some of the props he’s used in the past include a king size bed for his series on marriage, and and a Corvette for one of his series’ called “RPM’s”. All these ingredients makes his messages fresh and entertaining while being fully grounded biblically.
So, how does he prepare his sermons?
He says that he reserves Saturday mornings for study. Basically, he spends Saturday mornings in study and preparation for about 2 – 4 hours.
Some of the commentaries and tools he uses include:
1. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Bible” – he says that so often when you’ve been preaching for so long it becomes hard to know what to say and what not to say in your sermons, for him he says he tends to say too much, when he could’ve said it in a more conscise way. So “The Complete Idiot’s Guide” helps him to keep his messages lean and to the point.
2. He uses the “Life Application Study Bible” (NIV) a lot – it has some cool notes in it and some great bible character sketches.
3. He uses the Dallas Theological Commentary called “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” bu John F. Walvoord – he’s been using this for a long time
4. He also makes a lot of notes and highlights Bible passages all throughout his Bible as he reads and studies, that tends to stimulate ideas for new and future sermons.
5. He keeps a ‘preaching journal’ with different ideas and illustrations that he fills regularly with all sorts of thoughts and musings that come to mind, as an ideabank to refer to later.
6. He also uses the “Liberty Bible Commentary” by Liberty University, that he’s had for a while.
He’s Saturday schedule basically consist of studying for a few hours at home in the mornings, then he’ll go to the gym and work-out, then he’ll go to the Church, study some more at the Church for a couple of hours, then get ready to preach at their Saturday evening services at Fellowship Church. Sometimes he also paints after a time of Saturday morning study.
Here’s the video below.
I saw this brilliant article by Francis Chan on www.catalystpace.com. I cannot recommend this article strong enough, that’s why I felt it was worth re-posting it here in it’s entirety.
“THE FIGHT FOR OBSCURITY”
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)
? and less, and less, and less, and less – We can’t ever be “humble enough.” Humility is not something to attain, but to consistently and aggressively pursue. Each week should be a quest to make His name greater and ours more obscure. When’s the last time you thought about ways to make yourself less known?
Each year we’re given opportunity for more attention. In America, we love to turn saints into celebrities. We love to take humble servants and make their stories “known.” We tempt them to forfeit their eternal rewards to accept the praise of men. Too many fall for it. Being praised is fun.
I was speaking at a summer camp years ago. When I was done, students were telling me I was their “favorite speaker.” It felt good to hear them talk about how funny and convicting my messages were. I loved it. I got into my room and thanked God for helping me speak so well. About three minutes into my prayer, it hit me. The students were talking about me, not God. I was standing before a holy God after robbing Him of His glory. It’s a terrifying position to be in.
I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. (Isaiah 42:8)
The Ugliness of Pride
In the book of Revelation, we have an amazing description of Heaven. In chapter 4, John sees the throne of God. From this throne cameflashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne seven lamps were blazing (vs.5). There are four living creatures with six wings and covered with eyes all around (vs 8. There are twenty-four elders who drop their crowns and fall down before Him (vs. 10). In chapter 5, John hears the singing of 100 million angels as they encircle the throne (vs. 11). All attention is on the throne.
Imagine if one of those angels screamed, “Stop staring at Him! Look at me!” It’s a pretty ugly picture. Who in their right mind would draw attention to themselves and away from God? Me. Attention is attractive. I forget that any attention I receive is attention stolen from God.
Pride is something that many of us fight daily if not hourly.
Every day of my life, pride and I fight a war
God supplies me a little, but I grab for more
Tempted by popularity, glory, and gold
I place myself in the spotlight, and shove God out the door
But the strongest desire of my heart is to die
And no longer preach one thing and then live a lie
I must humbly submit my will daily to Christ
Turn the spotlight away and make this my heart’s cry
When I pass through may my name be forgot
May the words I have spoke be as though I have not
I will plan every step so in all that I do
Jesus, none will see me,
But see through me to you
The Cure for Pride
Not many people, if any, will confront you on pride during your lifetime. It’s one of those allusive sins that is hated by God but not confronted in the church. I was one of those rare individuals who was so arrogant that it moved a pastor to rebuke me. I responded by doing what arrogant people do – I defended myself. At the time, I didn’t recognize that only a proud man would defend his humility.
Over time, I learned more clever ways of making myself appear humble. It’s easy to lie. That’s why focused prayer is the only cure. What I mean by focused prayer is taking time to focus on the One to Whom you pray before saying a word. Try it. Take thirty seconds to think about how you would feel if you stood before the throne of God. Think about what you would say if you had just a few minutes to speak to Him face to face. Then speak.
Nothing cures pride like coming into the presence of God. Read any of the biblical accounts of people who came into His presence. Instant humility. Accountability with other believers is nice, but it’s not difficult to fake humility. There’s something about coming into the presence of the One who knows all of your games.
Humbling comes when you stand before the One who knows everything about you.
“Oh Lord you have searched me and you know me.”
Others can search you and not know you. God searches you and knows every lie. He sees through every attempt to disguise your pride. He sees our secret longing for praise.
Humbling comes when you envision Him as the Potter and yourself as clay.
“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ?What are you making?’ Does your work say, ?He has no hands?”
Try to picture yourself standing over pieces of broken pottery. This is the imagery the Bible uses to show the distinction between God and man. I am just “a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.” It makes boasting seem not only undesirable, but ridiculous.
Humbling comes when you compare your age with a God who is eternal.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”
“Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!”
( Job 38:4, 18-21)
We all laugh when we watch a three-year-old child try to correct his parents. Do you see the foolishness in a fifty-year-old man or woman questioning an eternal Being?
Humbling comes when you remember He can take your life before you read this verse.
“Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” (Isaiah 2:22)
Are you still there? Thank Him.
Our humility will plateau when we stop learning about and focusing on the character of God. The more we understand of His glory, the more obscure we will seek to be. You’re not humble enough. Take your obscurity to the next level.
Be Humble and Great
Unfortunately, too many see these as mutually exclusive. In an effort to be humble, we make comments like “I’m not that good.” For years, I told people that I didn’t see myself as a good teacher. I reasoned that saying, “I’m a great teacher” would be boasting. The humble statement must be, “I’m not that good.” The problem with that is not only dishonesty but a belittling of the gifts God gave us. Humility isn’t self-degradation. Mistaking humility for incompetence leads to ineffectiveness.
Several times in scripture, we see God sharply rebuke those who question their abilities. To question the competence of a creation is to insult the Creator. When Moses doubted his own ability to speak, God responded by asking: “Who gave man his mouth?” (Exodus 4:11)
Jeremiah is told that He has been chosen to speak to the Israelites. God goes so far as to say,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
God explains that Jeremiah was created for this task, chosen before he was even born. Yet even with this knowledge, Jeremiah responds in the next verse by saying that he is “only a child” and does not “know how to speak.”
David solves the problem with his statement in Psalm 18:35 “You stoop down to make me great.” This is what God desires to do with all of us. The result of being filled with a great God is greatness. Only the truly humble experience true greatness.
Check out Francis Chan in Stop and Think, a new short evangelistic film featuring Hollywood production quality, a dynamic speaker, and greatest message in the history of the world! Watch it here. Buy it and share it here.
Jud Wilhite senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas wrote an article for the latese issue of Catalyst Monthly – a monthly ezine with a treasure trove of thought-provoking content – entitled “THE CHURCH: A PLACE TO BELONG FOR SINNERS” that I thought was really interesting – but it was his intro-summary statement that really got me. It reads:
“As the most spiritually mature person to ever live, Jesus stands as the model for what a spiritual life looks like. He remained approachable to outsiders and the hurting. His life reveals that the more spiritually mature I am, the more approachable I am to people who feel far from God.”
I read that and thought ‘wow’ it kinda has some truth to it. For me I know that when I think of spiritual maturity or holiness, I generally tend to think that that would or should look more like the pharisees, than Jesus himself. That true holiness and true spiritual maturity is some how supposed to distiance itself from those who are in the world, that I’m supposed to shut myself off from anything that is remotely secular, and that I should not even be seen in the company of ‘sinners’.
Yet, when you look at Jesus’ life you see someone who was infinitely holy, in fact sin-less, yet he was so approachable to people who were far from God. He even goes out of his way on one occasion, while in a huge crowd, to single out this one known dishonest tax collector and says he’d love to visit his home. Over and over again you see Jesus interacting with ‘sinners’ in a way that was not judgmental but grace-full. How could it be that while we are holy we can still spend time with those who are far from God.
One of my favorite worship leaders around is Phil Wickham. I saw him perform live a few months ago, and was just blown away by this guy’s talent both as a songwriter and live performer. He’s out of San Deigo. Best of all, Phil is the kind of artist whose music gets better and better the more you listen to it. I have no doubt that he could be the next Chris Tomlin if he maintains his current momentum. If you haven’t checked him out – you’ll be so happy you found out about him. You’ll see.
But the good news is that I was on his website a few days ago and noticed that he’s offering a free download of his live worship album called “Sing Along” that was recorded with a live audience of 3,000 worshippers. The album got 8,000 downloads the first week it became available.
Here’s what Phil had to say about this album:
“This record has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time and finally on May 9th this year, I was able to do a show in Portland, Oregon with just me and a guitar and record it. The album artwork is simply the faces that were sent in to my blog from people that either attended the show or watched the show as it was broadcast on my blog. Thank you all for being a part of it.”
I’ve been listening to this album non-stop since I downloaded it last week. I have no doubt you’ll love it.
The album is available for FREE at his website. You can download it here.
In case you’ve never heard of Phil or heard any of his songs before, here’s a video of his song “The Day That True Love Died.” One of my favorites.
She has sold more than 570 millions books worldwide.
She is the best-selling living author.
She releases 3 new books every year.
She never does book-related publicity.
No book tours or signings or public appearances.
Wouldn’t you love to go inside her life and see her writing schedule, and how she works?
Well then this is your lucky day.
Listen to her describe her writing schedule:
“After a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears, the first draft of the book is finished. It’s an amazing moment. When I finish, I look like I’ve been shipwrecked, have worked on it endlessly for 20 hours a day, or even more, and it sits on my desk, a fat stack of paper with the story on it, and it is a major ‘Wow!’, an extraordinary feeling when you finish. I bask in the warmth of the moment for about 5 minutes. I feel good about it. I love it. And after I catch my breath, and catch up on my desk (I don’t even read messages when I’m writing, and eventually stop reading mail), then I re-read it.”
In case you missed it.
She writes for 20 hours a day. 20. hours.
While she writes she allows no distractions – no messages, no mail, no phone calls, by extension – no tv, no friends, no people, no going out. only her and her typewriter.
20 hours. a day.
To me this writer is the very epitome of focus.
What is focus? Stripping none essentials -distractions – from your time and spending all your time and energy on the goal you set for yourself.
I think John Maxwell was right when he said, “the secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.”
How’s your agenda?
Robert Schuller is widely credited with asking the now uber-famous question that asks:
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
I have heard more people use this question than I care to remember – popular belief has long maintained that if you ever wanted to know what you’re truly passionate about in life, just ask yourself this question – and the answer will reveal your true passion.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to say right off the bat that I believe that this is one of the most misleading and misdirecting questions you could ever ask yourself in an attempt to discover what you’re truly passionate about in life.
Here’s what I mean: This question, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” basically seeks to find out what you’d love to do if the conditions were favorable i.e. could not fail. The answer to that question does not reveal your true passion: it simply reveals what you’d love to do if the conditions were favorable. And there’s a big difference. Because your passion is not something you do when conditions are favorable. You just do it. Period. Regardless of what the conditions are.
In my mind, the best question to ask yourself if you truly want to discover your passion in life, is to ask:
“What would I attempt to do if I knew that I would fail over and over and over again?”
What would I attempt to do if everything in my life was unfavorable for me to do it?
What would I attempt to do when even after I attempt it nothing ever turned out the way I hoped?
What would I attempt to do, that after I’d tried, no one believed in me and believed I couldn’t do it?
What would I attempt to do, even though after trying numerous times, I still was never discovered?
What would I attempt to do, when even after I tried, my dreams still never came true?
What would I attempt to do, If I knew I’d have to sacrifice to do it, and commit a huge amount of time to do it?
What would I attempt If I had to go against hell and high water to do it, and have to fight my way to victory?
If others laughed at me.
If others rolled their eyes at me.
If others never gave me an opportunity.
If I was disappointed even after I tried to break in, and I failed even after I risked greatly to do it.
If every door was closed in my face. Every time.
What is that one thing I would attempt to do if I knew that all of these things would happen to me?
The answer to that question is your true passion that burns in the deepest recesses of your soul.
You see, passion is the mother of perseverance and the father of motivation. Passion is the difference between loving the idea of something and actually loving the thing itself.
Because when you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t matter how many times you fail.
This year instead of flimsy resolutions that are more dinner conversation fodder than real-life changes for me. I have adopted a new strategy about how to make the most this new year. And I got it from Michael Dell.
In 1986 Michael Dell was 21 years and Dell Computer was 3 years old. Dell was doing $60 million in sales every year. Business was booming, but Michael Dell was unsure what would come next for the company.
To better think about the future of DELL and map the future of this fledgling company, Michael Dell called a brain-storming meeting in the California wine country in the Fall of ’86, for key company executives and thought leaders from both inside and outside the industry to figure out best to grow the the business and make the most of the future.
They came together to answer 5 crucial questions that Dell himself chose. They were :
1. Where is the company today?
2. What do we think it will become?
3. Where do we want it to go?
4. What are the opportunities that can take us there?
5. And how can we take advantage of them?
They came away with a wish-list listing 131 goals they wanted to achieve as a company over the next several decades.
Today, 22 years after that critical meeting, Dell Computer generates more than $61 billion in revenue and employees more than 82,000 people around the world. And Michael Dell himself has a personal networth of $17 billion, and is the world’s 11th richest man.
I think it’s fair to say those 5 questions are worth all of us asking ourselves if we’re ever to make the most of the future, and particularly this new year.
For me, the answer to all those questions are 2 words: deliberate practice.*
What are your answers to the above questions?
*I don’t say this often, but a few days ago I read a book that has really changed my life and my view of success and my future. It’s worth checking out: Geoff Colvin.
Perry’s become very popular among next-gen pastors, especially for the way he has grown New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, from a few people in a living room to more than 10,000 people in under 10 years, with numerous locations throughout SC today. He’s also gotten quite a reputation for saying things that make people squirm in their seats, at first – then laugh, first uncomfortably -then uproariously. Like Mark Batterson says, “you can always count on Perry to tell it like it is.” Perry’s got the kind of authenticity that makes others feel uncomfortable at first, then gives everyone around him permission to be real very quickly. He is fast emerging as a leader many other leaders are looking up to.
It was interesting to go inside Perry’s mind during the interview, and hear how he views his role and responsibilities at his fasting-growing mega-Church. He simply described his leadership responsibilities as follows:
1. He spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.
2. He does what he calls ‘point leadership’ which he gets from Andy Stanley. Which I think refers to appointing other people in key positions, or to delegate various tasks.
3. He is only involved in big picture decisions at the Church.
4. His primary responsibilities is to develop himself as a leader: his personal growth through conferences, books, resources, relationships etc.
5. His major HR concern is to maintain his relationships with his key staff members.
6. He’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the church.
Some things this tell me:
1. He understands that he is part of the New Spring team, not separate from it, and his key role is that of communicator. As a result he spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.
2. His focus: he knows he cannot do everything at the Church and he feels no personal obligation to do everything. This allows him to focus as a leader on his key responsibilities and gifting.
3. His commitment to personal development. This ties in exactly with a post I did a few ago about The Relationship Between Knowledge and Exceptional Leadership. This commitment to personal development is true of every great leader.
4. His most primary leadership responsibility is to his executive leadership team, or the team that reports directly to him.
5. He guards against ministry overload. He’s not doing a 100 m dash, he’s doing this for the long haul, and as such he guards against overloading his schedule, and he’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the Church (here’s where ‘point leadership’ comes in).
My Observations (And Potential Leadership Blind-Spots):
One of the things I tend to notice with many leaders is, that while they have a high commitment to personal development, many leaders tend to leave organizational or staff development – to individual staff. In other words, staff are expected to be responsible for their own development instead of looking to the organization they work for to facilitate their personal growth. Staff members are basically hired for their ability and skill they already have, and then additional development is not considered the responsibility of the organization or the leadership team. Yet in the top performing companies and organizations like GE, personnel development is a high priority. This is true of many exceptional companies and organizations, including North Point Community Church: development of the leader and staff go hand in hand. That way staff grows as the leader grows and ultimately – the organization excels.
I’ve been reading Erwin McManus’ “CHASING DAYLIGHT” the past few days, and he wrote something about character that I really liked.
He says :
“There are endless possibilities waiting for us [in life] . And much of the life that God longs for us to live is just one choice away, [yet] so much of the fullness that Jesus promises us is lost at the character level. When we sacrifice our character, when we choose a path that lacks integrity, we are trying to take life into our own hands. It is a declaration that we do not trust the way of God.”
Regardless of your political affiliation no one can dismiss or get away from the gravity of today.
This is a moment, a day, a snapshot in history, that is bigger than one man. This is a moment that is not about Barack Obama. And this is a moment that is bigger than the United States of America. It is a day that marks the culmination of years of international struggle, fighting, tears, sacrifice, imprisonment, loss, blood and lives lost. This is a moment in history that was not cheap. It was not bought with the savvy of one presidential candidate. It is a moment that was purchased with the lives of men and women like Frederick Douglas, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and the thousands of unnamed heroes who bled and spent the prime years of their lives in prison, away from those who loved them and those whom they loved – for the sake of equality. And it was purchased with the blood of those who made the ultimate sacrifice: their lives.
It is more than more than an inauguration: it is the realization of a dream. The reward of years of sacrifice and the answer to indomitable prayer.
And above all, it is an affirmation of the best in all of us. Dr. Martin Luther King years ago ran his movement for Civil Rights on one abiding belief: that by appealing to the conscience of people you can change them. And that is exactly what he did. Dr. King believed that if only people can see the suffering of people of color, that they would have the capacity for sympathy and be moved to act. And to change.
And today Barack Obama being sworn in as the first president of color, in the United States of America, confirms the belief of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: that we are better than the worst things we do.
So we stand in appreciation of this day, of this moment in histroy. And we salute this man who is the embodiment of the deepest hopes of millions around the world. And we bow to those in history who have made this day possible, and we cheer along with them, the “great a cloud of witnesses.”
Congratulations President Barack Obama on your victory. And God Speed.
New ebook coming soon by author and personal success expert Michael Brander, entitled, “THE SUCCESS SECRETS OF BARACK OBAMA: Inside The Mind Of One of America’s Greatest Success Stories” available as an ebook for only $5.95. Can’t wait to read this book.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU LORD,
YOU HOLD MY WORLD IN YOUR HANDS.
YOU. HOLD. MY. WORLD. IN.
Even when I fret. Even when I doubt. Even when I hurt. Even when I fail. Even when I don’t understand. Even when I’m lost. Even when I make wrong decisions. Even when I cry. Even.
You hold my world in your hands.
Sorry- I needed that.
If you don’t know who Lanny Donho is, then you’ve got to ask somebody.
He’s the legendary MC of Catalyst Conference, a comedian, but one thing people may not realize about him right off the bat is that he’s an incredible visionary leader who has a huge heart to serve the kingdom of God. As is evident through the work of his organization Big Stuf Camps where they run different camps for high schoolers throughout the summer, and now with his newest project the 4:10 Bridge, where he’s seeking to build relationships with Churches in North America with local Churches in Kenya. An absolutely brilliant idea if you ask me. That vision and courage alone demands a ton of respect.
Listen to how they describe the 4:10 Bridge on their website:
“At the 410 Bridge, we believe that our personal relationship with God is directly proportionate to our service to His people. He has commanded us to use what is given to us to serve His people, and this command is the crux of our organization. We share a heart for the nation of Kenya and a passion to build lasting relationships with the people we encounter there in an effort to help spur them on to change. We believe that a network of committed U.S. churches partnering with communities and villages in a single country in Africa can make a difference. We believe that this focused, single country approach will not only change the lives of God’s children in Africa, but also transform the hearts and minds of the American church through service to His Kingdom.”
To that I say wow, wow, wow. Where do I sign up ?
As I mentioned above, Lanny’s also a hilarious – I mean laugh-out-loud-ow-my stomach-hurts-I-stop-making-me-laugh – funny. Here’s one video where he displays this gift. Best of all, he’s funny even when he’s not trying to be.
Oh, and he’s also the author of “GOD’S BLOGS: Insights From His Site”
So readers, meet Lanny Donoho. You can also check out his blog here.
The reason I thought that is worth pointing out is because Shane Claiborne hasn’t always been too well embraced by many conservative camps, where as Francis Chan is loved by conservative Evangelicals like crazy (no pun intended).
But their books basically say the same thing in somewhat different ways.
In another interesting twist, Rob Bell’s recent book Jesus Wants to Save Christians” seems to be about the same thing too.
I’m not sure if any one else notices any trends. It seems like is saying to Christians that He wants us all to give away our money and move in wih the poor, just kidding. Seriously though, it does seem that God wants to turn the Church inside out from being self-absorbed and internally focused to being selfless and externally focused.
To that I say, right on !
Why is it that it seems like Republicans make the best speeches when faced with defeat?
I thought John McCain’s speech when he conceded the presidential race last November, was one of the best speeches ever made by a politician that I’ve ever heard. And I was so confused as to why he could not have made speeches like that when he was campaigning . . . – anyway. Was watching President Bush’s farewell address this evening and again such a gracious sincere speech where he gently affirmed his ideals that have shaped his decisions during his 2 terms. And again I wondered, why could you not have given more speeches like this while you were still in office? There were times that I had to laugh during his speech though – the man has very ‘interesting’ facial expressions man. Seriously. ‘Interesting.’ Like he must have really strong facial muscles cause he exercises all of them.
Seriously though, I can’t fault this man. And I’m not just saying that, I mean it. Like any leader he’s made decisions that he felt were right and in the best interest of his charge at the time, that have just turned out to be very different from his initial estimation. And then having to face the consequences of those ‘mistaken’ decisions – to me just facing the world after that was worth admiring on it’s own.
Andy Stanley made an exceptional remark last year on the CATALYST podcast where he said as a leader he just cannot bring himself to speak ill of President Bush. For no other reason than what George W. had to deal with that day those 2 planes crashed in the World Trade Center, because as a leader that was an unthinkable challenge – yet W. was able to lead a mourning nation through that ordeal and inspire them to believe in a brighter future. When I heard that I was floored. I think Andy was absolutely right. What a mature and humble perspective.
I saw this picture not too long ago and I’m convinced that this guy is Louie Giglio’s biggest fan.
This guy, I think his name is Jake, is showing Louie Giglio his tattoo – which happens to be a quote from Louie himself that this guy tattooed on his arm. Louie’s taking a picture of the tattoo with his cell phone.
Can you imagine doing that?
Would you ever go so far as to tattoo a quote from your favorite speaker or author on your body?
I saw this piece of news a few days ago, and it just cracked me up:
“SIX-YEAR OLD DRIVES CAR!”
“A six-year-old boy who missed his school bus hopped into the family car and drove alone 16 kilometres to school before losing control and crashing but escaping with only minor injuries, police said on Wednesday.
“It’s not only one miracle, it’s a multiple array of miracles” that allowed the boy from Wicomico Church, in the US state of Virginia, to avoid serious injury to himself or others, Northumberland county Sheriff Chuck Wilkins told AFP.
The boy took the keys to a 2005 Ford Taurus early on Monday while his mother was sleeping, and drove, possibly standing up, “during our busiest time of the day, when all the school buses are going, passing two or three cars at a time, and went over a bridge and almost made it to school” before striking a utility pole, Wilkins said.”
You can read the whole piece here.
I just died reading that it was so funny.
The reason I say Erwin McManus would be so proud of this boy is because of one Erwin’s chapters in his latetest book, “WIDE AWAKE.”
In one of his chapters Erwin wrote a piece that still has me reeling, it was so profound. He talked about being adaptable. His main idea was that on the path toward pursuing our dreams, we will HAVE to be adaptable: when we come to an obstacle or an unexpected hurdle, we need to be able to adapt and get around it, instead of just giving up. It’s the same thing that William P. Young, author of “THE SHACK” did. When every publisher rejected his book he started a publishing company with 2 of his friends and released his own book. To it me it such a powerful truth: learning to be adaptable because we can never control what comes our way.
And that’s exactly what this little 6 year-old did- He missed his school bus and drove himself to school. Erwin would love this story. What an example: do whatever it takes to get to your dream: Even if it means driving standing up.
I saw this line a few days ago on my cousin’s facebook wall and it just stopped me in my tracks, And I’m sure you’ll agree:
All saints have a past and all sinners a future.
I was so struck by the brevity, yet immense profundity of this statement. And it just made me say “THANK YOU FATHER FOR YOUR GRACE.”
Because it made me so grateful that my sin is not counted against me. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that by sending His son into the world, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,” and BEST OF ALL . .., “not counting man’s sins against them.” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Remembering this verse made me thank God out loud that, even in spite of our shameful past, we still have a glorious future.
I think the words of Joel Houston some it up profoundly:
“You stood before my failure
Carried the cross for my shame;
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders,
My soul now to stand.
So what can I say,
And what could I do,
But offer this heart, O God,
Completely to You.”
Over the next few weeks I want to do a few posts on my reflections on Malcolm Gladwell’s new book ‘OUTLIERS: The Story of Success” this book has been the subject of unending discussion and debate in the media and the blogosphere, and rightfully so. Gladwell gives some note-worthy insights on what it takes to be successful. This post will be more of an introduction to my reflections and an overview of my initial thoughts of the book.
It’s no secret that the subject of personal success has fascinated people for generations. We all desire it to some degree and in varying ways, and as such, we are fascinated by successful people and are keen to understand what makes some people successful compared to others. And this was exactly what Gladwell set out to explore in “OUTLIERS”.
For the sake of full disclosure, I have to start out by saying that I DO believe there is a formula for success. I believe there’s a formula for both personal and leadership success. I think there are a handful of principles or ‘laws’ if you will, that determine success, and that if you follow those you will be successful in life: and by successful I mean achieving your goal or goals in life: whatever they maybe. Especially in terms of fulfilling a life goal, or ambition.
Now I know there are many who hold a different view: many believe success is a matter of luck and chance and serendipity (the occurrence of making fortunate discoveries by accident). These people believe that success is the natural result of having a fortunate background and time of birth and circumstances etc.
Well, I don’t.
And this was my biggest concern going in to read Gladwell’s book, because from all the reviews and interviews I read and watched, it seemed like Gladwell’s book would be the death knell to all those deluded people like me who believe there is a formula to success. I’m happy to report that that was not the case at all: in fact Gladwell served to confirm to me exactly that there is a formula to success that can be followed by anyone regarldess of family history, place or time of birth etc.
But I’ll look at more specific issues over the course of my blog posts where I’ll discuss different aspects of Gladwell’s findings.
Saw a few posts this week worth noting:
1. ANNE JACKSON: Blogger extraordinaire.
Anne did a post this week called, “Head Into The Dark…” that was both moving and uneasy at the same time. Anne’s honesty and transparency are truly remarkable. Exhibit A:
“Christmas time was hard for me (for a variety of reasons that are personal) and I felt isolated…it wasn’t because people were ignoring me, but because of choices I made to isolate myself. I felt too insecure to share the darkness I was experiencing. . . ”
You can’t get anymore personal than that. More than 68 comments and counting. Her radical honesty is touching many. Gotta Love Anne Jackson.
2. CRAIG GROESCHEL: One of the reasons God is raising Groeschel up to be a leader of leaders, I believe, is because of his incredible humility, and his commitmmnet to serve others in building the kingdom. Here’s what I mean: In one post this week entiteld, “The Differences I’m Thankful For” Groeschel had this to say:
“I’m thankful for the:
I’m thankful that God uses different Christian Churches as His light in a dark world!”
That’s a statement from a man who knows what humility is.
“I work for a church
I spend the day thinking and processing things that reach people for His name’s sake.
I had 7 meetings today.
Strategizing, planning, and critiquing.
I prayed in none of them.
Actually I did.
For the unhealthy food I was about to eat for lunch.
And for 5 seconds.
I shudder at the tears He cried as I allowed my serving Him to replace my knowing Him.
Lest we forget.
Wow. say no more.
“Yesterday someone read a quote from my message on Sunday which Jenni had put on her blog. The quote was,
“We need to stop playing church and start being the church.”
This person contacted me and asked me what I really meant. A quote of that nature probably deserves further clarification.
It means we need to stop arguing about style of worship and get concerned about the poor and hungry around the world.
It means we need to spend less time gossiping about others and more time allowing God to break our hearts over the people in our cities who are facing an eternity apart from Christ.”
Notice any themes here? For me it’s: look outside yourself. Others are hurting, and trying to be more and do more for Christ, so give them a break. There’s more to life than our self-absorbed bubbles.
In the words of Switchfoot:
“Life is more than fame and rock and roll and thrills,
All the riches of the kings end up in wills
We’ve got information in the information age
but do we know what life is outside of our convenient Lexus cages?”
Francis Chan made a comment in his hit book “CRAZY LOVE” that just cracked me up.
In a section entitled, “God Is Fair and Just” He says:
“God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him. Because God hates sin, He has to punish of sin. Maybe that’s not an appealing standard. But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make you own standards.”
Ha! Say what? . . . . “when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards.”
Imagine saying that to someone who’s not a Christian. “Hey John – I really don’t think you should be sleeping around any more. Because after all, you are living in God’s universe. And when you get your own universe you can make your own standards.”
For some reason I don’t think that’s very inviting way of sharing your faith. But you cannot deny that that line does pack a punch . . . because it’s true.
So, know of anyone who got their own universe lately? Email Francis Chan at: firstname.lastname@example.org*
*not really his email.
It’s official The Florida Gators are the 2009 College Football Championships! Go Gators. The first half of play by the Gators was a bit iffy, but they gathered themselves during half-time, and came back to thrash a strong but unpolished Oklahoma Sooners. Beyond the game, though there was one other star of the evening who stood out head-and-shoulders above anyone else: and that’s Tim Tebow.
It’s just phenomenal the respect this guy engenders from the Gator Nation, the student body of the University of Florida, coaches, teammates, fans, commentators and other observers of football, alike. On top of that he’s been the recipient of all sorts of awards and honors and accolades, including the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award. He’s considered one of the best players in in College football, period. But one particular comment during tonight’s game, caught my attention: when one of the game’s commentators remarked at how much missionary and humanitarian work Tebow has done in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Croatia, Thailand and the Phillipines, where Tebow was born.
But the thing that surprised me, was that the commentator was so amazed at all the humanitarian work Tebow had done so far yet he’s only 21. And here’s why I was surprised at the commentator’s awe: compared to other College-age Christians Tebow is not that exceptional. He is part of what I like to refer to as the ‘Missionary Generation’ that is sweeping America: This generation is made up of scores of talented and bright Christians who are are giving up opportunites to go to some of the most prestigious colleges, for the chance to go to unknown Christian Colleges all over America- and to be around other young people who share their passion for God.
They’re giving up their Spring breaks and Summers to serve the poor in Costa Rica, and to carry rubble and debris in New Orleans, and to dig wells in Africa. And they’re setting a new standard for everyone around them.
They’re some of the most talented individuals, who are turning their backs on the most attractive careers, and are heading straight into missionary work. And here I’m using the term ‘missionary work’ very broadly. I’m referring to the most general and broadest aspects of the term.
But one thing is clear; these passionate lovers of God are a new breed and live by a radical new standard.
Instead of going into corporate America, and the normal hunt for riches and materialism, they are choosing careers as foreign missionaries, community developers who are starting their own non-profit organizations and businesses, and choosing to work as staff at other Christian organizations and Churches. They’re putting their gifts to work in the kingdom in the most creative and innovative ways.
And it made me proud to see these young people get such a public nod, for when the commentators praised Tim Tebow for his humanitarian work, they were also saluting the sacrifices of this missionary gnereation.
And the best part of all? This missionary generation is not only made up of Christian College Students. It includes next-gen pastors, social entrepreneurs, like Jamie Tworkowski of TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS, and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes. It also includes, stars like Catherine Rohr who gave up a career on Wall Street to work with Prisoners in Texas, and leaders like Louie Giglio and Gabe Lyons, and visionaries like Cameron Strang of RELEVANT Magazine. As well as the numerous Christian bloggers like Anne Jackson, doing their thing and showing people where life can be found; and the countless young leaders leaving corporate America to plant Churches and give birth to new cultures. And the many many others like them, who are abandoning the corporate ladder, and starting their own ladders, and their own movements, that are birthed in their passion to impact this generation with the truth.
So, by all accounts it seems that Tim Tebow has emerged as the face of this subversive movement that is changing the spiritual landscape of North America. Who would have thought, you could influence others simply by playing college football.
“WHAT MAKES ANDY STANLEY BRILLIANT IS NOT SO MUCH HIS GIFT OF LEADERSHIP BUT HIS EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF LEADERSHIP.”
What is the key ingredient that separates world-class leaders from everyone else? Or let me ask it another way: What made Jack Welch such a master CEO compared to the thousands of other CEO’s working in America during the 1990’s? According to 3 researchers who study expert performance, the key ingredient is only one main thing; knowledge. Not knowledge in the general sense, but as in Jack Welch’s case, a certain kind of knowledge – detailed, thorough, specialized knowledge about GE’s work and industries, and organizational leadership. In other words, Jack Welch simply knew more than other CEO’s working in the 1990’s.
“The most important ingredient in any expert system is knowledge,” says the research team of Bruce G. Buchanan, Randall Davis, and Edward A. Feigenbaum. In other words, according to the researchers, what makes a leader like, say, Andy Stanley brilliant, is not so much his general ‘gift of leadership’ or his charisma, but “the most important ingredient in [Andy Stanley’s] expert system is his knowledge.” And again, as with Jack Welch- a certain kind of knowledge. Not just general knowledge about Church leadership, but a certain kind of knowledge: specialized, detailed knowledge about organizational and Church leadership. According to these researchers, what makes Andy Stanley a world-class leader is his in-depth knowledge about his -Church leadership- work that he has cultivated over years, through both acquired learning (books etc.) and personal experience. In other words, like Jack Welch, Andy Stanley simply knows more than other leaders.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: As anyone who’s ever heard Andy Stanley speak at a leadership conference can testify – his knowledge about leadership is simply outstanding. It includes everything from organizational systems, moral influence, team dynamics, playing to one’s strengths, open-handed leadership, his ability to communicate complex ideas easily, his understanding of how pride can undermine one’s own leadership potential, to understanding the role vision plays in an organization, working with his Church staff through leadership training materials, and empowering and unleashing other leaders in one’s organization.
So according to these researchers, all Andy Stanley’s superior leadership ability through the success of North Point Community Church, is the fruit of his knowledge: Now where did he get all his knowledge you may ask? From his time at seminary, reading books, attending conferences, his research for the books he writes, developing staff training programs, his personal leadership experience, his nurturing relationships with remarkable leaders like his dad, Charles Stanley, and John C. Maxwell, and others. All of these resources have allowed him to cultivate his extensive body of knowledge. And, according to the researchers, all this knowledge has enabled him to become a world-class leader. The researchers summarized their finding by saying it appears that, “In the knowledge resides the power.”
So what knowledge have you accumulated today? For remember: in your knowledge resides your power.
courtesy of Colvin.
“One third of the world’s population is dying from lack of bread.
One third of the world is dying from lack of justice.
And one third of the world is dying from over-eating.
How do you see the world?”
– Matthew Kelly
a2a_linkname=”How Do You See The World?”;a2a_linkurl=”http://210leadership.com/2009/01/03/how-do-you-see-the-world/”;a2a_show_title=1;
“No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.”
– Chinese Proverb
I cannot get over what I’ve learned about the 10,000 hour rule in the last few days- Gladwell’s chapter on “The 10,000 Hour Rule” in OUTLIERS is just blowing my mind.
I feel like I stumbled on the secret that every genius or successful person already knew, but that I am just learning about. The part of the chapter that just had me flabbergasted- was when Gladwell says that this one researcher tested his theory, that talent doesn’t matter as much as practice, by going to the Academy of Music in Berlin, where they grouped the students in 3 groups according to their musical ability- the A group were the super talented ones who were destined for musical greatness. The B group were the ones who would not become soloists or international sensations, but would play in prestigious orchestras, while the C group where the ones who would have to settle for a job as a high school music teacher.
Then they asked everyone how much time they spent practicing. And what they discovered, was that the A group was made up of the students who practiced the most. The B group practiced the second most, while the C group was made up of all the students who practiced the least. Their talent didn’t matter – what mattered was how much they practiced.
So my new favorite quote is: “What separates men is practice.”
Those who are the best at everything in our world, from Steven Spielberg to Picasso, are simply the ones who practiced more than everyone else. Doesn’t knowing that rock your world? I feel like I now know the code of success in life.
So, have you practiced today? (HYPT)
Hope you have a wonderful day! Merry Christmas.
I have a confession to make: I have not read any of Malcolm Gladwell’s books yet. “Blink?” nope. “The Tipping Point?” nada. I know I know, ‘how could I?’ he’s a brilliant writer and every leader and their mother talks about Malcolm Gladwell’s books and how fascinating he is as a writer. Well, fear no more, ’cause yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble to purchase his latest book Outliers: The Story of Success. I managed to read a few pages last night but wasn’t able to do much reading beyond that since we went out with the fam. But let it be said, I am beyond excited to dive into this book. Personal success fascinates me to no end, in fact I will probably talk a lot about this book and success in future posts.
But I was reading this interview with Gladwell on Fortune Magazine’s website a few days ago that just whet my appetite for it. And I just watched his interview with Charlie Rose. Fascinating.
But the thing that I find most mind-blowing of all is that Gladwell says that with every expert, it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any field, or at a particular activity. You can only fit in about 1,000 hours of practice in one year, on average, so 10,000 hours of practice takes about ten years. In fact here’s the question from Fortune:
Fortune: What link does practice have to success?
Gladwell: The 10,000-hours rule says that if you look at any kind of cognitively complex field, from playing chess to being a neurosurgeon, we see this incredibly consistent pattern that you cannot be good at that unless you practice for 10,000 hours, which is roughly ten years, if you think about four hours a day.
Now here’s the thing that blows my mind. That means with a little bit of talent in a particular area, if you commit to 10 years of consistent ‘deliberate practice’ in other words ‘intensive, focused and with the help of professionals’ you can be an expert in your chosen area. That’s incredible. So in some ways you can be whatever you want as long as you commit 10 years. Unbelievable. In other words, my future is anything I will commit 10 years of my life to. That’s so awesome to me because it means the sky is the limit. And best of all, you can do this 10 years at point in your life. 17. 27. 35. 40. 60. Wow.
We see this truth of the ‘power of practice’ at work in the lives of many of the most respected Christian leaders in the world: from bestselling authors, iconic pastors, speakers, outstanding leaders etc. to experts in every field. For example:
Andy Stanley’s an expert communicator. He’s been preaching at North Point Community Church since they planted the Church in 1995. That’s 13 years (minimum) of practice.
John Maxwell has sold more than 13 million books. He’s been writing since 1979. That’s 29 years of practice.
Louie Giglio is an expert communicator. He’s been speaking for more than 20 years.
Max Lucado has sold more than 30 million books worldwide. He’s been writing since 1985. That’s 23 years of practice.
Patrick Lencioni is one of the most sought-after leadership authorities in the world. He released his first book in 1998. So he’s been writing for 10 years.
Rick Warren is an expert leader. He’s been pastoring since 1984 when he planted Saddleback. He’s book “The Purpose-Driven Church” came out in 1995. So he’s been preaching for more than 20 years, and has been writing for 13 years. Either way he’s clocked in at more than 10 years of practice for both.
And you can pencil anyone else you want to in here and the same truth will apply.
Tiger Woods, Richard Branson, Donald Trump, John Piper, Albert Mohler, Howard Schultz, Warren Bufftet, etc. etc.
Other Principles of Success That Emerge From Gladwell (and I haven’t even read the book yet) :
1. The Power of Environment:
Your environment determines what you’ll become.
Moral of The Story: Guard your emotional, spiritual, intellectual and relational influences. You may need to distance yourself from some people, and stop watching certain programs, while aggressing toward certain relationships, and start to read certain books, and you may even need to start going to a different Church. Because your environment matters. More than you know. I love the way Joel Osteen said it, “If you want to know where you’ll be in 10 years, look at the people around you.”
(I’m sure more principles will come to me . . . I’ll add them as they emerge in my mind)
Well I’m off to Barnes and Noble to get the other book I am dying to read. It’s called “Talent Is Overrated,” by Geoff Colvin. I want to read this book in tandem with Gladwell’s. Look for more discussion of both these books in the next few weeks.
Here’s a clip from the interview with Paul Haggis, I mentioned in the previous post. This clip is 10 minutes. The original interview was 1 hour 30 minutes.
*He does use some PG-13 language, so please be warned.
“Always write from your gut, no matter what the project.”
– Paul Haggis
A few days ago I was watching a brilliant interview with legendary Hollywood screenwriter Paul Haggis.
Paul is one of the most successful screenwriters ever to apply his craft in tinsel town. He is the first screenwriter, since 1950, to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back – Million Dollar Baby (2004), and Crash (2005). For Crash, he also won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Just to give you a sense of his accomplishments:
He was the co-creator of the cult classic Walker, Texas Ranger. He’s written for shows like Thirtysomething, Who’s The Boss, L.A. Law, Different Strokes and a host of others.
He has written films in almost every major genre. He wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eatwood breakouts Flags of Our Fathers, and Letters From Iwo Jima. In addition to Crash and Million Dollar Baby, he also wrote the screenplays for the international box office blockbusters, Casino Royale and the recently released Quantum of Solace. He’s also currently writing the screenplay for the latest Terminator movie to be released 2009 Terminator Salvation.
So it’s fair to say he is one of the best writers in Hollywood working today.
During the interview Haggis made a statement that I thought was incredibly profound about how to achieve successful writing. Haggis mentioned that he sold both Million Dollar Baby and Crash on spec (short for ‘speculation’). Just so you know: there are basically three ways you sell a screenplay in Hollywood –
1. A studio comes to a writer and say “hey we have a movie idea, but we’d like you to write a screenplay for it.” or
2. A writer goes to a studio with a movie idea (but he hasn’t written the screenplay yet) and he pitches the idea and tells them he can write the script in 3 or 6 months. And they’ll buy the movie from him without the screenplay. or
3. A writer just goes home and writes a screenplay on his own without ever talking to a studio, and then when it’s done he gives it to studios to see if they’d be interested. That’s what they mean by writing on ‘spec.’ (By the way selling a script on spec is one of the hardest ways to sell a script)
So during the interview, the interviewer says to him : “that’s incredible that you wrote both Crash and Million Dollar Baby on spec and you won an Oscar for both of them . . .”
And Haggis answers: “Well, I could have said to myself ‘what kind of movies can I write that I know studios would be interested in’, but I chose not to. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write something that meant something to me.”
Then he continues, “I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes writers make, when they write something. Whenever I go speak at colleges or schools and I give the speech about how you should always write from the heart, someone will always raise their hand and ask ‘What kind of movies are studios looking for?” And I tell them ‘no stop, stop, – stop thinking that right now. The really good producers aren’t looking for that anyway. They’re looking for an individual voice. They’re looking for a fresh story that moves them. And if you start asking yourself ‘what do studios want, and write that – Then you’re never going to reach down to that great place where you discover great stories.
And sadly a lot of agents do that too – where they say to their clients, “Oh, this is what studios are looking for” – But I don’t think if writers write that, the studios will find that in you. It’s sort of happenstance that they find that.
You’ve got to resist the temptation to do something for the wrong reasons like money or what others want. You have to know that what you do is something that you care about and you want to say something about. Always write from your gut no matter what they project is – always believe that question you’re asking yourself is worth answering or trying to answer. That it is worth it (or important) to you personally.” (paraphrased)
I think he’s words are not only limited to screenwriting. I believe it applies to every form of creativity and art. Whether you’re an author of both fiction and non-fiction, or whether you’re a speaker or a pastor, or a musician or song writer or an entrepreneur or filmmaker or even a blogger – No matter what it is you do – I believe Paul’s words are critical to remember as you seek to create something for the world.
In some ways I believe whatever project you’re getting ready to do- the book, the novel, the song, the sermon, the blog post, the film – has to choose you. Something that screams at you from the inside, instead of being concerned what other people would like or want. You have to find that creative core that comes from your heart, your passion, your unshakeable conviction about something.
Why is this important? Because every artist – whether you’re a writer, musician, leaders, pastor or painter – wants to be successful at what they do. And often our desire for success clouds are judgment and creativity. Because we begin to ask ourselves, “what have others done that’ve became successful,” or “what can I do that others will like?” When really, we should be true to what we care most about.
Of course, the risk is that some people will not care about what you care about – many may not particularly go crazy over your song, or novel or book or sermon. But you have to be true to yourself.
2 people that come to mind when I think about this principle are: Louie Giglio and John C. Maxwell. Both of these succesful people have been true to what they are most passionate about. Everything Louie does comes from that creative core of his passion for God and making Him famous in the earth. Everything John Maxwell does comes from that central core and passion of leadership and personal development.
So, how do you know what you are supposed to create? Look inside and ask yourself: What do I care about most? What am I most passionate about? What would I do if I did not think what other people wanted or would like? Those questions will lead you to that creative core – that will unlock your creative potential.
Think of Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, Margaret Feinberg, Andy Stanley and even Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS SHOES – they all do their art, their creativity, from the center of their passion.
So what are your passions that drive you deep inside? Because I believe those are an indication of what your mark should be in the world.
“As artists, we have to be brave. If we aren’t brave, we aren’t artists.”
This past Saturday Jess and I attended “MarriedLife Live Goes Christmas” at North Point Community Church. It was a fun night of music and inspiration.
A surprise appearance was made by Lanny Donoho, founder of BigStuf Camps etc., and Catalyst Conference EMCEE extraordinaire, who showed up with his Daraja Children’s choir. They rocked the house with songs like “Mighty To Save” and “God of Wonders.” In minutes people were on their feet giving them a standing ovation.
But just as I began to think that was the highlight of the evening, a few minutes later, the host for the evening Brian Helsby, comes up to read a short story he had written called “Glorious Interruption”, and of course at first I’m like “interesting choice of entertainment,” but he comes up on stage and the santuary is darkened, and he’s reading this story, and within minutes he has the whole audience riveted to his every word, and I mean this story is just incredible, and slowly he concludes the reading. Then this worship leader comes up to sing, this guy I don’t know or ever heard of, turns out his name is Casey Darnell and he has a blog.
But this dude comes up and starts singing a song also entitled “Glorious Interruption” as a tie-in with the short story. AND WOW !!!!!! . . . . . . . this song is INCREDIBLE, it is just unbelievable. Turns out Casey wrote it a few weeks before, – and it just blew my mind.
Well as a gift, MarriedLife Live made both the short story and song available for download FREE at their website.
Go there NOW and DOWNLOAD IT. You HAVE TO Download this song now, it’s 100% free. Just right-click and save target as (if you use a pc).
The song begins around the last 4 minutes and 30 seconds of the download – I have no doubt it’s going to be one of your favorite Christmas songs period. DOWNLOAD IT NOW!
Just to give you as an insight into Casey’s musical and lyrical genius – this is what he says about how he came to write it on his blog – December 2008 he writes:
“So way back a couple months ago…i had a request from my good friend Ted Lowe to write a Christmas song for Married Life Live. Really just an idea to see what would come of it.”
That was in December.
His original post about this in October was simply:
So i have an assignment to write a christmas song for an upcoming event at Northpoint.
The direction is for the song to be about the relationship between Mary and Joseph and the difficult situation they were in when they found out about Jesus “interruption” in their plans.
Some reflection on what that must have been like and some moments of how Glorious it ended up being as they brought the messiah into the world.
A trad off of their plans for His, their dreams of marriage and life together for His, all their hopes replaced by their only hope….a glorious interruption by the son of God.
so any ideas?
I got some things in the cooker….feel free to make some suggestions, if i use your idea i will give you credit no worries! 😉
Out of this humble beginning was born this diamond. Unbelievable.
I’m sure you’ll love “Glorious Interruption”
One of the things I absolutely love is creativity, and especially to see uber talented people use their gifts in the Church and for the glory of God.
This one designer, Barton Damer, does exactly that – working with Churches and Christian media companies. Beautiful picture of the body of Christ being, “Many gifts but One body.”
I have a truth to reveal.
I am a people watcher. I thrive on looking at the lives of other people who just blow my mind and inspire me to be great in this generation.
I love reading autobiographies, biographies, memoirs and biographical documentaries and books that are about the lives of people especially high achievers, business icons, leadership experts etc.. I read wikipedia pages of people everyday, all day.
Nothing inspires me more than the life example of other world changers.
Here Are Some of The People Who’s Lives I Watch or Continue To Study:
1. Rick Warren
2. John Maxwell
3. R. Albert Mohler Jr.
4. Billy Graham (& Franklin Graham))
4. Louie Giglio
5. Shane Claiborne
6. Richard Branson
7. Michael Dell
8. Charlie Wilson
9. Dave Ferguson
And I’m sure I’ll think of others after this post . . .
Who are the people you look to for inspiration and who inspire you to be great?
One of the most fascinating people to me is music mogul Russell Simmons.
Russell was one of the pioneers of the hip hop movement and a pioneer in leveraging celebrity brands for non-music related entrepreneurial investments. Out of his music success he has since ventured into developing his own clothing line “Phat Farm” as well as numerous other media and film ventures.
In fact, in 2007 USA Today named Russell Simmons one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 20 Years,” calling him a “hip-hop pioneer” for his groundbreaking vision that has influenced music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy.
But even though I had heard about Simmons in the past – he officially became a subject of great interest to me after I watched a documentary where he talked about what he believes are some essential principles for success in life.
He made a statement that-even though it is a cliche-for the first time made the words come alive to me: He said that in order for a person to become successful in life, “You have to believe in yourself, because no one else will.” He explained his statement by saying that he had never dreamed of becoming a ‘pioneer’ of hip hop music, but that he was basically forced into it.
He and his partners had gone to every record label they could find, to put out their CD’s but no one wanted to have anything to do with this new and unfamiliar genre of music. As a result he decided to start a record label to put out the records himself. That was how they came to create Def Jam Records. Because no one believed in him. And therefore, he had to believe in himself.
Now you understand why I say his words just came alive to me. To me hip hop in his life, is a metaphor for any goal or dream we may have in our own lives.
All that was just the intro to my post. Here’s what I actually wanted to say-
A few days ago, I read an excerpt of his book, “Do You” (weird title, I know – for those who don’t know Simmons is a Buddhist – and of course I’m not trying to promote those values here, nor do I agree with any of them) – But anyway, I read an excerpt recently, and one of his paragraphs really spoke to me – and I thought it was worth sharing here.
He writes, “In my experience, there’s only one thing that will always steer you toward success: That’s to have a vision and to stick with it.”
He adds, “Once I have a vision for a new venture, I’m going to ride that vision till the wheels come off. There are always going to be bumps in the road, but I try not to let them faze me. In fact my greatest successes started as visions that very few other people believed in. No one in the music industry, and I mean no one, believed in Def Jam Records at first. Just like how 15 years later, no one thought a hip hop clothing company called “Phat Farm” would make it.
But in both cases, I was able to ignore the naysayers because my vision for those companies was so strong. And it’s not just me. From Microsoft to CNN to Roc-A-Fella Records, many successful businesses started as a vision in the mind of the dreamer. Of course, we all have dreams. The difference is that Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and Jay Z, believed in their dreams so strongly that they refused to quit until those dreams became a reality. Those guys didn’t win because they had an MBA, or wrote the best business plan, or read The Wall Street Journal with their coffee every morning. They won because they had the strongest visions. Following your vision will always lead to success.”
Now, by this time I’m rejoicing, because I love just being reminded of this powerful truth, but then he says something else, which to me is almost more powerful.
He adds: “When sailors used to get lost in a storm, they’d always look to the North Star for guidance. They could use that star to help them get their bearings because it never moved in the sky. You have to use your vision the same way. Whenever you face obstacles or hurdles in life, look to your vision. As long as you’ve frozen it in your mind and it never moves, you’ll know which direction to go in. As long as you never lose sight of your vision, you’ll never lose sight of success either.”
I don’t know about you, but those words really speak to me. It’s so easy for us to get discouraged and upset when things don’t go our way, or it seems like everything is going wrong in our lives, and nothing seems to be coming together. Yet it’s especially during those times that it’s important to remember your vision.
What is that vision that God has placed on your heart? What is that promise you carry around deep inside your soul? What is that secret hope you hide in your heart?
That vision, that dream, is more than a mental picture, it’s more than just wishful thinking. It’s a promise of what your future can be like, based on the potential inside of you.
I don’t know exactly what you may be going through, or what thing you are carrying, but know this – that vision God has given you of your future – is a beacon of hope that God has placed in your life to remind you that He hasn’t forgotten you, nor that He doesn’t see what’s going on with you. Because it’s through that vision that God speaks to you and reassures you- to bring you hope even even when it seems like your whole world is falling apart.
I won’t pretend to know what you’re thinking
I can’t begin to know what you’re going through
I won’t deny the pain that you’re feeling
But I’m gonna try and give a little hope to you
Just remember what I’ve told you
There’s so much you’re living for
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel
Shinin’ bright at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
So keep holdin’ on
You’ve got your disappointments and sorrows
You ought to share the weight of that load with me
Then you will find that the light of tomorrow
Brings a new life for your eyes to see
So remember what I’ve told you
There’s so much you’re living for
There’s a light at the end of this tunnel
Shinin’ bright at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
I saw this verse over at my buddy Scott’s blog.
And I just fell in love. It was like walking past a garden briskly, and you see this one flower and you stop and turn and walk over and lean over to smell it – and “ahhhhh . . . ” you just have to take a moment and savor this beautiful discovery.
Proverbs 27:9 : “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”
That verse just sparkles for me.
Think about it: Your pleasantness toward others springs from your attention to them, your concern, and genuine interest in them, and your counsel: your conversation, your kind words, your willingness to share from your heart (letting down the mask, and being vulnerable) and sharing your wisdom with them.
It’s remarkable that your kind word, or smile can make someone’s day.
And it’s profound to realize that your and my pleasantness springs from the genuine care we have toward others. Remember, it’s not your counsel.
Your pleasantness springs from your earnest counsel. (committed, dedicated, keen, diligent, thoughtful, heartfelt, sincere,
genuine, passionately, wholeheartedly.)
“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”
Who’s heart have you warmed lately?
As someone wise once said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
“Lord, please help me to bring pleasantness into the lives and hearts of those around me. Allow me to be that flower that just makes their day.”
Today I prayed a short prayer: “Lord forgive me for reducing You.”
This is an on-going issue for me. You see, I’m a very meticulous person: I want to have everything, including my life, planned to the very last detail. I hate not being in control of things.
As a result I subtly squeeze God out of my plans, my head and my heart. I begin to believe that everything’s up to me – I become anxious, stressed, worried and frustrated.
All the while I forget that there’s a God who loves me more than I love myself, and who holds heaven and earth in his palm.
When I focus on myself, my abilities, my skills, my resources I reduce God. Failing to give Him the reverence and honor and praise that He deserves.
When we reduce God-
We get discouraged.
We get depressed.
We worry and we get bent out of shape.
We go down all kinds of dead-end paths, as we try to accomplish everything ourselves.
We lose sight of the greatest truth of all: That our God is a mighty God. He’s a God who saves. He holds all power and authority in His hands. He’s the One who holds the stars in the sky and looks after the fish in the vast ocean. A God who’s in control of our lives and the world, at the same time. Our God is the One whose eyes go to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are set on Him.
All the while God is saying to us : Look at Me. Look at what I can do . . . Just LOOK UP.
Because when we look up, and we behold His splendor and majesty and glory, we would not-No, I take that back-we COULD NOT- reduce Him.
One of the best-kept secrets on television, in my view, is a show that airs every Thursday at 10 p.m. on the Sundance Channel, called Iconoclasts.
Basically, in each episode, two very different celebrities or icons get together and hang out for a few days and each gets a tour of the other’s life and work and background. It’s a rare, honest look into the lives of these great achievers and icons. I love every minute of it. And I can’t wait for Thursdays to arrive, so I can watch the new episode for each week.
Well this past week they paired Noble Peace Prize winner and international human rights activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Sir Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group of Companies.
And about 45 minutes into the 1 hour episode, Bishop Tutu asks Richard Branson, “So, say I’m a young man and I see you on TV and in the media and I come to you and I say Sir Richard what must I do in order to be successful?” and before Branson answer’s I say to myself – from what I’ve read about him, I think the secret to his success is that he’s always had the guts to not only see opportunity but act on it and take risks.
Then Branson answers and he gives a run-of-the-mill answer “well, I’d say money is not the most important thing, find something you love and something you can use to make a difference.”
But it’s obvious that answer isn’t good enough and Bishop Tutu shoots back, “what would you have done if you had never been successful?”
And Richard Branson says, “well I always believed that as long as I tried . . . (I’d be successful) . . .”
Then he adds, “I’m not the sort of person who fears failure.”
When I heard that I didn’t know if I should jump in the air, shout for joy or cry. I nearly fell off my chair.
Did you get those pearls of wisdom, and insight into the mind of one of the greatest business visionaries and business icons of this generation?
He says, “I believe I would have been successful as long as I tried.”
Then he says, “I’m not the sort of person who fears failure.”
Did you get that : “I’M NOT AFRAID OF FAILURE.”
How many of us can say that?
Rather we say “If only I had blank _______ then I would.”
“I would try blank ______ but.”
And no matter how we choose to label it, all our excuses comes down to our fear of failure. All the while we stare at the opportunity in front of us, but we’re afraid to jump, – AFRAID.
AFRAID to take hold of our future.
AFRAID to be all we can be.
AFRAID that we might fail.
Think of the incredible visionaries in the Church who’ve done great things for God.
Billy Graham, Louie Giglio, Rick Warren – anyone else you want to pencil in there –
Why were they able to be great in this generation?
BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT AFRAID TO ACT. They were not afraid to be wrong, to be humiliated, to make mistakes. To fail.
Why is this important to us as Christians? I’m glad you asked. Because we are individuals created in the image of God, created for glorious destinies. But the biggest misconception about destiny is that destiny is a matter of chance. Fate. Irrevocable. That if it’s meant to happen it will.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You see, destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not something that happens to you, it’s something you chase after.
Something you fight for.
A vision you sacrifice for.
An ideal you strive for.
You don’t wake up one morning and find yourself in your destiny. No you run after it, you fight for it. You climb for it. You pursue it. You grab on to it.
How long will you continue to let the fear of failure hold you back from that vision, that job, that ministry, that life change, that Church, that girl, that guy, that business, that dream you carry in your heart?
When was the last time you looked at opportunity in your life and said, like one of Branson’s book titles, “Screw It. Let’s Do It.”
a2a_linkname=”WHY RICHARD BRANSON MAKES ME WANNA BE GREAT IN THIS GENERATION: Inside One Billionaire’s Secret To Success “;a2a_linkurl=”http://210leadership.com/2008/12/01/why-sir-richard-branson-makes-me-wanna-be-great-in-this-generation-inside-one-billionaires-secret-to-success/”;
It’s always a great thing to reflect on the things you’re most grateful for in life. Here are my 5 blessings I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving:
1. I’m grateful for the love of my life. My confidant, my best friend, my wife, Jessica. I never thought it was possible to love someone else as profoundly as I love her. She is my world.
2. I’m grateful for the inexhaustible, incomprehensible, never-ending GRACE of my Savior. There’s a prayer I wrote that I wish to become the prayer of praise for my life : EVEN WHEN I SIN AND FALL AND DISGRACE YOU AND SHAME MYSELF I WILL STILL Hold my hands high in awe of You Oh God, the One who gave His life for Me. I want to thank you for looking at me, even in my frail state and still choosing to use me and allow me to use these gifts you have given me. You are the reason I live, and breathe. This is all for You Lord. My life, this flawed sacrifice. It is all for you.
3. I’m grateful for my parents. Words can never describe how much I love my mom and dad. And I thank God daily for this incredible, tangible portrayal of unconditional love in my life.
4. I’m grateful for my gifts and passions that burns brightly within my soul.
5. I’m grateful for knowledge and wisdom, and the ability to build my life on the unfailing principles of my Heavenly Father who loves me more than I love myself.
I had a real God moment this past Friday.
Diane Sawyer from “Good Morning America” did an interview on 20/20 last Friday, with the call girl that brought down the former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer. I was angry that she was even given a half an hour in free marketing and publicity on national TV.
I hated the fact that while Gov. Spitzer’s life has been irrevocably reuined and he’s brutally condemned by his state and other on-lookers, this girl -this prostitute- has now been made into a celebrity, and for what? For being a prostitute. Since the fiasco, she’s turned down all sorts of offers that could’ve netted her millions of dollars in personal profits. She’s been hounded by national media outlets,including TV and radio and magazines, for all sorts of interviews and profiles.
Yet Eliot Spitzer will never fully gain his life back, and he’ll never be trusted as a leader again, and for the next 20 years will remembered with this big black stain all over his legacy.
But to top it all off, what angered me most, was that this girl came on TV and made herself look like the victim in all of this. After all, she shared that her boyrfriend had just broken up a few months before the big scandal, that she dropped out of high school, and that she didn’t want to be a waitress any more so she decided to become a call girl. Bare in mind, she implored tearfully, she was terrified of meeting strange men. She’s a victim, even after she posed for a NY newspaper just a few days after the news broke.
And it upset me that so many people watching the interview will be charmed by her and even embrace her, while still wishing they could have the honor of throwing Spitzer into the lake of fire themselves. It angered me that our culture has these double standards.
And I felt for this fallen leader.
Then it hit me: who am I to judge this girl? Who am I to condemn her and point out her obvious sin. My mind went back to story in the Bible (John eight) where Jesus speaks to the woman caught in adultery. Remember, a Jewish mob brings a woman whom they had just caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus. Under the law of Moses, she was to be stoned to death for this evil deed. And Jesus standing there, the perfect son of God, the one who’s truly worthy to judge her says to the crowd,
“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (vs.8) What a powerful answer. No one saw that coming. They were caught by surprised, and confronted with their own hypocrisy, their own sinfulness, and their own need for a savior.
I love the next verse: “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one . . .” (vs. 9)
And just when you think it’s all over.
The most powerful moment in the whole story happens. The moment of confrontation, where this woman, this sinner, stands before Jesus, face to face looking into His eyes.
The Bible continues, “And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw the woman, He said to her, “Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8: 8-11 NKJV)
Did you see that? The power and beauty of this moment is brought alive when we look at the bigger picture happening before our eyes. Here is the god of heaven and earth who saw her sinning, who witnessed her immorality and rebellion. The God who stood there while she was sinning, who saw it all. Looks at her, face to face and says, NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU.
“But God you saw me sinning, you know that I am guilty?” and again He whispers “NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU.”
And best of all, neither does He condemn you or me.
After all this dawned on me, I had to repent of my pride and hypocrisy. And I had to thank God again for his loving kindness that holds me even after I’ve sinned against Him. And I had to confront the glaring truth: I am no better than the prostitute or the governor. For I too have fallen short of the glory of God, and stand in need of a savior.
Just like this girl Diane Sawyer interviewed, and the governor, we all stand condemned, deserving of death. But yet we are made alive through the One who picks us up even at our worst. So that we are no longer focused on our sinfulness, but rather we’re overwhelmed as we stare up at the amazingness of GRACE.
And we find ourselves – as Matt Redman would say it – Facedown. Because When You Face up to God’s Glory, You Find Yourself Facedown in Worship.
No matter how you look at it, leadership is about movement.
(Now I know John Maxwell is widely credited with the definition that ‘leadership is influence’. And I do a agree – to a certain extent. You see, I believe leadership is more than a vague notion of ‘influence,’ rather it is intentional influence intended to influence people toward a certain destination, ideal or behavior.)
Whether it is personal leadership, organizational leadership or social leadership.
Leadership involves moving people (or an organization) from where they are to where the leader wants them to go.
Usually that destination is determined by the vision of the leader.
Therefore, then the most important question to ask of any leader (or would-be leader) is: where are you taking us ? Or more specifically – “what is the vision ?”
I believe it is the answer to this question that sets great leaders apart from average leaders. No where else was this principle more powerfully portrayed than in the intense presidential race between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain.
Moral of the story (or blog post) : The one with the best vision wins.
In the next few posts I want to look at some ideas of how to start your own movement and what the type of vision that inspires and captivates people looks like.
So, as a leader – what is your vision ?
For where there is no vision, there is no movement.
I have been to the last 3 CATALYST Conferences (2006, 2007 and 2008) and to me this year – 2008 – was absolutely the best, hands down. Even Andy Stanley shared this similar view during his last session on Day 2. You may be wondering, ‘why do you consider this year’s event to be the best so far?’ The answer: it was because of the accumulative experience – the worship, speaker content, sense of united passion etc. It felt like the atmosphere, the experience, was pregnant with possibility. Like God was doing something special in the hearts of everyone there, that was both individual and personal, while also corporate and communal.
But I am convinced The CATALYST Experience can be reproduced anywhere if the same principles are followed.
Here’s What I Think Are Main Reasons For It’s Incredible Success :
1. Remarkable- Catalyst is remarkable. Which means, as Seth Godin defines it, is: “something worth remarking about” (see Godin’s book “Purple Cow”). And the Catalyst MC Lanny Donoho’s out-of-the-box thinking serves this value naturally. Whether Lanny’s bringing a Camel to John Maxwell as part of his CATALYST Lifetime Achievement Award, or bringing an Elephant into the Gwinnett Arena, or having a Mariachi Band pass through or bringing out Jeff Foxworthy as a surprise guest. His endless list of surprise, fascinating and unconventional guests are natural ‘purple cows’. Not too mention his incredibly creative and side-splittingly funny videos. All this creates buzz (both in the blogosphere and the real world) and is the number one driving factor that cause people to talk about the event to their friends and family.
2. Tribal – Catalyst creates a community. At it’s heart Catalyst is more than just another event. It is a tribe of next generation leaders. Throughout the year Catalyst builds and strengthens and serves their community, through the podcast, Catalyst Monthly (online magazine), the Catalyst Blog and the ‘Catalyst Space’ website.
3. Serving us, Not Selling us. We trust the Catalyst brand to have our well-being and best interest at the core of what they do, instead of trying to market us with all sorts of clutter. Through their interviews and online resources, including products like special edition DVD’s and the Catalyst Groupzine, and speaker selections, Catalyst serves us – all those who are part of their tribe- for our best interest and success.
4. Inspires Hope – Catalyst inspired hope. By showcasing the ground-breaking work and initiatives of so many ordinary people just like us, both at the live event and throughout the year, we are inspired as leaders to do more, give more and be more. The guest list of dreamers, world changers and movement makers is endless, and includes remarkable movements like : Hoops of Hope, Samaritans Purse, To Write Love on Her Arms, International Justice Mission, Call + Response, Compassion International, Convoy of Hope, TOM’s Shoes, Gift Card Giver.com, Rwanda Clean Water, 410 Bridge, Word Made Flesh, HOPE International, Prison Entrepreneurship Program, Land of a Thousand Hills. . . to name a few.
5. Movement – Catalyst inspires movement. When we come together at the conference in October, we’re inspired to change the world, and we’re renewed with belief that we can indeed change the world, and we celebrate each other’s movements, ministries and attempts at changing the world. And above all, we are equipped and inspired to continue changing the world – for the glory of our King who died so that we might live.
6. Fun – At Catalyst people are never board. From the moment they enter the Arena to when they leave. Whether it’s beach balls, balloons, lighted pens, great live music etc. The fun never stops. And this fun has many attending benefits like : it breaks the ice between strangers, it fosters a sense of unity among attendees who otherwise may not interact.
7. Worship – Catalyst leaders (those who attend the conference) are really at their core a bunch of mushy worshippers who adore being in the presence of God, and absolutely love singing to their heavenly Father. And the organizer’s sensitivity to this fact is evident in the emphasis of diverse worshipping experiences throughout the event. Consider this : At the event in 2008 we experienced worship led by : 1. Steve Fee Band. 2. Kristian Stanfill 3. Eddie Kirkland 4. Todd Fields 5. A Special Five Women Singing Act (with notables like Candy Pearson-Selton, Christina Fyncher and others) 6. The Atlanta Pentecostal Voices Choir (or some similar name) who opened Day two. 7. The Daraja Children’s Choir from Nairobi, Kenya who rocked the house with “God of Wonders” and “Mighty To Save.” 8. Guest Worship Leader: Aaron Keyes. 9. Also Special worship songs performed by Jon Foreman, lead singer of the band Switchfoot . . . How’s that for an emphasis on worship.
Let me ask you a question. What makes a leader?
Or rather let me ask it another way. Are you a leader? Do you consider yourself someone who leads others?
This question forces each one of us to ask ourselves, what quality sets some people apart as leaders over others. Contrary to what many may think, the quality that makes someone a leader is not a title. It’s not the title of pastor or CEO or founder or director that makes one a leader.
In fact, one of the greatest leaders in history was a man who never held any official title or office. Mahatma Gandhi lead India to independence without holding a single office in his native country. In effect he was a civilian, an ordinary citizen, who lead an entire nation of 350 million people to ending British imperialism in India. But what made Gandhi a leader? What set him apart as a person of influence over the other millions of ordinary citizens?
You see, a person who influences others by using a title or intimidation, is not a leader. If you influence other people by means of coercion, you are not a leader, you are a manager. And all great leaders are not managers.
This is was a truth that Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of General Electric, understood perfectly. He knew that the key to building a thriving organization was to have a team of leaders, who did not rely on micro-managing to get others to do what they wanted. In fact he strongly disliked the very word “management,” because to him the word conjured up all the negative things employees associate with managing, like “controlling, stifling people, keeping them in the dark, and always finding fault.” Rather, Welch transformed GE by removing every manager from his organization, and replacing them with true leaders.
So what is leader ?
A true leader is someone who influences others by inspiring them. True leadership is the ability to fill the hearts of people with the hope and promise of what could be, and so inspire them to work toward a shared goal or vision. This is exactly how Mahatma Gandhi lead the nation of India, by inspiring them to believe in a better future. He used his voice to help a generation imagine an existence free from oppressive British rule and instilled hope in them for a brighter tomorrow. With no title or official authority, he lead an entire country.
In the same way, by creating a team who inspired thousands of researchers, inventors, salespeople and employees, Jack Welch lead General Electric from a company with annual revenue of $25 billion in 1981, to a mammoth international organization with more than $125.9 billion in annual revenue in 2001. Earning him the title of the “greatest CEO of the twentieth century.”
So let me ask you again. Are you a leader? Are you someone who influences others by inspiring them? Or are you someone who uses their title and intimidation to get others to do what you want? A true leader is someone who expresses a clear vision and then gets those around them so passionate about it that they cannot wait to join in and help make the vision a reality.
If you want to see lasting change and growth in the lives of those in your Church, business, organizations, or family, you will have to become someone who leads by inspiring. To instill in the hearts of others a picture of a glorious future, of the hope and potential of their lives, and inspire them to believe in brighter tomorrow for themselves, and for their children, and for the Glory of God. And in so doing you can answer your invitation to partake in history.
Because it is the power to inspire others that makes a true leader.
Visionaries liver differently from other people. They live in the realm of possibility. ANd their sense of possibility out-weighs their acceptance of reality. They believe in a different future. One where their possibility becomes their reality.
This week from 3-5 October I’ll be at Catalyst Conference in Atlanta.
Catalyst is a leadership conference for emering Christian leaders who want to impact this generation with the truth. Check it out at :catalystconference.com
I will try to post some thoughts and pictures and so on.
I wanted to post this great video that I love by Hillsong United, called “Hosanna”
My favorite line from the song goes, ” I See a Generation, Rising Up To Take Its Place”