That moment

June 11, 2007

Seth Godin articulates what’s been on my mind. It’s called That moment

    “When you are sitting right on the edge of something daring and scary and creative and powerful and perhaps wonderful… and you blink and take a step back.

    That’s the moment. The moment between you and remarkable. Most people blink. Most people get stuck.

    All the hard work and preparation and daring and luck is nothing compared with the ability to not blink.”

Presuming on God

June 11, 2007

A few nights ago, I slowly and carefully read (and digested) Robert Clinton’s systematic masterpiece The Making of a Leader. Words can describe how much I needed this right now. One thing I was particularly struck by was his section on presuming on God, what he calls flesh acts. Here are my notes. Please read!

I don’t want to presume on God any more…ever again!!!! Though, I will. We all will. But we can fight and do our best can’t we? Thought you’d enjoy it too.

Presuming on God

In The Making of a Leader, Clinton writes about the flesh act (pg 136-138. A flesh act, according to Clinton, “refers to those instances in a leader’s life when guidance is presumed and decisions are made either hastily or without proper discernment of God’s choice.” Clinton says, “Such decisions usually involve human manipulation, which brings ramifications that later affect ministry and life negatively.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Contrast #1: The Dream

June 9, 2007

I love Tom Peter’s book Reimagine. It’s one of my all-time favorites. The book itself is a picturesque experience, chock-full of thought-provoking ideas and insight. I want to take the next couple days to share my notes in five posts about five contrasts.

First up, the dream.

We are in the dream business. The “experience” idea is a big stretch for many people in business. But we must stretch our minds, and our vocabularies, even further. Next stop on the value train: Dreams. As one business visionary put it, a dream amounts to “an opportunity to help clients become what they want to be.” This is not pie in the sky. “Dream” products provide returns to shareholders that far outpace the returns from “common” products. So, are you ready to enter the Dream Business?

DREAMS

! Contrasts

WAS to IS

    “Mere” experiences to Wild imaginings…and dreams fulfilled
    Things done well to Things not thought possible
    “It’s really good” “You can do that?”
    Pleased to Elated
    Surprised to Stunned
    Selling to customers Tempting customers
    “I’m not sure I need it.” to “I GOTTA HAVE IT. NOW.”
  • • Dramatically. ALTER. Perspective.
    • Adventures….in “Dreamketing”
    • Project: Dream
    • Extreme Dream
    • Transformation Guaranteed!
    • Dream Language
    • Insane Solutions and Cultures
    • Dream Weave
    • Dream Metrics
    • The “Feel” of Dreams. If you build it….
  • Touch people’s dreams. Tell stories and entertain. Promote dream, not product. Build brand around Main Dream. Build a buzz, hype, cult.

      Excitement. That’s right.
      Surprise. That’s right.
      Impossible. That’s right.
      Destiny. That’s right.
      Change. A lot of it.

    Dreams. Just do it. Just be it.
    Re-imagine it! Go for the things that are nuts! Take the leap. Once more, with feeling!

    Souly Business

    June 9, 2007

    Had lunch today with my good friend Kevin Latty. I’ll tell you more about Kevin and Souly Business (the ministry he co-founded) later. All I gotta say is this: it is anointed!

    I wrote a piece for their Summer Newsletter. I don’t there’s a link yet, so here it is:

    An invitation to the seat of your soul.

    As I pondered the idea of going to Souly Business, I have to admit that I wasn’t too keen on anything resembling a “camp.” When I think of camps, I think of dirt and games—two things that are not in my desire box. So the thought of going was not particularly appealing. However, I was convinced to attend and now, I’m another one of those “this is the best retreat I have ever experienced” guys. In fact, I have yet to meet a person who did not experience something unique at a Souly Business weekend.

    Coincidentally, on the way to the retreat, I stopped by to see a friend in Gainesville who shared some thoughts about the church in a post-modern culture. He believes that events and programs are the way of the past when it comes to spiritual growth and life change. He believes the church must learn and embrace a new model- something he calls “transformational communities.” Little did I know, I was on the way to experiencing my first transformational community. Souly Business opened my eyes.

    At most events, I feel ambitious. I sense a few new pointers and ideas. But Souly Business created a way to help leaders connect with leaders. They facilitated hands-on conversation. It’s an open and safe environment- to connect, to question, to dialogue, and to learn.

    At Souly Business, I felt safe to let go, to dive in, to express my innermost longings, and to simply listen to God and his servants. When I left Souly Business, I felt rejuvenated, uplifted, encouraged, connected, cleansed, and rested.

    As I reflect on the weekend, I find it extra meaningful to know that I now have over 50 new brothers. Not just any kind of brothers, but faith-full, grace-full, spirit-ual, dependable ones. Today, I feel like I am riding in a bigger boat, with better men and a stronger faith as we navigate the high tides of life.

    Now, it’s my goal for all of my friends to attend a Souly Business retreat. I have no doubt – if they do, our relationships will go to a new and deeper level. I believe this is the perfect environment to shape ethos and I honestly don’t know of anything else that actually accomplishes such a thing.

    I’m filled with gratitude for- Brian Cork and his gracious invitation that made it impossible for me to say “no”, Kevin for his initiative and humble leadership, and Larry for his compassion and heart.

    It is evident that the Spirit of the living God is facilitating this community. I’m touched by the leaders and speakers, who focus their attention on what the Spirit desires to do. Their focus is not on an agenda or a desired outcome. Their focus is to facilitate what God wants to do- seeing and experiencing that blew me away.

    Back in my life

    June 9, 2007

    Can’t wait to see my homeboy Matt George who’s flying in from Chicago. Man, do I feel blessed to be in good company. Matt was my best friend all the way through middle school until my family moved from Greenville, Texas to Apopka, Florida (A year later we landed in Cartersville, Georgia). Matt and I connected twice in 15 years until he got a hold of me via MySpace last November. A little over a month later I caught a flight to Chicago to reconnect and it’s been non-stop ever since.

    In the near future, I promise to showcase some of Matt’s work. He happens to be one of the most gifted artists in the world. His company is called VSA Partners and they’re a go-to company for the elite, the ones who can pay top notch for the best. For example, this is the company that named, branded and designed the famed Cingular brand, which I think is the best logo ever.

    Needless to say, I’m super proud of Matt. But most of all, his heart is gold.

    A hole in my sheets

    June 8, 2007

    I’ve been staying up late a lot lately. I used to say “I feel like I’m burning a hole in my sheets.” I feel that way right now. I can’t sleep. The fire is burning. Man, it feels great.

    I love Rob Bell’s church philosophy, “People will drive a long way to see a fire.” So would I. So would I.

    The Crazy Ones Change The World

    June 8, 2007

    Just had a long late night conversation with my boy Freddy Williams. Freddy leads a big flock of crazy kids in the St. Louis area. I happen to believe that Freddy is crazy enough to CHANGE THE WORLD. Trust me – keep this guy on your radar. It’ll happen. Check out this video he pointed me to created by Apple. It’s about the Crazy Ones. You know, the ones who think they can change the world actually do.

    What One Hour Means to David Letterman

    June 8, 2007

    A few years ago, I was in Nashville and had a late dinner with a comedian named Mike Williams. During the conversation he brought up the human struggle a lot of us have of comparing ourselves with others. A perfect example of this is a fellow Comedian, The Tonight Show Host David Letterman. Mike friend and Letterman’s former line writer told him that Letterman is a man who lives for one hour every day, and for the rest of his day he is miserable. Purpose ain’t to be taken for granted is it, and it doesn’t just appear does it? I often ask myself: Do I know who I really am? Do I know what I am called to do? (that’s a trick question, since we all have the same one, right?)

    God Rarely Works the Same Way Twice

    June 8, 2007

    One of my favorite quotes, that’s a good reminder:

    “Christian organizations should take careful note that, throughout Scripture, God rarely worked in the same way twice. God’s activity was always unique to the people with whom he was dealing and the time in which he was working. God’s activity cannot be reduced to a formula because God is more concerned with peoples’ obedient response to his will than with what means of communicating his will.” Henry and Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, pg 59

    The Group That Changed The Way I View Discipleship

    June 6, 2007

    About six months ago, a friend of mine asked me a question. He was a little curious, and wanted to know what I thought was the purpose of this mentor group I was a member of. It was a group of businessmen and ministry leaders led by Boyd Bailey a man who is very special to me and many others. Well, I wrote my friend and said some things I’ve never said before. I didn’t realize until it was almost over that this group and this one man helped changed the way I view discipleship.

    So, when I recieved my friend’s email many thoughts rushed through my head and then I wrote the following:

    I admit I had lots of reservations coming into this group. My reservations came from this lack of desire to join another Bible Study or accountability-type group. I guess it’s because I’ve been in so many of them that pumped me full of new knowledge and wisdom. I’ve found myself getting caught up (without admitting it of course) in the celebrityness of being around all these great men of God who have written all these great books and accomplished all these amazing things for God and culture. And I felt so high after soaking in their knowledge and wisdom. But it rarely changed me.

    So when I felt the Spirit nudging me to be a part of Boyd’s group I was restless, until a few weeks in, when I begin to feel a deeper connection to some of the guys. I began to enjoy Boyd’s laid-back approach and it was evident he cared about us and would do whatever he could for us…with us.

    To me, the purpose of the group was to come together and see what God had in store. And I saw amazing things happen throughout the year in each person’s life, including mine, and together off-group time. I looked forward to each meeting because I knew I didn’t have to do something in order to feel respected and loved by the guys. I just innately knew this was an environment of trust and unfailing love. One of the guys in the group lives around the corner from me and has become one of my closest friends, which is one of the most special things to experience in a lifetime that doesn’t just happen.

    As a format, it was refreshing to be a part of something that was simple, that just flowed (the kind of flow I enjoyed personally), even without a slight of expectancy (I mean that in a very good way). Different, indeed.

    To me, Boyd is an example of grace. He doesn’t try—he just listens, serves and learns with you. I’ve been around too many leaders who feel like it’s their job to present the knowledge and wisdom God has bestowed upon them. That’s not a bad thing. But it seems I’ve never once been changed in the right way by such a process. What has changed me is the people I get to know God with. Those who allow the Spirit to form a bond between brothers and sisters, who open their hearts up to whatever God has in store.

    Example: As you know I’ve been able to get to know Josh McDowell who is well-known as someone who has a lot to say. And he does. But knowing Josh McDowell didn’t begin to change me until I begin getting to know him personally. I learned some great information and was affected by the piercing biblical Truth he presented day in and day out, but it was his life that I watched and listened to that awakened me to the unfailing love of God. I could have never experienced that without spending a lot of time with him. I could not have experienced that just hearing him preach and teach every day. Not a chance. Josh actually teaches what I am writing that it’s all about relationships – a perfect blend of truth and relationships. You know, I’ve never even thought of it this way before. Your questioning has blessed me. It’s revealed to me that I am changing. I feel slightly shocked while writing this. Josh’s teaching has taken years to truly resonate with me, to actually become a part of who I am becoming.

    ~Bry

    Why it’s hard to say “I don’t know”.

    May 15, 2007

    Decisions:

    It is hard to say “I don’t know.”

    It is rare, extremely rare to hear those words come out of someone’s mouth, especially someone older. Yet it is a refreshing, even liberating thing to hear. I am impacted when I hear those words come out of someone’s mouth. I want to be able to be true to myself and often say “I just don’t know.”

    Other liberating words: “It’s okay.” “It’s okay to make a mistake.” “Why are you afraid to make a mistake?”

    Why is it that a man who is 40 feels the need to give his opinion to a man who is 25?

    And…just because you are in a leadership position doesn’t make you a leader. Respect, yes, but it’s important to be honest with people. That is, respectfully honest.

    I remember it just like it was yesterday.

    I approached my friend Larry Green and he said to me these amazing words that still ring in my ear: “Why are you afraid to make a mistake?” That’s it. That’s all I needed to hear.

    I was set free from my own victimizing pursuit of perfection.

    He was right – I was afraid to try because I was afraid to make a mistake. I heard one guy say one time that those who do most make the most mistakes.

    I was talking with someone the other night who was about to approach her supervisors with a kind of honesty she doesn’t normally share. But she’s grown in her leadership to know that it is imperative to be open and honest, plus for her own sanity. As she shared with me what she had in mind, I felt compelled to say to her “you are their leader as much as they are yours.” I mean just because they are in a position over you doesn’t mean you can’t lead them and just because they’re older doesn’t mean you can’t be honest and help them. This is a crucial moment for you, and for them to learn something profound. They need this, to be stretched.

    Recently, I looked into my wife Amber’s eyes and said, “I will fail you. You will fail me. But our Heavenly Father will NEVER fail us. We’re all messy lives tied together by a perfect God.” While that may or may not seem like a profound thought to you, it was for me. I need those constant reminders of the grace of God, that it’s okay that I don’t know everything nor will I do everything perfectly.

    Be graced.

    News

    May 15, 2007

    Back in January I wrote to a few friends for prayer suppor regarding my lengthy battle with a chronic illness. In a few days, I’m going to post an update here. For now, I thought I’d share that letter.

    Health news…

    Some of you are aware that I have had health issues for some time. I do.

    Quickly, I want to lay it out for you. But before I do you must know two things:

    1) This is the best time of my life.
    2) Don’t feel sorry for me for a second.

    I say this so you can know that life is vibrant. A bit of suffering has only made us stronger and hopefully wiser. I certainly feel more compassionate for people now because I know first hand what it’s like to struggle – to feel the sting of disease. What it’s like to break down, to feel unable, and yes, I now believe (deeper) that the human struggle is a beautiful part of God’s grace and essence.

    The sting…

    My digestive system is not functioning correctly and the doctors don’t know why…yet. They know “my digestive system is not working”, the exact words from a Dr last week. They know there is good reason to believe my body doesn’t tolerate Gluten, Wheat, Soy, Dairy and Eggs (and yes, they have names for such allergies – but my issue is beyond that). They know I cannot lose any more weight. Let’s just say I weigh less than 120. You get the drift – not good. They know what I tell them – I am exhausted most of the time – I’ve been beyond tired.

    At the extremity, this has been going on for over 4 months.

    Big weight loss. Chronic fatigue. Continued problems despite a complete diet makeover (even though that diet has made some of a difference and will be helpful in my lifetime care of my body as like most of us- I used to eat too much junk!).

    I share this because God desires of me to ask for prayer. Just so you know, my request for prayer today is not a lowercase ask rather it is a CAPITAL LETTERS, EXCLAMATION POINT ask.

    God advises us that each and every struggle is an invitation to victory. Sure, God decides the outcome, but he is greatly INFLUENCED by prayer. So, I beg and plead for your prayers before Almighty God.

    You are loved and appreciated,

    Bryan

    NOTE: I’m having to learn how to be carefully discerning to all the recommendations I’m receiving (and I’m receiving a lot of them). Many of you have had health issues. Some of you have gone through similar experiences. You might have a product to recommend or a Dr who saved your life. I deeply appreciate all the recommendations and I have visited many Dr’s and tried many supplements and programs. I’ve read lots of great books and I plan on using the accumulated information to stay healthy the rest of my life. Feel free to share them and I’ll prayerfully consider each one. I am not one to say no to something that could help me- BUT I also can’t afford every “magic potion” and doctor so you understand I have to weigh each suggestion.

    Read. Think. Change.

    May 4, 2007

    An article that’ll make you think about the way we view and influence the culture. The author Mark Buchanan happens to be one of the best Christian writers out there.

    So, consider his words. And think again, as I am, about how should we deal with culture. We should not be afraid to change.

    Stop. Read. Think. Change.

    When We Remember

    April 21, 2007

    Here I am, sitting comfortably with my lovely laptop…in a cushioned chair at ole Starbucks. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, my favorite getaway. I’m not here to get away – I’m here to focus on all that’s in front of me. Mostly writing stuff.

    I hardly ever reveal some of my writing pieces before they’re crisp crossed. But I came across a piece I wrote a while back that’s knee deep in dust by now. It’s been tucked away for years, unused…and quite lonely:) In sure need of a rewrite, but I thought it was a good reminder…you know, that we are in a war fighting for souls of the people we love and care for. That’s everyone, right? It’s unfortunate when we/I let the little, minute things of life, you know, like this darn measly digestive problem or a fainting fatigue slow us/me down from what’s a stake.

    When We Remember…

    Dirty. Angry. Sick. Cold.

    The soldiers felt through a myriad of complex emotions as a long, brute war took a turn and, at last, the Germans fell in defeat.

    The American soldiers who lived to tell, from the now famous film Band of Brothers speak of the voices inside their heads—the rage the fueled within them as they finally arrived in Germany after months of treacherous fighting. They became despisers of the German people. With their small window of freedom they were allowed – they drank, found women to sleep with, and the rage was set on fire. Some stole things. Some slept and some wept. But all mourned in their own way.

    It was a sad scene to see. Only the few held up to this test of honor, the ones who kept their focus even though the world around them was so distracted. The poor attitudes. The downward depression. It was all there. What do you expect? They had been in the worst war of the twentieth century. They had an up close and personal encounter with death. They had front row seats as their friends lost arms, legs, and lives. It was a cold and rigid war for these men. Now they had to let it all out. They had to vent. Their emotions weren’t made for this. With their guns by their sides, they dealt with it in their own way. What became important was “who got what” as one guy put it. Now they were more concerned about their own property, their own well-being than anything else.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Neverland

    March 14, 2007

    The imagination is quite a remarkable thing.

    Knowing God is a beckon call to another world. It’s losing yourself in your imagination, a world where people become set free into a life that doesn’t seem possible. Some of my most exciting moments have been the days where I burned with such excitement and passion that felt like I was in another world. I was in the “real” Neverland. With God never becomes actuality.

    Something is the new something

    March 3, 2007

    Sometime ago I came across this list of clichés (via google) about how something is always being transposed to be the new thing:

    Clarendon is the new Helvetica
    The location field is the new command line
    Fake is the new real
    Orange is the new black
    Quiet is the new loud
    Nearshore is the new offshore
    Red is the new blonde
    Blacker is the new black
    Iraq is the new Vietnam
    Movies piracy is the new plague
    Fat is the new thin
    Wide is the new black
    Fat is the new tobacco
    Organic is the new kosher
    MCA is the new MBA
    Small is the new big
    Spim is the new spam
    Being uncool is the new cool
    Gay marriage is the new abortion
    30 is the new teenage

    the Bill Gates philosophy

    November 19, 2006

    In Bill Gates’ book (Business @ The Speed of Thought), he presents 11 rules that students do not learn in high school or college. Rule number two says: “The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.” That’s rough. Less than 25% of our culture is what we perceive as successful, so if this statement is true, 75% are failures. I fell into this thinking and my self-esteem was based on what I accomplished.

    Such a way of thinking affects our physical, spiritual, relational and psychological well-being. It affects our legacies. It rips apart families. It saps our lives. I have friends who are addicted to a never-ending cavity of success. Nothing is ever enough, is it? I heard of one guy at the pinnacle of his success who was asked what he now knows that he wished he had known as a younger man. He replied, ‘I wished I had known that when you get to the top, there is nothing there.

    Success is such a danger isn’t it? The more you obtain, the more you have to lose. Even the good things in a life can become the idol that brings you down. It’s true – the more we learn and the more we become can just as easily become our biggest threat.

    But is that what life is all about? Are you willing to settle with that? Could there be more to discover, maybe even a treasure?

    Do you love what you do?

    November 19, 2006

    I ask people all the time if they love what they do. Most don’t. I ask why and they a) haven’t thought of it before or b) just think it has to be that way. They think it’s normal to be miserable. When you see miserable people (or anyone for that matter) ask them questions. You will help them and it will keep you fresh—it will remind you how bad it can be. Ask your friends, your bosses, your teachers, even strangers all kinds of questions. I tell young people to watch and question their teachers and don’t be atraid to wonder if they are truly happy. That’s just life. People everywhere get caught in the web of distraction and doing and the paycheck and loyalty to people. But they need to be reminded just like you and I do that there’s nothing more unnatural and abnormal than living like that. Actually, it’s a life grounded in fear – the anxious kind (you know, the bad one). All we need is love. Fight for love. Seek out love. Open your eyes to love. And resist fear. Fight against the voice of fear. It’s there. It’s the enemy. Every single day.

    Focus on changing the conversation.

    October 26, 2006

    Conversations are nurturing and meaningful while campaigns convert momentarily.
    Cultural change happens most effectively through a shared conversation.
    Campaigns are short-term. Conversations are long-term.
    Focus on spreading conversations. That’s the consistent and sustaining way for change.
    Conversations lead to conclusions. And conclusions lead to conversions.

    You can survive in a constantly changing culture. It’s been done since the beginning of time. Today, we live in a harsh attention deficient world, saturated with marketing messages. Well, that’s life…one that requires us to evolve in order to refocus the conversation without becoming outdated.

    Clearly, the most effective agents of change have discovered new ways to do things. As great thinkers like Seth Godin have discovered “the old way of advertising and selling products isn’t working as well as it used to, and they’re aggressively searching for a new, enterprising way.” One that requires a “fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising and customers.”

    How are you changing the conversation?

    Scenes from the Culture Clash

    September 13, 2006

    A fantastic article in Fast Company Magazine about how the next generation of workers WILL change the business landscape in many, many ways. Some will shock you, but some might encourage you if you are a right-brained, non-lineared thinker like most everyone under 30. For me, I’m anticipating the changes!

    Btw…this is based on facts!

    The

    This is your moment

    September 13, 2006

    “This is my moment, I thought. If I don’t seize the opportunity, if I don’t step out of my comfort zone and risk it all, if I let too much time tick on, my moment will pass. I knew that if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, I would replay it in my mind for my whole life, wondering: What if? Why didn’t I? This was my shot. Even if it didn’t work out, I still had to try it.

    I made up my mind to leave Starbucks and start my own company. My idea was to open stores that would serve coffee by the cup and espresso drinks, concentrating on high-traffic downtown locations. I wanted to re-create the romance and artistry and community I had seen in Italy.”

    “Part of what constitutes success is timing and chance. But most of us have to create our own opportunities and be prepared to jump when we see a big one others can’t see.

    It’s one thing to dream, but when the moment is right, you’ve got to be willing to leave what’s familiar and go out to find your own sound. That’s what I did in 1985. If I hadn’t, Starbucks wouldn’t be what it is today.”

    ~Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart into It: How STARBUCKS Built a Company One Cup at a Time

    I can relate. Read the last sentence of the second paragraph twice. We’ve got to re-create the romance and artistry and community we see in Starbucks. Schultz ended up buying out a little company called Starbucks and as we know and enjoy, he took to the world.

    Check out Grains of Sand

    August 30, 2006

    I’d like to introduce you to an online resource founded by my good buddy Josh Brown. It’s called Grains of Sand and their primary objective is to encourage learning and spiritual development. You can check it out, subscribe or submit articles at www.gofs.net

    I loved this excerpt entitled Force feeding salvation

    “Every attempt to impose the gospel by force, to run after people and proselytize them, to use our own resources to arrange the salvation of other people, is both futile and dangerous. It is futile, because the swine do not recognize the pearls that are cast before them, and dangerous because it profanes the word forgiveness…. Worse still, we shall only meet with the blind rage of hardened and darkened hearts, and that will be useless and harmful. Our easy trafficking with the word of cheap grace simply bores the world to disgust, so that in the end it turns against those who try to force on it what it does not want”.

    Excerpt from The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1963)

    Thanks for the Learning Spirit!

    Becoming a Leader of No Reputation

    August 30, 2006

    Every now and then, I come across a resource that “smacks you” right between the eyes. I promise, if you read this, it will stretch you and remind you how we are meant to lead. Click here to read.

    The Anatomy of the “What if”

    June 30, 2006

    What if?

    What if I could change the world?
    What if I could be a leader?
    What if money wasn’t an issue?
    What if I could be like an Apostle Paul?

    A “What If” has a positive and negative connotation. A “What If” thinks potential and at the same time it can think devastation.

    “What if” the world looked liked this? “What if” that happened to me?

    “What if” I could race cars for a living? “What if” I crashed when I raced the car?

    All “What if’s” carry risk. Some people are willing to risk, while some aren’t. What kind of risks? Criticism…failure…pain. To see your “What if” happen, you have to be ready to face every one of them. It just requires it – but it’s so worth it.

    We have to train our minds to relish the fact that – the price is worth it. And even more—to enjoy it. Have you ever gone through hurt and pain that didn’t grow you? None of us like it while we’re going through it. However, on the flip side, we know we’re better off having gone through it.

    Think about it.

    “What if” we trained armies and communities of people to think differently? To think “What if” while preparing them for what will be.

    We know that innovators bend the world, but it’s the spiritual innovators who amend the world.

    All Smiles

    June 19, 2006

    Chillin after the wedding with my Amber, Aunt Julie and my bro Justin.

    With Aunt Jewels and Uncle Mike

    June 19, 2006

    Hanging in Waco, Texas with my fam. Actually, I was there to officiate my cuz’s wedding. A sweet time!

    How far away is your God?

    May 9, 2006

    Here’s an article I’ve been working on. I’m calling it “Binoculars, please!”

    How far away is your God?

    I think a relationship with God is a lot like a romance or a love story. If only more people caught on to that kind of thinking. It’s sad when people see God like themselves – self-centered, self-sufficient, in-charge kind of God. Just because we see ourselves that way has no effect on who God is. A.W. Tozer has a lot to say about knowing God. He said the most important thing about you is what you think about when you think about God. What do you think about when you think about God? Is your God far away or close by? Is your God someone who keeps score – who watches you like a hawk and comes down and strikes you when you do the wrong thing? Do you see God like your parent or grandparent – a quiet, proper, old, traditional, forever kind of God? Is your God someone whose so busy running the world he doesn’t have time for you – he’s far away from you has no relevance to your life? There are some who have chosen to be the “I don’t believe in God” people. There are others who are mad about the God thing because of their parents or those who go to college and enjoy buying in to a professor’s views. All of us have constructed a view of God. We carry this view with us through life.

    The reality is how you see God is the litmus test that’s going to affect everything single aspect of how you will pursue him. If you haven’t nailed down a God whose love for you as his son or daughter, is more affectionate than you could ever truly understand. If your view of God is wrong then you are going to have difficulty with everything. We read in Daniel that people who know their God will be much stronger.

    But you can know how to view God. Did you know God made you for himself – to enjoy, to love, to cherish, hold? When you capture that kind of reality sharing him with others will become your affection too.

    This is something that’s dear to my heart because I too never developed a real sense of who God is until Amber and I married and we moved to Atlanta. I started spending time with some people who clearly saw God and life in a different viewpoint than I did. I was captivated by that; confused at first, but intrigued. So I went on this little journey of rediscovering God. It took longer than I anticipated it would because I had to shatter my old view of God. At the Christian university I attended I developed a view of God that was dutiful, rigid, political, rude if needed, always do the right thing over anything else even if it meant to run over people. I don’t want to point fingers at my school. I would never blame them for a view I had of God, but it was there that I developed it and I needed some clarification in my life of who He was. In Atlanta I found it. Two men who really affected me were Louie Giglio and my pastor Andy Stanley. Louie taught a gathering on Tuesday nights and preached at my church some. They were close friends from grade school and grew up in the kind of environment I was used to and where I developed my view of God. And I’m grateful to sit under their preaching especially when I needed to see God in a different light. They know how to speak the language of the culture.

    God made you for his pleasure. You were made for God. “All things have been created by God and for God.” You were not only created in God’s image but for his pleasure as well. Inside our hearts are these evidences – these homing devices that intensely crave after God. More is never enough when were after God because we were created to live in deep, passionate communion with Him all the time. When were not, something’s wrong – a gap is created and we thirst for him. We go our searching and while there are these offbeat cultural textures that are after our minds as well, we will stay thirsty until we find God. Some people stay thirsty for a long time. Every human being craves intimacy – a kind that only God can give. Yet some of us aren’t aware of this. This is what happens – we respond to all of this by the way we see Him. If we see him like a God who keeps score then we will try to do things that might make him happy. If we see him as far away then we’ll respond to him like he is far away. If you think he is old or out of touch with us then you will just do what you want because being cool is important to some of us. Some of us think God doesn’t understand us at all.

    What’s amazing about God is that right now as you try to understand more about God, God is saying, “I understand what you’re going through. I get the deal.” That means a lot when you enter a stage of confusion and clarification like that. One of his characteristics is patience and He’s committed to patiently wait on you as you go through this process. That’s encouraging! God knows what’s going on, on TV. He knows whose going to win the Amazing Race. God isn’t out to judge us He’s out to capture us with attention, love, and understanding. Who wouldn’t want that?

    Here’s an important catch: God has told us about Himself so we could know about who He is. God is not what we choose to think of Him, what our parents or family thinks of Him. God is who He is…period. We have to get in our heads that we can’t decide that, He does. He’s God.

    First, we need to unveil his character, what makes God to be God. He’s displayed his amazing traits. God is revealed in his son, Jesus. God established a relationship with us through his son, Jesus. Jesus taught that God is the: Perfect Father. Creator. Savior. Redeemer. Majesty. Ruler. He is: Love. Joy. Patience. Kindness. Faithfulness. Jesus taught you are the: Son. Daughter. He is the Father. This is a love relationship. The greatest romantic story ever told. He sent Jesus for you, his blood filled the gap sin built, the crave we endure. The enemy is out to derail your relationship with God.

    He is a knowable and relatable God. He is the tender mercy to a crying heart. He desires to be intimate with me. That’s one that I continue to wallow in.

    So now what? We have to say, “I get it and I trust you.” We have to decide that he knows best and put our entire trust in his ways. Tell God, “I trust you.” He loves me more than I love myself. That’s the first step to knowing God and beginning spiritual conversations. He’s in control of every conversation you will have. He’s the one that holds everything together. When we get that – our lives become fluid, something God can fill up and overflow on to others. Conversations are nothing more than an overflow of what God is doing inside of us. The intimacy spreads through others and we get the privilege of enjoying community like it was meant to be. Then there’s connectiveness in our lives.

    Once we understand how God sees us, it should free us up to pursue him.

    Converse with him.

    We don’t have all the answers, but Jesus surely does. He encourages us to experience him, to bring him into the conversation we so desire to have. We are limited in what we offer, but Jesus is limitless. No boundaries with him.

    So, go for it!

    Talk to him. Love on him. Then go love on others. And leave the rest of the story to the storyteller. You’re immersed in something that’s far more beautiful that you’re most amazing mindscapes can comprehend. Something compelling.

    You’ll never tire of hearing about God when it’s truly representing who he is. That makes life so exciting and liberating doesn’t it? The story never ends.

    When you spend time with him it’s not like going online, it’s more like sitting down on the couch and together having an intimate talk. The difference is that God sends his spirit to interact through the conversation. The spirit makes it a lot more intimate. In the spirit you feel his love and his pride in you. Your outlook of the world all of sudden turns small. You realize that the world is so minute compared to the Creator of the Universe. The only downsize, if there is one to those who experience this amazing connection, is that it takes more time with him, to really grasp the reality that he won’t be able to fill your spirit like that all the time unless you keep seeking him. You crave for it. You search for it. You try all kinds of ways to fill that vacuum that you’ve had before. You learn over time that he can’t do it for you unless you allow him to. It’s called freedom of choice. Through time, if we’re willing to endure and keep searching, we’ll learn how to discipline ourselves to hear his voice and obey. We’ll learn how to talk to him and get results. It is a discipline and a language. People don’t master it they just trust him and go with it. A person who is godly isn’t someone who knows a lot about God; it’s someone who knows God and maintains a vibrant relationship with him.

    Conversations with God / Conversoulogy

    I’ve heard some people say that life is one big conversation. The life you live is a conversation with God.

    In the Spring of 1997—it was in the middle of February, as I recall.

    I heard someone say one time a lot of us are sure as hell about things, but do you want to be as sure as heaven?

    It was a timely moment for me. I cried out for a connection with God. I was stung. My pain had to go away—I knew I needed to be healed. I was almost completely certain that only God could heal me. I believed it for a moment—just a moment—a divine moment it was. Immediately everything changed.

    So what healed me? God did. How did he heal me? -Through my heart’s cry for him. He wants to be sought. Now I wanted to play my role as the seeker. He’s God. I’m man. He’s to be sought while I’m to seek Him. It truly makes sense.

    That day I began to have conversations with God. It’s called prayer. A guy named Charles Spurgeon said it best: “prayer is the slender nerve that touches the omnipotence of God.” Ever since that day I’ve been in this magnificent dialogue with the Creator…aka CEO himself.

    Before then I couldn’t talk to him, nor thought I really wanted to. The reason I didn’t want to was because God cannot hear us until we thoroughly introduce ourselves. I had introduces myself the way people told me to, but I didn’t really want it that badly. It wasn’t until that day that I really wanted it and when I did, he came and I’ve spent every day since wishing the world could experience what I’ve experienced.

    I told a guy the other day “you’ll meet God when you figure out that he works. Am I right?” His reply was, “I think you’re right.” I said, well hang with me a little while and you find out that he works. He said, “Great.” Well, this young intellectual had told me just weeks before that conversation that he didn’t believe in one God. Yet, he’s admitting openly and honestly now that if there is one God and he discovers a piece of him, he’ll believe it. That’s the way a lot of people are. They don’t believe it because they haven’t met Him. Until you meet him you won’t understand.

    Generalization is the death of art. It’s in the details where God resides.
    ARTHUR MILLER

    Bye, bye Blogger & hello WordPress

    March 25, 2006

    I decided to give WordPress a try. After a trial with Typepad and just under a year with Blogger I am convinced for now this is the best host for me. Simple, elegant…and free (at least, for now. I’m looking into the next levels).

    What Does the Malcom Gladwell Phenomenon Reveal About Our Culture?

    February 10, 2006


    How did Gladwell become the Dale Carnegie of the iPod Generation?

    Last night I was wondering why the author Malcom Gladwell could become such a cultural prodigy. Better yet, I began asking myself the much more incisive question: What does the Gladwell effect say about our culture?

    It says times have changed. The way we learn is different. The way we see and receive information is different. We’re searching for understanding, for something else, yet with reasons. What most people care about is fulfilling experiences, fulfilling relationships and reasonable understanding. Gladwell helps in the latter. We know we’re becoming more and more complex but we’re more than willing to allow it as long we enjoy life and relationships. This reveals a lot more than most of us take the time to consider, or have allow ourselves such time.

    As most of us know, Malcom Gladwell is the acclaimed author of the hugely bestsellers “Blink” and “The Tipping Point”—so big it created an unexpected wave of non-fiction books to seize the market, the kind that none of us could be have predicted to become such a bestseller in the mainstream pop culture. But it’s not the sales that perplex me – it’s the impact it’s having on the entire culture. I’ve wondered what this could mean. What could this say about us? At first, his popularity and influence on our culture seemed strange to me, that is until I began a two-year journey seeking understanding of the culture and why the gospel stopped sticking.

    This week I read a well-written article on Gladwell by the New York Times book review editor Rachel Donadio. Danadio made these elucidating observations, comparing Gladwell’s impact to Dale Carnegie (“How to Win Friends and Influence People” – 1936) and Norman Vincet Peale (“Power of Positive Thinking” – 1952), who’s books helped shaped society in a peculiar way.

    In our “iPod generation” we’ve chosen Malcom Gladwell. While Carnegie and Peale produced books about understanding, relating and liking people, Gladwell helps us understand how things work in a way that helps us have control over them. What Danadio calls optimism through demystification. While optimism will always be a foremost way to win in society, certainly – a vital asset to all – but, it’s demystication that we most desire today.

    What does this say to the person who is trying to add value to culture? It’s clear that people think differently – way differently than they did 30, 20, 10, even 5 years ago.

    The biggest thing that I have to keep driving home to people and organizations is how vitally important it is for you to “think deeply” about what you do and why you do it. Not only in a linear approach but in non-linear, right-brained one. And then to work hard at communicating that to the everyday world, and make sure it’s transferable and memorable (Gladwell’s Stickiness Factor). This world intensely desires to have an “under the surface” understanding of life, and especially faith.

    Gladwell is doing the work most people wish they could do. To think, write, converse and read all day in coffee shop’s. I don’t argue with that life because that’s the gist of my days – fortunately. So we have joined this guy’s journey of questions and desire for understanding through his writings, as he thinks deeply about the issues affecting our lives and culture. So he’s become our friend. He’s become one of our life tour guide’s. And all of us should be aware that this is the way many of the leaders in the 21st century will look.

    He’ll have a message, but he’ll carry it with deep-seated “reasons.” He’s open. He thinks. He wonders. He sees new horizons. And the world becomes his audience.

    He isn’t afraid of the complex, the unpredictable, the unknown. Rather he enjoys the process of finding answers while embracing the mystical. He is used to speed, to change and to options so he just goes with it, until he find what fits. He’d rather have mobility than stability any day. There will be a tension between opportunity and loyalty in his life. Leaders who follow Jesus will respond to that by being careful what they commit to, trusting the spirit to synch their heart with Jesus’ in every situation. There will be tension between short-term and long-term because many leaders see long-term commitment has a threat to their freedom and personalization. Again, leaders who follow Jesus will have to hack that one out with the Heavenly Father. The leader of the future loves challenges and will have a hard time with commitment. They don’t want to be loyalist just for the sake of loyalty – like their parents were taught and lived. Tomorrow’s leaders don’t necessarily want to change the world; they’d rather enjoy the world while changing it. He loves to rethink everything – another reason to welcome the Malcom Gladwell’s of the world, if only there were more. There are, just wait and see. In fact, the self-proclaimed liberal Gladwell is called a Spiritual leader of the American culture, which is scary.

    I have asked myself constantly these sorts of questions the past couple years:
    Questions of Purpose and Perspective : :
    • Am I on this earth to fit my heart, passion and gifts into a system that seemed to work in the past? Am I on this earth to be a missionary to the real world or the church world?
    Questions of Willingness and Aloneness : :
    • Am I willing to do what God has called me to do even if I have to do it alone? Am I willing to pay the price for their souls? Am I willing to listen to the Spirit and explore the unknown or just do what people tell me to do?

    I am becoming clearly convinced that most of us (if 40 yrs & below) are not meant to continue serving in the methods of the past. What we are meant to do is whatever it takes to lead this generation into the discovery of Jesus. And if the leaders older than us do not understand how to release us to reach our generations, then we have to be strong and courageous to make a new path without them. This isn’t about our parents or about us; it’s about destiny and people souls.

    Hurdles

    February 9, 2006

    “You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.” – George Lucas

    This year is the first year of my life that I’ve been 100% certain I am doing what I was made to do. Before now, the hurdles we’re always temptations to find something else to do. Now, hurdles are expected, even embraced because I know they just make me stronger.

    “Before you can be creative, you must be courageous. Creativity is the destination, but courage is the journey.” – Joey Reiman, CEO, Brighthouse

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