Monthly Archives: August 2009

The World’s Greatest Inventions…Duct Tape & WD-40

Duct tape & WD-40

I’m a fixer. I come from a long, long line of fixers. It’s what we do. The most used tools in our toolboxes? Duct tape and WD-40. You know what they say about duct tape and WD-40, right? If it’s loose and it’s not supposed to be, use the duct tape. If you need it to be loose and it’s not, use the WD-40 (and if necessary a hammer is allowed).

My mom kept a hammer under the seat of her car for years. It wasn’t for protection or to keep the three of us kids in line either. It was used to whack the battery post and cable connectors if the car wouldn’t start. See…we are fixers!

I also had a favorite doll when I was young whose entire torso was covered in duct tape. Mom was the master at doll surgery. Especially when my brother finished “playing” with favorite doll and the right leg was left dangling at an odd angle. Miraculously after nap time, Dr. Mom delivered baby back to me almost as good as new! Almost…but not quite the same. See, the little leg just wouldn’t bend the same as it did before. It was a little stiff. But at least it wasn’t at such an odd angle either. It was the price I paid to have a two-legged doll. I was satisfied. And I grew to love the smell of duct tape!

You know, people get broken too. And I don’t think duct tape or WD-40 works on that. No, it takes more than what the world can offer to repair a heart, a life.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners

Isaiah 61:1 (emphasis mine)

I’ve heard from a reliable source that these words, “bind up the brokenhearted”, present a picture of a twig snapped clean in two being “restored” to its original condition – made whole. That’s something only God can do and He does it through relationship with His Son, Jesus. (to find out more, click here)

At Stonecreek Church, one of the main things we are about  is “Loving Broken People”. (By the way, that includes the entire human race – we’re ALL broken.) When we equip our volunteers we remind them that “until people believe they matter to us (that we value them) they will never hear that they matter to God.” Now that’s not putting God second. That’s the church in action. See, it takes us letting God love people through us (because we can’t do it on our own). Only then will they be open to the idea that God can accept them just the way they are. We have to see people the way God sees them.

For example, think about that person you would rather not hang out with. The one that really gets on your last nerve. Every time! That’s a broken person. God loves them and commands us to love them too. So what does that look like? I don’t know for sure but I do know if you turn the tables a little you will see that you may be (probably are, certainly are) THAT person to someone else. And guess what – God still loves you just as much as He always has and ever will!

Just love ‘em! It doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend or go on vacation with them. Just pray for them and ask God to help you love them like He does. I guarantee you will notice your heart soften and you will be amazed at the miracle God performs. And He’s so good He does it all without duct tape or WD-40!

Sharing From My Treasure Box (Part 2)

As promised, Part 2 of my Treasures from the Leadership Summit. I don’t know exactly what I expected the second day of the conference to be. Whether I thought it would be better than the previous day or how it could possibly compare to Day 1. I just honestly don’t know. But I did feel that God had some things He wanted me to hear and I was ready to listen.
Again, my nuggets of gold from each speaker (order by appearance, my commentary in italics):
  1. Dave Gibbons: His topic was Thinking Forward – 3rd Culture Leadership
    Takeaway: Failure is success. (What?!)
    Questions: Can I accept that unless I fail, I can never move forward? Without failures, I’d never relate to real people?
  2. Andrew Rugasira: His topic was Thinking Forward – Aid vs Trade
    Takeaway: Aid alone undermines accountability, integrity and dignity.
    Question: What does God want me to do (not JUST give, but DO) to help people help themselves?
  3. Wess Stafford: His topic was Leveraging Your Past
    Takeaway/Question: What is your cause? Does it move you to tears? What moves you passionately?
    Hint: Read his book Too Small To Ignore
  4. David Gergen: Interview with Bill Hybels, topic Eyewitness to Power
    Takeaway: Don’t confuse motion with progress.
    Takeaway: Maturity is coming to grips with your flaws.
  5. Chip & Dan Heath: Interview with Craig Groeschel, topic Switch (new book, due out Spring 2010)
    Takeaway: Big problems are most often solved by a series of small solutions
    Takeaway: Prepare for the “valley”. This is where you find solutions.
    Takeaway: Failure is a necessary step to success. (Dang! Didn’t I hear that somewhere else recently?)
  6. Bono: Interview with Bill Hybels
    Takeaway: Love your neighbor is not advice, it’s a command.
    Takeaway: Inspire people to do missions, don’t bore them.
    Takeaway: If we neglect leadership positions as a means to serve the poor, we will be held accountable.
    Question: Where does your sphere of empathy end? Who is far enough away from you that they don’t matter? (Hint: the answer is no one.)
  7. Tony Blair: Interview with Jim Mellado
    Takeaway: If the facts change, we can change our minds.
    Takeaway: Doubt doesn’t always go away once the decision is made. (Ain’t that the truth?!)
    Takeaway: It’s the way the world works. Without leaders things don’t get done.

You may have noticed there were fewer “Questions” than “Takeaways” for me on the second day. Beats me why. Maybe I was so full of questions from the day before that I just didn’t write them down. But I did pick up on more pearls of wisdom the second day. I’ll close out this post with a few miscellaneous quotes that I think are particularly nice.

Listen more. – Bill Hybels

The kindest form of management is the truth. – Bill Hybels

Are you changing as fast as the world around you? (I don’t quite see how that is possible, myself, but it’s a goal to strive for, I guess). – Gary Hamel

God doesn’t have a Plan B – we are it! – Gary Hamel

Just because a leader isn’t asked to do something hard, doesn’t mean it’s not important. – Bill Hybels

And a final word from Bill Hybels

You have one life to live full-on for God. What are you going to live for? What are you willing to lay your life down for?

Sharing From My Treasure Box (Part 1)

So, before I share some pearls of wisdom I picked up from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week, I feel the need to address my last post. I know it may have seemed a little out of character (for the blog, not me personally). Kind of like I was throwing up on Fear and Death. And I guess I was. I just felt the need to “put it out there” for anyone to see that I was denouncing the power and destruction that these cohorts desire. They will not bring us down. Our God is bigger than that and He has already defeated them. I’m just trying to live out what I believe!

There! Now on to my little Leadership Treasure Box.
It’s taken me the better part of three days to digest all that I saw and heard last Thursday and Friday. I have looked over the ton of notes scribbled down in my notebook and each time I do it’s like a jolt of excitement hits me all over again. That’s what I want to share with you. If you followed my Tweets or my Facebook status updates you were probably wondering where in the world I was and what I was up to. Well, Stonecreek Church had the privilege of hosting a private viewing of the Leadership Summit via satellite. It was an amazing experience. My heart-felt thanks to all who had a hand in making the whole thing possible. It was so nice to actually sleep in my own bed at night and still get to benefit from the wisdom of some of today’s greatest leaders from all over the world.
Without further ado…here are my takeaways (one from each speaker) in order of appearance.
  1. Bill Hybles: His topic was Leading in a New Reality
    Takeaway: What is your Replenishment Strategy? I have to keep my “bucket” full because I can’t lead out of emptiness.
    Question: What do my followers and colleagues see when they look at me? A full bucket or are they a little worried about me?
  2. Gary Hamel: His topic was Manage Differently Now
    Takeaway: When you’re in the trenches it’s easy to mistake the edge of a rut as the horizon.
    Question: Are you more committed to Redemption, Renewal and Reconciliation or Policies, Practices and Programs?
  3. Tim Keller: His topic was Leading People to the Prodigal God (I’m currently reading this book – it’s really good)
    Takeaway: The Gospel is not religion – it’s something entirely different.
    Question: What are my reasons and motives for doing what is right? To be my own savior? Or to please the one who saved me?
  4. Jessica Jackley: Her topic was Micro Finance Lending, co-founder of Kiva.org
    Takeaway: We must show instead of tell people why they should give.
    Question: Each “story” is special. How can I have the privilege to participate in their next chapter?
  5. Harvey Carey: His topic was Against All Odds (he is a bundle of energy!)
    Takeaway: Don’t just huddle without actually playing the game.
    Question: Transformation happens not when you say what you believe, but when you do what you believe. Does what I do really reflect what I believe?

That was the end of the line-up for Thursday. I’ll treat you to Friday’s treasures tomorrow. How’s that sound?

I Will NOT Fear! I Will Trust in God!

Our church family has suffered another “untimely” (for us) death today. This is the sixth one since May. We are a young congregation and two of those losses were children. Death has not been something that occupies a lot of our thought time. But lately it seems to be in our faces. It would be so easy to slip right into a fearful posture and imagine that Death is lurking around the corner, out to get us. But I refuse. I refuse to live in fear.
God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control. 2 Timothy 1:7

No matter how many times Death snatches lives from us when we are not prepared! I KNOW that God is in control. I know that GOD is in control. I know that God is in CONTROL!
What else do I know about God?
He is love.
He is good.
He is perfect.
He knows all.
He is not surprised by any of this.
He loves us.
He welcomes home His own with a grand party.
He never makes mistakes.
His thoughts and ways are not like my thoughts and ways.

Those are just a few that come immediately to mind. So I refuse to be fearful for my family, my church family, my community, nation or the world! God is still the Almighty and I WILL trust in Him and Him alone. Please join me in praying for the families left behind. Pray for peace and comfort that only God can provide. Amen.

God, Will You Introduce Me To That Driver?

Another theme has appeared in the craziness that is my life. See if you can identify it:
  • Give Me Your Eyes (Brandon Heath)
  • We need to see people like God see them. (Steven Gibbs, among others)
  • “When we see them as God sees them, we will glimpse His images in their faces…” (The Hole In Our Gospel, Richard Stearns)

I think you get the idea. To live a full and meaningful life we must live outwardly not inwardly. We must care for others. But guess what? We can’t do that on our own. It doesn’t come naturally to us. The only way we can have that kind of compassion and love is to let God show it to them through us.

Now I don’t have a reputation for being the most patient or tolerant person. Prime example is when I’m in the car. If you’ve ever had the “privilege” of riding with me you know what I’m talking about. Just driving along and someone changes lanes on me at the last minute WITHOUT using a turn signal! Burns me up!! Or someone driving down the middle of two lanes, oblivious to the other cars on the road – equals wet-hen mad. People not obeying the traffic rules – BIG no-no in my book (I’m such a Vehicular Pharisee!) Don’t even get me started on Parking Lot Etiquette. Yes, I’m Miss Big-Britches when I’m sitting in my driver’s seat behind the wheel. But would I yell so much at other drivers if I knew they could hear what I say? Um, probably not. Apparently I have plenty of room for God to tinker around in that area. He’s so good to me!

So this is what I’ve started doing. When someone really ticks me off in traffic I ask God to introduce me to the “object of His affection” in the other car. Then I make up things about that person that could be true (or better yet, I let God guide my imagination). I pretend that He says to me, “Yes, that’s Jean. I can understand why she forgot to use her blinker. She’s a little preoccupied this morning. You see, she’s waiting on a phone call from her doctor’s office about that test they did last week. Seems to her like it’s taking forever.” Or, “Oh, you mean Fred in that nice little silver sports car? He’s trying to make it to his second job on time today. His boss is a slave driver and has warned him for the last time not to show up at all if he’s showing up late.” And, “That’s Darlene. She’s out looking for apartments that she can afford for her and her 3 young children. Her husband left last month and cleaned out the checking account. It’s going to be rough on them for the next little bit.”

There’s a story in every car. I’m afraid we can get so wrapped up in our own stories that we forget everybody has their own story as well and the fact God is just as intimately familiar with theirs as He is with ours. Having compassion toward and patience with others doesn’t lessen the importance or significance of our own personal story. Quite the contrary, it adds more value than you can ever imagine.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
(uh-oh)
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
(ahem…)
Doesn’t fly off the handle, (ouch!)
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, (how many strikes do I get?)
Doesn’t revel when other grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message, commentary mine)

Just Ask…

My last post talked about a Great Secret that we have. One that we’re not supposed to keep to ourselves. We are meant to share it with others. In case you may be wondering how in the world to get started I’m not going to leave you hangin’. Sista’s gotcha covered. This is something one of my Blog Heroes (Tony Morgan) has done in the past. I’m kinda copying him by posting my notes from Sunday’s message by my pastor, Steven Gibbs. You can go here and listen to a podcast of the entire message. (I promise it won’t be a waste of your time.) The message title was Just Ask.

The premise being, Connect (with others) and Invite (them to life change through Jesus).

  • Spiritual conversations by us connect people to God.
  • Jesus’ plan for succession is me and you.
  • Without you there is someone who will live without God.
  • Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.
  • God, help me to see people as you see them.
  • Start where people are.
  • Be radically inclusive.
  • How many people have you given up on?
  • They may be just one ASK away from LIFE CHANGE.
  • When we come together as a team we light a wildfire.
  • We’d better be more concerned about what God thinks of us instead of what others think of us.
  • What do you want to be about?
  • We will slip into selfishness if we’re not careful.
  • We want our lives to be about others.
  • What we believe about God will dictate how we reach out to others.
  • Who do you know that is just one ASK away from LIFE CHANGE?

GREATER THINGS HAVE YET TO COME AND GREATER THINGS ARE STILL TO BE DONE IN THIS CITY!!

I can’t wait to see and be a part of the GREATER THINGS that God has for us. We have a place for you at Stonecreek Church, too. Come on over…

So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of someone who needs just one ASK? Do you need an ASK? Do you need LIFE CHANGE?