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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Of Gentleness and Thievery

"There is nothing stronger than gentleness." - Abraham Lincoln

This is true of Jesus, I pray it becomes more true for me on a daily basis.

Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit but not one we often try to cultivate and not one that is considered masculine aka manly.

Can I take criticism, unfair, unkind remarks without lashing out or losing my temper?
Can I turn the anger of others to calm with my demeanor?
Do I abuse my authority or mistreat those I under my authority?

Jesus exemplified gentleness at his own trial. He had the authority to end the charade. He had the power to destroy his adversaries. He had the right to put a stop to the proceedings or even turn the tables on his accusers. He had the means to enact revenge. Instead he showed the strength to endure it all without a hint of malice or thought of retribution. He remained calm, his gentleness was his great strength.

I see gentleness as a humble kindness stemming from inner strength and inner peace that comes from Christ. It starts with controlling one's temper but goes much deeper to include having such an inner confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit that you realize your temper, your tongue, none of it is yours to loose any longer.

The thing is I am not there yet, so often I still feel ownership of that which I no longer own. I reclaim possession of that which is no longer rightfully mine. I am weak...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Killing Cockroaches: A Review -- Scattered musings on a book on leadership

Tony Morgan has written a new book or a compilation of thoughts really that fall into the category of "scattered musings on leadership." Many are thoughts that first appeared on his blog TonyMorganLive.com

Tony is not just an author that writes about leadership, Tony is a practitioner with a proven track record, first at Sears (read the book), then as a City Manager (see video below), as well as Granger CC and currently at NewSpring Church.

I am fortunate to have fast, cat like reflexes when it comes to Twitter and got an advanced copy to read and review.

And so now I give you my "scattered musings on Killing Cockroaches."

After reading Killing Cockroaches I realized Tony Morgan is the William Shakespeare of Leadership gurus. "Shakespeare?," you say. They are both guys you're gonna pull off the shelf from time to time. Shakespeare for when you want a timeless classic and Tony when you want timeless wisdom on leadership. Killing Cockroaches will be a book that you will go back to again and again as a sort of reference guide. Have a question about effective communication, pull the book. Have a question about church marketing, pull the book. Have a question about team building or staffing issues, pull the book. Now let me tell you some of the reasons I enjoyed and highly recommend "Killing Cockroaches: and other scattered musings on leadership"

Anecdotal – Tony uses real life stories that paint a picture of effective leadership and help illustrate the principles he talks about. Real world experience meets real leadership wisdom.

Helpful – Killing Cockroaches is immediately helpful as you begin to find that you gravitate back to certain chapters that you know you need to implement immediately.

Humorous – Ok, I love leadership and I love leadership guru’s in all shapes and sizes but when is the last time Peter Drucker or John C. Maxwell made milk come out of your nose from laughing at something they said in one of their books. "Doves scare me." Me too Tony, me too!

Inspirational – everything in the book is about how to lead a more effective ministry to bring about life change that only comes through a relationship with Jesus. It doesn’t matter if it's a rant about Country music, a deeper look in to the practices of Google, or a study of ‘Red Letter Words” it is all with the sole purpose of pointing people to Jesus.

Multiple Personalities – Uncle Dean is dating Elizabeth Shue (Don’t know what I am talking about? Read the book.)

Multiple Voices – Tony includes interviews with leaders ranging from Steven Furtick to Guy Kawasaki.

Practical – you can apply the principles in the book immediately.

Thought Provoking – Tony uses lots of questions like “is your church service compelling?”, “what are you doing to avoid complexity creep?” (don’t know what that is? I suggest you read the book) and "how can we help them hear the message?"

So go buy the book if you have any interest at all in becoming a better leader or in developing a singular and laser sharp focus "to point people to Jesus."

And if my stellar and informative prose have not convinced you to check out the book then watch this awesomely funny video intro and you will be sold:

Friday, February 06, 2009

TrainFriday: a tweet-up to bless other people

Train Friday Kids Video from Shawn McEntyre on Vimeo.

In the morning I will be driving to Dallas to Tweet Up with some friends I met at CTCDallas awhile back. We will be riding the train from Dallas to Fort Worth for some fun, techie talk, Flip Videography, etc but first we will stop of Children's Medical Center to give-away as many $5 McDonald's gift cards to the kids and their families as we can. Please check out the website for Train Friday and if you twitter then follow the hashtag #trainfriday.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On Being a Dad: 01.28.09 : Perspective

It's always about perspective isn't it?  Well maybe the answer to that question depends on your perspective.  As a father of an active 2 year old warrior for Jesus, mommy loving, Tigger emulating bouncing boy I am often floored by what God teaches me through him.  Today as he often does, Elijah begged me to let him turn on the lights.  Now to be more specific anytime we are in one of the bedrooms or the living room and I pick Elijah up he wants to pull the 2 chords dangling from the ceiling fan.  I will pick him up and suddenly this new height perspective (those that know me are inserting short jokes at this very moment) causes a flood of new desires and goals to enter into Elijah's lexicon of activities.

No longer is he content to just play with his big block lego's, Noah's ark, or Hotwheels.  He wants to "tuwn on lights, daddy, tuwn on lights!"  Or he wants to reach for something previously hidden from his view that sits atop the entertainment center.  He wants to reach for, take hold, or engage in activities that previously were not at his disposal and not even on his radar as an option for consideration.

I realize me taking him in my arms and lifting him up is just like my time spent with God.  Often times I am just down here minding my own business or other times I cry out to Jesus to lift me up but either way I am down in my limit perspective. Left on my own I am incredibly short-sighted, easily amused (at least for a little while) and really just living in a childish, limited reality.  It is those times that God my Father lifts me up to be apart of something bigger, deeper, more meaningful that my perspective is changed, even shattered and I realize the incrible and wonderous opportunities that open up when I join God and am allowed to see from his perspective.  These times also make me feel small, they show me that I have been "too easily amused, too easily satisfied, and sometimes too willing to settle, give-in, or give-up."

It took looking at things from my 2 years old limited perspective for God to remind me of my limited, short-sighted perspective.  Sometimes life is a mess all around me but if I would just lift my voice up to God, cry out to Jesus to pick me up and help me see things from His vantage point my whole life and my whole world change in those moments.  Come to Him with the faith of little child but stay for the grown-up perspective.

God's kingdom is like a mustard seed.  His ways are higher than my ways, higher as in they blow mine out of the water and they blow my mind.  His thoughts are not my thoughts, compared to the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe I can comprehend God's thoughts and actions about as well a as a 2 year old can comprehend the danger and wonder and power of the electricity courseing through the unseen wires that come to the ceiling fan of the chords he want to pull. But man is that power there doing its job and wow what an impact it would make if he got ahold of it somehow by accident.  From God, the Father of Lights, comes every good and perfect gift and in Him there is no darkness, no shadow, only pure unadulterated light.  How majestic? How awesome.

That is why He is God and that is why though I can not comprehend it all and I know like sticking my finger in light socket--IT"S GONNA JACK ME UP!  I want more of God's perspective and less of the lowdown, short-sighted, limited-eye view that I get when left to my own.  It took my 2 year old to remind me of that tonight.  Come on God, lift me up out of this and show me what I am missing! That is my prayer. Jack my jaw for Jesus! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Incarnational = Presence in Pain

Two of the words that drive me in ministry phylisophically, relationally and methodalogically are Incarnational and Missional.

These past two weeks in ministry, from a Productivity stand point I have had a lot of interuptions.  But to call them that at all misses the whole point of what ministry is all about: Ministry is about relationships and connecting people to the presence of the Kingdom of God with their present reality.

Last Saturday we had a funeral.  Sunday I spent an hour at the home a church member hours after his wife passed away, comforting him and his daughter.  Later that evening another of his daughters entered the hospital due to overwhelming stress brought on by her sense of personal loss.  The next day the husband himself was rushed to the ER where he was experiencing a multitude of symptoms. Since then 2 other church members have enter the hospital and our church family will have yet another funeral this Saturday, to celebrate the life of a godly wife, mother and lady.

To be honest as a pastor I feel pretty inadequate during these times.  All I can do is offer my presense, extend my thoughts and prayers to them and their family members.  I have come to realize making so many of these visits over the last several days that surpisingly, that is enough.  I know no amount of talking theology or spouting platitudes or worse cliche's will help so I really struggle with what I should say.  Amazingly, on one hand I don't have to say much, and on the other, as long as I use common sense, whatever I do say is enough.  

Its all about presence: Just being there shows you care. If they are a family in your congregation your teaching and previous oppurtunities to shape their theology will already provide them the comfort and persective they need in these times of crisis, pain, and loss.  This is not the time to teach but rather the time to see teaching applied to their life.  The power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people of faith is amazing to me.  I could not imagine being married to someone for 57 years and then suddenly be without them.  

I am only 34 and it's ridiculous for me to think I could relate or emphathize but in the smallest of ways.  What I can do is be there, be present in the pain.  I have literally had the priviledge to be the presence of Jesus in people's lives this week to remind them that He loves them, He is in control, He knows our pain and suffering, and He has even secured salvation and a place in eternity for their loved ones.  I find that to be such an honor because I certianly could not do that in my own strength. 

I have heard amazing inspiring stories this week.  Funny stories that have made me laugh and helped the family member's laugh.  I have heard stories of love and devotion too.  Stories of faithfulness to each other, to Christ, and to His church.  The healing power of presence and the the practice of listening this week has overwhelmed me as someone who is wholly inadequate to help heal anyone of such deep emotional pain. Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus I have been humbled to see those things happen through me to effect other people. I am humbled and honored to serve such faithfull people and much more so to serve such and incredible God that could, let alone would, use me in such a way!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

THE BLOG: Re:Forming Re:Vamping Re:Designing Re:Thinking

I have been thinking a lot about the blog since Church Tech Camp: Dallas. I sat in some breakout sessions with John Saddington on Missional Blogging. John blogs here and here. John is on staff at Northpoint. One of the things John challenged me to do is to focus in on my passions and blog about those things. Also he challenged me to categorize those 2-3 passions into no more than 8 sub categories.

Here is what I am thinking:

3 Big Passions:
Missional Ministry

Categories I will try to stick to on the blog:
1. Missional Family
2. Missional Leadership
3. Missional Student Ministry
4. Social Media Technology as Missional Ministry
5. Music/Film as it helps connect people to the Heart of God
6. Pop Culture and Cultural Trends as Missional Endeavors
7. Humor (this was way to friggin' funny to not share with people)
8. Productivity

Please watch, critique, encourage, advise, as I continue to make changes.  Come back often comment, engage, interact, and befriend.  I hope to make a platform change, redesign, and relaunch in the very near future. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Twitter Funnies: Humorous Tweets I Have Favorited

@timastevens Just finished blowing my for the third time since last night. 6:21 PM Jan 10th from TweetDeck
@timastevens Uh, typo. Insert word "driveway." Blowing my driveway. 6:21 PM Jan 10th from TweetDeck

@Fernihough i have a target on my face this week that reads "irritate me. please."

@hotdogsladies Oh, Google. You know I meant to type "Angus Young." Jeez, one dropped consonant, and now I have to go bleach my corneas for an hour.

@russware The glove compartment isn't accurately named And everybody knows it

@NotHenryRollins My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud

@DougFields At no point during my years in seminary was I ever prepared to negotiate arguments with facility staff over the price we charge for coffee.

@tomcottar instead of McCain or Obama...vote Optimus Prime.

@mhenslee Watching Wade Philips mumble...umm mmm we stunk ummm romo choked hmm mmm we're overated ummm hmmm I wanna coach oakland mmm umm hmm.

@dooce The server at Chili's brought me four mugs of Diet Coke, and I was so happy about this that for a second I finally understood Sarah Palin.

@claytonchancy How fun would life be if you could tickle yourself?

@mattmcgill New song SCREAM by chris cornell ought to be called princess, bubble gum, ponies.

@mhenslee I'd thank @officialpeta for following me here on twitter...but it will have to be after I finish this double-bacon-cheeseburger.

@larryboatright just spilled a dr pepper on my crotch 12:34 PM Sep 17th, 2008 from Hahlo
@larryboatright no people, I did not poop my pants. It's dr pepper, isn't it obvious?? 1:16 PM Sep 17th, 2008 from Hahlo
@larryboatright I bumped Kevin and made him spill his coffee on his MacBook pro. I am a goon. Pray it still works 4:27 PM Sep 17th, 2008 from Hahlo
@larryboatright kevin's laptop has gone to be with the Lord.7:15 PM Sep 17th, 2008 from Hahlo
@thekevincouch Larry killed my laptop with my first love.......coffee 9:00 PM Sep 17th, 2008 from Twittelator

Larry had previously spilled water and Dr. Pepper on his crotch 2 other times but unfortunately I didn't have the foresight to start "favoriting" the trend back then.

[This post originated as a response to: This blog entry The Funniest Tweets I've Seen on Twitter--So Far]

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Church Tech Camp Dallas Opening Session

John Saddington from Northpoint/Buckhead is speaking about passion, networking, loving Jesus, and leaving with something practical to do.

Psalm 8: We have been given an amazing opportunity and responsibility to be apart of the ministry that God is doing online.

God has put everything under our feet, including the internet and technology in general.


If you are using the internet: facebook, twitter, blogging, email, etc then you are a digital pastor.

technology is helping us spread the gospel, start conversations about the gospel, minister to people online.

I use Myspace, Facebook, Gtalk, Twitter, and the Blog.

Great question someone asked: "what is the ultimate goal, personal contact or personal growth."

TECHNO-EVANGILST new term for what guys are doing online to reach people with the gospel.

Websites I am hearing repeated at #ctcdallas:
MOZES free text messaging service to send group texts.

ROOV a way to conect with church members through facebook

twitter of course [find me on twitter here]

plurk a social journal for your life [me on plurk here]

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

3 Videos to Watch Today

This video is just plain awesome funny, made by some of the Digerati Team at Lifechurch.tv :

Wicked Mustaches from kevin ely on Vimeo.

Russell Crowe appears to be dressing the part of Mad Max while talking to Crocodile Dundee about becoming a pastor in this rather funny advertisement for a Bible College in Australia!

Here watch Bruce Lee play ping-pong with nunchucks. (I taught him everything he knew.)

(this last video I found here)

Icebreakers for Breaking the Ice with Students when the Ice needs to be Broken

or Questions to Ask Students as Conversation Starters:

In student ministry there can sometimes be a tension between you as a strange adult and the teenagers you are called to reach. Some situations lend themselves to being less awkward than others. In student ministry it has always been my habit to frequent school lunches, band concerts, sporting events, and other extra-curricular events. Nothing can be more daunting the high school cafeteria as a youth worker, if the schools even allow you in. These questions really help break the ice and get kids talking and help you avoid that awkward silence.

First one of my main stand-by’s is a generic “favorites” question:
“What is your favorite…?” (I switch it up all the time: movie, band, book, song, sport, athlete, cheese, food, candy, website, form of torture, word for snow [if they are eskimo, cause eskimo's have 29 different words for snow] etc, etc)

“If you could go anywhere in the world and money wasn’t issue, where would you go and what would you do?”

You can turn this in a spiritual direction too but of course don’t have to. It lends itself to talking about missions, lifestyles, poverty, helping/serving others, etc.

What is something that really makes you mad?

or When was the last time you got really angry about something? (sounds like a weird question but you would be surprised how kids will open up and the oppurtunities it gives you to take things in a spiritual direction.)

I used to ask kids “Do you twitter?” but after several took it to mean something completely inappropriate and the police got involved, I don’t so much use that question anymore!!!

How can I pray for you?

–you would be surprised how well this works, even with wait staff at restaurants will spill there guts with knowing little more about whether you drink tea or coke and that you like ranch on the side. Kids will open up too. I rarely lead with this one of course but I find I use it more with kids that are not in my youth group than those that are. It can make a great impression on the student the next time you see them to let them know you prayed for them and ask how it worked out. They will be astounded that you cared enough to remember let alone pray about it.

I also often ask kids if they have a myspace or a facebook? and A new one I am thinking about trying out is asking kids if they have ever googled their own name?

This originated as a comment on my friend and fellow co-laborer in Student Ministry Ryan Weaver at his blog Terminal Confession.