Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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The Orange Conference Live Stream—It’s FREE!

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Over 6,000 of you will be joining us in Atlanta next week! And while we’d love for everyone reading this to be here in person, we realize that’s not always possible. So, we’d like to offer you the next best thing: tune in online! FOR FREE! You’ll be able to see on- and off-stage action, including session streaming, speaker interviews, mayhem and hi-jinx, resource updates and giveaways—and maybe even win a ticket to OC15!

Be sure to RSVP for the Live Stream to receive additional information and special offers. We will not spam you, or sell your info. That’s just rude.

And don’t forget to invite your friends to watch with you!

A full Live Stream schedule will be posted just prior to the conference on this blog.

And if you’re super excited about the Live Stream, but tend to get a little distracted, text “LIVE” to 404-445-2198. We’ll send you text updates about what’s happening, reminders and important info. But we promise not to message you like a sixth grade girl at a One Direction concert.

The Orange Conference, a conference for entire family ministry teams, will be held April 30–May 2, 2014, in Atlanta. Over 5,000 key influencers—senior, next gen, student, children’s and preschool leaders—will gather to experience the power of “Yes,” and learn new insights into influencing the faith and character of the next generation. For more information, please visit www.TheOrangeConference.com.

 

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM ORANGE LEADERS.


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Wondering in the Wilderness This Easter

454435323The past few months I’ve been reading my favorite part of the Bible, Exodus through Joshua. I am slightly obsessed with the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, to their wandering in the wilderness and then long-awaited entrance into the Promised Land. It’s been quite a comfort to me over the years, as I draw so many parallels to my own life. I am following a reading plan, but I find myself skipping days just to intentionally draw out my time with these books. I sort of drink them in, dragging through the Introductions, skimming through all the footnotes, and re-reading certain sections. It may seem strange, as most Christians are drawn to the New Testament with Jesus’ teaching and Paul’s great work. Maybe I’m just old school. ;)

In fact, a couple of young Jehovah’s Witness boys knocked on my door last summer, and tried to talk to me about Jesus. I told them I was a Christian and followed Jesus. I’m sure people use all sort of methods to cut the conversation short, including that one. But they persisted a bit, asking me my favorite book of the Bible. I don’t know if they were testing my resolve or just curious, but when I told them Exodus, they didn’t really know what to do next. They stood there for a minute and then said goodbye. True story.

But it’s true. I think it probably is my favorite book. Moses is my hero. He’s flawed and he’s perfect. I began reading that portion of the Bible during one of the hardest periods of my life, and I kept thinking of how much I was like the Israelites, quick to complain and in need of guidance. I found myself on a similar journey of both wondering and wandering, and completely dependent on the Lord for guidance and provision.

“When Pharoah finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.” (Exodus 13: 17-18a NLT)

There are so many ways God shows His love for me daily. But it was a revelation when I read that passage and really let it sink in. At that point in my life, and every time I’ve read it since, I realized how frustrated I can get with my own wondering.

I wonder when my time will come.

I wonder when my circumstance will change.

I wonder what’s next.

I wonder why someone has it better than me.

I wonder when it’ll get easier.

I wonder. I wonder. I wonder.

And in the process, I wander.

It is a clear demonstration of God’s patience and unfailing love for Him to lead me the roundabout way. It takes time. It takes sacrifice. It takes forgiveness—lots of forgiveness. And, knowing myself, I probably wouldn’t handle the shortest route all that well. I need time to be molded and shaped, as much as I love to jump in with both feet. So, once again, I realize that His timing is perfect despite my ability to see it at work most of the time.

When I stop to reflect and see how much I’ve changed over the years, I still feel sometimes that I am in the infant stages of development. I still see how far I have to go. I think, “Yes, exactly, how can I be ready for that? I’m not yet who I need to be.” And realistically, I know that will always be the case. I hope I never stop growing and learning. But it’s those times that put the wondering in perspective.

“The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire.” (Exodus 13: 21)

Goodness knows I wish I had a pillar. And I’ll admit to praying for neon signs. I’m just afraid sometimes I might miss the whisper. But that’s because I can sometimes forget that I do indeed have a pillar: Jesus. He is my guidepost. He is my light in the darkness. He goes ahead of me. I may not be able to speak face-to-face with Him, as Moses did with God, but His Word clearly communicates His character. As I wander, I have the time to discern His will. And I feel His love, through His people and the Bible.

We all have at least one Egypt. I have a bunch of them myself. I have those places and things that I’ve allowed to enslave me, despite the fact that I am a captive who has been set free. Some of them are a daily battle, some were left on the battlefield a long time ago. Some are yet to come. But I am not alone. I am never alone. He has promised to take this journey with me.

This Easter, as many others do, I reflect on Jesus and what He’s done for me. Every day I have the opportunity to open up the gifts of grace, mercy, love and salvation. They are my manna. They are what God provides to sustain me in my wandering. But there are some days that I feel more like a kid hunting for Easter eggs, not sure where to look but overjoyed in the discovery. And honestly, I’m thankful for both. One is ever-present and one is a genuine delight. Luckily, Jesus is so much more than one thing.

Right now, I’m in Deuteronomy, Moses’ last hurrah. He’s speaking to a new generation of Israelites, because the older died in the desert. So, he has to remind them of where they came from, tell them about where they’re going, and explain to them their lasting covenant with God. It reminds me of Easter. This weekend, from Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday, communicates all three of those things. The person of Jesus, the Son of God, is the culmination of those things.

And despite who He is and what He’s already done, He’s still willing to lead me the roundabout way. I matter. Little ol’ me. He saved the world. He saved generations. And He saves me daily.

I need to remember that what Easter symbolizes can’t be confined to a day, or even a weekend. It’s a life-long journey. And it’s my privilege.

So, if you’re looking for me, I’m taking the long way around. I wonder where it’ll take me next.


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Social Ecclesia Conference Highlights

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 6.44.24 PMLast month, I attended a nifty new conference called Social Ecclesia with a few of my co-workers. The premise of the event is to help churches with their social media strategy. I think it’s a pretty great idea. These one-day mico-conferences are being held several times per year right now, and are well worth your time and effort if you are a church leader looking to learn more about developing a social approach to sharing the hope of the gospel.

Here are some of the notes I took away from the day.

Justin Wise

  • Authority in the social media age is determined by “who’s around” not “top down”
  • Media is interactive. It’s relational. Engage.
  • Just because people are seeing content doesn’t mean it’s working.
  • A new media culture values customization (iTunes, Netflix, DVR, Twitter, FB, etc.). You can tell when you put content in front of them that they don’t want. They check out.
  • Offline and online is blurred. Teens see social media as a regular part of life.
  • Social media is the new greeter at your church.
  • The FB generation doesn’t want to go to a church that works like a corporation. They want a flexible, interactive community with a cause.

Carrie Kintz at Focus on the Family

  • Van Gogh: I feel there is nothing more artistic that to love someone.
  • People are expressing their brokenness on social media because they don’t feel welcome at the church.
  • “We’re all stories in the end.” – Dr. Who
  • People who volunteer somewhere have happier lives. We are made to serve.
  • To feel loved we must feel known.
  • The church has hope. We need to share it more on social media. (Matt 5:14-16)
  • Don’t let disaster be the first time someone hears from you or your church.
  • Interact with your city’s hashtag.
  • Pray.

Matt McKee

  • Questions change the conversation.
  • How do we leverage social media for the sake of the Gospel?
  • Does the promise meet the practice? If it doesn’t, we fail. This is super important for churches to understand.
  • Online communication should drive offline conversations.
  • Church isn’t limited to an hour each week. Do you have a strategy for both?
  • Ask what problem are you solving?
  • Online presence: 70% interaction 20 content, 10 stats

Tony Morgan

  • Your communication doesn’t matter if you don’t know what a devoted follower looks like and can’t help move them there.
  • People can’t handle too many options. It gets confusing.
  • Increase church activity doesn’t equal spiritual growth.
  • Do your programs reach people outside the church or only satisfy insiders? Ask, “Which ministries is God blessing?”
  • Are your steps clearly communicated?
  • People are attracted to environments where life change is happening.
  • People generally go where they are invited.

Haley Veturis at Saddleback Church

  • Saddleback.com/weaps – their social media plan
  • 3 out of 4 Americans use social media
  • 2/3 of the global population uses social media
  • 13 hour sof video uploaded every minute on YouTube
  • 100K YouTube videos viewed per day
  • 3 million Tweets per day
  • 5 million minutes per day spent on FB
  • Saddleback social media strategy: Connect. Teach. Share.
  • Engage with the people you care about first. Educate community with great content from teachers and speaking pastors. Expose the community to ministry opps.
  • Follow your followers!
  • Go above and beyond when you can. (Disney does this well.)
  • Keep a pulse on the heartbeat of your community.
  • Empower others to be your advocates.
  • 5 Steps in 5 Minutes
  • 1. Identify a social media champion for your church.
  • 2. Check for consistency across channels.
  • 3. Identify your audience on each channel.
  • 4. Follow your followers.
  • 5. Unlink FB/Twitter accounts.

Dave Willis

  • Do people think your phone is your god because you never put it down?
  • Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.
  • Choose to be an encourager.
  • If you don’t intentionally pull away from social media periodically, then you’re living your life in a digital prison.
  • The impact of your influence will be determined by the effectiveness of your methods and the purity of your motives. Psalm 19:14
  • Criticism is the price of influence. (Luke 6:26, Rom 12:18)
  • Show respect, even to those who don’t deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but of yours.
  • The best way to build credibility with people is to consistently practice generosity.
  • Always be more interested in gaining followers for Jesus than you are in gaining followers for yourself.

James Andrews

  • The power has shifted from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities.
  • Customer service is the new PR. Effort matters.
  • Social media is the new main street.
  • Create conversations
  • Start with goals before tactics.
  • Be great listeners.
  • PR/Marketing role is to create, monitor, participate and filter
  • Influences and audience aren’t necessarily the same thing.
  • Be you.
  • Remember there are NO rules.
  • Don’t focus on numbers.
  • Convert social connections into real connections.
  • Give something back. Don’t just take.
  • Experiment continuously.
  • Make it easy for people to create data.


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The Justice Conference: Film Festival

1001275_10151902467461540_1779359943_nThe third day of The Justice Conference is a film festival. It’s literally a 12-hour day of movies back to back. My kind of day! And, of course, cool to see so many movies focused on justice all together. I’m not great about watching documentaries either, so this was a good chance for me to stretch myself.

I didn’t love them all, but there are some real gems in here. Give them a try when you get the chance. (Some of them are less than 10 minutes.)

Here’s what we saw:

IMBA MEANS SING

There are over 12 million orphans in the sub-Saharan Africa. Every year thousands audition for the chance to escape poverty and travel for the African Children’s Choir—only 20 make the cut. This is their story

50 PEOPLE 1 QUESTION: SKID ROW

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Skid Row is a 50-block community that over 4,000 people call their home. Jubilee Project spent a day in Skid Row asking people on their streets on question, “What is your dream?”

TIHARU

It’s quickly becoming the most populated country in the world, but India holds a dark secret. Men and women who make their homes in poor villages throughout the central region are forced to make decisions that no parents should ever have to make: sell a child into slavery or watch your children starve to death?

A PLACE AT THE TABLE (Streaming on Netflix)

A documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans, and proposed solutions for the problem. Featuring music from The Civil Wars.

MY NEIGHBOURHOOD

When a Palestinian boy loses half of his home to Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem, he joins his community in a campaign of non-violent protests. Efforts to put a quick end to the demonstrations are failed when scores of Israelis choose to stand by the residents’ side.

UNDIVIDED

Undivided is the hop-filled, challenging and inspiring true story of how a church and a public high school forged an unlikely friendship—initiating a beautiful transformation for both he school and faith community.

NEVER A NEVERLAND

The Kingdom of Swaziland  hosts the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world, leaving 1/3 of its population orphaned or vulnerable. Never a Neverland documents the reality of a kingdom moving towards extinction and the hope of a people to ensure it never becomes a “Neverland.”

SEVEN DAYS OF CHANGE

Get inside the lives of people affected by the world’s most compelling causes; witness the Sevenly team, a sylish Southern California  company race the clock to implement a life-changing solution for a deserving charity every seven days.

BLOOD BROTHER

A young man from a fractured family and a troubled past went traveling through India without a plan. Then he met a group of HIV positive children living in an orphanage—a meeting that changed everything for him.

THE PINK ROOM

After selling herself at fourteen to a brothel inside her home of Svey Pak, Mien takes and undesired path all over Cambodia for the remainder of her teenage life.

RISING FROM ASHES

Competing in a white man’s sport, reserved for the privileged, a rag tag group of cyclists coached by the first American to ride in the Tour de France is transformed into a powerful symbol of hope for a country recovering from one of the world’s most devastating genocides.

THE DROP BOX

One winter, a South Korean pastor finds a baby on the church steps, and decides to build a “drop box” to rescue future foundlings. This inspiring story takes place after the box was first installed and documents the incredible changes that take place.

 


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The Justice Conference: Highlights

Justice Conference logoTwo weeks ago I headed to LA for The Justice Conference. Any excuse to head to SoCal is a good one, but this event on social justice issues was extra special to me, and at the top of my vacation list this year. So, it made for a great trip!

I posted my Pre-Conference Highlights last week, and now I’ll move on to the main event, held at the beautiful Orpheum Theater. It was a really great day, full of fantastic information, inspiring speakers and like-minded camaraderie.

 

Ken Wytsma, President of Kilns College and Founder of The Justice Conference

  • When everyone speaks in a prophetic time, we can’t hear the prophetic voice.
  • Remember the poor with deep respect.

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Donald Miller, Founder of Storyline Conference, speaker and author

  • It’s hard not to filter your theology through advertising, which says you’re lacking something.
  • Jesus wants us to experience a deep sense of meaning, not necessarily to be comfortable and happy.
  • God is in the business of redeeming hard things.

 

Nicole Baker Fulgham, founder and President of The Expectations Project

  • Education is a pathway out of poverty.
  • Educated creates engaged citizens.
  • Education gives kids purpose.

 

Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Director of Equal Justice Initiative

  • 1. We need to commit ourselves to proximity. We must get close to those we want to serve. It will show you things you’ll never otherwise see.
  • 2. Change the narrative. Behind every un-truth, there is a narrative saying it must be this way.
  • 3. Be hopeful to create justice. Sometimes it’s easier to be faithful than hopeful.
  • 4. We have to choose to be uncomfortable.
  • I do what I do because I’m broken too. God is there for the broken. I understand the broken because I am one. God’s grace and mercy fills the broken places.
  • We will not achieve justice with just the thoughts in our minds.

 

Lynne Hybels, Author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World

Sami Awad, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust

Marcel Serubungo, Church Mobilization at World Relief Org

  • There is nothing that works in the Congo but the local church.
  • What makes our work different? Jesus.
  • You achieve greater results through love.
  • You can’t give away what you don’t have.
  • Don’t try to do something. Do something.

 

Justin Dillon, Founder/CEO of Made in a Free World

  • Justice is it’s own art form.
  • Embrace your vulnerability.
  • The world doesn’t need more information, it needs an invitation.
  • Make a world you want to live in.
  • Strive toward the better version of yourself.
  • We’re “shoulding” all over everyone. Stop the should and do.
  • Don’t think problems, think solutions.

 

Rich Sterns, President of World Vision

Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners

Noel Castellanos, CEO of CCDA

  • Our faith is connected to the issue of injustice.
  • Immigration reform may be the next Civil Rights movement.

 

Eugene Cho, Founder of One Day’s Wages, Lead Pastor of Quest Church

  • John 1, Woman at the Well
  • What we do isn’t in isolation. We are representatives of the Kingdom of God.
  • Justice must also do us, not just us doing justice. Otherwise, we just commercialize and commoditize it.
  • People aren’t projects; they are equals.
  • We must learn from those we serve. Place yourself in their narrative to catch a glimpse of who they are.

 

Stephen Bauman, President and CEO of World Relief

  • Your calling begins with a complaint. There is something you can’t stand for anymore.
  • Our faith will live by justice.
  • We need another reformation. God’s reformation is done through His people.
  • Reformation: a recovery of Truth from the periphery with sacrificial love.
  • What we consider the edges, God considers the center.

 

Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (and wife)

  • We cannot romanticize the work of justice.
  • 1 Kings 19 (Fire down from heaven)
  • Too many times we think justice work is calling fire down from heaven. But the reality is much more mundane that than. There are small, daily jobs to do.
  • Motivation matters. Check yourself.
  • To stay grounded, stay connected to people.
  • We must fight giants: ego, exhaustion and emotional toxicity.
  • Too often we think justice is talking AT people. Our justice work has become disembodied. It should be incarnational and not third-party.

 

Bernice King, American Baptist Minister and World-Renowned Speaker, Daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Conflict is a weapon of growth.
  • True peace is not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice. – MLK
  • Never forget God is on the side of justice. Start there and keep it in sight.
  • God made from one brotherhood all nations.
  • MLK’s strategy of nonviolence will always work because it’s based on Jesus.
  • Courageous people are nonviolent.
  • Nonviolence shouldn’t seek to defeat people, only injustice.

 

Bethany Hoang, Director of the Institute for Biblical Justice for International Justice Mission

  • Justice begins in the heart of God.
  • We must stop and pray. We are often too busy or in a rush to action to do it, but it will best equip us.

 

N.T. Wright, Professor at University of St. Andrews, Retired Bishop of Durham, UK, Author

  • Justice is what love looks like.
  • We need discernment because when we think we’ve got justice down, we become arrogant. (Tower of Babel)

 

Lynne Hybels, Author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World

  • Ask, “What is mine to do?” and let God help you figure it out. Otherwise you may be overwhelmed by all the causes and issues that need us.
  • God will empower you to do what is yours.
  • God created all the beauty in this world. Fight for it and help it flourish.

 

That’s all I got! Hope you enjoyed my notes. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to attend The Justice Conference again next year. It’s a great event, and I recommend going!

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