“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
- Theology is what you believe. Ministry is what you do as a result of what you believe.
- Ministry should change all the time, but not theology.
- If you have bad theology, it will narrow what you minister to.
- Jesus had perfect theology, and yet there is no one He wouldn’t minister to.
- Churches who get this, and Christians will always be attractive to people.
- To awaken the wonder of the world to the wonder of the church, we should take our cues from: Something Jesus said, something said about Jesus, something Jesus said without saying it, and something Jesus didn’t say.
- Something said about Jesus: He embodied grace and truth. (John 1:14, 17)
- Jesus never dumbed down the truth and never turned down the grace.
- The grace/truth tension requires that we present the ideal while embracing what’s real.
- Something Jesus said without saying it: Distinguish theology from ministry. (Matthew 9: 9-13)
- Distinguishing between theology and ministry liberates ministry without compromising theology.
- When churches fail to distinguish between theology and ministry, ministry becomes rigid and idealistic.
- Something Jesus didn’t say: Never give up influence unnecessarily. (Luke 20:1-8)
- Never make a point at the expense of making a difference.
- Think twice before answering a question that has the potential to burn a bridge or close a door.
- Something Jesus actually said: Love your enemies. (Matthew 5:43-45)
- Objection: But didn’t Jesus say we should be concerned about people speaking well of us? No, of Jesus.
- Think about the groups that would usually push back against your local church. How can you love them?
- Teach the ideal and embrace what’s real.
- Teach your teams to distinguish between theology and ministry.
- Never give up influence unnecessarily.
- Identify your potential enemies and love them.
Dr. Brene Brown, Best-Selling Author
- Leaders, know that you will fall a some point.
- 3 ways to manage shame: move away, move toward and move against
- When something hard happens to us, emotion gets the first crack at handling it and making sense of it.
- As much as we think we are thinking beings, we are emotional beings.
- The brain is hard-wired for survival.
- The brain wants a story to make sense.
- Both brains and hearts respond to stories – logically and emotionally.
- The brain rewards us even if the truth is ambiguous. It just needs the logic of a narrative. Vulnerability and uncertainty are the enemy.
- Getting through hard emotions well:
- Try to recognize when they’re triggered by emotion.
- You can’t create an innovative, loving landscape without understanding emotion.
- You must have a high capacity for discomfort.
- You need an understanding of your own emotional landscape, as well as the landscape of your people.
- Good leaders are mindful and breathing.
- Mindfullness = paying attention, pray
- We are better at inflicting pain than dealing with our own.
- Rumble with the story we’re making up.
- SFD (Shitty First Draft) – We don’t need shame about being human.
- Consider writing immediate thoughts to help you deal. it’s telling what comes to mind first. It helps you deal.
- In the absence of data, we make up a story, but we need to get the facts straight!
- When you own your story, you get to write the ending. If you don’t, it owns you.
- “The story I’m telling myself right now…” is the conversation you have with a person you have a conflict with. Let them clarify.
- If you’re not falling, you’re not being brave enough.
- Try to recognize when they’re triggered by emotion.
Trip Lee, Award-winning Hip Hop Recording Artist and Author
- Use music to celebrate God. (Exodus 18)
- We are always standing on the other side of the Red Sea.
- Use music to express pain and frustration.
- We do not have a cold, dead Bible that doesn’t understand human experience.
- We do not have a God that can’t handle our pain and suffering.
- Use music to teach and encourage.
- Use music for joy.
Margaret Feinberg, Author
- Religious familiarity breeds unholy cynicism.
- Isaiah 29: 13-14
- Joy is the weapon we use to fight life’s battles. How will you respond to bad situations?
- Rejoice when it makes no sense.
- Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.
- Do it one square inch at a time.
- Proclaim to the darkness that it will not win!
- Remain suspicious that God is up to something good.
- Joseph’s story.
- Good things still came from Margaret’s cancer.
- When we search for the goodness of God, we will find it.
Erwin McManus, Founder of Mosaic Church and Author
- What makes us uniquely human? Hebrews 11
- Faith restores our humanity.
- We are only species that can live beneath our intention.
- we seem to have more confidence is what we have, than what we hope for.
- Hope only exists in the future. We are created for the future.
- we need to move beyond enlightenment to living in the Light.
- The question is not if you will create, but what kind of future you will create.
- You are living in a future someone else dreamed of.
- You can only create outside of you what is reflected inside of you.
- The imagination is the playground of God.
- What fear is God trying to eat away in your soul?
- Dream. Risk. Create.
Louie Giglio, Pastor of Passion City Church and Lead Visionary of Passion Movement
- God doesn’t call people to job descriptions. He calls them to Himself and His purpose in the world.
- “Here am I, send me.” (main scripture reference)
John Maxwell, Leadership Expert
- Success is about us, significance is about others.
- To live a significant life, you must be intentional.
- value people, believe in people and unconditionally love people.
- You’re going to either read or write your own story. Be intentional, or something will write yours for you.
- Move from good intentions to good actions.
- Once you’ve listed significance, success will never satisfy.
- Value people
- Are we going to connect with people, or correct them?
- Think of ways to add value to people.
- Think on the front end, not on the back end.
- Prepare or repair.
- Look for ways to add value to people
- Then evaluate your day, every day.
- Do things that add value to people
- You must act on your good intentions.
- Encourage others to add value to people
- Start a movement.
- Value people
Christine Caine, Founder of The A21 Campaign, Propel and Author
- It’s easy to ignore suffering when its nameless and faceless. (Genesis 50:20)
- Numbers 13:1 (Sending spies to Canaan)
- How you seem in your own eyes can also be how you look to others. (grasshoppers)
- You can miss the miracles of God because of your perspective, even when you’re in the midst of it.
- 10 people delayed a generation’s destiny.
- Your perspective can shape the destiny of others.
- God’s not obligated to finish what you start.
- God wants to do amazing things. If you don’t want to be a part of it, get out of the way.
- Joshua and Caleb weren’t any more gifted than the others, they just had more perspective and faith.
- We need a world of hope and purpose, and that only comes through Christ.
- The question is “how” we’ll take the land, not “if.”
- Impossible is where God starts.
- Do not limit God’s power by the size of your giant. They were holding the fruit, but focused on the giant.
- If you are good enough, smart enough, or talented enough, you don’t need God anyway.
- Some of you are praying for miracles, but refuse to put yourself in a situation where God will perform one.
- We ask God for signs, wonders and miracles, but refuse to go into circumstances where we need them.
- God’s promises are bigger than the problems.
Chris Brown, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host
- Wonder often gets chucked out by familiarity, and distraction.
- Gratitude is the key that unlocks wonder. We keep it with generosity.
- As leaders, we should proactively create wonder in others.
- “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Guy Kawasaki, Author, Chief Evangelist of Canva
- Great innovation occurs when people decide to make meaning.
- Make a mantra.
- Jump the next curve.
- Most orgs define themselves by what they currently do, it’s forward thinking we need.
- Roll the dice.
- The best products are deep (multi-faceted) and intelligent and complete and empowering and elegant.
- Don’t worry, be crappy.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll never finish.
- Let 100 flowers blossom.
- In the beginning, you can’t predict everything, including your audience.
- Polarize people.
- Great causes, churches, people, etc, polarize people. Not everyone’s going t like it. The worst case is that people don’t care.
- Church, baby, churn.
- There has to be a next version.
- Then listen to the feedback.
- Niche thyself (the key to marketing)
- Be unique and add value
- Perfect your pitch.
- You have to sell it.
- Customize your intro.
- 10 slides is enough, 20 minutes, 30 point font with a black background
- Don’t let the bozos grind you down.
Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of Warby Parker
- Innovation often comes out of constraint.
- Fail first.
- De-risk the process in small steps.
- Details are important.
- Incremental progress.
- Help others find their passion.
- Help others identify their strengths.
- Spur their creativity by setting expectations and constraints.
- Innovation requires a deep examination of the problem
- A million small steps lead to a big solution.
For my notes on Labs, click here.
- Genesis 37 (Joseph’s dream about his brothers bowing down to him)
- God gives us a picture of the present to endure through the process and get to the future.
- A dream that hasn’t been tested in a dream that can’t be trusted.
- Test 1: Rejection
- Not everyone will support the dream.
- You don’t need anyone else to confirm what God has told you.
- Most people share their dreams too quickly. Be a good steward of your dream, and share it at the appropriate time.
- Your dreams are still going to come with nightmares.
- No man can pull back what God decides to push forward.
- Sometimes rejection can be part of your direction.
- Joseph didn’t have a bad day. He had a bad decade.
- Test 2: Temptation
- God tests, Satan tempts and people tease.
- Everyone has been tempted.
- There is always the temptation to indulge.
- Dreams have to withstand the test of time. Don’t force the dream.
- Joseph said that no matter where he was, he would be faithful. And he flourished. He was faithful to the call.
- There is always a temptation to quit.
- Test 3: Retribution
- A God dream is always about God, not you. Joseph blessed, not cursed, his brothers when they needed his help. And this is after they almost killed him and sold him.
- How do you handle the realization of your dreams?
- God dreams test our motivations, not just behaviors.
- The wrong motivation will never lead to the right destination.
- If you are too big to serve, you are too small to lead.
Jennie Allen, Esther Havens & Lindsey Nobles
- Leadership costs something. – JA
- Many people do not finish the hard work. – JA
- If we are building God’s Kingdom, then all of hell is coming against us.
- Lessons from the Book of John
- Jesus serves us out of relationship and rest.
- What is preventing you from having the relationship with God that you desire?
- Ex: fear, lists/responsibilities, people, time…what is competing?
- Our lack of rest if often tied to identity.
- Are we our job? Our family? Our friends? No! We are children go God.
- We often feel like, as leaders, we must have it all together, and that is simply not true.
- Netflix isn’t true rest. Make time to actually commune with God.
- It’s hard to see a need and not wear yourself out trying to fix that. We have to trust God to do the work. All we can do is play our part.
Jennie Allen, Amena Brown and Rebekah Lyons
- John 4 (Woman at the well)
- An invitation can change lives.
- Life change usually happens eye-to-eye, person-to-person.
- Doing the everyday work of ministry is what moves it forward, as much as or more than the big and public things. – JA
- What keeps you from being fully present in community?
- Maybe have a set schedule to talk to the close people you need in your life. – AB
- Jesus made Himself an outsider for the outsiders. He even died far outside the city gates.
- Meekness is not weakness. The meek shall inherit the earth.
- The greatest ministries happen over tables, not on stages.
Jennie Allen, Margaret Feinberg and Shelley Giglio
- John 2 (water into wine miracle)
- Jesus’ first miracle was at a party!
- We’re only as good as leaders to the extent we are followers. – SG
- Jesus brings life and light to us. It is our calling to mirror that. – SG
- Jesus was the life of the party. We need to lighten up. – SG
- Joy is the weapon we use to fight life’s battles. – MF
- Wonder comes from gazing. You have to be willing to look, and keep looking. – SG
- Joy comes in remembering. Remember God’s faithfulness. Recount His blessings. – SG
- The more we chase God, the harder life gets. – JA
- Dependence on God leads to joy. – SG
This Tuesday, October 6, you can buy the first copies of my friend Katrell’s book, Tiger Heart. I would absolutely love for you to do this! You won’t regret it. It’s the really incredible true story of her life, and how she dreamed up her organization, The Learning Tea, which provides college educations for impoverished girls in India. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while or following me, this is the woman I went to India with this summer.
The proceeds from the book will support the organization, so you’d also be benefiting a great cause. There is a lot of humor in the book, but also a lot of inspiration. One of the reasons Katrell wrote the book, the first in a series of three, is that she wanted people to see that amazing things can be done without a lot of resources or money. And I assure you, she is doing some remarkable work. Each of the girls in her program is talented, and has accomplished a lot. All they needed was the chance, which this program gave them.
The book includes some really crazy stories, some of which may even be hard to believe. But if you’ve been to any third-world country, I assume it won’t sound too far-fetched to you. ;) Weird things happen in these places! Maybe that’s part of the reason we love them.
So, whether you love reading, social justice, Atlanta, India or inspirational stories, I think you’ll really enjoy the book. I certainly did.
- If you’re in the Atlanta area, you can attend the book launch party on October 15 at the Margaret Mitchell House.
- Please visit TheLearningTea.com for more info about the program, or Dr. Bombay’s for info about her tea shop that funds the organization. It’s awesome!
- Purchase tea! The current tea is loose leaf, but she hopes to move to tea bags before too long. This was part of the work we did on the trip.
- If you’re in the Atlanta area, stop by Dr. Bombay’s for a cup of tea or coffee! High tea is also served daily, and is delicious! Many of their food items are made in house, or bought from locals. And the last Monday of each month is a 4-course meal for $20 that supports The Learning Tea.
It’s been a great week! Some common things, some random things and some unexpected things. I figured I’d just share those with you.
First of all, we had amazing weather all week long! August is usually crazy hot and humid, giving our city the nickname “Hotlanta.” But this past week, it was as if Southern California descended upon us and kissed our foreheads. It’s been so wonderful to be outside, and I’m hoping this trend will take us into the fall.
I ate lunch with my friend and co-worker, Jen, who is always fun to talk to. We’ve both had a lot going on lately, so there’s never a lull in the conversation. She’s been a great source of encouragement and advice, and hopefully I am returning the favor. I’m glad to have a few good friends at the office that I can really hang out with.
I also received my copy of The Entitlement Cure by Dr. John Townsend. He is the co-author of Boundaries, probably the book I have recommended more than any other. If you haven’t read it, do yourself and everyone else around you a favor. It changed my life. But, I am really excited to be a part of the launch team for this new book. That means I’m getting to read it, promote it and give my feedback before it actually becomes available for sale. Pretty fun. So far, I can already tell you that it’s worth the read! Entitlement is an issue I think we all struggle with on some level, so I love that this book is addressing it.
This was a whopper of a day! I got an alert from a travel website I follow, TravelZoo, that said Frontier airlines was having a crazy two-day sale, with fares as low as $20 per one-way, AND they gave you a $5 code.
I have a lot of work travel coming up this fall, plus two event launches, so it really wasn’t a good time for additional personal travel. But for a deal like that, I had to look, right? And I thought maybe I could swing something in my own time zone to make it easier. I’ve really been wanting to get up to NYC to take in a Broadway show. I start getting a little antsy if it’s been too long—and it’s been too long. I’ve always said, if airlines would make it cheap to get in and out on the same day, I’d go regularly to see a show. But alas… So, I thought this would be my chance. Unfortunately, you only had one flight each day to choose from, so it ended up as an overnight trip, which hopefully I can use hotel points for. But, drum roll please, I scored a round trip flight to NYC for $30!
So, of course, now I’m on a buyer’s high! I looked to see if there was another option I could take advantage of. DC is another place I’ve been wanting to get back to, and it happened to be one of the handful of options open for this deal. Plus, there are still a number of things I’ve never done in DC. So, I snatched that one up too—yes, for $30 round trip! So, now I have a total of seven trips in about a 10-week time period, but I’m going to get to do some fun things!
I also started listening to Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For The Love. I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore this woman and want to be her friend. This new book just makes me dive a little deeper into my obsession. I laughed and cried and have already recommended this book to everyone I saw this week. Love. Love. Love. Get it now!
To top that day off, I had a long-overdue coffee date with my friend, Michelle. We were able to just slow down and catch up for a few hours. It was lovely, and the perfect end to Tuesday.
I went to my regular naturopath appointment, and got the results back from some recent tests I had done. Thank goodness—things are getting better! I’ve had chronic health issues for almost three and a half years. But my most recent blood and saliva tests show improvement and my body starting to work more the way its supposed to. This was a relief, since I was going through yet another phase of being frustrated about all of this. I am grateful for all of their help, and despite the expense, know that treating my body naturally is the way to go. Huzzah—starting to see some real progress!
I also finished watching the final season of The Newsroom. My love for Aaron Sorkin’s writing knows no bounds. It began with Sports Night, then The West Wing, followed by Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (my fav), and now The Newsroom. I wish everyone everywhere spoke the way this man writes. Wit and repartee and banter at its finest. Aaron, I’m waiting with baited breath until your next TV show. Please don’t make me wait too long.
Despite my horrendous start to the day in getting my driver’s license renewed, the rest of the day was pretty enjoyable. (See rant on Facebook here. ) If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love conferences and frequently attend them. Well, my friend Eryn was speaking at a conference in LA this week that I really wanted to go to, but couldn’t make it work. It’s called Yellow Conference, and I have been stalking them for about a month now.
Since I could attend, I ended up purchasing the Live Stream pass. So, Thursday was spent listening to incredible women and men with inspiring stories while I worked away at my computer. It was not as awesome as it would’ve been to be there, but still a great alternative. I was unable to listen in on Friday, but I’m excited to go back and watch the videos soon. And, Yellow Conference, I’ll see you in person next year!
Friday was a day for reconnecting. I had morning coffee with my friend, Pattie, who was in town for the day. She was the Georgia Chapter co-director for Not For Sale when we met, and was a great boss to volunteer under. She moved to South Georgia a while back, so I rarely see her anymore, and this was a real treat. It was fantastic to hear what’s going on in her life and tell her about mine. We always speak so easily with each other, and it was a great way to start the day.
After that, I headed over to one of my favorite places in ATL, Dr. Bombay’s, which has been mentioned numerous times on this blog since I just went to India with my friend Katrell who is the owner, as well as another friend and her employee, Stephanie. I hadn’t been able to hang out with Stephanie since returning from India, so we planned to work on our own stuff, drink chai, and chat in between. This was so nice. Katrell was also in that day so I got to hang out some with her too. It was a great way to end the work week—productivity, friends, coffee, tea and patio weather.
Energy is a precious and rare commodity with any long-term illness. And for one that began with mono, it’s especially true. So perhaps it was the momentum of this week, but I woke up with a good amount of energy and a desire to be outside in this terrific weather in case it decides to take a hike. So, I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail for a long walk. I ended up making it about 3.5 miles, which I was pretty proud of. And it was doubly good because I listened to my newest audio book, Off Balance, during the first part of the walk and prayed on the way back. I was tired and sweaty when I finished, but it felt really good. I’m so grateful to have ended my week this way. Praying I’ll be able to do it again soon!
Thanks to everyone who made it a great week!