Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem


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The Justice Conference 2015: My Favorite Quotes

Justice Conference StageLast week I attended The Justice Conference in Chicago with a couple of friends. This was my second year, and yet again, it provoked so many thoughts about social justice and pricked my heart for reconciliation in the hard places.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy them too. May they lodge themselves in your mind, and propel you toward creating a better future for us all.

 

Cornel West

Scholar, Activist, Servant and Lover of Music

  • May the God of justice bless you with discomfort.
  • Have the audacity to make Jesus your choice.
  • Look back before you move forward.
  • Love your way through the darkness.
  • If the Kingdom of God is in you, you should leave a little bit of heaven wherever you go.
  • Following Jesus means you’re welcoming a proximity to pain.
  • Quoting Samuel Beckett, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Eugene Cho

Pastor, Writer, Visionary

  • Justice must be part of our worship of God.
  • Everyone loves justice until there is a cost.
  • John 4: Jesus HAD to go through Sumeria. He was compelled. He went to the hard places to make people’s lives better.
  • Even good things can become idolatrous.
  • Everything we do should be a response to God’s love.
  • Justice must always be humble.
  • Be careful that you don’t become self-righteous. Otherwise YOU may be the mountain God wants to move.
  • Our hope is not in our Savior Complex.

Louis Dooley

Illinois Regional Director, Set Free Ministries

  • Get out of the Christian bubble.
  • Get your hands dirty.

Bob Goff

Best-Selling Author and Speaker

  • Love everybody, always.
  • God makes people. And people make issues. But people aren’t issues.
  • Let people get justice because they know you.
  • You’ll be known for your ideas, but remembered for your love.

Ken Wytsma

Teacher, Entrepreneur, Author

  • Faith lives in a climate of doubt.
  • It’s not the quality of faith that matters, but the presence.

Jenny Yang

Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief

  • We are all called to be advocates.
  • There is a limit on charity, but there is no limit to transformational relationships.

Ann Voskamp

Author, Blogger, Farmer’s Wife

  • We need to become the Esther generation, advocating for those outside the gates.
  • Accept the invitation to cross boundaries.
  • When your heart breaks for justice, pray to stay broken.

Jonathan Merritt

Columnist and Author

  • We should nurture bravery, humility, empathy and diversity.
  • Learn how to disagree well. It usually involves more listening.

Rev. Traci Blackmon

Pastor, Member of the Fergusson Commission

  • Many of us are blind to our privilege.
  • Privilege is an “othering” of people.
  • Look for God’s image in everyone.
  • Nobody gives up privilege willingly. Are you ready to pay the cost?

Louie Giglio

Pastor of Passion City Church, Founder of the Passion Movement

  • Be quietly worshipful and noisily grateful.
  • Your core identity must be Jesus. Anything else, and heaven will be a disappointment.
  • You’re a Jesus worshipper first, not a job or activist or anything else.
  • Justice isn’t a career path. It’s a theological imperative. It’s rooted in everyone, woven in divinity and reconciliation.
  • If you aren’t at peace, your going to be asking your mission to validate you.

Neichelle Guidry

Preacher and Worship Curator

  • In the presence of Jesus, character is revealed.
  • Jesus only spent 25% of His time in church throughout recorded scripture.
  • Perhaps its not enough to just have a heart that’s in the right place.
  • Growth always comes with growing pains.
  • Your comfort comes at someone else’s discomfort.
  • Grow up. Become Kingdom-minded. Choose.
  • If you’re going to live in the Kingdom of God, you need to give up your addiction to convenience and comfort.

 

And here’s the highlight video for a peek inside the event.

The JUSTICE Conference 2015 Highlights from The JUSTICE CONFERENCE on Vimeo.


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Storyline Conference Highlights

IMG_1564I’ve been a fan of Don Miller ever since a friend suggested that I read Blue Like Jazz shortly after it’s release. I immediately felt like I could be friends with this guy. Since then, I’ve read every one of his books, and consider A Million Miles in a Thousand Years one of my all-time favorite books. So when Don announced he would start hosting conferences based on this material, I was ready to sign up.

And that’s just what I did last month. Since he recently relocated to Nashville, one of the Storyline Conferences each year is now held there—a mere four hours from me. It was a really fun two days. It was a little like, and a little unlike, other conferences I attended. Don describes it as sort of group therapy and I have to agree. 😉

The basis for the time is that you are looking to develop a plan to discover and live out your God-given story. Before and after guest speakers, Don takes you through the process, much like he discovered along the way in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Another element of a story is added in each session. Some of his material also comes from “logotherapy,” a therapy which helps you discover meaning and purpose, hence the therapy session. The guest speakers do some instructing, but I gathered that mostly you are to see living examples of the material Don presents. There were some really awesome speakers. And then, of course, because it’s Nashville, there were local musicians who contributed to the agenda.

Honestly, I still have A LOT of thinking to do about what was said over the weekend. But I really appreciated what I heard, and am looking forward to more reflecting on it. I had already started making some baby steps in my story before arriving, but I still have a long way to go. And I have the homework from the conference to prove it! It was a very affirming time, though, and I know it will help me in the future.

Here are a few of the pearls I pulled out of the conversation:

Don Miller

  • Living great stories involves changing the way we approach life. To live a great story, we need to know who we are, what we want, what conflict we will need to engage and then we must take action.
  • If people don’t find purpose, they will pursue pleasure. – Viktor Frankel, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor (Invented “logotherapy”)
  • God did not create us to live in reaction, but to be co-creators of a meaningful life.
  • We are not our failures—or our successes.
  • Love your calling, not the applause of the crowd.
  • Your story is not about you. It’s about God using you to save many lives.
  • When you find a passion or purpose, you realize all the parts of your life have been leading up to it.
  • In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning. – Viktor Frankel
  • What if God created you because the world needed to feel the impact of your story?

Becca Stevens, priest and founder of Thistle Farms

  • We learn more from mercy than judgement.
  • Love heals.

John Richmond, Federal Prosecutor at Department of Justice Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit

  • We are not entitled to anything. Every breathe is a gift.
  • Got wants to rescue us from thinking we have to measure up.
  • The ruler you choose matters, because it will rule you.

Shauna Niequist, author

  • God can give you a new name and a new story.
  • Hold up the hard stories in your life that have no place anymore. Lay them down and make room for new ones.
  • What are the old stories you are letting stand in your way?

Bob Goff, Founder of Restore International, Lawyer and Author of Love Does

  • See people for who they are becoming.
  • We’re afraid of our calling because we’re afraid to fail. Fail at the right stuff. Fail trying.

Joshua DuBois, emails daily devotions to President Obama

  • When we play the victim, life becomes about us.

Ryan Forsthoff, The Leadership Foundation

  • The most powerful moments in a person’s life are the moments in which they realize what they are capable of.
  • Great leaders recognize and respond to the capabilities of those they lead.

 

Don began and ended the conference with the question, “What will the world miss if you do not tell your story?” Um, that’s a pretty powerful question. I’m not there yet, but I’m pondering it. It definitely shapes the way I see things. I spend too much of my time comparing myself to others, and I think that was one of the things this conference does best. It reminded me that God created me. He took the time to form and shape me. I’m here for a reason. I better not waste it.

So…what would the world miss if you did not tell your story?


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Catalyst Conference: Labs Highlights

The iconic Catalyst "C" welcomed everyone to Labs.

The iconic Catalyst “C” welcomed everyone to Labs.

Last week I was at Catalyst, one of my favorite things each year. It’s a chance for me to hear speakers I love, speakers I’ve never heard of, and get in some quality learning time. My friend, Daron, and I always start with the Labs on Wednesday, because you can never learn too much. This year, I was able to hear some people that I love, but have only admired from afar. It’s awesome when that happens!

So, here are my highlights from Labs. The theme for the conference this year was KNOWN, you’ll see a lot of identity talk both here, and when I post the main conference highlights. Good stuff, and great theme.

Dr. Henry Cloud, Author and Psychologist (Read Boundaries immediately, if you have not. It’s life-changing)

  • The brain forms who you are and what you do through the attention it gives and is given. Attention brings things to reality.
  • Grace and Truth still allow for failure, but also provide acceptance.
  • The brain runs on food, glucose and relationships.
  • You were only designed to control YOURSELF.

Jason Russell, Co-Founder of Invisible Children (I’ve admired this org for a number of years.)

  • Your life is BIGGER than your best dream for it.
  • What’s worth living for?
  • What’s worth dying for?

Jen Hatmaker, Author and Church Planter (Her book 7 was probably my favorite thing to read this year.)

  • Jesus never said to start a church. He said to make disciples.
  • Does our Jesus look like our church?
  • The Church is currently malnourished. Young adults want: community, social justice, depth, and mentorship.
  • Incarnational living is the front door to discipleship.

Ann Voskamp, Author and Devotional Blogger (Never heard of her before, but she was great.)

  • Everyone you know is fighting a daily battle, whether they show it or not.
  • Battle strategy: 2 Chronicles 20:20, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” Give thanks in all things. Give thanks for what He’s doing in your during the battle.
  • Count the ways God loves you, and you’ll learn one thousand ways to change the world.

Eugene Cho, Church Planter and Entrepreneur (Always enjoy him, and really excited for his new book!)

  • A study in Nehemiah Chapter 1.
  • How do I take my conviction from A to B? 1) Shut up and pray. 2) Have the courage to ask the hard questions. 3) Be committed to be an expert in what you start. 4) Clarify the vision/conviction. 5) Develop a strategic plan. 6) Build on the power of social capital.
  • If you take away free choice from someone, revolution will happen at some point.

Bob Goff, Recovering Lawyer, Philanthropist and Guy You Want to Know (Read Love Does.)

  • What if we stopped just agreeing with Jesus, and started acting like Him?
  • I’m trying to become love, and that’s really hard but worth it.
  • Everyone who stands at your door and knocks ain’t Jesus. Be careful who you let in and listen to.

These are just a few of my favorite things from Labs. If you want my full notes, let me know and I’m happy to share them once they get typed up. It was an awesome day, and probably my favorite of the three.


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Sign Up to Watch the OC13 Live Stream

Copyright 2013, The reThink Group

Copyright 2013, The reThink Group

I wish you could all be with me this next week at The Orange Conference! But, if you can’t be with me, do the next best thing: watch the Live Stream.

Mark your calendar for April 24-26! We’ll be streaming content from OC13 throughout the entire conference—from main sessions to live interviews with your favorite authors and speakers to antics, mayhem and hi-jinx to yes, lots and lots of giveaways. You’ll get to see the best of our annual family ministry event right from the comfort of your desk chair (or recliner or bean bag chair…whatever your prefer). Who knows, you may even win a ticket to OC14! Be sure to invite your friends to watch with you—we’re going to have a lot of fun!

Conference speakers include: Reggie Joiner, Andy Stanley, Charles Jenkins, Perry Noble, Bob Goff, Sue Miller, Kara Powell, Doug Fields, Jon Acuff, Amy Fenton Lee…and many, many more.

Sign up here: https://orangeconference.wufoo.com/forms/oc13-live-stream-information/
Check out the schedule here: http://bit.ly/17sdYvu


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Book Review: Love Does by Bob Goff

screen-shot-2016-12-10-at-1-46-07-pmLet me just start by saying that Bob Goff, if you’re out there reading this right now, I’m looking for an adoptive grandparent. Just sayin’.

For those of you just joining us, this book has quickly moved into my favorites category in the realm of the written word. I listed to it, as per my usual, via Audible.com and was delighted to hear that Bob Goff does the reading as well. I really adored the whole thing; hung on his every word. It was too short, by the way. Need more! Perhaps a sequel…Love Does…More?

If you don’t know who Bob Goff is when I say his name, you may recall his story being included in Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, another of my favorite books. Bob’s story was about the guy who helped his kids write letters to all the foreign dignitaries asking to come interview them. They received 29 yes answers and set off around the world as a family so the kids could interview these world leaders. At the end of the interview, the kids left the head of state with a key to come see them. My three sentence wrap up does it no justice, so go read it for yourself if you get the change. It’s a remarkable story. I cried and found it so inspiring. It is one of my all-time favorite stories, and it isn’t even about anyone I know! Anyway, that gives you just a glimpse of the type of guy Bob is.

Back to the book, Love Does, which is a pretty recent release and includes the same story along with many other amazing ones. I keep finding it funny that this guy is a lawyer by trade because he does so many uncharacteristically lawyerly things. He needs a TV show about his life and persona. Yes, he is a character.

The main theme of the book is about living with whimsy. He states that he doesn’t think people need more opportunities for whimsy in their life, they just need to recognize the ones that are readily available. He tells story after story about the ways he’s incorporated whimsy into his life, and consequently, the way his children, friends and family have caught the same vision.

There were two items the book instantly reminded me of when I started reading. The first is the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, which is a favorite of mine. It’s chock-full of whimsy and imagination. I identify with facets of each of the characters as they strive to reconcile their own degree of imagination within a very concrete world. Some days, the skies the limit like Mr. M himself. Some days, I feel a bit stuck like Molly. And then, yes, I do have a few days like the Mutant Accountant where everything is just as it seems, and the magic has left the building. But, in the end, they each find their own opportunity to invite whimsy in, and in doing so, find the best parts of themselves and others.

The second item the book reminded me of was the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Isn’t he just fascinating? I don’t think I’m smart enough to be his real-life friend, but I’d like to try. I digress… Blink is basically about the thousands of things behind-the-scenes or in the past that allow you to make split second decisions when needed. And it talks about the cognitive factors involved. It’s really amazing, as are all his books. If you like sociology type stuff, he’s great to read. Anyway, there’s this chapter in Blink where he talks about improv, and that it’s a great case study for the subject matter of the book–“making sophisticated decisions spur of the moment.” He notes that improv isn’t chaotic and random, as those terrified of being asked to do it might seem, but instead it does follow a set of guidelines that are agreed up and rehearsed to an extent, before the actors take the stage. The most important rule for improv is agreement. Meaning, you say “yes” to whatever the situation and circumstance. You don’t stop, or block it. You catch it and move forward, as they said like basketball. “Good improvisors develop action,” said one of the performers from the group Mother in NYC. Malcolm pointed out that in real life, we tend to stop action. Probably 90% of us or more would never agree upon the first rule in the beginning, and therefore, improv becomes a type of stage performance rather than real life.

I think Love Does is an answer of sorts to what good improv could look like in real life. Allowing your mind to recognize whimsy is the first step. The second is the acceptance of it. The third is the action upon it. Oh, the places we’d go–Dr. Seuss would be proud! I know for those of you straight-laced sorts out there this probably sounds either silly or scarey, or a little of both. But I think it sounds exciting and adventurous. And really, who doesn’t need more of that? Whether we recognize it or not, we’d all do a little better with a bit more adventure.

One of my favorite trips was in college with my best friend, Heather. It was coming up on Memorial Weekend, I think, and it seemed like everyone we knew was headed out of town. We didn’t want to be left on campus by ourselves so we made the decision to leave for Colorado the next morning to go see a friend. We were really giddy, got to packing, and the next morning jumped in the car ready for the road ahead. As I started the engine, I eagerly asked, “Ok, so which way do we go?” Heather replied, “I don’t know. Do we have a map?” Love it! We just started laughing, and had to postpone our trip by about five minutes so we could Mapquest our way to Denver. But the excitement overtook us, and that is a delicious place to be. (The whole weekend was great, by the way.)

Even before reading this book, I’ve been influenced by this type of philosophy over the years through various avenues and people. I’m sort of prone to it, built for it, and sought out by it, though. I wish I had room here to tell all my stories of whimsy. There have a been a number of them, and even if all didn’t turn out the way I want, they make for great memories….and sometimes lessons learned.

But I realize not everyone is automatically cozy to the idea of whimsy. I say, just start small. Try one morsel before a big bite. I think you might get hooked. After all, calculated risk still involves risk. I know you can do it! Loosen those straight laces. I don’t think you’ll regret it. And if you do, it may just mean trying again. One fail doesn’t mean the whole project is a failure. It is worth letting some playfulness in.

I think Grandpa Bob just accentuates the fact that life is meant to be lived. Sure, there are responsibilities that you’ll still have to manage. But whimsy may just be five minutes in the beginning. You can still pay bills and get the laundry done and drive the kids to soccer. Bob Goff is a lawyer, nonprofit founder and Consul General to Uganda, for goodness sakes. If this man can take time for the whimsy, we all need to take a page out of his book. Literally, I’m taking the page with the kids writing world leaders. It taught me a lot.

Read this book. You’ll definitely laugh. Definitely cry. Also I hope you gain a wee bit more respect for whimsy and, in return, start a significant relationship with this little gem.

Just remember, I asked Bob to be my adoptive grandpa first.

 

(Note: Amazon links are affiliate links.)