Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Catalyst Conference Notes & Quotes

catalyst-nametag-and-bookI believe this was my 12th year to attend Catalyst Conference here in Atlanta. It’s a great time of learning about Christian leadership, as well as seeing old friends. And, yet again, there were some great moments this year.

Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor of North Point Ministries

  • Jesus didn’t predict a place. He predicted a people. We are very different, but have Jesus in common. they were the same.
  • John 17:20 – that they may be one (which is uncommon fellowship = theme)
  • Disunity disrupts the mission.
  • John 12:34-35, final instructions
  • Unselfish love fuels uncommon fellowship.
  • Mutual submission is the most powerful dynamic in the world.
  • If we miss the love thing, it doesn’t matter what else we might get right.
  • Uncommon = uncomfortable
  • Acts 15 takes place 20 years after the resurrection, and they are still having trouble including Gentiles.
    • One of the most important chapters in the Bible for us to understand.
    • Oneness has to win the day.
    • Immorality tears down unity. Eating is a consideration
    • 600 laws were narrowed down to two so they could participate
    • Jesus sacrificed his life so you could have uncommon fellowship with God. – Romans 5-6

Mike Foster, Founder of People of the Second Chance

  • Just because you made a mistake doesn’t mean you are a mistake.
  • Being able to identify with someone is a powerful thing. “Me too” brings healing to brokenness.
  • We are not defined by our brokenness. We are defined by God’s unfailing love.
  • Romans 9:25

Jen and Brandon Hatmaker, Authors and Humanitarians

  • We have to be willing to go into the hard spaces.
  • We are either in this world for it, or so set apart that we have no voice.
  • I would like to spend less time defending my voice, and more time being like Jesus.
  • The work of justice is not easy. You will be criticized and it will cost you. But it’s worth it.
  • Many of us pray for the Kingdom over and over, but we aren’t willing to make Kingdom moves. – B
  • We need to move from defending God to declaring Hm. – B
  • We need to focus on being good neighbors, and love well. – J

Craig Groeschel, Founding Pastor of of Life Church

  • We have a common enemy, and it is not the church down the street.
  • John 17:20-23
  • We desperately need each other.
  • Unity is not uniformity.
  • We should err on the side of being “for” not “against.” Build your ministry on this.
  • We should give everything we are to strengthen others.
  • We all have something we can give.
  • Lead the way with irrational generosity.
  • We need to love like Jesus loved.
  • I believe the world is sick and tired of hearing about the love of Jesus. I believe they want to see it in action.

Father Edwin Leahy, Headmaster of St. Benedict’s Preparatory School

  • Give up what you want for what WE need.

Brian Houston, Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church

  • It should be an adventure living with, and serving, Jesus.
  • Spontaneity is our friend in the Church.
  • Innovation doesn’t come from sitting and pointing a finger.
  • Criticizing breaks down. Let’s build.
  • Predictability can also be a friend. Example, the word of God is timeless.

Brenda Salter McNeil, Director of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University

  • Acts 10: 28-35
  • The Civil Rights movement was born in the Church. #BlackLivesMatter was born in the streets. Why won’t you let it into the Church?
  • We have got to reclaim the credibility of the Church for the next generation.
  • Black Lives Matter is a catalytic event that can be an opportunity for the Church.
  • Catalytic moments are a wake up call.
  • Catalytic events make us ask questions.
  • Look for your invitation into uncommon fellowship.
  • God takes our feeble attempts and uses them anyway.
  • What God wants from us, He wants for them.
  • Scarcity thinking builds walls.
  • God wants all people to flourish.
  • May the generation looking for leadership find it in the Church.

Scott Sauls, Senior Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church*

  • The closer you get to the “other” the closer you’ll get to Jesus. This is a New Testament theme.
  • The hope of the universe rests on an Arabic man who was an outcast and never spoken English.
  • I am the minority Jesus included. (He’s white.)

Propaganda, Hip-Hop and Spoken Word Artist*

  • It’s hard for the dominant cultures to see themselves collectively, and the hurt of individuals you are different from them.
  • You can’t subjugate other image-bearers. to do so, you must assume they are less than human.
  • Implicit biases assumes you already know me without really knowing me.

Soong-Chan Rah, Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary*

  • Colorblindness assumes equality is already at play.
  • Colorblindness removes our individuality. It reduces everyone to the majority.

Mark DeYmaz, Lead Pastor of Mosaic Church*

  • The statistics show us that whites are becoming the minority.
  • If there is no division in heave, why are we allowing it here on Earth?
  • Surely it breaks the heart of God that the Church is segregated by race and class.
  • Jesus had power, privilege and position…and He set it down.

Jenny Yang, Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief*

  • The conversation of race is really about power.
  • There is a lot of pain in the people of color cultures that churches aren’t necessarily addressing.
  • They aren’t just issues; they are individuals.
  • American comfort and prosperity in large has been built on the back of the marginalized and people of color who had no rights.
  • By welcoming the “other,” we are demonstrating the gospel.
  • Any time we pursue our own comfort and prosperity over the needs of others, we are doing a disservice to the gospel.
  • Charity removes relationship with those who make us feel uncomfortable.
  • When we talk about refugees, this isn’t a test of our politics. It’s about what we believe the gospel says.

Rachel Cruze, Daughter of Dave Ramsey

  • Quit the comparisons.
  • Being grateful squashes comparison.
  • The road of comparison leads to debt.
  • Debit limits generosity.
  • Where there is no margin, there is no ministry.

Simon Sinek, Best-Selling Author

  • Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.
  • Time and energy are the most vulnerable things you can give to others.
  • Great leaders have empathy and perspective.
  • Patience is required for the journey.
  • We have an entire section in the book store on self help, but not a “help others” section.
  • Organization health always results in sustained impact.
  • In a healthy org, everyone is convinced that everyone is essential.
  • You begin becoming a great leader RIGHT NOW.
  • Why are we doing? Why are we doing it? Where do I fit in?
  • Everyone knows what THEY are doing but do they know what WE are doing?
    • When everyone knows what we are doing together, most decisions are pre-made.
    • Going through this process is sometimes more valuable than the product.
  • “Why” is the inspiration.
  • Memorable is portable.
  • How does what I do contribute to what we do?
    • This is about the responsibility you carry, not the work you perform.
    • Everyone at your org needs to know your answer.
    • Develop one sentence responsibility descriptions for your direct reports.

 

*These folks were all part of a panel. It was my favorite session in the main conference, and you can watch it right here.

And if you just want some fun moments and entertainment, you can watch Jon Crist’s videos…


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Helping the Homeless in My Own Way

Homeless KitsIn striving to live a life of justice, I try to also pay attention to causes outside those with which I’m most interested and most familiar. One of those is the homeless population.

My church is in Downtown Atlanta, and it’s not uncommon to see someone standing on the corner selling newspapers or asking for money. Additionally, there is a lot of new construction and growth in the area where I live, and over the past eighteen months or so, I have also seen more of the same close to home. I wanted to help, but didn’t quite know how.

And then a little over a year ago I read Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker. I’d read 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by her a few years earlier, and absolutely loved it, so I thought I’d also give this earlier work a try. Again, it did not disappoint! She knows just how to rock my world, and is so funny, relatable and challenging. I highly recommend these books, as well as her latest, For the Love, which is not about social justice like the other two, but oh so funny about life and family and spirituality.

Anyway, in reading Interrupted, it came to me that one thing I could do easily is basically create “kits” that I could keep in my car, and give to those in need.

The Hatmaker’s church in Austin frequently works with the homeless, so she mentioned a number of things throughout the book that helped me figure out what to include. And then I added my own spin as well.

My kits currently contain:

  • Bag – A reusable tote, backpack or duffle. If I don’t have anything on hand, I get them at IKEA because they are inexpensive and good quality. A plastic bag would do just fine, but I rarely have those, and I wanted them to have something they could keep and use. I choose not to shop at Walmart, so IKEA is a great alternative for things like this.
  • Blanket – Again, I get these at IKEA for the same reason. And I figured when it gets really hot in Atlanta, the blankets could be simply used as pillows.
  • Rain gear – Yep, IKEA. Though the plastic rain ponchos you can buy practically anywhere would do fine too. Something is better than nothing, and it rains here a lot.
  • Nuts – A fairly inexpensive source of protein. I try to include several packs of these per bag.
  • Water – One bottle per bag. With multiple bottles, the bag starts getting heavy.
  • Socks – One pair per bag. This is an item I probably wouldn’t have included if it not for the book.
  • Gift card – I chose McDonald’s. I am not a big fan of McD’s or believe they are full of high quality foods, but there is one every couple of miles, and I’d rather them have a hot meal than nothing. Mine have $10 each, and hopefully that covers at least two meals.
  • Note – I put the gift card in a handwritten note to make it more personal.

These kits stay behind the passenger side of my car, so I can easily reach and grab one when needed. I usually have five or six at a time on hand, and in total, it costs me about $75-$150 each time I buy all the contents. It depends on what quantity I buy. This could easily be scaled up or scaled down.

I have started to see women now and again, when before it was always men. So, I hope to expand on the next round to have a version of the kit with feminine hygiene products, as those are something always in short supply with women in need.

Additionally, I try to have a couple of the McDonald’s gift cards in my wallet at all times as well. This way, when I’m not in my car, I still have something that I can offer. It’s been especially helpful when traveling.

In a recent conversation with a friend about this topic (she wondered what the heck was in the back seat of my car), she said she keeps power bars in her car’s console, and also tries to keep a crate of bottled water for the same purpose. So, that’s an even easier way to contribute, especially if you have limited funds but want to help.

Many people do not like to give money to homeless people, and I understand why, but these are easy solutions when you put some thought into them as was the case for me.

I hope they inspire you to do something as well. Being able to look these men and women in the eye, exchange a kind word, and provide them with something they need is worthwhile for both of you, and gives them more dignity than just ignoring them.

And if you’re already doing it, let me know! I’d love to hear about it!

 

(Note: All Amazon links are affiliate links.)


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#IFgathering2016: Quotes and Notes

Just got back from Austin! It was a fun event, and I loved making new friends and discovering new speakers and resources. God showed up and big and small ways, as He always does. He is faithful.

It was a powerful statement to see over 2,000 women gather, get equipped and be unleashed to live God’s calling on their lives. And there were over 100 countries watching from over 2,000 live streams all around the globe! It is quite the community.

Here are my notes from a number of the speakers. And if you’d like to watch the live stream recordings, they are free until tomorrow evening at www.live.ifgathering.com. Enjoy!

 

Jo Saxton

  • Jesus is the redeemer of your life. Jesus is the one who restores your purpose.

Jennie Allen

  • When you have nothing to prove and nothing to protect, you have freedom.
  • We are like Peter. We are zealots and sinners.

Ann Voskamp

  • There is a space and place for you at the table. There is no disgrace.
  • Jesus first miracle was at a table, a gathering.

Eugene Cho

  • John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There are a lot of theological issues we can disagree on, but this isn’t one of them.
  • Is it possible that we’re more in love with the idea of follow Jesus than actually following Him?
  • John 13-17
    • To follow Jesus is to know that He loves you.
    • To follow Jesus means that we hear His voice.
    • To follow Jesus is to love people.
    • To follow Jesus is to usher in the Kingdom of God. (Gal 3:28)
  • Listen to the Holy Spirit first.
  • If you believe the grass is greener on the other side, maybe the Holy Spirit is telling you to water the grass you’re standing on!

Bianca Olthoff

  • In following Christ, and in times of trial, we may not understand the why, but we must know the Who.
  • John 11:1-32 (Lazarus)
    • The challenge in the midst of the chaos is to still believe.
    • When we change our posture, and fall at the feet of Jesus, we are changed.
    • If he doesn’t heal, will you still believe?

Vivian Mabuni

  • Let the Bible be your primary source of Truth.
  • Read your Bible with intention.
  • Read like the Word points you to God, not for what you can get out of it for yourself.
  • We tend to think of the fruit as the blessing, but the vine is the real blessing—our relationship with Christ.

Rebekah Lyons

  • The Bible gives you what you need to push back the darkness.
  • There is a boot camp required for the next phase of what God wants you to do.

Esther Havens

  • When time is short, pick one scripture to meditate on throughout the day. Also try an audio version to have the Bible on the go.
  • What would happen if we didn’t care about being known (famous), but only about making God known?

Margaret Feinberg

  • Color or mark up your Bible, if needed. Make it yours.
  • It takes seven years to produce the first fruits/wine at a vineyard. It takes perseverance.

Shelley Giglio

  • Luke 8:1-3, 17:11-17
    • Mary Magdalene was cured of demons, and she was also present at the death and resurrection of Jesus. He surrounded himself with all kinds of people.
  • John 19:25
    • Sometimes we don’t know what to say or do for hurting people, but we can simply be near them.
  • John 20:11-18
    • We can be saved by Jesus, but sometimes we don’t recognize Him.
    • Mary didn’t recognize Him until He called her name.
    • The next thing He said to her was, “Go.”
    • Your role in the Kingdom is at its best when you can tell people about Jesus.
    • Believe. Engage. Respond.

IJM Staffer (We were asked not to give her name.)

  • Isaiah 61 (a garment of praise from brokenness)
  • Pain turned into hope.
  • If the speaker’s life had gone perfectly, or as she wanted, she would never have been part of this work.
  • Sometimes we are more ok with letting our flesh rot than showing another person and asking them for help.
  • We’ll search for anything, even garbage, to cover up our pain. (part of her personal story)
  • Giving a garment of praise to someone else, sharing it, is life-giving.
  • We need to be a source of God’s love to those without hope.
  • Quoting Gary Haugen, “If the bad guys are ganging up, why can’t we?”

Melissa Russell

  • IJM is making slavery too hard to do good business.
  • Holding people accountable to crimes is what will change the system.

Jen Hatmaker

  • Jesus told his disciples to love well again and again. It sounds easier than it is.
  • Some people we find easy to love, and can easily leave God out of it.
  • Loving the hard people is what points others to God.
  • Jesus loved everyone with touch, presence, proximity, dignity and as a friend.
  • When we love people well, we love them as friends and equals. There is no agenda.
  • Power, fear and superiority keep us from loving others well.
  • God’s Truth will provide you with the how and why of loving well. If you get push back, you’re probably doing it right.
  • Jesus was scandalous and reckless with His love!

Angie Smith

  • I don’t want to have spent my life trying to look like other Christians instead of trying to look like Christ.
  • Story of Isaac’s almost sacrifice (Genesis 22) is the first time the word, “love” is used in the Bible. And the same word/context is used later to describe Jesus’ sacrifice.
  • 2K years later, Jesus was crucified in the same area as God provided the sacrifice for Abraham and Isaac.
  • In times of testing, have you been more focused on the thicket or the cross? We aren’t promised the ram, only the Lamb.

David Platt

  • John 17
  • Where has God placed you? Recognize your unique place.
    • God loves people not only so much that He gave us His son, but He sent you our uniquely and with authority. Don’t keep this love to yourself!
  • Realize what’s at stake for those around you.
    • It may sound hateful to say to others that Jesus is the only way out of Hell, but if you believe it, it’s hateful not to share it.
  • Remember the simple purpose God has given you: make disciples.
    • Jesus’ revolution revolved around 12 men.
    • You don’t need a blog or movement or website or to be famous: you just need to make one disciple. What if we all just made one each?
    • Love makes you do strange things!

Jennie Allen

  • We exist for the glory of God and the good of the people.
  • Jesus walked in surrender and obedience.
  • Acts 2:42
  • Its not about what happens in this room at this event. It’s about what happens when we leave.
  • People need to see a compelling reason in you for why they should know Jesus.

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Special shout out to Be The Bridge! Join us in racial reconciliation!


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Great Week!

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.

Sunday

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.

Monday

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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

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.

Saturday

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!

Thanks to everyone who made it a great week!


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Interrupted: Book Review

InterruptedI just finished reading Jen Hatmaker’s book, Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity, last week. Ummm, pretty FANTASTIC!

If you aren’t familiar with Jen, you need to become part of the fold. She’s funny and smart and honest, and most of us regular Christian gals just wish we could be friends with her. Jen’s most popular book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, is one you may be more familiar with. It was where I first formed my girl crush. Or if you are an HGTV junkie, you may know her from My Big Family Renovation.

So, she recently re-released Interrupted, and I thought that now was finally the time for me to read it. Soooo glad that I did. It is an inspiration to me for sure, and maybe it will be for you too.

It tells the story of her entry into social justice, and consequently, how she and her husband, Brandon, formed Austin New Church. Her story resonated with me on so many levels. We grew up in church, lived pretty comfortable lives, did lots of ministry work, worked our way toward what we thought was success . . . and were still left believing that, even though life was very good, there had to be more to this life of faith. We were both sort of blindsided with social justice, but now see it as a calling and glad it has wrapped itself around our hearts.

If you are a Christian and at least curious about social justice on some level, I highly recommend this book. It’s a great starter and entry point. She does a beautiful job of laying out scripture on social justice, and telling you of her struggle to basically allow God to interrupt her very comfortable life for this new venture. She could’ve say no thank you, but she chose to see God’s leading and embraced it. She lived a life many of us are familiar with, and may need to question in one way or another. She prayed a very simple prayer, and it changed everything. So, let that serve as your warning. 🙂

And even if you are a seasoned social justice advocate like me, you’ll love this book. For all the reasons that I’ve already outlined, and so many more, you’ll find a kindred spirit on this journey. It’ll remind you of where you started, and more importantly, why. And it’ll inspire you to continue your great work. On the days when it feels lonely and hard, you’ll remember you’re not alone.

So, check out Interrupted. Just be prepared for what may come next.

 

(Note: Amazon links are affiliate links.)