Month: March 2017

ROI: Sow Time, Reap Freedom and Breakthrough


We are continuing on in our series on Kingdom Return on Investments. Here are top quotes and ideas from the installment on sowing our time.

  1.  I recently watched a movie called “Arq.”
  2. The Bible is full of the word “time.” Let’s just think about how much “time” is involved in our lives. How many of you set an alarm to wake up this morning? Do you look at your watch or phone more than 5 times a day (I was originally going to write hour, because it’s true of me). Time manages your work schedule. Time ages you. Time even controls the way you play games. But when we’re not cognizant of time and it’s effects, and subsequently we’re unable to invest time.
  3. Chronos vs Kairos. In the Greek Bible, there are at least two words for time: Chronos and Kairos. Imagine Chronos is like a timeline. It’s just coming. They personified Chronos with an old man that looked like Father Time. Chronos is fatalistic. It just keeps passing on and there’s not much you can do about it. You’re sort of stuck with what you got. Kairos, on the other hand, is personified as a young, dashing man. He’s strong. He’s ready. “Carpe Diem, let’s take the day and make something of it,” is Kairos’ big idea. If we’re going to invest time, we need to understand these two concepts and put them to work for us.
  4. You can manage chronos to make the greatest impact in your life. Here’s an idea for how to do that: turn off notifications on your phone. The reason you won’t is because you’re addicted to feeling like people want you. Sorry friend, that’s just not real. I check my email in the morning before I pray because I’d rather know that someone needs me than that God wants me. It’s a messiah complex. For some of you, it’s not about feeling needed. You have deep relational holes in your heart and you’re trying to fill them with bits and bytes. It’s why all of these apps are spending more and more time in our phones. You have wasted hours, days, perhaps even years of your life staring at your phone. If you’re willing to repent, you are forgiven. You are so much more than that. I rebuke the spirit of lies that tells you you’re not good enough and you need a notification to tell you you have friends and purpose. I ask Holy Spirit to come and fill you. I bless you to live a life of Him being enough and not needing to always have notifications blazing on your phone.
  5. Chronos is ticking, but you don’t have to lose this one. There’s victory that can come by running when He says Run and Resting when He says Rest.
  6. Kairos is a divine opportunity. Do you know you don’t pass through one day without a Kairos moment? The problem is, you’re not paying attention. We don’t have margin in our lives to see them. And even when we’re in the midst of them, we don’t know how to discern them or learn from them or move forward in them. So we pass from divine opportunity to divine opportunity not learning from them and thus missing the investments we could be making in the ways God is teaching us and walking with us. This is where breakthrough can come. We can learn to discern what God’s saying so as to respond with correct obedience.
  7. For the greatest freedom and breakthrough in your life, learn to 1) see and pray in chronos and kairos moments, 2) utilize your chronos, and 3) seize your kairos.

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One Step to Improvement in Anything

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I have what some may call a complicated life. I’m married with two kids. I own a small business. I pastor a local church and am also on the music team. I am a local and regional developer for an international service organization. I also love reading and gathering information about various fields of interest. I work 60-70 hours per week and often find myself switching from meeting to meeting only finding time to make progress on emails after 8pm or before 7am. 

The more I try to make this work, the more I realize it’s pretty near impossible. The good news is I recently stumbled on to a single step that is the thrust of some of the best vision-casting, strategic-thinking, productivity-hacker, go-getters out there. You read about it in design books. You hear about it in TED Talks. Apple Computer does this. There are business books on it, church books on it, cross-cultural books describe it. Go anywhere, read anything, and you’re likely to be interacting with someone who is saying something around this step. Once you commit to this, you can have some big-time breakthroughs.

The step is easy, but it’s also hard. Once you hear it, there’s a good chance you’re going to laugh out loud. But please here me out before you dismiss it. I want your life to be abundant and filled with purpose and excellence. If you’re interested in those things, and so much more, then give this step a shot. 

Simplify.

That’s it. Simplify. Cut things out of your life. Here are some really practical examples of simplifying that have happened in my life recently:

  • I, by force, have had to cut out my computer (it’s been in the for repairs for almost three weeks). I have one less device to charge, and my bag is lighter when I carry it back and forth to work. 
  • The coffee shop released a new menu that cut the number of pages customers have to look at in half. 
  • Our church leadership decided to stick with our three step modeled process for discipleship rather than trying to create an elaborate flow chart. Of course, there are still things we can do to improve, but sticking to a three step process instead of 15-18 steps like I had imagined keeps us in check. 

If you want some practical advice for simplifying your life, try some of these. 

  • Turn off notifications on your phone and limit the times you check your email each day. 
  • List everything in X category out by priority/sales or whatever importance factors you have and cut the last 25%. Then, cut another 25%.
  • Limit the agenda of the meeting to three items.
  • Call instead of texting.

3 Things You Need For Success

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I’m almost finished with a book called “The Ideal Team Player.” In Lencionion style, the author begins with a tale of a company going through ups and downs. The last 1/3 of the book details the main points Patrick and his consultancy are trying to get across. I highly recommend the book.

I also recommend considering the three ingredients you need to be successful on your team, which will then lead to success in your organization.

Humble
Hungry
(People) Smart

The best thing to do right now is to evaluate yourself. Choose one that you know you need to improve, and attempt to improve it by .1% today.

 

ROI: Sow Passion, Reap…


We are continuing on in our series on Kingdom Return on Investments. Here are eight top quotes and ideas from the installment on sowing our passion. 

  1. When I think about passion, I think about work and relationships. Perhaps, you have passion in both of these areas, perhaps, you don’t. But the way you invest your life in these two areas will determine the amount of freedom and joy you have.
  2. It doesn’t matter what kind of romantic or otherwise relationship you’re pursuing, if it’s placed above your relationship with God, it will reap you a harvest of loneliness, confusion, and self-doubt.
  3. Ask the porn addict who’s been sober for a year if he wants to go back to a life of addiction.
  4. My goal is to break you free from the cycle of death-filled, passion-less living so that you can encounter the cycle of life that Jesus wants you to have. He came that you would have an abundant life. 
  5. In order to walk in freedom and joy, we must first walk through the door. Jesus says he’s the gate (John 10:9). 
  6. I imagine the door you must walk through is a small one. It’s too small for you to walk through with your chest sticking out. You have to get down on your knees. I also imagine the door you must walk through is a small one. It’s too small for you to fit through carrying your past baggage that forms the way you view God, yourself, your needs and the world around you. 
  7. “Sacrifice is active.” – Nathan Conklin.
  8. Ways to invest your passion: Look to Jesus. Make a list of life priorities. Cut the unnecessary junk out of your life. Look for opportunities to let the Spirit of God rest on you. Learn a new skill. Express thankfulness. 

In retrospect, it might have been more appropriately entitled, “Sow Repentance, Reap Freedom and Joy.” Here’s a post on repentance. The more we dive into a lifestyle of repentance, the happier we’ll be. 

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Yes or No, what’s it going to be? 

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I’ve recently noticed that people have one of two different natural reactions to any sort of news, idea, or learning opportunity. Most people either say “Yes,” or “No.” This isn’t a right or wrong thing. Just think about the last five times someone presented an idea they had to you. Or think about the last time you were reading a textbook. Which thought more often naturally pops into your head? Is it “Yes, let’s go for that.” Or “No, I don’t think that’s going to work.” 

The funny thing is, whichever one we naturally tend towards, we still often end up choosing the other. This is much more about the process of decision making than it is the initial reaction. It’s just fascinating to see the way different people react differently to the same situation. 
Here’s a little insight into my life: I’m a “Yes” man. That doesn’t mean I always say yes to everything, but my usual reaction to any content in a book, any idea, or any challenge is, “Yes, I should integrate that into my life.” It’s not until after a time of praying, processing and thinking that I come to my actual conclusion of a real yes or real no. Perhaps, this is connected to my desire to please people. But I think it’s just a natural wiring. 

And I see the opposite happening in my wife. She’s incredibly discerning and a stickler for truth and excellence. I appreciate her deeply. Her first response to most things she reads in books or hears from people is, “No, I don’t think that’s going to work.” We will read the same content in a book and come to the same conclusion in the end, but we both had very different initial reactions to the content. I started with Yes, and she started with No. 

But this idea gives us insight into our own thoughts and the way we interact with people. My guess is that when you interact with someone different from you, it’s painful. I’ll be honest, interacting with “natural No’s” bugs the heck out of me. I really don’t like hearing that natural no. It rubs me wrong. Perhaps, it’s hitting on a weakness in my personality in terms of my desire to finish things efficiently or to get my way. The same is true of me with natural no people. Do you know how annoying it is to get a positive response initially only to have the person come back and say, “Jsut kidding, I won’t let you do that” within a couple of weeks? You just invested all this time and energy into this idea only to have the other person shoot it down. Unfortunately, I do that to people all the time. To be honest, I’m sort of amazed I have any friends or coworkers left. 

Yet, when I can slow down and relax, I see some deep insights. I don’t need to be nearly as pushy with my ideas as I am. And the process of going from “No” to “Yes” is actually insanely useful for me. When a deep thinker, like my wife, goes from  “No” to “Yes,” it carries weight. It has real value. The Yes isn’t fickle like mine. It’s found on careful process. And the people who hear my initial yes changed to a no can rest in knowing that I’ve evaluated the idea from many different angles and although my desire is to implement it, I know that it’s not right for the season we’re in. 

I hope you’ll consider letting go of your frustration over people who are different than you. I hope you’ll let them open your eyes to the process and the outcome of Yes and No.

For further study on how the systems of our brains work, check out Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow.” 

ROI, A Kingdom Perspective


The last few weeks I’ve been preaching a series on “Return on Investment.” Here are five points from the first week:

  1. You don’t have to be like Jane. You can’t change what people do or how they treat you, but you can change how you react ot it. You’re more powerful than you know. 
  2. Science shows that positivity and optimism change the chemical balance in our brains making us more creative (able to find solutions) and more relational (able to connect with people).
  3. Spiritual ROI is not health and wealth, karma, or works-based religion. However, it is a set of biblical principles that help us navigate the way we invest our lives. 
  4. We must find a balance between these two statements: “I have no part to play; God will do it all for me” and “I’m on my own; I have to figure everything out.” Proverbs says, “The horse is made ready for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). Get back on your hose trusting that God will give victory in the battle you’re fighting because He’s already won the war.
  5.  You have been given a bag of kingdom seeds to invest. How will you sow them into your life? You reap what you sow.

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