Cat Attack!

The other day, I was called into my son’s bedroom in the middle of the night. “There’s noises outside,” he exclaimed. I’m quite sure he thought he heard something like this:

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I explained that grandpa and grandma’s cat wanted inside, so Sugar was yelling loudly to get some attention. Had Enoch looked outside, he would have seen something like this:

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Enoch relaxed and slept peacefully the rest of the night.

Isn’t that the way it always is? We hear of wars and rumors of wars and get intimated. We see the first cat. We think of the worst possible situation. But our Heavenly Father comes alongside us. He explains the truth. Those noises aren’t nearly as scary as they seem in our head.

Sometimes, we just have to get victory over the battle of thoughts in our heads so that we can receive the blessing of rest and peace.

So, what’s the sound you’re hearing now? Is it the first picture or the second? Odds are, since Jesus already has final victory, it’s the second cat. Let’s take our eyes off the first cat and put them onto Jesus so He can show us that there’s nothing to fear.


Money Ruins Your Performance

You might not believe this, but science shows, some motivators have messed us up. Watch this 10 minute video on the science of motivation and then get back to me!

Three things that science shows motivate us.

Three things that science shows motivate us.

Beyond a certain amount of money (enough to make you stop thinking about it), money doesn’t motivate you. Please, stop worrying so much about money and start worrying about purpose, mastery and autonomy. Find your passion and you’ll have high performance and personal satisfaction!

At Aroma, we want to “help people smell, become and spread the Aroma of Christ.” We are going to change the world and you can be the Aroma, too!

The Best in Education

enoch and chris collageThe best kind of education happens one on one in doing life together.  That’s how kids pick up thousands of words, amazingly complex social structures and cues, and even how to tie their own shoes. That’s why Chinese lessons are more expensive when you ask for a personal tutor.  That’s how arguably one of the best teachers of all time led His little group of 12.  If you’re spending quality time with someone one on one, you might be tempted to think that you’re not making the greatest impact you could.  Perhaps, you’re making a great impact than you’d ever imagined.  The best of education happens when you do life with someone together and spend time pointing out the big and little things of life.  You’ll be amazed at what they learn. And you might just learn something, too.

The Science of Hope

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Our brains are much more powerful than we even know. Perhaps, Lucy wasn’t that far off. A blended thought I had recently came as a result of reading Boundaries for Leaders. In it, Henry Cloud outlines how chemicals in our brains interact based on how much hope we have.

Many of us struggle when something negative comes. We begin believing it’s personal (our fault), pervasive (we do it all the time), permanent (there’s nothing we can do about it). The truth is, many of these are untrue. But we end up hurting ourselves. Our brains actually release a fight or flight chemical that causes our brains to shut down. We get less creative and produce less results. Being aware of these negative thoughts, and taking every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) can help immensely.

Conversely, when we live in hope and optimism, our brains release chemicals that actually increase “executive functions” including creativity, goal selection, planning and organization, initiation and persistence, flexibility, execution and goal attainment, and self-regulation. As a believer, you are invited to be the most hopeful person on the planet (1 Corinthians 15).  I welcome you to allow Christ’s hope to come into you. It’s not wishful thinking.  It’s true hope rooted in the resurrection and reassured that God is going to do something, and He’s going to do it through you.

It’s science.

The Power of Positive Thinking is a short book (available in free online audio) that continues some of these thoughts while giving some really specific ways of walking this out in everyday life.

When we start to understand

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I’m reading “The Furious Longing of God” a great book by Brennan Manning.  In it, he talks about when we learn to understand that we belong to God and He actually loves us.  This may possibly be one of the strongest verses in Scripture:

I belong to my beloved and his desire is for me.”  – Song 7:10

There’s a list from the book of a few amazing things that happen when we take this truth to heart.  My top 7 are listed below:

  • The drumbeats of doom in your heard will be replaced by a song in your heart, which could lead to a twinkle in your eye.
  • You will not be dependent on the company of others to ease your loneliness, for He is Emmanuel–God with us.
  • The praise of others will not send your spirit soaring, nor will their criticism plunge you into the pit.  Their rejection may make you sick, but it will not be a sickness unto death.
  • In a significant interior development, you will move from I should pray to I must pray.
  • You will live with an awareness that the Father not only loves you, but likes you.
  • You will stop comparing yourself with others…
  • Off and on throughout the day you will just know that you are being seen by Jesus with a gaze of infinite tenderness.

In another place in the book, Manning invites us to take a few moments each day to remember and recount to ourselves that we are His and His desire is for us. What a lovely idea!  I dare you to try today!


Administration, A Gift

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The ability to cast vision, lead and organize is a gift from God. Check out what that means.

I recently wrote “administration is a holy gift from God” in an email and someone asked me to explain.  Here’s what I wrote in response:

  • Administration” is defined as “the process or activity of running a business or organization.”  It can also be defined as “The management of public affairs; government.”  With that being said, here are a few Scriptural precedences for administration. The Greek found in Scripture is kubernesis, which refers to “steering a ship” “ruling” or “governing.”
  • It’s a good and useful thing, so it must be from God.  Just as James 1:17 says “Every good and perfect thing comes from above.”
  • It’s a theme on God’s heart throughout Scripture. God gives good gifts of all kinds.  Any form of leadership and management requires some kind of administration.  You can see examples of this starting in Genesis and going all the way through the New Testament.  Examples include Joseph’s wisdom in managing the food crisis in Genesis 46, Mosesleading and organizing millions of people to leave Egypt, Nehemiah organizing a rebuilding of the wall, Paul’s organization of churches all over Europe and Asia, the 12 organizing the people in Acts 6, and Jesus gathering the 12 and organizing them to basically dominate the world with the gospel after he went back to heaven.
  • It’s directly in the Bible.  Paul labels it as a gift in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and actually, in this list, it comes before speaking in tongues.  Some Bibles translate it “administration” and others call it “government” which fits with our original definition quite nicely!
  • Here are some more resources to check out: Paul Manwaring at Bethel has written and spoken a ton on Administration.  He’s actually offering a class on it that Steven and I are taking.  We’ve got PDFs of his book (that he gives through the class) if you’re interested in learning about it more specifically.  Here’s a 7 Minute preview (it’s a video, watch it :-). One quote, “Administration without the supernatural will kill a move of God.  Supernatural without administration is unable to pass it on to the next generation.”
  • Here’s an overview of spiritual gifts in general. My point in this link is that while this is a list from Scripture, I don’t think spiritual gifts are just limited to these.  It’s a full circle to my first bullet point, every good and perfect thing comes from God.  There’s a podcast from Kris Valloton I can find if you’d like more info.

Essentially, the gift of administration is an important part of the church, or any organization, for that matter.  If you have that gift, you’re a blessing from God to your place of work and to your church.  Don’t let anyone look down on that. We need you.  Some of us (including me) who lack this gift, need you desperately.  Don’t give up on us because we’re disorganized. We need you.


Making Life (Plan) Goals, Happy New Year!

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I recently finished a great book, called Circle Maker, which inspired me to re-examine life goals.  One of my favorite quotes from the book was “We overestimate what we can accomplish in two years and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten” (p. 136).  In effort to life a life of vision, I’m going through a process of re-examining my life goals in the context of a life plan.  Perhaps, something similar to this could be of value you to in 2015 and beyond.

Batterson’s advice on life goals is awesome.  I highly recommend his book.  Here are 10 things to help you write out a life goals list (p. 178ff)

  1. Start with prayer
  2. Check your motives
  3. Think in categories
  4. Be specific
  5. Write it down
  6. Include others
  7. Celebrate along the way
  8. Dream big
  9. Think long
  10. Pray hard

Setting goals is tough.  But totally worth it.

Here’s a format that has helped me and a bunch of other people to begin to set goals and work toward their completion in a less frightening manner:

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Look at your life and dream with God about where you want to be in 5 years in any particular area.  At Aroma, we spend a lot of time talking about personal growth, community growth and missional growth.  Personal growth is your relationship with Jesus and your personal development.  This could be learning a language or going back to school.  Community growth is your capacity to love and care for people around you.  Missional growth is responding to the God’s mission in your life.

Take a long-term goal and break it down into steps.  Then, break those steps into steps.  Then, break those steps into steps.  Keep breaking down until you know that you’ve got a task you could accomplish this week.  Then, DO IT!

My hope for you is that 2015 is filled with hope and accomplishment.