Spilt Skittles

Spilt Skittles

As I was driving I heard what sounded like rocks spilling all over my back floorboard, with every turn of the wheel.

When I got out and looked, I saw red & yellow skittles, yes just red & yellow. [These are not only red & yellow because I’m a deva and only eat that color} (trust me – I eat EVERY color of the skittles rainbow.)

These red & yellow sticky round demons are all over my floorboard are there because my son had a bag of skittles and picked out the red skittles for him, and the yellow ones for me. He placed them in a ziplock for us to eat in the car, and he left them in the car and so they spilt everywhere.

So when I saw these skittles in the floorboard – I was thankful. I can’t say this is my typical response to messes left behind by kids. In this moment though I was surprisingly thankful, because Ayler had worked hard to make he and I a special fun red & yellow segregated snack.

Many times in moments like this I’ve been frustrated instead of embracing the moment and seeing it as a great thing.

I need to make sure I don’t miss moments with anyone – especially my family. I don’t want to become so ignorant and upset over small things that don’t even matter.

There will be soon be a day that I will long for one of my kids to leave spilt skittles all over my car. So I’m working hard to embrace these days the best I can – because time is running out.

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Israel Day 4

Israel Day 4

Dead Sea Experience

Today we had plans to travel to Masada but we couldn’t due to the flooding & loss of life that had happened there last night with a tour bus.

So, we traveled through the wilderness which is where Jesus spent his 40 days after His baptism (Matthew 4.1-2)

We traveled down to the Qumran and the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth & floated on that very Sea. This Sea has 10x more salt content than any other body of water in the world.

The best thing about this Dead Sea area is NOT that you can float on water or its crazy high salt content. The best thing about this area is that this is the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found.

The most amazing thing is that this is the lowest place on earth with a very high salt content / and this is the place that we find the oldest copy of the Old Testament. Salt preserves and this is the place that preserves these scrolls! We have copies of Isaiah that are 1000 years apart. and they match! “That preservation of the Word was for an invitation to transformation.”

I am not in Israel for myself, I am here for all of those who need Him. I’m here to see, touch and experience the preserved country and learn more about Jesus in a way to be able to invite others into a transforming relationship with Him.

Ps: We also rode a camel aka “Israeli Uber”

Israel Day 3

Israel Day 3

From Galilee to Jerusalem

This was moving day for our group – Galilee to Jerusalem – same journey many took in the Bible. Around 80 miles –

Today we woke up at 6:15am set our bags outside our room (we changed hotels today) then had an Israeli breakfast (HUGE) in hotel w/ amazing espresso (This Happened daily)

Got on our bus (22) and went to the Valley of Elah. This is where Louie spoke to us about David defeating Goliath in that very spot.

We then went to Bethlehem & toured the place where Jesus was “likely” born – toured the “cave” and saw a real manger. Not cute like the nativity scenes like we (Americans) are used to.

Then went and saw the original scroll of Isaiah in a museum, wich was very powerful.

From there traveled to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worshipped with some college students with Louie and the passion band.

Went to dinner and then to our New Hotel (King David Hotel) for this leg of the trip.

It’s been an amazing day – I can’t believe that we are here, seriously has been amazing. Yes, we are here with some phenomenal leaders, and a crazy talented worship team. The truth is though, the best part is being here and seeing where Jesus was and will return to. Having the Word of God be truly brought to life right in front of our eyes. Learning new truths about Him and changing who I am as a follower of Christ.

Goodnight – tomorrow we float on the Dead Sea and eating dinner in some Jewish homes throughout Jerusalem.

Thief of Comparison

Thief of Comparison

Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

The fear of looking just like everyone else and doing what so many others are doing has always bothered me.  I know that God has made each of us unique and has made us perfectly to be us. As I look at so many great leaders I see a similar attribute, I see that these leaders are living out their life as God has made them and called them.

traffic cars street traffic jam

They are living the best life that they can with what God has given them and not worried about anyone else.  They have stayed in their lane and have stayed focused no matter what it takes. Comparison is an element that can pull us out of our lane.

Comparison is a thief of joy and will suffocate you if you hang in it to much.  The comparison game is a tough game to play, and can happen to us on a daily basis.  It is to easy to look around the world and to see so many others living their life via social media.  Comparison becomes so real and you can feel like you are not a good enough mom, not a funny enough person, not in good enough shape, not a good dad, not a good preacher, don’t post quality content on social, and so on. That thief just keeps telling you, you are not good enough.

Ephesians 2.10 – We are Gods masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared for us to do in advance. 

You are a masterpiece, you are not just ‘a’ masterpiece – you are ‘Gods’ masterpiece.  The best thing that He has ever made! When we can actually live that out and know that, we will stop trying to “Run others Race.” We need to run our own race and stay in our own path.

When leading out in times like we are in now, you will face criticism.  Some of those that criticize you may say they are just kidding.  They may be kidding, but no matter what their motives are we can not allow the voices of others to stop us from following the voice of God.  The only voice that matters is the voice of God, do not allow the other voices (social media, comments, texts, calls, etc) to slow you down from where God has you going, you run your race.

The idea of leading out has always pushed me to be who I am.  I have constantly struggled with the thought of “Just do what they do and do it better.”  I know that sounds good and looks right, but again with that you can have comparison creep in.  I would like to just do what you do and do it the best!

man person legs grass

God made you for a reason. God designed you. It was His idea, and God doesn’t make mistakes. You were planned before you were born.  God purposefully and personally designed you. You are unique and God wanted you to be uniquely you, and that is the you God wants to offer to the world.

Top 5 books

Top 5 books

Reading is something that keeps me going, I love to read so that I can constantly be growing. I enjoy challenging myself with learning from others, if you do not look to outside resources from your ministry / family / or area of business you start to look just like them.

For some this may not be a bad thing, but I would challenge to lead the area you are in and the best way to be able to lead from the spot you are is to be learning from those who are not in that space.

Here are some of my top books that I have read these last 3 months. Would love to hear what you are reading and what you are doing to continue to get better.

Gay Girl, Good GodGay Girl, Good God -In Gay Girl, Good God, author Jackie Hill Perry shares her own story, offering practical tools that helped her in the process of finding wholeness. Jackie grew up fatherless and experienced gender confusion. This book is a helpful resource in truly learning and practicing His grace.

Never Split The Difference

Never Split the Difference – A former international hostage Negotiator for the FBI offers awesome advise for anyone in negotiations. Applicable in whether with your family or in the board room.

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No Fail Meetings – “Today’s traditional model of meetings fail. They are poorly organized, poorly run, and hardly anyone knows why they have to be there. Meetings masquerade as productivity—but our time, energy, and profit tell us otherwise.”  This book, has saved me so much time – in just learning to lead meetings more effectively.

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Deep and Wide – Create a church movement in your local community that will impact the world! Andy Stanley identifies some of the key strategies and insights behind his congregation’s success.  I have read this book 2 times now, it seriously is a must read for all in ministry.

img_0495 How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge – Clay Scroggins helps you develop genuine leadership qualities—including taking responsibility, cultivating influence, and doing what is necessary in a way that honors and respects God and others. Whether you are just getting started on your leadership path or you have been at it for years, this book will be an invaluable resource along your journey.

Till The Soil

Till The Soil

“Till The Soil”

There are so many times in ministry & life that we need to mix it up, we need to change the way we do things.

If we never change-up what we are doing then how will we ever prepare those in our churches for what God wants to plant in their lives.

To many times we continue to do what worked “back in the day” and get into a huge rut.

We make it extremely difficult to see growth when we do the same thing the same way. We stay in that rut and the ground stays hard. We must constantly be preparing the soil and if we don’t do that with our programming, calendar, volunteers, music, worship flow, etc then the ground will just get hard and be almost impossible to plant anything in.

Technology is constantly changing and mixing it up. As soon as one new product comes out, it changes and something else comes out. Same thing with Facebook, Instagram & other social media platforms.

These constant changes can cause people to complain and be upset at first, but soon realize it is so much better with the changes that have been made.

If the world around us is tilling the soul, then why aren’t more churches changing things up as well?

Be constantly thinking of ways to till the soil in your ministries. I have found that when we do this it causes our people to desire to come back the next week because they never know what they are going to get.

I will give you a few examples below of what we have done in our ministry, but I think you need to come up with a few on your own as well.

As you are planning out your services & looking forward in your ministry calendar ask the question – “What do we need to do to TILL THE SOIL?”

Examples:

  • Move your music set around
  • Move your announcements
  • Change your walk-in set up
  • During teaching time have worship songs that break up your teaching many times throughout the talk
  • Testimonies (Live & interviews)
  • New stage set up
  • Do chairs in different way
  • Don’t use chairs
  • Do a talk show type set up
  • Greeter team go further away from church into parking lot
  • Complete video service
  • Tia Coleman

    missouri-duck-boat-accident-tia-coleman-family-kids-husband-tragedy

    I can not imagine going through the pain that Tia Coleman is going through.  Tia lost everything, she lost 9 family members including her 3 children, her husband in the recent duck-boat incident in Branson, Missouri.

    She mentions in an interview that when they found her husband he was holding all 3 of her children, that he was doing exactly what he said he would do. Always try to protect his family.

    When asked about returning to her home in Indiana, Coleman said, “I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Since I’ve had a home, it’s always been filled with little feet and laughter.”

    When asked if she could find a reason for what happened, she leaned on her walk with the Lord.

    “It’s not a thinking matter for me. I tried it,” she said. “It’s something I can’t comprehend, I can’t explain. I don’t have the capacity to understand it. The only thing is, God must have something for me because there’s no way I should be here.”

    When we hear of tragedies like this, it is completely heart breaking and we try to understand and we truly can not.

    Our Message is loudest when we hurt the most

    What we see in Tia Coleman is exactly that, a loud message.  The media has picked up on her message and is helping to broadcast her message even louder.  Her message is being amplified – Because of loss? Yes – Because its heartbreaking? Yes.

    The main reason her message is loud is because of her response.  Her response is not the typical response – we don’t see Tia blaming the company, she is not throwing stones at the boat captain, not blaming the weather, no – She is relying on her faith in Jesus, and this sadly, is rare.  Her response is so powerful in such a tremendous loss.

    2 Corinthians 4:7-11

    7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

    Paul is talking about those who have a personal relationship with Jesus, showing that we are jars of clay that can break so easily on the outside.  Saying that, we will have hard times, life will definitely hit hard and it will be like we are being struck down.  When it comes to these times in life, we can not do it alone and if we try it will leave us being crushed.

    Verse 10 says – We always carry Jesus – When we rely on Jesus during these times in life we are not crushed, because He is living in and through us.  We are able to rely on Him – yes we will still hurt and have pain, but we are not in despair, we are not abandoned, and we will not be destroyed.

    Your message is loudest when you hurt the most

     

    My Top 5 Leadership Podcasts

    Podcasts have become one of the biggest sources of information for today’s leaders. They are filled with insight, in-depth discussions and advice from some of today’s biggest influencers.

    These are a few of the podcasts I listen to on a weekly basis. As a leader we need to be continuously learning and leaning into different influencers. These podcasts are a mix of Technology, Business & Christian living that I have found to really shape my leadership.

    If you’re already a podcast listener, find room in your schedule to give these top leadership podcasts a chance. If you’re not, let them be your a way to turn downtime in the car or at the gym into a source of new knowledge and motivation to lead in a better way.

    1. Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

    2. Social Media Church Podcast

    3. 5 Leadership Questions: A leadership Podcast

    4. Catalyst Podcast

    5. Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast

    Bonus Podcasts for those who need just one more:

    6. Coaching For Leaders

    Next Blog: Dealing with critics

    My Top 5 Leadership Blogs

    As leaders, we know it’s crucial to continually be learning and developing ourselves so we can continue to grow in our leadership. I love the moment when I’m able to hear from a dynamic speaker, connecting with others at a conference, or sharing insights on leadership with my team.

    However, we have organizations & ministries to run and teams to lead, so we can’t always get away (as much as we would like to!). That’s where blogs, podcasts & leadership videos come in!

    Consider these next five bloggers some key reading on the subject of professional, ministerial and often personal—leadership. These are some of my go to bloggers that I go to during the week, these constantly are changing (I’ll update). I also find it helpful to look outside the realm of Christian leaders to learn from, and gain a different perspective. Visit them for a shot of leadership when you’re in the trenches looking for some inspiration.

    1. Michael HyattMichael S. Hyatt is an author, blogger, speaker, and the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

    Read: Stay fit while traveling

    2. Brad Lomenick – Brad is a leadership consultant, speaker, founder of BLINC, and author of The Catalyst Leader and H3 Leadership.Writes about leadership, the next generation, creativity, social media and personal growth.

    Read: Young influencers list June 2018

    3. Vanderbloemen Search Group blog on church staffing, pastor search, and church leadership best practices.

    Read: How to determine if a staff member is a poor fit

    4. Leadership FreakBusy leaders don’t have unlimited time on their hands. That’s why Dan Rockwell keeps his blog posts short and impactful—and no more than 300 words each.

    Read: Might be a Psycho Employee If

    5. Lolly DaskalWith more than thirty years of experience with some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, Daskal is one of today’s most sought-after executive leadership coaches and leadership consultants.

    Read: The 12 Most-Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves

    My Next blog: My top leadership podcasts.