Monday, August 31, 2009

Jesus' Eyes...

Yesterday at SoHills we talked about viewing people as Jesus does. As part of our Refresh gathering, we handed out "Jesus' glasses" to serve as a reminder to have Jesus' eyes in the way we looked at people this week. (We even encouraged people to wear their "Jesus' glasses" to Sunday lunch so that they might become conversation starters with restaurant wait staff and others.) Below is a sampling of "Jesus' glasses" in action.

Are you seeing people with Jesus' eyes?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nice Job...

This kid does a nice job of parallel parking...

I'd like to go back and re-take my driving test in this kid's car... especially the part where the tester has you parallel park.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My SoHills' ministry team mates and I have been talking a lot lately about trust and trustworthiness. We understand that trust cannot be sustained in a culture where individuals are not worthy of trust. Therefore, we must choose to be trustworthy.

- Being trustworthy is not the equivalent of being flawless in character or performance.
- To be trustworthy means to be worthy of trust.

There are three commitments we need to make in choosing to be trustworthy:
1. I commit to do what I say I will do and when I don’t, I’ll tell you.

2. I commit to not over promise and under deliver. But, if it looks like that’s
where things are headed, I’ll tell you.

3. If you confront me about the gaps I have created between what you expected me to do and what I actually did, I’ll tell you the truth.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Neurosonics Audiomedical Lab, Inc...

This video may be the most amazing thing you'll see all day.

I want to produce a video like this!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Time Well Wasted...

Most of us don't waste enough time. That's the case John Ortberg makes in this thought-provoking post:

Most of us don't waste enough time.

At least that's my conviction. But wasting time well is an acquired skill, because there is good wasting and there is bad wasting. Bad time wasting is the hang around/watch TV/perform random online search kind that leaves you with less life than you started with. You may be doing it right now. I don't need to say any more about that, except to stop.

The good kind of time-wasting will actually lead you to be more connected with God and more full of life. But it's hard to engage in, because there are always more pressing matters. This isn't really wasting time, of course, but our culture makes it feel as though it is.
There are three categories for these well-wasted times.

1. The discipline of solitude.
I used to think that solitude would involve pure, unadulterated prayer and intense spiritual activity; and because it is not, I never do solitude without a sense of wasting time. I have learned that wasting time is fundamental to solitude. People often want to know what you're supposed to do when you go into solitude. But this is the wrong question. The point of solitude is what you don't do.

Spiritual disciplines can be categorized as practices of abstinence and practices of engagement. In abstinence I refrain from doing what I normally do. In engagement I practice what I normally do not do.

Solitude is essentially a discipline of abstinence. In solitude I withdraw from relationships and noise and stimulation and see what there is when I am alone with God. The point of solitude is not what I do—it is what I don't do. I get away from all the voices and demands of my life and find out about what my little life is like when all the distractions are removed.

The primary gift I find in solitude is freedom. After time alone, I begin to remember that what other people think of me really matters very little. Those people all have their own lives; they will all die one day and take their applause and criticisms with them. I'm always aware of this, but in solitude I come to feel it deeply. I feel a sense of peace that I treasure. A Bible or a journal may be fine for solitude, but they are not necessary. The primary thing to remember about solitude is just don't do anything.

(Interestingly enough, the Sabbath was described in Exodus in terms of "not-doing"— "on it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals…")

2. Musing.
A second form of time-wasting is musing, or listening. Here I bring before God what I am concerned about. Often for me it involves either family or ministry. I am worried about one of my children. I am concerned about the health of my team. I am unsure about whether our ministry is functioning well.

I spread these out before God, and then I listen. This listening is a form of prayer, but it is prayer than involves thinking and imagination and asking questions. Often I will ask God at the beginning of it for wisdom regarding next steps to take. I might write some ideas down. It will often lead to plans.

It's important not to mix up solitude as a discipline with planning or musing. When I plan, I am hoping for an outcome. But by its nature, solitude as a practice requires letting go of all outcomes. When I am engaging in solitude for God's sake, I am not trying to get anything out of it; the pressure of wanting something keeps me from the very freedom God wants to give. But when I am musing over a concern, I am very much hoping for some next step to take.

3. Production enhancement.
The best example of this third kind of time wasting is a cow. A cow is a miracle on four legs, producing milk that fuels all kinds of people. But if you look carefully at a cow through the day, it looks remarkably unproductive. It spends hours chewing and then re-chewing. It takes less than five minutes to download the milk that it took 24 hours to produce.

But when you're creating milk, you just can't make it go any faster. There are limits in the creativity game.

If you are going to create, you need some time to chew the grass and stare into space.

In my experience, the more creative people are, the more space-staring they need to do. You can make instant coffee. But milk takes time.

For me, production-enhancement time wasting usually involves some activity that I love just for its own sake. I read history. I go to the ocean and stare at the waves. I do a crossword puzzle. I call up a friend. I put a fire in the fire pit outside. I play the piano.

How do you waste time badly? How do you waste time well? Are you wasting time adequately? If you find yourself feeling inwardly free, if you find yourself with all the ideas you need for planning, if you find yourself in a creative ferment, then you should probably stick to your current schedule. If not, you might want to re-think how you're wasting time.

Enough for today; time to go back to work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Favorite Party...

If Jesus were to throw a party in your city... who would he invite?

I'm pretty sure Jesus’ invitation list would include a lot of people… but I'm thinking that right at the top of his invitation list would be the people in your city who are often overlooked or forgotten—people who don’t usually get invited to parties.
Yep... I'm fairly confident that those who don’t have parties thrown for them would be the very people that Jesus would make the honored guests at his party.

With the above in mind, I want to invite you to my favorite party. It's this
Friday, August 28th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and we call it a “Jesus Party.” We'll be spending the evening with clients of the City of Abilene’s Adaptive Recreation Program, an activity group for mentally challenged adults. The “Jesus Party” will take place at the Adaptive Recreation facility at Rose Park (2609 South 7th Street).

Trust me... this is going to be an incredible party. Don’t miss this opportunity to be Jesus to someone.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


How to store an electrical cord with no tangles.

I've always wanted to know how to do this, and tangled cords drive me crazy. Now I know!

Friday, August 21, 2009


With friends like this...

It pains me to watch clips like this. But I have to admit, they can be pretty funny.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Promoting Teamwork...

I'm a big fan of a team oriented approach to ministry. Here are five great ways to energize any team you work with.

1. Assume others are smart and working hard.
2. Listen intently and ask thoughtful questions.
3. Acknowledge the sacrifices others have made on behalf of the team.
4. Express gratitude for their effort and their results.
5. Remind everyone why their work is so important and the difference they are making.

Yes, you can talk about issues that need to be addressed, but it has to be done in a way that leaves people motivated about what is possible.

As a leader, you have more power than you think. You will get more of what you focus on. Next time you walk into a meeting ask yourself this question, "How do I want people to feel when the meeting is over?" Begin with the end in mind.

Think back to a great meeting you attended which you left feeling energized. What happened to make you feel that way? What happened to your performance?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Social Media Revolution...

For all who wonder what's the big deal about social media... watch this video:

It is indeed a revolution... and we are in the midst of it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

To Be A Great Leader, You Must Be A Great Listener...

Leadership is not about making decisions on your own. It's about owning decisions once they are made.

To be a great leader, you must be a great listener. Here's why...

+ You are probably not the smartest person in the church/organization you lead. You are just the leader.

+ What and who you listen to will determine what you do.

+ The decisions you make as a leader are judged by the people in the church/organization you lead. Your private decisions will be judged publicly.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance." (Proverbs 1:5)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trust vs. Suspicion...

Recently a group of SoHills' elders and ministers got together to consider how we might work together to create a stronger culture of trust among us. We viewed a DVD that featured a challenging presentation by Andy Stanley entitled "Trust vs. Suspicion." Here are some of my take-aways from Andy's message:

Often there are unexplainable gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do.

+ We choose what we place in those gaps.

+ Our choices determine the integrity of our relationships.

+ We can choose to fill the gaps between what we expect people to do and what they actually do with either trust or suspicion.

“Teams use trust as currency. If it is in short supply, then the team is poor. If trust abounds, the members of the team have purchase power with each other to access each others’ gifts, talents, energy, creativity, and love. The development of trust then becomes a significant leadership strategy. Trust creates the load limits on the relationship bridges among team members.” (Reggie McNeal)

As Christ-followers, we have been called to trust.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I love this quote: "Why am I so desperate for everyone to like me, when the person I want to be like, was not liked by so many people?" - Jon Acuff

Friday, August 14, 2009

7 Is Greater Than 1...

Soul City Church produced this great video about what the church should look like everyday.

Very cool.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let's Be Students, Not Critics...

"The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation." (Al Reis, Focus)

Here's my personal take-away from Al Reis' observation above: To those of us who are over 45 years-old and leaders in a local church... our job is to recognize good ideas and to champion the ideas of the next generation of leaders.

So to the the leaders of my generation I say, "Let's not do to the next generation leaders what the previous generation did to us. Let's be students, not critics."

Here are three ways in which I'm convinced my generation of local church leaders can support the next generation of leaders:

#1 – Do Our Best To Fund Their Movement And Not Fight It

The next generation leaders will do ministry in ways that haven’t been thought of yet. They will do things that make me uncomfortable. They will take the things we are doing now (and calling innovative) and refer to them as traditional. I can either face the truth or get buried by it. My job as a leader is to fund them and set them up for success… not fight them.

#2 – Do Our Best To Learn From Them

I hope I never act “Yoda-like” and pretend that I have all of the answers and need no input from them. I want to pour myself into the next generation leaders that are coming behind me… but there is a great deal I am going to be able to learn and apply from them. Only arrogance and pride will make me think that I need to have all of the answers and can’t ask any of the questions.

#3 – Do Our Best To Encourage Them

I don’t want to be the old guy who tells the next generation leaders they can’t do what God has clearly told them they can and should do. I want to be the guy who tells them to pursue what God has placed on their hearts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So you're not a micro-manager... good! Watch out for macro-leading: the exercising of top-down authority by out-of-touch leaders.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Message Doesn't Change--The Methods Must Change...

In this clip Craig Groeschel, the senior pastor of, reminds us that to reach people for Jesus we need to change the way we do things... or we're going to lose an entire generation.

What are we doing that no one else is doing to reach people no one else is reaching?

Monday, August 10, 2009


"Your role as a leader should be to build a team of other leaders."

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Flamenco Cow...

The clip is silly, but I just can't help watching it.

Have you "Got milk?" from a flamenco dancing cow?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Lip Licking Good...

For those who just can't get enough bacon... here's a carry-in-your-pocket bacon fix when you get that bacon craving, but can't fire-up the trusty George Foreman.

Kissing will take on a whole new flavor!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

God of This City...

The song "God of This City" was written by Bluetree, a band from Northern Ireland. It's a song we sing frequently at SoHills... and the words never fail to touch my heart.

In this clip, Louie Giglio tells the story behind "God of This City." The images themselves aren't riveting viewing (it's a 40-second clip looped several times), but Louie's telling of the song's alongside the images makes for some powerful God moments.

You’re the Light in the darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless

You’re the Peace to the restless

There is no one like our God...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lessons Learned While Starting New Things...

The following is a recent article written by Dave Ferguson, the lead pastor at Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois. I found Dave's insights into the lessons he'd learned while starting new things to be most insightful.

1. VISION LESSON: The "God-Thing" Often Comes before the VISION

I would have said it starts with vision! I would have said it starts with a compelling vision from a gifted leader. And while that is true ... it's not the whole truth in my experience. I didn't really have the vision for being a multi-site church. God did! It was a God thing! I will often get the credit for being a visionary leader, but what is closer to the truth is this: God did something extraordinary and I share what God has done with the rest of the church as the vision... and they follow. And when you are able to share where God is at work... that is always a compelling vision that people want to follow!

2. STRATEGY LESSON: Should Fit On A Napkin

If it can't be explained on a napkin it is too complicated. Make sure everything from your vision statement, to your process for disciple-making, to how you will create a movement can be explained on a napkin. Many leaders never have a following because the vision and strategy can not be explained simply. If it is simple and reproducible you can mobilize the masses.

3. FINANCE LESSON: Money Always Follows

People give money to a compelling cause with a clear vision. When economic times are hard leaders are tempted to reduce the budget and the shrink their vision. When economic times are hard that is when you need to increase the vision and the money will follow. Never forget - God is always at work and vision is free!

4. INNOVATION LESSON: Lead With A "Yes" And Ask "How" Later

If you want to lead in bringing about innovation, you must learn to lead with a "yes" and not a "how". When others approach us with new ideas our first reaction is often "no" or "how"? What people need is affirmation of their dreams and space for them to figure out how to make them really work. People are born with dreams from God and they want to make a difference. What they need most is a leader who will say "yes" when they ask for permission to give it a try.

5. REPRODUCING LESSON: Take Risks on Emerging Leaders

Resist the urge of telling young leaders to wait a few years; they need and deserve opportunities to lead. You will always have young and emerging leaders who will come to you and want to do a new thing. You can dismiss it or you can bless it. Bless it. What we need to do is take risks on young leaders and give them our blessing.

Just Wondering...

When they think of you, what do people think of?

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Gap...

In the Summer/2009 issue of Leadership Journal, John Ortberg observes in an article titled "The Gap: The Fractured World of Multi-Generational Church Leadership": "When it comes to generations working together, the question of control is never more than about a micron below the surface."

Ortberg goes on to pose this question, "What generation has primary control in your church, and what has been the impact on the other generations in the church?"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Roller Babies...

Here's proof that Evian can turn your baby into a "roller baby."

I've got to admit... I find this video to be somewhat creepy.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Adventures In An Old House...

I'm not exactly sure about the words of the song in this video (they're in French)... but I think they roughly translate: "This is a very creative video about people and disembodied clothes that appear out of walls and other objects in this old house."

Boy those French, they have a different word for everything.