Flipping Out!

Sign Flipper

Have you ever seen those guys who spin advertising boards to get your attention for their store, product or service? I really love watching the really good talented sign flippers (yes, that’s actually what they are called) do their thing.  Did you know that there is a national competition for these folks? Take a look at a portion of this video… it will amaze you!

Let me ask you a question: If you watched a piece of that video—do you remember what the advertisement on the board said?

The problem with this type of advertising is:

1. You’re advertising the ability of the person more than you are the message on the board.

2. The message on the board is moving so fast that it gets blurred and is over shadowed by the “performance” of the sign thrower.

3. Although it’s fun to watch someone throw those boards—you rarely remember them for more than a moment. Do you remember exactly where you were, and what the message was, the last time you saw one of these boards?

Does this remind you of anything?

LOOK AT ME… LOOK AT ME!!

The problem is that these tactics becomes just another gimmick to get your attention—right? Sign flipping falls in the same category with the inflatable dancing guy, billboards, and the guy in a chicken costume. Its a gimmick— and gimmicks never last long, keep customers, or transform lives. (Click to Tweet That!)

As the body of Christ we do the same thing at times—don’t we?  I know I am guilty.  We make big plans to get people to visit our churches with all sorts of sign flipping ideas, but we fail to remember that it’s not the sign flipping that will transform—only a relationship with God can do that.  I am trying, in my own life, to remember to offer people not only a chance to have fun, but a sincere invitation, a clear explanation, and helpful next steps to move forward as a disciple wanting to live the “full life”—John 10.  I want to make sure that I am putting just as much time in a clear discipleship process, if not more, than I do promoting or offering cool stuff—and as a youth pastor I do love cool stuff!

I’m trying to think about how Jesus invited people to the journey.

“…I’m coming to your house for dinner tonight.” —I paraphrased a little.

“I will make you fishers of men”

“Do you want to get well?”

“Give away all you have and follow me.” —Ouch! Not exactly a pizza party, dodge-ball or laser tag—huh?

What about you? Do you only invite someone to church for big “fun” events? Do you invite people at all? Why are we afraid to use the transformational life as an advertisement—all by itself? Are we afraid that our lives aren’t much of a advertisement for the transformed life?

Maybe it’s just me that’s a little very afraid?

Thoughts?

 

WARNING: High Fall Risk!

“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

Last month my wife, Rachel, was in the hospital for surgery, and in her recovery room, posted on the wall, was a magnetic sign that read, “Hi Fall Risk!” (I think the nurses thought I was a little strange for taking pictures of the sign.)

After the procedures that Rachel had to endure were finished she was a bit wobbly, and the doctors wanted to let nurses and technicians know to be careful with Rachel’s balance. (Rachel is still recovering, but is at home and doing much better—thanks for asking.)

The picture made me think about how grateful I am to have hands and feet. Obviously this guy in the picture is a “High Fall Risk”—he has no hands or feet! This sign also made me think about when you and I find ourselves near a “Hi Fall Risk.” No, I don’t mean physically falling either. At 6’8″—300+ pounds the idea of me falling is not a pretty sight! I am talking about falling spiritually—which can lead to (I believe) falling in other areas of life as well. Don’t you think? Here are a few things that put me/us at a high risk of spiritual unbalance.

1. No time in God’s presence. I know I am guilty of this one. With 6 kids, a full time ministry, and about a half dozen side projects sometimes the only time I spend with God is when I am preparing a message or praying with other people.  In order to remain “balanced” we all need to be spending time in God’s presence with no agenda other than to hear what God might want to say to us that day.

Jesus, in John 10, talks about the sheep that recognize the voice of the good shepherd. Are you spending enough time with God that you would recognize His voice and recognize what is NOT his voice?

 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” John 10:1-5

2. Accountability. Do you have trusted people in your life that you have given permission to hold you accountable? If there isn’t anyone in your life that you have trusted to see all parts of your life then often times, by the time you are falling and need help, the situation can end up being more of a recovery operation than a rescue mission. Don’t get me wrong—God can redeem all things, but why let a situation get farther than it should?

I will say that both Rachel and I have several people in our lives that care very deeply about us and would drop everything to make sure that we were OK. There are a few men in my life that I have given full permission to be honest with me about all areas in my life, and I have promised to listen and at least hear what they are trying to tell me—because I know they are sharing difficult things with me in love. However, it’s up to me to make sure I am being honest and asking for guidance and prayer.

 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

3. No Margins.  Margins (or lack there of) has been one of my biggest growth areas over the last few years.  Part of my maturing process has been learning that I can’t do it all, and understanding that I have to say, “No” to certain things in order to be healthy. I recently finished reading “Love Does” (Affiliate Link) by Bob Goff, and one of the things he says in that book really has helped me think about prioritizing what gets attention in my life and what doesn’t. (I highly recommend the book by the way)

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I am more afraid at succeeding at things that don’t matter.” Bob Goff—Love Does (Affiliate Link)

15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

 

How about you? What helps you live a balanced faith journey? Have you had dry/fallen times, spiritually, where you needed help? What worked? What didn’t?

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog—today!

Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World! *Book Review and Special Offer!

Do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series? They were these exciting adventure books where, at a pivotal moment in the narrative, you could choose the direction you took your character next; you turned to a specific page and discovered the unique adventure that you were taking your character on.

I used to LOVE those books.

Well, Michael Hyatt’s new book, Platform: Get Noticed In a Noisy World reads like a real life choose your own adventure book for anyone who has a message, service, organization, brand, or product to promote.

One of the exciting themes of Platform is Michael’s practical encouragement to readers that we live in a unique time in history where, if you are willing to invest the time and effort, you can take your message, service or product on an incredible adventure that was never before possible.  Michael teaches that, in many respects, technology, the internet, and social media have leveled the playing field for regular people, like you and I, who want to get noticed in a very noisy world!

This book is not just for speakers and authors either— it’s for anyone who has a message, service or product that you are trying to take on an adventure. What is your dream? Well, Platform can help you get there!

Each of the 60 small, easily digestible, chapters will give you a different opportunities to bring your message, service or product on a new adventure!

The chapters are broken down into 5 major sections of the book:

  • Start With Wow!
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Home Base
  • Expand Your Reach
  • Engage Your Tribe

Here comes the best part of the is deal. Are you ready? If you buy the book before the end of the day on Friday, May 25th you get 7 free products worth over $375.00. Yes, you heard me right. Interested in finding out more? Take a few minutes to watch this video of Michael explain the book, offer freebies, and then click on this link to Buy Now.

In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that I was in no way paid for this promotion, and I only promote products that I use personally. I was offered a free copy of Michel’s book because I am one of the Community Leaders for his blog and I am also on his Platform Launch Team. However, I also willingly bought a copy to give away and have been a fan of Michael Hyatt for many years.  I try to review books on a regular basis and I hope you will come back for further reviews.

You Have Been Created With A Purpose! Do You Remember What It Is? (Caine’s Arcade)

I know I am dreadfully behind on this video, and most of you have seen it, but I couldn’t resist.

Do you remember when you were a kid and anything was possible?

Do you remember what you wanted to be?

When did you stop identifying yourself as an artist or a creative?

Has your dream died?

Do you believe that God can redeem that dream? He can!

Maybe He has a new dream?

Maybe that was the plan all along?

Do you believe that God has made you with special gifts and talents? He has!

Did you see how proud Caine’s father was of him? Do you believe that God is proud of you? He is!

How long has it been since you talked with God about your gifts, and how you could use them to bless God and others?

Matthew 18

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

 

“Children live in a world of dreams and imagination, a world of aliveness… There is a voice of wonder and amazement inside all of us; but we grow to realize we can no longer hear it, and we live in silence. It isn’t that God stopped speaking; it is that our lives became louder.”
Mike Yaconelli

 

 

You Are The Incandescent Light Of The World

Light bulb

As the powers that be continue their efforts to phase out the 60-100 watt incandescent light bulb, Phillips has released it’s latest award winning LED light-bulb, the Philips 10A19/LPRIZE-PRO/2700-900 DIM 10/1 – 420224 – 42022-4 (affiliate link). The switch to LED bulbs, over the ancient technology of the incandescent bulb, will potentially save the US hundreds of millions of dollars (add Dr. Evil voice here) in energy savings per year.

The problem with most LED light bulbs is they don’t convey the same “warm” feel that incandescent bulbs do, so many people have been reluctant to move toward the energy saving LED bulbs. I’m not advocating wasting energy—I’m just sayin’.

Of course, this made me start thinking about Jesus words from the sermon on the mount where he teaches the crowd that they are “the light of the world”, and how their light(s) shouldn’t be hidden, but put in a place for all to see.

Matthew 5:14-16

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

This verse challenges me to think about all the different types of lighting, and how as followers of Jesus, at different times in our lives, we have been given the responsibilities and roles of different types of lighting.

The Spotlight

At times, as Jesus followers, we are called to be “spotlights.” A spotlight is used to point out wrongs and injustices around the world and down the street. This has been done well by organizations like IJM, but with the wrong methods and motivation it can also be done poorly by Christians who attempt to “expose” others. We have all seen, or read about, people who end up burning people, in the name of Jesus, with the spotlight—instead of trying to bringing light and healing into dark spaces.  This is a matter of motivation, right? Is my motivation to bring about change and healing or is to bust people for the sake of the law?

The Warning Light

At times in my ministry I have been the “warning light”, like a lighthouse, where I am trying to warn people against some of the poor decisions that I, or people that I know,  have made. The warning light attempts to warn others, in love, not to make the same mistakes that I have.

Directional Lighting

Sometimes my light is used as “directional lighting.” Directional lighting is where I am able to use my gifts as a teacher and communicator to help people see what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus in real life.  We have all been given the privilege, in humility, to direct people toward the grace of the cross.

Life Lighting

However, my favorite type of light is the incandescent bulb—slightly inefficient and yet warm and personal. You usually find these bulbs in living spaces (life lighting) and around tables built for conversation. Building relationships with people uses a lot of energy, and you never know how people are going to respond to that investment. All of us have invested in people who have “moved on” or taken advantage of that investment, but I would rather be that welcoming and mildly inefficient warm bulb than to emit the cold impersonal energy of the florescent light. (I’m not sure if florescent lighting has any redeeming qualities at all?)

The key to the imagery of the light is found at the end of verse 16.

“…that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Our light, whatever type it is, is designed to glorify God!

What other types of lighting have I missed? Be creative. What type of lighting do you like the most? Have you moved to the LED lights? Are you, or anyone you know, hording incandescent bulbs?

Faith Lessons From The NFL Draft

Football.Ellipse.WDC.3March2006

I love the NFL Draft.

I love the personal story-line behind each players that connects the dots between their families, upbringing, college careers, and watching the reaction from fans/towns that their newly drafted prospect will represent. I love the endless scrutinizing of players college stats and postulating possible draft scenarios. I love speculating over the next possible 6th round diamond in the rough, and reminiscing over colossal first round busts of the past.

For those who are not familiar—the NFL draft, which now airs on prime time, and continues to gain popularity, is the yearly opportunity for the 32 NFL teams to pick the from best players in the college ranks.

Most players in the draft are picked based on a extremely long list of inputs like:

  • College Stats
  • A Pro-Day
  • The NFL Combine
  • The Wonderlic Test
  • Film Study
  • Personal Character
  • How fast they run the 40 yard dash
  • How tall they are
  • How much they weigh
  • How much they can bench-press
  • How high they can jump
  • “Intangibles” like locker room presence, football IQ, and leadership.

With the endless scrutiny that these players go through, especially in the first round, it reminded me that people look at the outside, but God looks at the inside.

From time to time, I think about how and why King David and Moses were chosen for leadership. I also think about when Jesus chose the disciples and how, from a purely “religious” perspective, they wouldn’t have been even been drafted in the first 20 rounds—let alone the first. But, God wasn’t/isn’t looking for the things that man looks for—he was/is looking at the heart.

Acts 13:22

New International Version (NIV)

22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

1 Samuel 16:7

New International Version (NIV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

 

This should be good news for you and I! God doesn’t love us or “choose us” because of any characteristic—anymore than I love my one of my kids more because they are taller—well, actually, now that you mention it… (I’m Kidding)

God doesn’t love us because we are:

  • Tall
  • Short
  • Smart
  • Simple
  • Go to church
  • Help people
  • Fast
  • Slow
  • Have the Bible memorized
  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • Rich
  • Poor
  • You get the point.

No, God loves us because we are his beloved and He is our father.

If someone were to come up to me and ask, “Why do you love your children?” What would I say? Would I point to a G.P.A. or one of my children’s personal successes? No, of course not.

I would say, “I love them because they are MY children and I am their father.”

Whatever you are going through today, remember… God loves you because YOU are HIS child.

x