Thursday, January 31, 2013

Partner Like Paul: A Guide to Fundraising Biblically and Practically

Ever had to raise money for something and didn't know where to begin?  Or have you been forced to participate in a fundraiser that seemed awkward at best and shady at worst?  Partner Like Paul is a short book about raising money both practically and Biblically.  This book is for you whether you're going on your first missions trip, raising your salary as missionary support or you've been fundraising with a non-profit for years.

All the details are on my blog:

Or if you'd rather cut to the chase and download the PDF for printing, you can find it here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Time to get SMART

My friend Bill Allison originally introduced me to Personal Growth Plans about seven years ago.  Over the last seven years they have been one of the catalysts in my life for spiritual and personal growth.

The secret to them lies in making SMART goals.  Anyone can pledge "I want to be a better person."  But to get SMART takes a little more guts.  Follow along:

S - Specific.  Write down something uncomfortably specific.  If it makes you squirm because someone can hold you to it, you're getting close.  Specific is terrific.

M - Motivating.*  Once you've written a specific goal, think about it.  Are you actually excited to do it?  If not, then it's probably not motivating enough.

A - Attainable.  So obvious, yet this is the downfall of most New Year's Resolutions.  Can you actually conceivably reach this goal?

R - Relevant.  Sometimes we set goals because of what we've read or because of great things we've seen in others.  Relevant asks: "Does this actually pertain to my life?"

T - Trackable.  Along with being specific, a trackable goal usually includes a time component.  When will you do it?  How far along will you be in a week? a month? six months?

No rocket science here.  But how often we achieve less than God would want us to because of vague goals and pipe dreams!  What SMART goal can you write down today?

If you send me one of yours I'll send you one of mine.

*This is where I differ from Bill/Cadre.  He puts the word Measurable, but I find that too similar to Trackable so I changed it to Motivating.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Friendly Reminder

This goes out to all the guys:

Valentine's Day is three weeks from today.  I was inspired to give this reminder because I recently heard that one of the busiest days at Papa Murphy's Pizza is Valentine's Day.

Really?  Papa Murphy's sells heart shaped pizzas on February 14th.  But the fact that they are busier on that day than most others makes me think of the following narrative:
Man driving home from work on February 14th.  Man sees Papa Murphy's Sign: "Get your Heart-Shaped Pizza for Valentine's Day."  Mans slams on brakes and turns across two lanes of traffics to pull into Papa Murphy's.  Man triumphantly brings home dinner and knows that at long last, he "remembered" Valentine's Day.

Don't let that be you.

If you want to get your wife a heart-shaped pizza on Valentine's Day, at least have it be because you thought of it ahead of time.  If you'd rather skip V-day all together and do something special for her another day that is also fine, so long as you've planned it.  But don't be that guy.

Monday, January 21, 2013

BOOR January 2012: Your Two Options

A great reminder from Seth Godin:
One option is to struggle to be heard whenever you're in the room...
Another is to be the sort of person who is missed when you're not.
The first involves making noise. The second involves making a difference.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Still Dreaming

At the end of the last book in the Chronicles of Narnia series CS Lewis writes this conversation.

Then Aslan turned to them and said: "You do not look so happy as I mean you to be."

Lucy said, "We're so afraid of being sent away Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often."

"No fear of that," said Aslan. "Have you not guessed?"

Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.

"There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadow-lands - dead. The term is over: The holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."

I love that picture.  I truly believe a follower of Christ on the other side of death is hoping that they truly are dead so they can spend more time with the King.

Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's church or nothing

Very often when we are trying to discern someone's spiritual state, we look at just one factor: Church attendance.

This isn't necessarily bad.  It's just intriguing that after knowing if someone regularly goes to a church building or not, we think we've got their spiritual life pegged.  It seems to be the only marker we have for someone's Christian faithfulness.

If someone goes to a church service weekly we think they are a pretty faithful follower of Jesus.
If they are involved in those church services weekly we think even more highly of them.
If they don't (or rarely) go to a church service we discern they are not following Jesus.

Don't get me wrong, being with the church is a good thing, a great thing.  And it does say something about your spiritual life.  But it doesn't say everything.  The problem comes when church service attendance is our only marker for someone's spiritual life.  Anyone can show up at a building and sit through a service regardless of where there heart is at.

I guess I'm saying: Don't stop at church attendance.  Build deepening relationships so you can accurately know others and challenge them to grow spiritually.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Re Post: Is this your life work?

"Is this your life work?"

I remember my late grandmother asking me this question about my job after I had worked just a few months full-time at Camp of Champions.  I don't remember the actual response I gave her, but I remember internally thinking:


It seemed like a bit much to commit to my first full-time job as my "life work", especially since I hadn't even been at it for a whole year.

If she asked me that question today I think I would answer differently.  I think I would say:

"Yes, what I'm doing right now is my life work.  I'm all in.  I want to do the best possible job I can.  I can't see myself doing anything else."

You'd be missing the point of this post if you thought this was about Camp of Champions.  (Breathe a sigh of relief fellow COCUSA staff, you're not stuck with me forever!)
What changed for me is not my attitude toward my present place of employment, but my attitude toward life and work in general.

What's the point of doing something (anything!) if it's not your life work?  I may not be doing this job forever, but for as long as I am, it's my life work.

Someday God may call me to a new position, a new place of employment or a new life setting.  When that time comes, I truly want to say: "This is my life work. I'm all in.  I want to do the best possible job I can.  I can't see myself doing anything else."

How about you?  Is this your life work?

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Re-posted from December 2011.  A great reminder for me personally as we head into 2013. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

A new Olympic sport: Mini-Van loading

I'd like to petition the International Olympic Committee for a new sport: Mini-Van Loading.

I think I'd easily win Gold.  Let me set it up for you:

In the Summer Olympics you would have 4 kids (all under 10, at least 2 still in car seats), 6 suitcases and 1 Igloo cooler.  All of those things would start a flight of stairs away from the mini-van you're attempting to load.  The kids are randomly assigned so they may or may not be on your team during the loading process.  Everything that needs to be loaded starts inside a house with at least two doors and 5 stairs. The first one to load the car, buckle the kids in safely and drive 100 yards to the finish line wins.

The Winter Olympic event would be similar.  Four kids.  Instead of suitcases you have all of the kids' snow gear, plus 5 sleds.  The biggest difference is this actually takes place on an ice rink to mimic the perils of loading a vehicle in icy conditions.

In both events, using the roof rack would be considered cheating.

This post was inspired after my Facebook Status with the same suggestion had some good feedback.  We'll see what happens.  See you in Sochi.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Football Playoff Contest Year 4

It's time for another NFL Playoff contest.  Pick the Superbowl winner correctly and you can win a prize from me.

Prize Pack
Part 1: I buy you a book off of my 2013 reading list.
Part 2: After you read the chosen book, I'll take you out to lunch/coffee to discuss.

Contest Details
Your challenge is to correctly pick the Superbowl Winner from the current playoff field of 12 teams.

But since that's pretty easy I'm also including the following tie breakers:
~ Picking of the Superbowl Loser
~ Predicting the total points scored in the Superbowl.

Use the form embedded below (or click here if there is no form.)

Fine print: 
Any remaining ties will be decided by a coin flip.
If the winner is a female, my wife will take you out while I watch my kids.
Contest closes before the first playoff game begins (which is 3:30 Saturday)