Monday, December 29, 2014

2015: The Year without Facebook

It has come time for me to part ways with Facebook... at least for a year.

Why am I doing this?

  • I got tired of Facebook's pushed updates to my phone and email.  I know I can unsubscribe... and I do.  But then they find a way to update the preference and privacy settings and start sending me updates again.
  • I have a stellar staff member who has taken over COCUSA's Facebook page.  (Thank you Kyle!)
  • More importantly, I had many times in 2014 where I heard someone say: "I sent you a Facebook message about that."  The problem is/was: I didn't check Facebook regularly enough to see those messages.  (And when they are COCUSA summer staff telling me they can't work, those are messages I need to see.)  Now they won't be able to message me. Problem solved.  I hope.

If you're still inclined to follow me online, you have a few options.

You can follow this blog via email or RSS feed (links on the left on the main blog page.)

You can move to a different social network with me (  I'll be auto-posting this blog, my family's blog and other interesting tidbits to this Twitter account.

Facebook- It's been real. It's been fun. But it hasn't been real fun.
Maybe we'll check in with you in 2016. See ya!

Monday, December 22, 2014

144 yard waste cans

When we moved into our new house in May the landscaping needed a lot of clean up.

So starting the first full week we spent there, I filled up 4 trash cans with yard waste each week.

For 23 straight weeks I filled up 4 trash cans each week.

Then, when the leaves started falling it got really crazy.  For all of November I was filling 8 trash cans a week, plus an additional 20 lawn 'n' leaf bags just for fun.

All told, since moving to my house I filled 144 (isn't that a gross?) containers with sticks, bushes, leaves, etc.

The secret?  Four at a time.  There's no way I could do 144 at one time, or even over a month or two.  But four cans every week got it done.

Any big projects you need to take break down into smaller chunks?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just Ask

I haven't posted about fundraising in awhile:

Step 4 in Partner Like Paul is The Ask.

I'm more convinced than ever that "just ask" might be some of the best advice out there, with one caveat: Don't ask just anyone.

But if you ask people you know and love, who know and love you, you will be surprised by the positive response.  I am every time.

And one cool story: I had been asking many of my personal supporters to consider an increase to their monthly giving to me. I was in my office and over heard a phone call where one of my friends/supporters pledged to double their current giving.  In my head I thought: "That's awesome, she must have read the letter I sent her."  Later that day I was going through my bag and found the letter I was going to send to this supporter to ask her about increasing her giving:  I hadn't even sent the letter yet but God was already working in her heart.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Preaching in the Bible

What should we preach?  Who should preach?  How long and when?

We normally leave "preaching" for a pastor and think that he should "preach" a sermon.  But is that a Biblical idea?  Awhile ago I did a word study of preaching (passages below).  Here's what I learned:

It was a word that Luke (the author of the Gospel and Acts) absolutely loved.  It seems that nearly every chapter he mentions preaching.

Nearly every time... enough that I could say "Every Time"... what was preached was the "good news" (or a similar variation like "the Gospel", "the message of Jesus", etc.)  There are only a few times you could even make a vague connection to our modern-day sermons.

Sermons aren't bad things, but when we delegate preaching only to those who are comfortable up in front of a crowd, we've taken away something that anyone should be able to do: Preach the Good News to those around them.

The sense you get from the whole new testament use of the word is that anyone can preach, everyone should preach and we should all be preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

So today.. preach it!

Matthew 11:5; Luke 1:19, 2:10, 3:18, 4:18, 4:43, 8:1, 9:6, 16:16, 20:1; Acts 5:42, 8:4, 8:12, 8:25, 8:35, 8:40, 10:36, 10:42, 11:20, 13:32, 14:7, 14:15, 14:21, 15:31, 16:10, 17:18; Romans 1:15, 10:15, 15:20; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 9:16, 9:18, 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:16, 11:7; Galatians 1:8-9, 1:11, 1:16, 1:23, 4:13; Ephesians 2:17, 3:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Peter 1:12, 1:25, 4:6

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent Season

advent [ad-vent]
1. a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.
2. (usually initial capital letter) the coming of Christ into the world.

I used to think that "Advent" always meant the second definition: The Advent season was and is about Jesus.

Apparently Starbucks is going with the first definition.  You can now count down the days with chocolates and arrive at a mini Starbucks gift card on the big day.

I guess Christmas used to be about Jesus too.  We kind of forget those important details these days.

I love Christmas traditions: lights, decorations, food, and everything else.  But consider this your reminder that two weeks from today we should primarily be celebrating Jesus.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Is the grass greener?

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

A pithy saying I'm sure you've heard before, but how accurate is it?

How often do we look somewhere else for something better?  In life? At your job? With your church?  Sometimes we're just looking for anything better.

But what if instead of just switching when things got a little tough (jobs, churches, houses, cars, etc.) we doubled down* on where we were at currently.

The grass might be greener on the other side of your proverbial fence.  Or, more than likely, it just looks greener from your current position.  Jealousy and discontent are powerful and cloud your vision.

*double down: "to make double or twice as great, to add an equal amount to"

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Too Much Training

Is such a thing possible?  Can you actually have too much training?

Last month I passed on the opportunity to attend an entire week of training (at two different conferences).  They were both local, so travel wasn't an issue.

And I didn't decline because of the financial costs or even really because of the time commitment (although both of those were factors.)

Primarily I declined because I already felt "too full."  I had too many inputs, even good ones, and felt the need to focus on what I already had in my life rather than adding more.

Where are you at with training, inputs, and focusing on what you already have?

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Dip Discussion Questions

The Camp of Champions USA full-time staff just finished reading The Dip by Seth Godin.  It was a good read that helped us talk through when and what we should quit.  (Intrigued?  My original review  is here.)

Here are some discussion questions we used to help us get the most out of our reading.  Hope they help you too!
  • What can we be best in the world at?
  • Based on the page 10 “The Best in the World?”: How would our constituents or customers define us being the best in the world? 
  • From page 13 “Is that the best you can do?”: How might we be tempted to settle for good enough instead of best in the world?  What shortcuts would we be tempted to take?
  • What are we good at and what can we be exceptional at?
  • Discussion of the three curves: Come with an example of each curve.
  • From page 23: "When it comes right down to it, right down to the hard decisions, are you quitting any project that isn't a dip?"
  • What did you think about Brave vs Mature vs Stupid on pg 24?
  • And how does all of this relate to us?
  • Which of the 8 dips on pages 37-39 are relevant to us and how so?
  • Where is it okay for us to be average?
  • What’s your strategy when you’re getting in line at the store?
  • Are there any queues that you personally or we as an organization are jumping between?  
  • “Relentlessly changing tactics, but never quitting the big idea.” Let’s dialogue this.
  • How can we amplify the long-term benefits over the short term pain of the DIP?  For us? For others in our organization?
  • From page 60: “The Noise Inside Your Head”- Thoughts after reading that?
  • Where does pride and humility play a role in all of this? (pg 65)
  • What do we need to “write down” for us? What will we quit under what circumstances?