Saturday, July 31, 2010

10 peeps @ my man cave party

Catch up on these parties i'm throwing in my "man cave" HERE.

We're winding these parties down and i've had a fun time with these 10 dead people i would love to hang out with HERE and the 10 fictional people HERE. Now, today are my 10 living, breathing people i would love to hang out with in my man cave for a day. This list only includes people i've never had the privilege to hang out with before:

bono - he has to be tops on the list. too much in his favor. The front man for my favorite band of all time who write some of the best songs ever + he's Irish (as are my ancestors) + he's freaking awesome as he fights for social justice for the poor in Africa. everybody loves this guy. i would love to hang out with him.

louie giglio - this guy and bono are pretty close. Louie is like my spiritual hero. he has been one of the most influential spiritual "mentors" in my life! i've actually been able to meet Louie, but never hang out. i'd love to talk with this guy because he is one of my favorite visionaries ever. my heart resonates with most everything he says and his view of God captivates me every time.

chris rock - this is more left over from my child hood. he was the funniest man alive. i used to memorize his monologues. (probably not the best things to memorize.) you have to have a hilarious guy like Chris at every party!

derek jeter - the Yankees captain. and i love the Yankees and always have. Derek has been my favorite baseball player ever since the last Yankees captain retired, Don Mattingly (who owned the title of my fav player from the time i was born to around 13.) He will always be a Yankee and he has led us to so many World Championships. he's the face of this dynasty.
dave ramsey - this guy's simple philosophy changed our lives. So, i'd love to host him in my man cave. i would let him beat me in pool because we owe him our financial livelihood. i've had the privilege to meet him and tell him thanks before. i'd love to hear him telling all these other guys what to do with their money.

brain mclaren - one of my favorite writers. i love this guy and i think he knows the future we're heading into better than most anyone. i would LOVE to sit with this guy and ask him questions for a few hours. + he & dave ramsey could almost be twins!

alan shearer - the greatest player ever for my favorite soccer team ever = Newcastle United. Shearer was the man during the Magpies' glory days (at least in my lifetime.) he was my 1st ever favorite soccer player when i first fell in love with the beautiful game. He was Newcastle's captain and England's captain. too bad he didn't work out as the Magpies manager.

john piper - another of my favorite authors who has really shaped my view of God. i owe my view of the Greatness and Glory of God to Piper who opened my eyes to how amazing and BIG God is. i would love to have a conversation with him!

matt morginsky - the front man for my #1 band when i was in high school and even into college. The O.C. Supertones! (who are actually making a comeback.) this guy wrote the best stuff and he could flow for sure. saw them front row several times. he could just rock for us during the party in theman cave.

Bishop Desmond Tutu - i guarantee this guy has got some stories from some crazy times in Rwanda! i would love to hear about how he resolved to continue to show love even though there was so much unspeakable hate and violence all around him.

that's my 10 i would love to hang out with.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 FICTIONAL people i would hang out with

Catch up on these parties i'm throwing in my "man cave" HERE.

if i could hang out with any 10 FICTIONAL people for a day, here's who i would invite:
Jack Bauer - Listen, Jack Bauer is the freaking man. He is the biggest pimp of all time. He is 1 of only 3 people i've ever wanted to "be". and the other 2 are the next 2 names below. (i wrote about that once HERE.) he is the hero of all heroes. i'm sticking with Jack. no doubt. (we even named our dog after him.)

John McClane - this is who i wanted to be as a little kid while growing up watching the Die Hard movies with my dad. John is like Jack Bauer from 20 years ago. a lot more "make shift". a lot more rough around the edges. it's never pretty. he's always covered in blood. John McClane is the man! i wouldn't mind seeing him & Jack Bauer go at it.

Chandler Bing - Chandler Bing would have to be like the funniest guy to hang out with. non-stop laughing. This is the guy i wanted to be when i was like 13. If you're not a Friends fan then you may not know who Chandler is. "Look at me, I'm Chandler... could i BE wearing any more clothes?"

Cal Lightman - i'm pretty sure this guy is based on a real person i read about in Blink. Cal Lightman in the TV show Lie to Me is THE MAN! he is amazing. his British accent just makes him that much cooler. his personality makes me love him. OH! and did i mention he can read your micro-expressions on your face and tell exactly what anyone is thinking at any given time! he is amazing and would be crazy at the man cave party.

Maverick (Pete Mitchell) - This is the guy i idolized as a really little kid. i memorized Top Gun line for line. Maverick was so cool. the haircut, the flying suit, the sunglasses... i started drinking ice water as a 6 year old because that was Maverick's drink. (now that's all i drink out of habit.) he was the epitome of "cool".

Danny Ocean & Rusty Ryan - These 2 are the leaders of "Ocean's Eleven". what an awesome crew. these guys are awesome leaders. in my college years these guys were really the "epitome of cool!" i remember saying MANY times that if these guys came to my house and recruited me that i would be IN in a heart beat. even though they're criminals! that's crazy i know. (but i've even said it a few times since i gave my life to Jesus and became a pastor! Don't tell anyone that.)

Harry Potter - i said FICTIONAL people remember. c'mon, Harry is cool. i hope he would bring his broom and wand to the man cave. i say "Voldemort" too, Harry.

Michael Scofield - There are some REALLY smart people in this group = Doctors, Wizards, and the smartest con man of all time (danny ocean) BUT Scofield is the smartest and most genius of them all. after breaking out of the toughest prisons in the world i would want him helping me plan everything.

Jack Shephard - with all these guys above, we'll have to have a doctor in the house! because you can pretty much guarantee that someone will get hurt. and what better doctor to do surgery with a poker chip, a ping pong paddle, and thread from pool table felt than Jack Shephard himself. The hero from the greatest ever written TV show.

Can you imagine this mix hanging out in the "man cave"? it would be straight up crazy!
That's my 10 i would invite.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10 dead people i would hang out with

you can catch up on this whole idea in yesterday's post HERE.
i hope starting with this one doesn't seem creepy... like i'll have a basement full of ghosts. i think after you get into it you'll see how awesome it would be!

OK, here's my invite list/ wish list:

George Muller - i'm reading his biography this year. this guy was awesome. i want to start orphanages the rest of my life just like he did, so i would love to talk with him about that. + i would hope that in 1 night in the man cave his unbelievable faith would rub off on me at least a little.

William Wallace - you know... Braveheart! this guy was the coolest. everybody wants to be like William Wallace, right? well, at least i always have. i just want to hang out with a guy as passionate as he was. maybe he could pass out some blue face paint to everyone?

Jim Elliot - he was the missionary to the Auca people who were unreached with the gospel. Later he and his team were martyred by those people that God had called them to love and spread His fame to. For me Jim is representative of the probably millions of missionary martyrs throughout history. i've read a few biographies on Jim and also his journal. what an amazing guy... yet he was just this normal college kid at Wheaton. God just did amazing stuff in his heart. pretty cool.

Harriet Tubman - there is such a HATRED inside of me for racism. sometimes it makes me wish i was alive 100 and 200 years ago so i could FIGHT IT when it was even more outrageous. Harriet fought it hard core and helped to beat it through her "underground railroad." She had such courage and saved the lives of so many slaves. if i would have been alive in the 1800s i hope that i would have found her and helped her cause. and now i'd just love to hang out with this lady.

Paul (not really sure his last name or if he had one... but they also called him Saul.) - you know, the Apostle who wrote half the New Testament. supposedly the 1st foreign/ cross-cultural missionary of the Church. That's what i want to do, so who better to hang out with than the very 1st one who really paved the way. Plus, you know this guy has some pimp stories to tell!

Mother Teresa - how could you not have her on the list? what a selfless servant. one of the greatest examples of loving and serving Jesus via the "least of these" in the modern era. plus i think she and my grandma would get along :)

David Livingstone - the famous pioneer missionary to Africa. he was like the 1st Westerner to land on the continent & go into the interior! he was also a Doctor. i really want to talk to this guy. he's remembered as such a famous missionary who pioneered the way for God's fame to be spread to the people of Africa... but he only saw 1 convert in his life time! wow. can you imagine giving your life to God's cause and only seeing that "little fruit". but now look at the continent and the legacy he left behind. i'm down with God using me like that.

(*These final 3 are my grandparents who all passed away when i was a child.)
Robert Hennessee - This was my mom's dad who died when i was 6 or 7. All of my family say i am most like him. they say i look a little like him, act like him, talk like him, and my personality is most like him. i'm honored because he was a great man. i hear he was a great storyteller. (plus his grandfather - Patrick O'Hennessey - came over from Ireland. I'd love to hear some passed down stories from the crazy Irishman i was named after.) i regret that i didn't get to know him better.

Estelle Hennessee - this lady had a heart of gold. i used to stay with her all the time in the summers toward the mountains of NC after her husband (Rob) had died. She was just full of love... for everyone really. She definitely loved Jesus. She came to live with us after lung cancer started to take over her body. looking back, i'm really thankful for those months i got to spend with her day after day in our home.

Louis Mitchell - This was my dad's Dad. He died when i was 10. if i had to describe him in 1 word i would say "FUN".
i really wish my wife Crystal could have met him and i really wish he could meet her. i think he would just constantly be having fun with us! i think he and i might get along the best. we got along great when i knew him as a younger kid. his personality was infectious. he was all about positive thinking and i remember him passing that down to me when i was around. he would be a lot of fun in the man cave.

(OK, now i'm tearing up a little after thinking and writing about those last 3, so i better step out of this Starbucks i'm writing in.)

sitting around with these 10 people, can you imagine the STORIES that would be told in 1 evening? it would be awesome.

*That inspires me to live a life worth telling stories about.

Tomorrow will no doubt be the "FUNNEST" list of 10 people!

Monday, July 26, 2010

10 people i would like to hang out with

i had this thought a couple years ago =  
"if i could go out to dinner and invite any 10 people, who would i invite?"

great question, huh?

That's what i'm going to be writing about the next few days here on renown. Except, dinner is kind of boring and with 11 people around big a table eating food it might be a little hard to "hang out" with and talk to everyone.
SO, instead of dinner i would probably just invite them to hang out in the "man cave" for a day. my "man cave" is simply my big basement with lots of "man toys" like a pool table, ping pong table, foosball table, poker table, couches, TV, dartboard, etc... That would be a much better environment to talk with all 10 people throughout the evening. i can envision great conversations around the poker table, watching a game together on TV and having some fun...

And it's not just 1 group of 10 people anymore. I've split it into 3 groups:
10 Dead people
10 Fictional people
10 living breathing people

so, check out renown the next 3 days to see the 10 people i would want to hang out with!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

who 1st came up with it? (fries with burgers)

Fries just go with burgers.

they're just a great fit. like peanut butter with jelly and milk with oreos. they go together.

but they were invented at different times in different places. so, who was the 1st guy to sit there and think "ya know, hamburgers should always be eaten with french fries!"

the other day i had a burger without fries. it just wasn't the same. i was like "you just have to have fries with your burger." that's what started me thinking about who came up with this brilliant combination.

so as i'm sometimes prone to do, i went digging online (usually starting with the always "trustworthy" wikipedia) to see if i could get an answer.
i didn't find much help for who started the trend of the fries with burgers combo, but it looks like fries as a SIDE dish were invented in Belgium long ago by the poor peeps who lived by the rivers. They usually fried fish to be their side dishes, but when the rivers were frozen in the winters, they came up with fries...

whoever decided to put them with burgers... thanks.
the classic combo.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

quotes of the week #25

these are some AWESOME quotes today! (see any past "quotes of the week" by simply clicking HERE & read my disclaimer HERE.)

The #1 QUOTE OF THE WEEK actually comes from my Pastor:
"Generosity is about the condition of your heart, not the condition of your bank account."Chris Brown, my pastor [from his recent "Domino Effect" series @ Ridge. he's saying that we are either generous or not. don't matter what our bank account says.]

*and i think this is a great "part 2" to Chris' quote above = "money enables what's in a person's heart." - Matt Krol, YWAM [that is beautiful! if we're greedy and self-centered then more money just enables that. If we're generous and love God and people then more money just enables that!]

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant!” – Jim Collins, author & genius. [this is brilliant and so true. obviously God can use anyone to accomplish His vision. We really must go after the right people or else the vision may be wasted.]

“I want to learn to pass through a day without passing it by.” – Mark Buchanan, author [i have been dwelling on this quote for almost a year now. i'm trying to PRACTICE it. some days i succeed, but most days i still fail.]

“There is no such thing as a gospel which is not already culturally shaped.” – Lesslie Newbigin, missional theologian & late author [we would all do well to KEEP THIS IN MIND! when we think "our gospel" is the exception to that rule we are unwittingly at the height of arrogance.]

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” – Vince Lombardi. *“Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.” – Seth Godin, author & leading marketing/business guru [i'm trying to master this brilliant advice!]

“Wouldn’t it be tragic if people identified as Christians were unwilling to [even] consider the possibility that they have more to learn (and unlearn) about the message of Jesus? – Brian McLaren, author & postmodern leader [that would be tragic...]

“The people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more. – Michael Gerber, author of E-Myth Revisited [that quote GRABBED me! because thankfully that's ME! not necessarily the "good in business" part... but God has blessed me with an "insatiable need to know more" which sometimes i have felt like it is a curse. i hope i can steward it well.]

“The term Christian was originally a noun; now it’s also an adjective.” – Mike Erre, pastor & author [mistakenly. How & when did this happen? I’m guessing with the entrance of Modernity as the dominant story…]

Friday, July 23, 2010

"riches... fly off to the sky like an eagle."

 4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
       do not trust your own cleverness.
    5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
       for they will surely sprout wings
       and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
         (Proverbs 23:4-5)

Proverbs 23 this morning was awesome. i have written a few times about how i like reading Proverbs every day. i wrote an article called Proverbs is pimp that you can read HERE. it tells the story of why and when i started & my method...

This is such a great reminder! i love the wise man's straight forward advice -> "Don't wear yourself out to get rich!" man, that's pretty relevant for today.

i admit that way too often i trust my own cleverness (not that i have much). but that's pointless because any day money can just be GONE! (as evidenced by our economy). Feels like this could have been written in 2010 not B.C.

So after reading Proverbs 23 this morning my prayer was:
"Please help us rely on YOU, God... not our money! Thank you for blessing us, but please help us use the money that You blessed us with to be a blessing!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

i'm learning Swahili

you read that right. i'm trying to learn Swahili - yes the language - in the next 2 months!
Crystal and I are going to Kenya which you could read about HERE. We'll be there in September and October and can't wait for God to use us and change us at the same time.

So for a couple bucks i bought Crystal and i an iPhone app that teaches us Swahili and it's actually pretty awesome! a native Kenyan speaks it to you and you repeat it, quiz yourself, etc...
My goal is to be extremely well versed in conversational Swahili by the time we leave on September 16th.

When we visit some Compassion children we sponsor and Erick that Upstreet sponsors, i think they'll be shocked when we start speaking their native language!

i've always been decent at learning languages. when i was in Mexico for a week i didn't speak a word of English (my grammar wasn't always the best but i made it work).
And the semester after i returned from living in Africa i learned to speak Bemba, which is a Zambian dialect. i had a handful of Zambian students to practice and converse with during that time...

*So, i just need someone fluent in Swahili that's willing to go to lunch and have some conversations!

now, kufanya kazi...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

i can only do what i can do.

it's simple. there is too much to do in life. so really, no worries (it's pointless to worry). i can only do what i can do.

there are things that need to be done that simply aren't going to happen. i just have to make sure to pick the right things because...
i can only do what i can do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

we're engaged!

yep. 6 years ago today i popped the question to the most amazing girl in the world!

she said yes and a little bit later we snapped this self portrait on this tiny island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. oh yeah... btw, we were in TAHITI. pretty awesome. i scoped out this tiny private island out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and took her out there after a luau.

we just listened to the ocean and looked up at the stars. i sang a song i had written for her, kissed her so she was unsuspecting while i slipped the ring out of my pocket and got on 1 knee. then i asked the most important question of my life.

we were only like 20 back then and life was so different. When everyone at the resort kept finding out we just got engaged we were like rock stars. it was like midnight as we were walking back after i had just popped the big Q and the only guy we could find was this random Tahitian guy who spoke no English but we got him to snap this pic of us.

we might not ever make it back to Tahiti but we are even more in love now than we were that day 6 years ago!

I would still ask you to marry me again today, babygirl.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

it shouldn't be this way either

a few days ago i wrote a post called "it shouldn't be this way." you can read it HERE.
then i came across this graph that i think goes along with that post.

this is part of the problem. it shouldn't be this way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

junky car club (repost)

(This is a repost of one of the 1st blogs i ever wrote back on January 4th, 2008. You can read the original in full along with all the comments HERE.)

WHOOOOOO! I’m so excited about this blog today! For the past few years I’ve been on a journey through Scripture discovering what God has to say about helping the poor. In short, I have become passionate about caring for the poor and doing whatever I can to help them. (MUCH more on this in later blogs.) I’m committed to living with less so I can give more to help orphans, giving clean water to communities that don’t have it, the homeless, etc…

While reading Relevant magazine (which I highly recommend you subscribe to by the way) I came across one of the coolest organizations I’ve seen in a long time!!! The JUNKY CAR CLUB
It was founded by Mike Foster, the founder of XXXchurch (which is another pimp organization to be highlighted in another blog. It’s an online accountability plan to keep guys pure from porn – download the software for free at and co-author of the really fun and helpful book Deadly Vipers: Character Assassins (go buy it and read it today... I'll be writing another post on it in the future.)
I even talked to Rick warren about the junky car club at Catalyst and found out he is a member too. Well, he was speaking from the stage with 11,000 other people in the room and he couldn’t remember the name of the club. I shouted it out to him and we had a quick little “conversation.” So, yeah, I “talked” with him about it. ☺

This thing is the real deal. “The JCC is a community of happy drivers that are politely rebelling against consumerism. We think life is better when you spend your dough on others and not on some pimped out ride. We encourage all members to support social justice organizations and give to those who are in need. Happy Driving.” (from the back of my membership card.)
The JCC partners with one of my fav organizations, Compassion International. So, the idea is that if you don’t have a car payment you can use that money to sponsor a child through Compassion. Compassion is awesome and helps regular peeps sponsor kids in poverty in order to provide food, clean water, healthcare, education, etc… in the name of Jesus and for His sake.

This is SO awesome. I plan to never drive a new car or even make payments on any car, ever. I paid cash (not much) for my 1st car right before I turned 16 – a Honda Civic SI with cool rims, a sun roof, and purple fluorescent lights underneath the car. (I planned to have a picture, but can't find one.) A year later I traded it straight up for an SHO (supercharged Ford)… and th
en traded it for my current car. I drive a 1989 Cadillac Deville with 187,213 miles, no shocks, and chipping paint. It has affectionately (and maybe not so affectionately) been referred to as the “caddymobile”, “pimpmobile”, “hooptiemobile”, “grannymobile”, and “big ugly caddy”. It is 27 feet long and drives like a tank. I once gave a ride to 12 guys IN my caddy all at one time! Lots of good memories. I’m just praying that it will last another 10 years and 100K miles! That would be cool with me. and if it dies I just wanna find another hooptie for $500 and drive it til it kicks the bucket. If that’s all it takes to make sure a few kids get lunch tomorrow or a village has clean water so they don’t all die from disease… this seems like a no-brainer to me. Think about it… if the choice is between having some nice wheels and an orphan getting to live another month, what’s the logical choice? Do you think there's anyway you could do more for people in need if you didn't have the fat car payment? Please don't think I'm saying that you're a horrible person if you have a car payment... we have 1 ourselves. The bottom line is - what are you doing to help those in need like Jesus told us to? Don't have enough money to help? maybe it's time you sold the Hummer and join the Junky Car Club... Let me know what you guys think of this idea.

So, I’m an elite lemon member… 1 of the original 150 members too. They’ve even got a JCC calendar now. Make sure you check out my blog on Monday because I’m gonna intro you to our buddy Peter who gets to have a fair shot at life because of $40 a month we’re not spending on a dope ride.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

is this still necessary?

really? these still exist in America? are these really necessary?

i think we would all agree phone booths are a thing of a past. they were for another generation, another time, another culture, another context. And ones like this were created to serve a culture that no longer exists!

i'm not against phone booths. they're just irrelevant pieces of history and changing rooms for Superman.

i can think of lots.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

it shouldn't be this way

Dan Kimball wrote a great book a while back called They Like Jesus But Not the Church. he probably could have written another one called "They Like Jesus But Not Christians". because that's true of A LOT of people.

here are just a few:
“I’m a big fan of Jesus. I’m not a big fan of those who work for Him.”Bill Maher (the guy from Politically Incorrect)

“If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in His name, He wouldn’t be able to stop throwing up.”Woody Allen, movie director

“Christians are hard to tolerate; I don’t know how Jesus does it.”Bono  

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”Mahatma Ghandi

i have no idea what's in someone's heart, but i'll go ahead and say that probably 1 out of 4 of those guys are/were believers in Jesus. but they all like Jesus! Christians are turning away thousands (maybe millions) of people from Jesus who actually like Jesus to begin with.

it shouldn't be this way. and that bad part is that i tend to agree with these 4 guys.

but what can we do? recognize it 1st of all then...

be more like Jesus. act more like Jesus. live more like Jesus.

that's a pretty good start.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

my bookshelves for the rest of 2010

i am very ADD. i think i've written about that before. and i'm especially ADD when it comes to reading.
i have to work very hard to stay focused on the task at hand or else i... it's really hot outside today... what was i talking about?

yesterday i did a little check up to see how i was doing on my 2010 goals HERE.

1 of those goals was to read 50 books (really 53 including "re-reads"). i've read about 23 of them, so i'm not too far off the pace. But i still have a lot to read.

my problem is that i love books. if i didn't have that reading list with the specific 50 books i want to read this year, i would read portions of about 300 books, but finish NONE.
i'll literally be reading a book, see another one on the shelf and go pick it up and start reading it. (it's a curse really. curiosity and ADD make a dangerous pair.)

i recently moved my office to another room in our house with empty bookcases and STRATEGICALLY did not move all my books over to these bookcases. i only moved the books that still remain on my 2010 reading list which you can read HERE. then i shut up the room with all the other thousands of books so my ADD won't be tempted.

Now in my office are only the books i want to read the last half of this year. i put 1 book on each shelf and will take it away when i read it. here's a pic:

so the books that i still have to read this year are:
A New Kind of Christianity: 10 Qs That Are Transforming the Faith – Brian McLaren
God Is the Gospel – John Piper
Made to Stick – Chap Heath
Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches – Driscoll, Kimball, Pagitt, etc...
He Is There and He Is Not Silent – Francis Schaeffer
The End for Which God Created the World – Jonathan Edwards
The Autobiography of George Muller – George Muller
The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative – Christopher J. H. Wright
Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Developing the Leaders Around You – John Maxwell
Leadership – Rudolph Guiliani
Emerging Churches – Gibbs & Bolger
How Soccer Explains the World – Franklin Foer
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 – Steve Stockman
Das Kapital - Karl Marx
Grasping God’s Word - Duvall & Hays
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Kama Sutra – Ron Louis
The Love Dare - Stephen and Alex Kendrick
Adventures in Missing the Point – Tony Campolo & Brian McLaren
10 Stupid Things that keep Churches from Growing – Geoff Surratt
Microtrends – Mark Penn
The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity - Philip Jenkins
The Emerging Church – Dan Kimball
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ – John Piper
ReUnderstanding Prayer: A Fresh Approach to Conversation with God – Kyle Lake
Taste and See – Piper
7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

And the books i have already read so far in 2010 are:
The Poor Will Be Glad – Greer & Smith
The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
The Humanity of God – Karl Barth
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier – Ishmael Beah
Religion Saves: And 9 Other Misconceptions - Mark Driscoll
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin
Believing in the Future – David J. Bosch 
Killing Cockroaches – Tony Morgan
The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoevsky 
Kite Runner - Khaled Housseni
Satisfaction: The Art of… – Kim Cattrall
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
The Money Answer Book – Dave Ramsey
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A’Kempis
Forgotten God - Francis Chan
The Gospel According to Lost - Chris Seay
The E-Myth Revisited - Michael Gerber
The Dip - Seth Godin

* these are the books i "re-read" so far this year because when i read them before i took notes on them in my infamous "red notebook" that was lost so i read them again and took more notes.
Good to Great - Jim Collins
Developing the Leader Within You - John Maxwell
Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper
Crazy Love - Francis Chan

What's on YOUR reading list for the rest of 2010?

Monday, July 12, 2010

the world cup is over

the last month has been awesome. i've loved ever second of it. a soccer lover's dream. 64 of the best soccer matches on pretty much every day for a month!

the World Cup Final yesterday wasn't the greatest played game by a long stretch, but kept me entertained for sure.

I generally like the Netherlands better than Spain - usually and I thought they had been playing better this past month. (Although Spain has the stacked team with the better players.)

BUT Dirk Kuyt has always annoyed me and this tourney Robben REALLY started to get on my nerves.

+ i'm a big Cesc Fabregas fan. He is one of my fav players in the world... naturally i've been upset at Spain for keeping him on the bench.
in my humble opinion - when Fabregas came in the game yesterday is when the game turned in Spain's favor! i think he changed the tone. i started really cheering when he started playing. before that i was pretty much neutral.
i was really excited to see Fabregas and really all the Spanish team celebrating their biggest win EVER.

i hope America caught a little more World Cup Fever this go round. it would be good for us. we think we're the most "advanced" but haven't even caught on to the most popular game in the world yet... or THE BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT IN THE WORLD! but, everyone was watching "the decision" with Lebron. (that blows my mind.)

hopefully the beautiful game will become a big deal here in our country. hopefully it will take over the streets during games like in every other country. (but by then hopefully i'll be living in one of those other countries.)

So, now that the World Cup is over i have a WHOLE LOT of free time in the evenings! it was a difficult task to watch all 64 games, but i made it happen. great tournament overall. i only wish i could have been there in South Africa.

can't wait til 2014 in Brazil. (Crystal and i are saving up already for 2018...)

now i'll have some time to watch my Yankees again who are kings of the world... their rightful place. + i'm stoked to actually get to follow my boys Newcastle on TV again this season as we're back up in the EPL. we have as many televised games as any team in the 1st half.

i hope you enjoyed World Cup 2010 from South Africa. it was a beautiful thing all the way around... like i wrote about HERE.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

revisiting my $ dilemma

i wrote about my $ dilemma a couple weeks ago HERE. i asked for all you wise peeps to give me some advice. a lot of you emailed me and wrote/talked to me privately. i appreciate everything. you all said a lot of really good stuff. i feel like i could write a book on all the advice.

As i wrote the article about my dilemma i was already thinking that it was possibly just one of those tensions to manage not a problem to solve. that's quoting Andy & i wrote about his brilliant concept HERE. (it's also the theme of Catalyst this year!)

then, somebody actually wrote that very thing an email to me. pretty cool.

basically giving and saving will probably always be a tension to manage. it feels like a dilemma to me... a problem to solve, but it's not really. because i'll never solve it. both are needed.

so balance is key which many of you said, *BUT i would argue that pretty much ALL OF US are way out of balance to one side of this tension. and i think we all know which side. i've never met or heard of anyone who was out balance and gave away too much money. i don't know that it's possible.

(i love what i heard Francis Chan say 1 time = "Do you think you'll get to heaven and Jesus will say 'What were you thinking? you gave away way too much!'" probably not...)

so, for me, i'm going to fight and work toward "balance"... but balance really means giving away a whole lot more.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

revisiting my 2010 goals (halfway through)

this was a good process for me - to revisit all my 2010 goals i set at the beginning of the year. you can check them out HERE. i posted them to be a little extra accountability for me. so, let's see how i'm doing.
i figured halfway through the year is a great time to check my progress...

*doing pretty well in this category overall

- a tiny bit behind on reading 50 books (read 23 by halfway) and writing 300 blog articles (wrote 134 by halfway)... but that's pretty much on pace. but i'm really doing well leveraging my drive time to constantly learn & grow.

- *not doing well on this one = "read Relevant & Christianity Today issues when they come to the mail box instead of piling them up on the floor. (ultimatum I've given myself or of course I'll have to cancel my subscriptions!)" haha, looks like i'll have to cancel if i don't read them all in these next 6 months.

- recently doing great watching 1 TED talk each week. i've discovered it's perfect timing to watch one while i eat lunch one day.

*We are totally on track on all our financial goals. i feel like i want to up the ante with these!

*i'm nailing all these goals too! pretty excited! the only one i screw up on sometimes is "don't eat like an idiot anymore." but seriously, it feels good meeting these physical goals & i feel so much better!

- i'm doing really good taking a weekly sabbath, weekly date night, a daily finish line, etc... all no matter what. but not doing that great getting away to the lake or the beach every month or so... it's only happened twice in 6 months.

- still going through the Bible Experience and my goal is to "read" the whole Bible this year. but i'm currently only in Judges.... i need to move along.

- been able to read Psalms, Proverbs, journal each day, etc... but i really need to kick my study of "the gospel" into high gear. i've been able to read 3 of the 4 gospels in 1 sitting, but not much intense study beyond that.

wow. that's pretty much it. i think i'm doing better than i thought i was. definitely some stuff i've gotta pick up the slack on in the next 6 months, but i am so much farther ahead than if i would have NOT set any goals!

Friday, July 9, 2010

quotes of the week #24

quotes of the week are back after a short respite. 24th edition. you can read the "disclaimer" on the 1st "qotw" HERE.
(i also tagged them all so you can click on the tag "quotes of the week" on the bottom right of this blog to see all 24 qotw... or just use the handy dandy search box on the top left of this blog.)
[my thoughts are in these brackets]

#1 quote of the week:
“Comfort makes cowards of us all.”Michael Gerber, in E-Myth Revisited.
[he was speaking in a specific context but this is a PRINCIPLE that really applies to everything! imho, comfort halts world changing movements in their tracks every day.  i say, forget comfort. who needs it? what a waste.]

“Paradox = Jesus welcomes the children, but sends away the rich man. The world welcomes the rich man, but sends the children away.”Scott Grace, my friend and a very smart man. [Scott is a really great, thoughtful writer. (way better than me.) you need to read his awesome blog HERE.]

“We can’t fix every problem, but the ones we can, we must. And because we can, we must.” - Bono. [right on man. let's quit worrying about all we can do & do what we can!]

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

"You've got to preach for an audience of one. Otherwise you'll ride the roller coaster of people's opinion."mark batterson, pastor and author.

“If God wants us home no doctor can keep us here and if God wants us here no disease can take us home.”John Piper, pastor & author.

“Don’t be embarrassed about where you’re starting, just be embarrassed if you don’t start at all." - Chris Brown, my pastor. 
[he said this in the context of new believers but i believe this goes for everyone across the board. Who cares if you're starting something new and you're "behind"... forget that, just go for it. no shame in starting from scratch! but there's definitely shame in not starting at all!]

“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison (surely you don't need a link)
[i need to hear that this week... maybe most weeks.]

“Don’t just read a book to read a book. Read a book to be transformed.”tony morgan, strategist, author, & my "leadership coach"
[this is my philosophy exactly. i love it.]

“Let’s move away from an ‘us and them’ world and realizing that it’s about all of us and the kind of world that we together want to live in and share.”Jaqueline Novograts, (@ TED Global) [speaking in a context of microfinance in Africa. what a great recommendation and way of life for all of us.]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

a successful leader (campus director)

i'm in this awesome coaching network with Tony Morgan and some other great leaders that have become my friends. i'm learning so much, but i feel like i haven't been able to write much about it. writing really helps me process what i'm learning.
i'm meeting up with these leadership coaching guys again next week, so i thought i'd post some learnings about leadership as it relates to multi-site ministry & being a campus pastor. i'm not a campus pastor or anything, but i think a lot of these principles will apply to my future in some way.

+ i have a lot of conversations with campus pastors or guys headed that way. i told several i would send these thoughts to them... easier to just write about them on here.

These are some great thoughts from Tony..
5 Key Factors Affecting the Success of Multi Site:

1.            Leadership – the success of a campus pretty much depends on leadership! [besides God, of course.] (leadership is by far the most important factor!)
*from that we had a great conversation around what makes a successful/good campus pastor?
            1)            he/she must have the same vision, mission, & values of the "mother" church. this should be obvious, but they've gotta be 100% bought in. so, of course the easiest is obviously to hire from within… leaders you’ve already developed. [i bet there's a WAY better success rate for campus pastors/directors from within.]

            2)            Strong Leader. Leadership probably needs to be their primary spiritual gift. They’ll have to do everything through other people. A Campus is primarily volunteer driven (not staff). They'll have to be constantly building teams.

            3)            Good communicator, but doesn’t necessarily have to be great. that's the beauty of video technology.

            4)            Highly relational. relates to #2 a little. must love people and be willing to spend most of their time with people.

            5)            Driven. Gotta be a guy who can launch something & keep it going
*This really needs to be someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. even better if they have started something from scratch and led it to be successful.
            6) i would love to add one = CALLING. i think success also depends on (at the very least) God calling the person to be the campus director/pastor. i think there's a big difference between being called & the church leaders just picking out some joker and asking him to go do it.

wow. all that sounds awesome and really gets me excited... maybe i'll end up doing that one day?

<& just so i don't leave you hanging, in case you're interested, here are quickly #2-5 on multi-site success>
2.            Location – physical location & the facility itself. (if push came to shove, choose physical location over facility). Pretty essential.
3.            Programming/worship experience – has to be at same excellence level of original!
4.            Time factor – to do new campuses well it takes time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

how i want to live after i make a mistake

i make a lot of mistakes. i screw up pretty much all the time. i'll be the 1st to admit that. most of the time i make small mistakes with fairly small consequences that don't really affect many other people.

Sometimes i make bigger mistakes that affect others more visibly.

i won't stop making mistakes. i'm trying... but i'm pretty sure i'll always make mistakes.

i saw a great quote recently from one of the greatest coaches ever - Dean Smith. i stopped and wrote it down because i thought it was so wise!

"What to do with a mistake - recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it."

i feel like God may have put that quote in front of me. i think God spoke to me through this quote. God helping me, this is how i want to live after every mistake i make for the rest of my life!

honestly i think i usually do pretty good with the 1st 2. my mistake is obvious most of the time so i see it & i usually have no problem admitting it. probably like an A- with those 2. i do OK learning from my mistakes sometimes... maybe a B- there. i'd like to do a lot better.

but many times i suck at forgetting it and moving on. i want to live by this better for the rest of my life.

no doubt i'll make a lot of mistakes. if i can learn from them and move on i think my life can be so much more effective.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the most humble man on the face of the earth (part 2)

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)" - Numbers 12:3

that's a pretty hard core statement for a random parenthetical phrase in the middle of the book of Numbers. (you can read "part 1" from yesterday HERE.)
it seems God was just going along telling a story & then BOOM! He sneaks this in there... "oh, btw, this guy Moses is more humble than anybody else. period."

so, i went back and read and studied this passage for a few weeks. why does God put that phrase in there? He obviously wanted us to know this about Moses. i had a few thoughts as i wrote in my journal. (and many of the thoughts were convicting.)

1st of all, if anybody didn't need to be humble it was Moses. This joker made the Red Sea part like a Lawyer's hair by raising a stick. he was the leader of God's chosen people. He flipping talked to God up on a mountain, saw his glory which turned him white like the sun so the other peeps couldn't even look at him! oh yeah, and he brought down a few commandments from the mountain. God went on to say in Numbers 12 that He talked to other peeps in dreams and visions, but He talked to Moses "face to face!"
this guy was a larger than life leader and usually those kind of guys aren't that humble. but not only is Moses humble, he's MORE humble than anyone else on the face of the earth!

(you can read the whole passage here in Numbers 12.) his brother and sister were disrespecting him as the leader. that's not cool. Moses, as the leader probably needs to hop up and defend himself and put these guys in their place.
but it seems like Moses is not going to defend himself, so God has to
and from my study, i think this is one of the main points of the passage!
there is an instinct in me to defend myself when i am misunderstood. Moses was big time misunderstood and disrespected by his own brother and sister, but it seems like he was so humble God had to come down and stick up for Him! Wow!
(btw, Numbers 11 also shows Moses' humility - he didn't want to be the only one getting attention.)

*There seems to be a direct link between Moses' humility and the fact that he didn't stick up for himself!

i have so much to learn in this department. i can't stand it when people think something about me that is so untrue. i hate it when they misjudge me and it damages my reputation... my name. i just want to set the record straight!
but i'm learning more and more that this is just pride.
i think this random phrase might be in this story to say that Moses was humble because his critics didn't bother him. he was so humble that he wasn't concerned about his name. he didn't need to stand up for himself.

So, i am begging God to help me be humble. i want to be humble like Moses. i know humility is a dangerous thing to pray for, but i know the more humble i am the more God's name can be lifted up. the more i worry about my name the more it can squelch His fame. i so bad want to just let it go when i'm misrepresented or disrespected. i just wanna be humble and not stick up for myself like Moses did. and if God wants to stick up for me then that's cool too.

a couple other random thoughts i jotted down from this passage:
we need to honor our leaders and pastors! especially the humble ones. how ridiculous that Miriam and Aaron tried to read Moses' motives. they saw the most humble man on the earth as arrogant! wow. how bout a little respect for the leader?
God didn't like it very much either because He gave Miriam leprosy.

*So, Moses further shows his humility by begging God to heal her. Wow. i've got a lot to learn about humility. good thing Jesus was a pretty good example of that for me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

"... than anyone else on the face of the earth."

i've written a few times about the Bible Experience that i like to listen to in the shower. i'm trying to "read" through through the whole Bible in 2010 while in the shower via the Bible Experience. (You can read some thoughts about that HERE.)
i really love it because the Bible was meant to be read out loud. i wonder if it all hits you better hearing it rather than reading it? That's the way it was read for THOUSANDS of years. it's just a recent phenomenon to read the Bible to yourself. i'm thinking it was maybe written in such a way to hit people more powerfully when it is read out loud?

that's what happened to me. I was "reading"/listening through Numbers and it was just in the middle of the story and then there is this crazy RANDOM phrase and it came out of nowhere and hit me like a lightning bolt:

"(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

Wow. i want to be like this guy.

this phrase is so random it's even in parentheses! anyway, why don't you just think on that for a day like i did. let it hit you like it hit me.
i'll come back and write some thoughts tomorrow and i'd love to hear yours. you can read it for yourself in Numbers 12.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

dancing leadership guy

i try to watch 1 TED talk every single week. i'm finding that it's something i really need to do to continue learning, growing, and being stretched. i'll probably write all about TED one day, but for now you can check them out HERE.

Here's the transcript of a talk i watched earlier this year... along with the funny video he's referencing. check it out and let me know what you think of Derek's premise. it's a really interesting take on "leadership".

Below is Derek Sivers' talk (everything he said in that video):
"If you've learned a lot about leadership and making a movement, then let's watch a movement happen, start to finish, in under 3 minutes, and dissect some lessons:

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. But what he's doing is so simple, it's almost instructional. This is key. You must be easy to follow!

Now comes the first follower with a crucial role: he publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him as an equal, so it's not about the leader anymore - it's about them, plural. Notice he's calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire.

The 2nd follower is a turning point: it's proof the first has done well. Now it's not a lone nut, and it's not two nuts. Three is a crowd and a crowd is news.

A movement must be public. Make sure outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers, because new followers emulate followers - not the leader.

Now here come 2 more, then 3 more.  Now we've got momentum.  This is the tipping point! Now we've got a movement!

As more people jump in, it's no longer risky. If they were on the fence before, there's no reason not to join now. They won't be ridiculed, they won't stand out, and they will be part of the in-crowd, if they hurry. Over the next minute you'll see the rest who prefer to be part of the crowd, because eventually they'd be ridiculed for not joining.

And ladies and gentlemen that is how a movement is made!  Let's recap what we learned:

If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!
But the biggest lesson here - did you catch it?
Leadership is over-glorified.

Yes it started with the shirtless guy, and he'll get all the credit, but you saw what really happened: It was the first follower that transformed a lone nut into a leader.
There is no movement without the first follower.

We're told we all need to be leaders, but that would be really ineffective.

The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow.
When you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

lead like Jesus (repost)

(this is a repost from January 19, 2008.)

andy is one of my favorite leaders, speakers, and authors in the world. as i mentioned in an earlier post, he is also extremely humble. He kicked off Catalyst this year with this pimp talk about leadership - Jesus style. EVERY leader needs to hear this... especially those of us who are "next generation leaders." It seems that many leaders today abuse their power and leverage it for their own gain. That's the opposite of what Jesus did. Weak leaders leverage power for their own sake... strong leaders leverage it for others in humility. Go check out John 13 & then watch this 2 minute clip of andy communicating to us all what Jesus wants us to do with the power that comes along with leadership!

so, when YOU have the power... follow Jesus' example. leverage that power for others to leave a mark on the world for generations after you're gone. that's reverb.

Friday, July 2, 2010

halfway through

we are officially halfway through 2010. 6 months down and 6 months to go.

WOW. it went FAST! and i can pretty much guarantee that this next 6 months will go by twice as fast. at least for me. (feels like i'll be gone for half of it.)

So, how was your 1st 6 months? set any New Year's Resolutions that you're still disciplined at keeping?

i set some goals for 2010 and posted them HERE at the beginning of the year. i haven't looked at them yet, but i'm posting this as an accountability to force me to check up on myself within the next week. i'll maybe post about how i'm doing. unless i'm just really sucking.
i also had some reading goals and a reading list i posted HERE. i think i'm slightly behind.

i'll post soon about where i'm doing ok and where i need to crank it up.

What about YOU? what were your 2010 goals and how are they looking now that we're halfway through?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


today i read The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer. it was the 1st book i had ever read by Tozer. I put a Tozer book on my list to read this year because he was a "mentor" of one of my "mentors" (using "mentor" loosely - via influence at a distance) - Louie Giglio. He has influenced me as much as anyone and he says the same about Tozer. In fact, i even asked Louie which Tozer book he would recommend that i start off with. The Pursuit of God was 1 of the 3 he said to start with.

i read the whole thing today. well, some dude read it to me as i worked all morning at my side job. i was digging it and took several pages of notes.

Here was the 1st statement i loved. it's from Tozer's preface to the book.

"If my fire is not large, it is real. And there may be those who can light their candle at its flame."

That is beautiful to me. that is what's in my heart too. there's a burning fire in my heart and it just keeps burning. it's all for God's fame. My heart is pursuing Him relentlessly.
Now, i don't know how big my fire is. it's probably not pretty or cool or current or well-worded or the best fire around... but it is real.

And one of my prayers and aims with writing this blog is that my fire might just allow someone to "light their candle at its flame."
right on A-Dub.