Thursday, August 30, 2007

go team

I had an epiphany today. I also had gas but that doesn't have anything to do with this blog. C3 is in the process of developing a "simple" discipleship process and an organizational chart (org chart) that works. It sometimes gets confusing when people don't know who to go to for certain things, or when it changes from week to week. We have to just call things what they are and treat them like that too.

Since I am sketching out the org chart I decided to plug certain people in where I wouldn't have to deal with them. I thought that would be the best thing, but NO!!! I had to go and pray about it and let God deal with my selfishness and pettiness. I realized that it is not about me. It is about what is best for C3 church and ultimately what is going to help us accomplish the most for the great God we serve. That was my epiphany moment. "It's not all about me!!!"

I only admit this because I wonder how many times we go through life thinking "what can I get from this" or "how can this benefit me". Those selfish attitudes are usually the result of not caring about others. You only care about yourself when you always try to manipulate things for your own good.

I had to decide to suck it up and learn from this situation instead of avoiding it. The better we can handle ALL personalities, the better off we will be. We will always have difficult people in our lives but we don't always have to be one of them. Learning to deal with them makes you a better communicator.

My point: Get over yourself and start looking at the big picture. Force yourself to look for what is best for everyone involved, even when you don't want to. What can you learn from the lousy circumstances you find yourself in. Learn to be a great communicator and stop being a selfish idiot full of gas.

You don't have to be their best friend just not an enemy. Go Team!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

butt whistling

I am sure you have all seen Miss South Carolina (Teen USA pageant) make a total idiot of herself on national TV and now it's all over youtube. What a meltdown. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out. It is pretty funny. She would've been better off just bending over and mooning the crowd...

After watching it I really felt bad for her. I heard a follow up interview where she said she was very nervous and totally lost her train of thought and couldn't get back on track - Duh!!!

I can't even imagine how nervous she had to have been. I am sure she wanted it so bad and now the opportunity is within reach. Her dream, right there, now she just needs to answer a simple question and she is that much closer - Denied!!!

Have you ever wanted something so bad then totally messed it up. Have you ever said something then thought, wow, that sounded better in my head. Have you rehearsed something over and over to only have it come out sounding like your butt was whistling.

Sometimes when people are talking to me and I am totally lost and have no idea what they are saying or trying to explain, I picture weird things. Things like a tractor running over them or that really big safe from the cartoons falling on their head. I actually think I would rather hear their butt whistling.

My point: Think before you speak. Don't waste people's time with a bunch of gibberish that makes no sense to anyone listening. Heck, it doesn't even make sense to you.

I wonder if people ever do to me what I do to them. That would mean I am boring and they are equally as sick...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

23 seconds

When I was a kid I was really really busy. I was too busy to do some of the chores I was supposed to do and there was no way I could do anything that would take a couple extra seconds from my crazy kid schedule. Or so I thought, until one day...

Can you believe I had to grow up in a house without an ice-maker. I know, it was brutal. One day I took all the ice from two ice trays and didn't refill the them. Actually I did this quite often but this day I got caught. My dad walked in behind me and asked me why I didn't refill the trays that I had emptied. My response was well thought out and said with the right tone and the perfect facial expression, "I don't have time". I was so proud of my selection of words and I was definately off the hook. Or so I thought.

My dad picked up the ice trays and began counting loud enough for me to hear. My curiousity won out over my desire to run out of the room. I stood there and watched my dad fill the ice trays. He proceeded to open the freezer door while on number "16", placed them safely into the freezer and closed the door while ending on "23".

He looked at me and said, "you mean to tell me that you didn't have 23 seconds to refill something you emptied?!". I was no genius but I knew that "yes" was the wrong answer. I tried the diversion tactic, I tried the roll of the eyes, I even tried the make a joke tactic but to my dismay, the question still loomed. He then threw on more ammunition by saying "it took you that long to stand here and watch me do it". I knew I was done. The only thing I could muster up was a sincere and regretful "sorry dad, I won't do it again". Message sent loud and clear. I wasn't really as busy as I thought I was, I was just lazy.

My point: Stop being lazy and pull your own weight. Don't make others do what you know you should be doing. You are not as busy as you think you are, maybe you are just a poor time manager. It may take you longer than 23 seconds but you get the point. You really aren't too busy.

Instead of wasting time, do something productive. You mean to tell me you are THAT busy? Don't make me start counting. "1,2,3,4,...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

you call that a problem

One of C3's core values is being "outwardly focused". That means that we are not going to get so caught up being busy just to be busy. We always want to make sure we are serving the needs of others and the community. If our focus stays outward, it is hard to become caught up in a lot of petty stuff that takes the focus off of God.

As a church, I think we do pretty good. We have a very positive reputation within the community. But what about as individuals? Do we take time to focus on others and be "outwardly focused" or do we get caught up being focused on me-me-me all the time.

In the ministry we hear a lot of people share their problems. I have to be honest, sometimes I walk away thinking "are you kidding me?". You think THAT is a problem, I got that beat, or you should hear about the person who has it much worse than you. We always think we have it so much worse than everyone else and we want others to be "outwardly focused" on us while we are "inwardly focused" on self. It is all about me...

I don't want to minimize people's problems but on the scale of life, a lot of them seem so tiny. Like the person who is complaining that their kid has a hangnail like it is the end of the world. This person obviously hasn't heard of the couple that lost their child. Or the person complaining about their aching toe. They need to meet the person who doesn't have a leg. The person whining about not having enough storage for all their junk should have lunch with the homeless person.

My point: Think about it before you complain to others. First of all you may be complaining to someone who really doesn't care. Also, they may have it A LOT worse than you do and you won't get sympathy from them anyway. It may only make them mad and make you look like an idiot.

Complaining to someone who has it worse than you do is like complaining about how old you are to someone older than you. Or telling someone how fat you are to someone twice your size. It is stupid. So before you complain maybe try thinking about some good things in your life. Try thinking about someone other than yourself. Be outwardly focused.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

he said "yes" (or did he?)

The art of answering questions. Learn it and life will be a lot easier not to mention more fun. I love listening to people communicate. It tells me a lot about them. Can that person get you to stop something without using force, can they get you to see things their way or can they tell you "no" and make you feel good about it? Those are communication skills. You are giving them something instead of taking something.

I learned not to take something from my 2 year old without giving her something to replace it. In other words when she is playing with steak knives, I give her butter knives or forks because the steak knives are too sharp. Get it?

When you need to tell someone "no", it is an art to get the other person to think you are doing them a favor by telling them "no". Or better yet, you word it in a way to make them feel like they got exactly what they were asking for. How do you do this... by saying "yes if" or "yes but".

So let's try it. Question: "Hey dad, can I borrow the car tonight?" response: "you sure can son, if I die in my sleep!" See how that works. Question: "hey Mom, can I borrow $50?" response: "yes if you milk the monkeys first". You are giving a "conditional yes". Fun huh...

My point: communication is our best friend. Learn to communicate effectively and you can have a lot of fun in life. Find some great communicators and learn from them.

Isn't a "conditional yes" the same thing as a "no"? Well, yes if you want to look at it that way.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

and the winner is...

Today was a great day. C3 had a record setting attendance day and it was our first church picnic. We had some great food, some karaoke (yes we had karaoke at a church picnic...) and of course we can't rule out the ol' cornhole tournament. What would a church picnic be without some good old fashioned competition.

When it came time to sign up for the tourney, my wife told me to find a different partner because she didn't want to be the reason I didn't win. I thought that was very noble but I wanted her to be my partner. She can be my life partner but not my cornhole partner...hmmm what is wrong with that picture?

I am very competitive. I have always played to win. When others say "I just play to have fun" I respond with "winning IS fun". I felt really bad because I was keeping my wife from having fun because she thought winning was more important to me than just having fun with her. I convinced her to be my partner anyway and assured her that I really was only going to play to "have fun". I promised I would not put any pressure on her or be upset if we didn't win the whole thing.

Guess what [long dramatic pause] WE WON!!! Guess what else... IT WAS FUN!!!! Out of 22 teams we marched through and won the whole bloomin' thing. She kept us in it more than once. She was amazing. I didn't put any pressure on her and she came up gold.

My point: as fun as winning is, relationships are more important. My relationship with my wife got even stronger today because we believed in each other. She had to trust me to hold up my end of the bargain (not to pressure or be mad if we lost) and I had to trust her to play the best she could.

I am so proud of her. I guess the "win" is if you play your best. If you are gonna play, play your best, otherwise shut up and sit down.

I think it is ironic that when my focus went from winning to fun, I did both... man that feels good to share with the one you love.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

stick it in your ear

The other day we were grocery shopping and Hannah (almost 2 years old) got hungry. So I did what any responsible parent would do, I opened a box of cereal bars and gave her one. Yes before we paid for it - don't act like you haven't done it.

Hannah was eating it and then shoved it in my face saying "daddy bite" so of course I took a bite. Then she held it out to mommy and said "mommy bite" and mommy politely declined saying "no thank you". I jokingly said "Hannah, mommy said no way, she said stick it in your ear". Before I even finished my comment Hannah jams her apple cinnamon cereal bar into her ear. I began laughing and mommy turned around seeing Hannah picking goop out of her ear. I was then informed that Hannah takes things very literal... Lesson learned.

This got me thinking of some of the things we say. What if everyone took the things we say literally. I can't even begin to count how many bridges I would have jumped off or how many times I would have been "lost" (get lost). I am not sure I would ever talk again after all the "shut ups" I have been the recipient of. All the "get outta here" comments I heard, I wouldn't be sure if I was coming or going. I am sure glad we don't take everything literal.

What if we did take God's words literal. Wouldn't that be nice. We would be all be saying encouraging things to each other. Acts of kindness would not be so random. People would have a very clear picture of who Jesus is and what He has done for us... What a world we would live in.

My point: our words are powerful and you never know how someone is going to take them. Think before you speak. Chances are if it can be taken out of context, it will be. Sometimes it is not intentional but sometimes it is.

The English language is funny. Remember when we would say "bad" and it meant "good". Or say you are "hot" or "cool" and you liked hearing that. Then we moved to "phat" and that was a compliment... Whatever - you can take the human language and stick it in your ear!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

upon further review, YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!

In the NFL they have a replay rule. If there is a close call on the field the other team can ask for it to be reviewed. The ref comes back and starts the verdict with "upon further review..." then he goes on to rule the play stands as called or it has been overturned. Now that you have a boring explanation of the NFL, let's get on with it.

Have you ever made a call about someone only to realize you were wrong. Maybe you thought the "hottie" you have been staring at all night was "The one" for you, then after further review, they opened up their mouth and you realized you were dead wrong. Maybe you saw the person you thought was gorgeous, light up a cigarette or begin to use words that would embarrass a trucker. You get the picture, upon further review, you had to reverse the initial call.

I used to love interviewing for jobs. I mean I really loved going into a compay and sitting through the questions, the mental game of saying all the right things and doing everything I could just to get the job offer. I often knew going in that I really didn't want the job, I just loved seeing if I could get them to offer it to me. It was like a game (I know, I am nuts). After I would get offered some of them, I would either turn them down or take the job only to keep on looking for another one. I guess it was the thrill of the interview. I can only imagine that some of those interviewers were thinking how bad they missed the mark. They hired someone they thought was the right one but turns out that I was not. Upon further review, it just wasn't the right fit. (Of course I now know it was because I was called to the ministry...)

What about when you are building a team or have to make a decision to fill some positions. You hear people talk a good game then realize they are full of it.

Sometimes when we think we have the right person in the right position then upon further review, we are wrong. I have seen people take positions that they THINK they are qualified for and they desperately WANT to have that position but they are in no way even a close fit.

I have seen way to many people claim to be something or try really hard to make it fit but upon further review they were idiots...

My point: If you can't do something, DON'T SAY YOU CAN! If you won't do what something, DON'T SAY YOU WILL!!! You just make yourself look like an idiot and make the other person skeptical about trusting again.

Are you clearly representing who you are or do you make people challenge the ruling on the field. After further review does the play stand as called or are you an idiot?

Friday, August 10, 2007

my last crap

I am officially removing the word "crap" from my vocabulary. I guess some people think it offensive. I would like to say I don't give a crap but I can no longer use that word.

I have never had a problem with the word but I guess my filter should be "how does this word sound coming from my daughters". "Crap", coming from a red-headed 2 year old (as funny as it sounds to me) is not appropriate. I need to be sensitive to other people as I want them to be sensitive to me and my family.

I think we all do things that others view as inappropriate. Your decision is whether or not you care. If you don't care, don't expect others to care about your opinions either. If you do care, do something about it. Develop some safeguards or accountability measures... like blogging about it or asking people around you to kick you in the kneecap when you do it (or say it) again. Another thing you can do is have some consequences to your actions. If there is no desire to change or accountability - chances are, you will not change. You will continue to offend people and just say you don't care. The reality of it is, you are just too weak to change.

My point: Give a crap! Care what other people care about. Always look for things you can change about yourself to be a better person. Be strong enough to admit a weakness. Get the crap out of your system.

Whew, I think I have pretty much got "that word"out of my system. I hope you enjoyed my last "crap"... ok that really was the last time.

stick a fork in it

Is there anything worse than being somewhere and being forced to listen to someone that makes you just want to pluck your toenails out one by one with needle nose pliers and shove them into your pupils or stick a fork up your nose?...

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration and a bit graphic but you get the point. I love learning and growing. I am at the Willow Creek Summit listening to someone that I thought was going to be great and eeerrrrrrrrrrrr (sound effect of an airplane crashing...). I can think of plenty of things I would rather be doing - one of those is blogging. I think I am to the point where I have totally tuned this dude out and I hate that.

This guy may have some great points but I will never hear them. So that got me thinking... I was excited to hear this guy but he didn't grab me from from the beginning and it only got worse from there. This guy will not get a second chance.

When you are telling a story or trying to explain something to someone you only have a certain window of opportunity. If a book doesn't grab me in the first few chapters - it is put down and probably not picked up again. It's all about the window.

I remember giving someone a CD entitled "how to get your point across in 30 seconds or less". That person got the point. I know as Christians we have a great story to tell but we sometimes don't get the chance or don't have a captive audience. One reason could be because you are boring. Another is because someone else tried to tell them the story of Christ and made it a painful experience. It was unclear, confusing and brutal.

If you can't get your point across in 30 seconds, it is probably too long. This is not applicable to every story but it is a pretty good rule of thumb (why do we say that? whose thumb is it?)

My point: think before you speak. Have a point you are trying to make and make it. If the other person is still engaged - then you can continue, if not "stick a fork in it" you are done.

This guy is still talking. Where is my fork?...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

show or tell

"healthy people tell you when they are angry, unhealthy people show it."

I heard that quote and started asking myself if I was healthy or unhealthy. I think we would all like to say we are healthy but reality sometimes proves different. I think we have all lost control at one time or another. A one time event does not mean you are unhealthy, but when you always seem mad, even at the smallest things I think it is time for a check up.

Our neighbor was mowing the lawn the other day and was visibly angry at something (I wonder if it was because we let our dog poop in her yard). We could tell she was mad because of her facial expressions, body language and we couldn't say for sure but we are fairly confident she was grumbling and complaining even though no one could hear her. After 2 hours of watching her... just kidding, we only watched long enough to start a conversation about how out of character this was for her. She is normally a very happy, easy going person. Something was out of the ordinary for her to be acting this way.

As I thought about this, I began to wonder: when people see me angry do they think it is normal or out of character for me? If they see me mad and say "there he goes again" or "it's no big deal, he will be fine in a minute or two" or "stay away until he quits throwing things"... I must look like a complete idiot. I can do this well enough on my own without being mad (I know were thinking it, so I wrote it first...).

My point: We look really stupid when we are mad. We usually make it worse when we act it out instead of talking it through. Get on a "health kick". Make tantrums a thing of the past.

This week: Pay attention to how often do you get mad. How do you react to your anger. Do you show it or explain it? Do you even know why you are mad or is it just an everyday common occurrence?

Now for your homework: go look at yourself in the mirror and make your "mad face". After you are done laughing at how dumb you look, send me a picture of it ( so I can enjoy it too...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

pee or get off the pot

Here is a picture of Hannah sitting on the potty reading a book. I am not sure where she would've seen anyone doing that!?

The funny thing about this picture is that she has yet to actually pee on the potty. She likes sitting on it but that is all. This little red-headed whirlwind of a child thinks it is funny to run around naked. Again, not sure where she learned that!?

One day she was running around the dining room table, stark naked, pulled up and peed on the floor. It was hysterical. It was a good thing it was on the wood floors. Of course I am going to turn this into a life lesson...

I think it is a great illustration for us in life. We may know what we "should do" but fail to follow through. Instead of actually doing something, we just go through the motions. We may even deny or justify our actions. There may be a person that you should to apologize to. We keep saying we should work out, change the way we eat or get in better shape. We actually go through the motions of going to church but never change the way we live. All these things are as pointless as sitting on the potty and not doing what you went there to do.

My point: pee or get off the pot. Stop putting stuff on the "should do" list and start checking them off as you actually DO THEM!!! Stop going through the motions, stop making excuses and justifying what you are not doing. It may stink either way but at least if you follow through, you will have some relief.

I was going to post a picture of me on the potty but it wasn't as cute. My wife threw up a little bit in her mouth when I showed her the picture of me on the potty...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

shut up

We are doing a series at C3 called "just walk across the room". I am really liking it because it is very practical. It is very simple and it helps you understand that everyone has a story to tell. As Christians we have two stories to tell.

The first story is God's story, the second one is yours. When we tell our story sometimes we ramble or talk in terms that people outside of the "church world" don't even understand. We have been known to come off as better than others and make them feel judged. I don't believe that is the story we should be telling.

Quite simply the story should be your life before Christ and your life now. If those stories are not much different, than maybe you should reevaluate some things. If you are no different now after calling yourself a Christian for years then there is something wrong. You need to just SHUT UP and quit telling people you are a follower of Christ because you are sending a mixed message.

If you are a Christian, a true Christ follower, one of the best ways to tell your story is to live it. The thrust behind the series is to "Just walk across the room". Simply put, show some interest in someone other than yourself. When you know the 2 stories you are wanting to tell, you will have the confidence to engage others in conversation.

When you do begin talking to someone, again, just shut up!!! That may sound weird because we have the greatest story ever told and we feel like we need to shove it down people's throats. That isn't very effective. Not sure if I am right? When was the last time you welcomed those people who go door to door in white shirts and ties? They have a story to tell but it is impersonal. Their goal is to blow in, get you to believe what they believe and blow out.

I believe Christ is about relationships. If you can shut up long enough to let the other person talk while you truly listen, they are going to see something different in you. Believe me, they will ask!!! When (not if) they ask about you, they are asking because they really want to know. Something in you is different and they are very curious to know what it is. Guess what... You get to tell them and they will hear you.

My point: If you are a so-called Christian, please shut up. If you are a true follower of Christ, walk across the room, show interest in someone and please shut up long enough to let the person speak. Most people want to talk. You should listen. Listen to their story and let them see there is something authentic about you. Then tell them the greatest story there is...

I love the line in a song by Toby Mac. It says "somebody shut me up so I can live out loud!"

Now, shut up and live out loud... no really, SHUT UP!!!