Ugly Clothing Marketing Works Great For Churches

UglyTie-33053I love shirts that do not have to be ironed. I travel a lot and right now the nylon, breathable shirt appears popular, at least among my age, and so I can be “in style”, comfortable and basically wrinkle-free with little effort. I have to confess to something, however. My style is usually determined by what other people do not want. I choose to dress primarily in rejected clothing! You see I am hugely price conscious. I love new clothes, but the thoughts of spending more than $10 for a shirt bothers me, so if it’s on sale for $6, I tend to like it even more. I have often wished there were a store for folks like me that sold only the clothes others didn’t want…the rejects…at dirt cheap prices.

I realize this would not be the best marketing approach for the clothing industry. Imagine the ads going after customers no one else wants. What kind of commercial would you make from the clearance rack?

It may not be the best approach in retail marketing, but guess what? The system I use in clothing myself is a great marketing approach for churches. If you want your church to grow, go after people no one else wants. Go after the ones who feel unwanted. Attempt to reach the people the world has rejected.

It worked well for Jesus. It has worked well for Grace Community Church. Perhaps it will for your church as well.

Top 6 Misquoted Movie Lines

Do you know the top 6 misquoted movie lines?  I did not do so well.

Thanks to Southwest Airline’s Spirit Magazine we have the list.  I saw it in their July 2009 edition.  (Their source was a survey from lovefilm.com) Below is a listing of the movie, the wrong line people most often say, and the correct line from the movie.

Number One
Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Wrong: “Luke, I am your father.”
Correct: “No, I am your father.”

Number Two
Movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Wrong: “Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
Correct:  “Magic, Mirror on the wall…”

Number Three
Movie: Dirty Harry
Wrong: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”
Correct: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question.  ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

Number Four
Movie: Casablanca
Wrong: “Play it again, Sam.”
Correct: “Play it, Sam.”

Number Five
Movie:  Silence of the Lambs
Wrong:  “Hello, Clarice.”
Correct: “Good evening, Clarice.”

Number Six
Movie: Star Trek Franchise
Wrong:  “Beam me up, Scotty!”
Correct:  Never used in any film or TV series

How many would you have gotten wrong?  There are a couple I want to argue with they seem so real to me.  I thought there was one line from “Gone With the Wind” that is often misquoted, but it didn’t make the list.

I think it is interesting though how things get repeated and before long they are the “new truth”.  It’s a good reminder to consider carefully what we do repeat.

Catalyst Video with Darren Whitehead

I love this video with LV Hanson and Darren Whitehead from Willow Creek. I want my boys to watch this.  You should too.  I think he’s onto something here.

Thanks to Brad Lomenick for pointing me to this and giving me permission to post it here.

Catalyst Voices – Darren Whitehead from Catalyst on Vimeo.

Reminders When Seeking Wisdom

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Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am a networker and a wisdom-seeker. Since I was in high school I have tried to surround myself with people heading in the direction I want to go who know more about a subject than I do and I am never afraid to ask for help.
 

The Bible is full of encouragement to seek wisdom.

Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Proverbs 4:5

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

I highly encourage you to seek wisdom.

The teachings on wisdom are like all other teachings within the Bible.  They should be understood within the context of the rest of Scripture.  Recently I was reading in the book of Isaiah and came across a verse that adds a spin to the issue of seeking wisdom:

You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Isaiah 47:13

I was reminded of three important principles regarding wisdom:

  1. Gaining wisdom is invaluable, but we need to make sure we are listening to the right words of wisdom.
  2. After we have sought wisdom from reliable advisors and we are left to make a decision, ultimately the responsibility to move forward in action is ours.
  3. The wisdom we should seek first and foremost is from God.  Learning to know and hear His voice should be our number one goal in attaining wisdom.

Are you in need of wisdom?  Besides God, who do you go to when you need a word of wisdom?

The Economy is Driven by Greed and Fear (Lessons learned from Lithuania)

DSCF7748One of the primary purposes for our recent visit to Lithuania was to work with business leaders and individuals on issues related to personal finance, leadership, and budgeting.  This was our initial trip, but we were able to open doors and build trust with key people in the church and community for future interaction.  Our end goal is Kingdom-building, but instead of a medical or construction project, which is typical for many mission trips, we went addressing the primary need of the Lithuanians at this time; the economy.  Naturally we received lots of questions about the economy in the United States.  There was keen awareness that our economy impacts their economy.

Lithuania was under the communist rule of the Soviet Union until the early 90’s, so capitalism is a fairly new concept for most of the people.  The fast introduction to a free market has led to tremendous problems in the country.  There were lots of “instant” millionaires and success stories and now they are experiencing a natural correction.  Unfortunately, because their economy grew so fast it will also decline fast and that has caused panic within the country.

In one of our meetings a leading businessman seemed to capture the essence of the problem in a couple of words.  He said, “It appears to me that the problems in our country started with greed and now they are being continued with fear.”

GREED and FEAR

My new friend may be onto something.  In fact, I think he is.  The problem in his country seems to mirror the problems in our country.  It may have taken us longer to get to our place of struggle than in his country, but we face the same struggles.  What got us into our economic condition was largely triggered by greed and what is keeping us from fully recovering is largely triggered out of fear.

I was also reminded that the church has answers to each of these struggles, greed and fear.  Perhaps it could be said that we should have been addressing the first problem better all along and we may not have to be addressing the second problem as much, but either way, we have a role to play in the current state of the economy.

What do you think?

Keywords People Use To Find My Blog

I am always curious what people are looking for when they come to my blog. Occasionally I look at the keywords stats in Google Analytics to decide what interests or needs people have and this helps form my thoughts about what blogs are needed or desired. I did that tonight.

Here are the top 10-keyword searches for today. In parenthesis is the number of times those words or something very similar were searched for as of 7 PM today.

  1. Gary Lamb (22)
  2. Bible verse God will not put any more on you than you can handle (18)
  3. How to win back wife’s heart (13)
  4. Discipline for Children (11)
  5. Ten characteristics of good leadership (10)
  6. How to hear from God (8)
  7. How to recover from failure (7)
  8. Bad bosses (6)
  9. Define Team Player (6)
  10. Mothers who control their sons (4)

It appears most people today are interested in family issues, work, and their relationship to God.

What issues would you like to see covered in this blog?

Capitalism Involves Risk, That’s What Makes It Capitalistic

Lately I have heard the phrase “increased regulation”a lot regarding our current economic and banking system. I even heard the president recently say that we must “strengthen regulation to insure this economic crisis never happens again”. I am not a politician nor am I an economist, and this is purely based on my opinion, not my expertise, but those words seem contradictory to me of what we have attempted to establish as a nation, regardless of one’s political persuasion. (I have spent far more time applauding the new president for his family life and leadership ability on this blog, so I should be entitled to offer some criticism as well.  Read some good things I have to say about him HERE and HERE.)  I am not advocating that we do not need new regulations and I am certainly for government protecting those who cannot protect themselves and for making an even playing field, but the point I am making is that I believe it is naïve to think we can ever regulate ourselves out of economic downfalls in a capitalistic society.

In a purely free-market society there will be seasons of prosperity and seasons of despair. There will be those who gain wealth and those who lose wealth. The more freedom that is given allows the more risks that will be taken and the more mistakes that will be made. No one who knows anything about capitalism should be too surprised at where we are today considering some of the abuse of the system, which has occurred in recent years, but that is part of the system. If there is any regulation needed, protecting from that type of abuse may be warranted, but we should never assume that if we provide enough rules our economy will never suffer.

Recently while I was in Lithuania I spoke with some people who want the country to return to Communism, because, as they put it, they feel they are “missing hope” in a capitalistic society. Under Communism, even though most had very little and the same people told story after story of doing without and wanting for more, they at least knew what to expect. That was their definition of hope. I understand that capitalism allows a large amount of uncertainty and risk. There are few guarantees, but that is what makes it capitalistic, the ability for individuals to make a difference for themselves through hard work, risk and speculation.

If we ever start to legislate to the point of stopping the economy from ups and downs we should consider calling it something other than capitalism.

What do you think?

Leadership Requires Guts

The call to leadership often requires making difficult decisions no one else is willing to make. Over the years I have observed people who call themselves leaders, but they easily give up when difficult times come to the organization. Leaders should strive to structure the organization to weather storms, but in any organization there will be times when hard decisions have to be made and a leader must be willing to make them for the good of the organization. This does not negate the need for servant leadership, but it is a reminder that leading often requires making decisions no one else is willing to make:

Times such as:

  • When an employee is no longer a good fit…
  • When difficult changes need implementing…
  • When no one seems to agree with your decisions…
  • When you have to say no more than you get to say yes…
  • When a current system is broke…
  • When finances are strained…
  • When a new opportunity or direction presents itself…

A person that seeks to be a leader should look deep in his or her gut before they accept the position of leadership and consider if he or she has the ability to make the tough calls. As momma used to say, “If you can’t stand the heat…get out of the kitchen.”

Do you have the guts to be a leader?

What is the most difficult decision you have had to make as a leader?

Seeking God’s Protection and Comfort

iStock_000004677667XSmallBut you, O God, DO see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Psalm 10:14 NIV

The man was really just trying to be nice. The cute little boy cowered, however, into his Daddy’s shoulder…..

I remember when my son was younger, three or less, and we would be in public and a stranger would come up to take notice of the cute little blonde in my arms. The more the person would try to get my son’s attention, the more my son would hide his face in my chest. We called it shyness, but it was really a son seeking protection in his father.

Do you ever have need to seek your Father’s protection?

We see so many hardships in life. We endure struggles and heartaches and are sometimes tempted to ask, “where is God in all this?” Often we fail to recognize God in the midst of trials.

May I assure you of something? God does see trouble and grief. He is not oblivious to our pain. He is carefully watching over His children. At just the right time, God will literally take our struggles in His mighty hand and lift us up out of our pit of despair.

The Psalmist talks about the victim. Have you ever felt like a victim? Do you often feel there is nowhere to turn?  God wants to protect His children. God is looking for victims who will call upon His name.

Climb into Daddy’s lap today! Rest your weary head on His powerful shoulders! Cast your burdens upon Him, because He cares for you! Tell Daddy you love Him and trust Him with all your heart! You might even want to read the Bible together.

Tell Him a little child sent you!