Ben Arment’s Dream Year: I Love This!

Ben Arment is a bright, energetic, do-something young leader I admire greatly! He’s a former church planter, so that got me interested in following him initially, but then I attended his Whiteboard and Story conferences and admired how he was encouraging the church to think more creatively.  Ben’s Dream Year project is perhaps my favorite of all that he does.

I’m a proponent of dreaming big…I’ve written frequently about it here and even did a series of dream posts once.  Dreaming keeps marriages healthier, it builds careers and dreaming gets us closer to realizing some of the glory of the great God that we serve. No dream could ever be too big for our God. Ben is empowering others to live out their God-given dreams!

What’s your dream?  Maybe Dream Year is for you:

Dream Year Trailer from Dream Year on Vimeo.

If you are reading this in a reader you may need to open the post to see the video here.

Encourage me…inspire me…What’s your dream? Share it here.

Happy Labor Day Survey

It’s great celebrating Labor Day actually having a job from which I’m resting!

I’ve been out of work for a long period of time wondering what I was going to do and how we were going to survive financially. For those who are looking for work…I’m praying for you today.

If you are off today…rest well and be thankful for the job you have now.

I am curious though, on a day where we celebrate labor, what was the worst job you ever had? What was the best job?

Also, what’s the hardest thing you have ever done on a job?

Are You an Extroverted or Introverted Listener?

I’ve talked much about extraversion and introversion recently on this blog.  It’s a subject that comes up much in my leadership and one I think is helpful in understanding how people relate to one another.  Communication is not just verbal, however, and recently I’ve been paying more attention to its other forms. Introversion and extroversion preferences appear to show up in written correspondence as well.
For example, I know some who appear extroverted in their writing styles.  They tend to ask questions which require an answer. They tend to add personal information about themselves in emails, in addition to the pertinent facts of the email.

And then there is the issue of listening…. I see introverted and extroverted preferences when it comes to the listening side of the communication process also. Do you know any extroverted listeners?

As an introvert, when I’m watching a movie, or listening to a speaker talk, I tend to process alone. My wife and oldest son, however, are extraverted listeners.  They prefer to listen “with” other people.  When I’m watching a movie with one of them, they are continually looking to see my reaction.  They especially want to know my emotional response…whether I laugh or shed a tear. To them, part of the experience is listening with me, not just beside me.

What about you?  Are you an extroverted or an introverted listener?

Do you think extroverted listeners are the same people who are extroverted talkers?

Help me process.

Friday Discussion: Is Fear an Appropriate Motivator for the Church?

Is fear an appropriate tool for motivation?

We see it in many segments of society.

Rental car companies use it to sell extras to a rental contract. The skilled agent can make me doubt my insurance. The risk isn’t any larger than when I normally drive, but I sure feel that way after their spill.

We do it to help people lose weight or live healthier. When I see the effects of obesity on the body I’m more inclined to want to stay in shape.

We use fear to get people to wear seat belts, slow down and to deter drinking and driving. The crash dummy has been made famous saving lives by inducing fear.

So, I have a fair question:

Is fear an appropriate motivation tactic for the church?

I would love your thoughts and opinions. I’m a proponent of the “kindness of God leads to repentance” approach to witnessing, but if fear is such a great motivator should we literally be scaring the Hell out of people?

I love a good discussion…so what do you think?

Ted Video: Billy Graham on Technology and Faith

Just discovered this Ted video with Billy Graham talking about technology and faith. He’s humorous, engaging, and shares an interesting perspective about how to deal with technology in the future. He’s talking to a secular audience in 1998, but his words are still practical and helpful. The most encouraging part to me was to see the boldness of his talk in the midst of such a crowd.

Enjoy some time listening to this honored man:

Do you have a story or favorite memory of Billy Graham?

The Game Layer…Next Phase After Social Media?

Do you wonder what’s next after Facebook and Twitter?

Seth Priebatsch thinks he understands the answer to that question, and if he is right, it will change the “rules” of how we do life, just as Facebook and Twitter have. Watch this Ted video as Seth explains.

Do you think he is on to something?

How do you see this new phase impacting the church and the way we do ministry?

What do you think is “next”?

7 Ways to Stop Gossip

In my job, I hear far more junk than I care to hear. The larger our church gets, the more mess we encounter among the people to whom we minister. We have designed our church to reach hurting people, so we are simply reaching our target audience, but some days it is more difficult than others to hear such sad stories.

One part of the drama of messiness that always frustrates me is how gossip begins about other people’s problems. As if dealing with the consequences of sin is not enough, many times some of the hardest repercussion is the gossip that occurs about the people involved and the situation that occurred. I have been the victim of unfair gossip and I know the pain it can cause. I have never found gossip to be helpful to the people involved or to the Kingdom of God. I have literally become a hater of gossip because I have seen it destroy so many people! Gossip hurts innocent people who are caught in the middle, it exaggerates the situation, and it keeps the one who did wrong loaded with guilt and frustration, and from experiencing the fullness of God’s grace. (Consider these passages: Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 16:28, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 26:20, Romans 1:29, 2 Corinthians 12:20, 1 Timothy 5:13 … the Bible talks a great deal about this…)

With that in mind, I’m listing 7 suggestions for how to stop, or at least slow, the spread of gossip. Will you consider each and take them personal? If the shoe fits will you wear it. Together, perhaps we can help stop the deadly spread of this harmful virus!

Here are 7 ways to stop gossip:

  • Don’t repeat something you don’t know is true firsthand…secondhand knowledge is not enough to justify repeating. You will get something wrong and it will hurt others.
  • Don’t repeat unless its helpful to do so and you have a vested interest in the situation, the people involved, and permission to share…doing so in the name of a prayer request is not a good excuse…
  • Don’t “confess” other people’s sins. Even if the wrong included you and you feel the need to confess, share your story, but not someone else’s.
  • If you must tell, and have passed the test on the first three suggestions, tell only what happened and not your commentary or “I think this is probably what happened” or why you think it happened…
  • Choose to pray for others every time you are tempted to tell their story…instead of telling their story…
  • When someone tells you something you don’t need to know, don’t allow curiosity to be your guide…follow your heart. Stop the person and tell them you don’t want to know! Remember, if they will spread gossip about others they will spread it about you!
  • Keep the circle of confession limited to the people involved or to no more than needed for accountability purposes. The wider the circle and the more the story is repeated the more likely things will turn into gossip.

If my tone seems intent it’s because I am. I have little patience for gossips. My desire is to see people who live in holy and healthy community together. Gossip is a betrayer of this becoming reality.

Have you seen people injured by the spread of gossip? Have you been a victim?

Please chime into the discussion to help make my case here!! What else would you add?

People Watching as an Art

People watching is such an art. It takes discipline and practice. If you aren’t careful you might miss something good…or you could scare people away.

In one people-watching day recently I saw a little boy captivated with a butterfly, which inspired me to be captivated by a little boy watching a butterfly. I saw a man driving a car I’m told was priced at $180,000 and another man begging for food…on the same street. I saw a baby look at her daddy with wonder as she gently touched his nose and a teenager look at her daddy with disgust as her emotions spoke against his suggestions. What contrasts of life I might have missed had I not been looking!

When I see people living the normal and abnormal parts of life, I’m reminded how much God loves them and me and I’m encouraged to share His love even more. People inspire me to do what God has called me to do.

Life is interesting if we take the time to watch.

Are you a people watcher?

What are you seeing as you people watch these days?

Where is the best place to people watch?

10 Reasons I Love Summer

Do you like summer?  Are you ready for the season to change?  I am always ready for change and as a runner, it has been especially hot.  As an optimist by nature, however, I decided it was best to reflect on the things I like about summer.

Here are 10 reasons I love summer:

  1. Nate is home from college (This was the first summer for this one…looking forward to others.
  2. Homegrown tomatoes.  I love them and can eat them by the pound, with lots of salt and pepper.
  3. Planning for the busyness of fall at church.
  4. Mission trips. We have been doing mission trips for years and summer is usually when they occur.
  5. Shorts and flip-flops!
  6. Sweating.  I don’t know why, but I love to sweat.  I guess I feel exfoliated.
  7. Fresh fruits and vegetables. (Tomatoes belong in their own number.)
  8. Homemade ice cream.  (Haven’t had much this year…but love it!)
  9. Slower pace of life.  Things seem to slow down a little in the summer months.  I find things to make it seem busy, but that’s mostly my choice and not the circumstances around me.
  10. The feeling when summer is about over, back-to-school season is at hand, and fall is in the air.

What’s on your list?  Why do you like the summer months?

John Wooden on What is True Success: Ted Video

I love exploring Ted.com for exceptional videos. I don’t get to very often, but when I do, I find great stuff.

Here’s one you should consider watching. It’s about 17 minutes long, and honestly he rambles at times, but you’ll get some great wisdom and reminders from a great man. Here’s John Wooden on the subject “What is True Success?”

Do you agree with Wooden’s definition?