Monday, March 31, 2008

How to Change

This Sunday, Kem and I visited Summit Church led by Isaac Hunter in Orlando, FL. It was great to see some old peeps and hear some great, practical steps to initiate change in one's life. Isaac talked about the three components that need to be in place for change to occur quoting from some of Dallas Willard's works (all three need to be in place for effective change):
  • Vision of who you are, what could be...

  • Intentions: Having a plan to play out that vision and be that vision

  • Practical, visible, actionable steps to carry it out

He used a great analogy of a treadmill to our personal growth/faith... You can have a vision to get in shape (You buy a treadmill), you can have intentions of actually using the treadmill (You map out a time, plan, and even have a chart in place to log your times and dates).... but if you never get on the treadmill, actually do the workout... change doesn't happen.. Vision and intentions alone are not enough... Would you then look at the treadmill and say, well that didn't work, I guess I'll return it...?

The same can apply to our personal faith, I can believe I'm a child of God, I can write out a plan of how I'm going to spend time in the Bible, small groups, going to church, serving, etc.. But if I don't actually get off my rear and "be" the plan- can I begin experience God and the inside-out change that can occur in my life? Would I simply say- "Ah, that God-thing just didn't cut it, or man, I just feel like the same person, nothing is changing in me..." when I haven't actually done anything to initiate that change? Like the treadmill, a vision of who we are in Christ and good intentions don't cut it to see inward change in my life- Am I reading my Bible, pressing in with conversations with friends, reading books, going to church regularly, giving my money, praying...? The reverse is true as well.... a bunch of "actions" without a clear vision of who you are in Christ can turn into a "rules" list or a bunch of good "works" without clarity of who you are in Him...

This can apply across the board in business, ministry, personal faith, eating plans, and being a good spouse or parent.

It's not easy, but some things I am working to do:

  • Share my vision and plans with others, get feedback, schedule times with these key people to talk about how I'm doing or not doing

  • I'm keeping track of my list of books I read this year- 12 is my minimum, I hope for much more- I try to read in areas I want to continue to stretch, learn, or improve-

  • I measure my progress in my Outlook calendar weekly- this is where I "live" in my day to day activities-

  • For more, I recently whiteboarded my life to work on my vision/plan (intentions)

Thanks Isaac for the great reminders and encouragement to press on- I love seeing other churches that "get-it" and are about revolutionizing today's "Christian" and what it should mean... more on this later...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Churches, Money, & A Challenge...

It's been an interesting week with lots of discussions, web-sites, and chat about churches, money, tithing, and what to do as individuals... Here are some highlights and general thoughts..
  • There's an active debate and discussion of the "validity" of the tithe (giving 10% of our income) and whether or not it's a command of God in our lives today. Look here and here for some samplings...

  • Depending on the survey you look at, giving among church-goers in America appears to be around 2-3% of our gross incomes.

  • If the average family credit card debt is around $9,000, at 18% interest... that's about $135 just on the credit card interest every month (or roughly 3% of the average household income in our area) that contributes to big bank buildings, Wall Street, etc...

  • I think it's awesome that over 400 people signed up for the latest GCC Dave Ramsey class.

  • The more we give to well managed churches, the more the impact can be on our world.

  • I am one of the wealthiest people on this planet (if you live in America and have food in your cabinets, so are you.) Much is expected of me. All that I have has been given to me to "manage" and I won't take it with me when I die.

  • Giving has changed me as a person. My heart truly does follow where my money goes...

  • If I don't have a goal or a target to shoot for, I really don't get much accomplished...

So here's how I see it... Can we all increase our giving by 1% of our gross income this year? If you don't give, start with 1%. If you give 10%, try to push to 11%. Now the fun part, you get to choose where... pick the best managed, God-ordained, life changing church or organization you're led to.... and give there... One study suggests if church-goers would give 10%, annual giving would increase by over $190 billion dollars per year.... Look what that could do.... Whether you're an Old Testament giver or New Testament giver.... I still believe that we the church can change our world, let's see what God will do!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The MacGyver Plan- Giving March 9, 2008

This weekend at Granger we finished up the "I Love the 80's" series, here are my takaways from this weekend, "The MacGyver Plan"- Do a lot with a little.... You can watch it here....
  • The mission/vision God has for the church is huge- God's plan for resourcing this mission is through the tithe (giving 10% of our income)
  • Mark answered 3 common questions, What is the tithe? Why would anyone tithe? What happens with the tithe?

  • Only 1 in 9 people at Granger tithe- I wonder... what would happen if 2 people in 9 tithed? How much more could continue to be done?

  • Favorite quote: "Casual anything won't change anything"- If we're casual in our faith, marriage, business/work, exercise/eating plan, etc... that won't git' er done

  • For kids, take 3 jars, put 10% in one for God, 10% in another to save, the rest to spend- start teaching them early... (I want to do this..)
  • The tithe is 10%- that's literally what it means... (We need to look at our monthly number and make sure we're not at 8 or 9%)

  • There's always a part of me that "cringes" when sitting in a service like that- I'm so sensitive the stigma of churches asking for money- I want people to get it... I want them to know it truly does change one's life to give.... I'm glad we shoot it straight... I just wonder how people process it....

  • I believe the church is the hope of the world- what if we did all give? What if governments world-wide didn't need welfare programs because the church had is covered? I want to be part of that...

  • With the time change, I went to a service I rarely go to.. I slid in a row near the back only to realize I was sitting behind the very person my brother said to "look for" sometime at church only a few days earlier... hmmm... odd service, out of 1000 plus in the service I sat right behind them... we have a cool God....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Getting to the Bottom of Things...

1. This is not on my list of things I want to try before I die...
2. I have a lot of questions in life, after seeing this, I have more..
3. Maybe this is how retired baseball catchers replay great memories..
4. This takes bottoms-up to a whole new meaning..
5. Is this what they mean by splash-water falls?
6. Please don't leave the seat up.
7. At least you wouldn't have to worry about someone playing footsies with you..
8. I'm glad they had the "x" and check boxes to clarify, I was a bit confused what to avoid

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Making Good Decisions & God's Will

I've been listening to Andy Stanley's podcast on discovering God's will for our lives- it's extremely practical and great stuff. This is a conversation I run into with many of my peeps and regularly have with myself (yes, I talk to me).... I'm passing it along to several of my friends...
Here are a few quick nuggets from one of his talks:

Who do you ask for help in making decisions?
  • Someone with nothing to lose. Many of your friends worry more about losing your friendship rather than shooting it straight to you. Talk to someone with nothing to lose.

  • Someone who is where you want to be some day. Who do you know that is farther down the path from you spiritually, financially, in the marriage, etc.?

  • Whenever possible, try to get input from more than one person.

  • Consider getting feedback from people you know AND people you don't know

  • Go into the conversation with your "radar" up for God to speak to you through these people...

What questions to ask when meeting with these people:

  • Are any of these choices I'm considering outside the bounds of scripture?

  • What do you think the wise thing to do is?
  • What would you do if you were me?

Big Flag: If you find yourself "avoiding" people because you don't want to hear what you know they'll probably say- this should be a big "flag"...

Neat leadership quote: "Great leadership is not about making decisions on your own, it's about owning the decision once it's been made."