John Maxwell says, “everything rises and falls on leadership.”
Insert a toxic, static leader into a healthy organization and you can quickly gum up the works. Become a static, stuck leader and a healthy, vibrant organization will become static and stuck as well.
Growing, vibrant organizations are led by growing, vibrant leaders.
Leadership vibrance requires constant attention on the part of the leader. As soon as you’ve leveled up and mastered an increased leadership capacity, new challenges arise and a greater capacity is required. So, leadership vibrance is a moving challenge. It isn’t an X on the map. Vibrance is moving, increasing target that changes with time and circumstance.
Here are some thoughts on becoming or remaining:
- Read. Leaders are readers. Constant exposure to new ideas, perspectives, and how other leaders and figures address challenges, not only gives you new ideas. But, reading also increases your capacity for critical thinking.
- Regular 360 degree reviews. This shouldn’t be a once per year type of event. It should be frequent. It should be an environment. Every leader should be open to feedback from any one, including peers, subordinates, managers, and customers/clients/members. It can be humbling if you view it as an announcement of deficiency. But, if you view the feedback as identification of areas that can improve, it’s like having a free professional development consultant. At Life Pointe, every week in staff meeting, we accomplish this with a process we call Right, Wrong, Missing, and Confusing. We point out those issues and the person responsible for the win or loss and either celebrate it or correct it.
- Cross pollinate. Don’t only read materials in your discipline. But, get outside of it and read and learn elsewhere. Group think impacts every discipline. The result is a lot of material authors tend to parrot one another. Immunize yourself from group think by learning from disciplines other than just your own.
- Establish healthy boundaries. Work hard. Rest hard. Play hard. Be careful not to let each area cheat the other. If work undermines your family, something is going to be unhealthy ultimately making everything unhealthy.
- Say “no” to things. This is also a boundaries issue. A “no” to one thing is a “yes” to something else. If you say “yes” to everything, nothing is important. There is no focus, no mission. Your NO is a statement of value.
- Make people responsible. Be responsible. If a task is called for, one person, a singular person needs to be responsible for it. Someone needs to lose sleep over it’s success or failure. If more than one person is ultimately responsible, no one is responsible. Or, one person will become responsible…and potentially frustrated at the lack of clarity and the inordinate amount of responsibility dumped on them without their consent up front.
- Hustle! When I was 13, my neighbor, old Mr. Runnels would sit with me and share this story: ”Travis, I learned that I wasn’t the smartest or the strongest. But, if I got up a little earlier, worked more diligently, and stayed just a little bit later, I could out-hustle the people who were smarter than me.” I have learned that to be absolutely true. Hustle is something I always look for in leaders. I won’t work with lazy people…for long.
- Be passionate! This is the trump card. If you believe in something, whether you are presently and fully tooled for it, you can collect the tools and the people and the expertise to accomplish the leadership ability to lead vibrantly and effectively. You will have the drive to learn, grow, develop teams, and execute.
Working for peace and thirsting for justice are not mutually exclusive. They are 100% compatible with one another. Often times, God’s instrument of peace are also the very same people who are God’s instruments of delivering justice.
Peace is not the absence of justice or judgment. And, the presence of justice does not mean peace has been vacated.
In fact, Jesus, in the most famous sermon ever given, said:
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied. MATTHEW 5:6
Then, only twenty-five words later, Jesus says:
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God. MATTHEW 5:9
These two ideas and promises came from Jesus in the same message to the same crowd on the same day.
And, just before he delivers instruction on peace and justice, he speaks a leading word to us knowing that both concepts: peace and justice will be lacking in this world. He says that we will still experience loss and we will mourn.
Let your mourning be done fully and well.
Mourn in such a way that your mourning honors Christ.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. MATTHEW 5:4
There are the guns.
There is the psychology of Adam Lanza.
There is our collapsing social fiber.
There are a number of contributing factors that lead to moments like this. Various political groups will rush to assign blame concerning the availability of guns. Preachers and moralists will opine about the inevitability of situations like this in society that devalues life in it’s art, entertainment, and politics. And, psychologists will dig deep into Adam Lanza’s life looking for factors that contributed to the moment where he woke up, shot his mom in the face, proceeded to school and destroyed and wrecked innocent lives.
It was truly a brutal day today in Newtown, CT. 4 and 5 years old children were among the 28 killed. I also just found out that a college classmate, Noemi and her husband, Chad Guyton lost a cousin in the shooting. Her cousin was a 1st grade teacher. A senseless act of cowardice. Barbaric.
King Solomon says about days like these in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
1 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
I’m listening to these words. I’ve concluded that tomorrow or some other day will be the days assigned to delving into all of the whys. Today? Today is a time to be broken hearted and to weep for the innocents who lost their lives in Newtown…and to weep with family members who will experience long lasting, enduring pain that their precious little son or daughter, whom they adore is never coming home.
As we embrace the pain of such tragic loss, be comforted by the words of Jesus directly to us and those we love from a distance. He stood in his boyhood hometown of Nazareth and read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah (chapter 61). After reading from this passage, Jesus rolled up the scroll and said, today, this has been fulfilled. He basically said, I am the One that is coming to minister to people like this…in situations like this.
It was a bold statement then in His hometown where they couldn’t wrap their minds around the Messiah coming from such humble beginnings. It’s a bold statement today considering the weightiness of today’s tragedy.
I pray that these words he read from and fulfilled ring true to hurting hearts today:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. ISAIAH 61:1-2
“If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” -Augustine
We cannot come to the Scriptures and selectively receive them and still submit to the Lordship of Christ. If we pick and choose from the Scriptures, we have made ourselves the arbiter of what is truth…and thus declaring ourselves as Lord.
This is the partially surrendered life. And, a partially surrendered life is not a surrender at all. In fact, a partially surrendered life is an impossibility. There is no surrender in a partially surrendered life. A partially surrendered life remains in rebellion to God. Jesus says,
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46
The Lord desires…even commands a FULLY SURRENDERED life.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Coming to the place where we completely turn over our hearts, minds, and actions to the leadership of Christ does not guarantee perfection. But, it is a place where we can stop wrestling against God’s good plan for our lives.
I rescheduled my annual bike ride across Cambodia to March 2013. I’ve had 1 of two surgeries I need before the ride. That gives me time to rehab and be ready to go. I’ll hit you up with some updates soon. You can follow along at www.forhope.us.
I’ve got some news coming out about the Miami team this week. Stay tuned! It’s HUGE NEWS!
In the meantime, you can help fund this great cause at www.forhope.us. Be the first donors of this year’s campaign! It’s something I do every year.
Every $1,000 builds a house. And, every $1,000 is matched. If you give $1,000, you actually build two houses…and will change the lives of two families forever.
Last year, you helped me raise $46,000! Let’s do that again!
Help me build an entire city and change the lives of the truly poor…help me give the poor a working chance. The work People for Care and Learning does in SE Asia is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Be a part of this with me.
You can go ahead and give right now at www.forhope.us <-thank you in advance!!
She walked down the aisle. Tony Scott, my dad, and Kelly’s dad shared from the Scriptures about covenants and marriage. We both said, “I do.” And, a journey began as we drove out of that church parking lot in Toledo, OH and into the rest of our lives.
We’ve made memories. Laughed. Cried. Traveled. Built. Children. Friends. Held our breath. Prayed. Grown. Loved.
She’s my angel…thirteen years ago today, she completely changed my world. More in love today than then. Just getting started.
Man wasn’t made for sabbath. But, sabbath was made for man. You may think you can get by without rest. But, God knows that you need regular rest in the middle of your hard work.
I’m a day away from re-engaging in ministry and work. I’m really excited about fully engaging in this new and exciting season at Life Pointe. But, I’m also thankful for some wonderful rest I’ve enjoyed. In the last couple weeks, I:
- spent a week alone with Kelly. We went on a cruise, ate too much food, took walks, read, and enjoyed one another thanks to Kelly’s mom and dad who kept the kids.
- spent a week as a family. We slowed down, had fun, and made some great memories.
I watched Kourtney charm a squirrel. Blake faced his fears and went on a roller coaster at Sea World (but, McKenna looks most frightened!). McKenna swam like a fish. We petted the stingrays, celebrated Kelly’ birthday, and just enjoyed being close. My favorite was piling in bed together and watching the Olympics.
There is a lot to do at Life Pointe both at the Homestead & the Plantation Key campuses. We’ve never faced the opportunities we do now. So, I’m thoroughly excited about starting back Sunday and joining with the great teams we’ve got and continue to develop. But, I’m really thankful that I’m walking into this exciting season having experienced some amazing rest.
July 1, 2012 marked a new era for Life Pointe Church as we opened our new permanent campus leaving 6.5 years of being portable behind for a permanent space.
I’m pretty sure you’ll never see a “How-To-Open-A-New-Church-Campus Manual” using what we did as an example. It was absolutely insane. Aside from our basic trades (MEP), we did the work with volunteers. And, when it came to advertising, we spent about $99 to print maps for our people. Everything else was word-of-mouth…mostly facebook.
Honestly, I quit talking about it…and didn’t even send out an email reminder to our database the last two weeks before the move because of the total insanity going on. It was the most insane era of my life. But, people were having fun with it on Facebook, creating images that were going viral…it was out of my hands.
Some of the best advice I got from a great friend was, “Travis, don’t try to control the chaos. Just get it pointed in the right direction.” Right on! I can vibe with that.
Anyway, it has been my privilege since April 27, 2003 to lead Life Pointe Church, a seemingly young church. To nearly all of us, it seems brand new. But, in reality, it has an old Gospel-faithful, compassionate, and resilient history. We have history. And, yet, we’re brand new.
The church actually started in Louise Cannington’s House five blocks from our current Homestead location in 1946. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew hit and devastated South Miami-Dade. Half the churches closed. And, many good pastors left and understandably so. Through heaping doses of dedication and countless untold stories and miracles, Life Pointe Church (then Homestead Church of God) survived.
While a number of churches were rebuilding, the pastor (my dad, J.T Johnson) and our church people who were left were cutting up the pews and turning them into warehouse shelves to store water and food for our community. For months, the church was feeding our neighbors 5,000 hot meals per day, providing building supplies and canned goods and water. That spirit and resilience is in our church DNA today.
Since 2003, we’ve really downplayed our history so we could tell a new story. On July 1, 2012, all that changed. Like our new building, our good past has been redeemed and we’ve completed this part of the journey. We aren’t resting. We just have a good staging ground to reach more aggressively into the heart of our community.
I’ve had very few privileges in life as rewarding as handing the scissors to my dad to cut the ribbon on our new space. This would have never happened without him, without my mom, Anne, and those who journeyed with them during the most difficult times our community has ever seen. My mom and dad chose sacrificial service over personal advancement because of Gospel commitment. Words lack. I don’t know anyone that rivals their character and commitment to a community.
Sharing a great moment with my father, J.T. No one will know the kind of sacrifice made by he and my mom so that Life Pointe would have this moment…truly heroic people.
Only heroic people and people who believe in God’s work here could position us to do what we did this week. This is the culmination of the work of a lot of people starting with Louise Cannington (one special lady, whom I miss greatly) to former pastors like Wesley Baker and Marvin Johnson, my pastor J. David Stephens, a council of brothers from around Florida who believe in our story, my mom and dad, and a host of others along the way.
The past 6.5 years in the theater were capped off by seriously extravagant personal service: weeks of dozens and dozens of volunteers working it hard from early am to early am…some people even putting in 20 hour days…and people like Andrew Gill, an Everglades Fire Fighter who worked all day for Park Services and all night at LPC (literally until 4 am sometimes). There were dozens of people like Andrew…coordinated by Ricardo Torres, our project manager. I baptized Ric, married he and his wife, and have watched God work on him a little at the time. Wow!….so many heroes in this story!
So, outside under a tent, we cut ribbon and rededicated ourselves to the mission of Jesus in our community. We don’t have a great count of exactly who all joined us. But, we did it twice under a packed out tent with 400 chairs plus our volunteers and people in the building.
We were joined by some special leaders in our community. Lynda Bell, our county commissioner and Vice President of National Right to Life prayed for us. She prayed like she knew Jesus first hand. I smiled big because she came prepped for church (Bible, umbrella, and tambourine in hand). She was ready to boogie down. And, we were glad for it.
We were honored with a number of great friends who joined us. Other community leaders and special guest that celebrated with us were:
- Lynda Bell, our county commissioner and Vice President of National Right to Life
- Brian & Kristen Hunter, lead pastor of Genesis Church in Tallahassee & Atlanta
- Phil Underwood, CRM & Future Travellers
- Carrie Slough, Team World Vision
- Rick Lee, pastor of Homestead Mennonite Church
- Russell and Kerry Black, pastor of New Thing Fellowship
- Lewis Wilkerson and Melissa Barclay
- Robert Ellis Nelson, architect – REN & Associates
- Dr. Raul Molina, pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church
- Tonya & Elijah Brinkley
- my friend, Elvis Maldonado, Homestead City Councilman,
- my friend, Kionne McGhee, state congressional candidate,
- Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact and Diversity of the United States Department of Energy & US Congressional candidate Joe Garcia,
- State Representative Dwight Bullard from District 118,
- Ivonne Cuesta, judge candidate
- Judge Fleur Lobree
- Jesse and Reina Santoyo, Nashville, TN
- Joseph and Michelle Bulger, Atlanta, GA
- Johnny Farias, Electric Masters, Miami, FL
The stories behind many of our friendships are beautiful. And, many of them came a long ways to be with us. Briefly:
Phil Underwoodcaught a flight from Atlanta at the last minute and was in and out in no time
flat…just to be here (the Underwoods were a special part of this church for many years). My close friend, Brian and Kristen Hunter took Sunday off from their church to be here. Pastor Rick Lee and the Homestead Mennonite Church offered to cancel their service in the event that we couldn’t have our space ready (that isn’t normal…forever grateful to a ridiculously beautiful body of brothers and sisters and a great friend in Rick). Dr. Raul Molina has blessed my family more than I could even begin to share…his being here was beyond beautiful.
So, here we were cheering for a new day. We entered into the new space for a tour (about 40 people at a time), which culminated in the Venue where the band was melting our faces off with music that pointed towards Jesus and called us into mission.
I soaked it in. Dr. Molina shared with me ealier: “Travis, it took Moses 40 years to get to the Promised Land. LPC did it in 6.5!” :) No doubt. But, it sure seemed like a long time. Maybe that’s why we were so ecstatic and enjoyed one another and thanked God all over this industrial space.
So, our new building isn’t perfect and is in process…and will always be in process. In fact, we revel in it’s history, baggage, and scars. We identify with it’s flaws and past. It mirrors our own lives.
Flawed. But, chosen.
Scarred but made sacred.
Broken. But, not beyond repair.
Like us, it is repurposed for God’s good pleasure.
On that Grand Opening Day, we gladly chose to do nothing new. Instead, we continue to pursue the same mission as we had in 1946 when we were officially started in Louise Cannington’s home behind Winn Dixie only about 5 blocks from here. And, we honor the same mission given to the Church 2,000 years ago by the hammer swinging, backwoods, Jewish revolutionary, Jesus of Nazareth.
-travis johnson, lead pastor
The earth’s population divided by population of Bethlehem at the same time of Jesus’ birth yields an odds of 1 in 300,000 that Jesus would occupy this singular characteristic of the messiah prophesied of in the Old Testament.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past. Micah 5:2
Like Jesus had no say in where He would be born, my kids had no choice that they’d be born at Baptist Hospital (Miami), Homestead Hospital, and our bedroom respectively.
Yet, Jesus satisfied this characteristic and 455 others mentioned in the Old Testament hundreds of years before His birth. Of course, there were prophecies Jesus was aware of. He chose to fulfill them…prophecies such as drinking sour wine on the cross. But, you have to be quite the master manipulator and determined to twist someone into not breaking your legs while hanging on a cross…and piercing you with a spear in the side after death.
After fulfilling 8 prophecies, the odds of a random person occupying these Messianic characteristics are 1 in 1 quintillion (17 zeros). The odds of satisfying all 456? He had better odds of winning the lottery a few times than fulfilling these messianic prophecies.
That’s a game changer. At the least it should cause any thinking person to pause and seriously investigate who Jesus is. At the end of that investigation, we should be able to determine whether He is a fraud or if He is worth following. And, if He’s worth following, He ought to be followed with the gusto.
I was sitting on a bench in Homestead talking to Jose. He’d rather you call him “Pepe.” He’s a short, kind grandpa. You might picture him wearing a derby and playing dominoes in a Hialeah park. He’s a first generation Cuban-American and 1 of 5 Olympic weightlifters who defected from Cuba to the USA in the 60’s. Read more »
- Rode my bike 920 kilometers in 6 riding days across 3 countries.
- Raised $44,000+ for People for Care & Learning through the generosity of amazing partners, friends, and church family.
- Arm wrestled a Vietnamese Border Guard.
- Drafted 3,000 chickens for 15 miles @ 40 mph.
- High Temperature of 107.2 degrees.
- High speed of 49.2 mph
- Max daily distance = 132 miles
- dirt, mud, pavement, bad pavement, grass, gravel.
- Rode my bike on a 12 lane road.
- Met a neighbor from Homestead, FL in a hotel elevator in Bangkok, Thailand.
- Took pictures with some of the most amazing Christian leaders from Vietnam…can’t show you the pictures because they’ve already been imprisoned 2 times in Vietnam for preaching the Gospel.
- Experienced amazing hospitality by families I never knew speaking languages I couldn’t understand.
- Met with the Governor of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
- Broke ground on the construction of an entire city!
- Tebowed the Thai Grand Palace with Jeff Schroeder from CBS’ Amazing Race/Big Brother.
- Had to stop my bike ride to allow a herd of water buffalo to cross the road.
- Drafted behind 3 monks on a moto.
- Toured all of Angkor Wat in 30 minutes!
- Ate my bodyweight in food at the Intercontinental Hotel in Bangkok with the most incredible people on the planet.
- Rode my bicycle in some of the most congested, crazy traffic on the planet.
And, finally, I decided I’m going to do this again!…more to come.
I’m riding my bike from Vietnam to Cambodia to Thailand right now to raise money & awareness for People for Care & Learning. The people that are supporting the ride are actually Building a City!
If you’d like to support the ride and the cause, you can give online at www.willrideforhope.com!
Also, follow along:
I have my eyes set on a good and challenging 2012. I have some family, ministry, and personal goals on tap. Some things that are going down in 2012 are the fruit of a few years being born…wouldn’t be fair to list them as resolutions. The investment has already been made and they are simply going to happen.
So, I’m not rolling out substantial goals/resolutions in writing this year. What I am doing is setting my eyes on some values or words that I want to embody in this coming year:
- predictable – While I want to plan for the unexpected, I want to people around me to find me utterly predictable. I want my family, my church, and my peers to see me as a constant, predictable, value-driven person.
- courageous – I don’t want to unnecessarily put myself in harms way. But, when opportunities arise to speak-up for the marginalized or launch out and take hold of a great opportunity, I want to step out with strength, confidence, and decisiveness.
- strategic – I have a limited amount of time. I have what I view as a substantial responsibility toward people. I want to steward my time in a more strategic way than ever by investing in and receiving personal investment from the people who I can deliver the greatest impact to and who can do the same for me.
- adventurous – 2010 was a life change year for me (I got a handle on my health). 2011 was a year where I adventured myself more than I have in my domesticated life (marriage – LOL). I want 2012 to be a year of adventure in every arena of my life (spirituality, family, ministry, recreation). I want to smash some self-imposed barriers and boundaries.
- better – What was attainable in 2011 and before shouldn’t be an acceptable performance in 2012. I’ve committed my life to an increasing mission. If God has helped me to arrive at a blessed place, I want to honor Him by moving forward from that place. I don’t want to indefinitely rest in His favor. I want to steward His favor well. That means launching out from confines of safety, familiarity, and rest to grow.
In 2012 and at 38, I’m not just getting older. I pray that I’m getting better, more adventurous, more strategic, courageous, and predictable in my life mission.
Last Saturday, I rode my bike 100 miles with a most inspirational human being, Hector Picard. He has no arms. He drove down from Ft. Lauderdale, unloaded his own bike, inflated his own tires, changed his own tires, and out paced almost everyone on the ride! Ridiculously inspiring.
When he broke from the pack, I followed him and thought I was going to die trying to pace with him. I followed him for around 20 miles at 25 mph. That is a blazing pace, especially when you’re going it alone. Wow.
No arms. No excuses. Check out the video from the ride to Key West w/my friend, Hector Picard (double amputee) -> http://bit.ly/rwgqDl
The ride was my attempt at getting ready to ride my bike 540 miles across Cambodia in 6 days to raise money for People for Care and Learning. If you’d like to support my ride, 100% of the donations at www.willrideforhope.com go to People for Care and Learning!
Check out both the video…and drop a little coin at www.willrideforhope.com to bring hope to folks on the other side of the planet. BTW, if you give $100 or more, I’ll send you a great Will Ride for Hope Old Navy T-shirt!
Say a prayer. Return thanks to the One who created it all.
Sing your prayer. I know this sounds odd…and maybe it’s just me. But, growing up when our extended family would gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we wouldn’t “say a prayer.” We would sing it…The Doxology to be exact. It became such a substantial memory, I made sure the Doxology was sung at my wedding.
Tell stories around the table.
Tell the 1st Thanksgiving Story where the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims come together for a 3-day feast of Thanksgiving. We
Share what you’re thankful for. Take turns around the table. Don’t let conversation drift off into other things before you miss out on being vocal with your thankfulness.
Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Ride bikes. We call it a “biking adventure.” Throw the whole family on the bikes and go for a nice, relaxed tour around the neighborhood or somewhere you’ve never been.
Watch Football. Turn on the tube. Kick back. Fall asleep at halftime.
Play football. Just remember: you’re not as young as you used to be.
Start a tradition. Start a quirky tradition unique to your family.
Play a board game. Balderdash. Scattergories. Monopoly. Parcheesi.
Play cards. Hearts. Spades. Euchre. Rook.
Put up your Christmas tree. Well, we already did this pre-Thanksgiving. But, a Christmas Tree is nice to look at on Thanksgiving Day.
Take a family picture. Your family is together. Don’t miss that opportunity to grab a few pics as a family.
Go fo a walk at dark. Grab flashlights and go for a walk.
Sit around a fire. I live in Miami-Dade county. Apparently, you have to have a permit to do this sort of thing. <-crazy. Call me a law breaker I guess. But, there’s nothing more mesmerizing than sitting around a fire, staring at embers, roasting marshmallows, and being with your crew.
Stay up late…stay up until your eyes burn. Just don’t be the first person to fall asleep on the couch or you might find yourself painted up like a barn, covered in shaving cream or some similar sort of chaos.
Thanksgiving is around the corner. And, that means heavy culinary artillery…more firepower than your taste buds can resist! So, don’t resist. But, DO have a plan so you don’t do what most Americans do, which is an average 4,300 calories on Thanksgiving!
Let me help:
1. Drink water. Ditch the sweet tea and sugary drinks. Water fills you up and keeps you hydrated. Plus, cold water actually incinerates calories as your body works overtime to warm itself.
2. Pile on the legit vegetables. That doesn’t mean friend green bean casserole or candied yams! Good vegetables are low in calories and filling. Eat them first so you don’t stuff yourself on the buttery, fat, and carbohydrate-icized goodness!
3. Aim for the lean meats. Instead of slamming the honey baked ham, eat the Turkey breast (skinless). It’s really hard to go overboard on lean turkey meat. It’s low cal and high protein. That means it’s filling and better for muscle repair than Popeye’s spinach (who said spinach gives you good muscles?! crackheads…don’t think it’s true!
4. When it comes to the naughty stuff, think portion control. By all means, try the sweet potato casserole. But, if it’s Paula Dean inspired creator used a few sticks of butter in it’s making, keep the portion small.
5. Enjoy your family. Take your face out of your plate and talk. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to talk, tell stories, and enjoy family. The more laughing and talking you do, the less damage you’re going to do with your fork! So, laugh a little!
6. Take a pre-emptive strike by a little Pre-thanksgiving meal exercise assault. The truth is, I’m not going to be a calorie hawk on Thanksgiving (but, I will track what I eat). I generally eat about 2,100 calories per day. Thanksgiving, I will up my caloric intake. But, I’m rolling out early for a 25-30 mile bike ride. I love cycling. I love eating. On thanksgiving, I’ll burn 2,000 calories before the main event. In essence, you could say, I’m going to ride to eat…a sneak assault, a pre-emptive strike on the Thanksgiving Smorgasbord!
And, that’s it! If you can’t pull that off, break out a pair of stretchy pants and a bib and go for it!
Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!
Everything that your children do that they haven’t done before is potentially a BIG thing. Uncharted territory. New. A big deal.
Swimming. Riding a bike. Jumping off a high dive. These are big things.
We ought to teach and lead our kids to attempt Big things. Watching my 4 year old daughter jump from the 5 meter platform for the first time was exhilarating for me…and for her. We got her ready together. And, when she jumped, she was that much closer to realizing she can do whatever she puts her mind to.
The latest Big thing for us are bikes. We’re all mobile. The week Blake turned 4, we took off his training wheels. He’s rocking his bike. Now, we do biking adventures on Saturdays. Riding my cyclocross bike with my 8-year old daughter on the mountain bike trails on Virginia Key was killer for me!
Every step. Every big step is another arrow in my kids’ arsenals. My job is to stock their arsenal so they are prepared to take life by the horns. So, here are some things I do to help my kids do BIG things:
1. Never tell myself they are going to like something new they’re going to try. Default to the positive. Expect them always to want to try the new challenge. That means holstering your own biases so you don’t negatively influence them or pass on your own fears to them.
2. Expect them to pull it off. If you set your expectations low, they sink to meet them.
3. When they fail, acknowledge their stumbling. But, get them back in the saddle quickly.
4. Make the adventure an adventure. If you’re about to do something BIG, pump it up. Hype it up. Get everyone ready to celebrate. And, have a blast. The mundane is rarely worth conquering.
5. Don’t sell them short. Your kids can do more, go farther, perform better, and rise to the occasion with a greater capacity than you’re able to understand.
6. Don’t manage the detail. Show them the way. Let them get the details worked out on their own. If you’re obsessing on the detail on the way to pulling off the BIG thing for the first time, you’ll complicate the thing out of the realm of possibility…or out of interest.
7. Know that if you adventure your kids, they’ll develop a taste for conquering BIG things. It will translate into a life practice. Start early. And, never stop.
Bill Isaacs, in the Forward Leadership Blog wrote a great piece, “Leaders, Listen up.” In the entry, he makes a phenomenal point, “The banana that leaves the bunch is the first one peeled.” Great insight.
I love cycling. And, I couldn’t help relating Bill’s statement to what it takes to break from the pack to win the Tour de France. Now, I’ve never ridden the Tour. But, I do have 3,000 miles cycling under my belt this past year. And, I know what it feels like to ride alone and in the pack…it can be withering or it can be easy…depending on how you ride it.
ON THE PELOTON
While cycling in a peloton, you can actually ride on average 10+ mph faster than you can by yourself. Every stage of the Tour de France’s 21 stages and on multiple occasions, cyclists try to break from the pack/peloton. They may be out ahead for the whole day. But, they almost always get swallowed up by the peloton within a few miles of the finish line.
Alone, there are just too many factors working against you when you’re going solo: wind, discouragement, no rest, you’re the only pacemaker, etc… The result is that most stages are decided by a sprint in the last half mile. Still the sprinters are set up by their team mates who sling shot them across the last few hundred feet of the finish line. Crazy!
THE TIME TO MAKE A BREAK FOR IT AND GO SOLO
However, the place that the lone banana can break free is up a mountain. There is no benefit and almost all hazard to gain by staying in the peloton going up a steep mountain.
This is where the guys like Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, and Andy Schleck distinguish themselves. Going into the Pyrenees Mountains, these guys get up and out of their saddles and huff it up the mountain like warriors. These are the guys that finish well beyond the pack…sipping lemonade while everyone else is still out working up the mountain.
KNOW WHO CAN MAKE THE JUMP AND GO WITH THEM
When one of these guys make their break, you either jump out with them and battle. Or, you slink back into the pack and pace your way up the mountain.
PREMEDITATED REVOLT FROM THE PACK
Breaking from the pack happens strategically. It isn’t accidental. It isn’t easy. It changes the pace of everyone else. You need both. But, all of the roles working together makes the Tour a beautiful and challenging thing. Even the guys who break from the pack and don’t make it alter the speed of the pack.
FALLING OFF THE BACK OF THE PACK IS A TERRIBLE THING
The sad thing is when guys fall off the back of the pack. When that happens, they only ever rejoin the pack the next day. And, the remainder of their 100-150 miles of that day is a rough, lonely slog…if they even finish at all.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” DANIEL 3:16-18
I’ve really been looking forward to this ride for sometime. It’s the first ride, my friend, Rick Whitter has put together for iOrphan Support. Excellent job…and excellent ministry!…over $13,000 raised to serve orphans in Haiti! Awesome!
I’ve been looking forward to this ride also as preparation for WillRideforHope.com. The 6 day-in-a-row 90-mile days on various terrain across Cambodia is going to be a challenge..will probably have the same kind of challenging terrain. Today, I got my first real taste for how it’s going to feel. It’s a big bite to chew no doubt!
Here’s the skinny on today:
- The ride was roughly 25 miles on pavement. We averaged around 14-16 mph (on mountain bikes) on this ground…easy ground to cover on a mountain bike at that pace. On my cyclocross, I should be able to maintain a higher speed in Cambodia.
- The ride was roughly 35 miles on dirt, rock, and grass. <- that was no joke…jarring! And, it led to some mechanical troubles on my bike….largely because the bike is fairly new and hasn’t been completely tweaked. I think I’m back on my bike tomorrow…and off the spare mountain bike.
- The 7 people I’m riding with and the folks in the support vehicles are amazing!…really salt-of-the-earth type of people…glad to call them friends (including the ones I’ve just met)
I’m going on a big trip soon…one of those kinds of trips that make you a little nervous…and pumped at the same time.
And, while you can’t exactly come with me, I’d like to give you a sort of invite. Check it out: www.willrideforhope.com
In January, I’m riding my bike from Vietnam across Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand. That’s 540 miles in 6 days. I’m doing this to raise awareness and money for people we’re serving in Cambodia. We’re working to give the extremely poor a working chance. You can find out a little more about the organization we work through here-> People for Care and Learning.
While you can’t go with me, you can help sponsor our work there. I will ride those 540 miles for you if you’ll make some sort of donation. You can do so at www.willrideforhope.com.
Soon, we’ll be listing our givers. You can help me by giving and letting me put your name on that list. Every name listed will help me personally recruit more givers.
Any amount makes a difference, especially when you consider that roughly $12 will provide clean drinking water for an entire family for a year.
$1,000 will relocate a family from a literal garbage dump to a brick mortar house we’ll build and the Cambodian government will deed to the family moving in.
Your modest sacrifice can make a massive impact for REAL HUMANS living in the most challenging circumstances.
Now, these humanitarian efforts really touch people. AND, they are the tip of the spear offering Gospel legitimacy to the People for Care and Learning team. So, go with me!….by sending resources with me.
You can give at www.willrideforhope.com.
Here are some other things you can do to help:
- Spread the word by facebook “liking”www.willrideforhope.com
- Follow @willrideforhope on twitter.
- Forward this email to your friends!
Thanks in advance for your generosity!
Pastor Travis Johnson - lead pastor, life pointe church
Dr. Cornel West, professor, civil rights activist, socialist, and actor (Matrix) spoke at Catalyst. I’m not a Cornel West fan as it pertains to his political ideology. I’m not really into socialism. HOWEVER, Dr. West absolutely captivating in his interview. He is an effective communicator with some really great things to say. Two ideas stood out so loudly that they are the only two things I want to share here:
1. “I am a Christian with gangster proclivities.” I used to do those things. Now I don’t…but, I still wrestle with it.
2. “A hatred for Xenophobia isn’t the same as love for everyday people.”
Maybe, it’s just me. But, I find it easy to be “against.” It’s much more challenging to be “for.” God is not satisfied with us being against injustice. He wants us to love. It caused me to think about how Jesus overturned the money changers in the Temple. He was against their actions. But, he did not cause them irrecoverable loss. While Jesus was against their actions, He was also for their recovery and redemption.
Therein lies the beauty of the revolutionary Jesus. He not only rises up against. But, He is so FOR that He lays down His life for the very ones who killed Him. It’s for that reason that Christianity went viral, unstoppable…a movement of against would’ve never made it past the first century.
Mark Driscoll, lead pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA has had a profound impact on me and a number of other young pastors. While I don’t agree with him on everything (He’s reformed. I’m more Armenian. He’s Complimentarian. I’m not), I respect and am encouraged by his passion for Jesus, the Scriptures, cities, and Gospel mission.
I thoroughly enjoyed his talk about Fear at Catalyst. My takeaways:
- 40 is the new 80. I’m tired, people!
- Stress manifest in the body…he’s blown out his adrenal glands twice due to stress.
- Luke 12:25
- Fear isn’t always a sin. But, it is an opportunity for sin.
- When you fear someone, you cannot love them.
- We let people take the place of God as a sort of a functional god.
- Prov 25:29
- Who has too much influence on your emotional well-being?
- Is your appetite for praise consuming you?
- Are you committed to people and things that God didn’t call you to?
- You may be very busy but not very holy.
- Fear is vision without hope.
- Fear is not always rational but it is very powerful.
- Fear preaches a false Gospel.
- Fear turns us all into false prophets.
- We predict a future that isn’t coming.
- WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO FEAR? -> The Bible says, “Fear not. I am present with you.”
- Others who struggled with fear? Adam in Gen 3, Abraham in Gen 15, Isaac in Gen 26, Jacob in Gen 28, Moses in Exodus 34, Elijah in 2 Kings 1, David in the Valley of the Shadow of Death (Psalm 23), Jacob in Isaiah 41, Jeremiah, the weeping prophet im Jeremiah 1, Daniel 9, Haggai 2, Mary (pregnant) in Luke 1, the women at the tomb in Matthew 28…to all of these people, God said, “Fear not, I am with you!”
Bar none, there is no one on TV who makes as much common sense as Dave Ramsey…pure genius…brutal honesty about finances, stewardship and life. Here are some of my favorites from today’s session:
- In the marketplace, Christians should be “roaring lambs!”
- In order to be present, you have to know that people matter.
- You have to stop in our TRANSACTIONAL CULTURE to be relational!
- People matter.
- Go relational!
- Treat people well…opportunities come through people.
- If you are going to put a fish on the back of it, you better drive it right.
- Excellent people love working in excellent environments.
- Leaders should probably spend double or triple the amount of time they are presently spending on staffing.
- You’re hiring the spouse too…do spousal interviews to weed out the talented people you want to hire who don’t have adequate support form their spouse.
- Slow and steady matters.
- If you don’t have the resources to fund it, maybe that’s God saying you shouldn’t do it.
- When you are growing faster than your money to sustain it, you are growing too fast.
- Do’t advance past your supply lines.
- He who is impulsive exalts folly. -Proverbs 11:29
- Don’t blame your impulsiveness on the Holy Spirit or Jesus.
- Put a spirit of generosity on your ministry.
- Look at your work as an act of worship.
- How to leave a bad job -> -> -> Be so excellent that the competition steals you away.
- If you tell the truth and show up on time, you’re ahead of 80% of the rest.
Perhaps the only leadership guys I enjoy more than Jim Collins are Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell. Jim Collins is purely genius though. His books, Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall have been substantial books in my life. So, any time I get to pick up some nuggets from him like I did today at Catalyst is a real treat!
Here are my takeaways:
- Greatness is not the sole result of circumstance but also a direct result of conscious decision.
- Try to change every “what” question into a “who” question.
- Your strategy for climbing a mountain isn’t nearly as important as who your climbing partner is.
- Darwin Smith, CEO of Kimberly Clark: “I was just trying to become prepared for the job.”
- It isn’t about personality. It’s about humility. <-leadership begins here.
- But, humility combined with will power is the essence of where leadership begins.
- Bad decisions taken with good intentions are still bad decisions.
- Never grow beyond your ability to preserve your culture! -Southwest Airlines
- Fanatic Discipline is discipline on the tough days to move ahead AND discipline on the good days not to overreach.
- Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines: “We’re so paranoid that we’ve predicted 11 of the last 3 recessions!”
- The only mistakes we learn from are the ones we survive.
- The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.
Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Church in Atlanta, GA opened Catalyst 2011. He’s an exceptional leader/communicator. He shared about accessibility, success, engagement, and being present…very good stuff as always. Here are a few thoughts that stood out to me:
- The more successful you are, the less accessible you become (whether you like it or not).
- You can’t be fully present with more than a few people.
- As you wrestle with the reality of not being able to engage with everyone who needs engagement, you ought not to stop engaging altogether. Instead, “Do fo one what you wish you could do for everyone.”
- Don’t be fair. Be engaged.
- Go deep rather than wide. (relationally)
- Don’t be involved everywhere. Be involved somewhere.
- When you do for one what you wish you could do for everyone, you usually end up impacting more than just the one.
Hey! Don’t miss out on the Nines Conference (FREE), which runs from 10 AM-7 PM on Tuesday, September 27th. Last year, some 50,000 people benefitted from this good conference. Some really great church leaders are sharing their thoughts on:
- health (my topic)
This is the first year for me to have a spot to speak at The Nines. I speak at around 6:40-6:45 PM right after Michael Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg Church and before Nancy Ortberg of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. That’s quite a privilege for me. I’m taking the opportunity to share a very personal story about how I have learned to honor God with good stewardship of my health. I hope you join me and some other very excellent speakers at The Nines Conference!
On February 2nd, 2012, I will complete a bike ride from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam through Cambodia (Pnomh Penh & Siem Reap) to Bangkok, Thailand.
I’m riding 540 miles in order to bring HOPE to Cambodia through People for Care and Learning (PCL). This ride will be the first of many rides, runs, walks, and swims around the world by many people who want to raise awareness and money concerning extreme poverty. PCL will build homes, drill water wells, provide education, medical care, vocational training, and humanitarian work. Join the team and say “NO” to poverty.
I’ll share more later, including the very-soon-to-be-launched website. In the meantime, LIKE the “Will Ride for Hope” Facebook community page NOW.
The January 2011 issue of the Evangel, the official magazine of the Church of God, published two articles about Life Pointe Church. I thought I’d share the PDF documents of those articles here. If you’d like to access the entire magazine, you can do so at www.onlineevangel.com.
- Sharing The Unchanging Gospel in A Changing World by John Upchurch
- Love Aggressively; Never Compromise on Mission, an interview with Travis Johnson
I loved thinking back on how God has collected us all together…we’ve got a good family, a good mission, and a good Father.