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Archive - October, 2009

Don’t Forget To Fall Back Tonight!

(picture taken from http://www.abc26.com)

Just thought I’d remind the readers of Elemental Children’s Ministry to not forget to set your clocks back before going to bed tonight (October 31). Hope you all have a fun Halloween.

If you are reading this on November 1 in the morning and forgot to set your clock back, you’ve got an extra hour! WooHoo!


Setting God Up To Do Something Neat

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by ♪ Brigitte…Meh ♫)

This post from Mark Batterson reminded me of what we talked about with the elementary kids this past Sunday:

Follow God even when it doesn’t make sense.

Mark talks about how when you are spiritually immature, you find the greatest peace when you’re in comfortable circumstances. Whereas, spiritual maturity is evidenced by having peace in impossible circumstances. He says, “All of us want a miracle, but most of us don’t want to be in situations that necessitate one!”

I love that! How many of us miss out on seeing God “do something neat” (that’s how I worded it with the kids) because we choose not to follow him when it doesn’t make sense? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that we force God’s hand simply by stepping out in blind faith. I’m not even saying that when God calls us to take huge steps of faith that there will be huge miraculous signs that accompany our faith. What I am saying is that when we follow God, especially when it doesn’t make sense, we are setting God up to do something neat. That neat thing might be big… it might be small… but it is something that would not happen without us following him and taking that step of faith.

What an amazing story to be a part of! We need to help kids grasp onto this reality. We need to challenge them to learn to listen to God’s voice and step out in faith (even if it’s a little step) even when it doesn’t make sense. Not only that, but we need to help them realize that by doing so, they are participating along with God in seeing neat things happen in the world around them.

Missional Halloween

I grew up with schizophrenia when it came to Halloween. I remember being very young and going to a Halloween party at my church with carnival games and dressing up and such. I remember dressing up and trick or treating. I even remember times where we turned off the lights and pretended not to be home because Halloween was evil. Whatever Dobson or Fallwell or Robertson said about Halloween from year to year determined what we did. I’ve heard all about the evil origins of Halloween. I’ve read the articles and tracts. I think we even gave out some of those tracts one year.

I ran across this post from Michael Spencer as well as this other one that Spencer refers to in his post that give a different understanding of Halloween history than what I was familiar with. I thought they were interesting.

Regardless of the origins of Halloween and what each person chooses to do on that day, Halloween does offer a great opportunity for us to be in our neighborhoods and interacting with the people we live around. We can choose to create our own alternatives so we can feel good about not celebrating evil yet still having fun. We can choose to participate in the fun and go from house to house gathering candy while dressed up. Or we can find ways to build relationships with our neighbors.

What does that look like? Well, if you’re a regular reader of Elemental Children’s Ministry then you already know the answer to that question. It depends on you, your culture and your context. For some that means setting up activities in your front yard that neighborhood kids can participate in, giving you time to interact with other parents and guardians. For others, it might mean handing out hot chocolate and coffee to shivering kids and adults. For another group of people it could mean giving out boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts that were left over after a fundraiser as a thank you as your kids get candy from various homes (we did this one year… it was so much fun!). Use your imagination!

As an extra treat, here’s a video of our Family Pumpkin Party this past Sunday.


OMG! The Third Commandment? What?

(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by fred_fred)

You hear it on TV all the time… especially on that home makeover one… you know the one I’m talking about… I hear it said all over the place: adults, kids, in the mall, on a walk, in church… I’ve even heard a parrot trained to say it.

I have to admit it. Every time I hear it, I cringe. I can deal with most other words (some make me blush and some make me shake my head), but hearing “Oh my God!” makes me cringe.

Why? Is it because that is a remnant of my conservative evangelical programming that refuses to let go? Is it because I want to adhere to the third commandment (and every other commandment for that matter) as a list of rules that I am subject to and bound to follow? Maybe it’s because I feel that I hold myself to some superior spiritual standing by not taking the Lord’s name in vain?

I recently read this post by Scot McKnight about the third commandment… that’s the one about taking the Lord’s name in vain… Oh don’t pretend you didn’t forget!

I encourage you to read McKnight’s post for yourself. He does a really good job of reconciling the fact that we are no longer slave to the law with the other fact that we are told by Jesus that if we are true followers of himself then we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. The issue comes down to that of loving God and respect for his name out of that love. The third commandment to not take the Lord’s name in vain, then takes on a much deeper dimension than simply not saying, “Oh my God.” It goes further. It means we do or say nothing that would bring dishonor to God or anything that touches God.

I believe that being able to refocus our walk with God and how we conduct ourselves through the missional lens of loving God and loving others is crucial to how we help children and families live the way God wants us to.


Global Leadership Summit Session 7 – Chip and Dan Heath

  • 4:42 PM henryjz - Think about the situation ppl are in… getting the elephant to move is easier if you sculpt the path downhill
  • 4:39 PM henryjz - When commitment is a problem, it might not be a personal problem but a situation problem.
  • 4:37 PM henryjz - Failure can be an early warning sign for success in that process.
  • 4:37 PM henryjz - Built into a growth mindset is the expectation of failure.
  • 4:36 PM henryjz - In a time of change, failure is a necessity.
  • 4:34 PM henryjz - if ppl have been forewarned that there is going to be difficulty, then they are able to recognize that the difficulty is part of the process
  • 4:34 PM henryjz - how do you deal with the setbacks and failures in the midst of change
  • 4:32 PM henryjz - we need to prepare people to deal with tough times… tough times tend to keep ppl from continuing in the direction they are going
  • 4:31 PM henryjz - what can we do to keep the elephant moving in the right direction?
  • 4:31 PM henryjz - if you feel like you are making headway, then that is a sign you are moving the elephant… if you feel discouraged and demoralized, then you need to do something different
  • 4:30 PM henryjz - maybe start with a bible study about integrity in the workplace that is once a week located downtown…
  • 4:30 PM henryjz - 20-somethings have a variety of things in their lives that make reaching them really big
  • 4:29 PM henryjz - How can you shrink change in losing 20 somethings from church?
  • 4:28 PM henryjz - Change many times is so big so we need to break it down into small things that can be done
  • 4:25 PM henryjz - Shrink the change
  • 4:25 PM henryjz - “Big problems, small solutions…”
  • 4:20 PM henryjz - It is similar to counseling situations… you look at the times things are going well and try to reproduce those conditions
  • 4:19 PM henryjz - If you have an organization in a time of change, you need to focus on what is working rather than looking at the weak spots, and learn from those “bright spots”
  • 4:15 PM henryjz - Change is like a human rider on a 6 ton elephant… you have to align the goals of the elephant and the rider for change to happen
  • 4:14 PM henryjz - Change is filled with conflict.
  • 4:08 PM henryjz - Craig Groeschel video intro for Chip and Dan

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Global Leadership Summit Session 6 – Jessica Jackley

  • 2:54 PM henryjz - Intro video for Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org
  • 2:59 PM henryjz - influences to be aware of the poor:
  • 2:59 PM henryjz - in Sunday school learning Jesus saying that the poor will always be with us, which was a fear
  • 2:59 PM henryjz - second influence is that Jesus said that we need to help the “least of these”
  • 2:59 PM henryjz - What led to formation of Kiva?
  • 3:00 PM henryjz - Learned about microfinance (small loans to those in poverty) and felt that was what she needed to do
  • 3:02 PM henryjz - Started learning stories of microfinance through interviewing recipients of microfinance
  • 3:02 PM henryjz - Asked question of how to take the next step in helping these recipients
  • 3:03 PM henryjz - Wanted to not just fund but get the stories of it unfolding
  • 3:05 PM henryjz - Kiva partners with microfinance institutions all over the world, gets profiles from them of people who need microloans, lenders come onto the site and pick profiles they want to lend to
  • 3:06 PM henryjz - average need is $500, and the average loan is $100 so Kiva is getting “normal” people to lend and contribute
  • 3:07 PM henryjz - Question-what kind of life change are you seeing?
  • 3:08 PM henryjz - Parents can send their kids to school, better health, better living conditions, even something as “insignificant” as a lock on the door or sugar to put in tea to be a better host
  • 3:09 PM henryjz - 100% of loan is given to the entrepeneur
  • 3:09 PM henryjz - Question-How is Kiva doing?
  • 3:11 PM henryjz - in 4 years, went from $3000 in lending to $85 million… all because of the generosity of lenders giving as little as $25 chunks
  • 3:18 PM henryjz - The church should be the safest place for people to come up with new ideas.
  • 3:19 PM henryjz - Question-what have you found motivates ppl to give sacrificially?
  • 3:19 PM henryjz - The giving needs to have thought and intention… it needs to connect with people and change people
  • 3:20 PM henryjz - Question-do you have any fears for Kiva?
  • 3:21 PM henryjz - don’t want to allow fear to cause us to stop taking good risks
  • 3:21 PM henryjz - Question-advice to young leaders?
  • 3:21 PM henryjz - Take a step and don’t apologize for the steps you take even if very small
  • 3:22 PM henryjz - 1. don’t be afraid to start small
  • 3:22 PM henryjz - 2. just start… get going
  • 3:22 PM henryjz - Question-advice to more experienced leaders in dealing with young leaders
  • 3:23 PM henryjz - informational diversity is key… work together… be open to learning from each other
  • 3:23 PM henryjz - Final words…
  • 3:24 PM henryjz - when we truly believe in the potential of each other, then action will happen for things to get better

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Global Leadership Summit Session 5 – Gary Hamel

  • 2:47 PM henryjz - Millennials no interested in working for Fortune 500 companies and not interested in finding Jesus in churches that feel like them
  • 2:43 PM henryjz - mobilize, connect and support is what organizations need to do now
  • 2:40 PM henryjz - the challenge is building organizations that can thrive without superhumans at the top rather than finding great leaders
  • 2:39 PM henryjz - there is no one leader who can be everything
  • 2:38 PM henryjz - in a world of accelerated change, it’s dangerous to give power to a few ppl
  • 2:37 PM henryjz - 4. cannot have a top-down model of leadership
  • 2:37 PM henryjz - are you more committed to redemption and renewal and reconciliation or are you more committed to the programs, policies and practices of your church?
  • 2:34 PM henryjz - check out other churches and see what is being done identical… ask why
  • 2:34 PM henryjz - look at all your programs/initiatives and see what hasn’t changed and why
  • 2:33 PM henryjz - how?
  • 2:32 PM henryjz - 3. need to deconstruct what you already believe (not creeds)
  • 2:31 PM henryjz - How do you get as many ppl in your church to contribute to how we make an impact?
  • 2:29 PM henryjz - Only way to do that is to have options
  • 2:29 PM henryjz - Make sure that change seems more exciting than standing still
  • 2:29 PM henryjz - 2. Generate more strategic options
  • 2:28 PM henryjz - To fight denial: face the facts, question your beliefs (not creeds), listen to the renegades/dissidents
  • 2:25 PM henryjz - Organization misses the future more because the future is unpalatable.
  • 2:24 PM henryjz - There is a process of denial: dismissal, rationalization, mitigation, self confrontation
  • 2:22 PM henryjz - 1. Conquer denial
  • 2:22 PM henryjz - 4 things to fight entropy
  • 2:22 PM henryjz - We need to change from being crisis-driven and episodic to opportunity-driven
  • 2:22 PM henryjz - It takes a crisis or change in leadership to change the downward direction of an organization
  • 2:21 PM henryjz - Success is always self-correcting :)
  • 2:21 PM henryjz - Vision leads to strategies leads to policies leads to habits… organizational entropy
  • 2:16 PM henryjz - Unprecedented changes bring unprecedent opportunities. In order to take advantage of those, though, we need to have unprecedented strategies.
  • 2:15 PM henryjz - Should we be wringing our hands because of the secularization of culture or be thankful for a new opportunity
  • 2:13 PM henryjz - Our churches haven’t been potent catalysts for spiritual growth
  • 2:12 PM henryjz - most young christians end up leaving within 8-12 weeks of having made a commitment
  • 2:10 PM henryjz - Within churches there isn’t a difference between churched or unchurched in lifestyle
  • 2:09 PM henryjz - Many Christian institutions are not keeping up… just look at the stats… more people are not attending church… outsiders have low view of Christianity
  • 2:08 PM henryjz - Inroduction by John Ortberg

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Global Leadership Summit Session 4 – David Gergen

  • 12:29 PM henryjz - Each of us has a role in life to bring a log to the fire of life
  • 12:27 PM henryjz - 3. receive good anchors for life that keep me grounded
  • 12:23 PM henryjz - 2. learn something from the readings or from the message
  • 12:22 PM henryjz - 1. come to a place where i can find inner peace in a way that is about something larger than me
  • 12:22 PM henryjz - 3 things:
  • 12:21 PM henryjz - hybels – what do you hope is going to happen in you when you go to church?
  • 12:21 PM henryjz - habits that are important: self discipline, physically fit, building time in day to reflect, build time to be with people you cherish and who cherish you
  • 12:18 PM henryjz - it’s about self-discipline… regular habits
  • 12:17 PM henryjz - hybels – what are personal habits of leaders? do they matter?
  • 12:16 PM henryjz - the end should come back with emotion… if you want to inspire ppl to do things, then you need to get them “up” emotionally to act
  • 12:15 PM henryjz - introduce some emotion before getting to the message, which is the “reason” part of your speech
  • 12:15 PM henryjz - your ethos should be established in your introduction
  • 12:14 PM henryjz - hybels-what should the flow be?
  • 12:14 PM henryjz - good speech should be no more than 15-20 minutes
  • 12:14 PM henryjz - Aristotle… 3 elements to a good speach: believe-ability of the speaker, is there compelling logic to the speech and is there an emotional connect
  • 12:13 PM henryjz - same goes the other way around
  • 12:12 PM henryjz - Your willingness to listen to people depends on your trust of them… are they authentic and do they know what they are talking about
  • 12:10 PM henryjz - Communication includes symbolism
  • 12:09 PM henryjz - Leadership is increasingly about trust and communication
  • 12:08 PM henryjz - “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • 12:08 PM henryjz - leaders need to learn to partner and collaborate with leaders outside of their group
  • 12:07 PM henryjz - leaders get the best results when they have a good team of other leaders
  • 12:07 PM henryjz - leadership doesn’t have to be lonely… those days are over
  • 12:06 PM henryjz - MLK was good example… he had a messy private life… he always told people that he wasn’t perfect
  • 12:03 PM henryjz - how does one bring alignmnet between your public and private lives?
  • 12:03 PM henryjz - a lot of ppl aren’t going to conquer their flaws, but we need to make sure they need to be in enough control that they don’t derail us or harm us or others
  • 12:02 PM henryjz - we need to be self aware and recognize that we all have a dark side
  • 12:02 PM henryjz - gergen- not all leaders carry ‘great’ flaws… all of us are flawed, though
  • 12:00 PM henryjz - hybels- great leaders carry great flaws… is that true?
  • 12:00 PM henryjz - Clinton: he had cracks in his character (that he was working on) but they came out… he should’ve come clean and asked for forgiveness instead of hiding
  • 11:58 AM henryjz - Reagan: his detatchment… he would sometimes let people put their hands on the wheel
  • 11:57 AM henryjz - Ford: with the niceness, there was a bit of naivete and he was taken advantage of at times
  • 11:57 AM henryjz - Nixon: there was a ‘very’ dark side to him… that if those trying to appeal to his dark side won would bring him down
  • 11:56 AM henryjz - Hybels- what were some of these presidents’ weaknesses
  • 11:55 AM henryjz - “Sometimes the right hand does not know what the far right hand is doing.” -Reagan
  • 11:53 AM henryjz - Reagan: the best leader in White House since FDR… he had contagious optimism about life
  • 11:52 AM henryjz - Clinton was very resilient
  • 11:51 AM henryjz - Clinton: very bright… quick and tactical mind
  • 11:51 AM henryjz - Ford continues to look better and better through the rearview mirror of history
  • 11:51 AM henryjz - Gergen- no… we have come to prize ppl who are decent
  • 11:50 AM henryjz - Hybels- Is it possible to be too decent to be a good leader
  • 11:50 AM henryjz - Ford: most decent president… you didn’t have to be careful of your back
  • 11:50 AM henryjz - Someone who can see farther back can see farther ahead – Churchill
  • 11:49 AM henryjz - Nixon: best strategist… could look into future and see how history going to unfold and try to bend history
  • 11:49 AM henryjz - Hybels- What is most admirable quality of each presidents you worked under?
  • 11:48 AM henryjz - Leaders take time to step away for reflection and to get perspective
  • 11:46 AM henryjz - When you’re on the dance floor, it’s good sometimes to go up on the balcony and take a look at the dance that’s taking place.
  • 11:44 AM henryjz - The best leaders think carefully about what they want to do, choose their goals, and tenaciously go after those goal while receiving constant feedback
  • 11:43 AM henryjz - Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers -Harry Truman (former US President)
  • 11:43 AM henryjz - Reflective Practitioner – leading in practice, reading, and reflecting
  • 11:41 AM henryjz - You need to become a reflective practitioner
  • 11:41 AM henryjz - Gergen- You have to get better, whether you are born with it or not
  • 11:41 AM henryjz - Can leaders learn and get better? How does that happen? -Hybels
  • 11:40 AM henryjz - If you’re in a leadership position it’s not about creating leaders but more about creating a culture of leadership where people build into each other
  • 11:40 AM henryjz - A teacher of leadership cannot produce a leader. What you can do is make ppl aware of the principles of leadership and role models
  • 11:38 AM henryjz - Interview between Hybels and Gergen
  • 11:36 AM henryjz - Video intro for David Gergen

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