Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Die On The Mountain? [Part 1]

"As a rock climber, the one thing you learn is that those who panic, die on the mountain. You don't just sit on the mountain. You either go up or go down, but don't just sit and wait to get clobbered."

Jim Collins [author of Built to Last and Good to Great] has made a career out of understanding why organizations [like some rock climbers] succeed. He says the signature of mediocre organizations is not an unwillingness to change, but chronic inconsistency at doing so because the changes they make are inconsistent with their values [whatever they are].

So think about it: What is your organization's values? Are there things you should stop doing chronically inconsistent with your organization's values? Are there things you should start doing that could be more consistent? Or would you rather just die on the mountain?

Edited and adapted from a January 22, 2009 interview of Jim Collins by Jennifer Reingold in FORTUNE magazine. Click pic to read article in its entirety.

Die On The Mountain? [Part 2]

"You have to have the combination of believing that you will prevail, that you will get out of this, but also not be the Pollyanna who ignores the brutal facts."—Jim Collins

In Part 1 of this post, I mentioned how Jim Collins has made a career out of understanding why organizations [like some rock climbers] succeed. He says the signature of mediocre organizations is not an unwillingness to change, but chronic inconsistency at doing so because they make changes inconsistent with their values.

So IF our values [@TF] include: "Growing from the children's divisions up" [instead of appealing primarily to adults convinced by systematic theology] "A Christ centered church" [think Christian Adventist instead of Adventist Christian; click Pollyanna pic for more about that] "Shouting the Gospel with our lives" [such as promoting a lifestyle of evangelism through ordinary outreach opportunities], as contrarian as it sounds in a tanking economy, shouldn't we be doing even more of the few things we value most? If we don't, is it because we don't believe they will help us prevail? Or because we're ignoring some other brutal facts? Do you think an 8 or 88 year old could understand ours?

Click the triangular play button below to hear Jim Collins talk about how to turn crises into opportunities—even in troubled times.

No Mo' Bacon OR Oatmeal?!!

Over 600k people have watched "The Breakfast Song" on YouTube. According to Tom Joyners' website [click pic for details], the people sincerely singing this hilarious song on The Kay Bain Show in May/June of 2004 from NBC affiliate WTVA of Tupelo, Mississippi are Pastor Cleo Clariet and his fiancé Katherine Lane.

Pretty much covering all the breakfast foods including bacon and oatmeal [!!!], Clariet is either longing for the day Jesus returns or eerily singing a song of premonition of his dying before then. Because according to the website above, Clariet passed away from congenital heart disease on Dec. 13, 2004. Lane said he would have been thrilled to know his song is now entertaining so many people. Enjoy!!!

[But stay away from the...
Bacon. Sausage. Orange Juice. Coffee. Biscuits. Light bread. Grits. Scrambled eggs. Oatmeal. Pancakes. Sugar and rice. Beef steak. Maple syrup. Strawberry jam. Gravy. Country ham. Captain Crunch. Cinnamin Oats. Lucky Charms. Cheerios. Wheaties. Frosted Flakes. Rice Krispies. Nuts of Grapes. Chicken. Pork Chops. Lipton tea. Soda pop. Donuts. Grapefruit. Apple pie. Mixed fruit. Oatmeal. Corn Flakes. And beef stew LOL!!!]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Knowing And Doing In Part?

Nick Vujicic is 25 years old. He was born December 4th, 1982 in Melbourne, Australia without arms or legs. For years he and his parents [one of whom is a pastor] was angry at God. Neither of them or Nick’s doctors could tell Nick why he was born that way. And according to 1 Corinthinas 13:12, there’s some stuff that we won’t be able to explain either.

But knowing in part doesn't stop Nick from doing his part. And it shouldn’t stop us either! Because God can always make something good out of anything bad. After being sold into slavery, years later Joseph tells his brothers in Genesis 50:20 [NIV], "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Because God has a purpose and plan for Nick's life, you can be sure God has one for you as well. Click the triangular play button below to hear Nick speak to some of the most hard core prisoners in a Colombian prison in 2008.

What If Paul Was Packing?

An associate pastor at the southern Illinois church where Pastor Fred Winters was shot to death while giving a sermon on March 8, 2009 says the congregation is praying for the alleged gunman Terry Sedlacek and his family. A statement from Winters' widow was read who said her husband "died doing what he loved, communicating the hope found in Jesus Christ."

Tim Schmidt, Owner/Founder of the United States Concealed Carry Association mercifully waited 48 hours before wondering out loud via email if the pastor would still be alive if a member of his congregation had been carrying a concealed weapon or if the pastor himself had been carrying a gun.

Five different times the apostle Paul received 39 lashes. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once he was stoned. If Paul was packing a gun, do you think he would have been boasting in 2 Corinthians 11:23-25 about the things that show others how weak he was? Should I carry a concealed gun into the pulpit? Should we arm undercover members of our congregation with guns? I'm curious. What do YOU think pastors and churches should do? Comment below or answer the anonymous poll near the top right of the screen.

Dolphins In The Desert?

Was the ark protected by dolphin leather? That depends on which ark we're talking about! Genesis 6:15 [NLT] says Noah's was 450' long, 75' wide, and 45' high. It was made from cypress [NIV] or gopher wood [KJV] and sealed with tar inside and out [Click here for some pics of Noah's built to half scale by some Dutch guy in Holland]. The Ark of the Covenant [a sacred chest not a boat] 3¾' long and 2¼' wide and 2¼' high was much smaller—though anything compared to Noah's would be!!! Exodus 25:10-22 says it was made from acacia wood [NIV] or shittim wood [KJV—insert joke here] and covered with gold.

But what startled me recently was that Exodus 26:14 says the big tent covering that ark was made of sea cows [NIV]. Which according to Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), a leading writer and thinker within Conservative Judaism before he died, is a word of uncertain meaning often translated "dolphins."

Why would God encourage people already on a quest to undertake another quest to find, capture, kill, skin and eventually tan some dolphins while they're in the middle of the desert? Whether you think they actually did this or not, isn't it a good thing to remember that a mission from God always lead to motion? What quest do you hear God sending you to pursue? If apart from Christ we can do nothing [John 15:5], who should get the credit in any of "our" exploits?

Edited and adapted from posts by Seth Godin and Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs. Click either name to read in their entirety.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Heard The Sky Angel Cowboy?

Millions of Americans have heard 13 year old Logan Henderson's phone call to a Christian radio station in Nebraska. If you haven't, click the triangular play button below and grab a tissue.

Beyond Evandalism Recap?

Peter Rollins was the main speaker at the "Beyond Evandalism" conference Jackie and I attended last week in CA. In this 10 minute clip below, Peter recaps his 1st presentation and previews his 3rd. Got any thoughts on his content, delivery, or Irish accent?!! Contact the Hollywood Adventist Church for more info or to purchase DVDs of the entire conference.

Wanna Watch Jesus People?

If you [like me] love NBC's The Office, you'll love Jesus People [click pic for more]!!! Webisodes are available on YouTube. But below is the preview for the full length movie about the development and irony of a Christian music band. Especially cool is it is co-written by Rajeev Sigamoney [shout out!!!] who is a member at the Hollywood Adventist Church and is related to my pastor friend Kumar Dixit [shout out deux!!!] at the New Hope Adventist Church in Maryland. Small world. Big laughs. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How Much Do You Love Your Family?

According to his website, Jason Taylor was one of the most feared Defensive Ends on a National Football League field. And because he was, he was rewarded with a contract that would have paid him $9million [!!!] in 2009. But two years ago, he spent his offseason Dancing With the Stars and this season, he was hurt a lot.

So this offseason, though the Redskins offered him an additional $500k to spend 75% of his time with the team in VA working out 39 times between March and May about 3 hours a day any four days a week, he said no. And the Redskins cut him. Leaving behind one dismal season and two draft picks spent in acquiring him.

So let me ask you: How much do you love your family? Would you rather spend time with them 24/7 or spend 3 days/week with them for 3 months making $500k? Edited and adapted from a post by Washington Redskins teammate Chris Cooley. Click pic to read in its entirety.

Say Goodbye to Hollywood?

Jackie and I spent some time last weekend in Corona Del Mar, Huntington and Laguna Beach, and Hollywood, California visiting friends and attending a conference called "Beyond Evandalism" at the Hollywood [literally a block's walk to snap this famous sign] Adventist Church. Peter Rollins [author of How Not to Speak of God and The Orthodox Heretic] was the main speaker emphasizing why living our faith is so much more effective than merely talking about it. While there, mesmerized by the beautiful sun and and surf, I forgot to wear sunscreen. My forehead got so burned it felt like it was on fire!!! Which is where this street preacher was saying people would be burning unless they started turning to Jesus and the Bible. You think this is what Peter was talking about by living one's faith LOL?!!

The Rest of the Story?

According to adherents.com, Paul Harvey was a Seventh-day Adventist who "regularly attends" the Camelback Adventist Church in Arizona. But according to my pastor bud Bobby McGhee, who was pastor at Camelback until 2000, neither Harvey nor his wife Angel were members there. Angel's aunt who raised her was an Adventist and that is why she went to church with her aunt and why Harvey said nice things about Adventists and occasionally attended Camelback when wintering in Scottsdale.

But what about after McGhee left? So I called the Camelback church and left a voice mail on Pastor Charles White's cellphone [the pastor who took over after Bobby left] and he called me back this morning to say that yes he too knew the Harveys well, did do Angel's funeral in May 2008, and will be flying to Chicago tomorrow to do Paul's graveside service on Monday but that no, neither one ever were members at Camelback. So THAT's the rest of his story.

But other highlights include receiving numerous accolades during his 70 years in radio, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005. His "The Rest of the Story" commentaries made him a mainstay of American radio journalism. Edited and adapted from a blog post by Jared Wright. Click pic to read Wright's post in its entirety or click the triangular play button below to watch one of Harvey's best anecdotes.