Categories
illustrations

Tilt Your Perspective to See Things Differently

Tilt your perspective to see things differently. 

Pakistan to Siberia in a straight line without touching land. I had to watch that video 3 times to get how it’s possible.

Left on its normal axis you’d never see it. But tilt the globe a little and you start to see things you never saw before.

Axiom: Step away from your challenges long enough to gain a fresh perspective.

Categories
Christian Living

What Posture Do You Take?

Posture impacts perspective
My posture sure impacts your perspective, doesn’t it? How big is this fish?

Beginning Again After Reflection

Having just taken a 2-week break from my daily blogging routine, I’m coming back at the task fresh from some time of reflection.

Ultimately, my reasons for writing this blog haven’t changed from when I started it in 2004. Back then I said I was starting this blog, “Mostly as a way to share with myself, just what is going on.”

Historically, my blog is at it’s best when I’m writing about my journey. And, speaking just for myself, I feel worst about it when I try to use it for some other purpose.

Categories
Christian Living hmm... thoughts

Perspective

That’s what 2010 has been about.

My life was turned upside down multiple times in the past 12 months. All of which I’m entirely grateful for.

Haiti – On January 12th, as news flooded in that much of Port-au-Prince had crumbled in an earthquake, I prayed a crazy prayer. I asked God to comfort those who were dying, bring emergency help if possible for those who survived, and if He wanted I was willing to go.

Little did I know that 5 weeks later I’d be standing amidst the rubble. We helped where we could. We prayed with people and met plenty of pastors looking for aid. But the thing that rattled me more than anything was to feel a nation suddenly turn their heart towards God. An emotion leapt out of every person that sang in the streets, “I’m alive, so I can celebrate! I’m alive because of Jesus! I will celebrate even though I have nothing!” The only way I can describe that is that it felt like I’d been given the opportunity to dip my toe in a river of God’s benevolence. It’s was more powerful than anything I’d ever experienced.

My perspective was changed when people who slept in tents on the rocky bare ground asked if they could pray for me. That re-defined what it means to be poor.

Baby – One Sunday in late June the game was changed. “I’m pregnant.” Two words that I’ve wanted to hear for a long time but never really thought I’d hear again. Over the next few months we’ve had to wrap our minds around what it’ll mean to have a baby in the house again. Unlike with our first baby the question we’ve been asking ourselves is, “How little stuff do we think we can get away with acquiring?” There are, of course, bigger questions to be answered. How will this baby change our family? How will we handle child care? Will this baby finally have curly hair like Kristen?

My perspective was changed when the reality set in that this is an opportunity to apply what we learned with Megan and Paul. In many ways we’re brand new parents.

Openness – For some reason I’d kept a muzzle on myself. I suppose I had a fear that if I really opened up and said what was on my mind– instead of what I thought people wanted me to say– that people would like me less. And I certainly felt the sphincter effect on my creativity as more and more people began reading my blog after Marko left YS.

Then, late last year I woke up and realized something. “I just don’t care. I need to be 100% me 100% of the time. This is who God made me and I need to be gaudy in that. Let the chips fall where they may.” It’s been interesting to see the results in 2010. I’ve written things in 2010 that I literally done with fear and trembling… and time and again those things have been affirmed as not just OK… but words that people needed to read. More good things have happened as a result of trying to be true to myself than I ever would have thought possible.

My perspective was changed when I internalized that the world has enough pretenders. Sometimes you need to do things that are counter-intuitive to break through a barrier.

All of this has given me new ears to listen. New levels of obedience. And an overwhelming excitement for days to come.

Categories
Christian Living illustrations

A or B thinking

Wipeout is a metephor for life

The thing that I really love about Wipeout is that I can see myself being on the show. There is something about the story of the show that makes me want to insert myself into the narrative. I don’t know about you, but when I watch the show I’m constantly thinking about how I would react to a situation or how I would have done it differently.

Watching other people fall, fail, and probably get hurt is attractive to me.

There is something so train wreck about Wipeout that makes it interesting and intruiging.

I want it. But what is “it?”

Why can’t I stop watching?!?

3rd person perspective

I like it because I am not in it. The reason it is so funny on television is because the people on the ground are in the first person and they are forced to think linear about Wipeout while at home we are in the third person and can see everything.

They only get to see what is in front of them. They don’t know how other players have completed the obstacle. They don’t have the view we have at home. We are above the action while they are in it.

They are trying to problem solve the maze of each apparatus in real time first person.

We are the humans watching the mouse work its way through a complicated maze. When you have a third person perspective, the game is easy and the mouse looks stupid.

Person after person makes the same mistake and you are left to just scream at the television… “Don’t do it that way! You’re going to fa… Oh, did you see him fall? Ouch!

The Wipeout mousetrap forces the participant into A vs. B thinking while the third person perspective clearly shows the answer is either A or B.

Sometimes the answer is C

My life is sometimes an episode of Wipeout. Life often feels squished into a maze of A & B choices.

But I’m learning more and more that the answer in A & B circumstances is actually C.

  • C: None of the above
  • C: All of the above
  • C: Another idea

This is why life isn’t Wipeout.

Life feels like a series of A or B choices. And if you get them right, you’ll succeed in life.

But that’s incorrect. Life is full of choices that look like A vs. B. But C is often the only right answer.

Stuck?

I know a lot of people who feel stuck right now.

They don’t feel like life affords them a lot of options.

Do I continue down this path or do I start something new?

I hate my job but the economy sucks and I don’t want to be unemployed right now.

The trick is not settling for A or B when the answer might be C.

The answer is– adjust your perspective.

Categories
Church Leadership hmm... thoughts Manifesto

Two views of the local church

church-views

There are two sides to every coin, aren’t there? I’ve had this post stuck in my head for several weeks– and I think the illustration says it all.

Church leaders: Complacency sneaks in. We surround ourselves with people who go to church. We spend a lot of our time at the church. Our perspective becomes that the community revolves around activities at the church. Pretty soon we become ambivelent about the neighborhood we live in. Our schedule is defined on what’s convenient to those who come to church. Our agenda becomes to serve them.

We perceive our ministry as a “city on a hill” when in fact the people living in our neighborhood are completely unaware of our existence. Before we know it, we are so comfortable with our programs, budgets, staff, and people who come to church we forget reality.

The reality is that in most communities about 5% of the population attends a church. And yet we are comforable with that. Go ahead do the math yourself. Spend 30 minutes calling every church in your community and get actual attendence numbers. Next, simply divide that number by the population of your community. In most places that number is 5% or less of people who attend church on any given weekend. And we all know that just because someone attends church on Sunday doesn’t mean they are Christians, right?

Why not take some time to get to know how 95% of the population views your church? Think of it like this. Count the next 20 cars that drive past your house. Only the 20th car will attend a church this weekend. In the illustration above there are 18 houses in view of that church. And none of them will attend that church this weekend. If your theology is like mine, you recognize that Jesus died for all 20 of the people in those cars and all 18 of the people who live in those houses. But who is our ministry serving? The 5% who show up. Most of our money and time is spent serving Jesus from the perspective of the 5% and not the 95%.

That perspective should change things. 1 in 20 people will attend church this weekend. Any church. Even that church that is so bad you won’t even meet with the pastor to pray.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. Romans 12:3, The Message

And yet church leaders reassure themselves that numbers don’t matter! This is the state of the church and people say we don’t need to fundamentally change how we do ministry. We worry about offending the 5%. We worry about changing too much too fast while our sworn enemy puts up victory statues all over. We follow leaders who look at this reality, shrug their shoulders, and move on with their lives. We go to denominiational meetings which agree to spend more money on organizations which are smaller every year. In short, we invest all of our time and energy in a broken model.

And then when someone really breaks through. And that community reaches 6% of the population so we flock to hear how they did it? Got a book? Teach a seminar? Our perspective is jacked up, isn’t it?

New leaders are needed. I dream of church leaders coming to the forefront who are drastically interested in the 95%. I long to surround myself with leaders who keep the 5% in perspective. We celebrate those lives changed! But I want to be with men and women who think differently. Where are the leaders who look at those 5% as just the beginning? Where are the people who recognize that a model cannot be built around an individuals talents? Where are the leaders who know they need to start a swarming movement?

Point me to those people. I am tired of those who are satisfied with the failure of 5%.