"The Noticer" (sometimes a book reads you!)

sometimes you read a book, sometimes a book reads you!

this book releases tomorrow...i'll offer a quick recap from the publisher and some of the most powerful statements from it below.

first, let me say that this book is going to be difficult to 'classify' - it's somewhat fiction, somewhat non-fiction, somewhat business, somewhat spiritual - it's a story, so it is mostly conversational - the wisdom that you find in it is remarkable.

here's the copy from the publisher...

A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.

here are some of the most powerful statements that really stood out to me:
  • "...experience is not the best teacher. Other people's experience is the best teacher." (p.9)
  • "...whatever you focus upon, increases." (p.13)
  • "Ask yourself this question, 'What is it about me that other people would change if they could?'" (p.15)
  • "A successful life has a great deal to do with perspective" (p.15)
  • "A best friend will tell you the truth...and a wise best friend will include a healthy dose of perspective." (p.30)
  • "...all lives-are either in crisis, coming out of a criss, or headed for a crisis" (p.31)
  • "It's time to stop letting your history control your destiny" (p.51)
  • " just a misuse of the creative imagination that has been placed in each of us" (p.52)
  • "The only thing crazier than the guy that says, 'Watch this!' is the guy that says, 'Heck, I can do that!" (p.53)
  • "One way to define wisdom is the ability to see, into the future, the consequences of your choices in the present" (p.65)
  • "I'd like for us to pray for some smiling faces in this church...I think more people would want to go to heaven, if they weren't afraid it'd be like church when they got there!" (p.96)
  • "Change is immediate!...It may take a long time to decide to change...but change happens in a heartbeat!" (p.110)
  • "people are the delivery vehicle for opportunity and encouragement" (p.133)
i highly suggest you pick this book up, it's encouraging, a quick read and will leave you "noticing" some things you may otherwise miss.

you can order by clicking here: The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

Exponential 09 Conference

just wanted to throw together a post real quick of some things that i brought back from Exponential 09.

this is a mix of things learned, things gleaned, things thought about, and things, things, things...
  • church planting is "hot" right now - denominations are struggling to attract new people to the role of church planter
  • networks, on the other hand, are not struggling...hmmmmmmmm...what can we learn?
  • here's one of my CHIEF takeaways...we have to create permission-giving structures
  • the Swedish Baptist General Conference changed there name to Converge - pretty cool! can denominations do that? - oh yes they for thought?!?!
  • what makes you distinctive makes you dangerous - in other words, the thing that made vineyard distinctive early on, made them dangerous...thoughts?
  • mcmanus statement (from a book - dunno which) - "most people never seize the divine moment because of previous success" - wow and ouch all in one...
  • church planters in their 20's and 30's lack three things: wisdom, influence, and resources - wouldn't it be great if denoms could give these things - yes! and we will!
  • movemental! (great word...perhaps a word to measure what we do everything by..."is it movemental" - in other words, does it lead to a movement?)
  • contend for the Gospel
  • contextualize the Gospel
  • relationships are key
  • relationships are key
  • REALationships are key
  • we need the above in the US - we haven't seen it YET!
  • DT Niles said, "a Christian is just one beggar showing another beggar where to find food" - simple, powerful, communicates well and may just find it's way into a sermon or 40
  • we have to love muslims - we don't
  • church planting is not easy or beautiful - it's hard - but unless you stay in the game, you can't be used by God
  • WRONG QUESTION: what is the right way to do church?
  • RIGHT QUESTION: what does it mean to fulfill God's purposes?
  • it's the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the Gospel of Salvation that must be preached - there's more to it than just salvation!
  • never, never, NEVER villify another religion - Acts 17. start with where people are...don't tell people what's wrong with their religion, tell them what's right with yours.
  • a movement will never be safe, predictable or clean
  • a movement will never be about your ministry (Kingdom!)
  • the scorecard has changed for leading a movement - we can't use the old measurements of success
  • don't blame yourself on last week's low attendance, if you do, you'll take credit for next weeks increase - read that again!
  • 3 rules for Kingdom living: 1.) Jesus rules me; 2.) Jesus rules among us; 3.) Jesus rules through us
  • proximity is NOT the same as intimacy
  • in order to lead a movement: 1.) you'll have to see what others don't see; 2.) do what others don't do; 3.) hurt like others don't hurt

say what you need to say

since i mentioned in yesterday's post the need for churches and church leaders to work on communication...let me just post a few thoughts about that over the next few posts...there are random, not in a certain order and just things that i believe could be instrumental in making a positive change in the overall atmosphere of the church...

#1 - say what you need to say - yea, the song's by john mayer. but the phrase fits well here. say what YOU need to say...said another way...say what you NEED to say...

confused, hope not, let me clarify. there are some things that ONLY the church leader(ship) NEEDS to say. and that needs to be well understood and thought out ahead of time. DON'T say MORE than you need to say, just say WHAT you need to say. don't confuse people by setting unrealistic expectations or promises (been guilty, have the scares). the old axiom, "under-promise & over-deliver" is not such a bad principle. having said that, the caution that i offer is to NOT become so "under-promise-ing" in nature that you create an atmosphere that is void of risk, vision and mission. YOU still need to inspire people, create the future (rather than live in the past), cast vision, etc...just be careful in HOW you need to say it...we'll talk about that next post..."how do you say it"

what i've been learning

just a few thoughts from recent days:
  • hung out yesterday morning with the daily read from youversion. specifically, it was numbers 33, proverbs 24 and john 6. below are some thoughts that i journaled from my time in God's Word:
  1. in numbers 33 - God tells moses to record the stages of the journey. importance: i'm trying to get into a habit of journaling. i'm still working on it. i hate writing-i'd rather type (much quicker). but the practice of writing causes me to slow down and digest what it is that i'm writing - thus i retain it much better. MORE importantly though, is the fact that we have to see that there are stages to the journey. i've used the word "seasons" for a long time...the fact that we have seasons of our life to travel through. i like the fact that moses had to record the stages of the journey - it's important to see where you came from.
  2. in proverbs 24 - laziness ROBS you of the life more abundantly that God provides through Christ Jesus. here's what a lot of people miss...they leave the responsibility to God for EVERYTHING. their is a cooperative relationship involved. yes, God can do it - no, He can't do it without you - you were PART of the plan (actually He could, but that's not often His pattern).
  3. in john 6 - 2 things: a.) Jesus multiplied the food and their were leftovers. this tells me (i've said this before here) that He overreacted. how many times do we wait to see if there's a pattern before we react and thus miss a, let's see if we have 100 people 4 weeks in a row in service...stupid plan! if you can only hold 90 and you have 100, you need to begin NOW to plan to enlarge, relocate, multiply services - something! but don't wait! if Jesus had done like MANY of our churches the people would've starved! i wonder, how many people are we starving because we're afraid to react, let alone overreact? b.) in vss. 25-33 Jesus dealt with the consumer mindset - hey, it's a fact - deal with it! people are consumers by nature (think back to the fall). stop fighting it! accept it and begin the point of the point of reach...people!
  • on to other random thoughts...
  • ramping up for a series of very busy weeks in preparation for our summer camp meeting and conference. in the process, i'm trying to learn some new software so that we can do all graphic design and brochures in house...HUGE learning curve...we'll see what may not get designed this year by me, but it will going forward.
  • had a great lunch yesterday with a great friend - great to hear what God's doing in his life and in his church. i love to see things moving forward and see God at work - thanks Todd.
  • excited that the braves are off to a great start - love watching baseball. however, the jackets killed the dawgs in baseball - not good! we're better than that!
  • my son is prepping a sermon for entry into teen talent - it'll be a 5 minutes short sermon - excited about what he has to say. i've heard it and i think it's great!
  • i've been learning that communication and expecation are two of the MOST important things leaders in churches can work on - CONSTANTLY! did i mention constantly? yep, constantly! really though, expectation gets taken care of by communication - so just focus on that ONE.
  • one of the churches i've been working with closely in revitalizing has doubled in the past few months (4) - hats off to travis and his leaders at ALWC - they are getting it done and i love seeing what God is doing in their midst
  • we have another church that's planning to launch soon in barnesville - know anyone there? let me know! the launch team is now around 50! - that's stinkin' awesome - a lot of churches don't even have that many folks and they've been around decades.
  • i'm praying and thinking about creative ways to fund church planting going forward...have some ideas!
  • will spend some time soon talking out loud with other leaders about these ideas - excited to see what happens!
  • pondering a post - help me decide if i should write'll be titled, "The go-to-hell church" - i think it'll probably cause some controversy - should i write it?
  • learning that there is a huge leadership deficit in churches. for example, i wonder how many church boards have people on them that have NO clue how to grow a church? worse yet, i wonder how many pastors don't take the time to grow, develop and teach their boards about how to grow a church? or, even worse, i wonder how many pastors don't spend time trying to learn how to grow a church?
  • btw, that' whole "grow a church thing" is called evangelism! (just in case you think it's about "numbers" or "having a large church" - it's not/it is - it's BOTH/AND!)
  • i'm learning that we don't do enough in our local college to teach the students in the ministry track about: evanglism, church planting, assimilation, and the "business" side of Kingdom business. to their credit, they are doing a great job in leadership and leadership development (along with Bible classes, etc)

quick review - word of promise

just a quick review of a resource i recently received from thomas nelson called, "word of promise"

initially i was interested in this resources because it's a modern mp3 version of the new testament geared towards teens.

from the website: "The Word of Promise: Next Generation is much more than just a word-for-word reading: it’s an all-star cast performing audio drama with a rich original score and Hollywood special effects. When Jesus walks on the water, kids will feel like they’re in the boat. When Peter waits in the courtyard during the Lord’s trial, the fire will crackle. The ambient sounds of the Holy land, the breath-taking musical score, the world-class young actors and the timeless Word of Promise all combine to deliver an unparalleled achievement."

all in all it's a great resource - i gave it a listen to in various areas and was impressed with the overall production and content - something good to have around for a long drive.

you can listen to a sample and find more info here