Where is the honor?

I’m back from vacation and do I feel refreshed!  I took a much needed break from life and the internet (although I wasn’t completely disconnected) to spend quality time with Julianne and the kids.  Along these same lines, you might want to see what my buddy Gini Dietrich wrote about today about creating white space…although geared towards business, it’s very appropriate for taking time away and focusing on your life!

OK…so why do I have you here today?  Last week at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp, Craig Swanson from First Evangelical Covenant Church walked us through a timeless classic, the 10 Commandments.  What was amazing to me was how relevant these continue to be today especially when you really dig into what they mean and just how interconnected the 10 are together.  There is a depth and breadth to them that when you really sit down and study them, they come to life.

For today, I want to focus on the 5th Commandment: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NIV)

At face value, I think we all grew up as children understanding we needed to respect and obey our parents.  This is what we know of as “honoring” them.  However, it’s becoming more and more common to discount what those that are older and wiser have in experience just because we think they don’t get it because “it’s not relevant” today.  Why do we do this?  Those that have come before us, whether in life or in business, have so much to offer!  There is something to be said from “learning from my mistakes.”  Most of us have access to leaders that are willing to invest in our lives so that we can be successful and not make the same mistakes that many have made before us.  Craig Groeschel from LifeChurch.tv beautifully communicates what this can look like in his talk from Catalyst last year.

What happens when we do this?  Let me take you back to my vacation from last week.  PLCBC is an intergenerational experience.  You see families that have been going to camp for almost 50 years.  The grandparents went as kids and then sent their children.  Those children are now adults with families and they are now sending their kids.  Each of the generations interacts with each other and you see the children and young adults go to those that “have been there” and honor them.  In return, you are seeing the “sages” pour into the lives of the younger generations.

From an organizational perspective or family perspective, are you honoring your “father and mother” or those that came before you?


Happy Birthday, Gina!

Gina Fe Reyes - 2007 (age 4)

My how time flies!  8 years ago today, Julianne and I were sitting in a delivery room at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan with a 9 pound 12 ounce baby girl named Gina Fe Reyes.  What I distinctly remember is being woken up at 6am when the nurse brought Gina into our room from the nursery and said, “she is hungry and needs to be fed.”  Um…what?  Now Julianne and I took all of the parenting classes needed before Gina was born but you are never really prepared for having a precious life to care for until you are sitting in that seat!  We were able to successfully get Gina fed…thankfully God instills parenting skills we never knew we had and they just kicked in!

Gina is now 8 years old.  I can’t believe it.

What I do know is that my time with my children is precious.  I loved the post that my friend Justin Brackett did last week on my By Dads For Dads series.  The purest form of discipleship is the way we love our children.  I said this before but it’s worth repeating.  Many of us talk about change and making our society better.  If you’re a parent, look to your immediate circle of influence…your family and children.  Change the world by raising children that learn to love and care for others.  That is the best way to pay it forward and be a catalyst for change.

Happy birthday, Gina.  Mommy and Daddy love you bunches!

Where have you been?

Actually, where have I been?  I’m not really sure.  I think life has taken priority over blogging.  I also think the inspiration for things to write about has run dry as of late.  People have told me times like this might come and to be honest I’m struggling to find any words of inspiration for you today, but I’ll press on because writing is therapeutic for me.

It provides focus which, if I’m being completely honest with myself, has been lacking.  Have you ever felt that way when you are being tugged in so many different directions that you struggle to take that first step?  What direction do you go?  What hat do you put on?  Christian?  Husband?  Father?  Friend?  Work?  Side project?  This has been my struggle and why I’ve put more effort lately in connecting with people in person rather than online.

As I continue to think about the next words to type, I’m suddenly reminded of the talk Perry Noble gave at Catalyst last year when he talked about Elijah and the brook in 1 Kings 17 and 18.  God is preparing me for something.  It doesn’t have to be a big thing.  It can be a small thing.  It can be a small reminder to maintain focus on a single thing…Him.

These are times when it’s good to sit back and evaluate what is working and what needs to be adjusted.  Focus on that.

Look Right. Click.

In October of last year, I attended Catalyst in Atlanta.  Scott Harrison from Charity Water spoke about his organization and what they are attempting to do to bring clean water to the world.  It’s amazing how simple it is to participate and how impactful they have been in raising money for their cause.

As I was playing around with my blog tonight, I noticed a widget I could install for social causes and saw that Charity Water was participating.  Guess what?  If you look to your right, you’ll see it!  Now that you see it, please click the banner and help me raise some money for them.

Did you know that 1 in 8 people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water?  This is just 1 amazing statistic from their “Why Water” page.  Scott Harrison shares more in the video below.  It’s a highlight of his talk from Catalyst last year.  After watching it, look right and click.

Catalyst East 2010: Scott Harrison from Catalyst on Vimeo.

You Can Quote Me…Catalyst 2010

As a follow up to my post earlier this week, I wanted to share with you some of the knowledge I received last week in Atlanta.  These are quotes from a few of the speakers that really got me thinking as I began to process this idea of managing tension for the advancement of an organization and God’s Kingdom.

What’s your sentence (purpose)?  Was I better today than yesterday? ~ Daniel Pink

Change is made by people who stop accepting deniability. ~ Seth Godin

You better eat the thing before you tweet the thing! ~ Beth Moore

If it’s explainable, God didn’t do it. ~ Perry Noble

Respect is earned.  Honor is given. ~ Craig Groeschel

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve been. ~ T.D. Jakes

Quotes can be difficult to understand by themselves.  They can often be taken out of context.  What I’ve tried to do is give you the best ones that resonated with me without the context of entire talk of each of the speakers.  My hope is that each one gives you something to think about as you lead your respective organizations.

If you’re up for it, let me know what you think in the comments below.  I’m sure it could make for some interesting discussion.

One last thing just for fun.  The video below was taken at Catalyst.  It’s not every day that you see someone get shot out of a cannon indoors!  The conference wasn’t just all speeches!  There was a ton of fun and laughs too!  Enjoy!

Catalyst 2010 – The Tension Is Good

Last week I had the honor of attending Catalyst 2010 in Atlanta.  What started out in 2000 as a conference attended by 1,500 church leaders in Atlanta has since grown to an event attended by over 100,000 people.  Most recently a second conference was added to the West Coast with 3,000 leaders attending.  I had heard about it through friends from Kensington Community Church but couldn’t really grasp the magnitude until I was there in person.

At its core, Catalyst doesn’t differ much in message from other conferences I’ve attended this past year like Future Midwest and TedxDetroit, with one exception…change is talked about in the context of the places many of us attend on Sundays, our churches.  This conference, at it’s core, is about “maximum impact” and being a “catalyst” for change.

The core vision of Catalyst has always been to impact the next generation. By creating “change agents” throughout the church that possess wisdom and understanding, the opportunity is created to usher in the necessary adjustments to an ever-evolving church. By helping these leaders grow in their leadership ability – Catalyst can have impact on an entire generation. We have a high belief in the impact that one changed life can have on another and therefore focus our efforts towards personal change with a community application.

Catalyst sees a need to ignite and unite the next generation of leaders allowing their passions and gifts to flourish and have maximum impact in our churches and culture.

The list of speakers was incredible: Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble, Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Daniel Pink, and Seth Godin…just to name a few.  Each of them, in their own way, spoke about how tension in an organization can be used to positively foster change.

This idea completely changed my way of thinking about leadership.  I never thought tension was good.  I often viewed tension as conflict, something I have found difficulty in dealing with.  However, when presented with this way of thinking, I began to realize tension in an organization can be a good thing.  Tension in this sense challenges an organization.  It requires communication and feedback.  It forces leadership to think differently and do things in a way that hasn’t been done before.

As I look back on my career, I often tried to eliminate tension and solve a problem that wasn’t actually a problem but more a tension.  Is it possible that the tension was required so that the organization could move forward?  I guess this is something that I’ll be on the lookout for as I move into this next stage of my career.  Are there TENSIONS that need to be MANAGED versus PROBLEMS that need to be SOLVED?  Andy Stanley talked about leveraging tension to the benefit of an organization.  This is a tremendous balancing act for any leader.  You have to weigh BOTH sides and take your personal bias out of the equation.

My faith in God was reignited after Catalyst.  I realized there are some tweaks I need to make and some things I need to get bring back in order to stay grounded in my belief in God.  My hope and prayer is that I can be receptive to tension and leverage it to not only advance the organization but to also advance God’s Kingdom.

My challenge to you is to be aware of the tensions in your life and use them as a catalyst for change in you and your community.  The tension is good!

UPDATE: You can also read this article HERE at Rochester Media.  Thanks to Tom Gendich for giving me some space!