Thoughts

Mark Cuban Is A Bigot

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Mark Cuban, the fortuitous web-trepreneur who got out when the getting was good before the early 2000 internet train wreck, bought him an NBA team with the proceeds, instantly elevating himself to American demigod.  What warm-blooded male wouldn't want Dirk Nowitzki for a buddy?   Cuban's entrepreneurial style, coupled with his financial freedom, provides Mr. Mark ample opportunity to speak freely.  This latest instance is a breath of Wrigley Spearmint for all of those tired of the repeated media crucifixion of Donald Sterling.  You know it has to be bad when you agree with Bill Mahrer.  (Warning: NSFW, offensive language on board. Start watching at 2:16 thru the end for Mahrer's relevant thoughts.) Please don't read me writing something I didn't: Sterling's opinions are not mine.  They offend me to the core.  But in our media-rich existence fueled by fantasy pulpits, we love to point fingers while ignoring the mirrors in our computer screens. Watch the Mark Cuban vid below.  He definitely has it right: He's a bigot.   And so are we. video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player...

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The Community Saves

Posted by on May 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The Community Saves

A friend of mine once told me, “We believe that the (church) community saves.”  After double clicking on her meaning, the fullness of her statement became clear:  The unconditional grace of Jesus is best experienced in community.  Living in community with people who love us and grace us as an extension of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross – that experience helps move Jesus and His work from objective to subjective.  From teaching to being.  From external to internal.  Along the same lines as water transporting Word into my physical, experiential realm. The unconditional grace of Jesus is best experienced in community. #sacramental @five2 Click To Tweet I suspect that has some connection with the Apostle Paul’s repeated use of the plural “y’all," perhaps even flowing from how Ananias called him 'brother' in Saul's initial baptismal welcoming. I’ve treasured that understanding of community for many years and have witnessed time again the camaraderie and courage that flow from such spiritual relationships.  Ears had heard the Gospel but hearts received it not until the Word became flesh and was sacramentally shared by Jesus’ Body on Earth, His Church. Christian community saves. This neither takes away nor adds to Jesus.  Rather it speaks to the means by which Jesus’ salvation salves the wound.  It’s a sacramental grasp.  The Body of Christ on earth, His Church, is His living, breathing sacrament, wrapping His Word-presence and grace in broken but forgiven humanity and offering it to the world.  As the sacraments of Jesus, our lives present some of the most powerful ways Jesus’ forgiveness can be experienced by others. The Body of Christ on earth is His breathing sacrament, wrapping His Word & grace in broken but… Click To Tweet This salvific community is at the heart of FiveTwo.  It’s a Jesus-community that breeds camaraderie and courage, two elements sacramental entrepreneurs are in dire need of.  It’s Jesus-relationships that lead to world-changing knowledge. From day one, FiveTwo has had a three-fold strategy: 24/7 worldwide web; monthly local gatherings; annual national conference.  The annual conference – our WikiConference, September 23-25 in Katy, Texas – will host over 800 sacramental leaders from around the US.  Our website – fivetwo.com – is being radically overhauled and will be re-launched in August.  Our local gatherings – FiveTwo Locals – are now 40 strong, with groups from Hawaii to Alaska, from Florida to Washington. The unified goal of these strategies? Create community.  Community saves. Without community around common values, a national conference is just another place to hear compelling speakers. Without community that creates camaraderie, a website is just a place to download and pass on some information. Without community that shares a common cause, a local gathering is just a group of people trying to hang out. But add authentic relationships into the mix and boom: everything goes deep and wide.  Pour on the gas and drop the match. For FiveTwo to ignite a movement, community that creates camaraderie is job one.  That community is what happens in a FiveTwo Local.  #Community that creates #camaraderie is job one. @five2 Click To Tweet A FiveTwo Local is a gathering of sacramental entrepreneurs for the purpose of sharpening each other so that new ministries start.  It’s where the “how” is delivered in personal ways.  Where the “practical” is delivered by people who...

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Another Dose of O2: Values

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Another Dose of O2: Values

This week's O2 is an O2 two-fer.  This O2 speaks to FiveTwo's heart — our values.  Take a look.  Feel free to share the O2 with your friends.  Comment below.  I'd love your feedback.  Just don't make fun of the screen grabs from YouTube.  They're killing me.     Part 1   Part 2...

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My Favorite 3 Metrics. Are They Yours?

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

My Favorite 3 Metrics. Are They Yours?

Metrics: Your board loves them.  If you hit them, so do you.  But deep inside – especially if you’re leading a church or non-profit – you always wonder if your metrics are the right metrics.  “Is it Sunday worship?  Weekly offerings?  Small group participation?  Number of ‘divine appointment’ stories?”  Then you have soft versus hard metrics.  Hard are the objective, they-are-what-they-are, and easily measureable.  Soft are the intangible, story-oriented.  The number of people who said “Thank you!”  The number of generosity stories we received.  More difficult but definitely speaking to the heart. Mix soft metrics into the hard ones and it’s a real struggle determining not only the what but also the how.  Some pastors I talk to possess metrics phobia.  “Just preach the Gospel and let Jesus do the work.”  Amen to preaching the Gospel and letting Jesus do the work.  But to negate numbers of any kind flies somewhat in the face of Acts, Numbers, the parables of the talents, and just a basic appreciation of stewarding God’s gifts well.  Metrics help us understand if our efforts are the right efforts. Metrics help us understand if our efforts are the right efforts. #sacramental @five2 Click To Tweet Metrics can also be broken into two kinds: Leading indicators and trailing indicators.  Often we confuse the two.  Leading indicators are the metrics we measure to see if the trailing indicators are materializing.  An example:  a leading indicator could be “guests in worship or house church, or unchurched neighbors in our small groups,” while a trailing indicator could be “# of adult baptisms;”  the understanding being that before I can baptize an adult convert, I have to engage them and form a relationship with them in some other setting.  I need to have the leading events happening before the trailing ones materialize. Thus the metrics we’ve landed on for FiveTwo.  Our desire is a movement of God’s Spirit that enlarges God’s kingdom.  We believe for that to happen we who are Church need to think in new ways, try new ways and act in new ways to reach God’s lost people in our communities.  Frankly, we need some new metrics. So here are our Big 3, moving from leading to trailing: ·       1 from 10 (1 new apprentice from every 10 leaders in a local) ·       1 in 10 (1 new start in the next 10 months) ·       1 to 10 (1 baptism to every 10 people in worship) These three are my favorite.  I hope they become yours as well.  Let’s take a look at each one individually. 1 from 10: Go back to that list of metrics that identify a movement from the previous post. One of the distinguishing characteristics is a grassroots ability to develop leaders. This breaks into two parts:  Identifying people with leadership ability, and shaping and developing according to their gifts and calling. Leadership development has challenged the Western Church since forever.  We’ve lost the concept of “learning while doing.”  The rabbinical model employed by Jesus has become foreign to us.  What if we reinstituted it??? A commitment to doing things differently is what it takes. And that’s where FiveTwo's first goal fits. Conscious opportunities to walk beside someone, pouring into them; residencies and apprentice programs for leaders; those are some of the bests way to...

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This Makes Me Mad

Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Blog | 10 comments

This Makes Me Mad

I was on a church's website the other day.  Large, happening place in San Antonio.  Scurried to the "We Believe" page.  Curious.  They listed eight chief parts of faith.  They didn't call them chief parts, but for my sacramental brethren, you get it. Each part had three sentences max.  Nice, tight, commercial-snippet savvy blurbs.  Fair enough.  But for part number 8, there were paragraphs.  And scriptures.  Three columns of scripture passages.  A variety of verses so that you would fully grasp the subject.   This must be important. The faith topic?  Fasting.  Yup.  Fasting. Now, please, no hate mail.  I'm not contra-spiritual disciplines.  Quite the opposite.   But I think we'd all agree fasting is not a matter of salvation.  Not even close.  I can be a great, God-fearing faster but know not Jesus and Satan, fix me a bed. I guess I expected more fleshing out of Jesus instead of fasting.  Just seems bass-ackwards.  Kind of like focusing on the little overhead light instead of the 4.2 liter, super-charged power plant that takes you from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.  Now that's cool. After simmering some, I decided to check out their click-through baptism statement.  At level two they had nice paragraphs about who and what and how.   Nice symbolic, non-powerful understanding. "Nothing new to see here, folks.  Move along." But then I stumbled on this and Mr. Farenheit climbed a little.  What Is The Meaning Of Baptism? It illustrates Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day…”(1 Corinthians 15:3–4) “Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12) My wonderment here flows from using a scripture passage like Colossians 2, which speaks so mysteriously about how in baptism you were buried with him, in those wonderfully passive Greek constructs, like a dead man being buried by someone because, you know, he can't crawl out of the coffin himself and do it.  How and why would one draw that conclusion — that baptism symbolizes Jesus' death and resurrection but not that it ties you to Jesus' death and resurrection?  Help me here. Mr. F took off, though, with this one: In the Bible we find parents bringing children to Jesus. He held them and prayed for them and told us to welcome them. But he did not baptize them, and he did not tell anyone to baptize them.  Please.  At least treat me with some respect. "Jesus never baptized children nor told anyone to." So roll credits and tie a bow on it?  So when Peter told the crowd "the promise is for you and for your children" then proceeded to baptize 3000 people that day, or when Paul answered the Philippian Jailer's "What must I do to be saved?" question with "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household," and scared Jailer Man that night got baptized with his entire family, so they were wrong?  Because Jesus never said (that we know of) baptize children?  C'mon.  Even though at age 8 days old, the male...

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Need Startup Capital? Get Handsome, Mr.

Posted by on May 16, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Need Startup Capital? Get Handsome, Mr.

Apparently the prettier you are — if you're a guy — the more likely I'll give you millions for your startup endeavor.  This study out of Harvard lends credence to some of our nagging suspicion that he really did win the deal because he's just better looking.  Darn genetics. Apparently the prettier you are – if you’re a guy – the more millions I’ll give you for your… Click To...

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Alan Hirsch Wants To Move You

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Alan Hirsch Wants To Move You

I first met the masterful Alan Hirsch at a gathering in November 2010.  He was helping a bunch of us sacramental church leaders process next steps.  I boldly asked him to keynote our first WikiConference, an inaugural gathering of 200 in June of 2011 (that will now be over 800 in September of 2014).  June in Houston.  Those folks were faithful. At that first Wiki, Alan described himself as a phenomenologist.  I'm tempted to tell you to go look it up, but I'll save you the surfing calluses.  A phenomenologist is someone who studies phenomenons and movements. That wasn't too hard, was it? Hirsch talked about how the energy in a movement isn’t confined to the central core, but flows freely and readily to the outer limits…the extremes.  Almost all movements start on the edges. Almost all #movements start on the edges, the outer limits, the extremes. #sacramental @alanhirsch… Click To Tweet That’s FiveTwo’s history: we started with nine edgy church planters, on the edge of their denomination, deciding to lead change from the fringe.  We like fringe.  Fringe is fun and frilly and typically freaks people out.  I’m good with that. The year following the first Wiki, I spent time with Mr. Hirsch and his Future Travelers, a great group of large-church pastors who talked and dreamed about what could be if we boldly led our congregations into a new future that reached all of the new people the church currently wasn’t reaching. During that time with Obi Wan Hirsch, I learned you can’t control a movement but key leaders CAN influence it.  Maybe, if you’re lucky, you can guide a movement, but you’re certainly not leading it.  More like prodding it: by exerting small amounts of energy you can cause slight shifts and slides toward a particular outcome.  Throw a little gas here, a little gas there.  Drop a match and pray the wind doesn't blow it out. You can influence, perhaps guide, prod, & ignite a #movement. But control it? No way…. Click To Tweet What has excited me the most in the past three years is watching the kind of movement FiveTwo is igniting.  Its one where God’s Spirit has evidently been at work, birthing us just in time and then leading us to other networks and groups who had been praying for such a movement of God’s Spirit. The truth is, spiritual leaders spend their time and energy discerning where the Spirit is moving, and then making strategic decisions based on that direction. It was Jesus who said, “…the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19, ESV) This is FiveTwo’s commitment:  moving under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and functioning the way a movement does. Alan Hirsch built on this insight in his excellent book The Permanent Revolution.  He tells a story of an Australian blogger, Andrew Jones, researching whether the current missional movement fits the characteristics of kingdom movements of the past.  Some of the divine movement characteristics Jones lists are: Beginning on the periphery of the established church. Desiring a more authentic Christian life. Selecting and training leaders by new ways and methods. Leveraging grassroots connections. Shifting the theological focus to the everyday life...

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Knowing Me Like Jesus Knows Me

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Knowing Me Like Jesus Knows Me

My wife and I have three kids and each time my wife gave birth, it hurt me a lot.  Seriously.  Ok, maybe not as much as it hurt her.  But watching her hurt, I wanted to help somehow.   I tried on child #1: “Dear, the needle on the meter says you’re about to have another contraction!”  Her response: “I know I’m about to have another contraction!  I can feel it!!!”  For child #2 and child #3, I simply sat and prayed.  Occasionally offered her ice chips.  Rarely touched her unless she wanted it.  Never uttered useless, pedantic wafflings of words intended to allay pain.  Mainly just sat and prayed.  I, after all, am a smart man. Unlike many of the women I knew at the time, my wife opted for “epidural-less” deliveries.  Hers was the full-throttle pain variety, desiring to suffer all for the sake of our kids so they could enter the world drug-free.  Personally, had I been her we would have gone for the epidural.  “Stick me, please.” Instead, ours were vocal deliveries.  Just ask the others on our floor. In Galatians 4:19 the Apostle Paul writes: “Oh, my dear children!  I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.”  Moms get Paul’s words.  Delivery is about a baby, yes, but with it is born a world of dreams.  Future dreams begin with cries of suffering – from both mom and child.  And sometimes dad. Future dreams begin with cries of suffering. #sacramental #childbirth @five2 Click To Tweet Paul’s words reflect a reality known as “the Jesus in you.”  His ultimate dream for the Church in Galatia was that it mature into a group of people in whom Jesus lived, moved and had His way.  In whom Jesus was present not only in spiritual ways, but also in real, everyday ways.  In ways where beliefs formed behaviors.  Each of us baptized followers of Jesus possesses this same “Jesus in you” reality.  Your baptism gave you everything Jesus had to give.  But in His sacramental way of doing faith, Jesus wrapped His presence in your flesh, with your blonde hair, bronze skin, and quirky love for cars.  How He fleshes out in your life will look differently than the flesh on me. In His #sacramental way of doing faith, Jesus wrapped His presence in your flesh. @five2 Click To Tweet This is a fascinating reality in the Body of Christ: the Jesus DNA in you has the same heart, the same Spirit as the Jesus DNA in me.  But it will express itself in wonderful, uniquely YOU ways. What are those uniquely-You ways of living out Jesus?  What passions has He given you?  What abilities, natural instincts, and strengths has He poured into you?  What do you bring to the Jesus party? If you’re a sacramental entrepreneur – one of those crazy people who like to start new in order to reach new – the Jesus in you has a unique footprint.  You tend to love new people; risk excites you; change is a resource.   The sacramental presence of Jesus in you leads you to create new expressions of Church, especially in ways that connect with people outside of Jesus’ kingdom. Understanding the...

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3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well (cont.)

Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well (cont.)

Last post we talked about values.  Values shape culture.  When starting a new endeavor, one must lay the values as you start because values are both attractive and protective.  They define what’s important and appropriate.  But they also appeal to the heart.  They speak to the soul.  They are the intangible that causes individuals to buy the coffee or protect elephants.  Or revoke an NBA ownership.  They provide motivation.  They bring the stickiness that isn’t easily discarded. Values function as both foundation and fences.  While people write tomes about teams and companies uniting around mission, people united around values cause movements to happen because common divine threads define their view of the world. I’m sharing these 3 values not only because they speak to who I am, but because I have seen the power of these values at work, especially in starting endeavors that connect people to Jesus’ Church.  I share them also because they are the heart of FiveTwo.  Our 3 core values are Sacramental Faith; Respect for All; Action-oriented.  Respect for all flows from Sacramental Faith.  Core to being Jesus’ sacraments to the community entails we live out a Respect for All.  That’s value #2. One of Jesus’ most disturbing behaviors (to the religious leaders) was his lack of disdain for those “outside” of the established church.  His entire being radiated a deep love for people, regardless of the path they were on or the lifestyles they chose.  As Jesus’ real presence, “respect for all” is how we honor the Imago Dei in others even though the Imago Dei may be warped and but a shadow of the Creator’s original intention.  All creation awaits Jesus’ return.  By demonstrating respect for the pinnacle of His creation, I help His kingdom come today. “Respect for all” leads me to: ·      Love people simply because they are people. ·      Love the culture I am planted in, seeking cultural bridges for the Gospel. ·      Celebrate diversity and embrace the varied ethnicities and demographics Jesus has placed around me – I can’t reach people I hate. ·      Be generous and humble to all. ·      Rid my voice of condescension. ·      Welcome people into my home and gladly enter into theirs. ·      Adjust my worship style to accommodate them, not the other way around. ·      Listen for Jesus’ unique desire and passion in a person. ·      Trust people before they prove trustworthy. ·      Invite them into my cause, providing them community and camaraderie. ·      Help them belong before they believe because respect is experienced ultimately in belonging. ·      Have minimal hoops for them before they “belong.” ·      Seek to understand and respect why people feel the way they feel, believe what they believe, and react like they react, especially when different than me, especially if they choose to never belong. “Respect for All” means I listen to people’s stories, bearing witness to their value.  I give respect by acknowledging them, first and foremost as a human being and not a human doing.  Their worth is based on their place in creation, not on their performance. Our third value flows from the reality that time is short, the harvest is coming, and today is the day of salvation.  That means we FiveTwo folks are Action-oriented. Apostles, catalyzers, and sacramental entrepreneurs are action-oriented.  We talk as...

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3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

3 Values To Help Entrepreneurs Start – and End – Well

When I ask you for the common values that tie the likes of Estée Lauder, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Madam C.J. Walker, Jeff Bezos, Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck, you might rightly guess: they all loved to start things.  These are/were all people who got ‘er done, made something out of nothing, and persevered when most thought them a loon.  From cosmetics to computers, from delivering household goods by wagons or by drones, these individuals saw a need and answered the need by starting something new. New was not to be feared.  New was an answer to a problem. That’s the attitude the sacramental Church needs today: “New” is an answer to a problem.  “Change” is a resource. Often missed in entrepreneurial success, however, is the “why?”  “Why?” is a values question.  Vision is where you’re going.  Mission is how you’ll get there.  But values pre-date both of those.  They are the why for your mission and the heart behind your journey.  Values flow from who you are, tugging you out of bed when you don’t feel like being tugged.  They energize you when the mission changes or target gets missed…again.    Values reside deeply inside of you – are frankly part of that “knitting together” David refers to in Psalm 139.  They are the Christ that is being formed in us.  In FiveTwo lingo, they are the presence of Christ in me, for you.  Apostolic leaders innately know that when you’re starting something, you need to start with values because values are integral to shaping culture.  They function as both foundation and fences.  While people write tomes about teams and companies uniting around mission, people united around values cause movements to happen because they are speaking the same heart-language.  Similar soul songs.  Common divine threads that define their view of the world. Three values that drive my life and undergird the ministries I’ve started are:  Sacramental Faith, Respect for All, and Action-Oriented.   These are my governing values.  I test everything I do against them, and the programs or congregations (CrossPoint Community Church) or networks (FiveTwo) I’ve started have all launched with these values coursing through their veins. Over the next three posts I want to unpack them for you.  I have seen the power of these values in adding longevity and unity to startups.  I hope you embrace them for your own life and for the ministries, businesses and community development starts you undertake.   Value #1: Sacramental Faith.   I’m from Lutheran lineage, of Germanic descent that landed in Central Texas in the 1800s.  When we hit Galveston, we brought not only a love for sausage but also a love for the sacraments.  They are core to who we are.  Everything we do revolves around what Jesus does in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and what, in turn, He does in us. Sacramental faith means that while we emphasize what we’ve historically held dear, we also add a nuance that ups the ante.  We not only believe that Christ is present in the Word, that Christ is present in the sacraments, and that Christ is present in me; we also believe – with passion – that Christ is present in me, for you.  For my family, my community, my world.  You and I are the...

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