Friday, September 29, 2006


Here is a good excerpt taken from a colleague's blog:

Tasking focuses on WHAT. Coaching focuses on WHY. A good coach always explains the "why" behind the "what." If a person is only in tune with the "what", they will never catch the vision and purpose behind it and therefore will not be able to fully reproduce themselves and the type of culture that we value.

  • Tasking focuses on a job well done. Coaching focuses on WHY it was done well. A coach explains WHY the job was done well. The impact of being specific in your praise towards someone else increases the impact more than we can imagine.
  • Tasking sees people as a tool to get a job done. Coaching sees every opportunity as a chance to better others and to build relationships. The relational aspect is huge! Because........people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  • Tasking focuses on HOW the job was done wrong. Coaching always corrects by going back to the vision/mission.
  • If we can help people identify for themselves where they went wrong or dropped the ball by bringing them back to the vision/purpose of the environment, the response will almost always be more positive. This can be accomplished by asking two simple questions: "Did we hit the target?" and "Why or why not?"

In these days where I am consumed with leadership, thank you Chris for some timely wisdom!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Against the Wind?

You remember the Seger song "Against the Wind." If you're reading this, chances are you do. Do you ever feel like that? Sometimes I wonder why it feels like living a faithful Christian life is like running against the wind. I know I feel that way as a pastor. There are so many agendas and so many issues. The church needs so much leadership and so much direction. People have physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs to be met. And sometimes it seems that at every turn, there is a battle. A difference in opinion or a difference in approach. A difference in theology or a difference style. And at those times I am tempted to sing "against the wind."

But NO! We don't run against the wind. In Christ, we have been set free. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is often compared to the wind. So we run WITH the wind. And yes, we run in victory.

So what do we run against? Because the "against" part is undeniable! I believe we are running against Satan. And here is a Spiritual fact that may fly in the face of conventional wisdom: the harder and faster you run with the Wind (Holy Spirit), the more resistance you will face from Satan.

So, I will count it joy. Because I must be doing something right...otherwise, I wouldn't be feeling so much "resistance"...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The decaffeinated me - Day 2

Well, I'm still alive! More than that, I'm alive in Christ. Why is it that we are so hesitant to be obedient when in obedience is true joy. Didn't Jesus say something like that? Lemme see, check out John 15:10-11 where Jesus says: "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

Thank you Lord for the chance to be obedient in something small (or "tall", in Starbucks-speak). Help me now to be obedient in the big things (or "venti")!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

OK, I gotta give this up...

...caffeine, that is. I got hooked on Starbucks. Great coffee, but man does it wire me. I am naturally a little wired anyhow (one of God's jokes!), but with those beans surging through my blood, look out. God told me loudly and clearly yesterday: STOP IT!

We at Cornerstone are in the middle of trying to place Jesus at the center of our very lives. We want Him to be the center of our salvation, our faith, our hope, our joy, our church. As I plod through our daily devotions over these past weeks, I am being convicted about letting the big and the little things be in the center instead of Jesus. I don't need caffeine to wake up to, I need Him.

So, I quit (again!) Please pray for me. You may also want to stay away from me for a few days! But I am clinging to the promise of God in Psalm 126:5 "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." The pain of no coffee might make me cry a little over the next few days, but ah the joy!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Which is more stressful....

....excellence (and subsequent "success"), or mediocrity? I enjoyed lunch with a good friend and trusted mentor today. It was a last minute "hey, can we meet somewhere and do lunch" kinda thing. I'm glad it worked out. One of the neatest things that came out of the lunch was the common feeling that excellence, and its natural product "success", brings with it greater stress than does mediocrity. Strange, isn't it? I mean you would think that when you strive for excellence and things are going well, you could sit back and relax a little. It seems as though at those times that one should be able to breath easier and rest in the moment of prosperity (in the purest sense of the word.) But NO! It seems that these times are those of greatest stress, pressure, and the feeling of a need to "succeed" or "perform" in even greater ways.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

Jesus, take my burden, and give me yours. Then help me to carry it...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why don't pastors of "real" churches write books?

I think I'm going to write a book. I am tired of reading pastoral leadership books written by pastors who have churches with an average attendance of 60 million. Yes, I know the argument can be made that they know it all, and that is how they average 60 million people a weekend. But it never seems like they live in the real world. Maybe I'm naive, or jealous, or stupid, or worse yet, all of the above. But it MUST be easier to have all the right answers when you have 83 secretaries on staff. It MUST be simpler to find the right kind of leadership when you have a budget equal to that of Canada. It MUST be easier to produce a multi-media message extravaganza when you have producers from all of the major television networks worshiping with you. Am I the only honest one out there? Am I the only one to lament? Am I the only one who wants to read a book by a guy in a church of 150 who has real problems and who is honestly seeking to work through them? Am I the only one looking for real, practical answers to real, practical questions like WE face?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Church as a Team - Part II

So this book is great, right? Chapter 3 talks about how we are all just full-time ministers in disguise. You are a full-time minister disguised as a (insert your claim-to-fame here). Why? Well, who best to reach salespeople for Christ than salespeople? Who better to reach construction workers for Christ than construction workers? Who better to reach lawyers for Christ than fellow lawyers? Who better to reach stay-at-home moms and dads for Christ than stay-at-home moms and dads?

So if we are to reach our world for Jesus, it takes us all. The author (Wayne Cordeiro) maintains, and I agree, that pastors don't ofter reach many people for Christ. And, that isn't our calling. Our calling is to lead a congregation of full-time ministers-in-disguise to reach people for Christ!

Have we lost sight of that? Are we really doing church as a team, or are we paying the pastor to do it for us?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Doing Church as a Team

I am just starting to read that book, and I've got Barna's "The Power of Team Leadership" on the "right after I finish reading this one" list. What is a team? What makes a team truly a team? What are the differences between teams and committees and task forces? How does one choose effective team leadership? I'm open to dialogue on this...any takers?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Now that'll preach!

Acts 17:24-28
24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" (NIV)

What are you doing today to "live and move and have your being" in Jesus Christ? Prayer? Are you in the Word? Are you worshiping Him in your daily activities? Are you involved in a group of fellow Christians who help you and keep you on the straight and narrow?

Monday, September 11, 2006

I love!!!

Last night I began our first home group meeting with the 10th-12th grade youth from Cornerstone. We met at my home for a Bible study based on the series I'm preaching entitled called "Jesus, Be the Center". I am once again blown away by the maturity, the honesty, the love of life, and the desire to love and serve God of our youth. They don't read this blog...unless I txt it to them! But if you're reading it, thank Jesus today with me. Thank Him for our youth...for their inspiration and their witness. Might we truly realize His words when He said "unless you humble yourselves and become like little children, you shall never enter the Kingdom of heaven..."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Come to Jesus..

A great song by Chris Rice with these lyrics:

Weak and wounded sinner, lost and left to die,
O raise your head for love is passing by
Come to Jesus, Come to Jesus, Come to Jesus and live.

Now your burden’s lifted, and carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain
So sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus, sing to Jesus and live.

Like a newborn baby, don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk, sometimes we fall
So fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus, fall on Jesus and live.

Sometimes the way is lonely, and steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain
Then cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus, cry to Jesus and live.

Oh and when the love spills over, and music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside
Then dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus, dance for Jesus and live.

And with your final heartbeat, kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace and laugh on Glory’s side
And fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus and live.

Fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus, fly to Jesus and live!

This is to be sung in our worship service this morning as a part of our message kick-off: Jesus, Be the Center. The song will He the center of your everything?

Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm going up to the mountain to pray...

OK, maybe not literally. But today is another day that I have set aside for prayer and vision. I am getting out of the office and heading to one our beautiful local parks to spend some time with the Lord. I need to hear Him and to walk with Him for a while. Sometimes I get so busy in the urgent stuff that I don't make time for the really important stuff. Cornerstone is a church with a developing vision. We are getting a handle on exactly where God is calling us and how we're supposed to get there. If that is to happen, then I must make sure it is a priority in my leadership. My rules are: no palm pilot (too distracting!) - no cell phone - just a legal pad, a pen, and a Bible. As I sense and hear the Lord speaking, I simply enter into written conversation. Thank you Lord for a beautiful day...for a beautiful creation...and for being One who seeks to speak and to be heard.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Who's the greatest?

Cornerstone's devotions today are taken from Matthew 18:1-5 which you can read HERE. Jesus is faced with a problem typical even today: Who is the greatest? There seems to be an obsession with that in our culture. Who's the greatest football team? (Steelers, of course!) Who is the greatest singer on American Idol? It shouldn't surprise us that this can spill into the life of the church...who's the greatest? Jesus gives an interesting, and challenging, answer. The greatest is the most humble. It is a strange paradox, and yet one which speaks the heart of God. He goes on to challenge us about being hospitable to the "least" of those around us. The disciples were obviously struggling to become great by hanging out with the greatest. But Jesus turns the concept on its head by simply stating that one becomes great by hanging around with the least.

Lord, thanks for challenging me. May I be great in your Kingdom today only by your grace. May I be great by spending my energies and time with the least, the last, and the lost. Forgive my snobbishness, my pride, and my judgmental heart. Free me up and pull me down to greater humility...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Happy Labor-less Day!

How was your Labor Day? What did you do? I had a very relaxing and very fun holiday weekend. Here are the highlights:

  • I played through my entire bluegrass repetoire on guitar...
  • I played several games of Scrabble with Carla...
  • Yesterday, I lifted at the gym, went for a 5 mile hike with Carla and Shadrach, went for a 6 mile bike ride, and a two mile run...
  • I went to my favorite music store in the free world: Acoustic Music Works...
  • I cooked on the grill several times...
  • I just relaxed and had fun!

And now, it is good to be back to start a new week!