Friday, April 26, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - April 26

Favourite Reads
How To Create The Best Workplace On Earth (from Harvard Business Review)
You Don't Have To Pander (from Seth Godin)
How To Get Noticed In A Crowd (from Phil Cooke)

Favourite Explanation Of Hell

Favourite Sports/Poetry Mashup

Favourite Interview

Favourite 'Halfway-Radical' Idea

Favourite Prank

***BONUS: Welcome To Earth, Welcome To Awesome (The jump at 1:10 is insane!)***

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Big Drift

Aside from coffee with some of the most inspiring, intelligent and kind people I know, the thing I miss most about my fundraising position is the driving.

I'm messed up, I know.

You see those hours in the car were more than just getting from A to B, they were times of learning. Times of contemplation. Times of dreaming.

On the drives to Muskoka, the Kawarthas and south to the GTA, I'd plug in my iPod and listen to podcasts. I miss that.

Earlier this week I stumbled across a notebook filled with thoughts and ideas from these podcasts I listened to. One section had notes from Andy Stanley's Big Church series. In one of his messages he talks about 3 drifts that we see in church world today.

1 - The Drift Toward Insiders & Away From Outsiders
"People who don't come here don't call and complain." It's easy to spend all your time handling the squeaky wheel and no time reaching people who don't know Jesus.

2 - The Drift Toward Law And Away From Grace
When we develop policies, we move away from conversations and grace begins to slip away.

3 - The Drift Toward Preserving Rather Than Advancing
When you have nothing but vision, and nothing to lose, you take risks to reach people. As you grow the drift is toward preserving what you've built, at the cost of advancing the kingdom.

I think it applies to more than church world. Have you seen these drifts in the corporate world? In your personal life?

Are you a drifter?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time To Start

Today is release day for a book I've been anxiously awaiting for a while now. Today is the day Jon Acuff releases his new book: Start. I pre-ordered it and can't wait to lock myself away and devour it once it arrives in my mailbox. 

What's the book about? It's about doing something awesome. 
About punching fear in the face.
About doing something with your life that matters.
That is something that resonates deep inside me.

There are voices that say: "You're too old."
"You need to be 'responsible' and avoid risk."
"Don't rock the boat."
"You've got an ok thing going here. Do you want to lose it all?"
"You're not qualified."
I believe those voices are wrong.

I feel like Jon and I are kindred spirits.
When he speaks about being stuck. I'm right there.
When he shares about getting glimpses of awesome, then having to go back to average. I feel it.
When he admits to wanting the process to go faster. He's reading my mail.

At the risk of sounding like a groupie, I'm picking up with whatever he's putting down.

While I haven't read the book yet, I am going to take the risk of recommending anyway.

At least check out the website:

Friday, April 19, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - April 19

Favourite Reads
Connect Or Die from Leadership Freak
A Pastor & A Rabbi Walk Into A Starbucks... from Rob Shep
Great Kids Have Parents Who Seem To Do This Well from Donald Miller

Favourite Ad

Favourite Ad Parody

Favourite Senior Citizen

Favourite 'I Forgot To Breathe' Video

Favourite Item On My Birthday Wishlist

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Affecting My Headspace

A link to this post came across my screen today and, as much as I don't want to admit it, it got a reaction from me.

I was mad.
I was frustrated.
"How could he say that?!?"
So churches that are trying to reach their communities with the message of Christ are doing it wrong?
What about "The Great Commission"?

I'm assuming that was the goal of the post, to get a rise out of people.

There are certain topics that will fire me up. When someone talks badly about my family, friends, faith or the Dallas Stars.

I remember reading a post by Cameron Strang from Relevant about how he deals with people who complain about something they read in the magazine. His initial reaction is to do the exact opposite of what they say.

You think that's bad? Just wait 'til you see what's in next month's issue!

He maintains that reaction is not the right one.

(It may not be the right one, but it's still my go-to reaction.)

The proper reaction is to ignore it.

When you react, you are giving the person permission to affect the way you think. You've likely heard people say: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” or “Don’t take it so personally.” When you give your consent to that person to fill your mind with their ideas it affects you. It affects your mood, productivity and opinions.

It's tough, but we need to be careful about who/what we allow past the gates, and into our head.

As my Dad used to say: "Like water off a ducks back"

Monday, April 15, 2013

Step-By-Step or Winging-It?

Last week I was off work for a couple days due to a lack of voice and Tim Maassarany filled in admirably.

The night before each show Tim and I would be sitting on the phone going over each and every section of the show. Tim wanted to be prepared for the next day, and I get that. The problem came when he asked questions that I didn't have the answer to.

Maybe it was because I was tired and wanted to go to bed, but the conversation went something like this:
Tim - "How long do they have to answer for the contest?"
AJ - "10 minutes"
"I don't know. Go with your gut. If they go too long buzz them."
"That's mean"
"They should answer faster."
"What if they get it wrong? Do I go to the next caller?"
"Sure, if you have time."
"How much time do I have."
"I don't know. Go by feel. You don't want it to go too long and grow stale."
"3 minutes?"

Tim likes to be prepared, as evidenced by his take on the situation. He likes to have the steps laid out.
I tend to go by feel.

Guess we're just wired differently.

Which boat are you in?
Step-By-Step, or Winging It?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - April 12

Favourite Reads
32 Ways To Short-Circuit Happiness from Dumb Little Man
Too Late? from Chris Guillebeau
10 Assertions From Elite Entrepreneurs from Forbes

Favourite Prank Gone Wrong

Favourite View From Space

Favourite Travel Video

The Quiet City: Winter in Paris from Andrew Julian on Vimeo.

Favourite Nature Video

Favourite Tutorial

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

God Is With Us

How often do we assume success because "God is with us"?

We sing songs about it. The God of angel armies is always by my side!

In 1 Samuel 4 the Israelites are having their butts handed to them by the Philistine army. They decide: "“Let’s bring the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord from Shiloh. If we carry it into battle with us, it will save us from our enemies.”

Sounds good right?

If God is for us, who can be against us.

In the end they lose, the priests are killed and the Ark of God is captured by the enemy.

Can you imagine what the talk must be like back at the Israelite camp?
"Why didn't God save us?"
"Whose idea was it to take the ark anyway?"
"We might as well just die because there is no way this could turn out well."

Chapter 4 ends with: When the messenger mentioned what had happened to the Ark of God, Eli fell backward from his seat beside the gate. He broke his neck and died, for he was old and overweight.

Awesome. Let's hope chapter 5 goes a little better for our boys.

Monday, April 8, 2013

'Perfect' Timing

We've all been through those times.
Those times when God isn't working as fast as we'd like.
The times when God seems distant, maybe even disinterested.

You've been praying for something that is taking longer than you think it should. You don't know how much longer you can hold on. You're about to reach the breaking point.

Your well-meaning friends tell you "God's timing is perfect", but you're calling B.S. 

Perfect timing was 3 weeks ago.
Perfect timing was before the debt became a millstone around your neck.
Perfect timing was before your marriage became an empty shell.
Perfect timing was before your teenager got pregnant.
Perfect timing was before you lost your job.

Friday night I was having a conversation monologue with God and my dashboard.
The space inside, once inhabited by hope, had been filled with apathy and maybe some despair.
Why wasn't God answering?
I opened up to God and all I got was radio silence.

I went to bed and got up early Saturday morning to head north to the Muskoka Mayors' Prayer Breakfast. As we drove up to Deerhurst, my mood was a mix of weariness, fatigue and despondence. 
We pulled in to the parking lot and made our way through the gathering crowd and towards the main hall. We took our seats and the morning began.

I was seated next to John. 
John works for Paul Henderson's ministry and as we talked I began to feel a stirring in my soul.
We were seated at one of the VIP tables so we were sent to the buffet after the head table. In the buffet line I bumped into a couple friends from Harvest Muskoka. As we connected over bacon, scrambled eggs and hash browns the stirring in my soul began to grow stronger still.
John and I talked some more as we downed our morning meals and still the stirring grew stronger.
I polished off the last of my eggs and was suddenly feeling alive again. 
Feeling up to some conversation, I sought out my Muskoka friends and made my way over to say hi. 
Conversations with Tony, Martin, Craig, Terry and Mike had this internal flame growing into a full-blown inferno.

The morning transitioned to the programmed part of the morning, so we made our way back to our seats and as I sat there I felt God speak to me.
*Think of whatever way God speaks to you that doesn't make you think I'm crazy*
After giving me the silent treatment the night before, God's presence was almost tangible.

It was as if he was saying, "You feel this? You feel fully alive. This is what I have for you, just trust me."

I don't know what the future holds.
I don't know what the next step is.
I just know God used those men on Saturday morning to speak into my life.
To give me a taste of what the future holds.
To breathe life into these dry bones.

God's timing might not be 'perfect' in our eyes.
We're going to go through some sh crap stuff where it feels like we're just praying to the ceiling.
There will be times you feel like God has clammed the door on your windowless room.

But I know he hasn't left us.
He hasn't forgotten about you.
He will give you just enough ledge to hang on to.
And, if you're lucky, he'll give you a glimpse into the good life he has created for you.

Just hang on baby.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Favorite Things Friday - April 5

Favourite Reads
The Right Ladder by Chris Guillebeau
The Missing Ingredient In Great Teams by Kem Meyer
What Does Salvation Look Like? by Carlos Whitaker

Favourite Golfing Technology Development

Favourite Trick Landings

Favourite Surprise Ending

Favourite Geeky Video

Favourite 'Could You Imagine' Video

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time Flies

Amazing how fast they grow up.

I think the next couple years with Kai are going to be awesome!