Celebrating 10 Years all through 2018

img_5384-700x475January has been a busy month.  My previous entry included a Vision Kick-Off for Saddleback Church.  I wanted to save a recent blog my friend, DJ, ran across on a national website: Juicy Ecumenism.  It was a friendly new year article on “Trashing the Megachurch”.  I found the writer to be playful, factual, and provided some reasonable insights to the mega church phenomenon.  At the same time, he proudly stated his preference for intimate worship styles and concluded with a positive encouragement to his fellow church brothers in larger contexts.  READ THE ARTICLE HERE.

But, that didn’t catch my attention.  The photo (above) was a photo of our home church campus in Irvine, CA.  That’s our stage: people, lights, and me!  At first, I was thinking how did this obscure blogger get our photo?  And, why is he associating our photo with his article on mega-churches? Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to ask my friend to comment on the blog with this below:

Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 3.58.25 PM

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Leadership Uplifter (Staff Training January 2018)


I was attending our first-of-the-year “All Staff Training” at Saddleback Church with Dr. Rick Warren.  Our organization is in a season of refocusing our Purpose and redefining our Structure for the next peak we’re going to climb this upcoming season of growth.  We started the session with a reference to legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi.  It didn’t matter if you won a Super Bowl or went 0-16 the year before; he would start the next season the same way every year at pre-season training camp.  He would gather the old veterans and new rookie players and show them a football.  He would say, “Gentlemen, this is a football”.  For every player, they were going back to basics and fundamentals before they would go over the detailed game plans.

This January, everyone on our staff was going back to the basics and relearn the foundational pillars that have made this world-wide movement possible for the past 38 years.

Here are some of my gold-nugget take aways:

  • 5 Areas we must continually RESHARPEN
  1. Our Purpose: WHAT we do and WHY we do it(cf Ps 33:11)
    our purpose determines our foundation
  2. Our Values:What we value SHAPES our work & relationships(cf Jb 34:4)
    our values determines our culture
  3. Our Vision: Where are we heading (cf Pr 29:18)
    our vision determines our future
  4. Our Skills: How well I do what God has called & equipped me (cf Ec 10:10)
    our skills determines our effectiveness
  5. My Personal Character: My spiritual habits and moral traits (cf 2 Pt 1:5-8)
  • Notable Quotes
    • The Culture in the Halls trumps the Strategy on the Wall
    • On Stewardship: “Energy Management is more important to master than Time Management”.
    • “Character is the sum total of all spiritual habits”
    • “Behind Public Successes requires Private Pains”
    • “God crushes the grapes to make wine”
  • Q/A: How do I identify future talent (leaders)?

cf Lk 16:10-13

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Have they shown faithfulness in…

  1. “little things”
  2. “under someone else’s property” (ex. vision, team)
  3.  “management of resource” (ex. stewardship)
  4. “divided loyalties” (ex. where will they consistently lean towards)
My fellow colleagues and friends, did I miss something?  Please comment below and help me with my memory.  

Mentoring Moments (Formal, Informal, Non-formal)?

Have you ever wondered the difference between Mentoring and Coaching?  Go ahead, google it and you’ll find countless discussions over the two terms.  In my simplest of descriptions, Mentoring is a highly personal relationship where the conversations revolve around clarifying questions, honing in on a focused vision, exploring life circumstances, and gently guiding the mentee to their own conclusion while evaluating all opportunities.   On the other hand, Coaching centers on the content expert directing, training, and demanding excellence in a particular area of development.  The relationship is more focused on the task versus the personhood.  At the same time, good coaches know how to integrate the personal touch while still focusing on improving performance.

In both cases, what are the different environments (learning contexts) that Mentoring or Coaching can happen?  I want to EXPLORE three different learning contexts we use in the education world: 1) Formal 2) Informal and 3) Non-formal learning.

My friend, Angela, does a wonderful job of using SKETCH NOTES to visually demonstrate a concept I elaborated in my dissertation on Leadership Development.

  • If you want the interesting version, click on the MENTORING VIDEO HERE or click on the embedded video up top.
  • If you want the boring dissertation excerpt, read below.

Also, I highly recommend you subscribing my to friend’s Leadership Videos at strategysketchnotes.com

Oh… and don’t forget to leave me your comments (on the left side).

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How do I Prepare for Sundays?

KN stage shot.jpgI recently finished up hosting a pre-conference gathering at a Missions Conference in So-Cal, hosted by Dr. David Platt and Francis Chan.  I was super blessed to have a chance to interview a once-in-a-generation type leader, David Platt (Watch the FB LIVE video)

However, my most memorable time was joining a panel with SUPER SHARP church gurus sharing to a room full of influencing church leaders.  We were invited to participate in a Q/A forum where we were asked a series of real-life-minsitry questions.  I absolutely loved the dialogue between the 3 of us.  I basically had front row seats and learn so many practical ways they served their church.  At one point, I began taking notes while sitting on the panel.  

Question #1: How do you prepare for Sundays?

At one point a thought provoking question was asked, “How do you prepare for Sundays?”  I could have given your typical and proper answer: pray, read your bible, and pray some more.  But, I wanted to be more helpful than some parrot-like response.  I wanted to take the time here to share how I responded.  Pretty much, this is my WEEKEND PRAYER as I’m driving to church.  While football players have their locker room ritual to prep for the BIG GAME on Sunday, this is my Sunday drive-time ritual.  Father, will you…

16403136_10154433626033163_5574435556762358202_o (1).jpg

  • Anoint me with the gift of PROPHECY.  Now, this is where I may get lit up by my reform brothers.  In short, I take the position that prophecy is the communication of Biblical truths in an eloquent, encouraging, and convicting manner.  (Listen to John Piper’s brief audio response on this topic).  

Before I speak, preach, or teach, I’ve already prepared ahead of time my talking points.  I’ve written it down and gone over them in my head.  Yet, sometimes the Spirit is leading me to say something else.  No, not something WAY OUT OF LEFT FIELD where it’s not in my vocabulary.  But, there may be a Bible verse, a phrase, or a story that “pops” up in my mind, just at the right time, extemporaneously.  And that “phrase” will probably be the one line someone remembers that week.  

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How Should the Church Respond to the New President?


Yes, we now have a new president!  Our country just voted for a new president after a rollercoaster-like emotional campaign between two polarizing candidates.  In the aftermath, I’ve been reflecting on how best we, the church, can be open and supportive of our future president.


While Americans have the right to protest, just as they have the right to assemble and worship God, should Christians protest against the new presidential selection?  The straight forward answer leads me to two prominent passages (below) in how Christians in the early church were taught to PRAY and SUBMIT to the governing authorities – the Roman Empire.  Yes, this is the same empire that barbecued Christians for their faith.

picture2 “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior”, (1 Tim 2:1-3 NLT).

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished,” (Rom 13:1-2 NLT).

Oh my…this may be quite difficult or impossible for many believers of the faith.  How can Christians get behind and support anyone who has questionable character issues, temperament control, discernment in decision-making, and appear to have a difficult time accepting wise counsel?  This personal dilemma caused me to search the Bible for answers where I can follow these New Testament imperatives with good conscience.

Here’s the great news.  In both the OT and NT, we have a plethora of bad kings and good kings.  God’s people always had to live under the rule of some pretty bad dudes.  Then, God placed this proverb on my mind:

The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases, (Pro 21:1 NLT).

I want to share three inspiring truths from this verse regarding our new “king”.

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Electric Cars Need Gas?

I believe every moment could be a life learning lesson.  Yes, even the bad, embarrassing ones.  On this particular Sunday afternoon, God made sure I learned a couple of lessons that are probably going to be a sermon illustration very shortly!  Below, I wrote 2 sections: 1) The Epic Story & 2) the Learning Lesson.  Go head and skip the story if you want to glean the golden nuggets of wisdom God wanted to teach me.


On this particular Sunday afternoon, it was Daddy and Khoi time.  We had finished an especially long weekend at church filled with festivities.  My 6-year old son and I were heading home for lunch and a nap.  And then it happened…



I had been driving my electric-hybrid car all weekend on “EMPTY”.  Subconsicusly, I wanted to know how long can a hybrid go with the blinking “E” light.  Ok, maybe not.  Half-way home, I lost power to the gas pedal.  Uh oh… I think I can coast this one to the closest gas station.  Then, I had to stop at the red light with cars behind me and of course the there was no more power to the gas pedal.  Cars were honking, and Khoi was asking, “Daddy, why aren’t we going?”  I already know what my wife would have said, “Why didn’t you fill up when you had the chance?  Why do you run it down all the way….”

Next, I did what every other man would do when he runs into a problem.  Just turn it off, and start it up again!  As if this solution fixed every IT tech support problem with modems, routers, DirecTV boxes, and laptop computer issues.  YES, the car switched over to the battery, and I was able to move again out of the ensuing cars coming at me in the intersection.  But luck doesn’t run in my family, and the car lost power again as I was costing into the next turn into a parking lot.


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Slogans are Memorable, #PDChurch2016


Sitting at a week long church growth conference at Saddleback Church with one of my favorite pastors, Rick Warren.  I’m figuring out how to bless others while I sit here for 4 full days.  This conference has been so enriching for my own leadership growth, staff team, ministry leaders, and my colleagues.  I’ll be posting some of these gold nuggets over the next few posts. May it bless you in your leadership development.

Day 1: Communicating Your Purposes

It’s not enough to define your purposes and create a purpose statement.  The leader’s #1 task is to continually clarify and communicate the purpose of the organization.

5 ways to communicate Vision & Purpose:

  • Slogans
  • Symbols
  • Scriptures
  • Stories
  • Specifics (Strategy)

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.  Nobody gets it the first time.  Say it over and over in fresh ways.  Practice “Creative Redundancy!”

KN Commentary:

I want to focus on the SLOGAN point.  Slogans are short, memorable statements that people can recite.  No one ever remembers a 10 minute speech, 45 minute sermon, or even a lecture outline last week.  But, Slogans are powerful tools to help reinforce VALUES of an organization.  I went ahead and started making a collection of Saddleback Slogans.   CLICK HERE

If you’re at Saddleback, do you see any that I have missed?  For everyone else, comment below and give me some of your best slogans that reinforces a value.

img_3359#pdchurch #saddlebackchurch