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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:

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Leadership Uplifter (Staff Training January 2018)

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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:

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  • 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…

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  • 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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Slogans are Memorable, #PDChurch2016

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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.

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Why didn’t Jesus say He was God?

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I ran across a recent blog by Pastor Mark Driscoll that helped answered a question I was perplexed during my early youth years.  I wish had the WORD of GOD armed and ready, but failed in my feeble attempts to dual a self-proclaimed atheist.  This could have been one of those moments that later inspired me to enter into seminary training.   Much later in life, our family moved into a new home, and 2 sisters knocked on our front door from the Jehovah Witness church, asking the same question…

So why didn’t Jesus outright say, “I AM GOD”?  Instead, he frequently referred himself as the “Son of Man”.  Before we can answer this, you must also recognize that we’re over 2,000 years removed from the historical and cultural context of Jesus’ time.  The words and phrases written in the Bible may obstruct us from seeing what was SO OBVIOUS to the audience of that time.  

SHORT ANSWER: Jesus DID emphatically, publicly, privately, and unapologetically declare that HE was GOD.

Yes, Jesus wasn’t crucified because he supposedly broke the Sabbath laws, healed the sick, perform miracles, or teach “heresies” in the eyes of the Pharisees.  He was put to death because he called himself, “GOD”… “I AM”.  Here are 2 passages that may help you in answering this question.  There are many more, and I invite you to add them into the COMMENTS section below.  

  1. John 10:30-33: I and the Father are one.”  Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”  “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
  2. Matt 26:63-65: The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

You see, pretty clear right?  Do you have any other passages that can encourage and equip others to firm up their faith in knowing Jesus was God?  Add them to the COMMENTS.

Thank you, Pastor Mark for helping us answer this question.  WATCH HERE

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Vision Night of Worship 2016

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This Easter 2016, we launch a new service time on Saturday at 5:00 pm.  With the growing need for an alternative service, we realized that it was time to open up the doors for greater community impact which consisted of lots of young families in weekend sports, increased urban housing development, and an internationally renown university down the street.  

Up to this point, I felt God pressing on my heart the need to recast a Vision for Easter preparation and a heightened sensitivity for our community.  Our team decided to do a pre-launch of Saturday night service with a Vision Night of Worship.  You can WATCH all of the Vision Talk I shared here: Vision MessageMay it open your eyes to the things God has for you this Easter Season, or read on with the summary.

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SUMMARY OF VISION TALK:

My Big Point: Easter is a time to refresh your vision and see clearly God’s movements in your life.  God is asking us everyday, “Do you see anything”?  1) It may be your first step to cross over and see Jesus for the very first time.  2)  For many others, like me, it’s stretching of our faith to see him, new every day.  

My Big Prayer:  I wanted to pray for our church family and all the churches nearby and in the world with these 2 verses –

Uncover my eyes so that I may see the miraculous things in your teachings.”                                              Psalms 119:18 (GWT)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”                      Eph 1:18 (NASB)

4 EYE-OPENERS WE LEARN FROM THE BLIND

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”  He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”  Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.  (Mark 8:22-25 NIV)

From this familiar miracle story, we find 4 Eye-opening lessons from the Blind Man’s encounter with Jesus.

  1. Friends can Help or Hinder our meeting with Jesus (v.22)
  2. Clear Vision requires a Personal Encounter with Jesus (v.23)
  3. We can Experience Jesus in Multiple Ways
    • Touch (Matt 9:27-31) 
    • Spit & Mud (Jn 9:1-41) 
    • Spit & Touch (Mk 8:22-26)
    • Spoke (Lk 18:35-43)
  4. Jesus Blesses us according to our Faith                                             

VISION NIGHT TAKE-AWAYS

“And [Jesus] asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” Mk 8:29 (ESV)    

 “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.”  Mk 8:31 (ESV)

Question: How will you Encounter Jesus this Easter season? 

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,”  Mt 6:22 (ESV)

I want to share 3 prayers for 3 different types of blindness: 

  • Spiritually Alone

 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jn 3:3 (NASB)

  •  Spiritually Broken

 “The Spirit of the Lord is with me. He has anointed me to tell the Good News to the poor. He has sent me to announce forgiveness to the prisoners of sin and the restoring of sight to the blind, to forgive those who have been shattered by sin,” Lk 4:18 (GWT)

  • Spiritually Dull

“The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.  The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.  The Lord loves the godly.” Ps 146:8 (NLT)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Ps 51:10 (NLT)