Getting what you want…

I grew up watching Merry Melodies in the morning while I would be getting ready for school. Almost every morning there was an episode where Willie Coyote relentlessly chased after that on thing he wanted… the Road Runner. He was ruthless in that en devour. There are two things that come to my mind when thinking about Mr. Coyote, am I chasing after those things I think are important with all my being and are those things I’m chasing after worth it? Willie put so much energy, money, and his life on the line for one dinner. Now I know the purists say that Willie did catch the Road Runner at one point. In the episode “Soup or Sonic” right after being shrunk to a fraction of his original size, clings to the leg of the regular size Road Runner,  he then turns to the “camera” and holds up a sign:

“Okay wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him. Now what do I do?”

While technically he did catch him, he wasn’t in any position to partake in the victory.

For me, I had a dream to be a sound engineer for a touring band. When I was 11 years old I was in the audience of a Newsboys’ concert in my home town and said, “I’m going to tour with them.” 12 years later after spending almost every weekend working for regional sound companies, and then onto small tours out of Nashville. I found myself sitting across the table at catering from Peter Furler and the rest of the Newsboys – dream accomplished. I came to realize though after years of touring, this dream wasn’t what I thought it was, I loved it but it wasn’t for me.

I believe we are called to pursue that passion God has put inside us with all our being. With as much tenacity as Willie Coyote trying to get that one Road Runner dinner. Just don’t forget to stop and take a gut check now and then. Make sure that thing you think you want is really worth it. I thought being a sound engineer is what God created me to be, to be on road. What I am finding is, He’s asking me to use those gifts to pursue the real thing He wants me doing. What I thought was a passion for audio and all things techie is really a heart for people and their relationship to Christ. Being an audio engineer is just the mode He has blessed me with to open the door. So, before you order that next item from the ACME company, sit down and pray, ask God what is your deep down passion. The thing that drives you and keeps you up at night, is it a selfish passion or a Holy one? Open yourself up to God’s ideas, you’ll be surprised at what you can do then.

Are you doing what you thought you would be as a kid? How is God shaping and changing what you’re passionate about? Leave me a comment, let’s talk about it.

Dropbox

In keeping up with the theme from last week, I will recommend another “cloud” based program I couldn’t live without.

DROPBOX 

Now, Dropbox isn’t new and there are a lot of similar options out there. Dropbox is just the one I have become loyal to. Mainly because they are responsible for storing over 50Gbs of my data right now. I have become a huge fan of cloud storage. I was an early adopter of Carbonite and Mozy and they saved my butt several times. My problem was I wanted to just be able to access files quickly and not have to un-archive them. That is where the beauty of Dropbox has come in. I now store documents, photos, and things I don’t want to lose there. I can share folders with friends, family, and colleagues or they can share their items with me. I have worked with other churches having them send me pictures and files via Dropbox collaboration.

Between my iPad, iPhone, Laptop, Desktop, and family computer my files always stay within reach.

Again there is a free version, and paid (yearly) version. There are also several ways to have Dropbox add storage space to your account, just by tweeting, adding photos, or sharing with a friend.

 

Thoughts on the Global Leadership Summit

Preparing for this year’s Global Leadership Summit has me reflecting about previous years. I am often asked by people who have never been “what’s so important about it?” My answer is always: It changed my career. Before attending the Summit I was always focused on the Tech and not the People. I was a nerd who wanted to be a leader and didn’t know how. I can still hear Bill Hybels (Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church) saying in his opening talk in 2010, “Leaders move people from HERE to THERE.” That’s when it hit me, I am not moving anyone from anywhere doing things the way I’ve always done them. Now let me take a moment and explain, there is nothing wrong with the ultra techie. The guy that can spit out model numbers from memory and can tell you the ins and outs of all the latest gear. But I had to make s decision, I had to decide if I was going to be the ultra tech and if so, was I willing to put the effort into it. See, I have never been good at model numbers and such. I always feel embarrassed when asked what kind of mics I am using and end up getting the numbers all messed up. I was going to have to hunker down and study if I was going to be able to run with the big tech dogs.

This all started a stirring in me that I am still working on today. It’s a feeling that started in my heart and is making its way to my brain as I figure out how to implement it. I had to ask myself the tough question: “Can I be okay walking away from mixing sound and let someone else do it?” I found that answer at the Leadership Summit, “Yes, I can.” God put a new passion in my heart, centered around my old passion. I still love tech, and am still a nerd. But now I find joy in helping others find that passion. I find greater joy in building a team than pulling off a flawless performance. Hybels went on to say: “Figure out what it is that God wants you to do in this world, then move people from HERE to There.” I have figured out what God wants to do with me at this point in my life.  It’s not being the front of house guy, it’s not being the road manager for a band, it is leading and caring for a team of volunteers at a church for the glory of God.

 

 

What has God called you to do? Are you doing it, or still trying to fight down the path of your own wants and desires?

 

 

I urge you to check out the Global Leadership Summit and see what changes God wants to make in you.

 

 

(As an added note, I want to give Tim Schraeder a major thank you for his meticulous notes. I used his notes to augment my own and want to thank him for that. His notes can be found at: http://www.timschraeder.com)

 

I’m not paid to say No

I can already hear your gasps and assume my life is destined for burnout from the title of this post. It maybe, but this a different type of saying no. I am fully capable of saying no, to the church family that asks me to video their daughter’s wedding. I am talking about being open to new challenges and pushing ourselves to be better.

Last year as we were gearing up for the annual Christmas Concert – A musical extravaganza of sorts (video can be seen here). We sat around a long boardroom style table and planned the Christmas season festivities. I took mountains of notes,  jotting down stage layouts, input lists, and a note to figure out how to have 13 vocalists. Snow machines, low laying fog, and lasers were all discussed and added to the list of things to investigate. At no time during this meeting did I utter the words “No, I can’t do that.”

The task set before me was huge, our biggest hurdle was we had over 60 inputs needed and only a 48 input snake. I had to add several extra audio consoles to sub-mix certain instruments and tie in addition wireless systems. Installed additional software effects processing to enhance some of the cover songs we were doing. Having to also get twenty 50 lbs CO2 tanks, 4 snow machines, and 2 CO2 foggers was the easy part.

Rehearsals started and as we hit a few bumps, associated with trying to get everyone’s monitors sounding right. Our worship leader and creative arts pastor pulled me aside. They were curious where these issues where coming from, and if we were going to be ready. I assured them that we have tech rehearsal before the dress rehearsal to address any of theses bumps. I explained that we were going into uncharted waters of what our equipment could do.

My worship pastor asks, “Why didn’t you just tell us you couldn’t do that in the planning meeting?” I responded, “I’m not paid to say no.” If it is at all possible, I will bend over backwards to make it happen. No ones life was in danger, and I knew with time it would work. I say all this because I think to often we as tech people may become stuck in our ways and not willing to push the boundaries of our gear. When it was all over the Christmas season went off fantastically. The snow machines snowed during silent night, the low-lying fog looked fantastic, and the bands were huge.

When you’re approached with a project that is bigger than you think you can handle, don’t jump to NO. See if there are some creative ways to work it out. You’ll find it can be very rewarding.

Taco Tuesday

One of the guys on our Tech Staff started this thing called: Taco Tuesday. It’s a simple process where on Tuesdays we go to Taco Bell for lunch. (Can you see how clever we are?)It started out small, just he and I. Then another staff member joined, then 2 more. Suddenly we’re have to take multiple cars and get there early to save tables. It has become the phenomenon.

I can already hear you asking me to get to the point, and I will please bear with me. I was realizing the other day as I walked the main office corridor at Northview, people would yell from their office, “Almost time for Taco Tuesday?” I was blown away, something silly like tacos on Tuesday has become a staff wide event.

This unforced, non mandatory weekly meeting of friends has been a better bonding agent than any retreat, or staff meeting exercise ever. Sharing a meal together with no set agenda (we have had some crazy conversations) really has allowed people to get to know one another in a meaningful way.

Look around your workplace and invite someone for tacos, it will improve your work environment in no time.

Chasing Francis – A Pilgram’s Tale

Chasing Francis by Ian Cron (@iancron).

It’s a historical novel, where fiction is mixed in with historical facts and people, much like Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,”  is a 19th-century example of the romantic-historical novel. This book follows a pastor on a pilgrimage, rediscovering and reinventing who he is, based on his encounter with the living memory of  St. Francis of Assisi. My understanding of Saint Francis before reading Ian’s book was that he was the patron Saint of animals. This story opened my eye’s not only to the life of an amazing servant of the Lord, but gave me a new perspective on the Catholic church.

This book caused much internal reflection in my own life, as I was engulfed into the story line of Chase the main character. Chase is a church planter who’s church plant became a mega-church. However the God he thought he knew, the one he learned about in seminary was not the one he was preaching about. He was losing his faith. His emotional and spiritual burnout calumniates in an impromptu moment during a Sunday morning sermon, an outburst  from the podium earns him a forced sabbatical.

Chase finds himself in Rome, with his cousin Kenny, a Franciscan monk. Kenny wants to lead him on a spiritual pilgrimage, following in the footsteps of  St. Francis of Assisi to find how Jesus lived. Kenny expalains a pilgramgae as:

 “Think of it this way,” he continued, “a pilgrimage is a way of praying with your feet. You go on a pilgrimage because you know there’s something missing inside your soul, and the only way you can find it is to go to sacred places, places where God made himself known to others. In sacred places, something gets done to you that you’ve been unable to do for yourself.”

Through out his time in Italy, Chase begins to really find out what he believes deep down. He wrestles with the fact that his faith is more knowledge than actual faith. As he spends his time walking in the footsteps of St. Francis and learning from the history oozing out of Rome.

Overall I found this book very intriguing and helpful in my own life as I walk my faith journey. St. Francis believed that the gospel message should be ever present in our lives. It questions some of the status quo of the modern church.

“Francis didn’t criticize the institutional church, nor did he settle for doing church the way it had always been done. He rose above those two alternatives and decided that the best way to overhaul something was to keep your mouth shut and simply do it better. It’s like Gandhi said: “Seek to be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

Francis was so much more than a friend of animals as I had learned growing up. He was a friend of God, he was a student of God, and a sold out follower of Jesus Christ.

“Francis’s strategy of ministry-simply read the gospel texts and live the life you find on its pages. What a concept. I wondered what Francis would say if he were the main speaker at a church-growth conference. Would anyone take him seriously?” 

Live the gospel out loud. That sums up St. Francis’ calling.

The book is a great story, that presents a compelling picture of a saint of the church who has an age old message for the church of today. Francis dared to believe that Jesus meant what He said.

Here are some quotes that really stood out to me:

“Francis had no new theory to offer, but an old practice-the practice of Jesus Christ.”

“The Bible is the story of how God gets back what was always his in the first place. People are looking for a story that can explain the way the world is.”

“Francis, your genius was that you read stuff in the Bible (like the Sermon on the Mount) and you didn’t spiritualize or theologize it. You heard Jesus say, “Happy are the peacemakers,” so you got up every day and embarked on a new peace mission. My usual approach is to read the Bible, try to understand what it’s saying, and then apply it. Your formula was the reverse. You applied the Bible and then came to a fresh understanding of what it actually meant. What a concept.”

“If someone insists on labeling me in the future, I’d like to be known as a `come-and-see’ Christian. If someone asks me what kind of church I belong to, I want to say, `a come-and-see church.’ Come and see how we love the poor, come and see how we give dignity back to those who’ve lost it or given it away, come and see how we encounter God through every spiritual practice at our disposal, come and see how we love one another in community, come and see how we stand for peace and justice, come and see how we’ve been freed from consumerism and have become radically generous, come and see our passion for beauty, come and see how we defend the earth, come and see how we preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words. Come and see-and perhaps after a while you’ll decide to join us in the story we’re living in.”

I highly recommend this book. It takes the reader on their own spiritual pilgrimage without leaving the comfort of the chair their reading in.

 

 

Leadership is solving Problems – Colin Powell

Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

– Colin Powell

 

Evernote

For my First APP OF THE WEEK pick I’m going with my digital brain:

EVERNOTE

Evernote is a cloud bases system for capturing and collecting data.  It then syncs to all my smart devices, so I am always up to date no matter which i-device I happen to be using at that moment. I use it to log anything and everything. They have a great “clipper” tool that helps me snip blog articles I want to read later. I email notes to myself, and log pictures of things I want to remember. With it’s advanced search features, I can store mountains of data in there safely in the cloud and then call it up in seconds. You can also share notebooks with others on Evernote. I use this to regularly to collaborate while working on several different projects simultaneously.

Evernote has what they call the Trunk which is basically their Add-on site for Evernote. There you can find all sorts of apps. I have one that pulls down all my utility bill statements and stores them in a folder. I have another that when I scan a document it uploads it to my Evernote account.

The only drawback I have with it right now is it’s lack of formatting options with text. The lack of a highlight function as well, to just be able to make a yellow bar over a section of text. I would really use that.

I encourage you to give it a try. There is a free version as well as a Paid (yearly) version.

 *This is not an endorsed pick. I was not contacted or approached by Evernote or its partners for this recommendation.

Post #1

Well everything has to start somewhere. This this me jumping out of my comfort zone, and chasing a dream. I want to write and and I want to help people. Boom, I can do both with a blog. I am very self conscious going into this, I read a lot of other blog with authors much more eloquent than I am. I guess though, I’ll never know how my writing is if I never write it.

I pray you find solidarity, support, and advice in the writing to come. It is truly my goal to be a blessing to you and your ministry.

Thank you for checking out my blog, let’s do this…

 

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss