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Posted on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Creativity, Fathering, Leadership, Worship

Creativity the Missing Piece(s) – Part 4

Creativity the Missing Piece(s) – Part 4

Slowly, but surely, this series is going to get finished! I started the series in 2009! What the heck Lindner! Get it together, it’s 2014!

So, since the chances are astronomical that you’ve never even heard of this series, therefore you’ve never read the first three articles, you might want to go check them out. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

In Part 4 of the series, I want to talk about setting the ground rules for the team & the meetings.

There are probably a hundred rules you could make up for a team like this. Maybe you want everyone to wear skinny jeans and a scarf. So you make a rule that no baggy pants are allowed.

But that’s not really what I’m thinking of. I’m looking more at those rules that keep the team functioning in a healthy manner. These rules are blunt and straightforward by design. It is better to be clear at the beginning with expectations. It’s easier to hold people to something they are aware of. If they don’t know a rule exists, they’ll break it every time.

So, what are they?

Team Rules

1.) Everyone is committed. 

If you’re on the team, you are an owner. You’re self-employed. You are not a road construction employee. We can’t have 5 guys watching one guy work. Everyone is committed. It needs to be made clear to those coming onto the team for the first time, that this is a Getting Stuff Done team. We don’t just talk, we do. For every meeting, we have a series we are executing, a series we are planning and a series we are brainstorming. We model the way by working the hardest. If you commit to this team, you’re committing to diligence.

2.) If you miss the meeting, it’s your responsibility to find out what you missed. 

Because we are committed to the team, we don’t wait until the next meeting to get caught up on what we missed. We get in touch with the leader or someone else who was there to find out what happened. It’s not the leaders’ responsibility to call me, it’s my responsibility to call my leader. I realize that I may have been assigned some tasks based on the strengths my team knows about me, and if I wait to find out what they are until the next meeting I might miss something that needs to be done this week. It’s not someone else’s responsibility, it’s mine.

3.) Everyone Follows Through

We don’t drop the ball. Period. If we drop the ball, it’s not just a loss of a service element. It’s the loss of an experience for hundreds if not thousands of people. It’s not just me who loses out, it’s the whole body. Every minute of the worship service is multiplied by the number of people in attendance. If 100 people come to church, a 60 minute service accounts for 6,000 minutes. If I don’t follow through, my 3 minute responsibility costs the church 300 minutes of potentially life-changing experience.

4.) Not meetings after the meeting

We are committed to being united as a team. If there is a problem between members of the team, we don’t engage in gossip about them outside the meeting, we encourage them and possibly force them to work it out with the other person. We confront ideas in the meeting because we are trying to get the best idea to the church. So, we don’t have meetings after the meeting about how this person just doesn’t get it. Or how that person isn’t very creative. Every person on the team is there for a reason. We confront and keep short accounts, because we are too busy with the big idea to get bogged down with drama.

5.) A God-honoring experience is primary, personal feelings are secondary. 

We don’t allow our personal feelings to be attached to an idea. My feelings aren’t important – Jesus is. We are here to create the most creative experience and expression of our collective bodies adoration of Jesus. We aren’t here to get credit. We aren’t here to prove that we are the most creative, crazy person in the church. We aren’t here to get our immature ego’s an extra stroke on the back. We are here to be a part of a team creating a God-honoring experience. My personal feelings cannot get in the way of that. That’s idolatry.

Meeting Rules

1.) Everyone is on time. 

We start our meetings on time. To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late. We don’t show up 15 minutes after the meeting starts, even if we are musicians. We respect the time of everyone on the team, and we understand that when we are late, we are disrespecting the time of those who cared enough about me to be there on time. That makes me an egotistical hypocrite who expect people to serve me, but I’m not willing to serve them in the same way.

2.) More from the thinkers less from the talkers. 

Just because you can talk a lot doesn’t mean you have the best idea. Often times those who have the most words need to shut their pie hole so someone who thinks can process the ideas on there and come up with a better idea. We don’t need you to prove how smart you are, how creative you are, how in touch with culture you are or anything of the like. We get the hint by your beard. You’re cooler than us. We get it. Now, please be quiet so I can come up with an idea that will make you cry.

3.) Only the team leader gets to cut someone off. 

We aren’t afraid to confront ideas that come to the table. But we also don’t get to be jerks. We are respectful of the people on the team. So we let them finish their idea before we jump in and change the subject. And just because the person takes a breath doesn’t mean they are finished. It is the responsibility of the leader to know the people on the team so they can silence the ones who talk too much and pull in the ones who talk too little.

4.) During brainstorming times, completion is not the goal – initiation of an idea is the goal. 

We aren’t trying to finish an idea during brainstorming. We are trying to find the best idea. My idea might initiate a better idea in your head. And your idea might initiate an even better idea in someone else’s head. So, we don’t stop and try to complete my idea. We don’t try to begin to implement my idea because I want my idea to win. When we are brainstorming, we are flooding the board with ideas in the hope that our idea might implement a coalition of creativity that truly expressed the creativity of the collected body of Christ.

5.) During implementation times of the meeting, financially responsible execution is the goal. It’s time to shut off the new ideas and implement the best idea you have. 

When you’re being creative, it’s hard to stop coming up with new ideas and get to work. This is a problem for creatives around the world. They never get started doing anything because as soon as they start, they have a newer and better idea. Creatives are awful for completing things.

Given the magnitude of the role of this team, (preparing experiences that prepare people), we don’t have the luxury of waiting until the absolute best idea comes along. Instead, we have the responsibility of implementing and executing the best idea we have. It’s not fair to those showing up on Sunday to drop the ball because we thought we had a better idea, and if we just had another week, we could make it happen.

Brainstorming Rules: If you need some good rules for brainstorming, make sure to check out the 10 commandments of brainstorming. 

 

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Posted on Oct 21, 2014 in Blog, Featured, Lost Virtues, repost, Truth, Values

True North: The Need for an External Point of Reference

True North: The Need for an External Point of Reference

I grew up watching the Waltons. It was one of the shows that was in our daily diet. I think it was because of John Boy for the most part. The narrative he added to their lives and the morals they lived by from a different time were solid. Of course, you’re probably making fun of my for that admission, nevertheless, it’s was a good show.

I remember an episode of that show where Olivia was out with Elizabeth and Jim Bob (I think). One way or another, in the dense forrest of Virginia, they got lost. They encountered different trials, including one where Jim Bob had to scare away a bear by banging a couple of rocks together. As they navigated their way back to the main road, Olivia (the mom) said that moss grows on the north side of the tree, so that would help them know which way they were going. It was a point of reference. But there’s a problem with it.

Her point of reference isn’t global. That doesn’t work everywhere. For instance is the same true in the southern hemisphere? I know for a fact the same principle does not apply here in the Northwest where moss grows on all sides of the tree. So, what do we do then? Some may say you can use the sun. And while that’s true on a sunny day, we also have a lot of days where the sun isn’t visible. What do we do then? When you don’t know which way you’re going, even a map will do you no good.

The only real answer is to have an external point of reference. Like a compass. You need to have something that is outside of your current circumstance that points you in the direction you need to go. You need to have something outside of you that can lead you to safety. Your rescue is dependent on the external point of reference. You may not see the sun, but as long as you have that needle that is pointing to true north, you can navigate.

The problem we are facing in todays society is that we have removed the external point of reference. It’s not for a lack of tools and things that point to it. Those all exist and have not changed. But for some strange reason we have decided that we no longer need something outside ourselves to guide us. We believe that we are able and competent to lead from within the circumstance.

We don’t use true north anymore. Many don’t even believe that true north exists. Many believe each of us gets to decide what true north is for ourselves. And so, we are all out there in the same woods, using our own true norths to try to navigate this life.

“What’s the big deal with that?” you might be asking. One problem is that we are all sharing the same forrest. We are all on this planet sharing oxygen. Our paths cross. no one lives in true isolation. What happens when my north contradicts your north? What happens when your north gets in the way of my north? Who gets to decide which north is the right north? Who gets to win the battle of the norths?

In this scenario, one might think that everyone would just assume that everyone is right. But that’s not the case. And we can see that being played out all over media on a daily basis. It never happens that everyone is right. In fact, what most commonly happens is that everyone is wrong. What I mean by that, is we don’t hear people commending one another for being right, we hear people condemning one another for being wrong. How idiotic is it of us to claim that what’s right for me may not be right for you and yet, at the same time condemn you for not doing what I think is right?

So, when your north contradicts my north, then you must be punished. And whichever way the justice scales of public opinion are tilting that day is what will be the winning north. The scales may swing widely from contradiction to contradiction, and that doesn’t matter. All that matters is right now and how I feel in this moment.

It does not make any sense. The reason we are such a messed up people is that we have abandoned our True North. The only way for us to find that sense is to abandon the ridiculous notion that I get to decide what north is and turn back to the real source of north – God. For it is God and God alone that sits outside our circumstance, and only he knows which direction we should go.

If you are unfamiliar with Frank Peretti’s illustration called “The Chair” I strongly recommend you make yourself familiar with it. Unfortunately this is an old video and it looks old, but the point is great.

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Posted on Aug 12, 2014 in Blog, Family, Featured, Values

Selling A Beautiful House is Hard!

Selling A Beautiful House is Hard!

We are selling our house we have called home for the last 6+ years. We have so many wonderful memories in this house. We’ve watched our kids grow up there. All of our kids but our oldest took their first steps there. We’ve had family gatherings there. Birthday parties, barbecues for friends and many other things. We’ve even kept a guest book of all the people we’ve had to that house over the years.

That makes it hard. Not just because you don’t want to leave all the memories behind, because the truth is we take all the memories with us. What makes it hard, is that at the end of the day, your house becomes a commodity.

And that’s been especially hard for me to learn to separate memory from commodity. To me the house is worth a lot because I know how awesome you can live life when you’re living in that house. I know how amazing it is at facilitating gatherings of groups large and small, and I know how great it is for families and kids. I know how well the garden produces and have spent many of my own years and dollars building into that place. I know the names of the three hummingbirds we’ve been feeding for years now.

For me, it’s worth a lot because I know how great it is once you’re in it.

But it’s hard to turn from that mindset to the mindset of selling something.

So, we’re selling out house. It’s a great house with a lot of great memories that have been made. And if you are looking or know someone who is looking for a great house, would you consider passing this along? It’s full of great life, and is just waiting for someone else to come and carry on that tradition!

Coldwell Banker Listing: http://www.cbseal.com/Homes/WA/Washougal/4537-ROLLING-MEADOWS-DR-98671/14373586

Redfin Listing: http://www.redfin.com/WA/Washougal/4537-Rolling-Meadows-Dr-98671/home/14651466

Zillow Listing: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/4537-Rolling-Meadows-Dr-Washougal-WA-98671/23256305_zpid/

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (1 of 16)

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (3 of 16)

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (5 of 16)

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (9 of 16)

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (15 of 16)

4537 Rolling Meadows - Our Choices (16 of 16)

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Posted on May 10, 2014 in Blog, Culture, Deliberate Living, Featured, Intentional Living, Lost Virtues, repost, Responsibility

The Death of Personal Responsibility (repost from 68church.com)

The Death of Personal Responsibility (repost from 68church.com)

(I wrote this article a couple of weeks ago for our church blog, and I wanted to share it with you as well. The original post can be found at: http://68church.com/the-death-of-personal-responsibility/)

A few weeks ago, this graphic was making the rounds on Facebook. And as much as you and I may dislike memes and they way they’ve destroyed Facebook, there is a lot of truth in this one.

childhoodisnotadiseaseWhat is the truth that is in this picture? It’s really a rather frightening one. Because what it contains is evidence that we apparently live in a post-responsibility world. We live in a time where responsibility only pertains to others and how what they did has caused my current crisis – whatever that may be.

“Hang on man, are you saying these aren’t real issues and diseases?” No. Not necessarily. However, I do think we are far to quick to jump to labeling someone ADHD simply because they have never been taught the discipline of sitting still and paying attention. We are too quick to write off our bad behavior as being some sort of psychological disorder. And when we have a bad day, we think the answer is a happy pill of some kind.

Do I daydream? I do. Does that mean I have ADHD, no. It means I need to focus.

Do I snap and get angry? Sometimes. Does that mean I’m bipolar? No. It means I need to work on my temper.

Do I find myself sad or upset about things from time to time? Sure. Doesn’t that mean I’m depressed? No. Perhaps it means I need to focus more on gratitude.

Again, I’m not saying these issues don’t exist. I think they do. I have no doubt ADHD is a real thing – for some. I have no doubt that some people struggle with being bipolar. And I know people go through depression. I’m not judging or condemning those who legitimately struggle with those things.

But here’s what I am saying: we are the cause of our problems. Even if you have a true and legitimate diagnosis of one of these or the hundreds of other “disorders” that exist today, you are still responsible for your choices. There may be some who aren’t responsible, but they are the exception. Don’t hear me wrong either. I’m not saying I’m immune to this. I have these thoughts creep up from time to time. It’s much easier to look for someone or something to blame instead of taking the blame for myself.

The moment you push responsibility off your shoulders and onto the shoulders of something or someone else is the exact moment you stop growing and moving forward. As long as it’s not your fault, there’s no need for you to work on it.

Sure, that’s an easier place to be. It’s always easier to not have to work on who you are. It’s always easier to not have to have any reason to try to change. It’s always easier to stay the same and blame something for why you can’t change. But as long as your a victim of some disease, you will always be at the mercy of it. And what you’re really a victim of is the definition we read online, then looking for those things in ourselves. We read articles like “10 signs of ADHD” or “3 ways to know you’re depressed” and, magically, we see all those symptoms in our own lives. As if it’s possible to self-diagnose depression with a 3 point article that we skimmed.

Here’s the great concern for us as followers of Christ. We can’t pursue sin and Jesus at the same time. We’re either pursuing Jesus or we’re pursuing ourselves. What I hear in a lot of this discussion is an attempt to be able to justify our sins by something we can’t control so we can still call ourselves Christians. We want the promise of eternity with Jesus without having to give up what we like in this life. So we rationalize and justify our sins with psychological disorders, claiming that we just can’t change.

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. (Matthew 16:24-27)

But you can change. We all can. But in order to change, we have to admit that there is something wrong with us. And unless you’re willing to do that, you’ll never get past where you are right now. But, if we can all admit that we are responsible for our choices and our actions…if we can all recognize that we’re sinners…if we can all recognize that we’ve made mistakes – then we have a chance at growing and changing.

Is it easy? No. But is it worth it? Yes! I will even go so far as to say, if we don’t suffer through the change, we will never know what it means to find joy.

“…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5) 

And you know what, the day we decide to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions and start to work on turning away from the sins in our lives could be the best day of our time here on earth. Without that day, we never become more like Christ. But, with that day, we continue to work out our salvation and become more and more like Christ a little more each day.

Please, make that day – today! 

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Posted on Feb 18, 2014 in Blog, Fathering, Humility, repost, Truth

The issue doesn’t matter, it’s the starting point.

The issue doesn’t matter, it’s the starting point.

There are a thousand different hot-button topics in the world today. You name the issue and there is someone who is all worked up for it and against it. Whether it’s GMO, Government Healthcare, Global warming or climate change, Recycling, Abortion, Homosexuality or CHEMTRAILS (which for some reason is always in all caps…). There is no shortage of causes to take up, there is no shortage of defenses and arguments and there is no no shortage of guilt being dished out from each side to the other.

But, really, none of that matters.

It really doesn’t.

What matters is where we start.

What I mean by that is the beginning motivation that drives us to take a stance for or against something is what really matters. And if we fail to recognize that, we will never understand or be understood. (I’ll write more on this later.)

For now, I want to focus in on one simple idea. It’s my issue. For some reason, I feel compelled to take a stand on this issue. What’s that, you ask?

Selflessness as opposed to selfishness.

And I think this is the one reason there are so many issues with so many people making strong statements on so many different sides of so many arguments.

I think it’s our selfishness that is driving us to take a stand on these issues. And once we decide where we are going to take the stand, we go out in search of “data” to defend our stance. But, as long as we’re trying to defend something we’ve decided for ulterior motives, we never really land on the truth.

We can’t. Because we didn’t start with the truth. We started with ourselves. And I don’t know about you, but I know myself. And I know that I am not a reliable source of steadfast truth. I’m too unpredictable, and too fallible. I make too many mistakes and wrong decisions to be able to start with myself.

And yet, that’s the starting point for almost every issue.

All For Tupperware Sippy Cups. 

Tupperware Sippy Cups

Let’s make up an issue so I don’t offend you or the issue you’re attached to. Let’s say that I have a firm belief that every person on the planet should use the old school, tupperware kids cups instead of the new sippy cups. The reason I think this is because I have an emotional attachment to the cups from my own childhood.

Because of my strong personal feelings about these cups, I go in search of a defense for them. It’s not hard to come up with reasons, even for a fake issue like this. (However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this as a real issue for some people.) For starters, these cups are environmentally friendly, and were designed with kids in mind. They have a small enough size that kids can hold them without any trouble, instead of the fatter cups that are being made today. Also, they don’t have a fancy anti-drip device on the inside that only retains moisture and inevitably leads to mildew – and no child should have to drink mildew flavored apple juice.

Sure, those are good arguments and good reasons. And I could undoubtedly find some people to support my movement. But, the facts the movement will be built on aren’t the real genesis for the movement. The real beginning is because of my strong personal attachment to the cups. And I’m creating a movement to meet my own selfish agenda.

As long as we’re starting with self, we will always land on a foundation made of jello. Because we aren’t a big enough of a foundation to build our lives on. When we start with self, we make all of life’s decisions based on how it affects us and how we are going to get more out of this side of the argument or that. We aren’t deciding based on the merit of either side of the argument. We’re deciding based on our own selfish agenda and how whichever side of the argument is going to benefit us the most.

What is your motive for making decisions about work? Do you make the decision based on what’s best for the company or what’s best for you? Do you decided to quit in the middle of an email because the clock hit 5 and you’re not going to get paid to finish it or do you finish it because it’s best for the company that you do?

What is your motive for making decisions about your family? Do you think about what’s best for the family and then make your decision, or do you decide based on what’s going to better benefit you personally?

What is your motive for fighting for whatever issue you fight for? Is it because you want to stand up for what’s right, and you’ve stopped to actually come up with the facts about what’s right? Or is it for a selfish reason that you’re taking this stand? Were you offended by someone in the past who held this view, so now you hold the opposite view?

Second Tier Selfishness

Are you standing up for someone who was hurt because of their view on Tupperware cups? And your motive is to make it right for them? While this is a little bit better of a stance, it’s still not the best. It’s what I call second tier selfishness. Just because someone was hurt for their stance on Tupperware cups, doesn’t mean they held the right view on Tupperware cups (let alone whether or not anyone should even have a view on tupperware cups).

Is it good to stand up for people? Absolutely. It is good to blindly stand for an issue because you’re trying to defend someone? No.

What Do We Do?

Well, first we have to be aware of our selfish motives and be on the lookout for how we are making decisions based on our desire to make the universe revolve around us. This means we have to humble ourselves. We have to walk humbly.

We start by Loving God and Loving others. We let that be what guides how we make decisions. Not ourselves, not our own desires and agendas – but God and others.

Then, we make our decisions based fighting for the inherent dignity of others. That doesn’t mean we stand up for the issue or believe in it. What it means is we believe that every person is made in God’s image. And since they are made in that image, the bear within their very nature – dignity.

And we take stances for issues based on truth, not based on selfishness and ulterior motives. We take a stand because it actually is the right thing to stand for. We don’t take a stand because it benefits us or even because it benefits a friend. We take a stand on an issue because it’s right.

And I think we could even argue that the stands we take should be limited to the dignity of the people at risk. If we fight for the dignity of people, we never find ourselves walking the line of a fragile issue. We may not agree with what someone is doing, but we can agree that they should be treated with dignity because they are made in God’s image.

That’s why I say…

…the issue doesn’t matter. It’s the people that matter. The issue doesn’t matter, what matters is where we start. Are we starting with truth and dignity or with selfishness and ulterior motives.

 

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Posted on Feb 14, 2014 in Blog, Family, Marriage, Recording & Sound

Everything To Me…

Everything To Me…

Our-FamilyOver the years, I’ve written a few songs for the love of my life. Today, she blessed me with a poem she wrote about our story. So I wanted to share our story through the songs I’ve written.

Our Wedding Day

This first song was one I wrote for our wedding day. I actually sang it for her in our wedding. I still feel that way too. And right now, I’m trying to keep doing what I said in that song: “More than words can ever say, I want to say “I Love You” with my life.”

Everything To Me

Another Valentine’s Day

Several years later, at a Valentine’s day dinner, I played “Everything to me” for her at a dinner our church was having. I also shared with her a new song I had just written her – and that’s the one below.

These Days

An Unsettled Valentine’s Day

A year after I had written that last song, we found ourselves in a very uncertain time of our lives. It was a time with a lot of questions that neither of us had the answers for. But, even during those times of uncertainty, we still knew the answer to one question:

Who?

All these years later (this is our 11th valentine’s day together – which I know is not that many compared to some), we’re still writing a new story with our lives. We’re traveling around the bends in the road of the game of life, adding little plastic people to the seats in the car. And while our people make more noise than the plastic people in the game, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Happy Valentine’s Day Bekki, I love you!

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