Tuesday, December 23, 2014

vision leaks - part 5 (patience)

If you want to experience growth and success in life, you have to keep moving forward with a great attitude and heart even when you don't see the results you desire or expect.  This is the essence of patience.  And patience is fundamental to spiritual maturity and leadership.

The apostle Peter motivated his followers by pointing them to God's promises and then reminding them to be patient.  (2 Peter 3:8) says, "A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day."

A Couple Thoughts...
1. Don't be a time keeper!
Those who watch the clock with an expectation of when they should get what they think they should get will deteriorate their patience which is their only ability to ultimately receive from God.

2. Don't be a score keeper!
Those who try to keep score by comparing what others have and how long it took them to get what they have will deteriorate their patience which is their only ability to ultimately receive from God.

What are your thoughts?
?Are you a time keeper?
?Are you a score keeper?

Monday, December 15, 2014


Its working even when it doesn't seem like its working!  You can't quit simply because you're not seeing the results you want to see.

The Apostle Peter reminded his team how important it is to stay in faith.  In (2 Peter 3:5 NLT) he reveals the plight of the doubter.
v5 "They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of His command, and He brought the earth out from the water."

A Couple Thoughts...
1. Doubt is Deliberate!
You have to work really hard to NOT see God at work.  So, be deliberate to remind yourself that it IS working.  God is working even when it doesn't seem like He's working.

2. Faith looks at the Past!
Peter told his team to remember all that God had done before and that God is still in the miracle working business.  Don't forget!  Remember, if He did it before He can do it again.  Remembering the hand of God in your past can be fuel to see His hand in your present and future.

?Where have you been deliberately doubting?
?What situation do you need to be reminded of today where God came through in a big way?

Monday, December 8, 2014


Doubt is your greatest enemy--and it will always by persistently present.

The Apostle Peter was reminding his team in 2 Peter 1:3 that "scoffers" will come.  A scoffer is a derider, false teacher or mocker.  They/it creates and fuels doubt.

The scoffer or doubter will say things like:  "It's not working!"  "Where is all the money, staff/leaders, clients or people?  Shouldn't there be more by now?  Shouldn't we be further along?"

A Couple Thoughts...
1. Doubt isn't present because we're failing.  It's present because we're doing something extraordinary!

We need to be personally reminded when we're doubting that what we're experiencing is normal and expected.  And, if you're a leader, you need to be spewing that truth into your team.

2. You need to remain strong and stable in the midst of doubt.

I'm reminding you today that doubt and doubters will come.  I'm reminding you so that it won't knock you off course and so that you will see doubt for what it is; A LIE!

?What are the consistent doubts that come your direction?
?Do those doubts come through those on your team or closest to you?
If so, you may need to limit the time and influence you give those people.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

vision leaks - part 2 (reminders)

We ended our last post promising to share 6 keys every leader needs to be reminded of as well as then reminding their teams.  Vision leaks and we need a constant flow of the why behind the what.  We discovered these keys in 2 Peter 3:1-9 and we'll be sharing a couple of them today.

"Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior,"

A Couple Thoughts... (2 of the 6 keys)

1. Words - Peter calls them beloved and then tells them their minds are pure.  He first uses his words to encourage and compliment his followers and then reminds them of previous conversations.  We need to be reminded of how powerful our words are to those we lead.  They need regular doses of positive and uplifting interactions with us.  You can never "over encourage".  Be sure you're regularly injecting vision, life, and encouragement into your teams.  It will take them and you a long way.

2. Commandments - There are things we say in passing conversation and then there are rules, policies, and guidelines.  Even though we've taken the time to craft and write out the most important words of our organization, we will still need to have regular times of reminder.  We'll need to remind people of not just what is written but why it was written in the first place.  These are the vision, mission, values, processes, job descriptions, etc.  Don't underestimate the importance of reminding your faithful of the pillars of your organization.  They are not just the compass that points the way, but they are the rudder that turns and directs the entire ship.

? If your team was asked, what would they say was the last time you encouraged them?
? How can you creatively remind your team of the most important words of your organization?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vision Leaks - part 1

Vision leaks because people are leaky!  We have this problem where we are enamored with the immediate.  That immediate can be pleasure or pain.  And, under the weight of the immediate, everything else gets pushed out.  The pressure and enormity of the immediate squeezes out clarity for the big picture.

Its amazing how quickly we forget or lose sight of the vision of our organization when we're feeling the pressure of staffing difficulties, financial shortages, and people conflict.  But its not just the negative that blurs our ability to stay focused on our vision.  Vision leaks under the weight of success, too.  We've spent money, added staff, purchased buildings, created ministries or positions, and overlooked people issues because everything was going "too good".  Those decisions in the good times, that weren't filtered through clear vision, have or will come back to haunt us.

Its obvious that a God given vision requires constant clear focus.  So what do we do to make sure vision, mission, and values remain in the forefront no matter what season we're in?

A Couple Thoughts...

1. Make sure your vision, mission, and values are clear!
Not just clear in your mind but clear on paper.  Get these guys fleshed out and in your organization's language.   Its okay to be inspired by another org's statements, but be sure you wrestle with the language and the feel of the statements to ensure they represent who God has called you to be.  And then get those puppies written down on everything and anywhere you can.

2. Remind everyone constantly!
One of the most important jobs of a leader is to be a reminder.  We need to remind our leaders to remind their teams and to teach their teams how to be reminded.  I regularly tell our staff that they are to be "tanker trucks" driving around and refueling people with our church's vision.

There are 6 Reminders that will help us stay focused on our vision no matter what season we're in.  We'll be sharing these over the next few issues.

So, sign-up for this blog so that we can REMIND YOU when there are A Couple Thoughts ready for ya.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Faith that works!

We typically like to blog about leadership ideas we're learning and how they're lived out in a church context.  But today, we want to share a spiritual insight we're processing.

I (Dan) think my approach to walking and living by faith has been incomplete or slightly skewed.  Some define faith as simply being a believer or doing things from the basis of one's beliefs .  Like, "A person of faith" or a "faith-based initiative."  I've personally approached faith as a tool that God has designed for me to use to receive things from Him or to accomplish the impossible.  Like...faith for salvation, healing, provision, or a miracle.  If I can just build my faith enough, I'll finally get what God promised.  Not necessarily wrong, just possibly incomplete.

What if faith is more than some tool or spiritual gift, that if we can just figure out how to use, we'll be able to get anything we want?  Like rubbing the Genie's lamp, and poof...unlimited wishes granted.

What if our approach to faith is off?  What if there's a better way that changes everything?  

I saw something while I was SOAPing recently that shifted my thinking and approach to faith that I think will be helpful to you, too.

Romans 4:3 NKJV "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
Romans 4:9 NKJV "Faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness."
Romans 8:15-17 NKJV "You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba Father' (Daddy God).  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ."

A Couple Thoughts...
1. It was faith that established Abraham's relationship with God.
Yes, faith made it possible for Abraham to receive the promise of a son at 100 years old, but that was after he was considered righteous.  Righteous = right standing with God.  Meaning, Abraham received the promise because God considered him a son.  And, because Abraham knew he was God's son, he was able to trust that God would come through on His promise.

? Are you striving for the promise or the for the One who promised?

2.  Reminding me that God is my loving Father is the Holy Spirit's job.
If I'm listening to the Holy Spirit, I will hear His encouraging whispers confirming my position in God and Christ.  The Apostle Paul says we need to see God as a loving daddy, not a tired and angry disciplinarian.  And, Jesus as a protective big brother, not a bullying prankster.

* You're not hearing the Holy Spirit accurately if you see God as withholding and against you.

? Do you trust God to come through on His promises like a loving daddy?
? Could this be where you need to build up your faith more?

I'm going to develop my faith to live more from my position as the son of a loving daddy, Who just happens to be the Creator of the universe.


Monday, July 7, 2014

This is going to hurt...

I was asked a couple weeks ago to encourage some young leaders concerning how to handle correction.  Here's what I shared.

We need to increase our pain threshold.  We think if it hurts, its bad.  We think if it hurts, we have permission to quit and leave.  We'd never make it on Jesus' staff or team.

One time, "Jesus rebuked Peter, saying, 'Get behind Me, Satan!'" (Mark 8:33)  Imagine how you would respond if your pastor or leader brought it to your attention that you might be listening to the devil?

Then, in John 21:17, Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him the same question 3 times.  I find it interesting that Jesus didn't stop at Peter's quick, surface, off the cuff response.  Jesus followed up on Peter and pressed in until it hurt.  Jesus asked questions that were annoying and off-putting to Peter.

A Couple Thoughts...
1. Growth comes in the pain.

We'll only grow to the level of the pain we're willing to endure.  A leader must press into the pain and have necessary hard conversations with team members.  A subordinate must be ready and willing to receive those hard conversations.  Don't run from it, run to it.

Proverbs 27:5 says, "Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed."
If we love them, and want them to grow, we'll hold them accountable, and lovingly correct.

2. Those hungry to grow take correction as sweet.

"A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." (Proverbs 27:7 NKJV)

To those who are satisfied, thinking they're doing a great job and are settled into their role as a leader, even the good things they experience are like trying to eat "just one more bite" at the buffet.  But for those who are hungry for more, even correction (bitter thing) seems sweet, because they're desperate for growth.

Are you satisfied or hungry?
How do you respond to correction and accountability?



Monday, June 16, 2014

It's not about you!

I walked into my bank recently and wished I never had to return.  It was super quiet.  No music playing.  There were only 2 employees visible.  One behind the main counter and one in an office on the phone.  Neither seemed too excited to be there.  It was dark, with many of the lights off.

Great customer service is a passion of mine, so I at times share what I think are insightful observations to those I think can or want to make a difference in their place of business.  At least, I'll share what I feel will make the experience worth my returned business.

Here's what happened next...
(me) "Its so quiet in here.  There's no music playing?"  I'm thinking she forgot to turn the music on.
(bank employee) "I don't need music.  These machines are noisy enough."
(me) "The music is for your customers.  It feels like a ghost town in here."
(b.e.) After a placating laugh "Oh, we're not allowed to play music."

My next stop was to another bank where I was pleasantly serenaded as I walked in.  #truestory

A Couple Thoughts...
1.  Customer Service = Serve the Customer

Business owners or organization leaders: there are things you need to do for your customers or guests that may not initially benefit you but that make your guests/clients more comfortable.  Embrace it.

2.  Be a guest often.

The only way to become aware of what it feels like to be a guest is to be a guest.  Visit businesses that are new to you and take notes.  What makes you feel welcomed and valued?  Why?  What can translate into your business or organization that will add value to your guests?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Are You Gathering or Sleeping?

Ministry is all about gathering people.  We experience true life when we actively participate in relationships.  Yet, some of us have been waiting around….waiting for someone to offer us opportunity.  Waiting for life to slow down and grant us the extra time to connect with others.  "Some day I'll step out of my comfort zone.  Some day I'll be ready enough, good enough, charismatic enough to reach others."  We've all said this.

What we don't realize is that in the passivity of waiting we are often being lulled to sleep.

Joy-filled relationships and opportunities are quickly passing us by and slipping right through our fingers before we even notice.  In fact, we may never notice.  That is…until we wake up.

Proverbs 10:5  
"He who gathers in summer is a wise son:  He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame."

Our family recently went to a professional baseball game.  Our 8 year old son had been talking non-stop about going home with a game ball.  My husband was alert with his glove on his hand throughout the entire game.  He was ready for the bless-ed event should it come our way.

During the 8th inning, many families started to leave early.  Truthfully, I was being lulled to sleep in the summer heat.  Until suddenly, I could hear the roar of the crowd and tangibly feel the rush of something coming towards us.  There it was!  The much anticipated game ball coming fast and fiercely towards Dan's glove.  It hit hard.
Right. In. His. Glove.


He caught it all…..Because he was ready.   

Let's be ready.  Let's be gatherers and not sleepers.  Let's be gatherers of people as wise sons and daughters.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Are you Teachable?

I've been corrected a lot.  Growing up with 3 brothers produced a good amount of opportunity to find myself on the wrong side of the law (My mom's apple shaped cutting board, if you know what I mean!).  Fast food jobs, high school sports, church serve teams, and ministry positions have all given their fair share of correction.  The question is, did I learn anything?

Teachability, one of our leadership values at Life Church Jersey, has been defined as: "the willingness to relearn things we think we already know."

So, here's what I'm learning; its not IF I need correction, but how I respond to correction that makes all the difference.  

Proverbs 9:7-9 NKJV
"He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.  Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.  Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning."

Teachability is revealed through our response to conflict and correction.  Our character is displayed through how we endure pain.  The question remains; Are you teachable?  If you haven't been, you can certainly start right now.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Who is Bigger than What!

I've been in ministry leadership since 1992 and the longer God allows me to do this deal the more I'm convinced that it's who I'm with that matters more than what I'm doing.  Relationships are life.  Relationships are everything!

I recently heard of a young man leaving a church staff because he wasn't passionate about EVERYTHING he was responsible for.  His job description included his sweet spot, but he was also asked to do a few things he didn't love.  He and his pastor had known each other for years and there had been rich investments by the pastor into the friend/staff member.  The pastor is one of the most relational, inspiring and supportive leaders I've ever met.  I'd move to his city in a heartbeat to just be around him!  And even though my friend was committed to work with his young staff member and invest in his personal growth, it wasn't enough. He left to seek out his "calling".

My observation is that the young man was more concerned with opportunity and position than being around healthy leadership.

Here's my advice to young leaders (any leader really):
* Seek a Person Not a Position!

If there's a respectable leader willing to invest in you and your growth...you've hit the jackpot!  Look no further.  God uses healthy people and relationships to develop us.  You can learn the what and how of ministry almost anywhere.  But, if there's not a deep connection with a leader that believes in you, loves you, stretches you, and develops you; you're toast.

You'll never be fulfilled if you're not serving with people who fill you. (No matter what you're doing or accomplishing.)

God calls us to people and places, not positions!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


#TMNight #TeamNight #Leadership #DreamTeam

Life Church Jersey has always focused on doing a few things really well.  So, when we do "do something" it is really important to us.  Team Night is one of those REALLY important things.

And here's why: 
1. Our Dream Team is the life-blood of the church & Team Night is all about the DTeam.
2. All our focus is on pouring into our Point People and Dream Team members.
3. We have fun together.
4. We eat together.
5. We learn together.
6. I share vision and my most current thoughts at Team Night before I share them anywhere else.
7. Its the best way to be more connected to the core of LCJ.

TMNight is for those who lead or serve on a team at LCJ.  So, if you're on the Dream Team or lead a Connect Group, DO NOT MISS our "special edition" on Sunday, March 16th, at 5pm.  Its our 6 year birthday as a church and we're going to party!!!
(Childcare will be provided.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Take A Step

Each year following the 21 days of prayer and fasting, we celebrate with VISION NIGHT!

Vision Night is strategically scheduled after the fast because God has always revealed clear direction for the church during these 3 weeks of seeking Him.  This year was no different.


We believe that is the word of the Lord for Life Church Jersey in 2014.  We experienced amazing things in 2013. (Listen HERE to Vision Night for the all the details.) 

As we enter 2014, God has challenged us to stretch our faith and reach for more.  All He wants us to do is to #TakeAStep.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way."  Psalm 37:23 NKJV

He (big "H") GOD delights in YOUR (little "h") way when you are taking steps toward HIS plan.

Let's #TakeAStep together and accomplish great things for God this year.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let the Players Play!

The leader or coach's job is to prepare his or her team for game day.  Whether it's a stadium full of people with the entire world watching or a crowd of 100 people about to experience church; the big day is a big deal.

Coaches (pastor in my case) can and should get out on the field during practice.  Show the players how to run the play.  Demonstrate the blocking assignment.  Teach.  Train.  Explain.  Set your players up for a win.  But when game day comes, Let The Players Play!

Coach before the game.  Coach at halftime.  Coach after the game is over.  But, while the clock is running, stay off the field!  Sometimes, the only way the players will learn and grow to play at a higher level is if we let them experience the necessary pain of blowing an assignment that costs the game.  Believe me, they want to win as much or more than the coach.  So, they'll learn from their mistakes...if we let them make a few.

It's hard to watch a player, team, game, or church experience crash and burn.  But, you'll be developing leaders and there will be more wins in your future if you learn to Let The Players Play on game day.


I'd love to know your thoughts or comments.