2010 January


Posted by | Books | 8 Comments

“Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.” – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the man.

His thoughts on marketing, business, life, and leadership have made a profound impact in the way people think… be it business executives, entrepreneurs, or even people in the church world.  Seth has been a part of the Catalyst Conference in years past and continues to speak incredible value into the lives of church leaders and influencers.

Seth’s books The Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars and Tribes have a had a significant impact on me personally and helped me think through how I do my job, the messages I communicate, and how to be a better leader.

Last December I had the enormous privilege of being one of 25 people who was invited to spend the day with Seth at his office in New York City to interview to be a part of SAMBA – Seth’s Alternative MBA Program. Out of nearly 400 applicants, I was part of a small group of people who were selected to spend the day getting to know the other selected applicants and have a short conversation with Seth.

His humility and genuine care for investing in the lives of others was so apparent. He’s the real deal in person. The entire day was a blast and was one of the most affirming experiences I’ve had… to have someone like Seth validating you and what you do is quite humbling and an experience I will never forget. Although I wasn’t one of the lucky nine who was selected to be a part of SAMBA, even getting that far was reward in itself.

Seth’s new book Linchpin hit bookshelves today and I can already tell you it will be another book that is going to make an impact and change the way people think.

I believe in the message [although I just got my copy] and want to share it with you!

Leave a comment or fill out the form below and on Friday, January 29, I’ll be giving away a copy of Linchpin and Tribes.

Congrats to @BradleyDavis, you’ll be receiving these books! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Do Justice. Love Mercy. A Conversation with Tony Campolo

Posted by | Notes | 2 Comments

On  Tuesday, January 19, Cabrini Green Legal Aid and  Renew Chicago hosted a conversation with Dr. Tony Campolo entitled “Do Justice. Love Mercy.” Here’s a few notes.

  • Jesus came into the world with Good News for the poor.
  • Moses called the Jewish people to observe Sabbath …The Sabbath was three things: 1) the 7th day; 2) 7th year – dividing your land and giving it a year off; it’s environmentalism; 3) the 50th year… the year of the Jubilee… all debts are to be cancelled, all prisoners set free.
  • The Jews never observed the year of Jubilee because the rich people controlled the system, so debts were never cancelled, prisoners never set free.
  • Isaiah 61 – When the Messiah comes, you will know who He is because He will declare the year of jubilee…
  • In Luke 4, Jesus goes to Nazareth and reads Isaiah 61, proclaiming the year of the Lord… the year of jubilee.
  • People knew whoever declared the year of Jubilee was the Messiah.
  • He said, “this day,this Scripture is fulfilled in your eyes.”
  • “In case you didn’t get it, I’m it…”
  • He was a Savior who came to bring justice to the oppressed; to release the captives; to be a voice for the voiceless.
  • Jesus said if you want mercy you’ve got to give mercy.
  • Mercy is crucial.
  • All justice is is mercy translated into policy.
  • There’s two types of justice in America: justice for the rich; justice for the poor.
  • Poor people go to the gas chamber because when they have their day in court they have no one to speak for them.
  • Who will defend the poor?
  • Cabrin Green Legal Aid is doing a phenomenal work in defending the poor in Chicago.
  • Jesus came with a whole new way of doing things.
  • What’s wrong with American justice in the area of criminal law is the fact that it’s built on retribution.
  • We make people pay for their crimes.
  • The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus doesn’t make us pay for our sin.
  • We’re forgiven by the grace of God.
  • The poor get the short end of the stick when it comes to justice.
  • The rich get off easy.
  • Poverty has an awesome effect on people.
  • Poverty destroys family.
  • The #1 cause of divorce are struggles over money.
  • Poor people divorce at a higher rate than middle class people.
  • In this country, 50% of first-time marriages will end in divorce.
  • 60% of second marriages end in divorce.
  • That doesn’t account for marriages that dissolve without legal action.
  • The poor often don’t have the means to do the process of law.
  • Kids are often caught in the middle.
  • Who should decide what’s right?
  • The poor need justice.
  • The poor need someone to stand up for them.
  • Jesus came into the world to declare the Jubilee.
  • That’s His mission; that was the first message He preached.
  • Jesus’ ministry wasn’t about getting people into Heaven.
  • Jesus came to bring love and justice into THIS world.
  • The world will end when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of God.
  • The world is being transformed by God’s people.
  • It’s easy to look around and lose hope.
  • God is not the author of evil.
  • The tragedies and evils that happen are not God’s doing.
  • In the midst of everything that does happen, God is there at work, bringing about good. (Romans 8)
  • God is in Haiti, He is there, He is in their midst, He will bring good.
  • God is not the author of Evil, but He works through us to change things.
  • Christ always was. There was never a time He didn’t exist.
  • The Christ who created the universe humbled himself and became a human being.
  • He was born in Bethlehem’s manger.
  • He grew up among us.
  • On the eve of His crucifixion He told His disciples He was leaving.
  • His disciples panicked.
  • He said [John 14] the work He did will be done by those who follow Him.
  • He promised to dwell in us.
  • Christ promises that He will leave us, come back and be in us.
  • There’s a difference between Christ being with you and Christ being in you.
  • He’s always with you.
  • He’s only in you if you invite Him.
  • He does not impose Himself on a person.
  • We shall do greater works than He did as His Spirit empowers us.
  • Christ had a human body 2,000 years ago.
  • The same Christ that was incarnated in Jesus wants to enter into our lives and be incarnated in us.
  • We are to be the body of Christ.
  • “the same spirit that was in Christ Jesus shall be in your mortal bodies…”
  • Miracles happen.
  • No one can match Jesus when it comes to miracles.
  • Jesus could only do one thing at a time… He could only personally connect with one person at a time.
  • Christ alive in all of us enables us to do great things because we’re able to reach and impact more people.
  • We shall see Him and become like Him.
  • Jesus came into the world to declare justice.
  • If we, as the body of Christ, are to heed the calling, we will work to bring justice to the oppressed.
  • The Gospel is for here and now… to bring justice and hope to the world around us.
  • So often the words of the culture are better at expressing the truths of the Gospel than our church music or sermons.
  • Les Mis… “who will be strong and stand with me?”
  • We are the people who dream the impossible dream.
  • When the Bible speaks clearly we don’t want to face it when it makes us uncomfortable.
  • Everybody knows what Jesus teaches except Christians.
  • We’ve been spiritualizing Scriptures.
  • The theme of justice appears over 2,015 times in the Bible.
  • The Justice Bible
  • We should invite gays and lesbians to worship.
  • Membership is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
  • If a church has 900 members you can count on 300 of them being there.
  • Whosoever will come may come.
  • The early church didn’t have a membership roll.
  • Every Christian is ordained to ministry.
  • The church has handled the gay and lesbian community poorly.
  • We raised $84 Million against Prop 8; 10,000 volunteers… to get people to vote against gays.
  • What did the Church win?
  • The Gospel is built on restoration.
  • Restoration requires repentance. People need to recognize they have done wrong.
  • Restoration involves restitution.
  • Restoration mandates reconciliation.
  • There has to be forgiveness, but forgiveness only takes place when we go through those steps.
  • Connecting victims and perpetrators is challenging.
  • We don’t know why horrible things happen.
  • In the midst of what has happened, what does God want us to do, how does He want to work through us to make good?
  • We need to love people who have messed up.
  • We shouldn’t drive anyone out of the church.
  • The Church is full of hypocrites.
  • We are not what we should be, but thank God we aren’t what we were.
  • We are called to remember what Jesus said the Law was about, “to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.. and love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • All of the laws we make will not proximate to the law of love Jesus created.
  • Justice is love turned into policy.
  • We are called to do justice and to extend mercy.
  • We need to be voices and advocates.
  • Jesus came to fulfill the law.
  • The law was not meant to hurt us, it was meant to help us and bring us to God.
  • When you bring a violator to justice, you are doing the violator a favor.
  • You’re forcing the violator to face their wrong… that’s the first step to restoration and wholeness.
  • If you don’t get an honest verdict from the doctor, there is no cure and you will die.
  • You need to make people aware of their wrong and help them become who they were meant to be.
  • There is no salvation without repentance.
  • There’s no repentance unless we hold people accountable.
  • We must do justice and love mercy.

My 3 Words.

Posted by | Just For Fun | 3 Comments

Blaine was inspired by Clay who was inspired by Chris… and yes it’s January 18, sort of a weird time to be declaring your goals for the New Year, but hey, that’s how I roll.

I’m over making resolutions but I love the idea of three words that you hope will mark your year. Instead of specific goals they are more themes that will guide and shape the decisions you make.


  • Authenticity – one of the great gifts those of us in the church world can have is the gift of BS. In my mind, one of the greatest necessities in life, especially in ministry, is authenticity. And sadly, too often, the church is one of the last places we can be real. For some odd reason we like to have a glossy finish and appear to have it altogether. I’m fairly guilty of that and I want this year of my life to be marked with authenticity in all areas of my life… personally, at work, with friends and in community.
  • Intentionality – I tend to live life a bit haphazardly. I am a fan of randomness and spontaneity but realize that isn’t always the best place to live life from. This year I want to be intentional with my time and relationships. I want to live life with more balance and schedule my life around relationships and things that matter. I want to be intentional in taking time for myself, too.
  • Creativity – I’m a creative but I haven’t felt very creative lately. I’ve done some creative things… but I’m ready to do something new. I want to do things this year to cultivate creativity and inspiration in my life. I want to go to more concerts and art galleries, read more and spend less time in front of a computer screen. I believe that the best creativity is derived by time spent with the Creator, and so I hope to create [no pun intended] time to do just that.

So, all of this sounds great, but making it a bit practical…

On Authenticity, I hope to:

  • Be real. Have some tough conversations.
  • Be honest. If I’m not having a great day, I will be real about it!

On Intentionality, I hope to:

  • Be organized. I want to start actually putting things in my iCalendar and live my whim.
  • Be committed. I want to set up weekly/bi-weekly/monthly times with friends who I can invest in and with those who can invest in me.

On Creativity, I hope to:

  • Be a reader. My reading has been limited lately. I want to unplug and connect with some good books this year. And by that I mean more than 2 books per month.
  • Be a student. I want to take a class or do something to expand my horizons a bit. I’ll definitely be hitting up some conferences this year but it would be fun to broaden my  horizons this year and check out some new ones.

All in all… I hope to have a healthy and balanced year… marked by authenticity, intentionality, and creativity.

We Need New PR

Posted by | Just For Fun | 19 Comments

Matthew Paul Turner’s Twitter ID says it all: JesusNeedsNewPR.

It’s true.

Jesus needs new PR… the Church needs new PR.

The word Christian has moved from being a verb to a noun… and not a good one either.

To be Christian in the past meant you were following Christ, living out His call, acting justly, loving mercy, and living out your life in a way that reflected Christ.

Today it’s a noun that’s used to describe people who are doing anything but that.

Pat Robertson’s remarks about the earthquake in Haiti were completely inappropriate and uncompassionate and made me want to cuss [maybe I did], but regardless, it was another fine example to the whole world [it was the #1 trending topic on Twitter] of people who, however right their intentions may be, misrepresent us.

Are you kidding me?

And then, there’s our dear Westboro Baptist friends… [UPDATE: Of course they would have something to say about the earthquake… check it out here.]

Ok, so I don’t mean to stir up a bunch of negative emotions, but seriously… we need to get upset about this.

We are being misrepresented.

The sad thing is that wackos like these are the minority but when the world thinks of Christians these are some of the leading ones that come to mind.

That’s a problem.

In their landmark book unChristian, Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman found through their research that some of the top associations people make with Christians and the church were that we are: anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, too involved in politics, out of touch with reality, old-fashioned, insensitive to others, boring, not accepting of others, boring, and confusing.

That’s so sad because when I think about what our calling as believers truly is, I believe we’re called to be loving and accepting, compassionate, authentic, fighting for justice of the oppressed, in touch with our world and the needs around us, relevant,  exciting, inclusive and that we are to communicate the message of the Gospel clearly.

I don’t have the answers, I’m just raising the point… we’ve got an image problem.

We are being misrepresented.

I pray we can live our lives out in a way that makes the world see the goodness and grace of God… in a way that captivates people with the truth and beauty of the Gospel… and in a way that shows God’s love and compassion.

This has got to stop.

I pray the Church can be the Church, that Christians and can be Christians, and that through situations like these we can show to the world what it really means to follow Christ and be a Christian.

Yes, sin exists. And yes, we need to bring people to an understanding of their sin… but Jesus never “saved” anyone by beating them over the head with the Bible, yelling and shouting at them, or by telling them that God hated them.

The most condemning words Jesus spoke were to the religious; His most compassionate to those who weren’t.

Maybe there’s a lesson in the way He approached people we could learn from?


In the meantime be praying for those who are affected by this incredibly tragedy, for aid workers and government leaders.

A family in our church had a daughter in Haiti who, thankfully, has been reported to be safe!

But keep praying for those who have family there, for missionaries and others… I pray the Church can be the Church and respond to this crisis.

Please donate to aid work being carried out by Samaritan’s Purse,  Water Missions International, or donate by texting HAITI to 90999 [$10 will be charged to your phone bill and donated to the Red Cross].

Ready To Do Some Work? Let's Talk