Suggestions for everytownresearch.org 

The website http://everytownresearch.org advocates for common-sense gun laws to improve gun safety and reduce the number of gun deaths. (I’m pretty sure they are not just raising money, but want to work toward a solution.)

I like the fact that the website has specific research. It is a good site and seems to be going in the right direction.

However, to work toward a solution, I recommend the following:

  • Make a list of specific recommendations. This should be a concise and cogent list with links out to more and more details (as is the power of the Internet). (Having a bunch of famous people say ‘demand a plan’ over and over does get people’s attention, but ultimately there needs to be a (specific/actual) set of steps to improve things.
  • Listing ‘The Gun Lobby’ (and the NRA) as an issue puts the wrong spin on our website (and your approach). Putting ‘The Gun Lobby’ in a list along side suicide, illegal gun trafficking, and domestic violence sends the message the ‘The Gun Lobby’ is inherently bad and needs to be eliminated.  (Even if you do feel they are bad, and prefer they be eliminated it is better to work with them than point fingers and label them as part of the problem.) Remove ‘The Gun Lobby’ from the list of issues and find another way to express the concern.
  • Don’t the us versus them approach, but rather take an approach where you want all (reasonable and sane) people to work together.  If, in fact, you have actual common sense gun laws in mind, then you need to work with the NRA and The Gun Lobby to get them in place. If you don’t think that there’s ‘any way’ that such a thing could be done, then we may be doomed to more and more senseless gun killings.  I believe that the NRA would agree to common sense gun laws.
  • I find it odd that you do to have a phone number on your website. If you really want ‘common sense solutions,’ then you want to open up communication and you, therefore, need to be willing to talk about it.  I find it odd that in your Contact form drop-down list of reasons for contacting us does not include something along the lines of ideas for working toward a solution. I recommend putting a phone number on your site and making it clearer in your contact form that you are looking to work for a solution.

Dare to be Great

Pastor Howard White’s January (2016) sermon series is title Dare to be Great.

The Dare to be Great Challenge is:

A Great Commitment to the Great Commandments and the Great Commission done with Great Compassion will grow a Great Church (and a great Christian).

The 5 sermons in the series are

  • Dare to Follow
    • Matt 22: 37 He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the greatest and most important command. 39 The second is like it:Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
      • Heart is the center. God is at the center and the thing at the center is the thing we worship. Rom 12:1-2 offering. Jonathan Edwards wrote down 70 resolutions and read them each week.
      • Soul – obedience
      • Mind – focus on God’s will
  • Dare to Care
  • Dare to Serve
  • Dare to Grow
  • Dare to Go

Three take-aways

Three take-aways from our car ride across Kansas (to get to Colorado for our men’s ski trip)

Thanks especially to Jim McClarey

  1. Grace is number one. Offer grace to everyone.
  2. Provide the reasons why.  There are many do’s and don’t’s in the Bible, but it is important to understand the (logical) reason why those guidelines are given.
  3. “It has been my experience that….” is a good phrase to use when sharing.

TED Talk: Atheism 2.0

This is a fun TED talk. He is describing what can be learned from religion’s methods, even if you do not believe anything about religion (even if you don’t believe in God). He describes the tools and strategies of religion that ‘we’/culture can, and should, adopt.

http://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_atheism_2_0#t-926345

(I am certainly not an atheist.)

I think the talk may be useful for those of faith. It reminds us of our strengths. We can learn from this. For example, about human nature.

He does include Charles Wesly.

I find it interesting that he mentions (in the 1800’s I believe) people were leaving the European church in large numbers and looking for ways to get (1) morality, (2) guidance, and (3) consolation from culture (from places other than the church). This would imply that these three are fundamental human needs.

OK, I liked it too because he has an English accent, pronouncing ‘either’ with a long i.

The Athenians & the Visigoths

The Athenians & the Visigoths speech written by Neil Postman (written as a graduation speech).

Text: http://bit.ly/1lHh5y4
Audio: https://youtu.be/YtjjFmCxc8s

Four quotes (there are many others) emphasis is mine:

among their [Athenian] values none stood higher than that in all things one should strive for excellence. They believed in reason. They believed in beauty. They believed in moderation. And they invented the word and the idea which we know today as ecology.

To contemplate, to reason, to experiment, to question—these are, to an Athenian, the most exalted activities a person can perform.

Athenians place great value on tradition, social restraint, and continuity.

it is much harder to be an Athenian, for you must learn how to be one, you must work at being one, whereas we are all, in a way, natural-born Visigoths.

 

 

Missions Is Worth the Mess

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/missions-is-worth-the-mess

Quotes: 

Because we believe in the “already,” we can more readily and joyfully accept the messiness of the “not yet.”

—-

The Scriptures tell me that:

  • I have to lose my life in order to find it. (Matthew 16:25)
  • I have to count the cost of serving him. (Luke 14:25–33)
  • Success isn’t always what we think it is, and seed-sewing is just as important as watering and branch-pruning. (1 Corinthians 3:6–9)
  • Pain is temporary, and is nothing compared to glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17–18)
  • God’s word will not return to him void, but always does its work. (Isaiah 55:11)

——

I’m thankful to be a member of a healthy church that will remind my family and me of that truth. As Christians, the presence of the body is crucial during times like these.

We need to be hugged, cried with, preached to, and resourced to help us start over again. This is why Christianity is not a journey to be taken alone. 

—–
We need to be hugged, cried with, preached to, and resourced to help us start over again. This is why Christianity is not a journey to be taken alone. This is why Jesus saves us as part of his bride.
The more the church cares for my family, the deeper the grief we feel for the peoples of the Upper Amazon Basin who still don’t have one. But the more we look into God’s word, the more confidence we have that God’s mission will still be completed, even though we now know that that means that this particular initiative will be completed without us.

—–

The Already/Not Yet of Missions:

The “already” is there [here], and it’s glorious. The “not yet,” however, is typically much messier. 

—–

Because we believe in the “already,” we can more readily and joyfully accept the messiness of the “not yet.”

Be Humble, Stay Hungry, Always Hustle – H3 Leadership

3 Traites for Leadership: 20 Habits to Build Your Leadership On

H3 Leadership by Brad Lomenick is the result of experience and a lot of reflection. And we would be foolish not to benefit from it.

When he reflected on the habits that propelled him forward he came up with twenty and organized them around 3 important questions every influencer must ask:

HUMBLE: Who am I?
HUNGRY: Where do I want to go?
HUSTLE: How will I get there?

The answers to these questions help you to become a change agent. And the habits associated with each of these questions create the playbook for your leadership journey. Lomenick says that your leadership success if built upon habitual work. “It is worked out every day in the tasks we complete, the ways we approach our work, and the rhythms we nurture in our lives. It hangs on the hooks of the patterns we create, not just the success we may stumble upon.”

Most of the actions we take during the day are habits. So we must be intentional about what habits we develop and why.

In brief, here are the twenty habits with Lomenick’s comments:

HUMBLE   [Who am I?]

Self-Discovery: Know who you are
“Developing a habit of self-discovery means creating intentional rhythms whereby one observes who he is, listens to his life, and strives to define himself apart from his professional assignments. This habit helps a leader connect to an organization without being consumed by it.”

Openness: Share the real you with others
“People would rather follow a leader who is always real versus a leader who is always right.”

Meekness: Remember it’s not about you
“Meekness is not weakness. It’s power under control. It’s ambition grounded with humility and lived out in confidence, not arrogance.”

Conviction: Stick to your principles
“Your private life determines your public legacy.” And consider this: “Most leaders assume they know what their most closely held convictions are, a false assumption that keeps them from ever naming them.”

Faith: Prioritize your day so God is first
“A habit of faith is that one thing you can’t afford to not have on the journey. It reminds you that there is a bigger story of which yours is only a part.”

Assignment: Live out your calling
“There is a marked difference between a calling and an assignment, and failing to recognize it is a one-way ticket to the frustration station.”

HUNGRY    [Where do I want to go?]

Ambition: Develop an appetite for what’s next
“Never satisfied, but always content is the posture of a properly ambitious leader.”

Curiosity: Keep learning
“If you’re not learning, you’re not leading to your full potential.” He recommends: “Find people who are so different they make you uncomfortable, and then spend more time with them than you’d prefer to.”

Passion: Love what you do
“If you do not nurture enthusiasm, it will naturally diminish over time. Leaders can’t inspire others unless and until they are inspired themselves. Your team feeds off your energy, for better or worse. Leaders are organizational health risks or assets.”

Innovation: Stay current, creative, and engaged
“The first step to developing this habit is realizing that innovation in part has nothing to do with you; rather, it is determined by those you have around you.”

Inspiration: Nurture a vision for a better tomorrow
“A habit of inspiration is nurtured in the casting, not just the crafting of vision.”

Bravery: Take calculated risks
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

HUSTLE    [How will I get there?]

Excellence: Set standards that scare you
“The goal is to set and standard that scare you to death and then continue trying to raise that standard. Excellence is ultimately about effort. Excellence requires always being one step ahead.”

Stick-with-it-ness: Take the long view
“My friend Robert Madu says it this way: In a culture where quitting is normal, be crazy enough to stay committed, foolish enough to be faithful, and stupid enough to stick with it!”

Execution: Commit to completion
“Some of us need to put down the megaphone and just grab a shovel. Little less talk, and a lot more action.”

Team Building: Create an environment that attacks and retains the best and brightest
“If you combine a positive work environment with regular delightful experiences, you’ll take a giant step toward raising up a dream team.”

Partnership: Collaborate with colleagues and competitors
“A habit of partnership means that as a leader you are willing to come to the end of your organizational self and see a bigger vision and picture beyond just what you’re working on. Be willing to sacrifice for someone else’s benefit. True collaboration involves giving as much as getting.”

Margin: Nurture healthier rhythms
“The goal of my reordering was not just to create a better schedule, but to create margin. The more margin in your life, the more room you have to let your rhythms run. Margin is a powerful habit. It creates opportunities.”

Generosity: Leave the world a better place
“Whatever you possess—the classic formulation is ‘time, treasure, talent’—should be given away liberally and not hoarded. This is what a habit of generosity looks like, and it is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll leave the world a better place than you found it. For me it always begins and ends around the issue of stewardship, which describes the act of watching over someone else’s things. It helps remind me that I am not he owner, but only the manager of all I have.”

Succession: Find power in passing the baton
“Too many leaders grab their jobs with an unrelenting death grip. But part of every influencer’s responsibility is to boldly build something magnificent and then humbly hand it off to others. The best way to shore up your legacy is to effectively hand it off to your successors.”

Great material to go back to again and again.