Category: Manic Mondays

Manic Monday: hello.

I’m fascinated by recent discussions on whether or not churches should have greeting times. I’m fascinated at the awkwardness and plastic nature of it. Many are averse to such things, especially introverts.

Perhaps we need to get back to basics, shall we? Introverts only need a few good friends. But that has to start somewhere. Initial greetings are often awkward, especially those that end in marriage. (My wife thought I was completely and obnoxiously extroverted. We have two incredibly boyz now. Clearly, we got over awkward. Though, she does say I still have to work on the obnoxious extroversion.

Another basic we need to get over is community. Church is a community. As we out it at my church, we’re one happy dysfunctional family. We got issues, and that’s ok because of what Jesus did. Our mistakes are covered. One of the things we value is the individual, not just the church at home. So, we make it a point to say Hi! Hospitality doesn’t mean we change who we are. Being polite and civil means saying hi.

One last thing we need to back to. The idea that something ritual isn’t authentic is absurd. Spontaneity does not equal authenticity. I read the inside of my wedding ring each time I out it on. I pray with my boyz each night. Is that inauthentic because it’s routine, or is the authenticity of those relationships what drives the ritual? Ritual matters and it’s a beautiful language that can serve communities well.

Saying Hello! may be awkward or plastic at first. Then you get to know the person. Hello suddenly carries weight and meaning because bodily language is often unique to each person. The sudden aversion to Hello! has a flip side. Perhaps it can also be a cynical attitude based on an increasingly shallow culture for those who loath it. Or perhaps the ritual of saying hello is really the training ground for true authenticity.

So. Hello. How are you?

Manic Monday: Another cleaning chore

The “downside” to using fountain pens is cleaning. It takes time. It can be messy. It’s a pain when you’d rather do some,thing else. So, why bother with another chore when life is already busy and Doc says to reduce stress?

My oldest asked what the best pen was. Best discussions happen often. I’m trying to teach my Boyz that best isn’t the best question. Instead, ask what is needed and use the best tool. A hammer is not the best tool to unscrew a bolt, and a wrench makes for a lousy hammer. Ah, but what is the BEST pen?

As I’m cleaning my fountain pen, ink on my hands, water being squirted through the nut and converter to clear them out, I smiled and asked a question: What pen has the best writing experience? A fountain pen, he replied enthusiastically. Which pen is easier to use and maintain? Not the fountain pen.

The bottom line:
The best experiences in life take time and effort. They rarely, if ever, just happen. And while I have the annoyance of another chore, the best writing experience is worth it. And sometimes teachable moments happen along with it.

Manic Monday: On fountain pens

Apparently, I have raise a lot of eyebrows by saying I would prefer a fountain pen over an AppleWatch. Let me briefly explain why, as some who asked had a defibrillator in hand.

They write smooth!
I LOVE the way a fountain pen writes. Seriously, I would have worked harder on penmanship if I knew that a pen could be smooth, elegant and classy while writing. User experience matters (2 Jobs 1:9). The device is so simple, and profound with its understated elegance (Ives 3:16).

Brain science
I noticed a lack of mental sharpness in some areas and reflected back on where it was coming from. I went a year almost exclusively paperless. Nearing the end of the year I noticed a sharper drop. In researching possibilities, I found that the physical act of writing helps lodge things in your brain better than typing. I normally wrote out or sketched before using confusers in the past.

Sometimes being a nerd is being low tech. A fountain pen is to writing what a light saber is to battle: A civilized device of a more civil era. More seriously, it’s a fun hobby built on a technology that may be old but has the ability of tinkering for a better experience. (Ok, Jobs & Ives would hate that, but my computer building Lynux friends will like it.)

The bottom line:
I’m finding a pattern in life that a good “user experience” cannot be rushed. It takes time, sometimes is messy, takes more work, and endures longer. Fountain pens may not be the quickest tool for writing, but the user experience is fantastic. I’m liking things that help me to slow down and enjoy regular tasks instead of ‘quick to finish onto the next thing’ methods. To use a word from my wife: I’m learning to savor things more (chocolate chip cookies not withstanding. I’ll inhale those!)

Church would be better if people thought like and agreed with me!

Coffee-LoveI finally found the solution to ALL the church’s problems! For sure this will be a chapter in my up and coming book “Humility and how I achieved it.” Oh wait! I do have a chapter about that! Let me be frank, cause I love you. Church has a big y’all don’t agree with me issue. Here is what I mean:

Be a cheerleader
That’s right. Start off by trying to encourage people not be a critic. (Yeah, some of you preacher boys should just stop reading right now and focus on this part.) We all have too many critics but not enough cheerleaders. My critics practically killed me! Cheerleading is a choice.

Be loving
There is nothing more comfortable than being around a loving person. That person may even point out where you’re wrong, like a loving mommy saying “you’re not wearing that are you!?” while baking you epic chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, love comforts. Don’t pour gas on a bad situation. Bring about peace and comfort. That’s what I do.

Be a team
You live as a team or you die as a team. Period. Work together. I do believe the Spirit is readily available to help with this. After all, if we don’t row together alike a team… Work it out and be a team. Easy to do when the above is true! So, get in line and be like me!

Be Loyal
We have affection and and sympathy for people we are loyal to. An we even do that for friends of our friends. So, care about the people I care about.

Be one
Here is what it comes down to: You need to have the same mind and love as me. Really. Church would be so much better this way. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that this whole thing is be in arrogant. “Oh course everything in church would be better if we thought like you, duh!” “You’re just thinking of yourself! What about diversity all?” My response? You’re just thinking about you. In fact, you think church would be better if people were one with you and not me.

Why I’m right and you should be like me
I could have had the good life, but I didn’t. I sacrificed and worked hard just like you do. But, I did it for you and not myself. I put up with a lot. And frankly, it killed me. You humiliated me and being in this job I got blamed for things I didn’t even do. But hear me out. There is a day coming when everyone will agree that I am right and people should be like me. Mark my words: everyone.

The bottom line:
This chapter is called Philippians Chapter Two. My brother Paul wrote it for me. (If y’all think like and agree with him you’ll be well on your way to being like me.) Humility is the KEY! So, what church to be better? Be humble like me. It’s the only thing that work.

Love you all!

Manic Monday: Out of time?

We are all given 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to accomplish God’s will. I often find that people who get burned out in ministry often do so because of time management. There are times when people have taken on too many ministry assignments, but I’ve found that to be the exception rather then the rule. I find ministry burnout is often a result of an over busy life. Here is a prescription for ministry burnout:

Redeem the time Ephesians 5:15ff
A key aspect to spiritual maturity is how one uses their! To be godly is to be wise and to be wise is to be godly. God gives us each the same amount of time. It takes discernment to utilize our time. It takes wisdom to live a simple life.

Learn to rest Psalm 46
A key aspect to utilizing our time is to wait upon God. We too often think that business is a mark or spirituality. Sometimes the most spiritual thing to do is rest. Remember, God is God and we’re not! The danger of not taking the time to rest and just plain ‘ol stop is we forget God. Busyness is the vaccine against relational intimacy!

Learn who you are Psalm 139
Let me be frank, you cannot do anything you want. God wired and artistically designed you as a unique creation that brings Him glory. He’s given you a combination of gifts, passions, abilities and experience unlike any other. Pursuing and understanding how God designed you is key to utilizing your time. Take time to name your purpose and values in life. They help guide in saying yes or no to things.

Start walking Ephesians 2:10
God has a plan for you life. The only way to discover it is to pick a direction and to start following it! You can’t steer a still ship. Trust in the fact that God has a plan and pursue something. God has a way of showing up and guiding you in the adventure called life. Remember, salvation is secured on the cross. Sometimes we think in making decisions about our time we may make the wrong one. Relax, make a decision and pursue it. Even our mistakes God uses to shape us into the image of His son.

Helpful resources:
Here are a couple of resources I found very helpful in navigating how to redeem the time. I’m sure there are others and what works for me may not work for you, but it’s a start.

Manic Monday: iShock…

As an Apple fanboy (nut?) I was shocked to read about Steve Jobs retiring as CEO. Then, seeing all the articles pondering what Apple will be like without Jobs interested me. From a leadership perspective here is what I think…

Apple’s best days are ahead…
Enduring organizations hold vehemently to their set of values. The language used over the last decade from Apple centered on its DNA. Steve focused on keeping Apple’s values first and foremost. The saga around the iPhone 4 Gizmodo deal pointed this out greatly.

Apple figured out its culture
Culture leads long term where a person cannot. Apple returned to its culture and who it was. At a point where everyone thought Apple was done, it came back. Many companies have gone through this cycle. Ford is going through this journey.

Apple figured out discernment
Apple figured out the power of no is a stronger yes. This is hard for anyone to do. Learning to say no also sets an organization up to act vs react. Apple astutely states: if people don’t like it, they wont buy it. Apple gave realization that people really want quality & artistic expression.

Apple learned to take steps not add programs
Everything Apple did since ’97 propelled it to the next step. A key part was choosing to focus on usability vs speed & specs approach to development. In the computer race Apple was the tortoise as its 30% market growth over the last few years demonstrates.

Apple may not succeed
Qoheleth states one cannot control what happens after them. Is it possible Apple is Jobs? Yes. Is it possible that for other reasons not related to Jobs Apple will decline? Yes. But, it’s possible for reasons stated above that Apple may endure as well. And, we may suppose, that a day will come when another company will take the reigns of innovation and wow us.

The bottom line:
We cannot control what happens after us.

Manic Monday: Pray

Prayer – An opportunity to share all of life with the Giver and Sustainer of the same. ©Lee Wise

A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God.
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation ; Whom shall I fear ? The LORD is the defense of my life ; Whom shall I dread ? 2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear ; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident. 4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek : That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle ; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy ; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice, And be gracious to me and answer me. 8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.” 9 Do not hide Your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger ; You have been my help ; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation ! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up. 11 Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. 12 Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. 13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD ; Be strong and let your heart take courage ; Yes, wait for the LORD. ~Psalm 27 NASB

Manic Monday: Focus

1 To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in You I trust, Do not let me be ashamed ; Do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed ; Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.
4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD ; Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation ; For You I wait all the day.
6 Remember, O LORD, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions ; According to Your lovingkindness remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O LORD.
8 Good and upright is the LORD ; Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.
10 All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11 For Your name’s sake, O LORD, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12 Who is the man who fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13 His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
15 My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted.
17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged ; Bring me out of my distresses.
18 Look upon my affliction and my trouble, And forgive all my sins.
19 Look upon my enemies, for they are many, And they hate me with violent hatred.
20 Guard my soul and deliver me; Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out of all his troubles.

~Psalm 25

Manic Monday: Lovin the military!

Given the justice brought to a certain terrorist who is sleeping among the fishes, this memorial day seems more special. Times of war are always controversial in US history. Hard decisions are called hard decisions for a reason. Sacrifice is called sacrifice for a reason. The military shows us the best of man in the darkest of times: Sacrifice for the joy of freedom.

Thanks for serving!

But if you do what is evil, be afraid ; for [government] does not bear the sword for nothing ; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Romans 3:4b

Manic Monday: Enjoying life or idol?

The Bible days all things are lawful, but we’re also to be mastered by nothing. Idols are specifically false gods. Sometimes it isn’t idols but other things in life that distract us from what’s most important.

The Bible also teaches us to enjoy life as a gift from God. Life brings many joys and things that bring out nuances of it. We often fear enjoying something, that it may be an ‘idol.’ Fear isn’t acting in faith. If doing something violates your conscience then stop it.

But what if that thing in life is a platform to connect with others? We love to share with others what we love. Perhaps God wired in you to love something to give you opportunity to connect with someone else you normally wouldn’t. I’m not talking about rushing the Gospel, but building a genuine relationship around something you love. From that relationship, then God may give you boldness to share your hope in the Gospel, and still enjoy your passion.

(especially on Monday)