Saturday, December 13, 2008

Antidote to Stagnation

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I watched Wall-E with the kids tonight.  I wasn’t too impressed with the movie, but the Special Features (Behind the Scenes, etc) were awesome!  Although everything on the Bonus DVD was (of course) carefully scripted, I was amazed at the number of times they talked about taking risks.

At one point, one of the producers mentioned that the Pixar team begins to ask questions if you don’t “fall off your bicycle.”  They ask questions such as, “Are you not taking enough risks?”  They feel that is the only way to avoid stagnation.

Think about that… the expectation that you will make some mistakes along the way.  They consider failure to be a valuable part of the process – something to be expected, not something to be feared.
What does this mean to us as we lead or serve on teams?

  • We have to make our teams safe places for people to take risks… places where (acceptable) risk, and “failing forward” is celebrated.
  • We have to lead our teams into thinking out of the box… this is often done by change of environment (place, time, structure, etc).
  • We have to be willing to take risks ourselves.  This requires that we deal with our insecurities and limitations - often a leader’s worst fear!

We can’t expect yesterday’s methods to reach today’s culture.  Oh that we would keep this in mind… especially as we lead organizations whose mission is attempting to direct a lost world toward Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Purpose of Christmas

I wrote an article entitled The Purpose of Christmas a few years ago... and thought you might enjoy it.  Here's a little teaser...
I gave in. What was I thinking? My wife asked (begged) me to go shopping with her on the day after Thanksgiving.  My answer?  Ok, sure.  What was I thinking?!?!  I hate shopping!  Even worse, I had agreed to go with her on the busiest shopping day of the year.  The only reason I can come up with is that if she went, I would be at home alone with all three kids ALL DAY LONG!  Oh well…
What I experienced last Friday was UGLY!  People were pushing, adults were fighting over toys & parking spaces (we saw two guys almost get in a fist fight over a parking space), and sales people were rude.  Honestly, it wasn’t all bad.  There were some people that seemed to have some perspective, but not many we ran into.
A bright spot in our day was when we were seated in a restaurant next to a new mom & her baby.  It just so happened that since our sitter was kind of young, we had our baby with us too.  She and Robin struck up a conversation and it wasn’t long before our conversation turned to spiritual things.  She was feeling guilty and alone (as an unwed mother).  We were able to share about Christ’s love and we invited her to visit our church.  It was a total God-ordained appointment.
Anyway, the whole consumer-driven, commercialized theme of the holiday shopping rush always seems to frustrate me.  I keep asking myself, “Don’t they get it?”  I mean… do they really think that’s what Christmas is all about?  If we look at the Christmas story from its original source, the Bible, we can determine the true meaning of Christmas.  Let’s look at it.  There are two biblical accounts to look at, Matthew 1:18-2:19 and Luke 1:5-2:40.
To read it online, click here.