Ok, let’s keep this simple.
Most parents and grandparents want to create some cool memories this New Year with their kids …
Most kids want to be on their phones in this New Year …
So, let’s combine those things!
- Call a family meeting.
- Tell everyone to get out their phones.
- Open Instagram.
Give Thanks – Ask everyone to look back over the year and find one picture they are thankful for, ask them to read the caption and explain why they are thankful.
- The only pushback here is going to be your kids saying, “Just one picture?”
Offer Prayer – Look back over the year in pictures and find one person or family that your family can pray for as this New Year begins.
Send Encouragement – Find a person in your past year’s photos that you can send a text of encouragement to today.
- Maybe send them the picture, too, and let them know you are thinking about them!
To create your own 2016 Best Nine (like the photo at the top of this post) go to www.2016bestnine.com
Bear: A person from your past who might harm your future.
I was recently made aware of a bear who had spoken some harmful and untrue words about me to a another person, and those words negatively affected my future. It’s important to note that even the person to whom the bear spoke, didn’t believe the bear, but I was still concerned …
- Had the bear done this to me before, and I was unaware of it?
- Would the bear do this again?
I went to bed that night planning to poke the bear the next day. In fact, I had already spent much time and energy preparing my arsenal to unload on the bear. This bear didn’t stand a chance.
However, when I woke up the next day I felt different. A good night’s sleep had recalibrated my confidence and refreshed my perspective.
I decided not to poke the bear.
Here’s why …
Shout out to @DCCowan and The Crossing Church in Las Vegas for this high definition description of what can happen when your passions and God’s purposes collide.
I have a passion for global missions, children who are hungry and photography.
And when you combine those passions with my entrepreneurial tendencies and God’s purposes … you get Eat Art!
Together we sent hope and over 30,000 meals to hungry kids through the Eat Art Show at The Crossing Church on one single weekend!
If you would like to host an Eat Art Show at your church or business and begin artfully ending hunger, we would love to partner with you.
You get the art, and the kids get to eat.
At The Crossing Church we sold out of all the images we sent for the Sunday art show!
Here are a few of the images people purchased that sent thousands of meals to hungry kids.
As I watch the debate tonight I see a difference that I have not seen in other debates leading up the Presidential election this year. Continue reading “One big lesson from the first Presidential Debate”
Quality : HD
Title : Get Squirrely
Director : Ross Venokur
Writer : Lenore Venokur
Release : 2015-03-01
Language : English
Runtime : 85 min
Genre : Family, Animation, Comedy.
‘Get Squirrely’ is a movie genre Family, was released in March 1, 2015. Ross Venokur was directed this movie and starring by Victoria Justice. This movie tell story about After breaking out of a rehabilitation zoo, Frankie, a squirrel with all the angles, returns to his forest. He learns from his dim-witted best friend, Cody, a porcupine and street-con, that while he was in lock-up, the entire forest was picked clean by The A.C.O.R.N.S. Institute (Alternative Cosmetic Oils for Regenerative Natural Skin-care). No acorn was left behind. With winter just around the corner, it’s a potentially devastating blow to all forest critters. So, Frankie has no choice but to bust into the brand new, state-of-the-art, rodent-proof A.C.O.R.N.S. Processing Plant and take back all of the acorns! Though a seemingly impossible heist, success would not only save the lives of his forest friends, but it would also give Frankie a chance to win back the love of his life, Lola, a local “show squirrel.” Sadly, Lola has been burnt by too many of Frankie’s false promises in the past.
In the past few months both Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant have announced their retirements. Peyton Manning, in his press conference, referred to the number 18 he has worn on his back for the past 18 seasons. “There’s something about 18 years – 18 is a good number,” said Manning. He also uttered the words that everyone already knew …
“You don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely I will.”
Today I spend much of my time coaching pastors in transition / succession seasons of life in ministry. It is a tough season indeed, and eyes often get wet like Peyton’s did as he talked about stepping away from pro football.
Several pastors who have been at a church for 25-35 years have asked how I can possibly understand what they are going through. I then share with them my story of launching, leading and then handing off Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California.
Four years ago I transitioned away from a church that I had launched and led for ten years. It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.
I often ask pastors … “Is it easier to hand off a 10 year old kid or a 35 year old kid?” Continue reading “3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors”
It is with much sadness but extreme peace that I share with you that God is calling the Clark family to transition away from Christ’s Church of the Valley. It has been an adventurous season of life as we wrap up 3 1/2 years of ministry at Christ’s Church of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona.
CCV has been an amazing experience for our family as we have watched God work in supernatural ways.
Thank you for accepting and loving our family.
We are thankful for the time God has let us share together.
We have been inspired, stretched and made better by so many of you!
It has been a true honor to be part of the executive team, leading, preaching and serving God’s Church.
This June we will be moving to Huntington Beach, California.
Ruby will be attending Hope International University. She will place herself in an environment where God can grow her heart for people and challenge her comfort zones.
Cole will be attending Huntington Beach High School. There he will be able to attend an amazing public high school and also an arts school where he can learn music, theater and journalism.
Rene will be taking care of all of us. She will also be launching a new blog and taking her “Bible Boot Camp” to the beach!
I will continue to serve God’s Church and people in a curious way. I have always been a bit of a divergent personality … even before the movie. (You can read more about that in this blog post from a few months ago.)
In this next season of life, instead of putting all my eggs in one basket, I plan to put eggs into three different baskets. These areas of service are all very important to me, and they all leverage my one and only life to grow God’s Kingdom and Church!
Here are the three baskets that I will be putting my eggs into over the coming months …
The Preaching Basket.
I will no longer be preaching at CCV, but I will continue to consult and preach on a regular basis at many amazing churches. You can see a list of those churches on the Speaking tab of this blog site.
In addition, in this new season of life, my wife Rene and I really desire to do more ministry together.
We will be seeking opportunities where we can speak, write and serve God and His Church as a team!
The Leadership Basket.
I will be leveraging my previous 25 years of church experience to serve the Church in the future. I will be doing this primarily through the Slingshot Group. I am leading the senior division in coaching and staffing with teaching pastors and lead pastors.
This gives me the opportunity to be a “strategic confidant” to pastors and coach Next Level Leaders and place them with Next Level Churches.
If you are not familiar with Slingshot Group, you can learn more about this amazing organization here.
The Art Basket.
I launched Eat Art roughly 5 years ago, and it is never far from my heart. Eat Art is a non profit organization that is committed to Artfully Ending Hunger. Over the past 5 years we have been able to send hope and over 300,000 meals to hungry kids through the sale of photography.
I believe with everything in me that we can send 1,000,000 meals a year to hungry kids!
In Huntington Beach there is an art fair on Friday nights on the pier. We will be seeking to secure an opportunity in that environment where people can purchase art and partner with Eat Art.
You get the art and the kids get to eat!
Friends at CCV … we love you!
May you continue to live a curious life for Jesus.
A life that stands out and points people to HIM.
You are the most important and difficult person you lead every single day.
That being the case, here are three ways you can completely sabotage your future self.
1.Caring too much about what others think about you.
If you are doing big, adventurous, faith-filled and curious things, there will always be people who feel small around you. Your desire to live a curious life that is full of faith will illuminate some people’s desire to live a life characterized by safety. And they will belittle you as a result of their own insecurities.
Do not take this personally. This is often more about them than it is about you.
Not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance, and not everyone is at the same place in their faith.
Take careful inventory of your words.
Ask God to protect your heart and continue to bring clarity to you as you lead and leverage your one and only life.
2. Caring too little about what God thinks about you.
From heaven’s perspective you are a magnificent creation of the most high God. And there is no doubt that God has woven abilities, talents and gifts into your life that you have not even come to realize yet!
Little stuff that other people never even notice are things that God notices because He made you on purpose.
God recognizes and keeps track of every detail of your life.
One of my favorite stories to illustrate this truth is of the Statue of Liberty.
Oscar Hammerstein had seen a picture, a photograph of the top of the Statue of Liberty from a helicopter. And he said, “This picture reveals the intricate detail that has been sculpted on Lady Liberty’s head, her hair and her crown and all of those things at that angle which no one could ever see,” and he said, “I got to thinking that sculptor must have realized that never will anyone see the top of the Statue of Liberty’s head, since there were no airplanes or helicopters when the statue was set in place. But he spent the same kind of detail and care and painstaking craftsmanship on the top of Lady Liberty’s head as he did down at the feet and everywhere else that would be seen by everyone.”
God has carved things into you that only He can see.
You were created by the oldest, most famous, skilled, loving Creator in the history of the world.
Believe what God says about you and don’t get fearful and fail to fulfill the purpose and plan for which you were created.
Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
3. Living in the future and neglecting the now.
Leaders are built for the future.
But our faith, friendships and family are all requesting that we live in the now.
I can tell you from personal experience that one of the quickest ways to sabotage your future self is to live constantly in the future.
I would say to leaders that instead of “living” in the future you should be content to “visit” the future … but continue to live in the now.
I am currently in the Dominican Republic with a cohort of pastors on a “Next Level Leaders Retreat” sponsored by GO Ministries.
It has been an amazing week experiencing multiple expressions
of culture shaping local ministry.
God is at work through the church plants, seminary, nutrition centers, sports teams, kingdom businesses, medical centers and local leaders that GO Ministries has raised up and empowered over the past several decades.
Part of our time together has been spent discussing this curious thing called leadership. I have been privileged to give several talks about how next level leaders live curious lives.
Here are 9 of the 15-20 ingredients we have talked about that are often mixed into the life of a next level leader.
1. They lead themselves first.
One of the most curious axioms I have learned and been forced to embrace in the past 3-4 years is …
I am the most important person I lead every week.
That could sound so self centered and egotistical but it is not meant to be. It’s just true.
If I can’t lead myself well … I won’t be leading others for long. I am the most important person I lead every week!
2. They say NO.
“The enemy for leaders is not lack of opportunity; it’s the overabundance of opportunity.” I love this quote from my friend Carey Nieuwhof. Isn’t it true that next level leaders usually have an abundance of opportunities.
There is always someone saying, “You should be here, you should be there, you should do this, you should do that.”
It’s easy to let others SHOULD ON YOU!
Worse yet … next level leaders often SHOULD ON THEMSELVES!
And I “should” add …
Opportunity does not equal obligation.
Leaders listen, if you never say “NO” and you try to care for everything you will soon realize you do not have the capacity or bandwidth to care for anything!
You will flourish yourself to death.
What I have learned is that ministry is so comprehensive you must actually steward your energy and compassion. Jesus didn’t have unlimited energy and capacity to care – neither do you.
3. They visit the future but live in the now.
It is so easy for leaders to live in the future. After all, it is our job to lay track so the train never has to stop. Right?!?!
The problem for leaders living in the future is that they inevitably neglect the now. It’s not possible to be present in both places. And when we live largely in the future we skim life.
Thus my challenge to next level leaders is …
– Make plans.
– Lay track.
– Cast vision.
– Dream ahead.
Visit the future, but live in the now!
4. They understand their culture is their currency.
It’s a somewhat curious and count-intuitive thing but when it comes to recruiting and retaining next level leaders …
– A pay-check won’t keep them … someone will always pay them more.
– The perfect job description won’t keep them … there will always be a better job description.
– A big house won’t keep them … there will always be a bigger and better house.
So what keeps them? An infectious culture keeps them. Your culture is your currency.
5. They have a long list of “obeyed” Holy Spirit promptings.
In my estimation there is no better way to be balanced, healthy and refreshed than to have a constant string of “obeyed” Holy Spirit promptings in your life.
The Bible is also clear, throughout scripture, that the Holy Spirit gives promptings and whispers to the hearts of His people. I know that promptings are rather mystical and mysterious and I’m not sure how they fit into your theology.
Yet, doesn’t it seem true that if God lives in us by the power and presence of his Holy Spirit. He will give us promptings?
The truth is there are only two kingdoms you can build – yours and His.
If you obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God you are building HIS kingdom.
If you do not obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God you are building YOUR kingdom.
SO … WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU OBEYED A PROMPTING?
If you cannot honestly remember the last time you obeyed a Holy Spirit prompting you had better take a really good look at whose kingdom you’re building.
If we are not daily obeying promptings we are in danger of building our kingdom not His!
6. They understand the pit falls being omni-aware.
Our world is becoming increasingly “omni-aware.” We are now aware of all the good and all the bad in the world the moment it occurs.
Think about that …
– We see every heroic act immediately.
– We see every violent act immediately.
Thus creating unintended hero’s and villains almost daily.
When I think about our current culture – it feels like we are living in a comic book. Because we are globally aware of super hero’s and villains like never before.
Often what happens to Christians when we get a real-time look at the world we get depressed. Because frankly it often looks like the Church is losing.
I love the documentary on CNN a few years ago that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy. During this special documentary CNN interviewed two elderly men who had been young soldiers and participated in the Normandy invasion.
An infantry soldier was interviewed and said, “We landed on the beach and I made my way thru dead body after dead body … I saw my whole unit killed! I fought hand-to-hand combat paying a high price for every foot of territory. I looked all around me at all the dead bodies and I fell to my knees in defeat. And I said to myself … there is no way we can win.”
A reconnaissance pilot was also interviewed and said, “It was my job to fly over the entire area of the battle and then report back to the allied command everything I could see from my aerial perspective. And as I flew over the battle field with every hour I became more and more confident with what I saw. And I said to myself … there is no way we can lose!”
Two people viewing the same set of circumstances only from a different perspective.
I believe it’s our job as next level leaders of God’s Church
to remind God’s people about God’s view.
If we could just this world from heavens perspective we would see that the message of Christ is advancing every single day. And there is no way we can lose!
7. They leverage technology.
Technology is amoral.
It can be used for either good or bad – just like money.
We should be curios and committed to leveraging all platforms, old and new, for good.
8. They have next level friends who they can be 100% honest with.
Ministry is hard. Isolation makes it even harder.
I read a study recently that claimed 70% of pastors do not have close personal friends, and no one in whom to confide.
This just seems crazy to me but also awkwardly true as I encounter lonely leader after lonely leader. We don’t share life very well together is seems. Maybe we are too busy, jealous, preoccupied or focused on our “own thing” to care about another persons thing.
This is tragic and I’d say to all wanna be next level leaders…
Let’s be others centered not self centered.
Let’s do our very best to live and model for others what Paul says in Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
9. They have a killer commitment to a private devotional time.
What is it that separates you from a very charismatic, gifted, energetic, determined person who works for a Boys And Girls Club or a Chick fil A franchise or Google or some benevolent brand or non profit?
Your connectedness to God.
The greatest and most compelling thing next level leaders have to offer this world is our connectedness to God.
For many years I had a small sign in my office that said …
When you are faced with a busy day …
save precious time by skipping your daily devotions.
Don’t let satan make you so busy with “good things” that you miss the “best thing” your daily time with God.
Next level leaders have the ability to lead people closer to God because they have been close to God themselves!
There you go … a short excerpt from several of my Dominican Republic talks.
Live curious friends.
When I find organizations that have a benevolent brand and missional mind I get excited.
These are five organizations that I love, trust and support.
Check em’ out.