Seven People Who Are Inspiring Me This Summer

In this unique, crazy, divergent season of my life I am running into so many who are living curiously. My goal in these “Who’s Inspiring Me” posts is to share with you those who are inspiring me … so I can instigate a curious life in you. These seven leaders will wreck you … in a good way!

Summer 2017

 

CJ Casciotta – I have known CJ from a distance and followed his podcast “Sounds Like A Movement” (which he just sold) for many months. But I just got to have a coffee with CJ in Huntington Beach last week. He is an instigator of all things curious. He feels like an old friend who I just met. CJ is a writer, director, and advocate for weird-thinking. You are going to love this fellow!

Twitter – @cjcasciotta
Instagram – @cjcasciotta
Web – cjcas.com

 

Shaun Smith – I don’t know Shaun personally but this dude is curious and has a wicked eye for wave photography. He inspires me with his craft and infectious personality. I am hoping to have some of his photos on Eat Art this summer!

If you are around the beach in Laguna, Newport or Huntington you might see Shaun with his GoPro in the water. I’m stoked to s)(oot with you this summer Shaun.

Instagram – @smitherspix

 

Rene Clark – I have known this girl since she was 15 years old … and this has been her best year yet. Check out Rene’s new website for all her curious and Kingdom minded endeavors. Including LifePlan retreats at the beach!

Twitter – @ReneClark
Instagram @ReneClarkca
Web – www.ReneClark.com

 


Tim Ferriss – If you have not read this guys books (The Four Hour Work Week | Body | Chef)  or listened to his podcast … go do it today. Tim never ceases to instigate curious thoughts in my mind that can sidetrack me for minutes or days. I am reading the thickest book I have ever read this summer – “Tools for Titans” by Tim.

 

Twitter – @tferriss

Instagram – @TimFerriss

Web – www.tim.blog

 

 

Jason Jaggard – I have known Jason for many years and he just keeps comin’ on! His creativity, knack for business, entrepreneurial savvy, humor, style and smarts are pretty nuts.

Only check him out if you want to write books and build benevolent businesses that inspire people.

Twitter – @jjaggard 

Instagram – @jjaggard 

Web – www.jasonjaggard.com

 

 

 

 

I am a huge fan of the Hurley brand and Ryan Hurley. From their clothing to their efforts for students and benevolent causes – this is a guy I hope to have coffee with in Newport Beach one day this summer.

Here is the latest post on Instagram from Ryan: This Friday, Jon, the founder of @wavesforwater, will be showing you how he’s built a life around doing what you love and helping along the way in an intimate setting complete with live music, food and more. Hit the link in our bio to reserve your spot for the event happening in Los Angeles, CA this Friday June 16, at @winstonhouse

Web – www.hurley.com

Ryan Hurley Instagram – @ryanhurley 

Hurley surf club Instagram – @hurleysurfclub

 

Chad Veach – I don’t’ know Chad but as a former church planter in the LA area I am so inspired by this fellow Los Angeles / SoCal planter. Chad is the Pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, California. Chad has three kiddos and a wife, Julia, who I hope my daughter Ruby can meet some day for coffee!

Chad has insane faith, style, energy, Bible-based messages and an Instagram feed that includes backstage footage of Justin Beibers latest tour. He has written an incredible book “Unreasonable Hope” that documents the families journey with their daughter Georgia and dealing with the pain of a diagnosis of a debilitating disease.

Chad is normal and not normal all at once.

Church – Zoe Church 

Twitter – @chadveach

Instagram – @chadcveach

 

 

3 Differences Between Powerful And Perfect Talks

Over the past six months, I have consulted with churches and communicators about the effectiveness of their messages.

Some messages are incredibly powerful, and some are not, which leads to the question, “What is the difference between a perfect message and a powerful message?”

Let me answer this question through these lenses:   Continue reading “3 Differences Between Powerful And Perfect Talks”

5 Things To Remember When Team Teaching

Recently my wife, Rene Clark, and I did some team teaching at Parkview Christian Church. Parkview is a multi-site church of 9,000 weekend attenders in the Chicagoland area where I am stoked to be a teaching pastor.

We have spent time teaching together in the past, but I have never shared any of our rhythm for preparing, praying and presenting as a team. So … here you go, friends:

Our message on LEVITICUS / “Take Me To The Cleaners” and 5 things to think about when team teaching:

1. Know your subject more than you know your notes.

I believe Carey Nuiewhof is the first person I heard talk about how a communicator should know their subject not just their notes.

This becomes even more true in team teaching because you must bounce off each other, and you alone do not have control of the flow at all times. There are times you must build a bridge in team teaching and insert something you know about the subject that appears nowhere in your notes!

2. Transitions matter.

It is much more difficult to team teach than teach alone, in my opinion. But team teaching also adds an element that a solo person teaching can rarely achieve. That being said, when you are teaching with another person you must take time to think through transitions.

You will each have different …

  • voice
  • inflections
  • intensity
  • content

And as much as possible these things need to match up when you make the hand off. This is not always easy to do as you will see in our message on Leviticus. We still have some work to do in transitions.

But we do work hard and spend much time talking through transitions so we can keep things as congruent as possible for the congregation.

3. Create space for each person to prepare on their own.

No two people prepare themselves or their message in the same way.

You should take time to prepare your sections of the message on your own … but also spend time during the preparation process bouncing ideas, intros, endings and illustrations off of each other. This is the genius of team teaching.

In addition, when it’s an hour before go time … each person prepares their heart, mind and soul in different ways.

Allow time to speak through the message together 2-3 hours before the message arrives so that when you are 30-60 minutes out, each person can come to God and prepare their heart, mind and soul in their own unique way.

4. Do a walk through.

When you are on stage by yourself … you are by yourself.

When you add another person to the often small stage space, it can make even little movements awkward. As you will see in our Leviticus “Take Me To The Cleaners” message, we had to make sure we were not stepping in front of or behind each other at odd times. This is super distracting for the congregation.

As you will see our movements were pretty choreographed as we spent time on the stage before the message actually “blocking out” our movements like a theater or dance production.

5. Know who you are talking to.

There will be three potential audiences for your message in most churches these days.

You will be talking to …

  • Each other
  • The congregation that is in the room
  • Those who are watching at a multi-site campus or online

Therefore, it is important to makes notes concerning who you are talking to during each sentence or section.

Most of the time you will be talking to those in the room or the camera that is capturing the video for the sites and online audiences. This requires that you not regularly look at or bounce off the person who is standing just a few feet from you on stage.

Then there are certainly times when teaching as a team that you want to interact mainly with the person you are teaching alongside.

This is part of the special sauce of team teaching.

Interacting with each other adds intimacy; often humor and spontaneity will make teaching as a team powerful and meaningful in ways that teaching alone can rarely match.

When To Poke The Bear

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 …

Continue reading “When To Poke The Bear”

Watch Full Movie Get Squirrely (2015)


Quality  : HD
Title    : Get Squirrely
Director : Ross Venokur
Writer   : Lenore Venokur
Release  : 2015-03-01
Language : English
Runtime  : 85 min
Genre    : Family, Animation, Comedy.

Synopsis :
‘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.

Watch Full Movie Get Squirrely (2015)

3 Things That Could Sabotage Your Future Self

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.”

ladyliberty

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.

 

9 Characteristics Of Next Level Leaders

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.
~Sincerely,
Satan

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.

 

The Road To The Love Ranch

I have been a Laker fan for more than a decade and continue to be a Lamar Odom fan. What is playing out for the public to metabolize is so painful to me.

I understand, while a man is in the hospital fighting for his life … this is not a good time to make judgements about his character or conduct.

I am not here to judge or condemn Lamar Odom.

It’s just that I feel such hurt from this situation, and I see so few people speaking out as to what leads to this kind of outcome in a man’s life. So, here are a few thoughts as I try to process all of the events surrounding Odom these past few days.

Continue reading “The Road To The Love Ranch”