Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Urbana09 - Day 2 Twitter Wrapup

Here are some of the tweets that came out of today's conversations and presentations:

RT @Angelamz40: RT @lovingmercy: Love does not reach from afar, it becomes incarnational. #urbana09 (via @mmesachi)

RT @mmesachi: RT @lovingmercy: Evangelism is firstly relational. #urbana09

RT @Angelamz40: Our prayer: open our blind eyes and break our hard hearts. Save us from pride/prejudice/superiority. #urbana09

RT @Liz_Pix: AM bible session. John 2:1-12. Often times we can taste the glory of God but still not give him the glory for it. #urbana09

RT @TheTatar: "May the people here make decisions that will change history." Yes, Lord, help us change history! #urbana09

RT @HeatherTWR: Ramzez Atallah and Dave Ramsey agree- ACT YOUR WAGE and GIVE LIKE NOONE ELSE! #urbana09

RT @michaelkaspar: RT @julioanta: "Build movements, not monuments" - Ramez Atallah #urbana09. #OMbooth1107

RT @RLouisT: The Great commission & Great Commandment go hand in hand. Love by word and deed. This is the Biblical Mandate frm God #Urbana09

RT @sudantweets: RT @simusa: RT @goodsirdavid: There are currently 15,000 people in auditorium in St Louis cheering 4 Wii tennis. #urbana09

RT @hcjbglobal: Come chat with Radio Trainer Allen Graham from Quito Ecuador at 2:15 booth 1100 #itsnotaboutyou #urbana09

RT @USCWM: Keep the conversation going: articles on slave trade, trafficking etc #urbana09 http://bit.ly/4zAVNH

RT @bensonlee: standing room only out the door for the prayer, fasting, scripture and worship 101 seminar at #urbana09

RT @aaivprays: #urbana09 John Perkins: our blessings from God were never meant for us, but to be shared with others.

RT @christian2do: RT @hcjbglobal: chat w/ Singapore based Ty Stakes about engineering music & farming @booth 1100 at 6pm tonight. #urbana09

RT @acjeske: #urbana09 I am one of the urbana photographers. Shots up at worldviewmultimedia.com ! More soon!

RT @Mexicachel: The bible condemns heterosexual sin at least ten times more than homosexual sin #urbana09

You can follow my messages and RT's during the day at www.twitter.com/generousmind.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Urbana09 - Day 1 Twitter Wrapup

Each day of Urbana09 I am going to do a wrap-up of twitter posts that I have made or that I have RT'd. My thought is that this will give you a unique and creative insight into the event. I encourage you to go to the daily Webcast to listen in with much more detail to the great speakers.

Day 1 Twitter Wrapup
RT @Linson_Daniel: Let scripture speak John 1:35-42 manuscript study this morning, Where r u staying? Come and you will see... #urbana09

RT @AndrewPass: #urbana09 Jesus speaks to people in community. The disciples are not isolated!

RT @morganjustin: 'Being criticized feels bad. But, feeling bad always wears off.' #urbana09

RT @IJMcampaigns: Hundreds at #urbana09 take stand for oppressed by wearing Humanwrong.org shirts http://post.ly/GSDJ

RT @GEMission: #Urbana09: He Dwelled Among Us. Following Christ how can u be missional presence 4 Christ in the community He has u?

RT @djchuang247: #urbana09 splitting an extra-large pizza w new strangers who'll be friends before we finish

RT @jiolasa: RT @OMurbana: Please help us spread the word. A donor will buy 1,000 Iraqi bibles if we get 1,000 people to 1107. #urbana09

RT @philfoell: after his birth, Jesus was forced to become an international refugee to Africa. Jesus identifies with refugees. #urbana09

RT @philfoell: Social action without the Bible only brings momentary change. #urbana09

RT @Mexicachel: People should learn something about everywhere and everything about somewhere. #urbana09

God calls us to go to others in their context and on their terms and regardless of their response. Ramez Atallah #urbana09 - Night 1

RT @jameschoung: "Live to be forgotten ... make Christ visible, not ourselves." --Patrick Fung #urbana09

RT @aaivprays: #urbana09 tonight, stories of God's people: the displaced, the disadvantaged, the oppressed, widows & orphans & foreigners.

RT @Samlopez: The Word: Be a witness, not a traffic obstruction. #urbana09

Follow along as I RT and comment on Urbana09 at www.twitter.com/generousmind

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sharing Twitter Updates from Urbana 09

As part of our commitment to being Generous Minds we will be Retweeting and sharing thoughts from the Urbana 09 conference going on all week in St. Louis. You can follow along on our twitter site: www.twitter.com/generousmind.

See you there!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Getting The Message Out

To be a Generous Mind, you have to be tenacious about getting the message out. There is something about a generous person who is willing to do crazy things to share their ideas. Why are they willing to go to some of these lengths?

Simple...

Because a Generous Mind believes that the idea that God put in their heart needs to be shared.

Recently I saw an example of this that took me by surprise. I saw a Gospel presentation in the last place I expected to . . . the men's restroom. Yes, now you know that Jon is writing this blog.

You see, right above the urinals in the men's restroom of our church there are these 8.5 by 11 paper holders that have promotions of various programs and ministry opportunities. Usually it is things like the food pantries' needs this week, the upcoming men's conference, etc.

But recently I looked at the advertisements, and right there on the sheet was a Gospel presentation in a short paragraph. You see, someones has the job of creating that sheet of announcements every week and for some reason that week they decided to share the Gospel story. It was the last place I expected to find it, but I'm sure that was true for many that week.

So here is the question for you today. What is the message that God has burned into your heart this week? Now, what lengths will you go to share it? You see, even if it is the coolest message in the world with the greatest blessing to the hearer, it only materializes when you decide to take a step of obedience and share it.

Lets practice together. Please feel free to share what God has put on your heart as a comment to this blog.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trust that Goes Beyond Blessing

I was reading in My Utmost for His Highest today and Chambers was talking about our complete surrender to Jesus. Towards the end of the devo he asks this question, "Have we come to the place where God can withdraw His blessings and it does not affect our trust in Him?"

Wow, what a question. If you asked most Christians that and they searched their hearts before answering, the reply would be "I don't think I have that kind trust." I just finished John Piper's poem on Job (if you haven't read it please take a minute to read or listen to the audio). This is the core lesson. God wants to see if Job's trust in Him goes beyond the evident and wonderful blessings He provided.

The answer of course is yes. Job decides that he trusts God above blessings and reason. But what does that look like in our everyday lives?

1. We would stop praying about our wants and start praying for deeper faith and trust.
2. We would hold all our possessions loosely knowing that God may take them away as He refines our faith.
3. We would give up control over our relationships because of our understanding that God is working in their lives and we cannot have our way with those we love.

Wow, what a challenging reality check. Do I pray like this? Do I want a life that is this precarious from a human perspective? Maybe the better question is this, "Do I want a life that isn't fully grounded and anchored to Jesus?" How would you answer?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

30 Days about Truth

In our efforts to be Generous Minds, we continue to look for ways to share new ideas - especially about our latest book, Through the River. One of the ways we have decided to be generous is by creating a 30 series on Twitter. We called it #TruthTeasers and we posted 30 small thoughts about truth.

Well, the series is over and now you can read the whole thing on our book blog. Would you take a minute to read these 30 ideas about truth and share them with someone else?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Relationships in a Digital Age

This weekend our Pastor, Raleigh Gresham, shared about giving God glory through digital relationships. I thought it would be appropriate to tweet an outline during the sermon (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=fbccs) and then share some thoughts on the blog.

He did a great job of not focusing on the latest technology but going back to how technology has impacted our relationships. Neil Postman talks about this same topic in "Technopoly" but it is not something heard very often.

Our challenge today is that criticism of technology is almost heretical. We as a culture have made a decision that technology is what will save us from loneliness, poverty, ignorance and on and on. So we seek life from technology at every turn instead of seeking life from God.

Raleigh made a great point about the ubiquity of technology. He called it "part of the water in which we swim." I thought that was very helpful because that highlights the fact that we don't even notice technology anymore. Just like we might not notice the green grass we walk on because we are so accustomed to it.

In that ubiquity we have assumed the relationship transfered seamlessly into a digital environment. But as Raleigh pointed out, "the transfer of information is not relationship." The challenge that Raleigh talked about is that the social media present countless opportunities to connect with people, keep people updated, share your life and engage people in discussion. Isn't that relationship?

One big difference. Raleigh talked about the importance of presence in relationship. He shared about how God appeared to Moses and solidified that relationships with presence. He talked about Philippians 2:5-8 and how Jesus came and gave himself sacrificially so we could have relationship with Him. Jesus came out of Heaven to provide that presence. He also talked about Hebrews 10:19-25 where it challenges us as believers not to stop meeting together.

I agree with Raleigh that presence has to be a part of a deep relationship. I have been interacting with a missionary from Japan now online for about 3 years. He is a great thinker and innovator. He and I have exchanged emails, blog comments, facebook comments and so on. But we had never connected outside of the wired world.

Last week he saw a comment I made and asked if I was in the US (he thought I lived internationally). We finally talked on the phone. Even though it is still technology, talking on the phone now made the relationship very different. We got to hear each others voices, listen to how we express ourselves, etc. I feel like I know him much better now that we have actually heard each other's voice. Imagine how I would feel about knowing him if we sat down over coffee?

While I agree with Raleigh, I want to use the example of my friend to add another layer to the discussion. I believe that relationships require presence and that digital interaction is usually more about information than relationships. However, I think that digital relationships can serve as bridges between presence. What do I mean by that?

In today's world where families don't live in the same town, where we move often, where our college friends are scattered around the world, presence is tough. We move and leave behind dear friends and can't imagine just forgetting about them and moving on. But at the same time, without the presence the deep relationship is not there.

In my life what I have noticed is that digital relationships bridge the gap between times of deep and satisfying presence. I will see a dear friend in a given city and then that will help me to utilize the technology to keep interacting with him for weeks/months to come until the next time I see him and we can have that cup of coffee.

Even locally, I can use digital relationships as a bridge to continue a discussion after the meeting is over or prepare for a get-together by raising some of the issues.

So as you live your daily life and build relationship with people across the street and around the world, consider how digital tools can make bridges that lead to deeper relationships!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Seeking Out Generous Solutions

I have too many books. I can't believe I'm saying that since I absolutely love books. But that is the problem. Every chance I get I pick up a new book and never have the time to read all of them. Many times I pick up a book because I am thinking of someone else who might want to read it. This quote sums up my problem so well, "Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"— Henry Ward Beecher

Anyway, back to our problem of too many books. One day at the HCJB Global ministry service center, I was talking about this problem with several colleagues. It was almost exasperation. I needed to get rid of books but how could I do it in a way that meshed with our commitment to be Generous Minds? That was the question.

Then out of the blue, HCJB's senior editor Harold Goerzen piped up with an idea. He shared about a prison ministry that collected Christian literature to share with prisoners as they reached out. It's called "Library of Hope" and it was a perfect fit. Now as we get ready to downsize our library we have a generous option for this task.

But the thing that God really impressed upon my heart was Harold's generosity to me by sharing about the option. I had been complaining about my problem and searching for a solution to be generous but I had never thought that some of my friends might have the answer.

I don't think I'm alone in this struggle. So many times we don't stop and ask others to share with us what they know. We live in such an individualistic world that we don't think to seek out the generosity of others.

What problem are you dealing with today? Will you commit with me that the next time you hit a wall with an issue that you will seek out 1 or 2 people and ask them what they would do. Who knows what giving them the opportunity to be generous will uncover.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Transitions are a Time to be Generous

The idea of being a Generous Mind is at the core of what God has called Mindy and I to devote our lives. But exactly what we are being generous with has gone through various changes and will continue to change as we obediently follow God's leading and direction.

Today we would like to share three major transitions in our lives. They will seem very distinct but in God's timing they actually are all very connected. These three transitions can fit under the general category of 1) Our Job 2) Our Writing 3) Our Family


A Job Change
For the past four and a half years it has been our great pleasure and joy to serve HCJB Global, a ministry that focuses on media and healthcare outreaches around the world. I have served in the area of marketing and communications and have had the opportunity to help the 78 year old organization re-brand and redefine its message for a new time. In that process we launched the idea of Being the Voice and Hands of Jesus. This means speaking up and reaching out for Jesus in a coordinated way to greater impact those around you.

But as that brand really takes hold and the cause begins to launch, we received an opportunity to serve in a new capacity. After praying we knew it was something God wanted us to do. In the process of building the HCJB Global message, I had struggled with the traditional ways that donors and churches relate to outreach ministries (local and global). I wondered if there was another way to organize the missional cause than to have donors on one side and doers on the other.

We found an answer to this question in the work of a friend of ours - Eric Foley (visit his blog to learn more about him and his ministry http://www.ericfoley.com/) Eric introduced us to a new model for giving called Transformational Giving. This is a transition away from most fundraising today that is more transactional. As we delved into this model, we found its approach refreshing and very Biblical. In it, the donor is seen as someone that God has given a ministry to disciple and grow in Christ in relation to the cause. This model focuses on making the nonprofit a platform for donors to own the cause and participate in it. The donor as well as those a nonprofit is helping become the recipients and the goals of the organization. This model is fundamentally a discipleship and mentoring model where donors are those that we are discipling and who are discipling those who work in the ministry daily.

In this process a small organization that focuses on helping ministries transition to Transformational Giving approached Mindy and I about working with them. The group is called ".W" (Doers of the Word) and it is located here in Colorado Springs, CO. It is a next generation Christian marketing and development agency that equips ministries to transform their fundraising efforts into biblical discipleship practices.

I accepted the role of Partner Manager with .W starting September 1 and Mindy will be writing for .W as a freelancer. Now our calling to be a Generous Mind will focus on helping others to move to an incarnational and transformational approach to fundraising and ministry as a whole.

Our Book is Out!
As of this week, Mindy and I will have in our hands our first co-authored book called Through the River: Understanding your Assumptions about Truth. This has been a five year process and has taken much of our time and thoughts over the last years. This book is a Generous Mind effort. We worked with a well-known professor - Dr. Paul Hiebert - who has now passed away to take one of his books and create an entirely new book for a broader audience.

The book is about our epistemology (in our book we call it our truth lens) which is a part of our worldview. It is the part that defines how we understand truth. It is critical to how we process information and discern in a new millennium crowded with ideas. This book help you understand the three most common truth lenses and then helps you to apply them to your faith, relationships and outreach.

The national launch of the book is on September 1 and we will be sharing more about it on Facebook, our blogs and twitter. We hope that this resource will be a great help to you as you strive to understand truth in a time where nothing seems certain. While many are despairing of the place of truth in our culture, our book has a message of hope and points to a way forward.

Kids in School
We are entering a new phase with our family. For the first time in 9 years we will have all three children in school. This new phase means that Mindy and I will be able to work together at .W as a team. We began our careers working together as a team for One Hope, a Scripture ministry in Florida. God has been faithful to our desire to continue working together by giving us this new opportunity.

Bringing it All Together
As we settle into a new Millennium and start to look around, it is clear that the paradigm for many things is changing. Many of our personal changes have to do with our desire to be a part of that paradigm shift and help lead through the ideas that will populate a new way of thinking. In relation to our job, we believe that Transformational Giving is a major shift in how missional work is done and will define much of the next generation of Kingdom work. In relation to our writing, we believe that in a time where truth seems like a lost treasure, there is a new way to understand truth that will bring back the solid foundation that we have in Christ while allowing us to learn in community.

Both of these things are key to the paradigm shift occurring in global Christianity right now. We are committed to live them, experience them and then be Generous Minds to bring those ideas and thoughts to you. As we say in our book, our desire for each one of our readers is nothing less than life transformation.

Thank you for being a part of our journey and we are looking forward to how God will use the coming months and years.
We pray that as we are generous with what God has put in front of us to do and to communicate, you will in turn be generous with what God gives you. Who knows what journey God will take you on if you allow Him to share His heart through you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sharing a New Song

Today started like many days. I work at a ministry called HCJB Global and we have chapel every morning (a great priviledge I have enjoyed for 4 and half years). On Thursdays we have chapel in smaller groups with our departments. Today was one of those days and I went with no particular expectations. But I received a gift of generosity that blew me away!

Jessica, one of our Creative Services team members, lead chapel. She had her guitar with her and I immediately worried that I would have to sound good before my coffee really sank in.

As our time started Jessica read us several passages from the Psalms that talk about singing a new song to God. Then she shared how God had given her a new song the night before as she was driving in the car. I realized that Jessica was about to generously share something that God had given her.

She passed out papers with the song on it and we sang it several times together. It was a comforting and encouraging moment. I was fully ready to move on with my day when Jessica did something brave and very unexpected . . .

She challenged each of us to think of a new song. That challenge is nice and all. Many speakers end with a challenge. But she went beyond the challenge. She explained how the song that God had given her was very easy to modify. She asked us who would share something that God had been teaching us recently and she offered to put our ideas into her song and give it to us as an encouragement. I don't know about you but the thought writing new words to a song in front of others would terrify me. But she boldly challenged us.

Three people shared and she bravely worked with what God had put on their hearts. Each time it was miraculous. I saw as the new song was sung how the person who had offered their idea was touched and blessed.

Jessica shared what God had given her with others, but she went beyond simply being generous with her ideas. She used what God gave her to empower others to share.

So as you go about your day, remember that being a generous mind is more than just sharing what is on your heart. It means giving others the opportunity and context to do the same.

Bravo Jessica, thank you for being a generous mind!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Generous Accountability

Accountability brings up negative images for me. I don't know about you, but when I think of accountability, I think of having to tell people that I have messed up and listening to them moralize about how I should be living my life. Is that what accountability is or do I have a flawed understanding?

In Romans 14:12 the text says, "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." Giving an account means that we must share what our lives amounted to. What did we do with the resources, skills, relationships and opportunities that God set before us.

If we think about accountability from this perspective, it is our ultimate act of generosity. We are sharing with God, or with people in our lives, the account of what God is up to in our world and how we have responded. This type of generosity is the deepest and most significant because we are sharing about our eternal purpose.

It is one thing to share about your favorite movie (and that can be very significant if you share lessons you learned). But it is quite another to share your account of how God is using you and providing for you.

So if accountability is such a noble thing, why is it so scarce in our daily lives? This is a complex question that requires us to dig down through many layers. As I processed it, I came up with this progression of challenges that keeps us from being actively involved in accountability:

Accountability is scarce because:
  1. it requires that we give up freedom
  2. giving up freedom requires trust
  3. trust only grows in relationship
  4. relationships take time
  5. our time is doled out based on our priorities
  6. our priorities need redeemed to be in line with God's focus

So why am I not generous with the account of my life and my actions? It starts with the fact that on most days I do not truly value the act of sharing what I know. My priorities are focused on entertainment, pleasure, accomplishment, and so on.

I am coming to realize that I will never have deep accountability relationships with others unless I begin with my priority for generosity and then build to the point where I will submit my freedom to another who loves me and wants the best for me.

Where are you in this process of accountability? Are you living with God's priorities or your own?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Do you have a rainbow on your head?

There are many aspects of being a generous mind. Most of the time the ideas that we think about focus around our personal generosity. We are an individualistic culture and we think about concepts like this from our personal vantage point. But stop to consider generosity from another perspective.

It is also generous when you help someone else unlock an idea that they have. You are helping/coaching/mentoring them in the discovery and unleashing of their idea. In this case your act of generosity is seeing an idea in someone else and helping them to bring it to life.

I thought of this concept today as we were driving home from the video store. We saw the most incredible rainbow. The colors were vibrant and clear. As we neared our home we realized that the end of the rainbow was in our neighborhood - so we went hunting for that pot of gold :). Actually we just wanted to see how close we could get to the end. As you know the ends of rainbows are pretty elusive, but finally we came to our local park and the end was hitting an area near some condos.

As I watched the beautiful colors of the rainbow disappear where the condos began, I wondered, "Do the people sitting in those homes realize a rainbow is on their head?" Most probably they didn't. So they were sitting in their homes watching TV, eating dinner or doing any other normal activity without knowing that this glorious array of color was gracing their homes.

That is how it is with ideas. Sometimes people are walking around with amazing ideas and are just to close to the concepts to understand how exciting they are. The job of a generous mind is to see it and to help that person to realize what they have come up with and how to share it.

So do some of your friends, co-workers or family have rainbows landing on their heads? Let them know about it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Generous Performer

I saw a great example of being a Generous Mind at church yesterday. Usually we have a drummer who sits behind the plastic shields and does his thing. But this Sunday they were using some bongo drums and creative percussion instruments - like those rainmaker sticks.

Anyway, there was a man playing percussion and next to him was, I assume, his son. His son was on several of the smaller instruments. He did a wonderful job, but I could tell that this was a father who was teaching his son.

What an amazing thing to watch a father trust his son in front of a big crowd and to watch the son follow the dad's lead as they worked through each song. I could see a father who had invested in his son in a special way.

What a challenge to us. How are we being generous with what we know? How are we taking those ideas and proactively sharing them with many more people?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How Starbucks Saved My Life, a book review

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, by Michael Gates Gill

Gill is a gifted storyteller. He unravels his tale of how his life went from having a great job, a wonderful family, and a beautiful home; to a lonely little apartment with no job. He describes how an opportunity at Starbucks changed him from the inside, giving him a second chance at life and happiness.

Digressing often, he weaves into the story, anecdotes from his past where we learn more about this man who is wearing a green apron and Starbucks cap just to survive. We see him with Robert Frost and the Queen of England, and realize just how strange it is for him to be mixing coffees and passing them across the counter to average people in New York City. Even stranger, for him to be liking his new job, feeling happiness he never felt before.

His story clearly demonstrates the values of the Starbucks company and how value and respect for others can transform a workplace. He describes a striking contrast between his old job and status and his new job, taking us on a journey from his old attitudes and prejudices to a new value and respect for others.

This book was a joy to read. I was truly happy for the author as he went through his journey of discovery. It is a must read for anyone who manages people, as he contrasts how he used to manage people without much respect to how he was managed with care and respect as a barista at Starbucks.

Gill is an example of a generous mind—sharing his transformational experience in a powerful and meaningful way.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sharing Music

There are many ways to be a generous mind . . . this concept isn't only for writers or poets. In fact, anyone with an idea to share is a generous mind waiting to come out. One great way to be generous is to share your play lists. Music is what inspires us, encourages us and motivates us. So why don't we share it? The answer is that we think people won't care. But you might be surprised.

Here is my Missional Music Play List from iTunes:

  • Love them like Jesus, Casting Crowns
  • Blessed are the tears, Bryan Duncan
  • Rescue, Newsong
  • Thankful, Josh Groban
  • Never gonna be as big as Jesus, Audio Adrenaline
  • Does anybody hear her, Casting Crowns
  • History maker, Delirious?
  • Give me Jesus, Jeremy Camp
  • Boy like me/man like you, Rich Mullins
  • The beauty of grace, Krystal Meyers
  • Come lift up your sorrows, Michael Card
  • Mercy man, PFR
  • Let mercy lead, Rich Mullins
  • I'm not who i was, Brandon Heath

Enjoy as you strive to be missional in your life!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Building a Relationship With Your Audience

I am excited to let you know that I have recently published an article with helpful tips on how to market your book in todays world. It focuses on building relationships with your readers around your idea. In the end it is all about being generous with the idea that God has allowed you to put on paper.

I published it with MAI - a very cool ministry focused on training Christian authors worldwide. Take a minute to check out the ministry when you read the article.

Check it out!

Friday, March 13, 2009

On becoming...

I recently found an old youth group friend on facebook and found out that she is a writer, author and speaker. I was suprised and excited. Last night I found her blog and the story of how she came to be a writer. She shares tips from her experience of going from a little girl with a story to tell to a wife and mother with, well, more stories to tell--only now with a publisher.

I wanted to feature her as a generous mind, someone who ponders life and lives to share with others what she's experienced. Thank you Nicole, for all you write and for your generous mind.

http://nicoleodell.blogspot.com/

Monday, March 09, 2009

Picking Cotton

I would like to introduce you to two other generous minds. Their story aired on 60 Minutes yesterday and it was very powerful.

Here are the basics, Jennifer Thompson was raped in college and out of a line-up she picked Ronald Cotton. He was convicted and served 11 years in prison - until DNA testing proved he was not the criminal.
Then they met . . .
(Here is an excerpt from the 60 Minutes Story:
“But when she thought or dreamed about that night, it was still Cotton's face she saw. To get past it, she asked if he would meet with her at a local church. "I remember him walkin' into the church. And I physically could not stand up," Thompson recalled.
"She was nervous. Scared," Cotton said. "I started to cry immediately. And I looked at him, and I said, 'Ron, if I spent every second of every minute of every hour for the rest of my life telling you how sorry I am, it wouldn't come close to how my heart feels. I'm so sorry.' And Ronald just leaned down, he took my hands…and he looked at me, he said, 'I forgive you,'" Thompson remembered. "I told her, I said, 'Jennifer, I forgive you. I don't want you to look over your shoulder. I just want us to be happy and move on in life,'" Cotton recalled.
"The minute he forgave me, it's like my heart physically started to heal. And I thought, 'This is what grace and mercy is all about. This is what they teach you in church that none of us ever get.' And here was this man that I had hated. I mean, I used to pray every day of my life during those eleven years that he would die. That he would be raped in prison and someone would kill him in prison. That was my prayer to God. And here was this man who with grace and mercy just forgave me," Thompson told Stahl. "How wrong I was, and how good he is."
Now these two have written a book and they also speak around the country about changes that need to be made in how eye witnesses are used in criminal cases. They have taken their very difficult experience and are now being generous with what they know.
Take some time to share this new book and this story with those you know.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Introducing Another Generous Mind

As I was walking out of our lobby at HCJB Global one day for lunch. A man was standing there talking with the receptionist. His name was Molla Tikuye and he wanted to share his new book Insight into Ethiopia with our ministry and see if there might be some opportunities to promote it.

I promised to take a look at it and I wanted to share a quote from the book:

“I have collected history of the area from many elder oral informants or shimagilewoch in Amharic . . . As time passed by, however; I hear that most of the elder oral informants have passed away. So whenever I hear news about their death, I become sorry, because I consider these elders as great history tellers and as my big history libraries. This is because it was do to the feed back of these oral informants that I have a good historical knowledge about Ethiopia. Now I can do nothing about these leaders. What I can do now is to transfer their legacy to the next generation. Hence if there is anybody willing to know history I am ready to share what I heard from oral informants and what I read from books and from what I was taught in schools and in Addis Ababa University.” Insight Into Ethiopia, Molla Tikuye, pg 14,15

This quote excited me because it was such a great example of a generous mind. Here is someone who took the time to connect with key elders and get their history from them. Then he made the effort to share it with the world.

Now this book is self published and so Molla did not have the editorial help that he might have wanted. But it is a wonderful effort to share what he has learned with others at expense to himself - not only money but I'm sure hundreds of hours.

Thank you Molla for being a generous mind.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

30 Ways to Be a Generous Mind in 30 Days

Are you proactively working to be generous with what you know? You might think that it is hard to do . . . it sure sounds daunting. So we went on a journey to find 30 simple ways to be a generous mind in 30 days. The results are below:

Day 1: Identify something you learned yesterday. Pick who you will share it with today. Do the same tomorrow - if it helps write it down.

Day 2: Ask a child their perspective on something you normally wouldn't. Then process their idea and share it with others in your network.

Day 3: Get a book off your shelf, pick out one thing you learned from it, and then send the book to a friend with a note about that idea.

Day 4: Learn something new about a tool you use every day (computer, blender, drill, etc) then find someone else using one and share.

Day 5: When someone shares an idea with you, look for an uplifting addition to their idea. Help make their idea better with your words.

Day 6: Open up a dictionary, pick a word and then come up with a new idea using that word. Call your best friend and share it.

Day 7: Go to your favorite news/info site and find an article that you know a friend would want to read. Take the time to email it to them.

Day 8: On your next errand, take a minute to talk with the service person that helps you. Share something simple that will lift them up.

Day 9: Take a Bible verse you heard this weekend at church and print it out. Then give it to someone tomorrow as an encouragement.

Day 10: Watch a significant event (i.e. the presidential inauguration) and pick out something that needs talked about. Send the quote to some friends and ask for their thoughts.

Day 11: Take a camera with you, snap a photo of what inspires you, and then share it with an explanation that opens your experience to others.

Day 12: Music is a blessing that needs to be shared, so gift an Itunes song, share some lyrics, sing at an event or write your own song.

Day 13: When you hear someone share something valuable tomorrow, turn around and share it with someone else - but make sure to give credit.

Day 14: Have some friends over for dinner and announce the topic to discuss ahead of time. Ask each of them to bring some ideas to share.

Day 15: Think about a memory that has greatly impacted your life. Share that memory and the lesson you learned with someone else.

Day 16: Prayer is a powerful way to share ideas. Connect with a friend and pray aloud for them. Prayer allows you to share powerfully.

Day 17: Pick up your cell phone, go to the first person in your address book and call them. Share what you are going through and learning.

Day 18: Keep your eyes open for ambiguity. Be ready to embrace an ambiguous idea, reflect on it and discuss it with someone else.

Day 19: Define a big challenge in your life. Put it into words and then challenge your coworkers, friends, and family to help you solve it.

Day 20: Identify a generous mind in your life that invested in you. Write them an email or letter sharing something they taught you.

Day 21: Join a book club, bible study or other group that gives you a chance to engage others with your ideas.

Day 22: Go to Google Image search and find your favorite artwork. Then send the link or do a blog posting about how the art inspires you.

Day 23: Read something from another culture and apply it to your experience. Look at your life in a different way and share the experience.

Day 24: Share an experience with someone. Next time you have tickets to an event; make sure to take someone who will benefit from it.

Day 25: Ask a question to 10 friends, collect all their answers and send them to all of them without names. A group to gives perspective.

Day 26: Research a cause (i.e. World AIDS Day) and then share some new insights about the effort with your network. They probably don't know.

Day 27: Introduce two of your friends to each other over coffee. Connect their interests and skills so they can learn from each other.

Day 28: Share the sites, sounds and smells of a trip you have taken. Introduce another person to that place in a way that opens their eyes.

Day 29: Share your definition of generosity with someone and then ask them how they would define the word from their experience.

Day 30: Pray that God will use the simple ideas we have talked about to open up opportunities for you to be generous - always rely on Him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Prayer For Authors

I recently shared this prayer on a facebook cause focused on raising funds for an author to go to the upcoming Littworld conference in Kenya. I hope it blesses you.


Dear God,

I pray for those who have bravely taken up the challenge to share what you have put on their hearts.

I pray that their families would understand the need for quiet times to work.

I pray that they would remember those moments of inspiration when they are caught up in the dry times.

I pray that they would have courage to write what your Spirit puts on their hearts; even when it means hardship.

I pray that You would give them humor, wit, wisdom and creativity as they write.

Most of all help them to see that each word they write is a chance to give You glory for the gift you have given them.

AMEN

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Idea

On our Twitter site, we are sharing 30 Ways to be a Generous Mind in 30 Days. It is a fun exercise and we will be doing a wrap-up of all the ideas on this blog when the 30 Days are up.

Idea 10 was stated this way: "Idea 10: Watch the inauguration and pick out something that needs talked about. Send the quote to some friends and ask for their thoughts."

So here goes: "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

As I have been processing this thought that Obama shared, I have a few observations. So many times our posture defines our relationships and our interactions. We come into a situation with a frown and arms crossed . . . or conversely we come into a situation with a smile and an embrace. The way that we posture ourselves will impact how people perceive us and will open or close opportunities to us.


Our external posture is simply a reflection of our mental, psychological and spiritual posture. Are we filled with grace, peace, hope and love or the opposites. Ever day I meet people who decide between the extended hand or the clenched fist.


I want my life to be an extended hand . . . what do you want for your life?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

30 Ideas in 30 Days

In our efforts to share practical ways to be a generous mind, we are twittering 30 ideas in 30 days. It's simple: go to www.twitter.com/generousmind and follow our twitter to get these practical ideas. At the end we will document them all on this blog as a summary.

Blessings as you are generous today!