Are you a Generous Mind?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
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
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
See you there!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
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
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?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
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
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
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
A Job Change
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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
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:
- it requires that we give up freedom
- giving up freedom requires trust
- trust only grows in relationship
- relationships take time
- our time is doled out based on our priorities
- 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
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 22, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
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
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
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
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
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.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
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
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
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.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
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
Blessings as you are generous today!