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, February 28, 2012

A Living Mind

In the entry yesterday from The Way, E. Stanley Jones says, “We follow a living mind, and hence we are under the law of eternal growth.” (pg 54)
What a beautiful description of God, “a living mind.” It speaks to the creative, thinking personality of God. One of the verses for today’s meditation, John 16:13, reminds us that it’s not about defining the concrete walls of truth within which to live, but a journey of following a living mind into truth. He will “guide you.” It’s not about finding a safe spot to be perfect within, but about growing and changing.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13 (NIV, 1984)
I used to think the Christian life was about understanding the exact parameters in which to live and doing that to perfection. But we are not sheep who are penned up day and night, never to experience or question. No, our shepherd lets us roam the hillside, discovering creation, enjoying the green grass and cool waters—all the while listening for his voice. It is a dynamic relationship built over time, and it is a loving one.
Abraham Kuyper says, “Thinking itself is a spiritual activity.” (Wisdom and Wonder, pg. 68) This is because, “…original thought existed in God. A manifestation and embodiment of this original thinking appears to us in the created universe and to human beings a capacity has been given for reflecting on and investigating this divine thinking in a uniquely human manner.” (Abraham Kuyper, Wisdom and Wonder, Pg 49)
God gave us the ability to think, question, make connections, discover and create. He wants us to learn and he wants to teach us about his creation. But when there is no relationship with the Shepherd—when we don’t know this living mind, we may see the creation but not have the ability to see God in it. We miss a whole dimension of truth.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Level of Engagement

It's very easy to cheapen an idea. Simply over promise when you introduce it and then make sure the idea does not live up to the hype. It happens every day in our marketing-saturated world. The net result is that we assume someone is spinning the truth and hyping their product.
This is what has happened to Enhanced eBooks over the past few years. The hype has been huge, but in reality most Enhanced eBooks have not been new creations designed to give the reader a new experience. They have simply been "books with extras." Now if they had been sold that way it would have been fine. But since they were sold as a new and dynamic product, we quickly tired of the idea.

However, I haven't given up on a truly Enhanced eBook. I have been involved in several Enhanced eBook projects and the latest one is the closest to what I have always envisioned an Enhanced eBook should be. In my post on Conversant Life called A Move Towards Incarnation, I make the case that books have separated the storyteller from his or her audience because of an impersonal medium. I go on to challenge the publishing industry to see Enhanced eBooks as a way to reconnect the author with the audience.

Well, in introducing the latest Enhanced eBook that I have helped launch (as part of the Novo Ink team), I want to live that challenge out. I want to introduce to you the author Nicole O'Dell and a very special Enhanced eBook called "Dare to be Different." Nicole writes fiction for tween/teen girls in order to help them make good choices. The Enhanced Edition of Dare to be Different is three books in one and each book allows the reader to make choices about what the characters should do at a key point in the story. When we began talking about making these books Enhanced, I got so excited because Nicole was already trying to connect with her readers in a much deeper way than many authors. This desire on her part was the perfect foundation to create an Enhanced eBook that really exemplifies a new experience for the reader.
There are several things about this Enhanced eBook that make it a truly new product:
  1. The author's intentional desire to add new content: Nicole did an amazing job adding truly new content for this book. The best examples of the new content are some of the audio clips throughout the book where Nicole breaks into the story and provides challenges, insights and stories. She also added new content in the form of online polls and questions that the reader can link to throughout the book.

  2. The integration of all media: As I worked with Nicole and her publisher Barbour Publishing, we integrated all of the media so that it flowed as one product. The audio, video, web links and call outs are all designed into the book in a seamless way and the interactivity does not minimize the reading experience.

  3. The variety of resources: Most Enhanced eBooks have a few multimedia clips throughout and some extra content in the back. This book has a dynamic mix of audio, video, polls, articles, podcasts and interactive questions. This great variety creates a holistic experience rather than the feel of a DVD with extras.

  4. The personal nature of the material: This book does a wonderful job of bringing the author and many teens together through the product. Besides the author's very personal audio clips, there are videos of groups of teens talking about the issues in the book. These videos were shot specifically for this Enhanced eBook. While they are not Hollywood quality, they are very authentic ways for young girls to see and hear others talk about the challenging choices they face.
My hope is that this unique product will impact the lives of many teens and also showcase what an Enhanced eBook can really look like as a tool to bring the author and the reader back together in a dynamic and authentic relationship.

Well I hope that my excitement will not over promise what this resource really offers. You be the judge. But just to make sure, you can preview the book for free through the online reader.Take some time to check out this wonderful resource and get to know Nicole O'Dell. She is an amazing thought leader and role model to so many young women. Thanks Nicole for investing so much in this resource. Let us pray that it makes a difference for many.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Taking the Bible Stack Challenge

Our team at Generous Mind is privileged to partner with The Seed Company / OneVerse, an innovative Bible translation minsitry equipping local believers in countries around the world to translate the Bible.

Recently they launched an exciting challenge and the Hirst family jumped at the opportunity. They are asking people around the world to make a stack of all their Bibles and then ask God what they can do to help those who don't have a single word of Scripture in their own language.

So we shared the ground rules with our kids and we all began scouring the house looking for all the Bibles in our home. Now to be fair we should note that Jon used to work for the Forum of Bible Agencies and has a Bible collection from many different countries.

So when the exercise was all done, we identified that we had 71 Bibles, portions and Bible story books in our home. Wow! Who would have imagined that many hiding on various shelves, dressers and end tables around the house.

So what did we learn?
  • Mindy: "We could be more organized! :)"
  • Adin: "Some people don't have Bibles."
  • Isa: "That "Da Jesus Book" is pretty much the same as an English Bible but different - its in Hawaian Pidgin."
  • Emi: "I don't want to say. :("
  • Jon: We use the Bible in lots of different ways in our house and sometimes we don't even realize it.
Then we asked the family this question: "Are we Bible rich or Bible poor?"
The resounding answer was "Rich!"

Finally we asked how we could be generous with the Bible since God has blessed us with so much access. Here are some of the ideas our family shared:
Now what are we going to do about it?
We decided that we will give a dollar for every Bible in our house. So we look forward to giving The Seed Company $71.00 towards helping End Bible Poverty around the world.

So what are you going to do?
We challenge you to check out more about the Bible Stack Challenge and then join in personally or as a family. Ask God to move in your heart as you do the activity and show you how you can be involved in ending Bible poverty around the world.

Once you have participated don't forget to go back to the blog and share your stack with others. You can also share it on their facebook page

Monday, February 06, 2012

Think Now! You May Not Always Be Able To

The Brain as a Muscle
We know that the brain is a muscle, but do we really believe it? All hidden away in our skull, we can’t see it grow or shrink the way we can see a leg or an arm change with use or neglect. I remember when the doctor took off my cast how small and weak my lower leg was. It was obvious that it hadn’t been used for six weeks.
Where with our other muscles, we can see the toll of time or disease; with the brain it can easily be hidden. But the truth is we don’t have an unlimited amount of time to be able to think clearly. Dementia, Alzheimer’s, injury and chemical imbalances can all get in the way of our ability to think.
Thinking is a sport...get in there!
So if the brain is a muscle, then it would make sense to think of using that muscle as a sport. With most sports there is a season of life that is prime for playing. Gymnastics is a very young sport where as cycling can incorporate many ages. Still, there is a point where we no longer can play a certain sport. It’s the same with thinking.
So if today were your last day to be able to think the way you are used to, what would you think about? What things would you capture and create? What ideas would you pass on or leave behind for others to follow up on? Funny thought isn’t it? Prioritizing what you think about. When you think of it this way, there’s just no time left for worrying or rehashing disturbing memories, for holding a grudge or wishing for something that didn’t happen.
Capturing Today for Tomorrow
I think of the movie, The Notebook, where a husband comes every day to read his wife’s journal of their love story. She has lost her memories of him and their love, but she is interested in the story and it seems to comfort her. What a gift to him and to herself that journal was! It’s safe to say that it was a wise investment of her thinking time to write that out.
But it’s hard to think when life is so chaotic. That’s why we need to cultivate the habit of capturing moments little by little along the way. Just like we snap pictures of our lives, we need to jot down thoughts, ideas and notes for later. We need to become shutterbugs with our thoughts.
So the point is, we need to exercise our brains so that they are strong. We need to realize that we only have a limited time to play the sport of thinking, and we need to discipline ourselves to capture today for tomorrow.
Blessings as you think today.
What will you think about while there is still time?

Friday, February 03, 2012

I wasted all my money on you!

It has struck me recently how many of the marketing messages that we receive tell us we can have it all. They boldly claim that their product allows us to have the best of both worlds. For example, a car company will say, “You can be safe and also be sporty.” Or a company selling junk food will say, “It tastes good and is good for you as well.”
We love these messages because it means that there is no need to sacrifice. We can have the pleasure and discipline all at once. We can be responsible and at the same time enjoy life. What we don’t realize is that most of these marketing statements are spin. While some of these benefits are possible, they have conveniently left out many other detractors. So the choices we make still have consequences – both good and bad.
Another area of life that also focuses on this inaccurate idea is commerce. In business we talk about a “win-win” proposition. It is a partnership or deal where both parties come out ahead. Again, this can be true in some ways, but usually if you look deeper there are sacrifices being made by both parties.
Whether it is in our consumer behavior or in our work, we have to realize that in most scenarios of life we will not be able to have it all. And if we value living life generously, we need to see that we will have to make significant sacrifices in order to benefit others.
A little boy once said to his sister while giving her a Christmas present that, “I wasted all my money on you!” He understood that to give to his sister meant that he didn’t have something for himself. When we are generous with our money, we are left with fewer resources to spend on Latte’s or, in some cases, to pay bills. When we are generous with an idea, we lose the right to keep its potential profits to ourselves. When we are generous with our time, we have less of it to spend on another activity that we enjoy.
But all of those sacrifices are worth it if we believe that a life of generosity is one that God rewards and that makes a real difference in the lives of others. The key is for us to actively fight against the idea that we can have it all. In the end we need to be okay with the fact that we have chosen not to have everything for ourselves.