Month: January 2013

Reflections after a Full Day of Speaking

Wow, what a day! It was an absolutely incredible day of speaking.

I lead assemblies for grades K-2, 3/4, 5/6 and 7-12 and lead a parents workshop. Whew! I feel like a truck hit me, but in a good way.

Here are some reflections:

1. I Must take care of myself. In order to speak that much in one day, I have to be even more diligent about taking care of myself. Speaking is the most draining think I do. I’m an animated speaker and I throw out lots of passion and energy. That drains you quick. I need to keep staying away from the pop and keep making better food choices and working out!

2. Every time is a gift. I need to never forget that every opportunity to speak and teach is a GIFT from God. I had the privilege of looking into hundreds of students, faculty and parents eyes today and I had the blessing of being able to address them. It’s a GREAT gift from God.

3. Thankful for my support. I literally have dozens of people who willingly pray for me and go to God on my behalf. They probably get tired of getting texts/messages/ and emails from me asking for prayer, but I can’t do this without a ton of prayer support. I am so thankful for every prayer.

4. I have a great support team. Oh my goodness! I had two incredibly great friends come out today and film my talks. I had one of my board members attend an assembly, I had my booking manager and worlds most incredible volunteer give her day to help me. I had another new friend spend most of the day helping. I have a great support team.

 

Minutes and Words…use them well

Here’s a Giant lesson that I have learned and re-learned and it applies to both my relationships and my speaking.

And, it’s a lesson that has been taught to me for years, and I’ve done an OK job with executing it, but I’m raising its value to an all time high in my communicating.

Here’s the lesson

Remember that minutes and words are precious, so use them well!Alarm_Clocks_20101107a

Yup, you knew that. I know that. But, it’s easy to be swept up in the moment of spending time with a friend, connecting with somebody or delivering a talk or a message and before we know it, we waste words and we waste minutes.

Minutes and Words are precious! Time flies by and before we know it, there gone.

If you’re a speaker, here are a few ideas for you on managing your Minutes and Words:

We have to be ready to share.

We have to be ready to deliver.

We should almost be ready to explode by the time we’re handed the mic. If we’re not, we will waste time.

I’ve heard so many speakers who use the first 10 minutes to talk about random and unimportant things. Don’t do that. Be ready to grab your audiences attention. It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment and try to get a laugh out of something that only a few in the crowd would find funny.

In your relationships, don’t waste time and use dishonoring words. If you have an encouraging or positive thought, tell the person you’re connecting with.

Here’s what I’m learning. I have only so many minutes, so I have to treat every word and every minute with an extreme amount of respect. I need to plan them out well and stop wasting time.

Taking a Leap is Hard

I hate danger! yellowDanger

I really do.

No roller coasters for this guy. No sky diving. No scuba diving. No fast driving. No heights. No zip-lining. No riding fast on a bike. No eating spicy foods. No looking over the edge on an elevator.

I can imagine that taking the first step when you’re doing any of those things is crazy hard.

I can relate to the idea and notion that taking a leap hard.

Quite a few times in my life, I have taken leaps.

  • When I’ve left jobs to pursue other jobs. 
  • When I’ve moved my family to pursue those jobs.
  • When I left my last position to start a brand new organization with no financial safety net, no 6-8 months of financial backing in the bank.
  • Now that I’m leading a team of people to start a church in Central Michigan.

Taking a Leap is Hard…But it’s worth it.

Especially when you know that what you are leaping towards is what God has called you to do. That makes the difference. Not that it makes it any easier to take the step. Gosh, that step is hard. It’s really easy to talk about doing something.

SO EASY. taking-the-leap

To just dream and never pursue those dreams. To just wish things were different and never do anything about it. But, when you know you’ve heard from God and you have affirmation from scripture and others in your life, it’s so worth it.

But, I find so much joy in Joshua 1:6 & 7

” Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go”.

Don’t get me wrong, it will be hard. Taking the leap is never easy and you really have to make sure you know that God is calling you to do what your about to do, but if He has…

Take the Leap. 

I sort of stopped caring…


caring

I have. I admit it.

Let me back up. I have felt that say way during times when I have dealt with depression. Yes, I have had seasons in the past where depression has got the best of me. And, in those seasons, there have been areas of my life, that yes, I have stopped caring.

Caring about my health, caring about working out, caring about talking, caring about being with friends.

This is not I’m what I’m talking about. 

I’m talking about caring about the stuff that doesn’t matter.

I have sort of stopped caring…about the stuff that doesn’t matter. 

For instance…

  • I use to get so stressed out about the cleanliness of our house. I mean, I was a crazy person when it came to our house being clean. And, it had to be done in a certain way. I don’t like piles or clutter or mess. I have 4 kids!!!!! That’s not possible to have an absolutely spotless house with 4 kids. It’s just not. I tried. I drove my family crazy. I spent so much time cleaning when I could have spent time on walks with my kids or playing catch or reading to them. Now, I still love a clean house, but I have stopped caring so much about it being perfect all the time.
  • I use to get so stressed out about what people thought of me and I’m trying, TRYING, to stop caring as much as I once did. But, gosh, this is the super tough one. I have spent so much time waging an internal battle in my head and heart when it came to what my perceptions were of someone else’s thoughts about me. 
  • I use to care way too much about my social media presence. I know that is a HUGE surprise, but gosh, I cared way too much. I would lose a friend on facebook and I wonder…”what did I do”, “why did they defined me”? I would care about how many likes or how many views on my blog or how many twitter followers. Gosh, I can’t believe I wasted all that time worrying about stuff that didn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, it still burns more than it should when someone de-friends me. I found out recently that a former co-worker de-friended me and it stung a bit. But, everyday, I’m trying to not care. 

What I do care about…

1. Pleasing God. Yup, that’s my main concern these days. Trust me, I’ve worked hard in the past trying to please myself and trying to live out ‘Jason’s’ plan for my life. I am concentrating on just pleasing my heavenly father. It’s hard. I am so damn selfish at times, but I’m trying to be His son and bask in his love.

  • Trusting Him, Praising Him, Offering myself to Him, Praying to Him, Getting to know Him, Giving to Him and Following Him. 

2. Following God’s plan for my life. My journey has taken a ton of turns. Unexpected turns, bumps in the road, pits in the way, roadblocks and lost signal on the gps. But, for the first time in a long time, I believe…I feel…I know…that I have listened to God’s voice and I’m moving forward with His plan.

  • That means that I’m using the gifts He’s given me to bring Hope to as many people as I can.
  • Hope into public schools and Hope into a local church.

3. Pleasing and taking care of my family. There are so many times that I fall short of my own expectations, but I am working hard to please and care for my family.

  • Spend great amounts of time with them. Make memories with them. Give us great stories to live and to tell. 

4. Taking care of myself. I’m trying to be really focused on caring about my health. My physical, emotional, financial and spiritual health.

What do you care about? What are some areas you have sort of stopped caring?

The ONE must have quality of a GREAT Preacher

Being Real. billy-graham-1918--granger

I think it all boils down to that.

Ok, here’s the deal…I love the craft…the calling…and the art of preaching. I have loved it since I was 13 years old. When I was 13, I was asked to share my story (or if your a church person…testimony) at my church. I’ll never forget it. It was an old Lutheran Church that had one of those giant pulpits. As I walked up to it, I needed to stand on a few yellow pages to be able to see over the pulpit.

I loved it. I was so nervous, but I loved it. Ever since then, I have loved the art and craft of preaching. Of speaking. Of teaching.

Then…THEN…I found out about Billy Graham and my love really took off. I can remember being a in high school and reading and watching everything I could on Billy!

I think, after 18 years of preaching, the ONE must have quality of a GREAT PREACHER is being…

REAL

Yes, there are a lot of other incredibly important qualities and actually Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 gives Timothy a whole list.

  • Being Bold (2:2)
  • Have Great Convictions and seeking God’s Approval, Not Man’s (2:3-4)
  • Not being Shady (2:3)
  • Being Humble (2:5)
  • Balanced (2:5-6)
  • Gentle (2:6)
  • Selfless (2:8)
  • Shepherd (2:10)

Here’s a few thoughts on Being Real…

1. Use as many stories that you can from your personal life. I think this is an insensible characteristic of being real. If you’re continually using canned stories and never opening up your heart to the people you teach, you’re losing out. The REAL meter will be be pretty low.

2. Share your struggles. Admitting weakness is always hard, especially if you’re doing it in front of people. But, people will follow you and learn a great deal from you if you don’t sugar coat your life. Show people your real.

3. Be Passionate. Don’t fake be energetic and zealous and passionate, but let your love for the word and your love to see people find Jesus come out in your preaching.

I’m preaching to myself here. I think being real is an indepensible quality of being a great preacher and one that I try to be every time I have the amazing opportunity to preach or teach God’s word.

What else am I missing?

Acts 2:42

Acts 2:42…

They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

I have always loved the local Church. I grew up in the Church, went to Christian schools and then graduated from a Bible college. When I was 19, a church hired me as their youth pastor. For the next 18 years I worked for local churches.

I believe passionately that…

The Local Church is the Hope of the World. 

I’m very excited to gather together tonight with some friends and family and dig into what it looks like to be an Acts 2 church.

The need for more churches is huge and I can’t wait to worship, pray , dig into scripture and see what Acts 2 teaches us about the church.

 

Reverse Youth Ministry

Someone said to me recently…”It’s great what you do in schools, But your not in the trenches of youth ministry anymore”.

That hurt! 

I guess that’s true. I haven’t been a full time youth pastor since mid 2010. But, at my last church I oversaw the next generation area and youth ministry has been my passion since 1995. That’s when a church said, “Yeah, come be our youth pastor”! Umm…I was 19! It was Awesome! And Challenging. And Great. And Exciting!

Fast forward to 2013. I started and run a non-profit called Live Now Leadership and we are a education based non-profit. Yup, you read that right. We are not a ‘religious’ based non profit. My hope was that by not attaching that to our By Laws, we would have more open doors in public schools.

What we do is a take a character based assembly message  (Choose Kindness over Bullying) into schools for grades K-12 and we also lead a parent workshop called ‘No More Bullying’.

When I say ‘we’, it’s the fancy way of saying ‘I do’. Teaching 1

Talk about great ministry! I may not be in the ‘trenches’, but wow, I’m right in the schools! Here are some highlights:

  • Sharing the gospel with a principal in his office. Yeah, I’m in the principle’s office a lot lately!
  • Being handed a razor blade from a 13 year girl who was suffering from cutting.
  • Receiving dozens of facebook messages about their stories with bullying.
  • Talking to parent after parent and helping give some practical ideas.
  • Hearing story after story of kids who are working on changing their schools and their homes.
  • Talking with dozens of Pastors and youth pastors who are trying to help their local schools.

So, I may not be int the ‘trenches’ any longer. And, let me say this, there are days when I miss it desperately. I loved leading my boys small groups. Teaching students after week. Raising up students to teach. Leading students to love each other. Building a volunteer team. Training them.

But, I believe I’m still a apart of youth ministry…especially since my daughter will be 13 in 4 weeks!