Slow Down Or Die!

google Zoom Out—Zoom In

A few years ago I wrote Google and asked if I could use the phrase Zoom Out—Zoom In to write a short book. Nope was the answer.

Zooming Out helps us see the whole picture. Zooming In helps us see part of the picture.

Good leaders Zoom Out. They see the big picture. They see, understand, and appreciate the key players who are creating the many aspects of the whole picture.

Sometimes people and teams are so Zoomed In they can’t see nor appreciate the whole picture.

If you work in an organization most likely you are most concerned / focused upon the growth and progress of your area. You may need to Zoom Out to understand you and your team are a part of the whole. 

Starry Starry Night

I was on a team of teams a few years ago. We were silo-ed. Everyone was concerned about their area and were very focused. We were attempting to encourage all the teams to care about our environment / atmosphere and to embrace our responsibility to help create a friendly open hearted experience for our guests. We needed everyone’s buy in.

I created an illustration.

I showed a blue pixel of a famous picture on a big screen. I spoke about being Zoomed In and the importance of being zoomed in, but not being so zoomed in we miss seeing the big picture. In order to see and understand the big picture we needed to Zoom Out. Zooming out helps us to see the whole enchilada and together, as a whole group, can create the space / atmosphere / environment we needed to create. The questions then followed. What do we want to create? How do we create the vibe, atmosphere, environment? What is our role?

Here is the pixel: Zoomed In

Here is the picture: Zoomed Out

starry-night-art-plain

Knowing / discerning when we need to Zoom Out or to Zoom In is very important. Sometimes we are so close / Zoomed In to a situation we need to slow down to create space where we can Zoom Out.

Taking the time, creating space to Zoom Out allows us to have a birds eye view to assess a problem, a direction, or an opportunity. Then, after our assessment, we can Zoom In to deal with what needs dealing with, or to create what we need to create.

If you are under pressure in your personal life and relationships you may want to push pause, Zoom Out in order to see and understand your situation from a different point of view.

Tip: It helps to put on your Spock logic persona and to take off your emotional persona.

Questions to ask:

  • Where can I go to find space to Zoom Out and reflect?
  • What’s going on within my environments?(White board)
  • Where do I need to focus Zoom In in each environment? (family, work, friends, potential opportunities)
  • How am I doing with my relationships at home, church and beyond?
  • Be determined to create margin in your schedule for what’s most important.
  • Is this something Jesus wants me to continue to invest my energy and focus?

Remember:

Most people have great strengths.
Sometimes our strengths are our weaknesses.

Runners learn to pace themselves, maybe we should too?

slow_down_or_die

Coach Susan Paul: “Typically runners add 30 seconds per mile to their goal race pace to as much as 2 minutes per mile. How much you choose to slow down is up to you, but remember the longer the run, the slower the pace should be on most days.
Keep in mind it’s often hard to hit the perfect pace for every run.
Your training paces will also vary based on the weather conditions or the terrain. Maybe you’ve had poor sleep or have been stressed at work. This will affect how you pace yourself!”
The Runner’s World Editors Mar 4, 2019

Take a moment and think through the above allegory.

  • How long will it be before you are finished with this series, or project, etc? Think realistically. Create margin in your plan.
  • Remember, you are not perfect. Give yourself permission for mid-course corrections. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
  • Remember you are an atmosphere architect. Creating takes time.
  • Don’t stop your training paces. What are your basic practices? Time with Jesus, reading, journal, exercising, family nights, date nights with your spouse, eating well and sleeping. Adjust your time accordingly.
  • Take a break. Do something fun and totally different.
  • You have the power to pace yourself in your terrain.

A flower opens hearts at a Beauty Salon!

Jesus can do what we cannot do!

The Living City Project.Final Stats!
Knock on effect! Churches want to continue to serve their community! We are creating a website to offer tips and resources.
Our hope realized: People did see the church in action as hundreds demonstrated their love in a practical way. Over thirty churches served as well as several other community organizations.

Over twelve hundred people participated on the day. A sense of unity and community engagement was apparent.

#Kindnessnow 2.0
We had a great summit! A small turn out but some powerful sessions. My Pastor friends: Dorrien Hinsey, Jackie Jackson, Mike Scruggs and Jimmy Washington graced our time Thursday night. They discussed KindnessOutreach and how their churches have reached out to their communities.

Lot’s of buzz over the three days and several practical outreach opportunities! Dr. Dorrien Hinsey summed up the night with the thought Kingdom over Culture.

Culture over Kingdom? Kingdom over culture?

Heading out this Saturday for one of the largest outreach events of our year. Six hundred roses going to over twenty Beauty Salons.


A Flower Story. Is there someone here who is having trouble at home?

A couple of weeks ago we took a hundred vases, each filled with five daffodils, to a nursing home and to the small stores located in Trotwood.

We went into a hair salon after receiving an impression someone in the Salon needed prayer for some tough things happening at home.

When we went in we stretched out our hands, “Here’s a vase of flowers to celebrate Easter.” The person who welcomes people lit up and exclaimed “Thank you! This is so nice!” Everyone in the salon was surprised.

I said, “I was driving by and had an impression someone has some tough stuff happening at home and needed prayer.” A young mother immediately raised her hand and said, “It’s me.” 

As we began to pray she started crying. The power of the Holy Spirit touched her life as words of encouragement flowed. It was obvious to everyone Jesus had touched her life. The people in the Salon were startled, yet they were amazed.

A long story shortened.

Everyone in the salon got out of their chairs and walked over and said, “Pray for us.” I talked about Jesus, His grace, His power, and proclaimed His goodness. We then stood in a circle held hands and prayed for the store. I said, “The Word says everywhere we walk we are blessed and we can claim the land. Let’s stomp our feet and bless this store. So we all stomped our feet and I then prayed and blessed the salon and the owner. At the end I received a lot of hugs and thank yous.
What’s the point? There is power in and upon acts of kindness done in Jesus name.

What opened the door? A vase of flowers and simple obedience to an impression. Not everyone may be as extroverted as I am in such moments, but anyone can listen to His voice and  pray a simple prayer.

We are grateful for all our supporters who enable us to do what God has called us to do. We value your prayers and support. Please pray for our family as we press into our new season.

Prayer points:

  • Clarity / Direction / Where to invest time, energy and passion?
  • Car repairs cash for another 100,000 miles.
  • Our three boys and their families.
  • Pattie gets new job. Interviews begin on Tuesday.
  • Ministry doors open / No hindrances.
Eyesoutward

Lost. The love of the Father.

Many people don’t know there is a Father who loves them.

   My friend Matthew and his young daughter went to Target to shop. They were walking around the store when Matthew got distracted. Minutes passed and suddenly he sensed something wasn’t right. Turning around, he couldn’t find his daughter. She was missing from his presence; she wasn’t near his side. His heart was pounding and with deep concern he began to look for her. He ramped up his search by notifying the store manager and other store workers to help him find his daughter. Time went by, one minute became two, and two became ten. To Matthew it felt like an eternity. She was indeed lost.

    As his sense of loss was turning to hopelessness he noticed movement in a clothes rack. This is when he saw her peeking out from where she was hiding. He dropped to his knees and called her by name. She came running into his arms. She had been lost and away from his presence, but now she had been found. She was back in his arms.

When he asked her why she hadn’t come out of hiding when he called her name, she said she was afraid. She was afraid she would be in trouble. She assumed he’d be angry. Matthew embraced her, told her he loved her, he wasn’t angry, and he was just so grateful he found her.

This is really a great picture of God’s love for humanity. People are away from God’s presence. They are hiding, covering themselves up. They are afraid to come into His presence. The reason they are afraid… they believe a lie. A lie which tells them God is not a loving Father. He is an angry Father. Therefore, if they turn toward an angry God, He will give them what they know they deserve… judgement and punishment.

At the core of His being He is love. He offers salvation as a gift to those who turn toward Him. He is always willing to receive those who come to Him at any time. He is not willing any should perish. He takes no delight in the death of those who do not know Him. He offers His relational connection by grace. His grace is found in His Son Jesus.

He sent His only Son to illustrate, explain and reveal the love of the Father toward the people who are away from His presence, lost. He is the God of the last chance.

My father in law was a bartender. When my wife was quite young, he left his wife and five children for his wife’s best friend. Pattie’s mom wept for three days and then began the long process of recovery. Time went on and his new wife met Jesus and her life changed. More years went by and then suddenly my father in law was diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live. His wife threw caution to the wind and began to speak to him about eternal issues, specifically about where he was going to spend eternity. Her urgent appeal made sense to him and he asked her what he needed to do. She told him to get on his knees, to ask God for forgiveness and invite Jesus into his life. He listened intently and responded by moving himself from the bed to the floor. When he got on his knees he prayed for forgiveness and asked Jesus to come into his life. He was a new man when he got back up. A week later he was baptized. A couple of weeks later he passed away into a new eternity.

This is the love of the Father. Pattie’s dad wasn’t condemned for the terrible things he had done. When he turned toward the Father he was forgiven and was welcomed into the arms of His savior.

Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery, “Where are your accusers?” John 8 NLT

There were none; He freely forgave her and told her to go and sin no more. He restored her hope.

On the cross, He breathed His last, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34, NIV)

In the parable of the prodigal son the father was continually looking, waiting, and longing for the return of his lost son. When his son finally came to his senses he began his journey home, while he was still a long way off, the father saw him approaching and ran toward his son. He embraced him, welcomed him home, threw a party restoring him to all which was his and more.

This is a picture of the heart of the Father. He is continually looking for the people who are away from His presence. He longs for them to come home, to come back into His presence, to stop hiding in fear, and to be fully restored. The love of God removes all fear.

This is the good news! If you have experienced His love I’d encourage you to share your good news with others.

To see more go to www.lovedyouare.org

This is a passage from my book Go. Sow.

Living City Project Wow!

The Living City Project!
A few months back I joined a team of Jesus lovers, city changer dreamers!


We are a motley crew. 

“A motley crew is an informal expression for a roughly organized assembly of individuals of various backgrounds, appearance, and character. Typical examples of motley crews are; pirates, college fraternities, Western posses, rag-tag mercenary bands, freedom fighters, and groups of programmers in high-intensity tech startups.” Wikipedia

I add, Diverse Radical Followers of Jesus!

Our dream: Bring churches, community organizations, businesses, and people together all across the city of Dayton to love our city together… A city-wide Cleanup!

Our hope: People would see the church in action… not just saying we love our community, but demonstrating our love in a practical way by going low, picking up trash, and washing our communities feet.

Some people didn’t believe this could happen. Others were skeptical, yet some believed.


Sponsors jumped on board. Dayton Inspires produced a video which now has over 54,000 views. Momentum kicked in and. over 35 churches joined as well as 20 other community organizations.

Wow! Working together, we did it!

29 host locations
1233 registered volunteers
21,580 lbs (10.79 tons) of tires collected
228,980 lbs (114.49 tons) of bulk wast collected
250,560 lbs (125.28 tons) of total weight collected!

Make Montgomery County Beautiful provided bags, gloves, and trash pickers. They also removed the 125 tons of trash collected on the day!

City cleaning crew. Firefighters Union 136. After Party,

Over 1200 people participated on the day. A sense of unity and community engagement was apparent.

Mayor and Team.

Postscript:
Our team were invited to attend the City Commission Meeting on Monday. We gave our report and received thanks from the Mayor and the Commissioners representing The City of Dayton.

Now people are asking, “What’s next?”

Our crew know the event was God ordained and blessed. We also know Jesus did what we could not do. We understand His Kingdom is an ever-increasing Kingdom which knows no end. He is the one who receives all the glory and honor!

What’s most amazing! No one group, no one person, could take any credit for The Living City Project. It is collaborative in the deepest sense of the word. It’s exciting what God can do when no one person gets the credit!

Dayton Inspires Promo Video Pre Clean Up. 54K views.

sPattie and I are grateful for Phillips Temple, Pastor Jimmy Washington and Upper Room, Pastor Arron for their constant support.

Also, we are grateful for all our supporters who enable us to do what God has called us to do. We value your prayers and support. Please pray for our family as we press into our new season.

Steve and Pattie