Nov 20, 2011

It's Not About Doing My Best; It's About Giving My Best to the Right Things

We've all heard the adage that goes something like, "What matters in life is not necessarily the results but that we gave our best effort."

I've been thinking about the whole concept of giving my best thing because that's what I vowed to give to my church.

After some further reflection, I am not sure if giving my best is good enough.

In the end, I don't think one's life and leadership will be measured by necessarily the effort one gives to something.

In the end, the thing that will matter most is whether one gave their best to the right things, and whether I gave my best to doing those things right.

What would be the point of giving your best to the wrong things?

And what would be the point of giving my best to doing those things in the wrong ways?

So, here's where I am with giving my best to God.

  1. First, identify what the right things are. Not everything is right. Not everything is good. Not everything is worth giving ones best. The first task of leadership is to identify the right things, the best things. I call these the compass headings or the trajectory of leadership.
  2. Second, once the proper compass heading and the trajectory of leadership has been identified, the task of leadership is to determine how best to lead the organization from where we currently are to start moving toward the objective. This is what it means to doing things in the right way.
I plan on doing my best and giving my best to God and to the church as I pray, discern, and listen for the right trajectory and compass heading for the ministry. And once God makes that clear, to listen and discern for best ways to move LCOP from where we are to get us moving toward this trajectory.

That's my game plan.

Now, let's get er' done!

Nov 19, 2011

A Time and Place for Everything...

The writer of Ecclesiastes once wrote, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."

Not only is there a proper time and season for everything, but there is a proper place for everything.

More and more these days, I am surprised at the lack of sensitivity and social awareness of some people. More and more people are losing the ability to differentiate between things that are appropriate for private spaces and things that are appropriate for public spaces.

We have all had our uncomfortable run ins with people who enthusiastically display way too much PDA, and situations where a person in a confined space (a bus, subway, train, plane) is talking way too loud and for way too long on their cell phones.

Last night I was hanging out at a Starbucks reading and writing. And in comes a guy with his guitar and his music book and he begins practicing his acoustic guitar in Starbucks.


There are people trying to carry on a conversation, people trying to read, people trying to work. 

And the guy is practicing his guitar!!!


What happened to common courtesy?

What ever happened to common sense?

Nov 18, 2011

I Love My Presbytery!!!!!.....When's the Last Time You Heard That?

The Olympia Presbytery met yesterday.

One of the major items of discussion on the docket was the final approval of a gracious dismissal policy. To make this discussion even more difficult and painful was the reality that eight congregations were already in the process of leaving the denomination, and four of the eight have already completed the process and are now ready to move to the financial negotiation part of leaving our denomination.

This presbytery meeting had all the ingredients necessary for things to go ugly.

Unfortunately, far too many of us in the PC(USA) have had too many experiences of things going ugly at denominational meetings.

But it wasn't ugly.

It wasn't easy.

It was still very painful and difficult.

But the presbytery handled this situation in a way that would have totally honored Jesus Christ and his church.

How many times have you ever heard someone say that they love their presbytery?

Well, get ready.

Here it comes.


I love the way my colleagues in ministry handled the potentially volatile and difficult situation with both grace, love, and mutual respect.

Given the difficult circumstances, you couldn't have asked for a better way for people to deal with a terribly difficult and painful situation.

Olympia Presbytery, I am proud to be one of your members. I thank God for the way you modeled a Christ-honoring, mission-prioritizing, mutual-forbearing.

It is a privilege to serve with you and to call you partners in ministry.

Nov 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Baskets for the Neighbors of LCOP

God has blessed us with much. So it is only right that we share what God has given to us with others.

The Little Church on the Prairie will share hundreds of Thanksgiving Boxes filled with turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal for our neighbors who would otherwise not have a Thanksgiving meal.

But more than the meal, we pray that God will use these boxes as a real reminder that God loves us all and that no one is ever alone.

We have prayed and blessed these boxes and now ask for God's blessings on our neighbors.

Yay God! and yay the people of the Little Church on the Prairie!

Look at those boxes!!!

More boxes...
Gotta have bread
Cindy and Esther...gotta have carrots
More bread...

Lucille and Ken making sure all the goodies get in the boxes
Our invitation...praying our friends will read the invitation

Rex and Doug taking a break from the rain from unloading the truck

Getting the turkeys ready. They were frozen solid...the turkeys that is.

Nov 16, 2011

Middle Governing Bodies Commission - The Same Ol', Same Ol'

The Middle Governing Bodies Commission was commissioned by 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to look for creative and new ways for the Presbyterian Church to move into our emerging future.

A commission by its very nature has immense power. Within the charter given to the commission, the commission has the authority to act on behalf of the General Assembly. What this means is that the commission has the authority and power of the General Assembly within the parameters of its charter.

That's a huge and an awesome responsibility.

There was so much that the commission could have done to help the PC(USA) find ways to move forward.

However with the latest action reported by the Presbyterian Outlook, the Middle Governing Bodies Commission is not going to offer creative and new solutions for the church to move forward. Instead, we are going to get pretty much the same ol' denomination.

  • The same ol' denomination that is currently losing 50,000-60,000 members a year.
  • The same ol' denomination that will be mired in the same ol' fights and disagreements.
  • The same ol' denomination that will do business in the same ol' way we've always done business.
There was so much the commission could have done.

For guys like me, it's not that we are looking for ways to leave the denomination. If we wanted to, there are plenty of ways to start doing that right now as many churches have already have, and are in the process of doing.

For evangelical presbyterians like me, we are looking for ways to stay. And this is where the Middle Governing Bodies Commission could have given creative solutions to stay presbyterian and reformed while looking for new ways of staying connected. 

But when the church is unwilling to change and face the reality that the landscape of denominationalism has already changed, and is therefore looking for creative ways to be ecclesiologically connected while coming to terms with not only believing the church of Jesus Christ to be bigger than any one denomination, but actually living into that reality, what's a guy like me to do?

We are living in the emerging and fast-approaching post-denominational world, while still living in the last remnants of denominationalism and institutionalism. 

And unless we seek ways to be different than what we have been, we will die with what we have always been.

Not Only Is He Moving In, He Wants to Take Me Out!

There are times when I bring one or more of my kids to hang out with me in the office while I work.

One of the things my 6 year old son has been doing lately is creating his own business cards where he crosses out my name and replaces it with his.

He's been doing this for a while.

The family has a good laugh because it's cute.

But this past Sunday, I came back from leading worship and what I found on my desk is the lower business card where not only has Kaleb crossed out my name as the pastor, but he has kicked me out!

I'm not sure what to make of that but one thing I am thankful for is that Kaleb thinks being a pastor is a cool thing. And for now, as a six year old, he wouldn't mind being a pastor when he grows up.

My prayer is that, should God also be calling him to the ministry, he will continue to think that becoming a pastor would be a cool thing to do.

Nov 15, 2011

One of the Craziest Darndest Things That's Ever Happened...

My family has been intrigued by the Jenny-O commercials where they challenge America to make the switch to turkey burgers.

We finally decided that yesterday would be the day in which the Kim family would make the switch...or at least try out the turkey burger.

I learned a few things about grilling turkey burgers. 
  • I should have let the meat thaw out before tossing them on the grill
  • Turkey patties don't hold together the same way that a hamburger holds together
  • That could have been because I didn't thaw out the meat...see first bullet point 
When it came time to serve the turkey burgers, they were an absolute hit with everyone in the family. We all loved it!

I wouldn't mind at all switching over to turkey burgers. They tasted great and they're way better for me than hamburgers.

As I was munching on an awesome turkey burger, I felt a sharp pain on the side of my tongue. It felt like a sharp needle piercing the side of my tongue.

Here's what I think happened.

Just before grilling, I cleaned the grill with one of those metal bristle grill cleaning tools. I think one of the bristles became loose when I was cleaning the grill and got lodged in one of the turkey burger patties.

Thank God I was the one who ended up with the metal bristle and not one of my kids.

I tried finding the metal bristle on my tongue but I couldn't visually locate it. But I could certainly feel it. And since the metal bristle piece is probably not the most sanitary thing to keep in my tongue, I went to the ER to see if they could find it. 

The ER people thought it was a hoot! They had never heard of such a thing. When the ER nurse called the radiologist to ask about x-raying my tongue, everyone had a good laugh about how they could accomplish that.

To make a long story short, they couldn't find it and they have referred me to a face/throat/jaw specialist.

I will see the specialist in the next couple of days.

Isn't life just so much fun!

The Apostle Paul had his thorn in his side...well, I guess I'm only fit for a metal bristle in my tongue.

No, no, no. I am not asking for a thorn. Got plenty of issues already. 

Who knew one could get themselves in such interesting problems?

Nov 4, 2011

Daddy's Favorite Drawing in the World...

When Kaleb was five, he drew one of my absolute favorite pictures.

Kaleb wrote at the bottom of the picture, "I wish you didn't have work beecus so you can play with me"

Tell me how a picture like this wouldn't melt a daddy's heart!!!

Nov 2, 2011

Giving God My Best...How Do You Quantify That?

Giving God my best!

Sounds so noble. So admirable. So...well...Godly.

Well, how does one do that?

How does one really go about giving God the best?

I have been saying that I want to give God my best and give my best leadership to the Little Church on the Prairie.

What does that mean practically?

How has my life or daily routines changed as a result of desiring to give God my best.

After all, if nothing quantifiably changes in my daily routines, what difference does my desiring to give God my best make?

Giving my best to God ought to make a difference. Right?

So the million dollar question is how do I go about doing that?

Well, one of the things I have been doing is to ask myself on a regular basis - on an hourly basis - "Is this giving God your best? Is this your best leadership?"

Here's what that's been doing for me on a practical level.

So when I find myself going through Facebook or Twitter or reading the blogs, asking this question has been a good check for me.

Sometimes staying in touch with folks through Facebook and Twitter and reading some Christian blogs is a part of giving my best. But as anyone who has spent anytime on Facebook or Twitter, it can be a royal waste of time. Well, asking this question has cut down on the waste of time portion and helped me to stay focused.

Give it a try.

Who wouldn't want to give God their best efforts?

Who doesn't want to give their family and friends the best effort they deserve?

Every hour or so, ask yourself, "Is this your best? Is this giving God your best?" and watch we just might find ourselves actually giving our best effort.

Nov 1, 2011

Seeing Beyond the Turn

One of my favorite things to do on my motorcycle is to get on a twisty road and lean the bike over the turns. There are a few things in life more pleasant than a nice twisty country road.

As awesome a nice twisty road is, the reality is that the twists on the road can be quite dangerous for a biker. There are only two wheels making contact with the surface of the road at any one time, and when the bike is leaned over for a turn, most of that grip is being used up for making the turn. Should the biker have to make emergency adjustments of speed or the angle of the turn, well, usually gravity wins that battle and both the biker and bike lose.

One of the keys to making the twists of the road a fun is learning to look through the turn - a biker has to look beyond the turn.

The general rule of thumb of motorcycling is that the bike will go where you are looking.

What happens when a rider doesn't look through the turn?

In short, bad stuff happens.

Today, on my ride to work, I was in a turn and instead of looking through the curve, my eyes were focused on a manhole cover in the middle of a turn.

You see, it was right around 36-37 degrees this morning when I started on my ride this morning, and metallic things have a tendency to get iced over on cold mornings. The last thing I wanted to do was to go over that manhole cover on a cold morning to discover that the cover was icy.

I made a quick few adjustments and was able to finish the turn without an incident.

But in the middle of that turn, as I focused on the actual turn instead of looking beyond the curve, a couple of things happened.
1. I began losing my sense of balance
2. I lost the line of curve I wanted in the turn
3. I wasn't prepared for what was ahead.

All these are bad things.

What's true about safely dealing with the turns on a twisty road on the motorcycle, is also true of life.

When we get too focused on the curves and twists life throws at us, we cannot see the way out of them. We get focused on the immediate and constantly find ourselves in a reactionary mode rather than looking ahead to see the best ways forward.

Just as looking through the turn on a bike can make the twisties an absolute blast, so the twists in life can be a source of creativity and ingenuity in life.

The key is being able to see beyond the turn. A general rule of thumb about life is that you will most likely end up where you are looking.