Cultivating Daily unto the Nations: a “love the nations” New Year’s Resolution…

What if you and your family prayed for wisdom to select one nation in 2012 to learn more about, to serve in some specific way, and to possibly even go in order to personally love and serve and support those serving there on an ongoing basis? Will you do it?

What an awesome New Year’s Resolution that would be – to be cultivating the love of “God with us” unto one particular nation of people.

Do it with a group of people with whom you walk on journey daily. Do it with family and neighbors. But consider it as a priority as you make plans for your focus in 2012.

Happy New Year!!!

-jason

Cultivating Daily in the Marketplace: a New Year’s Resolution for a renewed culture at work…

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DISCLAIMER: if you already think and live this way in the marketplace, then please either disregard this post or simply consider this post an affirmation of what you are already doing. Thanks! :)

Here’s the bottom line – no matter how generous or others-focused a company or organization wants to be, if it is a business that has to make money to keep the doors open, then it has to make money to keep the mission going, too. And so you go to work and work hard and at leadership meetings the evaluation and strategies tend to revolve around continuing to make money and how to attract more clients and make a little more money this year over last. More or less, it’s something like that.

So, my suggestion here for this potential New Years Marketplace Resolution in no way is attempting to debunk the need to keep making money in order for the business and, if it has one, its generous mission to keep going. But hear me out anyway. And hear me out here even if you are not in a position to make decisions and changes. Maybe this can be something you pray that those leaders would consider.

Even if you are already doing something generous like giving portions of profits away or requiring employees to volunteer a certain amount of hours monthly, consider adding this question to those evaluation and strategy meetings:

Would anyone like to confess a mistake they have made recently, how they handled it, how it was resolved, and who encouraged them and walked with them through it?

What if our evaluation and strategy meetings were safe enough for confessionals?

Here’s the deal – in order for the good news of Jesus to be cultivated daily in the marketplace where you are, “following Jesus” must be modeled, not just spoken about. And following Jesus IS NOT just acting nice, always making right choices, not getting mad, and being a doormat for co-workers who take advantage of you cause they know you will always say yes to their disproportionate requests.

Following Jesus in the marketplace does include confrontation at times, making mistakes, getting mad, and saying no. However, it includes these elements of reality in each of our lives with two distinguishing characteristics – (1) unconditional love and (2) unafraid confession.

David was called a man after God’s heart not because he always did what God said. Read the Scripture. He didn’t. But he always was willing to admit when he was wrong, quit following after his own desires, confess his selfishness, fall on the mercy of God, and renew a pursuit of what God intended. He was contrite. And he was that way because he knew he was loved by the God who is love. He knew he wouldn’t be “fired” when he earnestly sought after His Father.

Is that the culture in your office? Confessional? Loving? Contrite? United around what the boss has set as a goal and determined to get there through thick and thin together?

Cultivate for that culture in the marketplace where you are as a new years resolution in 2012. I bet over the course of the year you will watch the normal bottom line increase along with the top line, and I bet you will watch a people begin to do more than just work together. They might even love each other.

That’d be cool.
-jason

Cultivating Daily into Neighbors: Challenging us all to a “sent” New Year’s Resolution inspired by @JeffVanderstelt…

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SOMA Communities in Tacoma, WA encourages folks toward a singular, selfless prayer every year. What a person or a family senses as an answer to that prayer then shapes their entire year, even their daily. It is a simple prayer with significant personal implications and potentially transformational implications upon those affected when the answer to the prayer is lived out.

The prayer is something like this:

Lord, to whom are you sending me (our family) this year, how do I need to reorient my (our) life to live sent to them , and will You please give me (us) the courage and wisdom to go and love them like you love them?

What if that was the defining prayer for you and your family this year? How might it change your family schedule? How might it affect your church family schedule? How might it redefine life as “the church” focusing your energy on living sent among our culture rather than spending almost all of your energy with people already in church culture?

It’s a great pray for loving your neighbor, cultivating daily the love and life of Jesus as you walk with them.

How about it? Are you willing to take on that prayer for your new Year’s resolution this year?

Happy New Year!
-jason

Cultivating Daily into Family: making a new (or maybe a renewed) parenting plan for your family this New Year.

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Jen and I try to be very intentional with our parenting. What we find in our attempts to be intentional with each of our five wonderful little ones is that if we don’t try to be intentional with how we are cultivating into their very fertile hearts, we aren’t intentional at all.

You and I as parents have very little control over what will be reaped in the lives of our children, but we have complete say-so over what we cultivate. And we do not want to be laissez-faire about our parenting, or we will intentionally parent unintentionally.

The point is this – you can hope for scheduled, teaching moments and calendared quality time, but it actually happening as scheduled and calendared is rare. Thus, be intentional to sow every chance you get since you have no chance at controlling what will be the reaping of your children’s future.

Simply try to be intentional to emphasize specific things, try to be intentional to discipline for heart-change, and try to be intentional to take advantage of those conversational, learning moments.

(1) Jen and I are learning that if we emphasize a few things over a long period of time, it is much more effective than trying to teach many things in a short period of time. Select a few things that you first and foremost believe are highlights of the teachings of Jesus and that secondly matter to you, then create engaging, non-boring ways to emphasize those over and over again over a long period of time. Like over the course of 2012!

(2) Jen and I are learning that disciplining to correct behavior makes little difference over the long haul, although it may modify behavior for the now. We are learning that disciplining for heart change is much more life-changing and future shaping. Two keys – kindness leads to repentance and challenging them to pray like they need help is crucial.

On the kindness front, are you primarily kind and calm or primarily irritated and frustrated? To be the former is much harder than the latter, especially when you think that acting mad is the only way to get attention and results. However, while Jesus did display anger provoked by selfishness and greed, He primarily displayed a patient grace that gripped the hearts of people causing them to respect Him and what He had to say. If it got His teachings a center stage in the best-selling book of all time, it may be worth a try for us parents.

On the prayer front, encourage your kids to ask Jesus to help them to obey or to be kind or to share or to tell the truth or whatever else. After all, do we need Jesus or not? Can we change ourselves with a more attentive performance, or do we need to give full attention to His performance? Do we want our kids going to college with exemplary behavior or believing in the Example? Do we want them to learn living FOR God or living WITH God? I would suggest that only He can change us as parents and our kids as kids. If our kids could simply better themselves, then Jesus died needlessly.

(3) Finally, Jen and I are learning that we must spend a quantity of time with the kids if we have any hope of having a quality of time. It is in that intentional quantity of time that we look for and take advantage of those conversational, learning moments. They don’t come otherwise. They can’t be forced. They are most meaningful when they slip up on you in the flow of conversation and life together.

So, in 2012, what will you emphasize, why will you discipline, and how much time will you spend with your kids as you cultivate daily into their beautiful lives?

Share your thoughts and insights here so we can be learning together!

-Jason

Cultivating Daily – Merry Christmas!!! Here’s the Christmas story as told thru social media…

Just wanted to share this Christmas gift with you. It’s how social media, web and mobile tell the story of the Nativity. It’s the Christmas story told through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, Amazon and more.

Enjoy…

 

Cultivating Daily for Unity: what if you gave reconciliation to someone estranged this Christmas?

If unity matters among followers of Jesus, and it does (John 17:18-23), then consider giving the gift of reconciliation this Christmas to someone from whom you are estranged.

Maybe it is a family member. A friend. A co-worker. Another church leader in town. Another church family in town.

Before you even go to worship at the Christmas Eve gathering tomorrow night, if there is someone with whom you have not tried to make peace and with whom you have not at least attempted to reconcile with the love and forgiveness and grace of Jesus, go to them before you Christmas Eve is over.

It may well be the best gift you give them, and yourself, this Christmas. 

23 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, 24 abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.
(Matthew 5:23-24, The Message)