Protected: How Did We Get HERE!? (part 1)

April 22, 2009 at 4:16 pm (change, Feedback Received, Introspection, Leadership, Musings, Social Networking) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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These Articles Resonate

April 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm (change, Feedback Received, Introspection, Leadership, Musings) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Meh! In the past week, or two, I’ve read some articles that seemed to have a common thread for me.  Can you guess what that theme is?

BETWEEN THE LINES

Caught In the Act Of Thinking

Obama is following Roosevelt’s approach of making early down payments on big ideas.

By Jonathan Alter | NEWSWEEK
Published Mar 28, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 6, 2009

Mid-tweet in last week’s press conference, reporters were already complaining that President Obama wasn’t making news. And by the old standards, they were right. Obama didn’t drop any bombshells, or rein in his agenda, as so many have been urging, or tee up a YouTube-ready sound bite. The same gasbags who had blasted him for demeaning the presidency by cracking jokes on “The Tonight Show” and drinking a beer at a basketball game (hadn’t some favored George W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 precisely because he was better “to have a beer with”?) now claim Obama’s boring. On Sunday he had to defend himself on “60 Minutes” from the charge that he was “punch drunk” with mirth; by Wednesday, he was derided as too serious and professorial.

Facebook Hockey Sticks, MySpace Languishes

by Michael Arrington on March 23, 2009

What was a bad situation in November 2008 is starting to turn outright ugly – Facebook is now well over twice the size of MySpace, according to recent worldwide Comscore data. And what’s worse, MySpace is losing audience while Facebook absolutely hockey sticks: MySpace lost 2% of users in just one month, while Facebook grew by nearly 40 million members in February alone. MySpace currently has 124 million monthly unique visitors, compared to Facebook’s 276 million.

Why Facebook has never listened

and why it definitely won’t start now

Scobleizer

My former boss, Jim Fawcette, used to say that if you asked a group of Porsche owners what they wanted they’d tell you things like “smoother ride, more trunk space, more leg room, etc.” He’d then say “well, they just designed a Volvo.”

His words were meant to get us out of letting the customers run our business mode we often found ourselves falling into.

The coming evangelical collapse

An anti-Christian chapter in Western history is about to begin. But out of the ruins, a new vitality and integrity will rise.

We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

Guest Blogger Michael Bell (The Eclectic Christian) returns for his second round of statistical evaluations of “The Coming Evangelical Collapse.”

As I was time limited when taking my first statistical look at “The Coming Evangelical Collapse“, I wanted to follow up with a few more observations about some of Michael Spencer’s statements:

Any questions?

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Three Warrior Angels

March 31, 2009 at 11:47 pm (change, Introspection, Leadership) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been cursed with the ability to see the big picture.  I tend to put things into perspective and focus on the longterm opportunities, or consequences, of a particular issue.  Unfortunately, this often puts me in the minority position – my viewpoints make me look like a pessimist, or a rebel.  When in reality, I tend to take a realist approach – and looking past the problems, I see lots of opportunities.

I realized last week that some of the conflict I’ve been facing is because the conversation never progressed past the “identification of the problem” phase.  We, as people, don’t like to hear bad news – but realists, like myself, see reality and the identification of the problem as just one step in fixing it.  Actually, the popular vernacular will say, “Recognizing the problem is half of the solution.”  Yet, when it comes right down to it, very few of us really want to admit that there is a problem.

So, as I approached last night’s leadership meeting, I was determined to get past the identification of the problem.  Many of the people who were trying to shut me down, were not feeling any hope.  I knew I had to get to some concrete solutions and help them to see the hope that these solutions offer.

In order to do this, I knew I had to enter the meeting with a non-anxious presence.  I had to avoid any defensiveness, anger, or frustration.  I could not resort to being argumentative.  Unfortunately, I have not inherited a lot of tact or articulate speech – I tend to shoot straight, and from the hip.

So I prayed.  I also asked others to pray.  There were people praying all over the country.

The meeting last night was crucial.  I couldn’t pretend I didn’t see the problems I was seeing.  I couldn’t stop caring for the people God has entrusted me to lead.  And I can’t stop being myself.  But, unfortunately, one of the big-picture views I was taking in involved the future of my employment.  It seemed as if I were to continue pushing for change, I would find myself employed elsewhere – and yet I saw no way out.  So, we prayed.

Two months ago, in a meeting with the same group, I went in ready to accept the direction of the leadership team – even though I saw things drastically different.  I was broken, disheartened, and ready to quit.  But for the sake of my family, and my employment, I was ready to roll over.  Unbeknownst to be, my wife and several others were in deep prayer.

At that meeting I was hammered.  Yelled at, reprimanded, and chastised.  I humbly took it and walked away with a new mandate.  Afterwards my wife told me that while she was in prayer, she had a vision of two warrior angels standing beside me – and another standing next to one of my friends at the meeting – a friend who was in deep prayer for the process.  Interestingly, I was at peace that night.

Last night, I entered the meeting prepared.  Spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.  I had written out my thoughts – which always helps.  I apologized for miscommunications and a breakdown in trust.  I gave them a road map, an agenda if you will, of what I was going to say.  I told them that I wasn’t interested in changing their minds.  I didn’t come to make them agree with me.  I just wanted to know that they understood what I was saying.

I told them that I was going to 1) lay out the problem; 2) talk about some solutions; and, 3) share the vision of what will happen should we follow this path.  And then I did that.

The amazing thing was that they let me get past the first step this time.  I was able to talk about solutions and cast some vision.  I saw eyes light up, I saw hard hearts melt, and I saw people share their own desires for similar visions.  One man in particular, who has been spreading toxic ideas about me behind my back (seeking my ouster), put his arms around me after the meeting and told me he loved me.  Wow.

We ended the meeting with a plan and we left united.  The Spirit of God was in that room.  There was peace and determination to do the next right thing.  It was amazing.  I had given it to God, and He won the battle.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

When I got home last night, my wife told me that she saw those same three warrior angels standing over me during the meeting.  She wasn’t as amazed and surprised this time.  Two months ago it was amazing, last night, it was almost as if it was a normal occurance.

I am humbled by the presence of God’s Spirit.

Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Zechariah 4:6)

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