Friday, August 29, 2008

IT: Final

So I went ahead and finished the IT book, by Craig Grochel. He actually did have some good things to say. The main thing I have taken away from this book is that Churches and communitites that have "IT" have common qualities though they may not look anything alike outwardly.
My friend Randel clearly stated the main quality, "i'm convinced that "it" is the PRESENCE of God. been to too many churches without it, and been to a few with it. will not settle for less anymore.
doesn't ultimately matter if everything is trendy, the newest formula, or pretty- if HE isn't present, it doesn't do anything but entertain me for an hour."
Well said.
Other indicators, Grochel contends include humility, team camaraderie, a laser focused vision, "kingdom-mindedness" and hearts focused outward.

Nikki walks up to the soapbox podium - re: hearts focused outward.

My patience is wearing thin for communities and churches who are so focused on themselves and what they don't have and how they're not being fed and how they used to do it and how this won't work because (fill in the blank). These communities are stuck in small thinking and a scarcity mentality that keeps them limping and lame. When we take our focus off of ourselves and our lack, God gives us to-the-moon sized dreams and possibilities. Our God is not small or ordinary or powerless. Neither should our dreams be. Niether should our communities be!

Pastor Adam Hamilton, my Sr. Pastor at Church of the Resurrection, spoke at our staff chapel this past Thursday. He talked about his goal to gather together pastors of influence in our denomination to lock arms for positive change. He has had multiple meetings with some key leaders to encourage and inspire them toward this effort. I love it! I'm so proud to be connected to a church who dares to dream big and to stretch their arms out into community and into the world because our God is big and extraordinary and limitless!

Monday, August 25, 2008

We finally got bikes!

My poor children have had to wait til age 6 and 4 to get bikes. I just never got around to it! But we finally made the purchase, after Canon kept bothering the neighbor to borrow her $200 bike :(
What a great purchase it was. The kids are loving life!

A hair-cut, a lost tooth, and just plain sassy

Can't believe how big my kiddos are!
Creighton finally convinced me to get Cosmo a "big-boy" haircut. He looks so different! Such a big guy. Canon lost his two bottom teeth last year during kindergarten. The two up top are on their way out. He lost one yesterday, and I am sure the other one will be out by this evening. Then there is Whitby. The spunk and life and pure-sassy just exudes from her pores. That's my girl.

Canon 6
Whitby 4
Cosmo 2 (almost 3)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two hours of solace and guilt

I had a dreamy morning. Went to Borders bookstore looking for a specific book on media. Didn't find the book, but continued to browse. And browse, and browse.

For two hours I poked around at Borders. I learned more about Frank Lloyd Wright (who I have always admired from an artistic visionary standpoint). I skimmed some parenting books and got overwhelmed by my lack of parenting skills. Discovered that there is a whole section on magic and metaphysical. Loitered in the children's section, wondering where to take my kids next in literary discovery. I read forewards of books I have wanted to start but havn't: Good to Great, The world without us, Glass Houses, and Freakonomics. I coveted calendars and stationary and journals - none of which I use nearly enough.

Then upon heading out. I took a deep breath and the reality of how much I need to get done today hit me. So for those two blissful hours, I rested in intellectual stimulation and uninterrupted introversion. Then I got in my car and made a guilt-ridden mad dash back to my list of tasks and chores for the day and for the weekend, for my kids and for my dogs, for my house and my job....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More on AXIOM

Man, I have not been that much of a fan of Bill Hybels in the past. (Probably because of my connection to "emergent" for the past ten years and its anti-mega-church ideals). But this guy has some wisdom.
I love the season he is in right now. He truly wants to build leaders and resource visionaries. He inspires me to keep moving, keep dreaming, keep producing, keep pressing on.

I am a visual person - so I love how he describes vision:

The crispest articulation of vision is that it's a "picture of the future that produces passion in people".
He says that when you have eyes to see the vision that God has given you, you'll know it because your heart will feel it so deeply that, over time, any lingering uncertainty will vanish. "Leaders", he says, "Don't ever apologize for the strength of vision that God has put into your life...Paint your God-given vision for family, friends, colleagues, and total strangers, if they will listen. Paint it as colorfully and passionately as you can! Just get it painted so that people's hearts are stirred enough to shout - Count me in!"

Readers, I want to know what God has called you to! Will you paint a picture of your vision for me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More on IT

Eh. I think I'm done with "IT".

Craig Grochel was great at the Willow Leadership Summit. I bought his book because he makes a great observation that there are some churches that have "it" and some that clearly don't.
I am about half way through the book and I'm not sure it's worth finishing.

Craig is a bit schticky, trying too hard to be funny, approachable and relevant. While he makes some good points, and profiles some successful pastors, I think there are other books I need to put on my nightstand right now.

My next purchase: Surprised by hope - N.T. Wright

Monday, August 18, 2008

2 down, one to go?

In a previous post, titled "bad mommy", I lamented the fact that I witnessed Canon get attacked by a vicious, killer family dog.
Took it in the face.
Still makes me angry....
Well, you can imagine my shock when we went to dinner at some friends house and their dog BIT WHITBY!
This is a fussy dog anyway (it bit me on the leg one time), and Creighton (somehow always able to foresee catastrophe), almost asked the owner to kennel the dog while the kids were around. Alas, he did not ask (and is kicking himself now).
So, immediately following the group dinner prayer, the dog ran over to Whitby and took a chuck out of her back.
The next half hour, as you may imagine, was quite awkward.

Two dog bites in a month - - Bizarre, huh??

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Desperate for something to watch

Every month I make a payment to direcTV. I pay the bill and ask myself "why did I just do that?"
It all started back during the writers strike of 2007. We were on a forced fast from TV during that dark time and now, I can't seem to get the thirst back.
I especially walk away empty when I waste 2 hours of my life on Scorpion King (three nights ago). I wait for Tivo to produce something from my "programs to record" list - and that returns void right now because of the desolate summer programming hiatus.

I guess I will keep on paying... hopefully (within the month) fresh episodes of Survivor, SNL, Lost and The Office will come to my rescue soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Axiom: Bill Hybels newest book. Powerful Leadership Proverbs. Axiom is a book that sets forth the argument that "language matters". He contends that the best leaders wrestle with words until they are able to communicate their big ideas in a way that captures the imagination, catalyzes action, and lifts spirits. Leaders coin creeds and fashion slogans and create rallying cries, all because they understand that language matters.
I just started this book. I am already on chapter 5 (because the chapters are 4-5 pages each) :)
At first I thought, "Seriously, Bill? You are writing an entire book on the importance of wordsmithing?" But as I move through the book, I can really see the value of crafting our language so that when we roll out a vision, people can jump on because the vision is clean, clear and jump-on-able. See, I am already getting it.... jump-on-able.

Creighton and I are currently massaging a big idea. We will find this book helpful as we continue to line out the vision for this thing.

More later....

Saturday, August 9, 2008


So I have started reading Craig Grochel's book IT. Even though you may not be able to say exactly what "it" is, you know how to recognize it and you sense anytime you are in a church community that has "it".

I have enjoyed the book, I am about half way through it. His writings seem a little campy. He tries to be clever and funny and relevant. But as I get further into the book, I see that he is trying to help sort out for the reader some of the qualities found in a congregation that has "it".

One interesting thing is that "Just because you have it doesn't mean you will always have it, and if you don't have it, it doesn't mean that you can't get it."

He offers a list of indicators of what "it" is. But I wonder, what do you think it means for a congregation to have "it"?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Obsession de jour: Katherine Rohr

Katherine was making a 200K salary working in venture capital and private equity when she caught a glimpse of her calling. She started a ministry with prison inmates called: Prison Entrepreneurial program.
I am inspired by this woman who leveraged everything for the vision she saw.

“I feel like God gave me a vision—what if we could capitalize on the prison inmates' street knowledge but shift it towards a productive, ethical pursuit?”

Do you have a vision for what God has called you to do? I want to hear about it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Willow Creek: Leadership Summit

I am excited about this year's Willow Creek Leadership Summit. Church of the Resurrection is a satellite location.

Creighton and I have attended the summit at COR since we have lived in Kansas. It is something we decided to carve out time for every year because we gain so much from it. And we always walk away with so many valuable lessons.

I joined Amway once.

I joined because the person "presenting the plan" to me was strong and compelling. Assured me I would make millions. Clearly, I didn't make millions, nor did I make one dollar, nor did I make one phone call to recruit others in.
However, there is one thing that "my sponsor" and everyone in "my upline" did and modeled which I will never forget. They were frequently listening to motivational tapes (it was a long time ago when there were such things as tapes). At least once a week, my sponsor would hand me a tape and say, "you gotta listen to this, it will just get you fired up". And when I listened, I got fired up. Soon I stopped listening, and soon I fizzled out. You guessed it, my career as a multi-level-marketer ended after a few short months.

My point?

Well, I learned from Amway that if I want to be successful, I need to learn from the successful. I really understand the value of staying connected and engaged and plugged in, particularly with the people who have gone before me - people who have paved the way.

In this case: Leadership.
Leaders show wisdom and maturity when they seek counsel from those who have gone before them.
And that is why I go to Leadership Summit.
I want to be a great leader. I want to learn from great leaders. I want to soak up their knowledge and experience. I always leave the Summit fired up! Then, after a few short months, I begin to forget.
For me, the Summit has become a vital part of my growth as a leader (and as a mom and wife and citizen). And I can't wait till Thursday!