Creativity

Broken KeyboardOne of the keys on my laptop no longer works properly.  The key gets stuck some and mostly doesn’t work at all.  The computer warranty covers the problem, but creates another one – namely the need to use other tools for about two weeks.

Ugh.

You should know, too, that the key does not belong to some random, rarely-used category of keyboardery.  No, as the alphabet goes, that key’s a major player.

The Bluetooth keyboard from my desktop helps for now, but eventually my most trusted work ally must be surrendered to the tech people somewhere far away.  But for now, you may note that the post you read comes from the faulty keyboard – mostly to see whether a whole post can be created apart from the help of that major letter.

Have you detected what letter’s AWOL yet?  No, not the Q, X or Z. That would be too easy. No doubt you’ll trace the absent letter eventually.  As you do, here are some lessons we can apply to our work and our personal selves. [click to continue…]

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med590079

I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
Who gives salvation to kings,
Who rescues David His servant from the evil sword.

This comes from a victory song.

David celebrates victories he’s won to this point.

What now? [click to continue…]

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Oil WaterI think Peter was left handed.

I’m referring, of course, to Simon Peter of the New Testament, not Peter Gabriel, Paul and Mary’s friend Peter, or Laurence J. Peter of The Peter Principle.

Oh, I’m sure his mama beat it out of him since left handedness was considered a disability, if not a sign of evil back in the day.  But evidence of Peter’s right-brained dominance abound…  [click to continue…]

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It’s the creator’s fantasy…

…to use the tools of the trade – words or paint or dance or music – to design the ultimate masterpiece.

…to turn passion into such artistic cleverness and inspiration into such adoration that mountains move, easels grow dark, and all other voices remain silent, at least for a while.

…to write the song to end all songwriting, or the story that all other stories are compared to, or the verse that contains the finest content of the heart.

Never gonna happen.

The heart is too large to be reduced to words or rhymes or phrases or meter.

The soul is too powerfully changing to be framed by one snapshot of expression.

The imagination is too delighted in the dance of dreaming to stop with one image.

The inspiration is too elusive and awe-inspiring to ever satisfy the poet that his work is done.

The Creator whose image we bear is too interesting to be limited to our vision-of-the-moment.

So we have the choice… [click to continue…]

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Ask an adult to define leadership, and sometimes you’ll get a blank stare, or a wad of contradictions.  Ask a child to do it, and he or she will often have a much easier time.  The leader in a kid’s world is the one who can get his friends to do what he wants them to do.  Or leadership may begin with the words, “Hey, you know what would be funny?” 

One thing adults should know that kids often don’t, however, is that anybody can lead.  That skinny, awkwardly-shy girl in third grade may be a corporate CEO or trailblazing missionary in the making.  That boy who’s always picked last for the kickball team may own a sports team one day.

Everybody is a potential leader. Leadership is not synonymous with talent or personality types.  Leadership ability is not always obvious.  And it sure isn’t the same thing as authority.

Leadership is influence.  And influence – especially good influence – can be taught.  And here’s the really cool part:  You can teach a child to influence others without them knowing that’s what you’re doing.

So whether you have kids of your own (works for grandchildren, too), or you work with children in some capacity, here are ten ideas for fostering leadership in the kids in your world. [click to continue…]

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Okay this post is interactive, so get a pen and something other than your outgoing mail to write on.  Or do what I did and pop up your word processor.

Here’s the challenge:  Watch the 46-second video below and see if, based on that, you can think of at least one adjective that begins with each letter of the alphabet.  (Confession:  I had to watch about five times, but I got it.)

Why this video?  Only because I saw it the other day and thought it was way-cool.  Here’s the back story:  A missionary had distributed Gideon Bibles to a village in Malawi, Africa.  These people were so happy to get their hands on their own Bibles, they spontaneously broke out into song and dancing, worshipping God in gratitude.  (When was the last time you did that when you got a new Bible?)

So click on the “play” button and start listing adjectives.  See how many plays it takes for you to get a full list.  I’ll show you my list after it’s over and you have yours.

[click to continue…]

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What the Best Restaurants Can Teach You and Your Organization About Success

chefsYou may not know this, but for a season I helped my wife run anywhere from one to three restaurants.  The season was just long enough to convince me, if I needed any convincing, that running restaurants was not my calling.  That said, I have new respect for anybody who has to cook, serve, or make a profit from folks like – well, me.  I never worked harder physically, or encountered more of a call to real, practical servanthood in my life.

In our culture we eat 21 meals a week, give or take.  To create an environment that would motivate somebody to return again and again, and to talk about your place to their friends, and get to the end of the month with money in the bank… this is no easy task.

So when somebody does it well, I believe it can teach us some things about succeeding in the organizations, businesses, and yes, congregations we all relate to.

Lately I’ve heard of three remarkable places – none of which I have experienced personally.  But I will, if given the chance!  What intrigues me is what these eateries suggest to me as a pastor and someone who’s spent a lot of time studying successful organizations and teams.  Later, if this “whets your appetite” (sorry, it’s Monday – that’s as close to funny as I can get), there are other transferable lessons we can explore. [click to continue…]

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22 Words to Start or Refresh Your Day

by Andy Wood on May 12, 2009

in 100 Words

sunriseLet my lips pour out praise,
Let my tongue sing of your promise,
Let my soul live that I may praise you.
(From Psalm 119:171-172, 175)

(Note to self)…

When you’re stymied by writer’s block,

slowed by illness,

sleepy emotionally, or

stressed by unfinished business,

go back to the basics.

God is – I’m His.

He has designed and purchased,

created and redeemed

the right to a life

– my life –

poured out,

singing,

lavishly living in praise.

Creativity flows from where worship goes.

And nobody animates tired souls like the Living God.

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My friend Kevin, who is also an elder in our church, is a professional idea generator.  He drives a “Dream Taxi,” whose mission in life is to help individuals, couples, ministries, and organizations achieve their goals with excellence and bucketloads of creativity.

While I can’t hold a candle to his idea-generating genius, I thought I’d take a stab at it.

In the previous post, I looked at the first stage of the LifeVesting cycle, Allocate your Resources.

Here’s the second:

2.  Consider the possibilities.

Back to the farming analogy, take a look at this familiar verse:

“He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).

Interesting promise.  Especially when you understand that first-century agriculture was done in a way that we would consider backwards.  In those days, the farmer would cast his seed first, then plow it in and cultivate the ground.  Not very efficient by today’s standards, but the spiritual image is compelling.  Once the farmer had a vision of what he wanted to harvest, he was prepared to start casting the seed.  He didn’t do a lot of computerized soil samples.  He didn’t analyze it to death.  He walked to and fro, looking for opportunities to cast!

This stage of the cycle asks you to consider the kind of results you want to have by doing what our farmer did here. [click to continue…]

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