We do not need grace...

"We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes."

-Oswald Chamber


The true test of character

"The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person’s worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight." -Oswald Chambers


5 Rules for a Meeting

1. Anyone can say no, but you're not allowed to unless you have another idea.

Don't kill a bad idea too soon.

You have permission to fail.

Within the boundaries, nothing is off limits.

5. Sometimes it's better just to listen

(courtesy of #DRIVE Conference twitter feed)


QUOTABLE: Men are important

"The breakdown in this society is a result of men being misled to believe they're not important."

- Pastor Jose Torres (on leadership)


Lessons in Innovations

Insights from People Design:

Innovation is a threat to yesterday’s success.
Markets don’t always reward new ideas. Focus on customer needs more than customer wants. Markets – people – know what they have experienced, but innovation changes the experience.

Innovation is not a solo flight.
The vision of the lone innovator is dated – the world today is just too complex. Work in interdisciplinary teams and networks. Remember that innovation is often about combination: There will be some chaos, but don’t try to avoid it. Fail fast, start learning, be agile. Innovation – as opposed to invention – is more process than product, and the future of innovation is about collaboration.

Budgeting can be an innovation killer.
Rather than managing costs, focus first on investing to create value. The greatest value of innovation results from a context of profound and prolonged uncertainty. So learn how to react quickly when you discern real sources of value. Innovation – finding new sources of value – needs room to explore.

Experience innovation is infinite.
Innovations in product design, price, and speed to market only go so far, but you can always better understand your customer, their needs and desires, and find ways to meet them that are ever better and differentiating. We continue to see a shift from product to service economy, and exploring this area is a great way to surface new innovation opportunities.

Design processes around your customer.
Organizations need to innovate the customer experience first and then work backwards to deliver that experience. When we make plans, we often get the future wrong because we don’t always understand customer behavior. Do all you can to understand the customer’s context before your next investment.

Wake this heart to truth and love

"God uses human instruments to bring to men the message of his truth and love; but it is He alone who wakes the heart of men to new life. As He alone created the heart, so He alone can re-create it."

- William Barclay (commenting on 1 Cor 3:1-9)

Why the Obama administration (or any for that matter) won't fix the problem

"The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamored with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder."

- Adam Smith, father of Modern Economics (1723-1790)


Perspective in these troubled times

Read these while reading Psalms and Luke this morning on YouVersion...reminds me why this crisis will not be solved by politicians as much as we would like it to be and how this world is not all that is even though it often seems like it.

"Don’t put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.

When they breathe their last, they return to the earth,
and all their plans die with them." (Psalm 146: 3,4)

"The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!" (Luke 12: 2,3)


Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice
Originally uploaded by ryanhartsock.

This morning driving home from grabbing our Saturday Starbucks, the sun decided to put on quite the show with the icy finger of the trees. It made for a beautiful spectacle.


Leadership is not a popularity contest

"I am again learning the painful lesson that it’s almost impossible to lead people without offending someone." - Tony Morgan



High Performance Teams

I love listening to podcasts while I workout in the morning...a little mini-coaching session. Last night I found a leadership podcast hosted by Andy Stanley whom I greatly admire and respect. He talked about high performance teams and here are some of the nuggets I took away and will be implementing ASAP with my teams.

Not goals...what won't happen if we don't do what God has called us to do? What problem in teens and culture won't be solved if we don't do what we do? What is the problem we as an organization are here to solve?

- This gives us reason to exist
- Gives us passion for what we do
- Teams dissolve when the problems are all solved
- One start is creating RELEVANT spiritual environments for teens
- Clarify the WIN! What is the win for us as an organization and in your areas?

"A clear, common compelling task that is important to the individual team member is the single most important thing for team building." Pat McMillian

Not just the RIGHT solution but the AGREED upon solution. This takes time...maybe even a lot of time.

- Agreement necessitates unfiltered debate
- I can't concede my point until you have heard me out so we can all emotionally
engage/own the idea, vision, and goals.
- People have to buy in before they pitch in with their whole heart

"Only when everyone has put their opinions and perspectives on the table can a team confidently move forward because it has tapped into the collective wisdom of the team" Patrick Lenconi

ASK:: What is the solution to the problem we have defined?

- Every team member needs to know exactly what's expected of them
- One-sentence job description for everyone...if all else fails, this is your role in the

Create an expanding network of small groups.
Create a compelling worship experience.


An equation for change

C = D * V * F > R
Change (C) happens when your dissatisfaction (D) is multiplied by a vision (V) of what can be and by first steps (F) in the right direction to a high enough level to overcome the natural resistance (R) to the desired change.


According to Dr. Phil

Well, crap! My New Year's was just rained on by Dr. Phil's personality test on Face Book. According to him:

You're a vain, self-centered Leader
Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

Getting alone...

"When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us.

As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way He deals with your soul. The sorrows and difficulties in the lives of others will be absolutely confusing to you. We think we understand another person’s struggle until God reveals the same shortcomings in our lives.

Are we alone with Him now? Or are we more concerned with our own ideas, friendships, and cares for our bodies? Jesus cannot teach us anything until we quiet all our intellectual questions and get alone with Him." (Oswald Chambers)

As I make my annual resolutions and goals for this year, it is easy to get caught up in so much other than the truly important...time with God. As my life becomes increasingly busy with a new job, a new kid on the way, 2 zany boys, and a beautiful wife...time alone becomes something I have to be very intentional about. I think about times in my life when I have ventured into the supposed loneliness of solitude...backpacking, walking, running, listening to music. Those times have been indelibly marked in my mind as moments of significance.

This Sunday at church our pastor, Ben, talked about some key principles to live by this new year that I plan to embrace: abandon annually, measure monthly, withdraw weekly, divert daily. This plan should help me make sure I find the space for solitude this new year.