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your sentence

I had the chance to get away with the great team from Fellowship Church to attend Catalyst 2010. Catalyst is a two day event designed to be a spark for the significant things God can bring about in your life. It's a great event filled with energy, passion, and big hair (it's in Atlanta). There were many good talks and inspirational moments. One of the talks that really kicked me around was by Daniel Pink. Daniel's an author and speaker. He ended his talk with this question...what's your sentence? How do you describe your life? What would you say? What are you doing? I've been thinking about that for a bit now. It's not as easy as I thought it would be uncover a single sentence that defines. I love the challenge though, and it's filling me with energy. What kinds of words would you use? What's your sentence?

There is something that I have been looking forward to for several months. I didn't know if it would ever arrive, but it's close. Love Week is coming soon! Love Week is an event at Fellowship Church where we will get the chance to GO (to the community), SERVE (without expecting anything in return), and LOVE (care for others). I believe that the church should do more than just gather. Gathering is a good thing, and we should do that. But we should also be actively involved in the life of our community and serve in practical ways. Events begin on Wednesday, October 13th and end on Sunday, October 17th with an opportunity for the whole church to be engaged in a project that will provide food for those in need. Don’t miss out! I can't wait to see and be part of an energized group that is ready to go, serve, and love others.

high school

I've got a child in high school now. It doesn't seem possible that he should be old enough for all of this, but here we are. We actually went to a back-to-school night for parents recently. Interesting. I have no idea how he figures out where he's going. I'm happy to say that he's loving it so far. I remember a bit of my first year at Yorkville High School. Loved it. I made great friends and still have some contact 22 years later. My high school years were good. I want my son (and the rest of my kids) to enjoy them too. Beyond working hard, getting good grades and "stuff" like that, I really want him to develop some life skills that he can take anywhere. Here's a few of my hopes for all my kids as they travel through school...

> respect for all people
> trust in authority
> solution-based thinking
> creativity - live life with some imagination
> compassion for the hurting
> generosity - a desire to give things away
> positive attitude

Beyond all of that, I want them to love God. I believe these skills and passions can take them far in life. It will be fun to watch!

pictures of God...

What kind of picture in your mind do you have of God? Perhaps you picture God as being really, really nice (all of the time). He’s tender. This tender, nice picture of God always has him holding a lamb with flowing “Fabio” styled hair and silky robes. He’s just a nice guy with great hair and great robes. Perhaps you picture God as a cuddly, stuffed animal. He would never talk, but He would always be there to comfort.
Maybe you picture God as the great terminator in the sky. He's an individual who is mean and enjoys making people miserable. Or maybe you picture God as a vending machine. You just input some cash and out comes something that will satisfy...for a moment. Perhaps God actually is different than our pictures. Scripture tells the story of one man who finally said, "I'm speechless, in awe - words fail me. I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything." When pictures fail, fade, or get lost, go without words. Get speechless before the One who can do anything.

crossbows & catapults

My youngest son Caden has recently started playing one of my favorite childhood games called "Crossbows & Catapults". I started playing this game with my neighbor Doug in Yorkville, Illinois. Doug got the game for a birthday, and it changed everything. We spent hours setting up and strategizing. We modified the crossbows so that they could blast through anything in their way. We transformed the dining room in his house to a medieval battlefield. Fast forward a few years (maybe 25!). The game is better and faster. The colors are brighter. And...more weapons. There's now a canon. It all makes me aware of how fast time seems to be flying. I've been thinking of this phrase recently, life is awake. I'm trying to do more than just move from day to day. I'm trying to do more than just exist. I'm trying to do more than just the "same old thing". We don't have all the time in the world. Enjoy today. Enjoy the moments that you have to laugh, live, and impact others. For me, it was a simple game of Crossbows & Catapults with someone I love.

I think we sometimes freak ourselves out with the word "perhaps". It's kind of an intersting word...

1. Used to express uncertainty or possibility: "perhaps I should have been frank with him". 2. Used when one does not wish to be too definite or assertive in the expression of an opinion.

It seems that the word "perhaps" brings with it a certain lack of confidence. I think I use this word too much in my own mind. I say things like, "perhaps I'm not good enough. Perhaps I'm not smart enough. Perhaps someone else should do this. Perhaps God doesn't care about me." Perhaps. Perhaps. Perhaps. It keeps us from focusing. It keeps us from being awake to powerful moments around us. I'm learning to increase my focus by being awake to small things. Words of encouragement, a smile, a thank you, a pat on the back. Small may feel "too small" and insignificant. However, small things lead to big things. What are you doing to increase your focus?

"the summit"

I just attended my first "Leadership Summit" hosted by Willow Creek Community Church. Loved it! Basically, it was two days of inspirational thoughts and challenges from those who lead at high levels. Here were some of my favorite takeaways:

> You cannot give passion if you don't have it. - T.D. Jakes, Pastor
> Part of leadership is giving people confidence. - Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
> When leaders invest in themselves, everyone wins! - Bill Hybels, Pastor
> Greatness is a process that involves disciplined thought and disciplined action. - Jim Collins, Business Thinker and Best Selling Author
> Leadership is all about helping your "players" get better. - Tony Dungy, Winning Coach of the 2007 Super Bowl (over the Chicago Bears)
> Our nature is to be active and engaged not passive and inert. - Daniel Pink, Business Thinker and Best Selling Author
> It's never too early to start giving. - Blake Mycoskie, Founder of TOMS Shoes

Words matter. They really do. Have you ever found yourself using words to end conversations? It's like when you throw them out, everything dies. Sometimes we almost use them to brush people off so that we can move on to the next "thing". Here's my top five conversation list. I've actually caught myself using these words. Craziness...

1. Whatever...
2. That's what you think...
3. I guess we'll see about that, eh?...
4. Not gonna happen...
5. Let me pray about that...

What's your top conversation ending line? I'm working at using words that build, encourage, and inspire. It's not always easy, but it does seem to flow with God's expectations. "Say only what helps, each word a gift." (Ephesians 4:29). Are your words a gift?

Caden...the big brother

We've had an interesting thing happen in life. It seems that whenever we move to a new state, we have a new baby! Imagine that. When we moved to Indiana we had babies. When we moved to Illinois, we had a baby. We moved to Pennsylvania in January of 2010. And...we're having a baby! Caden's going to be a big brother.

The kids are excited and seem to think they have naming rights. We'll have to see about that. We bought Caden a "I'm a big brother" t-shirt to wear around the house. It only took about 30 seconds before the screaming began (I think they were screams of happiness?!). I guess it pays off when you can read. He's wearing the shirt proudly in the picture (with black eye...that's a different post).

2011 shall begin with new life in our home. We're really excited about a growing family. New church. New state. New home. New friends. New baby. I can't wait to meet our new child. Life's an adventure! Love it.