Mentality of Scarcity or Abundance (Richard Rohr)

I grew up with a mentality of scarcity. And for most of my adult life I've been re-training my mind to reverse this unhealthy thinking and poor theology. It's especially when I have high needs (i.e. moving across the country with my family) that scarcity thinking can move front and center into my thinking. Today's meditation from Richard Rohr was spot on. May it serve you well today, too...

The flow of grace through us is largely blocked when we are living inside a worldview of scarcity, a feeling that there’s just not enough: enough of God, enough of me, enough food, enough health care to go around, enough mercy to include and forgive all faults. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the human mind is actually incapable of imagining anything infinite or eternal. So it cannot imagine an infinite love or a God whose “love is everlasting,” as the Psalms continually shout. In other words, the mind of itself cannot know God.

The many “multiplication” of food stories in the Gospels—when Jesus feeds a crowd with very little (for example, Matthew 14:15-21)—clearly exemplify abundance as the foundation of reality. The spiritual point is grace, not some mere physical miracle. Notice in almost every case that the good apostles, who represent our worldview of scarcity, advise Jesus against feeding the crowd: “But how will two fish and five loaves be enough for so many?” Jesus is trying to move them from their worldview of scarcity to one of abundance, but does so with great difficulty. In the end, there is always much food left over, which should communicate the point: Reality, with its inherent overflowing, always has more than enough of itself to give. Just observe the seeds, spermatozoa, and pollen of the natural world.

Our unhealthy economics and politics persist because even Christians largely operate out of a worldview of scarcity: there is not enough land, water, money, and housing for all of us; and in America there are never enough guns to keep us safe. A saint always knows that there is more than enough for our need but never enough for our greed. In the midst of the structural stinginess and over-consumption of our present world, how do we possibly change consciousness and teach the mind to operate from mercy and graciousness? It will always be an uphill battle, and it will always depend upon a foundational and sustained conversion. Even the churches tend to be stingy with grace and mercy, as Pope Francis continues to point out.

Only our personal experiences of unconditional, unearned, and infinite love and forgiveness can move us from the normal worldview of scarcity to the divine world of infinite abundance. That’s when the doors of mercy blow wide open! That’s when we begin to understand the scale-breaking nature of the Gospel. Catholics and much of the world are now stunned to observe a pope who exemplifies this worldview in our time. We can no longer say it is impossible idealism.

Gateway to Silence: By grace I am saved.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Today Is a Time for Mercy,” December 10, 2015, https://cac.org/richard-rohr-on-mercy-mp3.

Grow Youth Ministry Curriculum and Strategy!! GET IT.

If you're in youth ministry and constantly trying to figure out teaching curriculum -- and all the goodies that make the curriculum work for you -- you've got to check out the Grow Youth Ministry Curriculum and Strategy resource. It's brand new from the genius work of my dear friends, Kenny and Elle Campbell at Stuff You Can Use.

It's seriously everything you need for your students, volunteers, and parents. It's great Kingdom content, super user friendly, and really fun!

The team who contributed to this is the most diverse - racially, ethnically, and gender - that I've EVER seen. That alone makes this curriculum and strategy worth purchasing!!! 

I'm super stoked and honored to contribute to this brand new resource. I wrote the series on justice and I was thinking about you and your students the entire time I wrote these 4 adaptable messages. As a youth pastor at heart, I LOVE it when there are solid resources available at a good cost. And this curriculum is. 

Check it out. I don't think you'll be disappointed. (ummmmm...and if you are, they offer a 200% guarantee. Love these peeps!) 

Reputation Matters

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently. 

~ Warren Buffet

I've been thinking a lot reputation recently and why it matters. We all have one. Some of our reputation is outside of our control, but there's a lot of what other people think about it that's worth considering and paying attention to more than we do. If perception is reality, what's really going on with what others think about you?

Several months ago, I exchanged a series of emails with a colleague who lives across the country. We don't talk very often but we were exchanging some ideas and I was asking for some help. In one exchange my friend said,

"Always so great to hear from you. 
Seriously everyone who knows you, loves you."

Honestly, I was taken a back, incredibly encouraged, and felt exposed all at the same time. People talk about me? Of course they do. And what those people have said to me is a really great thing? Wow. Now, I'm under no false illusion that everyone I know loves me, but it has caused me to think deeply over these several months since that email about how reputation matters, especially in our technological world. We are all just a couple degrees of separation from each other. We are all connected. 

I work with leaders across the country every day in coaching and staffing, and it never ceases to amaze me how the conversation will oftentimes find itself talking about their acquired reputation. One doesn't stumble into their reputation, it's built over time but also can be destroyed in an instant. Your reputation deeply impacts your ability to get (and keep!) a job, build trust in your important relationships, grow your influence, and simply be an integrity-filled person! Your reputation matters.

Here are 3 guiding questions that could help you build a reputation that's consistent and integrated to who you really are.

1. Have you burned any bridges?

I have not always done this perfectly, but in the last several years I've worked really hard not to burn bridges with anyone. I've been surprised time and again with how relationships ebb and flow and how often we circle back with one another. Romans 12:18 challenges me, "Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone." I disagree with folks all the time. But especially in our current cultural climate, the ability to respectfully disagree and do whatever you can to build peace is an increasingly important art.

There's also the reality that people change. We change our mind. We change our opinions, philosophies, and perspectives. I've changed quite a bit in the last 2 years. Those that hurt me a few years ago probably have to. So when the tendency is to give someone a piece of my mind, well...my mind may change in a couple years and now that relationship is broken. Restraint can be your best friend.

When you've burned bridges, go rebuild them (unless abuse is a part of that story). One young leader I'm currently coaching realized she's said some things that she wishes she said differently. So she wrote a letter to that person confessing her immaturity and sin against them and asked for their forgiveness. Her reputation is being rebuilt with that person because of her humility.

2. How do you talk about others?

My friend, Todd Clark, has said, "you never show me more about your character than when you're describing another". Whoa. How do you talk about people that you disagree with? People that hurt you? Those who've betrayed or harmed you? How do you speak about those who do things differently than you or have different values? 

Our words matter and have weight. Your reputation is cultivated as you talk about another person behind their back. What is it that you actually want to say?

3. Do your actions and words match up with one another? 

This is a core integrity question. Years ago Bill Hybels wrote a book entitled, Who You Are When No One is Looking. While the answer to that question is critical for everyone, it is imperative for leaders and those with public platforms. We don't need to search hard for lists of leaders who's words and behaviors have caused their demise. In fact, we tend to find it remarkable when a leader maintains the ability to live an integrated life. This should not be so. 

Our reputation must reflect who we really are, not who we are faking to be. Time and truth walk hand in hand, friends. It's only a matter of time until your reputation matches who you really are.

My deep prayer is that my reputation always matches who I really am and who I am becoming. You too? May we be the kinds of people this year (and beyond) who are becoming who we've been created to be. And may that be reflected in our reputation to the world.

Peace and Love.

How Can I Add Value to You This Year?

We are officially into 2017. Let's make the most of it! Last year was rough for a bunch of us, but this is a new year. New hope. New promise. New possibliites. But we won't realize any of those by accident. It takes specific decisions and actions to actually make the progress we all want in our life. 

I'm so very much looking forward to adding as much value as I can to this world. I'm more committed than ever to using my gifts, training, background, and (com)passions to make this world a better place.  

I've been taking some time to assess my best contributions through training, speaking, and coaching and I'm excited to see how I can add value to your life, leadership, and/or organization. 

If you'd like to explore how we could customize a transformational experience or journey, let's CONNECT here. I want to stand with you as you move toward your preferred future...whatever that may look like! I'm making commitments all the way through 2017, and the calendar is filling up fast. So, don't wait! 

You can also brainstorm a few ideas from my SPEAKING and COACHING pages. Let's talk and figure out together how you can move forward with intentionality and focus in 2017!

LET'S DO THIS!