Episode 22, The AWP: Theology-What’s Your Knowledge of God?

Episode 22, The AWP: Theology-What’s Your Knowledge of God?

What you believe (or don’t believe) about God says a lot about the quality and direction of your life.

It also has some pretty outstanding eternal consequences.

My main preoccupation here as I interview Dr. Vance Gardner-Doctor of surgery, clinical studies and of course, Theology-is to get at the question of why people have left the church.

But I start from one major premise and that is this:

Every human being on this planet is born with a sense of the divine. This sense is instilled form within (our biological DNA) and without (the natural world around us).

So from this position, the question becomes really interesting: why don’t you believe in the God of the Bible or his local Church?

Here is the link to the show:

MP3

iTunes

Are you suppressing the innate knowledge of God within and around you?

Why or why not?

Because you find the Bible offensive?

Because you find the example of so-called Christians detestable?

Or maybe because you have been personally hurt by the Church or someone who bears the name of Jesus…

As you can see this topic is transcendent as well as deeply personal!

References:
-Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers
-This Cultural Moment podcast by John Mark Comer
-Deuteronomy 30:11
-Romans 1

Episode 21, The AWP: Finding Meaning in Your Work Through Hearing the Voice of God

Episode 21, The AWP: Finding Meaning in Your Work Through Hearing the Voice of God

We’ve all struggled with feeling lost, bored or devoid of mission at our work.

Whether you’re a CEO or stay-at-home mom, we’ve all been there.

But what if God had so much more for you in terms of your life’s work?

Regardless of the type of work, job, industry or position and regardless of how many times you changed jobs… what if there was one constant?

What if you could be in communication with God minute over minute, everyday at your work regardless of the task or mission?

The conviction of this episode is that you can hear from God from all sorts of crazy sources/inputs/channels AND…

That hearing from God/communicating with God on a daily basis is essential for finding true and lasting meaning in your life’s work!

Links I’ve referenced are:

  • Pete Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Leadership Podcast
  • Mark Sayers quote “we want a kingdom without a king” (from Disappearing Church)
  • Brother Lawrence’s book-The Practice of the Presence of God
  • Ravi Zacharis’ the four fundamental questions

listen here:

MP3

iTunes

Episode 20, The Applebee Way Podcast: Lent (From Status Quo to Apocalypse)

Episode 20, The Applebee Way Podcast: Lent (From Status Quo to Apocalypse)

Haven’t you ever wondered what the real meaning is behind our so-called religious Holidays?

For me, Lent and Ash Wednesday are up there in terms of asking how it all began and what they really mean today.

Have they lost their meaning?

Have they become religious check box items?

OR is there power to transform us still inherent in these archaic faith traditions?

Eugene Peterson once described this church calendar season as evoking the urgency of the apocalypse within us…

I don’t know about you, but that’s a passion that I am after in my faith and worldview.

I hope you enjoy and learn from today’s episode!

MP3

iTunes

Episode 16, The AWP: Coaching Essentials Featuring Loren Pine

Episode 16, The AWP: Coaching Essentials Featuring Loren Pine

Who needs mentoring and coaching? Young kids, millenials, new parents… everyone could use a life coach!

But first, we have to admit a need to get better and then we have to build a mentoring relationship on a foundation that will last.

Today, Loren and I cut through mass-produced coaching buzzword phenomenon and focus on the bedrock foundations of fruitful coaching and mentoring relationships.
Loren is a retired Pastor of more than 30 years and went on to study coaching for a decade.
Together we have been attempting to build a flourishing mentoring team at our local community of faith.

Any meaningful coaching relationships must be build on:
1, commitment to consistency
2, commitment to intentionality
3, commitment to tough questions
4, commitment to pay it forward

As always, here are some resources mentioned in today’s episode:
Crazy Love by Francis Chan (book)
Love Languages by Gary Chapman (book)
Article on the need for men to play and stay connected https://byrslf.co/thoughts-on-the-vegas-shooting-14af397cee2c

Check out the episode here!

MP3

iTunes

Episode 7: Millenials, Marketing and Morality Feat. Skylar Chaput

Episode 7: Millenials, Marketing and Morality Feat. Skylar Chaput

I’m really excited about this months first episode featuring a co-host and a topic that is relevant to all!

Inspired by a recent read “Friction” by Rosenblum, we (my co-host and favorite Millenial-Skylar Chaput) take a look at the generations profound impact on the marketing and business practices.

It’s the contention of the book that-as the most researched and largest living generation-Millenials have had a profound influence on the way companies market themselves.

I take that premise one step further and suggest that there are broad sweeping economic and historical implications because not only has the generation forced ethics and social justice matters onto companies, but an entire generation is giving rise to the most moral but least spiritual people of all time.

I’m interested in asking the question: what impact might this have on the Church and American culture rit large!

Here are the respective links for listening:

MP3 file.

iTunes podcast app.

Do me a favor and rate, review and share this episode!

Application Question:

Are you attempting to reach the next generation why or why not? How might this value impact your investments (of all kinds: time, talent and treasure)?

References from today’s show:

Vision Alone is not Vision At All

Vision Alone is not Vision At All

This last month that was one of my greatest learnings…

You can have literally the best idea in the whole world, you can communicate it with all the style and grace imaginable, but if you have not people, you have nothing.

I’ve said it to a couple different groups of people now-the staff team I’m a part of, a group of volunteers during a training event and then I think I may have given the same speel to the entire church that we lead but what I’m learning last month, this week, this moment is:

You can have the most tremendous vision in the world, but if people aren’t invited along, have as much buy-in as you do and you are all moving together, then you will simply be alone on an island called vision. And that’s not where any of us want to be as leaders.

Most of what I’m talking about has to do with leading change, by the way. And now that I’m finally reading John Kotter’s seminal work by the same name-things are beginning to come into even greater focus.

The Kotter model has to do with an 8-step process for leading change and one of the “unskippable” early steps is creating a coalition for change… WITH at least some people who have power.

Before finally stealing this book from another pastor, I had been listening to an Andy Stanley podcast wherein he was interviewing the former Home Depot CEO, Frank Blake.

Blake gives yet another tremendous model, equation rather, that supports the same principle; he says:

i X a = e. OR

IDEA times ACCEPTANCE equals EFFECTIVNESS.

In other words, we as leaders often get trapped in our little vision caves where we fully orb this new idea, change effort or cultural direction and it is birthed in a vacuum of 1.

We then run out and tell the world about it, praying for a mutual sense of excitement, and yet how could they-they had no hand in the evolution of this idea?

Blake suggests getting the idea to 80% and then inviting the “coalition” or the people or the team or the influencers in and together forging the last 20%. In this way we will be working toward far greater impact and effectiveness.

So I have this book, I have my podcast and yet I have another source of input waking me up to this principle over the last few weeks.

A friend, and fellow leader at our organization, came along and said, ‘Ben I think you just need to over-communicate in this season of change.’

He went on saying, ‘people here have experienced haphazard and chaotic change-making processes that leave people somewhat sensitive to any sort of change.’

This, on top of the fact that most of the known world is change resistant already! (Despite the classic saying that change is perhaps the only constant in life!).

In your leadership wherever you are-family, church, business-learn from these greats and from my mistakes and:

1. Build a coalition for change (that includes at least some people with real power)

 

2. Work toward more acceptance by inviting people into the creative processes earlier

 

3. Over-communicate. I’ll use a recent quote a heard (Craig Groeschel via Thom Rainer from Groeschel’s latest podcast post on developing leaders):

As people are learning, they are forgetting.

This is especially true within the context of fresh vision and leading change, because we already have a natural sense of resistance.

I love and appreciate you all.

If you haven’t seen my last post, please look at it and even scan to the end: I am requesting some census data on the book you would like to read next! DO IT AND HELP A BROTHER OUT!

1 Thing You Never Knew About The 12 Disciples

1 Thing You Never Knew About The 12 Disciples

If you’ve ever struggled with doubt, insecurity or the feeling of inadequacy as a leader, this one is for you.

If you’ve ever wondered why the disciples of Jesus seemed like such a hot mess sometimes, this one is for you.

If you’ve lost sight of who you are and what you’re capable of as a person and leader, then this one is for you.

I’ve been reading this book bit by bit at night (as I’m sitting in the hall keeping a straying eye on my toddlers infinitely trying to finagle their way out of bedtime) on the topic of Discipleship.

First 5 chapters in and it’s not what I expected at all.

For starters, the author Robby Gallaty doesn’t go into the 5 or 7 step plan or program for discipleship. Instead he spends the first several chapters laying the ground work through topics like 1st century Judaism, church history/church fathers and this idea of Keshers-which are New Testament allusions to Old Testament references.

All of it very fascinating-making for a much more general educational experience too, by the way, which is a win for me (a pastor who is not “Seminary trained” whatever that means!)

But none so fascinating as this one chapter titled “Disciples are Made, Not Born” where Gallaty is having the broader discussion around just how normal these 12 men really were.

He lays out a profile of the disciples concerning 3 main categories: how they were blue-collar workers, how they possessed no formal religious training and how they were young men.

It’s this last profile item that has made an absolute proselyte out of me for this book.

Gallaty goes on to lay out a highly convincing 7-fold argument for why the disciples may have very well been… TEENAGERS.

Consider the following few as a sample:

When you look at the title Jesus often used for them; the original greek words Mikronos and Teknion they mean “little ones” or “little children”…

You think about their formal Jewish training which would have ended at 15 (these 12, Jesus’ 12 were not selected to progress onto the next elite stage)…

You take this reality and combine it with the normative age for getting married at the time-18 (it was frowned upon in this time and place to be a bachelor after 18; none but Peter was thought to be married), and you begin to see the power of the argument.

These facts along with 2 other major defenses: their tenure of ministry long after Jesus’ death along with their seemingly constant and petty quibbling-ridden immaturity… this really starts to make sense.

So my first thing is this…

Why have I never heard this before?!

I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years, I’ve gone to Christian College, I’ve worked in vocational ministry for over half a decade, read several books, listened to hundreds of sermons and not once did I hear someone allude to the disciples being teenagers.

I can only surmise that this is because the same scorn for youth and young people that exists today was alive and well  in the time and place of Jesus.

You see I think we, in the marketplace as well as church organizations, need to strongly reconsider the worth, value and investment ascribed to young volunteers and young staff.

And the key word is investment… worthy investment. We need to trade our scorn for open-minded and intentional investment.

Here’s a good question to consider in giving young people more opportunities:

Why are you still recruiting and hiring to skills and competencies?

The chapter title reminds me of something Craig Groeschel says in his leadership podcast:

Leaders are not found, they’re developed. 

The point is this: we need to start looking for the intangibles when it comes to our team members… character, attitude, heart, mindset and emotional intelligence.

With these as the baseline all else can be trained and equipped.

After all, if you’re a boss, hiring manager, CEO or lead pastor and you’ve ever been frustrated with the expense (material and immaterial) of letting someone go after they failed to meet the needs of the organization then you understand that 9/10 of those departures were based off of organizational culture and DNA fit.

In other words they were based off of the above baselines. Which, without these, excellence and proficiency in skills, tasks and competencies don’t matter because there’s never enough chemistry and unity to forge through to that level of productivity anyway!

Look back and consider Jesus’ selection of these young men; he believed they had the right stuff, the stuff that could be built on.

One final question when considering the 12 disciples as teenagers:

Who do you think it is that is charged with changing the world?

There was 1 and then there was 12 and then there was 70 (Luke 10) and then there was 120 (Acts 1) and then there was 3000 (Acts 2-Pentecost) and then there was 6 million (end of 3rd Century) and then there was nearly a billion (today).

A movement that began with 12 young men… quite possibly teenagers.

Was Jesus, in fact, trying to tell us something… was he trying to send us a message by selecting these ordinary, common-even juvenile-mere teenagers?

These boys were just on their official summer job. School was out, except school was out for good and they did not get the acceptance letter for higher learning.

They’re taking back up that trade that paid their way last summer and except this time it’s for life.

Who would even have the gall to imagine something greater, something bigger, something more profound?

We know now looking back at history that  it was not “if” it was “when” for this group of leaders.

And so if a rag-tag bunch of teenagers could be grown up and trained in the way that they ought to walk in order that they might partner with the actual author of history to affect the trajectory of the human story… maybe, just maybe it’s possible that we could play a hand too…

Men, women, boys and girls, mom’s, dad’s, students, workers, blue-collar, white-collar, black, white, brown and yellow… all have a name and a place… all have a call that’s grander than the task at hand… all have the ability to multiply the way like those who went before them.