Author Archives: admin

asking for the order

In my old life as a sales trainer, the final day of class was full of motivation and encouragement. I would share with trainees how the average person buys something not the first or second or third time you ask them, but the fifth time! We’d talk about how if you don’t ask for the order, you usually don’t get it.

Last night I was meeting with my band of brothers and the topic of asking God came up. Recalling a past mission trip to Albania, a couple of us were struck at how often we were tempted to jump ahead with our plans. We’d pray about a date for the trip and hear a date. Then we’d be off on our merry way, running with all the plans and ideas our heads could think up. And then a few weeks or a few minutes later, someone would remember (or be prompted to remember) – and we’d go back and ask. “What’s next? What’s the next step, Lord?” And sometimes we’d hear something right away. Sometimes we wouldn’t. Sometimes we’d realize we were asking the wrong question. Then we’d ask, “What is the next question we should be asking?”

And the crazy thing about that system – it worked! All four trips to Albania were anointed – planned and executed alongside the Holy Spirit. I was struck this morning with just how often I forget that God wants me to ask Him. Not just once. All the time. That what He really desires is the relationship with me that comes from continually asking Him what’s next, constantly depending on Him to light my path.

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

A few days ago, it occurred to me that in all the time I spend praying about Unbound, I tend to ask a lot about direction, about next steps, about who to call next. But I often forget to ask for what I really want – God to pour out His blessings on Unbound. So I asked for just that last Sunday night.

And the crazy part is – it worked! As I’m writing this on Wednesday, I’ve heard back from three different cold calls that I’ve been pursuing for month, booked a meeting Friday with a guy who networks a big group of local pastors, and scheduled two meetings with pastors of very large churches. Not to mention, the book has been officially available for two months and we’ve sold 250 copies. Praise God!

So what’s next for you? What is the question that you are seeking God about? What are you inquiring of him? What are the deep desires of your heart? Do you ever hesitate to ask Him for those? Why do you hesitate?

What are you going to ask Him for today?

terra incognita

I recently finished Mark Batterson’s book, Wild Goose Chase. I heartily recommend it if you are looking for some insight into why some of the things your heart tells you to do may be difficult to reconcile with your head. One of the concepts that he talks about is terra incognita, which translates to “unknown land.”

Did you know that not a single crew member aboard the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria had ever been more than 300 miles offshore before they departed in 1492? Those men weren’t following someone else’s map. They didn’t execute a mission and go farther than someone else before them. They literally did not know where they were going or what would happen. Batterson quotes Christopher Columbus:

“It was the Lord who put it into my mind, the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies. All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me. There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures.”

The reason this inspired me so much is that right now I feel a bit like Columbus. My brain is often unable to reconcile my situation with what my heart tells me I must do. My wife, Heather, and I often have conversations where we come to the logical, rational conclusion that we have no idea what’s going to happen, especially as it relates to Unbound Ministries, our personal terra incognita. Not to say that things are going poorly. There are always those who laugh and ridicule. But there are also those that constantly encourage and exhort. That the Holy Spirit’s hand is on Unbound is undeniable, too. The other day 107 books sold in five hours. I’ve met or have meetings scheduled with leaders of churches ranging from 350 to 7,500. Every single pastor or leader I speak with reacts to Unbound with enthusiasm and the desire to learn more.

Yet, I still have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen with the ministry. I have lots of hopes and dreams of course, but it does feel a bit like Unbound is leaving the harbor. Launching out into an adventure that is too large to be easily defined or put in a box. And you are part of that adventure! So thank you for your support, for your encouragement, and especially for your prayers. If you have not already, please consider joining the weekly intercession team for Unbound. I will be sending out a more detailed prayer email on a weekly basis to this designated intercessor group with updates, details, and specific areas for prayer coverage that week. Click here to sign up. Thank you so much!

The gift of being present.

A few years ago, I was talking with a small group of guys. One of them was sharing his story – what life had been like growing up, things that had happened to him, conclusions he had drawn about himself. Growing up in a large family as a younger, quieter, kid, he often felt unheard. Now an adult, he struggled with giving up the microphone once he got it. We knew this, he knew this, we had talked about it before. But it was still a very long story that he told that day. Honestly, I struggled with paying attention. I wanted to, but it was hard. My mind wandered. But every single time I looked over at my buddy Sam, he was dialed in completely. Totally focused, listening attentively. It was actually kind of inspiring. Later on that week, I asked Sam about it. Was he actually that captivated by the story? What was going on for him that he sat at rapt attention for almost three hours? He said that he had remembered this guy’s past. And Sam decided, for one night, to give this guy the gift of being present.

The most challenging resolution I have made for 2011 is to offer the gift of being present. To my family, to my wife, to my friends, in meetings, in my life. To consciously try to be present instead of just sitting there. I’m not where I want to be right now, but I’m getting better. A conscious decision to not get up and start clearing the table when I’m done with dinner. A conscious decision to close my laptop when one of my kids asks a question instead of saying, “…just a minute…” Which frankly is just my code for ‘what I’m doing is more important than your question’ most of the time. And unfortunately, if it’s my laptop that’s open, then what I am doing is almost surely less important than their question.

We went to a concert the other day and I was shocked at the number of people who spent most of the concert looking at their phones. Granted, I understand that it was going to make a sweet YouTube video, but I really think they missed out on part of the concert experience. I don’t know for sure. But I know for pretty sure. If you’re standing 10 feet from the stage, but looking at your LCD screen the whole time, you’re missing something. A few days later I took my son to his karate class. Looking down the wall of the karate studio, it was lined with parents. Faces lit up not with the joy of seeing their sons and daughters learning karate, but with ipads, iphones and laptops.

Please hear me. I’m not on a technology rant. It can be helpful, fun, relaxing or a way to make our living. But for me personally, this year, I’m realizing how much of real life I’m missing when I’m plugged in. And so my resolution is to live life acoustically, to experience life more through taste and smell and hearing and touch and sight. To give those that I love the gift of being present.

What about you?