Tuesday, August 27, 2013

101 Questions

Here is a set of 101 of my favorite questions that I draw from, whether it’s to shape my day, solve a problem, figure out next steps, or get “on path.”

  1. What’s the way forward?
  2. What do you want your life to be about?
  3. Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?
  4. How does that serve you in terms of who you are and who you want to be?
  5. Are you giving your best where you have your best to give?
  6. What do you want to accomplish?
  7. What do you want to do more of each day? What do you want to spend your time doing more of?
  8. What do you want to spend less time on?
  9. If this situation were to never change, what’s the one quality I need to truly enjoy it?
  10. If not now, when?
  11. If not you, who?
  12. What’s right with this picture? (if you always ask, “What’s wrong with this picture?” this is a nice switch)
  13. How can you make the most of the situation? If there are no good options, what’s the best play I can make for this scenario?
  14. Who else shares this problem? Who would solve this problem well? (a great way to find models and learn from the best)
  15. What would do?” How would I respond if I were Bob Hope? Leonardo da Vinci? Guy Kawasaki? Seth Godin? etc. (this is a great way to come up with new ideas or plays for your situation)
  16. What are you pointing your camera at? (a simple way to direct your day on a scene by scene basis)
  17. What’s good enough for now?
  18. What can you be the best at in the world?
  19. What’s the most effective thing for me to focus on?
  20. Are you asking the right question? Is that the right question?
  21. How is that relevant?
  22. What’s that based on?
  23. What’s the goal? What are the goals?
  24. What would success look like?
  25. What do you need to be successful? What do you need to be successful in this situation?
  26. Is it working? Is it effective?
  27. What do you measure? What are the metrics?
  28. What are the tests for success?
  29. How do you know it’s working?
  30. How do you know when you’re done?
  31. What did you expect?
  32. Are you creating the results you want?
  33. Does it matter?
  34. Will it matter in 100 years?
  35. Is it worth the effort?
  36. What actions have I taken? What steps have I tried? ( a great sanity check when you’re testing your ability to take action)
  37. What’s next?
  38. What do you want to do?
  39. What’s best for you?
  40. What’s the best thing for now?
  41. What’s your next best thing to do?
  42. Is that a good idea?
  43. So what? Now what?
  44. What’s the problem?
  45. What’s the threat?
  46. What’s the concern?
  47. When do you want it by? You want what by when?
  48. Who needs to do what when?
  49. Who needs to do what differently?
  50. Who should do what when?
  51. What would you have them do differently?
  52. What’s wearing you down?
  53. What’s lifting you up?
  54. Why do you get up in the morning and come to work?
  55. What do you want to experience? What do you want to experience more of?
  56. What are you trading? What are you trading up for?
  57. What did you learn that you can use next time?
  58. What would you do differently next time around?
  59. Where’s the growth?
  60. What would people pay you for?
  61. Do you want to run towards or away from the problem?
  62. How big is the pie, how big is your slice?
  63. Does it make business sense?
  64. Is it business critical?
  65. What’s our capacity?
  66. What’s our constraint?
  67. What are the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)?
  68. What’s our core business?
  69. What does the market want?
  70. Is it push, pull or indifferent?
  71. What’s the trend?
  72. What to cut back on?
  73. What does the pro know that you don’t? (this is a good way to figure out if knowledge or insight can make a difference)
  74. Now what are you going to do about it?
  75. Can you teach it to someone else?
  76. How can I use this?
  77. What do you want to say?
  78. What’s the right thing to do?
  79. Is now the right time?
  80. Is this the right forum?
  81. How much time do you have?
  82. What are you making time for?
  83. How much time should you make for it?
  84. What can you do all day long?
  85. What are you spending the bulk of your time on?
  86. Does your schedule reflect your priorities?
  87. If you had all the time in the world, how would you spend your time?
  88. If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend it?
  89. Where are we on the map?
  90. What would make life more wonderful for you?
  91. How can you chunk it down?
  92. How fast can you do it?
  93. What’s the impact?
  94. What would you like to have happen? What would you like instead?
  95. What’s the opposite of that?
  96. How might that be true?
  97. What are you seeing that I’m not?
  98. What did you see, what did you hear?
  99. What’s the writing on the wall?
  100. What’s their story?
  101. Who’s stopping you? What’s stopping you? What’s holding you back?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Bible Matters

Excerpted from Doxa: What You Believe Matters

There once was a seven-year-old boy who liked to help his mom in the kitchen. He’d come home after school, while she was baking, and he’d learn how to cook. His mom would write down recipes and put them in a cookbook so he could remember them. His mother had a knack for cooking, and because of his affection for her, the boy always wanted to go back and read her notes on how to make a great meal.

Now, over time the boy grew up and became a master chef. He became very confident in his ability to create a great meal, and so he stopped reading this old cookbook. He became more and more convinced of his ability to present something independent of all his experiences with his mom.

After a while, his enjoyment of cooking (even as a master chef) began to diminish. He didn’t find that he liked his recipes as much any more. He noticed that he wasn’t receiving the same number of compliments. He didn’t feel the same sense of connection with his mother that he did when he was a little boy and used to do these things.

Then, in the middle of his career, this fellow walked away from cooking. He didn’t use the cookbook anymore, and he didn’t really feel connected in the same way to his mom. He stopped cooking entirely, finding that he no longer enjoyed being in the kitchen or even remembering his childhood culinary adventures.

This story was relayed to me as a young boy, about the importance of learning and internalizing the Bible. There were a few key points here – that the Bible is meant to guide us, that it is a resource of instruction and history, etc – but mostly what stuck with me was the sadness of losing that connection with God. If for no other reason, we engage scripture primarily to stay connected with our Creator.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Excerpted from The Supreme Tao of Jesus: A Commentary on Colossians

Colossians 4.2-18

The names of the people at the end of Colossians are the names of heroes.

Paul describes Tychicus as being much-loved and Onesimus (the escaped-slave turned Christ-follower about whom Paul’s letter to Philemon was written) as being faithful; Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus were great companions and the only Jewish coworkers Paul has in his ministry; Epaphras – the pastor of the Colossian church – is held up as an example of prayer and confident leadership; Luke and Demas are warmly included as members of the community; and Nympha is mentioned by name (a particular honor for females in that day and age) as someone with whom the Colossians are encouraged to cultivate a relationship and learn from all that she’s doing.

If I were to write a letter to my former church back home, I might conclude that letter by telling everyone:
that Jvo and the rest of the Westwinds’ staff send their greetings– and that he and Ben are the only Baptists who will still return my calls; I might thank them for loaning us Vince McLaren for a week to help us out with our podcasting ministry and teach Jay Cordova how to manage our tech set up; I might also pass along that Andy Ladwig and Brad Kimpell– who some of my friends have met over lunch or during a card game– say hi; and that they should be in prayer for our friend Kirk– who used to be in full time ministry but had a bad experience that may have left him out-of-play.

Of course, what Paul does is a little more significant than that. He’s not merely re-introducing old friends, he’s also making some introductions for the very first time and thereby giving some credibility and honor to
those named in the letter.

The people Paul mentions are notable Christians who were instrumental in the spread of the Gospel. For instance: 
Aristarchus was thrown in jail for preaching about Jesus.
Mark and Luke each wrote a Gospel (Mark’s Gospel is largely based on Peter’s stories and recollections of Jesus, so Mark was also important because he was personally connected to one of the original disciples).
Mark, Aristarchus, and Justus were Jewish converts who had successfully managed to sidestep all the heresy and weirdness other Jewish converts were trying to push onto the church– so they were good examples of what it looks like to completely forsake your former religion for faith in Christ.
Epaphras was the Colossians’ own pastor who had joined the big leagues of those traveling and preaching the Way of Jesus in new places.
Nympha was a courageous heroine who risked her personal security to start and host a church.

Heroes all.

Perhaps because we’re afraid of putting people on a pedestal, we Christians don’t do a very good job of honoring those among us who have given much, or accomplished much, for Christ and his kingdom.
We should remedy that.

Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5.12-13

If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
1 Peter 2.20

My Dad has been a pastor for over 48 years. Given that the average time one serves as a pastor in North America is 2.2 years, Dad’s tenure is quite an accomplishment. He has pastored five churches, served on
over a dozen international ministry boards, presided over two schools of ministry, still pastors a local church, still serves as the Bishop of his denomination, and still sits as the Chairman of the Board for a prestigious private school. Dad has preached in over thirty countries, delivered food and medical supplies to missions, and smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. That’s quite a resume.

To celebrate his 25th year as the Senior Pastor of Calvary Christian Church, friends and family put together a banquet dinner and a ceremony in honor of Dad and his achievements. It was all very nice, but Dad had sat through a few of those things for others over the years, and it didn’t seem to affect him emotionally.

Until the end.

The last presentation of the evening was from someone announcing that a Gordon A. McDonald scholarship fund had been set up to reward an outstanding academic student who showed moral fiber and aspired
to ministry. Dad cried. That scholarship represents everything he’s tried to achieve in his life, everything he wants to be, and everything he’s ever hoped to replicate in others. He was truly honored.

Seeing Dad affected in such a way has made me reflect on how rare those occasions are when we hold others up in high esteem and thank them for their contribution to the kingdom. But those who have gone before us– whether Aristarchus or Gordon A.– are worth remembering. They raise the bar, they set the standard, and they show us what it means to live lives wholly devoted to God. The very least we can do to honor them is to read their names at the end of Paul’s letters and reflect on who our heroes really are.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

On the metaphor of The Cue

Our weekend gathering at Westwinds is called The Cue.

In theatre, a CUE is a familiar term. Whether it’s a warning, a standby, or a go, the CUE tells us what happens next.

In music theory, a CUE is a guideline for instrumentation. It’s the “who plays what where” part of music. It can be a mark for improvisation of a specific instrument.

In the game of billiards, the CUE is what puts the game into motion. It’s the cue stick and cue ball that guide each ball into the pocket.

In motion picture film prints, the CUE marks a point on the reel when the film is ending and it is time to switch to a new reel to continue the projection.

In personal fitness, a CUE is a message given by a group fitness instructor to inform participants of upcoming sequences, such as a change in stretching direction, etc.

In technology, a CUE or show control is the linking together and operation of multiple systems in coordination with one another. An example of CUE or show control would be linking a video segment with a number of lighting cues, or having a sound track trigger animatronic movements -- or all of these combined.

In computing, a CUE (cue sheet, or cue file) is a metadata file which describes how the tracks of a CD or DVD are laid out. Cue sheets have a ".cue" filename extension. For an audio CD, a cue sheet specifies titles and performers for the disc and its tracks as well as the names of one or more audio files to be used (MP3, WAV, etc.).

At Westwinds, The Cue is not unlike all these things.

At The Cue (in The Cue?) we talk about new things, what’s next, where God is leading, and we fund dreams to shadow God in the redemption of the world. We listen to God and his word and we ask Him, “What next?” When we leave The Cue, we enter a world of possibilities. For the spiritually curious, the religious disenfranchised, the artist, the intellectual, and everyone in between—The Cue is a place to begin and a place to belong for your entire spiritual quest.

At The Cue, we are encouraged to find our part. Our special part. Sometimes, we play along as an orchestra, all parts scored. Sometimes, it’s our turn to break out in the solo—still in perfect harmony with the score but with our own feel, vibrato, style, and originality. As God made us—for His purpose.

The Cue is a place to go out from. In many ways, it sets things in motion. We gather. We disperse. We love on the world. We love on each other. We do something for the kingdom. It’s not just a place we go . . . to.

The Cue is about change. Originality. Authenticity. New life. Breath. Creation. Beauty. Seasons. We talk about where we’ve been and we talk about what the new season looks like. It’s a marker for us. Through series’, scripture, and seasons, one reel moves in to the next. We don’t just observe the movie. We are the movie.

The Cue is a place to check our spiritual health. To check our pulse. To stretch. To nurture. To learn new moves and routines. To learn how to create new healthy habits. To listen. To move. To tone. To feel the burn.

The Cue is about synchronization. The same page.  Multi-sensory followership. Responding to God in worship with all that we are—heart, mind, soul, emotions, will, intellect, attitude, finances, body, habits.

And, The Cue is a place to be with everyone else who contributes a track to the playlist. We are the soundtrack. You are the soundtrack. The only difference is, these files are constantly being rewritten, remixed, reproduced, fine tuned, and rearranged. It’s a living soundtrack.

Join us at The Cue.