Just because….

7 07 2015

I gotta be honest (I like this phrase too much – that, and “here’s the thing”) I’m tired of being what I think I should be. What people think I should be. What I think I want to be. I just want to be me. Now before you get all, “he doesn’t care anymore” on me, what I mean by that is I want to take down the walls, take off the mask, and what ever cliche’ I can throw in there. But it’s true.

I’ve read blogs, articles, books, and what ever else is out there on “HOW TO…..” all in 7.8953234 easy steps. Heck, I’ve written post along the same lines. And for what purpose? Because I think I’m smarter than the average bear? Is it because I think I have some super secret perspective? Truth is, it’s because I’m trying to convince myself that I can be “successful,” what ever that even means.

The problem is, I have a myriad of topics and thoughts that don’t fit in an easy step formula type of post. And here is the thing: they aren’t worth a bullet or numbered list. They are just my thoughts, as random as they come, I want a spot to write em down. So I’m reactivating my Rock in a Pond blog and putting them up – not because I think they can help you, honestly that’s not the point of the blog – this blog is now just a place for me to put my thoughts, authentically and transparently. If you’re reading this because you’ve subscribed in the past feel free to unsubscribe. If you’re reading this because it showed up in a search engine, congratulations, you made it past page 5 on Google search!

This blog will be 1st draft – unedited – unchanged (unless I post something that is inaccurate w/o my knowledge and I have to change it so that it is accurate… you get the idea or legally someone tells me I need to take it down or change it because I’m not James Dean or Donald Trump).

So yeah – if you’re still tuned in, you’re a glutton for punishment.

Mason





Weekend at Bernie’s Church.

29 03 2012

Is the leadership or the Spirit keeping the church alive?

There is nothing like a 1989 comedy, think I’m kidding here are just a few that came out in ’89:

  1. When Harry Met Sally
  2. Look Who’s Talking
  3. The ‘Burbs
  4. The War of Roses
  5. Turner and Hooch
  6. Major League
  7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  8. Uncle Buck
  9. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  10. Honey, I Shurnk the Kids

And last but not least Weekend at Bernies! Now to be fair, I’ve not seen half of these movies (I was 6 at the time, give me a break), but I do know that when funny movies are talked about, those on this list come up in conversation, especially from those around my dad’s age.

But the reason I save Weekend at Bernies for a non-list mention (if you can’t tell by the title already) is because the premise of this film is very interesting. Two men are invited to this guy’s beach house, the owner, Bernie, dies, the men are hunted by killers, and in order to stay alive, they have to make every one think he, Bernie, is alive and well — let the hijinks ensue!

From what I understand most of the movie is their plight and amazing effort to try and make it seem that Bernie is alive — enter church comparison here!

Now I know there are those who tire of negative comments about the church. I know there will be those who will say “instead of talking about the problem, be part of the solution.” There will be those who will say, “if you think you can do it better, why don’t you?” And to those people I ask, have you never come across a leader who is so horrible at leading and so stubborn that none of those options are possible?

We assume that because it is about the church, the bride of Christ, we have to be submissive and speak well of all of its aspects. The problem is we make the church leadership and the church in general synonymous with each other, and they most certainly are not! When leadership is called out on their inability to lead, it isn’t an attack on the church, it’s an attack on the leadership. The church, its leaders included, is supposed to be a representation of Christ, not the few individuals.

Back to Weekend at Bernie’s, some church leaders do exactly what those men did. They wear themselves out to make sure Sunday is a go. Now this in’t a bad thing except for when the Spirit hasn’t had a say in the way the church service is organized. If you’re asking if I’m implying that we should give the Spirit a chance to lead us for every Sunday’s service, not just its message, than YES I AM! With out the spirit there is nothing that makes us different from any other organization. The Spirit is what connects us with God, if our Services aren’t connected with the Spirit, how can they connect us with God?

To continue, not only is all the power coming from the leaders themselves, but there is no sign of life! Sure there can be motion, but motion isn’t really a “true” sign of life. Real signs of life are called vitals, and if there are no vitals present there can be no life present. Some church leaders confuse motion and vitals, often leaders judge by whether or not the tithe is coming in, if the people are coming in, and if the building is standing. I call these “building, budget, and attendance metrics.” The problem is that these can be present even when vitals aren’t.  However, with no vitals, eventually these feigning metrics will soon be gone as well.

Here are some questions to ask:

  1. Is the church congregation growing spiritually? Football draws a crowd, a growing congregation doesn’t mean it’s accomplishing the Spirit’s desire.
  2. Is the church growing leaders? You can tell a church that grows leadership versus one that turns over leadership. The growing leadership retains those who are leaders and then adds new leaders and ministries to the mix.
  3. Is the church changing lives, and does it have proof that is shared with the congregation? A church that doesn’t share it’s victories more than likely doesn’t have any or celebrates the wrong ones.
  4. Are people plugged in based on their spiritual gifts? If people aren’t plugged in where God has created them to be, but rather where the church has an “ever pressing need,” more than likely those programs aren’t lead by the Spirit’s desire.
  5. Is the church truly in fellowship? Fellowship isn’t a dinner only, it isn’t an event, it is a way of life! If a majority of the church doesn’t hang out with each other often something is wrong.
  6. Is there  grace in the church? If things are “my way or the highway,” the highway might be a better choice.
  7. Finally, is there confession of sin? If the church isn’t promoting transparency with confession of sin, it’s very possible it has some to hide.

If the above bolds aren’t present you’ll soon find the tithe dropping, the attendance dropping, a lack of volunteers, a lack of able leaders, and the building falling apart. It’s more than likely the church is a Weekend at Bernie’s church. Eventually there will be a leveling point where there is motion, and the show service can go on, but it won’t be accomplishing much more than having a church service, which I don’t remember being a commandment from God. Go ahead and quote “forsake not the gather of yourselves together,” but you and I both know it was commanded so that the church could accomplish the purposes set out in scriptures. If those bolded items aren’t present then the “gathering together” verse doesn’t really apply does it?





The Ever-So-Sweet “Yes”

23 03 2012

"Yes" please!

enjoy love video games! I was sitting on my couch with a mound of work to do one afternoon, longingly staring at my X-box 360, wishing I could play it. This feeling and longing lasted for a few weeks, and in all that time I never once turned on my X-box.

With a baby on the way the thought hit me, “I don’t want to be playing with Maddy, wishing I was playing with my X-box instead.” – enter the dilemma –  I knew when Maddy came I’d be spending her waking moments giving her attention, and focusing on my leadership endeavor in her sleeping moments. The only reason I was keeping my X-box 360 was because it was a sort of trophy for me. One, by the way, I did not earn. Sooooo… my solution: give it away!

And that’s what I did! I gave it away. Only, I gave it to an eighth grader who couldn’t necessarily take home all of the games I had (rated T and above were out of the question). In fact I kept 17 games that I had no system to play on.

So what’s the my logical next step, sell the games, get some some pocket cash. My only challenge finding someone to buy the games.

Yesterday I wrote a post about how the worst anyone can say when you ask for something is “no.”  You can read that post here. However, when I was willing to sell 17 games for 50,ooo won (a little less than $50), I wasn’t expecting to hear a “no.” Only, I did!

There is a copycat game-stop in down town Songtan (little copyright laws in Korea) that I took my games to; the old man looked at them, handed them back and said, “too old, no one buy.” And at that he went back to staring out the window. In my head I thought, “Really? Too old? No-one buy? Challenge accepted!”

When I got back to where I had WiFi I listed the games  and my asking price on Facebook, within 30 minutes I had a taker, and just like that my games are now sold. It’s true that “no’s” lead us to “yes’s,” but they don’t come looking for us, we have to go find them!

I love hearing the “ever-so-sweet yes” after a “mater-of-fact no”!

Old, Korean man: 0         Mason: 1





It’s just a “no”

22 03 2012

No matter how they say it, the worst anybody can say is "No"

Suits, tuxes, churches, receptions, food, orderves, drinks, flowers … and anything else that belongs in a wedding – you can tell I didn’t have much to do with the planning. To be honest, my favorite part was getting to lick the envelopes for our invitations (don’t judge). As Marla was preparing and finalizing our plans, the one thing that she wanted most was great pictures. She had been “stalking” this photographer from Lubbock Texas, and was absolutely in love with the way she took pictures. The problem was, we couldn’t afford her services.

Marla had been following her for a while and knew that she “gave back” by doing free photo shoots, but she wasn’t sure if being a broke missionary kid was enough to deserve a free session. As we talked about it, I told her the worst that she could say was, “no.” Eventually Marla wrote her, told her our story, and the photographer agreed to shoot our wedding for a minimal cost!

I’ve thought about that moment often. She could have told us no. In fact “no” is what we expect from most.

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It will always be something won’t it?

15 03 2012

Should have made a list and checked it twice!

Ever see so far ahead that you completely miss whats right in front of you? Yeah, that’s me to a “T”! The thing is, I have developed a process system to combat this problem, it’s called a check list! This list isn’t simply a “to do” kind of list, this list is in order of what needs to be done and when (if I can standardize my menial routine to make my free time that much better then so be it). You may think this over kill, but I once forgot my class room key everyday for an entire week. “Every thing has a home,” including my chores

There is one fatal flaw with my plan, can you see it? Yup, my plan requires me to get up at the same time or at least relatively close to the same time. So when I decided to sleep in for an hour and a half and then get up at 5:30 in the morning I’m in danger of loosing this game called “remembering.”

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Bank of America, What?!

15 03 2012

Community over corporate, but dang if the corporate didn't have great customer service!

I grew up in a small town, relatively. It felt small. It’s getting bigger, but that’s not the point. The point of the post is that in a “small town” you use the town our county bank. I used the Fauquier Bank, and I loved it! The tellers were great! They would engage me on just about anything, and when I came back they remembered! It was kind of awesome.

So you can imagine my shock when I moved to Boston and was with out my Fauquier Bank. Since I was in college and was bound to travel the only logical choice was Bank of America. When I stood in line I felt like another number. I didn’t know any of the tellers, and it seemed they didn’t want to know me, especially since there always seemed to be a long line behind me. They were cordial enough, but nothing like back home.

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Rock in a Pond: Buffet Style

15 03 2012

Everybody likes a buffet, unless your indecisive, but hey, at least your food will stay warm while you decide!

Change is a good thing, well as long as the purpose behind the change is good, I digress. Rock in a pond is changing. I use to have some kind of format to it, or at least I think I did when I first started. Anyway, I’m going to be sharing a conglomeration of my thoughts and “feelings” as they come up.

There will be no set pattern, no specific posting days, no specific theme, just me and my ramblings. If you’re not into that I completely understand. I have another blog where there is a lot more structure on both content and posting time, you can find it at: http://www.squareoneleadership.com.

Anyway, I look forward to sharing with you all my random thoughts and what-nots.