3 Life-Altering Godin-isms

If you're a leader of anything, you really need to read Seth Godin's latest book, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. It's phenomenal and I really like the style. No chapters. The whole book is broken up into these bite-sized chunks. Seth is one of the most popular bloggers in the world and the book reads very much like a blog.

Here's 3 priceless gems from Tribes:

  • How was your day? If your answer is "fine," then I don't think you were leading.  -pg. 48

  • If you're not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it's almost certain you're not reaching your potential as a leader.  -pg. 55

  • Leadership is a choice. It's the choice to not do nothing.  -pg. 59


Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Had a great but exhausting weekend.
  • Isla was sick all weekend. I tried really hard not to expose myself to the germs, but she's so darn cute. I did sleep on the couch for the last three nights though, because she always winds up in bed with us at some point. Not sick yet - hope it stays that way.
  • We packed up all the Christmas decorations on Saturday. The house looks a little empty now. It's amazing how normal a tree in the middle of your house becomes after a day or two.
  • Isaiah was invited by a friend to go to Truckee to play in the snow overnight.  He had a great time and couldn't wait to tell us all the details and how funny everybody thought he was. I'm really happy he had such a great time (and I didn't have to get cold).
  • I am loving playing with Isaiah's Guitar Hero video game. I've never been too much of a gamer, but I LOVE Guitar Hero. Friday night I was playing it until 3am. I've graduated past the "easy" setting and have settled in somewhat comfortably on the "medium" setting. I really rock out in our living room, too. I'm glad that no one has captured it on video yet.
  • Great service at Living Hope today. We had the Haugens lead worship "unplugged" and they did a great job! We spent the day reflecting on all God has done with and in LHC this past year and praising Him for it. God truly is good all the time!
  • I spent some time tonight preparing my sermon series for January. January is all about looking forward and vision casting. I feel God preparing to do incredible things with our church this year and I'm honored and humbled to be a part of it. Living Hopers, get ready! God is going to rock your face off in 2009!! (Sorry, the Guitar Hero is causing me to say crazy things.)


Missing Rich

I spent a good amount of time last night and today loading about 100 of my favorite CDs on my Mac. I loaded several Rich Mullins albums and have been listening quite a bit to his music since. I used to listen to Rich just about non-stop and haven't listened quite as much over the last 5 years.

Rich Mullins' music is just simply timeless. It still sounds as great and powerful as it did the first time. Jamie and I are such big fans of Rich that we even named our son after him - Isaiah Mullins Myers. I don't know of any other person who's words have shaped me spiritually as much as Rich. It's been 11 years since his death and I still miss him. One of the biggest reasons I can't wait to get to heaven is to end this long streak of no new songs from Rich. I'm sure he's written some great ones since his arrival!

Below is one of his best songs, Hold Me Jesus, followed by Rich talking about the type of legacy he hoped to leave. Powerful stuff.


Best of 2008

Well it's that time of year again. Time for my "Best of..." list. 

Top 5 Books I Read in '08
5.  The Starbucks Experience - Joseph Michelli
4.  Crazy Love - Francis Chan
3.  Tribes - Seth Godin
2.  Go Big - Bill Easum & Bil Cornelius
1.  Wild Goose Chase - Mark Batterson

Top 5 Albums I Listened To in '08
5.  Hello Love - Chris Tomlin
4.  God of This City - Passion
3.  Charge!! - The Aquabats
2.  Viva La Vida - Coldplay
1.  The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts As One - Hillsong United

Top 5 Movies Viewed in '08
5.  Fireproof
4.  The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
3.  The Orphanage
2.  The Dark Knight
1.  No Country For Old Men

Top 5 Favorite TV Shows of '08
5.  Boston Legal
4.  Avatar
3.  American Idol
2.  LOST
1.  The Beijing Summer Olympics

Top 5 Favorite Experiences of '08
5.  Relocating from MO to CA (this was the most fun disaster
 I've ever experienced)

If you're interested, here's the link to my 2007 list.


Made Out Like a Bandit

I had a great Christmas. I got some pretty great gifts.

From Jamie - Logos Bible Software for Mac. This is so awesome! The software is incredible and will save me hours of time in sermon/teaching prep. I got the Scholar's Library which has several hundred volumes of bibles, commentaries, language helps, and a variety of other types of book. Lovin' it!

From Mollie - Mollie made me a great picture frame. She glued the wood together and painted it and put a great picture of the two of us in it. Very cool!

From Isaiah - iTunes gift card. I used it to buy the Jon Foreman Spring and Summer albums and a great live album by Ray LaMontagne. Great tunes!

From Isla - Borders gift card. Can't wait to pick out a couple of new books!

I had fun giving gifts, too. We got Jamie an overnight stay at a bed & breakfast in Auburn, CA, high tea at a tea parlor, and a massage. She's looking forward to it. Mollie got a new digital camera (pink). Isaiah got Guitar Hero. And Isla got some great toys, too (Elmo toy, doctor kit, YoGabbaGabba toy, and more).

Love the gifts part of Christmas! I think there has been a lot of unnecessary guilt piled on Christians about the materialism of Christmas. It can be a little insane, I know. But some heart-felt gift giving (and getting) in moderation is a beautiful part of Christmas. We give each other gifts as a reminder of, and celebration of, the beautiful gift that God gave us.  So Christ-followers, don't let a bunch of negative bah-humbug Christians make you feel guilty about your Christmas giving/receiving...just don't get stupid with it! Remember those less fortunate and the work of Christ in your Christmas spending, too.

Hope everyone else had a great Christmas.


Joy to the World Wide Web

I just wanted to take a few moments to wish all my online friends a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone has a fantastic time tonight and tomorrow with friends and family. If you've got no one to spend Christmas with (and even if you do) choose to spend some time with Jesus. Go to a Christmas Eve service, read your Bible, read the Christmas story to your kids, serve those less fortunate, bundle up and take a walk and talk to God, hug somebody who doesn't deserve it -- you get the idea.

This time of year we spend a lot of time talking about Jesus coming into the world 2000 years ago, but it really wasn't the world he wanted to enter. The whole reason the Almighty lowered himself into being a tiny, helpless baby was to provide a way to enter your heart. It may sound a little elementary talking about asking Jesus to come into your heart, but that's exactly where he wants to be. He wants you to enter a relationship with him and let his teachings, his Spirit, his Kingdom, his peace enter you and change you. He wants to make you over into something more significant than you ever dreamed of being. Don't ignore him - embrace him!

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Go Big

I just finished one of the best church leadership books I've read in a long time. This book has been sitting on my shelf for over a year. For a long time I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it because, honestly, I was a little turned off by the title.  The book is Go Big: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth by Bill Easum and Bil Cornelius.

Over the last few years I've become somewhat resistant to what the "church growth movement" has become. I'm not against mega-churches or churches growing or modern methodology, I'm just turned off by churches who are all flash and shock and little substance. But I was so pleasantly surprised by Go Big. Even though it is very much about growing a church numerically, it is even more about being a strong leader - specifically a strong lead pastor.

This is not a typical church book, because it is way more practical than most. Many authors are today are afraid to get too practical because they don't want to seem like they're pushing their agenda or methods as the only way. Bill and Bil get very practical, give very strong advice, and make no apologies for it. Reading Go Big didn't feel like a seminar, but rather it felt like sitting down with a couple of friends honestly sharing what has worked and not worked for them over the years.

Their advice is strong, sometimes shocking, but I believe mostly dead-on. Great advice on structuring a church, casting vision, getting past growth barriers, staffing, creating a culture of service, fund-raising, and dealing with difficult people.  I won't go into the details here, but every lead pastor should read this book. I'm not going to promise you'll agree with everything - I didn't. But I gained so much truly great advice from this book.

There's a follow up book that I can't wait to read called Go Big With Small Groups: Eleven Steps to an Explosive Small Groups Ministry.

Sidenote: I don't know if everyone's copy is the same as mine, but I thought it was interesting that the cover boasted "Forward by Ed Young" and inside there was no forward, no Ed Young.


Christmas Shopping for Clueless Husbands

Here's a funny little video from Jonathan McKee. Jonathan is one of my favorite youth ministry experts. For anyone doing youth ministry, if you're not regularly using his website, www.thesource4ym.com, you are seriously missing out on a ton of free resources, ideas, games, training, and a lot more.


E Coli in Dixon

We're having an e coli scare in Dixon right now. A 16 year old boy was killed by it yesterday. This boy was a close friends of several of our Living Hope teens. As of this point it's unclear where the boy came in contact with the e coli. A couple of our youth workers and I spent the better part of the day the other day crying and praying with our teens. They're taking this pretty hard. I believe this is the 3rd Dixon High death in one semester. Please pray for Dixon's teens.

Here's a link to a KCRA news video about the story. Living Hope teen, Breighton Alesna-Gladisch, is interviewed in it.


I Love Leaders!

I really do love leaders! I love men and women who will step up and lead others even if they don't feel qualified or capable. I believe God uses our willingness more than our qualifications, and our humility more than our capability. When ordinary people step up and offer themselves unselfishly, God is often able to use them to accomplish extraordinary things. It takes guts to be a leader. A leader might get their fair share of praise, but it's not easy to stick your neck out and be the lightning rod for all criticism and complaints. To be a Godly leader is to be a servant. Anybody who believes that church leaders are doing it for the recognition or the "power", have no idea what it means to be a leader.

I say all of this because I am blessed to be surrounded by extraordinary leaders here at Living Hope Church. Leaders who do what they do because they love Jesus and they love the people that have been entrusted to their care. Tonight I had the honor to thank them at our Leadership Christmas Party. I have to admit, I've honestly been looking forward to this party since last Spring. I love investing in leaders. I love encouraging leaders. I love loving on leaders.

Pastors, love on your leaders. Leaders, invest into those who don't yet know they're leaders. Church, pray for your leaders non-stop.


God-ordained Meetings

I love it when I'm surprised by a God-ordained meeting. I met a new Living Hoper for breakfast this morning and, what I thought was going to be great eggs, turned into so much more.

Last night I was laying in bed planning what I would order at Denny's - 3 eggs over-easy, wheat toast, oatmeal. For some reason that sounded really good to me. I could hardly wait. When I got there this morning, I ordered it (upgraded to 4 eggs). Couldn't wait to dig in!

We were joined by another person who is going through some serious hurt in his life right now. The food I got from talking to these guys and sharing some encouragement with them was far tastier than the eggs (and they were pretty darn tasty).

I love it when God turns the ordinary into something extraordinary!


Monday Morning Quarterbacking

This weekend was all about our kids Christmas program. And they did a wonderful job. They performed "The Fear Not Factor" (special thanks to Linda Vannoy at Bay Hills Church for loaning us the program - saved us a good amount of change). I was honestly blown away by the talented kids we have at Living Hope. We seriously have some great little singers. We've already started throwing the idea around of using them in regular worship services occasionally. Anyway it was wonderful. Big HUGS to my wife, Jamie, for directing the program. I'm so blessed to have her as a wife and partner in ministry!

Our attendance really spiked yesterday, too. Of course that's to be expected when the kids are doing their thing. When I was welcoming everyone, I joked that I was glad word had finally gotten out to the community of how great my preaching was - it got a good laugh.

From a leadership standpoint, I don't think many pastors realize how important those "big days" are. They're HUGE for building momentum and for the morale of the church. Doing special things for Easter, Christmas, Friend Day, community outreach events, etc... require A LOT of extra work, but it's totally worth it. Anytime you can give a clear gospel message to a larger-than-average crowd, it's worth the extra time and money!


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Jamie and I saw The Boy in the Striped Pajamas tonight at the Varsity Theatre in Davis.  First of all, this was my first experience at the Varsity. It's a great old theatre with very comfy seats!

The movie was wonderful. It was a hard story to watch but one I'm glad I went to see. It tells the story of a boy whose father is an SS soldier in charge of a concentration camp and his friendship with a Jewish boy in his father's camp. It really does a great job of painting a picture of who the Germans were I think. That's the most fascinating thing to me about Nazi Germany. This wasn't so much a nation of evil people, but a nation of patriotic people who were duped into believing their evil actions were in the best interest of their nation. Hitler didn't appeal to their sinful nature; he appealed to their sense of patriotism.

Anyway, this movie is definitely worth seeing if you get the chance.

Anticipation vs. Distraction

I have noticed a growing sense of anticipation in me lately. It's an anticipation of life-change. I love changed lives! It's why I do what I do. There's nothing like seeing God get a hold of someone's life, transform it, and use it in ways that person never knew they were capable of.

I have to admit, this sense of anticipation, or heart for those without Christ, is something that is not always as strong as it needs to be. I feel very much in tune with God, when my mind is obsessed with reaching lost souls. But there are seasons when I'm focused more on the mechanics of church instead of the mission of church. It's a constant battle. And honestly, I think it's one of Satan's biggest weapons against church leaders. If he can get us focused on the minutia and the "urgent" things, rather that the truly important things, he dupes us into believing we're "about our Father's business."

Satan doesn't have to turn us into evil sinners. He only needs to turn us into Martha's. Distracting us does just as much damage to the Kingdom as major moral failure.

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named  Martha  welcomed him into her house.  And she had a sister called  Mary, who  sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.  But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are  anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”



I had such a great night last night meeting with various Living Hopers.  

We have such a great elder board.  I'm consistently blown away by the spiritual maturity of these guys.  They love Jesus and love our church and want to serve Christ by serving Living Hope.  There are no power plays, no petty arguments.  We may occasionally have differing points of view, but we hear each other out and come to a consensus.  They have a strong commitment to protecting the truth of the gospel.  In short, they're men of integrity and it's an honor serving as an elder with them.

Afterwards, I had the opportunity to do a little dreaming with another LHC member.  Some really cool ideas came to the table that got my wheels to spinning in exciting directions.  I don't know if anything will come out of it, but I'll definitely continue praying and dreaming.  I'm so thankful for optimistic, artistic, innovative people! They're few and far between, but an absolute joy to be around. I need to expose myself to such people more often.

Last night I also heard an incredible story.  We recently participated in Operation Christmas Child as a church.  We were able to send out over 100 shoebox gifts to needy children!  There was a small group of LHC teen girls who wanted to put together some shoeboxes, too.  After talking to their parents about it, they were told by their parents that because the family finances were so tight, they wouldn't be able to help them buy the gifts.  Amazingly, this didn't stop these girls.  They took it upon themselves to do yardwork and housework for their neighbors and raise up enough money to make sure a needy child in some remote corner of the world would have a merry Christmas!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?

I LOVE MY CHURCH!!!!!!!!!!


Monday Morning Quarterbacking

I enjoyed this weekend alot.
  • Friday we took the kids to tour the state capitol building in Sacramento.  Very cool.  We also had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  Had an extremely overpriced sandwich but got to sit next to Buddy Holly's suit from his 1957 tour.
  • Friday night we got to watch the Dixon Rams football team play in round 2 of the playoffs.  Unfortunately they lost, but played a truly great game.  Earlier that day our church hosted the team for breakfast.  About 25 of the guys showed up and we had a great breakfast. About 65 guys total!
  • Saturday was pretty much about friends and football.  Met a bunch of friends at the Cliatt's house in Brentwood for a Melissa's birthday.  Also got to see OU slaughter Mizzou.  Boomer Sooner, baby!
  • We had a great service yesterday at LHC.  The worship team was incredible - really lead us to the Throne.  I preached about how Jesus said he came not to bring peace, but a sword, division, and fire.  Hard message to deliver and hear, but important.  I hope I have a church next week...
  • Great LifeGroup last night!  After, Jamie and I cashed in a gift certificate at Caffe Italia in Davis.  Tasty grub!


LHC Video Blog - 12/4


I finally gave in and am giving Twitter a try.  Not sure if I'll enjoy it or not, but you can follow me on twitter at "pastorjeffmyers".


Today I remembered a home-made sign that used to hang in my office years ago.  I can't remember where I initially heard the phrase, but I loved it so much I had to make a sign.  It simply read:


"Should" is an easy trap to fall into.  We can exert so much time and energy into fretting about our mistakes and failures.  On a small, everyday mistake level, this just causes us to worry, waste time, and drive everyone around us a little crazy.  On a larger, more eternal scale, God has put our past sins behind Him, so we should feel the freedom to put them behind us as well.

Don't live in the past.  Learn from your mistakes, but move past them.  I'm reminded of the lyrics of an old Steven Curtis Chapman song - "Remember your chains, but remember your chains are gone!"


The One I Couldn't Shake

Oh man!  These passages rocked my world today.  Especially the part about Hezekiah pulverizing the bronze serpent that Moses had made.  How often do we let good, even God-given, things become obstacles to God's work?  We should be constantly vigilant against turning gifts into idols.  It's a bit of a lengthy read, but worth every second of your time.  I've posted links to The Message, because that's the version I read today and it was awesome!


Monday Morning Quarterbacking

My wi-fi has been down since Thursday.  So I got to take a little internet fast for the past several days.  Praise God it's back up and running now.  I would seriously rather be without TV than internet!
  • Thanksgiving was great!  It was nice to have a house full of friends and food.  But the wi-fi went down and ruined the whole day!  ;-)
  • Friday I spent several hours on the phone with 3 different unhelpful tech support people from AT&T.  Two of them spent 30 minutes each on the phone with me before "accidentally" hanging up on me.  The third one I couldn't understand and had to ask her to repeat herself slowly 2-3 times every time she said anything.  They finally decided to send a guy to the house today.  He was quite helpful and a really nice guy.
  • Sunday's worship gathering was great.  The greatest thing was seeing a new soul come to Jesus!  That will never get old.  My sermon was about Jesus' repeated claims that he came from the Father.  I struggled all week on how to approach these texts, then it finally dawned on me that this was, plain and simple, about the love of God.  The extreme measures he took to bridge the gap between us and Him is unfathomable!
  • Great LifeGroup sunday night.  We looked at the synagogue and rabbinic traditions of the Jews in the time of Jesus.  I love learning more about that stuff, it always reveals new layers of truth that we don't immediately get because of our Western thinking.
  • I'm looking forward to next Sunday's sermon.  We'll be looking at how Jesus said he came not to bring peace, but the sword and to turn us against our families and such.  Can't wait!