Tag Archives: the twenty

The Twenty #13 – Handling Negative People

It’s been a while since I’ve tackled a topic from “The Twenty” list, but I’m refusing to quit on it. I’ll be honest, I’ve been avoiding this topic because I didn’t have a good answer…at least not one that didn’t make me look heartless or spineless :) Typically, I would fight back or I would just agree to avoid conflict.

But, in the last couple of months, I’ve been learning just how true the wise old saying “kill them with kindness” really is. And, as simple & cliche it may sound, it’s also quite Biblical…you know…“love your enemies,” “pray for those who persecute you,”…those things.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I don’t always handle negative people by killing them with kindness. But, I have really been intentional lately about trying to confront negativity with grace. And do you know something, I’ve found that most of the time it actually works?

Unexpected grace disarms people.
Validating people’s opinions even while disagreeing disarms people.
Not throwing a punch back disarms people. 

Yes, the “stubborn always wants to be right” part of me still screams when confronted with negativity, but if I lean into the Spirit, grace screams louder.

*This is the thirteenth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.


The Twenty #12 – Why I Need to Apologize

The list of answers to this question could quickly get quite lengthy. But, I’m going to pick just one for now. An answer that, quite honestly, I never thought I’d blog about. That part of me is still not wanting to hit “publish” on.

I need to apologize to anyone who has ever wanted to be married. Yes, I know that may sound strange but hear me out.

Growing up all I wanted was to be a mom. Most of my days were spent playing house or school. Imaginary children were the center of my existence as a child myself. Then at some point I learned that if I wanted to have children I should get married first.

High school came and I was convinced that I could do more for Jesus by myself than being married to any boy. So while I loved children I kind of gave up the idea of having my own. That lasted through high school. Continued in college. And even into adulthood.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t opposed to having children, I was opposed to marriage. (yes, I realize that doesn’t sound much better :) ) I championed the idea that I could be more “effective” for the Kingdom by myself with what I now realize was a whole lot of pride. And, if I’m honest, for years part of me looked down on those people who wanted nothing more than to get married, have a family, and “settle down.”

But now, for the first time that I can remember, I am open to the whole idea of marriage and a family. I may even go so far as to say that, honestly, I kinda would like to be married someday.

I’m learning that sometimes, as much as the independent individual in me wants to deny it, two really can be better than one. That perhaps I could do just as much…if not more…for Jesus alongside someone else rather than by myself. I can’t really explain the change at this point…but perhaps it’s just part of growing up.

To those of you who’ve always known what my stubborn self is just learning, I’m sorry for looking down on you…for judging your desires!


The Twenty #11 – The Intersection of Art & Leadership

“Artists are often found at the margins of society, but they are, like the shepherds, often the first to notice the miracles taking place right in front of us.” (27)

“The arts can tap into multiple irreconcilable realities at the same time, rooted deeply within the cultural soil. Artists often expose the tension between these competing points of view, but they also provide the potential to resolve various perspectives at the same time. But just like China, good art may raise more questions than provide simplistic answers.” (34)

The intersection of art & leadership. I’ve been thinking about this for some time and when I read the two passages above in Makoto Fujimura’s Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art, and Cultureit came to me. Artists may not often be leaders in the traditional sense. They may not be the CEOs, CFOs, Directors, Senior Pastors, and so on. But they are leaders in a different way. They are leaders in thought. They may not be the ones making the decisions but they are the ones the decision makers go to for advice in the decision making process. Their art & insight gives them influence which in turn places on them a responsibility. A responsibility to lead.

When we look back 10…20..30 years from now, I think we will see that the true influencers…the true leaders…have been artists. Leaders because they can expose tension yet also provide potential resolution. Leaders because they ask questions rather than provide simplistic answers…good questions that propel a community…a people…a society…forward. Leaders because they expose the need for change & then inspire it. Influencers because they’re artists. Because they see the miracles many miss. Miracles that are the signs of God’s moving here on earth. And the great thing about artists is that oftentimes, like the shepherds, they’re so excited that they can’t keep the news to themselves.

Do you think there is a place where art & leadership intersect?

*This is the eleventh post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.

The Twenty #10 – Why Church is Irrelevant for Me

I’ve gone back and forth on this post for several weeks. Written. Rewritten. Completely started over. Something about saying that church is irrelevant just hasn’t sat quite right with me.

But then I realized that perhaps it was the reasons I had claimed church was irrelevant that weren’t sitting quite right with me. A conviction that the reasons I had written about shouldn’t make church irrelevant.

Thinking back on the last 5 years of my life I finally admitted to myself that church is irrelevant for me because oftentimes it seems to brush aside pain. It wants to overlook our weakness in suffering. Yes, it’s tempting to preach a Gospel that will cure all pain & suffering but it’s false.

Pain & suffering are a fact of life. In fact God makes it pretty clear in Scripture that we will experience them here on earth. Sure they seem to set up camp more in the lives of some than others, but they leave a mark on every single one of our lives in some way. Yet despite that, something in our human nature wants to hide them…to pretend they don’t exist.

And when a church tries to claim that faith will take away all pain that’s when it becomes irrelevant for me. Because I know otherwise. I’ve experienced otherwise. It took years of physical pain & suffering to really drive this home for me but I get it now…at least a little bit. I know that talking about pain and weakness is uncomfortable. I know it can hurt to see others in pain. But my prayer is that as a Church we can get past that. Because if we don’t I think there’s a lot of hurting people in the world that are going to see church as irrelevant for their lives.

What, if anything, makes church irrelevant for you?

Photo Credit: Sarah Jensen

The Twenty – #9: The Best Style of Leadership I Know

“Yes, we need emerging leaders, but we also need emerged leaders who will work alongside them.”
The Art of Curating Worship pg. 51

A “good” leader. That seems like such a relative term these days. Even the term leader is tossed around haphazardly most of the time. Everyone seems to have their own variation on a definition which, most of the time, has been tailored to fit their own personal needs.

But when I strip away the world’s definition of a leader…even the church’s definition of a leader…I’m left with Scripture’s definition of a leader.

And I think that is a leader who humbles himself. Before God and those he’s* leading.
One who is eager to train and equip others.
Who is willing to admit they don’t have all of the answers but is walking in obedience anyway.
One who holds decisions with open hands.
One who encourages and empowers.
One who hasn’t made himself a leader but whom others have called leader.
One who has been given authority, not one who is a self-proclaimed expert.
One who at the end of the day is always willing to surrender to the whispers of the Spirit because he recognizes that he is just a steward, that he doesn’t own any of what he’s been entrusted with.

I like the quote above because an emerged leader who will work alongside emerging leaders exemplifies a humble leader. He is encouraging and empowering. He has been called leader and given authority. He is humbly walking in obedience while training and equipping others. I’m not sure what “style” label I would put on that type of leadership…but maybe that’s part of the point.

What is the best style of leadership you know?

This is the fourth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.

*Note: The use of the word “he” doesn’t mean I think leaders should only be men, it’s purely for simplicity of words & message. :)

The Twenty #8 – My Prayer for my Children

My prayer for my (future) child is really my prayer for every person on this earth. Maybe that sounds strange or not special enough. But if God chooses to bless me with children someday I recognize that they will not be mine, they are just entrusted to my care for a short time. We are all His children. And because of that my prayer for all of us is the same.

I pray you know and feel just how much our great God loves you, that you root your identity in who you are as a loved child of God redeemed by grace. And you live in the freedom that comes through that.

I pray you have enough pain to keep you humble. Yes, I said I pray you have pain. I can promise you will have pain and heartache and disappointment and suffering. I can promise that because Jesus promised that for each of us. But may God give you peace in the truth that in our weakness He is glorifies.

I pray you also have success through which God’s glory shines. May you be bold and courageous enough to live in the place of God margin. The place where miracles happen. Where dreams are big and ideas are crazy. And you have friends who encourage you and will even dream big with you. The place where God’s power and faithfulness comes to life.

May God bless you with community that holds you accountable and encourages you. And that loves you just as you are. But also loves you so much they don’t let you stay where you are. Know that those people will not be perfect. That they will let you down. But be courageous enough to risk vulnerability because in the end that is what strengthens community.

I pray God gives you compassion and breaks your heart for His people. May you know that whatever your gifts and skill set is you can do “ministry.” You are uniquely gifted to serve the Kingdom. Embrace that.

And when all is said and done, I pray that you know that it really is as simple as loving God and loving others. And that you live that out. Love hard and love well knowing it will be messy and painful at times but that it’s worth it.

This is the eighth post in a series of twenty. For more on the background, check out this post.