Tag Archives: status quo

Empowering Reasons to Say ‘IDK’

5823288833_IDK_answer_3_xlargeFor years, I just couldn’t say it. I don’t know why, but I would say anything except those dreaded three words. Three simple words: “I don’t know.”  Why are they so difficult to say?  It’s because we have to admit a measure of ignorance.  It’s humbling.  But I want to encourage you to not fear saying IDK any more.  Saying “I Don’t Know” is very powerful.  To admit that you don’t know is to empower yourself because:

IDK is not threatening to others. Pride is abrasive while humility is disarming.  When you admit you don’t know, you disarm others’ defenses. Most people (whether they realize it or not) operate on the philosophy of ‘Law to the proud; grace to the humble.’  Saying “I don’t know” allows you a certain grace afforded usually to rookies.

IDK invites collaboration and builds teamwork.  If you’re interested in doing something great – then you know it can’t be done alone. Saying “I don’t know” gets the ball rolling to really make a difference and do something big!

IDK criques the status quo. When approached the right way, “I Don’t Know” queries deep into the heart of big ideas.  It merits honest answers and opens the doors of understanding.

I am proud to say that I’m more humble than I used to be (*sarcasm) – and I readily admit that “I don’t know.”  And I’m excited to say that it’s paying off!  What about you?  Have you ever had trouble saying “I don’t know” or is that something you are good at?

RELATED POST:  5 Practical Ways to Question Authority

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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The Danger in Comfortable Normalcy

For the past two weeks (18 days to be exact) I took a small break from the social media world. There would be no Facebook – no Twitter – NOTHING! My mindset heading into this “fast” was originally to read the Bible, in its entirety, within that small window of time. Within my life there had been some occurrences and “issues” that had popped up. In all honesty, some of them made me question God on a number of different things. For the record, that is not a sign of faithlessness or doubt!

WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE only have cliché “religious answers” for genuine questions that a majority of people struggle with.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that many of the common responses you have been fed over the years really are quite unbiblical — Not to mention really stupid when you think through some of them! Remember, the book of Acts praises the Bereans because they, “… searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

While I did find some answers and clarification to a number of the issues I was searching for, it seemed as if I was hit with the strong reality (and of course a wise old man had mentioned it to me earlier but I shrugged it off) that my life was propped up with something I will call, “Comfortable Normalcy”. When life is up, LIFE IS UP!

What if you started peeling away all the “normals” of your every day life … What would be at the center?

As carnal as it sounds here are just a couple of the things that I LOVED that were taken away from me in the past few weeks (Ok.. I don’t “love” them, but they played a big part of my normalcy). My beloved Nashville Predators are in what seems to be a never-ending lockout — Man, that is where I could LET LOOSE throughout the week and weekends when I was stressed from the job! My favorite TV show has been suspended indefinitely — That was something that both my wife and I were looking forward to (yeah, I know… I’m really lame). Money is tight, it’s election season, summer is gone, leaves are dying, AND with all that going on I decided to walk away from my last string of normalcy: The Social Media Outlet!

There I sat, nothing normal around me. As I cracked open my Bible and started in Genesis 1:1, I was punched in the face after the first 4 words, “IN THE BEGINNING GOD…” Wow. How sobering and silly to miss that point. There was so many things in my life that made up my “normal” but I wasn’t including God Himself! What a shame … I am a pastor in a good church, and I had missed the fundamental point of my entire life. If many were to be honest, and they began peeling back “normalcies”, a whole lot of people would be shocked to learn that they had not included the Lord in their “Comfortable Normalcy”. Is it because I was an unbeliever and apostate (some may think so)? Not at all … it was because the other “normals” had put on such a good show and I WILLINGLY handed them my affection. Competing affections for a Christian are dangerous — God is not going to do a dance or woo you to try to get your affection. What He will do, sometimes painfully, will remove those affections that stole our heart away from Him. Once you have been stripped down to nothing but, “In the beginning God…”, His presence become extremely convicting.

Where is God in your life? Are you relying on jobs, houses, statuses, friends? Do you have too many “normals” that are clouding your relationship with God? Don’t get too comfortable, go find your Creator!


Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying…Really?

You’ve heard it a hundred times – if you’re not growing, you’re dying. And if this statement ever was true, it is simply no longer reality. Life IS about growth, but it’s not ALL about growth.

This post is part of the series – What Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility?
Would You Return to Your Organization?
If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying…Really?
Leaders are the Most Creative People on the Planet
Great Leaders Serve
Is Fear Taking Over?

I’m passionate about growth. I’ve written much about planningvision, and growth. For much of my life, anything short of growth I considered failure…until few weeks ago.

In a recent post, Chris Patton included a simple phrase that caught my attention – life is not all about prosperity.

Just a few hours before reading the post my wife and I had engaged in an emotional discussion about her moving forward with some decisions she needed to make. (I know what you’re thinking – but it was in a restaurant, so it wasn’t too lively.)

Sarah is steady, supportive, consistent. I am creative, innovative, impulsive. So I questioned whether Sarah was putting off some decisions because she was waiting for circumstances to improve. Or because she was hoping for more certainty.

After reading Chris’ post, I found myself questioning MY perspective – is life all about growth?

Here are three things I noted about growth from this experience –

1. Growth comes in many shapes and sizes

Reflecting on my conversation with Sarah, I realized that she IS experiencing growth. Among other areas, she is growing in patience – with her circumstances and with me.

Growth is not always bigger. It’s not always quantitative – measured the way you or I think it should be measured.

Here’s a great question for determining whether or not you are experiencing growth – Are my current situation and my resulting behaviors adding value to my life and work or to the life and work of others?

2. You can grow through pain

From a long-term perspective, maybe the old adage is true – If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Let’s face it – in a world of constant and rapid change, maintaining the status quo is quite simply passive regression.

But, on the surface, constant growth just doesn’t seem possible. Life is about dormancy, setbacks, and pain. It’s about disease, loss, and grief. It’s about uncertainty and unknowns – challenging projects at work, strained relations at home, in between jobs, waiting for word from the doctor, mounting medical bills.

And while it seems that life is about more than growth – life’s incredibly uncomfortable moments are, in reality, opportunities for explosive personal growth.

3. You don’t have to prolong the pause

It’s true – life is full of difficult moments. But it’s also filled with hope. With vision. With dreams. With legacy.

Life isn’t all about prosperity, but it can be about growth. If you are going to grow it will have to be on purpose. You must choose.

So whatever you’re going through, deal with it intentionally. Process it. Get help. Don’t prolong the pain any more than is absolutely necessary.

Decide right now – What one step can I take today toward closing this chapter in my life and opening a new chapter?

Life is a series of new beginnings – and today is the beginning of the rest of your life. Make it a great one!

So, is it true – am I dying if I’m not growing? What have you learned about growth? Leave a comment – let us know what you think.

Article by Michael Nichols

@michaelenichols

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rebel

To the question: Am I really a rebel?  I answer a condescending: No.  But in order to answer the question: Who are you?  I answer: I don’t know. I find no other option other than rebellion.  I’ve always been a good follower, not a resister.  It’s hard to see myself breaking out of the mold.  I’ve always been a ‘Yes Man.’  I’m not trying to start a new cause or lead anyone else in this – this is just a personal journey away from fearing men andtoward fearing God.  It’s crazy, but in order to be true to myself, I find a little rebellion necessary.  It’s more than a phase, it’s an essential stage for my growth.  Rebellion, for me, is nothing more than a means to an end: finding myself.  I admit that I’m a little scared, but I cannot continue to accept all the assumptions and presumptions handed down to me. Up to this point, my identity has been defined by peer pressure and fear, so I must rebel for the sake of my own integrity or I must deny God’s design in me.  My calling is unique to me; this is not my grandfather’s world, so I rebel for the sake of impacting my generation with the Gospel.  In many ways, I am sad to have to take such a stand.  Why have others thought it so important to establish the unnecessary as the norm?  Why has the world (and the church for that matter) gotten so programmed, so conforming, so systematized, so average?  How has the sloth of bureaucracy crept into so many areas of my life?

Our culture is full of individuals just like me seeking their identity and purpose; this world is ripe for revolt!

Therefore, I revolt. I represent. I rebel. I must buck the system…  Against status-quo. Against the norm. Against the daily grind. Against average. Against mediocrity. Against socialistic society.  Against out-of-control special rights for favored groups. Against racism and feminism. Against big-brother control.  Against bailouts. Against worldliness.  Against 1950’s traditionalism in religion.  Against anything that is against God.But I’m not just against certain things.  The real reason I rebel is because I am forso many more-important things…  I’m for truth, real truth, absolute truth.  For right. For liberty and freedom. For capitalism. For creativity. For people thinking for themselves.  For justice.  For blood, sweat, and tears.  For family. For the little guys. For the good news and for the gospel. For grace.  For purity and abstinence.  For God.

I’m an underdog and I’m for the underdog. I root for the challenger. Could there be a new champ? Yes, and when there is, there will be a new underdog, a new challenger.  For too long the wrong things are reigning king of my hill.  I am tired of complacency… in my life, at home, at work, at church, and in my community. It’s time for an uprising, an insurgence, a revolution!

Before we go any further, you should know what I’m really thinking.  The term rebellion has a much more negative connotation than revolution.  Although I feel that these terms are nearly synonymous, I tend to believe that rebellion implies a fearful, violent reaction, while, revolutionary implies pro-active, courageous leadership.  Even still, since they are so similar, I will blend the two words and use them interchangeably – but please understand that I lean on the side of revolt and not rebellion.  I’m not promoting insubordination – quite the contrary! I whole-heartily believe in submission.  The only reason that rebellion or revolution is necessary is when lower authorities attempt to contradict, undermine, and usurp higher authorities. True authorities are not based on shifting morals or men’s standards; they are absolute principles found within the pages of the Bible.  In our current age of entitlement and expectation, you don’t have to look far to see how causes can twist and misrepresent truths in their favor to instigate less-than-questionable rebellions (i.e. – the Occupy movement). In addition, one could apply the idea of revolution into the church and call it revival.  Although the context of the two are completely different, many of the principles are very similar.

the good of rebellion

Why you should consider rebelling.  What good has rebellion ever done?
I know that some might quote the 12+ Bible references that forbid rebellion and show that ‘rebellion is like witchcraft.’  But if we look closely at those passages, we find that it speaks only of rebellion against God’s authority (including the authorities delegated to parents, government, & spiritual bodies).  In fact, when some authority contradicts / usurps God’s authorities in our lives, we must rebel.  These 12+ Old Testament passages dictate that we rebel all lesser authorities so that we might obey God’s.  You can only listen to that voice so long before you realize that it’s more of the same … the status-quo trying to thwart the birthing of excellence.

When wrong is right, then right is wrong.  When right is wrong, then wrong is right.

In other words, when our culture has confused truth to the point of calling good evil and evil good, then we are obliged to do what many would think is evil because it is really good. For example, it is evil in our day to speak the truth about sexual sins: fornication, homosexuality, and adultery.  It has been twisted that if you say anything about sin then you are judgmental and intolerant.  Our world would censure anything they disagree with according to their changing morals.  This is exactly why a rebellion is a good thing.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the furthest thing from a moral relativist.  I’m an absolute absolutist. Right is always right and wrong is always wrong!  In his book, The Good Rebel, Louis Groarke wrote: “Good rebels supply us with a paradigmatic example of heroic human achievement.” He’s right!  Good rebellion is a chief element of greatness, it is one of the highest moral achievements that man can aspire to.
From the Bible and the Early Church:
Jesusmight not have been a rebel but He was, at the very least, a revolutionary.   When He preached the Sermon on the Mount, He turned the Judaizer’s spiritual system of religion upside down.  When He angrily flipped over the tables in the Temple, He pushed back against materialism in the church.  And in order to fulfill His mission in obedience to His Father, He stood up to the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees, defying the governmental and spiritual authority of His day (Matthew 5-7; 21:12; 26).
True Prophets & Heroesare easy to find while reading the Old Testament.  It doesn’t take long to read of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Gideon, Ruth, Josiah, Elijah, David, Jonah, and so many others who stood out because their faith.  They stood out from the average, they rose up above the ordinary, they overcame conventional behavior and gave rise to revival and revolution.
The Apostles, Martyrs, & Church Fathersweren’t important because they were popular but because they caused a stir.  Many even died for their rebellious cause.  They left everything behind and went into foreign lands taking a ‘rebellious truth’ that would eventually turn the entire world upside down (Acts 17:6).  We study and quote Luther, Spurgeon, Wycliffe, and Augustine because of their genius, revolutionary ideas.

Faith, Hope, & Love are all three rebellions of sorts.  Faith is a rebellion against the mental dictates of your own logic and fear. Hope rebels against power of your current circumstances and situations.  Love rebels against the choking hold of revenge and bitterness in your relationships (1 Corinthians 13:13).

From History:
I hold that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (1787)
Wouldn’t you agree that great leaders, difference-makers & world-changers don’t arrive at greatness by being status-quo and mediocre?  They didn’t arrive at the top by playing by the rules.  They accomplished so much by resisting the conventional and living by a higher calling.  They are rebels and they inspire rebellion of thought, of emotion, and of action.
Considering the ‘goodness’ of revolutions, where would we be without the Commercial revolution (16-18th centuries), the Scientific revolution (16th century), the Industrial revolution (18-19th centuries), the Second Great Agricultural revolution (1940’s), the Modern Digital revolution (1950’s-present)? What’s next?  Will you be a part of it?  Why not?

Time prevents me from expounding on the thousands of great historical rebellions that have affected this world for good, but quickly review a few with me… The Revolutionary War (of the colonies for representation), the Civil War (of the South for states’ rights), the Civil Rights Movement in America (for equals rights of minorities and women), the Anti-Communist Revolution (in Europe and Asia during the 1980’s), and the recent Arab Pro-Democracy Movement (in Tunisia and Egypt during 2011).

Where would be without Bacon’s Rebellion (1676), the Boxer Rebellion (1901), or the French Revolution (1789-1799)?  How different would your life be without Gettysburg, Tienanmen Square, or Boston’s Tea Party?

how to rebel

Five practical ways to start your rebellion:
Question everything. “But why?” To figure out what’s up for grabs & what’s not.  There ARE absolutes in this world – there are some things that are non-negotiable, but how will you know which are? Will you take their word for it? Don’t stop short – find out for yourself.  Questions don’t intimidate the truth.  Ask and ask again.  Like putting together a puzzle: find the hard, straight edges first, then fill in the rest.  (Acts 17:11)
Rethink the model / method. There are three main stages of production: foundation (the originating principles / the core message), method (the means / the ‘how-to’), and results (the bottom line / the end).  In most cases, the foundation and the results are not negotiable.  For example, a business does not allow its employees to determine their purpose or bottom line.  Christ didn’t survey his disciples before establishing the church’s message and mission.  But both would find their work more productive if they are willing to rethink the methodology.  I’m sure you agree to a point or else you would be Amish … living without electricity, cell phones, and gasoline-powered vehicles.  Build your life from the foundation up, not the roof down.  There are many right ways to do something good, just as there are many wrong ways, too.  Just avoid the wrong ways and find out which right way works for you!
Ask yourself ‘What if…?’ Break out of the cage of what’s possible and away from doubts of what could have been. Have faith – trust God for the reality of what you can only hope for and claim the proof of what doesn’t yet exist for His glory and your good (Heb. 11:1-3, 6). We spend far too little time daydreaming and too much time caged by routined reality.  We would have never sent astronauts to the moon without rebels of reality.  We would have never gotten Apollo 13 back without some true out-of-the-box thinkers. So take a little NASA time each day.  Take your thinking cap into your prayer closet and get God into your think-tank… He’ll blow it apart and you’ll find yourself happier than ever.  Let God take you outside, under the stars (like He did with Abraham), to give an impossible vision of what He can do – in you, then through you and your offspring!
Don’t be afraid of change. Complacency is stagnation. We should fear not-changing!  Some brag about not changing – never changing.  Unless you’re God, that’s not a good thing!  I hope that what I have to say now is different from a decade ago. If you’re sitting on your laurels, then you’re wearing them in the wrong place!  I have found that change is more often viewed as negative (compromise / deterioration) than positive (sanctification / progress). Some never want to loose from the dock in fear of aimless drifting, so they go through the motions of accomplishment and ‘setting sail’ while never leaving the harbor.  You must set sail! You must brave the ups and downs of the deep, blue vastness.  Watch the safety of the port fade from view as you go forward, just never abandon the final authority of God and His Word, or else you’ll be lost at sea without your Captain and your compass.

Do the right thing, the right way!  Always, always, always rebel as peaceably as possible.  This world doesn’t need you going postal (figuratively or literally).  If you can rebel alone – do it.  There’s nothing worse than a causeless cause.  Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.  Change doesn’t happen overnight, so take it slow.  Be purposed.  Be intentional.  Be legitimate and credible.  Live your vision before you share it with others.

rebel with caution

A rubber-meets-the-road word of warning to all would-be rebels:
Schools produce fact-learners, not true thinkers.
Parents need obedient children, not good challengers.
Factories employ compliant doers, not imaginariams.
Big governments need party-voting, cooperative citizens, not free-thinking independents.
Most churches would prefer team players to independent rebels.
And who would want a insurgent? Really? Can you blame them?
So you might have to ask yourself the tough questions:
IDENTITY: Can you be yourself and still fit in?  Do you really want to fit in?  Who are you trying to impress?  Are you willing to deal with the loneliness associated with leadership?  (Prov. 29:25, 2 Timothy 4:16)
MOTIVE: Is your rebellion self-motivated or for a higher calling?  Is it motivated by truth or by negativity?  By hope or by angst?  (Philippians 3:7-14)
IMPORTANCE: Is it absolutely necessary?  Is it worthy of dying for? Will your rebellion give God glory? If not, consider hanging it up now.  Better not to start than to waste time and money on something you’ll not finish anyway.  (Acts 20:24)
Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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