Monthly Archives: March 2009

New Crossfit Huntsville Website

Check out the new Crossfit Huntsville website.  Clint, Daniel, and Russell did a great job with the redesign.  I personally like the Recent Posts along the bottom.  Each post is the workout of the day (WOD).  This new website allows everyone to post their scores for the day and talk a little trash (and encourage) everyone else.  Also, check out the videos.  Russell is pretty creative.  I’m the one that quits on the rope climb in the middle of the video (That was rep #5). 

On a personal note, I had a personal record on Fight Gone Bad today (Read the Recent Post with Russell lifting a barbell and my brother floating in the air like he’s sitting in a chair).  I did 294 reps, which is about 45 more than  the last time I did it.  CrossFit and the Zone diet has made a tremendous impact on my fitness.

I really enjoy my Crossfit community.  It is a great example of a Tribe (I highly recommend Seth Godin’s book at the link) – as you can tell from the banter on the site.  Find a Crossfit Box near you and give it a shot.

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God is good for church, but that stuff won’t work where I work

These are the notes I will use for our Sunday School Class tomorrow.  Come join us.

Reference:

Andy Stanley podcast “Taking Care of Business, Part 2: Current Market Indicators”. 8/11/2008

Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat. Multnomah Books. 2003

Gather:

·         In your workplace, which of these are valued more

o   Economics of the deal versus the ethics of the deal

o   Income versus integrity

o   Cash flow versus character

·         How do you justify Christian values in a capitalistic economy where return on investment, cash flow, bottom line, and shareholder , … are the ultimate “ends”?

 

·         What happens if in your place of employment, you are called upon or expected to do things that are clearly in opposition to what God has called you to be as a Christian? (Does this ever happen?)

 

Warm up:

I believe that there is a tendency to develop two sets of books to operate out of – one for personal life and one for business life.  We need to be careful in our work life otherwise we become idolaters – we say we are Christians, but we bow down to one of these

 

1.      Security – I have to pay my bills, my mortgage, get my bonus to make ends meet, …  The quest for security becomes the Lord of your life.

2.      Recognition – I have spent years developing this client base, company profile, reputation, etc.  People view me in a certain way, and if I all of the sudden interject my Christian values into the workplace, I would lose my reputation.  Recognition of your accomplishments becomes the Lord of your life.

3.      Progress – You want to move forward and going backward makes you cringe.  I love God, Jesus and all that church stuff, but when it comes down to it, I’m not going to make a decision professionally that makes me take a step back.  You have a hard time with decisions where the “right” decision may make you back up versus the “wrong” decision that may make you back up.  Progress becomes the Lord of your life.

 

The market encourages and reinforces you to pursue these three idols.

 

A major problem arises when you live one way in your church/family/friendship life and a different way in your business life.  Your ethics are like water – they seep.  It doesn’t matter how high a wall you build between the two, eventually there is a relationship that will be compromised from living out of two sets of books.

 

·         Parents that compromise themselves in the workplace compromise their moral authority at home

·         Eventually you will lose self-esteem and self respect – You are caught in an awful tension and you realize that you are a coward and a hypocrite.

·         “I’m afraid of what will happen if I do the “right” thing”

 

If you are willing to sacrifice your ethics for a “deal”, you are afraid of something – What is it?

 

Heavy Lifting:

 

·         When you say “no” to the right decision, you compromise and you lose the opportunity to see what God could have done if you stood your ground.

 

·         When you refuse to exercise faith and do the right thing, you miss an opportunity for God to show up, and you will always wonder what would have happened if I had done the right thing. (shame/guilt).

 

·         The Old Testament is full of stories of men and women that have to make difficult decisions – often times with their life on the line – where God intervenes after they make the “right” decision. 

o   David and Goliath

o   Moses and Pharaoh

o   Saul and David

o   Abraham and Isaac

o   Ester and King ?

 

These stories capture out imagination.  These are the stories we tell our kids.  Why?

 

Look in the book of Daniel

 

Background: 605 BC, Babylon (King Nebuchadnezzar) destroyed Israel and took best and brightest captive.  Integrated them into Babylonian culture – very metropolitan.  Became most powerful nation in the world.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego identified as extraordinary administrators.  Build up quite a professional reputation.  All the perks that go along with being at the top of their game professionally – invited to all the parties, access to people of power and influence, had their own servants, …

 

Daniel 3:1-8

The city is full of people worshipping different gods.  King N. comes up with a crafty plan and says you can worship whatever you want, but ultimately you worship me.  I’m the one that holds your fate in my hands.

 

Daniel 3:8-12

Jealous people that were overlooked for these high positions plotted to present SMA in a negative light to the king. Jealous  backstabbers.

 

Daniel 3:13-15

King gets mad.  Confronts the boys.  Gives them a second chance (he really likes them and wants them to succeed).  Finally asks “what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”  He wants the boys to know that their life lies in his hands.  He controls them and could squash them if he wanted to.

 

Daniel 3:16-18

The boys stand their ground.  “We don’t need to defend ourselves to you, O King” (i.e. tell that band to pipe down).  Our God is able to save us.  If he does, then it shows you don’t control us.  If not, we die – still don’t worship your image – either way our God wins, and you lose.

 

Daniel 3:19-30

King N. throws them in the furnace.  They don’t burn and they come out of the fire not even smelling like smoke.  King freaks out and declares their God the God of all Babylon and them gives the boys a raise.

 

You don’t belong to your manager, boss, ceo, board, etc.  You belong to the Invisible King and he is in control of your life.  Do the “right” thing regardless of the cost and give God a chance to show up.

 

Cool down: 

 

Do you think you are where you are professionally due to God’s goodness, grace, and opportunities he has given you, or do you think you are where you are professionally because you are a hard worker and “got after it” and God didn’t have anything to do with it?

 

This is a binary question.  You are on one side or the other.  No middle ground.

 

Once you get to a certain level in your career, do you have to compromise the principles of God to maintain the blessings of God?  (A question I would love to ask Politicians).

 

Assignment:

 

Wish every Christian in the midst of your success would come smack up against a situation that calls you to abandon your faith and Christian morals for the sake of income.  In that moment you will discover something about you, God, and the strength of your faith.  (As a parent you will also have  a story to tell your kids about a time you made the right call when you had a lot to lose).

 

Do the right thing and give God a chance to show up!

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Condition

Here is what’s going on at Crossfit Huntsville. 

I’m just glad I worked hard enough to make the video. 

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The Boss

These are the notes I will be using for the Sunday School Lesson tomorrow.  I am doing a four part series on When Work and Family Collide.  I am feeling pretty convicted on this subject right now since I am traveling a lot and missing some of the things going on at home.

References:

Andy Stanley, Northpoint Podcast “Taking Care of Business, Part 1: Meet the Boss”

Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat – Who Wins When Family and Work Collide?. Multnomah Books.  2003.

 

Gather:

·         Describe your first job.

·         Describe the worst job you ever had – what made it “that bad”?

·         Describe the best job you ever had – what made it “that good”?

Warm up:

·         How do we view work?  What are the important elements of your “job”?

 

·         How does God view work?  (Genesis 2:8,15)

o   Work for man was not a product of The Fall.  It existed prior to The Fall.

o   When God had everything perfect, 1st thing he did for man was put him to work.

o   When earth was perfect, mankind (the image of God) was working – as a gardener.

o   God loves it when we work!

 

We tend to place more emphasis on the “where” and “how much” aspects, while God just wants to see us work – where we are, whatever you do.

 

Heavy Lifting:

 

Paul addresses work in his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 3:22-4:1).

 

·         Who does God address first?  —–Slaves

o   Colossians 3:22 – “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.”

o   Basically tells the slaves to be the best slave you can possibly be and work as if they are working for the Lord.

·         Who does God address last?  —–Masters

o   Colossians 4:1 – “Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven”

o   Basically tells the Masters to be fair and good to their slaves because they too have a Master over them.

·         In between these two, he addresses us.  In reality, aren’t we all somewhere between Masters and Slaves in our jobs?

o   Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart”

§  “Whatever” is significant.  It means what you are doing right now – not your dream job, not when you get to start your own business, not after that promotion you think you deserve, not once I get to leave my job and work in the home raising my kids.

§  We want to raise our hands and ask for a pass – Look at what I do, God?  “All my heart”?  Come on, All I do is ______.  The people above me don’t put their heart into it, why should I? 

o   Colossians 3:23 continued – “As working for the Lord, not for man”

§  What does “working for [the] man” look like?

·         Do as little as you can to get by, unless someone is watching.

·         Appear to be very busy, even if you aren’t.

·         Appear to be indispensible to the company, even if you are not.

·         Take credit for as many ideas as you can.

·         Jockey for position.

·         Look at employer as source of income and source of security.

§  This verse gives us a new standard – Do it as if you were working for God.  You are working for a big Boss in heaven, not for [the] man.

o   Colossians 3:24 – “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward”

§  Paul pulls us into a broader context.  As Christians, you will give an account for every single part of your life to the Lord.  We are rewarded for all parts.  We want to say, “I will put my whole heart into my family, worship, friendships, … but work?  All I do is ______.”

§  God does not compartmentalize!

§  In heaven (when God makes all things perfect again – like it was in Eden) we will have jobs.  We will work.

§  God is interested in our work.  He wants to know who the faithful workers are that can be trusted with greater accountability later on.

§  WHAT YOU DO IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU DO IT!

·         We focus on what and where

·         God focuses on how and your diligence.

o   Colossians 3:24 continued – “It is the Lord Christ you are serving”

§  Pretty blunt for those that haven’t understood the message yet.

§  We serve Christ in the job market, career, homemaking, WHATEVER.

 

Cool down:  4 Statements –

 

1.      Your work has eternal implications even if it appears it doesn’t have any eternal significant.

·         Everything has eternal significant – even though your “product” does determine eternity.

·         If I were a doctor, pastor, missionary, … 

·         God loves to see you work.

 

2.      How you perform at work is as important as where you work.

·         This should be a very liberating statement.  Is it?

·         We are all focused on the “where” – we all have friends with better jobs, higher paying jobs, … the grass is always greener.

·         God doesn’t mind you asking for a better job, but what about NOW.

 

3.      How you perform at work is as important as how you behave.

·         Have you ever run into the person at work that prides themselves on the Christianity they display, but at the same time feel like it’s ok to be a slacker.

·         Poor workmanship is never balanced out by good character.

·         “God doesn’t care about the secular world or the market place” – Yes, He does!

4.      Putting your heart into your work allows God to bless your work.

·         God does not bless disobedience.

·         God won’t give you success in areas that you are clearly violating His command.

o   Bless my marriage – Are you following the commands for marriage in the Bible?

o   Bless my finances – Are you stewarding your money according to the principles in the Bible?

o   Bless my family – Are you raising your family according to biblical standards?

o   Bless my work – When you do your job with your whole heart, as if unto the Lord, you make yourself blessable.

·         You can’t got to a job where you give half effort, ask God for something better, and expect Him to respond.

·         Invite God into the areas that you want blessed.  Think you will see a difference in the way you operate in those areas if you truly invite God in?

 

Assignment:

 

For one day this week, show up to work and work at it will all your heart, as if working for the Lord.      

 

Think through what this looks like:

·         When would you arrive?

·         How quickly would you respond?

·         How long is lunch?

·         Where would you go?

·         What does break time look like?

·         etc.

 

Try it and be ready to discuss it next week.

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Trickle Up Innovation

I have read two really interesting articles about the idea of “Trickle Up Innovation”.  The first article is “How Innovations from Developing Nations Trickle-Up to the West” in Fast Company magazine.  The basic premise of Trickle Up Innovation is ideas are developed, tested, and vetted in developing markets.  Ideas that have a big impact in reducing costs or increasing business will get noticed and implemented back West.  For example, it is much easier to launch a cell phone application in Kenya that allows people to list and search market goods with location maps.  You could never launch this in the US – too many people web shop from their desktops – there is no reason to waste your time doing it on your phone.  In Kenya they bypassed the copper-based land-lines, and their primary means of communications is the mobile phone.  If the mobile phone based purchasing application works, it may make its way back to the US.  Other ideas are being tested in banking, finance, farming, communications, computing, etc. 

Two thoughts:

·         It’s a shame to think that the US is too expensive for new ideas.  I guess our wealth is a double edged sword.  It takes a lot of capital and investment to push the boundaries like we are doing, but once a market is set, like the wireless industry – a $100B industry, it becomes too expensive with too many gatekeepers to play and test new ideas. 

·         It seems like a good symbiotic relationship with the developing nations to test new technologies that will benefit them immediately and morph into something that will enable the West as well.

The second article, The Netbook Effect, is concrete example of Trickle Up. The one laptop per child (OLPC) laptop initiative was a gutsy initiative by Mary Lou Jepson.  Her motivation was to create a laptop cheap enough that the developing world could purchase and use to get connected to the rest of the world.  At $100, the price constraints forced her to be incredible innovative in the design.  Drop the spinning hard drive and go with flash to conserve power, use open source Linux instead of expensive Microsoft, develop an innovative LCD display, choose a slower AMD processor that is much more power efficient.  The laptop manufacturer Quanta teamed with them to produce the end product.  A competitor, Asustek, created an ultra-cheap laptop, similar to the OLPC device, that they thought would be purchased by the rising middle class in China and India.  Shockingly, the majority of the lot were purchased by people in Western countries looking for a smaller laptop that fits in a purse or satchel that can be used to peak at Facebook during the day. 

Two Questions:

·         How many applications do you run a day on your laptop?

·         Have you ever used Google Docs, FotoFlexer, or any other web-based applications?

Two Thoughts:

·         If all that you are doing is blogging and checking Facebook on your laptop, there is no need the horsepower pushed by most laptops.  Why pay 3x the cost for a laptop, when a netbook will do everything you need it to do?

·         The developers of the online applications have the benefit of observing the most used parts of the applications you run on your computer and have made focused web apps that do the same.  How many of you have Photoshop?  Do you use all of the functions available, or do you just use it to adjust the contrast, scale and edit photos?  For what I do, Fotoflexer look to be more than adequate.  I will be trying it over the next couple of weeks to test this.

A tool developed for children in developing nations is reshaping the world computer market. I have played with a OLPC laptop at the STAR-TIDES demo (GATR participates in many STAR-TIDES demos).  Pretty amazing little computer.  I think my next home computer is going to be a netbook.  I can’t justify the price and horsepower just to write blogs, edit photos, buy books on Amazon, and update my status on Facebook.  At home all I need is a wireless connection and a web browser.  I bet that’s all you need as well.

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