Holy Discontent

holy discontent

By Bill Hybels

Moses

“I’ve come to refer to the powerful, spiritual congruence that connected Moses’ priorities to the priorities of God as his “holy discontent,” and it’s a concept that works in our modern world as well.  Still today, what wrecks the heart of someone who loves God is often the very thing God want to use to fire them up to do something that, under normal circumstances, they would never attempt to do….And it all starts with finding your holy discontent; it begins with you determining what it is that you can’t stand” (p. 25).

Mother Teresa

“For twenty years prior to her work as a world-renowned friend to the friendless, though, the young woman born Agnes Gonzha Bojaxhiu was just an average geography teacher who worked in Calcutta.  This is where her Popeye moment [the point where we ‘cant’s stands it no more”] comes in.  Each morning, she’d make her way to St. Mary’s High School to inspire young minds, but all around the school, conditions were anything but inspiring.  Life on the streets was deplorable!  Her route to work took her right by men and women who were homeless, destitute, and incapacitated by disease.  Every day, something in her spirit would cry out, ‘That’s all I can stand!  I just can’t stand this anymore!’  Ultimately, though, the gut-wrenching poverty that assaulted her senses and wrecked her soul day in and day out thrust her into solution mode” (p. 35).

Paul

“We were all created to do good works [Ephesians 2:10].  I was created to do good works.  Just as confidently, I’m here to tell you that you were created to do good works, which explains how I know that you have a holy discontent banging around in your brain somewhere — if you’re alive and kicking today, then a specific work that that you are expected to do” (p. 51).

“The danger in opting out of the holy discontent pursuit is that in doing so, you also opt out of tackling the good works God has wired you to accomplish.  The goal, friends, is to cultivate your soul’s soil so that this doing-of-good-works process can unfold in your life….There is no greater satisfaction this side of heaven!” (p. 51).

Fundamental State of Leadership

“About the time I was fleshing out my thoughts around the holy discontent concept, I came across a book written by University of Michigan business school professor Robert Quinn.  It contained a theory that really resonated with me — something he called the “fundamental state” theory.  Essentially, it says that when a person is gripped by a powerful passion (or driven by holy discontent, you might say), he or she literally enters into a completely different state of mind; in fact, they shift mental gears altogether and begin operating on an entirely new level” (p. 117).

“According to Quinn, people can actually migrate at will from what he calls the “normal state” to a place known as the “fundamental state.”  This is helpful to know, especially since you may be stuck in the “normal state” without even knowing it.  Here’s how to tell: in the normal state, you’re almost entirely self-absorbed.  You have a reactive approach to life.  And you try to maintain the status quo, regardless how unbearable the status quo is.  Professor Quinn puts it this way in his book, Building the Bridge as You Walk Across It:

‘When we accept the world as it is [by living in the normal state], we deny our ability to see something better, and hence our ability to be something better.  We become what we behold.’  Accepting the world as it is.  Denying our ability to see something better.  Denying our ability to be something better.  This is life in the normal state.  What’s not normal, Professor Quinn says, is embracing the fact that another state exists” (pp. 117, 118).

Purpose

Business in Chicago

Why does Trinity’s Business Program exist?

  • Provide a Biblical informed business education in the Reformed tradition
  • Empower individuals to discover, develop, and engage their gifts and calling through:
    • Engaging coursework
    • Relevant professional experiences/Engaging in the marketplace (Chicago)
    • Collaborative learning environment
    • Mentors and coaches
  • Change lives (including our own)

TrinityBusinessDept

How is Trinity’s Business Program different?

  • Bachelor of Science degrees in the following business fields:
    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Entrepreneurial Management
    • Marketing
  • Reformed Christian perspective
  • City of Chicago and Chicago Semester: http://chicagosemester.org/
  • Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment (CECE): https://www.facebook.com/CECETroll/
    • Student-led; faculty/practitioner-coached

Why Does CECE Exist?

  • Converge campus activities around the development of students as faithful entrepreneurial leaders
  • Complement curricular and co-curricular programs across campus that share our vision and mission
  • Connect to the marketplace
  • Build a #trinitiytrolltribe
  • Ultimately, to empower individuals to discern, develop, and deploy gifts and calling

CECE Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment's Profile Photo

What Do We Do?

Immersive and Integrative Education to Empower People and Engage the Marketplace.

 

Join Us

Values Before Metrics

Ozinga Presents on Leadership

Recently, Jonathan Zandstra interviewed Aaron Ozinga ’03, president of Ozinga Materials, Inc. and a member of the Board of Trustees of Trinity, about his perspectives on “For Profit Settings.”

Leadership starts with oneself and knowing and practicing one’s values.

Ozinga Materials explicitly define their values as “Servant, student, entrepreneur.”

What’s more, values trump metrics: “We are a big company, so you might think we are focused on metrics. But we are very focused on our uesvalues,” Ozinga said. “We’re not looking at sales figures, but how we exemplify those core values …We make it clear to people in opening introductions what we are about.  It comes down to trust.”

The Four Step Business Development Model

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

By Steve Blank

“Start-up is not a smaller version of a larger company” (https://steveblank.com/2010/01/14/a-startup-is-not-a-smaller-version-of-a-large-company/)

“So what is it that makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture?  Simply this: startups that survive the first few tough years do not follow the traditional product-centric launch model….[The] winners einvent and live by a process of customer learning and discovery….This book describes the ‘Customer Development’ model in detail.  The model is a paradox because it is followed by successful startups, yet articulated by no one.  Its basic propositions are the antithesis of common wisdom yet they are followed by those who succeed.  It is the path that is hidden in plain sight” (pp. iv, v).

 

What is the Product Development Model?

  • Concept and Seed: “[Founders] capture their passion and vision for the company and turn them into a key set of ideas, which quickly become a business plan….Next, issues surrounding the product need to be defined: What is the product or service concept?  Is it possible to build?….Second, who will the customers be and where will they be found?….Step three probes how the product will ultimately reach the customer and the potential distribution channel….pricing…financial plan”(pp. 2-3).
  • Product Development: “Everyone stops talking and starts working.  The respective departments go to their virtual corners as the company begins to specialize by functions….Engineering…. Marketing” (p. 3).
  • Alpha/Beta Test: “Engineering works with a small group of outside users to make sure the product works as specified and tests it for bugs.  Marketing develops a complete marketing communications plan, provides Sales with a full complement of support material, and starts the public relations bandwagon rolling” (p. 4).
  • Product Launch and First Customer Ship: “Product launch and first customer ship is the final step in this model, and what the company has been driving for.  With the product working (sort of), the company goes into ‘big bang’ spending mode.  Sales is heavily building and staffing a national sales organization…” (p. 4)

What’s Wrong with the Product Development Model?

  • Where are the Customers?  “To begin with, the Product Development diagram completely ignores the fundamental truth about startups and all new products.  The greatest risk — and hence the greatest cause of failuire — in startups is not the development of the new product but in the development of customers and markets.  Startups don’t fail because they lack a product; they fail because the lack customers and a proven financial model” (p. 5).
  • The Focus on First Customer Ship Date: “Using the Product Development model forces sales and marketing to focus on the first customer ship date.  Most competent sales and marketing executives look  at the first customer ship date. look at the calendar on the wall, and then work backwards figuring out how to do their job in time….The flaw in this thinking is that ‘first customer ship’ is only the date when Product Development thinks they are ‘finished’ building the product. The first customer ship date does not mean the company understands its customers or how to market or sell to them….Obviously, your new division or company wants to get a product to market and sell it, but that cannot be done until you understand who you are selling your product to and why they are buying it” (p. 5).
  • An Emphasis on Execution Instead of Learning and Discover.  “In startups the emphasis is on ‘get it done, and get it done fast.’  So it’s natural that heads of Sales and Marketing believe they are hired for what they know, not what they can learn….This is usually a faulty assumption.  Before we can sell a product, we have to ask and answer some basic questions: What are the problems our product solves?  Do customers perceive these problems as important or ‘must have?’  If we’re selling to consumers, how do we reach them?  How big is this problem?  Who do we make the first sales call on?  Who else has to approve the purchase?  How many customers do we need to be profitable?  What is the average order size?…For startups in a new market, these are not merely execution activities; they are learning and discovery activities critical to the company’s success or failure” (p. 6).
  • A Lack of Meaningful Sales, Marketing, and Business Development Milestones.   “What kind of objectives should a startup want or need?  That’s the key question.  Most executives and marketers focus on execution activities because at least these are measurable.  For example, in sales, revenue is the number one thing that matters….Some startup sales execs also believe hiring the core sales team is a key objective….In reality none of these are true objectives.  Simply put, a startup should focus on reaching a deep understanding of customers and their problems, discovering a repeatable road map of how they buy, and building a financial model that results in profitability.  The appropriate milestones measuring a startup’s progress answers these questions:  How well do we understand what problems customers have?  How much will they pay to solve those problems?  Do our product features solve these problems?  Do we understand our customers’ business?  Do we understand the hierarchy of customer needs?  Have we found visionary customers, one who will buy the product early?  Is our product a must-have for those customers?  Do we understand the sales road map enough to consistently sell the product?  Do we understand what we need to be profitable?  Are the sales and business plan realistic, scalable, and achievable?  What do we do if our model turns out to be wrong?” (p. 7).
  • The Use of a Product Development Methodology to Measure Sales.  “[The Product Development Plan] calls for selling in volume the day Engineering is finished building the product.  What plan says that?  Why, the business plan, which uses the Product Development model to set milestones.  The consequences is selling isn’t predicated on discovering the right market or whether any customers will shell out cash for your product.  This ‘ready or not, here we come’ attitude means you won’t know if the sales strategy and plan actually work until after first customer ship” (p. 8).
  • The Use of a Product Development Methodology to Measure Marketing.  “The head of Marketing looks at the same [process] and sees something quite different….For Marketing, first customer ship means feeding the sales pipeline with a constant stream of customer prospects….At first glance this process may look quite reasonable, except for one small item: all this marketing activity occurs before customers start buying — that is, before Sales has had a chance to actually test the positioning, marketing strategy, or demand-creation activities in front of real customers” (p. 9).
  • Premature Scaling.
  • Death Spiral.

“The Customer Development model of a startup starts with a simple premise: learning and discovering who a company’s initial customers will be, and what markets they are in, requires a separate and distinct process from Product Development….Before any of the traditional functions of selling and marketing can happen, the company has to prove a market could exist, verify someone would pay real dollars for solutions the company envisions, and then go out and create the market….Where Product Development is focused on first customer ship, the Customer Development model moves learning about customers and their problems as early in the development process as possible.  In addition, the model is built on the idea that every startup has a set of definable milestones no amount of funding can accelerate” (p. 15).

What is the Customer Development Model?

“Most startups lack a process for discovering their markets, locating their first customers, validating their assumptions, and growing their business” (p. 18).

“Broadly speaking, Customer Development focuses on understanding customer problems and needs, Customer Validation on developing a sales model that can be replicated, Customer Creation on creating and driving end user demand, and Company Building on transitioning the organization from one designed for learning and discovery to a well-oiled machine engineered for execution” (p. 19).

“[Each] step in the Customer Development model is iterative.  That’s a polite way of saying, ‘Unlike Product Development, finding the right customers and market is unpredictable, and we will screw up several times before we get it right'” (p. 19).

 

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

Step 1: Customer Discovery.  The goal of Customer Discovery is…finding out who the customers for your product are and whether the problem you believe you are solving is important to them.  More formally, this step involves discovering whether the problem, product and customer hypotheses in your business [model] are correct” (p. 20).

Step 2: Customer Validation.  The goal of this step is to build a repeatable sales road map for [the sales and marketing teams to follow later….”In essence, Customer Discovery and Customer Validation corroborate your business model.  Completing these first two steps verifies your market, locates your customers, tests the perceived value of your product, identifies the economic buyer, establishes your pricing and channel strategy, and checks out your sales cycle and process.  If, and only if you find a group of repeatable customers with a predictable sales process, and then find those customers yield a profitable business model, do you move to the next step (scaling up and crossing the Chasm)” (p. 21).

Step 3: Customer Creation.  “Customer creation builds on the success the company has had in it initial sales.  Its goal is to create end-user demand and drive that demand into a company’s sales channel.  This step is placed after Customer Validation to move heavy marketing spending after the point where a startup acquires its first customers, thus allowing the company to control its cash burn rate and protect its most precious asset” (p. 22).

Step 4: Company Building.  “Company building is where the company transitions from its informal, learning and discovering-oriented Customer Development team into formal departments with VPs of Sales, Marketing and Business Development.  [Founders] now focus on building mission-oriented departments exploiting the company’s early market success” (p. 22).

Toward Faithful Entrepreneurial Leadership

By Goosen and Stevens

 

The Essence of Entrepreneurship

  • Innovation: “the ability to do something new, unique and different and to satisfy a need in the marketplace.  While an inventor comes up with ideas, an innovator delivers market-oriented products and services.  The role of the entrepreneur is then the pursuit of innovation in the marketplace” (pp. 23, 24).
  • Seizing Opportunities: “Entrepreneurs recognize, seize and pursue opportunities to innovate in the marketplace.  They see change as normal and healthy….An entrepreneur is one who creates a new venture and gathers the necessary resources to pursue the opportunity” (p. 25).
  • Gaining personal satisfaction through innovation: “In short, entrepreneurs must have a clear sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in their work.  They will not succeed if they do not like what they are doing but are in it only for the money” (pp. 25, 26).
  • Doing Risk Analysis:  “An entrepreneur must have the discipline to conduct sufficient due diligence before committing resources to the undertaking” (p. 26).
  • Developing Entrepreneurial Habits:  “According to Stephen Spinelli and Jeffrey Timmons, there are six dominant themes that have emerged from what successful entrepreneurs do and how they perform: Commitment and determination, Leadership, Opportunity obsession, Tolerance of risk, Tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty, Creativity, self-reliance and adaptability, Motivation to excel (p. 27).

The Essence of Leadership

“[Without] leadership, great ideas never become embodied.  But at the same time, people that are gifted in coordinating work and workers–managers–also may not be entrepreneurs as they do not bring to their leadership innovation, seizing opportunities and creating” (p. 27).

Leadership: “a relationship of influence in which follower-ship is gained and goals are met”  (p. 29).

  • Good leaders cultivate the culture of a community or organization.  It turns out that the culture (identified by artifacts and symbols, values that are cherished, and fundamental beliefs) speaks more loudly than the leader….[The] leader is in a sense an environmental engineer, reinforcing values, providing symbols and artifacts that visualize those values, and seeing that the fundamental beliefs of the organization are right and appropriated” (p. 30).
  • Good leaders cast a vision for the community or organization (p. 30).
  • Good leaders implement a process by which follower-ship is gained and goals are attained….It is process of recognizing the input, concerns and passions that God has given members of a group, along with other leaders in the same community, and working with this….And the leader can only lead the process if he or she actually joins the community (or system)” (p. 30).
  • Good leaders implement fairness and justice (p. 31).
  • Good leaders exercise stewardship of the gifts and talents of others….This is called ‘equipping’ in the Bible…” (p. 31).
  • Good leaders make followers into leaders. “[Everyone] is fitted by God to have a sphere of influence, great or small, and thus every person is a leader in some sense” (pp. 31, 32).

“The role of leadership is evident in the Genesis narrative of creation when Adam was called to name the animals, and Adam and Eve were called to fill the earth….Second, leadership is one of the gifts of the Spirit mentioned in the Pauline letters (Rom 12:8).  This means that over and above any natural leadership capacity, which to a larger or lesser extent all have, some people receive an anointing that moves their natural and creational abilities a notch further” (p. 32).

The Essence of Entrepreneurial Leadership

“Our concept of entrepreneurial leadership is based on the potent combination of what constitutes a great leader and what the entrepreneur brings to that leadership.  Entrepreneurs must view themselves more deliberately as leaders and realize that they have great ability to influence others.   Likewise, leaders benefit by expanding their influence through their capacity to pursue innovation” (p. 40).

A Christian Worldview

“Worldview is the story about everything that gives us meaning and helps us make sense of life….For the Christian, this worldview is rooted in the story of the Bible….It is the grand narrative of God’s determination to bring his life-bringing rule into all creation and all people, concluding in the transformation of everything into a new heaven and a new earth….Because the biblical story is the grand narrative of who we are, who God is and what it all means, it is a story that catches up our life callings and enfold them in a grander narrative” (p. 49).

“God has made creatures that are capable of humanizing the earth, and in the process become more human themselves.  That means that both God and human beings are in charge of the world.  They are partners, but not equal partners.  Men and women are stewards entrusted with creation but accountable to the Creator.  Human activity is expected and critical, but it is not absolute.  In the end, and there will be an end, the conclusion of all is not a technical paradise or a dreary end in a fizzle or a bang, but the glorious second coming of Christ and the renewal of everything (Rev 21:5).  This empowers, but does not make absolute, human activity.  As individuals we are not extinguished, reincarnated or merely join the spirits of our ancestors.  We are resurrected to a grand rendezvous with our Creator and Redeemer in a completely renewed creation where we will enjoy ongoing creativity (Rev 21:24).  We will be more human than we could be in this life” (pp. 54, 55).

“[A] biblical worldview suggests that work undertaken with faith, hope and love will last, and purged of sin will find its place in the new heaven and new earth” (p. 60).

Toward Defining Faithful Entrepreneurial Leadership

“In the beginning God created….And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’….So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’” (Genesis 1:1,26,27,28).

  • God created all work to matter, but without God work is meaningless. “‘What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?….People can do no better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their toil.  This too, I see, is from the hand of God’ (Ecles 2:22, 24)….[The Professor in Ecclesiastes] is convinced that it is God’s will for work to be useless!  And God speaking through this Professor asks us to reflect on our experience of work because he wants to call us to faith in a God who has determined that work should be useless….If work, even volunteer work in Christian service, proves to be meaningless, then we are invited to conclude that we were not made for work but for God.  If the Professor is right, then we will not find satisfaction in our work through faith in God….; instead, we will find satisfaction in our God through our experience of work….His holy doubt gives us opportunity to find in God what we cannot find in work under the sun.  Work is an evangelist to take us to Christ” (pp. 79, 80).
  • We were created in God’s image to be co-creators with God. “Two things distinguish human beings from other animals.  First, we are made as relational beings — male and female — in resemblance of the relational God who dwells as a being in communion — Father, Son and Spirit.  [Second, we] are like God in that we are made to work, to invent, to care for creation and to develop the potential of the created order” (p. 82).
  • We were created to work in community. “We are most godlike in relationships.  Persons are not the same as individuals.  We are persons not in our individual life by in relationship to God and other people” (p. 68).
  • Work is worship. “‘All spirituality springs from this fundamental fact of a God who love us first…If Christian spirituality is, before all else, an initiative by and a gift from God who loved us and seeks us, spirituality is then our recognition and response, with all that entails, to this love of God that desires to humanize and sanctify us.  This path to spirituality is a process, concrete but never finished, by which we identify ourselves with God’s plan for creation.  Because this plan is essentially the Kingdom of God and its justice (holiness), spirituality is identification with the will of God for bringing this Kingdom to us and others’ (Segundo Galilea, as quoted in Entrepreneurial Leadership)….[Spirituality] is not cultivating extra-ordinary experiences but rather the infiltration of ordinary life with kingdom justice and holiness….The spirit is simply one dimension of personhood in a totally integrated personhood that is expressed in bodily activity, emotional life and intellectual thought (soul)….In biblical anthropology we do not have a body or soul or spirit; we are a body, a soul, a spirit” (pp. 64, 68).
  • Thus…“[We] go to work as a whole person — not just mind or body, but all that inner yearning and expressiveness that links us God….[As] soul persons with capacity to relate to God, we are given ideas, visions, and perspectives that can be implemented through entrepreneurial activity….[Our] actual experiences in envisioning, inventing and implementing as entrepreneurs are an arena for spiritual growth….The workplace presents most people with the greatest opportunity for spiritual growth….[Christian] spirituality and its recognition of a soul dimension to human life and work means that personal growth is not a human achievement (through disciplines and practices) but a response to the Spirit’s initiative” (pp., 68, 69).
  • We are called to work: As Christians, we seek to worship God by co-creating work experiences in the marketplace that matter.  This, too, is part of our Christian spirituality.  “[The marketplace] is the place where we get revealed as persons.  Our inside is revealed by what we do outside, by the way we work, by our relationships with people, by the realities of how we go about doing day to day enterprise….[The] seven deadly sins, soul-sapping struggles that include pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, sloth, and gluttony, are revealed not in quiet times and prayer retreats but in the thick of life, in business meetings, as we struggle over this month’s sales, when we have to deal with an awkward [situation with a] customer or employee.  And every soul-sapping struggle becomes an opportunity to grow spiritually….The work we do, if it is good work, is some part of God’s own work of creating, sustaining, transforming or consummating….We are actually partners with God in our daily work….It means that instead of regarding work in the world as a diversion from the spiritual life and from the ‘work of the Lord’…, we are doing ‘the Lord’s work’ in creating new products and services, developing the organizational culture of our business, engaging in trading and global enrichment, creating new wealth and improving human life….[We] must practice the ‘mixed life’….[both] working [and] communing with Jesus” (pp. 70, 71).

What Does it Mean to be Called to Work?

  • Belonging to God. “[Calling] is not generated from within a person but from the outside, and the outside comprises not merely our parents and our society, but God….All calling is based on the reality of a God who takes initiative, who seeks to include human beings in his grand project of transforming everything” (p. 111).
  • Being Godlike people in behavior. “We are called to a way of life…as other-oriented values and goals as the primary source of motivation.  The calling is to life — relationships, civic responsibilities, church membership, family, neighboring and work — not just to work….we are called not only to invent, innovate and accomplish, but to do this in a particular way, the way of faith, hope and love, the way of justice, compassion and self-control” (pp. 111, 112).
  • Doing God’s work in the world. “Calling…directs people to approach a particular life role (e.g. work) in a manner oriented toward demonstrating or deriving a sense of purpose or meaningfulness….The English Puritans brilliantly distinguished between the ‘general’ calling, by which people are summoned into a relationship with God to become children of God, and the ‘particular’ calling, by which people are guided into particular occupations, such as magistrate, homemaker, pastor or merchant” (p. 112).
  • Experiencing life purpose. “Life and work are not merely for our own advancement, not even simply to provide for our families, but we are caught up in a grand purpose, in the grand story of God’s plan for creation and people.  The entire notion of calling is rooted in the metanarrative of the Christian faith and subsumed by it” (p. 113).

“What Happens In A Life God Wants To Use And Improve?”

If You Want to Walk on Water..

By John Ortberg

 

READ Matthew 14:25-32.

“There is a consistent pattern in Scripture of what happens in a life that God wants to use and improve:

  • There is always a call….
  • There is always fear….
  • There is always reassurance….
  • There is always a decision….
  • There is always a changed life….

Those who say now are changed to.   They become a little harder, a little more resistant to his calling, a little more likely to say no to the next time.  Whatever the decision, it always changes a life–and it changes the world that that little life touches” (pp. 9, 10).

On Water-Walking

  • Water-walkers recognize God’s presence.  “In each case God had to get people’s attention….In each situation the person that God called felt afraid” (p. 15).
  • Water-walkers distinguish between faith and foolishness.  “This is not a story about risk-taking; it is primarily a story about obedience….This is not a story about extreme sports.  It’s about extreme discipleship” (p. 16).
  • Water-walkers get out of the boat.  “Your boat is whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself.  Your boat is whatever you are tempted to put your trust in, especially when life gets a little stormy.  Your boat is whatever keeps you so comfortable that you don’t want to give it up even if it’s keeping you from joining Jesus on the waves.   Your boat is whatever pulls you away from the high adventure of extreme discipleship.  Want to know what your boat is?  Your fear will tell you.  Just ask yourself this:  What is it that most produces fear in me — especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith?” (p. 17).
  • Water-walkers expect problems.  [We abandon ourselves to the power of Jesus.  Then it happens.  We experience the wind and we become afraid again] (p. 19).
  • Water-walkers accept fear as the price of growth.  “The choice to follow Jesus–the choice to grow–is the choice for the constant recurrence of fear.  You’ve got to get out of the boat a little every day….fear and growth go together like macaroni and cheese….Karl Barth said that comfort is one of the great siren calls of our age” (p. 21).  “Each time you get out of the boat, you become a little more likely to get out the next time.  It’s not that the fear goes away, but that you get used to living with fear.  You realize that it does not have the power to destroy you.  On the other hand, every time you resist that voice, every time you choose to stay in the boat rather than heed its call, the voice gets a little quieter in you.  Then at last you don’t hear its call at all” (p. 22).t
  • Water-walkers master failure management.  “Failure is not an event, but rather a judgement about an event.  Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things.  It is a way we think about outcomes” (p. 22).   “The worst failure is never to get out of the boat” (p. 23).
  • Water-walkers see failure as an opportunity to grow.   “Here’s the principle: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you” (p. 24).
  • Water-walkers learn to wait on the Lord.  “We have to wait on the Lord to receive power to walk on the water.  We have to wait for the Lord to make the storm disappear” (p. 25).
  • Water-walking brings a deeper connection with God.  “I believe that God’s general method for growing a deep, adventuresome faith in us is by asking us to get out of the boat.  More than hearing a great talk, or reading a great book, God uses real-world challenges to develop our ability to trust him” (p. 27).  “The call out of the boat involves crisis, opportunity, often failure, generally fear, sometimes suffering, always the calling to a task that is too big for us.  But there is no other way to grow faith and to partner with God” (p. 27).

On Gifts and Growth

There is not tragedy like the tragedy of the unopened gift” (p. 32).

“There are few things that attract us more than growth.  We were made to grow, and we love to be around growth” (p. 33).

“Consider the sense of fulfillment in the leaders of a company that is expanding, achieving its mission, giving vocational opportunities to men and women who yesterday didn’t have any.  They are watching the miracle of growth….On the other hand, there are few things sadder than stagnation” (p. 34).

“At the end of the day, God will not ask you why you didn’t lead someone else’s life or invest in someone else’s gifts. He will not ask, What did you do with what you didn’t have?  Though, he will ask, What did you do with what you had?

“Fear makes people disobedient to the call of the master” (p. 44).

“It is only in the process of accepting and solving problems that our ability to think creatively is enhanced, our persistence is strengthened, and our self-confidence is deepened.  If someone gives me the answers, I may get a good score on a test, but I will not have grown” (p. 47).

“Growth happens when you seek to exert control where you are able to rather than giving up in difficult circumstances.  It happens when you decide to be wholly faithful in a situation that you do not like and cannot understand.  It happens when you keep walking even though you see the wind.  Then you discover that you are not alone” (p. 104).

“Sin, to paraphrase what psychologist Carl Jung once said about neurosis, is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.  It is an attempt to obtain the pleasure that does not rightfully belong to me or evade the pain that does….Sooner or later, you have to turn and face the pain that makes temptation so attractive.  Sooner or later, you have to run to God” (p. 106).

“As Scott Peck puts it, ‘It is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that we grow mentally and spiritually….It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems'” (p. 111).

“The single command in Scripture that occurs more often than any other — God’s most frequently repeated instruction — is formulated in two words: Fear not…. I think God says ‘fear not’ so often because fear is the number one reason human beings are tempted to avoid doing what God asks them to do.  Fear is the number one reason human being are tempted to avoid getting out of the boat” (pp. 117, 118).

“All research suggests that self-esteem largely boils down to one issue: When you face a difficult situation, do you approach it, take action, and face it head on, or do you avoid it, wimp out, and run and hide?  If you take action, you get a surge of delight, even if things do not turn our perfectly.  I did a hard thing.  I took on a challenge.  You grow.  When you avoid facing up to a threatening situation, even if things end up turning out alright, inside you say, But the truth is, I wimped out.  I didn’t do the hard thing.  I took the easy way out.”  Avoidance kills an inner sense of confidence and esteem (pp. 124, 125).

“[The cave named Failure] is where you find yourself when you thought you were going to do great things, have a great family, or boldly go where no one had gone before, and it becomes clear that things will not work out as you dreamed.  Perhaps you are in the cave because of foolish choices.  Perhaps it is the result of circumstances you could not even control.  Most likely it is a combination of the two….There is only one other thing you need to know. The cave is where God does some of his best work in molding and shaping human lives.  Sometimes, when all the props and crutches in your life get stripped away and you find you have only one God, you discover that God is enough…that God wants his power to flow through your weaknesses” (pp. 138, 139).

On Working

“God is particularly active in working with people” (p. 57).

“You are a piece of work by God!… And because you were made in God’s image, you were also created to do work” (p. 58).

“You have a purpose–a design that is central to God’s dream for the human race….As a crucial part of your calling, you were given certain gifts, talents, longings, and desires” (p. 58).

“A calling is something you discover, not something you choose.  The word vocation comes from the Latin work for voice.  Discovering it involves very careful listening” (p. 60).

“As a rule, the people whom we read about in Scripture who were called by God felt quite inadequate….The first response to a God-sized calling is generally fear (p. 70).

“[People] will experience God’s power–but they will have to take the first step.  This not only involves acknowledgement of God’s power, but requires them to take a step of action based on the assumption that God is trustworthy as well” (p. 79).

Two Laws

  • Law of Cognition: “You are what you think” (p. 161ff).
  • Law of Exposure: “Your mind will think most about what it is most exposed to” (p. 162ff).

 

#TrollNation

Only 13% of employees are “engaged in their jobs” or “emotionally-invested” at work.  And that’s among the employed…(Gallup)

Empowering People to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling by Engaging the Marketplace.   This is our calling.  Beginning with our students.

Join our tribe!