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It’s almost here

Today I’m practicing what I preach and inviting you into one of the most personal things I’ve ever done. This book is a map that I believe can grow us into people who more and more resemble the heart of God. Writing it changed me, and I want to get it into as many hands as possible. Preorders are the best way to do that, and they are apparently a really, really big deal in the book world, setting the trajectory for the entire release process. If you’re planning on it, thinking on it, curious about it – would you please take a minute and preorder it?

Buying it now gives us the chance to get more books printed, which means more chances for people to read the ideas it holds. My publishers have a fun month of giveaways ahead, so when you preorder be sure to take a screenshot of your receipt and email it to me to be automatically entered to win cool stuff like Cubs tickets, gift cards, and more. Send them to thisinvitationallife@gmail.com and we’ll announce a winner every Friday in July! +Preorder link is in my profile, books can be found on amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Summer of Invitation: water balloon wars

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Every summer, one of my favorite memories as a kid was getting into water balloon wars with my friends. We would fill up a bucket of balloons, sneak up on the enemy and unleash a rainbow assault of H2O. It was amazing.  Now as a dad, I’m watching this tradition pass down a generation and I could not be prouder EXCEPT I hate tying balloons. Last summer, I must have tied a couple thousand balloons, a few of them even bursting on me. I repeat, I hate tying balloons. A few weeks back a few kids had a stockpile of balloons, launch them at us and then they’d disappear for 60 seconds only to return with another hundred balloons. I was blown away and wondered what parent was helping them tie all these balloons. Intrigued I walked over and got introduced to the greatest invention ever!

In 2014 Joe Malone, a father of 8 launched TINNUS (there is nothing new under the sun) and unveiled its first product Bunch O Balloons. Being a dad of eight, he was tired of tying balloons and began dreaming of how his kids could fill up the balloons ALL by themselves. He tried a number of different concepts before landing on this one. In one year he raised 121k on Kickstarter, probably all dads like me who were sick and tired of tying balloons. Friends, this man is a saint! Long live Joe Malone! He has literally saved me hours of tying knots this summer so I can actually spend more time launching water balloons at my kids and their friends. #SummerofFun

* a couple of epic water balloon games. Capture the flag with water balloons. You still use a flag, instead of tagging people with your hands you have to hit them with a water balloon. Also dodge ball (aka dodge balloon) is an absolute blast!

slow claps

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This is one of my favorite church pictures ever.

Every baptism at Rock Harbor Fullerton was special. We always had to end our service early, ask the family to walk outside because the auditorium we were renting wouldn’t allow that many gallons of water on stage. Let’s be honest, they saw our baptismal; which was a inflatable kiddie pool (that we covered in black linens) because that’s all we could afford. So a few of us would take turns trying to blow the baptismal up, then a couple guys would carry 2 gallon buckets of water and pour them into the baptismal. The water was ice cold. Ice cold actually makes that water seem warm. It was the kind of cold that literally made your spleen bleed. It was terrible.

We’d wrap up service early, invite the RHF family outside to celebrate people saying yes to Jesus. Food trucks would often come. People would be standing around the baptismal and also on the second story overlooking the kiddie pool. We had one lousy sound system where we would sing a few songs and then people who were getting baptized would come share their story. One by one, people came forward and talked about who they once were and then they’d share about a person who came alongside them. Someone who took a risk. Someone who listened. Someone who made an invite. Someone who never gave up on them. That someone always had a name. They were always in attendance. And when they got called out, our people would lose their minds. We loved celebrating the Risk-Taker, those who truly embodied this invitational life.

When they were done sharing their story, this bizarre tradition, which was a mixture of initiation and rite of passage began where people started a slow clap as they headed to the ice cold inflatable pool. As one of the pastors would be praying over them the slow clap would build and build until the person went fully under the water and came bursting out of the water. As they came out up out of the water the people would cheer and welcome them into the family. It was beautiful. Honest & Human.

I’ll never forget those services. Even though they ran so late, they were my favorite. It was sheer unadulterated joy. Filled with Tears. Laughter. Community. Jesus. Redemption. Slow Claps. Expectancy. Answered Prayers. Ice Cold Water. New Creation. New Family.

it was a powerful reminder of what happens when a church loves welcoming people into the family.

*photo cred: one of the slow clap originators Nick Fox

Summer of Invitation

imageOne of the things I love most about Midwest summers is how people gather in backyards around a grill, fire or lawn game. Whether it’s throwing bags, playing some whiffle ball, making s’mores, or watching some 80’s movie in the backyard; these are those precious sacred moments to redeem fun and truly connect with your kids and neighbors.

On Memorial Day some neighborhood families gathered for a little grill out, fire and one epic game of whiffle ball (parents vs. kids). As we were heading home, I kept replaying to myself the conversations that were shared and the fun that was had over burgers and America’s favorite plastic pastime. And it all began with a simple invitation.

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, what if this summer you could create moments of deep fun and connection with those who live in your neighborhood. Every Friday I’ll be posting ways to gather friends around a grill, or at a park, amazing lawn games, and other bizarre DIY ideas to make this summer one incredible invitation to fun.

What about for you? What is one of your favorite summer activities? I’d love to learn from you…

 

Quantity. Quality. Time.

Every leader must learn to navigate the quantity, quality, time continuum. Understanding this grand trilemma makes all the difference in if your team can trust you to deliver and help move key initiatives forward. 

Quantity = the amount of work produced. 

Quality = the standard of work produced. 

Time = the delivery of work produced. 

When I was younger I thought the more I did, the better I would look to the organization. In many ways it was driven by both a desire to achieve and a deeper insecurity that if I didn’t do enough I would be out of a job. The problem with more is that the quality of work I produced was far from great. It tended to be last minute, driven not by procrastination but by over committing tendencies. 

For a while I started saying ‘no’ and only focusing on a two things and saw my quality improve immensely. I had time and space to dream, think, create and it was glorious. But I watched several things around me begin to derail and I didn’t do a thing. I wasn’t helping build the church, I was only building my thing. Not my finest hour. 

I’ve had moments when my quantity was way too high forcing my quality and timeliness to be below standard. I’ve had moments when quality and time were strong, but my quantity was below standard. I’m learning that the greatest most self aware leaders have this formula down. The right quantity where they have the right amount of time to create the best quality of work possible. 

Living in the Midwest I’m beginning to realize the gift of seasons. Each season is an invitation to reflect on what was and what is to come. This past season, one of my mentors called me out saying that my quantity was off the charts, but he saw areas where my quality was suffering. He began asking questions about my schedule and it became clear that I was saying “yes” to way too much. Inside I wanted to become defensive and start blaming others but I knew he was right. 

Awareness is a gift – it pulls back the curtain, zooming out and allowing us the chance to see a more full, more honest and clear picture of reality. These profoundly holy moments help you see that another way is available. I spent a morning listening, praying, reflecting and came to see two false truths rising within: 

  1. My worth was directly connected to the quantity of work I was getting done. 
  2. I was afraid to say ‘no’

The honest and human thing beneath the thing that the Spirit paraded before me was my insatiable desire to achieve. I needed to reframe the story, not to shame myself for how I’m wired but (to) refocus (my energy) in a more kingdom-oriented fashion. And so it begins. Learning again to navigate the quantity, quality, time trilemma…

Where are you this season with this? Is there one leading the pack? Or have you found a good groove where you have the right amount of each?

and so it begins…

I guess this is where you should say something important about the vision, mission of this site. What people can expect from all of this. Well I’m not going to do that because I don’t have one. Maybe one will come. Maybe not. But here’s the deal. I do know one thing. Few things can compare to being honest and human. 

That’s what I’ll try to bring to each post. Stories of how things really are. Everything is better with friends on the journey, so please join in and let’s see what gets stirred up. 

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