Not in Vain

Today, I am still on my summer preaching break. I decided this year I would share some of the messages that have challenged my heart the most in the past year.

Last year at the Leadership Summit, Andy Stanley gave an incredible talk called Not in Vain. I knew I wanted to share the message with Revolution as some point and today was that day. If you missed it or want to hear it again, you can watch it below. I hope it challenges you the way it did me.

Links I Like

Links I Like is a collection of blogs, articles and books I’ve come across recently and thought they were worth sharing. Click here for past Links I Like.


  1. How to wreck a pastor. A lot of truth here.
  2. Bob Franquiz on Green room pastors.
  3. Why Andy Stanley is such a great communicator.
  4. Jenni Catron on Takeaways for leaders from the leadership summit. Great stuff here.
  5. 7 ways to keep your MC from growing. This is sarcastic, but so true.
  6. Luke Simmons takeaways from the leadership summit day 1 and day 2. Wish I was there but appreciate how many people blogged about it.
  7. Why we really sleep in.
  8. Casey Graham on 3 reasons you are a lonely leader.

What’s it like to be 7 feet tall and dunk (Watch Roy Hibbert dunk while wearing google glass)

Top Posts for August 2012

In case you missed them, here are the top posts for August 2012:

  1. Leadership Summit Session 1 | Bill Hybels
  2. Meet the Goffeney’s
  3. Accountability
  4. 15 Ways to Improve Your Marriage
  5. My Notes from Day 1 of the Leadership Summit
  6. Leadership Summit Session 4 | Craig Groeschel
  7. My Notes from Day 2 of the Leadership Summit
  8. IPHONE FOLKS : IPhone 5 Video Leaked. Gotta See!
  9. What’s the Point of Marriage?
  10. Coming to Revolution Church September 9

Links I Like

My Notes from the WCA Global Leadership Summit

So many great leadership nuggets at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit last week. If you missed it, or a session, here are all my notes from it.

What was your biggest takeaway from the summit?

For me, it was the 6X6 idea from Bill Hybels, game changing.

My Notes from Day 2 of the Leadership Summit

In case you missed them, here are my notes from day 2 of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

What was your biggest takeaway from day 2 of the summit?

Leadership Summit Session 8 | Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels closed out this years Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a fantastic talk.

Bill Hybels is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. He is the author of two great leadership books Axiom and Courageous Leadershipas well as The Power of a Whisper

Here are some highlights I grabbed from his talk:

  • Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  • Leaders need an annual gut check about their leadership.
  • The world needs leaders who will passionately pursue what God is calling them to do.
  • Jesus reminds us (Matthew 16:18) that he will build his church and nothing will prevail against it.
  • For too many people, the church is lifeless, cowardly, and hopeless.
  • It’s one thing to see a vision, it’s another thing to be seized by a vision.
  • A vision gives people a picture of the future.
  • Vision causes people to sacrifice joyfully.
  • Without vision, people perish. They don’t die physically, they settle for a life of a lesser purpose.
  • A vision causes us to give up everything for it.
  • A fired up Christ follower, from a fired up church, is what God uses to change the trajectory of broken lives.
  • The message of Jesus is what changes a person heart. God has entrusted the message of Jesus to the church to take it to the corners of the globe. Means, the local church is the hope of the world.
  • The hope of the world is at stake when it comes to how we lead our churches.

Will the local church, the hope of the world, be able to sustain itself until the end of time?

  • Whole empires throughout history have disappeared.
  • Companies with tons of money and clout but are no longer in business.
  • Who it is that is actually building the church and sustaining it is who will keep it from disappearing.
  • Jesus is the sustainer of the church (Matthew 16:18).
  • Building the church is the main thing Jesus is doing until the end of time.
  • It is incredible to think that Jesus is not only building His church, but includes us in that and uses us to bring about His plan.
  • What would happen if we got up in the morning and joined in, full on with what Jesus is doing? How would the world change? How would our churches change?
  • A leader calls people out, calls them to be a part of the vision, to make a move.

What was your biggest takeaway from this session?

Leadership Summit Session 7 | Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada continued session 7 of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a talk titled “Changing the Odds.”

He is the President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone.

Here are some highlights I grabbed from his interview with Nancy Beach:

  • We have allowed areas in our nation to become areas of hopelessness.
  • When despair rules, young people grow up without God.
  • They can’t imagine how to get from here to there without sex, drugs or violence.

What does the Harlem children’s zone do?

  • It is more than a school.
  • You have to change the neighborhoods, block by block to change a neighborhood.
  • We started with one block, then two blocks.
  • To change a child, you must start at birth.

The Tipping Point

  • A culture begins to take place that works against any efforts to change a neighborhood or change a child.
  • A child needs constant reinforcement of the same positive message: hard work, study, integrity, etc.
  • They need peers, adults who give them the same message.
  • A tipping point in a culture is when you reach 60 – 65% of the population.

The early years

  • Failure when nobody knows who you are, you can deal with that quietly and anonymously, failure is much harder to admit when you are known.
  • There were people who were rooting against the Harlem children’s zone, looking for ways to point out that it couldn’t be done.
  • When you fail, your first inclination is to scale down the vision.
  • Instead, admit you failed, try twice as hard to be successful.
  • It is easy to forget who you are working for because you are rooting for the staff.
  • You don’t work for your staff that is not your mission.
  • The way you build a more powerful organization is you demand excellence from staff and hold people accountable.

How do you handle donor pressure?

  • The donor is like the customer who is always right.
  • There is a line when the gift can detract from your work.
  • If you need the money, it is hard to see how getting the money can hurt you, but it can hurt your vision if they aren’t on board.
  • Sometimes not taking the money from a donor is the smartest thing you can do.

How has your leadership style changed over the years?

  • Compassion has grown, as you understand how difficult and huge your dream is.
  • You feel a stronger sense of urgency the longer you lead and the bigger you see the need getting.
  • When we say “you can’t do that” is crazy. When we as Americans decide we are going to do something, we get it done.
  • You can’t get great and talented people who can run the institution if you don’t know as the senior leader when you are stepping down.
  • Too many leaders leave the organization when the organization is on the way down not when it is going up. Leave when it is growing and going up.

What do you do when you are disappointed? When you want to quit?

  • You are a moment away from a breakthrough, greatness. You just don’t know how close you are, so keep going.
  • There is something about fighting for the right cause.

What would you say to leaders?

  • As a leader you always have to be on top your game.
  • Get your moral compass right.

What was your biggest takeaway from this session?

Leadership Summit Session 7 | John Ortberg

John Ortberg started off session 7 of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a talk titled “A Leader of Unimaginable Influence.”

He is the Senior Pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church and Author of When the Game is Over It all Goes back in the Box, The Life You’ve Always Wanted and most recently, Who is This Man?which is talk was based on.

Here are some highlights I grabbed from his talk:

  • If you wanted to change the world so that you would be remembered in 2,000 years, what would you do? Where would you start?
  • You can’t look at a map without being reminded of Jesus.
  • The cross is the single most recognizable symbol in the world.
  • Jesus’ influence grows in spite of those who oppose him or those who claim to follow him.
  • Too often we argue about Christianity instead of marveling about Jesus.

Jesus gave the world its move influential movement.

  • Imagine the world without any church or any of the leaders within the movement of Christianity.
  • Over time, the power of every ruler failed while the power of Jesus continued to grow.
  • The creation of the calendar was based on the birth of Jesus; it was a claim, an idea. Life is not a random cycle, but has meaning, it is leading somewhere.
  • Whenever we look at a calendar, we are reminded of Jesus’ existence (AD).

Jesus gave the world its strongest vision.

  • The words of Jesus continue to grip the world and shape how people live.
  • We serve the poor, care for those with less because of the words of Jesus.
  • We see the touch of Jesus in the hospitals of the world, in the care organizations of the world.
  • What the world sees as burdens to be discarded, we see them as bearers of glory because of what Jesus saw and what He commanded us to.

The Jesus movement shaped education.

  • In most parts of the world throughout history that only educated males. Jesus taught everybody.
  • The great universities of the world were started based on the message of Jesus. 92% of universities in the US were founded in the name of Jesus.
  • The greatest explosions throughout history (clocks, glasses, wine) were things created by Jesus monastic communities.
  • The first effort of the study of scientific language was from followers of Jesus. Followers of Jesus developed the alphabets of other languages so people could read Scripture.

The Jesus movement shaped art.

  • The great works of art, music and writing throughout history are from followers of Jesus.
  • The story of Jesus grips the heart of humans in no other way compared to anyone.

The Jesus movement shapes the political movement.

  • Give to Caesar what is Caesar; give to God what is God’s.
  • The idea developed into limited government.
  • The church follows Jesus’ words when it has a lot of political power, but ignores them when they cause them to lose power.
  • The words of Jesus give us the challenge to love our enemies.
  • The role of forgiveness comes from the words of Jesus.
  • Jesus inspired Tolstoy, who inspired Gandhi.

The calling

  • Will you give your life to the man who gave his life for the sake of the world?
  • Will you give your life to the man who died for you, the hope of the nations, the savior of the world?

What was your biggest takeaway from this session?

Leadership Summit Session 5 | William Ury

William Ury continued session 5 of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit with a talk titled “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Conflict.”

He is the Co-Founder and Senior Fellow, Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation.

He is the author of The Power of a Positive No, Getting to Yes and Getting Past No

Here are some highlights I grabbed from his talk:

  • Negotiation is trying to reach an agreement, you negotiate everyday.
  • The choice isn’t about eliminating conflict, but dealing with the conflicts in a constructive way that will work for everyone.
  • We are the biggest barriers to us achieving success.
  • The power not to react is one of the greatest powers we have in negotiations.
  • When negotiating, focus on people. Focus on their needs, creative options to address the needs of all, resolve issues that can’t be resolved easily.

Separate people from the problem in negotiations.

  • We end up being soft on the people and we end up being soft on the problem. If we are hard on the problem, we end up being hard on the person. We need to be soft on the people and hard on the problem.
  • Soft on the people means listening to people, to put ourselves in the shoes of other people. Understand how they’re feeling.
  • You can’t change someone’s mind unless you know where that mind is.
  • Show them respect.
  • The cheapest thing you can do in a negotiation is showing someone respect.
  • Figure out how to team up with the person you are negotiating with to tackle the problem together.

Focus on interests, not positions in negotiations.

  • You are trying to address the underlying interest, fears, problems that the other person has.
  • Ask, why do you want that? Behind a position, what are your needs?

Develop multiple options in negotiations.

  • Look for ways to get options that meet the interests of all sides.
  • This helps to bring both sides into the conversation to feel a part of the solution.

The power of objective criteria

  • By coming up with options, you come up with ways to expand the pie instead of dividing the pie.
  • This becomes a question of will and ego. “I’m not giving in.”
  • Use standards that are not based on will, but on market value.
  • If you create a criteria of making decisions, it makes it easier to negotiate because it is more fair.


  • Best alternative to a negotiating agreement. It is your walk away alternative, if you can’t reach an agreement.
  • You always need to have an alternative.

What was your biggest takeaway from this session?