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who told you

Who Gets to Tell You?

If I were to ask the question, “who here is creative,” to a group of kids, I guarantee nearly all of them would raise their hands. But if I were to ask that same question to a group of adults, most would leave their hands down.

What happened between childhood and adulthood? What changed? I don’t believe creativity leaves the body. I believe we buy into a lie when someone tells us we aren’t creative.

I had an art teacher in first grade that told me I wasn’t creative. What about you? Who told you that you were uncreative? (more…)

abilities

God’s Not Really Looking for Availability

There are loads of great Christian sayings that circulate throughout the internet. They’re great because they’re short. But they aren’t always accurate.

One of the ones I think of is: God’s not looking for ability. He’s looking for availability.

I get that the saying is supposed to encourage those of us who think they have meager ability. Unfortunately, it makes it sound like you can be used by God as long as you make yourself available. The truth is, God only looks for people who are busy using their abilities already. (more…)

problems

Innovation is 3-Dimensional Thinking

I remember reading an amazing book a few years back called Flatland. In the book, the author imagines a 2-dimensional world where everything is like simple shapes on a piece of paper. There’s no depth, just lines.

And in order to introduce the idea of multiple dimensions, the 2-dimensional being meets a 3-dimensional person. The 3-dimensional person tries to tell the 2D hero about the third dimension, but fails. Ultimately, he has to pluck him out of his 2-dimensional plain and show him what he sees.

The book does a great job at opening your mind to comprehend a 4th dimension. But it also shows one of my favorite concepts of innovation. (more…)

creative options

God’s Limitations are Directions

One of my favorite parts of the creative process is out-of-the-box thinking. I love looking at limitations and figuring out ways to blow past them.

Not enough money? What if we get corporate sponsors. Not enough time? What if we crowdsource this idea to the people we’re trying to reach and let them help us.

I train myself to see a limitation or rule, question it, and see if I can break it or bend it. It’s a huge part of the innovation process. But one of the limitations that could actually hurt you if you break it is a limitation God puts on you. (more…)

slaves

Why It’s Possible to Work the System

Whenever I hang out with new people, it’s not long before I start explaining ways that I work the system. To be honest, I’ve done it all my life. But one of my favorite ways to do it is with credit cards. I’ve booked a whole lot of free travel lately…all because of working the system of credit cards.

And one of the responses I frequently get from new people I meet is…I listen to Dave Ramsey so I don’t use credit cards.

I get why Dave Ramsey is against the things. They get a lot of people into trouble. But that’s the precise reason I can work the system: because the majority of the people misuse them. (more…)

my kingdom

The Hard Part About Entrepreneurship and Following Jesus

I’ve begun building a Facebook page for me as an author. Like it while you’re at it. It’s a weird thing, because I’m trying to build my fame. In a sense, I’m trying to build my own kingdom with people who follow me.

As I was driving to church last Sunday, the oddness of that struck me. How can I hope to build my own kingdom and build the kingdom of heaven? If I’m pointing people to myself, am I actually pointing people to God? Aren’t I supposed to be the clean vessel that leads people directly to Christ? More of Him, and less of me?

Yet, at the same time I believe God has called me to author books. He’s called me to steward the talents He has given me. And part of that stewardship is building a following. In a sense, I have to build my own little kingdom if I hope to be successful at this type of thing. Do you sense my quandary? (more…)

community

I Need Help, But I’m Embarrassed

Complete honesty, folks. I’ve been struggling with my latest book. I’ve written it once, done a pass of edits, and even re-written most of it. But now I’m thinking of scrapping all 32,000 words and changing the whole focus of the book.

I haven’t shown any of it to my agent yet. Frankly, I’m still trying to impress her since we haven’t actually completed a full project together yet. So I wanted to make it perfect before sending it to her.

But I realized I was about to pour another set of countless hours into this project, and hadn’t even given my writing a fair chance. I might potentially waste time because of my insecurity. (more…)

nothing has to be wasted

Nothing Needs to be Wasted

I got my first book published in September last year. I did it without an agent…and in a bit of an atypical way. It was an exciting experience, even though it took over a year to happen.

In the mean time, I started working on my next book. I actually finished the first draft around the time Created for More released. So a couple of days after the publisher put the book like on Amazon, I sent them my next manuscript.

“We don’t think this fits in with who we are as a publisher. We have to pass this time.” That was the disappointing response I got from them. And it made sense, they didn’t really publish stuff like what I had written in this next book. Thus, I realized I needed a literary agent if I wanted to get this in front of the right publishers. (more…)

competition

If You’re Competing, You’re Missing Out

Competition is a brutal thing. It’s likened to a pie, with everyone trying to get a piece—and a piece that’s larger than anyone else’s. If you grew up in a large family where pie was scarce, you can relate all-too-well to this analogy. You grew up understanding competition.

But if competition is everyone trying to get a piece of the pie, innovation is about making your own pie. Where there’s limitation and competition in the one pie, you develop a new horizon. You develop a new idea that doesn’t have the competition. And how sweet it is, because you get to determine the flavor, the crust…you’re following the analogy, right?

It’s like when Apple created the iPhone. Every phone company was scrambling to make a slightly less crappy product and gain more marketshare. Then iPhone develops a device that’s in its own world. They made their own pie. There was nothing quite like it and not really any competition. (more…)

surviving being a church volunteer

4 Keys to Surviving as a Church Volunteer

I was hanging out with my friend the other day when he got a phone call. He looked at the caller ID, scowled, and ignored it. I laughed and asked him who it was.

“It’s the volunteer coordinator at my church. I know they’re going to ask me to volunteer this Sunday, but I don’t want to. I just want to sit in the service for once without having to volunteer.”

It was obvious my friend hated volunteering. But when I suggested he simply stop, he wasn’t willing to deal with the confrontation.

I saw where the scenario was heading. He’d keep volunteering for a few months, dreading each approaching weekend. Then he’d finally stop attending the church because he didn’t want the volunteer coordinator to see him and ask what happened. (more…)