Monday, May 21, 2012

Unforgettable. Are You?

I heard a great story two weeks ago while attending the Storyline Conference with Donald Miller. (Did you hear that crash? That was me name-dropping.) He spoke about a guy he knew who walked into an elevator at his hotel and realized that he was on the elevator with only one other person.

Bill Murray.

As any of us would have been, he was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the awesomeness of this moment, so all he could say was, "I'm a big fan!" Bill Murray, in his understated, humble way, simply said, "Thanks." That's it. End of encounter.

When the elevator got to the ground floor, this guy and Bill Murray walked off and out the front doors of the hotel and walked separate directions. When they got about 30 yards apart, Bill Murray turned around, sprinted at the guy, and tackled him into a bush in front of the hotel. As the guy lay sprawled in the bush, stunned, Bill Murray pointed at him and shouted,


I agree with Donald Miller who said, "Man, I really hope that story is true," because it is one of the best celebrity stories of all time. And you know what? That guy truly will NEVER forget that encounter.

I wonder what we do as leaders or as Christians to make an experience unforgettable for someone else. The majority of sermons are forgotten within days of delivering them. Are we doing what it takes to make them unforgettable? Most churches or businesses you walk in are completely forgettable, but there are some - Google, Kirk Originals Eyewear, Nike Stadium, to name a few - who are doing it well. Are the experiences we give people at church unforgettable like these? And what part does our effort play? Is it solely the work of the Spirit, or the work of the Spirit through our creativity and ingenuity?

The same thing goes for our youth/children's ministries. What can we do to make their experience unforgettable? The goal is not so they will remember us and think our ministry is so great, but that they will remember God and His story and know that He is great.

What about our families? I want my kids growing up with lots of, "Remember when...?" moments. I don't want my kids to have a boring, mundane experience as it relates to their family. At the end of their lives, I want our family to be a prime source of unforgettable experiences.

The thing is, when Jesus walked the earth, I don't think that He didn't make an impression on people. His life was so unforgettable that we are still talking about Him 2,000 years later. And we have that same Jesus inside of us, so shouldn't the impact we have on the world be unforgettable as well?

How are you making an unforgettable impact on your ministry? Your family? The world? Comment and let me know your thoughts...

UPDATE: Here's one guy who made an unforgettable memory for his daughter...

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Keep Chipping Away

When I encounter people these days, I usually am faced with answering a question. Well, if you count, "How's it going?" then there are two questions I am posed with. But we'll skip that one. The question everyone seems to ask is:

How's Bontu?

We've been on this adoption journey for well over a year, and we've had lots of people who have been involved in and concerned with it. And since we have been largely 'cocooning' with her, not many people have had significant exposure to her and their curiosity naturally comes out. The way I have been answering part of the question - particularly, her relationship to me, her Daddy - is by saying:

It's like her heart is in a giant glacier. And I have a tiny pick axe. And I just need to keep chipping away at the ice. Eventually we'll get there, but it will take some time.

You have to understand, her only exposure to white men in the 16 months of her life before I brought her home as my daughter was with other adoptive dads. This means that every white man she's ever known has shown up, stayed for a couple of hours or days, and then left. Think about that for a minute. She has been abandoned by countless white men. Regardless of your age, that would do a number on your psyche. And it has to hers.

So while I am taking a hit emotionally - I REALLY want her to like me - I have to recognize that I simply need to keep chipping away at her glacier for that to happen. It won't happen overnight. And so I will make funny faces at her. Chip. I will make clicking and popping mouth noises with her. Chip. I will feed her. Chip. I will put her to bed (because she doesn't let Mommy do that, which is another struggle altogether). Chip. I will give her kisses while she is strapped to Mommy's back. Chip. I will build block towers with the hope that she will knock it down. Chip. I will take her for long walks in the stroller (she lets me do that). Chip. And in time, we'll get through that ice and she will let me have her heart.