And Out of Season

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Sunday morning I did a very bad thing.

It was the final keynote address to the teens gathered at the Watson conference and I introduced Pastor Joseph Gilchrist as the speaker.

Why is that so bad?

Because he found out he was speaking as I introduced him.

While Joseph is a dear friend and brother in the Lord, he’s also someone I mentor. And as such putting him in safe but precarious situations is part of my job.

There is no teacher like experience.

We can prepare, practice, and plan all we want, but we as humans learn things faster and more deeply in moments of real-world, first-time pressure than we do in any classroom.

God understands this too. That’s why we normally don’t get a heads up when testing comes. It simply arrives. And how we respond under pressure is who we really are. (Thanks to Joseph’s dad, Pastor Kirk Gilchrist, for burning that one into my head).

God is after our authentic response and our genuine growth. He’s not into the superficial, the temporary, or the transient. He wants long-term development enough that he’s willing to risk short-term setbacks.

So how did Joseph handle it? After a minute of humorous shock – which he played very well – and a brief moment of strategizing, he pulled it off in style and shared a powerful message on one of his trademark themes “Going Public” for Jesus. Everyone was inspired and challenged to resist the fleshly urge to remain selfish with the Gospel.

I’m very proud of him and believe he’ll make a better Youth Pastor than I ever was.

Be on your guard, you’re probably “out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) in some area that’s about to get called on. ch:

Productivity: The Mushy Mug Principle

christopher hopper

[This is the first in a series on Productivity]

Do you like to wake up to surprises? If you’re smart, you’re instantly qualifying that question with “What kind of surprise?” No dirty diapers or frozen water-lines. I mean a good surprise.

I woke up today and found that my wife had set out the coffee mugs for my at-home staff meeting later on this morning. Not only that, but the coffee “accessories” were out, and a few extra chairs were at the table.

I was so touched.

Planning ahead has many merits, the most obvious of which is saving yourself time in the long run by taking care of essential tasks before things “get complicated.” Most of us actually plan ahead more than we realize, like setting an alarm the night before. But there is another far greater benefit of planning ahead.

The emotional intangible.

Setting out the coffee mugs, cleaning up the kitchen, and adding a few more chairs around the table are things I could have very easily done myself. But because my wife did them, not only did I not have to–which saved me time (and the fact that I’m not as thoughtful to do things like she does)–but I was instantly aware that she was thinking of me. And thinking of our staff.

While I was busy snoring away (which I do), she was taking just a few extra minutes to make sure everything was all set. I felt cared for. Important. And that meant more to me than any level of productivity; in fact, such acts by others actually increase our own productivity.

Aside from thinking ahead for yourself, who is one person you could prepare something for that would positively affect their work load today?

Being prepared speaks to peoples’ lives, that you care about who they are, not just about you getting all your proverbial ducks in a row. ch: