In a car shop surrounded by cats

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We find ourselves in strange places sometimes. Life can be surreal. A place that we’ve passed our whole life and never noticed can suddenly become our second home. It’s happened to me before. I used to drive past West Ridge Church every day and never give a second thought to it. 4 years later I found myself serving on staff with them.

For Christmas, my parents decided to pay to have my car windows tinted as the gift. As the owner of a new car, I was PUMPED. I want to invest as much as I can in it and make it my car for the long haul. I dropped the car off on Wednesday night so the work could be done Thursday.

On the way home, I called and they informed me it wouldn’t be done for another couple hours. With such short notice, I didn’t want to put someone out of their way by asking to take me later. Roommates all had plans. Looks like I’d be stuck waiting.

I walk into the car shop only to find that cars are only half of their business. Apparently they also funnel homeless pets through their offices. Cats everywhere. I’m sitting at a kitchen table, looking at a tricked out Mazda, surrounded by theater chairs full of cats.

Not what I expected my Thursday night to look like. But a lot of times, life is just like that. We realize where we are doesn’t really make sense. Typically, it’s the result of setting our lives in cruise control (pun intended).

Cruise control can be sign that we have done one of two things:

 1. That we purposefully have let go of the controls and aren’t steering our own….Mazda. We’ve decided that God would give us direction and we’re following the path he has laid before us.

–or–

2. It can mean we’ve ended up somewhere because we didn’t care. We ended up there because we weren’t prepared. The decisions we made weren’t thought out or prayed about.

Either way, at some point you come to the realization of where you are.When you come to that realization, you should find a way to capitalize on where you are, no matter the circumstances. Be a good steward of the place you find yourself in at this moment.

I’ve been building this blog for weeks and dreamed up some awesome topics for it. I decided I would wait until one of those topics turned into the BEST blog post EVER before I would go public with my site. But when you’re in a car shop surrounded by cats….YOLO. Welcome to my website.

(P.S. I just realized I think these people live here, too)

Thanks for reading.

Live Contagious

Live Contagious. A phrase in dissonance. It lacks correct grammatical structure and it’s an oxymoron. You would rarely classify a contagious person as “living”. When we think contagious, we imagine someone locked in a room or a hospital dreaming of being back in the world. But I’m not talking about someone with an illness.

We live in a world riddled with bad. We hear it everywhere–news, magazines, movies and more. What we don’t often hear is the good. We don’t hear about the people making a difference in the community and their world. The media presents a poor picture of those doing good.

Despite the lack of coverage of our everyday heroes, word still gets out. We find a blog post or hear a story from a friends about something incredible someone has done. We pick up a book or watch a 9-year-old on YouTube and are inspired to do good. There are people out there living a life that is contagious. People spreading hope.

This blog ultimately serves as a place for me express my feelings, but also to highlight those people who choose to live contagious. To live in a way that other people might catch the difference and live contagious too.

Life Events

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Tuesday was the culmination of a lot of hard work by the HiveATL team. We hosted our second ever Hive Gathering event, bringing together local leaders to help end lonely leadership.

Hive Atlanta is something the team and I do in our spare time. We spend many weekends and weeknights moving our organization forward with late night brainstorms and conversations over meals. We’ve invested a ton of money, time and talent into making things happen. Right now, our biggest efforts go into the events we put on. Naturally, it’s the place we can impact the most leaders. It’s the “sugar stick” of our brand.

Tuesday went incredibly well. I told the guys afterwards that “we got lucky.” After months of talking, planning and dreaming, things had to start happening. We set a date and sent out invites. People were coming to this event and we had to put it on!

I headed home around 11:30pm after the event that night. Windows down. Cool weather providing a relief from the sticky feeling created from setup and teardown. I began to think how we live our lives as if we are putting on an event. We set these dates and goals in our minds and fumble our way towards the finish line. We accomplish the to-do list only to begin the search for the next milestone.

For some of us this is reflected in our career goals. The event is planned and you’ve invited yourself to attend your full time job once you graduate. You accomplish little tasks here and there to make it through college. Little victories compile into one large win. You hit crunch time after crunch time. You finally finish school and you realize the event (job) isn’t everything you thought you had been moving towards. So you reboot and move towards the next event.

You’ve been planning what and who your spouse would be for years. You have a secret wedding board on Pinterest just waiting for the right moment. You have a list with checkboxes for the “right” person. You’ve prepared the guest list and decided how to avoid your mom and step-mom from sitting too close. The big day comes and goes quicker than you can even remember. The aftermath of the event goes on forever.

I often catch myself looking forward to these events. I don’t enjoy the time in-between. We want to live our lives full of the high we get from the triumphing moments. From one mountain to the next without doing a little climbing. I don’t want to be living my life for the next event. I want to be content in the preparation, and in awe of the aftermath. I want to allow the vision of future events drive present decisions, and the wisdom gained from past events propel me back up the next mountain.

As someone famous probably said one time, “Today is the only today you get.” Don’t waste today waiting on tomorrow.

BKM

Easter At West Ridge

Leading up to Easter almost felt like Christmas at West Ridge. Honestly, it was more exciting to me. Easter has so much more central of a focus than Christmas does. We could feel life change on the brink. 

A lot of churches build huge marketing campaigns, buy billboards, and create a super creative series to draw in the crowds for Easter. I’m not saying those things don’t help, but this Easter proved it wasn’t necessary. As you can read on Phil Bowdle’s blog, we kept it simple this year. The key wasn’t a huge expensive effort on our part. It was using our best resource, our people. 

Our staff had been praying to reach 10,000 people over our 13 service and God answered the prayer. The first sign the weekend would have an impact was the men’s prayer breakfast the Thursday before Easter. Close to 100 ment showed up at 630AM to pray ove the weekend.

God moved through our volunteers and team to create a moment where people truly experienced worship. The experience caused people to begin sharing with their friends and the numbers at each service continued to grow. 

Life change happened, people accepted Christ for the first time, and we all got a glimpse into what God’s plan for Easter was this year. 

Don’t let your church devalue the importance of its people. Don’t rest your hope on fancy marketing, graphics, or gimmicks. Rely on the people to share, invite, and impact the people they do life with by challenging them to make the difference.