(WARNING: IF YOU ARE RELIGIOUS AND EASILY OFFENDED READ SOMETHING ELSE TODAY:)
I Take Risks!
Can you say this?
Most people in North America would probably hum and haw a little if asked, and then hum and haw a little more if asked if they actually take risks for the things that should matter most to them?
We all know that Tenacity beats Talent nearly all of the time. I laugh when people get into troubleand then wait around for a talented person to come and save them. In the home I grew up in no one cared how talented you were if you were too lazy to apply yourself to your own life.
The attitude was always “You’re smart, figure it out!”, not “You’re smart, so someone owes it to you to figure it out for you!”. See the difference there?
I have spent my time in business and when it was time for promotions the most tenacious people got them. Why? Something about a little aggression makes tenacious people better problem solvers?
I remember the day early on in my career when I had a thought that gave me a shot in the arm. I was troubleshooting something tricky in a complicated control system for a processing plant and was really close to calling for some help (not that calling for help is bad but…).
I remembered the last time I had called the foreman for help he had said “Break it down, it’s just a bedroom lighting circuit.” to which I had replied “NO, IT’S LIKE 100 BEDROOM LIGHTING CIRCUITS ALL INTERCONNECTED TO EACH OTHER!!!”
In remembering that conversation it turned a light on for me. I thought to myself “My foreman is NOT smarter than me and HE’D be able to figure this out!”
Changed my life forever!
Granted when I told him what pushed me over the edge to eventually become a very decent trouble shooter he wasn’t overly impressed (the old-guy “teaching methods” involved a lot of yelling and control games), but it didn’t matter because I could look him in the eye and play a better game.
Tenacious people MOVE without all the information and accomplish things anyways. Some people wait until every little thing comes in and they feel safe enough not to risk making a mistake. And they wait and they wait and they wait…
You will never be ready, you will never have all the information! What I love about tenacious people, once you temper them with the wisdom to quickly gather as much right information as possible, is that they just start things and finish them because they couldn’t live with themselves with a bunch of half hearted projects laying around.
I told one young man on a job site who had the “paralysis of analysis” that he needed to pay attention to another young man who was quickly rising in the trade. I don’t want to say his name but let’s say that it started with a D and rhymes with Stan…. I said “Watch ____(Dan), he can gather info, make a decision that might be a little wrong, and fix it before most people actually start anything. He’ll rise to the top because of it.” And he did.
Tenacity and Risk…
Is your life too safe? What do you really dream about? Financial stability? A better marriage? Better friendships? A career promotion?
Let me ask you this: if you would be able to realize your dream tomorrow, what then? What would you do with your life? I imagine there are quite a few 80 year old Canadians relaxing on a beach somewhere and enjoying the fruit of an entire life of hard work, but (this is why I’m weird..) I can’t help but ask myself if I would look back and wonder if I had just lived a life that was kinda small?
I’m not saying dreams like these are bad, I’m just wondering if they’re too small? The real question is will your life impact someone outside of your own family by the time it’s done? Will anyone who doesn’t share your last name say “THAT person changed my life!”?
There are two stage you’ll have to walk through for this to happen. Well three stages if you don’t have a dream yet…
Stage 1. The Winepress.
There is an account in the bible of a man named Gideon whose nation was threatened by an imminent threat of devastating war by a much stronger nation in Judges 6. We find him in the winepress threshing wheat with a rod for himself and his family.
God appears to him and tells him He has chosen Gideon to defeat the pending Midianite hoard. Gideon is obviously shocked because his life up until this point has been spent hiding what he already had (……….) from what was coming. You don’t thresh wheat in a winepress by choice because it doesn’t work well. You thresh wheat with oxen on the threshing floor where the wind can blow the chaff away. He was hiding just enough food for his family for the very near future. Fear was dictating that he lead a day-to-day existence like we do sometimes… Keep your head down and hope trouble doesn’t find you!
What happened was a personal confrontation of his personal complacency. If you are OK with your status quo, don’t worry about dreaming because you’ll never actually DO anything about it. You are paralyzed and paralyzed people don’t move and certainly don’t risk anything.
Something must upset your status quo enough to jump start you to action. Normally it’s dissatisfaction or just a fire that is lit on the inside about something. Disaster and tragedy can be the soil that dreams spring up from. Dreams in, Complacency out!
Gideon starts dreaming about what his life would look like with no Midianites, then what his family’s life would look like, then what his nation’s life would look like. It upsets him and he leaves the Winepress.
Stage 2. The Threshing Floor.
Most people never get here so if you like it safe, stay back in the winepress and get yours…
If you want to get a push and see what happens because you’re tired of playing defence and getting scored on in your life…….
This is when the dream goes public.
This is when Martin Luther King Jr stood up and went public.
This is when your dream pushes you to do something drastic and very evident to the people around you.
This is when someone who has decided to follow Christ goes public and gets baptized.
This is when you rise up and say “I can’t stand THAT anymore!!”
This is when you create a church for unchurched people.
You start saying “What if…?” out loud. And “Why couldn’t we…?” and the fire inside the dream burns up the complacency inside of you and starts to burn out to other people. This is when people will follow you.
Gideon mobilized his army and as they were coming we find him having another discussion with God and asking for another sign. The setting that this took place on?
The Threshing Floor.
No more hiding. With an army coming the food he could thresh in the winepress was not going to be enough, he needed more… much more. This is when we look at our small lives and say “But what about THEM?” What had satisfied us the week before is now a dull pain inside our stomach and we know we will never again settle for the winepress. It would kill us.
I’m using strong language because the Threshing Floor is the place you realize you’re all dead if you don’t do something quick! You’ve had the realization that the best defence with no offence still means you lose the game. The likely (but unthought of) outcome is that sooner or later the enemy will find your winepress and your family! The sure knowledge that you must mobilize NOW takes you over the edge to sacrifice the now for the future!
Winepress people sacrifice the future for the illusion of safety TODAY.
People will begin to follow you now. But this is when it gets tricky… Stage 2 will mobilize people with or against you.
Ready for this next part?
This is when some people on your own team attack you because you’re an easier target than the real enemy!!!
Winepress people problems…
“How dare you…..!”
“Are you saying that I’m…..?”
“What gives you the right to challenge what we’re doing?”
You will inspire some and confront others.
You will also realize like Gideon did that you cannot be on God’s side AND on the side of the winepress people and still save the very people who are now not impressed with you!
Gideon put a fleece out on the ground of the threshing floor and asks for a sign from God. The next morning the fleece was wet and the ground dry. The sign the following morning was that the fleece was dry and the ground wet with dew.
God is telling Gideon and God is telling you that when the hearts of all the people around you are cold, YOURS has to be hot! You have to burn with such a fervency that you counteract the complacency around you, turning the hearts of some towards you and causing others to hate you.
I have been in and around church people my whole life. Something bothers me. I think the church in Canada has never gone to scale because something is generally wrong: we have forgotten WHY we are here.
Every church turns inward over time and becomes a winepress. The leader’s job is to turn the focus back out and realign the purpose of the church with the purpose of Jesus, which is to reach lost people with the Gospel. Believe me that this is not easy. I know many pastors who are attempting to do just this in every sort of church you can imagine, but their main enemy is not those on the outside of church circles. People on the outside don’t really care what you do in church…
But church people sure do!
Just try something uncomfortable and new sometime and see who shoots at you! I can wager a guess… Actually I can just recount countless heated preaching sessions and preachy emails angrily and self-righteously directed at me (you’d think I’d get to do the preaching, but not when a religious person has a bee in their bonnet…).
Religious people do NOT like their traditions and methods challenged, even when they are completely ineffective in fulfilling what was supposed to be their mission in the first place, and even when they would have to admit (if it was an actual conversation) that the methods they are so “convicted by God” about can’t actually be found in the bible. Sure they might have worked and been necessary thirty years ago but it ain’t the eighties anymore! (Or the fifties maybe….:)
To turn a church outward we have to allow God to offend the complacency in ourselves first. Once we realize that God isn’t impressed with our every little thought and religious preference we are forced to either make an attempt at taking the wheel from Him, or get in the back seat where we belong and prepare for more passengers. That is Stage 1 in the Winepress.
Stage 2. The Threshing Floor is where the winepress people who are now attempting to drive their own religion to safety start firing shots at you while God turns the vehicle of your life back into the battle zone where He has mounted a huge search-and-rescue mission for the souls of lost people. Lost people like you once were.
So you can get all up on your religious high horse and fire something back at me but I don’t care anymore. Oh, it will hurt and temper me into something useful to God (hopefully), but the alternative terrifies me more than man made religious fervour ever could. It is not my job to make you happy, it is my job to find you before you were found, so to speak. What you do with your Christianity after that is up to you, but one thing I know….
Winepress threshing beats the heck out of the public threshing floor.
The real question is how far would you go to reach someone with the Gospel of Christ? Who would you be willing to anger?
I’m convinced that some Christians plan on spending eternity in heaven arguing about stupid crap that doesn’t matter. I know that because it’s what they’re doing down here!
I’d rather not get to heaven than show up empty handed and try to preach at Jesus about why my religious preferences are right and how anyone who disagrees with me (including HIM) is wrong wrong wrong!
There had better be people in the back seat with me or He might wonder what I’d just spent my entire life doing?
Ain’t got no time for #winepresspeopleproblems