Dave Rave – The Seven Best Things We Say We Never Mean


Have you ever said anything you regret out of pain or disappointment? Ever call someone a name you wish you could take back?  Ever made statements that are totally out of character with who you are?  Remember, words are important. They create worlds and they also destroy them.  They galvanize people together, and polarize them to be totally apart.  There are seven things I notice people saying too flippantly that can destroy a world, or at least harm and hurt. Here are the seven best things we say we never mean:

  1. We never mean it when we say, “I’m done.” What we’re saying is, “I’m done for this moment.  I’m frustrated.  It’s like standing too close to a door.  You can’t open it.  You need to back away and get some emotional space to gather your thoughts and to reclaim your composure.  But too often, “I’m done” is interpreted as “I quit.”  And if you do that very often, people will call your bluff.
  2. We never mean it when we say, “Whatever.” Whatever is simply a sign of frustration; the communication isn’t going the way you hoped it would; you don’t know exactly how to respond to a line of thinking.  It’s the inability to have an interior thought process that allows you to deal with the complex issue at hand.  “Whatever” is a statement of frustration but oftentimes people interpret it as a statement of arrogance and anger.
  3. We never mean it when we say, “I can’t take this anymore.” This is an example of self-talk.  It’s talking ourselves into having a cold or being sick or out of a relationship.  You can take it.  You can take a whole lot more than you think you can.  It’s not over until you quit, sit down, and die.
  4. We never mean it when we say, “You get on my nerves.” This is a verbal deflection technique.  Literally, no one can get on your nerves; stand on your nerves.  What we’re really saying is, “This conversation is irritating, this relationship is in misalignment.”  And what we need to do is talk, plainly, calmly, and deliberately about how we can fix the broken places.
  5. We never mean it when we say, “It doesn’t bother me.” The person who says this to you is telling you it bothers them.  You need to probe a little deeper.  They are wounded and hurt.  And what you do in this moment will determine whether or not the relationship will become healthy or even continue at all.
  6. We never mean it when we say, “I hate you.” Literally what we’re saying is the opposite.  “I love you, but I need to hear you say you love me back.”
  7. We never mean it when we say, “I don’t care.” If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be in the relationship or having the conversation.  Usually when people say they don’t care, it’s evidence that they don’t feel heard or listened to.

These are the seven things I hear people say and know they don’t mean.  I have even said some of them and I didn’t mean them and was saying something else.  Be careful what you say. Listen to understand, speak to gain agreement, and act to earn trust.

Today @ The Gathering: Beginning a Brand New Series, They Promised Me Chocolate

Today we began what I think is one of the most important series I’ve ever done; a series that confronts, head-on, a dirty little secret; the things that we don’t want to admit as Christians.

Think about how over-hyped God is in churches.  If you love God He promises you an easy life with lots of great relationships.  You’ll never be estranged from your parents or your children.  Your marriage will never break up.  You’ll have all the money you’ll ever need, or at least more than other people who don’t love God as much as you do.  On and on the promises go, and the truth is, as a follower of Christ, I’m not immune to the same realities other people face.

And what do people face?  Disappointment.  Constantly.  And today we started dealing with our real disappointments.  The subtitle of this series is “True Confessions of a Disappointed Christian.”  I am a disappointed Christian.  That doesn’t mean that my delight still isn’t in Jesus Christ.  It’s just that delight lies beyond disappointment.

So today we started with “Your Dissatisfaction Guaranteed.” Think about how many things we see advertised with a guarantee.  But honestly, have you ever really seen a guarantee work?  When you try to take advantage of it, it’s always something you did or didn’t do, or the fine print that you didn’t read.  It’s always something about you.  There’s always an “out.”  As a matter of fact, the percentages are always against you.   That’s why people can glibly and easily guarantee your money back, knowing that you’re never really going to get your money back.  And most people are so cynical, we just buy things that don’t work and just accept it.

The pitch goes something like this:

  1. You’re not enough.  That’s why you need our product or service.  And the promise is, if you’ll get our car, our deodorant, or our make-up, your life will be complete.
  2. We can fix you. Again, we have the solution.
  3. We guarantee it. And that’s where the problem is, isn’t it?  We guarantee that nothing will go wrong, you’ll never be disappointed and you’ll never be betrayed.

It begins what I call the cynics’ cycle that goes something like:

  1. We start out with awareness. We become aware that things are not right with us, oftentimes because people tell us we’re too fat, we’re too skinny, we’re too smart, we’re too dumb, we’re not in, we’re not enough.  And all of a sudden we begin to feel bad about ourselves.
  2. They (our heroes, teachers, mentors, parents, people we admire) promise that they have the solution.
  3. The promise creates an expectation.
  4. The actual experience always falls short.
  5. We start collecting disappointments, not admitting them because everyone else seems to be so happy.
  6. We get trapped in a cycle that leads to despair.

What is despair? Despair happens over a long period of time when you deny your anger.  That leads us to three truths we dealt with about anger.

  1. Anger denied is delayed. It never goes away.  It comes back at the worst possible moment.
  2. Anger cannot be managed, no matter what people tell you.
  3. Anger must be resolved.

So when you face your disappointments you can:

  1. Sour and become a cynic.
  2. Settle and become a critic.
  3. Stop and become a relic.
  4. Push past the disappointment to delight.

And that’s what we’re going to be dealing with for the rest of this series: how do you push past the disappointments rather than collecting them?  How do you get to the delight that always lies beyond the disappointment?

I’m Disappointed With Magic Johnson, But Not Isaiah Thomas

As you may have heard, Magic Johnson released a new book last week.  And in it he decided to take on, what appeared to the world as one of his best friends, Isaiah Thomas.

He accused Thomas of spreading rumors that Magic was gay; particularly when the news came out that he’d been infected by the AIDS virus.  Then he went on to talk about how no one liked Thomas, and no one wanted him on the Dream Team, and other kinds of slur and accusations against Isaiah.

Here is the point.  I am not sure any of us found out anything new about Isaiah Thomas that wasn’t already known.  While a brilliant player, and maybe even a good person, Isaiah has a reputation for being difficult.  A lot of high-performers do.  That’s not the point.  Magic Johnson has had an off-the-charts likeability.  His big smile brings you in.  Even when he revealed he was infected with HIV virus many years ago, the suspected scandal didn’t follow; in part because of his open, positive demeanor.

But now we’ve been introduced to a new Magic Johnson; someone who holds grudges, vindictive, mean, or at the very best, just in need of selling books.  And I’m very disappointed.

But that’s the nature of life, isn’t it.  Our heroes disappoint us.  They are the “they” that we somehow put up on a pedestal thinking they’ll never make a mistake; never miss-step, or miss-speak.  And when they do we are devastated.

It reminds me that I’m called to love people, help people, serve people, lift them, inspire them, forgive them, help redeem them, and reclaim them.  But to worship them, no matter how mild a form that may take, is to set myself up for major disappointment.

So as we begin a brand new series tomorrow, we’re going to talk about the ten most powerful disappointments that I have faced.  Yes, I am a disappointed Christian; and I should be.  And during this series we’ll find out why.  True confessions of a disappointed Christian is the series that maybe you’ve been waiting for.

Maybe you’ve been let down by the revelations this week of what’s gone on at work or with a family member.  Or maybe Magic Johnson, a hero to you, has let you down as well.  You don’t need to get over it; you need to get beyond it.  There is only one way and we’ll talk about it in this brand new series, “They Promised Me Chocolate: The True Confessions of a Disappointed Christian.”

Today @ The Gathering: Ron Edmonson

Today @ The Gathering we welcomed guest speaker, Ron Edmonson founding pastor of Grace Community Church in Clarksville, who taught from Luke 5:12 – 15.  Listen to the podcast of his message and ask yourself these questions:

1.  Most of us have something in our story we don’t want to share with everyone.  What mistake, hurt, or pain in your life do you hope no one in the church finds out about?

2.  Why do you think Jesus told the man not to tell anyone about what happened?

3. How would you have responded if you were the leper?

4. Has there ever been a time God did something in your life that you had no question it was God?  Did you share it with others?

5. What does Jesus treatment of the leper say about the way we should treat others?

6.   How does God call us to respond to people we don’t even want to be around?

7. Based on how Jesus treated the leper, how would you expect Him to treat you?

8. What is it in your life that is keeping you from fully realizing the love of Christ?

9. How much does God love you?

10.  How do you need to respond to God’s love for you?

This was a powerful message and these questions would be great to carry along to your Bible study group or for further discussion with your friends over coffee.

Join us next week @ The Gathering for the beginning of a brand new series entitled “They Promised Me Chocolate,” a 10-week lesson on how to push past disappointment to a better place.  Remember, the start of a new series is always a great time to bring your friends!

The Gathering Welcomes Ron Edmonson

This weekend we’re glad to welcome a good friend of mine, Ron Edmonson; Founding Pastor of the Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN.

Ron is a great communicator and one of the best leaders I know.  He is building a great church that’s doing a fantastic job reaching out to people who are opting out of religion, but who are looking for a vital relationship with God.

Ron is also co-host of a Christian talk show, which can be heard via the Internet at wjzm.com and blogs
regularly on leadership, family and church life. Ron and his wife Cheryl have two sons, Jeremy, 21 and Nathaniel, 18 who have both experienced  a call to full-time ministry.

I know you’re going to enjoy meeting this good brother and great man of God.

Blog: http://www.ronedmondson.com
Church: http://www.gcomchurch.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ronedmondson
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ronedmondson

Dave Rave – Seven Social Media Essentials

In the wild, new world we live in today, we have to learn to connect to people in a whole new way.  Whether you’re in business, or even communicating with your family, there are amazing new tools available to get your message out, stay connected, and even connect to more, and more people.

Things like Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, blogs, and web sites all make the promise of leveling the playing field and making it cheaper than ever to get your message out.  But before you embrace these new technologies called social media, you need to bring a mind-set that is very different from the one we’ve just been through.

Social media requires a movement mind-set, not an institutional one.  Institutions are about gates, walls, and control.  Movements are dynamic.  They can’t be controlled.  They leak out and can’t be contained.  That’s what social media does.  So before you try to use it, here are seven essentials to the social media mindset.

  1. Using social media is about connecting, not converting. We are trying to connect to people, not convert them to our way of thinking right off the bat.
  2. Social media is about talking, not shouting. It’s about having a conversation, not preaching, pointing a finger, or condemning.
  3. Social media is about creating, not copying. Copying other people’s content won’t get you very far.  You have to create your own.  And that content needs to be compelling, important, and significant.
  4. Social media is about a bigger piece of the pie, not a smaller slice of a smaller pie. Social media gives you a brand new audience.  And that audience is not limited by space.  It’s anyone, anywhere, anytime. Rather than worrying about the shrinking slice of the business pie you focus on, think of a bigger world and new possibilities.
  5. Social media is about giving to, not taking from. If people who visit your site, read your twitters, or engage you in Facebook think you are trying to sell something to them, or take something from them, they’ll soon be gone and never come back.  If you’re here to sell me something, I am not interested.  If you’re here to help me, to contribute, to add to my life, then I’m listening.
  6. Social media is about building trust, not bullying compliance. You can’t make demands, threats, or requirements.  It’s about building trust over time, contributing to people’s lives, content that enriches, inspires, and motivates so that over time they’ll begin to listen to what you have to say.
  7. Social media is about a long look, not a quick fix. If you’re trying to fix sliding attendance through social media, or you’re trying to bolster the bottom line by opening a face page, you’re going to be very disappointed.  All social media does is allow you to communicate to people faster and more directly than ever before.  It doesn’t make your content compelling or your cause worthy.  You have to do that.

It’s a brand new day as we advance in a new wireless, wall-less, worn-out world.  For those who are willing to embrace these new technologies and tools, it’s easier than ever to succeed in a worthy cause.  But if you’re simply trying to float a sinking boat, I’d go ahead and pull the plug and let her sink.

One Word That Best Describes My Wife

Today is my wife Paula’s birthday.  So, Happy Birthday, Paula!

Not only is this a special day for her, it is a special day for me.  Today I get to celebrate who she is and what she’s meant to my life. As I’ve been thinking about our relationship and how important it is, I’ve come up with one word to describe my wife.  The word is “lift.”

From the first moments we met until this, Paula has provided lift in my life.  She lifted me when she introduced me to a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  She lifted me when she encouraged me to go for my dreams.  She lifted me when she supported me through college, seminary, and graduate school for ten long years; working, raising children, and doing all the things that make her so important to me to this very day.

So Paula, thank you for lifting me; for lifting my eyes above my average existence, for lifting me out of my self-centeredness to looking not at what the world could give me, but what I could give the world; for lifting me through all the times when I failed to be there for her emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

I wouldn’t be half the man I am today if I hadn’t experienced the lift of my wife’s love.  If you’re a married guy or even a married gal, how would you describe your spouse?  Maybe you’re someone who wants to be married one day.  What one word would describe the relationship called marriage if you could define it?  What are you looking for?  For me, the word is lift.

For you it may be another word.  The importance is in understanding the one thing that most defines your relationship.  For me and Paula, it’s lift.  She has lifted me and I know will continue to do so.  That’s why I don’t just celebrate her birthday, I celebrate the amazing woman that she is.  She has helped me understand what womanhood really is, what a godly woman is, what a self-sacrificing, loving Christian should be.

Paula, thank you for the lift.

Why We Suck At “Good-bye”

In the news this week are two different stories that make the same point.  One has to do with Brett Favre and his brilliant comeback on Monday Night Football.  The other has to do with Bobby Bowden and his movement toward the shadows of his career.

Here are two men in the public eye, two professionals in the sporting world, who have lived unquestionably at the top of their game, both at the end of their careers in very different ways.

Bobby Bowden who is waving at his oncoming 80th birthday, is now being rumored to being forced out at the end of the season because the team is not winning and playing up to their usual standard.  This has been true for several years, and Bobby doesn’t seem to get the message.

On the other hand, here is Brett Favre who this Saturday will be 40 – ancient by football terms and yet still playing at the top of his game, as good as any quarterback in the NFL except of course, Peyton Manning.

What’s the point of these two very public people?  They are both facing good-bye.  And they are facing it very differently.

Brett Favre played a great game, but he’s at the end of his career.  Let’s face it.  There aren’t that many great games left.  He’s going to have to leave something that defines who he is and really all he’s known his entire life.  He has to transition. He has to take who he is and what he has become and begin to see himself in a different light, doing something different, making a contribution; not just in a different way, but in a different field.

Bobby Bowden, on the other hand, is facing not only the end of his professional career, but close to the end of his natural life.  Those are two very different transitions, but still very real for people like you and me.

Yesterday, I signed the papers to sell my parents’ home.  It was incredibly sad.  Not because it wasn’t a good thing, it’s just that I’m saying good-bye to not only my mother, but my father, and also my brother again, even though they passed on many years ago.

Here is the point.  You’re going to have to get good at good-bye. We’re really great at hello.  We love the start of things and the potential they bring.  But no matter how good they are, they still end.  You have to be willing to let go and believe that at the end of a good thing is a better thing waiting to be born.  It happens to us all.  We get older.  We finish careers, jobs, sometimes even marriages and relationships.

God has given us the gift of good-bye.  What does that mean?  It means that at the end of every good-bye is a hello.  There is no good-bye without a hello.  God sees to that.  I trust that whatever hello is waiting over the next hill that I can’t see, will be something born of God’s grace and delivered by His generosity.

If you’re holding onto something that’s over, let it go and be willing to embrace the gift of good-bye so that you can receive the gift of hello.

Yesterday @ The Gathering: Someday We’ll All Go Back to Zero

bighurryiconWe finished our series “What’s Your Big Hurry?” today @ The Gathering with installment number 8 entitled, “Someday We All Go Back to Zero.”

We talked about the three gifts God gives us on our life’s journey:

  1. The gift of hello, which guarantees that there are all kinds of new people coming into our lives; healthy people, exciting people, people we can connect to help  get to where we need to be and also, in turn, help them.  Always new people, always exciting new things, always more opportunity – that’s a gift from God called the gift of hello.
  2. The gift of good-bye. Sometimes relationships just simply end; relationships with people we work with, even a career, a marriage.  Relationships that were once good turn toxic.  And at those moments, God gives us the ability to walk away to give the gift of good-bye, and accept the gift of hello to new, healthy people who are coming into our lives for this leg of our journey.
  3. The third gift is a gift of a fresh start. There is a little known concept in the Old Testament called the year of jubilee.  Every fiftieth year, no matter what had happened in the fifty years before, all original deeds to property went back to the original families and owners.  This basically meant that no matter how badly you’d messed up, even to the point of losing the family land through bad business deals or investments, there would be at the fiftieth year the ability to start over.  The fresh start is something that God promises each one of us everyday as we get up.

But the question is, how do you get unstuck when you feel like opportunity has dried up and people simply won’t respond to you?  Here are the five ways to get unstuck.

  1. Get up.  One of the first signs of depression is when you want to stay in bed too long.  You want to lie around and do nothing.  You have no energy; not because you are physically sick, but you emotionally and spiritually don’t have anything better to do.
  2. Suit up. Shave, shower, put some clothes, wear your best, and get out and show people you are open for business and you are serious.
  3. Show up. I truly believe that over 70% of life is showing up.  We’ve been lied to when we’re told there is little opportunity because there are way too many people out there for the small piece of the pie.  The truth is, there are very few people showing up to really seize the opportunities that are there every day.  You need to be one of them.
  4. Do the next right thing. It’s like the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  Maybe your goals, dreams, and aspirations, maybe just getting out of the rut you are in right now is going to take time and seems overwhelming because of the money and resources required.  How in the world will you ever make it?  You do it by doing the next right thing one day at a time.  And you string those days into weeks, weeks into months, and those months into years and amazing things begin to happen.
  5. Trust God with the results.  This is a sowing and reaping thing.  God won’t do my part and I can’t do God’s part.  I sow, and God makes it grow.  If I get up and suit up, show up each day, accept God’s gift of hello, good-bye, an a fresh start by doing the next right thing, really amazing things begin to happen.

Remember, this could be the first day of a brand new beginning, a fresh start.  Maybe you won’t do much today.  Maybe for you, a lot is getting up, suiting up, and just getting out and being where other people are.  Maybe you need to find an exciting, dynamic church and just start gathering there around other happy people; people who are energetic, people who believe that God is close and gracious, that He responds to our acts no matter how small, with love and faithfulness.  You can get unstuck, you can begin again, and your future can be far greater than anything you’ve ever known.

The Sinister Side of Success

Who doesn’t want to be successful? Everyone I know spends a lot of time and money in the effort of high achievement. Success is a good thing, but it also has a sinister side.

The sinister side of success is not about what success creates or achieves, (those noble things that we couldn’t live without) but what it does to the one who has finally won it. Success has a way of lowering us into a false sense of security so that we become complacent at best and at worst, develop an attitude of entitlement.

How many people are laying on the sidelines, victims of a broken life or career because all they think about is achieving a certain simple, quick success, that after achieving it they became complacent or developed an attitude of entitlement, that people owe them something; that just because I am in the corner office today, I should have it the rest of my life. It’s like “king of the hill,” you get up, and once you’re up you stay up by virtue of the fact that you got up in the first place.

Beware of the sinister side of success as it relates to anything: in your marriage, your relationship with your children, your career, and your connection with your colleagues. No one wants to be around a person who’s smug and secure in his or her own abilities. If you want to be around people and continue to grow and stretch, understand that success can make you complacent and lazy, bitter and angry; assuming that other people are to bow down to you and respect you based on what you’ve done in the past.

As far as that goes, t<font color=”#00ff00″>he Scriptures clearly teach us that a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is not about a conversion moment somewhere when we were children. It’s not going down in front at the end of a revival or on Saturday night after a Vacation Bible School. You can only be assured you have a relationship with God on the basis of what’s going on right now. Past success, past closeness with God doesn’t guarantee the future. We get up each and every day and we achieve a success that endures and prevails.

Be careful of your successes.
They may come at the beginning of your downfall, especially if you allow complacency and entitlement to creep into your heart and attitude.

The Phelps Effect

phelps416You’d have to be on another planet to not know who Michael Phelps is, especially since he’s broken all Olympic records in just about every category: number of gold medals, number of total medals, world records. He’s been lauded and praised as the greatest athlete ever. And while he deserves all of those recognitions, something hit me as I was watching two races in which he had to depend on other people to help him win the gold.

What’s really interesting is each one of these other three guys all swam better than they ever had before. And the commentators were wondering exactly how it is that they could have done so well. Well, it’s called The Phelps Effect.

Swimming with Phelps made them better than they’d ever been. That’s a principle that applies to all of life, not just swimming, and not just to Olympics. You need to surround yourself with people who are better than you are; just plain old better people, people with more skill, people who intimidate you a little bit but who call you to a higher place, who will call out the very best in you that will never come to the surface hanging around people that are equal to or less than you are.

relayI heard a guy say one time, “Make sure you’re the smallest person in the room.” And by that he didn’t mean in stature or status. He meant, “Make sure you’re around giants, people who have integrity, who display it with great character; people who are hungry, excited, alive, people who are generous, people who are learning, stretching, and growing, always willing to take the right risk.

If you’re not around people who make you uncomfortable, who intimidate you, what you’re simply saying is, “I will sacrifice being my absolute best because I don’t dare get in a pool with a Michael Phelps for fear that I will fail.”

Here’s the bottom line of The Phelps Effect. You will never reach your true potential unless you put around you people who scare you, who intimidate you, and yet bring out the best. Dare to be the smallest person in your group. Run with giants and you’ll be glad – and so will we.