Jealousy and the Heart

Posted: March 21, 2012 by efficienista in Connection Groups, Leadership

How do we define success?

If we are only measuring our significance by numbers: audience size, number of people who attend our Connection Groups, twitter followers, comments responded to, how big is our budget, our definition of success is based on jealousy and pride. Success is about “you.” Success focused solely on you will always be a life suck.

If we redefine success by looking at quality of life improved, hearts encouraged, faith increased, prayers answered, relationships reconciled, spirits renewed, new leaders being raised up, our definition is “others” oriented. Success focused on others can be life giving and rock your world for the better.

• How do you think God would define success?
• Are you celebrating life change or just an increase in numbers?
• When others succeed, how does your heart respond?

Bonus Round:

• What are the top three qualities and actions of those who you would deem successful?
• If you had 5 minutes with them, what questions would you ask to learn and grow from them?
• How can you add value back to them?
• What would it take to make that conversation happen?

(This blog post is inspired by reading Mark Batterson’s book The Circle Maker and listening to Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast on Jealousy)

Guest post by Cara Donahue


As leaders, we often think we are the ones to do the majority of talking, sharing, giving, etc. The following is a challenging post on how we can communicate effectively and impactfully through listening by Helen Mitchell, Director of Workplace Ministry at Saddleback Church:

Ever felt like the person you were talking to was a great listener – they heard what you said and also seemed to know just what you were experiencing? How did that feel? Probably pretty good, because few motives are as powerful as the desire to be known and understood by others.

Good listeners not only take in information but also validate the other person’s experience. Unfortunately, most of us really are not good compassionate listeners.

A small group should be a safe place to be vulnerable and transparent. How we listen to one another creates that environment of safety, acceptance, love and trust. When someone is sharing something deep, personal and important to them, they are opening their very life to you. How you respond as a listener will either leave them feeling accepted or feeling isolated.

Five common mistakes:

  • Turning the focus of the conversation from the person to ourselves – It is not about you. “That reminds me of the time…” or “Let me tell you what happened…” or…..
  • Dismissing what they said and how they feel about what they said. “Don’t feel that way….” or “Too bad….” or “I’ll pray for you…!”
  • Minimizing their experience or pain. “It’s not that bad….” or “It will all work out…remember Romans 8:28…” or “I have a friend who went through the same thing….”
  • Looking around while they are talking, greeting passersby or texting and emailing when they are talking to you.
  • Trying to solve it for them. “Well, if I were you…” or “Haven’t we talked about this before?”
    Five practices of a great listener:

    • Show compassion. When we grasp what they are trying to say we’re building a bond of understanding and trust.
    • Reflect back to them both what it is you heard them say and how it makes them feel. Don’t sensationalize, minimize or add to what they told you. Sometimes just saying, “I’m sorry…” is what they need.
    • Let them talk – don’t interrupt. The details of who, what, where, when and why are generally for our benefit and do nothing to give the other person space to share their burden or joy.
    • Ask for clarification and/or restating what it is they said. Sometimes the person will talk fast and let it all spill out like a fire hydrant leaving you feel wind whipped. It is okay to interrupt with, “Wait a minute. I want to be sure I understand this….” And then try to restate what they told you and how they felt, to make sure you got it.
    • Be physically present. Face the person and maintain eye contact. Watch your posture – unfold your arms and legs.

    Don’t try to fix their problem or join them in criticizing and judging others.
    Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 (NIV)

Posted: March 1, 2012 by kylejackson10 in Connection Groups, Leadership
Tags: , , ,

Power of Inviting

Posted: September 21, 2011 by kylejackson10 in Uncategorized

As we start our Fall 2011 Connection Group Semester, I am reminded how my life has been radically changed by the power of an invitation, both receiving and giving them. They are literally the basis for the life change that I have experienced over the last 4 years.

When we invite people to be part of our connection group, we are giving them a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves; something that could change their life. In fact, we are modeling what Jesus did in Matthew 4:18-20:

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were called fisherman. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Jesus knew that what he was doing was what His Father asked of Him. He invited (vs.18) Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew to join him on a life changing journey, one that changed the world. Within his invitation, there are two things that stand out to me as things we can do as we invite people to be a part of our connection group.

1. The invitation was personal. He spoke to them. There is something special about looking someone in the eyes and asking them to be a part of something that you are doing. People want to be wanted.

2. He made it clear what they would be doing. He spoke to them in a way they would understand what it was he was doing. An invitation should be tailored to the individual receiving it. It should be easy for them to understand and something they can find value in. This is why it’s so important to invite who you know. If you know what’s going on in a person’s life, then you know how to invite them.

As you read this, who is standing out in your mind that you need to invite to your connection group? someone whose life needs to change and maybe your small group can help with that? Go ahead and decide to reach out to them and invite them to join your connection group.

-Sean Callaghan (Connection Group Pastor Bayside Community Church. Bradenton, FL.)

One of the biggest things I have learned about being a leader is you WILL be criticized. Being criticized hurts but it is worth it! John Maxwell says, “When you get kicked in the rear, you know you are out front.”

Not everyone handles criticism the same. Some try to ignore it. Some try to defend themselves against it. Others, make witty and sarcastic remarks to put a critic in his place. The truth is, if you are a leader you WILL get criticized.

There are three things I have learned to use as a filter when being criticized:

1.) Who criticized me?– If it is coming from someone close to you or someone you admire or look up to then the criticism is worth looking into.

2.) How was the criticism given?- I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. You have to determine if the person was being judgmental or do they have real concern.

3.) Why was the criticism given?- Was it given out of personal hurt or for my benefit? When people are feeling hurt by you they will lash out and criticize you. Hurting people want to hurt other people.

Once I have used those filters during a moment of criticism I then work through what I was being criticized about. I try not to be defensive. I look for the grain of truth in the criticism. Then, I make changes if I need to.

I have learned that secure leaders never need to defend themselves. Even when the person who is criticizing is so far off from the truth. If you worry about what other people think about you it’s because you have more confidence in their opinion than you have in your own.

As I have learned this principle of “When you are getting kicked in the rear, you know you are out front” I think back to all the criticism I took early on as a leader. I use to respond to it with anger or sarcastic remarks. Now, I filter through the three things you read above. It is much easier to sleep at night when you filter through those principles.

When you are a leader you WILL be criticized! Know that it is worth it!

– Kyle


I have 2 friends that I played college baseball with that are making their way through Minor League baseball on the way to the Bigs. I had the opportunity to talk with both of them on the phone recently as they were finishing up Spring Training in AZ. and was blown away by some of the answers they gave me to some questions I was strategically asking about baseball but listening to their answers with a Ministry mindset.

Lance Zawadski (Triple-A for the Kansas City Royals) played several games for the Padres last season before being traded is a switch hitting SS/2B that is a phenomenal defensive player and hits for power from both sides of the plate. (’R’)

Brad Coon (Triple-A for the Los Angelis Dodgers) is in his 6th year of Minor League ball. He was with the Angels for 4 years, Nationals for 1 and now will start his 6th season with the Dodgers. He is a speedy left-handed center fielder that hits lead-off and steals 30-40 bases a year. Brad hit a walk-off HR last year in Spring Training in AZ for the Angels. (’R’)

Questions I asked Lance and Brad:

1.) What is the biggest difference between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball?

Amazingly they gave the exact same answer: “The biggest difference is in Minor League Baseball you can get away with certain weaknesses, but in the Majors, every weakness you have will be EXPLOITED and it will be exploited quick. In Minor League baseball only a few teams know your weakness, in the Majors EVERYONE knows your weaknesses!”

As a leader in ministry, the larger your ministry gets the more your weaknesses are going to be EXPLOITED! You can get away with some things in the Minors that only a few people know about, but in the Majors your weakness WILL be known and they WILL be exploited quickly!

2.) What is the difference in preparing for a Double-A game and a Major League Game?

Again, they gave the same answer: “You can show up at the park 3 hours before a minor league game and stretch, Take BP, throw and be successful. In the Majors you have to prepare daily! You have to do your reasearch on everything and chances are you still want have a “great” game! You have to be so mentally tough or you will get run over!”

As a leader in ministry, the more influence you have the more ready you have to be to answer questions, take the heat, be challenged by others and more. You can’t just show up at the park and half way prepare, you have to be prepared daily.

3.) What has been the toughest challenge for you after moving up to the Big Leagues?

Lance: “Learning the day-to-day routine of being a Major League player. It’s so different being in the spotlight. Everything you do or say people are ready to pounce on you! You have to be mentally tough.”

Brad: “Thinking I have to change who I am as a player after one bad at bat or one bad game. I think I have to change everything about my stance and swing after one bad day. I am a singles hitter, that steals bases and plays good defence. That’s what got me here. I don’t have to be something I’m not!”

WOW…Let both of those answers sink in a little! In the ministry sometimes you feel like people are just waiting for you to do or say the “wrong” thing. Everyone has their opinion of what you should do or who you should be. Be who you are and do what got you to the place you are in. Don’t be afraid to change, but always revert back to who you are at a heart level. Know who you are and what you do well and stick with it!

4.) What is the biggest misconception about Major League players?

Lance: “That people think that just because we are Big League players we slack off. The biggest surprise to me was watching from the dugout some of the best players in the game consistently running on and off the field hard and running out ground balls hard. People see what they want on TV and assume what they want from a distance. It is not always true.”

Brad: “That we are all the same! Cocky, Above the law, non-appreciative guys. So untrue. There are unhappy people everywhere in life no matter what you do! That does not mean everyone you work with or everyone in you profession is the same. But people believe what they want and make their own opinions about you without even knowing you.”

The more influence you gain, the more scrutiny you will take! People will  make their own opinions about you when they have never met you. They will watch from a distance and try to tear you down.

What Can We Do: 1.) Get accountable about your weaknesses so they will not get Exploited. 2.) Prepare Daily. 3.) Know who you are at a heart level. 4.) Don’t worry about the misconceptions about who you are.

“Called” or “Anointed?”

Posted: February 9, 2011 by kylejackson10 in CHRISTIAN, Uncategorized, YOUNG ADULTS

Last night at Next Level Church Young Adults Group we talked through the difference of being “Called” & being “Anointed.”

CALLED——-> Gifts from God—–> Everyone has a Calling (Ephesians 4:1)

ANOINTED—-> Authority to function from God

We talked through Exodus 2:11-15 and how Moses rushed into his “Calling” from God and did not wait for God to “Anoint” him and send him out.

The 2 points we talked about through the story were:

1.) If you rush and do not wait on God’s timing your weaknesses will be found out.

2.) The time between the Calling and the Anointing is to work the arrogance out of us.

Gifting moves people…Anointing changes people!”

We talked about “Staying in the Process.” Embrace the Season you are in. Enjoy it!

There will be a 100 doors open during the waiting season, but NOT ALL OPEN DOORS ARE FROM GOD!

When the devil is telling you to quit the process the most, could be right before God Anoints you.”

We talked about working on ourselves during this Waiting Season. Earn God’s TRUST during the process. (LUKE 16:10)

What do we do?

1.) WRITE IT DOWN: (HABAKKUK 2:2) -Find something in your life that you know you need to work on and write it down.

-Get it out of the your heart (Darkness) and onto paper (Light).

God has to trust you with little before he can trust you with much.

2.) ASK ADVICE FROM PEOPLE WISER THAN YOU (PROVERBS 12:15) -It is hard to see what you are doing wrong in your life, it is much easier to see it in someone else’s life.

Set up a meeting with someone wiser than you that you trust and ask them questions on how to deal with what you wrote down.

3.) GET ALONE WITH GOD (1 PETER 5:7) -There is power in getting alone with God

-Present the problem in your life that you wrote down and ask God to help you start making the proper steps in the right direction.

We are all “Called” to something, ask God for the “Anointing” within your Calling. Life is to short not to do what you are gifted at!

Have a great week!


AUBURN- 22            OREGON- 19

This past weekend I was fortunate to go to Glendale, AZ for the 2010 National Championship Game! I have waited 28 years for Auburn to be in the National Championship game! It was an incredible experience! Auburn brought 50-70 thousand fans, who paid anywhere from $500.00-$4,000 for a ticket! And that is just to the game!!!

For the 4 days I was there I watched the culture of Auburn. I watched the current students, little kids,  recent graduates & old alumni smile, scream, cry & jump up and down like cheerleaders after a touchdown! (This includes myself). Everyone dresses the same, says the same things, talks the same, knows the same chants and cheers. You could tell an Auburn fan apart from anyone else in AZ! We have waited for so long for this moment! Our football team had made it to the top of college football! And we WON! Nothing could be better!

On my flight home I was reading out of Philippians & I began to reflect on the weekend. This thought came across my mind; “What if Jesus cam back today? Would you scream until your voice is gone, would you jump up and down, would you cry?”

To be completely honest with you, I could not answer the question in my mind! That is what I would say I would do, but immediately I had selfish thoughts: “There is so much more I want to accomplish, I want to be a dad, I want to travel there…etc.”

Is Auburn football more exciting and more important to me than Eternity?

Philippians 3:7-14 ” But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”                                                                                    

The culture was evident as I looked at Auburn fans this weekend. What is the culture of Christians? Are we willing to give it ALL up?

This is what I am working on in 2011!