Archive for the ‘Life’s Lessons’ Category

Mark Horvath on blogtalkradio – using social media for social marketing

Published by January 11th, 2009 in Life's Lessons, My Big Mouth  1 Comment  

John Lawlor interviews me for blogtalkradio. The topic is using social media to help bring awareness to the issues of homelessness. Two months ago I started with only $45, a small camera, laptop, and I aggressively used twitter to make things happen.

Wow – I don’t know how I did it but I was able to work in The Dream Center, Union Rescue Mission, Andy Bales, Michael Buckingham, Guy Kawasaki , and many more. We talked extensively about homeless issues and I used real life examples of my social media successes like “persuading” Guy to build – the best resource for current homeless news.

I reference a post about a baby that showed up at the shelter you can read here. Homeless has a new face and that is two parent families with children.

If you would rather listen to the podcast you can download it here

Honestly, this was my first time doing live radio in over 7 years so I was very nervous. I didn’t say everything I wanted to say the way I wanted to say it. Plus, even in the few weeks since it was recorded I have learned so much more about social media and working with homeless services. The post below this is a good example. That all said, there’s still plenty of great stuff that I think you’ll enjoy.

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Your life is being broadcast

Published by October 22nd, 2008 in Character, Church, Community, Future, Internet, Life's Lessons, My Big Mouth, Technology  2 Comments »  

Wow! It’s been a long time since I made a post, and a lot has happened. Actually, I have like 20 posts in me, but because in the past my being open and honest was not allowed – I was scared – so I kept silent!

I wanted to write about my new job and my new boss, yet, because I knew when I posted a link to Brad’s blog he would find this blog, I kept procrastinating, and now it’s a mute point. Interesting enough, I did not actually realize how toxic some of my last situations were until I tried to function normally in a healthy environment. I mean, who else would have the coolest workplace, and be open to blogging, and open to voicing a difference of opinion than the guy behind – yet I was conditioned for the last several years to not be myself – and it showed, because I was still too scared to be open and honest even though I was in a safe place.

I also wanted to write about control. As I went into this new job I worked extra hard to allow things to evolve around me without any interference by me. We either become control freaks, or become passive, in an attempt to avoid legitimate suffering, yet it is by going through legitimate suffering head on that we grow spiritually and emotionally. It was a great experience going into an organization and not as the boss. Nothing happened “my way”, and I loved every growth-packed minute of it. I actually believe that every mega church leader should go find a small church and work for two weeks each year as a lay person, and not be allowed to influence any decision. Basically seeing life from the other side. Not being the boss for a change was one of the best things that could have happened to me, but that is not the topic of this post.

There is so much that I want to write, and I wish my written communication skills were better so I could effectively communicate all that is my heart. I do regret allowing the oppression of my past situations to continue on into my new life. It’s not their fault, it’s mine! I made the choice to keep quiet, and that was the wrong choice!

What I feel compelled to write about is a change I see as our society becomes more voyeuristic and technology becomes more mobile. Like I said in the last post, I’m sure someone has already touched this topic so I may be behind, but it is very, very important. Now, it has actually come to life for me!

A few weeks back ICFG had to lay off 25 people, and I was one of them. For the record I want to say that although there is no easy way to let people go, ICFG had to make a hard decision, and they took very good care of us. You can tell if an organization has Jesus or not just by how they treat employees that are exiting, and former employees that for whatever reason moved on. Even though my time was short with Foursquare I am extremely impressed with their compassion and forward thinking.

The interesting part to all this is “Black Tuesday”, the day the layoffs took place, was broadcast over the internet via Twitter and Facebook. Some I have selected as a favorite on my Twitter page, which you can read here . Brad was twittering as it went down, and so were a few others in the office. It was weird, yet it is the future of how things are going to be – all of our lives will be broadcast over the internet – like it or not!

I believe the idea of a “big brother” watching us started with George Orwell’s movie 1984, but it’s not the government that is the soon-to-be big participator in broadcasting EVERYTHING, it’s little sister, Aunt Ruby, Johnny down the street, and Yilmaz over in Turkey. As we become more of a mobile technology world, more of OUR world will be broadcast to the Internet – AND NOT BY CHOICE!

As with anything there is good and bad. The good is people who do not have integrity will no longer be able to hide. The new world is all about transparency and vulnerability – everything will be exposed. The bad is there is no privacy anymore – none at all!

No matter if you like this or not, as in the case of “Black Tuesday” being broadcast over the internet, I didn’t have a choice, and neither do you. This train has left the station, and if you are not being real with people, LOTS of people will find out – and sooner than a you can click on a send button!

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My new gay friend

Published by September 16th, 2008 in Change, Character, Church, Life's Lessons  6 Comments »  

For the last two months I have been visiting a local store several times a week and made friends with the kid at the front counter. We have openly talked about church, Jesus, his family, my family and life in LA! The first time I walked into the store I felt like I should share my testimony, which I did. I did so as conversation and was not confrontational. We talk about church and ministry every time I am there.

Here is the interesting part. The store is frequented by lots of beautiful women and last week I commented that it must drive him crazy. He looked me right in the eyes and said, “it does not bother me a bit, I’m gay” WHAT? For almost two months now I have been talking about church and he never once judged me. I was shocked. Not that he is gay, but that he was so cool.

We still talk about church, ministry, marketing and life in LA. He is a good kid and fun to talk to. He is also a great salesperson and besides genuinely befriending everyone he does an amazing job of upselling. Just because he is gay I didn’t start treating him any different and just because I am a Christian he never once treated me any different.

I don’t agree with his lifestyle yet I don’t have an agenda to “convert” him either. In fact, that is what is wrong with most Christians today. We point our finger condemning people as “sinners” which only continues to reinforce the tainted view people have of us, or we separate ourselves because we feel uncomfortable around people not exactly like us. Not just gays but homeless, handicapped, gutter punk kids and others.

In reality my new friend taught me a few very important lessons. Mainly to not judge people and allow them to be themselves. Although this sounds simple to most of us, me included, we have to fight past stereotypes and negative predispositions to truly love everyone. Too me, if Christians just started to be friendly instead of weird it would be a huge step in the right direction.

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Blogging is work rant.

Published by September 15th, 2008 in Blogs, Change, Learning, Life's Lessons, Marketing  Comments Off on Blogging is work rant.  

Don’t let anyone tell you different. Blogging is work. As far as work goes, though, it leans to the more enjoyable side. My issues are 1) I just hate to write 2) finding the time 3) remembering all the cool ideas I had during the week

For those of you that subscribe or stop by often you’ll notice that I have not posted in a few weeks. For those of you that actually enjoy my rants please forgive me. And those of you who have been sending me emails asking for new “stuff” – thanks for giving me a kick.

Part of this is a result of having a life again. Pinch me! I still work in fulltime ministry and my employer makes it a priority that people have a life outside of work. I get to be like normal folks and I now have the time to “do things” – which I am! I started to play drums every week with a cool worship team and I am taking classes. Besides that I am catching up with old friends I have not seen in years. And let’s be real. Los Angeles has so much fun stuff to do I am always going. I am moving so fast just yesterday I had to look at a calendar to schedule laundry days.

I believe Seth once wrote about the hardest part of blogging is trying to figure out what not to post. I completely agree because I do my best to post only what I feel will help others. I know some probably think I am negative but I am the exact opposite. Lots of people go through the same madness and for whatever reason keep quiet. By reading about somebody else going through the same “junk” it helps with understanding and eventually healing. Just read the comments to my post Real Faith Is… to see that in action. One person commented about my blog saying they loved it because it was “insightful and vulnerable”. Their words not mine.  Another blogger who I didn’t know linked to me with the comment –learn how to be a good weird and make a difference – THAT IS AWESOME! And still to this date the #1 entry search word is “breathalyzer” that takes people to a post I did about being honest with yourself, which you can read here. If you are searching to beat a breath test you have a problem! It is so cool they land on this post.

Throughout the week I get hit with ideas I want to post. It seems that a new idea pushes out the old ones and so on. I forget lots of great stuff and then when I sit-down to type, like I am now, I end up ranting about something completely different, like I am now.

Blogging takes a lot of discipline, courage and time. The actual time writing is minimal yet the backend energy required to be vulnerable and come up with the “right” posts can be exhausting. In hindsight if I knew what it takes to be a blogger I may have never started. One of the great benefits now is that before I recommend a client blog as a marketing strategy I can be really honest about the logistics. Nonetheless if I can help just one person become self-aware and change it is well worth it.

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Bless me or bless you?

Published by June 20th, 2008 in Change, Character, Community, Homeless, Just Me, Leadership, Learning, Life's Lessons, Managment, My Big Mouth, Outreach  2 Comments »  

For the last 5 years I have worked in churches that were 75% focused on “bless me bless me” instead of blessing others. It was not until I needed help because I did not have money or food that I consciously saw the fallout from that style of ministry. When people focus on becoming a millionaire their hearts change. When leadership’s primary teaching is about receiving instead of giving, even though helping others is mentioned, giving unselfishly never becomes a priority or a lifestyle. A generous heart cannot grow when a person is constantly praying to receive. 

A short time ago I had to apply for food stamps. Very humbling to say the least! At one point I was down to 3 cans of tuna. I found there are some very unselfish and genuine people in the world and I am in awe of the sacrifice they made to help me out. But none of those people attend a “bless me” church.

I say all that not to criticize the “bless me” churches, but to slap myself in the face! Thank goodness my original Christian foundation came from an outreach focused church because I continue to always put others before me, yet I am not proud of what I did or who I became these last several years. I compromised what I know to be right in so many ways.

Last week a couple handed me a large envelope of cash.  The week before someone filled my fridge and another person paid my mortgage. When I told my best friend he said “God blessed you” yet I disagree! God does not bless with a new car or a fat check. God blesses with challenges that help you grow. We are confused. We all run around seeking “blessings” from God that are for the most part material stuff we’ll end up selling on craigslist. The new car only blesses for a short time as you show off to your neighbors. We are being trained to be selfish “bless me bless me” so we perceive, for the most part, that the only blessings from God are material or financial.

In my adult life the biggest blessings I have ever received where 1) homelessness 2) divorce 3) unexpected unemployment. Why would I say that? Because in each situation I grew to be a better person – I was truly blessed!

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What I really wanted to say!

Published by June 20th, 2008 in Change, Character, Community, Customer Service, Just Me, Leadership, Learning, Life's Lessons, Managment, My Big Mouth  2 Comments »  

Ahhh the feeling of freedom after being repressed. 

For some time I was not allowed to be myself. To be completely honest I was employed at a place where people are not allowed to be honest and have to say things like “we are receiving our healing” instead of saying “I am sick” or “I have a cold”. Although I completely agree with positive thinking this type of environment is far from positive. People are scared to be real and it encourages people to be superficial. Even though the assumed intent is to create a positive workplace it actually produces the opposite since honestly is repressed!

When I wrote this post what I really wanted to say is:

If the local drycleaner cares more about people, genuinely cares more about people then the local church – there is something seriously wrong with the church!

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Shunning is horrible

Published by June 17th, 2008 in Change, Character, Just Me, Leadership, Learning, Life's Lessons, Managment, Ministry, My Big Mouth  Comments Off on Shunning is horrible  

Shunning is not of God. It is a form of manipulation and it is wrong. Usually people who shun others justify their actions with rationalization. “We’ll allow God to work” is one.  Truth is by shunning you are limiting God by only allowing one solution to an issue. Just maybe God wants to teach a person how to have healthy confrontation and to communicate openly and honestly. Another reason people shun is to avoid confrontation.  It is easier to avoid then to deal with an issue or person.

If you are a leader in an organization that shuns people – stop it! It is wrong. Learn to have healthy communication with people.

If you are an employee in an organization that shuns people – run away as fast as you can!

If you are a member of an organization that shuns people – leave immediately!

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Whatever God!

Published by March 12th, 2008 in Change, Character, Future, Homeless, Just Me, Leadership, Learning, Life's Lessons, My Big Mouth, Personal, Personal Growth, Recovery, Remarkable  1 Comment  

As I was driving to Nashville in a crazy snow storm to speak at NRB I received a devastating phone call. Well, it should have been devastating since I was being delivered some very bad news.

For about the last 10 months I have been through hell. I have been beat down to where there is absolutely no fight left in me. Everything that has happened, all the misunderstandings and whacked perceptions are so weird I cannot even explain it.  The end result is I am now back in extreme debt and I am very close to losing everything – again!

When I was homeless I had nothing to lose. The stress this time is insane and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the fear sometimes is almost paralyzing.  I don’t dwell on the fear and I always do my best to stay positive, but sometimes it just slaps me in the face.

Now here is what is interesting (at least to me).  As I was driving through that snow storm this past Friday, and hung up the phone after receiving very bad news, I said out loud, “whatever God” with a smile on my face. I had peace about my situation. It was as if I completely surrendered and raised the white flag. 

The National Religious Broadcasters Convention, I thought, would be all business. I never expected to get anything spiritual from the event. I was wrong! Saturday morning a friend talked me into going to hear Phil Vischer speak. Phil is the original creator of Veggie Tales and to be honest, talking vegetables have never done anything for me. I would have never gone to hear Phil without some coaching.

It was amazing and just what I needed to hear.  Phil had everything and then lost everything yet God continues to do an amazing work in his life. There was a God purpose in everything! He has now started Jelly Fish Labs. The name alone is worth going to the session. A jellyfish cannot completely control where it moves. Phil’s talk is encouraging and spiritually enlightening and I highly recommend you buy the CD. RB-S01 Reach Keynote Session – Phil Vischer.

While driving I also listened to a leadership series by Andy Stanley that is probably some of the best teachings I have ever heard.  If you are going to only buy one teaching series in 08 make it this one! It will change your life. Buy it for your pastor, leaders and friends. The church is changing. Leadership is changing! Everyone needs to hear this: The Best of Catalyst – Andy Stanley Buy this teaching and share!

I don’t know what is going to happen in my life. God has stripped me of everything before so I would pay attention and let Him drive. I don’t know if that is the case here, but this last week, in the face of severe darkness, I was blanketed with a peace that could have only come from God.

Whatever God, although scary, is a very good place to be!

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I am headed to Nashville.

Published by March 7th, 2008 in Just Me, Learning, Life's Lessons, Marketing, Media, Ministry, My Big Mouth, Remarkable, Technology, Television, Vision  1 Comment  

I am speaking again at NRB this year. It really is an honor (and a miracle) that anyone would ask me to open my mouth. I get a daily quote from Carl’s Quote of the Day and here is the one for today:

The human brain is a wonderful thing.  It starts working the moment you are born, and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
–George Jessel

I am not so much concerned about public speaking as I am about having to listen to country music everywhere. That will be torture.  Truthfully I am really excited because my life is about to drastically change in the next few days. Also I get to hang with some very cool people and catch up with old friends!

Phil wrote about NRB and you can read his post here

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People hate change – continued

Published by March 3rd, 2008 in Change, Internet, Just Me, Learning, Life's Lessons, Marketing, Ministry, My Big Mouth  Comments Off on People hate change – continued  

This past Friday afternoon I had a business meeting and the people I went to LA with had to go fend for themselves.  Upon their return I asked them where they went. They responded Taco Bell! No, they were not kidding! Going to Taco Bell in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles is like going to Pizza Hut in Rome, Italy (if there is one).

Later that night we were looking for a place to eat and they all wanted a chain restaurant even mentioning Applebee’s. 

What is interesting is if you asked these people about change they would say they love change. The truth is most people don’t. We gravitate to what is familiar – always!

In producing Christian television almost yearly every pastor has asked for a new show open. They feel they are not being progressive if they don’t have change. Now, if there is a ministry or strategy change then YES change the show open. If not leave it. 60 Minutes has had the same clock open for over 20 years for a reason.  Secular shows DO NOT change their show formats or opens because they know we are creatures of familiarity.

Keep in mind when you change stuff you make people feel uncomfortable!

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