Tag Archives: Jacob’s Well Minneapolis

In your Comfort Zone? It’s time to grow!

Comfort-Danger.AnxietyWith Jacob’s Well Minneapolis we’re talking “Because It Hurts” (Sept 2015)
We’re digging into those necessary and important parts of life that unavoidably hurt from time to time. We have no illusions about avoiding the pain, or somehow justifying it, but we do believe that when we help each other live in and through the pain it makes us more alive – even when it’s killing us.

One of the key things we are talking about is the relationship between our Comfort Zone and our Danger Zone. [Last week we called the Danger Zone our “Safety Zone” meaning that this is where my safety seems threatened, but that was confusing, so we’re switching “Safety Zone” to “Danger Zone.”]

When we spend too much time in our Comfort Zone we don’t grow much. And we are also ill-prepared for life outside our it – which is inevitable. And, like the diagram above, we find that when we leave our Comfort Zone we are immediately thrust into our Danger Zone and our reaction is Panic! Anxiety! It’s not fun. Not much growth happens there either. And it hurts.

What we need is to create some space between our Comfort and Danger Zones.

We do it by inserting Personal Practices that help us avoid the panic that paralyzes us. Gaining Perspective about what life is really like and about. How threatening the challenge really is. It’s seeing, and feeling, the big picture. I would say this is bringing God and wisdom into the situation. And inviting People to be part of the experience with you. This is the most important piece actually because it is through people you most often find the strength to learn and practice what you need, and that God gives you glimpses of the larger perspective you need.

When you bring Practices, Perspective and People into your life you interrupt the Comfort<=>Danger Zone chain reaction and develop a Growth Zone.Comfort-Danger.GrowthZone

Sure, your Growth Zone is pretty scary too, hurt is part of the equation of life after all, but you aren’t in your danger zone! You can do this. And you can take that hurting stuff and… grow! In fact while you may be uncomfortable, scared and uncertain in your Growth Zone (with practices, perspective and people at work in it with you) you may find yourself surprisingly, but not so strangely, experiencing peace.Comfort-Danger.Peace

You’ll also notice that your Danger Zone is shrinking – not so many things trigger panic anymore. Your Comfort Zone is expanding – things you could never have done before are now part of what you do everyday. And your Growth Zone is a place that you long for – in it’s bittersweet way you realize that this is where you are most alive.


Notes taken while re-inventing church – 02

I’m speaking to a class of students at Luther Seminary on Friday who are preparing to do ‘mission development’ as either a new enterprise, or within the context of an already established church. LOTS of things to talk about, including a bit about the story of Jacob’s Well, but I’ve only got 45 minutes. So here is the 5 point checklist I’m giving them (and yes, it feels a bit inadequate to me too.)

  • Are you really called? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? (’cause it will take it!) Who are you as a leader? (strengths/non-strengths, assets/liabilities)
  • What is your vision? What are your expectations, what does ‘success’ look like? Is your vision clear enough for others to follow and big enough to need God to make it happen?
  • What is your plan? (models you are watching, strategy and systems, including funding)
  • Who is your team? How will you find them? How will you prepare them and use them to complement and balance you?
  • How will you evaluate? Don’t overlook this!

Given this is just a sketch… what’s missing? Particularly anything that can’t be fitted into one of these 5 points?


God intended rape? Really?

Just in case you are wondering, Indiana Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock’s commentsImage about rape are NOT something you will ever hear from Jacob’s Well Minneapolis. Mourdock said in a October 23 debate, “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

Would God love the child from a situation like this? Of course.

Would God be with the woman so deeply wounded by rape? Of course, and hopefully in powerful ways by the community of God’s people.

But did God intend that life and therefore the rape that caused it? No, of course not. This kind of thinking sees God as the cosmic chess player making all the moves. Wrong. God doesn’t run our lives. God is with us in our lives. God promises to bring life from even the greatest tragedies, but God is hurt and sheds tears over the inhumanity of our world and does not use violence and brutality to bring blessings to us. 

There seems to be an idea among some people that because a pregnancy happened, and therefore a life begun, that the life had to happen. ‘Life can’t be an accident,’ such thinking says. This is a great example of asking a wrong question and when one does, one never gets a useful answer. The right question isn’t ‘Since a life was begun, doesn’t it have to be God who began it?” but “In the face of all the brokenness in our world, how can we act with the most compassion and transformative love that God has given us to deal with it and heal it.”

Keep God BIG. Don’t turn God into a simple game piece shuffler.