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Inefficient is not ineffective.
I know what the definition says, and I know what you hear in your head when you hear inefficient. But that is not the kind of inefficiency I am talking about.

Meaning of inefficient

The negative connotation that goes along with inefficiency is one of laziness, insufficient, and a lack of caring. I have never heard Jesus described that way, nor have I read Jesus described that way.

But if we look at the life of Jesus, we see that He was anything from efficient.

There is a temptation today to make everything efficient. Your morning routine, your children, your job, your part-time job, your spouse, and maybe even your God. This temptation is in the name of effectiveness, a chance to speed up life and to get to the next thing in the most timely manor. If the fastest way to a point is straight, then you are headed straight.

Efficiency has crept its way in to our culture and has taken on words such as hustle, effective, and passion. And on the surface efficiency sounds great. It has become a way of life for many. This might provide them the opportunity to make more money for their family, write books, and take more meetings. Being efficient is doing everything to its absolute maximum and in the timeliest of manors.

The danger of efficiency is when it turns in to a way of life. When it becomes the only way to operate. When you start to make it your god. The temptation of efficiency is to always want more, to always take on more, and to systemize every action taken.

The thought of inefficiency might be the most inefficient thing you do today.

But looking at the life of Jesus, He does a lot of “inefficient” things.
Whether it was the time He decided to eat with a tax collector named Zacchaeus. Or the time He waited to go and check on His friend Lazarus. Or how about when He was suppose to be rushing off to save a dying child only to stop because He felt someone tugging on his jacket. Or maybe that time He called the Pharisee (the religious leaders of the day) a brood of vipers. Or how about when told the rich young ruler to sell everything and follow Him. Or maybe when He told a group of potential followers to let the dead bury the dead.

I am sure the disciples had several moments where they wondered about Jesus path to efficiency. Where they argued about how effective Jesus was really being. In fact, we see a bit of this exchange when Jesus is teaching  a large crowd. The disciples, realizing the potential problem ahead, tell Jesus to let the people go home because dinner is approaching. This obviously was in the name of efficiency. But Jesus had another plan.

Even in Jesus’ time, the demands for him to be efficient were overwhelming. He was suppose to be the one that overtook the Roman rule and lead the Israelite people to power, to authority, and to prominence. His path to efficiency was through shaking the right hands, kissing the right babies, and hanging out with the right people. It was all in front of Him. He needed to follow the plan and everything would fall in to place.

But reading the Gospels, Jesus took the path that no one else would have taken to power, He became death so that we may live. He took on sin so that we may be covered by His grace.

Empty Watch

If we learn anything from Jesus it was that He had a plan, it just wasn’t what we would have done. His plan was messy, it wasn’t efficient, and it was all about people. There was no system for Jesus, it wasn’t a step 1, 2, and 3 membership class, and it never made sense in the moment.

I think efficiency is so appealing because it can be predictable.
It is the only surefire way to have a guess at what the result will be. But what happens when efficiency leaves you empty? What happens when the system you created for your followers leaves them empty? What happens all the barriers are removed in the name of efficiency but there is still a huge gap between hearing and doing?

There is nothing wrong with efficiency. But when it becomes the only way to live it starts to rob moments that could have been. Imagine if Jesus never fed the 5000. Would life go on for those people if they had to go home and eat? Yes. Would they have been able to have practical application to the teaching of Jesus and His promise of providing? No.

I am afraid that our efficiency could be robbing ourselves and others the opportunities to have moments of growth. That the very way of living efficient could be stealing the every day miracle of life. Efficiency is the most inefficient thing you can do.

Should we live a life of chaos and wastefulness? No. Should we live a life that allows what some would call distractions (inefficiencies) to interrupt our schedule? Yes. Because those could be the very moment where God is speaking, showing, and doing something amazing in yours and others lives.

Maybe the most efficient thing we can do today is to look for chance to be inefficient in the way we love.

Thankfully my friend Jeff is calling us to live inefficient.

Tuesday I was working on a video piece for my job.
Now to clarify, I do not edit video, my job is to stick to websites and design, but I found myself completely a video mashup of a message (seen herehttp://youtu.be/yZTQA4TRhSA) and found myself with 8 minutes of footage and needing to cut it down to 2:30 minutes of footage.

As I was dialoguing with our video editor about cutting the project down he said something interesting.

“The job of the editor is to be unemotionally about the footage, but emotionally attached to the story,”

I had never thought of it that way before. I was trying to cram all the footage into one story, instead of letting editing the story into the paramaters that were in front of me.

Read the rest over on @medium here

This is a guest post from Tyler Braun. Tyler is a close friend that I have never actually met in person. But through the use of technology has become close. He is a pastor from Oregon whose first book, Why Holiness Matters, just released. You can find Tyler on Twitter or his blog, manofdepravity.com.

A few years ago I took a bad fall while riding my bike in downtown Portland. I went over a train track at a bad angle, the track grabbed my front wheel and jerked my handle bars and I flew head first right over my bike. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet I would have been in the hospital for a long time.

It was not my proudest moment.

In the days that followed I think I managed to show anyone and everyone my scars. I had a scar on my right hip and right knee. My right hand still has marks left on it, now almost 3 years later. But best of all, the scar on my helmet is a constant reminder how bad it could have been.

In the aftermath of this, I choose to celebrate my mishap. Just about every cyclist has a crash and burn story, and they are all quite skilled in celebrating it.

Everyone deserves to brag about their scars, right?

As a pastor’s kid I’ve seen almost everything there is to see inside the walls of a church. And one of the worst is the idolatry of brokenness. The story is similar to my bike crash, but replace the physical scars with sin and worship a sinful past instead.

We are all broken. We have all sinned. We all fall short.

And really, we all need to tell these stories, but so often we become worshipers of our brokenness.

Especially today, this brokenness is easy to see. I see it in the kids growing up without a dad at my youth group. I see it in the marriages that end in divorce. I see it in the crowded parking lot at the local strip club. And of course I see it in my own heart and mind quite often.

Rather than pursuing a life of perfection through works righteousness, many have ran the opposite direction and tried to prove themselves as broken. We hand out prizes to those who have the worst past.

“Look at all the crazy things I’ve done. Good thing God forgives me.” Is it any wonder why we’re so starved of healing when we have pride from our past. The past leaves scars we’d much rather ignore.

We love to the flirt with the line between worshiping the God who saves us from our brokenness and worshiping our brokenness. In settling to be more authentic about who we really are, we miss out on the calling God has given us to pursue holiness. I appreciate Brett McCracken’s take on this:

Brokenness and sin may seem the natural or more “real” state for us, but it’s not the ideal. We were made for more, and Christ’s atoning sacrifice allows us to become more human. That is, less broken and more healed (read the full post).

It’s no wonder we’re all so cynical about faith and church, because we focus on the wrong part of the story.

We focus on the brokenness, not the healing.

We focus on the sin, not the Savior.

We focus on the past, not the present.

We focus on the formula, not the way of holiness.

Are you focusing on the brokenness or the healing?

moving forward

All this language about shipping can be confusing, at least to me. Maybe more overwhelming then confusing, shipping seems to be grandiose idea of making great stuff. When really it is a decision to just do the work. You ever wonder what are some things you could ship? (in a non FEDEX or UPS way)

You could decide to ship…

  • A blog post every day.
  • 800 words on paper every day.
  • One new creative idea.
  • 25 minutes reading a book.
  • 30 minutes on the treadmill.
  • One conversation with an old friend.
  • A home cooked meal.
  • 25 pushups.
  • A hand written letter.
  • A difficult conversation.
  • Make a cup of tea.
  • Start a new diet.
  • Email your favorite author or blogger for an interview.
  • 15 minutes of meditating in silence.
  • A scavenger hunt around your city.
  • A photo a day. (A PSD a day)
  • One less refresh of twitter or a facebook.

Often the temptation of shipping is to focus on the biggest scale rather then focusing on the everyday. Think about the last time you shipped something that weighed over ten or twenty pounds. That probably cost you more then you wanted to pay. Why? Because of the weight, UPS or FedEx had to treat what you were shipping differently. It had its own special delivery. Just like shipping something that is big cost you more then you want to spend, shipping a big project will cost you as well.

Focus on shipping every day and before you know it the amount you can ship will get bigger.

What would you add to the list?

*kyle

Nothing. The simple answer is this absurdity does not happen. Why? Because we know that firemen put out fires. They do not make traffic stops, get in gun fights or eat donuts. Instead they focus on keeping people safe from fire.

aa

What happens when every day people start to write? An oddity occurs. The oddity of personal passion and public pursuit. The desire to share something but also the desire to be known for sharing something. It can quickly shift from personal to public. The oddity occurs when we start to downplay personal passion and focus on public pursuit.

Part of the problem with living in the information age is that we can watch videos, read books, and even see traffic stops in action, but it doesn’t make us a cop. We just become pretenders with no real authority.

The draw to take shortcuts to notoriety never works. It is an imitation that will quickly be found out. It requires starting every day and realizing that it is a slow burn, your motives start to shift and the pressure starts to cease.

Seth Godin was asked recently about this post and it’s origin. His answer was that it took him 20 hours to finish the post. What seemed to be something that he sat down one morning and scribbled out a list post of ideas to gain traffic in reality took him 20 hours total of writing, editing, and refining.

Julien Smith was asked about this post and said that it took him weeks to write and edit. Even to the point of stressing over which italics to use on certain words. What was a post that certain led to a lot of change for a lot of people was something meticulously crafted for weeks. Not something he wrote before he went to bed the night before.

Sometimes things are not always as they seem. 

The reason firefighters focus on putting out fires and not arresting people is because they do not have the time to focus on both. They have the task of knowing everything they can about fires and how to prevent them. You have the task of being faithful to your craft, letting it breathe, and being true to your calling. Realizing that just because it seems that the people you admire seem to put out great content overnight but really work hours to refine their craft is one of the first steps in this process.

Focus on your fire and do the work.

Yesterday, Stephen Brewster wrote a post on this quote entitled When Is Anything Worth Everything. It is a must read.

The video below is where the quote, from Ira Glass, was taken from.

Video one of a four part video series from Ira Glass of NPR and This American Life

This is a guest post from Stephen Brewster that centers around this image. After tweeting this out on Monday, I realized that we needed to unpack this a bit more. I asked Brewster to post today so that we can take this quote beyond a tweet and beyond a piece of paper and into a discussion.
Stephen Brewster is the Creative Arts Pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville TN. He post daily on his site stephenbrewster.me where his main focus is creativity and the church. He is the most creative guy I know and has been a constant source of encouragement to me and my dreams. He is the type of guy you want in your corner when you are setting out to tackle your dreams.
Do me a favor and follow him on twitter and then read the post below.

In our 20’s, our passions drive us. We believe that anything is possible.
That belief is very true…ANYTHING is possible. The question is are we ready to pay the cost for ANYTHING?

Is ANYTHING worth EVERYTHING to us. Achieving the destiny God has for your life is an admirable goal and a great statement for a college bible study, but have we weighed the cost of ANYTHING? ANYTHING requires a different approach. It requires sacrifice. ANYTHING is uncommon. If we are going to go out attempting to achieve ANYTHING, we have to realize we can’t just be anyone (or with anyone for that matter). ANYTHING requires focus. It requires practice, patience, and the removal of an entitled mentality. Very few people ever get in to the ANYTHING game because the buy-in requires more than what most people are comfortable paying. ANYTHING takes time because we have to start from nowhere.

The education required to achieve ANYTHING is not for the faint of heart. It creates scars, bruises, and wounds that cut deep.

The funny thing about ANYTHING is that everyone is waiting for it. Those who have paid the cost before are cheering you on. Those who are not yet where you are look at you to pioneer. ANYTHING is special…it’s magical…it’s really hard work. And we need you to prove that ANYTHING can still be done and inspire others to achieve it. ANYTHING is in you. It’s beating loud in your chest at night. It’s wanting you to fight for it like you fight for acceptance or honor or freedom. We need you to go out and chase your ANYTHING because your 20’s provide the opportunity for ANYTHING to happen.

How can we go after ANYTHING and EVERYTHING?

*Brewster