Catalyst Dallas Reflections 2.2

One of the sessions at Catalyst this year contained an incredible amount of pithily packaged wisdom from Jon Acuff and John Maxwell. Acuff explored the question “Why don’t we use the best of our creativity to celebrate the Creator?” It’s a great question. I hope it’s one that people will continue to ask themselves (including those I addressed with that very idea in yesterday’s Letter to Graduates).

Sometimes we let our fear of what people think get in the way of creatively celebrating our Creator. Acuff talked about how “haters only get loud when you do something that matters.” Opposition can be a sign that what you’ve undertaken is worth doing, not that you should quit doing it. In addition to that, he described how “critic’s math” can make the positives disappear. When we’re not celebrating the life the Creator has given us, it’s so easy for one critical voice to outweigh all the positive ones in our lives. I know when I am getting distracted by frustrations instead of celebrating the joys God has brought, it doesn’t take much effort from a critic to scramble all the positive memories of lives changed all around me. That’s why Acuff’s final bit of advice is so critical: Don’t miss the party going on because you’re too busy getting stuff done. 2 sisters hosted a party with Jesus. One of them had a blast, the other was frustrated and irritated and not nearly as gracious as she intended to be. Don’t miss the party.

John Maxwell’s message was also full of great advice, tailored to a room full of young leaders. He probably had about 17% fewer punchlines than Acuff, but made up for it by making sure every list was appropriately numbered! He shared some great questions to ask someone you’d like to learn from and emphasized that “Everybody can teach me something.” What an attitude! How is that reflected in my life? In yours? Are we teachable?

Following up on that question, Maxwell shared what he said was advice he’d share if we could sit down at home and just talk. While the seats at BentTree are adequate, I’d love to be able to sit down in Maxwell’s living room, or dining room, or driveway… and talk. He’s a guy who’s getting stuff done AND is enjoying the party! There are probably 9 or 13 secrets to doing that, but the 5 he shared were enough to think about for a while. (Dear John Maxwell, please call me when your driveway’s free for the rest – I have 7 questions to ask you.)

  1. Get a personal definition of success.
  2. Intentionally add value to other people every day. Who can you add value to today? How?
  3. Work on strengths/gifts in matters of ability – work on weaknesses in matters of choice.
  4. Follow the ‘rule of 5’. Do 5 things every day that will help accomplish what you’re seeking.
  5. Trust God every day with your lunch. There was only 1 person in the crowd when Jesus fed 5000 who didn’t need a miracle – and he was the only one who could be the conduit for a miracle to be delivered to everyone who would have gone hungry without one.


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