Jul 7, 2015

Culture trumps Vision

This article from the Leadership Network is the best I've seen on culture in churches. One of the points made: "The way people are treated, the way they treat their peers, and their response to their leaders is the air people breathe. If that air is clean and healthy, people thrive and the organization succeeds, but to the extent that it is stagnant, discouraging, or genuinely toxic, energy subsides, creativity lags, conflicts multiply, and production declines. I’m not suggesting that churches and nonprofits drop their goals and spend their time holding hands and saying sweet things to each other. A strong, vibrant culture stimulates people to be and do their very best and reach the highest goals."

I spent an hour today talking with my friend and teacher Rosalind Fritz today. I talked about the article for a minute, and she promptly pointed out that structure trumps culture. Indeed, structure operates at a deeper level, as indicated in this post: The Iceberg Model, illustrated below.


Dec 1, 2014

From Madonna

"I have an iron will, and all of my will has always been to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy...I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being, and then I get to another stage and think I'm mediocre and uninteresting....Again and again. My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that's always pushing me, pushing me. Because even though I've become Somebody, I still have to prove I'm Somebody. My struggle has never ended and it probably never will."

Ever have feelings of 'not good enough'? Check out this piece on identity to look underneath what's going on.


Feb 26, 2014


My reading this morning from Psalm 127: Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late for rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for he gives sleep to his beloved. 

If stiving characterizes your life, consider what is motivating your striving. What's underneath your ambition. My striving was to prove myself, which was impossible, because I didn't belive it myself. See how our identity limits our spiritual growth, and can rob us of peace, joy and satisfaction with life. 


Jan 30, 2014

Winter Storm

Just posted the newest of my GoPro Adventures. See the rest of my GoPro Adventuring posts here.



Jan 29, 2014

More GoPro Adventures

Two new GoPro adventures:

Skiing the Driveway from Gregg Burch on Vimeo. Wonderful fun after a 10" dump of snow.

Rocky Mountain National Park from Gregg Burch on Vimeo. Join us for a winter drive into Rocky with the GoPro suction cupped to the roof. Check out the rest of my video posts, A Year Exploring with my GoPro Hero 3+.


Jan 25, 2014

Never Give Up!

I saw this image here on Facebook today. It is a wonderful illustration of the need to see reality clearly when we make a plan. Most visions fail because we misidentify our starting point. We think we are closer to the vision than we actually are. This is what structural thinking is all about. Have you discovered the disconnects with reality in your worldview? If you don't clearly see your starting point, and the road ahead, you will rarely end up where you desire. For more, take a look at this post.


Jan 17, 2014

Full Moon Rising

This clip includes stop-action of the sunset/moonrise over two consecutive nights from my GoPro Hero 3 and stills and video of the beautiful sunset from my Canon Digital SLR. Pictures from the front deck of our cabin in the Front Range of Colorado above Boulder. It is the latest of my Go Pro Adventures. See the rest here: A Year Exploring with my Go Pro Hero 3+.


Nov 27, 2013

What makes men happy?

Just read the results of a 75 year study of what makes men happy. The stated goal of the Harvard study was to determine what factors contribute most strongly to human flourishing. See the study report here. For complete details, check out the book that came out of this work, Triumph of Experience. 

The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: “Happiness is love.  Full stop.”  In Triumphs of Experience, Vaillant raises a number of factors more often than others, but the one he refers to most often is the powerful correlation between the warmth of your relationships and your health and happiness in your later years. Those scoring highest with regard to ‘warm relationships’ also earned significantly more money and professional success.

Other Key Findings:

  • Marriages bring much more contentment after age 70
  • Physical aging after 80 determined less by heredity than by habits formed prior to age 50.
  • Alcoholism is the single strongest cause of divorce
  • No noticeable difference in maximum income earned by men with IQs in the 110-115 range vs. men above 150
  • Aging liberals have way more sex.  Most conservative men on average stop having sex around age 68, while the most liberal men had healthy sex lives well into their 80s.

Hear a podcast describing the results:



Oct 31, 2013

Why Tithe?

Wonderful post on tithing from my friend Pastor Ernie Hinohosa.

You may not know that many pastors hate preaching/teaching about financial issues. Not me. Given what the scriptures teach about money, and how we are to relate with money, I LOVE this topic. Here’s why.

Americans are some of the wealthiest people on the planet (by any global standard), yet many of us constantly worry and stress about money. Ironic, don’t you think? Apparently, stressing out about what we will eat, what we will wear, where we will live and so on, is not a new problem. Jesus says in the gospels that our heavenly Father knows we need these things. If we will first seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, all of these things will be given to us as well. There are three elements to this process:

1. To seek God’s kingdom, we submit ourselves to the king - God. We do this by returning to God a tithe of our income, which is 10%, and living on the rest. God uses our tithes to resource the kingdom around the world. Via a tithe we put God on the throne and depend on God to be our provider. To do otherwise is to keep ourselves on the throne, which God will permit if we choose. However, we are then responsible for our provision instead of God. That kind of responsibility is bound to lead to stress and fear of the future because bad stuff happens – usually when we don’t expect it. My recommendation? Let God be your provider via the practice of tithing. You will soon wonder why you didn’t do this sooner 

2. When we choose to make God our provider we experience peace and confidence in our provision. Why? Because God will ALWAYS provide what we need. Not necessarily all we want, but all we need. There is nothing in our future that our God cannot handle. There are LOTS of things you cannot handle. 

3. Seeking God’s kingdom in our finances leads not only to peace in our financial life, but also to a sense of gratitude and contentment with what we have. In other words, we don’t spend time longing for what we do not have. What would your life be like if you, your spouse, your children/grandchildren were genuinely content at the deepest levels? It would change your family tree forever.

Lord, give us grace to trust you as our provider. Thank you in advance for your faithfulness in this and all things. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Oct 19, 2013

Video of my day with Jim Collins

Good to Great- a day with Jim Collins from Gregg Burch on Vimeo.

Will you spend twelve minutes consuming the lessons of a day with Jim Collins. I was in the room with twenty leaders from mega churches around the country consuming the lessons of Good to Great for churches and nonprofits in the social sector. You will spend months and years answering the questions posed here. Find the narrative script along with the slides and links mentioned in the video here.


Sep 20, 2013

Mindfulness vs Cellphones

What a great message as Louis CK tells Conan O'Brien why he won't get cell phones for his daughters. Both he and Conan do Springsteen impressions. Check it out. 


Sep 10, 2013

Spiritual Formation and Calling

Ephesians 4 is one of the more powerful verses in the New Testament. This morning, I read it again as part of my morning study. i was struck by the notes in my Renovare Study Bible and wanted to share:

Spiritual Formation is largely dependent on our capacity to live a called life. Calling presupposes a God who graciously speaks (doctrine of revelation) and a people who willingly listen (doctrine of sanctification). The spiritually formed do not need to cast about for a purpose in life. It is given to them as a gift!

If you wish to find purpose, listen to a God who still speaks to us today. Listen to a God who has a purpose for you and has gifted you to fulfill it. Blessings on that journey. 


Jul 25, 2013

A Day with Jim Collins

I spent a day with Jim Collins at a Leadership Network event with 20 Mega-church leaders this week. I will be writing about the lessons of the day over the next week. Here are a few quotes from Collins: 

Your church isn't great unless it can be great without you.

Change begins when you confront the brutal facts.

First Who: the most critical decisions you make are filling the key seats with the right people.

Preserve the core and stimulate progress.

Servant leaders serve other people. Level 5 leaders serve the mission.

More next week.


Jul 22, 2013

Waiting on God

'Stand Still'-keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, 'Go Forward.' If the Lord makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us;: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people.       Charles Spurgeon


Mar 15, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

From my reading the notes in my Renovare bible to Nehemiah 8:10-12: Although the hearing of scripture can be a disturbing event, the ultimate result for obedient and careful listeners is joy. Joy is not to be equated with momentary happiness; rather, biblical joy is a deep sense of peace that all is well with one's soul. The psalmist knew this deep peace when he wrote, "May those who sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy." (Ps 126:5)


What it means to really proclaim Christ

From my reading about Philip the Evangelist in Acts in my Renovare Bible this morning comes this nugget. Philip's life reminds us of what it really means to proclaim Christ. We come in the love of the Holy Spirit to those who honestly seek God, trusting that the Spirit began the work before we did and will carry it on after us. We can all, at some level, live as Philip did speaking Jesus to those who seek God, trusting that ine ven the simplest offering of Jesus the Spirit can draw souls to salvation. For more on how to recognize these people, take a look at my post on People of Peace.


Nov 6, 2012

First Edition of God's Faint Path, the book


This week, the first edition of God's Faint Path: wilderness lessons on leadership and life, is coming off the presses. Each chapter is a pocket book with questions and room to journal your responses within the book. You can see the four colors we are using for the book covers.


Oct 16, 2012

And that is dying

As she sits at our mother's deathbed, my sister recieved this piece from her dear friend, Pastor Cheryl Gosa

From Pat Robson's "A Celtic Liturgy" (HarperCollins, London, 2000)

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says "There she goes."

But she is just as large in mast and hull and spar as when she left my side and she is able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone says "There she goes" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout - "Here she comes!"

And that is dying.

by Henry Van Dyke


Aug 12, 2012

Formed in Community

I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, and for all eternity. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from Life Together. See my recent post, Christians are Formed in Community.


May 23, 2012

Ski in Fly Fishing


My favorite memory from our trip. Morten Langoy and Marit Berling were hosting us at their cabin in Aadnaram (Sirdal) Norway. We had driven up from their home in Stavanger to stay the weekend at their hytte, as they call it. We drove about fifteen minutes up a road into the mountains, and stopped to ski.

Morten packed in makings of a hot lunch, and brought the fly rod. Here, you can see we've stopped for lunch by a partially melted out creek. You can see our skis standing in the snow as Morten casts into the stream hoping to move a trout. No luck fishing, but it is one of the most beautiful spots I've seen in my whole life. And, its the kind of place Morten and Marit ski with friends every weekend in winter. They say, "If the snow will still hold a man by the middle of June, it's going to be a late spring."

As the Norwegians would say, "We didn't suffer."

Here is the hytte:




May 20, 2012

On the road again

Spent last weekend doing a leadership retreat for City Church at the Cabin in Colorado, then took off for a couple of days in Amsterdam. Now we are in Norway visiting our friends in Stavanger. Just back from a weekend at their cabin in the mountains. Pictures and stories to follow.


Apr 13, 2012

Good Easter Thought


Got a chuckle when I saw this painting over the door to the kitchen at Homegrown, a locavore hangout on Memorial in East Atlanta where I was having breakfast with a friend. Sister Louisa is a local artist who operates Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium, whose tagline is Come On In, Precious. You can find Sister Louisa's art for sale there. We have all sorts of characters on the East Side.


Feb 24, 2012

Skiing the back yard with Smokey


Heading to Atlanta, enjoying my last days of skiing the woods around the cabin.


Feb 8, 2012

Wingprints in the Snow

When birds take off from soft snow, you can see wing prints. I had heard of this, but saw some for the first time after a blizzard at the cabin.


Jan 26, 2012

Headed to Yellowstone

Movin' to Montana soon,

Gonna be a Dental Floss Tycoon,

.....Frank Zappa

Things will be a bit quiet on the blog for a few days. We leave for Gardiner, Montana this morning. We are going to Yellowstone National Park. We have a guide to take us wolf watching on Saturday, plan to ski, snowshoe and maybe even go snowmobiling. Look for pix and stories when we return.


Jan 12, 2012

Picture of the Day

Painted Silo

Nice piece of yard art, a painted silo on a farm near Boulder.


Jan 9, 2012

Top Ten Posts for 2011

Launched the blog in November 2010, as I started anew. In 2011, we had 6590 Visits from 4037 People in 85 Countries and 15,798 Pageviews. Thanks for showing up, and returning. Blessings for 2012.

3DM: A Taste of Discipleship: an overview of discipleship taster with Mike Breen

Successful Visioning in Church: what's needed to create a healthy vision

The Iceberg Model: a look at where the leverage is for change

Discover Who You Are with Life Keys: discovering gifts, values and passions

Learn your Conflict Resolution Style: measuring your conflict/negotiation style

How will you Deal with Betrayal? how Jesus modeled this important work

Core Theory of Success: success & the quality of your relationships

Gallup Strengthsfinder: Gallup's process of uncovering your strengths

Reveal Spiritual Life Survey: an instrument to measure spiritual maturity

Eyes to See; Ears to Hear: we each are gifted to see and hear differently


Jan 1, 2012

New Year's Resolution: Less Striving, More Believing

I have done a lot of striving in my life, trying to prove myself. In the structural consulting I'm doing, I see tremendous striving amongst the 20 & 30 somethings I'm encountering. Perfectionism, fear of failure, not good enough are deeply embedded images I find driving behavior from an unhealthy place, one of fear, not grace.

I was doing my morning Scripture reading in Galatians on this first day of the New Year. This passage speaks to all the striving I'm seeing in my young Christian friends. Galatians 3: 2-3, 5 says:

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

We place our identities in so many things other than Christ: our career, our accomplishments, the approval of others, our retirement accounts. Whenever we place our identity and our trust in anything other than Jesus, we choose a path of limited spiritual growth and unlimited striving. See my post: Does your identity limit Spiritual Growth. Then, join me in my New Years Resolution.