Stage Fright

I was with 15,000 other people in Philips Arena for the Catalyst Conference in 2004. The place was packed with pastors, church leaders, business leaders and students. We were all hungry to learn from the best and brightest. Andy Stanley was there, Reggie Joiner, Erwin McManus, Chuck Colson, John Maxwell and many other amazing speakers. All of those guys are primarily speakers, but they’ve all written books too. One guy who was scheduled to teach twice on the main stage was Ted Dekker. He is a best-selling author, and at the time his books were selling better than anyone else’s.

I was excited to hear what he had to say about storytelling. I had my pen ready, my notebook out, and he approached the stage for his 45-minute presentation. He was scheduled to do a 2nd session later that week on that same stage.

Two minutes later he walked off the stage and we never saw him again. He got the worst case of stage fright I’ve ever seen.

He couldn’t finish a sentence. He couldn’t find his thoughts. He couldn’t make sense of his notes. He literally froze.

He’s sold more than 5 million books, but on that day he couldn’t make it 5 minutes on stage.

It made me think about what it’s like for some pastors. We’re expected to be good at everything! Speaking, leading, administration, planning, coaching… you name it. I had no idea what I was doing for my first few years of ministry, but I could speak, so I was in charge! I wasn’t the best leader available, but I was the best talker, so I was the man in command.

It makes me think that some people should just teach, and not lead. Some people should just lead, and not teach.

But when do you suck it up and try again? Should Ted give public speaking another shot? Maybe he already has. Should I try to learn to dance even though that has always ended horribly (in public and in private)? Should I face my fears and my weaknesses, or find my strengths and improve on those?

‘Cold Tangerines’ Giveaway

Hey friends!

I’ve got an autographed copy of Shauna Niequist’s amazing book Cold Tangerines. I got it in the mail the other day, but I have no idea who sent it to me! I already have a copy (two other copies, actually) so I figured I’d give this one away! She’s an amazing writer. I really enjoyed this book, and I think you will too!

If you want to win you have two options, and you can do both for two entries:

1. Leave a comment right here with your name and email address.

2. Tweet this: I’m trying to win a copy of COLD TANGERINES by Shauna Niequist on @ryanguard’s blog! He forced me to tweet this:

I’ll pick a winner at random tomorrow. If you win I’ll get your mailing address and send it your way!

trading in my Treo

Everyone loves their iPhones so much, and for good reason. They’re great phones. My old Treo is pretty lame in comparison.

But in six months I’ll be the cool kid on the block, because I just pre-ordered the Pomegranate Phone. This thing has more features that any phone I’ve ever seen. Make sure you click around and check out all of the features. You’ll love it, even if you’re not really into electronic gadgets.


team teaching

One of the things I love about Calvary is our brainstorming sessions for upcoming sermons. We have a group of people that meet to plan out the next few months of services, but not just the program elements. The pastoral team invites the entire brainstorm team to contribute ideas, thoughts, verses, outlines, you name it. In many churches, the teaching pastor tucks himself away in a room for a day or two and prepares the entire message by himself. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the usual thing. But at Calvary there are about a dozen voices that end up coming together as one each Sunday morning. I’m on my way to one right now! Here’s a couple shots of our crew, prepping for a series in the parables and in Nehemiah. Can you tell which one’s which??




Linds and I were just talking about how we want to be better at recycling… it seems like most of what we throw away could be recycled. I’m pretty good about recycling the “Korea Times” newspaper that I get delivered to my apartment every morning addressed to the previous tenant (who was Korean of course).

Why don’t you just call them and cancel, Ryan?

I did- three times. Anybody speak Korean?

Anyways, I found this story about a dumpster and thought it was pretty sweet.