Category Archives for "Kevin Stone"

3 Thumbs Up! May 12th, 2012

Time for this week’s 3 Thumbs Up! Stretched blog post. For the past several weeks I have used this post as an opportunity to highlight three things that get my thumbs up. This has become a highlight for me as it gives me a chance to support the work of others. So… here are three things that get my thumbs up this week.

Thumbs Up Number 1:  Josh Hamilton. I’m not a Texas Rangers fan despite the fact that my parents live in Dallas, TX. However, it’s hard not to appreciate the story of Josh Hamilton. He has weathered the ups and downs of drugs, alcohol, and celebrity. As recently as this past off-season, Hamilton has dealt with the demons of his past. This week, Hamilton hit four home runs in one game. I haven’t heard the interview yet, but I hear that he gave a pretty moving interview after this achievement in which he talked about his past and about his faith.  Hamilton’s story is inspiring.  He’s obviously not perfect, and I’m sure he will continue to struggle with life.  What inspires me about his story is that there is still hope and redemption and salvation.  This is a story we all need to cling to.

Thumbs Up Number 2:. Blogging Your Passion Podcast. I just stumbled across this podcast this week as I was loading new podcasts on my iPod in preparation for a long day on the road. So far, Blogging Your Passion has released two episodes in which the speakers share valuable tips on how to improve your blogging along with suggestions on how to increase traffic. I listened to both episodes on Tuesday, and I found them very informative. I’ll be back to listen to future episodes.

Thumbs Up Number 3:  Executive Pastor Online by Kevin Stone.  I’m not an executive and I’m not a pastor, but I find myself resonating and thinking through many of the things that Kevin throws up on his blog on a regular basis.  Kevin came out of the corporate world to take on the challenges of running the business side of a church (my church).  His thoughts on leadership and team development often fit in with what I’m wrestling with in my own job as an operations manager.  If you’re interested in some new leadership ideas or if you are interested in reading thoughts from a guy who wants to help other churches, I’d recommend you check out Executive Pastor Online.

And those are my three thumbs up for this week!

What have you come across this week that deserves a thumbs up?

January 2012 Top Posts and Commenters

It was a fun month for The Stretched Blog.  This month, we switched to a self hosted platform.  It has been fun to learn and experiment with the new things available at  If you add up the traffic from the old site and the new Stretched Blog, it was far and away the best month so far.  Here is a list of the top posts on the new blog for the month of January.  It is exciting to see how many guest bloggers appeared in the top ten list this month!

Managing Conflict – A Leadership Stretch … Guest Post by Frank Chiapperino
January 14, 2012 Week In Review
Book Review: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
Our Behavior Is Our Witness – Guest Post by Kevin Stone
Why Did I Change To My Own Domain?
Ice Breaker – Leaving On A Jet Plane
Ice Breaker – Back to the Future
Rediscovering Grace Through A Two By Four Moment – Guest Post By Chad Jones
Stretching Beyond the Hurt – Guest Post by Diane Karchner
Say What You Need To Say (This was one of my favorites from the month!)

As promised, I am giving away a copy of The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson to this month’s top commenter.  It was a tight race between the top two, and there was a tie for 3rd place!  Here’s the top 3 (or 4):

1.  Larry Carter (22 comments)

2.  Brandon Gililland (21 comments)

3.  Bill Grandi (11 comments)

3.  Arny Sanchez (11 comments)

Your comments are a huge part of what makes The Stretched Community so great!  This month, I will be giving away Chazown by Craig Groeschel to the top commenter.

As a reminder, don’t forget to subscribe to The Stretched Community by entering your e-mail on the right side of the main page.  This will make sure you don’t miss a single post, and it will give you an opportunity to receive any “exclusive” information that might be sent to the blog subscribers only.  Also, I’d encourage you to follow Jon Stolpe Stretched on Facebook.  This is an excellent way to see some of the things I’m reading elsewhere in the blog world.

As always, thank you so much for making The Stretched Blog part of your regular reading!

Are you a blogger?  What was the highlight of your month?  Feel free to share a link to your top post!

January 29, 2012 Week In Review

Hello, Stretched Community!  I’m going to try something new with this week’s recap post.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

This week’s STRETCHED posts:

Blog spotlight links:

Call to action:

  • Subscribe to the blog (on the right side of the main page).
  • Connect with the Jon Stolpe Stretched Facebook Fan Page (for great links to other blogs throughout the week).
  • Consider guest posting here.  Send my your Stretched ideas!
  • Consider advertising here on The Stretched Blog (see the links on the right side of the main page).

Finally… have a great week!

How was your week?  What was good, bad, or ugly on your blog this week?  What links to you have to share with the Stretched community this week?


Our Behavior Is Our Witness – Guest Post by Kevin Stone

Today, I’m privileged to present guest blogger, Kevin Stone.  Kevin is the executive pastor at the church I attend.  He comes to our church from corporate America where he held key leadership positions at a few larger companies.  If you follow the Myers-Briggs temperament tests, Kevin and I share the same ESTJ personality type.  Kevin blogs regularly about leadership and about the happenings at our church.  You can follow him on his blog and on Twitter.  I’d encourage you to stop by and become a subscriber and a regular reader of his blog!

(I love to share STRETCH stories on The Stretched Blog.  If you’re interested in guest posting, drop me a comment!)

Our Behavior is Our Witness

I definitely remember one of the things that stretched me most as a new believer. It wasn’t changing stuff that I had done previously, like eating too much, drinking too much, using bad language, looking a little too long at a beautiful lady walking by, etc. It wasn’t beginning to spend time in my Bible or doing some type of daily devotional, in prayer and meditation. It certainly wasn’t regularly attending church and serving; I love going to church and I definitely love to serve!

So, what was it, you say? It was learning how to “be Jesus” in day-to-day situations, especially at work. How do I actually “love” people who I previously couldn’t stand? How do I behave in a way that honors God even though God centered behavior very often flies in the face of the workplace norm?

Before becoming an Executive Pastor I spent more than 20 years in corporate America. (You can read the About page of my blog if you’re interested in the details.) I remember one particular leadership position with a company with a working environment “norm” that included lots of behavior that would challenge any well intending Christ follower. It was perfectly OK and very normal to turn one’s head, watching an attractive woman walking by. Use of lots of choice language in conversations with others was normal. It was even normal in fairly high level meetings. It was more than acceptable for a group of executives to follow a business dinner with a trip to one of the city’s “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” It wasn’t even out of the ordinary to see a married coworker spending a little too much time with another woman, if you get my meaning, while on a business trip.

As a Christ follower, I had to find a way not to become a “weird Christian” while not violating any of my principles in terms of my behavior. I didn’t want to be weird or “preachy” to my coworkers, but I did want to be noticeably different opening doors for sharing my faith with others. So, I drew the line as it related to my own behavior. I didn’t criticize the behavior of others. I just made sure that my behavior was fitting for a person who believes in Jesus. When the heads were turning to check out a nice looking young woman, my head wasn’t one of them. It was difficult, but I kept thinking, “What would that lady think if she knew I was watching her walk away?” Or, “What would my wife say if she saw me looking?” When I spoke, I somehow found a way to express myself without using some of the choice expletives that my coworkers normally used. I kept a healthy distance from women while still doing my job. I only went to lunch with female coworkers if others were along with us. I avoided business trips with just me and a female coworker. And, I definitely always went home after business dinners while others were headed for the strip club.

Did this create a little “separation” between my boss, most of my coworkers, and me? Definitely yes! It never got in the way of promotions, bonuses, or other positive recognition, though. In fact, my boss had a lot of respect for me. I remember the first time we talked about my passion for Jesus and the church. He was, I think, impressed. In fact, now (years later) he regularly attends church with his wife! Pretty cool!

The bottom line is this: Jesus told us to evangelize the world. He didn’t tell us to separate ourselves from the rest of the world. In fact, he told us to go into the world. In order to do that, we must stay “normal.” What do normal people do? They listen to normal music. They have fun doing stuff that others enjoy doing. Of course they are also doing stuff that God would like to see them stop doing. And, they need us to introduce them to Jesus so he can change them. If we’re “freaky Christians” we’ll never get close enough to another to actually have an impact on them. They’ll think we’re weird and just stay away from us.

We need to learn that we can’t change the behavior of others. We can only control what we do, and we need to allow Jesus to change us which helps our “different” behavior to open doors and create opportunities to share our faith with others.

So what do you think?  How has your behavior been a witness to others?

January 22, 2012 Week In Review

The week in review for was pushed back a day thanks to the wonders of our winter wonderland and the need to take care of some things at home.  It was a good week on The Stretched Blog.  On Wednesday, The New Stretched Blog experienced the highest traffic day so far!  I will be traveling this week, so I’m turning the blog over to some great guest bloggers for a few days.  Please read the excellent posts by Diane Karchner, Chad Jones, and Kevin Stone and join the conversation in the comments.

Here’s a recap for this week:

Your continued contribution to the blog through comments is greatly appreciated.  Your comments are what makes this Stretched Community!  Please remember to take the time to Subscribe to the NEW blog, so you can have Stretched delivered daily to your e-mail inbox.  Also, don’t forget to stop by the Jon Stolpe Stretched Facebook fan page.  Become a fan to keep up with some additional Stretched stuff.  I am sharing more blog highlights from other blogs that I read regularly.  I think you’ll find some great stuff here.  Thanks!

Here are a few of my favorites from around the blog world this week:

How about you?  How was your week?  If you’re a blogger what happened over your way this week?  Did you read any great blog posts this week?  Share with the rest of us!