Archive for the ‘Church Leadership’ Category

The short lived fashion trend of wearing a WWJD bracelet has been dead for years. If you’ve been a Christian a decade or more you probably owned one in your life. If not, be grateful that you can be asked that question without immediately thinking of an armband.

So, “What would Jesus do?” If Jesus were living in America in 2012 just before an election of our next President, with debates about homosexuality raging, and the national debt climbing out of control…what would He do? How would He vote, what issues would He comment on, what plan of action would He suggest to climb out of the hole we have dug for ourselves financially as a country?

Nobody can really answer that question, but it’s fun to pontificate…

Have you ever heard about a servery overweight person getting kicked out of church for being a glutton? Why don’t Christian picked buffets? Are divorced people told to stay home by pastors until they are remarried to their original spouses? Do we make liars pass a polygraph before they can take communion?
If the Bible teaches the borrower is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7), that immigrants are to be treated as one of our own (Leviticus 19:34), and that If God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), a gluttonous son was to be stoned (Deuteronomy 21:20-21), and liars are destined for a lake of fire (Revelation 21:8)…why has an issue like homosexuality so easily divided us? With this many Biblical convictions to consider, can we really pick our leaders based solely on their political party?

Maybe, Jesus would stay out of politics and hide behind His “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” comment (John 19:11), because His Dad puts people in office. Maybe, He would simply say, “Then neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11) to the woman who has had an abortion or the man who has committed adultery. It’s even possible that he would hangout with people who would prefer to murder people with fire from Heaven (Luke 9:54) rather then send them away until they matured.

So, here is my WWJD conclusion…

We are not called to judge the type, severity, and quantity of others sin. We are called to love people and share the truth. The truth we share shouldn’t be “YOU ARE A SINNER and headed to Hell!!” The truth they need is that even if you are dying for the crimes you’ve committed (Luke 23:39-43) Jesus loves you and will save you. In other words…there is hope! Hope for salvation, unification, finding our purpose, and a better future (Lamentations 3:22-23).

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Train Wrecks

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Church Leadership, Ministry, Theology

There is a sentiment that continues to be perpetuated in Christian circles that we need an amazing testimony to relate to people who have made amazing messes of their lives.

I’ve often wondered, “Why are we so infatuated with the ‘train wreck?’” and I think I understand it now.

Do you really need to have an affair, embezzle money, or just do something stupid to help people who have messed up respond to the Gospel? Would Jesus have done better if He killed off a few pharisees or stolen money out of the Temple to fund His ministry?

On one side it’s true that our sin resume isn’t a ticket to rapport with others who have failed. It shouldn’t be our catalyst to being a guest speaker at a local church or conference. I’m convinced that we love the “train wreck,” because it helps us feel better about our failures when we compare our stories to others. This just shows we don’t understand happens to our sin through the Cross. An axe murder deserves the same thing as a liar, because grace is not getting what we deserve. We all deserve Hell, but get Heaven through Jesus.

So what’s so fascinating about those with gaudy testimonies of God’s grace? Why do they have an audience and have our rapt attention when they share? Why don’t we see the Gospel  as the unifying standard that shows us all that we need God’s grace. The answer might shock you…

People who have messed up just may love Jesus more than you…and that’s contagious. See Luke 7:40-43

Benchmarks

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Church Leadership, Ministry, Theology

Lots of different ways to see the principle of benchmarks in the world and in the Christian faith.  Accordingly, they can become idols if viewed as more important than our present relationship with God.  Yet, I think Joshua’s leadership in asking the appointed leaders of Israel to gather stones was a powerful tool for recalling God’s miracle.

If you look at the story of Israel it was one of constant backpedaling.  Kind of like the saying, “2 steps forward, 1 step back.”  Of course in their case it might have been more like: “1 step forward and 3 steps back.”  Either way, they struggled to see God’s hand of protection, His will for their nation, and to stick with His guidelines for living.

We are no different today.  Accordingly, we need to write, mark down, or even get a tattoo when God speaks to us about what He said and what happened as a result.  Nothing is more powerful than God’s voice in our lives for knowing what to do.  Our sinful nature makes it tough to continue on the path He gave us and we often need reminders that God neglects to give…with just cause.  It’s like a President having to remind his staff by text about his last instruction after clearly conveying it in a meeting.  I think the best thing we can do is to go back to last time he spoke, moved, or did something in our lives as fuel to carry on…instead of asking for Him to repeat Himself.

Israel didn’t gather stones for exercise they did it for recall.

Got rocks?

Magic 8-ball

Posted: October 29, 2010 in Church Leadership, Theology

How God speaks, if He speaks, how you can tell what He is saying, what He sounds like and how you can be sure it’s God are all great questions of our faith.

As Christians we are looking for His voice to be a little bit more substantial, like a flaming paper airplane out of Heaven with a message about what degree to get, guy to marry, job to take, or business venture to undertake.  Maybe it’s whether or not our kids will ever follow Christ or if the business we started is going to make it.  I would say that no matter the request, at times, we all feel we need something more then “peace” or “fleeces” to guide us…right?  We want our relationship with God and time in prayer to be conversation and for God to let us know what He is up to.

Here is a secret…the God of the universe isn’t a magic 8-ball.  We can’t shake Him up with our prayers and force Him to speak to us.  The complexity, size of the decision, or it’s importance to us won’t force Him to send an angel or burn a bush in our front yard to get us going in the right direction.

I know God the Holy Spirit gives us thoughts, guides us through peace (or a lack of it), and helps us by reminding us of Scripture, but we all long for the supernatural.  We want concrete words, circumstances, and miracles we can use as benchmarks that will give us hope to continue.  According to the Bible even Jesus didn’t get this kind of treatment.  God sent Him to Earth with a mission, but God only “spoke” to Jesus two times in the New Testament that were audible and miraculous.  Once at His baptism and once at the transfiguration.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that it was the only time God led His Son, but it sure means that if God wanted us to have an expectation of constant, supernatural, and insanely obvious feedback to our circumstances, you’d think He would have spoke at some other huge crossroads in Jesus life too.  Like…the death of Lazurus, His arrest, His trial, and at least one or two times the Pharisees cornered Him about being a heretic blasphemer.

I’m trying to learn this reality while still looking for still hoping for “signs” and a vision for our church.  BUT, the reality is just like with Jesus,  all God may give me is a mission to plant a church in Gainesville.  Only I can decide if that will be enough…

Got the time?

Posted: October 25, 2010 in Church Leadership, Random

I saw a guy brushing his teeth on the way to work this morning and I couldn’t help thinking, “If you are so busy or disorganized or ill-adjusted to going to work every day that you need to brush your teeth in the car…you need some serious help (and possibly a beating).”  Shaving or putting on your makeup in the car on a regular basis, just means you are a little dimwitted.

Think about how long the whole process of shaving takes.  Five minutes from lather to toweling off?  That’s getting up at 6 instead of 6:05 or 7:15 instead of 7:20 or…you get the point.  Why can’t someone adjust for that little time in their life?  Breakfast on the run (I’m not talking about a bagel from Panera)!?  That’s laziness, not convenience.  Alarm clocks and snooze buttons do what we program them to do!

Here is what I know to be true.  People that can’t make it to work on time choose to be late.  Folks that miss deadlines did so on purpose.  I once had a guy who worked for me who was late the same 5-10 minutes every day.  How can you consistently be late the same amount of time and not be able to reorganize your life to come to work 5-10 minutes early!?  The reality is that the morning routine he chose (and stuck with) didn’t include coming to work early.  It included coming to work 5-10 minutes late everyday.

Time is precious and life is fleeting.  There are hundreds of illustrations of small amounts of time being the difference between wins and losses, huge deals and lost ones, and even life and death.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
Benjamin Franklin

Are you a spleen?

Posted: October 23, 2010 in Church Leadership, Ministry

One of the greatest questions a person that follows Jesus should tackle once they have chosen to follow Christ is the following: “What has God the Holy Spirit gifted me to do?”

You may have been told that it’s easy to answer and you should just do what you already know you are good at doing.  That’s partially true, but it misses some pretty clear Scripture from 1 Corinthians 12…especially verse 11.  God didn’t just give you the ability to organize so you could be a good manager.  He didn’t help you develop a sense of empathy for people in tough spots, so you could be a good social worker.  God the Holy Spirit hand picked spiritual gifts to help the Body of Christ, the Church, reach the world and make disciples.  Plus, you might not even be using your gifts at work!

Going through life with no knowledge of what God the Holy Spirit has armed you with would be a mistake.  More than likely you will also be frustrated and discouraged as you fizzle out in various roles in the church.

There are various ways to figure out what you have been given.  You can guess based on what you like to do, what you do well, or you can get some assistance from people that know how to pull it out you.  I’d go with three to be on the safe side.

Two free and easy ones are Gifted 2 Serve and  Team Ministry.  Don’t take the inventories alone…you will need someone there who can help you answer what is actually true, not what you wish was true.  🙂

  • It feels like everyone I meet goes to church somewhere.
  • Those that don’t have no interest whatsoever.  What does that mean?
  • I feel like I write good sermons, but my delivery is less than average.
  • It’s probably because I only get to do it once a month…but that’s how often I believe God wants us to do it!?
  • My kids are at the perfect age and are incredibly fun.
  • Yet, I want them to grow up and be successful at following God and leading others to do the same.  Guess that means they can’t stay cute forever…
  • We have 3 cars (an 2004 F-150, an 2000 Accord, and a 2002 Trailblazer), but we only need 2 of them (the F-150 sits in the driveway and collects leaves anyway).
  • I’d like to get a Honda Odyssey for Carrie, which means trading in the truck (only one worth anything), but keeping one of the other 2.  Can’t decide which one to keep…
  • I’ve learned to like/drink coffee…makes me feel grown up.
  • To make it good takes a bunch of sweeteners, which makes it sweet as soda.  They both have caffeine and soda tastes better.  Not sure why I did this to myself!?
  • I might be able to get a nice pair of sunglasses (these or these) for 50% off.
  • As good of a deal and great opportunity as that is I’m not sure I should, because they will probably get destroyed like my $10 pair?

I’m going to need counseling to get through all this…