Monday, June 23, 2008

Retrospective Tension and My Destiny

There have been many talks given on the subject of "If I had it all to do over again, I would..." Most of the talks I have heard encompass the regrets, noteworthy successes, or future endeavors of the person delivering the message. Let me state that I have enjoyed all of my personal mentor's messages on the subject. However, my tension exists because I deeply desire not to live with regrets and to live to the fullest with the grace God gives.

A few observations about these talks:
1. It seems you need to be "mature" in your field to give these kinds of talks.
2. The points feel like wishes everyone should realize to make life easier.
3. I can rarely remember any one specific point unless it affected the person in a profound way.

Here are my retrospective tensions:
1. Don't write a list at the end (excuse the loftiness). Make it now.
2. Fail Forward - - Always
3. Pray for Wisdom

Weekend Highlights

After a great weekend, I like to reflect on what we experienced at Central Assembly. Earl and Janet Creps were our guest speakers. He was brilliant in his talk "missionary identity." Earl made observations from Paul's missionary journey to Marshill in Acts 17. One of the points he made so eloquently is that we need a future to help us make sense of our past. The random sequences of our past may not make sense until we see where God is directing our future. You can hear the message here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lost in Translation

So many times messages we are trying to communicate are lost in translation. This video will help you understand.

The notes below were from a recent conference on church marketing and branding. You can check out the rest on the Holy Cow blog.

Three words that will disarm and begin to adjust the tone and atmosphere of any meeting...

WHAT IF WE
* Most meetings start with ‘we must’ ‘what we have to do is’…
* Sets up a me vs. you atmosphere
* This starts with question
* Ends with we

IDEA
* Remember everything in place started as a great idea
* Hymnals > Screen
* Something > Hymnals

CAUTION

As much as three words can bridge the gap so can your approach

1. When your gift causes a relational rift = it’s not the gift but the gifted
2. Loyalty publicly = Leverage Privately
3. Your job is to support organization and leadership
4. Don’t confuse your insight with moral imperative
5. Don’t avoid feedback if you ever want to be truly great

These things all shift things from Me vs. You to Us with a vision.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Moms versus Dads

Do you find that there is more emphasis placed on the importance of Mother's Day than Father's Day? Why is it that we tend to love and praise mothers on Mother's Day, but on Father's Day we beat dads up for not being better dads? Fathers invariably get the short end of the stick in terms of these two days of parental recognition. There are lots of good dads out there. We just tend to focus on the bad ones.

These dads might not be perfect dads, but I give them an "A" for effort.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rants of a Spirit-Infused Pastor

When it comes to being Spirit-filled, people are divided on what "it" means. Here are a couple of observations that I believe are unhealthy: 1) Some people think no one is Pentecostal enough. 2) Some believe in the experience but reject the manifestations mainly because of emotionalism which leads to Spirit-phenomenon worship.

I believe to be a true Spirit-led Church we must embrace an ancient 2000 year old tradition. The way of the first apostles should be our model. Here are a few highlights:

1. More is good.
My most recent prayer is for God to increase my capacity to understanding and know Him through the power of the Spirit. Romans 15:13 encourages an "overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." At the end of the day (and the beginning), we need more dependence of God and less on ourselves.

2. Spirit baptism is a potential not a warranty.
Sometimes I hear the question, "Since we have the gift of the Holy Spirit then why do we have moral failures, dying churches, and dead lives?" Spirit baptism is only one part of a much larger mix. It is not meant to be a substitute for character, holiness, planning, common sense, and obedience. It affords us the potential for great ministry but not a warranty against sin. Spirit baptism is the tide that rises all the boats but the other boats must be in the water.

3. Pentecostal ministry needs to be more about mission than about maintenance.
If your heart is to reach people it will put you on your face. Some ministries are too safe for the Spirit’s necessary empowerment. Why are some evangelical churches that claim not to be Pentecostal winning more people to Christ that Pentecostal churches? I do not know all the answers to these questions but I do know that the Spirit attends mission and not denomination.

Let us strive to keep Jesus at the center of our hearts and message. We should also pray that the Spirit help us grow in Christ and to lead us those who need to know His love.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekend Highlights

This past weekend at Central was challenging (in a positive way). We started a two week series on stewardship where we focused on two main prescriptions Jesus gives concerning finances:
1. Stay Grateful

2. Stay Generous

We stay grateful because it dissolves the worry in our lives by refocusing on the generosity of God. Stay generous. We say, "The more I have the more I'll give." God says, "The more you give the more you'll have."

Personal Coaching Is A Must

Daisy and I arrived home on Friday from a refreshing visit in Alabama. Vacation is awesome!

Saturday morning at 8:30 I enrolled at golf school. Aside from being miserable because my game is pathetic, I was profoundly affected by my "personal coach" watching every twist, turn, and swing. He seemed to have a drill for every bad habit I had developed trying to be successful on my own. Practicing those drills retrained my body and help me achieve the little successes I needed to continue enjoying the "journey of golf." (Thats what he called it. I use other words to describe the game :-))

I try not to use my blog as only a place just to translate life experiences into mediocre spiritual applications but this one is a worthy.

I believe we need more personal coaches in our Christian walk. What if we were secure enough to open our lives up (the good, bad, and ugly) to someone who could help us achieve the success we desired in our spiritual lives?

Perhaps our Christian walk has become so subjective that we are all "successful" based on the wrong standards (thats not a popular word). Some have lost the desire to be successful because of repeated failures. The Bible is our standard to analyze the success of our spiritual lives (2 Tim. 3:16). However, we ALL need a coach to help us get to the next level in our spiritual walk. Jesus promised a FULL life.

Timothy had a Paul. Joshua had a Moses. The disciples had Jesus. We all need a coach. The greatest coach we have available to us is the Holy Spirit. If we listen carefully, He will guide us along our journey. It is His job to guide and ours to obey.