Archive for the ‘Purpose’ Category

Left Overs

November 3, 2009

My response to a post by @acmccullough on her blog Life In Christ.

I don’t think its wrong to seek excellence and attempt to change the world. God wants us to be all He made us to be and He favors boldness in Him. If you are where God wants you to be you will not be in your own strength but His.

I too am often surrounded by people who can only see why something can’t be done or happen. If I could be as bold as to offer you some advice on the subject since I have been there many times and done that more than I can count.

My advice is ignore them. Pray for guidance, surround yourself with Godly counsel and move forward doing everything you know to do. When you do this a strange thing will happen.

It will be subtle but over time people will listen. When you study and work to show yourself an approved workman some folks will respond. The more things you do or even attempt the more people will be willing to risk something because of it.

One of my favorite quotes is by Hannibal, ‘We will find a way or make one.’ Someone has to step out and get a feel for the future. When you do catch a new vision you have to tell others about it. God made you that way. I have been created in a similar way so I know the feeling. Don’t question it, embrace it!

I’ve said to my Pastors many times that I was going to try this or that and I was hoping for anything but a flash of light and a mushroom cloud. Many times my results were a mushroom cloud but I’ve been successful many times as well. It is a battle lost but the war still rages on. The difference is that failure grinds off the rough edges and make me even more dangerous for the Lord. I’ve experienced this so many times in my day job that it has become a daily source of humor for me and a few others. I heard a great quote from WFX along these lines. If you fail enough times you will become an expert on the subject.

Ultimately, when you know that you’re doing what God called you to do it doesn’t matter whether you’re considered a worldly success. It only matters that you ARE where God called you to be and DOING the things He made you to do.

So if it takes completing extra work, Jesus said do it. (http://read.ly/Matt5.41.NIV) If it takes explaining something in a loving way over and over, Jesus said do it. (http://read.ly/1Tim5.1.NIV) If it takes enormous patience and constant prayer, Jesus said do it. (http://read.ly/Eph6.18.NIV)

Our God deserves nothing less than our best. As Francis Chan put it in his book ‘Crazy Love’, don’t serve up leftovers to a Holy God.

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The WFX Experience

November 1, 2009

My new post was actually sparked by a post from fellow WFX attendee Aimee McCullough (@acmccullough). Please follow the link to her blog to leave comments and join the conversation. http://aimeemccullough.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/how-to-effectively-effect-change/#comment-3

Here’s a preview. (pending moderation)

How to Effectively Effect Change

By aimeemccullough

We tried to take the kids trick or treating tonight but the weather had other plans. We stopped a couple homes and then decided to take the kids to Friendly’s with my parents. My parents follow me on FB and had many questions about this so called WFX Conference we attended. As we started to share our desire to return to the basics of relationship and discipleship it seemed as though we were speaking another language. I wished I could say that they were the exception and not the norm at our church but I am afraid that this dissconnect is greater than I would even like to think. Coming off of 3 days hearing passionate presenters and keynote speakers yearning to make an eternal difference in the lives of others for the glory of Jesus Christ is definitely a mountain top experience. But returning home is so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. Staring the truth in the face and wanting deperately to effect change among our staff, our leaders and our people. I know the only real way to do this is to start living out among them and that eventually they will follow. The challenge seems overwhelming right now but of course it will take total reliance on God to be accomplished, and that my friends is my insight for this evening. I follow Rick Warren on Twitter and the other day he posted something to the effect that he could do NOTHING without God. This is one of those glimpses in my life where that is so real. If your reading this I ask for your prayers. We the ability to make an eternal difference in the lives of 500 people and right now we are failing miserably. But God has a plan and if we are obedient to his word he will be able to live out that plan in us and through us. Thank WFX for making a difference in my life and hopefully the life of our church. Let us move forward to being a life-giving not life-taking church!

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No Responses to “How to Effectively Effect Change”

  1. Billy Ingram Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    November 1, 2009 at 7:16 am | Reply Excellent observations! They mirror my own challenges with understanding and application of the ideas coming out of WFX every year.

    I can only speak for myself when I say strike while the iron’s hot! I too have experienced the spark of hope from new ideas and concepts only to receive a bucket of water to the face upon my sharing with others. Many people will do this thinking they are saving you from being too radical and too extreme a Christian. Their intentions are good, but life threatening.

    I respect Pastoral and elder authority but I also believe in asking for forgiveness rather than permission. Authority is given by God to every believer to follow the lead and conviction of the Holy Spirit. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who says ignore the Holy Spirit and do nothing is a pharisee.

    In my humble opinion, the key is to not take it personally when this occurs. As a practical fact, most of the world is afraid to risk anything, anytime. Everybody likes to play it safe. If we look at it from the view point of those who didn’t attend WFX, it’s as if time stood still. Yet for us we’ve got a double expresso of Kingdom building ideas from the Lord! So what to do…

    We are called not only to follow and seek the Lord with all our heart but to persevere as well. When people don’t show the same level of interest for the ideas you’ve shared, light them on fire with your passion. Be willing to do what is in your power to make things happen. Pray, fast, study to show yourself an approved workman of God. Burning brightly as a Christian isn’t easy but it is our responsibility. Besides, my experience is that most people won’t hold onto a red hot piece of metal, they will turn it loose!

    It is our unique perspective that allows us to guide and lead others to the uncharted oasis along narrow caravan routes by new towns to unknown tribes of people. If our calling doesn’t exist in a seminary yet we are not relieved of duty. Unlike Columbus’ discovery, our new world really is flat. I can connect with anyone at any time in any location in an exponentially growing number of mediums. If we will not lead others into this unknown mission field who will?

    I say, Here I am Lord, send me!

The Insane Church

April 11, 2009

Many Churches suffer from insanity. Before you get defensive read the next sentence. The definition of insanity: Doing the same things you’ve always done and expecting a different result.

Now what do you think?

What is the goal of the Christian Church? No need to guess. Jesus told us clearly.

Matthew 28: 19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Make disciples, baptize and teach. Sounds simple right?

I was reading the other day about the lengthy training missionaries endure to prepare to enter a foreign country and evangelize its inhabitants. It is a significant undertaking requiring learning new languages, customs, dietary restrictions, etc., etc. It requires the missionary to truly stretch themselves and learn as much as possible about those with whom they intend to live among. Why is this such a difficult thing to do with our next door neighbors?

I don’t think its any harder, I believe its just uncomfortable. I would compare it to sitting in a car with no air conditioning at a red light on a hot and humid August day. We want to get moving as quickly as possible so we can feel comfortable. Let’s see, ‘Make disciples, baptize, teach’. No, ‘stay comfortable’ was not one of Jesus’ commands. So what do you do? If you want a primer read ‘14 reasons to stop evangelizing your friends‘ by Jon Reid.

Getting to the root cause of anything usually requires asking many questions. This is no exception.

How can you make disciples if you don’t know any non-Christians? I’ll admit when I read the book ‘Crazy Love‘ by Francis Chan this concept slapped me in the face like a wet salmon. Like him, when I honestly answered this question I was embarrassed. I knew very few non-Christians. So how was my witness going? Great! I was impressing all my Christian friends with my good works and righteousness. Now that’s really fulfilling the ‘Great Commission’! Bottom line: you must come in contact with non-Christians and interact with them if you plan on building a relationship with them.

How can you baptize if those in need of Christ haven’t heard the good news? If you never begin any relationships with non-believers you will never be an example for them to witness. They’ll never ask you any questions about your actions or beliefs if you never speak to them. Baptism comes second to the relationship they have with you. They can’t see Jesus in you without you. Bottom line: make an effort, you will be held accountable for it.

How can you teach those who don’t care what you have to say? Follow this experiment to prove my point. Give personal advice to a stranger today and watch their response. What you say will have little, if any, affect on them. They don’t know you or value your wisdom and experience. Now try the same thing with some close friends. They will at the very least listen to you. However, your words carry little meaning to even your closest friends if your actions don’t match them. Bottom line: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Are you insane? What about your Church? What have you done differently today to connect others to Jesus Christ?

The Smell of Death

April 3, 2009

After reading blog post titled ‘‘Hey I’m Dead!’ The Story Of The Very Lively Ant‘ I got to thinking. Thinking is dangerous for me. Sharing my opinion compares to a ride in a nitroglycerin truck down a dirt road. But here goes anyway.

The ants involved in this research were fulfilling their purpose right along until they encountered the smell of death. When they encountered this particular odor they immediately took action and threw out the live ant that smelled like death. When she came back unwashed she was thrown out again. She wasn’t allowed to return to normal life in the colony until the smell of death was gone.

Why wasn’t she allowed to be a part of the colony? Because she ‘smelled like death’.

Every Bible believing Christian Church I know professes Jesus.They also want to tell the world about the Gospel. How many of these ministries ‘smell like death’?

What does death smell like to a guest or someone wanting to be involved? It smells like not giving up your seat. It smells like egotistical ministry leaders. It smells like walking by someone without saying “I’m glad to see you today!”. I could write a volume of items that ‘smell like death’ to a person seeking the only one who can save their soul. It’s interesting that Jesus gives us an example of how people who ‘smell like death’ treat those in need in the the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Do any of your ministries ‘smell like death’? Do any of the people involved in your ministries or Church ‘smell like death’. Are you going to act and clean them up or walk on by?