Pages

4/23/13

REALITY BITES

I had a conversation with someone yesterday and I had to be "that guy".  You know, the guy who deals in the realm of stark reality.  The guy who says, "That sounds good but it won't work.  It doesn't add up".  

I think sometimes as Christ-followers, we decide that guy is the "Anti-Christ".  Following God is about just hearing whatever we think we hear, dreaming whatever we want to dream and going for it...full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes, don't look back, don't let anyone distract you, don't let anyone steal your joy....etc.

But then, there's this little book called Proverbs.  It's written by this guy who was told by God he could ask for anything, and he asked for wisdom.  Pretty clever.  Pretty wise.  

He says things like "there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors".  There's a prevailing theme throughout the book that says "get counsel...get wise counsel...get a multitude of counselors...".

Elsewhere we find that, "We make OUR plans, but God DIRECTS our steps".  Jesus himself even said, "No one builds a building without first counting the cost....or goes to war without first making sure he can win".  You gotta have "that guy".  In fact, you need to become "that guy".

Faith is not a leap into the dark. It is taking one well-lit step, not knowing exactly what the next step will be, but having the assurance that the first-step was well-lit and made plain, practical and obvious by God and trusting that there will be a second well-lit step to follow.  And until there is, we just stand still.

The world's motto is, "Don't just stand there, do something".  God's Word says, "Don't just do something, stand there".  "Be still and know that I am God".

4/16/13

MORONS

     Much of the world views Christians as MORONS.  I have to give them credit, they're half right.  I would define Christians more as OXYMORONS.  What is an OXYMORON, you ask?  Well, here's what Mr. Webster says...
     : a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (as cruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
      It comes from two little Greek words...oxys, meaning keen, sharp and moros, meaning dull or stupid.  Two concepts that are totally opposite and mutually exclusive.  
     Here are a few examples of oxymorons:
Jumbo Shrimp
Clearly Confused
Deafening Silence
Random Order
Original Copy
     You get the picture.  Two things that absolutely do not go together.  That don't fit.  That make sense separately, but not together.  Those are oxymorons.  
     Christians are oxymorons.  We are a combination of two things that do not go together.  That don't fit.  That are, seemingly, mutually exclusive.  
     What are those two things, and how do they come together in the life of a Christ-follower?  Well, you're just going to have to show up at CROSSPOINT CHURCH this week to find out. (don't you just hate that!?)  I realize that's a pretty awful way to put this, but please don't get all passive-agressive on me.  I promise, it will be awfully amazing!

4/12/13

THE HARDEST THING

If your boss pulled you aside and said, "I've been watching you and you're doing a great job.  Here's $100, and take the rest of the day off", what would you do?

How many of you would say "Thank you", head back to work, and later, take home the $100 and either frame it to admire from time to time, or simply put it in a drawer and pull it out every now and then to remember that great moment from the past?

May seem like a stupid question, but it's exactly what many of us do in the church world.

One of the HARDEST THINGS to do in ministry is to gain MOMENTUM.  The only thing that may be even harder is MAINTAINING MOMENTUM.  But, more times than not, we're like a dog that chases a car.  If he ever caught it, he wouldn't know what to do with it.  We're the same way with MOMENTUM.  We work like dogs to achieve it, but if we're successful, we don't have a clue what to do with it.

Here's an example:  Recently, like every other church, we celebrated Easter.  It's a big day.  It can be a day to achieve MOMENTUM.  We set a goal of reaching 1500 people that day.  We've never had 1500 people in attendance...ever.  We had around 1700 people that day!  Instant MOMENTUM.  You can't buy this stuff. It's worth its weight in gold.  So, what do you do with it?

Well, for too many of us, we simply go back to work, get right back to the status quo, frame it and every now and then say, "Remember back in 2013 when we had all those people? Yeah, that was awesome.  Yeah, I'll never forget it.  Can't wait for next year".  And...there goes all the MOMENTUM.  We worked so hard to achieve it, but have no plan, and certainly, no clue, how to keep it.

What's missing?  We have this TEMPORAL view of ministry, rather than a LINEAR view.  Ministry isn't about an event, it's about life-change.  It can't be about "how many people did we have show up for our event?", but "how can we channel that MOMENTUM we just created to maintain it and use it to fulfill our mission of seeing lives transformed by the power of God?"  

But, that requires a plan, a strategy and a desire.  It requires a viewpoint that this isn't the end,  but rather the beginning.

What about you?  You were part of achieving MOMENTUM.  Are you a part of maintaining MOMENTUM?

4/9/13

AND THAT'S WHY...

I listen to people publicly dumping on and dissing christians from every angle and for every reason imaginable.  It breaks my heart.  It makes me mad.  It frustrates me.  Think of an emotion...I've felt it.  Why are christians always the target?

This week, unspeakable tragedy and pain came into the life of a christian.  One that many of us know.  One who is, because of his success as a pastor and author, a public figure.  His name is Rick Warren.  He pastors Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, California.  He is the author of THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE.

I could go on and on with his accomplishments for the Kingdom of God, but this week, none of that matters.  This week, all that matters is the fact that his 27 year-old son, who had struggled with mental illness, took his own life.

I'm not sure how it can get any worse than that...but, it has.  Fellow christians...don't miss that fact...fellow christians have responded to this tragedy and its ensuing pain by using it as ammunition to judge, hate, ridicule and make all kinds of accusations against the Warrens.  How in the name of God can anyone with a conscience, anyone with the love of God in them, anyone with a heart and a brain, (or at least one of them) do such a thing?

That, my friend, is HATE.  It is VENOM.  It is UNHOLY.  It is SIN.  What happened to "Weep with those who weep"?  What happened to "Share one another's burdens"?  What happened to "by your love they will know you"?  I guess that doesn't apply here.  Then again, if it doesn't apply here, where would it apply?

And we wonder why the world doesn't want any part of what we have?  We hate when we're called to love.  We kick one another when we are at our most vulnerable.  We publicly ridicule a family when they are at their deepest point of hurt imaginable...and we call ourselves CHRISTIANS.

AND THAT'S WHY...the world isn't interested in what we have.

4/2/13

I LIKE QUESTIONS

I don't think most pastors would agree with that statement.  Some like to ask them.  Few like to be asked them.  Pastors, as a whole, are more into making statements than being asked questions.  So, the church becomes a place where you can come with your questions...Just don't ask them.  Sit back and listen and, I'm certain, we'll answer every question you need an answer to.  Just be patient.  If you don't hear the answer to your question, you can pretty much assume it was unnecessary at best...stupid, at worst.

However, the big sign on the front of the Church building should read...QUESTIONS WELCOMED!    The Church's motto should be, THERE REALLY ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS...REALLY!

To make matters worse (or better, based on your perspective), the Church should constantly be asking itself questions.  For instance:

*Are we really all about JESUS...him and nothing else but him?
*What's running this show...fear or faith?  Are we in control, or have we subjugated ourselves to the Holy Spirit, following His lead, even when we don't understand it? (or even agree with it)
*Do we embrace and love people who are different from us, no matter how repulsive their lifestyle may be to us?
*Are we capable of growing up and getting over our own preferences being met for the sake of winning a messy, messed-up world that doesn't understand, embrace or even like our religious stuff?
*Would we be defined as risk-takers by those outside looking in, or play-it-safers?
*Are we more passionate about fixing people or loving people?
*Who is our audience, those inside the building, or those outside?  

Questions are tough.  That's why we don't like to ask them...much less answer them.  The real problem with questions is that the real answers reveal the actual condition of our heart.  The one thing we thought we'd hidden so well.

Today, ask yourself some tough questions.  If you don't like your answers, don't feel too bad...you're in good company.