Faith, Love & Health

Archive for the month “July, 2007”

Emerging Love

grace

 I’m not sure if you have seen the pomovational posters for the Emerging, but as I looked through the posters you can see the hurt, anger and frustration with life and yes even the church through the imagery and ideas communicated.  It is heart wrenching to see some of the images, but much is revealed as you look at the images and ideas that are being communicated.   I think we need to exercise caution when thinking through postmodern thoughts and our response to those thoughts.  I recently was given a comment that shared the Pomo Philosophy and one part of the Pomo Philosophy is the denial of truth.  Much of the communication that our culture has heard has been traditionalism as a church which many times bar out those seeking to figure out the church and the whole God thing. 

In my opinion, it would be best for the church to rise up and show unconditional, authentic kindness and patience – love with this generation.  As we unite together, I believe the Traditional Church along with the Emerging Church will have a greater impact on this generation.  We must create safe environments for this generation to learn and understand who they are in regards to their relationship with God.  This does not mean that we water down scriptural truth, but it does mean we as the church need to create environments where individuals can ask questions and share their thoughts without being beaten up verbally or treated different for not agreeing with us.  The battle is not a battle of words of who is right or wrong; it is rather the body of Christ revealing the love of Christ.

I’m not sure if you have seen that Emerging Grace  posters which are hopefully portraying what the church is trying to be.  As we learn more and more of the Postmodern may we look not at the difference, but at the person who has probably never seen authentic love from the church.  

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”  – John 15:12-14

Advertisements

Messy vs Polished Leadership

clean messy

I know for me I prefer having everything organized and have a plan in place before I tackle any objective.  While this type of personally is important, we need to guard trying to have an answer to everything.  Sometimes we just don’t have the answers.  There are times when life hits us hard, problems become bigger than we are, and relationships are not always easy; but God remains true no matter what we go through.  The question we need to ask God are what is my next step?  We should have the most understanding about the areas that we most struggle with and this includes areas of leadership were we need direction.  Many times we ask God for help and we give God nothing to work with.  Read a book, seek advice, but don’t put the book or the advice above the direction we can only get through prayer and hearing the voice of God.  This messy leadership is nothing more then us asking God for direction and making decisions that doesn’t always look like the structured answer we wish we had. 

Most of us may prefer easy leadership that is clean and polished, but some of the greatest leaders are messy in how they do lead.  I heard Art Vanzanten share on this recently and he said, “Polished leadership has limited growth while messy leadership has high growth.”  I believe this to be true due to the reality anytime we place God in a limited structure; we miss opportunities to hear God give us direction through uncertain situations that may acure, which brings about personal growth.  Strategy is not bad thing in and of itself, but we must first humble ourselves and seek God for direction over our lives and ministries.  When we first seek our own preferences and make decisions from our comfort zones we position ourselves to miss out on God’s best for us. Are you a messy or a polished leader? 

Finding Your Voice

which way

If you have read many books or have listened to many podcast you will find that every writer or communicator has a unique voice.  They all don’t sound the same.  The reason why some have strong followings is because the author or artist has a voice that communicates valued information and he or she doesn’t sound like the majority of the other authors.  I read a phrase in the book Leadership Challenge that helps individuals understand how we find our voice and found that there is a process we go through when we are trying to find our leadership style and communication style. 

I remember in my early years of ministry I followed different leaders that I respected and I began mimicking their words and stylistically tried to duplicate how they did ministry. The first step in learning who we are and find your voice is looking at your surroundings and trying to reproduce what you see externallyI remember quoting John Maxwell, Ron Luce, Jeanne Mayo and many more as I was trying to find my voice.  As I grew as a leader I began finding distance between my way of thinking and how they did ministry. 

Though I began finding a distance between their leadership and who I was becoming I inwardly began comparing who I was with how the leaders I respected did ministry.  This part of ministry is the growing up stage for many of us.  We are finally learning our personality and we have come to terms with ourselves.  This doesn’t mean that we quit reading and growing as leaders, but we are beginning to carry our own opinion and we are beginning to learn that we have a voice.  My words and thoughts carry just as much value, especially if I keep growing as a leader and communicator, as those I have followed.   

The last part in finding our voice is being a voice.  Being yourself, communicating your thoughts and helping people understand how you do ministry and life.  Hopefully at this stage of our lives we have words that others value and we can help reproduce ourselves in the lives of those we lead.  This leads to some questions:  What kind of voice do people around you hear?  Is your voice everything that God intended it to be?  What can you do to have a stronger voice in your world of influence?    

The Bridge

I heard a story this week at camp by Doug Witherup about Hurricane Mitch that went through Honduras back in 1998.  There was a body of water and bridge in place and after the hurricane went through the river was moved and the bridge stood alone with no body of water underneath the bridge.  The bridge was a great structure, but the structure that was in place was no longer needed because the water was shifted.  The story was paralleled to when our culture has shifted (The waters have moved.) we must build a new bridge to reach the culture, but the question was posed: “How do we build this new bridge to the changing culture.”  

The first step always is and will be, we must study who you are trying to reach and learn their language.  How does the postmodern communicate?  One of the things that we already know is that the postmodern generation is highly visual and very intellectual in thinking.  They desire to understand truth before they make a decision to commit.  This is going to require those who are going to reach this culture to learn how to verbally walk this generation through scripture to help them understand the why questions they have.  The exciting part to this generation is if they are authentically seeking after God the emerging – postmodern will not only have the understanding to put their faith in Christ, but also the demonstration of the power of God.  We have the corner market on this if we will unite as the body of Christ and begin fulfilling the Biblical mandate God has called us to. 

The second thing that we must do is communicate verbally words that they understand.  It is more than learning a slang word, but we need to use illustrations that the postmodern is familiar with.  Along this thought, we must rise up as communicators of the gospel and stop talking about God and begin helping position the postmodern so that they can have an authentic experience with God.  I hear many a sermon talking about who God is and what God has done, but we need to help position individuals to experience God in their everyday life.  God is not a story, but a God who desire to be personally acquainted with each of us in our everyday life.  We must help our postmodern culture take steps to experience God authentically in their life. 

If we are going to reach anyone with the gospel we must show that we care.  You have probably heard that before.  Before they will listen to us, people need to know that they can trust you and that your words are more than an echo of someone else.  We authentically must show the love of God and be contagious as we reach not just the postmodern culture, but a person who was made in the image of God, who doesn’t have a relationship with his maker.  God is the real thing, help people know Him! 

Nothing Can Compete With The Presence of God

This week I have had the honor to work with the new North Carolina Assemblies of God DYD Doug Witherup.  During a session that he was teaching at camp he made a statement that has resounded with me, “Nothing can compete with the presence of God.”  As we look at ministry we are trying to be more relevant to our culture, but one concern that I have is loosing what makes us different from religion carrying the presence of God.  We see one example in scripture with Simon the sorcerer who wanted to buy the gift of healing.  People are drawn to power.  So what does this power look like today?  Yes we still see the super natural where people are being healed, set free from bondages that have held them captive; but it is also expressed in love – being able to genuinely be kind and patient to the unlovable, not being harsh, but giving grace to those who may not think or do things the way that we do them.  It is the parts of the body of Christ working together to make one whole body.  When we choose to activate the presence of God through love, mercy, and extending grace in our daily lives people can’t help but follow what God is doing in our lives. 

I have seen this in leadership.  If I have a poor attitude my team does, if I am always looking at the best my people are looking for the best.  Now as many of you know there is balance even in this thought, I have seen the opposite happen where leaders have ignored sin, and teaching moments at the expense of fear of conflict.  Great leaders lead and help train up individuals grow to their potential and there are times when conflict are necessary, but I have found when we authentically care for people they listen and will heed our wisdom.  So today let us seek after God and He will show up in our everyday life.  No person, technology, can replace the presence of God. 

My Emerging Church

1 Thessalonians 1:5 says “I came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.”  I think sometimes when we hear the words “Emerging Church” many traditional people look at it as the absence of the power of God and the focus is more on the persuasive words!  For some Emerging Churches this is true, but as being a Pentecostal people this can’t be the case.  We need to be clear in our message and our tactics need to embrace the technology of today to aid us in our communication.  We need to help this postmodern culture understand scripture by giving them practical ways to apply these deep Biblical truths.   I am geared in a way that I want to give every believer not only the understanding of scripture, but to give them the right tools for their life to live an authentic Christian Life that is NOT hidden, but is seen by all and is something that they want to embrace instead of being embarrassed about.  If you ask some of the younger generation you probably would find many who are trying to live out their faith, but aren’t willing to invite friends to local churches they tend to do the traditional patterns that carry little or no meaning to this generation.  (Understand I am not saying all churches are this way, because there are many churches doing a great job.)  I am saying we need to understand our culture and stop entertaining the church and begin being the church living out scripture.  Equip the saints and reach the lost. 

So as I read the above passage in 1 Thessalonians I am convinced that the Emerging Church must be a generation that is practical in helping individuals understand scripture, but also passionate about seeking after a God that desires to empower us to live out our faith as we read in 2 Peter!  He has given us everything we need for life and godliness….that is IF we are a people that are seeking and allowing Him to rule and reign in our lives.  I know it is my prayer to reach this postmodern and postchurch culture as the power of God is being witnessed as we run the race of faith together.

Emerging Church and Pentecostalism

A question was posed this week…What does the emerging church look like in Pentecostalism?  I think the first think we must do is define what is emerging. 

Since emerging is to seek to engage postmodern people, especially the unchurched and post-churched, I think it clear that the emerging church and Pentecostalism is isn’t separate from the church.  Or at least it shouldn’t be.  If we are truly a Pentecostal people then it is part of who we are. The problem even with what I have just stated is that many people are filtering Pentecostalism through traditional pictures that they have experience or seen.  Since the target of the emerging church is to reach the postmodern or post-churched, we need to be cautious how we present Pentecost to them.  I have seen many a people pushed away from experiencing Pentecost do to over-zealous individuals who have a poor definition of Pentecost and also out of order displays of the gifts of the spirit.  As we are reaching a post modern culture we should simply walk the individuals through who God is – communicating His character, help them understand the person of the Holy Spirit and then help them understand how the Holy Spirit operates in our lives.  Check out Earl Creps Thoughts.

Random Thoughts

RT

Some things I have pondered this week while being at camp:

It is great working with individuals that you enjoy being around.  I’ve worked with people who are hard to work with or are just not enjoyable being around, but the greatest joy for me has been working with individuals that I can be relaxed around and just be myself – not feeling the need to impress anyone.  

People usually work better with individuals that they can trust.  Lack of trust = Low respect = Low motivation to work together, which can end in destruction if you are not aware of it.   It kind of hit me this week as I have watched leadership dynamics, people go to those in leadership that they can trust.  If there are leaders that aren’t reliable or trustworthy those under that leader will gravitate to other leaders that they can trust.

 High expectation equals a positive end result.  When we expect God to move in our life or just expect to have a good day by carrying a good attitude usually there is a positive end result.

Negative words spread like cancer.  This is self explanatory…when we express negative words our thoughts are transferred to other individuals and they pass on that information and soon you have created a negative environment. 

People are highly motivated when people believe in them. Words carry the power of life or death!  I have watched individuals be inspired when life given words have been spoken over their life and the opposite take place when they’re not! 

When you are tired anything can happen.  You have heard it said, “don’t make a decision when you are tired” well….because poor decisions many times takes place when you are tired, I have watched people say off the wall things, make silly decisions and do funny things!  This is the fun part of being tired!

God works in people’s lives in spite of us.  God works through imperfect people to do amazing things.  The thought of a perfect God using us is quite humbling.

 Fun is an attitude.  Choose to have fun and you will! 

You can’t expect God to do amazing things in your life if you aren’t willing to give Him anything.  When we hold on to areas we want God to work in, God can’t do the work that we want Him to do! 

Faith Supplement

Most people today want to be successful and fruitful in their ministry.  They want to see God do amazing things in the life of their people.  The Bible puts a garentee for your life that you can be successful!  Besides staying fresh with trendy communication, publications and relational skills the Bible teaches us in 1 Peter chapter 1 that all you need is Faith Supplements!  That’s right for one low price of humility it can be yours!  I know I sound like a sales man, but many today think they have it all together when in actuality they are missing the healthiest part of being a minister. 

For instance, for the next couple of weeks I am at youth camp.  It would be very easy to kinda go with the flow and be sleeping right now because we didn’t go to bed until after 2:00 a.m. BUT to stay healthily as a minister of the gospel we must get up early or find a time when we can refresh with the knowledge of the Word of God!  Peter teaches us that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of his word….by which he has granted us incredible promises. So this is where the Bible teaches us about Faith Supplements.  Peter says add to your faith:  virtue with knowledge, self – control, steadfastness with godliness, brotherly affection with love.  Practically this is where we add the principles that we have learned through God’s Word into our daily life when we might feel weak or out of sorts.  What encourages me is when I add these supplements to my life regularly 1 Peter 1:8 says: “If these qualities are yours and are increasing in your life, they will keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful…” I can be a successful follower of Christ!  God has already given me everything I need.  I just need to apply it to my life. 

Verbose

verbose \vuhr-BOHS\, adjective:
Abounding in words; using or containing more words than are necessary; tedious by an excess of words; wordy; as, “a verbose speaker; a verbose argument.”

 I’m usally the least verbose person you would meet, that is until you know me.  Then I usally kick back and have fun!  I am getting better as I am aging, but over all I usally don’t over use words…unless I am trying to ramble. Since most people get tired of reading when someone is rambling I better stop now!  Expand your vocabulary!  Enjoy Life!  Peace:)

Post Navigation