Faith, Love & Health

Archive for the month “August, 2007”

Traditional or Modern?

ministry

I was reading in Matthew 13:15 today and it is interesting to me that each person grew to deafness and then they closed their eyes! (I think this is a clear picture of what is happening within many ministries today.)

How many of us are growing deaf or have closed our eyes to what God is trying to do in our life or through our life?  Some of us are in this condition due to our hearts being dulled by traditional opposition and we have just quite listening to what God has told us because we are tired of fighting against traditional ways of trying to reach the modern culture.  

I believe that if we are going to be affective ministers of the gospel, we must “STOP” and listen to what God has been trying to say to us and be obedient to what He has said to us.  This means that we must live out our faith- reach those that you have been called to, we cannot continue to do ministry within the same framework that many of us have been raised in.  

I still see multiple cultures within our society; we have the Jews- traditional church attendee in America and the Gentile- those who are the post-modern/ post-churched.  Many traditionalists are doing a great job reaching the traditional believer, but some are blind and deaf to the voice of God because they are trying to reach a Gentile people within the Jewish structure….it doesn’t work!  

As we look into scripture we see that Paul was reaching the Jews and Peter was reaching the Gentile people.   It would have been a nightmare if they worked together trying to reach their target people within the opposing structures of their target people group.  Why should we think that it is any different for us as we are trying to reach our people groups?  The struggle between the traditional and the Emerging is in my opinion the individuals trying to reach opposing people groups within the structure of the traditional or vice-versa.  It will never work!

So this all leads me to ask who have you been called to?  Reach the people that God has called you to, but do it because God has spoken to you and He has called you to.  He hasn’t called you to do ministry within any structure, but to do ministry within the structure that best reaches the people God has called you to!  Who are you called to reach?

My Life?

my life3

You may have notice the mynakedpastor.com tag on my blog.  I just heard about Troy Gramling this morning.  Troy will be on a 24-hour webcam for five weeks starting 9/9.  The thought that came to me as I read about Troy was, “what would people see in my life if I had a webcam connected to me for 24 hours?”  Would my life look any different than our culture?  Would I display Godly characteristics that would encourage and help others to live out their faith? 

I am all for reaching the post-modern / post church, BUT – yes but, I believe their is a fine line between reaching people with the gospel message and blending in with the culture so much that we no longer carry the presence and the power of God for daily living out our life as we see in 2 Peter 1.  I would hope that people would see that being a believer is fun, that I take my relationship with God seriously, that I honor and interact with my family in a way that builds them up in Christ.  I know for me, each morning after I spend time in scripture and prayer I go to my wife’s computer and I see digital scripture note on her desk top…that is so encouraging to read what God is doing in her life.  So I would hope that my life would give honor to God (true worship) and bring encouragement to the body of Christ.  What would people say about your life?

My Values

my values

I heard a quote the other day that stated, “How you spend your time is the clearest indicator, especially to other people, what’s important to you.”   How you spend your time is also a true measurement of what you believe in. Whatever you say your #1 value is must line up with your calendar.  How much of your calendar day is wrapped up with what you say is your value?  It is obvious to me that I value blogging.  Almost everyday I focus on this addicting way of communication. 

The best way to gauge your life values is by journaling how you spend your time each day.  Start when you wake up and end the journaling process when you go to bed.  If you say being with your family is a value, how much time do you spend with them?  One ministry value that I say I have is mentoring others, but how much time do I spend growing and developing leaders?

There are some healthy values that we need in our life, but maybe we have not thought through how to make it part of our life.  Maybe they are not natural values that we possess, but as we begin applying these values that are unnatural to our lives, our unnatural values transform in us to be a natural value. 

The bottom line is what do you say is your life values…do they line up with your calendar?

Ministry Measurement

It has been said, “What gets measured, gets done.”  So that leads us to ask, what needs to be measured in our ministry?  What intentional steps do we need to take to be affective in our ministries?

First we must identify what needs to be measured as we cultivate a healthy church body?  Here are some areas that I believe that must be measured.  (There are many more areas that need to be thought through, but this is all based on your ministry core values.)

  1. Relevant Relationships
  2. Clear communication
  3. Teachings that equip believers to live out their faith
  4. Learning environment
  5. Ability to connect guest with the church body
  6. Mobilizing believers to reach out to the community
  7. Nurturing environment that offers support and care

Put together practical action steps that you can measure how well the identified areas are doing.  (Here are two examples)  (How can ministries within your body apply this measuring system within the ministry to keep the area affective?)

 Relevant relationships

          Are leaders throughout the church taking steps to engage in relationships?  If yes, how and to what existent do the relationship transcend outside of the church body?

          Do members within your church take initiative to meet new people and help guest connect with others within your church body?  If yes, how far do the relationships extend throughout the body?

          Are relationships under every ministry extremely strong, good, needs improvement, or needs a makeover?   (Measure this by communication that is done outside of the church service, and commodity among your leadership team.)

          Are relationships within your church body open to new relationships?  (Measure this by how well new relationships are being cultivated within your church body?)

 Clear communication

          Are listeners able to clearly communicate the main idea of what is being communicated?

          Are listeners initiating discussion with individuals from within and outside the church body? 

          Are listeners searching for ways to apply content of what is being communicated to their individual life and or to their family’s life?  (If yes, what ways are they appling what is being discussed?)

We also need to think through how regularly do you measure the identified areas?  Is it weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc. 

Before any of the above can be done, you must know your organization core values, have a clear vision of what needs to take place and how do you develop the desired culture within your church body.  

Coffee Prayers

El Salvador

As many of you know I really enjoy a great cup of coffee.  I also collect coffee beans from around the world.  When I say collect, it isn’t the type of collection that you hold onto as a treasure, but one that you are able to share with friends, family or on special occasions.  I have started to buy an organic bean that Larry’s Beans distributes.  I get the beans from Coffee World, here in Raleigh.  I know we live in a Starbucks society, but after drinking a cup of organic beans you can taste the difference.  Right now I am drinking coffee from El Salvador.  What a great light taste it has with a hint of marshmallow as a sweet finish for every sip. Yummy! 

One of the new traditions that we are  starting as a family is praying for the country and any missionary we might know, according to were the coffee that we are drinking is from.  (Right know we are praying for the country of El Salvador and a friend of mine – Kevin Stewart.)  It really is a great way to teach your child about what is happening around the world, the locations of the country and talk about how missionaries are reaching people with the gospel message. 

Maybe the next time you grab of a cup of coffee you might think about that country, someone you might know and pray for them.  I think it is important for us to look for signs and ways to pause in our busy world and pray for what really matters, the people who we as a body are targeting to reach.

i-phone Unlocked

I just saw online this video interview with George Horz who has unlocked the iphone to be used with T-Mobile. Though, the iphone isn’t being sold to be used with any other provder at this time – other than AT&T, it is very plausable that in the near future we may see the iphone being used with many other providers.  That will be the day that many will rejoice and buy that sexy phone.

Battle Cry – San Francisco – ATT Park

battle cry  

If you have been in youth ministry for a while you have heard the name Ron Luce.  Though many look at Ron’s approach as very extreme, you will find that his motivation behind the war on America is a fight against immorality.  I think we would all agree that we desire to help preserve our moral beliefs and pass them down to our children.   The question is how do we pass down our beliefs to our children, yet not keep them ignorant to the issues of what is really happening in our immoral culture that we call America.

Everyday our own families are inundated with violence, sexuality, and individuals that deface the values that many of us grew up being parented under.  If we are ever going to win this battle against immorality, the church must be a voice in America.  Not just a voice, but believers that are unified in faith living a counter culture lifestyle that is relevant to the average person we come in contact with.  The best way to combat this is to educate our own children about why we believe the Biblical values that we profess.  We as parents, family members, friends, teachers and pastors should speak up, instead of being silent about immoral issues.  Many are trying to preserve their children’s life by shutting the ears of their children or sheltering them from being exposed to our culture. We tell our child not to speak using certain words or not to act in the manner that others do in our culture, but we haven’t helped them understand why.  This must stop!  To be a voice, our counter culture lifestyle must offer a solution and understanding that people in today’s society understand.  Not just opinions, but facts of the impact that our culture is having upon society and then practical actions that can be modeled in our life. 

What will you do to begin being a voice in your home, church and city?  Will you remain silent or like Ron Luce– sound the battle cry!  It is time to unify and live what we say we believe.  

Expressing Worship

I was listening to Brian McLaren’s thoughts on worship and can understand what he is saying.  Being a worship leader, we a have a role to encourage the church to engage in singing a song which we call worship.  Some sing and declare worship to God get something in return from God.  Many times an emotional experience.    I’m not saying that we should stop using music, but I think it goes back to bringing people to a place where they can express to God true adoration, love, and thankfulness for who God is and not just a sing feast, trying to sing the latest song.  Let’s help people learn how to humble themselves before an Almighty God…and truly express generosity for everything that He has done for us that often times we give no notice too.  Worship is not a song, but a voice of God’s people expression reverence…and as Dan Kimball says, “Express love, devotion, adoration and praise to God.” Not to get something from Him, but to go to God with an offering, “offering our prayers, lives, praise, confessions, finances, and service to the church body.”  What will you give as you worship?

Emerging Adventures…

emerging

I found this picture at bob.blog and thought it was too great!  I love how some of our older generation is using this time in their life as a platform to reach our younger generation.  Many of us remember the little old lady that thought our Sunday School class and made a huge impact in our lives or maybe in the lives of some of our friends, but how do the older generation fit into today’s Emerging church? 

I was recently in a local coffee house and was online blogging.  As I was blogging, I watched as some senior citizens engaged in conversation with some young people who where probably in their 20’s.  One of the guys who was at least in his 60’s approached me in a conversation.  What a great opportunity for our older men and women of the today to embrace the many opportunities and share what God is doing in their life and reach out to our post-modern culture. 

I believe this is the key, to embrace many the opportunities that are available in today’s culture and begin to step out of our comfort zones and engage in conversation.  You never know how a kind word or showing interest in someone’s life could be the doorway that God uses to bring salvation to someone who doesn’t have a personal relationship with Christ. 

This principle isn’t just for our seniors, but each of us must begin taking advantage of our culture’s lifestyle and go to the coffee shops, malls, community events, even getting involved in your local community recreation center and engage in conversation.  Maybe, as we begin using what God has already given us, He will open a door for you reach someone who would never enter a church on a Sunday.

Motivated by???

I am in a contemplative mood this morning and I wrote some thoughts down that I’ve been thinking through in a poetic form.

 

Today I awake, but what motivation has overtaken me?

I go to the office, but the objective is another task, not the life that needs to be shown, the love of Christ.  We run to be part of multiple church activities not thinking through or even praying who our lives could impact.  Do we think through what an authentic conversation could really mean to someone who is desperate to find someone who cares?

 

If someone spoke to us, would we be able to tell the difference between the hurting and those hiding in the church?  If we spoke to these people, would they listen to us?  If we gave of ourselves, would the church see that our life is authentically living a life for Christ?

 

I watch the clock tick week after week, people pour into the church building to hear another song and leave, but what do they leave with?  More guilt of how they aren’t living perfect enough, more shame of there mistake ridden past!  When does it stop?  When do we give hopeless people hope instead of ridicule, burned out workers the presence of God instead of more work that leads to no end…When do we lay down everything and approach a Holy God and let Him change us, strengthen us, and inspire us.

 

Our Post-Christian has seen the church, but who has personally engaged in a conversation and has listened to his hurt?  His lack of understanding that God is not another church service, but someone who loves and personally desires to give them a life makeover – a new life and all the accessories needed to live this new life daily.  What is your motivation?  Is it Christ or the church?   

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