Since the first time I heard Perry Noble speak, I was a fan. Not like he was my hero or anything, but I just have completely appreciated his perspective on the church. He’s refreshing and challenging in the same breath, and he often says things I was thinking…but with much more flare!
Perry wrote a great article today on a very present issue and he presents a very balanced and Biblical view that I think all Christians should take a listen to. So, take five minutes to allow yourself to be challenged with some truth.
Hey all you Friendship People! I thought I’d take a few minutes and talk with you guys directly. Here are 7 things I want you all to know…
- Man, do I miss you guys! It’s half way through our time apart and its killing me. I must confess I secretly get on Facebook just to see pictures of what you’re all up to. I’m so looking forward to seeing you all on August 19th!
- We are having a fantastic time! Our time in the Mediterranean and in Europe was absolutely awesome! I’ve posted a few pictures below that I thought you might all enjoy. I think we can all literally feel the stress falling off. Plus, notice the really good-looking company I keep!
- I’ve been reading through the New Testament, and my passion and love for the church of Jesus Christ is stronger than it has ever been! I know that some of you were a little worried that being gone this long would dim my passion…NOT A CHANCE, it’s burning white-hot!
- Don’t miss REST. The series starting this week with our buddies from City Community is going to be phenomenal. You will not want to miss even one week. And, yes, I know some of you have been “Playing Hooky”, you better be there this week…I know who you are 🙂
- You all knocked it out of the park with Summer Break! I am so amazed with the number of children who came, but even more thankful with the 20+ children who gave their lives to Christ. We told the leaders of Next Level Church, the place we are going to down here, about it and they were just as excited as I was. You guys are amazing!!!
- Don’t miss the Meredith Andrews Concert. Meredith is a great Christian songwriter and singer. We are absolutely blessed that she is going to be there, as she usually plays to crowds of 1,500+ at her concerts. Plus she is a personal friend of Dustin and Sarah, so pack Friendship out for me, standing room only!
- I’ve got the preface and the first chapter of my book written. If enough of you are interested I’ll post the preface on the blog in the next few weeks. I’d love to get your feedback on it.
Okay, 1 freebie…I’m dying to see what the Colts are going to do this year! Anyone else?
Love your guys,
Your Absentee QB, Dave
During our Sabbatical we walked through the ancient ruins of the City of Ephesus. Ephesus is in modern day Turkey and is one of the most extensive archeological sites in the entire world. You might be familiar with Ephesus from the books of Acts and the book that bears the name of the city’s residents, Ephesians. (When I have better bandwidth I’ll post some pictures and some videos of this amazing place.)
As we walked along we were all amazed at the sheer massiveness that once held some 300,000 people. We began our tour at the peak of the mountain/hill on which the city sits. We could look out into the valley and see for hundreds of acres the amazing sights and the many discoveries of a city that was founded almost 2,000 years before the birth of Christ.
Ephesus was one of the most influential cities in the ancient world for two reasons. #1 it housed one of the largest and most extensive libraries second only to the famed library at Alexandria. #2 it was the epicenter and the birth place of the worship of the Goddess Diana or Artemis. Ephesus was, for all intents and purposes, the center of spirituality and knowledge for all of Asia.
The Apostle Paul came to Ephesus somewhat by “accident”, at least by man’s perception. Acts 19 records that he had been teaching many of the coastal cities, and he decided to trek inland. He came to Ephesus and discovered that there were a handful, 12 men, of disciples there. So, he decided to teach them and those who would listen in the local synagogue. But after a few months the leaders of the synagogue became increasingly jealous of Paul, so he left and went to a local, secular philosophy hall (Acts 19:9) where he taught for 2 years. The crowd continued to grow and many, many people came to Christ and a large church began to grow at Ephesus. They in turn invited their friends to come and listen, who invited their friends, and so on. It became such a “phenomenon” that people from all around Asia came to listen. It was so pervasive and influential that both those who were supporters of and the enemies of Christianity and Paul admitted it’s unbelievable influence in the region…
This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. (Acts 19:10 ESV)
And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. (Acts 19:26 ESV)
The second statement was from a man named Demitrius, I’ll talk about him during another post.
As we were in the midst of our tour our guide stopped and pointed out several etchings of crosses and made this incredible statement, “Ephesus was once THE center of worship of the Goddess Artemis, yet within just a short time after the Apostle Paul came almost the entire city became Christians. The church at Ephesus became one of the largest and most influential churches during the first three centuries.”
Can you imagine that? A city entirely dedicated to the worship of a false god was completely turned upside down for Christ. It influenced all of Asia and the world for Christ!
Isn’t the transforming and penetrating power/love of Christ amazing?! Who else but Christ could take a former persecutor and murderer of the church (Paul) and “accidentally” send him to a city under the dark captivity of idol worship and turn it into the launching pad of Christianity for all of Asia?!
My friend, I don’t care what garbage is holding you bondage, I don’t care what lie you’ve been telling yourself about how you “can’t overcome this”, I don’t care where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done. If the transforming power and love of Christ can do this, he can change you into a person of influence for His name too!
When I was 17 I was a victim of one of the most classic sales tricks the world has ever seen! I wanted a Sony Walkman like nobodies business (if you just asked yourself, “What is a ‘walkman’?” then you are too young to be reading this post). So, I saw an ad from a local retailer that proclaimed they had just received a shipment of brand new Walkmans and they were on sale for $39, I was stoked!
I showed up to the store with my money in hand and asked for the super-cool Walkman. The massively smiling salesmen didn’t even flinch, he simply said, “Oh, that model is already sold out. But, we do have the next model up for only $30 more.” I was a victim of the bait-n-switch!
On our Sabbatical we spent a day in Rome. Our daughters desperately wanted to see the Sistine Chapel that Michelangelo adorned with gilded images of Biblical history several centuries ago. So, we asked the guide at the Vatican about how long it would take for us to see it. She guaranteed us that it would only take 90 minutes and that it was something we didn’t want to miss.
We bought our tickets and began the “short-tour” of the Vatican Museum that culminated with the chapel. At each intersection we were guided by signs that would tell us what was next followed by “…and Sistine Chapel”. At the end of each area we saw the same sign, almost as if it were taunting us, teasing us that just maybe around the next corner the Sistine Chapel would appear, yet it was always just another section with more artifacts and sculptures. Now, don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed many of them, but after we saw 90 minutes come and go, with no Sistine Chapel in sight we began to get a little annoyed.
Finally, after walking for almost 3 hours, through thousands of people, and dozens of exhibits we saw a sign that simply read “Sistine Chapel”. We walked down several flights of stairs and entered into an overfilled room of eerie silence. It was dark, smelled funny, and the caretakers kept saying in a thick Italian accent, “No talking, no pictures, no video…keep moving!” (fyi, I took video…I’ll post it in a few days so you can see too!)
The artwork by the master was magnificent! However, it was overshadowed by the length of time it took to get there, the incredibly strange ambience, and the rather rude people that were watching us assuming that any moment we might snap a forbidden photo (I of course wouldn’t do that, I was taking the video, Traci took the pictures). We couldn’t really savor the moment, we couldn’t relish in the presence of a master artist’s masterpiece. We were hushed, rushed, and crushed together like sardines.
So, we foolishly thought, now we can get on with our day and see some of the other cool parts of Rome. We made a beeline for the bathrooms and then began to follow the signs marked “Uscita” or exit. But, we didn’t leave the building, it funneled us into a massive gift shop, followed by an exhibition for the Popes, another gift shop, an exhibit for Pope John Paul, who apparently is now a saint, and on, and on. 45 minutes after following our first sign for “Uscita” we finally made it outside! At this point our entire morning had been eaten up, and lost because we had fallen victims to the bait-n-switch church.
Friends, we serve an artist who doesn’t work in oil paint or marble. He shapes eternity, humanity, and all matter to His will and for His glory. Each Sunday as we gather we celebrate His magnificence, we display the artwork of our lives, and we surrender to his continual molding. Our friends, neighbors, and loved-ones show up with a desire to get a glimpse of something wonderful, miraculous, life-changing…they want to see the Master Artist and the truth that only He offers.
If, instead, all they experience is our rules, our traditions, our timetable, and our agendas we have played the most cruel bait-n-switch of all time! We must be ruthless in keeping Christ, His glory, and His truth the central focus in all we do. When we do this, His Word promises that He will do the rest…
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
(John 12:32 ESV)
There’s a common misconception among Christians that the only thing God cares about when it comes to money is whether or not you tithe. If you don’t know what a tithe is, it is giving back to God through your local place of worship, 10% of your income. Now, I’m not going to spend the next several paragraphs arguing for or against tithing, let’s just set that one aside for another post. So, back to my original thought, does God only care about the first 10% and say, “whatever you want!” for the other 90%?
I can honestly say that for many years I found myself sitting within this camp. In fact, I even believed that if people tithed that no matter what they did with the other 90% God would bless it. However, after many years of growth, learning from others, and personal study I’ve radically changed my position!
The primary passage that altered everything was Romans 6:20-23
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:20-23 ESV)
Notice it says that we are slaves to Christ. Slaves not only are owned by someone else but they themselves cannot own anything apart from their masters. It is only by their masters good pleasure that they can have any personal possessions whatsoever. All that a slave has is the masters possession and the slave is given the privilege of using it, and must give an account as to how it is used.
Now, before you get all caught up in the slave imagery and connect it to that which took place in the US, there is no comparison to what is being referred to in this passage. In ancient Rome slaves were protected by the law, they could not be abused, and they could only be punished for disobedience if the governing authorities allowed it. Slaves were often incredibly educated, accountants, doctors, lawyers, professors, poets, historians, etc… In fact, a great majority of slaves would choose to remain slaves even after having been released by their masters because they loved the family so much, they became “Bond Servants”. If you ever see that term in Scripture that is what it’s referring to.
So, to put this all into context for us…
When we choose to follow Christ and commit our lives to him we become his bond servant, all that we are, all that we will be, and all that we have we turn over to him. We do this because we love him, we want to spend our lives with him, we trust him and believe that he can do infinitely more with what we have and are than we can on our own. We tithe as a reminder that it’s all his, it’s an act of worship and humility, reminding ourselves of the commitment we have made.
Today we walked through the Sagrada Familia Temple. It is the largest Basilica or Cathedral in Spain. On the outside it is an impressive sight. It looms stories up into the air and when you ascend into one of the towers you can see all of Barcelona.
The designer, Gaudi, was a devout Catholic and designed the cathedral in intricate detail. Every stone, every piece of plaster, every carving was planned out almost 150 years ago and the building continues today.
As we toured this magnificent facility we saw 4 windows that had what appeared to be two-way glass looking down into a basement area. We asked one of the many guides what this room was, we were told it was the crypt of Gaudi, the designer. As we moved to the other windows we saw benches, pews, candles, and even an ornate pulpit. For us this was very confusing. We thought out loud, “Why would anyone want to have a service in a tomb, when you have this unbelievable cathedral just above.”
Later in the day we traveled down to the crypt, and to our surprise, they had just started mass. It was Sunday afternoon, and there were about 50 people in attendance. The Bishop dutifully performed the traditional ceremony, the people stood, recited, and mumbled through a song and it was over.
I was overwhelmed with emptiness! The people and the service were as dead as the guy laying over in the crypt just 40 feet from the pulpit, and then it hit me. This “church” was really no church at all. It was a museum of a dead man, that occasionally had religious services, and charged its guests entrance. Somewhere along the line the magnitude of the building became the mission of the church.
My prayer is that Friendship Church never misplaces its mission or its vision. It is our vision that drives absolutely everything we do as we strive to “Glorify God as an effective and influential church!” For all I care, we could meet in a tent, as long as we are reaching people for Christ! Buildings and beautiful facades have never led anyone to Christ…but they sure are pretty.
Well, I’m sitting at the Indy airport and waiting for our first flight out of the US through New York. As usual the plane is running behind, but I know that the flight will be easy and relatively painless. As we think about this incredible opportunity that you and God have afforded us we have talked a lot as a family about what we will enjoy most:
– The beautiful Greek Islands
– The gorgeous cathedrals of Rome
– Walking into buildings that have stood (or kinda stood) for thousands and thousands of years
– Relaxing as a family, and just enjoying each others company
– Being able to read books just for fun and not for school or a sermon
All of these we have truly looked forward to, but we did recently ask the question, “What will you like least about our sabbatical”. After a couple of quiet moments, we all agreed what we’d miss most are the people in our lives.
– Friends who we’ve spent hours hanging out with
– People who we’ve loved and invested in
– People who love and have invested in us
– Celebrating each week with Friendship Church
– Hearing all about what is going on in your lives
I’ve heard it said, usually by a very grumpy pastor, that ministry would be great if it weren’t for all the people. To be honest, I think that statement is just STUPID!! Was that honest enough? Yes, ministry to people can sometimes be tough, draining, and downright frustrating some times…BUT the reward is you get to see people make life altering decisions to follow Christ, help a family get back together, assist people in getting their broken lives put back together. No, ministry is great BECAUSE of the people!
We love you all, and keep checking back as we’ll try to keep this as updated as possible.
I think one of the coolest things about Friendship Church is that we are constantly trying to take the long-term view of things. Always asking the question, “How will this affect us 5, 10, 15 years from now?” This approach has saved us from making a lot of short-sited decisions that could have had significant, long-term repercussions. It has also enabled us to make hard decisions with short-term pain for long-term health.
This is exactly what we did when evaluating if it was a good thing and good time for my family and I to take a sabbatical. We are certainly not “burned out”, frustrated, or tired of leading Friendship. In fact, this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It’s an absolute joy to be able to watch decisions we made 3-5 years ago become reality and see all these people come to know Christ and so many of you take huge steps in your spiritual growth. In all transparency, this is the last time I would choose to go on sabbatical. I love leading the charge, being the visionary, teaching the Word, and watching lives change…but that is the short-term view of things.
The long-term view says, bigger things are yet to come, greater growth is just around the corner, and what we are experiencing now is just a sliver of the blessing God has for us. If I continue to lead the charge through this time, my batteries may not have enough left to lead an even bigger charge later, and that’s not acceptable. If our vision as a church is to “glorify God as an effective and influential church” then it’s leaders must make sure that they are doing the same with their lives. If staying and enjoying this Summer with my amazing church means that I won’t be as effective as possible when I’m needed most, then I’m being selfish.
I heard John Maxwell once give an incredible illustration, it went something like this. Nature gives us one of the best examples of shared leadership and the importance of down-time. When geese fly across country going South or back North they fly in a “V” formation, as I’m sure you’ve seen. This formation gives the flock incredible aerodynamics and allows them as a group to fly infinitely farther than they could individually. The formation allows for each goose to receive a certain amount of lift from the flapping of the wings of the goose directly in front of them. The lead goose takes the brunt of the wind for the group and his wings provide lift for the entire group, while the rest of the geese “honk” their encouragement to him to keep up the pace. When the goose in the lead becomes tired, another leader rotates to the front. This enables the entire group to continue moving forward while at the same time allowing the lead goose gets the much needed rest for the next length of the journey.
That is why my family and I are going on sabbatical. I want to be ready for the next phase of the journey of Friendship Church. I believe with all my heart that greater things are on their way, that God has more in store for us than any of us can even begin to think or imagine, and I want to be ready! In the short-term it will be painful to be away from you this Summer, but the long-term rewards will far outweigh short-term pain.
“No discipline (training) seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of peace and righteousness for those who are trained by it.” Heb 12:11
Starting on Sunday, May 20th I will have the incredible opportunity to take a sabbatical. My sabbatical will go throughout the Summer of 2012 with a highlight of being able to walk the streets that the Apostle Paul walked, taught, lived, and died. So, what is the point of a sabbatical?
Rest: A major part of our sabbatical is for rest. The ability to not have to preach every single week, be ready to counsel at a moments notice, or be actively engaged in decision making. If you run an engine at maximum rpm (rotations per minute) for too long you can burn up the engine. The same is true for human beings, especially those who carry the burden of leadership. If you truly love the people you lead you carry their burdens with you, and after a certain period of time if you don’t take an extended time of rest, it begins to take a toll on your continued abitlity to lead effectively. I love Friendship Church way to much to get to the point where my leadership becomes less or even completely ineffective. I have no desire to “burn out”, I want my fire to continue to burn bright over my entire life!
Renew: The second component of our sabbatical is renewal. All throughout our sabbatical I will be reading, writing, and studying. I want my passion for Christ, my joy for ministry, and my love for Friendship to be renewed and stoked to it’s full potential! Although I won’t be physically with you I will be daily praying and asking for God’s incredible blessings to continue to flow, and when I return, with completely full tanks, we’ll be ready to take the future that God has for us!
Reconnect: The final piece of our sabbatical is to reconnect with each other. Just like any family as we grow up we tend to move towards our own loves and joys, which can sometimes cause us to not spend as much time together. Unlike other families the pressure of ministry exaggerates those tensions and makes it more difficult to reconnect. So, we decided that it was essential that none of this sabbatical was done alone, we will do it as a family. Our girls are entering transitional times in their lives and this Summer is perfect timing for us to strengthen our bond and our relationships.
I am so thankful to Friendship Church for allowing me and my family to enjoy such an incredible blessing. This is a gift that I wish everyone could enjoy at some point in their lives, and I am so blessed to be able to experience it!
Well known mega-church pastor, Bill Hybels, is famous for his oft-repeated statement, “The church is the hope of the world!”. So, how does that hit you? Some would say that is an overstatement. Some would say that the world is truly without hope, that the church just simply makes this world tolerable until Christ comes back. Some would say, “It depends upon your eschatology” (yeah, I had to throw that in there, it means your theology of the end of the world).
The biggest “push-back” I’ve really ever heard is that Jesus, not the church is the hope of the world. Which sounds incredibly spiritual…but at best it’s Biblically inaccurate at worst it’s an intentional denial of the true nature and purpose of the church. Let me explain:
What is the nature of the church?
The main metaphor used to describe the church in the Bible is the Body of Christ. We are told that Jesus Christ is the Head and the church is the body. Taking this analogy the church is the main and only outlet for the will of Christ to be accomplished on the earth. Now that is a powerful statement. If you woke up tomorrow to your screeching alarm and your brain sent a message to your right hand to reach over and smack the crap out of it, but your hand didn’t move you’d be concerned. The natural outlet of your brains or heads desires is your body. In the same way the natural outlet of the desires and will of Christ is the Church!
What is the purpose of the church?
When Jesus Christ left this earth he gave this very specific command to the men who would launch the church,
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.” – Matthew 28:19-20.
So, the purpose of the church is to reach people for Christ and then train them to be like Christ (disciples). But, how do we do that? Paul answers that question,
“And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20.
So, the purpose of the church is to reach people for Christ, train them to be like Christ, and our method of doing that is to be the ambassadors or representatives of Christ’s message to the world which is “Come back to God!”
According to the Bible the church IS the way the message of Jesus Christ is getting out. So, the question then becomes, “Is Jesus Christ the hope of the world?” The answer is found in the book of Matthew (other places as well, but this is really the clearest and most compelling), as he retells a prophecy given several hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ…
“Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world.” – Matthew 12:18-21
Since Jesus is without question THE one and only Hope of the world, and we his church are the main and only outlet for the will of Christ to be accomplished on the earth, then the church without question and without embarrassment IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD!
Now the question is are we living up to our billing?
Religious freedom is never taken away in large fail swoops, it’s taken away crumb by crumb until all you have left are, well, crumbs. When Hitler began his attack on freedoms at the beginning of his totaletarian dictatorship he did not give a grandiose speech telling everyone in Germany that he was taking away their freedoms, no one would have voted for him. Instead, he slowly made a group of people that were already looked upon with suspicion into enemies of the state, the Socialists. Once he had them out of the way, he went to the next group, and the next, and the next, and so on, until he had no opposition left; several million Jews had been slaughtered, along with countless Christians, not to mention the millions of young men who lost their lives because of WWII.
I believe that German pastor Martin Niemoeller, describes the danger best in his reflections during this time:
First they came for the Socialists, and I
did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did
not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was
no one left to speak for me.
I’m not a Catholic, nor do I believe as Catholics do that contraception is wrong, however, I see a very dangerous and destructive pattern beginning to emerge. If you listen carefully you will hear certain groups of people within the US being marginalize, criticized, and even demonized because of their beliefs, whether they are orthodox or not. Now, we see our own government telling us what we can or cannot believe and therefore behave like, that is not okay, that is flat out wrong!
I’m not a Catholic, but I will stand up for their right to not be forced to fund that which is against their beliefs. Primarily because one day it may be us Evangelical Christians who are being told that we must now fund “X” which violates our core beliefs or face fines/imprisonment, and I for one would like others to be there standing with us!
Yes, I know that more than just my people at Friendship Church follow my blog, and this article will be great for you as well. But, it is essential that everyone from Friendship read this article. It is probably one of the best, if not the best written and most practical article on the subject of our guests that I have ever read.
Geoff Surrat planted Seacoast Church and lead it as it grew to one of the most influential and effective churches in the United States. He recently retired and has been visiting several churches anonymously, and has shared some of his insights in this article, along with some solutions.
Take 10 minutes and read through this great article and ask where you can improve!
“Charm is deceptive…but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” – Prov 31:30
I want to start by saying I am no male chauvinist! I have three sisters, two beautiful daughters, and an amazing wife. I believe that women are incredible and except for the role of Senior Pastor within a local church can be used by God any way He sees fit.
However, I have noticed in almost 20 years of ministry and an equal amount of time growing up in a pastor’s home, that there is a type of woman who is incredibly destructive, the charming/deceptive Woman.
Now, she doesn’t wear a t-shirt saying she’s dangerous, but she should. In fact, most people don’t even see her as dangerous, they see her as sweet, kind, and considerate; but nothing could be further from the truth. This type of woman uses her charm to gain access to information and to gain favor so that she can later leverage them for information or for her benefit.
Allow me to help you uncover this dangerous woman:
- She comes off as very sweet, charming, and innocent.
- She’s NEVER offended by anything, but she ALWAYS seems to know the people who are.
- She seems to know everything that’s going on in everyone’s lives.
- She is constantly having lunches, coffee, and meetings with other ladies.
- She rarely says anything blatantly wrong, but she often makes snide comments and derogatory statements.
- She doesn’t like anyone giving her rules or guidelines (now she doesn’t buck them directly, she just complains to all of her friends about how stupid or silly they are).
- She sees herself as a “mediator”, simply another way of gaining more information.
- She sees a legitimate need, tells no-one about it, answers the need herself, then complains about how no one (except herself of course) is doing anything about it.
- She is often seen after services or during functions off to the side having a “conversation” with one or two other ladies.
I’m sure we could add more to this list but this should give you some good warning signs if you have someone like this in your life. If you do, you must immediately cut yourself off! Here’s why,
- A woman who will tell you about others and their problems will tell others about you and your problems.
- A woman who can’t follow leadership is only in it for herself, you’ll become collateral damage.
- A woman who puts down or is negative about the authority over her, will tear you apart if you ever try to confront her with any kind of wrong she’s doing.
Now, contrast that with the woman who “Fears” the Lord. First, the word fear, as it is used here, means to have incredible respect, honor, and a healthy understanding of what God is capable of. In other words, this is a lady that puts God, his agenda, and knowledge of what he can do ahead of her own desires.
- She doesn’t attempt to manipulate a situation to her advantage, she knows that God is her advantage.
- She doesn’t try to get the juicy details, she trusts that God will take care of what she doesn’t know.
- She willingly and joyfully submits to her authorities because she knows that they are there to protect her, and when she bucks them she is bucking God.
- She knows the destructive nature of the tongue and the anger that God has for those that cause division, and puts massive guardrails around her life to keep her from straying down that path.
This woman God praises, lifts up, exalts, and gives greater honor.
If I were a woman I know who I would hang around!
One of my new favorite guys, both as a speaker, pastor, and blogger, is Perry Noble. A while ago Perry posted 10 Questions that churches tend to answer even though no one is asking. Perry doesn’t suggest that these aren’t important questions, just that no unsaved, lost person is asking them.
A lost person cares about 1 thing and 1 thing only, is what you are offering going to be of value to me. Now, before you get all uppity, stop and think for a second. The term the Bible uses for people who don’t know Christ is, “LOST”. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been lost on more than one occasion in my life, one time in the woods (I’ll tell you that story later), and do you know the only question I was asking? “How do I get out of here?!” I want to be the type of church that points lost people in the only direction that will actually help them get, Un-Lost!
Check out his post here: 10 Questions Unchurched People Aren’t Asking
Recently a “spoken word poet” Jefferson Bethke posted a compelling, and very well produced video talking about religion and Jesus. Here is his introduction to the video and the video itself. Below I share a few thoughts:
A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At its core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!
I agree and applaud 90% of what Jefferson says. I appreciate his efforts to communicating the truth of Christ in a compelling and excellent fashion that has reached over 12 million people, that is amazing! He clearly reveals the true method of salvation through Christ alone by grace. And I believe if someone looking for answers watched this video they would be able to respond to Jesus Christ call on their life.
I love the fact that in the middle he clarifies that he doesn’t equate religion with the true church of Christ. This is such a common error or misconception that people have or make. The truth is that Jesus established his church not on us (human based religiosity) but on himself and his truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” – Matthew 16:16-18
I disagree with a few things, far less than what I agree with:
- Christ didn’t come to abolish religion, period. I am not a “religious” person, and I am not defending religion. But to state that is the purpose of Christ’s coming undermines his true reason. Jesus said, I have “…come to seek and to save that which was lost” – Luke 19:10. He came to pay for our sins, to die in our place, to become cursed so we could be blessed.
- No, voting Republican doesn’t make you a Christian, just like voting Independent doesn’t make you an atheist and voting Democrat doesn’t make you catholic (these are called stereotypes). This I simply don’t understand why it was included in his statement. It smacks of opinion in something that should be absent of opinion and should be based upon facts found in the Bible. When it comes to politics Christians shouldn’t be concerned about “party” as much as they do values that line up with Biblical principles.
All in all, I give it a thumbs up and I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
“I Love it when a plan comes together” – Colonel Hannibal Smith
Yep, I’m happy to admit that as a kid I was an avid, possibly rabid, follower of the A-Team! I always loved how each week they would go up againstunnumbered foes, drastically out-manned and under-gunned. They would deal the bad guy a blow, then the bad guy would capture them, or trap them, or take a prisoner and threaten to kill them. But, in the end you always knew a couple of things:
- No good guys ever die
- The underdog would always win
- Hannibal would get to say his favorite line, often while chomping on an unlit cigar (way cool!)
Now, knowing these things was part of the reason I loved watching the show, I didn’t know how all these things were going to happen, but I knew they would. What if you could go through life like this? Knowing that no matter how hard it got, that in the end it would all work out. Certainly you’d be a little worse for wear, but still it would end the right way. Well take a ‘listen’ to what the Bible says about those who love God and follow his will:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28
1. I believe the potential for the local church to do good and create positive change in the world is greater than it has ever been.
2. I believe that the ROOT of the desire to do good and create positive change in the world HAS to be the GOSPEL…and if it isn’t, what will develop is cool ministry fads and ideas…but nothing revolutionary that will impact the world.
3. I believe that some of the greatest Christian leaders that the world will ever know are currently in elementary school, middle school, and high school…thus making youth and children’s ministry one of the greatest mission opportunities that the local church can invest in.
4. I believe that more and more church leaders are going to begin to take radical steps of faith rather than trying to repair broken systems.
5. I believe that more and more church leaders are going to continually put personal preferences of ministry aside and work together with other people to accomplish more ministry than they could have ever done alone.
6. I believe that we’re going to see some of the greatest moves of God this world has ever seen in the next 20 years…MOST of them happening because the local church finally decided to step up and be the church.
7. I believe God wants to use your church to do unbelievable things in the community in which HE has planted you.
8. I believe the key to a healthy church is healthy church leadership…leaders cannot fly at the speed of sound and expect to hear God’s still small voice. The healthier we get, the healthier our churches can be.
9. I believe that if ALL leaders took the advice God gave us in Galatians 6:9 that we would see breakthroughs like we’ve NEVER seen before.
10. I believe God has called the church to CHANGE the world…not complain about it!!! We are an empowered body of believers whom He has called to attempt the “impossible” so that people can see HIM!!! (So…what is that thing that you know you should do next?)