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Archive for January, 2014

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 110

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

110. How did this man get such learning without having studied (John 7:15)?

Some have speculated that the carpenter Joseph was the source of Jesus amazing insights. Others want to tie His deity into the equation–that Jesus came to earth loaded with eternal knowledge. While the former may be more likely, the statements of the religious leaders may say more about them than Him. Yes, His insights exceeded all expectations, but their attitude seems to be how does He know this when He didn’t learn it from us? The attitude that says, “You must do things our way,” is ultimately an expression of ego and fear. Those who think such thoughts often have not kept learning themselves, but seek to control knowledge. That Jesus teaches differently exposes their inadequacies all the more.

 

Categories: Leadership Journeys

The Brotherhood – Part 128

January 31, 2014 Leave a comment

The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.

What do you really care about?

This weekend, fans in at least two states will care greatly about the world’s biggest annual sporting event. I won’t–not because I’m no football fan, but due to my jealousy over my own team’s 44-year absence from such a moment.

Do you care about wildlife preservation or political agendas?

Do you care about the buzz on your police scanner or the possibility that Krispy Kreme is coming to your neighborhood?

What do you care about–or REALLY care about.

Okay, let’s ask someone else. Suppose we asked your children what you really care about. What do you think they would say? Would the items on their list of your passions match yours? Would they be in the same order?

There’s a lot of stuff demanding the next generation’s keen attention. So much data, so many causes, but do your kids know how to sort through it all?

It would help them to know what you really care about–to see in you a passion for things that really matter. Sure, there are some things that are fun to care about, like football or other hobbies. But if we talk sports more than we talk of God and our relationships that matter, are we helping them with healthy priorities. If they think work matters more to us than they do, what sort of future are we setting them up to find?

Care about the right things–yeah, that’s important. But be sure your kids somehow SEE that you care about such things. Let them see that you give your best to the best things so they’ll know how to sort through the pile of possibilities themselves.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 109

January 28, 2014 Leave a comment

109. No one would say anything public about Him for fear of the Jews (John 7:13).

Little has changed. Even today, people are reluctant to say anything about Jesus for fear of something. There are as many threats to a voice for Christ today as there were in those days. They faced the rejection of the Sadducees, possibly being put out of the Temple, and perhaps accused of stirring rebellion. We face rejection of friends, ridicule, and the accusation of intolerance. That’s why we clearly need the empowering of the Holy Spirit if we are going to break through those reluctances and tell others that we are a part of Christ. Faith alone is insufficient for testimony in a contentious place. We also need supernatural power to overcome our weaknesses.

 

Categories: Leadership Journeys

Getting to the Next Level – Part 3 of 4

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

This week, we continue to explore the three key elements of getting your church to the “next level” by looking at the second critical component–Organization.

2. Organization

Organization asks the question, “Who is falling through the cracks?” The question seeks to explore what we are losing track of because your level of organization will ultimately determine how much you can manage. For example, if you hold a very effective outreach, but in your organizational effort, you fail to plan for follow-up or fail to get the names of those you have contacted, your results will be more difficult to preserve than if you had such information and planning. If you have a way to collect guest names from Sunday, you are far more likely to keep them attending. Failures in organization will cause slow leaks in your ministry efforts.

At the same time, good organizational principles open the door for your ministry to grow. Most growing churches have established effective organizational systems to manage their people and ministries. if they haven’t, their growth cannot be sustained for long.

Jesus described a true shepherd as one who would “leave the ninety-nine” to go search for one lost lamb. That implies remarkable organization, as the shepherd would have to keep track of each lamb to even realize one is missing. Frankly, in most churches, someone could be absent for two months before leaders realize we haven’t seen them in awhile.

Now, you don’t have to be organized to attract a lot of people to your church. You can prioritize excellence and draw them in with the quality and excitement of everything you do. But, to maintain that high level, you’ll need to keep climbing the excellence ladder–higher every week–and that’s not easy, or truly the idea of ministry.

But, like excellence, good organization can get out of balance. Organizing people doesn’t replace ministering to them any more than the disciples’ effort to sit the people in groups of 50-100 would feed them. They still needed the miracle that Jesus provided with those loaves and fish.

If you want to get to the next level, talk to leaders who are already at that level and learn from their organizational methods. There are numerous conferences that offer such insights, but be sure you’re learning from those at the next level, and not those several levels beyond your current goal. Our organization efforts can only grow as fast as our available resources, so a church of 200 will typically find the organizational strategies of a megachurch to be a bit out of reach (and probably not needed yet).

An ever-growing effort of organization is critical to reaching the next level of effectiveness. And, alongside Excellence, you now have 2/3 of the puzzle pieces in your hands, but the third piece is yet to come–and it’s the most essential part. Next week, we’ll tackle this most important element as we conclude our series Getting to the Next Level.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 108

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

108. it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil (John 7:7).

When people hope to get away with evil acts, they don’t want to be identified. No one likes to be caught. And, few people confess wrongdoing until they are exposed. This is the dark nature of the human heart. People want to do what benefits them, regardless of its impact on others, and they will act to the edges of whatever might restrain them. So, when one speaks for righteousness, he poses a threat to those innate desires. He stands for things others wish to ignore. This is the reason why Christians are often despised. They are a moral police that no one wants around. Some even think that to eliminate them is to eliminate the truth of what they might say.

 

Categories: Leadership Journeys

The Brotherhood – Part 127

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.

What do you believe?

As a man, a husband, a dad, a leader, and whatever other hats you might wear, what do you believe in? The idea of the self-made man says that he trusts himself, that he operates with a reliance on what he can see, touch, and manufacture with his own two hands–and nothing else.

Strong men aren’t dependent on anything, or so the picture tells us. They pull themselves up by their own boot straps and don’t need any other fingers on those boot straps. I can do it by myself becomes I depend on myself after a few years of determined practice.

Is that really how it works? Is that what’s demanded of real men?

Truth is, the strongest of men find a strength greater than their own. They’ve encountered a few battles where their own weaponry proved insufficient. Yet, in those moments they have discovered something, actually Someone, is there to carry them forward.

It doesn’t take too many minutes perusing the Bible to find one of those supermen. They’re everywhere in that amazing book, men who discover that God is with them, that God is on their side, and that He’s not exactly a passive Observer. These are the men who fight daily battles in God’s strength, and they win extraordinary victories for their families and nation.

So what do you believe in? If you’re trying to be sufficient for each day’s challenges, you’re probably about to run into one you can’t manage–if you haven’t already. Just remember that your Creator didn’t design you to be at your best when you’re alone. He made you to need Him, and thankfully He wants to be there when you trust in Him.

Be a man who truly believes in God.

Notes from the Journey with the Disciples – 107

January 21, 2014 Leave a comment

107. The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right (John 7:6).

Time is the one dimension of life we can’t get our arms around. We can’t speed it up, slow it down, or alter its quantity. We seek to manage it effectively, but time is the lion we can never fully tame. When we speak of timing, we see our inability to master time most clearly. For timing provides the “when” of our moments–and we find ourselves without control. God has a timing, and it seldom aligns with the pace we would choose. We want what we want when we want it, but God controls time and proves his mastery of its use for greater purposes. For us, the “now” is almost always the preference. For God, “now” doesn’t always mean “right.”

 

Categories: Leadership Journeys