Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I hate the word "laity." Always have. I think there is a false dichotomy between "clergy" and "laity." Our language has created a mindset.
Chris Seay spoke on the topic in his session. He quoted Howard E. Butt: "The greatest schism within the church is not between races, classes, or even denominations, it is between the clergy and the laity."
Should we ban the word laity?
I think it starts with a paradigm shift. Each of us has to own the mission.
What happened to the priesthood of believers? I sure hope I'm not part of the problem as a "pastor." I think God does call people to vocational ministry. And I count it a privilege to get paid to do what I do. But how do we get rid of that schism? How do we end the spiritual co-dependency that is so prevalent in so many churches? How do we decentralize church? How do we overcome the consumer mentality?
I think we're doing some things that facilitate that at NCC. Going on ten missions trips this year is a start at getting people living on mission all the time. I think our free market system of small groups is decentralizing NCC. We want all of our people to get a vision from God and go for it. But like every church I know, we are far from 100% functionality as a church body.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I hate when God pushes me to touch the untouchable stuff, but I've also been down this road enough times to know that fantastic growth and freedom ensue.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This is a great quote that showed up in an e-newsletter I receive regularly. The timing is ironic. Our kids ministry staff just had this discussion this morning about how we feel so much tension between where we are and where we want to be, even where God wants us to be.
This just describes me to a tee over the last few months. I feel such a tug in my heart to be much more than I ever have been, but I'm almost clueless as to how to get there. It causes some terrific tension and even frustration. That segues to another quote that showed up in the same newsletter today."It is one of the paradoxes of success that the things and ways which got you there are seldom theose things that keep you there." - Charles Handy
Sunday, October 26, 2008
1 Sam 24:3-7 - At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding in that very cave! 4 "Now's your opportunity!" David's men whispered to him. "Today is the day the LORD was talking about when he said, 'I will certainly put Saul into your power, to do with as you wish.' " Then David crept forward and cut off a piece of Saul's robe. 5 But then David's conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul's robe. 6 "The LORD knows I shouldn't have done it," he said to his men. "It is a serious thing to attack the LORD's anointed one, for the LORD himself has chosen him." 7 So David sharply rebuked his men and did not let them kill Saul.
It is a serious thing to attack the Lord's anointed one. Yet in our culture we feel like we're very free to attack the leaders God has set up in our land if we don't agree with some policy they have. No matter who our next president is, I'm not saying that he'll be carrying some anointing from the Holy Spirit, but I am saying that he'll be our leader, and it will be the job of every one of us to pray for him and speak positively of him as much as we possibly can because he'll be our leader appointed by God. Check out Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13-17 if you find this hard to swallow.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
If this sounds trivial, just know that I was in need of a few minutes of ministry that were enjoyable. Thanks God.
This week was one of the most draining in recent memory. It seemed to be the perfect storm of extra, out of the ordinary meetings and emotionally charged leadership issues to deal with all rolled into one. I'm still about 50 e-mails behind and a little weary, but it's times like these that I see that God is the one in charge of all the stuff that seems too big for me to handle. If not for that perspective, we're all just little mice running through a maze hoping for a piece of cheese at the end. I'd rather be a man than a mouse.
I'd like to ask you to pray with me for two people who are especially dear to my heart who happen to be in a deep testing time right now. My heart is heavy for them, but I'm very optimistic that they are going to break through to a new level this weekend.
Speaking of this weekend, this should be a good one. New Oxford Harvest Parade today, church tonight and tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it all.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday was better. We went to church in the morning and my parents took the three older boys with them from church to ride the old historic train in G-burg. They loved it and I got a few relaxing hours with my baby, Jude. It was really special time with him. I even got to take a nap and watch the NFL Today. It's been a long time since those things have happened.
Today is a day off and I welcome that. It's a day off from work, but the kids will keep it from being a restful day. This fatigue of child rearing is really deep down. No wonder Dr. Phil does not recommend having multiple small children at once. We have four boys who are five years old or under. I love them and my wife dearly. I feel deeply fatigued, but deeply satisfied and blessed.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Can someone please help me understand how to insert hyperlinks into blogger posts. It seems simple enough, but it never works when I try it!
Is effort a myth?
People really want to believe effort is a myth, at least if we consider what we consume in the media:
* politicians and beauty queens who get by on a smile and a wink
* lottery winners who turn a lifetime of lousy jobs into one big payday
* sports stars who are born with skills we could never hope to acquire
* hollywood celebrities with the talent of being in the right place at the right time
* failed CEOs with $40 million buyouts
It really seems (at least if you read popular media) that who you know and whether you get 'picked' are the two keys to success. Luck.
The thing about luck is this: we're already lucky. We're insanely lucky that we weren't born during the black plague or in a country with no freedom. We're lucky that we've got access to highly-leveraged tools and terrific opportunities. If we set that luck aside, though, something interesting shows up.
Delete the outliers--the people who are hit by a bus or win the lottery, the people who luck out in a big way, and we're left with everyone else. And for everyone else, effort is directly related to success. Not all the time, but as much as you would expect. Smarter, harder working, better informed and better liked people do better than other people, most of the time.
Effort takes many forms. Showing up, certainly. Knowing stuff (being smart might be luck of the draw, but knowing stuff is the result of effort). Being kind when it's more fun not to. Paying forward when there's no hope of tangible reward. Doing the right thing. You've heard these things a hundred times before, of course, but I guess it's easier to bet on luck.
If people aren't betting on luck, then why do we make so many dumb choices? Why aren't useful books selling at fifty times the rate they sell now? Why does anyone, ever, watch reality TV shows? Why do people do such dumb stuff with their money?
I think we've been tricked by the veneer of lucky people on the top of the heap. We see the folks who manage to skate by, or who get so much more than we think they deserve, and it's easy to forget that:
a. these guys are the exceptions
b. there's nothing you can do about it anyway.
And that's the key to the paradox of effort: While luck may be more appealing than effort, you don't get to choose luck. Effort, on the other hand, is totally available, all the time.
This is a hard sell. Diet books that say, "eat less, exercise more," may work, but they don't sell many copies.
With that forewarning, here's a bootstrapper's/marketer's/entrepreneur's/fast-rising executive's effort diet. Go through the list and decide whether or not it's worth it. Or make up your own diet. Effort is a choice, at least make it on purpose:
1. Delete 120 minutes a day of 'spare time' from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.
2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:
* Exercise for thirty minutes.
* Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
* Send three thank you notes.
* Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
* Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
* Give a speech once a month about something you don't currently know a lot about.
3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.
4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.
If you somehow pulled this off, then six months from now, you would be the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in your office or your field. You would know how to do things other people don't, you'd have a wider network and you'd be more focused.
It's entirely possible that this won't be sufficient, and you will continue to need better luck. But it's a lot more likely you'll get lucky, I bet.
Of course I'll come get a massage. It really helped some tightness in my neck and back. A massage at work. I kind of feel like I work for Google or something.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Just had a great meeting with our "Harvest Cry" team planning a big (by our standards) community outreach for next June. I'm really feeling like God is going to blow our minds out next June 17-22.
I'm getting ready to start a meeting with a group who's interested in doing weekend youth ministry! Wow, God is doing great stuff here.
I've felt pretty bad for the last 24 hours. I almost passed out at the gym this morning and my head is not focused today. If you pray (and I know you do), please pray for me today. I want to feel good, that is normal, again. Thanks.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The most important election ever? Maybe so. I sure wish there was someone I could feel good about voting for.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I can't get the "insert link" feature to work, so you'll need to copy and paste
Friday, October 3, 2008
What I'm really looking forward to tonight is a night with my friends. I know Tracey Thomas (aka "TT") is going and I think Jon Trout is going to. I'm feeling really thankful today for godly men and friendships in my life.
I guess I'll just never understand the whole not showing up and not calling thing, but it seems to be so prevalent. Just when I want to rant and rave about the deep root of selfishness in our culture, I'm reminded that I probably get so fired up about it because of the deep root of selfishness inside of myself.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
1 Sam 18:6-11- But something happened when the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed Goliath. Women came out from all the towns along the way to celebrate and to cheer for King Saul, and they sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. 7 This was their song:"Saul has killed his thousands,and David his ten thousands!" 8 This made Saul very angry. "What's this?" he said. "They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they'll be making him their king!" 9 So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. 10 The very next day, in fact, a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave like a madman. David began to play the harp, as he did whenever this happened. But Saul, who had a spear in his hand, 11 suddenly hurled it at David, intending to pin him to the wall. But David jumped aside and escaped.
Wow, I had no idea the tormenting spirit hit Saul the very next day after he allowed jealousy into his heart. That's some fast and serious repercussion for knowingly allowing sin into your heart. There's something to think about today.