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Let’s Get Practical: Patience

May 2, 2011

You will need a lot of patience if you are going to be practical. I remember how long it took me to find my beautiful brown Chevette. It took a lot of searching. This was long before the internet. I went to several car dealerships and found few cars that fit the bill. Finally after several months we ran across the Chevette at a dealership in Great Bend, Kansas.

Yes, technology has shortened the search but it still takes effort. My latest car took several searches on the internet followed by several trips to the dealership followed by more searches to insure that everything the dealer said was true and that I was getting the best price. Today you can get a Carfax after you have searched Kelly Bluebook on the internet. Those sites have done a lot of work so that your search seems shorter but trust but it was still a lot of work.

We gravitate towards quick and easy but to be practical you need to be patient. It may seem like you are getting nowhere but in the end you are getting exactly where you need to be.

Let’s Get Practical: Broken

April 27, 2011

Things are all messed up. The story in Genesis 3 isn’t simply there so you know why Jesus had to die. It is there to help you understand everything about your current situation. The feelings that it should be better. The fact that no matter how hard you try something always goes wrong. God’s creation is broken.

There is no such thing as the good ol’ days. They never existed. Even when our country was being founded on Christian principles the world was broken. You need to remember that when you seek to minister to the world you live in.

The early church was broken too. How can you read the New Testament and not understand that fact? If you are going to realistically deal with today and what you can do you have to remember the world is broken by sin. That is why you are trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus. If the world wasn’t broken the kingdom wouldn’t need you.

So get busy but remember, the world is broken. Sin corrupts everything, even your ministry, your church, and the work you are doing to impact the world for Christ. I’m just saying, this will help keep things practical.

Let’s Get Practical

April 26, 2011

My first car was a Chevy Chevette. It was a little brown four-door beast that I purchased to drive to college. I was able to get the car at a good price. The insurance was low and it got great gas mileage.

It was a practical choice. Nothing fancy. It certainly wasn’t going to be a car that turned heads driving around campus. Up until I had a bed I could fit everything I owned in my Chevette.

I continue to carry a very practical streak into everything I do. I bring this up because at times it seems like Christians are more interested in theories and ideas and what is wrong with Christianity instead of just being practical and doing what needs to be done.

It seems to me that we get wrapped up into trying to get everyone to agree 100% on some idea that we have and unless we have full agreement, well we just can’t move forward.

Am I wrong on this? Think what would have happened to Jesus ministry if he waited for everyone to get on board. Up until the very end those following him are confused. The religious leaders of the time are plotting his death and the Romans just needed any type of uprising to step in.

All this was happening and yet Jesus was able to prepare for His coming kingdom. He didn’t need everyone on the same page. He just needed people willing to follow Him. People willing to take up their cross. Jesus didn’t ask them to get everyone else to take up their cross too. In fact Jesus told his people that if people won’t receive you at some point you will have to move on.

I’m practical. If all who are dissatisfied with the state of the church would begin to be what they believe the kingdom is wouldn’t that be a good starting point? How about inviting like minded people to join you no matter the number? Why not plan out what you can do to be the hands and feet of Jesus instead of waiting for approval or getting certain people to agree? We would be better off if we stopped wishing that our church would do this or that and instead started doing what we feel called to do.

We would be better off if we would stop looking for the perfect church and once we find it then we will do what we are called to do. This might eventually lead to a new church or people at your current fellowship may catch the excitement and jump on board. That could happen but should it matter if we are doing what God called us to do?

What if I just invited people to join and didn’t’ worry about all of the rest? Am I being too practical?

Something Beautiful: Your Place

April 12, 2011

It is lovely to discover you are doing exactly what you were made to do. I couldn’t help but think about that today. I was watching Craig Groeschel from Lifechurch.tv. I was reminded I’m no Criag Groeschel, and I was thankful. Not because I have any issue with Mr. Groeschel, or Pastor Groeschel, or Reverend Groeschel if that is how you like to identify him. Please no nasty comments that I am just jealous. No, because he is doing what God created him to do.

I mean I’m guessing that when he was in Kindergarten he was already impacting and organizing and leading. I imagine that he probably already had all of the kindergarten classes networked together. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he went from class to class giving helpful or insightful lessons to assist the teacher. He probably organized a more efficient way to deliver the milk and graham crackers for snack time. Probably rotated nap times to make more effective use of space. I wouldn’t doubt if he was a part of the first multi-site kindergarten or the first one organized to have multiple experiences in a day.

Why? Because it is what he was made for. I respect that he is being who God created him to be, that he is bringing God glory. I’m glad he is doing it because I’m not. It is not my place. After many years in ministry I understand that wasn’t what I was created for. He didn’t knit me in my mother’s womb to do what he does. There is no mega in my Pastor description.

The thought of it makes me uncomfortable. I start to sweet. I get physically ill. Speak to a large group of people on occasion, great, no problem, but every week, day in and day out? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against growth and I’m gifted to speak in front of people, it just isn’t my passion. We try very hard to seek and save the lost and we are a growing fellowship, just not a mega-growing fellowship.

I’m talking about being at the place that God wants you at doing what God made you to do.

You see I was also watching Steven Furtick (did I even spell his name correctly?). Another one of those guys that is extremely gifted by God to do what he does. It just isn’t what I was gifted to do. I’m guessing that when he was in Pre-School he was impacting peoples lives. Sorry, no disrespect to Mr. Groeschel but that kid is gifted. He was created to do what he does.

I was created to focus on Community Impact Ministry. I know that without a doubt. I was made to be consumed with linking Jesus to people in need. To developing solutions to community needs and trying to inspire others to do likewise. Our church is a testimony to that fact. The majority of our growth comes from people reached in these ways. How else can you explain churches inviting me to talk to them about being the hands and feet of Jesus? How else can you explain what they do with this information? The excitement to reach out to their community that comes?

Several weeks ago I was flying to give a presentation on Community Impact Ministry. I was reminded of my calling and it is simply beautiful. Towards the end of the flight the young man I was sitting by asked me why I was flying. I told him I was going to a church to do a presentation. I gave him that I understand if you don’t want to talk about it look but he was interested in learning more. I explained that I had been invited several places to give this presentation and had just done one a few weeks before at a workshop.

He wanted to know what it was about and did he ever find out. I talked with him about community impact ministry and what the church can do. I shared about our tutoring program and our essay contests. By the end of the conversation he was asking for our church address. He wanted to send me some money to help with what we were doing.

Here is the thing. He has no church home and no real church connection. What a great opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus talking about being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Why? Because it is my calling, my passion, what I was put here to do. So if someone invites me to talk about Community Impact Ministry you better believe I will go. We have a good story to tell. But if you are looking for a mega-church pastor with multi-sites it is not a job for me and that is something beautiful.

There is some irony in it all. Several years ago when Lifechurch.tv was just starting One Prayer I gave them a call. I spoke with on of their Pastors about making sure One Prayer imcorporated Community Impact Ministry. After the discussion the Pastor said it sounded like they could learn something from us. It really is great to be in your place.

Something Beautiful: Good Shepherds

April 9, 2011

I was thinking about how fortunate our fellowship is today. How blessed we are to have elders that really get it. Elders that understand that they are encouragers. Elders who know they are here to help feed the sheep. Our Elders are beautiful.

I was just thinking how much I really appreciate one of them very much. I was thinking about Loal Feil. Our church is a better place because of Loal. A stronger more Christ-life fellowship because of Loal’s commitment and time.

At times I get caught up in what we don’t have or how I wish things would be. Take a minute today to encourage an elder in your church. Tell him good job and thanks for being there. Let him know that you understand much of what he does is behind the scenes and never recognized but that you appreciate him so much.

I know I know. Hey Loal I know the internet isn’t exactly your favorite place. I’m pretty sure you don’t have a Facebook page but I just want you to know I appreciate everything you do. Thanks for being a part of New Heights Church.

Thinking About: Jobs

March 11, 2011
by

Do you love your job? Are you a big fan of work? When I was in high school Loverboy had a song, “Working for the Weekend.” Nice song with a sentiment that seems to be very familiar. I can’t wait to get to the weekend because I don’t have to work.

We are a culture obsessed with entertainment.
Take a minute to look at the magazine rack at the grocery store and you will see. Take a look at the number one rated show. Ask yourself about how much of our time and effort is spent on entertainment. Anything but work.

At times I think we have the wrong idea about work. There is irony that God instituted a day to honor Him and not work and people took this fact added an extra day and often don’t want to spend any time worshiping Him because it will cut into their relaxation or entertainment.

Be careful that you don’t teach the false belief that work is bad. Some of this probably comes because of the results of the fall. Sin entered the world and creation is broken. God shares that the one of the consequences is that working the ground will be hard. The point is Genesis 3:19 doesn’t say work is bad it says work will be hard. In Genesis 1:28 before the fall mankind is told to fill the earth and govern it. That is something to do, that is a job.

The picture that we sometimes have that before the fall man sat around eating grapes and taking naps isn’t true. We humans had a job to do.

Why do I bring this up? We don’t help others when we don’t expect work. We don’t help our children when we try to make life easy for them. Is work hard? Can be and you can thank the fall, just don’t think it isn’t important to work.

“I need to find a better job.”

March 10, 2011

Suzanna* understands. She realizes that without English there is no way for her to get a better job. Without a better job she knows that she can’t provide for her children as they grow.

Because of this she comes each week to work on her English. To improve her ability to communicate so that she can get better paying work. It is one of the reason’s I love our ESL program. Instead of complaining or blaming or wondering why someone doesn’t do something we do what we can to help in the name of Jesus.

She also puts a face to what is often nothing more than a statistic or something used to garner votes. That is something that comes with ministry. It puts a name to the face and forces us to love our neighbor and help and love the foreigner.

It epitomizes what we seek to do with ministry, a hand up and not a hand out. Taking the time to get to know people for who they are because each carries the image of our God.

The next time you help someone remember, God knew them before they were born and has a purpose for them. Who is to say they aren’t in front of you because of God’s plan?

* Not her real name.