Investing in Others (What is "discipleship")

I continually find myself thankful for those who have invested in me.  Men and women who have mentored or coached me (maybe without realizing it), by befriending me and engaging in thought-provoking conversation - speaking into my life, as well as listening as if I may have something to say.  Some continue to invest in me, as I continue to grow and develop as a person... others may have been involved in my life for a short season.  But for each and every one of them, I am thankful.

One such friend is John McCallum (in the pic above with his awesome wife, Dayna).  John is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, AR.  I met John (I think for the first time) at a prayer luncheon for pastors when we happened to be seated at the same table.  During the conversation, he mentioned to us other pastors at the table that FBC had a full fitness center/gym, and would like to offer a free Family Membership to any Senior Pastor of the churches in town.   A few weeks later, I took him (and …

Church: How We Can Do Our Job Better

The church is not so much a place, as it is a people.  The people of God.  Jesus people.

And the church has a job to do.

Too often, that job looks like it is to make budget, run programs, upkeep of buildings and grounds and vans...

I'm not saying those things aren't important. No, these things all need to be addressed when applicable.  But none of these are the job of the church.

When I say the church has a job, I mean the church has a mission.  And everything else is to fall in the context of this mission.  The mission is the same mission of Jesus.

Jesus mission is to:
- seek & save lost people. (Luke 19:10)
- save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)
- give us abundant life. (John 10:10)
- destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

This is the church's job, and I believe we can do better.  I've identified 3 steps a church can take in order to do a better job at what matters.

Step 1: Create a Culture of Acceptance
It's Jesus' church.  Who did Jesus accept?

People need t…

We Gotta Pray Just to Make It Today

Recently a pastor friend of mine posted on social media about the blessing of praying together with fellow pastors.  Someone trolling for a confrontation commented, "No need to actually be doing something.  Gotta love some prayer warriors that come together in prayer to accomplish everything inaction doesn't accomplish." Without attempting to take the bait for the debate, I simply replied, "Prayer isn't actually inaction. Plus, these pastors do work together to meet needs in the community, through food banks, homeless shelters, and so much more."  The person argued with me and I didn't respond. 

Prayer might not matter to everyone, but it sure matters to me. My family and I, and our church plant team, are committed to everything we do being birthed out of prayer and bathed in prayer as we continue forward together!  I believe that a life of prayer is essential to knowing God, having peace and strength, and living wide awake.  Here are 3 ways I have fou…

4 ways to Be KIND (and 4 Buts)

April 28 is International "Pay It Forward Day" or "Random Acts of Kindness Day."  I saw it on my social media feed, so I looked it up.  Turns out 70 countries have signed this into being a legit "International Day of..." The idea is to make today a reminder to be kind to others every day. 

Not a bad idea.  It's good to have reminders. For instance, this morning I failed to write down all the errands I needed to run for the family, and Awaken Church.  I still don't have windshield washer fluid in my car.

Reminders are good.  Windshields of crusty bug carcasses are bad.

At this point, I must issue a warning/disclaimer: if you are offended by acronyms, or have a deep loathing for cheesy cliche-ish type things, then stop reading now, and return to whatever deep intellectual pursuit you were engaged in before you came here.

Reflecting on what it means to Be KIND, I came up with these ways to do it:

Keep your head up (but don't stick your nose in th…

Why the Bible Matters

Several years ago, a church I was serving entered the Adopt-a-School program, adopting the elementary school down the street.  The people of our church invested in the school by going and reading to children, providing tokens of appreciation for teachers, offering our church's park for regular play dates and special events, and in various other ways.  To express our love for the school, a small plaque of the 10 Commandments was made and gifted to the principal with no fanfare whatsoever.  The principal decided to display the plaque alongside a trophy case in the hallway, with various awards and trophies.  A couple of weeks later, the entire community was buzzing because an anonymous parent saw the plaque and took offense, writing a letter to the school board about "separation of church and state" and the inappropriateness of a passage from the Bible posted where her child was forced to see it.  The Principal decided to simply take it down, and had another plaque, thankin…

Jesus Is The Subject

Jesus is the subject.  Yes, a recurring theme on my blog, in my social media feed, in my sermons, and in my conversations.  This is because this has become the constant theme of my life.

It's Easter weekend, and our senses are more in-tune with Jesus.  Bringing to mind questions about empires, crucifixion, and the Resurrection.  And also, are Jesus and the Easter Bunny friends? And, why do bunnies lay multi-colored eggs once a year?

So, just a few thoughts on why Jesus matters to me.

Jesus shines Light that awakens me.
Light brings clarity and understanding.  Light gives a sense of security and makes the path forward clear.  Light reveals things that are hidden.

Jesus refers to Himself as "the Light of the world."  My experience has been that He brings all of the aforementioned qualities of light into my life as I journey. As I say, "OK, Jesus, You lead, I'll follow," He awakens and enlightens me. 

To His followers, Jesus also says, "You are the Light …

Failure (You're not)

There is a phrase I keep coming across in my reading/studying/training in church planting: "Failure to launch."  This is when a church planter, or church planting team, get a vision, start the journey, work hard, pray even harder, do everything they know to do (and even a few things they don't)... and for whatever reason (usually there are several), fail to get the new church launched.  I'm picking up that this is a big "fear of failure" that some church planters deal with. 

There is a quote that says, "Failure is not an option." But the reality is... yes it is an option.

Any time you attempt something, especially something bigger than you, failure is a very real option.

In my experience, failure can be a good thing.  In my own failures I have learned things about myself and others.  In failure, I have discovered a way that would work because of discovering the ways that wouldn't.  Failure keeps me honest, because there are moments when I thi…