Monday, January 28, 2013

trust to follow

You will not follow someone you do not trust! It is against our understanding as human beings. Conversely, if I trust someone, I will do anything they tell me to do because I can depend on them having my best interest in mind. In leadership, trust is everything. In reading some stuff about Moses today I came across two Scriptures that defined the stuff I want people to trust about me/in me. 1. I want people to trust that I have real relationship with God. In Exodus 19:9, God told Moses that he would speak to him from the mountain so that the people would trust him as he led them through the desert. God knew if Moses just came down from the mountain with some crazy ideas, the people would not follow, but if they knew that God talked with Moses - then they would trust Moses' words. How important is it for those who lead (any size of group, family, or movement) to really and truly have a prayer, Bible, listening, meditating, and Holy Spirit empowered relationship with God. If you follow God, I will listen to you. 2. I want people to trust that the great stuff done in my life is by God's power - I want to give Him the glory. In Numbers 20:12 God points out that Moses didn't trust God enough to honor Him in the sight of the people. This is the place where God told Moses to speak to the rock and God would bring forth water...instead Moses struck the rock and said, "must "we" bring water out"? There is no "we" in life giving miracles. It was God's power that provided and God kept Moses from the Promised Land because of this lack of trust. How important it is for me or any leader to continue to point people to God for His great work in their midst. As I lead, will I trust God enough to give him the glory due him? If you always point to God, I will follow you. Some stuff to consider on a Monday morning. I trust God and that's why I follow and what people trust about what we trust will determine if they follow or not!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

don't believe everything you hear

If there's anything that's frustrating to me as a pastor, it's that the voice of God's word is being drowned out by the myriad of voices in our culture. This is not surprising since the Bible said it would be this way. Right after Paul encourages Timothy to "Preach the Word" he says that a "time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (II timothy 4:3-4). Well, I'm going to keep preaching the truth of the Word of God...but myths and stuff the culture wants to hear abound...Here are a few myths that many (especially a younger generation) have bought as truth...because it sounds like what we want to hear: 1. Myth - people are born homosexual or not. This is not in fact a scientific conclusion, but our culture wants to believe it so that they don't have to listen to God. God calls homosexuality a sin...we must deal with that. 2. Myth - the most important thing is to protect the children of the world from physical harm, be it gun violence, abuse, poverty, or being orphaned. In fact, as Christians we must care for those who are most vulnerable and our belief demands we have an active response to love and protect these innocents..but it's not the most important thing. Protecting these children spiritually is what matters most. Bringing them up in The Lord is more important than any safety or rescue measure we could take. 3. Myth - it is our duty to reverse global climate change. I'm not going to debate whether we have sufficient data to conclude what is going on (interesting that scientists want to make this world billions of years old, but think we will destroy it in two generations), but is it our main job to save our environment. Again, the proper Christian response is to be good stewards of what God has given us (ie. don't litter, control waste, nurture growth, etc...), but it is complete arrogance to believe that we can change the decay of the world since our Sovereign God has promised it is ending and decaying and that He will end it when He determines...In other words, we can't destroy what He wants to maintain, and we can't preserve what He is going to destroy. God's footprint is bigger than our carbon footprint. 4. Myth - to live together we must totally agree on everything. In fact, my favorite person in the world is my wife Sara and we don't agree on everything. It would be a very boring relationship if we did. Christians should be the most loving and accepting people of others in the world, but I don't have to change what I believe to be true in order to love someone! I can love a sinner without saying their sin is okay...and I do. As you can see there are some really significant untruths out there,but we must listen with discerning ears. What is your source for absolute truth? For me it's the Word of God and anything that conflicts with that is something I should be suspicious of.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Authority of believers

Last night we had this awesome event at the church where 400 volunteer/leaders gathered for an event we called "Equip". It was a chance for our lay leaders to come together and be fed - both physically and spiritually. It was a chance to laugh (some of our staff presented our longest tenured volunteers (over 50 years!) with a Mike Baker Fathead. Yeah, it was funny...and scary! It was a chance to worship! Matt and some musicians led us in two times of worship. It was a time of being set apart. The elders of the church prayed over and blessed these co-workers in the faith with a prayer at the was moving. I also had a chance to challenge this group of faithful servants from God's Word and I used one verse to do so. I Thessalonians 5:14. As the church grows, I and the church leaders clearly understand that we can not be the only authoritative voices in the congregation. We have been given the responsibility and stewardship of leading here, but in the Word, God calls all of us to some authoritative work by the fact that we are brothers. In fact, the word "urge" in this passage is usually translated as "fellowship" in the English and literally means "call beside". Here are the things that Paul (and now me) calls us to as faithful followers in the church (brothers here) 1. I have the authority/responsibility to warn the idle. Everyone in the church has the right to speak in Christian love to others who profess faith in Jesus but are not "showing up for the work" of the gospel. 2. I have the authority/responsibility to encourage the timid. There are those in the fellowship who don't think they belong...don't think they matter...don't think they are useful... Will you encourage them to be a part of the body? 3. I have the authority/responsibility to help the weak. This word "weak" can be used of illness, poverty, literally weakness, etc.. Is there anyone in your church that is weak. How can you help them. 4. I have the authority/responsibility to be patient with everyone. This is the key. Growing in Christ and spiritual maturity takes time. Give people the time that God has given you to grow. Keep watering. Keep planting. Eventually God will grow them. The cool thing about all of these is you don't need an elders meeting, or approval from the Sr. Pastor, or a call from a staff member. You are biblically released to act. So....act, you have the authority and the responsibility.