Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I understand why some would doubt me on this. There are so many things I doubt that surely Father wishes I would believe. But....maybe I'll grow in some of those areas down the road.
I preface with these comments to say His talking to me happened again this morning as it often does; as I was just awakening from my night's sleep before I realized who or what I was. These thoughts flowed in and I jotted them down on the pad I keep by my pillow for such moments.
Here's what He told me this morning.
The difference between talking the talk and walking the walk is drastic. Talkers believe in the existence of God and His Holy Spirit. Walkers experience God and His Holy Spirit. Talkers discuss attributes of Father with little anticipation that He actually functions in their (or others) lives. Walkers believe there is present-day ongoing interaction between us and Them.
Consider Romans 8:11. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
We contain resurrection power in our mortal bodies now. The talkers debate the role of the Holy Spirit while the walkers experience His activity now. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves (II Cor. 13:4-5)!
The difference between those who talk the talk versus those who walk the walk is the former believe in the existence of God while the later experience God. May we be ultra patient with one another while we bridge this gap in the pure harmony of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
That's what He gave me this morning.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The reason I point to this today is I believe too many quit; we give up and/or out. This is not a charge against any who have served a tenure and then moved on to another form of ministry under a business umbrella. It is a challenge to those who want to get out because they felt they received unfair treatment.
We are called to a lifestyle that has many facets which simply are and always will be...unfair.
Should you happen to be a shepherd or a minister on staff or a class teacher, do not be caught off guard at how frustrating your role is. Jesus came to die for the world including the ungrateful and we are following in his sandals.
Dan Allender states, Leaders choose daily, but the real weight on their shoulders lies in the need to decide. And there are no easy decisions. To decide requires a death, a dying to a thousand options, the putting aside of a legion of possibilities in order to choose just one.
De-cide. Homo-cide. Sui-cide.
The root word for decide means "to cut off." All decisions cut us off; separate us from early infinite options as we select just one single path. And every decision we make earns us the favor of some and the disfavor of others.
To stay away from the front lines of ministry is to live disengaged. At times this mistaken ploy can be massaged into seeming deployment by arguing causes. This merely deceives the heart by talking a good talk among disengaged (and maybe dishonest) talkers.
We are to be among the troops who live from the cross; hung out to dry that others might be saved. Decide to die daily and you will experience both the presence and the provision of Father.
If we are truly going to lead, we can be assured there will be definite tough terrain.
Monday, November 28, 2011
Yesterday's sermon was one of the harder ones to hear. Oddly, it was on an assumed easy topic; thanksgiving. Throughout scripture be thankful is the command which opens the kingdom system for us.
Philippians 4:4-6, Colossians 3:12-17 and others pound us with the urgency to be full of thanks in each and every circumstance. There were other passages I wanted to hit; but time did not permit. One of them I choose to share at this time.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
It is God's will that we be thankful in all things. Sheep from goat separation does not come merely in faith labors; it shows up decisively in whether one's heart is grateful.
This has demanded a huge turn around (repentance) in my life over the years. I have behaved as a spoiled brat insisting matters go my way. I learned through the harsh pits to say an unlikely phrase to God; Thank You.
What would Paul and Silas have been singing about when the jailhouse fell down? Praises to God were flowing from their lips when it just wasn't a praiseworthy day....to unbelievers.
If you want to change your world for the greatest, start by saying Thank you in each and every circumstance. The imprisonment will stop.
You know the password. Use it.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Faith will not be talked out of possibility just because the visible presents a seemingly set-in-stone dilemma.
Prayer is not about wishing; but about seeing beyond the visibles.
I had an experience yesterday that made my day. It regards faith and prayer.
Mary and I moved into a new neighborhood at the end of July. I have posted before about praying for each neighbor--by name--that I meet; first thing of a morning and the last thing at night....daily.
I was in my front yard yesterday when one of those neighbors was in her morning walk. She saw me and made a bee-line for me; just to talk neighborly.
During our visit, I mentioned to her that I pray for her and Glen twice a day. Tears came to her eyes. Yes, I know. Glen came right in to tell me as soon as you left the other day.
Now that's interesting.
Glen and Stephanie stopped by our house with their two littles on Halloween. I inquired as to which was their house. When I went to pray that night, I could not recall her name. A couple of days later I stopped by their place.
Glen came to the porch. I reminded him of where I lived and shared that I pray for each neighbor I meet twice a day and I could not remember his wife's name. He told me her name...but he seemed very disinterested.
Here's what I want you to get. I don't know how interested he was; but evidently enough to share it with his wife. She elaborated with gratitude (and tears in her eyes) that I would pray for their family.
Faith does not react nor respond to the visible for such will talk us out of kingdom life. Faith believes seed is sown and God gives increase....in His timing...when He gets good and ready.
When Stephanie and I wrapped up our conversation yesterday morning she reached toward me to give me a huge hug.
I think I have made some more new friends!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Jesus doesn't just change things. He changes people.
God's children are a new sort. We aren't an old brood oiled down and shined up. No, we are converted. We are new.....really new....truly new.
That newness changes everything. All aspects of our walk have an asterisk. The empty grave is that asterisk. Because it is empty, possibility trumps every impossible charge. We are new in hope, in praise, and in glory.
Tell us, benign or malignant? The faith asterisk says we know something more than a report. We win. If we live, we win. If we die, we win sooner.
Tell us healed or wounded? The asterisk of believing in resurrection power vaults us into a new zone of everything is a yes world.....everything.
When Jesus broke from the tomb due to nothing of his own strength---his role was to be dead for God to be glorified---he ruined every item which wishes to restrain our lives. The empty grave is the asterisk which trumps Yogi Berra by stating, Hey, it isn't over because it isn't over.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.
I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends and family.I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.
I've also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.
I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.
One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
Once I was in Dispensible, but I'm not allowed to even visit there anymore.
I don't know who wrote the above. These thoughts just showed up on my computer. But one place I believe the author has been in his/her travels is in Denial. Possibly?
And why would I suspect this? Because I have often been in Sensitive.
Have a nice Thanksgiving....where ever you travel----
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Admittedly, I was caught off-guard by these who live to pick apart my work. To have sermon CDs sent anonymously of a preacher naming me in his sermon as a false teacher--all the while clearly misrepresenting me--was a toughy. To open a brotherhood newsletter/paper to note, "The False Teachings of Terry Rush" without having ever heard from the author first....difficult for me to take. But...I must have such opposition to keep me focused in dire need upon Him.
My first mistake was to contact these men. But I learned a yes in the midst of such mistakes. The yes is don't contact them. They take this as a feather in their cap. These are weasle-men whose only claim to fame is to pronounce loudly how they wage war against others.
I just returned from a trip to check on my mom. What awaits me among 70 emails? Another public discourse by one bragging of his stance against others and me. His contortioned message is sad. He surely looks good to his audience that evidently gives him applause.
He will not hear complaint from me for I learned long ago that such is precisely what gives the critic the ammo he or she needs to flaunt their stances. Just as important, I learned during the same lesson that I need the critic in my life that I keep in mind church doesn't operate upon my great skill nor my smooth sailing.
It only operates within and among those dependent upon Him.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me--to keep me from exalting myself!
What we don't like (criticism) is a very elemental key to our groomed dependence upon God. Brennan Manning wrote in his newest book, I saw my life as vitiated by pride, by the inordinate desire to be liked, loved, approved, applauded, and accepted.
No kidding. Him, too?
Thus he points to Matthew 5:3 of the New English Bible, How blessed are those who know that they are poor, the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Thornism is a major player in God's kingdom as its pain shifts us from independence to a grace-filled walk. We need the critics. They are our blessings. Don't throw them away.
A strong test for me is to see that I don't become critical of my critics.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday morning I preached for a little Disciples of Christ congregation in Gorin, MO. They have a young preacher there that is delightful. The quaint little church was packed front to back, side to side. Guests were from at least six other towns. My first visit was, indeed, one that touched my heart.
And then Sunday evening I preached for an area-wide Thanksgiving service in my hometown of Memphis. Attendance was strong. Spirits soared. It was simply a sweet time of reunion.
The longer I get to preach the more I see I have made the things of God far too difficult. I don't mean to imply that His path is without pain for we do each have a cross, understand. Yet, the more I relinquish control of how I think God would/should/could operate, the more He seems to respond to our trust.
I am encouraged by the reports I am continually fed by believers that God is active among us. Shame on us for ever convincing another that the works of God were over. He still lives!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I can't quite get what it is that is being protested? I really might be way off base, but it seems to me these pools gather those who evidently don't have jobs....or money. Am I missing a bigger point? Surely.
My larger frustration is with the media. Why show these scenes? Would such have lasted two months if given no publicity? Isn't publicity their goal...and their basic fuel?
Years ago Memorial had a set of elders that made a major and positive difference for this church. It continues to this day. They quit giving attention to the protesters who occupied the pews. When ears went deaf to Occupiers who were weak on jobs and long on both opinionation as well as demandination, the protests evaporated...quickly and permanently.
Major League Baseball has a similar rule. When a fan jumps the stands and races across the diamond, the television cameras are instructed to momentarily view elsewhere. They will not show the interruption nor the interupter. The result? Very few streakers.
The solution for Wall Street Occupiers is the same for Church Occupiers. The reign of ingratitude needs to fall. Thanksgiving needs to fill the veins of both. Gratitude for minuscule blessing and major ones shift focus from self-determination to a community partnership of wonder.
As our efforts increase in being occupied by the love of others per Jesus' example, the world will view the most necessary and meaningful protest; seeing that hope comes to all lonely hearts.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
One of the best ways I know of meeting and growing in Jesus is to try to explain him to others.
Haven't many of us spent our fair share of time teaching the five steps or the film strips or the Romans Road? Within each platform are eternal truths of life. Truthfully though, each has the inbred capacity to skirt the issue; that issue being Jesus himself.
He warned us against teaching the Word and knowing the Scriptures without ever coming to an understanding of him. This instruction from John jolted me at a point in my ministry that I never forgot it...nor did I ever have the inclination to go back to my previously pet standards.
Jesus makes church life an entirely new ball game. Helping others catch his drift impacts us in equally grand and glorious ways.
Tell others about your story of your interaction with Jesus.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
This is just too exciting. We are on an adventure on the scale of God.
We teach our children God-story after God-story. Why would we clear our throats with a different version of life once we surpass both five feet tall and one hundred pounds? I think God anticipates that our thrill over Him will increase; not decline.
My inadequacies disappoint me. I am now 64 years old. I have kingdom experience under my belt. Yet in meeting after meeting I misspeak and misrepresent and mislabel and misjudge. Will it ever quit? Will I ever reach a better standard?
Due to my hunger, I love to continue to learn. So much I don't know. So much I have never given a thought.
The world populace grows bigger. The need for Jesus is staggering. The hope of God's love within and among us is impressive.
Day by day I am impressed by the hard-core devotion by so many toward Jesus and his cause. We, as a body, are not moody about it. Yes, we misfire and often mistake. But we have reason to hold our heads up high and hope for yet another and better day.
May we learn from our bummer moves which would give us reason to bemoan our own inabilities. Rather may these be our power-lessons which would thrust us into the "new me" we have long anticipated.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Jesus wasn't joking when he declared he could do nothing unless he saw Father do it. I thought he was; but not so.
A great life, I conclude, is a life of enormous irony. We are thrilled over the life we possess because we gave the first one away. The day came when I traded my old life in like an old jalopy for a streamlined Acura. I finally and favorably gave up on me. I tried; but I just could't do good enough.
And then Life moved in.
Oh, it wasn't when I was baptized. I realized very little at my new birth. Life began to pop for me when I ran out of self capacity to make things work. My failures are among my favorite and greatest successes. I am truly and unexaggeratedly one miserable flop.
And then there was God.
The more I remember my zero-ness, the more God translates my economy of impossibility to surprising possibility just like he did with little David and five smooth stones. Nothing plus God equals dead giants.
When this truth permeated my mind, depression did not arise as I once had assumed. To find we are worse than we thought in talent, skill, and effectiveness does not usually contribute to a cheerful demeanor.
And then there was God.
I have become a new man. New in my ability to relax and let God...really. I don't run anything. I don't control one person; not one. Everyone on our staff is sharper than me and my contribution to the team is to realize it. Relax. Let God do his thing.
The great irony of life for me was that while I kept reaching I forgot to look inside of this self wrapped in misgivings and supreme failure. Jesus is in here. I was reaching toward recognition and accomplishment. The Accomplisher was inside all during my struggles to become somebody.
I am somebody. I am a great liver. Jesus is parked in here
Wanna have a really good day. Look inside of yourself. Don't look at self-evaluation. Rather look to see if Jesus isn't in there ready to make you yet another one of the most amazing creatures of His handiwork. It goes on, you know.
I live...yet not I, but Christ live in me....really.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Safety in the church/kingdom is a grand dilutent to the work at hand. We are to be a people about the work of God; not the ability of the human mind.
When we fear we are poised for failure. Love casts out fear.
The tendency to protect our image must go. How do you think Peter looked to his colleagues as he traipsed out onto the water toward Jesus without giving it appropriate analysis?
I'm preaching on this today and I can't wait. God has shown me so many things. Few of the wows ever came because I was cautious and walked with the herd-thinking. When it gets down to the marvelous experience of God, we will usually find that such happens when we are alone.
The church is bursting at wishing to burst...from the pew. Launch out into the deep...often alone...and expect God to be there ahead of you. Train your senses to know what is of Him or of your own dull imagination by practice. He calls for it.
Our young are bored because we groom them to be respectable and moderate in their faith. Interiorly, I think they hunger to experience God. May we show them how.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Often scriptures illustrate him blessing one person only to upset another within the same context. Two men praying in the temple depicts such a truth. The Prodigal and his brother reveal yet another.
Fundamentally, the church doesn't do disturb.
Members basically refuse it and believe such to be of the side of darkness. We suffer due to our incessant gravitation toward faith through the safety of little required of us. This simply is diametrically opposed to the nature of Jesus and the cross.
For this reason the church is quite weak in the realm of discipleship. We are missing a great element of kingdom blessing by insisting the church remain agitation free. We naturally desire a fleshly peace which would divert us to a walk a safe distance from the cross but still allow service of sort.
I'm not promoting unwarranted nor unsettling issues; but rather the power of the Word. I am saying the church reacts to disturbance by putting it down quickly when such might be an effort by God to shake us loose from our calloused and deadened ways. The Word cuts. In order to avoid its cuttings we tend to avoid the Word.
The Word will teach us new ways which will oppose some of our settled conclusions. The Bible will not let us remain who we have been; but will call us into the new Life of growth and maturity.
Discipline is hard. It is of God.
Moab has been at ease since his youth; He has also been undisturbed on his lees, neither has he been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile. Therefore he retains his flavor, and his aroma has not changed. Therefore behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall send to him those who tip vessels, and they will tip him over, and they will empty his vessels and shatter his jars (Jer. 48:11-12).
Lees is the sediment settling to the bottom of a vat of new wine. Emptied from container to container the lees are disturbed and then redisturbed until the fine wine develops as the lees are not allowed to settle but are eliminated through the disturbing process.
So it is with us. Our call is not to quit; but rather to regard annoyances and disruptions as a part of the kingdom life process. We are not to give up in frustration because matters do not pan out as we had planned. Rather we are to regard our personal agitation as within the framework of God's intended and insistent blessings.
One reason the whole church needs to experience what is regarded as that villain called change is that such a process purifies what could have become dull, rigid, and dead over time. I speak not of error; but of Truth that we have yet to realize or admit.
The church is not trained to be disturbed. Who among us prefers it? However, the church has been groomed to reject alarm. Yet, it is surely an important factor for legitimate growth of the body.
The church is not trained to be disturbed. We are the weaker for it. Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeals among us. These are for our testing....they are our lees....I Peter 4:12.
Therefore, to the younger, I want to give you a concept of what you are in for as a parent. Of course there are varying issues and troubling matters which this simple blog would not address. The basics for avoiding parent shock will hopefully serve to some value for a few.
I always liked parenting. It is sheerly remarkable. Wonder is everywhere. And, difficulties surely arise. Don't go into shock when you hit the latter. It will happen.
Don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you as if some strange thing were happening to you...this is going on only for your testing....I Peter 4:12 is very necessary for moms and dads.
It would be a good idea to determine whether you are about to speak grace at the time of need (Eph. 4:29) or death-words. While I was a strong disciplinarian and believe in it to this day, I intentionally spoke life into the young ears. I could have used the same as a kid.
You might want to get a pen and paper and write this down; Your kids will make mistakes. It isn't because they are kids; but because they are like us. So try not to go into orbit when the phone call comes revealing a negative circumstance. That circumstance is presented you to see how you are going to do; not necessarily to see what you are going to do with or to them.
The question is not, Will they mess up? The question is, Will you go over the edge when they do?
Do what you can to avoid parent shock. Bad choices by children will and are coming. They are us in miniature. Mercy and grace, correction and training are needed in all circumstances. Fathers, do not provoke your children is the back-side of Children, obey your parents.
Our kids will do better if mom and dad can address corrections and adjustments without killing young spirits by our falling apart in shock. Be nice to your children for someday they will determine what elder-care you are worth.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I carry great respect for Mr. Keane's talent. His material actually was funny.
I brushed past this man in the mid-80's when I was writing a manuscript entitled, The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense. During the months of that process Family Circus popped out one morning with the little one inquiring, I know about the Father and the Son, but what is the Holy Spearmint?
I so loved that particular cartoon as it clearly fit the theme of the book. I wrote Mr. Keane for permission to copy the cartoon in the book. The book eventually went to print without it.
Months later--too late--I received a note from Mr. Keane stating I surely could use his cartoon; that he was impressed someone of faith would see the humor in that specific drawing.
Family Circus was my favorite cartoon of the newpaper industry. I almost got to use it in my book.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
I noticed something today in study that might encourage a few as to how to reach one, a few, or several.
Jesus didn't become religious. He was born of Mary; not as a scholar but as a human. Your first great attribute is to remember this point. It is where Jesus began.
A mistake we make at times is in trying to be inauthentic in our verbiage. I tried to learn the ropes of outreach by memorizing a scripted conversation that felt more like I was reading from a teleprompter.
Don't underestimate the simple truth that Jesus' first step in reaching to us was simply by becoming one of us. I Cor. 9:19-23 is the rare text which speaks of "winning" people. How is it accomplished? By becoming like the ones whom we are reaching, winning develops.
Be encouraged. Refrain from trying to be some thing or some one you are not. Be you...a human who loves God....and then say so.
The simple way to reach is to first be a person of God who grows into the role....that's what Jesus did.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The response Thomas received was unique and insightful. You believe because you see; blessed are those who believe when they cannot see.
Enter the factual and actual presence of the Holy Spirit.
He is easily dismissed as hodge-podge or hokey to the Thomas' of the present-day church. Foolishness. Silliness. Absurdity. Each call expressed in mockery of believers who dare think there something existing in the invisibles as well as active among us today.
If the church in general could use an infusion of sorts, it surely could use a high dose of Life! Precisely, such is the Holy Spirit duty. Jesus, in both flesh and Spirit, is all about abundant life!
Churches do not need to trade preachers, replace current elders, or revamp tired and worn ministries. They desperately and accurately need the Holy Spirit's engagement within all. Due to His presence, something special breaks out....like life from death's grave.
I know of nothing to beneficially reshape every congregation as that of the activity of the Holy Spirit of God within and among the members who claim to display His banner of love.
One is still blessed for believing the Holy Spirit that cannot be seen.
Monday, November 07, 2011
I was escorted into her bedroom which has become her living room, her office, her slumber pad, and her eventual casket of sorts. The view was stark as well as painful.
My friend is now a skeleton with beautiful eyes. No hair. No muscle. Her arms fold as an ironing board. She is frightfully precious.
I took her a plant with blooms. At the sight she began to weep. The flowers are pretty green and purple. I then pulled a brown bulb from my pocket. My friend, don't be afraid. This bulb is you today. This plant is you next week. The bulb cannot imagine the beauty it will become in the future. Such is only a promise of God. But....you can be sure you are about to become more than you can imagine.
We visited a bit. I asked if she was afraid. She is not. We prayed...well I prayed and she agreed. It was both a sensitive and meaningful visit for both of us. Jesus was our guest and our theme. We rehearsed how we are all right because he became all of our wrongs; II Cor. 5:21.
We did not discuss whether is was all right for the church to have a kitchen or a garage sale. The topic of whether Max should be/could be a workshop speaker was not given attention. There was no debate regarding mixed swimming. Neither of us referenced Billy Graham's doctrines nor Joel Osteen's for that matter.
Oh, I don't know. I guess when one in the room is merely a failing skeleton with beautiful eyes we just didn't feel like wrangling over church stuff that both of us at one time were led to believe was of utmost importance.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Tomorrow we will be wonderfully positioned to see so many of the people. The importance of people being seen is kingdomly crucial. Jesus was a master at it. Whether behind him in a crowd or stranded up a tree, Jesus had eyes to see the people.
Specifically, I urge you to see the person(s) you are visiting with tomorrow. Try not to be thinking elsewhere when a very important one of God is speaking to you. Look deeply into their eyes to the depth you can see their heart. Notice the importance of the one in your presence.
See the people. Note their value.
When you do those to things love for them will fill your heart. We all know what happens from that which fills our hearts, don't we? Our lips begin to confess the abundance that fills our hearts.
When the person in front of you fills your heart, you will know what to say. You will speak the nature of Jesus for his eyes will be peering through yours at another one of God's masterpieces; a regal person.
Tomorrow's assemblies? Be sure to see the people!
I walked into my office and turned my daily calendar to this:
Don't be sad about the things you want and don't get. Think how many things you don't want that you don't get!
Why is happiness such a big deal to me? It is because I spent far too many years--including preaching time--being terribly unhappy, dissatisfied, and.....well...extremely pouty.
What changed for me was to realize I really did have a choice in the matter. I could place a deciding vote as to whether I wanted to like today....every day! You know what? That's not a wish. It is the truth.
All happy people have just as many aches and pains as the rest; maybe even more. The difference in life is not whether the good breaks or bad breaks happened. The difference is made when one chooses what to dwell upon.
Choosing to be happy doesn't mean only happy things occur. Devastation and discouragement are at many turns. The definitive factor toward joy is what we choose to soak our mind in. That's it.
God taught me this in many places. Philippians 4:4-13 would not allow me to revert to my age-worn excuse that others got breaks but I didn't. All have enough go wrong to drive us to the edge of the cliff at times. God, though, teaches us to notice the beauty that up til now had not been noticed until we arrived at the edge of the cliff.
Be happy? It is your vote independent of anyone else.
Even this post can make you elated or resentful; but only you choose which it will be.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I was saddened to learn this morning that Bob Forsch passed away last night at age 61.
He was the third winningest pitcher in St. Louis Cardinal history.
I have been with him at the Legends Camps for the past ten years. We built a strong friendship.
Once I encouraged Bob to be at chapel as I would be speaking and I needed his support. He didn't usually attend. He was there.
This picture is unique in that the "big boys" don't ask the "rookies" for autographs. Yet, Bob sought mine as we were about the clear out of the clubhouse and onto the field.
I thoroughly enjoyed being around this Cardinal legend. He was good to me. When my latest book (MVP) was ready for print, Bob was the first of five former stars to endorse it.
I will miss this man....but I won't forget him. And what I will remember best is that while he was a big deal in the baseball realm, he was really a decent man of humility.
Having experienced approximately seven variations of elder teams, I hope to have learned a few things along the way. I choose to share such should it be valuable to your work.
The major shift for good began when Memorial called men to shepherd us who thought alike. Before, we had teams of elders who did not have the same philosophy and direction. They were continually at odds and a divided congregation most naturally followed suit consistently.
We could not get to the work at hand for putting out fires and enduring countless long meetings filled with frustrating argumentative anger. Throughout the years we have had a variation of teams and each one that possessed inner division saw identical fruit in the body.
Ironically...one of the things voiced most from the divisive clusters was, We may oppose one another in this room, but when we go out there we are one voice. It didn't happen because a few would get with their cronies to complain about how things "weren't" going. And then the next meeting would find the insertion, We may not agree in here, but when we leave this room, we are one.
Wishful thinking. Not true. Kept the church frustrated.
For the last several years, Memorial perpetually experiences new light and life. Compassion for the ailing has found regeneration. Openness to the Spirit finds great presence. Gifts embedded in one another form a body of workers together rather than against one another.
This has come about--not because of preaching and not because of effective marketing--because our shepherds over the years have had the same philosophy and mutual respect. Yes, each is different.
Yet, the annoying egocentricity isn't present. Their approach to the Word and the Work is naturally one because they are not only biblical brothers; they have grown to become spiritual friends.
Due to this power of our elders, divisive uprisings within the flock don't survive for they find no elder in their camp. We are all camping as a family. Our staff is a unique and special team. Our congregation is sweet of heart and growing in Spirit. We are experiencing God day by day and the gate that allows us to go in and out is that of our shepherds...for they think the best they can like the First Shepherd.
Elders--my experience--are either of the Law or of the Spirit. The first will stagnate and kill a congregation. The latter will allow the Breath of Life to flow among the flock.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
I find that one of the enduring truths taught me in preaching school was K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). Simplicity is the Jesus style. If not careful, simplicity will be buried in this age known for technology.
Business knows of the Peter Principle where advancement can ultimately push one effective worker upward into a zone which is both foreign to his or her skills; and thus, ineffective in such a promotion.
Christians must be ever alert to the Martha Principle of being involved in an array of things to the extent little is accomplished.
The Martha Principle is rampant in the kingdom. I first began to see this when my three were in elementary school and I was away traveling the nation. I soon realized I must simplify my schedule. I could. I did. Oddly, it took a few defensive arguments with invitees to get to this productive juncture.
The tech world concerns me. Conversations at business breakfasts or family gatherings are often interrupted as cell phones ding-dong and the receiver is compelled to look and relook and look again at the next ding-dong. Public speakers are more likely to lose a portion of the audience due to their incessant need to text across the Atlantic or across the room.
America is addicted to distraction. ADD and ADHD are actually enhanced by so many Martha-wares on the market to keep the diseases going.
My word to many of you is to have the courage to say no to the drugs that dilute the thrill of living right now. The drugs of opportunities which would burden your calendar; let them go. The drugs of so many good things going which distract from the one thing necessary; let them go. The drugs of signing up to keep your image afloat; let them go. Go to rehab. Get well.
It is a strange set of plates the church needs to balance; those who won't help out with the work and then there are those who have their hands in so many things they contaminate a simple work. A few need to get up and get going while others really need to drop multi-commitments in order to do a few commitments well.
The old-fashioned ability to be a devoted and hard worker without feeling the pull to join the many grand schemes may, in fact, become a welcomed and new trend.
Simplicity is the ache of our hurried world. Bless your kids with it!
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Everywhere we turn, learning is prominent. I study the speech traits of news analysts, timing of comedians, and the tendencies of all people under duress. God has secrets buried in each that I could use.
Oddly, each time I watch The Biggest Loser I feel like I have attended a two-hour seminar on leadership training. It happens week after week, season after season.
Tonight the nine remaining contestants were forced into realignment of teams and coaches. Few remained with their beloved coach of seven (or so) weeks. None got to stay with their welded teammates.
Anger and disruption has hit the ranch! My guess is that before the season ends new bonds and newer successes will develop.
I see in this the value of adjustment. As in physical training, muscles develop better when routine is broken. The same similarity appears to be true of humanity in general. Adjustment is necessary to keep us alive.
I think back about how I didn't want a computer, email, or a cell phone. The way I had been working...had been working. Why upset things when mediocrity seems to work so well?, I always say.
I laugh at the comment, You don't need to change things for changes' sake. Sometimes, even that is needed at times to awaken our dispositions to greater and undiscovered possibility.
So what is in this for us today? Disruption is all around. As leaders we would do well to study those areas where we see value in it. God says we are new day by day. True? If it is true, newness should be anticipated; not fought off.
Even the biggest loser is to be encouraged because in their enormous strain of losing weight, the lean and mean healthy one buried within their overweight is about to emerge. As we lose the overweight of life's turbulence, maybe we will discover yet a new us.