- If you want God’s blessing on your life, then you have to get with God’s agenda. 1st line of PDL: “It’s not about you.”
- Stop praying “God, bless me.” Instead: “God, help me to do what you’re doing.”
- The Kingdom is the single biggest image in the New Testament.
- Where is it? Wherever Jesus is king… Heaven, earth, within you…
- What is it? God’s people fulfilling God’s purposes on God’s planet for God’s glory
- Cf. Matthew 25: If you want Christ to come back just get out and start sharing your faith
- The disciples always wanted to talk about prophecy and signs; Jesus wanted to talk about evangelism.
- God’s agenda is the church.
- What if someone said, “I like you but I just can’t stand your wife (or body)?”
- God created the entire universe just so He could create a galaxy just so He could create a solar system just so He could create a planet just so He could create an ecosystem… just so He could create a human that would choose to love Him and He could love the human back.
- Your parents may not have loved/wanted you, but God did, and he made sure you had the ability to love them back, and in turn love Him.
- God is a creator. You are most like God when you are creating. So stop trying to change culture. Create it.
- The Moses “Staff to Snake to Staff” story
- Why is that in the Bible?
- Hint- When God asks you a question, it’s not for His benefit.
- Likewise, when God does a miracle, it’s to teach a truth.
- Moses’ Staff
- His identification as a shepherd. Who he was
- Symbol of Moses’ income. What he had
- Symbol of Moses’ influence (over sheep :P). What he did
- Take your ID/influence/income and throw it down.
- God: “And if you surrender it to me I will make it come alive like you’ve never imagined. And every time you pick it up again, it’ll go dead.”
- From that point forward, Moses’ staff is always referred to as the Rod of God… it pops up in the 10 Commandments, the Red Sea, Pharaoh, simply all over the Pentateuch
- So: What’s in your
Warren’s Response to the Moses’ Staff Story
- After writing Purpose Driven Life, an AIDS trip where he accompanied his wife really turned him around.
- “What’s in my hand?” – Affluence
- I Corinthians 9 – “It’s ok to get paid for preaching, but I wanna do it for free so no one can doubt my motives.”
- Not gonna spend the money on myself
- Not gonna take a salary from the church
- Gonna give salary back for 25 years
- Gonna set up AIDS and poverty charities
- Gonna become reverse tithers (give 90%, live on 10%)
- “There’s a bumper sticker that says ‘Honk if you love Jesus!’ Well I wanna make one that says ‘Tithe if you love Jesus, any fool can honk!'”
- “What’s in my hand?” – Influence
- Psalm 72 – “Solomon’s prayer for more influence. It sounds more selfish than good ol’ Jabez! Solomon was already the wealthiest, wisest man on the planet.”
- But it’s only selfish until you read the purpose: “So that the king may help the orphaned and marginalized…”
- “I want to use my power for these people to speak up for those who have no influence.”
Posted in Culture, Kingdom on Earth, Ministry, Quotable, Theology
Tagged , Affluence, AIDS, Catalyst 2007, Catalyst Conference, Creation Theology, God's Agenda, Humanitarian Work, Influence, Kingdom of Heaven, Moses, Rick Warren, Solomon, Surrender
A moderated discussion with Tri Robinson, Chris Seay, Dave Kinnaman, and Gabe Lyons, on Kinnaman’s & Lyon’s new book unChristian.
- Why does our revelation to others that we’re Christians bring such rejection?
- unChristian set out to scientifically document perceptions of and attitudes towards Christians. Over 10,000 interviews were conducted.
- Top perceptions: Anti-gay, Judgmental, Hypocritical, Sheltered, Too political, Proselytizers
- NonChristians 16-29 years old are 8x less favorable about Christians than their Boomer parents
- unChristian is not an opinion poll to see how we should act… we still have the Bible for that.
- “We’re not hated for righteousness, but for self-righteousness.” Dave Kinnaman (DK)
- “On ‘Oh, this is nothing but media bias…’: Research shows that 16-29 y/o’s have 5 Christian friends, 6 months experience among a church community, a majority have at least considered what it means to follow Christianity, etc. They’ve been up close and personal and have some very real things to say.” Gabe Lyons (GL)
- “They have personal stories to back up their perceptions of Christians as hypocritical, shallow, etc.” (DK)
- “This generation is slipping away from us. If we sit back and assume our world’s going to Hell, and just leave it alone… well, we just can’t be like that.” (GL)
- There’s been a surge of people identifying themselves as ‘Christ-followers’ and other similar terms, instead of ‘Christian’. “We need to be redeeming the term ‘Christian’, showing all the things we’re for.” (DK)
- If Jesus were physically among us again, “his focus would not be on morality… it would be on God and the Creator. If you focus on morality, Romans ultimately tells you you won’t get morality. unChristian is not despair of where we’re at, but hope of where we can be.” Chris Seay (CS)
- “Before we’re gonna change our culture, we’ve gotta change our own hearts.” Tri Robinson (TR)
- “It’s wrong to preach a message about social justice or giving water or feeding the poor without providing an outlet for people to go and put it into action. We need a path to run on and it’s the role of the church to provide that path.” (TR)
- “Christians today are waiting for their leaders to say its ok to care for the environment.” (TR)
- “It comes down to our character. So far, the right answers have produced the wrong character. We have to own some of that.” (CS)
- “In those perceptions are tremendous opportunities. They [nonChristians] are smart & savvy. They do remember. They’re begging for chances and deep conversations to wrestle with their doubts. They’re absolutely waiting to be awakened to God’s purposes. They could change the world, we just have to get out of the way.” (DK)
- “Spirituality is at an all-time high, but they’re not finding it in Christianity. It’s not just an image problem. It’s not that you have to five yup the truth. You just have to hold it in tension as you engage people that are different than us, that are anti-us.” (GL)
- “I feel that there is a major major trend coming. Let’s talk about the things we agree on. There are so many organizations that are on the same page that don’t know each other exist. Let’s draw the gifting into one place.” (TR)
- “They don’t recognize the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ in Christians. The generation is skeptical of us. What will we do? Will we hole up? Do we draw a line in the sand? How could we embody that grace and truth that Jesus tells us he is?” (DK)
Posted in Culture, Kingdom on Earth, Quotable
Tagged Catalyst 2007, Catalyst Conference, Character, Chris Seay, Dave Kinnaman, Envoronmentalism, Gabe Lyons, Media Bias, Morality, Perceptions of Christianity, Self-righteousness, Skepticism, Spirituality, Tri Robinson, unChristian
“Liberating Your Organization: Creating A Leadership-Friendly Culture”
- There are organizational systems that are conducive to ministry, and there are those that impede ministry.
- There are organizational systems that free leaders to lead, and there are those that obstruct leaders.
- “System” defined: Your organization’s approach to getting things done.
- Systems Create Behaviors
- Preaching doesn’t. Curriculum doesn’t. Talks don’t.
- Family vs. Student Ministry
- Marriage vs. Marriage Sermon Series
- Western vs. Middle Eastern
- The systems you inherit, adopt, or create will eventually what staff and volunteers do.
- Anytime you hear, “Well, our people won’t…” you’re listening to someone who doesn’t understand the influence of systems.
- Components of a System:
- Expectations (rules)
- Rewards (or lack of)
- Consequences (or lack of)
- Communication (content and style)
- Behavior (of those in charge)
- Systems have a greater impact on organizational behavior than do mission statements.
- This principle explains why it’s so hard to transition an organization.
- If a leader casts a vision and never addresses old systems, nothing changes.
- “What’s happening down the hall trumps what’s hanging on the wall.”
- People in your organization are only doing what you’ve led and rewarded them to do.
- Ask, “What are the expectations in our organization? What’s rewarded? (Because that’s what will be repeated.) What brings consequences?
- The New Testament does not present us with a comprehensive system or model.
- In the NT we discover what the early church did. The NT does not lay out a comprehensive plan instruction church leaders what to do.
- Think about it: They had a direct WWJD link, something that we don’t have. They had apostles. We don’t. We have the great opportunity to create the system that carries out the Great Commission.
- Always differetiate between what is prescriptive and what is descriptive.
- We can’t be a 1st Century church because we don’t live in the 1st Century!
- The Old and New Testaments do offer some principles that should be integrated into our systems.
- Delegation : Acts 6 / Exodus 18
- Accountability: Acts 15
- Authority : Romans 13
- Interdependence : Paul’s discussion of spritual gifts
- Point Leadership : Modeled in OT and NT
- Seeking Counsel : Proverbs / Acts 15
- Something not on the list is Congregational Rule. Some examples of its outcome: Golden Calves, Brothers Thrown into Pits, Following Kings not Prophets
- System Imperatives
- Your system should allow you to involve and hire the best person for the job.
- Your system should provide you with the flexibility to get the right people to the table.
- i.e. position of Youth Director does not automatically influence decisions regardless of inept person in position.
- Your system should allow you to make complex decisions within the context of a small group of empowered individuals.
- Simply cannot communicate complex decisions to large groups of people effectively.
- Your system should ensure that only one person answers to “They”
- “We have different gifts, according to the grave given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently.” Romans 12:6-8
- You create a system where leaders are free to lead, and guess who will flock… leaders!
- Congregations led by the “We/They” tend to end up with system dysfunctions.
- The current system you’re gonna take all your notes back to has the potential to crush everything you’ll bring back. So, learning as leaders to deal with the nuts and bolts is absolutely necessary.
- Before God created man, He created systems (solar, ecological, etc.)
- But even in man, the human body is the most sophisticated system in existence.
- Because the body is a system, it’s a meaningful experience to go to the doctor, a medical systems expert. This is why you don’t just pray when you get sick.
- If you don’t approach problem solving systematically, you’ll spend the rest of your career blaming, firing, and being critical of people, and never getting anywhere.
- List 3 behaviors that you wish characterize your organization (apply on many levels: church, youth ministry, staff).
- List one thing you’re systematically doing to encourage each of those behaviors.
- List the things you’re doing (maybe inadvertently) to encourage the opposite behavior.
Posted in Bible & Scripture, Culture, Ministry
Tagged Andy Stanley, Body of Christ, Catalyst 2007, Catalyst Conference, Church Models, Committees, Gifts, Leadership, Red tape, Systems
“Solomon was wrong.”
- It’s not a popular idea to deny the Teacher’s revered sayings, but it just won’t go away.
- Eccl. 1:9-10 What has been will be again… there is nothing new under the sun.
- An oft-quoted, a prevailing thought in the leadership frameworks in Christianity
- We’ve rarely stopped to question what he said here, but we disagree with him in other places
- Jesus said burden is light, but Solomon said it was heavy
- Places in Ecclesiastes where we know Solomon was wrong. Not the best to build your worldview around a guy who says it’s all meaningless
- When you’re having your worst day, don’t write to other people on how to live.
- Solomon says it’s all a circle. What is coming is simply what has been in the past. Why is it that we’re so quick to embrace this?
- It’s in our language. Worship band leader: “Let’s make history!” So, it’s ok for us Christians to make history (literally what has past). Or a magazine that says “Let’s change history!” …
- But what would the typical Christian response be if Erwin says “Let’s change the future!”?
- We don’t understand what our role in time is. We’re so careful not to infringe on God’s sovereign space, we sit apathetically by waiting to respond to it.
- But Hitler’s and Stalin’s create history when we wont.
- Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if only the most evil feel free to create the future, there’s something wrong with our understanding of our role in the future to come.
- The way we’ve been taught is, “If it was evil, it was us, but if it was good, it was definitely God.”
- But we weren’t created to live in neutral. If all our actions produce evil, then we should only sit by and react to stuff.
- Isaiah 43:18-19 “Stop thinking about the past!” (contrast “Do not forget….”) “Now I’m doing a new thing, but will you even be aware of it?”
- If only God had read Ecclesiastes, He would have got it right.
- God: “Stop living in the past and get engaged in the future I want you to be a part of.”
- We have to begin to rethink our relationship to history. We can’t change history, and to make history means that we’re doing something that really matters.
- But to create the future means that we’re pursuing where God is going into the future.
- Part of our dilemma is we’ve stopped being honest about the meaning of life.
- We enter into relationship with Christ, God sets us free. Now we’re free in Jesus to create and do good works in him
- When we’re only preaching to Christians, are we communicating at the deepest level of humanity?
- Erwin: “When I sing Christian songs, I have a hard time with some of them, where I want them to be true.”
- Never been a moment where God was really all I wanted. “God you are all I want, but I could really use a cappuccino.”
- Exhale if Jesus is all you need … Nice, isn’t it? … Now feel free to inhale when you realize you need oxygen too.
- Adam had a need for human companionship that he was previously unaware of. Adam’s naming all the animals, then God puts him to sleep to create Eve. Putting Adam through a learning experience. 2 gazelles, 2 gophers, 2 rabbits. “Get the theme here, Adam? No? Just go to sleep, I’ll fix it…”
- God understood Adam’s need far more than Adam understood his own, and God had joy in meeting those needs.
- All of creation is a testament to how much pleasure God finds in meeting our needs.
- A man on TV with healing oil, selling oil that had cured lady’s dog from cancer.
- What has gone wrong? Somebody has to be sincere. Somewhere. I have to believe that. Maybe the old lady that sent in her welfare check to buy the oil for her dog… maybe the dog is the only sincere one?
- “Somewhere down the line someone figured out that Christians are incapable of discerning what is authentic and what is inauthentic.”
- “How is it possible we’ve lost our capacity to connect to what it real?”
- Every person without God who watches that show has to know that it is not real. But why do we fall for it?
- At one point the memories I had became less trustworthy than the stories I had been told. I had disconnected myself from reality. My soul was sick. The human spirit cannot live in falsehood. We’re designed to live in truth. Our souls long for the real, the authentic.
- What is the future of the church?
“The Most Powerful Man in the Room”
- Power has become a 4-letter word in conversations about leadership.
- If God has you in leadership, the fact is that you have power. We like the word “influence” but let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s essentially power.
- Student ministry is a prime example of immense power. Power to build and crush with very little effort.
- We shy away from power because it’s intimidating. Churches don’t like point leadership (i.e. power concentrated in few people)
- But really, “Follow We” is no better than “Follow Me” if those We’s aren’t properly stewarding their power…
- So, when we’re talking about power, the big question is: What do you do when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room?
- Side-note: Chances are that in 11,000 people, some of you will be anti-megachurch. But please hear me out because a justifiable bias probably comes from your experience with abused power, which makes you a prime candidate to go forward and leverage God’s power. You know the dangers of it and you care deeply about its wise use.
- Jesus (didn’t see that coming, did you?) gives us a prime example of how the most powerful man in the room responded: The Upper Room, John 13.
- “He showed them the full extent of his love.” (v1) Sneak peak of what Jesus did with his power.
- “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power.” (v3) Clearly, Jesus knew he was the most powerful man in the room.
- “So…” (v4) As a result of this…
- “took off his outer clothing” (v4) shed his symbols of rabbinical authority
- “began to washed his disciples’ feet” (v5) used miracle-conducting hands to scrub crusty grime, among a culture obsessed with cleanliness
- “I have set an example,” (v15) So maybe we should follow suit?
- Look for ways to leverage your power for the sake of others around you. Because that’s the example Jesus set for us.
- If you leverage your power for your own sake, you (un)consciously declare that you are greater than your Master (cf. v14)
- Not to apply this principle is an admission of weakness, not a display of strength.
- “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” King George III, upon learning of George Washington’s intent to pass on emperorship, and let someone else take the reins.
- Basically, don’t fear power. Simply learn to leverage it properly.
- The legacy of your leadership will not be determined by a lifetime of applying principles and insights, but it will be the product of your reactions time after time when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room.
(RPD comments forthcoming.)
Posted in Ministry, Quotable, Youth Ministry
Tagged , Andy Stanley, Catalyst 2007, Catalyst Conference, Foot-washing, Humility, Jesus, John 13, Power, Servant Leadership