- 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
“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
Tomorrow morning, Anina and I will be flying over to Atlanta for the Catalyst Conference. I’m pretty excited to go, for a lot of reasons. (Here’s a preview video…)
- I can’t wait to see what Guinness World Record we’ll break this year… I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the best kept secrets leading up to the conference!
- Fun (and free) room and board with Nina’s aunt and uncle, in a beautiful historic 1890’s neighborhood right downtown. Virginia Highlands, FYI.
- Hanging out with Stacy & Taylor, at their cool new home.
- Six Flags.
- Carter Library.
- Atlanta Zoo.
- Hole-in-the wall BBQ joints (note: no hyperlink, and that’s the way it should be).
- …among other things.
Since we’re traveling to see friends & family, and the pets have been a huge news item recently, I’ve been uploading a lot of video footage of our pets to Google Video so we can show them off wherever we are. Go here to see is Rusty the Doxen rolling around on the floor, as only a weenie could. In the sidebar of that video page, it should show “More From This User”, so you can find all the other super-cute pet videos from there. Enjoy!
Posted in Family/Friends, Ministry
Tagged Atlanta, BBQ, Carter Presidential Library, Catalyst Conference, Doxen, Friends, Pets, Puppy, Six Flags, Vacation
Have you seen those yellow silicone wristbands that seemingly everyone wears? They say “Live Strong” on them and they were inspired by Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Well, a Catalyst speaker came up with the Live Strong bands. That man is Kevin Carroll. Kevin was the head athletic trainer for the Philadelphia 76ers when Nike founder Phil Knight personally approached him to come work for the shoe giant to inspire creative change. In 2004, Kevin left Nike to found his own brand, the Katalyst Consultancy. He’s worked with The Discovery Channel, Capital One, Disney, the NHL, and Starbucks, to name a few. Kevin’s most satisfying work, however, is his role advising Right to Play, a global outreach organization that hosts events like the “Homeless World Cup,” where impoverished youth get the chance to indulge in a key human need: play.
Kevin spoke to us from a secular standpoint, but his ideas are one thing from the conference where I personally really need to apply myself. In general, we allow our genius and creative muscle to atrophy. When the message of the Gospel is on the line, how much more important is it for me to exercise the full creativity God has blessed me with? He had about ten major points, but what really stuck with me was Kevin’s optimism about human potential. Through the lens of our faith identity, my version of this principle is that we can bring glory to God by doing our best to maximize the creative potential built into us. One of the chief metaphors describing God throughout Scripture is that of a Master Gardener, a Flawless Cultivator, essentially the First Creator. And we ourselves are created with this image in mind!
A few questions that Kevin left us with: Do you play enough? Because your creativity will die if you don’t play. Do you dream things that realistically shouldn’t happen? Because those are the only things worth dreaming. What if every second of your day was worth a dollar? Because $86,400 is huge sum.
So, what if Christ-followers took that kind of brash creativity and applied it to dwelling on how God has uniquely positioned them to be catalysts for his purposes…