Saturday, July 28, 2012
I don't know who drew it, I don't know who thought it up, I really don't know anything about this hero other than his name and this picture - But Com'on - It's Perfect!
Friday, July 27, 2012
- Pay attention to your character. Trust from others increases as they see that you are the “real deal.” Over time, these people see that your life reflects the virtues of Christ. They can see your genuine intent to live a godly, virtuous, authentic life.
- Pay attention to your relationships. [...]
- Pay attention to your thinking.
I allowed the expanded discussion on the first point because I think it is the single most important matter facing church leadership today. Character is little discussed and often overlooked. Most Christian leaders are good about the big stuff, but often overlook the little stuff when it comes to character. Sure they don't steal, but they are not afraid to shade things when it comes to business negotiations. They won't tell an outright lie, but spin....
The biggest deal is that words and deeds have to match in order to have character. For example - how many leaders talk about the congregation "owning" the church, but make a hash of parliamentary procedure when the congregation stands in their way? Or spend their time with the big donors making the church more oligarchic that democratic?
Character is not a blunt instrument - it is a fine blade. It must be sharpened routinely to be maintained. Otherwise, trust is non-existent.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Being Genuinely Protestant
I continue this overview of how emphases in the historic tradition of Lutheranism have helped me with many concerns I’ve expressed about American evangelicalism.Now let's compare this careful reasoning with the reasons most people justify the typical evangelical choice. "I like it. "I have a lot of friends that go there." "The music is good." That would be fine if a few years later such people started to sound a little more like Chaplain Mike.
Thus far, I have introduced the following elements…
Today, let me begin to say a few words about some other theological distinctives upon which Lutherans focus.
- How I came to peace with finding a tradition,
- How I appreciate the priority of Word and Table liturgical worship in the Lutheran tradition,
- How I affirm their emphasis on pastoral ministry,
- How I love their healthy view of Christian vocation in the world.
- First, the centrality of Christ. [...]
- Second, distinguishing Law and Gospel. [...]
But more note that Mike talks about things other than himself - and that is the real key. If the church is not making of us people that think about something besides ourselves, then the church is failing.
As the mainlines die and all that is left of Protestantism is Evangelicalism, the church will have lost something vital. Protestantism will have become "Christianity Lite" instead of the "Christianity Reformed" it was supposed to be. Luther and Calvin would be ashamed.
Related Tags: Illuminated Scripture
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
What Makes It Last?
Here's what concerns me - why is the church a "trendy" institution? The church is the institution that holds and exists solely to maintain and proclaim the bedrock truth of our lives. That is not a trendy thing. In fact if the church has to follow trends to to fulfill that primary function then it may not be possessing that which it is supposed to possess.
Further, can a church that is trendy truly fulfill its mission. Jethani closes his posts with an anecdote:
Kallestad began networking around the country looking for a young pastor he could bring onboard and eventually hand the church over to. One conversation stuck with him.Trends are not truth. Trends can service the truth, but they often end up hiding it. It is time for the church to focus on the truth.
“It’s a pretty good opportunity,” Walt said. “We have 187 acres just of a major freeway, multipurpose buildings, and a great staff.”
The leader looked him in the eyes and said, “Who’d want it? Who in their right minds would want to run that?”
“That’s when it dawned on me,” Kallestad reflected. “By the time we service the $12-million debt, pay the staff, and maintain the property, we’ve spent more than a million before we can spend a dime on our mission. At the time, we had plans for a spectacular worship center with a retractable roof. After that conversation, I scrapped it.”
Further it is time for the church to let the truth transform us. IF we are winsome, the church is winsome and trends are unnecessary.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Thus, the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane demands more than an objective, safe, dispassionate response. We miss the point if we stand back and say, “Jesus died for the sin of the world. That’s the truth.” In fact, Jesus died for your sin and mine. Jesus entered into the Hell of separation from the Father so we would never have to do so. This means that you can have an intimate, genuine, lasting relationship with God, one that is not prevented or destroyed because of your sin. It means you can come before God’s throne of grace, boldly sharing all that you are, knowing in advance that you will receive mercy and find grace to help in your time of need (Heb. 4:16).How hard has Jesus hit you? No, I mean really hit you? I am not talking about something at church touch you emotionally, I mean have you come to understand Christ's suffering?
Most of us respond to the stories of the Bible and especially those of Christ in two ways. One is we feel loved somehow. The second is what Mark describes as "objective, safe, dispassionate." But what I am talking about is feeling just a piece of the pain that Christ felt. Christ carried the pain of all mankind of His shoulders at Gethsemane - have you felt just the part that belonged to you?
Don't rush to the resurrection, experience that pain that would have been yours had Christ not gotten to the resurrection. From that pain is born humility and from that humility can be born depths of relationship with Christ you have previously not known.
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Monday, July 23, 2012
So Much Of Value
All Christian organizations are encouraged to develop a statement of faith that lets others know what our core values are. As the CEO of a small organization I also know the importance of what is commonly called an elevator speech, a short succinct statement of who we are and what we believe that is intended to grab our audience and make them want to join us in the journey.Don't know where to start with this.
Rarely however are we encouraged to develop as similar statement for our personal faith. What do we believe and why? Some of the prayers I have written reflect my own attempts to write personal a personal statement of faith that reflects my core beliefs, but many statements of faith have been written over the years by far wiser heads than mine. The Apostles and Nicene creed, are still used as the basis for statements of faith by most Christian not for profits. I think however that they could do with a little modern interpretation so they resonate in our souls and inspire us. Reviewing them is a good starting place when reflecting on our own core values however.
There is very much to be said about the value of developing a personal creedal statement of some sort. But why modify the ancient creeds. Why cannot the personal and the ancient build on each other? The ancient can remain unchanged and the modern/personal can provide the "updates."
One of the primary functions of an institution is the PRESERVATION of truth - not necessarily its discovery. A lot of truth has been known for a very long time. It does not need new interpretation it needs study and understanding.
We so often change when we need simply to understand. It is we that need to change.