Friday, June 30, 2006

Moving to a New Location

I've moved my blog thoughts to a new site on Wordpress. Wordpress offered a few new bells and whistles that I like. It doesn't seem to have as many skins or templates, but seems to work a bit more regularly. They probably don't have the big bucks and support that Blogger gets from the Google shop, but, for now it just works. So, loyal readership (which is now up to 7 I think), please bookmark the new site. I've still got lots of random musings ... and I might even get my lovely bride to post more often.

Three Helpful Thoughts

It is a human tendency to attribute the worst possible motives for behavior in others that we do not undestand. - Wayne Rice, Junior High Ministry. I worked with teenagers for 25 years so I have a fairly large collection of insights from youth ministry "gurus". Reviewing my journal, this was a very timely reminder. God alone knows the ture, deepest, motives of others. When I put this thought with yesterday's post I get some helpful insight! Years ago while reading Rebuilding Your Broken World by confessed sinner Gordon MacDonald I was struck by his offhanded comment about how when we are in the midst of sin, or when we are covering up sin, we will usually call it something else - indescretion, poor judgement, etc. We will diminish it at every chance. At least that was my interpretation of his parenthecal comment on p. 48). Been there, done that, the T-shirt wasn't worth it. "There are two books that will give into the state of an individual Christian -- his checkbook and his appointment book. Both demontrate his commitments." My pastor said this over 15 years ago, and I have to believe that it is still true. These two (usually secret) things probably say more about my heart than just about anything else.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Little Understanding About Motives

"We judge ourselves by our motives. Other judge us by our actions." I jotted this on a napkin yesterday, but can't remember who wrote it (I've been reading and researching multiple books this week). I think it was from Dan Allender's Leading with a Limp. It is a great insight. It helps me see why, even when I don't do well, I think I've done the right thing. I know my motives (at least to a degree). The only thing those outside can see are my actions. To the degree my motives are unclear, or that my actions are not perceived to be in harmony with my motives, I will be misunderstood. For example, as a leader I hope to make wise choices that are the best even when someone is hurt by that choice. I know my motives, but the action taken feels like an attack to the one hurt, no matter my motive. That's probably why I feel like I need to apologize a lot! As I turn this around and look at other's behavior towards me, I sense the need to work harder at understanding the motives of those who seem to act against me. Of course, maybe they are out to get me ..., but probably not! It is amazing that anyone really gets along. This will be an interesting insight to learn more deeply.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Friend on an Adventure

Tami Dale is a friend, and co-worker. Right now she is on a leave of absence serving Jesus in Kenya. You might find it interesting to see what God is teaching her about thankfulness, prayer, and even mosquitos.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Future Trust

"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." These words, which I believe are from Corrie Ten Boom, are true. So much time is wasted trying make our future safe and secure -- OK, I want to make my future a bit more risk-free -- but I've run into a bunch of others that have the same issues. God rarely shows us what our future life and ministry might contain. I am encouraged by the attitude of my wife and many of the hurting women she works with. They have adopted the principle behind God's promise to Israel in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (ESV). God re-affirms to His people that despite the terrible situation in which they find themselves - even if due to their failure - He has plans for them that are not evil. A promise that can only be believed if we believe in the goodness and faithfulness of God. There are days when the future looks unclear, and all the choices seem to be poor. There are times that others choices seem to destroy and disrupt our lives. There are days that seem to be "foggy" rather than clear and the destination is unclear. But if we know our God we can boldly walk into the unknown despite the risk.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Wasted Life

Pastors often get discouraged thinking they could be 'more useful with more people'. Many Christians (pastor or otherwise) feel that they would be of much more effect if they could serve God somewhere that their gifts might make a greater impact. No one wants to waste their life. In that light I find this quote a powerful reminder that I am but a servant: Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say--God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts his saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest). In light of all the purpose-driven madness in the church, it might be good to edit Chambers and note that the "judgement of the world" may now include "judgement of church growth experts."

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Christians

Twenty years ago Paul Borthwick made the following distinction in A Mind for Missions: A Worldly Christian is motivated from a basically selfish preoccupation. He looks to Scripture for personal blessing. Looks to God and the Bible primarily for personal fulfillment. Sees the Christian faith as a way to ‘get God on his or her side.’ World Christians are day-to-day disciples for whom Christ’s global cause has become the integrating, overriding priority for all that he is to them. I liked - still do - the term “world Christian” (or “global Christian”) and I used it regularly in the youth ministries I developed. Students, along with adults, seemed to capture the vision and passionately engaged in the cause. This is more than just supporting missionaries. Or being missions-minded. It is a priority commitment to bringing the power of the gospel to those places and peoples who have not heard. It is a commitment to affirm and strengthen local churches and leaders all around the world – helping them bring the truth of Christ to their own people. It is the recognition that the world begins right outside our own homes and churches and that we have a mission field right there. The term may not be meaningful any longer (or so I'm told), but the concept is still true. And each of us should discover the part God would have us play in his world-sized drama.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Target of Opportunity?

Leadership has been described as wearing a bulls-eye on your chest during hunting season.” I’ve heard this quote before, most recently by Dan Allender in Leading with a Limp. Some days it seems quite true me. Not always because someone in my circle is out to take me out, or someone in our church, but because we have a very real enemy who would love for me to be less than effective. Of course, the enemy, aka Satan, often uses people and circumstances to bring discouragement or confusion or something worse. He can also just make sure that I begin to second guess the grace of God and His strength made perfect in my weakness. The easiest thing to do would be to get out of the forest, away from the danger of being hunted. Some days that might even be best. I think that I’m called to the forest though, hunters or not, and I need to keep my eyes open and trust God to cover me, and pray that my friends will help watch my back.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Four Things to Think About

Most Christians today seem to desire sentimentality rather than sacrifice – from the Wittenburg Door, October 1986. Sadly, twenty years later, I think this is still true. You can’t convince people that you are wonderful and that Jesus is wonderful in the same sermon – Tony Campolo. However, the temptation to do so is great every time we teach. Some people invest in the flesh all week long, then they go to church on Sunday praying for a crop failure – J. Vernon McGee in a sermon at Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles. Tradition is the living faith of saints now dead. Traditionalism is the dead faith of those now living. Chuck Swindoll

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Eclectic Thoughts

Eclectic Thoughts for Reflection

If you make people think they’re thinking they’ll love you. If you make them think they’ll hate you – Howard Hendricks (at an unremembered seminar).

The average pagan is interested in hearing more of the gospel than most of us aren’t sharing – Hendricks again.

Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man – C.S. Lewis.

It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God – Robert Murray McCheynne.

I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence – Publius.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Two More Thoughts

The problems with taking ourselves too seriously are countless. Afraid to fail, we no longer risk. Afraid that someone will see behind our image, we no longer share. Afraid that we will appear to need help, we can no longer be vulnerable. Afraid to not appear religious enough to some, we can no longer confess. We withdraw into a petty world consumed with emptiness and fear, covered with a thick shell, worshiping an impotent god. The tragic result of taking ourselves too seriously is that in our fear of becoming childlike, in our fear of becoming a fool for Christ, in our fear of being seen as we are, we discover all too late it's impossible to be fully human and fully alive. Tim Hansel, When I Relax I Feel Guilty. The more we clamor to be in charge the more we squeeze the life out of everything that is precious to us. Ignoring Jesus' mandate that he be glorified in our weaknesses, we try to glorify God in the worldlinesss of our strengths by being in control .... sometimes God must wound us to teach us relinquishment. There is a welcome relief when we realize that we don't have to be God. thought from Becky Pippert quoted in The Power Delusion

Friday, June 02, 2006

Quotes Recorded in My Journals Past

I collect quotes from my reading in my journal. It is often helpful, encouraging, or convicting to re-read those notes and quotes. “The finest test of the consecration of a minister of Christ is not in his public performances, but in what he does when the world is not looking” – Charles Jefferson, The Minister as Shepherd. I read this as a much younger leader when it was given to me by John MacArthur. An older book but one I’ve re-read at least a dozen times. The principles are timeless. “To measure the size of a man one needs merely to measure the size of the things that irritate him.” Unknown. I am often smaller than I would wish.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Chaos of the Cognitive

Chaos of the Cognitive is a surprise. I didn't know it existed until I found a link on another blog. This writer is creative, enjoyable, authentic, encouraging, and related to me! There are some great insights here from a very wonderful young woman. She has another blog as well that demonstrates even more of her creative side. All this from someone who keeps pretty active and busy. As her profile says: "I am quite the busy girl--between working at Starbucks, attending school at Imago Dei Institute for a Biblical Studies degree, working with the Junior High girls at my church, and holding on to some remnent of a social life. I still dream of someday being a rock star or nascar driver though :)." I'm kinda hoping the Nascar stuff doesn't come through ... but this sweetheart is making a difference in lives already. A lot like her friend and mentor (and my fellow-servant on staff at Crossroads Bible Church) Tami.