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FAITH is Focusing on Gods Authority Rather Than My Own Ability

We get in the way of our own faith when we are focused so much on ourselves that we can’t focus on God: We focus on our material needs instead of our spiritual needs  We focus on what we want from God instead of what God wants from us  We focus on what we are capable of accomplishing instead of what God has already accomplished  We focus on our own righteousness instead of Christ’s righteousness in us  Jesus told us to focus on our Father’s authority instead of our own ability: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t w

5 Questions That Make Church People Uncomfortable

1. From what SPECIFICALLY did Jesus save you? A while ago, I talked to someone after church who was convinced that salvation didn’t necessarily bring life change. She was already a pretty moral person. If you don’t know what sin Jesus saved you from, you don’t know why you need salvation. Besides, we don’t like thinking about our own sinfulness. 2. Whom did you invite into relationship with Jesus this week? Even though this is the prime directive for Jesus followers (see Matthew 28:19-20), Christians (self-included) only find time for this activity on very rare occasions. 3. What needs do you have? Church people are pretty famous for not having any problems. We like to show up looking our best, and behaving our best and saying “fine” about thirty times when people as how we are. It’s strange that the one place on earth where we should wide open about how broken we are is the one place where it is socially inappropriate to admit neediness. 4. How can I pray for you to hav

Everyone Should Be Part of a Braid

  Who are the other strands in your life's rope? Into whose life are you closely braided? Does this principle describe your family life?   Posted with Blogsy

The Four Stages of Generosity

We all want to be generous people, but generosity is not something that we acquire overnight. We are by nature self-centered, and so it is counter-intuitive for us to be generous. Below are four stages we can work through to develop generosity in our life. 1. Satisfaction. "I don't need anything else in order to be happy and fulfilled." Adam and Eve had everything they needed in the garden, but they wanted more. They wanted to be like God. Rather than be satisfied, they instead chose to covet. We can never be generous if we aren't first satisfied. 2. Contentment. "Even if I lost everything, I could still be happy and fulfilled." This is a big step up from satisfaction. Job experienced loss unlike most people could ever imagine. Yet he realized that his joy and his fulfillment didn't come from anything he owned or any relationship he had. They came from God. As long as Job was able to focus on God's character and promises, he was able to be

Before You Slumber. Take a Moment...

Breathe out. Breathe in. Exhale the carbon dioxide in your body. Inhale the pure oxygen your lungs are craving. As you breathe out, let go. As you breathe in, embrace. Let go of the day’s pain and trouble and disappointment. Embrace tomorrow’s joy and possibilities, and excitement. Let go. Embrace. Exhale. Inhale. Breathe out. Breathe in. Sleep well. Posted with Blogsy

Discovering the Joy Filled Life

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. (Psalm 1:1 NLT) Other translations begin this verse with "Blessed is the man..." I like the phrasing of the NLT, "Oh, the joys..." This is a good reminder that the blessed life is a life of joy. Blessings do not necessarily come in the shape of material or financial gain. Blessings are not always related to our circumstances. Blessings do not have to be us receiving something really wanted. However, the blessed life is always a life full of joy. JOY IS NOT RELATED TO OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. ( Here are some other thoughts on "joy" ) Interestingly, in Psalm 1, the author first points to what does NOT bring the joy-filled life (He will use verse 2 to explain the source of the blessed life). Here is the conclusion. Joy is not found in the coalitions you create for your own benefit. I know it maybe doesn't exactly say this, but let m

I Think I'll Write a Book Now.

So, I've been contemplating writing a book. Actually, I've already written a few, but never published them. You can read them in draft form if you want. Formations The DNA of a Healthy Christian Supermodel Jesus But now, I'm going to try my hands at a real book. And if I have the time and endurance, it might even find its way to Amazon... But probably not. Life is usually more important. Ae a faithful reader of this blog, you get to read the first few lines before anyone else. You are welcome: Click. "Son of a..." Owen stopped himself. Even though the words had already completed their course through his mind, they weren't appropriate to leave the mouth of a pastor. "Just what I need", he thought to himself as he turned the key again. Click. He knew it wouldn't make a difference, but he turned the key once more and held it. Click. Click. Click . We'll see what happens. Posted with Blogsy

I took the one less traveled...

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You Are Your Own Worst Enemy!

I saw this little cartoon over at 22words . Frankly, it's brilliant. Marianne and I were just talking tonight about the dangers of "victim" thinking. No matter how much we might want to blame those around us for our troubles, the truth is that most of us... most of the time... are guilty of sabatoging our own lives. How do we stop? The first step is to acknowledge and identify the things we do to ourselves that trip up our lives. Only then can we start taking positive steps to be PROACTIVE in life, rather than REACTIVE. Screen capture from my IPad. Original source is unknown.   Posted with Blogsy

Have You Ever Heard Me Speak? Did You Not Hate It?

Have you heard me speak? If you don't hate listening to me, would you consider taking a minute to complete the survey below. I hope to use some of the answers as I put together my "introduction packet" I will send to churches/camps/organizations where I may have the opportunity to speak. (if you can add your name, if that's uncomfortable for you, that's okay also!) Thank you in advance! Loading...

3 Relationships That Enable Christians To Develop Spiritual Maturity

Over the years, I've done a little bit of thinking about what "spritual maturity" looks like, particularly within the context of a church community. Here's some (not all) thoughts I've had. True spiritual maturity happens through a process we often call discipleship. They type of discipleship Jesus modeled for us was dependent on relationships. Therefore spiritual maturity happens as people are connected to one another. I believe these connections can be identified in three relationships every Christ-follower engages in: A relationship with God which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:30) A relationship with our neighbors which is characterized by love. (Mark 12:31) A relationship with other believers which is characterized by love. (John 13:34) Walking the right path can enable a person to develop these three relationships in a healthy manner. Here are five maturity-producing activities which can assist any believer in growing the three relationsh

6 Things Every Leader Must Do

Not everyone can be a leader all the time, however, at some point in their life most people engage in leadership. When you find yourself leading, consider these six "must-do" activities. 6 Exercises to Cultivate Team Excellence Establish a clear direction. I did not say "choose a direction" or "proclaim a direction". A good leader does not set agendas himself, he observes and listens to his followers/team and establishes a direction which reflects everyone's gifts and passions. Before you can be a vision-caster, you must learn to be a vision-collector. Explain with precision the roles of those you are guiding. Most people simply want to know what is expected of them. They want to know how they will be evaluated, and they want to know what they can do to help accomplish the "win." While a leader may fully succeed in getting the right people in the right seats on the bus, if he doesn't clearly communicate the expectation, he will

What Once Was Lost Has Now Been Found!

A little over fifteen years ago, Marianne and I moved to Muskegon with nothing to our name but tiny red-headed baby doll and a bunch of hospital bills from her birth. We bought a modest home and began our Muskegon-life together. I had my dream job. I worked at my alma mater, and got to teach the Bible to teenagers five times every day. I was helping disciple several young people, and on the weekends I got to serve in a pastoral role for middle schoolers. During these two years I created a four year Bible curriculum for Christian high school students. I had never completed such a large project, and in the process I discovered a passion for writing and creating educational materials. Even to this day, I consider that project one of my favorites of all time. After two short years in that role, I shifted directions and became the Pastor of Student Ministries at my church. I was still working with some of the same students, as well as many other amazing kids from other schools; but my

Your Reputation May Be Damaging the Reputation of God

Have you ever considered the idea that God's reputation is not tied to His character, but rather is tied to the behavior of His people? No one can control their own reputation. Of course, I need to clarify that anyone's "reputation" is not necessarily an accurate portrayal of who they are. It is simply what people think of them. And everyone's reputation will vary from person to person, depending on what each person has allowed to influence their opinion. God's reputation is largely derived from the way His people have represented Him over the ages . Is it any wonder, then, that in some quarters His reputation among people is not equal to His actual greatness? How damaging to the reputation of God have been the inquisition, the crusades, slavery, and opposition to civil rights? How much does God's reputation suffer when those who claim to follow Him spend all their time picking fights, gossiping, and asserting their superiority over others? On th

Three Minutes

Three minutes. Three minutes of just writing whatever comes to my mind. This was an awkward day. Waking up full of hope, excited about the possibilities. Anticipating discussions about the future and the kingdom... Hopes for that path dashed by 9am. Everything goes south from there. I can't get the blood tests I need at the place I need to get them. My doctor's office can't find the paperwork I need. I feel like I'm a 75 year old trying to negotiate through Obamacare's regulations... Will we even talk about Obamacare when I'm 75? I can't even begin to think about what the USA will look like in 35 years. In truth, I don't much care. In 35 years, my children will possibly have children. I hope they are better than I. They have so much potential and talent, and they are so gifted. I want nothing more than to see them chase their dreams and their gifts. When our dreams and our gifts don't match, we are either misinterpreting our dreams

The Truth About Those Who Call Themselves "Moderates"

There are no true moderates. Therefore we should all strive for moderation. Those who consider themselves to be moderates pretend to agree with everyone. In reality, a moderate is someone with whom no one can agree. Those who practice moderation have simply chosen to be agreeable. Moderation is the recognition that too much of a good thing might actually be a bad thing. Therefore, the person who lives a life of moderation chooses to sometimes refrain from "good" things for the sake of not being over-indulgent. A moderate thinks everyone should share his opinion because he has found the perfect "middle ground". A person of moderation recognizes that everyone may not share his opinion, and therefore he refrains from excessive opining... Even if he is right! Choose moderation in all things. And BEWARE THE MODERATE!   Posted with Blogsy

The Succesful Path Through Life Is Often Not What You Think

There seem to be many who judge success (both others and their own) based on the accumulation of quantifiable gain. In other words, people who get more stuff (or money) are more successful. A close cousin of this mentality is the pragmatic thought process which identifies success as “whatever works”. Are you on the right path? We are all prone to slip into these thought processes. Why wouldn’t we? If a certain path produces the results we want, why wouldn’t we take it? If the road we are traveling leads to financial security and material gain, why would we abandon it? I’m as guilty as the next person of choosing a direction because I think it will work, or because I’m seeking material gain. But, my own inconsistency doesn’t blind me from the truth that I am sometimes wrong, and there IS a better path. Sometimes, I just need to write this stuff to remind me of what my spirit knows is true despite what my heart may tell me. Consider these three reasons why success is not always what we

Too Many People Treat Jesus the Same Way They Treat Bacon

I don't remember where I saw this, but I guess someone is now serving ice cream with bacon. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It seems perhaps to be a bit of bacon overkill. Now I love bacon as much as the next guy. In fact, I probably love it more than the next guy does. But sometimes I wonder if the "bacon makes everything better" train is about to jump the tracks. Bacon is great with beans, or pancakes, or in mashed potatoes... But ice cream? I think that might be a stretch. I haven't always thought this way, but I'm starting to wonder whether or not bacon really does make everything better. See, I think some people like bacon. And I think some people LOVE bacon. Those who just like bacon combine it with everything on an attempt to make everything taste better. But those who LOVE bacon don't combine it with anything. They don't think bacon makes ice cream better... They think ice cream ruins bacon. I think they might be right. Some people take th

Justice Sometimes Takes Forever

A justice (of sorts) was provided today for the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster nearly 25 years ago. Apologies were issued from England's Prime Minister as well as the editor responsible for the vicious and deceptive lies published by the Sun newspaper. Among the more shocking revelations was one that police actually engaged in background checks of those who had died in an effort to smear their reputation. Even if you aren't familiar with this story, it is a powerful reminder that there are people in this world who use every means possible to advance themselves and protect their reputation. Sometimes the truth is a long time in coming (even 25 years or more!). But it is comforting to have the great hope that God knows all, and He is not surprised or concerned! Read the report here.   Posted with Blogsy

Be Careful of Those Who Are Not What They Claim

Have you seen this somewhat sad but unbelievably funny story? Just because someone says they are qualified to restore classic artwork doesn't mean she really is... Read the story here.

The Next Chapter...

This morning at Calvary, I announced that I was stepping down as a pastor at Calvary Church. I know that for some this is a sad and confusing time, but in some ways this is a good ending to a mostly great chapter of our life. We are anticipating a new future, and are anxious to see what God has for us. You can read my letter to the congregation here .  Below are some answers to other questions you might have. Why are you leaving? Endings are a necessary and healthy part of life’s cycles. I’ve been on staff at Calvary for over 15 years; in that amount of time, one can find many reasons to “leave”. The truth is that there is not any one reason, but many things have contributed to this decision. Most importantly, I believe this is the best thing for Calvary Church, the best thing for my family and I, and the way I can most bring glory to God at this point in my life. Why now? I recognize this is a difficult time for me to make this decision. It seems as if it is a knee-jerk r

3 Keys to Taking a Mulligan in Life

Many years ago, I was able to golf fairly often and therefore, became fairly competant. Sadly, many days have passed since then and my game has gotten quite rusty. Recently, a friend asked me to join him one morning for a round on the links, and so with a bit of apprehension I met up with him at the first tee. It didn't go well. I hit my tee shot very solidly… and very far left. It's never good when the starter (who sees every tee shot of the day) says, "You won't be finding that one." Fortunately, my friend believes in "mulligans". You may not be familiar with that term. A mulligan is golf lingo for a "do-over". Many golfers use them on the first tee of the day, but some choose to save them and use them later in the round. I've been with some golfers who have not just used mulligans, but have also invoked hooligans, shenanigans, and doagains. The beauty of a mulligan is that you can prete

I Shall Have My Revenge

I shall have my revenge I'm not sure I have the quote exactly right, but in the movie Gladiator , Russell Crowe's character says something to the effect of, "I am husband to a murdered wife, father to a murdered son and I shall have my revenge in this life or the next. " I am typically not a big fan of vengeance. It's not usually a wise course of action. However, yesterday this quote came to mind while I was delivering some money to a friend (wisdom side note: never loan money to a friend. Give it to them. If they pay you back, you still have your money but if they don't you still ave your friend ). I thought to myself, "the person who is giving this gift isn't expecting to be paid back, but they will be… In this life or the next. In This Life or the Next Sometimes we live as if we only believe in this life. We make no provisions or plans for the next life. Sometimes we are so focused on taking care of ourselves

Don't Let Your Life Become a Money Pit!

Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish Avoid the Money-Pit. My grandfather used to say to me, "Don't be penny wise and pound foolish." (I'm guessing this expression dates back to mother-England and their monetary standard, "the pound) I think he was telling me not to waste all my money on baseball cards. Common wisdom in those days was that if I started saving that money at the age of 8, the compound interest would make me a millionaire by the age of 23… I have a lot of baseball cards. I've seen the penny wise/pound foolish phenomenon played out on a larger scale as well. People find their "dream house" for an incredible price, only to discover it's actually a nightmare money pit . High school grads choose to jump into the workforce rather than go to college because they can be making $12 an hour instead of paying to sit in class… 20 years later they wonder why they are only making $12.25 and hour. Undoubtedly, we can all l

Don't Be Stupid: Embrace Criticism

Dont Be Stupid. Allow people to correct you. "Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult; whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse. Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:7, 8 NIV84) What is your first reaction when someone suggests you have done something wrong? Do you argue? Become defensive? Pout? Or do you give them a hug? It is very difficult to respond well to a person who corrects you. Even if we know they love us (and if we know they are right), it still hurts to feel that we don't measure up. Ironically, most of us would embrace the idea that we are sinful people who have missed the mark God has set for us. Yet, for some reason we are more sensitive to the idea that we fall short of other's standards than we are about the expectations of God . The Mocker Four main characters play the starring roles in the book of Proverbs. The wise man, the simple ma

7 Stupid Things You Can Do To Sabotage Your Life

I've been thinking about writing a lot more about Proverbs. It's a great book, and has been very helpful for me over the past couple years. I may title some of these posts Don't Be Stupid . I'm going to start with a list (because I love lists). 7 stupid things you can do to sabotage your life. Follow the convenient road instead of the path of wisdom. Satisfy your cravings instead of your needs. Hold yourself to a lower standard than that to which you hold others. Believe the first thing you hear. Lie. Pursue popularity. Expect to always receive exactly what you've earned. There are lots of other stupid things you an do as well. But these ones seem to be pretty common… At least they are for me. I would recommend you seek to avoid them. Sent from my iPad

The Essence of True Leadership

LEADERSHIP: More than just Influence Leadership is not just "influence." It is not just recruiting, training, and unleashing other leaders. It is more than just multiplying oneself. The essence of true leadership is summarized brilliantly in Proverbs 31. This is a series of proverbs which were designed to equip King Lemuel to be a wise and godly leader. He was taught: Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;   Ensure justice for those being crushed.   Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice .   If you can't do this... Don't lead. (quotation from Proverbs 31:8-9 NLT)

7 Helpful Hints For Developing Your Personal Bible Study Time

Most Christians believe they should read God's Word. Most Christians believe they would benefit from spending time every day in God's Word. Few Christians spend much if any time reading the Bible on a daily basis. Here are seven steps you can take to help you develop your own time of reading, studying, and living out God's Word. 1. Lengthen Your Day If you don't have time to read your Bible, make more time.  Set your alarm clock to wake you 30 minutes earlier than normal. You can still shower and make your coffee first (that way you'll be awake when you sit down to read), but you now have 30 minutes you didn't previously have. This is a minor change that allows you to not give up anything, but still start something new. Before you complain that 30 minutes early is really inconvenient, think for a minute about what you're trying to do. You're trying to find time to read the most important words ever written in the history of mankind... You ca

2 Must Have Experiences for a Successful Life

O God, I beg two favors from you; Let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Where is the LORD?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name. (Proverbs 30:7-9 NLT )

What If...? (six years later)

----- I first wrote this on June 15, 2006. ----- What if it was a goal of our church to launch one new "community impact center" every year? What if "community impact center" (hereafter CIC) was just a fancy name for a new way of thinking about church? What if these CICs were launched in areas that most needed to experience the new life brought by Jesus (read: impoverished areas; high crime areas; etc.)? What if a major part of the DNA of every CIC was that it would launch a new CIC somewhere else within its first three years? What if that was possible because we unleashed 75-100 people to launch a CIC, and they committed to begin the process of launching a new one as soon as they had 300 regular participants? What if we could launch an autonomous CIC in Muskegon for less than $500,000? What if that CIC included a building which housed a community activity center that was open ever day and could serve as a third place for the surrounding neighborh

Your Anger is a Demonstration of What You Love

Have you ever been so mad that you... ? People do funny things when they are angry. They throw things and hit things and say things they will inevitably regret a short time later. I've known several "manly" men who have broken their hands, fingers and wrists because they punched a wall in anger. Jesus once made a whip and attacked a group of store owners. Does that mean it's okay to get angry? In Ephesians, Paul wrote that we should be careful that in our anger we do not sin. We must never let our anger control us. Anger can be a very destructive force, and usually in the hands of humans it is a negative thing; yet Jesus' anger can actually tell us something about God's love. Anger is often tied directly to love . If our dog Emily eats Liam's dinner while he's not watching he may or may not get angry. If dinner was my world famous spinach, hummus, and okra casserole; Liam will not get angry with the dog. He doesn't love that dish. Bu

American Pickers, Hoarders, and Water to Wine

Jesus makes all things new. His VERY FIRST miracle (recorded in John 2) was turning the water to wine. This wasn't just any old water. It was the water used for ceremonial cleansing prior to celebrations and meals. So think about this: The water used to clean our exterior was changed into WINE, which when internalized brings joy! Jesus was making things new. No longer did people need to strive to make themselves externally clean. That wasn't working anyway! Now, Jesus was going to miraculously change us from the inside out. Just as He miraculously changed the very nature of water, He also changes our nature. It's tempting to hold on to the old. We are, by nature, people who relish the past. American Pickers, Hoarders, Storage Wars, and Auction Kings are just a few of the recent television shows which reflect this tendency of humans to place a high value on the old way. We all have "old" things in our life which we like to hang on to. But it's IM

Avoid the Path That Leads to Death!

Thursday night at Camp Barakel, I talked with just the senior high guys. We discussed the direction of their lives by using a metaphor common to camp, the path. Here are the key ideas: 1. The paths you choose in life will determine your destination Every decision you make is a choice to follow a path that is leading you somewhere. Your life's destination will be the culmination of all those decisions. 2. Every path leads to a destination Some may think they can just "enjoy life" for a season and their decisions won't have consequences until they are "grown up". Wrong... If you choose the path of hard work and discipline your destination will be significantly different than he who chooses the path of parties and night life. 3. You may not see the destination, but you can see the path You must be careful about the path you walk as it may lead you somewhere different than you think. We used the youth from Proverbs 7 as an example. The path he chose L

You Can't Have Faith Without Obedience

A few years ago, I walked out the front door of my parent's house to go get ice-cream with my siblings and their families. As I walked toward my car, the garage door began going up, allowing the rest of my family to exit to their cars. I glanced over to see my son and my nephew hanging from the rising door, eyes wide with the excitement of their new game. LIAM! NO! GET DOWN! It probably wasn't the time for me to reason with him, or request obedience. He was in immediate danger, and had no idea. I'm glad to report that sensing the urgency in my voice, he let go and ran to my side. I explained that he could have really hurt himself, and that kids get hurt in garage door accidents all the time. Then I thanked him for obeying so quickly even though he didn't know why. As parents, we often know what is better for our children than they do. I'll never understand the parents who don't discipline or say "no" to their children for some of the following

The Solution for All Relational Dysfunction

Jesus. That was easy, right. Seriously, Jesus is the answer, or better yet, Jesus' attitude is the answer. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Just list-thinking out loud here; but, recognizing that we all take different lengths of time to assume the attitude of Christ,maybe the path to relational healing looks something like this: Betrayal. Most relational dysfunction begins when one party feels betrayed by another. Whether it is a "behind the back"

13 12 Sermon Series I'd Like to Preach Someday

I created this list several years ago. It still applies. Someday I'll do these! Genesis 1-11. The Starting Point. The Prologue : Genesis 1-11. If you don't understand these chapters, you'll struggle to get the rest. We Are People of the Book . God is the author, Men were the conduit, Jesus is the protagonist, Reconciliation is the purpose, the Holy Spirit is the interpreter. Psalm 68 . Ten great sermons about God. God, Sin, and Evil . Even though I've changed my thoughts about the value of certain types of apologetics, I still am who I am; and that means I love to help people understand some of the more difficult things God has revealed to us about himself... 1 Peter . Duh. Ten Topics the Bible Says a Lot About . Grace, Humanity, Evil, Love, Relationships, Redemption, Choices, Marriage, Leadership, Hope. Pierced, Tatooed, and God's Little Black Book . A three-part evangelistic series. John: Conversations with God . Yeah, this title is ripped from that

Forget Your Past, You Don't Get a Mulligan.

Steven Covey suggests four quadrants in which we typically work. Important and urgent Important but not urgent Not Important but urgent Not Important and not urgent He suggests you first accomplish all tasks in the first quadrant (Important and due soon). Once you've finished everything there, you should move into the second quadrant so that you can accomplish important things before they become urgent. Using this process, you might not accomplish the "not important" things... which is okay since they're not important. It wouldn't be a bad idea to consider these quadrants not just in relation to a to-do list, but also as a way to categorize our brain time (the stuff we think about). Here's what I mean: thinking about life stuff that is important and urgent = pressure thinking about life stuff that is important and not urgent = dreaming thinking about life stuff that is not important but urgent = stress thinking about life stuff that is no

How Should We Measure Success in the Church?

Most people measure successful churches by numbers in attendance, balanced budget, size of staff, or impressiveness of facilities. What if we measured success by: The number of cigarette butts in the church parking lot. The number of pictures on the church wall of unwed mothers holding their newborn babies in their arms for the first time. The number of former convicted felons serving in the church The number of phone calls from community leaders asking the church’s advice The number of meetings that take place somewhere besides the church building The number of organizations using the church building The number of days the pastor doesn’t spend time in the church office but in the community The number of emergency finance meetings that take place to reroute money to community ministry

Metaphors for the Church

Metaphor: Church as Corporation. There are two types of people, employees and consumers. There are two types of people, Christ-followers and not Christ-followers. Which are the employees and which are the consumers? Metaphor: Church as Sport. There are two types of people, the team (coaches/athletes/etc.) and the spectators. There are two types of people, regenerate and unregenerate. Which are the team and which are the spectators? Metaphor: Church as Cruise Ship. There are two types of people, cruise staff and cruisers. There are two types of people, those who have the Spirit and those who don't. Which are the cruise staff and which are the cruisers? Metaphor: Church as household. There are two types of people, family and guests of family. There are two types of people, children of God and children of the world. Which are the family and which are the guests? Metaphor: Church as body-builder. There are two types of body-builders, those who work out to