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Archive for July, 2010

A Week Off

I will be taking a week off from the blog this next week.  I will be in prayer for you throughout the week.  I ask that you pray for my family and me as we have some time to be together.  The primary need in our lives right now is refreshment and renewal.

I look forward to being back at the keyboard in a week and let you know about all the things God does this next week.

Be blessed!

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Living Spiritually

I have the unbelievable opportunity this morning to speak before close to 100 Christian church administrators, executive pastors and CFO’s from churches all over the United States in a workshop at the NACBA conference in Orlando, Florida.  I humbly covet your prayers.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to talk about something I am extremely passionate about – spiritual progression.

The title for the talk is “The Spiritual Life of the Administrator.”  However, I am going to try and convince everyone that there should be no such thing as a “spiritual side” to anyone.  But rather, we should all seek to live spiritually instead.

How about you?  Is there a distinction between your spiritual life and your work life or your school life or your home life?

Jesus wants us to live life for him all the time in all forms – not just when we are at church.

Live spiritually today!

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I don’t know how many times I have actually had the privilege of being in the same room and hearing Reggie McNeal speak before, but I am never disappointed.  He is a charismatic and straightforward communicator, leader, missional church guru and just plain fun to listen to.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to hear him again.  He captivated the room.  The problem is, most everything he says normally makes me uncomfortable because he has a way of attacking my preconceived ideas of what church is really all about.

He asked the question, “How is it that American churches brought in over 100 billion dollars last year but yet the average church in America is plateaued or dying; while at the same time, Christianity in India and China is growing like crazy with little to no budget?  How can that be?”

He went on to make the statement that the church does not have a mission but rather, the mission has a church.

As I have reflected on all the things Reggie said, I have been uncomfortable and I am having a hard time getting over it.

How much longer will we continue to struggle to maintain the structure we have built that we call the church, when all along, people are living and dying without the hope that only God can give?

Maybe its time to be the church outside the building and worry less about the building itself.

Just a thought!

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Who Are You?

I was sitting in a meeting yesterday in which the speaker asked the question, “Who are you?”

He then went on to suggest that some might answer that question by stating, “I am __________.”  (fill in your name)

Others might answer, “I am a __________.”  (fill in your occupation)

Or maybe, one might answer, “I am a  ____________.”  (fill in the state you are from)

Shouldn’t our answer be more in line with something like, “I am a follower of the Way – Jesus.”

The point is this: our identity is often wrapped up in many things and often the environment or situation may shape our identity.

Our true identity should be wrapped up solely in Jesus Christ.

What or who identifies you?

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In the book of Micah, we find an interesting portrayal of a mock trial (you can read the story here) in which God brings a case against the people of Israel.  It is a descriptive account of God standing to state the case before the mountains and hills.

God points out that the people of Israel have been protected and shown provision through many situations from the exodus event from Egypt to the freedom from slavery and yet they have forgotten all of God’s blessings.

The people are then allowed to reply.  The reply comes in the form of a frustrated series of questions:  “What do you want from us – our first born?”

God probably should have smitten the people then but that is not what happened.  Instead, God gave an answer that is just as applicable and important today as it was in the day of the writing of the book of Micah.  Verse 8 of Micah chapter 6 says this:  “He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Act justly – handle yourself in such a way that you treat each person with whom you come in contact with respect and proper dignity.  This includes standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Love mercy – this may be more focused on the way we react to the way we are treated but also serves as a reminder to show others mercy.

Walk humbly with your God – a reminder that our lives are not our own.  This life is not about you or me, it is about pleasing God and working to further God’s plan and Kingdom.  Often, when we get caught up in serving God, piety can creep in and unchecked can turn to spiritual arrogance.  God says, “No!  Walk with me but do it in humility.”

Remember today, God’s expectations are really pretty simple – not easy – but simple.

Go out and act justly, love mercy and walk humbly today!

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Last night I had a very strange thing happen to me.  I have been battling strep throat since last Thursday.  I am on the downhill side, two shots and several pills later (thanks again Greg!).

As a result of the sore throat and the medication, I have some sores in my mouth as well.  I was getting ready for bed and after brushing my teeth, I decided I needed to rinse my mouth with mouthwash.  Key point to the story – I had already taken out my contact. I looked through my shaving kit and found some trial size bottles.  One said “Wash” in big letters and I could not make out the smaller ones.  I suppose my first clue should have been when I had to really squeeze to get the contents of the bottle to drop into my mouth.  Unfortunately for me, I had a mouthful before I realized it wasn’t mouthwash.

Yeah, in case you are wondering, shampoo is not a good substitute for mouthwash – I think I could still blow bubbles if I really tried.  All because I couldn’t see clearly.

How often are you caught off guard because of faulty vision or understanding?  The great thing is that as long as we take the time to spend in God’s word and in contemplating God’s leadership in our lives through prayer, we will have clear vision and solid understanding.

Take some time to work on your vision today – trust me, the alternative is not pleasant!

Be blessed today!

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Bloody Knuckles

There was a game we used to play as kids.  It was called “Bloody Nuckles.”  Anyone remember the game?  This will show my age but remember the day when if you were cool you carried a comb with a handle in your back pocket?  If you were really cool, your comb had a long enough handle that it stuck out just a little bit above the top of your pocket.

It was just a guy thing, but the game was a reflex game.  One person would hold out his hand, make a fist and then balance the comb across the back of his hand.  The object was for the other guy to grab the comb and whack the hand with it before the other guy could pull away.  If you flinched and dropped the comb it meant a free hit across the knuckles.

Quite the sadistic game I know but I confess – it was the thing to do (what can I say, I grew up in a town that had little to do).

I thought I had outgrown such childish and painful games but I have recently found a grown-up guy game that is just as sadistic and painful.  Most people call it plumbing repair under the kitchen sink but I know better – it is just a form of the old game Bloody Knuckles.

Do you have any home improvement war stories?  I would love to hear them – it might make me feel less of a failure!

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