Archive for the ‘church’ Category

Dangerous?

So which is it? Really? With so many people today  accusing the local church of failure to reach them….. is it really the local church?

Matt 22:14
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Quoting Bernie Moore……

“The bible says that He takes us and He breaks us and He takes all the old junk that we used to carry around and then He then puts us back together and fills us with His life, His Holy Spirit, His love, His dreams, His goals, His desires, and then He turns us loose and feeds us to a sea of humanity that’s in need of the Gospel!  The question I ask you today is will you take part in this mission or will you quit and ring the bell when it gets tough and almost unbearable?  Will you stay with it, will you persevere, when others around you are dropping out of the race and screaming for you to do the same, will you listen to them or will you listen to that still small voice inside your heart that says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.  His grace is sufficient for any task or mission that stands in your way.  He says to us all, keep going, don’t quit; the world needs the message that’s alive in your heart!”

Matt. 16:24-25
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
The key for me….is it’s about you and I. It’s about each of us living out a dangerous faith in HIM and having a real relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. Trusting HIM in a dangerous, even perilous way. However,  dangerous church  exists when 2 or more of us gather together in coffee shops, bars, work, and home. There we can  share all our brokenness, how screwed up we are, and even better….celebrate the supernatural “stuff” that God has done, is doing, and will do in the future.  It’s not the building, or Sunday morning experience, or even small groups…..it’s each of us living a dangerous faith daily. Praying, reading, learning and “living sent”.
Almost selfishly, it’s all about me….(and HIM)

-Tom

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The Christmas Story

Posted: December 24, 2009 in church, God, Jesus Christ

 


 

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, 
that all the world should be taxed . 
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  
And all went to be taxed , every one into his own city.  
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, 
which is called Bethlehem;
(because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  
And so it was , that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered .  
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes , and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country 
shepherds abiding in the field , keeping watch over their flockby night.  
And, lo , the angel of the Lord came upon them, 
and the glory of the Lord shone roundabout them: and they were sore afraid. 
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, 
behold , I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  
And this shall be a sign unto you; 
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes , lying in a manger.  
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying ,  
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  
And it came to pass , as the angels were gone away from them into heaven , the shepherds said one to another, 
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass , which the Lord hath made known unto us. 
And they came with haste , and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  
But Mary kept all these things , and pondered them in her heart.  
And the shepherds returned , glorifying and praising God for all the things 
that they had heard and seen ,as it was told unto them.

From Shannon O’Dell who is the Lead Pastor of Brand New Church in Arkansas.

I am learning that every church staff or team must possess these four qualities…actually every organization needs these attributes in increasing measure…(it just happens to be so Rick Warrenish with my T.E.A.M. acrostic)

Teachability –
The instant I decide I know it all is the moment I am finished as a leader. Teachability is being a learner and a leader. Using what others pour into your life and pouring it in others lives. Willingness, openness, listener, and meek are just a few of the characteristics of a teachable leader. The moment we stop learning, we stop leading.(Thank you John Maxwell)

Effectiveness –
You are either an ANCHOR or an ENGINE on the ship of your organization. Effect leaders don’t hold others back, but pushing forward with the cylinders of passion, power and pursuit. Anchors have an affect as well. They stymie

vision, growth and futures. Effect

Action –
Churches and organizations need men and women, ready for, and creating momentum. Not motion, but progress, and activity. Action is something that is purposed, and must have a clearly defined goal. Many leaders substitute strategy and systems for action. The action gets lost in the planning. A plan made is only effective when it is in action.

Maturity –
Spiritual, emotional, and relational maturity is a must for any church leader. You better be ready for war if you are going to serve on a church staff and you better have staff that are ready for war. Church work is not fun and games…it is “brutiful” (Ed Young Jr colloquialism).
It’s beautiful and brutal. We need to be spiritually mature, ready to handle to potential on-slot of issues, stories, needs, mentoring and creative wisdom necessary to lead the most important institution on earth…THE LOCAL CHURCH!

Who get’s the credit?

Posted: September 5, 2009 in church, leadership
Tags: , ,

Thought I’d copy this to myself and others who follow. I’ve found myself and seen others do the same thing about their churches and organizations. Thanks to the author/Pastor, Ron Edmondson,  for your leadership. Who do you give the credit to?

Quit Taking Credit For A God Thing!

A few weeks ago, in preparing a message for Grace Community Church in which I celebrated the victories we have seen in the last year at Grace, God convicted me for my line of thinking.  I was preparing to remind people of the strategy of the church, as we do at the beginning of each new fall season, to encourage them to continue giving their time and resources to further the vision.  I believe God gently reminded me that apart from Him, we would have no vision and we would certainly have no success.

Clearly what has happened at our church in the last four years is bigger than any vision, strategy, staff or volunteers could produce.  If we duplicated everything we are doing today elsewhere, we would have no guarantees of success without God’s intervention.  No doubt about it, what we are experiencing at Grace Community Church is a God-thing!  I also know that we are just a small part of all God is doing in many places around the world.

It was a needed reminder and one I wonder if other leaders, especially some of the big name leaders, need to hear.  The greater the success a person has and the more accolades a leader receives, the easier it becomes to begin to take credit for that success.  So, in simple terms, let me encourage you, if the shoe fits, to…

Quit taking credit for a God thing!

We can share wisdom and strategy from what we have learned.  We can write blogs and books to encourage others.  We can be invited to speak around the world about our successes.  People can look to us as “experts” in our field, but let’s be honest as leaders.  Most of us who are experiencing tremendous growths in our churches are…

  • Not better leaders
  • Not better speakers
  • Don’t have a better strategy

Than some who are doing the same things we are doing, but not experiencing similar results.

I will continue to share my experiences.  Frankly I think I have been called to, but honestly, when you look at what is happening in our church, what looks like a God-thing, quite possibly is…actually, there is no question in my mind that it is.

Have you ever been guilty of taking credit, if only in your own mind, for something that truly God has done?

-Tom

What would you be willing to do to see a friend or family member saved?  Every person is someone’s friend or family member.Would you be willing to…

  • give up your style of music in church?
  • come early to church so that the walk-through for the service is done properly?
  • pray all week for Sunday mornings?
  • welcome people who may not look like you?
  • pick someone up on your way to church?
  • give food to someone who is hungry?
  • pack a shoebox for a kid who would otherwise not get Christmas presents?
  • share the gospel with someone?

I dare you to take action this week to make a difference in someone’s life.

-tom

Over the course of time (really, everyday), much has been made about leadership. Leadership does many things, some of which goes noticed and some is behind the scenes.  For those who have never lead a major project, planned a new business or built something from scratch…..well, it looks easy from the cheap seats. Over my career in healthcare as both a staff member and in management and in planting churches, much of my own experience has taken notice of some of these attributes about leadership (and NO,  I don’t claim to have many of these, but am prayerfully working on them):

1. Leadership provides the courage to begin – it’s about action.

2. Leadership is about self-control – respond rather than react.

3. Leadership has a keen sense of awareness in what is just – to gain respect of those they lead and work alongside.

4. Leadership is about definiteness of direction – not about meaningless activity for activity’s sake.

5. Leadership is about definiteness of plans – not about guesswork, but knowing what the next best step is.

6. Leadership is in the habit of doing more than your are paid to do – it’s all about going the extra mile (even when you are a volunteer).

7. Leadership is about likeability – nothing can substitute for a smile, a handshake, eye-to-eye contact, and engaging people.

8. Leadership is about empathy – they don’t care because it’s their job, they make it their job to care.

9. Leaders have the willingness to know more than anyone else – they are students, learners, readers, and constantly gaining knowledge about the subject at hand. If they don’t have the knowledge, they find someone who does.

10. Leaders seek and gain cooperation – they understand that you don’t pay people to excel, you pay them to show up. They create an atmosphere of cooperation.

Lastly, a great leader understands and applies the principle of collaboration and alignment, and he/she sets the standards for those who follow them and their teams.

Many people call themselves leaders and yet we are in desperate need of leadership in churches, families, government, businesses…..me on the other hand, am a prayerful work in progress.

Attend a bible teaching worship service this weekend!

-tom

Church play?

Posted: January 8, 2009 in church
Tags:

Are you playing or being the church?

I am PLAYING church when I only care about what I get out of the Sunday morning experience.
I AM the church when I deliberately work to put as much as I can into making the Sunday morning experience a transformational event for everyone else.

I am PLAYING church when God nudges me to do the right thing by loving the people around me and I ignore the prompt.
I AM the church when I pray God would give me opportunities to serve those around me in ways that would lead others to feel his love and come to know him.

I am PLAYING church when I place more emphasis on task completion. I AM the church when I focus on people’s needs first, tasks second.

-Tom