June 25, 2012

Switch to INPUT

It's Monday. How's it going for you so far?
What is it with Mondays? It's just a day, right?
Normally - as a pastor who preaches twice on Sunday - I drag a bit on Monday. Sort of like I'm imitating a turtle. An excited turtle, anyway. 
But today.....forget about it! It's like Monday on Loritab!


You're going to have these days when it seems like your brain, your sense, your decision-making are all in the tank. You keep trying to write, craft, plan, create - trying to muster an ounce of productivity OUT of yourself - and it's like you're that rolled up tube of toothpaste that's been squeezed for the last and final time. NOTHING! So here's my theory:

When OUTPUT = ZERO, stop trying to produce. Switch to INPUT!

Read. Listen. Watch. Meditate on scripture. Maybe the Lord is trying to tell you something. Heck, maybe it's just your own brain saying, "I need a break! I need a refill!" Stop trying to FORCE something OUT and ALLOW something IN! When the tank is on EMPTY, you've pretty much got one sensible and realistic choice. INPUT. It just might send your productivity to a new place. Your Nowhere Monday just might lead to a Somewhere Tuesday. Been there?

June 21, 2012

A Different Kind of King

If we were called to live like kings so that we could shout orders, dictate, and rule the land, we'd all be fighting over who got to wear the crown. We would fully, wholly, and quickly embrace our new majestic mantle. But as Christians, as "a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, His very own possession", we are called to something entirely different. 

Peter spelled this out for us in plain terms:
"And now God is building you, as living stones, into His spiritual temple. What's more, you are God's holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please Him because of Jesus Christ.... You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, His very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:5, 9)

YES, we are children of the King! But we follow a king who chose not to have people fall at His feet, but to get on His knees and wash theirs. He has claimed us, bought us with the price of His own body, and called us "so that" we can show others the goodness, mercy, kindness, and love of the God of the Universe. That's the mission. And any Christian that says, "I just don't know what my purpose is in life" - you need not look any further! SHOW OTHERS JESUS!

Think about it. 
What are some simple ways that you can carry out this calling today? 
How can you show the world a different kind of king?

June 19, 2012

"If you love me..."

"If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, your will find true life." Matthew 10:37-39

This morning in My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, "People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offense to the educated mind of today that does not want Him in any other way than as a comrade." This is hard. And when I say "hard", I mean that living this way - being wholly devoted first to Jesus Himself - means my own death. Physical death would probably be easier; there's no choice involved. This death means being willfully emptied of my pride, my ambition, my need for vengeance and restitution, my gravitation toward the harsh reaction, and even my devotion to anything or anyone of this world. The willful death of self. This is why Jesus said, "No one comes to me unless the Father first draws him." The only road we can place our feet on that leads to Jesus is narrow and hard; and no one ever even moves forward down this path without the Holy Spirit consuming him - his thoughts, his heart, his decisions - his whole life. We cannot and will not inherently ever WANT this. Only the Spirit of God can bring us to this place.

This morning I'm newly reminded of that question: Am I following Jesus...or am I just following my tainted version of His cause? Am I pursuing the offensive, selfless, demanding Savior...or the 21st Century, Western Civilization, contextualized brand of religiosity that's provided me with a safe road to walk? One way to know is to ask myself: Can I navigate this on my own? If so, it's definitely not the way of the Christ-follower. Am I following Jesus's cause...or am I following Jesus Christ? 

If you want to serve people, it will only happen by being emptied of yourself.
If you want to love people - truly love them - it will only happen as you hand your own life over to death so that the life of Jesus Christ is birthed within you.

"We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or creed." -Oswald Chambers

What are we truly devoted to? 
Maybe the right question is "WHO are we truly devoted to?"

June 14, 2012


In most cases, especially in relationship to leading, I think it's a safe bet to make your default to OVERDO IT! Think through this with me.

Give more than expected.
Overestimate peoples potential.
Overcompensate those you pay.
Work harder than anyone expects.
In almost all cases, the right thing to do is OVERDO IT. 
But WHY?

Simple. Because there are pretty much 2 alternatives:

1. You'll aim for "just right" or "just enough", and most of the time you won't hit it. About 90% of the time I think I've over-communicated, most people are just starting to either listen, absorb, or comprehend. Essentially, what we think is over-communication is probably just beginning to look like actual communication. When we think we've over-appreciated, that's rarely the case. Because most people aren't going to let us know they even want or need our appreciation. "Just enough" is hardly ever going to actually be enough.

2. And of course the other alternative is unthinkable - at least "You wouldn't dare say that out loud" unthinkable. Maybe that's unspeakable. Maybe it's both! Unthinkable, unspeakable, unacceptable - call it what you will. To under-communicate, under-appreciate, under-compensate, or underestimate those we are leading is just plain criminal. Isn't it? Didn't Jesus take teenage fishermen, thieves, and social drinkers and say, "Come, follow me"? Yes. I believe He did. And they went on to change the world through the power of the Holy Spirit! (Isn't that same calling, power, and presence still available to us today? Yes. I believe it is.)

When you think it's at the top, take it up a notch.
If you think you're love is cranked to 10, turn it up to 11!

What are some ways that we could begin (or continue) to OVERDO IT?