Month: November 2012

8760

I love the church. I love everything about church.

From Monday to Sunday there should be a vibrant expression of the church. The Sunday gatherings are great and I think God likes Sunday morning the best as well. The Bible says He loves the gates more than the tents. The gates are where the people gather. I have this picture in my mind of an excited expectant King anticipating the gathering of His people.

I also am a fan of small groups as they relate to your context. There should be a place for us to fellowship during the week in a way that is not possible on Sunday morning. A place where we unpack the scripture and work out real life in the context of relationship.

But there must be more than this.

There are 8760 hours in a year. Listening to one 20 minute sermon each week only accounts for .002% of those hours. When you add a small group you get to .011% of the total. Both of these expressions are critical but not sufficient.

When you compare those totals to the amount of media bombardment we receive each day it’s no wonder we are a defeated church.

We are a people called and created to live life in the context of community. Walking together, encouraging one another, learning from one another. We try to systematize discipleship which can be helpful but often the relationship aspect of discipleship suffers.

It’s time to rethink every paradigm we have as it relates to church life. I’m interested in what you think.

What does authentic community look like?
If you could design the church just for you what would it look like?

Insanity is doing what you’ve always done expecting a different result. It’s time for new wine, a fresh revelation. I don’t think we need a reformation rather a return to principles placed in a modern context.

What are those from your perspective?

I will be on top of the comment moderation and hopefully we can have a lively conversation. Please weigh in. I look forward to your thoughts.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, 0 comments

A Different Perspective on Excellence.

I ran across this quote from Rev. Thomas Fuller from the 17th century and thought I would add this for context when talking about excellence. I’ve spoken here before of my definition of excellence which is: To offer the best I have, something above and beyond or different from the norm. Something costly.

Please consider this as an example:

Lord, my voice is by nature harsh and untunable, and it is vain to lavish any art to better it. Can my singing of psalms be pleasing to thy ears, which is unpleasant to my own? Yet though I cannot chant with the nightingale, or chirp with the blackbird, I had rather chatter with the swallow, yea, rather croak with the raven, than be altogether silent. Hadst though given me a better voice, I would have praised thee with a better voice. Now what my music wants in sweetness, let it have in sense, singing praises with understanding. Yea, Lord, create in me a new heart (therein to make melody), and I will be contented with my old voice, until in thy due time, being admitted into the choir of heaven, I have another more harmonious bestowed upon me.

Granted if his voice is harsh and untunable we probably don’t want him “leading” worship but I hope this provides a little balance to the Excellence conversation.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Gary in Discipleship, Leadership, Worship, 0 comments

Post-Election Post

If you know me, you know I have many thoughts and many opinions about politics and about the election outcome specifically. I will however keep them to myself.

4 years ago I was very vocal and very engaged on social media and on this blog and I fear it accomplished nothing but animosity. These spaces are too small to contextualize and communicate in a way that reflects my heart. So I made a decision. The only things I posted relating to politics, save maybe one or two, have been related to how our republic works and the big picture ideas I hoped would inform those who stumble across what I have to say. Along with that I decided to put all of my energy into building that which is dear to the heart of God.

God is passionate about his prize creation. God created man in His image and desires and pursues relationship with us relentlessly. I also believe God’s chosen vehicle to reach the lost in these last days is the local church. So Kim and I have made a decision to focus our energy there.

Earlier this year we established a ministry under the covering of Life in Christ Church in Limon CO we are calling, for now, Trobee Ministry Partners. Our heart is to partner with those who build the local church. We feel like we have a calling like Nehemiah to stand beside and encourage pastors and leaders of smaller churches. Sometimes leading a church can be the loneliest place on earth and we want to come alongside leaders and walk with them.

We hope to do that in several ways. I will continue to do worship team retreats focusing on helping people understand their role in the church is to be a ministry of helps. We have a vision to come to smaller churches and facilitate a sabbatical for their pastor while teaching the congregation about rest and stewardship, among other things, while the pastor is being refreshed.

Our vision is still developing but we are very excited about what God is doing in the local church and excited for opportunities to build new relationships with leaders.

If you would like to know more or ask how we can partner with your church give us a shout.

As always would love to hear your thoughts.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Personal, Politics, Practical, Worship, 0 comments

The Power of a Thank You

Proverbs 3:27 says:
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.

I served for 10 years in the Nebraska National Guard and was honorably discharged as a platoon sargent. It was a great experience where I learned invaluable lessons about many things.

I have never been deployed, never served outside the continental United States and have no idea what it feels like to fear for my life.

When Veterans Day comes around or when I happen to be in a place where Veterans are honored I never stand. Not for any real reason. I guess mostly because I don’t think of myself as a Veteran. My father in law who was in the Battle of The Bulge and is a real hero are the people I think of as veterans.

Stick with me here.

About 5 years ago on Veterans Day I got a text message from someone I worked with that said. Thank you for your service to our country. I was touched very deeply that someone thought of me and took the time to reach out and say Thank You in the simplest way.

I’m not asking you to text me next Vets Day. What I’m saying is if you know someone serving faithfully or someone who deserves a thank you would you give them one today.

It will make their day and yours.

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Posted by Gary in Leadership, Practical, 0 comments

From the Archives, Is Excellence Perfection?

This week I am in Redding CA attending the Bethel Leadership Conference so I thought I would grab something from the archives. Hope your encouraged by it.

Is Excellence Perfection? From March 3, 2010

Excellence is a word we like to throw around especially in Christian circles. My sons old school used it so much it almost had no meaning. It’s not quite as bad as “Awesome” or “Incredible” but almost.

What does is mean? In regard to performance, our effort, our offering, our worship.

We can look at Hillsong, New Life, Willow Creek, or Mars Hill and say it’s easy for them to offer excellence look what they have. But how can I offer excellence when all I have is an old church piano player and a 13-year-old drummer?

Is it possible we have incorrectly linked excellence with perfection?

The dictionary defines “Excellence” as:

“The quality of being outstanding or extremely good”

So far so good but what is the standard by which we determine what is “outstanding” or “extremely good”? Is it Darlene Zschesch, Ross Parsley, Chris Tomlin, or is it the music teacher at the high school?

The dictionary defines “Perfection” as:

“the condition, state, or quality of being free from all flaws or defects”

Is that something we can offer? Do we have within our capacity or control to bring an offering free from “all flaws or defects”?

Vines Concise Dictionary of the Bible gives definitions for each usage of “excellence” here are the key words:

Over and above, The surpassing thing, To differ, A throwing beyond, The act of overhanging or the thing which overhangs, More, Greater, Superior by reason of inward worth, Mightiest, Noblest, Best.

When we talk, or think, about worship the word that is coupled with worship most often is “sacrifice” or “offering”. There are 5 different types of offerings in Leviticus.

Burnt offering, Leviticus 1:3
To show worship, devotion, and ask for forgiveness
 
Grain offering, Leviticus 2:1
To give thanks and recognize God as the giver of blessing and provider of good things
 
Peace offering, Leviticus 3:1
To ask God for blessing
 
Sin offering, Leviticus 4:1-2
To ask forgiveness for a specific unintentional sin or to become clean after becoming unclean
 
Guilt offering, Leviticus 5:15, 17-18
To make up for cheating, robbing, or destroying anything belonging to the Lord or to the people

These are all things we do, in whole or in part, when we come to worship. All of these require a sacrifice. All of them except the grain offering require an animal from the herd “without blemish”. The grain offering requires “fine flour”.

“Without blemish” can literally be translated “possessing integrity or truth”. Integrity is “the state of being whole or undivided”.

Consider King David in 1 Chronicles 21. Ornan was willing to give everything for the offering even the animals for the burnt offering. But David’s reply should cause us to stop and think, verse 24:

“I will not take what is yours for the Lord, or offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing”

Excellence then is:

“to offer the best I have, something above and beyond or different from the norm, something costly”

What are your thoughts? What am I missing?

If you would like to download the E.P. I Will Sing, you can get it here.

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