Year: 2013

Where Are You In The Process?

I have been asking God to give me a glimpse of where I am and where He is taking me, and yesterday He showed me something amazing. It may not be just for me so I wanted to share it. I pray it will be helpful to you.

In Ezekial 36 from verse 16 to 20 we hear about the nation of Israel acting badly. I don’t want to draw any conclusions as they apply to me or to us.  I merely want to make the observation that Israel was not repenting or crying out to God. They were behaving badly.

God says in verse 22 when people see you they know you are my people and because I have concern for my holy name I will do this:

  1. I will take you from the nations and bring you into your own land.
  2. I will sprinkle you with clean water and cleanse you from your filthiness.
  3. I will give you a new heart and a new spirit.
  4. I will cause you to walk in My statutes and keep my judgments.

Then:

  1. You will dwell in the land you will be my people and I will be your God
  2. I will deliver you from all your uncleanness
  3. I will call for the grain and multiply it and bring no famine on you.
  4. I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.

There are several observations and applications I could make but I just want to make four:

  1. The nation of Israel was not being good, spiritual, repentant, or anything else worthy of God’s favor. He did it merely because they were His people and He wanted the nations all around them to know “that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate” vs 36
  2. Everything happened because God did it. Israel did nothing. (don’t take this too far)
  3. When you read; commandment, covenant, statutes, judgments etc. insert faith. We are under the new covenant. (again, don’t take this too far. keep it simple)
  4. Once He has done these things and caused us to live by faith. Then we will inherit the land and be blessed.

In order for this to be a theological piece it would have taken many more words than this and I’ve already abused the boundaries of a blog post. So please take some time to read Ezekial 36 and consider where you are in the process and thank God for the coming multiplication of grain and fruit. Then thank Him for His mercy, His long-suffering, His loving-kindness, and His grace. Submit to the process, He is good.

Selah.

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Posted by Gary in Faith, Intimacy W/God, Pastoral Care, Personal, Worship, 0 comments

Raising Up The Next Generation?

I believe this statement comes from a completely sincere heart and is completely wrong.

We most definitely have the responsibility to pass our faith and our heritage onto the  next generation but nowhere, that I can find, in Scripture are we exhorted to “raise up” the next generation.

What Scripture does exhort us to do is raise up those entrusted to us regardless the generation. Certainly if an 18-year-old is called, gifted, and faithful they should be promoted but not just because they are 18. The same is true for a 48-year-old.

When we focus on one specific demographic whatever it may be we by definition create other very big problems. This is part of the problem of blended worship, or a multigenerational focus. These approaches create a market based, consumer driven culture and  that’s definitely not what we want.

If we will cultivate a culture of change while equipping and empowering Gods people to do what God has called and created them to do many of the problems we’re trying to fix by being “blended” or “multigenerational” will fix themselves.

I’m not naive and I’m not trying to be overly simplistic just hear my foundational premise.

The bottom line:

God has called leaders to first be equippers. Leaders are those who can recognize, call out, equip, and release gifting back into the body. Being a high-capacity doer of anything does not alone qualify a leader, and the reality is high-capacity doers are seldom the best leaders.

If we will focus our ministry on equipping the saints, as defined above, and promote calling and faithfulness over gifting and drive. We will have a very vibrant, change oriented, and multigenerational ministry by default. Because those entrusted to us are the culture and when we empower them they will represent and reflect that culture.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Gary, 2 comments

A Question

It’s been a little over a week since my last post.

Posting weekly is the goal and would love to have something new at least twice a week. There are several ideas rattling around in my head but all of them take time to research and I’ve had precious little time for that this week. So in lieu of a post I’m asking a question.

Essentially I’m asking you to help, (how lazy is that?)

Here’s the question, which is really more of a challenge.

Can you make a scriptural case for

“Raising up the next generation”?

Not commentary, though your certainly welcome to comment on your facts. I want scriptural stories, scriptural principles, or out-and-out commands from God. I won’t let the cat out of the bag on my thoughts just yet. That will come next week.

I look forward to your thoughts.

And thanks for the help.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Discipleship, Leadership, 2 comments

How Do You Promote Leaders

Last September my wife and I began a new season of life and ministry.

When everything was still in a state of flux we were introduced to Dave Jewitt from Your One Degree. He helped us define the most important thing we should be doing for the rest of our lives and has been helping us walk in that thing at least 80% or our time. It has been a very profitable and rewarding experience.

Dave sends a daily encouragement that I highly recommend you get. Near the bottom of this main page there is a subscription form.

Recently he made an excellent point about promoting leaders. I have always said promote faithfulness and calling above gifting. He says it this way:

Daniel 2:47,48 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king placed Daniel in a high position.

Daniel had just interpreted a dream the king had recently had. The stakes were high. The king was going to kill Daniel and all the other wise men in the kingdom if no one stepped forward to interpret the dream. But there was a catch: the king could not describe the dream to anyone. God showed Daniel both the dream and the interpretation after much prayer by Daniel and his friends.

This passage provides the following guidance for a leader in promoting others:

  1. Promote those who are honest, not just articulate.
  2. Promote those who do not take the credit deserved by others.
  3. Promote those truly committed to the cause/organization, not their own.
  4. Promote those who have high-caliber friends and associates.
  5. Promote those of demonstrated character and competence, not just those who make you feel important and comfortable.

Lord, please keep me from the trap of promoting the wrong people.

In the book “Sticky Teams“, which I also highly recommend, Larry Osborne says “The best time to remove someone from the team is before they get on.

Make sure your adding and promoting for the right reasons.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Leadership, 0 comments

The Friends of Job

What immediately springs to mind when you hear, “the friends of Job”?

It’s not positive is it?

We think of the misdiagnosis of Jobs problem and the subsequent bad advice. However it started out in a way we can learn from.

In Chapter 2 verse 11 it says they made an appointment together to “come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.”

In trying to be a friend I know that I have not always been as helpful as the friends of Job.

In Verse 13 “they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him.”

It was Job who finally spoke. I wonder how long the friends would have sat in silence. How long would I?

Several years ago a good friend of mine lost a child very unexpectedly  I didn’t want to call. I had no idea what to say. I had never been through anything like this but as a pastor I felt I had to say something. So I said…

“There are no words, if there were, I would say them.” And then we wept together.

Being a friend doesn’t always mean knowing what to say. It often means we mourn with those who mourn and we rejoice with those who rejoice. It means making an appointment with other friends or just making a decision to go, sit on the ground, and weep.

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Posted by Gary in Discipleship, Pastoral Care, Personal, 0 comments

Why Am I Here?

This blog has been publish intermittently sometime very regularly and sometimes not. Sometimes spiritual, sometimes political, sometimes personal, and sometimes all of the above.

The stated purpose of this blog is “A place for me to process my thoughts and get your feedback”.

I am on a journey as I hope you are as well. Many things I would have fought over years ago are now not worthy of a word. My evolution has been slow but steady. I hope I will always stay teachable, humble, and gracious.  Though I know I have, at times, not been any of those things God has always brought me back to a place of humility.

As we enter into 2013 I am again defining what this space should be about, thus my long absence from here.

I have removed almost all political posts not because I don’t have strong opinions but because my opinions don’t really matter. What matters is building the Kingdom. The has been, is, and will always be the hope of the world. Kim and I know we have been called to build the local church. So this space will mostly be devoted to supporting that goal. Not promising I won’t get political or personal but it will mostly be in the context of building the local church. Which is the people of God not the building. I’m not good at working with my hands. I am however good at working with people.

As always I would love your thoughts. What would you like to talk about? What are you in the midst of that I may be able to shed light onto? I appreciate you for being part of this community.

Blessings.

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Posted by Gary in Personal, 4 comments