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Wednesday
Jun012011

Where Is Your Head At?

I remember my mother scolding me about a bone headed act I did, and she said, "where is your head at?"

Well, I guess it was at the top off my shoulders, but I think she was referring to my brain.  Not thinking is a common complaint for many today,  in the marketplace, in government agencies and in the church. I have blogged before about the death of discernment, and common sense, because it appears both are a thing of the past. One of my biggest complaints is against leaders who either are so heavenly minded, they don't see the needs in front of them.  At the same time, we have leaders who are so immersed in social justice issues they forget about the great commission.  So, either way, we lacking in a balanced perspective in how we present the message of the gospel. The Apostle Paul gave some good advice on this in 1 Corinthians 10:31-33

 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Paul's advice: try to make yourself an instrument of God, not driving people away but drawing them into an awareness of God. Leadership is not suppose to drive itself from within a persons ability, it is driven by the Spirit of God whose guidelines for leadership are different from what is written about leadership today.

Today's Leader: I have so many books from Jim Collins to Andy Stanley to John Maxwell. Most of what they say about leadership can be helpful, but I am no longer convinced that mixing business techniques with spiritual application is serving us with the best principles. It sells books, fills up auditoriums, and gets publicity, but I personally am not convinced it has made a difference in how we lead people. Jesus told us what makes great leaders.  The great leaders are those who learn to sacrifice, and pick up the call to follow Christ no matter the cost or commitment. In Matthew 16:24 we read:

 24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

God doesn't care how much experience you may have in leadership, it changes once you follow the Lord. It becomes about him at that point, and how He leads you will be completely different than what is said in many of the various textbooks on leadership.  Yielding to God, convicted by the cross, inundated by the Holy Spirit, and motivated by His Word, can ever be improved upon by the current trends in leadership. God's leaders are different, they come in all sizes and shapes, and most of them will never publish a book, or speak before important people. They are people who know God and follow him with a burning desire to lead on His behalf. 

I have linked a music video that is produced from around the world. It reminds me of the type of leader God uses, ordinary people who have nothing to gain and no one to impress. They lead from their heart. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

http://gizmodo.com/5807218/best-video-ive-seen-today-gives-me-goosebumps

Tuesday
May312011

Is This Disaster Really Brought by God?

We have had more billion dollar disaster storms in the last several years than ever before, one right after another. If it isn't hurricanes, its tornados, if it isn't tornados, its flooding, and if it isn't flooding it's earthquakes,  and on on and on.  More lives have been lost so far this this year to tornados than all of 2010. In fact 10 times as many. So whats going on? 

Often when these kinds of disasters happen you will hear the groom and doom preachers come out of the wood work with the idea that this is the judgement of God against a community.  Then most of the Christians I know dismiss this kind of thinking as foolish and uninformed.  God doesn't work like that, He is a God of restoration, and love, and He isn't into any form of judgment since the cross. 

Well, I am not so sure. Of course if you have lost loved ones, and lost your home in a disaster you're not open to hearing such things, but does God have a hand in these disasters? We do know that nature is groaning for the the coming of the Lord to earth again, and can be acting upon a last days prediction that there will be signs in heaven and earth as stated in Romans 8:22-23

 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Amos 4 tells us repeatedly that God was trying to get the attention of the people of Israel. Repeatedly disaster upon disaster He brought against them without any response. It says starting in verse 6, that He would bring famine, with hold rain, water would be lacking, there would be diseases to the crops, diseases to humans, and there would be disasters like Sodom and Gomorrah, and yet all of these attention getting incidents did not bring the people back to God. In fact, God said in Amos 4:12 that He would bring a final disaster to Israel and gave them this message in Amos 4:12

12“Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”   

There are many disaster events in the scriptures, where God does intervene for His purposes and His plan. So does God bring about disaster?  Here is the answer most of you may not like to hear, but yes.  Christian teachers today have invented a God who stays out of the crisis business, and all storms are just a result of nature, or the Devil. However, if you push the nature  cause far enough, nature is ultimately controlled by the all powerful God, and no where in scripture does Jesus rebuke Satan for controlling the weather. 

If God allows weather to take it course, it is because He is trying like to get our attention , like in the days of Amos. There is coming a day, that all people will have to face God, face to face. There will be no texting, emails, or internet home pages to consult or communicate with, it is a face to face encounter with the living God. These disasters are the early warning signals that Jesus said would happen, it is the labor pains of the birth of something new here on earth, and most people are not ready.  Its much like what a funeral reminds us of, that death is imminent and no one alive will escape it. A disaster is also a reminder that life is more than things, and in a moments notice everything can be wiped and we are left with nothing. We came into this world with nothing, and we leave it the same way.  What we do for God, and His kingdom while on earth will be what will last, it's what Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20

19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

When disaster happens, remember God is trying to get our attention. "Prepare to meet your God."  

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Friday
May272011

The Two Greatest Lessons To Learn

So what are they?  Everyone has some kind of greatest lesson theory out there, so what are mine?  Well before I share those with you, I found this in a recent Readers Digest. 

Manners that need to make a comeback:

1. children looking people in the eye when spoken to

2. covering your mouth when coughing

3. a handshake with proper greeting

4. written thank-you notes

5. Apologizing face to face instead of on Facebook

6. Excusing yourself to take a phone call

Well, these manners may not be that important when it comes to life's lessons, however, they show respect and courtesy to the people you are around.

My two greatest lessons to learn in life? 

1. Learn to live

2. Learn to die

Simple but profound.

Learning to live is not about getting a good job, finding a spouse, having some kids, and settling in some comfortable neighborhood to live out a routine that pays the expenses of your lifestyle. But real living is about first finding your purpose in life, why were you born, what is it you were born to do, and how much impact or progress have you made to achieve the first two?  Life well spent is a life worth living someone once said, and I believe it. Too often we spend a lifetime wasting time on meaningless tasks and projects only to discover that in time much of the things we thought were so important, turn out to be nothing at all. To me that is heart breaking, because a person can't go back and recover all that time spent just doing a routine or pursuing a fun filled lifestyle. Meaning, purpose, reason to get up everyday and make an impact can describe a person who has found life worthwhile. Finding your call in life and then actively pursue goals to achieve it, is the greatest lesson you can learn. That's the lesson of living.

The lesson of dying, a topic most people avoid. What a downer. However, unless you really understand death and what it means to die, you will be afraid to live. Death can be tragic but it doesn't have to be the end. A legacy of a life well lived can impact generations to come.  Dying is a process that takes us from this life to the life to come. That journey can be prepared for in an instant, and you can have the assurance to know before departing where you will end up. The Bible tells us to be absent in body, means to be present with the Lord. Now that is only true for those who know the Lord. In knowing the Lord you not only prepare for your imminent death, but you will prepare for an eternity with God.

John 11:24-25

 24Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”  25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

You see, Jesus promised that death doesn't have the final say, you can be with Him for life everlasting, and that is the greatest lesson of all. Doesn't it make sense to have eternity secure for yourself and in turn you help others prepare too?  Jesus Christ's mission in this life was to come and give us this kind of opportunity, please learn this lesson well. 

Once you learn to base your life on the purpose and call God has on your life, and you prepare for your death by making Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then you can fill in the blanks of living everyday.

These two greatest lessons can and will fulfill your life, because they answer the big questions of why. 

Have a great weekend, and live it well. 

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Take a few minutes, breathe deeply, and click on this link.  Go ahead, it will be good for you. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wctTgF5vDnE&feature=related

Thursday
May262011

Whose Perspective?

With the advent of the internet, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the like, every person now can has a say. In some ways that can be a good thing, that is to be heard.  However, it's a lot like throwing a snow ball into a snow storm, not going to stick out to much.  As a follower of Jesus Christ, my opinion really isn't important when you compare it to the perspectives that Jesus gave to us.  I know that all religions have some of the same moral values as Christianity, but none of them make the claim of John 14:6.

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Now that is a perspective that is unique to Christianity, but this distinction is being lost in the church because of the influence of the post modernism that has infiltrated the foundations of our faith. One person I talked with recently said, "I don't want to be called an 'Evangelical' anymore, because I am not sure what that tag represents today." I can understand that, because, everything from the virgin birth, to hell has been questioned and given a different meaning from what most believers grew up understanding.  I am not against questioning tradition, or it's application to the practice of Christianity, because I would be the first one to get on that band wagon to ask, "WHY DO WE DO IT THAT WAY?"  But what is being questioned today is not the practice of faith, but the faith itself. Many of the popular teachers/authors have a perspective they think is so valuable they sell books to others making their case, yet it's only a perspective that is subjective to the author. I read less of what popular Christian literature is saying, because much of it is about the publishers and authors whose perspective is  promoted as more important than the founder of Christianity. I am sorry, but at 61 years of age, my experience with most believers has been an emphasis that is more about them and their issues, than it is about the call and purpose of Jesus Christ in their lives.  In the old days of Christianity we use to teach about less of me and more of Him, today it's more about me, because I have a Facebook account. Give me a break. I realize that God uses the body of Christ to be His hands and His feet, but if we really are going to be that, we had better get back to making our emphasis in life about His perspective. His perspective by the way is  ABOUT HIM, and not on my perspective about HIM....... 

Of course it's only my perspective...grin.

Glenn Beck has become a conservative icon, and his perspective not only is formed around his politics, but his religion. If you didn't know he was talking about Mormonism, you would say he was an Evangelical...because he is saying everything an Evangelical says. This is how a deception gets accepted by the general Christian population, the formula is quite simple: popular personality + personal  lifestyle values=acceptance. 

Really?  Sure judge for yourself, this clip could be used to promote any Evangelical Church in America. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USpeolBTKIo&feature=related

Keeping it honest and truthful...K

Wednesday
May252011

My Words Do What?

Proverbs 12:18

 18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Recently there was a minister who gave a prayer before a legislative body whose words were politically harsh and inappropriate for the occasion. It created an atmosphere I am told that left people wanting more godly insight by someone praying for wisdom, and not delivering a political opinion. Being truthful and honest doesn't have to make you harsh or insensitive to your surroundings.  There is a tendency by many who want to take a stand against the liberal policies of government to say things that can harm their cause of righteousness rather than help it. I think there is a time and place for honest dialogue and face to face debate, but there are times we stand before God with an open heart and mind and we simply ask Him for His wisdom and guidance. 

I have been outspoken about the slippery slope the church is on as it pertains to holding on to the teachings of the Bible vs the cultural interpretation of scripture. I have been critical of a pastor in our area whose involvement with the environment, immigration issues, and poverty, all the hot buttons in our society, and at times have passed judgment on this leader with my words. What I have questioned is the comments made by this leader about the environment where this leader said, "global warming is the most important issue facing the church today?"  I am sorry, global warming may be an issue of pollution but it can be controlled, but that's not at all the most critical issue facing the church today.  The greatest issue facing the church is indifference and apathy toward the preaching the gospel. Its the deconstruction of what the scripture teaches, and re-constructing a different paradigm for the post modern audiences.  It is this kind of interaction that makes my words more harsh and critical. However, just about the time I get on my high horse about this pastor/leader, I see a commercial from his ministry during the local  evening TV news. The message is that salvation can be found in no other name other than in Jesus Christ. Now, my whole argument, my defense mechanisms all melted away and this once slippery slopped Christian leader has now redeemed himself in the scope of my opinion.  God wants us to be honest and not dodge the harder questions facing our culture, but I think we can do so with words that can heal as well as challenge the heart and mind. We must always keep in mind that our opinions  really don't mean in light of eternity. The only perspective that really matters is the perspective of Jesus Christ, because His words are the words that eternity hang on. So when I stand before a legislative body, a congregation, leading my small group, or leading my team in the market place, my perspective has to take into consideration the people I am trying to influence with my life.  Does it matter what my political opinion is?  Does it matter what theology I ascribe to? Does it matter what church I attend?  No, because if you line up all these issues and compare them to the call each believer has on his or her life which is to influence others to accept the message of Jesus Christ, it doesn't matter. You can nit-pick your way to being ineffective and judgmental and never accomplish anything for the Kingdom of God.  Our call is to draw people to the truth, to instill in them the hope that Jesus gives to all human beings.  

Watch your words today.  Let them be honest and truthful, but always season them with grace, it will go further than your anger against unrighteousness. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

 

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