Friday, June 24, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
"His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them..." - Matthew, talking about Jesus when he first called his followers
"Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." - Matthew, talking about Jesus as he was training his first followers
"Go and make disciples." - Matthew, telling us what Jesus' intentions had always been for his followers
One of the things that we didn't have to do at our ministry retreat was discover what the over-arching purpose of Christ's church is. There is absolutely no room for the church to be fuzzy about it's mission. Jesus says it unequivocally, leaving it completely clear for anyone who reads the "red letters" of their Bible's and simply believes them. The church of Jesus exist to make disciples of Jesus. Every other command, every other teaching, every other practice that can be found in Christ's life, Christ's teaching, and the rest of the New Testament is a servant of this Commission. If we interpret the Bible in such a way that we come up with a religious practice or rule that does not help make human beings into disciples, then we interpreted that Scripture wrong.
And while many of my brothers and sisters in Christ would take issue with this "theology", the ministry team that God has assembled at the Southwest Church-that-wants-to-be-of Christ does not. There is deep unity around this thought, and it is a "conviction" of ours - in other words, something we will be accountable to God for pursuing.
But the commission to "make disciples", once someone (or group of someone's) takes it seriously, begs a further question...What is a disciple? What is it exactly that you are making when you are faithfully making a disciple?
Drawing on our knowledge of the Bible, our personal journeys toward discipleship, and our hope that God would speak, we set out to discover the qualities of a "discipled" person. We listened and worked and watched as God revealed to us that a person that is a follower of Christ is a person who is...
Peaceful, because of his absolute confidence in Christ.
Called, and as such, full of purpose and belief.
Joyful, because of how overwhelmingly good God keeps being to him.
Passionate, or said another way, willing to suffer to the point of death because of the intensity of the joy.
Relationally Surrendered, knowing that relationship with God and others are Christ's most important priorities and only means of impact.
Self-responsible, maintaining their own dignity by being dependent on God alone, blaming no-one and no-thing for his own limiting beliefs.
Penetratingly Compassionate, seeing so clearly to the common heart in mankind (including in ourselves) that he can't distinguish between friends and enemies.
Constantly Transforming, knowing deeply that he can't be more like Christ by staying where he is at.
Biblically Grounded, unabashedly using the Written Word (Bible) as a guide towards the Living Word (Jesus).
Spirit-Led, acknowledging the constant and real Presence of God and His determination to speak to and move us.
Deeply Human, or said another way, owning up completely to both his own inability to be perfect and his destiny to be perfect anyway.
Dying Daily, involving the constant setting aside of his ego in every single moment of his life, so that Jesus can live for him.
I think it's cool how these words that I feel God gave to us at the retreat reflect deep paradox. We are to be peaceful, but called (peacefully intense). We are to be joyful, but passionate (joyfully suffering). We are to be relationally surrendered, but self-responsible (inter-dependant). We are to be compassionate, but expecting transformation (compassionately challenging). We are to be Biblically grounded, but Spirit-led (diligently directed). We are to be deeply human, but dying daily (powerlessly powerful).
I tell you what...if my 3 kids end up looking like that, I believe they will end up looking like Jesus. I want them growing up in a "Christianity" that is unyielding in it's desire to make them into it.
If you are reading this, test it for me. What's missing from this list? What quality of Jesus have we left off? What quality have we put on this list that isn't a quality of a Jesus follower?
Thursday, June 09, 2005
“Real leadership is about responsibility.” -- Tom Heuerman
“If a man
“In my role as a leader, I too often enjoy the benefits of what I don’t do.” – Yours Truly
As I hide out in my office, I often sit in confusion as to what to do next. It isn’t as if I don’t have ideas, I certainly do. When someone sees me excited, it is because an idea has settled in me, and for that moment, I believe that idea can come true. I love those moments, especially when those moments stretch into hours, days, and sometimes weeks. It is during those times that I feel fully alive, like I matter to Something larger than life, and like I’m fighting for something Good that lasts. It is during those time, looking back, that I have done anything that has mattered.
Remaining around people, work, and influences that keep me in that "spot" of ideas, or idealism, is the labor of my life, if I want a life of diligent, responsible leadership.
The people that inspire me to stay there are best characterized with words like willing, real, honest, open, dreamer, learner, believer, faith-filled, risky, team-focused.
The work that inspires me to stay there is best characterized with words like visionary, promising, imposing, challenging, creative, mobilizing, eternally significant, life on life, risky, costly.
The influences that inspire me to stay there are the people, books, play, and work that characterize all of the above words.
The death of idealism is the death of integrity. The separation between idealism and realism is what charts the hard work of a leader. Lifting people's eyes off of the realistic, which anyone can do, and putting them on the idealistic, which anyone can do with God's help, is the uncommon leader's charge. Compromise this idealism in your heart as a leader and you compromise your work, and your integrity.
Idealism requires faith and inspires it. Realism only requires work.
Idealism summons dreamers to work. Realism summons realists.
Idealism has the risk of really disappointing workers. Realism is completely safe from that.
Idealism has a Source that goes beyond logic and reason. Realism's source is logic and reason.
Idealism sees something that can't be done and pursues it. Realism sees something that can be done.
Idealism has the unlimited potential of amazing its workers. Realism has the limited potential of satisfying its workers.
Lots of realists reading this might really be offended, thinking that I'm talking about different kinds of people, elevating one kind over the other. I guess I sort of am, but not in the way you might think. I think these two "people" are inside of me (and you), and each one is fighting for the right to drive my life and decisions.
I'd love some feedback on this, because I'm not sure this is right. But to me, idealism feels like life. Realism feels like death. I know it's an extreme, provocative statement, but it's just how I feel (for today). A life of only accomplishing what is possible, safe from risk, doing only what makes logical & reasonable sense, with the ultimate promise of satisfaction in a job well done seems like it should be enough for me. But instead, that feels like death to my spirit.
But a life of being inspired to accomplish something I can't do without supernatural help, risking my "life" for it in some way, having to believe in something that I can't see, with the ultimate potential of experiencing amazement in a job that couldn't be done is enough for me. More than enough.