Would the apostle Paul have engaged social media for the sake of the expanding the message of Jesus? Based on the way he creatively utilized the pax Romana (Roman peace), along with Greek culture and language, the answer is, I believe, a resounding yes. Can you imagine Jesus giving us a few tips on our use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube? Based on his Sermon on the Mount, the following are a few parameters He might recommend to us: Be careful not to show off or pretend. The definition of hypocrisy is to pretend to be something we are not or to present an idealized version of ourselves that is not true. Jesus calls us to avoid being “showy” or doing anything “spectacular” to call attention to ourselves. Seek the notice of our Father in heaven. Our goal is to impress Him, to hear Him say, “well-done” at the end of each tweet,. Read more.
The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher is an important book. It serves as a prophetic wake up call to the church, challenging us to take a fresh look at what is happening around us: We must “make a decisive leap into a truly countercultural way of living Christianity, or we doom our children and our children’s children to assimilation.” “The spiritual crisis overtaking the West is the most serious since the fall of the Roman Empire near the end of the fifth century. The light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West.” “If believers don’t come out of Babylon and be separate, their faith will not survive for another generation or two in this culture of death.” “Too many of our churches function as secular entertainment centers with religious morals slapped on top, when they should be functioning as the living, breathing Body of. Read more.
When Geri and I became committed followers of Christ, we learned about spiritual disciplines – Bible Study, worship, giving, community, prayer, spiritual gifts, etc. We immersed ourselves in the best of Christian training and discipleship for years. It was always confusing, however, that people in the church were supposedly growing in love for God, but they clearly weren’t growing into greater love for people. We couldn’t figure out why people with “great passion” for Christ and Scripture were often defensive, judgmental, critical, unapproachable and unsafe to be around. (Sadly, this was often true for us as well.) We gradually acknowledged a painful truth – the quality of love inside the church was not really that different from the quality of love among people outside the church. How could this be, especially when Jesus repeatedly linked love for God with love for others as the essence of true spirituality? The answer lies, I believe, in. Read more.
Over the past few years, I have become acutely aware of what may be one of the greatest problems confronting the church today: We have large numbers of people who enjoy attending church and small groups, love great worship, and serve in ministries, but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. In a very real sense, they live the “Christian” life without Jesus. People need pastors, teachers and leaders like us to equip them. Yet if they connect to us without connecting in loving union (i.e. abiding/remaining) with Jesus, we are simply rearranging chairs on the Titanic. The churches’ effectiveness in bearing lasting fruit to impact our world for Christ will be short-lived. In this podcast I share my reflections on this massive problem and what we can do to equip our people to create space to allow God’s will and presence full access in every area of their lives. LISTEN HERE Join. Read more.
According to a Pew Research study, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. Millennials, whom we now define as those ages 20-36, number over 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 53-71). Businesses such as Goldman Sachs are studying this trend, recognizing they will “change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.” I too have been thinking about this new culture of Millennials as they increasingly become the dominant culture in many of our churches. What are the critical issues we must address to make mature disciples, build sustainable communities, and reach the world effectively? The following are my top 5: Practice Presence in a Digitally Connected World. Millennials are the first generation where social media and smart phones are the air they breathe. But screens can’t teach empathy or face-to-face conversation. We have an amazing opportunity. Read more.
We often see elephants in the room as interruptions when, in reality, they are gifts and opportunities. Elephants, as I explained in last week’s blog, are those inappropriate or immature behaviors that remain unacknowledged and unaddressed on our teams. Dealing with elephants is a central part of what it means to be a leader. Of course, elephants show up on our teams. The higher up, or deeper in, people progress as leaders, the more their immaturities and gaps reveal themselves. Simply think of Jesus and his team of disciples. These are God’s gifts for us to invest in our team members and shape the culture of the ministry or organization we lead. I have 30 years of wrestling with elephants and have made innumerable mistakes, many of which are recounted in The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Nonetheless, out of these failures, and some successes, 5 elements on how to deal with elephants have emerged for. Read more.