The World Over . . .

The World Over . . .

Back in 2008 a great preacher from Nor Cal introduced me to Matt Harding dancing around the globe and I loved the clip from the get-go.  It was a reminder to me of how big and beautiful God’s creation is as seen through diversity and nature.  Even now it reminds me of Revelation 7 where the apostle Paul spoke of the future and fulfilled Kingdom where a “great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, was standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”  Today while doing some research I saw that Matt created a new clip for 2012 and I was just as pleased.  While I like the music better in the 2008 video, it was cool to see places like Moscow, Helsinki, Manchester, and other spots around the US and the greater globe where I’ve been.  Either way, the picture is the same.  An awesome God, who created a colorful globe, filled with majestic people, and a profound message of divine love to take be taken to the world over.  My, what a wondrous world we live in.

PS, if you could visit any of these places, where would you go and why?

Flacco, Kaepernick, and Kingdom Leadership.

We’re just a few days away from Superbowl XLVII and I’ll probably watch the match even though neither my favorite team nor quarter back is in the game.  If nothing else, I’m sure there’ll be at least one good million dollar commercial in the mix.  But in thinking about these and other great teams, I’m reminded of another great leadership pointer we can learn from this spectacular sport.  The lesson being that it’s really not all about the quarterback.  Both Flacco and Kaepernick are great players, but the thing about them and other leaders on the gridiron is that the QB rarely makes the touchdown. Rather, they hand off or pass the ball to someone else.  It’s that person who takes the ball across the line and puts the points up on the board.  The truth about authentic Christianity and the true CHURCH is that we are all involved in a team effort.  In the CHURCH, leaders are not to “do the work of ministry” but to equip the Saints for “doing the work of ministry.”  The immediate context of Ephesians 4 refers to apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, but the principal is the same in every leadership situation.  So whatever your leadership responsibility is, make sure your hand offs and passes are right.  Get the ball into the hands of others so that the team can advance the ball.  Let them carry the ball across the line and put the points up. Let them celebrate the victories and simply be excited that they and the team won the day.

So, who are you pulling for in this game?  More importantly, who are you equipping in your life to carry the ball across the line?

Loving CHURCH! (Reprise)

After our break for Mother’s Day we’re jumping back into our study on “Discovering Authentic Church” this Sunday at the Crossings.  Over the next two weeks we’ll be looking at the two major Churches highlighted in the book of Acts.  The first one is the original Church in Jerusalem that is described primarily in chapters 2:42-47 and 4:32-37.  The second Church in consideration is the Antioch fellowship found in Acts 11:19-30 and 13:1-4.  Both of these Churches leave a lot that we can learn from today.  However, the goal is not to legalistically or mindlessly follow each point in detail, but rather to look and learn from the overall picture of what God did and how they responded to Him in the first century.  As we begin to wind down this series, I really believe that the authenticity of the first century Church really can be a reality in the 21st century today.  So for everyone who lives in the Northwest Houston area, be sure to grab a friend and come by one of our services.  For everyone; how are you going to “BE CHURCH” this week?  In the mean time, check out this guy whose life was changed by “Discovering Authentic Church.”

Loving CHURCH!

At The Crossings this past Sunday we started a new series called Discovering Authentic Church.  I love the Church and so do many of you.  But I also know that some of you really don’t resonate with the whole idea of Church.  Some of you have been burnt or jaded because of something someone did while wearing the name Christian.  Others have experienced things in the name of Church that don’t feel too much like Jesus.  I get that.  It reminds me of a book that Dan Kimball wrote in 2007 entitled They Like Jesus, but not The Church.   I’ve met Dan before and have heard him speak, so I know where he’s at on the issue.  He loves Jesus and the true Church.  He just points out that a lot of folks have simply been presented with a counterfeit model of the Church.  I get that and have probably felt some of that pain in my own pilgrimage.  I know I have.  But my hope is that in this study we can see a picture of what the authentic Church really looks like.  I hope we can clean up the mess of misunderstanding.

The true CHURCH is seen in scripture as a beautiful creation of God.  She is loved by God.  No, the Church is not perfect, at least not now.  That’s because it’s made up of imperfect people.  But she is still the “Bride of Christ.”  Because of that significance, I hope everyone can take a second look at this mystery called the Church.  As we continue through this series I hope you’ll ask questions and open up to what it means to experience Authentic Church.  Yes, I love the Church and hope you will too.

What are some of your stories of experiencing the counterfeit?  What are some of your stories of finding the authentic?

Church on Mission.

Have you seen this clip?  It was made a couple of years ago.  But I came across it again the other day while researching a church planting organization.  Though the clip is not new, I believe it’s worth checking out again.  Jeff Maguire did a fun job describing the authentic Kingdom life which he refers to as Missional living.  The point being that authentic Christ followers are all called to live out the Kingdom of God in their own daily lives.  Sharing the message and love of Christ is the call of every Christian and not merely the domain of the decorated.  Remember, the CHURCH is not a building; but the people.  So whatever your niche in the Kingdom, be sure to be “missional” about it today.  Enjoy and implement!

 

The “Pastor’s Page” follow up!

Today we are hearing from our second main author on “Healthy Pastors.”  Todd Owen has had a wide verity of ministry experience and can easily speak to the need for spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health for long term and full-time Christian Service.  My partnership in the work with Todd goes back to the early 90s when I think he went by “Spike” at Ozark Christian College.  Todd works with New Mission Systems International and also blogs here.  So for now, enjoy, comment, and look for more to come.

White Space

I’ve been writing newsletters for over twenty years, mostly as a missionary but also the church newsletter when I was a pastor. One consistent piece of advice I’ve had over the years is that every newsletter should have wide margins and lots of white space. When the page is uncluttered it is easier for the reader to follow what’s being written rather than being distracted by the noise and visual dissonance on the page. As often as possible, even when I was tempted to write too many words and cram too much into a given space, I cut the verbiage down, simplified, and kept the message straightforward. (more…)