The “Stuff” of Life!

The “Stuff” of Life!

I once had an English teacher begin the semester by proclaiming he never wanted to see the word, stuff, used in our writing. For him, the word, stuff, was too general and using it screamed of laziness.  He wanted us to take the time and effort to think through exactly what we were writing about in very deliberate and specific language.  Stuff is boring. It’s what accountants and dentists deal with.

But yet, isn’t that really what life is made up of? It’s those little details that build our days of which no one really pays attention to.  The packing of lunches, mowing the grass, and kissing our families good-by before they head off for the day.  Like quiet bricks in a building that no one pays attention to, they are so necessary for the completion of the project. All the attention is given to the corner stone but yet the building is made up of those boring pieces of stone which together keep the rain out and heat in.  Isn’t that life? (more…)

The Problem with “Pastor” Steve!

The Problem with “Pastor” Steve!

I’ve never really been a fan of religious verbiage. I especially hate it when people call me Pastor Steve. God doesn’t call me that.  But the problem with the word pastor, in the English language, is that it means just about everything. Thus it sometimes doesn’t really mean anything.  Anything specific that is. The problem with me is that I tried to do and to be everything associated with the word and it just about killed me.  But maybe, in truth, the real problem belongs to all of us who call on the name of Christ. (more…)

Remembering Roy and Leaving a Legacy!

Remembering Roy and Leaving a Legacy!

This afternoon I’m at my home office computer watching the live stream Memorial service for one of the men who encouraged me in ministry.  His name is Roy Wheeler and he served in Amarillo, Texas for over 40 years as the Senior Minister for Hillside Christian Church. (Known as Paramount Terrace Christian Church when I was growing up) My first two suits came from Roy and those are a necessity, at least back then, for being a preacher. Roy came up to Joplin, Missouri in April of 1994 to hear my senior sermon and participate in my ordination service for full-time Christian ministry.  Later on that day Roy said he was so impressed with my sermon that he wanted me to come back to Paramount Terrace and preach it for all three Sunday morning services before Debi and I left for Moscow, Russia as missionaries.

I wanted to make the memorial service today but with all the Hurricane relief that our Houston area church is engaged in, I just couldn’t make it happen.  I’m sure that among all the people who were in attendance, there will be a number of men, like me, who owe part of their journey in Christian ministry to Roy. While it was Jesus who truly called me to this task, it was Roy and men like him who confirmed it.  For that I am ever grateful.

This afternoon is indeed one of those times in the race of our lives when we do stop and think about those who have been a positive influence on us. For me, I’d say that the “A Team” list of older mentors in my life, who have encouraged me in ministry, would be Eric Wolfram, Max Goins, Mark Scott, Fred Masteller, Dennis Platt, Bob Gerhardt, and Steve Sigler in addition to Roy.  Maybe for you, today can also be a time to remember, thank Jesus for, and possibly reach out to those who have encouraged you.

Likewise, as we live in such a negative culture today, the positive power of the tongue is such a rarity.  I often ask myself whom I might encourage like these men have done to me.  What about you?  The reality is that all of us will be at center stage of a funeral or memorial service someday.  At that time, who will be stopping and thanking Jesus for allowing you to be a positive influence in their lives?

McDonald’s, Kroc, and the Test of Entrepreneurial Success.

McDonald’s, Kroc, and the Test of Entrepreneurial Success.

Entrepreneurship is a confusing word.  Not just because it’s hard to remember how it’s spelled, but because of the many word pictures we put behind it.  Business is usually the venue where we see this practice.  Even in the market place though, it can equally be applied to someone who starts up a business and also someone who takes an existing company to the next level.  I swim mostly in the realm of the Church and discipleship world where the range of applications can be just as wide.  A church planter establishes one church in his life that grows to 1000 or more in Sunday morning attendance. Suddenly he is allowed to successfully wear the title.  A woman takes an existing ministry to new heights and likewise is awarded the spot light for her accomplishments.  The bigger the results, the more the person is called an entrepreneur.  Yet those who achieve lesser accolades are denied the headlines.

But I wonder if maybe there’s more to the story here in creativity.  Could it be that for true divine entrepreneurship to take place we really need a number of different people, different skills, and different situations?  To illustrate, I’m wondering who is the biggest entrepreneur in the fast food business; the McDonald brothers or Ray Kroc?  (more…)