Sundays are for Family Time (And 3 Other Lies)

Sundays are not for family time.  I hear people say this all of the time, like it’s an automated response to an unasked question.  It’s almost as if people have this preconceived thought that pastors are going to ask them where they were when they missed their worship gathering on Sunday.  No, Sundays are not for family time.  Sundays are not for getting together with family at restaurants, homes, or any other place.  They are not intended to gather for birthday parties, go hiking, or simply, just hangout with family.

What’s more, Sundays are not for relaxation.  They are not for sleeping in and resting.  They are not for catching up on the sleep you lost throughout the week, or the weekend, when not sleeping.  Though not as popular as the first excuse, I still have heard it before.  Sundays seem, to many, as a luxury.  A luxury that has allowed them the choice of getting up or not getting up.  A luxury that points to two words:  entitlement and uncommitted.

Sundays are also not for working.  Though I am the first to extend grace to those who must work for whatever the case may be, and I am certainly by no means a Sabbatarian, Sundays are not necessarily for working.

And Sundays are not for sports.  Sundays are not for focusing entirely on youth sports, traveling/competitive sports, professional football, or even the NBA All Star Game — though that last one is hard for me to say.  No, Sundays are not necessarily for any type of competition.

No, Sundays are for corporate worship.

 

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Of Kings and Carrots

For the most part, kings and carrots have nothing in common.  A king is a ruler.  He is sovereign.  He is strong, supposedly.  And he is a warrior.  A carrot, however, is a vegetable.  It is tiny.  It breaks easy.  And, in my opinion, carrots are gross.

The world is full of kings and carrots.  You probably know many of both.  There are people who display amazing gifts and talents all over the place.  They seem, to us, like great leaders.  Great commanders.  Great kings.  These types of people seem to have their own castles… and some of them are really really big.  We also know many people who might fit the description of a carrot.

Tiny.  Puny.  Small.

Not much worth.

There is much difference between a king and a carrot.  The world takes notice of kings.  Not carrots.  The gospel points us to both, however.  The gospel is for both.  The church is for both.

May we remember that when we are tempted to put a king before a carrot.  A celebrity before an unknown (even in the church).  And the rich before the poor.

Because, as we know, there is only one King.

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“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “you sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not the made distinctions…?” (James 2:1-4).

ON LEADERSHIP: Is Being Task-Oriented a Bad Thing?

As I was driving to the office this morning, I overheard a local Christian radio station doing a segment on being more relationally-oriented throughout your day.  Now, I totally understand this concept, but it seemed to me that they were making task-oriented people out to be like a bad food group.  Don’t fill yourself up only on candy.  It’s bad for you!  And candy is the “task.”  So, stay away!

Studying personality types and gift sets have always been an interest of mine.  I am a choleric/sanguine, Type-A personality, that is bent toward accomplishing the task first and foremost.  I am also a prophet/kingly leader.  Therefore, if I’m not careful, then I can focus on the task… and leading through teaching, not relationships… all day.  However, I am very relational, which is where my sanguine comes into play.  I do love people.  But I also love the task and am bent more toward accomplishing the task.

God gifts us all in different ways.  He makes some relational.  He makes others task-driven.

Though if we’re not careful, especially in our churches and places of employment, we can begin to separate the task-oriented from the relationally-oriented.  Relationally-oriented pastors tend to be more Priestly in their leadership style, and we often set the task-oriented, or Kingly type of leader, in a position of administration where they can focus on one thing… tasks.

The relationally-oriented people tend to make radio segments about how being task-oriented is a bad thing.  And the task-oriented people tend to feel burdened every time a relationally-oriented person interrupts their day.

The relationally-oriented person comes to feud with the “process.”  The task-oriented person lives by it and sees that it is necessary for growth and sustainability.

As you can see, there is a big difference between the relationally-oriented and task-oriented.  But is one better than the other?  Absolutely not.  Much like we need all the different food groups throughout our day, we need both the relational and task-driven to make our organizations, businesses, and churches move forward.  We need balance.  We need relationships.  We need tasks.

The apostles understood this in Acts 6 when they instituted the office of the deacon to serve tables and do… wait for it… tasks… so that the apostles wouldn’t.  In a biblical sense, tasks are necessary.  And in a biblical sense, relationships are also very necessary.

So, all my task-oriented people like me, in the name of Jesus continue to flourish in how God made you, not giving up the serving of tables so others can visit hospitals, serve the poor, and even preach the gospel.  And all my relationally-oriented people, continue loving people in the name of Jesus, so others can sign your pay checks.

Voodoo, Church Planting, and Sweating: My Past 2 Days in Haiti

A NEW PARTNERSHIP:

I have spent the last couple of days sweating in Cap Hatien, Haiti.  Man, it is hot there.  And without 1st-world comforts, such as air conditioning, paved roads, diet coke, and television, you have to begin to adjust yourself — both body and mind — to the difficulties that Haiti brings.  This was my 3rd trip to Haiti.  I spent a week in Port-au-Prince in June of 2011, and a week in Port-au-Prince in January of 2012.  But this time, however, it was only for 2 days.

My buddy Keith Golubski and I traveled down Sunday night to visit the One Mission compound.  The purpose was what I like to call, “Gospel Recon.”  We wanted to see if this was going to be a good partnership for Foothills Church.  I have had a chance to get to know the field director for One Mission in Haiti over the course of the last year and our relationship has developed into a great friendship.

We spent the day on Monday visiting with doctors, dentists, teachers, professors, church planters, pastors, radio directors, and fellow missionaries.  We met several people.  In fact, the reason we were shaking so many hands was because of the amount of ministry that One Mission has available for churches in which to partner.  To me, they are doing missions well.

They are training nationals at their local seminary and then sending them out to plant churches through small group discipleship and relational evangelism.  And often times in Voodoo infested areas.  They are treating hundreds of patients a day at their medical and dental clinics.  They are broadcasting the gospel to millions of people daily with their AM and FM radio stations.  They are traveling to remote villages to pass out solar-powered, fix-tuned radios to people who are illiterate.  They are sponsoring thousands of kids through feeding programs and local church sponsorships.  They are educating Haitian children in their local private school, teaching them the gospel along the way.

I think it goes without saying but I am excited about this partnership.

EVANGELISM THROUGH STORYING IN VOODOO INFESTED AREAS:

On Tuesday, we went to a little area outside of Cap Hatien called Vaudreaux (spelling?) to do evangelism with an indigenous church planter.  I love the fact that nationals are being trained at their seminary and then being sent out to plant churches.  As we shared, the church planter got names and commitments and extended an invitation to his current small group, which will hopefully turn into a local church soon.  As we travelled up the mountain into remote villages, we shared the message of God’s Kingdom through storying. This was the first time I had ever done evangelism like this.  We shared the story of the woman at the well and the story of Zacchaeus.

It was amazing.

The first couple of houses that we came to listened intensely to the life-changing message that we presented, but they were very “western” in their response:  “That is a great story but I don’t want to believe in that right now.  One day I might.”

Many of the people in this area had ties to Voodoo, and were afraid of what the Witch Doctor would do if they converted.  Some simply said no for other reasons.  But still, others believed.  In fact, we had 8 people experience salvation in Jesus that day.  One story stood out to me in particular.

A young girl had recently accepted Christ the week prior, and she invited us to her home to share the gospel with her mother and sister.  As I shared the story of Zacchaeus, they were glued to the words of our translator.  We talked about how Jesus invites everyone who has ever lived — both good and bad — to eat with him at his table.  We talked about who God was.  What sin is.  The majesty and grandeur of Jesus.  His redeeming acts.  Our response to those acts.  And then invited them to believe in this present reality and future hope.

It was amazing to pray with a mom and her daughter as they received King Jesus as the King of their lives.  As we prayed, the other daughter rejoiced.  I rejoiced.  The heavens rejoiced.

 

Headed to Haiti

I will be absent from the blog until Thursday.  Pray that the trip is fruitful and beneficial as I meet missionaries and local pastors, and pray through the best partnership for Foothills Church that will, God willing, produce church plants, education, and resources for indigenous pastors and their communities.

See ya soon!

 

PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING — What Type of Leader Are You?

In the Old Testament, there were 3 primary offices — Prophets, Priests, and Kings.  Jesus fulfills all three of those offices in the New Testament and is still fulfilling those offices today as he reigns from God, the Father’s, right hand.  Today, the church needs all three types of leaders.  It needs both prophet, priest, and king-type leaders.

1.  PROPHET:  CHURCH LEADERSHIP FOCUSED ON THE MESSAGE

Attributes / Focus:

  • Leads through communication
  • Visionary
  • Preacher
  • Visible
  • Larger audience
  • Air war

Spiritual Gifts:

  • Teaching
  • Knowledge
  • Preaching

Prone to Sin:

  • Harsh
  • Cold
  • Self-righteous with knowledge

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2.  PRIEST:  CHURCH LEADERSHIP FOCUSED ON THE PEOPLE

Attributes / Focus:

  • Leads through relationships
  • Care and shepherding
  • Small audiences (one-on-one)
  • Ground war

Spiritual Gifts:

  • Encouragement
  • Mercy
  • Relationships

Prone to Sin:

  • Tolerance of sin
  • Lack of truth
  • Self-righteous with compassion or love

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3.  KING:  CHURCH LEADERSHIP FOCUSED ON THE TASKS

Attributes / Focus:

  • Leads through strategy
  • Vision implementer
  • Often behind the scenes
  • Systems builder
  • Resource manager
  • Logistics

Spiritual Gifts:

  • Leadership
  • Administration

Prone to Sin:

  • Rigid
  • Rules (Methodolatry)
  • Self-righteous with policy

If the Church isn’t the primary adopting community fully embracing the orphan, we will forfeit that privilege to the gay community

What a statement.

That was tweeted today by Pastor JR Vassar from Apostles Church in New York City.

I’ll say it again:

If the Church isn’t the primary adopting community fully embracing the orphan, we will forfeit that privilege to the gay community.

One of the commands that Scripture gives us is to care for the orphan and the widow in their affliction (Jas 1:27). When we do this, we reflect God’s character to the world. What’s more, the gospel of Jesus Christ means that Christians should be at the forefront of the adoption of orphans close to home and around the world. When we are not doing this, then we will forfeit that privilege to the gay community.

This is a close-to-home issue. I love what Russell Moore says in his book — Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches:

We ought to be reminded that Jesus is not born into a gauzy, snowy winter wonderland of sweetly-singing angels and cute reindeer nuzzling one another at the side of his manger. He is born into a war zone. And at the very rumor of his coming, Herod — the Planned Parenthood of his day — vows to see him dead, right along with thousands of his brothers (63).

For Christians, this is not charity. This is not a social program aimed at simply helping those who are powerless. This is spiritual warfare. And coupled within it is a call to care for children, both in the womb and the orphan outside of it.

Here is my question though: Will the gay community care for the un-adoptable? Will the gay community adopt the child with HIV/AIDS? Will the gay community adopt a down syndrome child? Will the gay community adopt a child with a cleft palate?

Here is the difference: Adoption is distinctively a Christian action.

It is based on character and mandate.

Moore continues:

This is still distinctively Christian in a world that increasingly sees children as, at best, a commodity to be controlled and, at worst, a nuisance to be contained. Think of how revolutionary it is for Christians to adopt a young boy with a cleft palate from a region of India where most people see him as “defective.” Think of how counterintuitive it is for Christians to adopt a Chinese girl — when many there see her as a disappointment. Think of how odd it must seem to American secularists to see Christians adopting a baby whose body trembles with an addiction to the cocaine her motor sent through her bloodstream before birth. Think of the kind of credibility such action lends to the proclamation of our gospel (79).

If the church forfeits adoption to the gay community, then will these children be adopted? Who will adopt the un-wantable, the outcast, the sick — if it isn’t for the church? Please! Please church! Please rise up to this task. Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to care for the orphan.

Not every believer will stand praying outside an abortion clinic. Not every believer will take a pregnant teenager into his or her guest bedroom. Not every believer is called to adopt children. But every believer is called to recognize Jesus in the face of his little brothers and sisters when he decides to show up in their lives, even if it interrupts everything else (81).

Foothills Church / Kentucky Missions — October 8-12

We are also headed to Kentucky next month with our students and families.  If any Foothills Church-ers are interested in joining this team, then let me know below and I will get you started on the application process.

Here is some basic information to get you started:

  • COST:  $200.00 
  • DATES:  October 8-12, 2012.
  • PLACE:  Bear Branch, KY / Big Creek Missions
  • SUMMARY OF TRIP:  We will be assisting in construction, evangelism, kids services, etc.
  • RAISING MONEY:  You can send out support letters to friends and family.  I have sample support letters for you to use.  Money should NEVER be an issue.

Foothills Church / Haiti Missions — January 15-22

I wanted to continue to get the word out to our FC people that we are heading back to Haiti this coming January.  If any Foothills Church-ers are interested in joining this team, then let me know below and I will get you started on the application process.

Here is some basic information to get you started:

  • COST:  $1,200.00 / $1,000 for FC partners.
  • DATES:  January 15-22, 2013.
  • PLACE:  Cap Haitian, Haiti
  • SUMMARY OF TRIP:  We will be assisting in church planting, evangelism, education, etc., through our partnership on the field.    

 

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