Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Compromising Thoughts

When I say the word "compromise" what comes to mind?

I am sitting on an airplane somewhere over Arizona on my way home from a meeting with some great friends in ministry. One of those discussion round tables that leave you wishing these leaders could all be within driving distance for a cup of coffee. Some of the kindest, smartest, and funnest (just go with it) people in ministry I know gather for a two day round table. We are kids ministry leaders of large multi-site churches that all get together once a year to share and learn from each other .While we are all evangelical churches, some of the deeper roots of our theology may vary from person to person, but at the end of the day we are all trying to reach kids for Jesus and love the people in and of our ministries well. 

I have always been fascinated by the act of compromise. 
By definition:
  •  An agreement or settlement of dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. 
  • A middle state between conflicting actions or opinions reached by mutual concession or modification. 
  • The acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable.
In the last 48 hours I have been in 3 states, 3 airports, a hotel and one of the largest churches in the country. Oh, and quite a few restaurants. As I people watched my way to Texas and back, I love to see how people make compromises with complete strangers. Sometimes I think hidden manners just appear in airports - what is that about? While not true of everyone, most of us seem to be on our best behavior as if our moms will find out if we are rude.  Whether it's allowing two people to go through security together, while you go further back into the line or watching the lady next to me settle for a middle seat as she gives her aisle to the older gentleman with a cane or the guy who settled for a coke when he wanted a Pepsi. (Coffee drinkers don't have this problem - just sayin) People are willing to settle for a lower standard to keep the air happy. 

As I sit and reflect on the discussions that we had, I wonder at what point do some of the things we compromise on as believers, and as the church, begin to chisel away at our solid foundation. When does compromise = a lower standard that is acceptable in our faith? At what point does acceptance of something clearly endorse it? There are many controversial topics that question could apply to - but I personally think its one that we must ask ourselves on a daily basis.  Do I compromise and say my son doesn't have to do his chores because he's behind on homework? Or do I keep a high expectation with consequences that will be a learning experience? Do I compromise on policies that keep a high level of standards in our kids building? Or do I compromise on a situational basis?

My friend Bob Goff says it best, get out there and love people! Agreed Bob!! But as we discussed the many things we struggle with as leaders I had to ask myself this question. Am I compromising in a way that blurs the truth? When we make compromises that stretch what we believe for the sake of acceptance - are we diminishing the teaching of the Bible? 

I believe we can love people, serve them well, and honor them while standing firm in our beliefs and not watering down scripture. I believe in grace, loving those I am in complete disagreement with and still not putting on goggles to see scripture the way I think it should look. 

Notice there's no answers to this post - simply posed questions that as you design things for kids and parents and families can be reflected on. 

The truth is we are called to love the world, but that is simultaneous with looking nothing like the world. A call that I am constantly trying to keep in check, and pray I can teach well.  

Helping Hurting Kids Slides for CPC

Here are the slides for Helping Hurting Kids and their Families.
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Slides for Breakout 3

View Slides here 
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The 4 c's of parenting

General Session 1 at D6 2017
So excited to be here and looking forward to the week ahead! 

Here is a snippet of the session notes for General session 1 with Ron Hunter. 

The 4 C's of Parenting

1. Care Giver - Birth -2  caring for all a child's basic needs. 
2. Cop - 2-11 creating boundaries and consequences as they learn
3. Coach - 12-18 observing from the sidelines and correcting as needed and sending them back out there
4. Consultant - 18+ - relationship and parenting as needed or requested

Three levels of a conversation with your kids:
level 1 - Shoreline - (Shallow) Most Parents - Knowledge

level 2 - Shallow (Snorkel) Some Parents - Understanding

level 3 - Deep (Scuba) - Few Parents - Desires & Beliefs 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Connecting Church and Home

Sometimes I get to hang out with the coolest ministry people. Well mostly all the time! Here is a link to a LifeWay Podcast that I had the privilege of doing, alongside a few of my favorite ministry friends! Click the image below to listen in.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Integrity over Image

“Choose Integrity over Image.” 
In a season of making resolutions, setting goals, and striving for change - I finished a devotional on my YouVersion app this morning. This one was, to say the least - shareable! I have added the graphic below from YouVersion - hopefully you download the whole thing and give it a read. But the last day just spoke to everything about finding our identity in what we do, rather than in Jesus. We are a crazed people when it comes to Image, and this was just a great read! Enjoy!! 

Oh, friend, what is our obsession with image? It’s like we just can’t stop tooting our own horns and posting pictures that capture the very best of our lives. I guess that’s because there’s no way to really photograph the hard stuff. I’m not going to stop crying in my cornflakes, or acting really selfish, to take a selfie, are you?
Actually, our obsession with image started back in Genesis, at the fall, when Adam and Eve hid in the Garden. God asked, “Where are you?” and they were like, over here, hiding, pretending like we didn’t just get hustled by that serpent. There’s another story in Genesis 11 about the people in Babylonia who wanted to be famous and make a name for themselves, so they built the Tower of Babel. 
God stopped them, but that spirit lives on today. These days, we see people refer to fame as a career path, and if we’re not careful, whatever we are building – even in Jesus's name – can be more about us and our platform than about Him and His glory.
Let’s just be honest about it, even with Jesus, pride is a central issue in our lives. Personally, pride has kept me bound up in unforgiveness. Pride has hindered relationships in my life. Pride has given birth to control, anger, fear, insecurity, and jealousy in my heart. Pride has kept me at odds with the will of God. At different times in my life, pride has made my image, my desire, my insecurity, and my intellect my god. I can think of nothing more destructive to the purpose of God in our lives and in the lives of others than pride.
I’m sorry, this is sort of heavy for a last day… How are you doing? I’ve loved journeying with you, and we’re getting to more encouraging bits, I promise. I wonder if we build an image because we are searching for significance. We haven’t learned how to be found in Christ, so we look to find ourselves in a person or career, in the clothes we wear, car we drive, pants size and Instagram likes, being better than other people, or proving ourselves to someone in our past, because that makes us feel significant, like we matter. Listen, I’m not anti any of those things, but if our motivation is to exalt our image above our integrity, then we’ve rooted our pursuits in pride. 
If we can surrender our image to Jesus, we can learn to live adverse to haughtiness. That’s what Paul did. When he met Jesus, he conquered the pride that shaped his religion and exalted his intellect. So when he writes in 1 Corinthians 2, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” we see a man completely changed by the power of the gospel. We see a forgiven man who has let the idol of his image die on the cross with Jesus, so that he can walk in the truth before God and man. 
Our image-obsessed world can sometimes be a hard place to find God. We can lean into the Holy Spirit and find His presence and power to heal us from our past, to receive forgiveness, and to forgive those who have hurt us, so that pride and it’s offspring does not rule our lives. 
I pray you continue to find God in the hard places of life. Thank you for the privilege of walking with you on your discipleship journey. You are so loved. 
PRACTICE: Read Saul’s conversion in Acts Chapter 9. As you enter into his story, ask God what He wants you to see, what He wants you to understand. Is the spirit of pride keeping you focused more on your image than on Christ? Is there anyone God is asking you to forgive so you can move forward?
Monday, September 19, 2016

Leadership lessons from blind Bartimaeus

If you have never read the story of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52), you have missed an awesome chunk of scripture. Or maybe you have read it and it didn't jump off the page for you. I was very familiar with this story and will often use it as an illustration in speaking - it contains one of my favorite questions in scripture. And while the "obvious" question makes me laugh a little every time I read it, the complexity of this simple question could be the source of many chapters of a book! I should write that book.

As Jesus was walking out of Jericho, He was surrounded by a large crowd. Bartimaeus who was sitting on the side of the road begging, heard Him and knew it was Jesus. Bartimaeus began to call out, "Jesus, son of David! Have mercy on me!". The people scoffed at him, reminding him of his status and that Jesus won't have time for him. As the crowd tried to get him to be quiet - he shouted more and more, getting louder. Jesus, hearing him called for him and the crowd began to shout for him to get up and go to Jesus. As he ran to Jesus he threw his cloak aside, when he approached - Jesus said "What do you want me to do for you?". Wait, what? I LOVE this question!

Bartimaeus replied "I want to see", and Jesus said to him "Go, your faith has healed you."

Every time I read this passage I laugh a little. It's such an obvious answer to that question. The dude is blind! Why would Jesus ask? Why wouldn't he just heal him straight away? Here are a few lessons I find to be epicly (not sure that's a word) true!

1. As Bartimaeus called out - He called Jesus, not just by name, but "Son of David". He was exclaiming his faith in Jesus as the Messiah. 
2. As the crowd told him to hush it, he got louder. While they may not be questioning his faith, they are making it clear that Jesus is only for some - and he wasn't that status. Today you see that in rockstar Christianity. People who claim to be compassionate followers of Jesus - but only when He is looking or giving attention to the poor. (which is always, but that's a different blog) In this time, Bartimaeus' condition would be assumed as a consequence for God's judgement. As soon as Jesus called him they quickly joined in. Jesus once again reminded the crowd of His compassion through His actions. He showed them that healing was for all. 
3. Jesus asked him what he wanted. Here we see a very obvious need. But Jesus had him state that need. It is in this posture that we see Bartimaeus show his faith, as Jesus is humbly standing in front of him in His Holiness. How many times a day do we just stop and recognize who Jesus is?
4. The question wasn't if Bartimaeus had faith, the question became "Was Bartimaeus willing to seek Jesus and lay his needs before him - even amongst ridicule." He did.

I use this passage often with discouraged leaders. As leaders, sometimes I think we have the tendency to think that if we haven't been able to fix something or succeed - we are just stuck. We have possessed faith, but still failed! Now what? We fail to see that something that may be an obvious need in our lives, even though Jesus can see it, we haven't given it to Him. 

If you are stuck, or broken as a leader (coming from someone who has been those things) have you sat there in your discouragement and called out to Jesus? As you are being ridiculed or feeling insignificant, have you called Him by name - showing your faith and His greatness? And lastly have you specifically asked Him to see? Or named the specific need? I have been so amazed to learn that it was my vision (or perspective) that simply needed healing. While other times there was a major change or healing.  

For those of us in leadership, we often need to step back and simply ask for help. Maybe to your pastor, maybe to your supervisor - but always to your heavenly father who waits for you to ask.