Category: rocovery


our own worst enemy

Restaurant Receipt

Justin Lee: When Christians Are Christianity’s Worst Enemy.

the link above is to an article that i’m seeing far too often!  is’s about Christians that, when eating out, instead of leaving a tip for their server they will write something regarding the server’s lifestyle [gay, lesbian] or about God getting 10%…therefore no tip is given to the server.

this is absolutely unacceptable!

we are to be Christ’s ambassadors & we end up defaming the name of the One we say we love, the One we sing about & the One we worship. we end up tearing down everything we believe in when we act in this way.  the article linked above says it really well, so i encourage you to read it.  and consider the message we send while this season of hope is upon us.

john15:12 “love each other as I have loved you.” – Jesus

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so it finally happened…an athlete in a major sport [football, basketball, baseball, hockey] broke his silence & said that he is gay.  first time in this country this has happened.  all of this broke mon., april29 with a sport illustrated article [here is a link to one such article].  what happens now, for the Christ-follower & the church, is highly important.  the things that we say now & how we behave has a great opportunity to reach into places we’ve often stayed away from…and stayed away at our own doing & choice. the issue of tolerance is often brought up when these kinds of conversations are had.  “you have to be tolerant of others beliefs & even their reaching-outbehaviors, otherwise you’re being judgmental!” important point: we need to be sure we understand what tolerance means.

tol·er·ance defined

1.  a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, racereligion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.

2.  fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one’s own.

tolerance does not mean that i have to agree with whatever you want to do or say.  tolerance DOES mean that i respect you as a person & that you have value, even if i don’t agree with how you live your life.  this is also how we recognize what love is all about.

so, with all of that said, this is a grand time to make sure that as a Christ-follower i am reaching out to those that feel as though they may have had to hide a part of their lives.  this was a prominent part of the article about jason collins & admitting his sexuality. recently i was having a conversation with a friend of mine & our conversation ended up being about how we talk with people that believe different than us.  how do we show love, but at the same time talk with them is such a way that they know where we stand?  what we ended up saying is that our best bet is to always get back to Jesus.  always get it back to Jesus.

so in light of these recent events, we look to Jesus…

Jesus is consistently seen with the kind of people that the local church leaders did not have much patience or time for.  He’s found at their parties, not obeying the rituals of the day, ignoring the societal standards of separation.  and it ticked them off to the point of orchestrating His death. but an interesting thing emerges; those people that the church-folk didn’t like, liked Jesus; even though the church-folk were more like Him, but Jesus didn’t seem to like the church-folk very much… meaning this: Jesus seemed to want to be with those that were outside the church more than those inside the church.  i’m not why this is, but here is a possibility.  it is natural for us to become highly comfortable with people that are most like us & Jesus seemed to want to break that down.  acknowledging that His greatest desire is for us…ALL of us.  and His desire for us is shared through those that already know Him.  so i must make sure that the way i talk about this issue, & how i even feel toward those that have this life-style, is covered in the love of Christ.

may you do the same…

the progress of recovery

 

it’s been 2 years since i’ve began working with 2 churches in the “recovery” process.  i’m calling it a “recovery” process for lack of better language at this point & because that’s what we’re really after; a recovery of God’s vision, a recovery of impact in the neighborhood’s we live, recovery of a meaningful mission.

with all those things in mind, and having read loads of material & books & talked with others who’ve been through this kind of shift before there are a couple of things that have come to the surface recently.

when the health of a church begins to show up; and that can be a long process [discovering health], there are some systemic changes that are revealed.  some of those changes happen on their own & some we have to root out.

budgetary health

this is one that has just happened as we’ve found a healthy place to be & fleshed out our sense of mission in the community.  the reason i say “it’s just happened” is that it “happening” is a direct result of preaching straight from the word & allowing the strength of scripture speak loudly to us.  so that correction isn’t one that i’m willing to take credit for.  God & God alone get the credit for that.  so this is A sign, not THE sign of health.  i know plenty of churches that are operating at a budget surplus & are some of the most unhealthy & dysfunctional churches around.  no sense of mission, no urgency for the lost…unhealthy.

getting past “good enough

i’ve written about this once before [check the link above].  but i’ve realized something new.  i was talking with another church leader who had been in a similar leadership position & he said that we were under-going a whole mentality shift.  and that’s really true.  that we are changing the way we think about things and then that affects the way we actually do things.  in order to do new things we must be able to think in new ways.  i then believe that this is part of what paul is talking about in romans 12 when he mentions

“…the renewing of your mind…”

this is a shift that we’re going through, the ability to think in new ways & allowing our minds to be renewed by

“…God’s perfect will.”

at root, at the core of what we’re doing as a church has to be an answer to this question:

do we care more for the way we used to do things, or more for those that may find Jesus through this new way?