Category: you lost me

relational currencylately there have been several things that have been swirling around in my head & conversations i’ve had…

being a sports fan & originally being from indiana i’ve been watching the nba playoffs & in particular the pacers.  my, how they’ve fallen.  back in february they made a trade of players in an attempt to shore up their line-up & make a run at a championship.  in short, it’s not working & they’re in jeopardy of getting bounced from the playoffs.

in other conversations with teachers & parents the gist of the discussion has been surrounding the struggle of budgets & programming offered at public schools along the lines of, “we can’t afford to do what we once did.  oh, and we can’t pay for the labor force to teach what we once did.”  this issue has far reaching implications beyond what i can discuss here & beyond what we even currently know.

a lot of times when we’re confronted with a problem or a difficult situation we’re tempted to “out-think the room.”  believing that the solution to this problem must be complicated; at least as complicated as the problem itself.  i believe that at the root of the issues we face begins with something relatively simple, and it almost always begins with the same thing.  true, when things bloom & become this complex hairball of difficulty the problems then are complex; & fixing them takes time.  but i’m going to assert that the root issue is just one thing…relationship with people.  here, we’ll call it relational currency.

with the pacers the problems with how they’ve slide seem to be many & getting out of the hole they’ve dug is going to take time.  but i believe that it all began with a particular player being traded away; danny granger.  he seemed to be the glue of the locker room that’s now gone.  he was the guy that could remind everyone what they were supposed to be doing.  true, he didn’t get a lot of playing time, but he was greatly respected by the players & he was a voice of maturity for that team.

this basic premise of relational currency plays out with schools as well.  there has been a recent move in michigan with an animosity toward teachers in the name of dollars & cents.  so many things are veiled in “we can’t afford to…”  and those that primarily suffer are the students & their teachers.  i’ve been saying for a couple of years now that there will be a day, probably when my kids have kids, that we’ll all look back at this time in history and wonder aloud, “what were we thinking, treating kids & schools & teachers that way?!”

when people aren’t valued & relationships aren’t seen as the primary asset of an organization weather that be a school, a team, a church or any number of other places to be a part of, to work & make a living; when people aren’t valued, the system is about to crumble.

relational currency also shows up in the life of Jesus.  when Jesus gives “the sermon on the mount” [mt.5, 6 & 7] He’s talking about how there are 2 kingdoms that overlap right now.

one kingdom tells us that we’d better look out for us.  that if we don’t meet our needs, then no one is going to meet our needs.  that life is about you & you need to grab all you can before it’s all over.

the other kingdom tells us that people matter; people other than us matter.  that God has something in mind for us, and that we find that “something” when we give our lives to others.

so ask yourself some questions today:

am i living in such a way that truly values other people?  not valuing them in terms of what they can do for me.  not in terms of how they benefit my life & make me great.  but do i value them as sons & daughters of God?

am i pouring my life into the lives of those around me?  or am i content to take care of me & my needs while ignoring those around me?

Snowflake Box detailrecently there’s been this thought that’s been swirling around in my head…it’s really been a continual stream of wondering:

how does the “sending nature” of the gospel show up in your life?

maybe we need to define some things first;

i think, without question, that the gospel of Jesus Christ has, at it’s root, a sending quality to it. consider the season we’re launching into right now.

Jesus comes to earth.  He leaves heaven to join us here.  He’s sent here to do what we cannot –


so in simple terms; do we believe that we are engaging that “called out” &” sending” thing that happens in the bible repeatedly?

most of us, as Christ-followers would immediately say “well, yes. i do believe that we’ve called into that kind of life.”

but here are, i think, the most important questions:

do we live like that?
do we raise our families like that?
do we work at our jobs with this in mind?
do we attend churches that speak this kind of language?

if we look at these questions & there is a little bit of guilt or heaviness that shows up,

if we want to run from this page,

if God is waking some things up inside you,

may that same God, the one who sent His Son, the One we celebrate & try hard not to forget & bypass;

may that God speak into this season & your celebrations.  may He remind you of the call He has for your life & the places He is inviting you to go.

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

good blog from “the river walk” opening the discussion between those who believe & those who don’t.  read on & share.

An Open Letter To Those Who Doubt or Deny God | The River Walk.

the bigger better ruin

as i continue to work with churches that seem truly interested in a different future, a future that will take them to places they’ve never been, something i keep saying to them is this.

we’re not going to talk about church growth strategies, ways to become attractive to those not connected to the church.  we’re not going to preach about what’s wrong with the world & the sin in their lives anymore than we talk about that problem in our own lives.  we’re not going to have a 5 year plan on growth & new buildings.  we’re simply going to respond to the prompting that God puts in our hearts.

yes, we’re going to do a lot of work & we’re going to look intentionally into the things that God shows us & we will make changes to the things that we’ve held dear…if that’s what God is asking us to do.

i do think there is a great deal of planning/future thought/strategy when it comes to growing God’s church.  but i’m more & more of the thought…maybe the question —- why?  what’s the motivation?  not weather we should or shouldn’t work to grow God’s church, but why are YOU doing it?

is it so you can have the best programming around?  is it so you can have a new building?  is it so you can look good?

in the process of growth there is always death.  when we make something new there are other things that are sacrificed & lost in the process.

this is something that connects to the cross.  Jesus dies so we can live.

so when we build up something new what are the things that die to make way for the new?  and a bigger question, are we ruining of something that didn’t need to die?

certainly, there are things that time has passed by & need to be retired.  worship that is captured by organ & piano alone, the thought of “putting on your sunday best” for church, the big hair of the ’80’s.  but as we strive for the new, the better, the bigger will we run over things that are meaningful & actually minister to people?  and i’m not just talking about the people that go to your local church.

oh that i would not be so obsessed with my own glory, that i would see the ministry happening right in front of me & may i lead [weather holding a title of leadership or simply leading in the circle of my family, friends & co-workers] in ways that bring life…in the same way that Jesus brought life to everything He touched.

may i not be a builder of empty cathedrals & ruined coliseums…

Seth’s Blog: Learning leadership from Congress.

click the above link & check out some of seth godin’s thoughts on the temporary derailment of the SOPA issue.

QUESTIONS:  what does this mean for the church?

what does this mean for us as we seek to do what God asks of  us [individuals &  the collective body of  the church]?

You Lost Me | By David Kinnaman

check out the link above, watch the video & then come back…

this is SO important for the church [any Christ-follower] to realize.

the church, at large, is finding itself at odds with a younger generation of students & young adults that don’t believe the church is for them.  it’s not just a difference in musical preference or even theology [although that reality is coming to the forefront].  at the beginning of this realization, it’s a struggle for power; and this younger generation simply says, “if you want to fight for this church, the way it’s configured, you can keep it.”

for so many in this next generation there’s not a willingness to fight for something that seems outdated, uninteresting & disconnected from the world.  “so”, they might say, “you can keep it.”

there is a shift coming whether we want it or not, whether we’re ready for it or not.

do we embrace this shift & celebrate this new thing that God is doing?  or do we simply continue to fight it & say “no, no!  this is what God looks like.  this is what He’s doing.  come do it like this!”