Tag Archive: waves of change


good, short conversation from jon acuff & his wife.

Quit trying to turn lead into gold. – Jon Acuff.

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wonderful article on the call to unity through students we may never meet.

“We Are All Rwandans” by Christopher Heuertz.

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…

Been-There-Done-Thatwhen new things are presented one of the first things our brains want to try and answer is this; “have i seen this before?”  our brains are categorizing machines.  neatly organized files of experiences, emotions, things done & places been.  so when something new comes on the scene & we have the option to enter/engage our brain immediately tries to make sense of it with little to no information.   such a dangerous practice…

we are, by the nature of our current culture, highly impatient people.  we feel like we have to decide right now if we’re moving forward to going to retreat into what we know & have seen before.

in the midst of this there’s a lie that we want to believe…

“do what’s familiar”

after all, the familiar is…well, familiar.  “i know how to handle stuff that i’ve already seen.  i know what to expect & how to react.”  the new is unknown & it might just be a lot of work.

as we talk about reshaping church & the expectations that exist within church; and realizing that we’re reshaping the culture of church, we know that there aren’t just one or two things that need to be addressed; there’s a truck-load of things & expectations that need to be dealt with.  and quite honestly that’s hard work.  there’s a lot of self-examination that must take place, a lot of questions that need to be asked & honesty that must be employed.

if we realize that Christ comes to offer us something that we cannot attain on our own & do something that we’ve never seen before [and that’s a big IF]; then we stand a chance in seeing something that we’ve never seen before, to be a part of a move of God’s people like we’ve never witnessed in our life-times.

Jesus says in john 10:10 [msgB]

 "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."

hmm, “more and better life…”

yea, what if we just said “no” to the familiar, & decided to embrace what Jesus comes to offer; a different kind of life.  a life that’s difficult…but then again, life in general is difficult.  so instead of choosing the familiar & easy path what would happen to your life & mine if we chose a path with Christ that seemed harder but would lead to a more full life?

recently a friend was telling me about a conversation they were having with a family member.  it revolved around their connection to a little church that didn’t have the best programs, especially for kids; but they were working on it.  and it was said, “i just wish that part was a little better, then we’re in.”

and the response was, “well, sometimes it takes the commitment of some parents to say we’re here to get this thing off the ground & make it great.”  since that conversation those parents have decided to fully engage in that little church.

i think sometimes we want to walk into a setting that’s already hummin’ & it’s just the best thing; and you’re surrounded by people that are just like you & it’s not uncomfortable at all.  and the truth is that’s pretty great when it meets your needs right now, where you stand.  but i think there are a lot more times when Jesus calls us to give all we have in places that are difficult & undone.  that “more and better life” part of what Jesus offers is a hard road.  but it still leads to the kind of life that has Jesus at the forefront.

we cannot do both.  if we try to do both it drives us nuts & it’ll end badly.

eph.3:20

“now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”

if we really believe this to be true of us as individuals & as a church [that’s all of us belonging to different churches under the banner of Christ] do we act like this?

we want to, desperately, answer this question with an absolute “YES!!”  and i think we answer the question believing in our hearts that the answer is truly “yes.”  this verse has the invitation to thrive in this life & not just focus on the life to come.  the truth of how we answer can show up in our practices & ways of operation.

something that i’m observing lately is the impossibility of thriving & surviving both at the same time.

here’s what i mean…

if we’re going to to all, exceedingly more through Christs we have to be willing to let go of our “we’re just barely making it” mentality.  for some of us this mentality is where we’ve lived for so long we don’t know any other way to be.

“we’re broke, don’t spend anything”

“we’ve never done it that way before”

“what if this doesn’t work”

“what if they don’t show up”

and there’s something significant that happens…

calcification of new ideas [creative arthritis]

when this happens other dominoes start to fall.  and as a result we are no longer seeking to thrive & grow & become this thing that God is trying to reveal in us.  at some point we decided the best thing to do was to cut our losses & just try to ride out the storm.

maybe this will be a helpful picture…

i’m not a horse rider, & have been on a horse a few time in my life.  but what i have noticed is the relationship to holding the reins & the horse moving.  i may need to check my facts on this, but i don’t think you can spur the horse on to move/run/jump/navigate the trail & at the same time hold the reins back.

while it’s true that there are times for survival & a tightening the reins. a ‘we’ve just got to get through this.” mentality.  but at some point the rebuilding needs to begin.  a re-structuring takes place.  recovery must happen.  we cannot afford to loose sight of what it was like to thrive & be & do something significant.  and if we’ve forgotten about those days, it’s time to connect with someone who does.  and if no one is around who remembers it’s time to re-cast a vision for tomorrow.

important point: remembering the significant things of the past do not entail a return to those things.  it’s just important to remember when survival wasn’t the only thing that mattered.

here’s another thought that’s just occurring to me.  history will record what happened; it always has & always will.  so you and i & our time here will be recorded.  i don’t want the things that i did & participated in to be thought of as missed opportunity & potential wasted; a missing of God’s call.

are we willing to let God do whatever He wants, whenever He wants to, with whomever He chooses?

this is a big question because he may, in fact probably will use some unlikely characters in HIS story.  and that’s an important point!  HIS story.

so much of our culture; 21century, western is built around us as individuals.  what commercials aren’t catering to the idea that the world isn’t about you?  what part of life do you  not  ask “how does this thing that i’m about to buy, do, participate in, go to make my life better?”  that’s the culture/era we live in.  it’s something that’s been handed to us & we’ve just willingly taken it on, as if this is the way it’s supposed to be.

SO, when the story doesn’t go our way & it seems a bit too difficult & weighty [even as Christ-followers] we are tempted to think that God has abandoned us.  or it’s confirmation that God doesn’t exist.

but the story is God’s to tell & His story line is different than ours.

something that i’m going to try & learn in the coming year is the difference between taking responsibility & taking control.  this is something that i recently heard donald miller talk about.  he, in so many words, defined it like this; though the life of joseph [yea, from the bible].

taking responsibility would be living through the circumstances of life, but not in spite of them.  meaning we wouldn’t just grit our teeth & fight through to the end.  we would see this part of the story as a chance for God to do something great.

taking control intimates that we’re going to change the circumstances for our benefit.  the idea being “we don’t have to sit here & take this!”

joseph simply lives thought the story line and allows God to move the characters.  he leaves a gap for God, he’s not passive, he responds to doors that God opens up.

God provides courage though the difficult, negative turns that come in our lives.  we need to be ready to allow God to use unlikely story lines, unusual situations & unlikely heroes in His story.  we must remember, He is the story-teller.

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]?

2nd 3rd waves of change

change is a hard thing to grab onto @ times.  it can challenge the way we’ve always done things, it can up-end plans that we’ve put into place, & it can disrupt a future we had in mind.

but, when we accept a change that’s been handed down to us, that is IF we accept said change, it can become incredibly freeing.  the thing about change & shift is that it has a theoretical portion to it & a practical “this is how it’s going to get done” portion.

when we talk about change & say “here it is, this is what we need to do.”  the data is presented, the discussion is had, the pro’s & con’s are weighed, opinions are heard.  here it’s all just talk.

then it takes some “doing”.  we get practical & we figure out schedules & how many hands we’re going to need to make this new thing happen & the wheels start to move.  it’s hard,  but we knew it would be.  there’s been some loss; there always is with new things being born.  but there’s some new life that’s realized too.  that also happens when the “new” is seen.

so none of this is new news to anyone.  this is what we know…

here’s something that we may know as well, that change comes in a couple of waves.  it’s not all instant & we didn’t know [up front] all of the possible shifts that would have to be made.  when one thing changes it will cause ripple affects in multiple places, that much we know.  what we don’t know & can never completely predict, is  how those other ripples will show up & what other things those ripples may reveal.

the question becomes this:

when the leader[s] projected the picture of this “new future/shift/idea/program” &  you decided to get on board…

…what was/is your commitment level to being a part of this new thing?

as a leader, unveiling the new vision…

…what is/was your commitment level to developing & nurturing whats been growing inside you?

the new project that we move toward is going to cause some ripples in places we never expected to see.  it’s going to cause some change in areas other than the one new thing we’re doing.  it will push us toward some people we may not be comfortable with.  it will almost certainly challenge some of our thoughts about God, how church is supposed to be done.  and it may challenge some of our theology.

the question then becomes, are you willing to see how deep the rabbit hole goes?

will you follow in the midst of questions?

will you lead all-the-while questions & doubts are hurled your way?

will you believe that God has brought you to a place where greater trust is needed in Him instead of our carefully laid out plans & schemes?

this sounds risky…

but then again, it probably should.