Monthly Archives: April 2011

The 7 Habits of People Who Place Radical Trust in God

A Facebook friend of mine shared a link this am, which I found to be insightful and convicting. The blogger has noted characteristics of people who have put "radical" faith in God, and she has composed a list of those habits that they tend to share. Check it out here.

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Evangelism: Tips I Learned From The J-Dubs

After a long Easter weekend of services, being on the local news for 3 seconds, and visiting a church member in the hospital, I was not ready for Monday morning. So, while at home for lunch Monday, I tried to get in a quick 15 minute power nap. It was rudely interrupted by my doorbell. Composing myself I opened the door to find a Jehovah’s Witness (J-Dub) waiting for me. In the course of our conversation I made some mental notes on how to make sure your personal evangelism experience fails. Here they are:

1) Go door to door – I know some people right now are mad at me saying this, but it’s true. I’m not sure if/when this was an effective evangelism strategy, but I think we’re in a post-Evangelism Explosion world these days. Most people don’t like to be interrupted at home, especially if they’re asleep. Also because so many groups have done this in the past most people don’t trust someone randomly coming to their door. Case in point – I caught glimpse of my other neighbor peeking around her garage to see who it was that had come to her door. She was home, but she wasn’t answering the door for people she didn’t know.

2) Read a script – Reading a script is the fastest way to come across as a salesman. It oozes that you haven’t owned the message for yourself, but that you’re saying what you’ve been told to say. The script also shows that you are more focused on saying what you want to say instead of engaging with the person you’re talking to. Once this lady and I started talking, I was asking her questions. Once those questions got her off her script she kept saying she didn’t want to hold up the 2 other people waiting for her in the car. She wasn’t interested in my objections.

3) Don’t know your stuff – I began to realize that I knew more about her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness than she did. On 2 separate occasions she admitted to things that I know are not J-dub beliefs. Make sure in your zeal to share with someone that you’re not unintentionally straying from orthodoxy. Along these lines takes verses out of context or completely miss the meaning all together if you really want to make a failed point. She ended our discussion telling me to read Proverbs 8 as if this was the crushing blow to trinitarianism.

4) Make yourself out to be smarter than whoever you’re talking to – My favorite part of yesterday’s conversation was her appeal to me to use logic. It’s as if whatever I believe in is rooted in something that would make no sense to me. Most people, no matter what they believe, find that what they believe makes sense to them. We may have to ask questions that make people take a look at their logic, but very few gains will be made by elevating your ability to comprehend something over another. Now this doesn’t mean not to make logical, coherent arguments. But make them in such a way that doesn’t give off the impression that you’re smart and they’re not. As we discussed John 1:1 and how her New World Translation says that “the Word was a god” I asked her why it would say that since ancient Greek has no indefinite article (i.e. “a” or “an”). I also asked her why her translation was one of the only English translations among many that phrased it like that. Since we were appealing to logic of course.   

So, you may be wondering what can I do if I don’t want to fail.

Basically do the opposite of everything above. Simply build relationships with people and share within the context of those relationships. You will be more willing to share and those you’re sharing with will be more willing to listen. Approach people in humility, with a sincere concern for their salvation and not as a target. Talk about what God has done and is doing in your life. That’s a testimony, not a script. Find out what objections people have to Christianity and be able to discuss those or at a minimum be able to point them to resources dealing with their objections. A great resource is Tim Killer’s The Reason For God.

Above all, pray. Pray that God would open the eyes of people to understand and accept the gospel message. Pray that we would be sensitive to opportunities to share. Pray that we would be obedient to share and that we would trust God and God alone for the results.

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Where Are The Followers?

One of the blogs I’ve started reading recently is Michael Hyatt’s. He is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers and shares some good insights on leadership (See – I told you that I’m not anti-leadership). 

This post shares his view that there’s such a huge market for leadership resources these days because most people see themselves as leaders. Logically it follows that if we all see ourselves as leaders, where are the followers? It’s a good read. Check it out here

 

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Leadership & Shepherding

Leadership is not a substitute for shepherding. 

Just so I’m clear, I love leadership, and I recognize the need for leaders in the church. One of the terms that irks me the most is “facilitator” because I know we need people who lead and don’t just facilitate. Someone has to be intentionally leading people from where they are to where they need to be. So I’m not anti-leadership. 

BUT, leadership is not a substitute for shepherding. All the plans in the world, all the strategies, all the staffing, all the conferences attended, all the podcasts listened to do not mean much in the absence of one who doesn’t know his people and/or won’t sacrifice for the sake of the people (John 10:11,14).

Some questions I’m asking myself:

1) Are you known more as a shepherd or a leader? In other words, where do you stand at this moment? 

2) Would you rather be known more as a shepherd or a leader? In other words, where is your heart? Does pride determine your leadership style?

3) How many times was Jesus referred to as a shepherd? How many times was Jesus referred to as a leader? Which of those references were made by Jesus in reference to Himself and which were made by others? In other words, where does the Bible place its priority? 

Since it’s Easter week, Hebrews 13:20 is particularly timely on this subject:

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

 

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Leadership & Personal Walk With God

I need some help as I prepare to talk about the need for a maturing walk with the Lord for those who are leading in any form in ministry. What are some positive examples you've seen in your own life or in the lives of others where their walk with the Lord was evident in their leadership? What are some negative examples you've seen, either personally or in others, where the lack of a growing relationship with the Lord was evident in their leadership? You may have seen the effects in the leader or in those they were leading. Either way your input will be greatly helpful as I hope to remind myself and others that serving is not a substitute for our own time in the Word and in prayer.  

Disclaimer: No names will be used even if you provide names. If you'd prefer to not comment, but would like to help me out shoot me an email

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Dogs, Past Sin, and Emptiness (Country Song Title in Progress)

My wife and I have 2 dogs. One tends to get in trouble more than the other because he’s younger and apparently is incapable of going to the bathroom if there’s moisture in the air or on the ground. When he does something wrong he hides under the bed. Every time. As if we’re not going to be able to track him down.  

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(Harley after some unauthorized digging)

Not surprisingly it’s just as natural for us two-legged creatures to do something similar in our Christian life. I was thinking this morning about how past sin can just weigh us down. And I think it’s worse when that sin has occurred after we have been saved. Questions come up like: Am I really saved? Did I lose my salvation? 

Whether it be from guilt or fear, we often try to hide from God by not approaching Him. Then we relapse into some legalism and try to do some “good things” before we approach the Lord again. We think maybe then He’ll take us back.  

Providentially this verse was part of my daily Bible reading plan today:

And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself – 1 Samuel 12:20-22 (ESV)

God, talking to His people (don’t miss that) through Samuel, says “You messed up. Press on and keep following me.” It is so natural to “turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver” instead of turning to the only one who can deliver us from our old selves. Even when it doesn’t feel right, even when it doesn’t feel natural, repent and run to Christ. It has pleased the Lord to make you a member of his family. So, we can boldly approach Him without fear knowing that His grace is more than sufficient to cleanse us of all of our sins.  

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Scripture Memory – Free Resource

Scripture memory has always been an area that I have struggled with throughout my Christian life. I've had the desire to memorize scripture but either lacked the discipline or the structure to pull it off. 

Saturday, I was introduced to this resource by Desiring God. At the bottom there is a link to a PDF file on how to memorize long passages of scripture (i.e. whole books of the Bible). Before I had the chance to back out of doing this, 2 of my friends made mention of this same resource on Sunday. I'll take this to be extra confirmation that I need to man up and give this a go. 

I have elected to start with Philippians because it is relatively short, yet packed with great verses. My goal is to have Philippians memorized by August 20, 2011. Feel free to check in with me to see how that is going. 

If you are a scripture memory master, what works for you? How have you seen it bear fruit in your life? 

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