Archive for September, 2012

Quotes (6)

Posted in Words on September 25, 2012 by nmpreach

Here’s a few more in no particular order:

I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.  – Maya Angelou

That vision you believe God called you to, some people will love it. Some people will leave because of it.  – Michael Spencer

One person’s “plum” is another person’s prune.  – Leonard Sweet

Enjoy!

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Leadership Is Messy

Posted in Leadership on September 19, 2012 by nmpreach

One of my favorite titles on leadership is Never Blink In a Hailstorm.  When I first picked up the book, I noticed the humor (probably what intrigued me the most) and the seriousness regarding the subject of leadership.  David Mckenna has some great chapter titles.  Never Play God.  Never Swallow Perfume.  Never Waste An Interruption.  Never Ride A Pendulum.  But my favorite has to be the title of the book.  Subtitles in the chapter include The Loneliness of Authority, The Loneliness of Decision Making, and The Loneliness of Confidentiality – notice a pattern?  The chapter begins with these powerful words. “If you can’t stand loneliness, stay away from leadership.”

I’ve experienced this first hand.  Sometimes, leaders feel like they’re constantly swimming upstream, fighting a losing battle, all alone.  Remember Elijah and Mount Carmel?  Often times, we have to be reminded that God is with us when we remain in His will.  But He calls us to lead not to be comfortable.

The church I pastor has elders and deacons.  Ideally, the elders are to be the spiritual leaders of the church – shepherding, praying, guarding against false teaching, etc.  Deacons are ministers serving on a daily basis.  The best example is Acts 6 when the deacons are called to wait on tables.  Both descriptions are over-simplifications, but they’re sufficient for the conversation here.

I said all this to say leadership is messy.  In other words, there are tough decisions to be made.  And many times the decisions aren’t popular.  I’m sure there was grumbling when Peter or the other apostles led the early church.  Someone thought they should have done something different.  But we’re told the Church survived because leaders were more concerned about God’s will rather than being popular or chasing after their own dreams.  Leadership is tough!  I can’t wait to visit with Moses about all the grumbling in the desert.

Of course, not everyone is called to be a leader.  Not everyone in the Church is qualified to be a leader.  Sadly, there are many in the Church who have a title but fail to lead.  Billy Martin, former manager of the New York Yankees, once said, “(A successful manager) is one who keeps the five who hate you away from the four who are still unsure.”  There’s more truth in that statement than most realize.

Here’s the point:  Leadership is tough, lonely, and often times messy.  Sometimes there are wounds (real or perceived).  No one likes to be unpopular.  But if called by God, Church leaders shouldn’t be concerned with those things.  Lead.  Lead in a way that you may not be able to sleep at night but so that you can hear “Well done good and faithful servant.”  One more thing:  Leadership doesn’t require a title.  Good leadership begins with those humble enough to do the menial work no one else wants to do.  Pray for your leaders and strive to be one yourself (with or without a title).

Thoughts?

Quotes (5)

Posted in Words on September 18, 2012 by nmpreach

It’s a day for quotes.  Here’s mine for the week.  Again in no particular order:

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

“The crucified life is a blessed but lonely life that no man can walk for someone else.” – A.W. Tozer

“The person who walks in awe of God will not walk in the fear of man.” – Perry Noble

What about yours?

Silence Is Golden

Posted in Grace, Scripture on September 13, 2012 by nmpreach

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak (Ecc 3:7b ESV)

Do we really believe that?  I find myself giving my opinion when I should just listen.  I attempt to be wise when I have no business chiming in.  After the fact, I pray God’s grace covers a multitude of sin.

I was reminded of speaking too much over the last few days.  Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…. anyone even remember MySpace?) allows people to post their struggles and prayer requests.  Although I hate that some people thrive on drama, the benefits are obvious.  I appreciate the opportunity to pray for these people, for their concerns, and for God’s grace, mercy, and compassion.  But all too often, I’m tempted to tell them what they should do.  Sadly, sometimes I offer advice before praying God’s will.

Chances are you fall prey to the same temptation.  I’ve seen it!  Let’s face it: We hate when our families, our friends, and people in general experience pain.  We want to eliminate their pain.  We attempt to “fix” the problem.  Sidenote: I wonder if those around Paul attempted to eliminate Paul’s thorn?  If so, they were disappointed and perhaps even caused even more pain for Paul (Cf. 2 Cor 12).  Remember, God’s response was, “My grace is sufficient.”

Here’s a thought:  You and I see struggles on the surface but not in places close to the heart.  In other words, I can hear someone describing their struggle, but I really don’t know how they feel.  I may have experienced similar struggles, but we’re all different.  And how one struggles may be different from how I struggle – similar experience, different responses.  It’s what makes us unique.  If they want your advice, they’ll ask for it!

For believers, we know the Holy Spirit lives within us.  But we rationalize our counseling before determining what God wants to say through us.  Notice the “our counseling”, not God’s.  Stop being a counselor 24/7!   Surely there are times when God wants us to speak.  We see that again and again throughout Scripture.  But sometimes He wants us to do as Solomon says, recognize the time of silence.  Sometimes God simply wants us to listen and to pray.

Borrowing from the practical letter of James, maybe we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Maybe there are times silence really is golden.  Any thoughts?

Redeemed

Posted in Scripture on September 12, 2012 by nmpreach

Great Bible study this morning.  It’s so good to hear what God is doing in men’s lives.

What does it mean to be poured out?

What does it mean to be filled?

Why is this a constant battle between spiritual things and our flesh?

I was reminded of Jesus’ words from the cross.  When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and bowed his head and gave up his spirit (Jn 19:30 ESV).  So what was finished?  What was finished was what He came to do.  Jesus Christ – God incarnate – came to live among us (Mt 1:23), to display the Father’s will (Jn 14:9), to crush Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15), to conquer sin (Heb. 4:15), and to offer true life (Jn 10:10).  “It is finished” means I don’t have to allow the power of sin to control me anymore.  Christ has destroyed its power.  Should we go on sinning then?  May it never be my brothers.  To do so would devalue the cross.  Paul said we put to death the old man and live (Rom 5).  Don’t go back to a yoke of slavery (Gal 5).

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1 ESV).  Can I get an AMEN?

Quotes (4)

Posted in Words on September 11, 2012 by nmpreach

It’s Tuesday.  Here we go!  In no particular order…

I have never in my life learned anything from anyone who agreed with me. – Renee

It deeply disturbs me to see a stadium full of people cheer whenever abortion is affirmed. – Ed Stetzer

Circles are better than rows.  – Andy Stanley and Jason Kraft by way of Jesus Christ

Agree?  Disagree?  Any faves from this week?

 

Four Groups

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2012 by nmpreach

Really appreciate these thoughts about “Life Groups.”  Let me know your thoughts.  The link follows:

Four Groups.