Posts Tagged 'Christianity'
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A view from the good seats (at the feet of Jesus – Matthew 18).
Tags: christ, Christian, Christianity, Church (building), encouragement, Ezra, First Epistle to the Corinthians, God, leadership, leadership principles, lord, vision, Visual perception, youth ministry
vi·sion noun \ˈvi-zhən\
Definition of VISION
- A thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination or a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial.
- An unusual discernment or foresight (a person of vision).
- The act or power of seeing: sight.
- Something seen or a lovely or charming sight.
“Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose (vision).” 1 Corinthians 1:10
A vision seeks to keep us as a people united in our thoughts and purpose regardless of the organization, church, business, family, or friendship. Why even have a vision?
- ONE: Vision Increases Morale and Reduces Frustration
“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18
Without vision people go crazy. However, with vision people are able to function properly because they know what to do, have higher morale and enjoy organization better when they know what is going on
- TWO: Vision Attracts Cooperation
“Take courage, for it is your duty to tell us how to proceed in setting things straight, and we will cooperate fully.” Ezra 10:4
When the world knows what we are doing, people will want to join in.
Our church has a vision, “To make Christ known near and far”. We are seeing frustrations decrease and cooperation come in massive numbers. People are living to “make Christ known near an far” because they are going in one direction. Our vision gives us the ability to say no so that we don’t do a dozen things well but we do a few things with excellence. We unite ourselves under our vision and our people can easily communicate to others who also want to come aboard. We are concentrated and focused, not distracted. That’s because of vision.
“I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Lamentations 3:40
We must constantly evaluate the purpose of our all of our organizations, churches, business, families, friendships, etc. and trust the leadership casting that vision. If you’re not following a vision, you’re following a rabbit trail. Get vision whatever the cost. Seek out leaders that have clearly defined and measurable purpose (vision). The sooner you get vision, the sooner you get clarity. The sooner you get clarity, the sooner the frustration decreases. The sooner frustration decreases, the sooner cooperation comes.
Tags: Adam, Adam & Eve, Apostle Paul, Bible, christ, Christian, Christianity, community, encouragement, Epistle to the Romans, Faith, God, Jesu, jesus christ, leadership, leadership principles, ministry, Momentum, Networked Churches, training
My roommate in college got cancer, became weak and eventually died. My biological father also got cancer, became weak and eventually died. It’s inevitable. We all have a shelf life. Our body’s become weak and someday, we die. Death is a result of our weakness… our shortcomings… the inability to to fight off “the death blow”. Something takes over and causes the body to shut down.
That something, that weakness, is sin. Sin is shortcoming. Sin is a weakness we all have. Think about it. Weakness is a state of being utterly helpless, without power or strength. That’s death. When you die you are utterly helpless, without any power or strength.
In the book of Genesis (an account on how the world came to be), Adam and Eve choose to sin in the garden. Because of their sin, the consequences to breaking God’s laws were that they would eventually become sick (weak) with the disease of sin and die. They choose it by disobeying God’s security. Not only did they choose it, it was passed down from generation to generation to all their offspring (you and I).
Adam and Eve choose to sin, therefore… we all die (“As in Adam, all die…” 1 Corinthians 15:22).
In our weak condition (our sin) we are helpless because we have no one who will come to our rescue. Maybe in life we have the consequence of sin which is death. But wait… what if there is a cure for death. Don’t get me wrong, you still have to go through dying. However, what if there is a cure once death has been “diagnosed”? What if you have to take the medicine before the diagnosis?
The Apostle Paul says that God (the creator) gave His Son (Jesus) who we have a choose to believe in (trust – the remedy for death) to overcome the weakness which is our sin. In that belief, the antidote for the diagnosis that we know is coming, Jesus gives a gift (counselor and guide) on how to live, how overcoming the weakness that causes death and live in such a way that will prepare us to spend an eternity with Him.
Loving this God for His gift of life after death gives us power over weakness that will come. We need not fear when the diagnosis comes because we know that we are already trusting in the remedy – Jesus Christ death and resurrection on the cross.
Are you feeling weak? Let me encourage you with what Jesus offers those who will call upon His name…
- Protection and Support: To reject God means we welcome attacks and ultimately welcome death without a remedy for the disease. To accept Jesus means we welcome a support structure, a cure for death, that only God can provide to protect us when death comes. We often give into sin because we are not protected properly. You must go into the bunker to get away from the storm. “Petitioning your requests to the Lord” (Philippians 4:6). If Jesus is the only one who can die for creation, a perfect cure for an imperfect world, then He is the only one who can give protection to the weak in the ability to overcome death.
- The Ability to React Properly: Those without protection and support have no time to respond to an attack because the defenses are down. However, the one who trusts in the Lord wears the armor of God to fight everyday, real life, battles. “You (Jesus) defend the weak and the fatherless; You (Jesus) uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalm 82:3. Word it this way, “You (Jesus) cure the weak and fatherless; You (Jesus) uphold the cure for the poor and oppressed.”
- The Ability to be Controlled and Restrained: A weak, defenseless person cannot respond properly to temptation and thus lives a life out of control. Again they openly welcome death. However, accessing God’s offering of redemption gives us more than a temporary moment of relief but an eternal standing before God. A cure that lasts an eternity.
“At the right time Christ died for the ungodly… rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.” Romans 5:7
Few people might possibly be willing to die to save the lives of the weak… Jesus went beyond that, Jesus died in the place of the weak, for the ungodly, while we were in our sin and weakness and for His enemies. What kind of God does that? Name one other God that does that for His followers?
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Where you are weak, God makes you strong through the power of Jesus remedy for those diagnosed with death. Will you take the cure in an act of faith and rely on it’ power to daily guide you in the ways you need to go?
Tags: Christian, Christianity, Church service, community, conference, encouragement, Faith, God, Henri Nouwen, Jesus, Joe, leadership, leadership principles, ministry, Momentum, Networked Churches, Rodleigh, Virginia Beach
Vault is a conference on how to do church … for people who don’t like church. There are many books and conferences on how to grow a “successful” church, but unfortunately they’re not focused on how to reach the unconvinced and cynical. Read more about Vault here.
Vince Antonucci became a Christian out of a completely non-Christian background and ever since his passion has been reaching the “lostest of the lost.” He was the founding Pastor of Forefront Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, a church where 72% of the people who attend were previously unchurched non-Christians. Vince recently moved to Las Vegas where he started a new church, Verve, in the heart of Sin City, just off the Vegas Strip. Vince is the author of I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt (2008), Guerrilla Lovers (2010), and Renegade (2013).
Session 1: The Call to Reach God’s Lost Children
- Vince started by telling his story. Interesting that his mom was Jewish and hs dad was a professional poker player. How in the world did those two meet?
- God has countless number of lost children wondering around… is anyone going to help these children back to their Father?
- Jesus message “Return to me.”
- The mission of every pastor and church planter are not good at helping people get back to God.
- Does the church truly have an “evangelistic DNA”?
- We can’t pass on DNA that we don’t have.
- Don’t lose the rhythm of God’s heartbeat for lost people. How do we get ourselves around lost people?
- The longer we wait to reach the lost, the harder it is to reach the lost.
- Churches are like steak restaurants for PETA activists.
Session 2: Programming Church Services for People Who Don’t Like Church
- Principle 1: Uncross your arms – Change people’s posture. Help people unfold their arms!
- Principle 2: Wear their Shoes – How does it feel to go to church when you have never gone their before?
- Principle 3: Bring a Guest to Dinner – What do you do that’s acceptable to you but hard to swallow to an outsider?
- Principle 4: Be on Your Game (Joe DiMaggio) – Every service should be done like it’s someone’s first time.
- Principle 5: Check Your Influences – Are you going to other churches to get things or are you accessing what lost people are interested in in order to change what is secular into something that could be sacred.
- Principle 6: Use their Culture – What are people engaging in that you can access?
- Principle 7: Don’t Use Your Culture – Be careful about the assumptions you make, your assumptions make your crowd.
- Principle 8: Authenticity – Who is this person and is he anything like me? We need to let people access the unconditional love of God.
Session 3: Diving into the Chaos
- It’s not your job to clean up someone else’s mess. Lead people to experience the love of Jesus and their sins will start to pass away.
- Create the right conditions to grow which is an arena for grace.
- It’s easier for most Christians to judge people instead of love people.
- People who are far from God have been living with the enemy for so long they have forgotten what it’s like to experience the love of God.
- There will be some people who accept grace as a reason to sin. It’s worth the risk.
- If people think you like them, they will listen to you.
- We need to be more comfortable in our communities instead of our churches, involved in people’s lives who need Jesus the most.
Session 4: Radical to Radical
- If you want a radical follower, you need to find someone who is radically lost.
- Radically lost people become radical followers of Jesus.
- We are all about igniting a revolution and not starting another country club.
- We must be compassionately connected to those far away from the Lord.
Session 5: Questions and Answers
- Courage comes from a genuine love for people and seeking their best.
- Courage to talk comes from courage of conviction.Are we offering people a better way of life?
- What is the most loving way to say things to people?
- Point people to evidence to help change on a level that is beyond yourself.
Session 6: No Splanga, No Glory
- You’re willingness to rist is your potential return.
- When we stare at our risk we are giving into our fear.
- Lives are impacted when we do things for the kingdom of God.
- It’s totally worth doing what God wants you to do. Stare at potential return and it will help you overcome fear.
An Excerpt from Henri Nouwen on faith: “The Flying Rodleighs are trapeze artists who perform in the German circus Simoneit-Barum. When the circus came to Freiburg two years ago, my friends Franz and Reny invited me and my father to see the show. I will never forget how enraptured I became when I first saw the Rodleighs move through the air, flying and catching as elegant dancers. The next day, I returned to the circus to see them again and introduced myself to them as one of their great fans. They invited me to attend their practice sessions, gave me free tickets, asked me to dinner, and suggested I travel with them for a week in the near future. I did, and we became good friends.
“One day, I was sitting with Rodleigh, the leader of the troupe, in his caravan, talking about flying. He said, ‘As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.’ ‘How does it work?’ I asked. ‘The secret,’ Rodleigh said, ‘is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely over the apron behind the catchbar.’
” ‘You do nothing!’ I said, surprised. ‘Nothing,’ Rodleigh repeated. ‘The worst thing the flyer can do is to try to catch the catcher. I am not supposed to catch Joe. It’s Joe’s task to catch me. If I grabbed Joe’s wrists, I might break them, or he might break mine, and that would be the end for both of us. A flyer must fly, and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.’
“When Rodleigh said this with so much conviction, the words of Jesus flashed through my mind: ‘Father into your hands I commend my Spirit.’ Dying is trusting in the catcher. To care for the dying is to say, ‘Don’t be afraid. Remember that you are the beloved child of God. He will be there when you make your long jump. Don’t try to grab him; he will grab you. Just stretch out your arms and hands and trust, trust, trust.’ “
Great day drinking from a fire hydrant.
Tags: Arts, Christianity, devotions, discipleship, encouragement, Epistle to the Romans, God, Jesus, leadership, lord, Momentum, Networked Churches, Swing, Swing music
My daughter likes to repeat herself. She says the same thing over and over again until she gets our attention. Her most recent appeal has been to push her on the swings. Being that she is so young, she’s unable to swing by herself and therefore needs assistance. She wants a “big push” to gain the proper moment to feel the maximum wind flow through her hair. She will literally sit in the swing yelling, “Daddy, come push me!”
The other day I tried to pass off the responsibility by calling my wife over to give her some momentum. As she neared towards the swing, without reservation, my daughter pushed her away and said with great demand, “No! Daddy has to push me!”
Unsure why she wanted me to push her and not my wife was a foreign concept. Therefore, without hesitation I walked over, secured her in the swing, pulled it back as far as it would go, and then let it rip. She shouted with excitement over the exhilaration. My wife looked at me without pausing,
“You push her a lot harder than I do!”
So it is with Jesus. How many times have we sat longing for God to come give us a push? To do something great in our lives that no one else can do. We may of had others push the swing at times but for some odd reason they always came up short, leaving us sitting still begging for our father to come to the job the right way.
I’ll never forget the first time our daughter went to the top. She was nervous how high we were climbing. Fear coursed through her fingers as she clutched the swings chains tighter. We often want the thrill of flying but forget about overcoming the fear to get going or the trust it takes in the one pushing the swing.
What we must cling to is that when we call upon the Lord in faith, He will not only come to our aid, but He will also help us get over the fear of getting to the top. Even better, if we call out to Him and trust Him, He give us the greatest encounter we could of ever experience. He will “never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5) as He is the momentum that keeps us going for eternity.
Where are you?
- Are you sitting on the swing waiting for that push? “Call upon the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). Stop looking for someone else to do the job that only God can through His Son Jesus.
- Are you terrified because God is bringing you to the top of the pendulum? “Don’t fear” (Isaiah 41:10). The Lord knows what He is doing. Embrace the fact that He is in control.
- Are you enjoying the ride? Is life going great and you just can’t get enough? Awesome. (John 15:11) Don’t forget that when you lose momentum, ask God to give you another push and don’t be terrified when He takes you to the top to start over.
The best is yet to come!