Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Instead of...

  • Instead of leaving a flyer in my door, come over and chat with me in my yard.
  • Instead of yelling at me about hell, point me to some hope.
  • Instead of inviting me to your church, invite me to your den.
  • Instead of promoting the morality of your political party, lift Jesus up to me.
  • Instead of pointing out what's wrong with me, tell me about God's love for me.
  • Instead of focusing on converting me, make the attempt to connect with me.
  • Instead of moving on to the next victim when you don't catch me on your first attempt, actually want to be my friend.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Powerful Teaching?

The teachings of Jesus were powerful enough to amaze the crowds, silence the self-righteous, and convict the sinful.  They were not, however, powerful enough to give birth to a spiritual family that would last thousands of years and could withstand the gates of hell.  Only a resurrected Jesus could accomplish that. The church didn't make up the story of the resurrection to make Jesus look like a Savior. The church would not have existed to make up any stories if Jesus had never come out of his tomb.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Why Would You Keep Doing the Wrong Thing?

Years ago I realized that for three quarters I had been mailing my estimated tax payments to the incorrect US Treasury address.  The address was for the US Treasury, but not the branch to which I should have addressed my mail.  I asked my tax man, "Since I've sent these three payments to this address, should I go ahead and send this one there, too?"  He looked at me with bewilderment and then asked one of the most significant questions I've ever been asked: "Why would you keep doing the wrong thing?"

Should you be asking yourself that question right now?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Defensive Mode

I was a defensive end for the Kosciusko Whippets in Mississippi.  My responsibility on most plays was containment.  No running back was supposed to get outside of me.  If they did, my teammates who were all inside of me would have little chance to tackle the runner.  Keep them inside.

Because my role was containment, my posture was defensive.  Defensive ends stood instead of getting in a three point stance.  My hands were out in front of me.  My inside leg was back a little.  When an offensive player came to block me, I used my hands to avoid being knocked down.  I would back up, instead of advancing.  I would string out the play.  Obviously, if I got pushed to the sidelines easily, that was a problem, but backing up was fine.  My goal was to keep the play contained until my advancing teammates could pursue the man with the ball.  I played in defensive mode.

The church has been in defensive mode.  Much of what we do that we call ministry is done behind church walls.  We feel safe there.  Defensive mode.

We only read Christian books, watch Christian movies, listen to Christian music, attend Christian schools (or homeschool), and have Christian friends.  Defensive mode.

For many churches, there is not goal to “seek and save the lost.”  The goal is protecting the truth.  Every community I’ve lived in has a church that always stays about 30 strong, has no impact the community, but stands for the truth.  Defensive mode.

We say a lot, “We are in the world, but not of the world.”  We emphasize “of” to affirm that we are not like them.  The truth is, though, we are not in the world.  We are in our buildings.  We might get out occasionally for a two-week mission trip, but we are quickly back to our buildings waiting for the next two-week trip.  Defensive mode.

We string the play out, and string it out, and string it out.  Maybe we are waiting for our other teammates to pursue, but we are finding that we have a bunch of defensive ends.  And we’ve been pushed to the sideline.