Archive for November 2007

Your Noticing Radar

Today, flip the switch on your noticing radar. 

Stop by Starbucks – and notice your way through the place. 

Here’s a heads up.

The person or even two behind you need to have their drinks paid for – and you will do the paying.

When they at first order a regular tell the barista, they really meant a "Venti" – why?  Because you want them to experience the generosity of God – a small touch of love through you in that moment. 

Talk less. 

Smile.

Listen more. 

No, you don’t need to explain the gospel right there – and you haven’t yet gained access to these hearts.  There is a lot of serving / loving yet to go before you earn that right. 

Hint: Keep in mind, you will see them tomorrow, and next week, etc. 

Please keep out of your mind the livid preacher warning of a bus wreck.  If we lived the way so many of such preachers encourage we too would need much medication. 

Faithfulness in simple serving and generosity pays off. 

Invest.  Love.  Serve.  Cultivate.

Agreeing with Jesus

Leaders – how do we stay in sync with the life of the Spirit so we continue to love, live, flow with the care of God for the not-yet believers around us?

– Not just because it is the right thing to do

– But because that devotion is the center of the heart of Jesus? 

If today you don’t see life from that end of the kaleidoscope, return to the gospels please. 

I urge you. 

Return to normal. 

Ask the Holy Spirit to allow you to see as you once saw – to see the spirit and heart and soul of the scriptures as only those who are enlivened can see. 

This is the once upon a time normal we re-engage with.  Whether from

sloth,

sheer laziness,

discouragement,

depression

the ‘encouragement’ of other believers that reaching out to others was no big deal…

– let’s ask God’s Spirit to call us back to True North that syncs with his word – feelings or not. 

I’d rather agree with Jesus than be comfortable. 

How ’bout you?

Do the Work of an Evangelist

Yes, I am overstating this observation, but not by much.  Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist – even tough the church in Ephesus was growing at an explosive rate.  Biblical archeologists conjecture that church was at the time of 1 Timothy, when Paul wrote those words, a church of at least 20,000 – perhaps 30,000.  An amazing revival was happening.  Yet Paul urged, "Do the work of an evangelist…" 

Why so?  When the senior leader stops gathering, the end of what apparently is now, is in sight. 

All churches that are quickened by God’s presence – that are experiencing the dynamic of Big God showing up continually – have a unique beginning story.  Listen to a few and you will see – they have amazing, one of a kind stories. 

On the other hand, they all have the exact same ending.  The top level leaders stop caring about the not-yet gathered in their personal lives – they quit gathering, and what was once vital and alive, dies from the inside out. 

Such deaths are not immediately evident. 

The branch cut off from the vine looks alive for a few days – maybe a week.  Then it becomes evident it is dead. 

So it is with the appearance of spiritual life versus the reality of life.

Nothing New

As soon as I posted my above point someone offered the surface "Thanks for your great point… BUT what about the preaching of the gospel…" 

I knew this was coming.  It always is coming. 

Why is it coming?  Because we would always rather discuss the right way to do this as opposed to actually risking on the way toward discovering how this works (better discovered personally instead of being handed the answers). 

Human behavior is nothing if not 100% predictable. 

Reality – there is so piddly little evangelism going on, we can pretty much now say, evangelism is non existent.  If you don’t believe me, just look at those who speak on the conference circuit – the ones who wrote books years ago who are still being prodded by the publishers as their reps in that area…  Nothing new.  Just safe. 

Does the Emperor have clothes on?  He is living in a nudist colony and has been for a long time.

Jesus is the Model

I have been overseeing a threaded online discussion with dozens of pastors from around the world.  Has been interesting as always. 

My beginning – "Jesus is our sole model for outreach / outflow / evangelism for connecting with others."  To allow any other model in that primary place is directly dishonoring to the person and words of Jesus.  

Paul provided the framework for the explanation of the fine points of the Gospel. 

The fruitless rabbit trail we often make:  To see Paul as a model for evangelism.

Paul is completely unreproducible.  Correct that – Paul is downright discouraging!.  If you choose a model to pursue who is one of the top three minds of all time, no good thing will result!   

In Jesus we find the model that shows us time and again, "God rewards those who show up, who say ‘Yes,’ who notice God and others.  Yes Martha, it can be that simple.  Sorry Barna, no statistics gathered here.  Then again, I have talked to over 40,000 people one on one in the past 15 years.

Kindness

"I desire kindness, not sacrifice."  Hosea 6:6 

As we connect with family or old friends let’s love our nearest with heart, soul, mind and strength.  Rather, let’s yield to God loving through us.

Give Peas A Chance

‘Give Peas a Chance’ once more… For many, this week is one of reflection as people gather with family. This is a Dickens moment – the best and worst of times. 

I have learned this much about such times that have turned out worse than needed to be due to my deposit – as good as my intentions were at the time. Thought one – give people to God.  Realize you cannot change anyone – yourself at the top of the list.  Step one of spiritual awareness is for one to be aware they cannot bring change.  Over the course of serving hundreds of thousands this truth has been driven home with encounter after encounter.  Literally each time I have gone out in an organized way with a team to serve a city I am struck with the realization I cannot do something / anything to make an iota of difference with anyone.

From that starting point, however, God is freed to begin to move.

In The Groove

In times like this – lots going on, me being the point guy in setting out to establish the new culture of Coastland – it is tempting to step out of my strengths.  To use my regular metaphor, life is pulling me to fall back into the rabbit mode and away from the turtle mode.  Problem is I don’t do the rabbit mode well.  Really no one does.

The trick is to have self-awareness – then to not get out of that groove.
Wisdom is to stay in our seminal reason for being as close to 100% of the time as life affords us.
Hint:  If we are not spending at least 70% of our time in that sync currently, we are kidding ourselves – have convinced ourselves that life is simply just not alterable at this time – IE, a cop-out.

Hint #2:  If you are past age 45 (just a general age to choose – give or take) and are not living in that sync, you are on a downward spiral that is sapping the life out of you.  In one’s youth exploring is the key word.  Past about age 45 is meant to be lived with all cylinders firing in the same direction.  If not at that point of sync, dedicate energy to that end.  I’ve written a lot about this – Google and begin.

Specific Prayers

We have been strongly provided for as a team.  We felt we were to pray for a total provision amount of between a $1 million leaning toward $1.5 million.  When all is said and done the total amount our planting talent team will have raised is on the upper end of that amount.  Thus the prayers we sensed strongly we were to pray for have been answered clearly…

Another case of clear, specific prayers are what God is after whenever possible.  God is glorified when prayer is answered.  Vague prayer is difficult if not impossible to identify as being answered.  The “Ask, seek, knock” lifestyle Jesus calls us to is empowered by us taking the time to listen to God’s Spirit for his inspired prayers when it comes to issues of provision.

Of course, an authentic relationship with anyone, especially God, is marked by a running conversation throughout a day – a week – continually.  Those times are not defined by measurable matters.

Pre-Pre-Launch Has Begun

Have begun our pre-pre launch here.

As with almost all things in life, our best laid plans here have come about but in a different way than anticipated.
Indeed God has answered our prayers – these were the prayers we felt strongly invited to pray for several years in preparation to the launch of the Coastland.