Archive for April 2012

Earning the right to be heard

A few years ago in Conspiracy of Kindness, I made the statement, “We must earn the right to be heard.” I’ve heard that line a few times since then but I wonder if people understand what I meant.

Here’s my take: We serve those around us diligently, persistently over the long haul with no expectation of a return on our efforts. We let go of a mentality that says, “I give so you’d better sit down, listen up and listen good, buddy.”

Instead of depending on our ability to pull off verbal gymnastics, we relax, we serve and we unleash the Holy Spirit upon them to do what only the “Hound of Heaven” can do – to draw them to himself. As we continue to serve in diligence and in the kind of love only God can provide, it’s just a matter of time until there will be plenty of conversing – plenty of opportunity to talk. But then that conversing will come in response to the work of the Spirit.

What he does will last.
What he does will bear fruit.
What he does will open doors!

How to release love at your church

As you make loving others the priority of your church’s life all other goals that are important and biblical, tend to fall into place fairly spontaneously. It works that way with discipleship, prayer – other biblical values that are worth pursuing.

If you make those other goals the focus, as important as they are, they are not likely to materialize in your midst as a congregation. You can try to teach them into existence and to a degree that will help, but in the end God’s presence is required for success.

If you make it your aim to become a praying church it is unlikely you will ever get there unless you reach out to love others. But as you reach out you will learn to pray along the way.

If you make it your aim to become a loving church, one thing is for sure – you’ll never get there by simply trying to become more loving or by preaching about love.

Get lost in loving others beyond your borders and see what God builds. God’s Spirit will come upon your congregation in a profound way. You will be known for your love for one another.

Ideas or People – which are you excited about?

“It’s an awesome thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” I tasted a little bit of that in my near-death experience a few years ago. We will all taste of that awesomeness one day not too long from now. It’s wise to live in light of that reality.

All of life boils down to pleasing Jesus who wants his family to grow larger and larger. Any reading of the words of Jesus makes it apparent that seeing people come into the Kingdom was Jesus’ primary concern.

One day we will all stand before the Lord and be evaluated for what our lives stood for – for how we lived in this life. Some will say, “I promoted some important ideas Lord!” Ideas are important. It is vital that we think in a biblical way, but ideas are merely an assumption that will spur us on to effectiveness in reaching people more effectively. Often in the Church we have copped out and made the focus thoughts about obedience instead of actively obeying Jesus.

One day we’ll all see face to face that God never has been all that concerned with some of the ideas we found so much definition with. It has always been about people. Start today. People are what it’s all about. Pray for a heart for people. You may fancy yourself an idea person. That’s great – so am I – joint the club! But you absolutely have to stretch yourself to actively embrace people. Isolation isn’t tolerable. Ask God to empower you to live in a pleasing way – in a way that is empowered by him to love them one at a time.

Serve AND Speak Words

I regularly hear the phrase, “Let’s show God’s love and if necessary we’ll use words.” I’m not sure if I have especially tuned my ears to this phrase or not, but I hear it a lot these days. Most of the time those who say that think I am going to light up in agreement with them. It’s true, I light up alright, but not in the way they expect.

The norm is to share words when we serve others. It’s abnormal to keep quiet, to not open our mouths, when we connect with others when we see their hearts open in a moment of vulnerability.

One of the drawbacks to the sort of outreach I’ve unleashed (kindness outreach) is that people sometimes tend to under-verbalize the gospel message when the opportunity presents itself. I have been increasingly aware of this for the past decade or so. In on the spot training I have sought to convey this, but usually my words fall on deaf ears. People smile, nod their heads, then to out on an outreach and say precisely nothing. What’s up with that?

Granted, it’s okay to start out saying nothing while your inner fly wheel is gaining momentum. You may be a total introvert. SE / KO is taylor made for you! I’m not going to put a trip on you, but there is room for you to grow just the same. In every ministry it is normal to make progress. How you grow will be unique to you.

It doesn’t take months or years for momentum to kick into gear. If you are an utter introvert I’ll give you a bit of a pass, but maybe God won’t. I’ll leave that between you and him. You might only need to say a couple of words to plant a dynamic seed in others. Jesus often spoke two that made big impacts on his hearers like, “Come out!” or the commentary, “Jesus wept.” It’s not the length or preparation that counts. Just say what the Lords gives you.

Serve in power and speak in power.