Christianity 201

April 30, 2012

Leadership Begins With Assessment

Today we’re going to go off in a slightly different direction.  There isn’t a specific scripture verse or passage today, but there are many here from the past few days to consider if you desire.

When I think each day of posting something to Christianity 201, I focus mostly on the “201” part.  The blog’s tag line is “digging a little deeper.”  However, I try not to post things that would only be of interest to pastors and church leaders, simply because there are sooooooo very many pastor blogs and Christian leadership blogs out there.

However, the time has come to reconcile the two.

As much as many of you want to go deep each day, God is looking for people who are willing to step up.

Put otherwise, much has been given to you, but now much is going to be required of you; or, if you prefer, it’s time to find some application for all the good stuff you’re learning.  It’s time to give back something.

Where to begin?

I think first of all, you have to see yourself as a Christian leader.  If it’s your desire to continue to walk in Christian maturity, you have to redefine yourself as someone who is striving toward being the “go to” person for others not so far along in their faith. The Biblical model of “Paul/Timothy” relationships necessitates forming mentoring relationships, but first, some of you may need to cultivate the desire to be a mentor to others. This may not place you in a visible position — what we called “the front of the room” a few days ago — but may just mean having friends over for coffee more frequently, or having that one person over for coffee; but doing it as intentional ministry.

Second, you need to make an assessment of what the needs are around you.  As in today’s video clip, this is going to begin with developing critical faculties; though you need to remember that this is not the same as having a critical spirit.  You want the former, you don’t want the latter.  

Thirdly, you need to vocalize your desire to make a difference to both your faith community and your surrounding (larger) community. As you see yourself differently and begin to look at what’s happening where you live and serve, God will give you a vision, an idea, an expression of a need; and you need to share what God is showing you or giving. “This is what I believe God is showing me,” can be the first nine words of a longer sentence where you make a declaration of your willingness to lead.

The fear is always that people will say, “Who do you think you are?” but I believe that more times than not, you will find God has already prepared people to hear what you are saying.

…Wow!  That was a long introduction to a rather short video clip. But I didn’t want to suddenly introduce this without a greater context.  In this five-minute video, Michael Frost looks at the inevitable witness by Christians taking place at the 2012 Olympics in the context of what happened in Australia. 

Here Michael defines a problem and offers a solution. Does this message impact things where you live? I look forward to your comments.

June 17, 2011

Dream Dashed or Dream Deferred?

What do you do when the plan isn’t coming together?  Steven Furtick talks about this in a piece I called Dream Dashed or Dream Deferred; which he called Not Ever vs. Not Now.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.
Acts 16:6

The Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching the Word.

This doesn’t seem to go together. The Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the Word. He’s the one giving them the power to preach the Word. But now He is keeping them from preaching the Word?

The key here is that little phrase, “in the province of Asia.” Paul wanted to go to Asia to preach the Word. It was one of his goals, his dreams. And in a few chapters, he would. But not now. Instead the Holy Spirit stopped him and led him to other cities to preach first. And the response was incredible.

Sometimes God will prevent us from a certain goal at a time that does not coincide with His will. It’s not that we’re not doing what’s right. It’s just that we’re not doing it with the right timing.

He’s not saying not ever. He’s just saying not now.

Maybe it’s because we’re not yet equipped for it.
Maybe it’s because the eventual environment God is going to have us in isn’t fully developed yet.

Whatever the reason, you’re not ready for it. Or it’s not ready for you.  You always have to remember: what you think is good timing is not always God’s timing.

If you feel like your dreams are stalling or your goals are in a holding pattern, don’t assume you’ve made a mistake and it’s not going to happen. Paul eventually went to Asia. You’ll eventually get to your goal or dream too.

In the meantime, you’ll just have to trust that if God is preventing you from getting somewhere, it’s because you’re exactly where you need to be. For now.

Pastor Steven Furtick; Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC

Digging a little deeper

What’s in a word? Plenty, it turns out when that word is “anthropos;” the Greek word meaning “person” referring to humankind in general, from which we get the word “anthropology.”  A major Christian denomination is removing its support from the new revision to the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) because of what it calls “gender neutral” language.  But were certain passages written just to men, or were they written to everyone?  Do we sometimes let our preferences get in the way of hearing what scripture is truly saying?  Is the genderless language in the 2011 NIV a bad translation, or is it the correct translation?  Read more at Thinking Out Loud.