Monday, August 30, 2010

Letting go

I read this on Mark Batterson's blog today. It's a quote from Gary Haugen, president of the International Justice Mission:
Gary said we all want adventure, faith, miracles, and a deep knowledge of Christ, but you can't have those things without letting go of safety, security, comfort, and control." You have to choose between safety and bravery. The bottom line is this: God's will in a fallen world is dangerous.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What on earth am I here for?

All of us are dying to know the answer to that question.

It would be tragic to get to the end of your life and find out you've missed out on why you're here.

Your life doesn't need to have that kind of a tragic end. You can discover the purpose of your life's journey.

That's why we're starting Life's a Journey on Sept. 19. Through the worship gathering, small group discussions and daily readings we're going to find out how to make our journey count.

You need to invite some people to be a part of this experience. Ask them to commit to seven weeks. They won't regret it. Neither will you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to forgive as the Lord forgave you

Yesterday at Hub City Church I challenged people to memorize Colossians 3:13. It says, Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

I came across this from Ed Young and I thought it might help you put that verse into practice. It really answer the "how" question: How do I forgive as the Lord forgave me?

Number one, we need to consider the cross. I mean, as a believer, all I have to do, all you have to do, is consider the cross. Consider what Jesus Christ has done on the cross for us. Consider the preemptive forgiveness that he did before we even asked for it. And that should motivate us to do the work. All of us are sinners.

I’m a sinner. So are you. We’re in this together. That’s why [Hub City Church] is a place for those who don’t have it together yet. That’s why we say no perfect people allowed. That’s what we’re for. We’re a hospital for sinners. I’m a sinner. So are you. And the cross reminds of the price that was paid for our sins. So just consider the cross.

Here’s a second thing: Realize that resentment does not work. It will not get you where you want to go. You will not get back at the person. Think about this. The person who hurt you probably doesn’t even realize they’ve hurt you. And even if they know they’ve hurt you, they’re out having a good time and doing this or that while we are in the corner licking our wounds, while we’re saying to ourselves, “Oh, I can’t believe they hurt me. I’m just all leashed up to them.” Just release them. Forgive them. Say, “God, you take care of them. I can’t get them back, God. I know you’re going to take care of it; you’re a better judge than I am.” Just remember that resentment does not work.

The third reason that we should be motivated to do this work is because all of us will need a giant monster infusion of forgiveness in the future. I know I’m going to sin in the future and so do you. Hopefully, I will not sin as much in the future as I have in the past, but I’m going to sin. I need forgiveness. I need grace. I need mercy. You do, too. And because of that, I should release you. I should forgive you. I should do the forgiveness work in my marriage, with parenting, in my [job], with friends. Whatever it may be, I’ve got to live a life of that.

Because the moment I live that kind of life, what’s gonna happen? I’ll discover that unleashing unforgiveness is unbelievable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Communication

One of the people that Liz works with made this statement: Communication is a chronic problem in organizations.

That is so true. I know I need to improve my communication skills. That's where you come in. If you could give me one or two pieces of advice about how I can work on communication I would love to hear it. Thanks.

Catalyst East 2008: Jim Collins Interview

Listen for the profound statement that Jim (guy in the tie) says we each need to articulate. That's good. I'm going to use that.

What God's been saying to me lately

I asked myself a question the other day: What's God been speaking to me about lately? The answer I got was extremely clear and a bit upsetting to me.

Here's what God said: You are more concerned about making yourself look good than making Me look good. You're more concerned with your own reputation than Jesus' reputation. You're more interested in making your name known than I am at making Jesus' name known.

Ouch.

Here's the honest-to-God-truth. I don't want to be like that. I'm not intentionally stealing glory away from God. None of that stuff is the desire of my heart. I had no idea that I was stealing glory away from God.

I didn't know it was there, but God did. And I guess he decided that now was the time to make me aware of this dark side.

So, in light of what God's been saying to me I'm doing a couple of things. First, I'm reminding myself often that it's not about me. I'm saying that in my prayers. I'm intentionally bringing that thought to mind. Second, I'm asking you to pray for me. I want my life to be for God's glory, not Jonathan's glory. I want everything I do to point to, shine the light on and bring glory to Jesus, not Jonathan.

Now let me ask you: What's God been speaking to you about lately? Are you listening? What are you going to do about it?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Barriers to forgiveness

There are a lot of barriers that keep us from forgiving others. The following is a portion of a sermon from Ed Young where he talks about barriers to forgiveness. I just copied and pasted his sermon, so I want to make sure I give him credit (actually, a lot of what we're talking about in our series I learned from him). As you read ask yourself: What barriers are keeping me from forgiving those who have hurt me? Here are a few.

THE SELF-DECEPTION BARRIER

One is the self-deception barrier. We rationalize. We tell ourselves rational lies. We just say, “You know, what I did to that person is no big deal. Man, they totally overreacted. They’re an emotional basket case, anyway. It wasn’t that big of a deal. It was a long time ago.” Or we say, “What my mother did to me...? Yes, she was an alcoholic, but it didn’t really affect me, you know. I’ve just brushed that under the rug. I’ve swept it under the rug. It doesn’t affect me. Yeah, what that coach, what that teacher said to me during my childhood and stuff...? The stuff that happened doesn’t really affect me today. I mean, I’m telling you it doesn’t. Everything’s fine in my life. I’m fine.” Be very careful. That’s a barrier.

THE SELF-DEFENSE BARRIER

Another barrier is the self-defense barrier. And that’s the one that we love. That’s probably our favorite one. We say, “I’m going to get you back. You messed me around. You hurt me. I’m going to get you back.”

I lived like that, as I told you, for like 24 months. I thought, “I’m going to get this guy back. I’m going to make him pay. I’m going to show him. Revenge. I’m going to do it. I’m going to take care of it.”

Have you ever stopped to realize this? Forgiveness is a great act of faith, because what we’re doing when we say, “Debt canceled. I forgive you. I release you..” What we’re doing is we’re saying, “God, you are the ultimate judge. God, I give the situation to you. You are going to take care of this person better than I can. God, I trust you.”

That’s why Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Yeah, but they started it. It was their deal. I know that. But our calling is to release them. Debt canceled. God will take care of them.

THE SELF-IMAGE BARRIER

There’s another barrier—the self-image barrier. We say, “Hey, if you think I’m going to admit that I was wrong or I’m going to admit that they messed me around you’re wrong. I mean I’m up here and I’d have to lower myself. They might think less of me and they might think this or that about me.”

Hey, let me tell you something. We are at our strongest when we admit the obvious to God and to others. We are in a great position of strength and influence when we say, “Debt canceled. I forgive.”

THE SELF-PROTECTION BARRIER

There’s another barrier—the self-protection barrier. “I’m just going to protect myself,” you’re saying to yourself right now. And a lot of you are breaking out into a cold sweat just thinking about having to do the forgiveness work that needs to be done. You get nervous thinking about sitting across the table from someone who’s harmed you or maybe you’ve harmed them or sitting in someone’s family room and saying, “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” Talking to a spouse or a child or anyone else just messes with your mind. Don’t let it be so.

The Real "F" Word

Yesterday we started a new series called The Real "F" Word. It's about forgiveness. You can listen to the sermon online here. But there's only so much I can say in a 25 minute sermon. So over the next few weeks I'll be adding some content here that might be helpful to you.

First and foremost, you need to dive back into the Bible. Let God speak to you through his word. Let him transform you through his word.

Yesterday we looked at Matthew 18:15-35. That's a great place for you to start. Meditate on the story that Jesus told.

I'll be posting some other info later on, but start with the Bible. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Let God set you free.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I want this for Christmas

Monday, August 09, 2010

Reproduce

Somebody asked me a great question today. Let me give you some background.

The mission of Hub City Church is to make disciples who make disciples. We call someone who makes disciples a parent because they are reproducing themselves.

So the question was: What am I supposed to reproduce?

Here's what I think. Tell me what you think.

You want to reproduce someone who hears from God and does what he says. Teach people to hear from God. Find out what God is saying to them. Then keep them accountable with being obedient.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Your boss needs you to...

I'm posting this as a reminder. I'm sure some of you need this info. I know I need to remember this. I got it from Tim Steven's blog today:

I don’t care if you work for a church, a business, or a factory. I guarantee you, your boss needs you to be…

  1. A Momentum-Increaser — don’t make your boss be the only one pulling up the attitude and bringing energy to the workplace.
  2. A Values-Champion — No one should live out the values of the organization more than you do.
  3. A Silo-Destroyer — sniff out and destroy the silos that exist in departments throughout the organization. Make sure everyone is more committed to the macro vision than their micro project.
  4. A Straight-Talker — don’t engage in triangle conversations or put-downs of your team or leaders.
  5. A Generous-Giver — okay, this one is specific to working at a church, but I would never work for a church where I didn’t believe in it enough to give as much as I possibly could.
  6. An Innovative-Thinker — be solution-oriented. Don’t just come to your boss with problems, but also solutions. Your attitude should be, “Economy tough? Less staff? Lower budget? No problem, we’ll figure out a way to get through this!”
  7. A Loyal-Friend — you don’t have to hang out together, but he needs to know you are “for” him. If put in a corner, your boss knows you would defend her.
  8. A Back-Protector — always believe the best. Always.
  9. An Integrity-Keeper — you are who you are when no one is looking. Your boss needs you to have great character.
  10. An Unbelievable-Spouse and Effective Parent — the strength of your leadership and effectiveness comes from your leadership at home.
  11. A Lifelong Learner — read books, study other best practices, learn, learn, learn–then come back and apply it to your organization.
  12. An Equipping-Leader…not a Satisfied-Doer — You should be building teams and reproducing teams. Take delight in the success of your team more than your own success!

What else would you add to this list? Which one is most difficult for you?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hump day challenge

What something that God’s been saying to you lately? This morning I felt a strong need to increase my intake of Scripture. I know you’ve heard me say this before, but the best habit you can develop is that of reading your Bible on a regular basis. How’s that going for you? How could you increase your intake of Scripture? What would you need to do to incorporate and/or increase this spiritual discipline in your life? Just a little challenge for this morning.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Thoughts from DC

My family just got back from a little trip to our nation's capital. I've got to say, I am super-impressed with Washington DC. It was a fun city to hang out in for a couple of days.

One of the big thoughts that kept running through my mind while walking around DC was the amount of power that exists in those few square miles. It's really unbelievable. Kind of makes you understand how politicians can get sucked into the system.

My favorite part of the trip, however, had little to do with landmarks and sight-seeing. By far, my favorite thing was eating. Man, did we ever have some incredible food: Thai, Greek, Ethiopian, and a hole-in-the-wall bagel shop which we frequented every morning for breakfast. So many restaurants, so little time.

I can't wait to go back again. If you haven't been, or haven't been in a while, you need to put a trip on your calendar. Almost everything you can visit is free. There's good public transportation. And there are lots of great places to eat.

The real "F" word

This Sunday is the last week of our God in the Top 40 series. Hip-hop is on the agenda.

But I'm super excited about our next series called: The real "F" word. It's on forgiveness. I think there is going to be some radical life change that happens. I can't wait.