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One Prayer 2009

i'll be in statesboro speaking at abundant life worship center (i love this city, and this church!).

this week i have the honor of kicking off the one prayer series for pastor travis - so looking forward to it! last year i taught a "stand-alone" message during the one prayer series - last year's message was..."make us gutsy" - this year the thems is not "what is ____" - rather, it is "God is ____" - haven't landed on an exact title (its usually the last thing i do when sermon prepping) - but i know i'll be preaching from Genesis and Galatians (good use of alliteration, heh?)...anyway, if you're not familiar with one prayer - read more here...included a couple of short vids for you to view as well - enjoy!






is your church participating in one prayer?
have you heard of one prayer?
what do you think about one prayer?

if you have a moment, look at the churches that have messages online

for a moment, think about what it would mean to have some other churches bringing the life-giving message of Christ into your church - thoughts?

the essence of leadership

there are a ton of leadership blogs out there in the blogosphere...i've read many of them, written some of them (the not so good ones probably), subscribe to many of them and chimed in on a few of them...but i've been thinking lately...

what is the essence of leadership...

...my answer: service

servant leadership - so i was going to write a post about it, but tony beat me to it - read it here!

word for the day: 2B (actually, to be)

had this thought today about the "to be" phrase...

were


are

which are you focused on?

  • what you were?
  • what you are becoming?

  • what were things like?
  • what are the new things around?

  • how were things done?
  • how are things being done now?

  • why were choices and decisions simpler?
  • how are so many choices available?


bottom line:
where will you focus?

on the way things were...and in doing so miss the promise of the present and the hope for the future!

where will you focus?
on the way things are...and in doing so respond to God's activity in the earth and be salt and light!

blogs on my radar

the following are links to some blogs that caught my attention...i've also included a "one-liner" to intrigue you and hopefully encourage you to click through and read some of them...they are on my radar...what's on your radar? please, if there's a blog i need to follow, shout it out...thanks!

please, click on the links below to read the entire posts, then drop back by here and comment...
  • tony nails it in a couple of posts on the new traditional church...here's a line from the post i like: "What would happen if we put less attention on organizing relationships and more attention on giving people something to organize around?"
  • here's the second post on "the new traditional church" - would LOVE to hear your thoughts - this one will stretch many/most of you - please, weigh in. my favorite quote: "...we’d rather play our “hymns” in our services than consider what style of music might more effectively connect with people who need Jesus."
  • mark batterson writes a great post about the Holy Spirit here. my favorite line (ok, it's really a paragraph, but it's good): "Ever been in the awkward situation where people are talking about you like you aren't there but you are there? Don't you hate that? Sometimes I wonder if that is how the Holy Spirit feels. He is the most controversial personality in the Trinity. So we argue about Him like He is some inanimate object which is really ironic because without the Holy Spirit animating us we'd implode and return to dust. Check out Job 34:15."
  • perry write post #2 in his "I Believe" series. i like this line: "I believe the church needs to understand we are called to be a movement…not merely a meeting." Seriously, you NEED to read these and be encouraged...then, tell me what YOU believe...
  • batterson, again, writes this...i've said it, just not this well...yep, totally ripping this off...here's my favorite line...ummm, paragraph: "One of the greatest struggles we face as pastors is centripetal force. That is the inward directed force. Jesus said "Go" which is a centrifugal command. As a church planter, you have to to focus on reaching outsiders because there are no insiders. But as a church gets older and larger, the centripetal force gets stronger! You stop taking risks and start playing it safe. You stop playing offense and start playing defense. You stop leading and start managing. You stop creating the future and start repeating the past." (yep, see it all the time...and this, my friends, is why it's more beneficial evangelistically and economically speaking to PLANT churches than it is to revitalize them...but i haven't given up hope on revitalizing churches...in fact, i'm hoping to bring another one on line in the coming weeks to work with for a year)
  • furtick says this: "When churches don’t give our best creative effort to the presentation of the Gospel, we effectively amputate the power of our message.

    When pastors don’t study to show ourselves approved as workmen unto God, and stay on the mountain until our faces shine with the glory of God, we immobilize the influence of God’s Word." (btw, THIS is why many pastors' sermons sound the same...they don't take the time to hear a FRESH Word from God, thus many sermons beat the same drum with a different Scriptural backdrop) - oh, and you need to click the above link to read the Scripture from which this thought is taken.

  • church marketing sucks website shares some examples of when churches need to shut up...ummm, i'd agree with most of these and could add a few more...my favorite line: "Long-winded pulpit explanations that most Sundays aren't like this week (usually because you're talking about church finances or structure)."
  • this post challenged and encouraged the heck out of me...my favorite line: "Personal pain often precedes pubic gain. A.W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful that God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
  • the guys over at lifechurch's blog (swerve) shared the 4 D's of leadership...great content.
  • finally, a bit of humor for mother's day...some family photos (well, not mine, but they're kind of funny)...do you have some awkward family photos?

my thoughts on college benedictions

just got in from Emmanuel College's graduation and wanted to download some thoughts...specifically, about the benediction...

typical college graduation ceremonies are not too high on the "excitement scale" or, "out of the box thinking" chart. you pretty much know what's going to happen! today was pretty much the same...the students looked great; the families were out to support in full force; and college had prepared well the facilities, ceremony, staff, etc.

for most people attending, they are there to support a loved one, a friend, or family member. i went today because i hope to continue to build bridges toward these students...to encourage them and perhaps challenge them.

but, the most exciting part of today was the benediction...and, no, not because it was almost over.

instead, because God tugged on my heart to tune out the spoken benediction, and instead pray for these students as they leave this season of their lives behind and enter the next.

here's what i prayed:
  • for their direction - for many, it's an unknown...God, guide them
  • for their creativity - that they use it to influence and create...
  • for their leadership - that they step into roles of leadership in God's timing and lead with integrity, authenticity and Godliness
  • for their family - that they strengthen the God-created-unit called family
there is so much in today's college students...so much potential and creativity!

next time you're at a college/university graduation ceremony, take a moment, tune out the spoken prayer, and pray! pray the things that God puts into you...pray for them! the hope, leadership and church of tomorrow is walking across the platform somewhere - they need your prayers

hear...hear?

this thought popped in my mind this morning...

are we focused on the ones that are here, or the ones that need to hear?

often, when a ministry sees some evangelistic success (and i really loathe the concept of success as it relates to ministry, but for lack of a better term, i'll use it), that ministry begins to maintain: 1.)because they have "found" the key to success...or, 2.)the ones that made that success a possibility (that'd be the financers, decision makers, power-holders - and every church has them).

but, in my wondering and thinking about this, i wonder if because we had some success, we loose sight of the fact that there are still others that need to hear that are not here?

in other words:
  • do we become so focused on here, that we loose sight and passion for the ones that need to hear?
  • are the ones that are here, considered our 'reward' for a 'job well done' and so, become our sole focus of attention...are they the only ones we hear?
  • do we hear what those that are NOT here are asking?
herein (or, hearing), lies the problem, too often we forget to listen (hear) what the cries of the world are saying to us because we are focused only on those that are here.

as you go through life this weekend (with family, recreation, worship, etc), ask yourself these questions:
  • do i hear the hurt, anguish, pain of those around my in work, school and community?
  • how can i listen so that i hear them?
  • how can i be quiet so that i can hear them?
  • how can i keep from talking so that i can hear them?
  • (btw, we're too focused on talking and don't do enough listening)
  • what am i hearing this morning/evening at church?
  • who needs to hear this?
  • how can i get them here to hear this?
  • what's keeping people from being here?
i know many are "down" on churches that are using fancy lighting, media, drama, high-tech communication and even interactive dialogue (texting during the sermon to answer questions, weigh in and such; twittering the sermon so that others can "hear" what is going on...hmmmm, there's a thought) - but let me weigh in on what i think about all of this criticism...they are all just a tool - just like you're building is, your gym is, your website is, your church bus, your outreach this summer, your youth camp, your worship team...

ultimately, we need to do whatever it takes (come on, you know i don't mean non-sense like promote sin)...whatever it takes to help those that are not here, hear the message of the Kingdom...

in my opinion, helping those hear that are not here is the goal!

do you hear me?