Archive for August, 2008

Presidential Disciple

Posted in Christianity, Discipleship, Politics, Religion on August 30, 2008 by Scott

So my wife and I watched the DNC the other night…and listened to Obama give a good speech and appear presidential…for whatever that is.

I know some Christians…some believers…that wouldn’t watch it. They don’t care what he has to say. There is only one choice in their minds…in their faith.

And then my wife asks the question…who did Jesus pick as his disciples…the “religious”…those picked by every other rabbi… or those of more simple lives…those not thought to be rabbi material.

She asked which candidate would Christ pick as his disciple now? The one who everyone says is the “Christian” or perhaps the one whose faith seems more worldly?

Pretty good question…not sure it helps me decide but something to think about…

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No More Excuses!

Posted in Christianity, Church, Culture, Discipleship on August 28, 2008 by Scott

I read a great article at Fast Company on personal and corporate accountability.

What do Apple, Inc., Nordstrom and Whole Foods all have in common?  All three companies are accountable for their actions, choices and results.  Accountability for these three organizations is a cornerstone of their operations.  They realize that you must be accountable first and then business will follow.

There are four phases to accountability:

  1. The accountability we hold ourselves to.
  2. The accountability we hold ourselves to others.
  3. The accountability we hold others to ourselves.
  4. The accountability we help others hold to themselves.

Wow…now only if believers felt the same way…

Evangelical Identity Crisis

Posted in Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion on August 27, 2008 by Scott

Citing widespread confusion about what it means to be an “evangelical,” a group of Christian leaders issued a manifesto to define the identity and commitments of evangelical Christians.

The manifesto also calls for a reformation of behavior among evangelical Christians:

“We confess that we Evangelicals have betrayed our beliefs by our behavior. All too often we have trumpeted the gospel of Jesus, but we have replaced biblical truths with therapeutic techniques, worship with entertainment, discipleship with growth in human potential, church growth with business entrepreneurialism, concern for the church and for the local congregation with expressions of the faith that are churchless and little better than a vapid spirituality, meeting real needs with pandering to felt needs, and mission principles with marketing precepts. …

“All too often we have attacked the evils and injustices of others, such as the killing of the unborn, as well as the heresies and apostasies of theological liberals whose views have developed into another gospel, while we have condoned our own sins, turned a blind eye to our own vices, and lived captive to forces such as materialism and consumerism in ways that contradict our faith.”

“Evangelical Christians have had this pattern of either giving up on the culture or we try to take it over,” Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary. “It is not up to us to win all the victories. It is not given unto us to try and impose our will on a whole society, but rather to witness to the kind of justice, peace and righteousness that is part of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, working alongside people of other faiths and of no faith for the common good.”

Manifestos, reformation, finger pointing, etc….don’t look now, but evangelicals are sure starting to sound like a denomination.

It’s All About The “S”

Posted in Christianity, Culture, Discipleship, Faith, Religion on August 26, 2008 by Scott

I heard Bill Maher Sunday night on Larry King say among his biggest problems with religion and the “Christ-ies” is that it’s only about salvation and not going to hell. He said it would be more credible if they helped others without thinking it was getting them somewhere or that they wouldn’t be poked in the butt by a pitchfork for eternity.

I thought hmmm…

Then I read Francis Chan today…”Let’s face it. We’re willing to make changes in our lives only if we think it affects our salvation.”

“The truth is, their lives (lukewarm people) wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God.”

“They ask, “How far can I go before it’s considered a sin? instead of “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?”

Good questions…is our faith only so apparent that salvation is all we care about…fire insurance? And secondly, if you stopped believing in God today, what would be different about you? Would anyone notice?

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Posted in Christianity, Evangelism, Faith, God, Religion on August 25, 2008 by Scott

Never thought it would happen, but we actually managed a Freddy Fender reference.

We all have one of those friends – you know the kind…they want to boycott anything – Disney, Teletubbies, KMart, Sony, etc… in the name of Christianity.

So I got this email the other day from my annoying friend:

Here’s your chance to let the media know where the people stand on our faith in God, as a nation. NBC is taking a poll on ‘In God We Trust’ to stay on our American currency.

Please send this to every Christian you know so they can vote on this important subject. Please do it right away, before NBC takes this off the web page.

Poll is still open so you can vote. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10103521/.

This is not sent for discussion, if you agree forward it, if you don’t, delete it. By my forwarding it, you know how I feel. I’ll bet this was a surprise to NBC.

As it stands right now, 79% support keeping the phrase because of its “historical and patriotic significance and does nothing to establish a state religion.”

This won’t be a popular view in the evangelical world, but I think we are sending a message when we focus on things like this – and its not a positive message.

Have the words on the back of a coin every led anyone to Christ? Does it REALLY matter?

Imagine if we put this much energy into feeding and clothing the homeless… or loving our neighbors and sharing our faith. That’s the message we should be sending.

Small God

Posted in Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Religion on August 22, 2008 by Scott

Had a conversation in a small group earlier this week about the advantages/disadvantages of growing up a Christian or finding God later in life.

I grew up a Christian, have always been involved in church, and felt like a “good Christian” – at least I could check most of the things off the “list.” But it wasn’t until much later in life – only a few years ago – that I got it.

Pastor Francis Chan summarizes this in his book Crazy Love.

“I grew up believing in God without having a clue what He is like. I called myself a Christian, was pretty involved in church, and tried to stay away from all of the things that “good Christians” avoid – drinking, drugs, sex, swearing (hence, the checklist)

Christianity was simple: fight your desires in order to please God. Whenever I failed (which was often), I’d walk around feeling guilty and distant from God.

In hindsight, I don’t think my church’s teachings were incorrect, just incomplete. My view of God was narrow and small.”

It really doesn’t matter whether you figure it our early or later in life… as long as you figure it out.

SWOT

Posted in Church, Discipleship, Leadership on August 21, 2008 by Scott

In business we often have these meetings where we strategize and give everything an acronym. The intent is there but we can make what needs to be simple much too complex.

But here is one that I think can be applied to our lives…

SWOT…Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

As you look at your life (no separation between spiritual and other because everything is spiritual), use these four areas to assess where you are and what plan you have. Here are some examples…

S…disciplined; passion for the Word; gets things done; intense

W…trust (people are stupid and they lie); critical; corporate church involvement (prefer to wander or troubleshoot on my own terms); control-freak; can struggle with lust

O…serve on local soccer board and coach, so I have involvement with parents who need to see a faith lived out; attend local church with high percentage of unbelievers and new believers that are not discipled; daughters attend small Christian school

T…intense and high-profile position in company; relationships with others that are unhealthy (personally and those of my family)

Take some time this week and ask God to show you some things in these areas…then perhaps you can plan to act on what you see.