Two Sides of Love

There are always two sides to every story. We know this and yet it is very easy for us to become extremely one-sided. Have you ever left a conversation thinking that you had communicated your heart and been understood, only to find out later that they heard something completely different that what you intended to say? Have you heard the story of the same incident from two different people and wondered if they were talking about the same thing? I guess we are all a little biased…

It is very hard to be objective no matter much effort you put into it. We have to admit we carry biases no matte who we are. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to see things from others’ point of view. I think true balance is impossible (we will always experience variation and change), but we should always be striving toward balance, especially in matters that shape our worldview. What we believe about God, love, people, and happiness (I could go on) determines how we live our lives so it is important to periodically evaluate our perspective. Continue reading “Two Sides of Love”

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God’s Favorite Moment

On this the eve of Christmas eve, I want to wish you all the happiness your heart may enjoy. I can’t help but ponder a few things as I end the day:

Working hard is a wonderful skill and it is certainly true that all good leaders know how to push themselves forward and “move the ball down the field” and accomplish goals. But there is equally great skill in learning to pull back, to stop and sit in the moment and take it all in. Work hard, rest well and great joy will surely be yours.

God exists outside of time and is the same yesterday, today and forever. Since the past is behind us and we have no guarantee of the future, the only thing we have for certain is now. I have heard it said that God’s favorite moment is now. If that’s true, you might want to consider making it your favorite too.

So try to keep this in mind as you celebrate the holiday (I say this to myself as much as I do to you): Try not to think about all the crazy stuff that happened this year. Try not to think about all the stuff you’ll have to do when you head back to work. Try not to get too distracted making goals for 2012 (even though those are really important). Try living in the moment and making the most of what you have. The secret to happiness isn’t having more of what you want, it is wanting what you have.

Merry Christmas.

 

You Are The Difference

I was reminded recently of the tremendous weight and responsibility we carry as leaders. As a leader, when I walk into a situation I have to remember that the difference between a good meeting and a great meeting (a bad conversation or a great conversation; an ok evening with the family or a fun and refreshing one; the list goes on) rests squarely on my shoulders. The greatest injuries to leadership are caused by the deference of responsibility. “Someone else will take care of it” is a leadership killer.

Much of what I do involves overseeing events at church in many difference areas. They all require planning in advance, rehearsals, more rehearsals, and then the actual execution of the event (“performance,” “day-of,” “services,” whatever you want to say). At every stage of development, there are obstacles that must be overcome in order to ensure that I’m doing everything in my power to make the service the best it can be. At each stage I have to remember that if I’m the leader, the win is my responsibility. I picture this like hurdles on a track. I can’t skip any or go around. Every single one requires all of my effort to get over. One trip can ruin the whole race.

Leadership is so simple and I think that’s what makes it so difficult. It is saying out loud the things that everyone needs to hear. It is speaking the things that you may assume everyone already knows but they need to hear you say it to them in a way that is clear and makes sense. Leadership is being in the drivers seat. Leadership is action taking responsibility.

When you care for people and you let them know, it sets you apart from the crowd. So often great leadership is simply the ability to articulate the obvious and move people toward a vision or goal. So wherever your sphere of influence is, buckle up, speak up, and keep moving forward.

Do You Believe?

Do you remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? I love that movie. The classic sequence in the movie is when Indy has to go inside the secret temple carved in the rock (in the Canyon of the Crescent Moon if you must know) to retrieve the holy grail to save his father’s life.

If you know the movie you remember the scene when Indiana Jones has to take a “leap of faith” out across a chasm that seems impossible to cross. He closes his eyes and steps off, only to find that there is a narrow path that stretches across the chasm but is invisible to the eye. He found it only by stepping out and taking a risk. Continue reading “Do You Believe?”

The “Rest” of Christmas

Christmas is a time when we focus on the gift of Jesus born in a manger. We all know the story of the shepherds coming to visit Mary and Joseph in the stable, the wise men, the star, the gifts, etc. If we’re not careful though, we will have exactly that attitude about Christmas, one that assumes we’ve heard it all and there’s nothing new to gain from it.

I want to challenge that assumption by simply reminding you of a two things. First, remember that Jesus was born a baby for the sole purpose of dying on the cross. The story of the baby is delightful and heartwarming, with the oxen lowing and the sheep quietly watching in the background and a glowing halo around Mary’s head (after giving birth with no pain medicine). But if we’re not careful we might be tempted to wrap it up in a neat little package for the front of the Christmas card and leave it at that. This story is just the beautiful first chapter of the life that ended (but not really) thirty-three years later on a hill outside of Jerusalem. Christmas is about the gift of Jesus for our Salvation, not the gift of the holiday where we get stuff.

Secondly, most of us will have time to relax and enjoy our friends and families over this Christmas season. Just as you think about the “rest” of the story -the fact that Jesus was born to save us -in your time of rest, find joy that Christmas is a time to celebrate life. I encourage you to take a look at the story again and find something new about it. There is always more to it that you think, and in times of rest God has a way of renewing our hearts with the truth we’ve forgotten. Don’t let the season go by without remembering and giving thanks that we celebrate the most wonderful story ever told during this time called Christmas.

 

“Worship Just Isn’t My Thing”

Have you ever heard someone say that? I have, and I just have to say it really bugs me.

I know that I’m a worship leader and because of that I may be a little biased. But the statement “I just don’t really get into that whole ‘worship’ thing” reflects what I think is one of the most dangerous misconceptions in the church today: The equating of worship with music (or confining worship to a fifteen minute slot on Sunday morning). Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not to profile a certain demographic, but if anyone is going to tell me they don’t really “get into worship,” it’s usually the dudes. You know who I’m talking about. I guess many of the guys out there view singing as a purely emotional exercise and, since they don’t want to have anything to do with “the e-word,” tend to distance themselves from corporate worship altogether. This is another misconception, that to be a man means to show no emotion. If you look at the life of David in the Old Testament, you will see a man who slew giants, led armies into battle and had a band of mighty warriors as his small group. He wasn’t afraid to show his emotions (Ps. 51, 62), especially before God. I happen to believe that real men cry and give bear hugs, but maybe that’s just me (Not to mention if you take those same “dudes” and put them in a stadium with their favorite sports team, they will likely be far from shy in showing emotion). The point is that worship isn’t purely emotional or purely musical, even though we tend to think of those things first. Continue reading ““Worship Just Isn’t My Thing””

Living for Longing

For quite some time I have been trying to accurately formulate a thought about longing and desire. The tendency of human beings to constantly want what we don’t have is really astounding (not to mention frustrating). But I think it is indicative of a deeper truth, one that strikes at the core of what we were created for.

Longing is interesting because we seem to be in love with longing more than anything else in the whole world. We want that new girlfriend, outfit, car, house, job, and whatever else you can name, and we want it regardless of what we currently have. “The grass is always greener on the other side,” we say glibly, but unfortunately we can often be at the mercy of this “green grass syndrome.” Continue reading “Living for Longing”

Take Action Now

My friend Robert Mallon reminded me yesterday of the importance of taking action every day towards goals that you want to accomplish in your life. It isn’t enough to simply know where you want to be, you have to know how you’re going to get there as well.

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to deal with my personal goals in broad generalizations. I have a vague sense of what I need to do and where I want to be in the future, but my lack of focus often leaves me feeling stuck and confused.

The problem with generalized goals is that they do not require specific actions to be met. Continue reading “Take Action Now”

Shoutout: Kevin Myers

Today I’m going to attempt a seemingly impossible task. I feel there is really no possible way that I could communicate in a single blog post my admiration, love and respect for the church called 12Stone and the man “PK” whom God chose to steward it. Truthfully it may take many posts to do them justice. But I must at least try to express my gratitude for all that Pastor Kevin does for our church and what it has meant to me. Here is my first attempt (I’ll try to keep it short…).

Have you ever experienced something that made you realize you’d been longing for it for years but didn’t even know it? That was how I felt coming to 12Stone Church and sitting under the teaching and leadership of Kevin Myers. When you experience a sense of God’s favor and anointing in an undeniable way in a certain place, it makes you wonder how you have made it so long without being there. But it was a journey getting there… Continue reading “Shoutout: Kevin Myers”

Just Like A Tree

I have recently been thinking a lot about the agricultural imagery that is so prevalent throughout the Bible. Isn’t it wonderful how smart God is? He knew that no matter the time period, regardless of what types of homes we live in or what methods of transportation or communication we use, we would always understand and identify with the language of plants. In plants, family relationships, and almost everything else God made, creation provides the context for us to understand who He is.

As a student of English (and language in general), it really fascinates me when the biblical writers use metaphor and simile to emphasize truth. I love it! While there are many examples to choose from, I want to briefly comment on three. I hope that as you meditate on the profundity of these pictures, God will deepen your understanding of His character:

  • The righteous like trees;
  • He is the vine, we are the branches;
  • Seeds that grow and fields ripe for the harvest.

Continue reading “Just Like A Tree”