Archives For Leadership

I have been working on a post about the election for a couple of days now and I still haven’t finished it. I don’t even know if I will finish it, but the election definitely has people talking. One of the things that has bothered me the most is the fear that many Christians are feeling. If we stop and think about fear, we would realize that fear does not come from God. It is an emotion straight from Satan. Mark Matlock from Planetwisdom had an excellent post about this today on his blog. He said it better than I can. Read his entire post here.

I was shocked. While I may have preferred one candidate over another, I’ve never been in fear of either one becoming president. What is shocking most, is that much of this “fear mongering” came from those who would call themselves followers of Christ.

As Christians our confidence lies in the sovereignty of God. We do not need to fear anything or anyone. But rather in humility and grace live our lives respectfully in the world.

How do you think the world will change most? By changing the government or helping others follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ ? Let’s not put our effort into changing the world through government let’s change the world through the hope they might find in the way of Jesus Christ.

To that I would add simply “AMEN!”

Catalyst Thoughts

October 15, 2008 — 3 Comments

I’m still holding off on posting my thoughts on Catalyst this year.  It was great, but a little overwhelming. I’m still processing much of what God spoke to my heart this week.  Sam, Todd, and I traveled together and had many challenging conversations about the future of Cornerstone.  I really think exciting things are in store for us as long as we keep preaching and teaching Jesus.

As for the conference, Craig Groeschel really spoke directly to me.  As always, I felt a connection to him and what he had to share.  I think Andy Stanley has a unique way of relating leadership principles to the church in practical Godly ways, and I could fill a notebook with all of the powerful quotes that he shared.  It was reassuring to hear directly from Dave Ramsey about the current financial crisis (although I’m still mad I didn’t win the free iMac he gave away to the girl three rows in front of me!)
And it was inspiring to look back at what Billy Graham has been able to do by simply being faithful to preach the Gospel.

But I was surprised and impressed by the two young guys, Matt Chandler and Steven Furtick.  I have listened to sermons from both of them over the past year and although they are different, they both share an incredible passion.  At Catalyst, both guys really preached passionately, and they preached from Scripture.  It’s not surprising that the messages I enjoy the most always come directly from the Bible.   I love learning leadership principles, but I am challenged, stretched, and encouraged when God’s Word is taught in passionate and compelling ways.  I’ll share some more of my thoughts as I unpack my conference notes.

I haven’t shared in a long time what I’m listening to on my iPod.  I love podcasts and I try to listen to several messages each week.  These are the guys who are really stretching me right now.  All of these churches have podcasts on itunes, so check them out.

Perry Noble of Newspring Church
Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv
Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church
Mark Batterson of National Community Church
Andy Stanley of Northpoint
Greg Surratt of Seacoast Church
John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church

After one year of full-time ministry, I want to take some time to point out some of the changes and challenges of leaving the engineering world to jump into ministry.

As an engineer, I was confident of my ability to solve problems. I knew that I could come up with a design for every project that I was working on. It wasn’t arrogance, but I knew that I had the training and knowledge to do my job. It might take hard work and research, but I had no doubt in my mind as I worked on each project. My job was enjoyable, but predictable.

As a pastor, I constantly realize that uncertainty is part of my life. I doubt my abilities to lead a growing church. I doubt that I can find a solution to every problem that arises in the church. I doubt that I know what I’m doing. And that doubt is a good thing, because through that doubt in myself I learn to trust Christ. I’m understanding more and more not to trust in my ability, but to trust in God working through me.

For me, engineering equaled certainty and predictability. Ministry now equals uncertainty and unpredictability. But I’m truly living life now, instead of just working for a paycheck. So to anyone actually reading this, what is holding you back from following God wherever he is calling you?

I went running yesterday, or at least I tried to go running. It’s been a long time since I have ran any distance at all. I have been going to the gym, and I have been riding my bike, but I just couldn’t work up the passion to hit the trail. Here’s my problem. In high school I ran. I ran all the time. On most weeks in the summer I ran about 50 miles, with long runs on Sunday where I would typically run 10 to 15 miles. I competed in numerous 5K’s and even ran a half-marathon. I wasn’t the fastest runner in the world, but I could break 5 minutes in the mile. When I think about running, I think about myself 20 years ago.

Yesterday, I stretched, I warmed up, and then I started running. After about 2 minutes it felt like someone was stabbing a knife in my ankle. I sprained it badly about 6 months ago and it obviously is not fully healed. I tried to keep going and I alternated walking and running, but I just couldn’t run through the pain. I know what I need to do to get back into shape. I know that it will take some time to strengthen my ankle and I know it will take some time to build up my endurance. But my problem is that I don’t know if I am willing to put in the time and effort to start running again. I would rather remember the past instead of create the future. I’m not sure that the results are worth the effort. Even though I need to lose weight, even though I need to get in better shape, I would rather substitute the counterfeit workout at the gym for the real thing. I see a spiritual application here.

For too many churches, it’s easy to remember the past … the past accomplishments, the past successes, the past growth. But even though they realize that things need to change, they aren’t sure that the effort to change is worth the results. They would rather live in the past and think about how it used to be. So they continue on, doing what they know and trust, taking the easy road, and miss out on the blessings of creating the future that God wants for them. Let’s not be afraid to do what hurts, to do what is hard, to do what is needed, so that we can be healthy and used by God.

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