creating culture

16 04 2007

Mark Batterson always challenges me – this is a guy that you must add to your RSS feeder or Bloglines list if he’s not there already.

Below is a quote from his blog today – this is timely and timeless information.

Church and Culture

As I see it, the church has four options when it comes to engaging culture: 1) ignore it, 2) imitate it, 3) condemn it, or 4) create it. And each option leads in polar opposite directions.

We can ignore culture, but the byproduct of ignorance is irrelevance. The more we ignore culture the more irrelevant we’ll become. And if the church ignores the culture, the culture will ignore the church.

We can imitate culture, but imitation is a form of suicide. Originality is sacrificed on the altar of cultural conformity. If we don’t shape the culture, the culture will shape us.

We can condemn culture, but condemnation is a cop out. Let me just call it what it is: condemnation is spiritual laziness. We’ve got to stop pointing the finger and start offering better alternatives. If the church condemns the culture, the culture will condemn the church.

Those three options will lead the church down a dead-end road to irrelevance, but there is another option–the only option if we’re serious about fulfilling the Great Commission and incarnating the gospel. We can compete for culture by creating culture.

In the immortal words of the Italian artist and poet, Michelangelo: criticize by creating.

At the end of the day, the culture will treat the church the way the church treats the culture. And we’re not called to condemn. We’re called to redeem.

Enough said…

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teary-eyed and rattled

12 04 2007

it’s not my intent on this blog to simply promote the content of other blogs all the time…

however, this post by perry this morning brought tears to my eyes and conviction to my heart – it rattled me in a really good way…this post is priceless and the timing of it for me personally is perfect…

more later on the purpose of this blog…get rattled!





entertainment vs. event-ment

4 04 2007

i was in a contemplative state of mind this morning (really, that’s code for sleepy!) and was thinking about the blogs that I track. many of them are church planters and they’re getting it done! i love the passion, the creativity, the zeal and the vision these guys exude. their sermon series, their methods of ministry, their communication all stick with the message, but in a fresh way. then something struck me…(after my first cup of coffee)…

i’ve seen it said on various blogs that the opposite of entertainment is boredom…and, i’ve bought that statement. in fact, i, for the most part, agree with it. i’d rather you NOT be bored as i minister, as i lead, as i teach or as i preach. i want you to be engaged…i want US to be engaged. so, i decided to do a quick look up of the word ‘entertainment’ – this is what i found...”noun – an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention.” hmmm, well, that’s what i want to happen – as i communicate the powerful message of the gospel, i want to be able to hold the attention of people…but, what if?

what if, with all of the focus on what we call ‘seeker’ we’ve really created nothing more than an event to go to? we’ve packaged church services so that they are entertaining (yes, they hold attention, which we want), but also they’ve become what i call ‘event-ment’ – whereby people only attend because of the event? is this wrong? is it so bad to go to church because, “you never know what’s going to happen” (which is true for most of life)? is it wrong for peole to view church as an event? what is our theology of ‘church’ becoming when we reduce it to an event in people’s PDA’s?

what if my trip to the georgia dome on monday night was viewed as only an event? how sad! here’s why…because frankly as good and fun as the game was, the conversation and friendship and fellowship (nice, churchy word) was far greater. what if in 3 years i only remember the game (an event) and forget the surrounding ‘process‘ of the game (finding our way to MARTA, getting stuck underground on MARTA, having really meaningful conversation with a great friend…that’s the process i’m talking about)?

i’m certainly not against the other churches that are growing at a phenomenal pace…i’m not about to slam any of the bloggers or churches that i follow – these guys are getting it done, i love them, i love what God is doing through them – i’ll continue to read and follow closely what God’s doing in their lives and churches. i’ll continue to grow and learn as a leader because of what they are doing.

here’s my concern…are we hiding our creativity and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking behind the cloak of ‘entertainment’ yet at the same time creating an atmosphere where church is only an event – much like a trip to s’bux or target? have we called it entertainment when in reality it’s just event-ment? would love to hear what you think…





simplify

28 03 2007

every now and then i find it necessary to just simplify…as well as streamline!

simplifying is the process of removing those things that aren’t essential…those thing that serve as a distraction…those things that derail you from your focus. tonight it’s simplifying my desk, that means the paper calendar that i purchased at the beginning of the year (“because that’s the way we’ve always done it”) is going into the drawer in my desk (off my desk, off my space), the essential book(s) that i’m reading right now are going to be narrowed down to just a couple and i’m going to start taking them everywhere so that i can finish them here and there

streamlining is the process of making process more easy (great grammar, eh?) – it’s the process of making life more focused – that’s one of the reasons i use bloglines as an aggregator for all of the feeds i read (about 47 right now).

so…

what else can i simplify? (remove)

what else can i streamline? (focus)

what can you simplify?

what can you streamline?

love to hear your comments…





easter eggs, peeps, thorns, the cross and cars

28 03 2007

enjoyed a little quiet and down time this morning…in doing so i spent some time doing a little forward-thinking about the next couple of weeks…

this friday i’ll hang out with my daughter at her easter egg hunt at school – i love these! there is something remarkable about watching a child’s face light up when they FIND the easter egg – there’s a ton of fun watching them HUNT the easter eggs. it’s neat to see them explore, follow in one another’s tracks, neat to watch the parents gently guide them to “finding” the easter eggs – it’s all just so cool – it’s all just so childish can’t we be like that? do we have to have it ‘figured’ out before we start (speaking volumes to myself right now)? God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us into ‘finding’ what God’s plan is – I’m looking forward to that visible, tangible reminder in a couple of days – Easter’s here!

then there are peeps – did you know that the amount of peeps chicks and bunnies eaten this year could circle the earth’s circumference? did you know that peeps are the best selling easter candy (non-chocolate) for the past decade? did you know there are websites dedicated to demented research on peeps (hmmmmm)? btw, i like peeps…

but, moving on, there is the issue of thorns and the cross at easter! of course, in recent years there’s been an uptick in the media trying to discredit or bring speculation to the meaning of easter – they’ve tried to discredit that Jesus was ever a real person, that perhaps the crucifixion/resurrection were just a hoax, and now they are claiming that Jesus was really married – i’m not going to launch into an apologetic here because frankly that’s not my gifting. this i know…Christ is real, i’ve experienced His redemption and His grace, Christ is arisen and there’s reason for hope. Hope! Hope, there’s a word that people all around us could use…imagine if hope were as prevalent as peeps. ok, seriously, our world is full of people without hope…then there are people like ‘salavat.’

spent this morning doing a quick read of the latest issue of voice of the martyrs magazine i received this week in the mail…’salavat’ is a Christ-follower in uzbekistan – he’s been imprisoned countless times for the message of the gospel. recently he was imprisoned for six months! during this time his wife and 5 children were basically neglected by the church because the other Christians were afraid of coming around for fear of imprisonment. during his time in prison, he was to beaten by the other inmates – they spared him – favor of God. upon release, his family had little food, but lots of hope. his 7 year old daughter asked, ‘dad, when are we going to eat again?’ – think about that for a moment moms and dads…imagine your children asking that question – not, “when can we go to mcdonalds?”, but “when can we eat again?” – ‘salavat’ told his daughter soon because he had hope…hope…hope that God would provide. the next morning they got up at 5am to work the fields when a car drove up to their home and two ‘people’ got out of the car – they stated that they weren’t supposed to be here, but that God had sent them…they handed ‘salavat’ $200, returned to the car, and drove off. when ‘salavat’ and his daughter went to thank them, they looked up and the car was gone! no dust, no tracks, the road looked as if it hadn’t been driven on for months – hope showed up in a car!

that’s how it is with God, He shows up!…He shows up in a car, in a friend (through a word or a challenge) and sometimes in an easter egg hunt!





on my radar…

20 03 2007

so, here’s what’s on my radar…

  1. loving my wife more than ever – growing our relationship daily – never want to see it become stale or predictable!
  2. loving my son as a father should by setting an example of godliness and holiness to him – helping him become the man God intends him to be
  3. loving and nurturing my daughter so that she’ll know the exact way a man should treat a woman (see #1 above!) – also, praying for God to heal her and help us get to the bottom of why she gets sick frequently
  4. the other stuff in life…




monday morning download

5 03 2007

here’s a quick download of things that i found important or at least interesting…

  1. priorities baby! – that’s right this article has some of the most important news of the day – don’t miss it!
  2. ok, on a more serious note…sin messes people up! the moral crises in colorado springs has messed up more people than just those that were in the headlines – read the article here…my prayer is that these people will not become bitter or lose faith – if you read this article (and you should) then do 2 things: 1.) pray for everyone affected – sin hurts everyone – there’s no private sin; 2.) don’t sin! in the age in which we live, it’s even more important for their to be safeguards and accountability – we were created for relationships, get in one!
  3. this is one of the best devotional posts i’ve seen – of course #6 below reflects why i really like this – batterson is a great wordsmith and really a great leader
  4. having been a church planter, i really admire this guy! it takes guts to put it all on the line and take the big risk – btw, i still strongly believe in church planting and think it’s one the greatest things someone can do when God calls you into it. pray for church planters – there are more people, we need more churches!
  5. here’s a short article that follows nicely on the heels of the last point – read it and evaluate yourself
  6. i’m really happy that i have a break in teaching on wednesday nights – while i enjoy the process of teaching/preaching (prep, pray and delivery) – it’s good to have some down time – fact is, since i’m also responsible for children/nursery/preschool ministry, this will give me a great chance to do some evaluation there, along with some encouragement and hopefully some building.
  7. i’m going to jump back into coaching in the fall – starting it off by heading to a coaches clinic soon that will help me become a better coach (soccer is the sport) – while i’ve coached several years of soccer, i’ve never invested the time to become better through the training thats available – i’m doing that now and really excited – too late to coach this season, but next season will be fun!
  8. spring is here – well it was last week(not literally, but the weather seemed like it last week), and in celebration i’m throwing out everything from 10-15 years ago that we used in children’s ministry – spring cleaning baby!
  9. finally, i’m really pumped about our wednesday night ministry options starting this week – we’ll be doing the daniel series by beth moore and another new men’s series called “men’s fraternity – the quest for authentic manhood” – going to be great. we’ve had a tremendous response to it and i believe it’ll be pivotal for our church this year.