Monday, April 30, 2012

More Bullying


Bullying has been in the news lately.

No one likes a bully.   We have learned as well that the results of persistent bullying can be very dangerous.   Studies have shown that there is a strong link between bullying and suicide particularly among high school students. As a result, many schools and activists are trying to stamp out bullying

So why is it that bullying Christians seems to be in vogue?  Recently at an “Anti-bullying” event, the speaker decided to go on a rant against the Bible.  When he used an expletive to describe the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality a number of Christian students walked out.

Not comfortable with their decent or departure, he decided to call them ‘pansies’, much to the delight of the remaining students in the audience.

Unfortunately this is becoming all too frequent, particularly in our educational institutions.  Our schools aren’t just about education anymore; they are social change laboratories.  Students are taught what is thought to be socially acceptable and tolerable.  The tolerance that they are taught however is a fragile tolerance for the only thing that seems to be intolerable among these ‘anti-bullying’ activists is strong religious convictions.

The Bible tells us that we are to be careful and watchful of this social engineering.  The Apostle Paul tells us, “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ” (Col 2:8)

This antagonism against the Word of God and substituting human understand for true wisdom has been around since the days of the ancient philosophers. The early Greeks admired purity, extolled loyalty and self-sacrifice but like the Romans, a decline in morals among the rich and the most educated led to immoral and promiscuous behavior.  Ultimately, a total disregard for human life resulted in the awe and worship of gladiators who fought like savages in the arena.   Clarke’s commentary on the Bible says that an examination of the doctrine, wisdom and teachings of the most famed philosophers of antiquity from any nation shows that they were “darkened in their mind and irregular in their conduct.”

The wisdom of these empty philosophies stood in stark contrast to the genius and true wisdom of the Bible.   Students espousing a Biblical viewpoint are often ridiculed by their teachers.  We should all be able to stand a little ridicule, a little disrespect and even some persecution.  In the end however,we are to keep our minds on things that are noble, right, pure, lovely and worthy of praise.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spiritual Entrepreneurs


I have a number of friends that are entrepreneurs.   Entrepreneurs run in our family and that is likely why I have an appreciation for people of like mind.    While we often think of entrepreneurs as people that risk capital to start their own businesses, there are other types of entrepreneurs that are looking to transform people, not just their personal economic conditions.

We need more people to consider becoming spiritual entrepreneurs.  People that have a desire to be personally involved in the fulfillment of both the Great Commandment (love one another) and the Great Commission (make disciples).   This has been the general charge given not to an institution called the church but the people that are followers of Christ.

Entrepreneurs are not satisfied with the status quo; they have an emotional desire to innovate, to change, to challenge.  They are also highly resourceful, finding innovative ways to do more with less; they create enterprise, they build teams and organizations and grow-grow-grow!

In the 1950’s a number of great men came on the scene and began a revolution within the church.  Bob Pierce started World Vision, Bill Bright started campus Crusade, James Rayburn started Young Life and Billy Graham began his crusades.  They were all entrepreneurs.  Under-resourced and passionate they were driven to change not only a nation but the world.  They succeeded beyond what others could have even hoped.  They operated outside of the traditional denominational walls and created a movement.

Today, when a pastor decides to start a church from scratch, or a church announces a new campus and appoints a campus pastor, an entrepreneur fills the role.  These small, struggling and modest beginnings are not only led by entrepreneurs but also need individuals, couples and families to join them as spiritual entrepreneurs.   These pastors need people that can come alongside them, sometimes even pick up and move their residence and find creative ways to do ministry and to challenge the status quo.   Our communities are full of people that don’t know they desperately need God, don’t know there is so much more to life than what they are experiencing, don’t know that there are only two options that are available to them: life and death. 

It’s likely more comfortable to fit in to growing churches, to follow well-established pathways and rely on contemporary but still conventional growth strategies.  The spiritual entrepreneur however will find great satisfaction in challenging conventional thinking and will need to rely on the power, wisdom and the strength of God.




Monday, April 16, 2012

Huddle up!

Professional Football players salaries average about $2 million for veteran players.  It wasn't always like that; as recently as the 1970's, some players were taking second jobs just to make ends meet.

The one thing that has stayed consistant however in the NFL is the huddle.  Sixty to seventy times a game, eleven players will get together for a brief huddle to review their progress, remind each other of the common objective, shout out a little encouragement and renew their commitment to victory.

If these elite, highly compensated and uniquely qualified professional football players see a need to huddle ever minute or so during a game, why don't we do the same?

So often we go through days, weeks, months, for some even a lifetime without a little critical review of our progress.   We think we can get by without anyone to remind us of our common objective; we seek no one in particular to shout out a little encouragement.

We all need to huddle.   Huddles occur when we bring friends, coworkers and advisors into our lives.  These huddles give us wise counsel, they provide us with encouragement as well as sometimes a friendly slap on the helmet to get our attention.

The book of Proverbs gives us the same advice.   Solomon, the wisest of all of the Kings wrote, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a fiend” (Prov. 27:17).  A few chapters earlier in this same book of Proverbs it says, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise" (Prov. 19:20).

This advice given to the individual, is also good advice to the group.  Volunteer teams, groups, departments, ministries and coworkers all need to 'huddle-up' often to make sure that they are still on track, they are accomplishing their objectives and staying focused on the goal.

It's time to Huddle Up!

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Our small Christian non-profit ministry recently requested and received approval from the IRS to be re-classified as a ‘church’.      ...