Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why Wait Until Tomorrow?

Back in the 1980’s the Detroit Gospel group, The Winans, recorded the song “Tomorrow”.  The lyrics are simple but at the same time very profound.

I was recently talking with a new acquaintance.   I think of him as a friend but he sees me primarily as a Pastor.  That unfortunately makes him hesitant to open up and get close enough to know and be known as a friend.

The Lyrics to “Tomorrow” are more than a story of procrastination, that somehow tomorrow would be the day. It is also the story of rejection.

Jesus said 
'Here I stand, won't you please let me in?'
And you said 
'I will tomorrow'
 
Jesus said 
'I am He who supplies all your needs'
And you said 
'I know, but tomorrow, ooh, tomorrow, i'll give my life 
tomorrow, I thought about today, but it's so much easier to say'
 
Tomorrow, who promised you tomorrow, 
better choose the lord today, for 
tomorrow very well might be too late.

As I stated, delaying the important decision to follow Jesus, to become a Christian is at the same time a rejection.  Why do many people choose to reject Jesus as Savior?  Here are a few that I’ve observed:

  1. Some people don't think they are ‘too bad’.  They don't think they need a savior.  While not even trying to determine if they are good enough, they compare themselves not to the good but to the bad.  They aren’t murderers, car thieves, muggers, rapists, or child abusers so they don’t think the message of repentance applies to them.

  2.  Some people fear they will have to become ‘too good’.   This is unfortunately often the fault of the church as we often preach moral absolutes, purity, chastity and abstinence rather than forgiveness, freedom, acceptance and the love of Christ.  We are all sinners and all in need of forgiveness.

  3. Many people would rather believe the lie.   They are lied into beliving that the things of this world are more appealing than anything else. These are the same people that throw away their marriages and the love of their spouse for a night of pleasure.  They abdicate their roles of husband, wife, father, mother and even son and daughter for temporary pleaures that are all too quickly forgotten.   They are like the prodigal son and daughter that foolishly wastes their inheritance but are soon abandoned by their friends when the money runs out.


Like the lyrics of the song, Jesus says, “here I am….'I am He who supplies all your needs' but we too often reply…..tomorrow.  If you are interested in hearing the song, here is a link 


Monday, July 21, 2014

Courage: the necessary quality in a leader

There are many people that have spoken into the qualities of leadership over the years and most of us are familiar with some of the terms and characteristics of leadership.   Charisma, character, empathy and decisiveness hit most lists.  The one quality however that I find very often either omitted or just absent in an exhaustive list of other characteristics is that of COURAGE.

Courage definitely is one of the qualities that will separate those that can truly lead through difficult circumstance and over time and those that cannot.

I like to define courage as not necessarily the absence of fear but the absolute resolve to do that, which is right even when the wrong thing may produce what appears to be faster or even better results.

In the beginning of the Book of Joshua, the Lord tells his recently chosen leader, Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.

While doing the right thing in leadership is often selfless, being courageous often requires brave and confident action.   Like Joshua, a courageous leader knows that there are higher, eternal and God ordained purposes and values that supersede all others.   Courage also requires a high sense of awareness of what the right thing truly is.  All too often the immature and uninformed are quick to lead others into a position that is actually folly and foolishness rather than that which is careful and wise. 

Being a courageous leader also requires the understanding of the ultimate objective and ultimate truth.   There are truths that cannot be compromised regardless of policy, corporate objective or administrative approval.  Courageous leaders always frame their objectives and leadership in this truth and are always ultimately responsible for their actions.

Many courageous leaders are unknown or all too soon replaced with those that may be more pragmatic.   Some of our greatest leaders through history were known for their courage.  People like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were all courageous.  While not perfect they all were responsible for courageously leading through difficult times when many were calling for appeasement, compromise and concessions.

We need more leaders known for their courage rather than their charisma.




Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Passion and Unity Connection

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of churches in developing countries.  These are churches that have few resources but great hearts.   Studies have shown as well that the church is growing in places like South America, Africa and China where resources seem to be few, persecution often severe and religious liberties limited.  Despite their lack, these churches have much.   They may seem weak but are actually quite strong.

Here in the United States our churches are well resourced, there is very little actual persecution and our religious liberties are protected.   Despite these advantages, our churches are divided and becoming weaker.

I’m convinced there is a direct correlation between the passion the local church has for evangelism and loving on people (what we often refer to as the Great Commission and the Great Commandment) and the unity of the church.   This is what I call the passion and unity connection 

Our disunity leads to a lack of effectiveness and is directly related as well.    Jesus prayed that we would be “one church” in John 17.  He repeated it twice for effectiveness and repeated twice that the reason for his prayer for unity was “so the world may believe You sent Me.”

When our church leaders get too comfortable in the status quo,  rather than trying to reach a lost world with the love of Jesus Christ they all too often decide it's a better use of their time to point out what they believe are flaws and faults in other Christian churches and denominations.    As a result, we become divided and this division in the church is a cancer that has been self-inflicted.

We are to be one-church because we have one-Lord and share one-Gospel.  It’s time to believe that the prayer of Jesus can be fulfilled in our lifetime.


WHY A NON-DENOMINATIONAL EVANGELICAL CHURCH?

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