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Showing posts from August, 2009

Advancing

For several weeks I have been preaching on "spiritual leadership," which is a much different concept than the definitions of leadership put forth by the world. In a nutshell, here's my understanding of spiritual leadership: God is the leader, God calls His servants, servants obey the Lord. That's it. Anything you read on strategies, mission and vision statements, and creative and skilled leadership in churches is dangerous because it could distract us from the truth. God already has a plan, He has revealed that plan to us in scripture, He has promised to accomplish His plan, He has already given us everything we need, and He demands that we trust and obey. Period. There is an inherent humanism in all of our well-intentioned plans and schemes, but the focus remains on us and our good ideas instead of on the Lord and His word. Let's stop dreaming big dreams for God and envisioning a bold future for God's kingdom and allow His word to capture our imagina…

Withdrawing

One of the hardest things to accept about being the pastor of a church is becoming the focal point of church decisions when there are good people you love on both sides of the issues involved. Whether deserved or not, the pastor personifies the issue and becomes the recipient of hard and hurt feelings from those who disagree, and unfairly receives the credit and is lauded for "good leadership" from those who do agree. The reality is often much different than the appearance of things.

As a pastor I spend much, if not most, of my administrative time seeking "win-win" situations for everyone involved, and encouraging people to see things from a larger perspective. On those rare occassions when a "win-lose" situation does emerge, either by design or by insistance from church members, I am usually on the losing side because of the heartbreak involved in seeing hurt feelings and because of the way those feelings are expressed.

I was told long ago that I needed…

Marveling

Today I am feeling pensive yet in wonder about life, which has a definite ebb and flow. We continue to hear good news and bad news from all of our friends and loved ones. The reports of cancer, disease and death are always balanced by reports of new life, new beginnings, and grace. We have one friend who is newly engaged and planning a wedding, another who has been fired by a church and attempting to transition into new life. One family endures the heartache that comes from fundamental disagreements over homosexuality, while another friend is leaving for Israel to work with a foundation providing care and support to some of the most hated and marginalized people in the world: Palestinian homosexuals and abused Palestinian women. Wherever the darkness advances, there is the Light pushing back.

For us the news has been good lately. Kathryn just had her two month doctor's visit and they could no longer hear her heart murmur. At the same time, Kim has yet to consistently feel normal ag…

Redirecting

There is change in the wind. One of the things that non-linear mathematics and Applied Chaos Theory teach us is the design hidden in systems of living things, including our lives. At first there seems to be nothing but instability and chaos. It seems everything is about to collapse and fail. It appears there is no rhyme or reason to the things happening and that our lives, families, churches, relationships, businesses, etc. are spinning out of control. Over time, however, a pattern emerges and takes definite shape. Not all at once, but given time it will emerge. The pattern has been there all along defining the chaos and confusion, we just could not see it until enough time passed and more shaping took place. Chaos Theory calls this the "strange attractor": the pattern that was always there but could not be seen at first. Even within apparent chaos there is order and stability. We must live by faith.

I wonder, what is shaping your life? What pattern emerges as you…