Archives For compassion

reckoning

Chilly —  May 2, 2016 — 2 Comments

reck·on·ing   [rek–uh-ning]

the avenging of past mistakes or misdeeds.

reckoningDo you ever wonder what we’re really doing or at least supposed to be doing? Why are our methods, passion, and approach all greeted with such resistance, fear or doubt? Why are people in the community more intrigued by and engaged in transformation than people in the church? Why no one seems to be able to find the correct phrase or word to describe us? Are we nameless?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this…

What makes us any different from previous pioneers, revolutionaries or trailblazers of the faith?  Are our ideas so unique? Are sermons more inspiring? …hardly. Is it our tech toys, websites, blog pages, crazy videos, or loud music? … no, I don’t think so. Maybe it’s our jeans & t-shirt Sunday attire.  Ha, that’s not it either – but it’s definitely a perk! 

So, what makes us different? Why all the books, conferences, articles with words like: engaging, convergent, relevant, next generation, influential, mosaic, story-telling, etc.? You know what, I don’t know either…

Maybe the labels and titles came from the rigid, controlling, established, religious, on-their-way-out, leadership of organized churches & denominations. We tend to fear what we don’t understand, and a label always helps us sum up something we don’t really get… was that offensive – I’m sorry – that’s not my intention. Honest. I’m not picking a fight.

You see, I don’t think we’re really that unique. From the first century church to where we are today, there has been a need for individuals or groups of believers that stand up and bring radical correction to the waywardness or blandness of the church Jesus planted. Throughout history there has been a need to get back to the main thing:  Salvation, discipleship, and community.

When we stray from the foundation, we tend to take ourselves too seriously and the results are tragic: religion replaces relationship, selfishness replaces simplicity, lust for power replaces love for people, control replaces compassion, greed replaces grace, jealousy replaces joyfulness, conflict replaces courage, and frustration replaces freedom. Has this happened in your church (or mine)? Oh man, just the thought of this makes my heart hurts…

It’s easy to fall into this and hard to climb out – but, we must!  [Warning: Rant in 3, 2, 1 …] And, I don’t think the answer is to abandon ship – kick dirt on your church, or walk away because ‘they’ won’t change and only YOU know what authentic Christianity is – and, then use social media and toxic small groups to validate your righteousness & meekness (receiving applauds & pity from every ‘hurt’ leader) – grow up, shut up & move on – gracefully. [end of Rant]

For the rest of us, still in it to win it, let’s begin our adventure back to truth & life TODAY! It’s time for a holy reckoning to happen in and through you. I want a better church for my kids and the generations to follow – better doesn’t mean “new” – actually it’s just getting back to the book of Acts and living it in the 21st century. It may be simplifying: Love God, Love Others & Love Life.

Yeah, labels will come… judgments will be made… shunning could happen. Embrace it. And do what you’re made to do – be who HE made you to be. The message IS sacred, the method is not... keep that straight and LISTEN, LEARN, LIVE, and LOVE!  The lost are all around us – they’re looking for something genuine & trustworthy — someone to help them find the truth. Making disciples is still the Great CommissionYOU ARE NEEDED.  It’s time.

                                one to be reckoned with,
Chilly

Q: What needs a day of ‘reckoning‘ in your life or leadership today?

9 C’s of Church Planting

Chilly —  July 15, 2014 — 6 Comments

This is a revised & updated post.
Shared with the Accelerate Network in June 2014.

Church Planting is awesome! I love it!

courageChurchIs it tough? Oh yes! But, is it worth it? Always! Over the last 10 years, I’ve planted three church campuses in the inner city communities of Detroit. My family (incredible wife & 5 amazing kids) live right in the heart of the city. We do not have any full-time paid staff and we continually are in need of funds and resources just to get by … THIS IS FAITH! I’ve been chosen by God to share His love & truth in the most dangerous city in America. This isn’t punishment, it’s an honor! In addition to leading Courage Church, I am also Church Planting and Network minister for Mount Hope Church.

I think church planters are a rare breed:

  • We’re thrill-seeking pioneers with apostolic anointing.
  • We eat impossible for breakfast!
  • We hear God’s heartbeat in HD surround sound every where we go!
  • We smile through trials and accept pain as confirmation for pleasing God.
  • We get dissed & deserted by those we love.
  • We get to share in the most WONDERFUL moments in the life of a person or community.
  • Big time spiritual stuff! Yes, it’s worth it!

We don’t just believe in miracles, we depend on them.

I was recently asked, “what’s it take to be a church planter?” … I took some time to pray & think about this, then scribbled the following in my journal. Maybe it’s unique to me – that’s ok. But, maybe it’s for others too – even better! My prayer is that you would be encouraged, inspired and equipped to do WHATEVER God created you to do and that you would get BUSY doing it!

9 C’s of Church Planting

1. Calling
Friends, IF God didn’t tell you to do it, please DON’T do it! There will be times that you have to go back to the moment when you KNEW God called you to this task. There can be no doubts. IF He has called you, get going! “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 — don’t ever forget that you’re called to make disciples and that’s, exactly, what you want to build your church with!

2. Courage
The Bible is filled with “Be Brave – Be Strong – Be Fearless” challenges. But, my friends, even a Biblical pep talk is not enough. Your personal faith & trust in God is where Courage is born & grown. The bravest thing you can do is obey God. Learn His voice, know His Word and determine to never quit!

3. Creativity
This is an area where many feel lacking. But, I know two things: 1] God is the creator and 2] He has made some amazingly creative people. IF you’re not creative, there’s still no excuse, tap into the creative heart of God through the Holy Spirit. And, recruit some creative people!

4. Colleagues
God made us for relationship. We need other people in our life. I know that it’s an old cliche, but you’ve got to BE the friend you want to have. Serve others, praise others, bless others. He will send amazing people who share your heart & vision — be sure to be a good steward of this gift. Fight for their families, insist that they sabbath and compliment them privately & publicly. Lead them with your life!

5. Commitment
You must decide right up front: Quitting Isn’t an Option! This often involves removing & destroying “Plan B” — when God called Elisha ( 1 Kings 19), he chopped up all his plows, killed all his oxen and had a going away BBQ for his friends & family. He couldn’t go back to his old life – it was nothing but ashes.

6. Character
This is who you are when no one else is looking! It’s known MOST by your family and close friends — and, it’s revealed in your long-term effectiveness. Tell the truth ALWAYS, never cheat in anything, be accountable in everything and live what you profess. Your disciples will become what you are not what you say.

7. Compassion
Love, love, love, love, LOVE!! Love God & Love others! Climb into the eyes of Jesus and see the ‘GREAT’ in every person that you meet. DON’T just love those easy to love or who love you back. Love your critics & haters too! You’ll be surprised who responds to God’s love and who becomes your greatest allies ALL because you showed the unconditional love of Christ! When in doubt, LOVE more!

8. Covering  ( suggested by: Pastor Edgar Cabello)

Seek deliberate covering both through prayer and by oversight. There are lots of church planting networks and associations. ARC, Acts29, CMN, etc. they are fantastic and provide relationships and resources — as well as funding support. But, I’ve found that we still function best with a parent church body that we are connected to. Perhaps this could be an extension of ‘colleagues’ (#4) but it speaks more towards a trusted authority (parent) who is involved in our development and nurturing.

9. Contentment.  (suggested by: Pastor Steve Gagne)
This is a tricky one, because I never want to be content with where I am spiritually, and always seeking more of the Holy Spirit’s activity in my life, and more relationships with others . But, at the some time, we also find ourselves comparing the work we are called to do against the work of others—my church compared to his church. We face seasons of much work, and seemingly slow growth; and it can be easy to start looking around. The “what am I doing wrong” or “what is he doing right” thoughts creep in. We must be content in the process in which God is taking us though, and not go looking for apparent shortcuts. There are no shortcuts… keep your hands on the plow and remain faithful.

Plus, “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown

The above list is, obviously, NOT Comprehensive (hmmm, another “C” word). In fact, some of  you may feel like it needs a #10 in order to be more complete. Hmmm, ok, here’s ONE MORE:

10. CASH! 

You better be good at asking for money, seeing friends run and hide; and then asking for more! It’s tough to “give people the opportunity to invest into the Kingdom” (or some other spiritual way to say “beg”).

You must truly believe in what you’re doing and have a plan to invest ANY gift that you receive big or small. And, perhaps the best way to receive generously is to be generous! Give what you need. Sow into others. And, when you receive a gift, SEND A THANK YOU!

Ok, now, that’s really it! At least for now… Calling, Courage, Creativity, Colleagues, Commitment, Character, Compassion, Covering and Contentment… and, yeah, Cash!

Q: Which one of these “C’s” stood out to you? Why?

Listology

Chilly —  April 7, 2014 — 5 Comments

*This is a repost from a few years ago… I’ve removed previous comments so that we can start fresh.

no excuses

I was going through some notes today and found this list. It’s something that really challenges me in my own outreach efforts as well as in our church focus and initiatives. To be honest, I’m not sure of who the author is – perhaps me or at least partially me – but, maybe not me at all – maybe you –  and if it’s you, let me know! Ha!

Ultimately, the reason I’m posting this on my blog is because I want to challenge and provoke you in how you do YOU. Do you know yourself? What makes you tick? How to get the best out of yourself? And, how about others? Are you effective in living out your faith in today’s culture? How much thought to you give to how you interact with others?

Jesus was the ultimate example of how to genuinely embrace others. There was an ease and relevance with whoever He was speaking with: fishermen, priests, farmers, tax collectors, prostitutes, politicians and even lepers. Always spot-on! Love works hard at making every interaction a WIN!

We can’t expect today’s generation to embrace the claims of Christ if they cannot be applied to the context with which they live. Are we out of touch? Trying to use old methods to reach modern (or postmodern) people? Well, again, this is why I posted this list. Check it out:

In order to reach today’s generation, we must be
…  Continue Reading…

Spending a few weeks on the beach will definitely cause even the most secure person to be tempted to fall prey to that dangerous confidence killer called comparison. “I’m not cool enough, tan enough, skinny enough…” thoughts like this can mess you up (and one can only walk sucking in their gut, while keeping muscles tense and maintaining a relaxed smile; for so long)!

goldfishThis doesn’t end on beaches… I think one of the true dangers in our society today is ‘comparison.’ There’s always someone who looks better, out performs, runs faster, scores higher, makes friends faster, has better toys, etc. Quickly we can become insecure, fearful, apathetic, angry or bitter. These qualities can eat you alive.

And comparison is creeping into the church too. Ever watch a worship video or concert? Where are the ‘normal’ or average looking/sized people? From hair, to clothes, to size — many feel inadequate. Churches seem to showcase the ‘pretty people’ on their stages, websites, and in their pulpits. People flock to these types of places – it’s like reliving high school and we’ve been invited to a weekly party at the popular girl’s house!

It feels cool to be around them, wear their gear, talk the talk; but comparison screams “you don’t stand a chance” — we accept it and choose a superficial existence.  We’ve got to get past this! This is not God’s desire for us or design for His church.

But, the answer is not in criticizing those we can’t seem to measure up to nor is it in self-loathing behavior. Neither pride nor pity will improve anything.

I think the answer is found in compassion. We were made to love everyone — even those that seem to think they’re better than us. Love may not change them but it WILL most definitely change us. But this kind of compassion must be genuine, from the heart of God, within us.

 8 WAYS TO TURN COMPARISON INTO COMPASSION: Continue Reading…