Archives For Ministry

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?

Living a Riddle.

Chilly —  February 2, 2016 — 50 Comments
[ REPOST ]

This post generated over 40 comments… so, I’ve reposted it for MORE discussion.
(and if you left a previous comment, feel free to update us with what’s up now!)

Have you ever found yourself absolutely lost right in the middle of God’s perfect will? It’s like you totally know that He has you where He has you for a purpose — there’s obvious signs that there’s destiny in your existence — and yet, there’s so much uncertainty and wonder. It’s not a fear thing, or even a confusion thing; because God’s right there. And yet, you still find yourself holding your breath at times as you stare into space searching for significance and some sort of structure that puts everything into perspective.

LifeIsRiddleYou are confident of God’s calling but you can’t seem to find the job description, title, position or opportunity to do the things that make you come totally alive. You feel like you’re close… really close but, then again, you’re not even sure that you would know it if you ran right into it. Like lava churning in your heart, when you try to explain what’s happening, even to God, it blows like a volcano in all directions, loudly, quickly and recklessly.

So, you press on. Serve. Listen. Wait…

I don’t want those who read this to think I’ve lost my mind, but then again, I certainly don’t want them to think I’ve got it all together either. In the last year I’ve been called ‘pastor’ at two great churches, I’ve also been called: husband, father, son, brother, leader, minister, presbyter, entrepreneur, mentor, speaker, coach, friend, neighbor, director, reverend, staff, evangelist, barista, discipler and captain. That’s a lot of hats to wear! And, I’m still not sure that I’m doing all that I’m supposed to be doing (or not doing). Continue Reading…

Too Tough NOT to Love!

Chilly —  February 1, 2016 — 2 Comments

“Love means loving the unlovable – or it has no virtue at all.”
– G.K. Chesterton

broken-heartMinistry Paradox:

We want EVERYONE to love us, but KNOW they won’t… 

In fact, some we love the most will HATE us! 


Q: HOW DID JESUS HANDLE THIS?
A: LOVE ANYWAYS!   

HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH THIS??

come on, let’s talk about this in the comments…

I’m still learning.

Chilly —  October 9, 2014 — 9 Comments

Notes from my journal
(This Sunday we celebrate 10

years of ministry in Detroit.)

Things I’m learning today

… that I had NO clue about 10 years ago.
Part One.

It’s OK that everyone isn’t pumped about your passions.

  • 10YearsOfLearningWhen we moved to plant in Detroit we were certain God had sent us and therefore we expected that everyone else would joyfully and generously support us.
  • Some people discouraged us to even come to Detroit — especially with 3 small girls at the time.
  • Some people avoided me — probably because they knew I would ask to be their missionary (which means ‘I need some money’).
  • Some took a wait and see position. IF we didn’t give up, perhaps they would back us later…
  • Others had things that they were passionate about that I probably totally missed (because I was so focused on my assignment).

We have to learn that it’s ok that others don’t get all excited about the thing that we see as God’s highest priority. Don’t become jaded because they don’t cheer, or give or promote.

How you measure success could be totally wrong.

  • I had seen things (ministries) grow AMAZINGLY fast in my last two youth ministries prior to coming to Detroit.
  • Hundreds and hundreds were impacted weekly
  • We were winning & discipling teens all the time! Our city knew about us, the schools all knew about us, the media knew about us — we were rocking our world for Christ. We were growing so fast that it was like controlled chaos!

This didn’t happen quite so fast when we planted.

  • I guess the roots required to support the fruit we hoped for, would have to push through some concrete-hard soil. We would have to pray harder, wait longer, believe greater and remain faithful. This where is character develops. Intercession, fasting & perseverance are necessities.
  • Sure, we’ve grown and we’ve moved forward. New buildings. New communities.
  • People may not see the huge numbers (fruit) yet, but IF they could only see our roots, WOW!

You’re calling is connected to obedience and faithfulness. So, stick to it.

People who love you are capable of detesting you. Love them anyways!

  • Yeah, this one stings a bit. Always does.
  • I’ve never had a moral failure, I’ve never embezzled funds , I’ve never abused my kids, I’ve never been unfaithful to my wife, I’ve never split the church and I’ve never tried to hurt people.
  • Yet, I’ve hurt people, offended people and let others down.
  • Some can’t stand the mention of my name.
  • Most of these were those who were once close — very close — but, I pushed too hard, was indifferent to their struggles and challenged them to extremes in holiness.
  • I didn’t listen enough.
  • I thought out loud – became too vulnerable – revealed my kryptonite.

I don’t think you can question my love — I loved! But, imperfectly.

  • Some appeared to be loved more than others. He has ‘favorites’ or ‘a clique’ … this was never intentional but I also did not push away those that preferred being closer.

Ultimately, things changed with and/or in them. I missed it.

  • I was expected to know, embrace and follow a script that I had never been given. I let them down unintentionally (but that’s probably not how they saw it). “How could I be so clueless?” I am.

The pain is always more severe because it involves my wife and kids. They are rendered victims to misunderstandings and shattered expectations. They get cut-off & kicked in the stomach with no explanation. People who said they loved them, disappeared without a goodbye and after saying they would always be there for them (should we ever say ‘always’??)…

So, I simply try to keep the bridges from burning between us. I learn from each heart break. Apologize. Forgive. LOVE.

  • I pray that they will, one day, remember: the spiritual investment I have made — the good times — the adventures — the things that matter.
  • I pray that they will remember that we are not enemies. That we are fighting the same monster and these hurts & feelings are distractions from our mission.

And, I keep getting close to NEW people. This isn’t always easy. The door of our lives and home continues to swing open. We continue to believe in others. We continue to do our best to make disciples. We continue to love.

Miracles happen daily. Don’t miss them!

  • Oh sure, we all believe in miracles.
  • I pray for HUGE miracles all the time. But, here’s something I’ve missed SO often: ‘little’ miracles.
  • While seeking the jumbo offering, new church building, qualified staff, supernatural healing and other big-time miracles, FIGHT to see and revel in the little things!
  • People are changing, hearts or softening, doors are opening, someone is smiling, your spouse still adores you, friends love you, people are growing closer to Jesus, bills are getting paid, leaves are changing on the trees, you smell good coffee, the car started, God spoke your name in prayer today, you had milk for your cereal this morning, you remembered something and Hey! You’re ALIVE!
  • Shout, dance, sing and enjoy these daily miracles.
  • They are dress-rehearsal for the bigger miracles that ARE COMING SOON!

Never become so focused on the BIG — it’s gonna take a miracle — stuff that you miss the wonderful miracles happening constantly all around you. Find yourself praising God at various times and in unique places.

Glorify Him!

Be sure to check out Part Two next!