Archive

Author Archive

The eternity thing

July 12, 2013 Leave a comment

I am on a plane leaving my grandpa. He is near death and I don’t think he will make it through another day. I feel a surprising peace about life. Not that he was this very faithful or religious guy… But more that I totally trust God. His plan is better than my plan. His mercy, his justice and his sense of morality are higher than mine. I leave knowing that we serve a great God who is loving and powerful. What he does is best. I sense also that words must be said to those who are living, about who God is and why we are here. I pray for my grandfathers soul, as I pray for mine and my people. God certainly is good and this life certainly is short. I want to live with passion and peace, to strive valiantly through life. At the end to be able to say as the mouse did in end of narnia, “I would lay down my sword to see your (aslan’s) country” not a huge narnia guy but that quote is bomb.

Advertisements
Categories: God's plan

Prayer

Today as I read, i saw how much different things are more highly value at different moments of my life. Like as I read Jesus telling me to “ask and it will be given,” I immediately thought of that one thing lately that I have felt I didn’t have an answer to. It dawned on me that I need to pray about that one thing. I know it sounds obvious or cliche… But sometimes we pray because we ought to or feel its a good thing to do. I want to pray today not as a duty to a routine or because I know its the right thing to do. But I feel the need to pray, because I feel He has the power and the experience to help me, where I am at.

Categories: Uncategorized

Staying Focused

April 5, 2013 Leave a comment

easter baptismsSo, despite probably suffering from ADHD and the shortening attention span of today. I am committed to BEING PRESENT where i am this year. Coming off easter Sunday was a super high, as a couple guys were baptized and a number of helpful conferences that i attended in March. This last week, I sat in some bible studies with college students and feel at those moments that this personal level of ministry is the best thing about the church. The conferences, the big church services and organizational stuff is all part of it… but the best thing is just sitting in a study talking about the meaning of Jesus death on the cross with a college student who needs to hear that. #refreshing

Check the youtube video here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5sZKka1V1o

Categories: ADHD, God's plan, mission Tags:

The Salesman

December 13, 2012 1 comment

SWAGONI just bought a car, it’s the Rally Wagon, the Race Wagon, the SWAGON… it’s so sick, I love it.  I buy used cars, so I researched for a long time and ended up visiting a number of private sellers and dealerships.  I don’t know if it has happened to you, but I am always put off when I go into a big name dealer.  Smaller dealerships can be chill, but it’s without fail, every big dealership I go into to look at a car, I am attacked by salesmen.  Once they find out I am in the market, they are all over it, trying to make a sale.  And before i leave the place, I end up actually catch myself considering purchasing some vehicle that I cannot afford, nor do I want.

Do you want that sales guy up in your face? no.  What is it that we don’t like about that situation?  I may feel, pushed, like they are just trying to sell a car, not really see what I need.  They care more about their bottom line, than my bottom line.

I am sure there is a lot more there than I am addressing here, but when I describe that sales guy, it kind of sounds a little like the way we Christians evangelize, witness, testify or whatever else you may call sharing your faith.   The way I feel when that the salesman walks up to me, people feel that, when I walk up to them as a Christian trying to “convert” or “recruit” them.

Cutting to the Chase..  We as christians have this mission that Jesus gave at the end of his time here on this planet and says this, “Go make disciples of all nations…” (matt 28) So we are supposed to go and actually do something, make followers.  But our approach to that needs to avoid focusing on our own personal bottom line and focus more on their bottom line.

Categories: Uncategorized

THE BEST.

October 8, 2012 Leave a comment

I was fortunate to be born into a family and during a time and in a place that i was able to play a variety of different sports.  So as a freshman in High School, I wanted to go out for the baseball team, but I didn’t make the team when cuts came around.  So sad, it really hurt me and was super embarrassing. (it wasn’t the only time i had been cut from a team)  What a bummer to a boy’s ego as a 15 year old to get cut from baseball, just America’s “Favorite” National Pastime.

Leading up to that Freshman Year in High school, I had played 7 years of little league and even trained with a friend intensionally before those tryouts that I was cut from.  Lucky for me, I had also played freshman water polo and had swam at least as many seasons leading up to high school.  So, I reverted to swimming, because there were no cuts for swimming and it would help me improve for the next water polo season.

I never would have chosen to be cut from baseball.  However, following aquatics for me, was probably a much better decision.  I went on to All-American awards, setting community college conference records, inducted to the hall of fame for Saddleback Community College, received scholarship to UCI for both swimming and water polo, after college was on a team that won outdoor nationals in water polo and played with some of the best water polo players in our nations history.

Nobody would have said I was just a terrible baseball player or that I was just not good at all.  But I definitely was not the best.  There were kids, a lot of them, that were naturally better at that sport than I was.  I was never was going to be a pace setter in that field, no matter how much time and energy I put into it.  The fact is that there are kids that have been genetically built and designed to do those movements (running, hitting or throwing) better than I was and they did.

From the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, there was a case study of Walgreens ascent from a good company to a Great one.  They decided to become the most convenient as possible for the customer.  So instead of having one big amazing store, they wanted to sell those branches in order to purchase a whole bunch of locations.  In one place, there were 9 branches within a mile of one another.

 “The standard metric of profit per store would have run contrary to the convenience concept. (The quickest way to increase profit per store is to decrease the number of stores…)” 

Instead of trying to increase the profit per store, they decided to try to increase the profit per customer.  They didn’t have video rental, photo developing and groceries like some of their competitors… but they decided to become the best at one thing, convenience.  It was what saved them from from the losing race and helped them to become great.

So your like, what does that mean for ministry leadership?  I was thinking long and hard about that question: What do we do well and what is it, if anything, that we can potentially be the best at?  So I wrestled with this for a while, because I am thinking that we need to do it all well.  (Fundraising, preaching, event planning, small groups, music, decor, counseling, discipleship, etc.)  I had to think about what our “Win” is for the ministry and I questioned what it was that would relate from our ministry standard to the Walgreens indicator of “per customer profit vs. per store profit.”

For us, we believe that every person needs to be converted to follow Jesus, we try to MAKE DISCIPLES. (Matt 28:18-20) And that it happens primarily in small groups and one another relationships.  We make and follow bible study series that we use as a tool to facilitate or direct those conversions.  So our “Win” is stated like this,

“Transforming the lives of college students by the teachings, principles and example of Jesus.” 

Of course, the end goal is to fundamentally have a big group of people or to “grow the ministry.”  We host events and build environments that we want new people to be a part of and our members to attend.  We see it as a loss or not a win, when people stop following the bible’s standard of living or to be honest, to some degree even when they stop attending our stuff.  One of biggest wins are when we have events that the members attend, enjoy and bring their friends or relatives.  After that, the real win is to study the bible with someone and help them move to change and keep that direction.

So building an attractive environment that people want to be at is important.  Both how and what we communicate through the physical environment, the message that is spoken and the music is all part of that equation.  However, we can become the best in the world at that, but at the end of the day, that is not the thing that is equating to our WIN.  Because people can love the environment, but still not follow Jesus.  Now, we don’t want to unintentionally turn people away or force people to be in pain.  Like, despite the environment they are there or despite everything that is not happening, they still follow Jesus.

We really want to build an engaging environment for people to come for the first time.  I want to make it easy as possible for our member to not only want to be there, but to also bring their guests.  When I consider the Walgreens case study, I see myself striving to be the BEST at some things that I may not have the capacity to be the best at.  In our ministry for example, music is not our forte, we are pretty much not very good at it.  We are getting better and we have our moments.  We do have some talented individuals that can put together some enjoyable performances, but even they would not say the talent of our particular ministry falls in the music performance arena.

So what is our talent?  What can we be the best at?  What are we good at naturally?  I think that the thing that we might be able to be great at, relative the field of Christian Culture at large, is getting people to sit down and do a bible study.  It’s what we do.  We go to our friends or even people we don’t know, we ask them to come to church and whether or not they do or don’t come to church… every person that is part of our membership has gone through the process of sitting down and doing a bible study to become a member.  We have a pointed conversation about their lives using the bible and calling them to live a life based upon the bible.  That is what we can be the best at, doing individual bible studies with people and calling our members to do that as well.  Even historically in our particular branch of Christianity, Church of Christ’ers are known for knowing the bible.  That is like something that we have done well, teaching people how to use the bible.

It might just be the answer, if we want to “Grow the ministry” or fill out our environments and double the size of our membership.  Not, to be the best performance of music, or have the hands down most engaging environment that is out there… not the best facilities or the best fundraisers or have the most dynamic ministry event calendar.  Perhaps its just if we were to focus with an intense determination on teaching people how to study the bible with others and call others to the life transformation that we hold as the “WIN.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Mind if I SPUR you?

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

My wife, Vivi and I lead Student ministry and have been for a while now.  I became a Christian during my second year of college and have a decade now of working with student ministry.  One very important step in the process, not the only step but a part of the process is helping students to commit themselves to coming to church stuff and small groups. In reality, it’s not like God is there at the door with an attendance folder and then in some special way you can be saved by walking in the building.  However, it is a crucial aspect of following Christ, perhaps a first step to knowing the gospel and it is also can be an indicator of where your faith is at once you have been saved.

That being said, I want to do my best as a leader to get people to all the environments and platforms that i can.  Whatever the win may be for each respective platform, we do lots of different activities, camps, trips, church services and small groups.  Some are to strengthen relationships and many are to introduce people to the gospel or some combination of the two.

In order to motivate people to come to our events and meetings, the first thing i believe is that I need to make sure that we are building irresistible environments.  Now, I may not be accomplishing that all the time… or ever, but that is the idea behind our effort.  I want to make environments that people actually enjoy to be at and being a part of.  It’s not like i want it to be, that despite the environment, they managed to be there because their convictions.  No, I want to use and run with ideas that come straight from the students and I want to make their ideas into a reality.  As a leader, I believe that is my job: To help them do ministry.  That means that I need to use my resources, my experiences and time to help them do ministry in their generation.  But building desirable environments is not the end, cause lots of people are doing that for other reasons and it shouldn’t be the bottom line for WHY people come.

The great commission, which is in the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus called his followers to a two part mission.  First, Make disciples and baptize them, this is the beginning and where someone first gets saved.  Next, you need to continue to teach them all that He has commanded.  That second part is a lot larger assignment than the first.  That is like, the rest of their life type thing.  Well, if we want to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus, yes, they are to repent of sins and be baptized, but then there are a grip of other commands that are throughout the New Testament that need to be followed in order to continue following Jesus after one sees the water of baptism.  Like the one which we use to tell people to come to church.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV

This is an important passage and i read it all the time to college students for a couple reasons.  First, that they have a job, an assignment from God, to be intensional in helping other followers to live lives of love and good deeds.  Next, is to avoid getting into the habit of missing out on meeting up with other christians, ie church or small groups.  Here, I used the NIV, which is a common translation that people tend to use, at least in our church culture.  So, I am not a theologian, I have no real formal training in reading the bible and i can’t read greek.  But, check this out.  This passage of this particular translation (NIV) uses the term “SPUR,” that is one of those things that a cowboy uses on his boot.

SPUR

Who am I in this picture if you are spurring me on?

I have heard and used probably used many times myself, this “SPUR” analogy over and over again.  What kind of image does this produce in our minds if we are to SPUR one another on?  One person in the conversation is the dumb horse and the other is a strong, fearless and able bodied cowboy.  So, the one doing the SPURRING, says something to the effect, “does a spur feel good? No, but It helps you get going in the right direction”  We have used this word as an “insight” and as a cornerstone in teaching people how to correct one another and call one another to following Christ.  This spur “insight” has been a defining passage of correction in our church culture.  Is that the kind of culture that we want to create in our church leadership?  Is that the kind of posture in leadership that Jesus teaches us to have?  One that says, “I am the teacher, riding the horse and giving it a good kick with a spur.”

So, i don’t know how the hearers in that generation would have taken that phrase, but If you cross-reference other translations, I do not find  any other translation that translated it that way. Now, there may be one, but I couldn’t find it.  To my understanding, in my experience, there is NO OTHER TRANSLATION THAT USES THAT GREEK WORD AS SPUR.  The other tranlations use words like, “promote, motivate, stir up, help, stimulate or provoke unto.”  Now some of those could potentially be like a spur, I suppose, but most of them not.  This greek word is only used 2 times in the bible and the NIV is the only one that translates one of the two occurrences into “spur.” How many of the other translations give an image like spur, where a confidant rider gives direction to a dumb horse.  Obviously, those in charge of the translation of the NIV are much smarter and more educated than I am, but I am sure the other groups in charge of translating all those other versions know a thing or two as well.

Maybe the insight about the “SPUR” is not really an insight at all and this passage may be there to instruct us to HELP or to MOTIVATE one another in a positive way towards love and good deeds.  To encourage, to give strength and to help people to keep dedicating themselves to the interests of other followers of Jesus.  I am pretty sure that in most leadership paradigms in sport, business or military, the horse and rider “spur” illustration relates naturally to the way they do leadership.  That illustration is exactly what I would do, even without any knowledge of the Cross of Christ, it is a rather natural assumption.

Something like this, “I am the older, wiser and more experienced one and I am here to direct you in the way you should go and i do it with intense correction when you don’t get it or don’t do it.”  When someone doesn’t listen to me, it is easy to say that I might get frustrated, I may be angry and I can get short or loud and say things that really can hurt or cut down the person that is frustrating me.  You don’t need to teach me how to do that, that comes totally naturally for me and I have learned it and seen it from teachers, leaders and coaches in the past.

The leadership paradigm that Jesus calls us to is not the same leadership as you would have done without Him.  He calls us as leaders to get underneath the people we are leading and lift them up.  Carry each others burdens and help each other with gentleness and respect. (Gal 6:1-2, Phil 2:1-10, 2 Tim 2:22-26, Eph 4:1-4, 15-16)  That is what we learn from Jesus leadership on the Cross.  This passage is there to help us to help one another, but not to instruct us to do what we do anyways, which is to yell and get intense with the people that are not doing what we think they should be.  This is not the end of this topic, probably just a small intro, I know that I have so much to learn about it and how to actually do it.

#challenged

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Mission to Mex

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Amped out of my mind right now cause tomorrow we leave for La Mision, Mexico. We will be staying at an orphanage there and doing construction projects, while working with the orphans.
I just got off the phone with an old friend, Jeff O, who has seen his own hard times in following Jesus and was really encouraged by what he is doing now. He started a site called bandofspiritualbrothers.com where he is focused on building up and highlighting men who are passionately following Jesus.
It made me realize that when we go to Mexico, I know that a need will be met by us… But that it is actually meeting my needs just as much. As a man fighting for my Faith, the faith of the next Gen men and the faith of my family. Going to mex is about getting outside my bubble and my problems. Going and helping young men and women who are just like me, but given a much more difficult hand of cards to play.
I am so undeserving and realize my circumstances are not as a result of my effort or intellect; my place has been given to me.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

psalm 16:6