Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Four Twitter Follow Rules for Pastors

  1. Don’t follow the opposite sex. I stopped following women unless related to me or on staff. The ability to DM can be misused. I don’t trust myself.
  2. Don’t follow anyone underage. When teens from church follow me, I don’t follow back. That kind of direct contact can be misconstrued.
  3. Don’t follow those who vehemently disrespect views opposed to yours. Other viewpoints are great, but following those who degrade cherished beliefs, could imply approval.  
  4. Don’t follow anyone using the f-bomb as verb, noun, and adjective. This includes desperate-to-be-hip ministry leaders.
 These are my follow rules. Do they sound unreasonable to you?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

“Another one bites the dust.” Lyrics from a 30-year-old Queen song express part of my reaction upon hearing another ministry friend has imploded.

My less melodic response is “oh, crap.”

The news came moments before I preached from 1 Timothy 4: Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

This guy had the doctrine thing pretty much figured out, but bailed on life. If only he would turn around. But right now he’s in the death spiral of denial.

I’m powerless to stop his crash…but not mine. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kittens, Skinny Jeans, and Other Questions from the News

Why don’t people save all the plywood they bought to protect their windows from the last storm? Plywood

How can someone’s motive for abandoning 19 kittens be a deep mystery? This was an act of horrible cruelty, but I’ve got a pretty good idea why it happened. Kittens

Why would banning skinny jeans for students sound like an important “line-in-the-sand” for school administrators to draw?  Jeans

Why can’t the U.S. be as commercially savvy as China and promote songs by Gaga, Katy Perry, and the Backstreet Boys? China

How can eyeglasses cost three times more than a flat-screen TV? Prices

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sexual Satisfaction

Psychology Today labeled monogamy “impossible.” Could fidelity in marriage be an unreasonable demand?

Wisdom literature calls the husband to permanent captivation with his wife’s body and love. Such fascination releases an overflowing fountain of sexual satisfaction, (Proverbs 5:15-23). She is more than enough to satisfy, but she must be cherished.

Failure to cherish, understand, and desire her, leads to other attractions. These reduce sex to a business transaction: buying porn, lapdances, or prostitutes, (Proverbs 6:25-26).

Sexual expression outside of marriage is life-draining; inside it is life-giving. 

Marriage is a reservoir of sexual satisfaction; a fresh-flowing, spring-fed well.

Effort is required.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why I Turned Down a Pay Raise

Today, I start the process of telling 30 staffers their salary for next year. Everyone gets a cost of living increase, and I deliver the news with the performance review. 

These salary decisions aren’t mine. They are determined by Compensation, confirmed by Personnel Relations, approved by the Board.

There won’t be an increase for me…by my own insistence. Why?

I am already well-compensated.

The salary gap between me and my direct reports is wide enough.

Additional compensation won’t further motivate me.  

I struggle enough with Jesus’ words to give up everything and follow him.

I follow him, and get paid.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Names You Might Never Include in Prayer

Have you ever prayed for one of these names?
Actor Charlie Sheen?
Celebrity NeNe Leakes?
Billionaire Bill Gates?
Atheist Christopher Hitchens?
Dictator Mohamar Ghdaffi?
Rapper Jay-Z?
Businessman Donald Trump?
Singer Rihanna?
Movie star Angelina Jolie?
Congressman Anthony Weiner?

They may not come to mind for prayer, yet Scripture urges us to make all kinds of prayers for all people. Not being narrow, small, local, nationalistic, elitist, or racist in prayer is challenging. Move beyond the circle of personal and probable to remember rich, poor, black, white, Democrat, Republican, Afghans, Iranians, royalty and rednecks.

Enlarge your prayers to embrace the world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Simple Question Enables More Effective Ministry

In serving Jesus, we take “customer” satisfaction seriously. Understanding expectations is key.

I could be satisfied with a tough steak from a place offering it all “for around $10,” though unacceptable at an expensive restaurant. It’s about expectations.

I’ve learned to start interactions initiated by others with:
“What outcome are you hoping for?”
“How are you hoping I can help you?”

Knowing expectations helps position your service in the most satisfying way possible. Often complainers haven’t thought about outcome. Expressing it helps both of you.

Discovering they simply want to be heard saves you from trying to fix things. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Would You Die for Her?

Jason was 30, divorced, with two little boys when Jesus transformed him. Jason told everybody. He influenced many lives, especially his old friend Jimmy. When Jimmy got out of prison with no one and nothing, Jason took him in. Jimmy met Jesus too.

Jason brought his boys to church. He told his ex-wife, “Just come to church with me. That’s all I want.” She refused.

A motorcycle accident ended Jason’s life at 31. His Good Friday funeral was unbelievably powerful.

Jason’s ex-wife has been in church most every Sunday since.

What a price.

We miss him.

Glory be to God.

A Church Planter's Lie

While guest speaking at a conference, I heard a church planter’s presentation.

He said, “There is no gospel witness in many US cities.”

That got my attention. He repeated.

“Many of our biggest cities no longer have any church that preaches the gospel.”

Afterward, I told him I personally knew many great churches in his target city.

“They’re good,” he replied unconvincingly.

Apparently churches not using the right Bible version or in the wrong political camp don’t really count.

I’ve heard the “no gospel witness” phrase from missionaries my whole life. I wonder. Did any of them also distort reality?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Squabbling Church Disproves Christianity?

After a troubled church in Middletown, Pennsylvania had four pastors in eight years, the denomination sent a new guy to "clean house." It's not going well. 

In his July 10th sermon, the pastor said, "if you aren't  willing to accept my authority, there's the door." Some stood up declaring he should leave, calling him dangerous, and voicing other complaints. 

The arguing and name calling have spilled into the community and onto the internet. One non-Christian commented: "This fragment of idiots is more evidence of...how untrue Christianity is."

What an egregious spiritual collapse. Only God can resurrect ministry from such death.