Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Church Leading the World

A review of Designed to Lead by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck

“The leaders who will ultimately transform communities and change the world come from the church.” This concept had escaped me in all my years of ministry, if not intuitively, certainly practically. It is apparently a fugitive concept to many.  Changing this thinking is the burden that prompted this book. It is the pulse that throbs through each page. The authors do not write in an uncertain rhythm but with the full conviction of their hearts. I was arrested by the principles.
Something has been missing in the church.  We learn what in chapter 1.Those three missing components form the outline of the book.  With solid biblical basis Designed to Lead shows how conviction, culture, and constructs can transform a church into a leader-building workshop.

Conviction. “The longer that people attend a church that values equipping, the more they grow uncomfortable with only comfortably attending.”
Culture. “We (the church) are not producing minions or even legions of soldiers for the Kingdom of God.  We are training family.” The layers of church culture are unfolded by its actual beliefs, articulated beliefs, and artifacts.  (See the chart on page 126.)  The exposition of Scripture is the most effective way to change culture. 
Construct. “Jesus could have chosen any method imaginable or unimaginable, yet He chose discipling people who would disciple people.” That this is the key construct of church training is demonstrated in this, the church was launched with discipleship. “Discipleship is the only way to produce leaders that serve and bless the world.”

This book will be on the shelves of many church and community leaders who lead leaders.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Cross and Voting

I have been greatly troubled with the ease by which so many evangelical Christian’s have embraced Donald Trump.  Excuses abound.  He’s better than Hilary.  He’s seriously flawed but may be in a position to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices.  He may have accepted Christ.  He’s the lesser of two evils.  I don’t want to waste my vote on someone who can’t win.  If I don’t vote for Donald I will be voting for Hilary.

Even Bill is better than Hilary!  Jimmy Carter was better than Hilary.  Obama may be better than Hilary.  Would you choose any of them?
Republican appointed Supreme Court Justices brought abortion on demand to America. John Roberts, a Republican-appointed Chief Justice brought us Obamacare. Eisenhower appointed William Brennan who became one of the most liberal judges ever.  George Bush appointed David Souter, no friend of conservatism. Anthony Kennedy, Reagan appointee favored gay-marriage. On the other side Felix Frankfurter, Byron White and Hugo Black made decidedly conservative decisions.  The justice appointment argument is the carrot on a stick to lead us away from reality.
We don’t need a Christian president to fulfill the duties prescribed by the Constitution.  We have, in fact, had very few Christian presidents.
Can I really glorify God by deliberately voting for evil? Do I waste my vote when I vote with complete conscientious commitment?  Isn’t it a waste to vote for a candidate that I am not convinced about fully? It is not even possible for a vote I don’t cast to somehow be applied to another candidate’s tally.
A believer’s voting decisions are always to be assessed on the basis of biblical goals.  What really matters for those who claim the name ‘Christian’ is that we pursue the glory of God and promote the Gospel of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31-  Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” The biblical priority for our choices is that God be glorified. Will God be pleased if I vote for Donald Trump? 1Peter 4:11- Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Am I pursuing the glory of God by voting for Donald Trump or just trying to save America?  We don’t know whether God wants to make America great; we do know He wants us to preserve His glory. 
God’s Word gives this clear admonition about the importance of the Gospel. Philippians 1:27- Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”  Only the gospel saves.  How will my vote for an unrepentant Donald Trump whose many moral failures are public knowledge but need no forgiveness advance the gospel?  Doesn’t this flood of evangelical support take him off the hook?  Shouldn’t we rather plead with him to confess his sins and repent.  How sad that he is being used by Christians to get what they want.  And your vote is counted in that number.
Wayne Grudem is wrong. The one overriding question to ask is not: Which vote is most likely to bring the best results for the nation?” The ultimate question is which vote is most likely to bring glory to God and promote the Gospel.  Anything less is a wasted vote indeed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Anomaly for Christ

A Review of Unashamed 

What does an old, white, traditional pastor think of the young, black hip-hop/rapper LeCrae?

After reading his book I must say I think quite highly of him.  I have read life stories in the past but never have I felt like I knew the actual ‘life’ about whom the story was told.  This book is like living with Lecrae- walking the streets, doing the drugs, going to rehab, trusting Christ, disobeying Christ, repenting, recording.   The reader is a personal participant in each event.  We walk with him in his loneliness, trying to find a place in the gangsta neighborhoods of San Diego.  We are shown his scratched out lyrics and prayers.  We are witnesses of his fatherless fears.  We are with him in his first performances.  He becomes a genuine, self-effacing star in a world that elevates the self.  And we are drawn to his message.
“If you don’t know you’re lost, you can’t be led.  And if you can’t be honest, you can’t be healed.  Before I could be rescued, I needed to know that I was stranded.”
“I can’t tell you where we got the idea that following Jesus is some kind of quick fix for all of our struggles, but it wasn’t from the Bible.”
"All my life, I'd been hiding pieces of myself and putting up a front.  I'd been hiding my weakness sp everyone would think I was hard. . . I finally let go of all that and surrendered. . . I refused to exhaust myself trying to conform to others expectations or fit in their boxes.  For the first time in my life, I was free to live. Unashamed."
LeCrae's life is an inspiration, no matter what your musical preference and tastes.