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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Discipleship

Feature Friday (02/08/19)

Chocolate or Vanilla? Left-handed or right-handed? Get up early or stay out late? So many situations in life seem like either-or. There are constant battles of values and priorities at play. Yet too often I believe we pit things against each other that may never be meant to be at odds.

As a young athlete in high school, the tension was always which sport are you going to excel at? Which game will you prepare for more? As one who truly enjoyed every sport I played, those types of questions always seemed like a conundrum to me. Why must I choose training for football over running track? I enjoyed both and thus trained, practice, and performed at both. And in my experience, pursuing one made me better at the other. It was not an either-or situation, but a both-and one. The same can be said for many situations in church.

One situation that is often portrayed as an either-or situation is evangelism or discipleship. Often it comes across in preaching: do we preach to the unchurched to reach more people for Jesus or do we preach with the believer in mind to equip the saints? Instead of setting up an either-or situation, I believe it is a both-and situation.

Dave Jensen writes a great article challenging pastors, church leaders, and churches in general to do both-and. His article “Keep Christians in the room: Church attendance at evangelistic courses” is a great argument for a both-and approach rather than an either-or approach.

As always I hope the article encourages and challenges you. Don’t neglect to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day this weekend.

Photo by Greg Jeanneau on Unsplash

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Feature Friday (11/09/18)

I have always loved Apple products. It has never been one aspect that drew me to the Mac world, rather a plethora of little things add up. Their design is sleek and beautiful. The ease of use and clear user designed software are killer. Even the feel of the items has always just been more solid and higher quality than other products. But there is one aspect of Apple I never knew about until recently, that actually makes me like them even more…the way they train their employees.

In his article, “What Apple Gets About Disciple Making” Craig Etheredge recalls an interaction with an Apple employee concerning her training experience and process.  As I read the article it became apparent, another reason this company is so great is not just because of the time and energy they put into their product, but more importantly the time and energy they put into their people. This is a reality I believe the church can and must learn from. With so much of the church’s mission being accomplished by “volunteers” it becomes even more vital for training (aka discipleship) to take place strategically, intentionally, and relationally – three ways Apple is killing it at training.

Enjoy the article, and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash

Feature Friday (10/19/18)

One of my personal hero’s just had his birthday. So like every good admirer and mentee I wished him a happy birthday. To my shame it did take a Facebook notification to help me remember it was his birthday. I felt a bit guilty for not remembering and for not making a bigger deal of it but the reality is he appreciated it all the same. Which shows one reason this man is still a personal hero of mine, but there are other reasons.

This man came alongside of me in a very difficult, trying, and stupid season of my life…junior high and high school. He was a model of love, encouragement, but also of truth and wisdom. This hero of mine loved me daily by spending quality time with me and challenging me in every area of life. I believe I am the man I am today at least in part to this hero. So much so that I wanted to become like him when I grew up – a hero.

But, as Todd Wilson shares, over the years, I’ve learned that there is an even better role to aspire to than “hero”—a role that shifts my focus from addition to multiplication, and from “me” to “others.” The shift is counter-cultural. Ultimately, it’s a shift that makes us much more like Jesus!

To find out what the shift was for me and what Todd is talking about check out his article “Are You a Hero Maker?“.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this area as well as any stories of hero’s or hero makers in your life.

As always enjoy the article and be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (10/05/18)

What a game? It was back and forth all night. The home team had a commanding lead heading into half time, but the visiting team came out in the 3rd quarter and took the lead just before the final quarter. The home team responded and went up by two scores and left the visitors less than 8 minutes of game time to work with. But the visitors responded and went up by one with two minutes to go in the game. The home team got the ball and had to drive 60 yards for a score. They had a crucial 4th and 5 around midfield that they had to convert if their hopes were to stay alive.

All night long the Lions quarterback had been tearing the defense apart both with his arm and by scrambling with his legs. It seemed obvious that he would be the one with the ball in his hands, with the game on the line. The ball had been snapped a handoff was made and after one yard of progress the defense smothered the ballcarrier for the loss. No first down. No continued drive. No hope of scoring. Nothing to do, but watch the time run off the clock.

What was the coach thinking? Why did they not run a different play? Why did they not put the ball into their best players hands? That’s what I would have done. But that’s why it’s easy being a Monday morning quarterback. It’s easy to criticize others when you are not in the game yourself. The same is true of discipleship and the local church. Which is just what Jim Putnam’s article “Don’t Miss This: You Need to Get in The Game” is all about.

“Whether you want to grow spiritually yourself, or disciple someone else to do so, getting involved and serving others is a great way to do it. But don’t just take my word for it – let’s take a look at how Jesus got his disciples in the game to teach and equip them.”

Check out Jim’s article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Feature Friday (09/07/18)

I have always enjoyed war history. Whether it was WWII, the American Revolution, or the Civil War. So when I heard the story of George B. McClellan I was intrigued. McClellan graduated 2nd in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He had a few stints as a military engineer and then because of his great military knowledge, organizational abilities, and logistical understanding President Abraham Lincoln placed him over the Union’s army during the Civil War. But his tenure in that position did not last long. Why not?

McClellan was arguably one of the brightest minds of history when it comes to military tactics and strategy. He could unify the troops, organize them quickly and effectively, and ready them for the next battle better than anyone else in his day. So why would President Lincoln discharge McClellan from his post at such a needed time for such leadership? McClellan had one flaw…he hesitated to engage in battle. McClellan was a great teacher and organizer, but a lacking leader.

The same can be said for many Christian leaders. Not because they do not know enough or even have an inability to teach. The reason Christian leaders, pastors, and disciple makers are not actually leading well when it comes to discipleship is because they, like McClellan don’t finish the task. Too often those who should be disciple makers stop short of the end game. Too many believe discipleship is all about information rather than transformation.

One pastor who does get it though is Jim Putnam. Discipleship has been at the core of who Jim is for years. While I have never met him, Jim has influenced me in many ways as I continue to think through the how and what of discipleship. That is why I think you will enjoy his article “The Key to True Discipleship is This: You Never Stop with Head Knowledge“.

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day.

Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

Feature Friday (07/06/18)

It’s hard being different. This statement is true in more than one way. First off, in western culture today being different is the new normal. Everyone is to be unique. Be yourself. You do you. So if different is what you are trying to be, different is the last thing you will be.

But there is another way in which being different is difficult. When you are different you tend to stand out. You can be ridiculed, mocked, and even persecuted. And there is not many ways in our world that can get you ridiculed, mocked or persecuted than standing up for your beliefs, especially when your beliefs go against the cultural norm. But take heart, you are not alone. Nor are you the first one to be different in this way.

Jesus called all those who followed Him to be different. To be distinct. To be in the world, but not of the world. I recently preached a sermon on why being different, being in the world and not of the world, being a follower of Jesus is so difficult. One of my points was “following Jesus is harder than you think”. Which is why I loved Benjamin Swift’s article “More Than a Fish Sticker“.

Check out the article be encouraged and challenged realizing that, “living as a Christian involves more than placing a fish sticker on your car…” And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by salvatore ventura on Unsplash

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