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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Discipleship

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!

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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

Feature Friday (06/29/18)

Sharing is caring! At least that is how the slogan goes. Sharing can be fun. You can share a victory as a team, you could share a meal with family and friends, and you can share a vacation with others as well. In all of these instances, sharing is fun. But sharing can also be difficult, even scary.

Sharing can become frightening when you think about personal information or aspects of our lives. While sharing personal information can be scary in light of all the digital and technological fraud going on these days and hacking involved; I believe sharing is even more daunting when we consider sharing personal aspects of our lives. This is especially true when we think about sharing our faith.

Because sharing the good news of Jesus Christ can be difficult I love Jim Putnam’s article “The Disciple Maker’s Journey Starts with This Step“. Jim reveals a simple step and reality when it comes to sharing the gospel and thus disciple-making.

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

Feature Friday (05/18/18)

This past weekend my senior pastor preached on one of our church’s core values. (You can check it out here). It is the sixth core value we have as a church. While it may not be in the top three, there is one thing that we all quickly realized about this value. One thing that stood out to almost all of us pastors on staff about this value. This core value really defines and describes what our jobs as pastors are all about. So what is the core value?

Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”. We value equipping others to do the work of the ministry. Which brought on a good discussion at our weekly meeting? Who are we equipping? How are we equipping? And what are we equipping them for?

All of these questions really took us to one topic: leadership development. It is a hot topic these days and very much needed, but the truth is the church is the one organization that should be superb at developing leaders. We should eat, breathe, sleep leadership development. Isn’t that what Matthew 28:19-20 is all about? Isn’t making disciples really about making others more into the image of Jesus? And wasn’t Jesus the greatest leader ever to walk the face of the planet?

While we all granted that leadership development is important and we must be doing it. The tough part was how do we develop leaders. There are many systems, formats, and structures to help an organization do that, but I love what Kevin Fontenot and Scott Magdalein discuss in this Thriving Ministry Teams Podcast entitled “Leadership Development Principles for Your Church“.

Enjoy and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash!

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