I usually shy away from blogging about politics but this is just to big to ignore. I can’t believe that our leaders in Washington can’t find a way to come together and agree on a plan to help out our troubled economy! In many ways the mess that we find ourselves in is a result of their failures over the last few years. Therefore it should be incumbent on them to fix the mess that they have made. There is plenty of blame to go around and the talking heads and spending the morning doing that. The mark of a leader is to admit your mistake, avoid blaming others, and set into the fray and do something about it. I just hope there is a leader left in Washington who will head my advice.
As for the gas shortage….it is a joke and completely ridiculous! Yesterday I saw cars waiting at a local Racetrac station for the gas that the tanker truck was just delivering. You would think that they (our state government in Georgia) would have anticipated this problem knowing full well that all of our gas comes from the gulf region and stepped up their efforts to get extra gas flowing into the state! Nope did not happen! Our Governor last week finally realized that it might be a good idea to drop some of the restrictions on the type of gas that we can use in GA so that more gas can be available. Stay tuned on this front…Georgia and North Carolina are the only states that are feeling the shortage and it is becoming a major pain in the you know where!
At Velocity we do not have been members but we will have partners. Why the change in language and understanding? The church has lost the understanding of what it means to be committed to a local church and to the universal church. God is looking for people who will partner with him by identifying with a local church body while also identifying with the universal body of Christ. I believe that Paul understood this idea when he wrote in Phil 1:4-6, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Partnership is a new concept in many churches and most are having to take the time necessary to explain what it means to their people. When the time is right, we at Velocity will also take the time to explain the concept of partnership to our people. I pray now that when that time comes the people that God has called to be apart of Velocity will become “partners with the Gospel” like others have done in the past and many are doing now in the future.
Discussion: Is your church using the concept of partnership instead of membership? How is it working? How are you teaching this concept? Are you using different levels of partnership? How do you determine this?
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
When I was in college I can remember having a “roommate meeting” with the guys that I shared an apartment with and one of them (could of been me but memory is a little foggy) brought this verse up as we talked about some things that were bothering all of us. Since that time this verse has always stuck with me as one of those pet verses that we like to bring up when people says things to us that challenge or rebuke us. So what was Paul saying in this verse?
I believe that we need to use words that build each other up and not intentionally tear each other down. I can remember that their was a time in my life when I enjoyed making fun of others and saying things to people that were mean-spirited. The funny thing is that the older that we get in the faith we still continue to speak to and about others in the same way mean-spirited way but we have learned to “cover” ourselves with spiritual sounding language and intent.
I know that we all can be challenged by this verse as Paul wrote earlier in this chapter,
“17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
It seems that everyone had a mission statement these days! I have even heard of families sitting down and writing one just for their family. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with having a mission statement but I do have a problem when a person or an organization writes a mission statement and either forgets it or does not live up to it.
A couple of years ago, I began thinking about a mission statement for myself and a set of values which would go with me as I reached out in an attempt to find a new ministry. What I came up with,”to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” was part of my bible reading time this morning. My mission is not original (I borrowed it from the Apostle Paul) but it is clear what I have been called to do as a pastor. The question now shifts to one of how and I measuring up? It seems that I am always asking this question but I think that it is important that we ask it ourselves as leaders.
In looking at what Paul says here in Eph 4, I see that he talks about our responsibilities in coaching (prepare), evangelism (body of Christ may be built up), teaching (knowledge), and discipleship (mature) but one aspect I missed until reading this morning (unity in the faith). Is Paul saying that we are charged as leaders with promoting unity in the local church and the church globally? I believe that he is suggesting this and it is a shame as leaders we often forget how important this is.
How often we forget our mission and why we have given our lives in service. I am thankful for the reminder this morning and I pray that my mission will always be in the back of my mind.
Questions for follow-up:
what is your mission statement?
what was Paul’s saying in Eph 4 about our role as leaders?
how do we keep our mission in front of us? how do we measure ourselves against our mission?
This morning at 4am I was awakened to the reality that my wife was in unbearable pain and I needed to get in the car and drive her to the emergency room. We arrived at Wellstar Douglasville Hospital and the staff there did a wonderful job of taking care of my wife. The diagonsis came back that she had gall stones and would need to have her gall blatter removed ASAP! We are back at home now and she is upstairs asleep. I will keep everyone abreast of dates and times of surgery once she sees the doctor later this week. Please keep us in our prayers.
I saw this article today and thought the writer makes some great points. In the church we have also fallen into the “hip” trap and this writer nails the difference. When I arrived here in Georgia to join the staff of Velocity, one of the arenas that i was thrust into was the website design. I kept coming back to the question of,”does it just look cool or does it work for us?” In the end it was both but I was brave enough to poise the question. I also liked this comment,
“Your call is important to us”: unless it isn’t, in which case we’ll continue to ignore you for (pause) five more minutes. We can all agree, I hope, that showing people they’re important to us, right here, right now, than it is to play them a recording of someone who just says it.”
Let’s face it…ministry is all about people and we need to not just talk about how we are here to meet them where they are but also show them that we care.
Velocity Church officially launched yesterday with 96 in attendance. It was a very exciting day for everyone inloved. A large majority of the faces that we saw yesterday were first time attenders who either heard about Velocity through our marketing or were invited to attend by someone involved in Velocity. I pray that God will bless our efforts as we move forward and that he begins to build a movement of people in our area who will catch our vision and put in action our desire to reach this community with the love of Jesus Christ. Amen
Last night Melissa and I hosted our first Turbo Group at the house. For the next six weeks we will exploring together what it means to be a Connection Group Leader and at the end of that time, it is my hope that we can launch our Connection Group ministry with some leaders already in place. I am encouraged and excited from our meeting last night! I believe that God has placed some gifted people in Velocity who have a heart to see people connect in relationships that produce life change. I invite you to be praying for our group over the next six weeks and to consider joining a connection group when they launch later this fall.
We live in a time when everything has to be measured, studied, calculated, and analyzed. There is a great deal of advantages to this but it also begs the question, “what is the measure being used?” The other question that is being asked is, “How do I measure up to the standard?”In ministry it is often difficult to ask these questions and get an answer.
In my reading this morning, the prophet Isaiah writes, “I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line…” The of God, Isaiah says were to be measured by their sense of justice and their righteousness. In Isiah’s time, most people did not excel in either of those areas. I wonder what he would say about us? Are we showing justice by meeting the needs of people who can not often help themselves (i.e. the widows, orphans, poor, crippled)? Is our righteousness being conformed into the image of Christ? Are we taking the steps necessary to become more Godly?
Many people look to the pastors of the church to help them to become more righteous by increasing their knowledge of scripture and offering them programs to demonstrate justice. Is this really what we are called to do as pastors? I would offer the suggestion that we are not called to this, but what we are called to is a life of service and of leadership. So how are we to become righteous and practice justice? Simple, we must look to our relationship with Jesus and begin to allow him to work in our lives to become more Godly. It is then we will see through his eyes injustice and be broken and moved to fight it!
As we prepare to launch Velocity, I find myself drawn to this very fact: God is going to build his church and all that I can do is to pray and to serve and lead the people that he sends to us. It is my hope and prayer that these people will become more Godly not because of what I have done on my own but because they have fallen in love with Jesus Christ and he is leading and teaching them to be righteous and practice justice. How do we measure up? Let’s ask that question again in six months and yet again in another six months and again until we are put to the ultimate test on the other side of the world. Amen
As I wrote about previously, I am reading a great book right now called “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. He retells the story of the parable of the sower from Luke 8. He then makes this statement that for me cut to my heart:
“I think that most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff, then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it.”
Chan makes a great observation here! We need to be living a life that shows the world that there is something different about us.