Where: The Hotel Sierra, Atlanta, GA. Coffee: Water. Listening To: A Plea For Purging: The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
Pray. Make me more like You. Speak to me through Your word. Amen.
Read. Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:5-8 ESV)
Write. I feel like Andy from the band A Plea For Purging sums up this verse pretty well on their new album The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell. On the song Trembling Hands he bellows out "Follow no man’s words, because I know what man holds. Follow the path of God, because I know what man holds."
Whenever we place our trust in the things of this world over the things of God we will constantly be let down and fall short. The only thing we can know for sure in this life, the only thing we can hold onto is the consistency and faithfulness of our Lord, Jesus.
#Drive11 Session Notes Part 4: Defying Gravity - Andy Stanley
Don’t go home and try to implement a bunch of change. Let the things you’ve learned, the things that are stirring in you, incubate.
Every great or significant thing that has ever happened has come from something that is broken. God makes beautiful things out of the dust.
Acts 15:1-31 Certain individuals came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
“‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ things known from long ago.
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, who were leaders among the believers. With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
So they were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.
The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.
Four Trends To Defy Churches gravitate toward insiders and away from outsiders. Walk toward the messes. Why? Because that’s what Jesus did. Lean into the unchurched more than you do that churched.
You will constantly have to force yourself to turn your face back to the community. Some of the things Christians say, don’t mean anything unless you’ve been a Christian for 8 years and listen to Chris Tomlin CD’s.
Plan everything as if your unchurched non-Christian neighbor is sitting in the audience, worship, games, phrasing, check-in, everything.
You have to make it easy for those who are turning back to church.
What you celebrate most communicates what you value most.
Churches gravitate toward law and away from grace. This is not theological. It’s relational.
Stories mess up categories every single time. If you put the people in your church in categories you will gravitate toward law all the time. The evangelical church has become too comfortable with making points without making a difference.
People don’t stop going to church because they are overwhelmed by grace. Jesus was never concerned with guilt by association. We think that if we associate we are “condoning” the behavior. Jesus did mess with that which is what freed Him up to walk towards the messes in peoples lives and overwhelm them with grace.
Churches gravitate toward complexity and away from simplicity. When people think of your church what is the main thing you want them to think about?
You have to have the discussion on “Who We Want To Be”.
Fewer policies more conversations.
Don’t measure “how the Spirit moves” by what happens in the worship center.
Churches gravitate toward preserving and away from advancing. As you are making decisions and trying to cast vision you should ask the following questions: What would we do with this if we were just starting up. (THINK LIKE A START UP) What would we do if we didn’t have any money? What if we were starting over?
Four Commitments Identify and remove obstacles to outsiders. (Constantly) Err on the side of grace. (It’s what God did for you isn’t it?) Focus on your unique calling. Remain open handed. (Let’s not get possessive with the things that God has given us. Employees, Volunteers, Staff, Stuff, Rooms, it’s about God’s gifts to us. It’s about advancing not possessing.)
Your people are not your people. At some point they will be gone. Everything in heaven and on earth is the Lord’s - Your building, your people, your staff.
If you have to demand loyalty it’s because you haven’t earned it.
“Jesus was never concerned with guilt by association. We think that if we associate we are “condoning” the behavior. Jesus did mess with that which is what freed Him up to walk towards the messes in peoples lives and overwhelm them with grace.”—Andy StanleyDrive Conference 2011
#Drive11 Breakout E Notes: Worship Service Programming Lab: Creativity Through The Lens Of Video
There is always tension when creating media. How do you create the perfect video, the perfect title package, or the perfect promotion when resources are limited, the people are scarce, and the due dates were yesterday - every week?
Creativity through the lens of video begins with a purpose, is refined by an approach, and always defaults to taking action.
We Need A Clear Purpose When Creating Videos Our mission as a media team is “to create media that leaves a lasting impression. Culture has set our audiences’ expectations. Those expactations are high and subconscious
If we can’t do it with excellence we don’t do it. What is excellence? - Technically Pure, Visually Appealing, Emotionally Connected We are not creating media for creatives. We are creating me
Requires honesty. - What do we do well and not do well?
All Videos Are Different Our Approach Is Not Our videos begin with the end in mind.
We Ask Lots Of Questions: What is the one problem we are trying to solve? Who is the audience? Where is this playing? Is this promoting a resource? Is it an opener? Is it a campaign? - Think campaign, not just video promotion. Will there be more than one video?
Our Sunday morning strategy sets the framework for our videos inside the service
All Good Videos have three common components: Concept, Story, and Execution
CONCEPT The concept is memorable. A great concept begins with many ideas. Creative meetings flesh out the best idea, not the perfect idea, or even the most complete idea. Once an idea is decided on, a creative brief is developed. - Give it to your team on paper. Background of project, Objective, Concept, Budget, Personnel, Due Date.
STORY The story is compelling and clear. Stories captivate people. Develop your story to hit a common emotion. A story can come from a script, copy for a promo or a testimony. The story should have a beginning, middle, and end.
EXECUTION The execution of the story is credible. Breaks down skepticism. The quality of the execution depends on the actors, cameras, locations, extras, motion graphics, fonts, colors, effects, and crew. - Effects should add to the emotion of the video not draw attention to the effect. Know your tools. - If you don’t know your tools the ability to execute your ideas is limited. (www.lynda.com) Be resourceful: Draw from staff, volunteers, and external contractors. Use what you have. Keep your eyes and ears open. Be authentic.
We Must Default To Taking Action - Especially In Church World Always take action and press forward. "It’s not about the ideas; it’s about making ideas happen." - (www.the99percent.com) From concept to execution, expect the unexpected. Videos evolve. Get honest feedback. - It’s a red flag when the only people who have seen your videos are your team. Get outside thoughts. There cannot be an us and them between media and production teams. Be a great listener.
Where do we want to go from here? Do you have a strong vision for where you want to go with your creative media? Are you “leading up”? Can you give a glimpse of what could be with what you have? Be ready!
Creative media plays a huge role in the church. With our audiences’ expectations constantly rising, and Sunday never more than seven days away, we have our work cut out for us. However, by clarifying our purpose, refining our approach, and consistently pushing forward, we can create videos that connect emotionally and leave a lasting impression on our audiences.
There’s no “i” in team, but there is in vision (two, actually). Usually, the “i” in vision is reserved as the responsibility of the point leader. That’s why many organizations never reach their potential.
Vision is somehow relegated to one person. This limits everything and everyone, because vision cannot be sustained through one person only. It must be embraced and carried forward by everyone on the team. Perhaps that’s why vision has not one “i,” but two - one for you and one for me.
In this session, we will discuss how the vision of your church can stick to more and more people. Vision, after all is a team sport.
Every business faces this challenge: Everyone is trying to engage the hearts and hands of people into their vision. Successful businesses are laser focused on their vision.
There is only so far one person can carry the vision.
Vision Casters Are Vision Carriers. Vision Casters Are Vision Casters.
How you carry the vision is how you cast the vision.
The long-range impact of vision casting depends on the number of vision carriers carrying the vision forward.
The four words that limit the vision of any organization are: IT’S NOT MY JOB
How we answer the question determines how effective the vision of our church is being understood: “Whose job is it to cast vision for the church?”
Vision is a team sport.
We underestimate the enormous challenge of engaging the hands and hearts of people.
The People At Your Church Are Somewhere On This Scale Of Vision Buy-In: People buy in to the vision in order to benefit from it. People buy in to the vision in order to contribute comfortably to it. People buy in to the vision enough to give their lives to it.
What Vision Casting Is Not:
Vision casting is not a one-time event.
Vision casting is not disseminating information. "Don’t inform me. Inspire me." The welcome in your service is not announcement time.
Vision casting is not about assuming the best about your communication. All organizations struggle with communication. We don’t think people listen. The problem is, we have assumed they care. Example: Chic-fil-A.
Vision casting is never urgent until it’s too late.
Vision Casters And Vision Carriers Are Great
Think of yourself as a movie producer and director. Find a story. Think of the sources of your stories. Think of ways to share those stories. Relieve the stories from the past. Leverage the story in many venues. Begin volunteer meetings with the vision. Be a story provider for others on the team.
The Vision Question: “What Did I Do TODAY To Cast Vision For Our Church?”
Vision not repeated is just a one time dream.
This pulls vision from the clouds and onto your calendar.
This question prevents the urgent from crowding out the important.
Start where you are. Vision Inventory: How would you define a win for our Sunday morning worship experience, for our church? Are we moving forward or lagging behind? Listen to prayer requests? If all people are pray for are sick people… there is a vision problem.
Use what you have. Vision is a friend of the under-resourced. Reward the behavior you want repeated with thank you notes it will be amazing.
Do what you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be daily.
As you move daily you bump into really great ideas.
Casting vision ultimately depends on those who carry the vision. When a group of people carries the vision they carry it further, and deeper. But it starts with you. And it starts today.
#Drive11 Breakout C Notes: Mentoring The Next Generation Of Staff Leadership - @JohnWoodall
Developing the young leaders that are rising up behind you takes intentional effort. It doesn’t just happen. And if you’re not careful you can accidentally create an environment that discourages young leaders. The question we sould all be asking is: How do we create a culture where the next generation of leaders thrives? We define thrive as having the freedom to be all that God is preparing them to be.
The Ways Of A Receptive Mentor STUDIES HIS APPRENTICE 1. Profiles: (MBTI, RP, SF, DISC, etc.) 2. What’s your story? (Past, Present, Future - Hopes & Dreams) 3. Stages: Preparation (20), Initiation (30), Domination (40-50), Consolation (50+). 4. Identifies Trends, NOT Isolated Incidents.
God is developing character to match assignment. - Henry Blackaby
HANDLES BAGGAGE 1. Wounded: Seeking Validation 2. Assured: Pride And Ego 3. Insecure: “Watch me!” 4. Stands with them as they are being crushed. - I think every single man or woman of God has a story of being crushed. I think it’s one of God’s priorities to tear down our kingdoms in order to establish His kingdoms in us. God loves us that much that He doesn’t want us leading from our strengths, but leading from His.
SEEKS COUNSEL FROM APPRENTICE 1. What do you think? 2. How do you feel about this? 3. What do you think we should?
DEVELOPS THE WHOLE PERSOM THE INSIDE OUT
CONCENTRIC CIRCLES OF MAN OR WOMAN FROM THE INSIDE OUT Roles: Marriage, Family, Work, Church Body: Rest, Exercise, Diet Soul: Mind, Will, Emotions Spirit: Spirit, Son, Father I: I
Live from the inside out and have no secrets.
The Heart Of A Receptive Mentor 1. Fights its own battles for significance and security. - We may never be “healed” but we can always be “healing” 2. Is inspired-not threatened-by the talents, gifts, and energy of next generation leaders. 3. Is not jealous, fearful, envious, or angry toward next generation leaders. - Everything we have is given to us by the Father.
"A mentor has a mature sense of himself or herself. A true mentor has inner authority that gives confidence to others. She or he possesses certain "magnanimity" of soul - a generosity of heart that makes others know they will not be abandoned. Basically, they must have the care and the capacity for simple friendship, not domination or merely supervision.
If a mentor is not free to talk about going ‘down’ as well as going up, they are not a true mentor. They must have the courage to tell you that you must be in the cellar for a while, and they will show you how you can stay there and not die!” - Richard Rohr
God will use you in the lives of the next generation leaders. Whether he uses you to crush them or to cultivate them is your choice.
To be receptive mentors, we must be actively addressing the conditions of our hearts.
A receptive mentor will not simply bear fruit in his or her own life, but orchards of fruit in the form of healthy apprentices.
I may meet with guys one on one but I will only mentor in groups. You can mentor about 10 years back with a sense of moral authority.
I have a checkerboard management system. In checkers, I make a move. I can’t make a move again until you make a move.
Microsoft Question: “Where Do You Want To Go Today?” - That’s what we should pay attention to in mentorship. The scope of mentorship is dependent on the apprentice.
You must mentor from your own story. Run a group from September to May. We take a 24/7 off site. Take off June July August. Start small with 2 or 3.
A mentor has a mature sense of himself or herself. A true mentor has inner authority that gives confidence to others. She or he possesses certain “magnanimity” of soul - a generosity of heart that makes others know they will not be abandoned. Basically, they must have the care and the capacity for simple friendship, not domination or merely supervision.
If a mentor is not free to talk about going ‘down’ as well as going up, they are not a true mentor. They must have the courage to tell you that you must be in the cellar for a while, and they will show you how you can stay there and not die!
#Drive11 Breakout B Notes: Worship Service Programming Lab: Music & Production - Eddie Kirkland
Most worship services have serval common components, including music and production. Used individually these components accomplish little. When used in a coordinated effort, they combine to create an “unforgettable experience.”
The key when programming our worship services is to stay focused on the outcome rather than the ingredients.
We Want Sundays To Be Unforgettable The challenge is that culture has set our audience’s expectations. - They are subconscious and high. We have to constantly narrow our focus. The “Rules Of Engagement” set our framework by Andy Stanley.
We can try to do everything and fail or do a few things and win. If we can’t do something well, we don’t do it. This requires radical honesty.
Our Rules Of Engagement Opener, Welcome, Singing, Baptism Video, Special Music (If Needed), Message, Closer (If Needed). 90% of the time this is how our service runs.
When you bring a guest for the first time… the last thing you want to do is to look over at a guest and say "We Don’t Normally Do This."
Production Creates A Pure Technical Experience The production team is responsible for all live technical elements. This needs to be non-distracting. (Audio, Lighting, Live Video, Set Design)
Quality volunteers make the Sunday service possible. The selection process is critical. Volunteers are trained as apprentices. The production staff serves mainly in a support role.
Music Creates An Experience That Transcends Transcends: Helps them see their lives, God, relationships - in a different way. The music team is responsible for all live musical elements. All of our musicians are paid, contracted musicians. All musical elements must fit in the “Rules Of Engagement” funnel. - Think about how others coming in are perceiving the lyrics you are singing. It’s important to have quality leaders on stage. Worship leaders do more than just lead worship. The music staff focuses our leaders on the overall goal
The Service Programming Model Keeps Us Focused On The Outcome Service Programming is always our first team. (5 Disfunctions Of A Team) The target is clearly defined. Our overall goal is to create an unforgettable experience. The “Rules Of Engagement” keep us focused. To reach the goal, we serve each other’s teams.
Wednesday Night Rehearsal is REHEARSAL not PRACTICE. Practice happens during the week before rehearsal. Show your team you care about them. The better you treat your team, the more you can require of them.
REHEARSAL SCHEDULE: Bible Study Listen through all the songs with charts in hand (NO INSTRUMENTS) Record Rehearsal - Duplicate CD’s of Rehearsal send home with everyone.
If people feel like you care for the personally they will give way more than if they feel like they are just cogs in the wheel.
#Drive11 Breakout A Notes: Leveraging The Next Generation - Clay Scroggins
Passionate and creative young leaders are every ministry’s dream. It is possible to create a culture in which young leaders are identified, invested in, and given opportunities to lead. Our goal is to empower the next generation of leaders to serve in ministry.
Who is the next generation? - The generation that is directly behind you. Whichever generation that is. #IntentionalAppreticeship - How do we intentionally apprentice people in order for them to replace us in some cases in ministry.
Why Must We Leverage The Next Generation? 1. God Commands It. 2. Jesus And Paul Modeled It. 3. You Are A Benefactor Of Someone Who Leveraged You. - We can all point to someone in ministry who gave us responsibility or the opportunity to lead before we were ready. (For me these are men like, Darien Gabriel, Tom Freitas, and Matt Wilkins.) 4. Leveraging The Next Generation Creates A River Culture Rather Than A Pond Culture. - There is always fresh water coming in and water leaving.
What Will Happen If We Don’t Leverage The Next Generation Of Leaders: They will either leave or we will depress them and make them fit into our own mode. The church won’t. You are either going to leverage them or lose them.
Four Things The Next Generation Needs To Become Leaders: 1. They need to be able to make change. - We try to share problems and not just solutions. - Trust young leaders to solve the problems. Give them room to do this. Let them mess up, to learn if necessary. Give them the canvas with the constraints but let them go for it.
2. They need to be given responsibility. "Go And Do This." - They need to be given ownership over the problem. - Allow them to make mistakes. - OK MISTAKES: + If it leads you to learn + If it doesn’t conflict with values or integrity. + If it’s in pursuit of a goal. - NOT OK MISTAKES + If it’s repeated
3. They need to be given authority. “Go And Do This, And You Are In Charge.” - Leaders want responsibility and authority. - Delegating the responsibility is easy. Delegating the authority is mandatory. - Authority allows leaders to make decisions, not just complete tasks.
4. They need to receive the credit. - Leaders need to feel the weight of their decisions as well as the rewards of their success. - Public praise fuel for difficult days.
Sometimes we need to move out of the way, even if it’s messy, hard, not as good as you could do it - in order to leverage the next generation of leaders.
Warnings about the short-term: 1. The failure rate is high. 2. It feels like more work. 3. You are going to sacrifice excellence.
How We Leverage The Next Generation: 1. Identify: Choose where to invest. (____________?______________) - The key is to be a calculated risk taker. Give them something small. - Find influential people to find future leaders. Not who know the most Bible or have been Christians the longest. Look for those who are hungry for opportunities to lead.
2. Train leaders to lead. - Teach them how to lead, by showing them how to lead. (Multi-Generational Ministry.) - Give them opportunities and give them the resources they need.
3. Consult: Keep short feedback loops with leaders. - Ensure that feedback is robust and both ways. 90% of leadership is motivation and accountability. - Be available without micromanaging. It’s tricky showing someone you are there for them without meddling in their affairs.
If you are not leveraging the next generation you are ensuring that your ministry has a shelf life.
Your approach to communication should be shaped by the goal of your communication. Your approach trumps your content 100% of the time. When there is a disconnect between what you want to say and how you say it you will fail every time.
18-19 year olds that leave church leave because they’ve been to one. The content may be true and the message may be good, but if your approach is no good then it is missing the mark. The Bible, God, the Spirit of God, doesn’t drive students out of church - our approach does.
You must adapt your approach to match your goal or you may spend years driving people away from the church.
My goal is to inspire people to live their lives as if the God of the Bible is with them. See Matthew 8:10 and Mark 6:6
You should be so passionate about what you do and why you do it that you think it’s the greatest thing in the world.
What would you do, if you were absolutely confident that God is with you?
My approach: I want to entice and bait people into a single passage of scripture. I want to get them digging around in and rolling around in it. Then I want to come up with one simple idea so that every time they see that scripture they remember every time.
I want my people to be measured, not by the notes they’ve taken, but by the life they live.
Who Is This About Really? As long as you’re trying really hard to remember it, it’s still about you. Pretend your son is sitting on the back row and last night he said, “I’m giving church one more shot.” Speak from that.
When we decided it’s not about our performance, when we have a genuine compassion for the people in your audience you will communicate better. The more prepared you are the less you have to think about you. If you preach too long, it’s because you are preparing for you and not your audience.
What Is My Burden? What is the one that “If you forget everything else I’ve said, don’t forget this.” What is the 15 second version of your message.
If it’s a mist in the pulpit, it’s a fog in the pew. - Howard Hendricks
Your goal is not to fill up the time. Your goal is to reach the guy on the back row who is giving this one shot. Clear away the clutter. Dig until you find it. Build everything around it. Make it stick. What is the one part of your message that lights you up?
The Story Of Naman: To understand why, submit and apply.Application makes all the difference.
Where Is The Tension? If you want people to listen and be interested you have to bring tension. There is a connection between perceived irrelevance and boredom. Sometimes you’re bringing relevant information that is perceived as irrelevant. You have to find and create tension because it created interest. Good, bad, or accidental - tension creates interest.
When You Think Your Finished Preparing, Ask These Questions: What is the question this message answers? What is the tension this message resolves? What is the mystery that this message solves? What is the issue that this message addresses?
You may, be right, accurate, prepared, and boring. You must create tension to gain attention.
Do I Own It? Have I internalized the message? If you have lost your notes you must at least be able to communicate what you came to communicate. If you’re just there to give them information without application, read it. Send and e-mail. But, if we really think we have the message of eternal life and that what we have to say can reshape the lives of our people - then we have no excuse for not figuring out the very best way to communicate it. It’s not about personality, it’s about preparation.
The best way to internalize the talk, is to memorize pieces not points.
Am I Allowing The Text To Speak? It’s not important for people to discover what you know. We want kids and adults to be able to open the scriptures for themselves and discover the truth for themselves. When we teach and preach let’s pick one text and stick with it. People should walk away not thinking about how much you know about the text, but about how interesting the text is. Bring your energy to the text. Find the energy in the text. The slower you read the scripture the richer it becomes.
Bring people through the text with you. The most interesting part should be the text.
What is your goal? What are you trying to do? Does your approach support your goal? Are you willing to change your approach to match you goal?
“if we really think we have the message of eternal life and that what we have to say can reshape the lives of our people - then we have no excuse for not figuring out the very best way to communicate it. It’s not about personality, it’s about preparation.”—Andy Stanley Drive 2011 Communicating For Change
Where: Hotel Sierra, Atlanta, GA Coffee: Starbucks, Café Verona Listening To: The Listening: The Listening
Pray. Lord teach me from Your word to hear Your voice, understand it, and respond.
Read. “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
(Jeremiah 17:1-4 ESV)
Write. Jeremiah spends some time in chapter 17 speaking of “the heart”. He’s talking about the devotion of Judah to God. The sin that captures/covers the heart of Judah. Jeremiah writes in verse 1 saying that “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart and one the horns of their altars…”
This makes me begin thinking about the sins I commit. Are they each written on my heart? If I assume that every time I sin, essentially it’s running away from the original idea or plan that God had for my life. I’m living in opposition to His will in those situations, not with/in His will.
How much of my heart is written on with the sins I’ve committed? How much of my heart is written on with the love of Christ? What am I known by? I know what I want to be known by… I want to be known by His love and mercy. I want to be known by His grace and forgiveness. I want to be known by His love.
Do. Lord, I keep coming back to this prayer. “Teach me to love like You.” Amen.
The church won’t be any better led that you how you lead it. You have the amazing ability of being stewards for the spiritual life of this generation. Whatever you do you are extraordinarily important because God has given you the baton and empowered you to lead. The health of the local church in this generation and the next is in your hands.
You are stewards of the message of a better life, even in this life. Jesus taught that the distinguishing mark of those who followed Him would be that they loved one another.
People embraced Christianity because they began to understand that following Jesus was a better way of life.
We are stewards of the message of eternal life, but also of a better life. We are stewards of a value system, teaching, application principles, social culture, that has shaped the culture of this country.
We look around our country and say, “It doesn’t look very Christian to me.” We say that because we look around and this is natural. Yet, from the outside looking in others see a foundation of Christianity on our culture that we don’t see.
Nature knows nothing of grace and forgiveness. Yet into that God has released His grace and forgiveness and you are the stewards of that.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. - Galatians 5:16
When human nature is left to itself:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. - Galatians 5:19-21
But when the Spirit of God comes in:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. - Galatians 5:22-23
Love, Joy, Peace… they need no governor. You can’t be too kind or too gentle. In a community, family, nation, city where the Spirit of God begins to govern people there is no need for law and life is better. We are stewards of that kind of thinking and those kinds of values for our generations.
What would happen in this country if the church ceased to be?
You bring to your community, city, nation - a better - a superior culture that says, this is how God has designed us to live.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” - John 13:35
Serve God, love me and mend This is not the end Lived unbruised, we are friends And I’m sorry I’m sorry
Sigh no more, no more One foot in sea and one on shore My heart was never pure And you know me You know me
But man is a giddy thing Oh man is a giddy thing Oh man is a giddy thing Oh man is a giddy thing
Love it will not betray you Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free Be more like the man you were made to be There is a design, an alignment, a cry Of my heart to see, The beauty of love as it was made to be
The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rodgers - BookReview
Publisher’s Description As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.
It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.
When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.
The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rodgers is a fun story full of adventure and excitement. The story is narrated from the point of view of the main character, Grady. Set in a more southern, an almost wild west feeling, setting; Grady tells the story of how he and Floyd, his rough around the edges and not very good father figure, carry out the great “feechie scare”.
The Charlatan’s Boy is a story about truth, lies, and finding out who you are through the midst of some interesting circumstances. It’s a great book for the whole family to read and enjoy with some excellent moral lessons thrown in. I look forward to more offerings from this author.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
“This whole following Jesus business is largely about giving Him control, or more, realizing we don’t have control to begin with. And a great way to measure whether or not we’ve given Him our lives is to ask ourselves if we’ve given Him our death.”—Don Miller (via writingwrong)