Monday, December 20, 2010

What People Think Really Does Matter!

Have you ever thought or even boldly declared, "I don't care what people think."? Some wear this attitude as if it were admirable or a badge of honor. I understand the thought that we can't let people run our lives or allow their opinion of us to knock us off track. We also must not be "people pleasers" leaving God in second or third place on our list of importance. However, we are missing the mark if we use this attitude as a means of letting ourselves off the hook of responsible Christian behavior.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 8:13 NLT "So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble."

Does Paul's statement only include not eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols of false gods or is there a spirit about his statement that flows into our current culture and activities? Let me provoke you to thought and prayerful consideration for a moment. Paul was careful not to judge, condemn or to call something "law". He called our attention to the freedom we now have in Jesus. But he warned us to not allow our freedom to be seen by others as weakness or to cause a young believer to stumble or question the Spirit of God on the inside of them.

Growing up in the church, I was made aware of all of "God's rules." No alcohol, no smoking, no tattoos, no eating in bars, no secular music, and on and on and on. Are these all in and of themselves sin? Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 that, "Its not what goes in a person that defiles them, but what comes out of them." Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that these are all God approved activities. I'm also not saying that they are sin. But what is Paul talking about?

He is talking about loving people enough to curb our activities in hopes of leading more to Christ. What if having a glass of wine at dinner could cause a new believer to stumble? Would you have a soda instead? How about how we dress, where we eat, what movies we go to, or our comments on Facebook? I believe Paul is challenging mature believers to think of others more than themselves in hopes of leading more to Christ. It is mature to ask, "What will others think?" Who knows, maybe your maturity will open the door to lead a friend to Jesus. Its all worth it!

Hope you enjoy a little thought provoking today!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A thought from today's SOAP!

Our worship needs to be fresh!

I was reading my SOAP (daily Bible reading plan) for the day and 1 Corinthians 5:8 spoke clearly to me about what worship in the church should be like. It reads, "So let us celebrate..., not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth."

We must work to make sure each time we come together as the church to worship that it is fresh, new, genuine, and pure; not religious, rote, or routine. We may have a stereotype in our minds that rote services probably happen more in mainline denominational churches. However, I think all churches have to guard against the cold of routine. Many in pentecostal or charismatic churches feel they are fresh because their worship experiences are less planned and more un-structured. They feel the Holy Spirit moves more freely in that environment. However, I have found that their worship can be just as routine. There seems to be just as much a pattern in their experiences as there is in the most religious of congregations.

The key is to not put God/Holy Spirit in a box. Don't assume the Spirit of God isn't there if sister so and so doesn't stand up and prophesy. Just the same, don't assume He is moving when sister so and so stands up to prophesy. God is not routine. He does not follow man's pattern; we are to follow Him. Simply put, expect the unexpected. Look for something fresh. Remember, His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just Get Moving!

As a pastor of a local church, its my job to help people fulfill their destiny by leading them to discover how they are uniquely made and by getting them fitted in their calling or ministry in the church. Our current strategy in making people aware of the possibilities is what we call AccessFLC. This is kind of like a membership class (yet we don't have "official" membership). The true members of FLC are those that attend regularly, give consistently, and serve faithfully.

AccessFLC is all about giving access to the FLC story, structure and strategy to anyone who cares to know. Though this process has served us well, with over 50% serving in some capacity, some still struggle to begin serving because they don't know 100% where "God" wants them to plug in. I put quotations around God due to the fact that a few blame HIM for their lack of commitment and faithfulness to the church HE has placed them at. The other reason for the quotations around God is that possibly we (the church) put way too much emphasis on people discovering THEIR gift to the point where THEY won't serve until THEY can minister where THEY feel God has anointed THEM. Wow, even I think I have a little bit of an edge right now. ;-)

Most aren't deliberately disobeying God or neglecting His church. They simply don't know the process of being led by the Holy Spirit. You see, I believe the will of God is explored. The Bible says in Psalm 37:23 that, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." We must teach people that many times clear direction comes when we simply step out and put our hands to something. Our philosophy is to get people placed in any area to walk out faithfulness and then they will be planted in their niche area for fruitfulness.

Here's my encouragement...1. Don't over think your first step. The key to momentum is simply movement in almost any direction and then its easier to stere. Just begin serving and be faithful. God says our gift will make a place for us. Meaning...our gift will raise us to the top. 2. Churches need to do a better job in communicating responsibility to the church family along side discovering your calling. Their are things in any family that no one feels called to do, yet have to get done for the better of the entire home.

Great churches exist because great people take ownership of the vision along side the leaders. Get moving! Get in the game and lets reach people for Jesus!