Monday, August 23, 2010

You got a problem with that?

Last night was an interesting night. We had a Launch Team meeting and my goal was to lead our team through a discussion to discover a deeper understanding of the core values that are going to drive the formation of this new church. 

Sounds easy enough right? Right, except I did a lousy job of communicating precisely what I was looking for and as a result the night was full of uncertainly, tangents, questions and not nearly as much productivity as I was hoping for.  Now it would be easy to chalk that up as a lost night and get frustrated. But even as I lay in bed last night trying to rethink how I present this mission to our team I was encouraged. 

One of my values as a leader is a team that is willing to speak their heart and minds. Community is stronger when you can be unified even in the middle of disagreement.  If my team see's things different than me I want them to have the freedom to speak up. Unity does not equal conformity. In fact unity in the midst of diversity is a key to true loving community.

This seemed to be a theme in my life yesterday.

In the morning I visited Eagle Creek church in Lee's Summit (great church by the way.) And one of the key verses was Proverbs 27:6 "Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses" 

A bit later Rick Warren tweeted this thought: "An unhealthy climate on a church staff is likely caused by being afraid to say the last 10% of difficult truth to each other"  I think that's true for all of our relationships.

Do you value people who disagree with you?  So you search out friends who are willing to "wound" you when you need it? Are you willing to be a friend to says the last 10% in a loving way.  Or do you start a fight every time someone starts a discussion? Do you run every time someone disagrees?

When iron sharpens iron there are always sparks, get used to it. You should thank God for those who challenge your thoughts and opinions.

And if you have a problem with that... great!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A mystical, magical, spiritual, knee-buckling moment


What a week!  This is one of the most amazing seasons of our Christina and I's lives. (is "I's" a word? English majors help a brother out!)

Last Wednesday I pulled in to my usual spot at the Roasterie and quickly called Christina (who had at that point been in the hospital on bed rest for about a month and a half) just to touch base before I settled in for a productive day in my favorite Brookside coffee shop. 

After a quick "How's it going, I love you, see you later"  I hung up and took a minute in my car to pray for the coming day.  As I gathered my stuff, my phone rang and my life changed. "We're having babies in two hours." My brain went into Keanu Reeves mode and all I could think was "Whoa..."

Ok... and there goes my plans for the day. But wow, what a day it turned out to be!  I drove to the hospital and by 1:00 Levi and Judah had arrived.

Anyone who's had a kid knows the indescribable feeling of seeing a life brought into the world. Birth is a mystical, magical, spiritual, knee-buckling moment. Hearing a babies first cry, seeing them wide eyed and watching you just moments after entering the world is fantastic. Knowing that so much of their experience and success in this life falls on your shoulders is an heavy, beautiful burden to bear.

As a Christ follower I do my best to look at my world and my experiences through His eyes.  As I think about a new birth I think about how amazing it is that Christ choose that moment as an analogy for our spiritual encounter with Him.  In John 3 Jesus is talking to Nicodemus and tells him that in order to see, understand and be a part of God's kingdom one much be "born again". 

When we "get saved" or become "Christian" it's not simple a change of viewpoint, or a reconfiguration of our priorities. It's a birth. It's a "new creation" ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).  What was is no longer, and what will be is a road waiting to be discovered. Spiritual life has just begun. 

It's a mystical, magical, spiritual, knee-buckling moment when a person comes to faith in Christ. Are you ready for that moment? Are you ready to start over, this time with a Father who loves you more than you could ever know?  Maybe you know someone who needs a re-birth, a fresh start, a new life? Take a moment pray for them. God just might want to use you to bring His hope to them.  Be bold, the opportunity to share life you've discovered in Christ is worth the risk.

Lord help me see new birth in your kingdom. Bring people into my life that I can love in your name. Give me the boldness and opportunity to share your good news, because it is the power of God that saves (that brings new life to) your prodigal kids.