So it never fails that when I think that I do a terrible job preaching on Sunday, I get more compliments and “I needed thats” than any other time. Conversely, when I think I do pretty good (you never think you do THAT good if you have an ounce of honesty in your body) people never really say anything.
Maybe they recognize the struggle and are just being cordial? Maybe they are just throwin’ me a bone? But I have a suspicion there is more going on. I think about 2 Corinthians 12:9 where it says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”I believe that even in what I perceive as a failure or poor “performance”, God sees as an opportunity to remind me that it’s not about me. This is His deal, His church and we are His people.
Though our circumstances may differ, the principle remains the same. Whatever areas that you feel deficient in are areas for God to show His gracious strength in and through you. After all, just like the church is not mine, our lives are not our own. They are His, and He can and does choose to use our weakness and foolishness to show His strength and wisdom.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m weak… and I suppose that’s a good thing.
Philippians 2 says to “watch out for dogs”. I was thinking about this in my oversimplified cranium and had a thought.
We’ve all had the unfortunate privilege of experiencing dogs do some unusual things. One of those things is sniffing each other rear ends. This nasty display got me to thinking about Paul’s warning in Philippians.
This is my strange thought: Don’t go sniffing people looking for something that stinks. Any yahoo can find faults in other people. Rather than sniffing out their flaws we should find the good in each other to celebrate.
Watch out for the people that are always critical and cynical. Set the tenor of your relationships by having a proper, God-centered approach. We are all God’s creation so there is without question something that you can celebrate about every person.
Don’t be a dog!
So I am coming upon my 30th birthday. In a little over a month, I will have successfully survived three decades in spite of my accident-prone self.
Every time that I tell someone that I am a pastor (of what I consider the greatest church in the world) I get funny looks. I understand. I used to think that you had to be at least 40 to be a “real” pastor. But that’s just not how God wrote the script for me.
I think about the scripture in 1 Timothy 4:12 that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Sure, there are people that are older than I am that may be more qualified than I am. They may have more life experience than I do. Maybe they have been there and done that, and since history tends to repeat itself they would know what to do the next time. That doesn’t mean that I sit on the sideline and defer my responsibility and calling to somebody else.
This isn’t really limited to “youth”. I think the tendency of older people is to want to defer to someone who is younger and has more energy. With this system of everybody deferring and nobody doing, the world will be robbed of all that God has created you to offer.
Great things can be accomplished in your life regardless of your age. Abraham became the father of a new, great nation in his nineties. The bulk of the disciples were teenagers. Jesus began his public ministry at 30. Saul became king of Israel at 30. Even more impressive, he enlisted his teenage son Jonathan to lead one of his armies. A teenager leading an army! Scary, but spectacular.
The bottom line is this: Don’t let your age, young or “distinguished”, distract you from the work that God has given you to do.
When we get so caught up in what we’re doing, we have tendency to forget that we are all a part of the same team, working toward the same goal.
I believe that every leader has a propensity to do this and we have to fight against it with everything in us. Failure to do so creates “black-eyes” for the capital “C” church, not just our own little faction or denomination.
Here is how Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 6:
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers! 7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
I think the take away from what Paul is saying can be summed up like this: What a shame! And this in front of unbelievers!
When we allow pride to dictate our decisions and unforgiveness to reign unbridled in our lives, we make really poor decisions for the church as a whole. Sure, you may have your way, or your little group may benefit, but WE lose. And that seems to be contrary to everything that you find in the Bible.
Those are just my thoughts, for what they may be worth.
This weekend at Motion (technically at my house, but you get the idea) we had our first baptism celebration, and it was amazing! We chose the words that we did to describe our baptisms intentionally; celebration and party, because that’s exactly what it is.
It had an incredibly celebratory, but serious tenor. We recognize the spiritual nature of the event, but we also realize that it is a cause to be excited about. People publicly acknowledging that they have put their faith and trust in Christ and have passed from death to life makes for an exciting event.
We had the honor of baptizing 16 people, young and “distinguished” alike. People who have been in church for years, as well as people who just started attending on Easter about a month ago. It was a perfect picture of what we want Motion to be about. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, and it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, there is always hope because of the incredible God we serve.
Thanks to everybody who participated in the baptism. We love you and are so proud! Thanks to the people that came to be supportive and to celebrate with us. That is what the body is about! And, of course, thanks to those who brought food! After all, what is a party without a crap-load of food??
At Motion, there are a few things that we go over the top to celebrate.
- Christmas is the origin of our understanding that “God is with is”, as embodied in the expression Immanuel. We definitely celebrate Christmas.
- Easter and the resurrection of Jesus incite celebration because it is the source of our hope.
- Another of the tenants of the Christian faith that we love to celebrate is Baptism.
Just to clarify, we don’t believe that baptism is an act of salvation. We simply believe that it is something that Jesus did and emphasized for us to do. That makes it important to us.
However, this is not an obligatory religious ceremony. It is the celebration of an individual that has been changed, literally shifting from spiritual death to abundant life (or as it says in Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves…”).
It is the outward expression of an inward condition. It is a way for you to “go public” with the life that you have found in Christ.
We strongly encourage everybody who hasn’t been baptized yet to join us in this celebration. We would love to be a part of your story, and we believe that a sequence in your plot should be baptism! Sign up today!
Here is a semi-comprehensive list of all the things that are going on at Motion for Easter.
1) The Bunny Run 5k and Bunny Dash is Saturday (April 7th) morning at 8am. Registration opens at 7am and the kids Bunny Dash will start approximately 9:30am. It’s gonna be sweet! Over 1,000 candy filled eggs and sweaty runners. What a combo!?
2) Later that same day (April 7th) at 3pm we are dropping eggs from a FREAKIN’ helicopter!!! Operation Egg Drop is gonna be nuts!! It’s in the field behind Motion. If you take the road that goes beside the old Sitel building it will take you right to the field. 4,000 candy filled eggs!!!
3) And last but certainly not least is the Motion experience on Sunday morning at 11am. We’re putting a lot of energy into making this is over the top celebration. If you think about it, there really isn’t a greater time for the church to celebrate. Had the resurrection of Christ not taken place we would have no hope whatsoever. BUT that’s not the way it went down! Bring your kids, bring your wife!! Invest and invite! It is going to be AMAZING!
I love you guys and can’t wait for Easter!!