Jimmy’s and Joe’s

I heard a quote last week that was cheesy, but insightful: 

“It’s not about X’s and O’s. It’s about Jimmy’s and Joe’s.”

If you know me, then you know that quote was used in a sports-related context. However, it very much carries over to our efforts as a church. Let me explain. 

The intent of the quote is that what you do isn’t as important as who you do it with. Of course, in a sport this seems obvious. You can have a great system, but if you don’t have the right people to execute the plan then you’re not going to be effective. 

What excites me about this idea is that I’m convinced that we have the right Jimmy’s and Joe’s on our team. God has been so precise in sending exactly what we need as far as skills, talents and personnel.

Sure, I feel like we have a great plan as a church. We have a clear mission to lead people to live and move and have their being in Jesus Christ. But even more important than that, we have the right people to carry out that directive! 

Complete and Utter Domination!

You ever get that feeling that you’re on the verge of something great?

That would pretty much sum up my existence and the hope-filled expectation I have about Motion. I honestly believe that we can change Longview, and I don’t really make any apologies about it. I got a text from my friend Stephen Webb from Elevation in North Carolina the other day that said, “Praying for you now, my friend. Dominate Longview!!” 

I love the strong language. Dominate Longview!! What would that look like? People coming to Jesus and the hope that is only found in Him in droves? Lives being truly transformed by the overwhelming, stunning grace of God? Love controlling and dictating relationships and families? Sounds like something I want to be a part of! 

So in short, let the domination ensue!!

A Little Insight From “The Smartest Man Alive”

Every week at Motion our volunteers have the immense honor of receiving leadership insights from my good friend Daniel Boney, or as we call him, “The Smartest Man Alive”.

A few weeks ago he talked about how to be “pretty sure” you’re in the will of God. I love the way that he set it up. I heard Steven Furtick say one time that they are only 51% sure of anything they do and whether or not it is the right thing. I tend to agree with that. Here are some of the guidelines Dan the Man gave us for being in the Will of God.

1) Prayer- Seems obvious, but it is a great place to start if you are facing a decision or aren’t sure what you are supposed to do with your life. God wants us to pray, and it oftentimes works out that if you listen you will have clearer direction.

2) The Bible- Again seems obvious, but if you’re anything like me it is good to be reminded that the answers that we need to life are usually found in God’s word. Perry Noble said something that was extremely profound with regards to this. “God’s will never contradicts His Word.” If you are doing something that is unbiblical, it’s not God’s will for you.

3) The People Around You- Wisdom is in the multitude of counsel. If everybody you talk to that loves you and is godly thinks your idea is a bad one, there might be something to it. Put your pride aside and hear them out.

4) Gut Check- Sometimes you just “know that you know” what you are supposed to do. I think we’ve all experienced this on some level. Maybe it’s conviction or compelling from the Holy Spirit, but at any rate it’s usually a pretty good indicator.

One closing thought that he gave if you are in limbo about what God’s will and next step for your life is was this: Just keep doing the last right thing until the answer becomes more clear. If you don’t know what to do, keep doing what you’re doing now that is good and seemed to be His will at a previous point until you get more succinct direction about the hope-filled and good future He has for you.

This is just a taste of what we get to enjoy every week at Motion in our Leadership Meetings. A wealth of knowledge indeed.

Work In Progress

So a group of Moxie men and I always hoop it up on Sundays after Motion. It’s literally one of the highlights of my week. I love hangin’ with the guys and running around attempting to look like I know what I’m doing. But, this past week it also reminded me that I am still a work in progress. 

One of the guys that came, who wasn’t part of our group, was being a real jerk. I’m sure you’ve been in situations like this. There is a definitive line between the playful banter of the usual trash talk ilk, and just being a pompous, arrogant _____. I should have ignored it and just let it go. Isn’t that essentially the premise of grace? Giving undeserved kindness? I didn’t. I don’t really even remember what I said, but I know I lost my cool and got entirely too bent out of shape about something, that in the grand scheme of things, is minuscule. 

I felt awful afterward. I felt like I let the guys that I’m trying to lead down in some way. My assumption is that conviction was at work reminding me of the areas I need to improve on. Odds are, you’ve got some of those too. So for those of us who are trying to lead God-honoring lives remember: you fail, you get up, you learn, you get better. 

God loves us right where we are. But He loves us entirely too much to leave us right where we are. He wants to take us to greater depths in our relationship with Him, love for each other, and grace toward the undeserving. 

Works in progress unite!

Whippersnappers!

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. 

Moxie Series- Pride Notes

This past week at Motion we talked about how pride is an enemy of Moxie. It is a pretty difficult and daunting subject. Here are the highlights of my notes for anybody that had questions or just wanted to take some more time breaking it down. 

Moxie

Enemies of Moxie- Pride

Intro

Excerpt from Mere Christianity from C.S. Lewis

“I now come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves. I have heard people admit that they are bad-tempered, or that they cannot keep their heads about girls or drink, or even that they are cowards. I do not think I have ever heard anyone who was not a Christian accuse himself of this vice. And at the same time I have very seldom met anyone, who was not a Christian, who showed the slightest mercy to it in others. There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit”

Pride is the greatest enemy of Moxie. As we talked about last week, true moxie only comes from God and confidence in His abilities. 

Pride is an enemy of moxie because it makes an assertion of worth based on your abilities that are finite. If you are your answer for your problems and the solution to all of life’s dilemmas then you are going to come up empty. Then what?

1) Defining Pride

According to Webster pride is a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements. 

Some biblical defining of pride:

Pride is all about you.

Ecclesiastes 7:8- The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. 

Quarrels and contentions. 

Proverbs 13:10- Pride only breeds quarrels… 

Deception/ Manipulation (of yourself or others) 

Obadiah 1:3- The pride of your heart has deceived you…

Forgetting God. 

Deuteronomy 8:14- Your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God. 

I believe that it would be a safe and fair assessment of pride, within the context of Christianity, to say that pride could be summed up as “an overestimation of ones worth and ability, as exhibited by their words, actions and thoughts”. 

So what does that mean for us? How do we know if we are prideful? 

The question should never be “Am I prideful?”, rather, “How much pride do I have?” and, “Where does it rear its ugly head?”

I completely agree with C.S. Lewis’ analysis of pride. Everyone has it to varying degrees. And we typically do a really poor job noticing it in ourselves, but an incredible job noticing it in others. 

The good news is that therein lies our answer and the definition of our own pride. 

It’s usually the variety of pride that we find so appalling in others that is at work in us.

This was aptly displayed in a tweet I saw from a guy that I follow on Twitter. He said ,”I got an email today that was very prideful. I asked for forgiveness. #takesonetoknowone

The trick for us is to do the difficult task of nailing down and defining the areas of pride in our life. 

Ways to do that: 

a) Call the glaring pride issues in your life what they are. Don’t rename it or mask it. 

b) What aspect of pride that you see in others drives you nuts? That may be a place for you to start your investigative journey. 

c) Ask some of the people that are closest to you. The people that you love and that love you know you best. Don’t be defensive, but allow them to be honest if you ask for their opinion. 

Defining pride and working on minimizing its effect in our lives is crucial because of its destructive nature. 

2) The Devastating Effect of Pride

The nature of pride is destructive. Where it exists, it destroys. 

Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. 

Pride has detrimental consequences on the most important areas of our lives. 

a) It is destructive to our earthly relationships. 

This should go without saying, but just to make sure that we are on the same page, love is the driving force of our relationships. 

If you have pride it has a direct, negative impact on your ability to love. 

1 Corinthians 13:4- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

When we have pride we are really just disrupting the balance found in Scriptures. 

Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

b) It is destructive to our relationship with God. 

James 4:7- God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 

Pride diminishes the astonishing work of Christ on the cross and exalts our own restricted self-sufficiency. 

This one goes waaay back. Ezekiel 28:17 “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.”

Pride is what led to what we refer to as the “Fall of Lucifer”. Ultimately, it was his pride that drove a wedge in His otherwise healthy relationship with God. The more he became enamored by his beauty and his value and his intelligence the more animosity it created between him and God. 

It’s really no different for us, it just may look a little different. Overestimating your ____, and not recognizing the Source and honoring Him as such is pride. 

Just for the sake of clarification, you can’t compensate for the sin of pride with appreciation. Ex. “God, thank You that I am so awesome!” Doesn’t work like that. 

3) Overcoming Pride

We never want to present a problem without presenting some sort of solution. 

Here are some practical ways to overcome pride in your life. 

a) Be honest with yourself. 

Don’t be blinded to your own shortcomings and areas of weakness. 

As we discussed in the “Defining Pride”, if you need help with this then enlist the assistance of a trusted, godly friend. 

b) Put others first. 

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for you own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 

Andy Stanley says that sometimes we want to change our way of thinking before we change our behavior. However, it may be more beneficial to go at it the other way around. Change your behavior first and then your thinking may follow suit. 

Go out of your way to put others first with behaviors. Open doors, pick up trash, carry their stuff, buy them things they like, do their chores at home, do their menial tasks at work, etc. Do this with out any expectation of something in return. 

c) Celebrate other people.

Then tendency of pride is to “one-up”. 

When somebody else accomplishes something or has something happen in their life that is significant, celebrate rather than compete. 

Don’t spin everything so that it brings the attention back on you. 

Romans 12:15,16- Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 

Closing

Pride is without a doubt the greatest enemy of Moxie. 

Overestimating your worth and ability, and down playing the need for Jesus in every aspect of your life is detrimental to true Moxie. 

Recognizing that you are utterly and completely helpless without the grace and mercy of God is a key ingredient in the Moxie recipe. 

 

Reading Material

I absolutely love to read! One of the conversations that comes up regularly is about what books I’m reading, or what books I recommend. So I decided to put it out here for all to see what I’ve read recently, am currently reading and plan on reading next, as well as my quick synopsis of each book.

Recently Read

Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick- A great book about audacious faith and having a personal vision for your life that believes God for bigger things than just the American dream. Very inspiring!

Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley- This guy is by far one of my favorite writers/ pastors/ communicators. In this book he talks about 4 things that can potentially poison your heart to the detriment of your relationships. Guilt, Anger, Greed, and Jealousy are all confronted head on. My favorite thing about Andy Stanley is that he always gives practical, nuts and bolts solutions to the problems that are presented.

Currently Reading 

Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler- I actually just started a day ago, but so far so good. His writing style is clever and the language is somewhat advanced so I don’t think it will be an easy read. If you want something to put by the bed at night this probably isn’t it. If you’re a disciplined reader and take the time to retain the details then this seems like it’s going to be a good one.

On Deck

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis- I actually started reading this a year or so ago, but I have a bad habit of trying to read 2 or 3 books at a time. I was trying to juggle a couple and this one didn’t make the cut. I’ll read it all by itself this time.

There you have it. Do with it what you would like.

For What It’s Worth…

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. 

The Motion Baptism Party

Image

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??

Baptism at Motion

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!