Church

Velleity

I saw a word the other day that really bugged me. I think it’s because I see how it could creep into our culture as a church.

Velleity- a wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action

One of my greatest fears is that we allow velleity to be at play in our volunteer culture. I think it’s an easy road to get on. It’s easy to enjoy what we do, but not allow that to compel us to action.
I think we could easily morph into a country club culture. We love coming and hanging out with our friends. BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT THE CHURCH IS! We are the medium God has chosen to use to influence the world for His sake. Sure we love each other and enjoy the company, but that is only a by-product.
Let me give you some real life examples of velleity: 
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to show up on time.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to contribute.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to go out of my way to help somebody else.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to give my hard earned money to it.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to invite anybody.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to get out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to be engaged in the experience.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not doing anything I don’t want to do.
  • I love the church BUT I’m not going to put in extra effort. That’s the pastors job.
I honestly believe we will never reach our full potential unless passion that leads to action is the dominant mentality of the majority. There is a term called critical mass. It basically means that once a significant portion of a group is on the same page then momentum, change and velocity is achievable.
You’ve got the right (ryyyee-eee-iii-eee-ite) to say no… to velleity.

An Enthusiasm Unknown To Mankind

I am a football junkie. I absolutely love watching it, playing it, and talking about it. I suppose one of the things I love the most is the passion that exudes from so many of the participants.

One of my favorite coaches in the NFL is Jim Harbaugh. He rubs some people the wrong way because he is a little over the top at times. He’s known to pound on his quarterback’s chest, rant incessantly at officials and even give extremely aggressive handshake/ backslaps to opposing coaches.

He’s been cited saying they do things with, “An enthusiasm unknown to mankind!” I absolutely love that phrase.

I believe that we would do well to live our lives like this, especially as followers of Jesus. When you think about it, we have so much to be enthusiastic about. We’ve been given so much, so many opportunities to reflect the God we love in the world we live in. If Jim Harbaugh can be that excited about A GAME, then how much more passionate should we be about the grace-filled lives we get to live?

There is an amazing verse that gives us some insight into this. I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That is our motivation. We get to be enthusiastic about everything we do because we are doing it for the God who has done so much for us.

It’s time to get enthusiastic!

Likes and the Like

Social media is the thing these days. Everybody has some form of it, probably even your grandmother. 

I’m no exception. I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account. I also keep up with Motion’s Twitter and Facebook, as well as the Vimeo account. I also have some other Facebook pages that I’m responsible for.

Something I obsess over, without even meaning to, is how many likes, followers and friends I have. I never went into it with having X number of likes as a goal, but somehow it’s become a big deal for me. I guess it brings some validation. As if having a certain number of likes on your page means you’re more significant and have more value. It’s really dumb when you think about it. 

I wonder what my life would be like if I was more concerned about what God thinks about me than some cyber buddy? Would I have different priorities, ones that really matter in the grand scheme of things? Would I be more concerned about what the real people that are in my life think? 

It’s easy to get caught up in, speaking from first hand experience. But looking at it from a simple and logical perspective, what is really important? I think we all know the answer to the question. What we do with it is up to us. 

I’m Weak… And That’s OK

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.

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. 

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!

Go Big or Go Home!

“Go big or go home!”

This is usually a phrase associated with sports, but I think there is an underlying principle that can transcend into other aspects of our lives.

I become more and more bothered by people with little or no ambition, especially within the context of Christianity. This could be a personality thing, but I am becoming convinced the dissatisfaction is more spiritual in nature. If we believe what we say we believe, then the Creator of every single thing that is lives inside of us. Here’s a refresher course:

John 1:3- All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Romans 11:36- For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.

Colossians 1:27- God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

And if the Creator of everything that exists lives inside of us, then it would seem to me that there should be greatness and ambition in there too. I believe that we are all created with a very specific calling and gift set. The talents that we have are no accident. Our passion should be to leverage all that God has given us to maximize our influence for His kingdom. This is done most efficaciously by being who He made us and doing all that He has put in our hearts. After all, He is the one that “gives us the desires of our heart.”

A couple of closing thoughts on this: 1) Do work that matters. 2)  Do it well. It makes it so much easier to have the drive and passion about your vocation if you can find the purpose and value in it. Then, as I unwittingly tell my children, you can kick butt and take names!

Measuring Up

There seems to be a common thread that ties people of all social and economic genres together. While that is usually a good thing, I think in this case it is to our detriment.

The thread that I’m referring to is that of comparing ourselves to others.

I’ve seen successful people compare themselves to someone else in their area of expertise and diminish their worth because the other person has more or has done more. Of course it happens in sports. We “size-up” the opposition usually to find ourselves questioning our own faults and weaknesses. It happens to us at the gym, regardless of gender. “If I only had their _____.” Parents compare themselves to other parents. Teenagers do the same, to the nth degree. People who don’t have compare themselves to those that do. Those that do have find those that have more. Even pastors find themselves mentally and emotionally pitted against other pastors. They have a bigger church than I do. They preach better than I do…

It’s sad really.

A couple of things come to mind when I think about this struggle of ours.

1) You don’t know everything that goes on in the life of your comparison subject. Some people put on really exquisite fronts. The reality may be much harsher than it appears. Just because it seems to you that they have it all together doesn’t mean they really do. You know your faults inside and out and bring that to the table, skewing the comparison.

But the actuality is that it doesn’t matter if they are that much better than you.

2) God didn’t ask you to be somebody else. He asked you to be you. I have this redundant statement that I use as a reminder of this verity. “You are the only you and only you can do what you can do so you better do what God has called you to do.” Let me break that down for clarification.

You are the only you.
Only you can do what you can do.
You better do what God has called you to do.

The comparison trap is an easy one to fall to. However, it’s one that we should strive to prevail over.

We’re not called to measure up to other people. We’re called to be children of God. That is our identity.

Fully Convinced

Fully Convinced. I use this term often.

However, something that I have noticed about my faith is that it is somewhat liquid. I’ll explain.

My thoughts about God and His nature and characteristics and what that demands of me are constantly being shaped, formed and reformed. What I thought about God 8 years ago was more rigid than I think He is today. Then I trusted more in my ability. Now I understand grace as unmerited favor. Then I acted as if I could make God love me more by an almost masochistic faith. Now I am learning the art of rest. You get the idea.

So what I was fully convinced of then is not what I am fully convinced of now? Maybe. I’m “fully convinced” there are aspects of our faith that will grow and stretch and change as long as we are alive.

However, I also think there are some constants that can provide some stability to our frenetic lives. Examples:

  • God is love. That never changes.
  • Jesus as Savior. That work has been finished, it can’t be tampered with.
  • Sin kills. Always has, always will.

This is where it gets practical. We need to know what we believe and why we believe it, thus being fully convinced. I find out what I am fully convinced of when I am backed into a corner. I find out what I am fully convinced of when one of the truths that I value is attacked.

Paul said in Romans, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

Whatever it is that you believe, believe it because you believe it. Not because somebody else believes it. Not because it was the most attractive option. Believe it because it has you fully convinced that its origin is one of validity.

This is so pertinent for followers of Christ because the passion with which we convey the greatest message of all time rises and falls on our belief in it. That’ s no small thing. Passionless delivery diminishes the effectiveness and value to the listener. Don’t try to sell me something that you’re not smoking!

The take away: Let’s get about the business of owning our faith. Let’s study, pray and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to “Lead us into all truth”. BE FULLY CONVINCED!

Monday Morning Quarterback

If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “Monday Morning Quarterback”, I’ll gladly enlighten you. By definition it is a person who, after the event, offers advice or criticism concerning decisions made by others; one who second-guesses.

I always feel a little like this the day after we have our experiences at Motion. When things don’t go quite as planned, or there are certain things that you forget to say that would have been perfect with point 1, subpoint b, or a technical miscue…. You get the idea. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20.

But here is the interesting thing: Most people don’t even notice the things that make me freak out. If I put it in the proper perspective it changes everything. They really are just mole hills, not mountains. Even with a few shortcomings people still connected relationally, had an opportunity to worship God and heard and applicable message about Jesus. Not a bad day.

While I’m not excusing laziness or sloppiness, I am saying that we can lose battles and still win the war. In the grand scheme of things, giving it all we’ve got is all that we are required to do. The rest is out of our hands and into some pretty trust-worthy ones.

If you’re looking for a life application, here it is. When we fall short. When we don’t think we measure up to whatever standard we’ve set for ourselves. When we look back and say, “I wish I would have…”. In the middle of the chaos that we create, I can almost hear Jesus saying to us, “Stop looking back. Stop second-guessing. Stop allowing shame and guilt to consume you. Look forward. That’s where I am.”

Here is great scripture to complete this thought.

Proverbs 21:31- Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory.