Picture or a Portrait #faith

So some local cult proselytizers stopped by our house today. They wanted to make sure we got to heaven. They are always so nice.

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National Geographic: "Lincoln" (April 2015)

We try to be nice as well as we politely decline their invitation. Occasionally we will engage the comparisons with Christianity, which tends to end with them politely declining our invitation. Only the most devoted could be convinced to go to all their neighbours homes to share their convictions.

As I watched them through the window, moving on to the next home, big smiles on their faces, it made me wonder: What picture do my neighbours have of Christ in my life?

I wonder what they think of how Christ is portrayed?

It reminds me of a line my grandpa used to share when people came by asking if he was a Christian:
“Go ask my neighbour.”

After Easter #Leadership

The greatest example of leadership I have ever followed was someone I never met in person.
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While most leadership manuals and ideologies have been based on momentary success, his has proven timeless. Many of the best books on the matter I have sitting on my shelves do mostly that, sit. They share glimmers of true leadership, but they are only partial truths. Leadership tends to get a little myopic as it is taught, being that it can get a little focused on a singular setting. The example that has spoken to me best has been both counterintuitive and countercultural. On a secular level he is pure genius. On a spiritual level, he forces me to think outside my level of comfort. Amazingly, no matter what the situation or scenario, he is relevant. Controversial at times, but when he gets people talking something he has said sticks with them. That is a pretty impressive record as a leader.

Of course I am talking about Jesus.

Easter changed everything, and Christ’s mark on lives after the fact is evident through history. If leadership is influence, then he has shown us how to lead. I would never boil the life and work of Christ down to some simplistic leadership axioms, but it is evident that the effect of Jesus on lives is leadership. And through what he has done we lead in our circles. No, that is not limited to ‘boss’ language or some archaic hierarchical understanding of leaders and minions. It is influence and change.

When the one who came from heaven so the world come come to him impacts us, we impact the world. No matter how small we perceive the world to be around us.

We lead in care.
We lead in healing.
We lead in forgiving.
We lead in community.
We lead in accepting the broken.
We lead in grace…

We lead because that is how he leads us. He was broken so we could be healed. In our brokenness he is made visible. We do not lead out as though we have it together, rather we are leaders in taking people to our leader. Life is your ministry, and you lead it.

How will what you celebrate at Easter change the way you effect your Monday through Friday?

Throwback Holy Thursday #tbt #Easter

“By calling this covenant ‘new’, he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.” (Hebrews 8:13)

This weekend we celebrate the new covenant promised through the prophet Jeremiah, and fulfilled through Jesus Christ. It has been difficult slowing time down this week so I could reflect on what God interrupting history to reclaim His people is all about. It amazes me what messages and moments hit you when ask God to show you His message afresh…
So this morning I tried watching a documentary which had been suggested to me a while back. It was based on conversations with people who have left the traditional evangelical church. Being that it was focused on the church here in Canada, having a more local feel to it, I thought it might be refreshing. Most material on the subject tends to come from larger metropolitan areas or the US.
Then I recognized one of the participants.
I couldn’t finish it.
Maybe it was because everything was too close to home, hearing these people talk about connections that were not in a distant land. They were here. They all grew up with faith based in a Christian church. They all chose to leave church. Not their faith, but their church. Knowing part of a person’s story sure made the overall message difficult to swallow.
Cynicism. Anger. Condescension. Judgement. A misunderstood God. Do-it-yourself constructed Christianity.
It was a part of every interview.
Is this what Jesus had in mind when He brought those closest to Him – those He did not necessarily get along with swimmingly – broke bread and stated those now famous words, “A new command I give you: Love one another.“? (John 13:34) Think on this, He had plenty to say about the world around Him up to this point, and the world His disciples would continue to encounter after the Easter weekend. But during the Passion week, He talked about what it meant to be together in His name.
Jesus washed the feet of the people who would scatter when He needed them most, ate with people who were not completely convinced of His message, and then told them to love each other so people would know they were His followers.
This is why I gather, and teach others to gather as church. Even when I disagree with others, I cannot make my relationship with Jesus about myself alone. Jesus spending time with His disciples before His most excruciating moments tells me otherwise.
This Holy Thursday is my reminder that Jesus wants me to love those who love Him, so they can do all that He has commanded.

Chaotic Order #HolyWeek

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I am always perplexed by the calm Jesus seems to exude as Holy Week begins.
While people move from proclamation of the coming king to crucifixion chants, Jesus is resolved.
Chaos surrounds the King.
But peace surpasses understanding.
The King knows what follows, and He chooses it.
Peace within chaos is supernatural.
Those who choose the walk of Christ stand out in whatever chaos God has allowed them to weather.

A Real God in Your Reality #identity #Lent

Tonight as part of Lent my youngest son and I read about Moses needing a name for who was sending Him back to Egypt. Can you imagine asking God for His name after seeing the burning bush? Moses did it. I got me thinking on some old thoughts about how I view God in my life…

What defines you?  When people ask about you or reflect on who you are in their world, what do they say?  No doubt you have probably reflected on those questions at some point in your life, as identity and our impact on others is so important to all of us.  It is part of how we create community, how we establish values together, and seek out meaningful relationships.  Good or bad.
So how would you define God?  What image does He have in this world and to the people around you?  Ask around your neighbourhood some time and you might be amazed just how varied the opinions and statements can be about God.  Depending on who you talk to, God goes from being ‘awesome’ to ‘distant’.  Defining Him, His character and nature, and His part in our reality is a big task.
So with that in mind, put yourself in the shoes…or sandals…of Moses in the story of the Exodus.  One moment you are looking for sheep in the land of Midian, the next you’re shaking with fear in front of a burning bush that talks.  Your life is changed.  The direction before you is clear, no matter how uncomfortable.  The God whom you may not have been sure of, suddenly has a name and a voice.  You cannot go back to the way it was before.
I AM…the God that is real in your reality.  This is the time to discover God, for all that He has shown us in Scripture.  Not the gods we have created in our mind or lifestyle.  We need to seek out who He is and how He defines us.  Not the other way around.

God saying ‘I AM’ says a lot about who you are…are you ready for the challenges that might bring?

Head in the Clouds #leadership #vision

Are you talking about the clouds or the rain?
Sometimes we share with people what’s in the clouds but aren’t able to define what it will look like when the rain hits the ground.

People struggle with not being able to see the picture at the level they are on.

We all too often strive to hand off the large overarching vision for a group or organization at every level using the same terminology and imagery. This Is a mistake as not every person is on the same level or functioning at the same capacity within the group . There are many smaller and specialized purposes within the greater purpose. Many people are happy to be brought on for one of those purposes. A leader helps all these groups see all those purposes align together. The failure happens when we expect each person fulfiling a smaller purpose to strive to grasp and fall in love with all the purposes together or adjust to other purposes than that which they were asked to accomplish.

A leader who creates a dynamic of collaging smaller pictures to create the big picture is enabling all to grow.

Not everyone understands what we see in the clouds. When we do not provide clarity in this understanding we cause people to get stuck in the mud after the rain. Instead, we want people playing in the puddles or looking forward to what the rain can bring.

Use Time Wisely #wisdom #leadership

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I like this. He gets it.
Its not about time management.
Its about gaining wisdom for the time allotted.
One seems to own the time we have and therefore must manage it so we can use it all up.
Like a time coupon.
The other knows time is a gift and will be gone whichever way it was used. At the end of the day, the day is gone.
Wisdom is discerning what you have and navigating appropriately within what you have been given.
Managing tricks you into thinking you can get more from something that you could never hold.
God gave it to you now, so discern it wisely.