Friday, December 14, 2012

What if Earthquakes ARE Sent By God?

I would like to contrast two different passages in Scripture for a moment.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14

13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Revelation 16:8-11

8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony 11 and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

What I notice here is the difference in the response to what is happening to the people.  In 2 Chronicles, the expectation is that people will realize that GOD has sent these droughts, plagues or locust infestations, and REPENTof their wicked actions and ways of life that they had allowed to creep into the culture.  In Revelation, I notice the people will feel the sting and suffering from the plagues God pours out on them, but instead of realizing that it is what THEY have done that is the cause of their pain, they BLAME GOD for their pain, and curse Him.

What would people in our culture today do if they heard that God had sent floods, earthquakes and famine because of the way we are living in our culture to try to call us to repentance and to Him?  Have you heard any ministers of our day suggest that maybe God is trying to sway people away from evil by the natural disasters that we are experiencing in our world, calling us to repent?  Does that  make them angry, or sorry?  Do they blame the evil actions of our culture for their woes, or shake their fists at the idea of a God Who would dare to judge their behavior?

I am not suggesting that this is what is happening, I am merely asking if our response to that idea reflects 2 Chronicles 7, or Revelation 16?  Is it so hard to believe that we are coming to a time that no matter what God would do to call us to repentance, we would get mad at Him; or at least at those who would suggest He is doing this?  Have we recreated God in our own image when we suggest that He would NOT do something like this?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Can You Love Christ but not His Church?

Ghandi is credited to have said, “I like your Christ, but I don't like your Christians so much - they are so unlike your Christ.”  Much of our world agrees with this statement, and it has resonated with many who have been mistreated by a local church or church person.

We, however, cannot love Jesus while hating His body - the church is His body. 

There are “false brothers” out there, and Paul even considered them dangerous (2 Cor. 11:26).  False brothers among the church (The Bible calls them “wolves in sheep’s clothing” – Matthew 7:15) have been warned about since Jesus gave us His precious parables (Matthew 13:24-30)

There are young and weaker brothers out there who are bound to make mistakes that hurt others.  Most of us have already done this; and if you haven’t, you will.  We are all fighting the good fight, but sometimes, we let our guard down, and the enemy gets a shot in there that hurts not only us, but those that God has entrusted to us as His ambassadors.  In anger, we have responded poorly to another person; in jealousy we have embittered another person; in frailty, we have crushed another person; and that person has an opinion of the entire church based on our failure.

Maybe some of us have been hurt like this, by the church.  Maybe we are thinking the same thing as Ghandi spoke.  Maybe we think we can follow Christ without loving the body of Christ; that we can hold on to this bitterness that we rightfully feel.  But, what did Jesus say? 

·         “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12

·         “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom. 5:8
“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” – 1 John 4:20

Friday, June 29, 2012

What Can We Preach About?

Currently, the Wesleyan Church is dealing through a new addition to our Discipline in regards to divorce.  As it stands, our statement gives approval for divorce only in the case of marrital unfaithfulness.  The addition would include abuse as a reason that we would approve of divorce.  The debate has been heavy and emotional, as you can imagine.  No one wants to force a person to stay in an abusive home situation.  I certainly would never suggest that anyone stay in an abusive situation.  Get out; get safe; get help.

However, in the discussion, there has been a lot of different ideas bandied about that I believe would be considered out of the traditional interpretation of scriptural doctrine.  I'm not here to address this specific topic so much as to address this philosophy that seems to prevail:  "If we're going to judge people on marrital issues in our membership, we have to also deal with people who aren't tithing, aren't attending Sunday School, or aren't doing their family devotions."

Here is my question:  Are all of these the same?  Is someone who gets divorced really not doing anything different (insert "worse") than a person who is missing family devotions?  This is the end result of the dicussions I am having with people on this issue:  We can't stand against one thing and not stand for all of the rules.

Transfer that to Sunday services, now.  What can I preach as sin?  What is going to be the standard for Christian living?  How can we stand up for something when we can't stand against something?  When is something so wrong that we just have to say, "That is worse than not paying your tithe?"  I am getting concerned about the future discussions we will have with this prevailing premise.  If nothing is worse than the other, how can we speak against or for anything? 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Missing Piece is the Missing Peace

We often speak in the church about a "God-shaped Hole" inside of everyone that only He can fill.  I have been thinking about this and how to communicate it in a way that isn't too emotional and cheesy, but also captures the illogical attempts that we all have made to try to fill that void that keeps us restless and longing for peace from the inside out.  I have a thought, now, that I'd like you to contemplate with me.

My father-in-law loves putting puzzles together - Sitting there and staring at all the pieces; trying to figure out where they go.  The strategy we all find works best is to get the framework done first; find all the edge pieces with the straight side and connect them to make our boundaries for the other pieces.  (There are too many possible comparisons to make to the life of a believer to allow myself too much distraction, so I will not go into the meaning of the framework that needs to be in place so we can put the pieces together in our spiritual growth.  But that would also be an interesting discussion.)

But have you ever gotten to the last few pieces of the puzzle and realized you have a piece missing?  That is really frustrating when you think of all the time you put into that puzzle, and it is still going to be incomplete no matter what you do. 

Will it help to move pieces around and try to fill in that gap?  No.  The picture will still be incomplete.  If you just ignore the hole left by the missing piece, will it go away?  No.  You can mess with it a hundred different ways, or just stay away from it so you don't have to think about it, but that puzzle will never be complete unless you find that missing piece.

People tend to try to adjust their lives to fill the void in their hearts with pieces that don't fit.  They look at other people's lives and try to use their strategies for fixing their own lives.  They know something is missing, and the emptiness is visible to them and to everyone who knows them.  They can't ignore the void, because it is always with them.  They try to find ways to forget, but the void always reappears in the same place when they regain their focus.  Like that puzzle, no amount of switching up the same pieces of their lives will fill that emptiness.  They will never be complete until they find the missing piece.

Interestingly, when I ask people what changed the most about their lives when they gave their hearts to Jesus, they almost unanimously say:  "I just have this peace; like I've never know before." 

That uneasy, restless emptiness, is a deep need for peace.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  When He was preparing to leave His disciples to return to heaven, Jess said, "Peace I give you; My peace I leave with you."  Why "peace"?  Because God knew that what we all needed was peace between Him and us, so He sent Jesus to take His wrath off of us - which only Jesus could do - on the cross, and bring peace between God and man.

Peace.  That is the need; that is the hunger; that is the drive.  We all need peace, and we find it in Jesus Christ.  Turns out, the "Missing Piece is the Missing Peace".  I found the final piece to the puzzle of my life:  His Name is Jesus!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Love As A Command

A brief study of 1 John 4:7-8 led me to some thoughts I thought I'd share with you who read this.  The words that are centered and in bold letters are the lines of the scriptural passage; the rest are my thoughts and scriptural connections.

Beloved, let us love one another.

They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.  This is my command:  that you love one another.  So, love is a “command.”  However:

Love comes from God

How do we access that love? 

Does it somehow “flow through us?”

Is it “deposited in us?”

Everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.

*Note:  This does not say, “Everyone who speaks in tongues is born of God, and knows God.”  Many people who speak in tongues are quite unloving and arrogant.  Yet, 1 Cor. 13 begins with the words, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a resounding gong, or clanging cymbal.”  In other words, in God’s kingdom, speaking in tongues is useless without love.

He who does not love does not know God.

Love is not optional, it is imperative!  It is the evidence that you are in Christ, and in the Father.  We often judge holiness on "purity of living," but it should first produce love in us.  Love comes from God, but we are commanded to love.  He always equips us to do what He calls us to do; but never forces us to do.  Hmmm...

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Does The End Affect the Middle?

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”

Any guesses as to where we find this passage of scripture?  Nope, not the book of the Revelations.  This is Isaiah 65:17.  Isaiah refers to this concept again in Chapter 66:22, when it says:

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.

You may be thinking at this point, “How does this apply to my daily living?  I am dealing with issues right here and now, and talking about things I can’t fathom seems like a colossal waste of time.”

I would like to submit that this applies to all of us as believers in EVERY way, and applies to ALL areas of our lives.  Peter really brings this home in 2 Peter 3:3-14:

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

1.    Jesus is going to come back to earth. – v.4,8-9

a.    He is being patient right now, hoping that everyone will repent.

2.    The Earth and our current universe are going to be destroyed – v.7,10-13

a.    On the day of judgment – v.7; Rev. 20:11

b.    The Universe will disappear – v.10,12

c.    The elements will burn up – v.10,12

d.    The earth will be destroyed – v.10

3.    There will be a new heaven (universe) and a new earth – v.13; Rev 21:1

a.    The first heaven and earth had passed away – Rev. 21:1

The point of Peter’s reminder that these things are coming is to tell us how we should live as a result of this reality.  In v.11 and v.14, Peter tells us that since everything we see right now will be destroyed, we should live “holy and godly lives;” and “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with (God).”

Why, then, do so many of our current “theologians” in contemporary music and “hyper-grace” preaching keep trying to tell us to “quit trying so hard”, and to just accept the fact that “we all fall; we all fail; and God knows we can’t be good; but His grace just looks over our sins, so relax and just exist as you are.”?  The fact that we will probably “blow it” sometimes is no excuse to quit trying to get it right.  The fact that grace is on us is no approval to be comfortable in our sin.

The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, so we should be especially aware of godliness and holiness in our daily living.  The fight is increasingly challenging and intensifying as “The Day” approaches.  There is coming a day when men will not put up with sound doctrine at all (2 Tim. 4:3).  I would submit that this current trend of “no effort” and “just relaxing” in God’s grace is the seed of that destructive movement.

For those who will listen to the truth, no matter what they would like it to say, we need to remember that this world and its ways are coming to an end; therefore we must live holy and godly lives.  We must watch our doctrine closely and be careful as to what we give our approval (Rom. 14:22).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Homosexual Marriage?

The following is an excerpt from a conversation online about President Obama's announcement that he favors homosexual marriage.  This was my response to someone who thought the church didn't need to concern herself with politics  in this or any regard:

I can't speak for anyone else on this, only for myself. I don't believe that teaching God's word in defining what He has designed for marriage is at odds with addressing the brokenness of homosexuals. EVERYONE needs Jesus; period. There is no freedom from sin without Jesus. But if we do not hold to Scripture on the truth that homosexual BEHAVIOR is a sin, like adultery, pre-marital sex, bestiality, and any other sexual immorality, we are not doing them any favors either. Does an adulterer like to be told that his actions are sinful? Probably not. Are there mitigating circumstances in his or her life that have added to their sinful behavior? Probably.

Our calling as ministers of the Word of God is to lead people to holiness and godliness, which starts with addressing the truth that these terms (holiness and godliness) do not address ANYONE without Jesus. We still have to teach people to fight the good fight of the faith; and, by the Holy Spirit's power, to stop sinning. Yes, we need to help the homosexual offender overcome his or her sin; but we cannot ignore the fact that it IS a SIN to be OVERCOME.

When you establish a "help-group" for overcoming homosexual behavior and get picketed, the politics of it will come to your door. The problem is that soon, we will not be able to indicate that this is anything more than an alternate lifestyle for the misunderstood. Then you won't be able to have counseling for those struggling in this area. That is why every step in politics that moves homosexuality closer to the mainstream of life is a challenge we MUST take SERIOUSLY. When it is normalized, how will we "help" anyone overcome it?

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Grace - "Charis"

The Greek term, "charis" (pronounced "khar'-ece"), is translated "grace" in most of it's uses in the New Testament, but it is also translated "favor" at different times.  It can refer to your gratitude for God's work in your life, His graciousness, His favor on us, and His power at work in us.

So when we talk about God's Amazing "Grace", what are we really talking about?  Is it just one idea, or is it a combination of thoughts and ideas rolled into one "gift"?

Are you thankful for God's "grace"?  If so, what do you mean by that?  We talk about His "unmerited favor" which forgives our sins by Jesus' blood.  That is most definitely something worth praising the Lord for, isn't it?  We derserved death because of our sins, but by God's "grace", we have been forgiven.  Is that the end of God's grace at work in us?

When you consider the meaning of the word, "charis", I believe we will find that the intent of the word is more than a one-time event that is God's grace in our lives.  The meaning of "grace" is more than "forgiveness".  That short term in Greek means "gratitude;" "graciousness;" and "God's favor in action."  So, ignoring for a second how Webster's Dictionary defines "grace", let's get a working definition of the Greek term:  "charis".

Using all the information we have on the use of this word, it seems a good definition of "charis" would be:
          "The active favor of God at work in your life bringing gratitude to your heart."
Using this definition, read some of the scriptures that speak of the "grace" of God in the New Testament:
Acts 15:11
Acts 15:40
Acts 20:32
Rom. 1:5
Acts 7:10 - Translated "favor"; still "charis" in Greek.  (KJV)
Luke 2:52 - Again, translated, "favor".  (KJV)
John 1:17
So what?  Why does this matter?  If grace is God's favor in action in your life, and Paul and Peter often bestowed grace and peace to their readers in their Epistles, then grace is something that increases and grows.  It can be among us in differing levels of power or saturation.  Acts 4:33 says, "great grace was upon them all." 
When Paul and Peter prayed that grace would increase, they were praying for an expanding work of God in the hearts of His people to give them deeper gratitude and that God would accomplish more in them and through them for His glory.  In other words, they were praying for a supernatural impact from the grace of God that constantly grows in us as His Name is spread.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Faith is Being Certain

Ask yourself this question:  "Am I convinced that God will answer my prayers?"  Being convinced leaves no room for doubt.  I'm not convinced if I am 99% sure.  I am not confident if I think it might not happen.

Faith is being sure of what we hope for; certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).  If you have doubt, then you are working from a potsition of "hope" instead of "faith".  Hope leaves room for the possibility that your prayer may not have been heard.  "I hope God hears me."  That is how most of us pray, I believe. 

It is beyond our ability to be "doubtless".  We are human and we are flawed.  We require the Holy Spirit of God, Himself, to help us believe and not doubt.  We have to choose to seek Him and His righteousness.  Sound familiar?

Read Matthew 6:33:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Have you ever considered that our faith grows when we actively seek Him? 

Makes sense...the more you know Him, the more you know what He is capable of, the more you will trust and believe in His power and willingness to answer prayer.

How is your faith?  What are you actively doing to seek God and His righteousness?  Are you a person of FAITH, or simply someone who HOPES?  According to James 5:15:

"The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well."  May God empower all of us to truly be convinced that He hears us and wants to change our circumstances.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Does salvation come by “believing,” alone? 

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: 9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Rom. 10:8-10

Clearly, believing is the key factor to becoming a follower of Christ.  According to this passage, believing is something that happens in our hearts, not simply our minds.  We would have to believe in someone to truly follow them; thus believing is indeed a vital part of choosing to follow Jesus.

It is a key factor to faith as well.  Hebrews 11:6 says that for us to come to God, we must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  People of faith must first believe.

However, “believing” is a starting point, not an end…what about “confessing with your mouth that ‘Jesus is Lord’?”  What does that even mean?  If I confess that Jesus is “Lord”, do I not then have to let Him beLord”?  Can I claim He is Lord from my heart and not give Him Lordship of my heart?  That seems highly improbable on the integrity level, doesn’t it?

Repentance, then, is the other part of this “Salvation” experience.  If God is going to be Lord of my life, I have to repent of my sin.  I have to want to let go of sin and desire the change only God can bring. 

This is also shown in the following scriptures:

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. – Luke 5:32

46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. – Luke 24:46-48

When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life. – Acts 11:18

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. – Acts 20:21

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. – Acts 26:20

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9

Is believing important?  It is imperative!  But apart from repentance, I believe that James would say:

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. – James 2:19

The difference is, that the demons’ belief in Jesus doesn’t lead them to repentance.  They are not offered that option.  Only people, made in the image of God, have been offered this great salvation.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Good Friday...What Changed?

Many times we have heard the story of the suffering of Jesus on this day we call Good Friday:  The unrecognizably beaten form that was led down the Way of Suffering to the Hill of the Skull, Golgotha, and hung to die like a common criminal.  He suffered many kinds of pain that day:

1.    The pain of betrayal - Judas

2.    The pain of injustice – The Sanhedrin

3.    The pain of indifference – Pilate

4.    The pain of physical torture – Temple Guard and Roman Soldiers

5.    The pain of the nails and the crown of thorns – The Cross

6.    The pain of breathing while hanging – Survival

7.    The pain of humiliation – Hanging almost naked; The wine-vinegar

8.    The pain of mockery – The crowds, the priests, the soldiers and the criminal on the cross

There was a man who had watched this entire process.  He was there when Judas agreed to betray Jesus; when Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin; when Jesus was sent to Pilate; when Jesus was abandoned by His own people; when people shouted demands for His crucifixion; and when Jesus was tortured and crucified.  He was a disciple of Jesus’, though not one of the Twelve.  He wanted to save Jesus, but in the end, his fear of what might happen to him overpowered his desire to save Jesus.

And after Jesus had said, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing;” after He had said, “My God!  My God!  Why have you forsaken me?!” after He said, “I’m thirsty;” after Jesus finally said, “It is finished!” – Right in the middle of the unusual darkness of that terrible afternoon – There he stood, left to consider it all.

Joseph of Arimathea: 

1.    Until now, a proud, prominent member of the Jewish ruling Council. – Mark 15:43

2.    Until now, wealthy and yet of strong character. – Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50

3.    Until now, watching and waiting for the kingdom of God to come. – Mk. 15:43; Lk. 23:51

4.    Until now, unwilling to be known as a disciple of Jesus. – John 19:38

5.    Until now, divided in his allegiances between Jesus and His own position in the culture.

But now:

1.    Regretting his silence in the trials

2.    Reliving the shouts of the crowd to crucify this innocent man

3.    Reconsidering his position and the value of it in the scheme of things

4.    Remembering how Jesus spoke of love, of commitment, and of following Him

5.    Realizing his own fear and weaknesses

Joseph decided that it was time to be strong and courageous.  He went directly to Pilate and boldly asked for the body of Jesus (Mark 15:43) so that he could give Him a proper, Jewish burial.  He went, himself, up to the cross and took the body of Jesus down – enlisting the help of another Pharisee-disciple; Nicodemus (John 19:39-40) – and taking the body to a brand new tomb (John 19:41); one that had recently been carved out of solid rock for Joseph (Matt. 27:60).  Nicodemus brought along 75 pounds of myrrh, aloes and spices (John 19:39) to wrap in the linens in which Jesus would be entombed.  Joseph and Nicodemus personally wrapped Jesus’ body, placed it in the tomb, and rolled the stone over the entrance (Matt. 27:60; Mark 15:46).

Joseph could not go back and make things right.  He couldn’t go back and stand up for the Truth in the trial with the Sanhedrin.  He couldn’t make any speeches before the crowds who were shouting to have Jesus crucified.  He couldn’t order the temple guard to stop abusing Jesus.  He couldn’t go back and do what he should have done. 

But he could treat Jesus like royalty in His burial.  He could come forward and confess that he believed Jesus was worthy of better than what He was given.  He could draw that line here and make the statement:  Jesus is, in His death, as He was in His life:  My King!

What about us?  As we stand here today, considering the brutal miscarriage of justice that led to the death of the Savior we claim to love, how does it affect us?  Will we continue to live the life of an “Undercover disciple,” in fear of what might happen if we told others that we believe in Jesus?  When He died for us in this way, will we remain unchanged?

What can we do, now?  We cannot go back and undo all of our mistakes made in weakness and fear.  We can’t bring back things, “the way they should have been”.  But we aren’t done, yet.  There is still today.  How will we show Jesus our deep love for Him?  How will we let the world know that we believe?  What will we do?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bosses Who Get Great Results

A good boss understands that relationships matter.  People will work harder for someone they like. 

Too many bosses simply try to "rule" their employees.  No one likes being "mastered".  Being "commanded" is even more demotivating.  Using your position of authority to force someone into action is not the most effective method of leading.

In the church, we have a great challenge.  Bill Hybels has said that the church is one of the most leadership-intensive organizations in the world, because we have to find a way to motivate people to serve of their own free will.  We don't hold a paycheck over their heads; they don't get promoted, so there is no advantage to themselves for working extra hard; and threatening to terminate them would be - some days - like setting them free. 

People are internally motivated when they believe that what they are doing is important.  Bossing a person around like a slave makes them feel belittled and insignificant.   

People want to be respected.  Deriding someone who went through strict training and is a professional at what they do is even less effective.

People need to be equipped.  People are motivated to do what they believe in when they are given the tools they need to succeed.  Even when working with professionals, the "boss" has specific expectations that are unique to his or her style of leadership.  No employee should be automatically expected to know how to please their boss.  The boss should:

1.  Communicate clearly - Make your expectations known.
2.  Avoid playing games - Employees want to trust their boss.
3.  Stop gossip - Do not promote it by having "spies".  Dividing your workers kills morale.

Whether you use the word, "boss," or "leader," these are valuable things to remember.  Ultimately, the old addage stands true:  "Leadership is Influence."  You can "Influence" by being an overbearing, command-giving tyrant.  You will always have a lot of turn-over, low morale and dissatisfied employees. 

The best employees will be working for someone who appreciates them as professionals , as colleagues, and as people.  When you can influence quality, solid and exceptional people to work toward a common goal, you will have a business, a church or a school which will produce high-quality results.

If you ever had a great working situation, what was it about your boss that influenced the positive atmosphere?  What motivates you to give your best?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kirk Cameron and Gay Marriage


Kirk Cameron has been getting slammed for his comments on Gay Marriage.  I have listened to his answers over and over.  I have listened to the questions he was asked, over and over.  Did he come across as hating anybody?  No.  Disagreeing with anybody?  Certainly. 

If someone asked you point blank, do you support gay marriage, what would your answer be?

What will you tell your children about homosexuality when the time comes?  It is a prevalent part of our culture, and will have to be addressed whether you want to or not.

If your child comes to you and tells you that he or she is gay, how will you respond to them?

Kirk Cameron didn't go out and force these opinions on anybody.  He didn't go on the show to attack anybody.  He simply said he believes that God designed marriage in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.

The strongest terms he used was when he was asked point-blank if he believed homosexuality is a sin.  He should have pointed to scripture, perhaps, and let God's word do the talking, but he tried to identify human reasons to show why homosexuality is not good for civilization.  Though I might have handled it differently, I believe his point was that history has shown the best set up for a home is a married man and woman to raise the children together. 

Children need both a mother and a father.  What is the argument against this?  The booming success of our culture today compared to...?

I guess I don't understand what the controversy is all about.  Don't ask a man what he believes, then accuse him of "attacking" someone by answering. 

"Do you like the Detroit Lions?  You don't?  Why do you hate Lions' fans so much?" 

NEWS REPORT:  "Man says he hates Lions' fans!  Hate speech must be silenced!"

Read the questions he was asked one more time.  What would you have said?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


What is the job of a good boss?  How do you measure the quality of someone who is in charge?

Results?  Are these the measure of success as a boss?  If so, what kind of results; "quality," "quantity," or "both of the above"?

Does it matter how you treat others, or are results all that matter?

Does it matter if you lack integrity, or is it all about results?

Does the morale of the place you work play into this?  If everyone hates their job under your leadership, is that their problem or yours, as the "boss"?  Does bad morale produce "quality" at work? 

Does the Bible have anything to say on this matter?  Is God concerned with how the boss behaves?

If you could say one thing to your boss - to help them be better; not for vengeance - what would you say?

Does a boss have the responsibility to set people up for success?  Should a boss equip his or her workers with all the tools they need to get the best results? 

I would love to hear your discussion on this, and then I am going to follow this post up with some ideas that I believe are very relevant and necessary to be a boss worthy of respect and honor. 

My first thought:  "Submission may be given, but honor and respect are earned."


Friday, March 02, 2012

Trouble Shooting

James asks the question:  'What is it that causes fights and quarrels among you?"  He goes on to answer it, according to what he was teaching, but I would love to hear from everyone who reads this; "What do you think is the main source of fights and quarrels in your life experience?  In your family?  In your marriage?  What is the cause of fights and quarrels in relationships in general?"

I have a few "one-word" answers.  Pride.  Selfishness.  Self-centeredness.

What about you?  What causes fights and quarrels in your life?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Who Are You?

Does what we do determine who we are, or does who we are determine what we do?

Is someone a thug because he treats people badly, or does he treat people badly because he is a thug?
Is someone a teacher because she passes information along, or does she pass information along because she is a teacher?
Is someone saved because he lives a holy life, or does he live a holy life because he is saved?
Does a believer love God because he obeys God, or does he obey God because he loves God?

The fact that you are a Christian means you behave a certain way, you don't act a certain way to be a Christian.  You have been saved by GRACE, but because you are saved, you LIVE LIKE IT.  
Because I am a Christian, I ___________________________.
Because I am God's child, I ___________________________.
Because I am loved by God, I __________________________.

What is the result of you being who you are?  

You are recognized by your fruit, according to scripture.  

In comparison:  Because you are an apple tree, you produce apples; you are not an apple tree because you produce apples.  You were always going to be an apple tree, because that is the kind of seed that was planted.  You grew up as an apple tree, before fruit appeared.  Now you are a full grown apple tree, so you bear apples on you.

Some of us have been unidentifiable as to what kind of tree we are because we have failed to produce fruit.  Or, in the terms I began with, being a Christian has not led us to do anything, so no one knows what we are.  And a tree that does not bear fruit is not good for anything but to be cut down and thrown in the fire.  

Read John 15:1-17