Thursday, March 26, 2009

No Satisfaction

"Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and never satisfied are the eyes of man."
Proverbs 27:20

Mick Jagger was right.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nikon D40

After much deliberation, I finally gave in and purchased a Nikon D40 SLR Camera. Probably one of the most fun items I've been bought. It came with 2 lenses, a camera case, and a two-gig memory stick. It takes great pictures. And now that I have a nice camera, expect this blog to be more...colorful.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oikos: Your World Delivered

I just finished reading a book called Oikos: Your World Delivered by High Desert Church Pastor, Tom Mercer, who, by the way, will be speaking at our Men's Retreat this year. Anyway, let me give you a brief synopsis of the book.

Oikos is a Greek word that means "extended household." Mercer explains throughout the book that everyone has an oikos, that is everyone has "a group of 8 to 15 people God has supernaturally and strategically placed in each of our relational worlds that He wants to demonstrate His love and grace to, through you."

The entire book is based around this concept. It explores how every aspect of church should center around an oikos. All lessons learned from church should be taken with one idea in mind: How can I use this to affect my oikos? Church is solely for the equipping of the saints for their oikos.

This book was a fresh perspective on evangelism. I enjoyed it. It's not a program, it's not a new methodology. It's just an emphasis. One of the things I like about the book is that the focus is not on method, it's on character. Be a Christ-follower, and remember your oikos.

I highly recommend it--it's organic, age-transcending, and durable.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Three Ministry Principles

Last Sunday I had a meeting with the people who were interested in being youth sponsors. 16 people showed up--excited, energized, and full of ideas.
What I had intended to simply be an informational meeting turned out to be something more like a pep-rally. Well, maybe it wasn't that wild, but there was a lot of excitement in the room. The reason I wanted to have a meeting is because we're taking some steps in a new direction in youth ministry, and I wanted to describe the areas that will need attention in the new approach. I'm really excited about this plan. It's been percolating in my brain for some time now (usually I have an idea and get to antsy to start it that I forget about details--luckily Ashley helped me think this one through) and I'm ready to kick it off and get it started. The basic principles behind this change can be summed up in 3 points.

1) It's Driving Force is Prayer
The more sponsors we have the better, because their first responsibility is to pray. I read this morning in Psalm 127 "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." I also take this to mean: "Unless the Lord builds the youth ministry, the youth pastor labors in vain." That's why I make prayer the priority of our sponsors. We can't get the results we want without God. We can't change hearts, save souls, or do anything of value apart from God. So we pray.
2) It's Primary Concern is Evangelism
We're in the last chapter of human history, in which God is bringing all his children to himself. We know that God's purposes will come to fruition, whether we are a part of it or not. And we also know that WE are the ones who are missing out if we do not involve ourselves with God's global mission. And so in this method we use what we have: a friendly family body and a large kitchen. We want use these things to offer something to the community, so that they will come and hear the gospel.
3) It's Ultimate Purpose is Glory
Not our glory, God's. And this third principle is entwined with the first. We are fully aware that we cannot do anything of any value apart from God's supernatural power. The system is set up so that if these new plans are successful (success=growth of faith, new believers, encouraged body) then all credit goes to God. He will choose to bless or not to bless. And we will try our best to do two things: 1) show them the gospel in the way we live and interact with others, and 2) teach them the gospel through God's Word. The gospel is the power of God, and I'm going to try my best to rest my whole ministry on that truth.

So there you go, what do you think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to Cast a Vision

Here are some thoughts on How to Cast a Vision. I'm specifically thinking along the lines of a church, but I think this strategy would work in any organization. What do you think?

Step One: Know your mission.
The mission is not the vision. The mission is the command; the end goal; the ultimate priority. This is where we want to end up. You can't go anywhere until you know where we want to go. So this is where you start. What is your mission?
In the case of a church, the mission is clear and can be summed up in a few words: "Go therefore and make disciples in all the nations..." This is our mission.

Step Two: Know yourself.
Because every person and every church has been gifted in different way, visions will be different. The mission will never change, but visions will. Some churches will be more suited for international mission outreach, while others are more suitable for local community service outreach. Both fulfill the mission even though they look completely different. So before you determine what your vision is, take time to consider what your strengths and weaknesses are. This is one of the ways God directs us. A good little memorable tagline for this is: "Take what is in your hand and offer it to what is in your reach." What does your church have to offer?

Step Three: Know what to do
So now you have your end goal (your mission) and you have your strengths and weaknesses--now you brainstorm. This is the strategy part. What strategies can you come up with to utilize your strengths in a way that fulfill the mission? Take time to flesh it out, until you get to a point where you know what it looks like. And what it looks like is your vision. At this point is helps to make a summarizing statement of your vision. Many churches use "To Glorify God by Making Disciples" or something along those lines. It helps to summarize the vision in one encapsulating sentence to bring it to the people.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thoughts on a Healthy Church

In preparation for a vision casting elder's meeting we're having tomorrow, I put together four marks of a healthy church.

What does it look like?

· It’s a church operated by prayer.

“Prayer is the visible engine that drives our church.” –John Piper, author and head pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.

· It’s a church that has a passion for the lost, and has organized, publicized, unified efforts to bring the gospel to their community.

“Take what is in your hand, and offer it to who is in your reach.” – Robert Bishop, head pastor of Whittier Hills Baptist Church.

· It’s a church in which young and old are entwined through the biblical means of mentoring and discipleship.

“Jesus trained His disciples superbly for their future roles. He taught by example and by precept; His teaching was done ‘on the way.’ Jesus did not ask the twelve to sit down and take notes in a formal classroom. Jesus’ classrooms were the highways of life; His principles and values came across in the midst of daily experience.” –J. Oswald Sanders, author of Spiritual Leadership.

· It’s a church that has God’s heart for the nations, and is willing to take faith-filled steps to go. “Many Christians are oblivious of the most glorious story in world history, the spread of Christianity through the blood and tears and joy of world missions.” John Piper, in Brothers We Are Not Professionals.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


"A vision without a task makes a visionary,
A task without vision is drudgery,
A vision with a task makes a missionary."

N.G. Dunning