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Wednesday
Jun082011

Its Not My Fault.

I hear this a lot today, no one takes the responsibility for their actions, or the results of decisions made.  We have leadership in all segments of society who never come out and tell the truth, "I messed up, I made a bad decision, and I am sorry." The only time people come to admit wrong doing is when they get caught in an activity that is either immoral or illegal. I remember a few years ago, Pastor Bill Hybels from Willow Creek Church outside of Chicago came to a realization that some of the thinking and teaching that he and others promoted at Willow was wrong. He actually admitted, 'We were wrong."  Wow, that was not characteristic of what is normally seen in the church.  Rarely will anyone admit fault, and confess that decisions were based upon ego, pride, and self centeredness. Here is a statement you won't hear too often in our Christian circles, but it is true. There are many non-profit ministries that are run more like private personal businesses than they are ministries governed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. All the ministries I have been affiliated with over the years will claim to be Christ centered, but in many cases, when you press in to see about how the ministry makes decisions, or crafts a vision you find its more about ego, pride and personal preferences than it is about being Biblical or Christ centered. Sound harsh?  Sure it does, but it's true. The larger the organization, the more this is masked, but in smaller ministries it's really about the person leading the ministry. Is that all bad?  No, leadership takes guts, fortitude, and perseverance today, and that can be seen as ego and pride. However, when a leader goes unchecked, or is ever questioned on attitude, ministry decisions, foundational theology, or style of leadership,  then I think the organization has a problem. 

God uses our natural talents, experience and spiritual gifting to further His work, but when it becomes anything less than 100% about Jesus Christ, then we are making idols based upon ourselves, and the work we do. 

Too many leaders have used spiritual authority, prophetic concepts, and twisted Biblical teaching to manipulate their agenda on a group of people. Many have invented their own gospel, as in the case of those who teach that the church will take dominion over the earth and prepare it for the return of Jesus Christ.  It is true we go into all the world and teach the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but that is a different kind of concept than what is often portrayed through a dominion theology.  Now I am not here to debate all the craziness that is passed off as truth in the Body of Christ today, but I am here to ask leaders to be honest about whose agenda they are following? As a leader do you ever make theological mistakes, or bad decisions about the ministry you lead?  If yes, then why don't we hear more honesty from you about those mistakes?  When leadership is being lead by the Holy Spirit, they will not only admit to fault, they will admit that their human intervention has caused some flawed decisions they passed off as "God is leading us to...." 

And why don't we admit to more fault?  Because fault means I could be wrong about a lot of things, and if that were to be known what kind of following would I have?  Oh, I see, we are worried that our followers/supporters won't trust us anymore, is that it?  Well, here again if honesty prevailed, are we suppose to have followers? (only allowed on Twitter)

Following someone means they have something worthwhile to follow after, and the truth of the matter, no ministry has anything a part from Christ worth following. The only value in my life or in the life of the ministry I serve is Christ, and Him alone....period.

Bottom line for me: Ministries that function for the sake of the ministry itself is an idol, and leaders who run those ministries in that fashion should repent, or be replaced.

Harsh?  Really? If you think I am harsh then check out Revelation chapters 2 and 3, and see what Jesus said about ministries who were not willing to admit fault. 

Keeping it honest and truthful.....K

I know our memories are short, and we forget quite easily. So here was a great moment in the life a church.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMVtUWH4MxY

 

 

 

Tuesday
Jun072011

When God Lets Go.

New York representative Anthony Weiner has been all over the news these last few days because he got cute with some underwear pictures of himself and sent them out to some females followers on Twitter.  Now come on, who cares Anthony?  The fact you are representing the people of New York in Congress should mean you are above these kinds of pranks. These little moments of bad judgment do cost people in leadership, even if they don't resign, they never have the same impact they once did. Anthony Weiner will always be known as the "underwear congressman" and that handle will be hard to live down.  We have seen the Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer resign because he had a fling with some prostitute. On the West Coast, its just as bad. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger terminated his marriage because he fathered a child with a mistress. Of course infidelity isn't just an American issue, Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty Monday to sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a maid at a New York City hotel. Oh, and then there's former Senator John Edwards, who denied at first he fathered a child while being married to his late wife. We have very talented, very bright, and very politically smart leaders all falling to the oldest trick in the book, "unfaithfulness." This is why I have said for years, "leadership with God, is no leadership at all.....period."

Greta from On the Record and Fox News posted this video recently that illustrates my point.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/987335250001/political-sexcapades-an-

When a society decides it knows better than God, and determines to create their own universe without Him, God in His mercy will let them go to do their own thing. He does so, for two reasons.

1. Hopefully one day they will come to the end of themselves and realize without Him, life doesn't work.

2. When they reach judgment day for how they lived their lives, He just has to say, "you chose your own path, and apart from Me, there is no life. Now you will receive the reward for a decision that will cost you an eternity without God..." 

How stupid to gamble away this life which is for a limited time, and lose time without end in paradise with God. That my friend is the power of sin, to blind someone to the truth that eternity is real, and it is won or lost in the way choose or deny God in this life. 

Let it be known that God pursues us, but there comes a point when He says, "Okay you are on your own." Here is how He says that in Romans 1:24-25 

 24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,  25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

The issues we are facing in society today are not new, they just get more press.  We should be grieved as a nation that our leaders live such pitiful lives. However, my point is,  if God lets go, this is what you can expect. There is nothing that can hold back the tsunami of human depravity once God is removed.  Sorry society, you chose it, your motto has been remove Him, remove Him and remove Him.  Well, here is a news headline:
"What is  life like in a society built upon ego, pride, and selfish ambition?"  Well read the morning news its all there.  

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

If you want an under 3 minute resolution to a society without God, here is a link that will do that. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFTX80TpZ_4

Monday
Jun062011

Gardening, A Great Lesson In Spiritual Growth

My wife is an avid gardener, she plants, and then rearranges what she plants because we have to make room for more plantings.  In the end, it all looks great, and she has won some awards from the local neighborhood association. I am the person who waters. I bought some tangle free hoses this spring, so my watering can be sped up without the hassle of tangled hoses.  We have a great arrangement, she plants, I water, and both aspects of this partnership is critical if we expect anything to grow. 

The Apostle Paul knew this principle, because he used it in to illustrate how we grow spiritually. 

1 Corinthians 3:6-8

 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

No matter what my wife plants, and no matter how often I water, once those are done, it's up to the earth, the sun, and God to make things grow.  No matter how hard you try to grow spiritually, through the planting of the word of God in your heart, the watering of prayer, and the fellowship with other believers, only God gives the increase.  If God gives the increase, what makes that increase greater in some peoples lives and lessor in others?  Isn't God  fair in giving His increase?

As I take another lesson from my gardening experience by looking at what my neighbors plant. Most only marginally plant flowers. They rarely plant the volume that my wife does, so their increase is exactly what they sowed.  Few plants, few watering obligations.  (hummmm.....shorter trips with the hose....???) So increase can be directly proportional to your labor of planting, at least that is one element of how Gods increase works. Jesus said some would just naturally plant more flowers than others. It's just the way their DNA wired them.

Mark 4:8

 8And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

In Matthew 13, there are more gardening tips on how to grow a spiritual life and the ramifications of poor gardening, including those pesky weeds.   My wife loves to plant her gardens so that the growing season has blooming flowers early, middle and late in the season, so there is always beautiful color in her garden. What about this truth in our lives?  Do you have spiritual color in the stage of life you are in?  Are you allowing God to bring to bloom what He planted in your life? 

Another aspect of defining spiritual growth for the Christian today means, are you standing for what you believe in or are you letting the weeds of culture drown out the beauty of the Lord in your life?  Growth means you stand your ground, defending against those who would want to choke out the message you represent, the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Your life, like your garden, may not be what it could be, but there is always hope for another season, where God can restore the dried up, and withered.  You might like the link below, it illustrates how hope brings life back to what was once broken.

Keeping things honest and truthful.....K 

 http://www.porcelainunicorn.com/

Friday
Jun032011

Technology Rules!

We all know that technology rules, and in our wireless connections how can we keep ourselves private? Good question, and it will continue to get worse, because technology is growing.  In fact here are some forecasts you might find interesting.

Cisco Systems has released several predictions about where the Internet is heading, noting that overall traffic will grow fourfold by the close of 2015, reaching zetabyte territory for the first time. The data boom will be driven in large part by the increased use of wireless devices, which are expected to account for more Internet traffic in the next four years than the entire Internet did in 2006, and are expected to outnumber people by a 2-to-1 ratio.

By 2015, the traffic across global IP networks every five minutes will be the equivalent to the data size of all movies ever made. There will be six million households globally that are consuming a terabyte of data each month. That isn't hard to fathom with the way everything is moving towards streaming deliveries for software and video.

The traffic during the so-called busy hour will increase by a factor of five between now and 2015. The traffic during the busy hour by 2015 will be the equivalent of 200 million people streaming HD video continuously.

If these predictions are right, life will be consumed by internet traffic in commerce, entertainment, and with personal data. What does this all mean?  Well, it means we are fulfilling a prophecy found in scripture. It means that eventually you will not be able to buy or sell without a mark.

Revelation of John 13:16-18

16Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,  17so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.  18This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

That mark, I am convinced will give you access to the internet and the financial systems that will eventually be only on line.  More and more institutions are charging for printed statements, meaning, they want you on line with everything you do, including paying your bills. Access to the internet now is free, but once it becomes a controllable entity, and all your information is stored on line, it will be an easy sell to take the Mark.

So whats my point?  Technology is the new Babylon, it is the new market square, it is the small group you always wanted and it is the place you can be a voice to the world. We don't have to afraid of this technology, we need to use it while it is day, for the night is coming when no man will be able to work.

John 9:4

 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.

Today, this technology is a great friend, but there is coming a day it will be your worse enemy. Use it wisely today to tell people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is our only hope to overcoming the Babylon of Technology. (read about Babylon in Revelation 18 it will help you understand this phrase)

Keeping it honest and truthful.....K

You might find this link interesting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmz5qYbKsvM

Thursday
Jun022011

Donors: Has The Giving Wind Changed Directions?

David Kinnaman, President of the Barna Group writes: “The implication is that church and non-profit leaders should prepare for another lean year. Response to this reality suggests avoiding high-risk and untested fundraising efforts and communicating effectively with constituents. In addition, consider proactive financial management, including adjusting income expectations. Avoid using traditional financial projections as reluctant donors are likely to cut back on the number of organizations and frequency of their support. One of the fundamentals is relentlessly addressing six donor motivations – as identified in previous work by the Barna team – including: operating efficiently, featuring the compelling cause at the core of your work, communicating the urgency of the need, nurturing personal relationships with donors, demonstrating transformational impact, and helping contributors feel a sense of personal benefit from giving. These appear to be as important as ever as donors scale back their giving.”

Those six donor motivations are extremely perceptive, and appear to be on course for non-profit work and their ability to raise money.  I think the day is passed for most people who make contributions do so simply because you are a Christian ministry.  Donors want to know that their contribution is going toward ministry work that is truly preaching the gospel whether it's by the preaching of the word, or by transformation works done in the name of Christ. I know my giving has taken an extreme turn about, and for the most part I am supporting missionaries that I know are on the front lines of communicating the gospel. The winds of change are affecting the way people give.  We all know that if the economy is poor it will affect the giving levels of believers. However, giving to Christ shouldn't be tied to the economy because faith isn't held captive by what the marketplace does.  That is why the tithe (10%) is a great standard for the percentage of what should be given away. Regardless of what is brought in for income in a household, a tithe should be given to your local Christ centered ministries.  Now, most pastors say that the tithe belongs to the local church, and in principle I would agree with that, however, if your local church isn't preaching the gospel, or actively seeking the lost, I would reconsider that principle.   Simply to support the infra-structure of buildings and salaries is not what I would call wise investment. The Barna Group also reports that only about 7% of believing Christians actually tithe.  That in itself should tell you about the confidence we have in what we do in ministry, or the type of faith we really have in God.  My point is simple, giving trends have changed, and ministry leaders must come to grips with that reality.  Many ministries, including local churches are poorly run, and have little to no vision.  They have been benign for years, and I think people who are donors refuse to invest money into a black hole. Secondly, ministries that are only self serving the body will also have a harder time extracting contributions. As the younger generations mature in their giving, they will be looking for ministries that are compelling and prove they have what it takes to drive the message of the gospel into the spiritual vacuum in our culture. Simply to hold a worship service or provide an educational forum is no longer a strong enough reason to give money. Donors are looking for transformational evidence that what you say or what you do is having an affect on people for Christ, period...!!!  So if you are on a non-profit ministry board, serve the local church, or work in some advisory capacity, you might consider reviewing Barna's six donor motivations again, they are proving to be prophetic. 

Keeping it honest and truthful....K

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