Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love With An Agenda

Have you ever loved someone with an agenda? I have preached and heard that we shouldn't love people with an agenda.  After contemplating that more I have come to notice that it is said more as a crutch for not sharing the gospel.

Sometimes it takes us having an agenda to get involved in a persons life.

When my wife and I first met...I had an agenda. I wanted her to like me. I wanted her to be charmed only by me. I wanted nothing else than to have her as mine. So I planned, purposed, and proposed. My plan was simple. Communicate with her as much as possible. We had a long distance relationship so I was going to write, IM, email, talk on the phone, do whatever I had to in order to stay at the front of her mind. My purpose was to win her heart. I did that by driving approx 2,000 miles to see her. Every moment I was with her I drank it in so I could pour out my own affection toward her. After several trips (not all by car) she moved to the city I lived in. About two months later I proposed. It all started with an agenda.

If I didn't have an agenda I could have lost out on the very best person I have ever had in my life.

I don't need to approach a person as another spiritual conquest. However, I need to have an agenda to open a pathway for people who don't have a relationship with God to encounter Him. If I don't because I don't want to love a person with an agenda I could very well miss out on daily opportunities to tell people I should connect with about Jesus.

People we come into contact with deserve to hear about Jesus. We cannot fail in this rudimentary portion of our faith.

Jesus didn't say "Love people if you like them" or "Just tell the people you like about Me." One thing He did say that should cut us to the heart is:  "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say?"

You don't love a person well if they don't have a relationship with God and you remain silent.

Love with an agenda because some people don't love at all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mission HQ or Mission Field

Generally speaking the most dominate movement within the modern day American church is to be MISSIONAL. This movement, when done with compassion, consistency, and tenacity will reshape the structure of the church.

Sinner has to assimilate to the Church
before they actually have an encounter
with God.
The predominant "missional" practice is to compel people to come to a church function (youth group, men's/women's ministries, outreach located at or near the church, etc) A great deal of time, energy, and money is spent on outreaches that draw people to the Church. This is not bad but it makes the "Sinner" take the first step...and that not toward God but toward the Church. We can believe that what we are doing is missional but it is far from it.
Church goes to where the Sinner is at
and opens the door for the Sinner to have
an encounter with God in their context.

I love the practice of those that attend Mars Hill in Seattle, WA. Their pastor, Mark Driscoll, says that you can look at his church's budget and you won't see a lot of money being spent on outreaches. And the reason that is because within his church the people know that outreach is a thing that they are supposed to do every day. So instead of 1 outreach committee and 1 outreach event a month or whatever; you have 100's of "outreaches" going every single day. That is the reality of Christians actually being missional.

Just think of the tremendous impact a truly missional church would make for Christ. Picture your church. How many people attend? How many of the people either do nothing or do everything? How often do you have a strategic evangelistic emphasis? Who gets involved? Is it the same people? Just imagine the impact your church could have if the DNA of the church was that each person intentionally reached out to someone everyday.

Let's say your church has 50 people and everyone of them reaches out everyday to one person. Now lets say that only 10% of those that they reached out to everyday accepted Christ and started attending your church with that type of DNA:  Sunday 50, Monday 55, Tuesday 61, Wednesday 67, Thursday 74, Friday 81, Saturday 89, Sunday 98 so in a sense by the time the next week rolls around you would have nearly doubled the attendance of your church.

In order for that to take place we need to infuse a new DNA within the church. It can be catastrophic or revolutionary. But it takes visionaries to start making those steps to create the change in their context to reach their communities for Jesus.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Well Do You Believe

Matthew 10:22
All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

This is one of those hard statements of Jesus' that we don't hear often in church. The reason being is because we have made belief in Jesus something that you stumble upon or that you just need to say "Yes" at the right places in a prayer. We even think that belief is acknowledging a particular religion or having decent church attendance. We have become so casual with our belief that it is not evident in who we are.

This verse pulls no punches. In essence it says that, "Everyone is going to hate you because you love Me over anything in this world to the point that it makes everyone uncomfortable. Because of that pressure many won't stand firm for long but those that do stand firm to the complete end will be saved."

Saying I believe is easy; acting upon that belief is hard. When I was going to a youth group I heard several different people say that believing in Jesus was easy. They would quote John 3:16 like it was just a One-A-Day vitamin to get saved. The reality is that to follow Jesus is more than just saying "I believe." When the Bible says, "...whoever believes in [Jesus] will have eternal life" it is not talking about those that say, "Uh huh" in a prayer but of those that say, "I am" in a lifestyle.

Believing in Jesus has cost me friendships.
Believing in Jesus has cost me relationships.
Believing in Jesus has cost me certain pleasures.
Believing in Jesus has cost me a tremendous amount of life's experiences.
Believing in Jesus has cost me my life.
All of these are well worth giving up to Him over and over again.

I think instead of asking a person, "What do you believe," a better question would be "How well do you believe?"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I think the longer and longer that I am in ministry the more and more intolerant I have become. I know what you may be thinking as soon as I said that politically incorrect word but you've got it wrong.

I have become more and more intolerant of Christians who pretend that they have just finished having their regular morning frap with Jesus at Starbucks and then they pick up their picket signs and go stand on the street encouraged by the new app Jesus showed them.

I hope God smites them. I have never used the word smite before but it fit. That may have been a little unChristian but I DON'T CARE!

How we respond to a sinner reflects on how they view our God. I don't have to be a jerk to show God's love and justice to a person. Put down the picket sign and pick up a heart for people who need Jesus; not the phony cover-up of your own mess type of righteousness.

Also, when we passively dismiss, ignore and turn away from people needing a relationship with Jesus we're holding a sign just as big and don't even realize that we are just as lost as they. We break God's heart when we treat others with disdain for the same reason we needed His Son to be our Savior.

If you are so inclined to picket; start at home and stop at the Church.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked person from among you."

When was the last time you broke down sobbing for this lost generation? They don't need any more fools with signs. They need fools with hearts who are crazy enough to love them where they are.