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Are You Ministering or Performing?

Performer Minister

There are ministers and there are performers. And unfortunately, there are some ministers who act more like performers.

I hate unpreparedness. Nothing irks me more than when someone, particularly in a church service, gets up to do something without having prepared. I believe in doing everything with excellence, and when leading, I try not to let anything but the best occur under my watch and supervision. Anything less is inexcusable, although some things inevitably slip through the cracks.

But at the same time, there’s a fine line between excellence and perfection, or between preparedness and performance, particularly in church.

I’ve come to believe that when your goal is perfection, it can easily move from ministry to performance, and those are VERY different things. Read the rest of this entry

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MY BOOK LIVES! New Title, New Release Date (and my favorite stuffed animal) Revealed!

THE BOOK UPDATE EVERYONE (all 14 of you) HAS BEEN WAITING FOR…

MY BOOK LIVES! (And my teddy bear has a head again.)

Ladies and gentleman, many moons ago I wrote a gut-wrenching, tear-stained post about the death of my highly anticipated (by my Mom and 14 others) book. If you didn’t see it, you can read it here. I wrote about how my favorite teddy bear’s head had been ripped off. (Assuming I actually had a favorite teddy bear, which if I did, I’d never admit. At least, not until the very end of this post.) Read the rest of this entry

Should Your Church Euthanize Small Groups?

NOT small-groups

Someone recently pointed me to a blog post that said churches should “euthanize small groups.” You can read it here. I think it’s fairly old, but new to me. At first I feared the author might be an insane murderer, but as I read, I realized he didn’t mean it literally. When he said we should euthanize small groups, he simply meant the practice of such a thing in church, not the groups themselves (whew).

The author made several arguments, stating that small groups don’t really create disciples but, rather, they tend to create ineffective, half-hearted friendships that don’t truly fulfill the Great Commission.

Okay, I could buy into that to some extent. It’s certainly been true of many of the small groups I’ve tried to be a part of. But it’s not true of all of them. So it’s a highly over-generalized idea. I’ve been a part of some truly close-knit, spiritually effective small groups, as well.

I don’t think we need to kill our small groups. But, there certainly ARE some things we could euthanize Read the rest of this entry

How I Impressed My Toughest Critic

Critic-Main-600x314

Several months ago I wrote a post called “What Makes God Laugh?” I came up with that question and really didn’t have a very hard time answering it. I can easily guess a few things that might make God laugh, so the blog was pretty easy to write.

But I’ve since come up with a similar question that’s been FAR harder to answer:

“What makes my wife laugh?”

I’ve found this to be a nearly impossible task. She is by far my toughest critic. Read the rest of this entry

Good Things From Strange Fire

Strange-Fire

John MacArthur recently held a conference called “Strange Fire” to tell as many people as would listen that the Charismatic movement is bad–very, very, very bad (but in a LOT more words than that).

I googled “strange fire” images for this post. Interestingly, I only found images of normal fire. So now the only thing I can ponder is what exactly “strange fire” might look like. Perhaps it looks like little drops of rain? That would certainly be strange. Or maybe it looks like duck-billed platypuses. No, that wouldn’t be strange; that would just be cute. So I’m left all verklempt!

Thanks MacArthur. You’ve ruined my day.

Not only do I think his title is kinda crazy, but I also think his conclusions are significantly flawed. After reading through many of the transcripts from the conference, I completely disagree with MacArthur’s broad, lumping generalizations. They lumped all of us together in sweeping generalizations and demonized the entire Pentecostal and Charismatic movements—literally.

But with that said, in hopes of not adding to the negativity of this whole thing, I pulled a few positive notes from what I’ve read. Here are three observations from MacArthur’s Strange-Fire-whatever-that-looks-like-conference that I think are worthwhile: Read the rest of this entry

35 and Contemplative

35_years_in_the_life

Today I turn 35. And for the first time in my life, I’m taking inventory of all my years. It’s quite an experience.

We have an opportunity to pray in our chapel every morning. I often go and spend time there in the mornings. My prayer time is typically filled with the usual requests for guidance, help, and protection over my family, along with many other needs. But this morning’s prayer was quite different.

Today, realizing my life could easily be halfway over, I began a contemplative sort of prayer. I looked at the storyline of my life. The ups and downs, the failures and successes, the good choices and the bad, and the emotional ride of it all.

I’ve experienced many things I always hoped to experience. I graduated high school and college. I got married, went into ministry, had kids. I had a goal of having a published book by age 35, and that goal will soon be fulfilled. I’ve achieved a lot on my bucket list.

But I’ve also experienced many things that weren’t on my to-do list. Read the rest of this entry

Turn Off The Screen, Turn On The Love

What would happen if we all turned off our screens for a few hours every night? What if we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Lego Batman, Disney Channel, and Candy Crush for just a few hours? Would the world stop turning? Would our faces melt? Would we go into withdrawal? My family has been answering this question for a few months now.

I’m happy to say my face is still intact.

Off Switch

About 2 months ago we started a new rule at home: no screens from 5:00-8:00 every night. I thought this would be more akin to my childhood. We only had THREE channels back then (assuming we could dial them in on the tuner and rabbit ears). When I came home from school every afternoon, cartoons were on for one hour and G.I. Joe was a daily indulgence.

Once the afternoon hour of cartoons ended, TV was off my radar until Cosby, Silver Spoons, or Small Wonder graced the screen during Prime Time. I wasn’t interested in watching the evening news, so my brother and I did something that’s almost taboo these days… Read the rest of this entry