Just came across a stat that has me dreaming about what needs to change in the local church to help people become the aroma of Christ. The stat is that 84% of outsiders know a Christian, only 15% of them see a marked change in their lifestyle from the rest of the secular world.
I cannot stop thinking about Mary anointing Jesus with expensive fragrances in John 12:3. While we know that this was an act to prepare Jesus for his death and burial, we can easily miss that the act also meant something to the disciple sand the people of that day. Anointing a guest with oil was a common and even expected act of hospitality. But Mary’s use of the expensive perfumed oil made her action point to the anointing of a King.
The Hebrew word for Messiah literally means “The Anointed One.” Instead of being crowned, Hebrew Kings were anointed with sacred perfume. The beautiful scent that it left behind served as an invisible crown. A King was recognized for his royal aroma. Even the people that the King surrounded himself with would be recognized because they carried with them the aroma of the King. During royal processions etc., the fragrance of expensive perfumes would inform the crowds that a King was passing by. Look at just one example in Psalm 45:7-8.
Now picture the scene in John 12 where Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The crowd was not greeting just another rabbi. They were identifying with the aroma of a King and shouting Blessed is the King of Israel. Everywhere that Jesus went the final week of his life people were met with the fragrance of royalty. Now draw the parallel to 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 that we are the aroma of God to a lost and dying world. As Christ followers we are to spread the fragrance of Christ everywhere we go.
I know I don’t have all the answers but its time for us to start thinking new thoughts.
The fact is I do not know many people that like change. Change takes us out of our comfort zone to the the realm of the unknown. As a leader you are always having to balance when the proper time is to make a change. Make it too soon and no one will follow you, make it too late and it could cost you your organization. I’ve learned over the years that the best time to make a change is at the top of the curve when everything is going at its best. Right now in my church and in my family we are experiencing a lot of change. How does your family respond when change comes knocking on your door?
As Christ Followers we know that one of the Master’s favorite tools for shaping us is by introducing change into our lives. To be quite frank I’m not sure how you can be a growing Christian and not expereicne some sort of change on a regualr basis. At any moment He may ask me to sacrifice, who I am for who I can become. When those times arrive I so badly want to embrace the change He has placed into motion for my life. One of my favorite qoutes in life is from A.W. Tozer: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So with that thought in mind how do you handle change when it enters into your life? Does your God become small and you find yourself worried and upset thinking everything is out of control or do you recognize that we have a Big Soverign God that is in control of your life? My prayer is that when change comes that I will let go of my plans and trust the plans that my Loving Father has for my life.
I think one of the qualifications to being an effective leader is if you can lead your people through change. The fact is change is mandatory for any group that wants to make a mark in today’s world. In his book, Teaching the Elephants to Dance, James Belasco uses the analogy of liberating elephants. Trainers shackle young elephants with heavy chains to deeply embedded stakes. In that way the elephant learns to stay in its place. Older, powerful elephants never try to leave-even though they have the strength to pull the stake and free themselves. Their conditioning has limited their movements. With only a small metal bracelet around their foot attatched to nothing, they stand in place. The stakes are actually gone!
Like powerful elephants churches are bound by earlier restraints. The statement “We have always done it this way” is limiting to a churches progress. What happens over time is that church becomes paralyzed to the change that is taken place around them and quickly find themselves no longer being essential to the culture they are called to reach. To the younger generation the church slowly begins to look irrelevant to their lives.
Yet when the circus tent catches fire-and the elephants see the flames with its own eyes and smells the smoke, it forgets its old conditioning and changes. The elephant physically escapes the fire. The leaders task is to Set a Fire. Point out the fire so the church can see the smoke with their own eyes and smell the smoke with their own noses. In my opinion the fire is the vision that God has for your church. When people begin to embrace the vision things begin to change.
I am sold out to keeping the flame stoked for those that partner with Five Stones Church. Our mission/vision is to Encourage people to know God and to take their next step with Him.
Which will result in: Christ followers that are changing the community and the world by actively living out their faith.
If this fire resonates within your heart then maybe God is leading you to partner with us.
Matthew 25 recounts a story Jesus told of an Oriental master and his three servants. The generous master gives the servants varying levels of finances (five talents to the first servant, two talents to the second, and one talent to the third) and then leaves on an extended trip. Because of the context in which this story is told (a discussion about the return of Christ and how we are to live in light of his return), its clear that the master represents Christ. The three servants represents his disciples.
But its in the details that Jesus really makes his points.
First, the master gives the servants a lot of money. A talent, translated across cultures, with inflation, could represent as much as two hundred thousand dollars today.
Second the master gives the trust without restrictions. He basically says, “Here’s the money; I’ll be back.” He doesn’t put limitations on the funds. He doesn’t even make suggestions for the money’s use.
But the master does have some assumptions. While he doesn’t tell his servants what to do with the money, he assumes they’ll do something.
The bottom line of the story is that God wants us to be adventurous. He charges us to be entrepreneurs. He challenges us to be creative. He calls us to be aggressive. He invites us to take risks. Jesus’ answer to how we are to live in light of His return is, “Go for it!” We’re not to wait around. We’re to get busy. We’re to take initiative. We’re not to live in fear. We’re to proceed in faith.
So how does this story apply to those of who are going to be a part of Five Stones Church? We are the servants who are blessed by a generous Master. We are the ones in a position to do something. You know what we are going to do? We’re not going to play it safe. We’re going to try to reach as many people as we possibly can. We’re also going to encourage people to be taking their next spritual step. Whatever has been put at our disposal we are going to put in motion for the salvation of others. While the rsik is great and their is no safety net we recognize that if we aren’t taking steps with Christ then we are not growing in our faith. So while the risk is large the return on the investment is incredible.
Seems like I have been answering this question so much lately I decided to post the information here. This past year I went on a vision trip for our church with the 410 Bridge. The goal of that trip was to come back with a village that we could partner with for the next three years. God led us to the village of Kandaria, and this summer I will be leading the first trip for our church to Kenya.
The people in the village of Kandaria are focused and desire to reach their goal to become a self-sustaining community. They even have a plan to help villages once they get back up on their feet. The other reason is that most of the kids are orphans in this village and our church can really do a lot to make a difference. I just recently founnd out that out of a population of 6,500 people over 1,200 are orphaned.
What Will I Do?
Our team will assist the people in Kandaria through a water project, community construction, working on and in their schools and making spiritual relationships.
How Much Does it Cost?: The trip costs $3,500.00. To be honest when most people read the price they immediately compare that number to what is in their checking accounts. For most people those two numbers don’t add up. Let me be honest for over 90% of the people those numbers will never add up. The good news is that there are people in your life that would love to be a part of this trip by sponsoring you. When I look at some of the earliest missionary trips in the Bible almost every one was done by the support of others. So while I know that the economy is bad the fact is the need to do mission work does not stop during a bad economy.
A State of Emergency: to say that Kenya is in a state of emeregency would be the understatement of the year. I pray that you would consider joining me on this incredible trip. Let me warn you that once you go your life will never be the same. Let me also share with you another truth that I learned during my brief 10 days journey through Kenya.
“I need Kenya more than Kenya needs me.”
So many times in my life I can hear and be moved by a message but then a few days later I can lose focus of what I’ve learned. I hope these questions help you ad your family as you process all that God is doing in your life. Make sure you also implement the action items that are listed or come up with some of your own. I would love to hear your feedback on what you thought about this process at the end of the week.
Have you ever been in a tornado, hurricane, earthquake or really big storm? What happened?
What does it look like to “have a storm in your life”? Why is a “storm” a good description for those events?
The speaker said we are all in one of three places. Which one of these best describes you and your family right now?
a. You are currently in the middle of a storm.
b. A storm is coming and you don’t know about it.
c. Or you are just walking away from a storm that has blown through.
Do you feel like God is in control even in the middle of your storm?
Read John 16:33. How can this help us remember God is in control—even in the storms of life?
What might God be showing you about Himself through the storm?
When everyone was afraid because of the storm and their bad situation, Paul was steady. Why do you think Paul had confidence in the storm? (Read Philippians 4:12-13.)
How might your relationship with God be changed by the storm?
If you are going through a storm right now, who are the people that may be watching you and your family as you go through this storm? Put these names on your fridge and take the time and pray for them.
Make an appointment this month with someone that you wrote down on your card to “TELL” them your story of how God is in control of your storm.
Print out the attached image below and display it in a prominent spot to remind yourself of this truth.
Get your Spade Work in: Read Acts 9-12
Sunday Night Mind-Dump
- Preaching three service is always tiring but I’ve never felt so emotionally exhausted after a service. While I am exhausted I cannot get my brain to shut down.
I was honored to hear so many storm stories in between the services today.
Carmel has more people in the middle of a storm than I had anticipated.
I saw more tears today in the services than I have in all my years at Carmel.
I heard that I was 20 minutes late in the first service but yet was on time in the other two. How does that happen?
I so appreciate all of our volunteers that have to leave a little early to make it to their posts. Hope they know that I asked for the doors to stay closed so that they could have a chance to respond in worship,.
One of the most vocal services today had to be the 11am traditional hour. I think I got a little to Old School Southern Baptist in there. I love preaching in that service.
God had his hand all over Derek McFarland today. Lem did a great job coordinating all three service. I missed worshiping with my family in the Edge today.
For the record my tie was orange and not pink.What happened to Ralph’s hair did anyone ever find out?
Heard that I made some people upset in the 11am service when I said don’t get your “panties in a wad.” Funny I have no idea when I said that or why I said that. Shouldn’t that statement be negated if you did get your panties in a wad after I said don’t?
Spoke to a lady today who has just lost her home, car, and all of her savings and yet with tears in her eyes she was praising God.
The end of the 9:30am worship blew me away. To say that our people engaged God in worship on the closing song would be an under statement. I hope we start worshiping with that type of intensity every Sunday.
Thanking God that people felt the freedom to do business with Him at the altar. Felt like God had His hand on me in all three services today. I love that feeling.
Had a hard time processing the images of the hurting people that God was flashing in my mind as I preached about the storms.
Praying for those who are in the middle of the storm. Praying for those who are watching us in the storm.
It was a show-stopping move by any standards. Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft and a renowned philanthropist, let loose a swarm of mosquitoes at a technology conference in California to highlight the dangers of malaria.
‘Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,’ the Microsoft founder yelled at a well-heeled crowd at a technology conference in California.
’I brought some,’ he added. ‘Here, I’ll let them roam around – there is no reason only poor people should be infected.’
Obviously Bill Gates has come under fire for pulling such a show stooping move, but it makes you wonder what is it going to take for most Americans to wake up from our comfortable life. The fact is the world that I live in is not te real world. Did you know that Up to 2.7 million people a year still die of malaria each year and that 75 percent of them are African children. The community that we are partnering with in Kandaria, Kenya is a place in which you have to take several precautions because of the malaria carrying mosquitos. I can’t imagine having to worry about that as a parent. It is time that we set this as a priority to help our brothers and sisters in Africa.
I always love it when people post the tools that they are using to help them in both their personal and business life. Here are some of the tools that I use and love on a daily basis.
Computer: MacBook Pro
Web Browser: Firefox
Cell Phone: iPhone 3G
iPhone Apps That I Love:
TwitterFon, Things, Evernote, eWallet, Keynote Remote, Mint, Streaks, Moleskineery, Sportacular, vlingo
Task Management: Things
Social Networking: Twitter
Twitter Desktop: TweetDeck
Video Chat: Tokbox
Identity Protection: LifeLock
Personal Finances/ Money Management : Mint
Meeting/Project Notes: Notebook
URL Shortner: TinyURL
If you are a parent then you know what I mean when I say, “The Look.” Every child has their own unique appearance. But the look I’m talking about is something completely different. The Look I’m talking about is that expression that’s says “Daddy are you watching what I am doing?” As a Dad this is the look that captures my heart.
Piper just recently gave me this look on Christmas morning. Our other two children and family members were caught up in the whirlwind of opening gifts. During the commotion Piper crawled on top of her new pony for a ride. At that moment she didn’t care about what all the others were doing, she didn’t care what the others thought of her being on that horse; she just wanted to see me. My little girl didn’t care about anything else going on in the room at that moment except that I was watching her. I was her audience and she wanted to ride that pony to please me. She was doing the best she could just for me. For that moment I was her audience of one.
I was thinking about that Look again when I saw this picture. I was thinking back to how that Look made my heart feel inside. The love I felt for my little girl at that moment is almost indescribable. So how much more is it for God’s heart when we live our life before Him that way? I so want my life be lived in such a way that God smiles when He looks at me. That He knows just by my look that I’m living to please Him. So “Abba” Father watch me this year as I live my life before you… my audience of One.