Why I Deactivated Twitter

Because I’m so super spiritual, and I’m cutting out anything that might distract me from the all supreme purpose of glorifying God in the stratosphere of His immensity and indesribableness!!!!

(not sure who made this pic, but it’s superb)

Ok, just the opposite. And I made up indesribableness.

It’s really because Twitter makes my spirit struggle.

I’m a dreamer, as I’ve mentioned. With that comes a predisposition toward living vicariously–and ultimately, enviously–through the lives of others.

For me it tends to be other pastors. I see their successes and triumphs and how much they “LOVE their church” and “can’t believe they get paid to do this” and it takes me to places in my mind that don’t actually exist.

After 10 years of battling chronic, oppressive discontentment, I’m tired of playing the comparison game and asking 1,000 what ifs and on and on and on. It’s exhausting. It makes those closest to me exhausted.

I think about how many times I tweeted something that sounded so insightful and godly, all the while I was in a horrible place. Why? Because I had to have something for someone to like or retweet. I needed to keep up with the Joneses of the Twitterverse…only they aren’t Joneses. They’re Pipers, Chandlers, Giglios, Stanleys, Acuffs, etc. The Hebrews 11 of Evangelical Who’s Who.

So I kissed Twitter goodbye for Lent and probably for longer. At least until I’m mature enough in Christ to not need the adulation of cyber congregants.

Perhaps there’s something in your life that’s more of a distraction and deterrent to Spiritual maturity than anything else.

Dear Leader, Become Irrelevant

I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. ~ Henri Nouwen

These words were penned by one who made himself irrelevant by serving in an out of the way community for the last years of his life. Though highly capable and aptly credentialed, Henri Nouwen died caring for men and women with developmental disabilities.

His words reminded me of Eugene Peterson’s counsel for pastors to avoid wanting to be “where the action is.” In layman’s terms, be wary of the spotlight. Above all, don’t seek it out. Seeking such things opens the door to a monstrous world of soul-deep evils.

How do you keep from seeking center stage? Or have your eyes opened if those grotesque evils start seeping through?

It takes being known. The moment you begin closing yourself off to being truly known and WANTING to be known, be certain that your desire for relevance and subsequent invulnerability will distance you from good leaders and potential co-laborers.

Before long you will have a ‘yes’ team around you that doesn’t bother challenging or prodding. Or, if they do, you’ll ignore their counsel and do what you want regardless. And you’ll be weaker for it. The body will be weaker for it.

But Christ will not be stalled. His work will endure.

Sincerely,

A recovering spotlight seeker

Walking the Fine Lines of Leadership

Leadership is a world unto itself.

Just walk through Barnes & Noble or do a quick search on Amazon.com for leadership books (over 130,000 results).

Then you have all the different kinds of leadership, or at least the sectors in which a person may lead: education, church, non-profit, fortune 500 companies, etc.

I myself am concerned with the non-profit sector, especially church and education. What I’ve discovered is there are innumerable fine lines of leadership.

For instance…

– Where’s the line between leading and appeasing? When do I go from caring about someone’s opinion to catering to that same opinion?

– Where’s the line between shepherding and babying? When do I go from helping guide someone through a situation to holding their hands, feeding them, burping them?

– Where’s the line between requesting and rebuking? When do I go from making an ask or urging involvement to reprimanding?

There are better, smarter, wiser leaders who have answers to these questions, and I’m sure collectively the blogosphere could have a field day with questions like these. But it doesn’t change the fact that every leader, no matter the sector, has to walk these lines and know when and where and how to cross them.

 

Sunday’s Shroud

Sunday is Resurrection day.

It is a day of life.

It is a day of redemption.

It is a day of celebration.

Why, then, are my Sundays so often shrouded in inadequacy, insecurity, and insignificance?

Did what I just do matter?

The preparation, the planning, the praying, the proclaiming–did any of it make any difference whatsoever?

Would people’s lives seem to be as unaffected had I merely read a few quotes, told a nice story, and added a loosely connected verse from the Bible along the way?

This is Sunday. The Lord’s day.

In fact, the only way I know to carry on as a pastor is to remember that it is the Lord’s day, not my day. It is not my time to shine. What I do is not for me. It is for God’s people by His power.

This is no cry for adulation, nor a self-consumed attempt at self-pity.

This is, rather, the unbroken cry that God is active. He may not appear in the rushing wind, or the rupturing earthquake, or the raging fire. Most often in pastoral ministry, God invades that thin silence known to Elijah and other prophets.

This is dedicated to those who press on in the invisible work of pastoral ministry. Your labor, dear friend, is not in vain.

 

Does Hell Know Your Name?

It’s a weird question for sure, but a necessary one.

Is there an active, ongoing conversation amongst the devil and demons (yes, I believe) regarding the fact that you’re making their job harder?

In other words, is hell concerned that you’re making it too hard for darkness and evil to reign supreme around you?

Are committee meetings being held to talk about how you will be slowed down, put down, or cut down?

There’s an incredible account in Acts 19:11-20 from which I gleaned this question, does hell know your name.

Paul and others have been preaching with Spirit-empowered boldness and courage. It’s said in Acts 17 that they’ve “turned the world upside down.” They had positioned themselves to be used by God in crazy ways.

And some who were familiar with the likes of Paul were capitalizing off his name and fame. In particular there were seven sons of a Jewish high priest going around town and casting out demons, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” So basically, “We don’t know this Jesus, but we like what he can do!”

These seven men come across a demon possessed man who isn’t impressed by their religious posture. And he certainly isn’t having any of their presuming on Jesus.

So when the seven feed this evil spirit their one-liner, he responds, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” Don’t you love that?!?

    Jesus we’re well aware of. We thought killing him was going to be enough, but turns out he really is the Son of God. And Paul, well we had him on our side for quite   some time, but then Jesus knocked him off his horse one day, and we’ve been trying to stop him ever since. But who in the heck are you?

Even hell can tell the posers from the real deal.

What’s most fascinating is that after the possessed man beats the seven guys bloody and sends them running away naked, people all around start repenting of their wicked ways and burning their Harry Potter books (sort of…witchcraft books).

God is going to use the faithful and the imposter, the proclaimers and the posers. You’re going to be used by God to spread the good news of the gospel. It’s really a matter of whether you do that on his side or if you’re the one who ends up bloodied, naked, and that’s how you point people to Jesus.

So, the question remains. Does hell know your name?