Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Vision

I've been listening to Andy Stanley lately. Not the Andy Stanley carefully organized in books and tapes, but the unedited Andy Stanley in an interview with the folks from the Catylst Conference. There were two points in particular that have grabbed my attention and won't let go.

First, Andy says that in the end, leaders look back on the opportunities they chased. We set goals, we plan, but we really have no control over what's coming and it is the opportunities taken that eventually define a ministry. That's freeing.

Second, he says that it is initiative that defines leaders much more than talent or intelligence. John Maxwell used to tell him to watch for staff who took ownership, who were willing to start things. Those were the ones to trust with more. It's about courage.

Which leads me to the real point. We have a little over three years left here. Suddenly, we begin to think about life after seminary. On Saturday, I asked Wendy what she saw next. Do we seek a wounded church looking for a senior pastor? Do we seek a small church ready to hire it's first pastor? Do we come on as an associate and wait patiently? Do we wait for a perfectly healthy church to look for a new pastor? Do we wait to be approached by someone seeking to plant? OR, do we start making plans now--initiating--to help plant or begin a new work....

It's a thought that haunts me. I struggle with the arrogance of those who begin churches by throwing off accountability. And yet, it is the repainting of the church that keeps it healthy and moving forward. And, if it can be birthed with the blessing of a parent church, then health can come quickly and humbly.

So, we begin a new set of questions and a new phase of life. Is there a particular region where we feel burden? Is there a particular group of people? Do we already have a vision and need to flesh it out? Are the leaders we would need already in our lives? When we came to Texas, we came with the vow that we would never again allow fear to keep us from following. My own sermon about Nehemiah 2 helped remind us of that, which is what God often does when we unfold the Word. We're starting to pray new prayers. We're ready to begin dreaming. We're not alone.

16 comments:

BirkenEarthyKel said...

i've always been a firm believer in the thought that "everything works out the way it's supposed to", that is in all aspects of life. Don't stress to much, I'm sure there is a plan for you and you'll know it when it is shown to you.

sekondstory said...

I don't know if you have heard but the Tri-Cities area is going to hell in a hand basket :) oh, the burden....oh, the burden. :)

deersnake said...

How great is it that you can start your planning free of fear! What a tremendous blessing and relief. Keep it lifted up and it's in the best hands - way better than Allstate!

I'll need to start lobbying - Richardson needs a plant.

texnartist said...

Check this confrence out. I wish I was a pastor so I could go to it.

http://togetherforthegospel.org/

Good Luck with ride. Don't forget, It was Peter's Idea to get out of the boat. God Blessed it.

texnartist said...

Ride as in deciding what/where to do it.

texnartist said...

Hey brother what do you make of this?

"Jesus, Jew, Muhammad, it's true...All sons of Abraham. Father Abraham, speak to your sons. Tell them, No more!"

http://www.atu2.com/news/article.src?ID=3995

http://www.atu2.com/view.html?/pix/vertigo/dublin3/sp08.jpg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonobaltimore/18007038/

tolerance or pluralism?

Steve said...

That's a good question. I went here to see the original work. The logo was created for an Israeli museum. I think Bono truly believes the Apostle's Creed, but he's not the most consistent (makes a better rock star than theologian, but he sure does force us to look at ourselves sometimes). In the song "Love and Peace or Else" he makes this statement:
Lay down
Lay down your guns
All you daughters of Zion
All you Abraham sons
I think he's just struggling with the three montheistic religions killing each other--not necessarily pluaralism or inclusivism. Truth is, I struggle with it too. It's hard to know we're so close--them the children of Abraham, us the in-grafted vine--and yet they reject the Son.
What do you think?

texnartist said...

I think that it is sad, the literally place called Hell.

Just like it is sad when I go into prison to visit inmates.

However I see it as the reasonable place for law breakers.

So I see Hell as the reasonable place for those who break God's Law.

That is why we must go and warn everyone about the coming judgement and the gift of salvation that comes only from repentance and trust in Christ.

As far as Bono goes, You either Glorify this world and the things in it, thus the prince of this world or you Glorify Christ. Because I believe the Bible as inerrant, I believe there will be no peace until the coming Anti-Christ establishes it.

That is what makes the peace movement make sense to me. I never understood how I could see photos of young people naked with the words peace painted on their bodies wearing fake suicide bomber belts. Until I understood that there will be peace only when the Anti-Christ has come to establish it.

Now the modern peace movement makes sense to me. They are the marching band of the Anti-Christ. Marking his path, announcing his coming.

texnartist said...

Sad is really not the right word.

Prison is a horrible, smelly, sweaty, rancid, cold, hard, a place that dulls your senses.

I can only imagine what Hell would be like. I know enough to know that any place a person gnashes his teeth and weeps is not a place I want to be.

Steve said...

I hear you, but I read Philippians 4:8 and think that some of the things in the world are praiseworthy. Peace scores in the fruit of the Spirit list (the Greek word "i-re-ne" means harmony).

James says pure religion looks after orphans and widows and he doesn't say they have to be believers--that's a social responsibility issue, a belief that the presence of Christians should make the world better. We haven't always believed that everything will get worse until the anti-christ comes.

Actually, Jesus gives us a definition of "neighbor" that challenges some of our views on culture and our responsibility to the welfare of those around us. Certainly hell is the pressing issue, but He seemed to say that the other issues matter too. There's a classic book by Reinhold Neibhur (or his son?) called Christ and Culture that wrestles with our relationship to the world outside evangelism. This debate has been going on a long time among believers committed to redeeming souls from eternal punishment, but also concerned about children starving and domestic abuse and crime and addiction recovery and cavities.

Anyway, Paul just doesn't give us much insight on how to deal with culture in a government where the people can actually change the laws. I'm not for strapping fake suicide bombs on people to make a point, but I understand the yearning people have for a better place. I think that sense of fallenness is as much a motivator for salvation as hell is. Just as I would want a parachute if the plane was crashing, it is the longing for the ground and the knowledge that I can be safe that would motivate me. It wouldn't be enough to just miss the crash if I simply floated around forever. I think the longing for redemption is strong.

One of my professors thinks Bono's real role may be in helping express that yearning--a yearning for things to be good, for peace, for harmony, for Eden if you will, except the new Earth will be even better than Eden (there won't be the option of sin). It won't be realized until He returns, but I think it's a story we have to tell and that He expects us to live in a way that gives people of glimpse of what real love is. Maybe Bono's not a pied piper for the anti-Christ as much as he is a lens to see how bad it really is here.

OK, it's late and I'm rambling now. See you later!

texnartist said...

I agree that peace is a fruit of the spirit, but I don't think that is world peace. I agree we should labor to take care of the poor and the widows but I don't think that is world peace. I agree that we should server our Lord which is our Resonable sacrifice because of his sacrifice.

I agree that we should lover our neighbor and labor to server him, the problem is this, if the world hates you know that it is because it hated me first and no servent is greater than his master. The world will never accept us, but I don't think that should discourage the effort. If the world would not accept Christ why would they accept us? It is the reality of a fallen world. There will be no World Peace until the Anti-Christ comes.

I agree with the parachute. I don' t think we should fill the church's with fear filled converts based on the fear of Hell. But with converts that Love the Lord because Jesus saved us from Hell.

I do use hell because the fear of the Lord is the begining of wisdom. God really saves us from his wrath. Hell is just the nice way of putting it.

texnartist said...

I have a challenge for you.

Goto google. click on images and do an image search for the keyword "peace march"

Spend about 30 minutes going through several dozen pages and a bunch of photos. Read the signs, look....

Are they about peace? Is it harmony?

I think if you spend enough time, you will see the marching band, marking the path announcing the coming.

Steve said...

LOL! I think people yearn for peace, but I don't think they really know what it is without Christ...

texnartist said...

Steve,

What is the name of your professor that is a big U2 fan? The one you were posting about above? I am curious about him? I do some research on him and send him a letter. Don't worry, I will not mention your name.

Cody

Anonymous said...

To all who might be interested, here is an article which addresses the "controversy" over Bono and his use of "coexist." Stockman makes a lot of sense to me.

Anonymous said...

In my haste to post I failed to paste the link. Sorry. Here tis:
http://www.stocki.ni.org/news/items/item-635.phtml