JOEL...GET TO THE POINT
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
This was from Sunday morning 1/20/08 at First Wesleyan Church. We're exploring why our attempts to change so often fail. Could it sometimes be a problem of being motivated by the wrong things?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
patience with God
One of the areas that God has been working on in my life...is patience.
Sometimes that is reflected when I'm out on the road. Do you ever stuggle with patience, when you get behind a slow driver?
At times, I think it helps my prayer life. I start having a prayer meeting right there in my car. “Jesus will you please bless that person in the car in front of me! Especially bless their right foot. Give it extra weight. Give them wisdom to know that they better speed up or get out of the way, in Jesus name!”
I've learned a lot from watching NASCAR (which is probably not the best role model). Watching NASCAR, I learned that it is not called tailgating…it's drafting!
At the grocery store, I hate when you end up in the slowest line. There’s an exact science to picking the right check-out lane at WalMart. I do that thing where you walk by all the registers and calculate the ratio
between the number of people in line
proportionate to how many items each person has
divided by the apparent speed of the cashier in each line
To determine which one will get me out of the store the fastest.
There are some great restaurants here in Tuscaloosa, but you won’t find me waiting. Outback Steakhouse? Great place. I love it! But if it means waiting 2 hours to get a seat...I'll see you at McDonald's.
So...WHAT'S THE POINT?
Impatience doesn't work in our relationship with God. Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." My problem is that I want to run and do all this stuff without first waiting upon the Lord.
This week our entire church has committed to a morning (or evening) quiet time with Psalm 139. Inspired by that challenge on Sunday, someone sent me this email that puts it all in perpective:
I have a close friend who is a pastor. A few years ago, he began to experience burnout. He was trying to do too much and satisfy too many people. He even considered, with tears, the idea of leaving the ministry. One of his favorite writers is Brennan Manning. One day he was so depressed that he decided to try to call Manning, though he had never met him. To his surprise, Manning's name was in the New Orleans directory. My friend called the number and Manning answered the phone. Manning was very gracious and listened to my friend pour his heart out. Then Manning said, "Greg, you probably need to get out of the ministry." There was then silence on the line. Those words stunned Greg. He did not know what to say. Then Manning added..."or you can learn to waste time with Jesus everyday...not doing anything constructive but relaxing with Him. Those are your only two choices."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I'm usually not usually much of a "poem guy". But last year I read this one during a teaching and have often been asked for a reprint. So here it is. I don't have any clue who the author might be (but from the language and phrases used, I'm guessing this work has been around for a while)
“The Average Child”
I don’t cause teachers trouble
My grades have been OK
I keep up my chores at home
and I’m in school every day.
My teachers think I’m average,
and my parents, they think so too
I wish I didn’t know that...cause
there are lots of things I’d like to do
I’d like to build a rocket ship,
I’ve got a book that shows you how.
Or I’d like to start a stamp collection. Well...
No use tryin’ now
cause, since I know I’m average,
I’m just smart enough you see,
to know there’s nothing special that I should ever expect of me.
I’m just part of that majority
that bump part of the Bell
That live there lives unnoticed in an average kind of hell.
Doesn't that break your heart?
Let me tell you today, you’re not average!!! My job as a Pastor, is to help people see themselves through God’s eyes.
And check this out. That’s YOUR JOB too! It’s your job to look at the people around you and to encourage them. Be a messenger of hope. Help people see their potential through the eyes of God.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Could it be that the essense of leadership is courage? Andy Stanley had a great point when he said that most people follow "The Rules of the Playground".
When you're a kid out playing with a group of friends, there is always one child who is ready to:
- climb the tree
- shave the cat
- walk the fencepost
- jump the gulley
This kid may not have been the strongest, fastest or smartest. The Playground leader often made up their own rules. Many of those kids were the ones who got me into trouble! :-) Because once they did something, others were sure to follow. The courage to go first made them the leader by default.
The human spirit is always drawn towards courage.
Isn't that one of the defining characteristics of Jesus himself? But what set him apart was this important difference: Jesus had a courage that was motivated by selflessness. He didn't do things out of pride or personal ambition. His was a courage that stood up for justice, that defended the weak, that healed the brokenhearted. He always chose the right for the common good.
Jesus was often hated and accused. Many took offense and positioned themselves as enemies of Christ. It ended up costing him death on the cross.
But the courage of a servanthearted leader has the power to change the world.