Monday, March 21, 2011

Worship Conference - In the Sticks...

VERY EXCITED about a new training opportunity that we're launching called "Worship in the Sticks". It is a worship conference designed with smaller churches in mind. I've had so many church leaders talk to me about the unique difficulties they face as they lead worship in smaller congregations.

If you are involved in leading worship (leader or team member), I think you'll find this event to be helpful.   It will be held on SATURDAY, APRIL 16TH at Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, IN.  For more details and to register, check out:  Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rob Bell vs. John Piper: Competitive Christianity?

There is a debate going on in church world that many have summed up like this:

Rob Bell vs John Piper

This post is not to state my position on this debate, since I've not yet read "Love Wins" by Rob Bell which seems to have stirred much of proverbial "pot". What I do know is that there often seems to be in issue that leaders (including myself) struggle with. I'm calling it, for lack of a better term, Competitive Christianity. Not judging these specific leaders, but more of the crazy blog world devisiveness that has erupted. Everyone trying to "one up" the last post of someone else.

I've often found in my own heart, that I struggle with having a voice, having an insight, having something useful to bring to the table to build up the body of Christ. It mostly comes from pure motives, I want to serve and be purposefully used by God. So I do my best to stay faithful to what God has called me to do, as Paul says to "run the race" marked out for us. The problem comes when, as I'm running, I lose my focus on the end goal and start looking to left and to the right. I look at what others are doing for Christ, and a bit of jealousy or envy kicks in.

In Luke 9, Jesus dealt with this:

Then his disciples began arguing about which of them was the greatest. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.”

When His disciples LOST FOCUS they began looking right and left. Jesus, corrects them by telling them to shift their thoughts back to the mission of welcoming not just children, but those with childlike, trusting attitudes toward God. And also He brings the focus back to welcoming HIM in their lives. They must be servants first and then they will be great.


Most preacher end it there. They say, "now, go be a servant" and you will please God. I'm just gonna be honest here and say that I struggle with this too! I still will use these words to GAUGE MYSELF with other people. Now, instead of trying to impress with all of my accomplishments, I'll try to somehow impress God (and others) with my sacrifice and servanthood, when all the while I'm really wanting approval. (truthfully, I almost didn't post this due to this whole idea - that even through the post I was trying to be more spiritual than others)

So, what are we left with?

My good friend Rob Wegner told me once, as I spoke of this issue that I simply needed MORE JESUS. That sounds kinda simplistic, I know. But truly, the only way I escape the temptation to be what Brennan Manning calls "the imposter", is through focused time spent with Jesus. This for me is through meditation. It can other forms for others. It could be a walk in nature, journaling, sacred reading, etc.

I'm still in process on this. I may always be. I think it ultimately can be explained in the word SATISFACTION. Where and by whom/what are we truly satisfied? Psalm 63:5 "I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."