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The World and the Warriors May 7, 2012

Posted by worshipconvergence in Christianity, Church, ministry.
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The story of the transfiguration is told in 3 Gospels: Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9. In the story, “Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” The voice of the Lord came over them in a cloud, said, This is My Son, whom I have chosen.” Peter was silenced for putting Moses and Elijah on the same level as Jesus. Before this, Matthew 16 shows Peter, once again, the subject of correction. “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

To paraphrase John 12: The Word of the Father, as commanded by Him to be spoken through the Son, will judge the world. Jesus ate with sinners, let sinners wash his feet, healed them, cast out their demons, taught them in mass, but individually offered little more than “Go and sin no more,” as a guidepost for the lives of the world. But – when it came to his disciples, those who he had chosen to spread the word, he took a more disciplinary tone and vernacular, correcting words and thought. Those chosen to spread that Word were held to a higher standard, corrected in their interpretation of, or reaction to, the Word. As Christ followers we too must hold each other above the world’s morals and goals if we are to bring the word to the world. In the Church, we are all, first and foremost, brothers and sisters in Christ. A priesthood of people…

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, God’s own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Warriors called to Live as free people, yet without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but live at all times as servants of God. Warriors, training to rise above the world and spread the word, with grace and mercy as our safety net, not our sidewalk. Warriors who “have in mind concerns of God,” not “merely human concerns.”

The Body of Christ is the Church. The Church is the people, not the building. The trend: Complacent, Sunday Christians who offer meaningless apologies, sexually harass each other and don’t see it as a problem, and deny their heritage as “a royal priesthood,” called to “display the virtues and perfections” of God. Are you growing and training a Church of warriors, or fostering a social club for people of the world? You’ve been given armor, be a warrior.

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Standard of Excellence: Life as Worship May 6, 2012

Posted by worshipconvergence in Christianity, Church, devotional, ministry.
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worship motivation

In church around the world, Sunday morning is a display of “the best of the best.” Whatever the motivation, church leaders and attendees hold those people on stage to a high standard. In some churches who are financially able, pros are hired to increase excellence on stage and help create a flawless atmosphere for “worship.” However, those same people look at the standard of living, (i.e. morals, actions, etc.) as a permanent beta test.

Given knowledge of extramarital activity of a volunteer ministry leader who bragged about it, a group of elders said “We already knew that and we don’t care. The Church really shouldn’t confront sin, we might scare people away. If we start trying to confront sin there’s not enough time in the day.” The standard of worship – as a way of life – is held to a much lower standard, if it exists at all. What would happen if we, in daily life, held each other to as high a standard as we hold singers, techs, etc. on Sunday morning? I once heard a Worship Leader say he requires his worship band to rehearse X number of times per song before full group rehearsal, citing that if you were asked to play in your favorite band you’d practice your hands off to meet their standards. Christians shouldn’t limit excellence of this caliber to the stage or video studio. If anything, it should be the opposite. The Body is out of shape because we only exercise certain parts, and only one or two days a week.

The sad truth of the average church is that leaders aren’t leading, they’re directing the chosen few who are outstanding in their field, but not necessarily in life. Harsh, cold, aloof, abrasive, vindictive, disconnected, dishonest. Just a few words that describe some people chosen to lead the Church, but bring too much business and politics background into the system. The church has a low standard for each other. Think of theoretical Communism versus putting it in to practice: theoretically everyone helps each other live. In practice, no one can attain supremacy so no one has the drive to excel. Its the same in church. The Church should be soaring, but its struggling.

The Church is supposed to be the light to the world. Every word and action should send the darkness scampering away like deer running from the sound of a cracking stick under a hunter’s foot. We’re not allowed. Speaking words of light into the darkness is seen as complaining, and pastors constantly preach against complaining. What if the Church had the humility to accept the help of others within who could help them attain a more Christ-like state of mind and life? What if complaints were seen, not as prideful arrogance of the complainer, but as a truthful perspective from someone on the other side of your eyes?

A life of worship isn’t about having attended church 52 Sundays a year. Its not helping the organization build or maintain properties or subordinate, compliant, silent staff, or being that staff member. Its living every day, speaking and acting like a Christian. Belonging to others and owning them in return. Caring for each other. Encouraging each other to live upright, righteous lives, which includes confronting and gently correcting sin when we have to. “Life as worship” – not just a catchphrase for the weekend stage. Hold each other to that level of excellence.

15 Things I Would Tell My Children about Leadership May 1, 2012

Posted by worshipconvergence in Leadership.
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  1. Lead by example – “Do as I say,” doesn’t get a positive response, while “Do as I Do” puts you on even ground.
  2. The 4 components of good leaders are Desire to lead who and what you’ve been asked to lead, Ability to lead who and what – how you’ve been asked to lead them, Respect for and of those you’ve been asked to lead, and Tact to lead within the boundaries you’re given, without abrasiveness or micro-management. D.A.R.T. – lacking one or more elements means you probably aren’t the proper dart to throw at the target in question.
  3. Know who you are before you attempt to gain others’ love, respect, trust, and following. As in dating, you’ll never be happy with your matches until you can be honest with and about yourself. People in the same position under different expectations will not produce success stories within the context of your leadership.
  4. Be consistent. Don’t, for instance, tell family of existing staff they aren’t eligible for staff positions, then hire spouses and mothers of other staff members.
  5. Beware of those whose number 1 rule is “Live by the spirit of the law, not the letter of it.” Boundaries are a huge part of organization, the bigger the group potential, the greater the need to write the spirit into the letter of the law so everyone understands, and define it every so often so its fresh in their minds.
  6. Don’t expect others to do your job for you, but if you delegate a responsibility give them the authority to follow through.
  7. Never discount the one naysayer, they may be the only one seeing the big picture.
  8. Treat projects like babies in utero. Before you go public with it, make sure its what people can expect to grow, not a perfect skeleton on which they will see perfectly formed organs in a few years, and muscle a few years after that, etc. until the full organism is finished and half-way through its life. In short, don’t give the organization or the public unfinished products.
  9. Never do for money what you wouldn’t do for free.
  10. Don’t just teach people to give, teach them to give to the right causes. $15,000 to make the building a little more comfortable, or to buy equipment to bring people to it? $15,000 to add amenities to a structure, or to add an arsenal of portable equipment to take your people beyond the walls?
  11. Commitment is the biggest piece of the “serving” puzzle. If they aren’t committed, character and skill don’t matter.
  12. There are 2 types of challenges: one leads to betterment, the other questions worth.
  13. Never be afraid to be the mentor, or the student.
  14. Its not the success story alone that people follow, its the overcomer telling it.
  15. Never compromise doing what’s right to do what sells.