The one thing I wish I knew 20 years ago

one-thing

One of the questions I get asked often and find myself asking myself  as I get older is “What would I do different if I could go back in time and tell young Sam something. I started doing ministry right out of bible college I went to four years of bible college and was thrown into ministry at the ripe age of 21. I helped a few of my friends from bible college re-start our youth ministry and took over the existing kids ministry. I was young, full of energy and stupid. If I could go back in time I would tell myself lots of things. If I had to tell myself only one thing it would be

“What you win them with is what you win them to.”

The struggle that every pastor has is relevance. Deep down we all want to be relevant. That’s because we are pastors and we want to meet real needs not perceived needs. The problem is not in the desire to be relevant but how we define relevance and who we elevate as the mentor, leader, prophets that help us understand what relevance means.

deyoung-book-blog-2x

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (Crossway, 2015)

Just finished this short book. It was by far the best book I have read on the issue. Kevin does a masterful job of staying true to what the bible says about homosexuality. This book is a must read for any pastor or parent. The issue of homosexuality and the christian response will be one of the defining issues of our time. It is shocking to me that so many Christian leaders are trading in centuries of orthodoxy for momentary “relevance.” Kevin paints a picture of whats at stake not through fear tactics but through faithful exegesis of scripture. The first half of Kevin’s book deals with the biblical passages on homosexuality the second half deals with common objections to the Orthodox view of homosexuality.

DeYoung’s handling of the topic is fair, loving, and biblically faithful. In the second appendix he urges us christians to do three things that will keep us from getting into extreme positions either way.

“More work needs to be done to help Christians think through the issue of same-sex attraction in a way that is biblically faithful, pastorally sensitive, and culturally conversant.”

I could not agree more. Doing those three things will keep us anchored in biblical truth but in a way that allows us to love people.  Not everyone will see this as loving as our culture has a radically warped view of love and what it means to be loving. We must fight to stay faithful to scripture in a ever-changing landscape of theological mushiness.

4 basics every worship song needs

9897045_orig

As a pastor one of the concerns I have surrounds what songs we sing in church and why we sing those songs in our churches. Most of the things we say about the songs we sing are founded in style. The songs we like or dislike is most often an issue of personal style. The problem with this way of approaching the songs we sing is we make the wrong things the major things. The songs we sing in church and in kids church can to often be based around the style preferences of the Sr. Pastor or Worship Pastor. There is nothing wrong with style but if what we sing and why we sing doesn’t transcend our own personal sense of style we limit the very purpose singing songs in church is intended to have.

I would like to offer this disclaimer. I have written very few worship songs. I do however pastor at a local church. I have been in the same church for 18 years and have seen the results of people and movements who based their lives on preference over substance. Given that here are my 4 questions that every worship song needs to answer.

1. Is it God directed – This is not a preference thing for me. If the song you are sing is more about you than the God who made you it’s not worship. It’s something else but not worship. The songs we need sing need to be filled with wording about who God is and what he has done. Is there songs of lament and petition in the bible? Yes. Those songs are based on an understanding of that everything begins and ends with God. It’s about what he’s doing more than how I’m feeling.

Transitional Leadership

Jim Burns - The Gathering Breakout

Refreshing Your Marriage  2013, Azuza Pacific 2-22-13

The Journey toward knowing your calling. Are you called?

  1. Do you have a feeling of helplessness?
  2. Do you have a sense of willingness?
  3. Do you have a sense of significant-ness?

Jim Burns started writing phrases that he wrote when he realized that he wasn’t going to be around forever. 

Life has pain – You choose the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. 1 Tim. 4:7

Find life-giving replenishing relationships

  1.  Do you have a mentor?
  2. Peer Relationships?
  3. Are you mentoring someone?

Find margin – You have to leave room for God moments. 

You need to take time to refresh, recreate, play and have a great attitude as a family. 

For families and marriages you have to play together. 

Invest in your staff. 

Untended fires become a pile of ashes. – Self leadership is massively important. 

God is peace

Brady Boyd - Session 4

IMG_20150508_101444368

Brady Boyd – God is our peace.

You can’t be out 3 nights a week or work more than 50 hours a week. Most of our problems in our church and in our churches is we are moving to fast for to long.

Marriages fail because they stopped having unhurried conversations. We have to be friends.

Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters sons and daughters. – We all need three levels of relationships all those relationships take time.

We all stay busy
1. If we stay busy we feel important
2. If we slow we’ll have to be honest with what is really happening in our lives. You want God’s you have to have God’s presence in our lives.

Luke 5:15-16

15 But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and prayed.