Monday, October 29, 2012

Honest In The Little Things

What do you say you will do that you don't deliver on?

Lorie and I were talking about that today (not that she doesn't do what she says, just making that clear...). There are people in our lives who don't do what they say they will. They say what we think we want to hear and that will make us happy, but it really makes us unhappier. And usually it's really little things so people think it will go unnoticed.

Here's an example: I say to Lorie I'll be home at 5:00, but really it will be 5:30.

I say 5:00 because that's the right answer. Work's done at 5:00. It sounds nice to say I will be right home. But in reality I have some traffic to fight, a few things to do before I leave, etc. so I really get home at 5:30.

Now do this every day for a month. What happens? Lorie no longer believes me when I say I will be home.

And that will soon bleed over into other things I say. Will I be honest about other times I give her? Will I be honest with other numbers like money? And it blossoms into me not being trusted.

Jesus all the time talked about being responsible in the little things means being blessed with bigger things. I think it works with honesty too. If we fudge a few little things, eventually it leads to a lack of trust. But if we are honest in every little thing we say, even when it isn't the answer someone wants to hear, chances are they will whole-heartedly believe us in the big things.

What little things do we need to be a little more honest about...?


Monday, October 22, 2012

What's More Important?

A few weeks ago Apple released it's IOS6 for iPhone with all sorts of new bells and whistles and looking all pretty, and included a new app they designed called "Maps" (to replace Google Maps which was standard before). They made their own GPS app. Great. Except it flopped. It was full of bugs and errors. And as soon as that happened, they gave this announcement from CEO Tom Cook:

"While were improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard."

And they followed through, if you go to their apps app the first thing you land on are alternate gps/map apps. Their competition. There's only one reason a company would do this.

Their goal is to get you where you need to go, not make money.

For Apple it was more important their users made it safely to their destination than to use their product. In church, it should be the same. My goal is to get people to know Jesus. Better than they did before. If they come to NewSong, the worship service I'm involved in. Great. If they are going to anther service. Great. My goal isn't to get people to worship my way, use my worship app as it were, but to have people worship and grow closer to Jesus.

When it comes to sharing your faith, how important is it that people know Jesus, even if that means they don't worship the same way or at the same place you do?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Doing As Learning

A few weeks ago I read an article about music production and someone made a fascinating point. When it comes to learning something, say piano lessons, do we have people read all the books about how to play the piano, pass a test, fill their heads with knowledge before letting them touch a piano? Or do people learn to play the piano by actually doing and mixing in the knowledge as we learn?

I still remember my first piano lesson when I was five (kind of). I learned to play three whole notes. Three. I learned to read them and transfer that knowledge to finger movement on the keys. I played the three notes I learned to read.

What would piano lessons have looked like if I had to know how to read all music before touching a piano and making a sound? Understand music theory? The science of waves and sound and mechanics of tuning a piano? I probably would never have played...

I learned music by mixing doing and head-knowledge. And I think we need to do more of this in faith. In talking to some people it's like they are waiting to serve. When I know this much Bible I will teach a Sunday School class or when I feel this holy I will be a greeter. In reality, wouldn't learning to live as a disciple of Christ look more like piano lessons, a mix of learning and doing? After all, isn't that how Christ did it? He called fishermen, not religious scholars. And they learned about the kingdom of God while being the hands and feet of God.

If you want more from your spiritual life, dive in!


Monday, October 08, 2012

Waiting For Holiness

In my reading last week I came across a curious piece of history involving baptism...

It seems that around 400 AD baptism was hitting a height like never before. It was really important to people's faith. So important that many believed that you were not forgiven of your sins until you were baptized, it was the most important thing you could do in your faith.

That seems all well and good, except it caused an unexpected backlash. If you knew there was a single action you could do that would forgive your sins and you could only do it once, when would you do it? It seems the Roman people of the time decided the best thing to do was to wait for baptism. After all, what if you sin after it? You can't be baptized again so what many people would do is hold off on baptism, hold off on declaring their faith in Christ, hold off on forgiveness and living as true Christians and wait until their deathbeds to be baptized. It became such a big deal there was a division in the church, these people who were followers of Christ but waiting for baptism would be considered Christians, but not part of "the faithful".

This whole piece of history got me to wondering about how those people felt, half-Christians as it were. Do you think they still served as faithful and as much as other Christians? What about in their hearts, did they fell loved by God or a little less loved than "the faithful"? What impact did that have on them sharing their faith?

And the biggie, do we still do this today? Maybe not in the evidence of baptism, but do we hold back from doing things for God because we haven't arrived at some far off spiritual point yet? Do we not serve, give, love as much because we're not what we consider "the faithful"? What are we waiting for?

More on this next week...


Monday, October 01, 2012

Many Hands Make A Difference

Yesterday we did something that has never happened in my entire time at Fishers UMC and Fire & Water.

We unloaded the pumpkin truck in under 2 hours.

That may not seem like much, but after ten years and being the one in the truck, trust me, that's a big deal. We unloaded 2000 pumpkins in under 2 hours.

How? We had help.

Sunday afternoon (when the truck was here) we logged almost 100 volunteer hours. There were over 50 people helping unload the pumpkins. The most we've ever had by a long shot.

Sometimes we look at something as insurmountable because we forget that if everyone did a little it would get taken care of. We look at the task at hand as too big and think "how could we ever solve this?" and do nothing. We don't even do our part, we do nothing.

Our church is looking to raise $150,000 this month. Some people will look at that and go "it's too big" and shut down. The funny part is we have over 3500 people in our church database. If each person gave $50 we'd be above our goal.

The problem is we can't get everyone to do their little part. So other's pick up the slack. Then more drop out because the slack is now too much. And suddenly, we're at insurmountable again.

Think of any problem, and add in all the people who could/should be a part. If everyone did their part, how much work would there be?

It's kind of like a few years ago when I was talking to someone about how to get more people to visit our church. And I told them I could get our church to double in size overnight. How? Everybody invite one friend.

No problem is too big if everyone chips in...