“The (leadership) pathway doesn’t get any easier, you just become better equipped to handle it.” Timothy Willard
“Because of Jesus’ finished work for me, I already had the justification, approval, acceptance, security, freedom, affection, cleansing, new beginning, righteousness, and rescue I longed for. There was nothing left to prove or protect, no one to impress or appease. I could be okay with not being okay. I was freed from the burden of trying to control what other people thought about me, from the miserable, unquenchable pursuit to make something of myself. I was free to be honest, with others, with myself, and with God.” Tullian Tchividjian
“Faith is deeply more than what you do with your brain. Knowledge is an aspect of faith, but it doesn’t define faith. Ultimately, faith is an investment of the heart that leads to a radically new way of living your life. . . Your level of biblical, theological knowledge is not a safe mirror into which to look to assess your spiritual maturity.” Paul David Tripp
“Jesus, in a word, is the reality of what food points to. He is the reality of what drink points to. Christ is real food and real drink; what we consume on earth is but a shadow. In this regard, the gospel of John (which is the new Genesis) portrays Jesus as meeting all human need:
– He is life. Life is the beginning of all human need.
– He is light. No life can live without the sun, the light of the world.
– He is air. ‘Spirit’ means ‘breath’ in Greek. We need air to live.
– He is food. LIfe doesn’t exist without food.
– He is drink. Life doesn’t exist without water.
– He is shelter. We need a place to abide in order to live.”
Most mornings, a particular husband and wife team are volunteering their time to direct traffic, move parents through, and point children in the direction they need to go. They are always patiently smiling – even when kids are finishing their homework, eating their breakfast, saying their final good-byes, having their family devotion, planning their next trip to Disneyworld, and talking to their grandparents on the cell phone before they get out of the car (what else could some of these people be doing in their cars between the time they stop their car at the drop spot and their kid actually gets out of the car?!?!?!?).
Seriously, this couple does a great job of smiling and directing parents and kids to where they need to go to try to help the line go as smooth as possible. I have been impressed by them and usually pull out with a smile on my face because they have one on theirs (even when ‘momma slow poke’ is in front of me). It is a remarkable thing just for a couple to volunteer their mornings to dodge minivans.
Today, however, I was blown away. It was truly remarkable. Literally. I noticed the wife first. She was dressed up like ‘Raggedy Ann” as she waved the cars through (remember, today is Halloween). I thought, “Well how cool is that? What a nice touch that she dressed up for the kids as they got to school!” THEN I saw her husband. You guessed it. HE was dressed up as “Andy.” Yes. A husband dressed up as the male component to the duo “Raggedy Ann and Andy.” He was smiling and waving and pointing people in the right direction just like always. I was amazed. They were remarkable.
Think about it: Did they have to do that? No. How long does directing school traffic last? Maybe 30 minutes. Would anyone have been upset had they NOT dressed up? No. Did the school ask them to dress up like that on Halloween? I am guessing not. So why did they do it? To add a small, yet very potent, taste of joy to parents and kids as they drove through the car-line this morning. Today was going to be a ‘special’ day anyway because it is Halloween. What kid doesn’t like having gobs of candy dumped into a plastic pumpkin by people they have never met for a couple of hours on a Wednesday night? But this couple – they made a school morning a remarkable school morning.
It made me personally evaluate myself using questions posed by my friend Danny Franks:
“So what are you doing that’s worth remarking on? What’s the memorable moment you’ll create for your kids today? What’s the takeaway your team will talk about? How are you going above and beyond in caring for the people around you? What makes you remarkable?”
How can you make today, tomorrow, this week a remarkable experience for those you influence?
Yesterday morning, I preached on the issue of same-sex marriage – Part 3 of the “How Would Jesus Vote?” Series. What do you want young children to focus on while I preach on that????
Well, what I did was start by reading the account of God forming Eve from Adam’s side (praise Him for spare ribs!!!) in Genesis 2. I then asked the children to draw the scene. Several GREAT pictures were turned in. The one chosen for today’s winner is . . .
Great Job!!!!! Keep up the great work kids! I am LOVING the pictures you turn in to me every week.
It’s that time of the week again – where I post some quotes that have ‘quickened’ my mind and heart during the previous 7 days.
The first should be called ‘Quickening Questions.’ Trevin Wax observed that oftentimes, those who are Pro-Life get asked difficult questions while those who are Pro-Choice aren’t asked anything. He poses 10 questions he wished would be asked to those who are Pro-Choice.
Here are two of the questions he poses:
“If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?”
“If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?”
Yeah, all of them are good. Read them here.
“Remember that, by God’s design, we’re worshipers. Worship isn’t first an activity; worship is first our identity. That means everything you and I do and say is the product of worship. So the treasures (things that have risen to levels of importance in our hearts) that rule the thoughts and desires of our hearts will then control the things that we do. The war between these two kingdoms in ministry is not first a war of behavior; it’s a war for the functional, street-level rulership of our hearts.” Paul David Tripp
“I woke up very slowly to the fact that nobody in my organization was going to fight for my family but me. . . I have to fight to show up in decent emotional shape every time I walk through the front door of our home, I have to fight for family vacation time, and I have to fight to integrate them in my ever-increasing travel schedule. In these examples and a thousand others, when it comes to my family, the one and only fighter is me.” Bill Hybels
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4
Go ahead. Go outside tonight and look up for about 3 minutes. See if you don’t come to the same conclusion.
The first three quotes are from Paul David Tripp’s new release Dangerous Calling. Read at your own risk!
“Bad things happen when maturity is more defined by knowing than it is by being. Danger is afloat when you come to love the ideas more than the God whom they represent and the people they are meant to free.” Paul David Tripp
“When the Word of God, faithfully taught by the people of God and empowered by the Spirit of God, falls down, people become different. Lusting people become pure, fearful people become courageous, thieves become givers, demanding people become servants, angry people become peacemakers, complainers become thankful, and idolaters come to joyfully worship the one true God. The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation.” Paul David Tripp
“I am more and more convinced that what gives a ministry its motivations, perseverance, humility, joy, tenderness, passion, and grace is the devotional life of the one doing ministry. When I daily admit how needy I am, daily meditate on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and daily feed on the restorative wisdom of His Word, I am propelled to share with others the grace that I am daily receiving at the hands of my Savior. There is simply no set of exegetical, homiletical, or leadership skills that can compensate for the absence of this in the life of a pastor. It is my worship that enables me to lead others to worship.” Paul David Tripp
“The end product of biblical Christianity is a person – not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics – but one person in two natures (divine/human) with four ministries (prophet/priest/king/sage) and four biographies (The Gospels). But those four biographies don’t tell the whole story. Every bit of Scripture is part of the same great story of that one person and that one story’s plotline of creation, revelation, redemption, and consummation.” Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
“I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” King David (Psalm 3:6)
Really? I get scared when 2 people are against me. How could David say this? Meditate on the rest of the Psalm.
More than likely, I will never get to say those words again. At least, not at a Veterinary clinic where he is the Head Hauncho Vet. My dad, Dr. Steve Pearson, retired yesterday from 40 plus years of stitching cats, stuffing gauze, and sticking his hand up . . . let’s just say various parts of every form of domestic animal one can imagine. He has seen it and done it all. If you can smell it on a cat or dog, he has smelt it. I promise. Remind me sometime to tell you about the time the Pearson family was eating hot dogs and he got a phone call about a cat that got hit by a car. Fun times.
I figure I have asked the question posed in the subject line above around 3,000 times in my life. Ever since I knew how to use a telephone I have called to talk to my dad. And every time, I used the same words. Know why? Because if I identified myself as his son, he would move heaven and earth to get to the phone. He always . . . and I mean always. . . made a bee line for the phone when I called. Rare was the time when his secretary or receptionist would say, “I’m sorry Matt, but he is in surgery.” Not because he was not in surgery. No, no. He was often in surgery. I was only told he couldn’t talk to me during a surgical procedure if someone was not able to hold the phone up to his ear. That’s right. When possible, dad would have someone hold the phone up to his ear so he could talk to me while in surgery (thanks Vicki!).
If dad ever got sick of me calling him at the clinic I never knew it. All of my life I have felt that if I called, he was thrilled and was eager to hear my voice on the other side of the phone. Never once did I ever dream he was wanting to hurry and get off so he could get to ‘more important’ things. No. Whatever he was doing at the time I called was far less important than talking to me or one of his other children.
Much more could be said about Dr. Pearson (my mom wrote a nice post yesterday). I could write a book about my dad. Perhaps I will one day. But suffice it say at present that I will never forget, and will forever be positively affected by the simple gesture of him wanting to eagerly talk to his boy when he called him at work. You know why he wanted to talk to me when I called? Because he wanted to talk to me and to know what was going on with me.
Dads, do your children know that if they call they will have a thrilled dad on the other end of the line? Do they know that no matter what is going on at work, talking hearing from you is far more important?
Dad, congratulations. Not just for 40 plus years of a remarkable career in Veterinary medicine. But for loving me more than that and demonstrating for me what balancing work and family looks like. Thank you!
I love you!!!
I am so grateful for the children participating on Sunday mornings by drawing pictures of my sermon. Yesterday I preached from Genesis 49 and Revelation 5. Being that it was ‘FBC Loves the Wildcats’ Sunday, it seemed appropriate to talk about the ultimate Wildcat – Jesus – as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.
As you see, I asked the children to draw a picture of a Lion and a Lamb. Though I forgot to mention it, I intended to ask them – toward the end of the sermon – to draw a picture of a cross under the Lamb and an empty tomb under the Lion. Were Jesus just a ‘Lion’ we would have no atonement. Were Jesus just a ‘Lamb’ we would have no victory over sin and death. Jesus, however – because He came as a Lamb and rose as a Lion – is both. He is ‘The Greatest Wildcat Ever’!
With some help from others, the two pictures posted above were chosen to be posted on the blog today. They were just too close to call – so I declared a tie!
You know who you are! Congratulations and keep up the good work!!!!
The quotes below all relate to leadership. If you are a leader in some capacity, take heed. If not, pass them on to a leader in your life. John Maxwell says that everything rises and falls on leadership. I think he’s right. So, here goes:
“Wherever you see something going well-whenever light begins to chase back the darkness that threatens to engulf our our world, look closely. There stands a leader who is holding that candle.”
“It all boils down to diligent, God-honoring leadership. It’s true for Willow, and it’s true for your church. It’s true for your family, your business, and your community. Leaders must ‘lead with all diligence,’ Romans 12:8 says … All progress hinges on diligent leaders, God’s preferred method for transforming the world.” Bill Hybels
“One of the primary reasons churches are empty is because church leaders love their models more than they love people.” Andy Stanley
“It’s tough to hear AU players questioning other players and their leadership. Somebody has to step up.”
Kodi Burns’ quote about Auburn players is so pertinent for all things leadership. If you have followed Auburn at all this year, you will know that for anyone who is devoted to the Tigers – this season has been deplorable. They are awful. It’s sickening to watch. What did Kodi Burns think the problem is? Leadership. Remember, he played on the 2010 National Championship team. Did they have leaders? You betcha. Remember Cam? How about Fairley? They were leaders.
I think Burns is 100% correct. Leadership changes everything – either for the good or the bad. Auburn has gone from National Champs to the worst of the worst in 2 years. How? Leadership. It’s THAT important.
I enjoyed this last Sunday lunch at Applebee’s with my family and several other FBC members and prospects. During the morning service I had asked a couple who have been serving as missionaries in Central Asia to share with FBC how things were going, what God was doing, etc. In their talk, one of them shared how where they live, there are 79,000,000 people. Of that number, around 4,000 are followers of Jesus. That’s less than 1% Christian.
Over lunch I was asked, “What happens to those millions who have never heard when they die?” Great question. A hard question. But a great question, nonetheless, that I think Christians MUST come to terms with. My answer? Well, if they have no access to Jesus and you cannot get to heaven without Jesus – then they will die and spend an eternity in hell because they have never heard God’s means of saving people (the Gospel). This, of course, spawned a very important – yet deep – discussion that continues into today between this gentleman and myself.
I highly recommend David Platt’s treatment of this in his bestselling work Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Chapter 7, entitled “There is No Plan B” is more than worth the price of the book. You can also listen to him teach this chapter here. In it, using the book of Romans, he walks the reader through this very issue. At one point, Platt writes:
“Many professing Christians have come to the conclusion that if certain people around the world don’t have the opportunity to hear about Jesus, then this automatically excuses them from God’s condemnation. Such people will go to heaven because, after all, they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
“This line of thinking reflects the intensely emotional nature of this question. We want people to to be okay when they haven’t had the opportunity to hear the gospel. But think with me about the logic of this conclusion. It asserts that people will be with God in heaven for all eternity precisely because they never heard of Christ. Their not hearing about Christ gives them a pass into heaven.
“In addition to the lack of biblical evidence for such a pass, consider the practical implications of this idea. If people will go to heaven precisely because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus, then the worst thing we could do for their eternal state would be to go to them and tell them about Jesus. That would only increase their chances of going to hell! Before we got there, they were going to heaven; now that we’ve told them about Jesus, they might go to hell. Thanks a lot!”
There is no biblical ‘pass’ for thinking those who have never heard will somehow end up in heaven.
Believing this is true (that one cannot get to heaven apart from Christ and faith in the Gospel of Christ) explains the urgency of some missionary friends of mine who sent out an email last week. They are serving in one of the hardest places in the world. Consider their thinking of why they are there:
“. . . rarely does much time pass before God provides a stark reminder of our reason for being here. The face of an orphan with HIV. Sounds of chanting to false gods. The call to prayer for Muslims. Rickshaw driver after rickshaw driver who have never heard the message of Jesus. There’s always something to bring to perspective. . .
“According to statistics, everyday approximately 1,8000 people die where we live (total population of more than 100 million). With the most generous of estimates, 2% of our state is Christian. So of the 1,800 who die every day, 36 are Christian. And 1,764 are not. If we believe the Bible, then we know there is no hope after death for those without Christ. In other words, there are more than 73 people in our state, who die every hour and spend an eternity separated from God.
“What do we do with those kind of numbers? Well, we can’t ignore them.”
So why are there so many who have never heard and why are they going to spend an eternity in hell when they die?
When was the last time you got on a plane to go?