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Invest and Invite

The material you are about to read through is a copy and paste. My brother-in-Law, Chris Reed, executive pastor of Christ’s Church of Flagstaff wrote this and its too good to just read and put away. I hope you enjoy it and are challenged by it…
Invest and Invite
Right up front, I have to let you know I did not come up w/ this phrase. Someone else did. Those of us who are Disciples of Jesus Christ realize there is a Gap between our current level of evangelism and the level we want to operate our lives at. Following Jesus requires that we share him with others who are far from Him. We know that and we also know that we aren’t very good at it. We have a Gap.
Here is the task I gave during a recent sermon, go to a local bank in which you don’t have any money deposited. Give the teller your ID and ask for your money. The confused look on her face after a few seconds of searching her computer screen will be quite humorous. When she tells you that you don’t have any money at that bank say, “Ok, I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d try anyway.”
That is exactly what you and I do when we walk across the street to our neighbors and invite them to church at Easter or Christmas. You may even think, “Ok, I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d try anyway.”
We understand investment in regards to money, but we don’t often apply the same principles to investing in people. We know that if we want to invest wisely with our money we must set aside (save) a portion of it on a regular basis. We have to sacrifice our wants and desires today for a payoff tomorrow. That makes sense. We don’t all do it, but it makes sense.
Your neighbor who is far from God is no different. You have to display consistency and sacrifice to truly invest in his or her life. You have to set aside (save) a portion of your time to invest in people who are far from Christ. To do that requires a sacrifice that most of us are not willing to make. We have to have time to give; we have to say no to something that we are currently doing with our time. We may have to stop taking our kids to dance classes or soccer practice 4 nights a week. We may have to stop playing so much golf or only DVR 4 shows a week instead of 8. To save money on a monthly basis means that you can’t spend all the money you get each month. To invest time in your neighbor means you can’t spend all the time you get each month.
Once you and I start to consistently and sacrificially give our neighbors time we can then begin to think and pray about the process of inviting them to an event or service where they can encounter Christ. How will you know its time to make an invitation to a church service? Look at your investment with a particular person, if you ask them to church and they aren’t receptive, do you have enough invested that they know you will still be their friend if they don’t accept the invitation?
How do you get started? That’s the hardest part. Start planning a night a month in which you are going to invite several neighbors over for a potluck dinner. Make a decision ahead of time that Sundays from 2-3 you are going to be outside each week and strike up conversations with anyone that comes across your path. Turn off the phone and music during your child’s practice and talk to the other parents. Remember investments take time to mature and pay a dividend. Not all of your relationships will lead the other person to a salvation experience, but your life and the life of your family will be richer when you invest in the lives of others.
Give me some more ideas, how can we all invest in the lives of others?


Mirror, Mirror on The Wall…

In a previous blog I wrote about how you are your own boss and I am my own boss. Are you being “bossy?” If you and I are our own boss then its not good to “stick it to the man.” You’re the man! Are there times in life, maybe often times, where we think we are doing good, because its what WE want to do, but in all reality we are actually preventing something better for our lives, thus  hurting ourselves?

Proverbs 16:9 says, “we can make our plans but the Lord directs our steps.”

What if God has something really amazing for you or me, but we are so focused on what we FEEL is right, that we actually miss out on what God intended for us? My feelings and my fears (same thing aren’t they?) have a tendency to guide me. My fear says, “if you do that, you will lose everything that I love.” Our mistake is that we think, when fear says “I” that its actually talking about us. We think whatever fear loves, we should love it to. But, fear loves comfort, safety and loves things the way they’ve always been.

If we really think about it, fear screams at us when we are considering stepping out of our comfort zone. If we are guided by our fear, then we will always get what we always got…because we will have always done what we always do. (please read that again)

If we obey our fear, then we will remain in our comfort zone. Comfort zones are comfortable, safe, un-dangerous, un-impactful, un-difference making, un-influential, un-inspiring. But safe!
What if your fears are actually lying to you? What if you gave ear to your fear, and then went ahead…carefully, intelligently, alert-ly, and stepped through your fear?
Isn’t it fair to say that God, throughout Scripture, asked people to do things for Him that scared the crap out of them? What if Paul, James, Elijah, Esther, Job, Samson, David, Stephen, or Jesus would have obeyed their fear?
The Bible says that Perfect Love casts out all fear.
Playing it safe is…well…safe. My fears continually tell me to play it safe.
I think my fears are a like a liquid mirror that I stand in front of and stare at the reflection I see, admiring my life as it is, enjoying what I see and the familiarity of it all. It looks and feels so comfortable. In the movies…every “liquid mirror” has something amazing on the other side. Curiosity says, “stick your head through the mirror and take a look.” Fear says, “stay right here, look how good you look, you like your life like it is.” So, today, I’m going to stick my head through that liquid mirror and take a peek at what my fears have been hiding from me and keeping me from. I have a few good friends who will try to force me through the mirror.  We all need friends like that. Somehow they see through the mirror better than we do ourselves.  So, I’m not going to just stick my head through it, I’m going to push my whole body through the liquid mirror.  There are no guarantees on the other side of the mirror, except the fact that you will no longer just be standing and admiring what you think is right and good for you. So I say…Let your fear guide you…but in a different direction than normal? Fear usually gets strong when I have multiple choices before me. Fear WILL guide us. So the next time fear rises up in your life, and is telling you to go in a specific direction, turn in the direction it wants you to go and then do an “about face”…180 degree turn and march on. It won’t be the easy direction. It won’t be the safe direction. But it will be the HOLY and right direction.
What is fear telling you to do right now?
Take a look in the mirror.
Better yet…
Conquer the mirror!


2011 — 10 Fresh Start Questions

I promised Parkway Church I would post these 10 questions. Here they are. I owe thanks to Perry Noble for originally writing them out. When it was time to create some great questions for my message it became clear that I didn’t need to be original, just effective. They are good questions to help us create a fresh start. As it is January 1st, 2011 it is a great time for a fresh start. As you answer these and read the scriptures, be transparent and real with yourself. When you write down the answer to each question…the real hard part is proactively being the solution. Go for it. If I can help in anyway, then let me know. I’ll try my best to help you! Happy New Year! 2011 will be what you make of it.

#1 – Am I reading my Bible for information or transformation? (James 1:22-25)

#2 – Am I allowing people or circumstances to steal the joy that Jesus promised to me? (John 10:10)

#3 – Is there anything in my life that God is consistently dealing with that I am trying to ignore? (Ezekiel 14:1-5)

#4 – Who are the people in my life that God has placed around me for the purpose of me sharing Christ with them and/or inviting them to church? (II Corinthians 5:16-21)

#5 – Is there anyone I need to apologize to? (Ephesians 4:25:27)

#6 – Is there anyone I need to forgive? (Ephesians 4:32)

#7 – Is there a sin I need to confess to others and ask for help? (James 5:16)

#8 – Am I fully utilizing the gifts and abilities that God has blessed me with…or am I simply choosing to waste my life? (I Peter 4:10)

#9 – Do I know more lines from the movies that I love than verse from the Bible that I read? (Psalm 119:11)

#10 – Is there anything going on in my life privately that, if it became public, would cause me and/or the body of Christ to be embarrassed? (I John 1:9, James 5:16)

Remember this…no matter what happens to you…2011 will be what you make of it!

Go for it! Don’t let another year go by without a positive change.

Trent


There is no competition…

Have you ever been in the presence of something or someone and heard them say, “I have no competition!” The odds are you haven’t. Its got to be a rare thing to say or hear.
I heard it first hand this morning. I am tempted to not mention any names, but if someone says they have no competition then they have nothing to worry about…right?
So I’m at Starbucks this morning and I hear a Barista talking to a customer in front of me. The discussion was focused on why the customer was by himself and didn’t have his usual business partner with him for the daily morning ritual of satisfying the coffee monster that lives within so many of us. The customer replied that the new Dunkin Donuts had opened and the person was trying it out instead of Starbucks. I was intrigued to hear what the Barista had to say about that! The Barista replied, “Oh, that’s okay…Starbucks has no competition that can even come close to us and it will always be that way…he’ll be back soon.”

I have to admit, I love confidence. We must admit that Starbucks is amazing. They have earned the reputation of Champion status.

Just like…
Goliath.
The Roman Empire.
and
The Titanic.

Its not that the defeaters of the Champions are greater. David was so small.
Nothing compared to the size of the Roman Empire.
The iceberg was nothing the size of the ship.

So what brought the “champions” down?
What will bring Starbucks down?
What will bring you to your knees?

Of course I have my opinions….
But…
I would love yours
Please share…


Hey Boss!

Even if you’re not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses, your faith. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself, the way you pray.
How’s your boss doing?
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talk to yourself…what would you do? If you had a boss that wasted your time like you might waste your own time…would that boss be fired. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you might be developing yourself, would that Org. soon go under? If your church treated your faith like you treat your own faith…would that Church survive?
I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they find that right church that encourages one to set their own agenda and manage and spiritually grow themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel in their faith, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.
Are you surprised when someone self-directed/self led arrives on the scene? Someone who figures out a way to work out their faith and then turns that into a life-long journey, Bible in hand, as they impact their neighborhood/work/and church. Most people are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends and their vacation to do a mission trip, or start a useful new ministry that helps bring fortune to the less fortunate. Are you envious when you encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves out of depression and nasty circumstances into hope, faith and happiness, as if that’s rare or even uncalled for.
There are few good books on being a good manager, a good boss, a good Christian. Fewer books still on managing yourself and your faith…there really is just the Bible…the Bible doesn’t need you to read more books from Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Francis Chan, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Mark Driscoll…God…the list is endless. What the Bible wants? The Bible wants your Boss to get out of his/her spiritual bed, and be self led and self fed. Become whole, someone who figures out the solutions…drives with work ethic to complete-ness. The Bible wants your Boss to be the best boss you’ve ever had.
You are your own Boss.
What must your boss begin to do?