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Truth and Nonfiction versions of the Church…

The title seems redundant. It is not.

Truth is purely what Jesus says. Non-fiction simply means facts of a reality. nonfiction

My intention here is to simply describe the Church from Truth’s design, and pray that we all measure our reality, and reset our targets accordingly.

Here goes…

It doesn’t matter if you are The Lord Jesus, the Lead Pastor, an Elder, a Nursery Care Volunteer, or the Wednesday Night Janitor, your mindset in the Church is the same because everyone knows they must rely on one another.  This united mindset is that the whole body of Christ experiences operational excellence and consistent holiness effort with minimal error. Whether it’s preparing a message to preach, a song-set to be led, a business CEO strategically planning around the staff meeting table, a man sitting in his living room at home by himself with his computer, or the three ladies meeting for tea and coffee to talk…they all, always, strive for holiness and excellence, and rely on the entire body to do the same.  It is in every tribe, every nation, every tongue, and every household.  You do right for yourself, but more importantly, you do right for your fellow body members, and most importantly for The Lord and Savior.  It is in our blood and in our brains, and it takes all our brawn to live it minute by minute, day after day, until Jesus arrives to gather this united group and restore us all on a fully remade Heaven and Earth…simply called Heaven.

Thy Kingdom come on earth…as it is in Heaven.


Having Done in Room 1501 (wk 15) Winning is Everything

I just wrapped up week 15 at Joy Christian High School as a first year teacher.  I teach the Bible Class to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.  Sophomores are going through New Testament Survey and the others are going through World Religions.   It’s still pretty amazing to me that I get all those students in Room 1501 every week and we get to learn The Bible and it’s impact on life.  I pray it plants seeds that God continues to grow for the rest of their lives.

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It is a true honor to witness the students of JCHS entering into that blue door each day.  A majority of them wear their emotions on their sleeves.  It is pretty evident what kind of day each student is having just by reading their body language when they enter.  I can tell that the semester is getting ready to end, because many of the students are weary of school.  They are in need of an extended break.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Week 15 at JCHS, taught me its most valuable life lessons, outside of the classroom.  This week the JCHS Volleyball and Football teams had their season ending State Playoff games.  Both teams had a phenomenal season as they demonstrated their athletic gifts God gave them.  But, each team, even with their overall successful season, ended the season heartbroken because they didn’t progress and have an ending result of ‘State-Champs.’   In their minds they didn’t win.  In reality they didn’t win.  As the Room 1501 Bible Teacher, I found myself heart broken for them.  This week’s experience reminded me of something that our American culture seems to be embarrassed of.

Admitting that WINNING IS EVERYTHING. 

Stop and think about it for just a moment.  If you disagree with that statement…then…when did you stop believing that winning is everything?

Harry “Red” Sanders, head coach of the of UCLA Bruins from 1949-1957 is the one who get’s the credit for that phrase.  Vince Lombardi is known for using that phrase as he led the Green Bay Packers to be a winning dynasty that still inspires people today.

Harry Sanders’s exact quote is, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi gives Sanders the credit for being the originator of the phrase in his book, “The Lombardi Rules.”

So, do you believe that winning is everything?

I think there is Biblical evidence that winning is everything.  However, before we jump into the Bible let’s first start with the Dictionary.com.

WIN …  verb (used without object), won, winning.

1.  to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.  

2.  to succeed by striving or effort.  

3.  to gain the victory; overcome an adversary.

It is of my opinion that the current American culture…is meandering through life without any stimulating vision. Somewhere along these past 10-15 years, the American people have catered to some strange people who live on the fringes of society. Somehow these types have gotten into the leadership of too many things.  Am I the only one who thinks we have given influence of the American Culture, to the kind of people who were not present when the “Common Sense Train” stopped to give out its gifts?  I think these types have been influencing some very important USA things, and have been brilliant in their influence, to the point that the average, common sense gifted American, has become the frog in the kettle that is about to be cooked.

Have these types somehow slow-cooked you into thinking that winning is for greedy, mean-spirited, and self-ambitious people?

I say it again, Winning is everything.

Bible time… 

The Apostle Paul, the writer who wrote more than half of the New Testament under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote this…

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”

1 Corinthians 9:24

“So run to win.”  The Bible says that!  If you think with me, I think you will agree that there are 7 areas of life.  All things life, fall into one of these 7 categories.  1. Spiritual  2. Social  3. Psychological  4. Parental  5. Physical  6. Financial  7. Marital.

In the 7 areas of life, can you think of one that would be okay to NOT win in?  Do you want to lose in your marriage?  Do you want to lose in your physical life?  Do you want to lose in the Spiritual world?

I repeat, Winning is everything!

Part of the problem we might have with our current attitude towards winning is the simple fact that somewhere along the way we have been slow cooked into believing that winning is only about some position.  No doubt…part of a win is actually a 1st place position.  Surely you have heard the phrase “2nd place just means you are the first loser.”  But I want to say, that if the attainment of your first place position was done with any form of integrity problem, then you may have won a 1st place position, but you did not win a first place function.  (Please understand the difference between Functional and Positional winning.)

There are many things in life that carry attributes of what is called Functional and Positional differences.  As an example, I’ll demonstrate what I mean by using one of my favorite topics, Spiritual Leadership.  There are many people who hold the position of leadership in their Church, but it’s just a position.  Somewhere in that church there is a person or a group of people who truly FUNCTION as the leadership. In Church world this is not healthy.  In Church world, the average Church(an average church in the USA runs about 90 total  in attendance) is struggling to produce any kind of fruit, because the Church might have a Pastor/Minister/Preacher that has a Position/title of leader, but in all reality, there is a group of about 5 -10 people/families that function as leaders and if you the positional leader do not do what they say…well…there will be heck to pay. Positional vs Functional Leadership.  There is a distinct difference.

In life, it seems like all the power is in the Positional leadership…but eventually functional leadership will WIN out.  FUNCTIONAL leadership trumps POSITIONAL leadership…sooner or later!  It may take Jesus’s return and the initiating of eternity to set that point as fact…but it is fact, none the less.

This is why Jesus says, “The Last shall be first and the first shall be last.”  According to Jesus, true winners may not hold the less important POSITION of leadership, but FUNCTION behind the scenes as a real functioning leader.

Position does not always define a win.  A true win is accomplished when Position and Function bond as one.  If you cheat to win, you don’t win…no matter the position you finished in.  If you have positional power and you have to “show”your power to get what you think is a win…then you didn’t win at all.  (In teaching world…there are teachers who think they win when they “nail” a student, but that teacher won the little skirmish at the loss of the entire battle.  They lost the student’s respect…that’s not a win.)  Positional leadership “sticks out its chest.”  Functional leadership doesn’t need facades. Functional leadership is invisible power.

I think, part of the reason as to why America has developed a misunderstanding about winning, is simply because we have become a dumbed down society that is too busy to think deeply anymore.  We do not think deeply about what a TRUE WIN really is because we don’t have the time to really study and learn deeply about things, due to our fast pursuit of what we think is a win.  We have become a society of “the ends justifies the means.”  Too many just want some end goal result and they will bypass almost anything to get to that first place position.

I have heard and experienced horror stories of churches, corporations, schools, and governments that will do anything to get a “win.”

 

Why?

Because…winning is everything.

It’s time we quit lying to ourselves about winning.  Winning is everything. It really matters to every one of us.  Winning matters so much that people will do anything to win.

But here is the deal…

If you win a first place POSITION by ignoring first place FUNCTION…then you are a loser…not a winner.  If I have to cheat/lie or in any other way keep secret what I had to do to get the “win”…then in all reality I lose.   If in no other arena…then when I look in the mirror.  If I lost my integrity to get a win…my mirror will let me know.  Below are just a few comparisons between Functional and Positional Leadership.  Understanding the difference will help you truly win. The material below is written from a Biblical World-view perspective.

Positional vs Functional Leadership.jpgBottom Line … Winning is everything.  I can’t think of anything that I want to lose in.  I suppose what is difficult to determine is what is truly a win.  All the money in the world, all the fame, all the influence, all the positions of power, all the _____________????

Have you heard the following phrase?  “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  I want to scream, “FALSE!”  The true phrase is…

“He who dies with the most toys, still dies.”  

You can erase the underlined word above and put in any earthly word in its place and it is still true.

I don’t want to lose in anything.  I want to win.

Especially in the Spiritual realm.  To lose spiritually is to go to Hell eternally.

To wrap up this blog post about what I have learned from Room 1501 on this 15th week at Joy Christian High School, I simply want to add what Jesus said about winning and losing.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”    Luke 9:23-24 

Jesus didn’t come to be served…even though He deserved it.  He came to serve others.  Jesus didn’t come to win in this world…He came to die…a.k.a…”lose,” so that He could live eternally in the presence of His Heavenly Father.  He “lost” so that you could win.  Now…we are going to have to copy Him.  What is it that you must “lose” in this life so that you may gain eternal life?  What positional powers are you indulging in right now that you need to transform into Functional powers.  What is it that you must die to, so that you can win? What must you lose…to truly win in what matters?

WIN!

The athletes that filed through Room 1501 this week helped me think about what true winning and losing really is.  And no matter how you look at it…Winning is everything.

Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 11) Parent/Teacher Conference…

Just finished Week 11 in Room…

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This week was one of those weeks that forced me to practice patience and be reminded that High School is a lot more than the classroom and academia.  This week was PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE week.  It also was a NO SCHOOL Monday with Columbus day, so we only had 2 full days of school this week.  Thursday and Friday were 1/2 days because of Parent Teacher Conferences.

This week was the first time I have ever been on the teacher side of Parent/Teacher conferences.  I didn’t know what to expect.  When I used to attend Parent Teacher conferences from the parent side of the meeting…I always felt like it was time for the teacher to think that I was a bad parent because my kids weren’t doing as good as they could be.  I was always nervous going in, as a parent, on parent/teacher conferences.  I was always a bit insecure about what kind of parent the teacher thought I might be.

I think those past experiences helped me to help the parents who walked into Room 1501…relax.  I love their students and I was excited to tell them how good they are doing and how proud I am of their kid(s).

I could tell that some of the parents coming in were nervous.  I could see it in their eyes and body language.  It was obvious to me how much the parents loved their children.  It was fun to watch the parent’s nerves calm down when I began to mention their student by name, express gratefulness that their student was in my class, share details of their talents and strengths, and tell them that I felt they had a great kid.  Some parents teared up a little.

My experience from the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences taught me that every parent thinks and wishes they could do a better job of parenting.  I learned that every parent gets nervous, when confronted with what others think about their child, and how it might reflect on them as a parent and person.  I learned that every parent has a bit of panic, mixed with hope, that every teacher is helping shape their child to be successful in the world.  It was obvious to me that most parents recognize that they cannot raise their child(ren) on their own.

Every day, every parent releases their child out into the “wild” and out of the control of their loving arms.  I can really see it in the moms of the world.  I’m convinced nearly every mom…even when deeply frustrated with their students of Room 1501…wonders if they will see their child again at the end of the day.  What if the car crashes?  What if there is a shooter at the school?  What if there is a tragic accident on the sports field?  What if?  What if?  Seems to be a lot of worry in our world.  I guess it begs to ask the question as to if worry is sinful.

I heard a preacher recently talk about how worry is sinful and evil.  I was frustrated at the lack of Biblical truth behind that teaching. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that worry is evil.  It may say that worry is useless, but it is not evil.  I do not think that worry is a sin…I think worry is useless and a waste of time.  I challenge any “disagree-ers”…to show me the Bible verses that say Worry is evil or sinful. Some might argue that worry is a lack of trust in God.  I”m not sure you can prove that by using the Bible.   Worry could be an intense love for the things you care deeply about.  Worry might be because you recognize that God asked you to steward some things of His and you want to do an excellent job.   The only way I will agree that worry could be a sin is if the worry consumes us, controls us and causes us to behave sinfully.  However, I do not think that worry in and of itself is a sin.  The Bible is loaded with a lot of “little” things that it calls sin…worry is not one of them.

(At the end of this blog…if you’d like to do a Bible Study on Worry, I will include some Bible verses for you to do so.)

I would venture to say that Jesus worried.  I think it is a fair guess to say that Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, had such anxiety, stress, and pressure, that blood came to the surface of skin.  This condition is called Hematidrosis. (read about it in wikipedia here). Jesus begged the Father, three times, to let Him out of the crucifixion.  I think Jesus was worried at that moment…without sinning.  I don’t want to get off subject too much, but the reality is…worry is useless…but I do not think it is evil or sin…in and of itself.   In fact…agreeing with that might cause you to worry less. 🙂

When I met the parents of the some of the students of Room 1501…and noticed a little worry on their faces…I know for a fact that I was privileged to be able to help them relax and worry a little less about their students.  Their worry/concern helped me to realize something about being a teacher…

I think the greatest thing I learned by being on the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences was…as the Bible Teacher in Room 1501, I get to spend more time with these parent’s kids than they as the parents get to.  I have lunch with them everyday, I have them in class in a Question and Answer format…everyday.  I see them walking through the corridors and hanging out with their friends…everyday.   I see them laugh, fight, love, work, play and relax, every day…Monday through Friday…everyday…did I say every day?

So…as a first year teacher experiencing my first Parent/Teacher Conference…I will never take teachers for granted again.  (I recognize I have said that phrase a lot since becoming a teacher)…

Teachers do not just educate our personal children, they are one of the most critical contributors of turning our boys and girls into Men and Women.  Can you think of another person or organization that gets to spend that much time with our kids?  The Church on the corner doesn’t get that much time.  Our kid’s friends down the street don’t get that much time.  Television doesn’t get that much time. Teacher’s do.  Where your kids goes to school might be one of the most developmentally important decisions we as parents make in our children’s lives.  Hmmmm.

I learned a lot this week from my experience in Room 1501.

End of Blog________________________________

Beginning of Worry Bible Study…if interested…

  • Matthew 6:25-34

    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Luke 12:24-34

    Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Matthew 11:28-30

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  • Colossians 3:15

    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16

    Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
  • Psalm 55:22

    Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Proverbs 12:25

    An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
  • Philippians 4:6-7

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-8

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
  • Psalm 23:4

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
  • Psalm 56:3

    When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • Romans 8:38

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

 


Have you wondered this…”Why am I not as strong of a Christian as I could be?”

I think one reason that Facebook is so popular is because it creates DIALOGUE…communication that goes two ways…I post, you listen, you post, I listen! You are sitting in silence with facebook-friends and dialoging. It’s great!  There’s much to learn from this that can relate to the health of our Christian walk.

If you are struggling at being a fully devoted follower of Jesus. MAYBE one of the problems you have towards Christ is that your relationship with Jesus is too MONOLOGUE = one directional. He’s my Savior. I cry out to Him. I Sing worship songs about Him. I go to Church. I pray to Him. I study the Word, I go to Youth Group. I read books. I have a great preacher. I attend small group. I do christian work. I tune in to Christian radio. These are all Monologue…One directional LOUD & BUSY efforts. If there is dialogue it is usually dialoging with people, not God. It tends to still be all about you doing life with people. This is good…but other people are not God.

When God gave us 1 mouth and 2 ears…was He trying to make a point?

potato mouth

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When was the last time you just stopped and listened to the Lord in silence for a long period of time? When was the last time you let Him speak to you? Not music, preaching, books, group discussions, etc. When was the last time Only GOD spoke to you?

He usually speaks through a quiet whisper.  Read 1 Kings 19:12

You’ll have to get very quiet and be still if you want to hear Him.  Read Psalm 46:10

When was the last time you allowed God’s voice to enter your loud and busy world/Head/Heart?

Don’t forget…

“Jesus OFTEN withdrew to a QUIET place to spend time with His Father.” Luke 5:16

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

You will not find the time to do this. You can only make the time to listen to God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


20/20 Hind-sight about Jesus…

Isaiah 28:16 says,
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.” (NLT)

The USA was created nearly 250 years ago.
The Book of Isaiah was written around 700 years before the birth of Jesus…totaling 2700 years ago.

Can you imagine if you were someone reading the book of Isaiah..let’s say…600 years before Jesus was born? You wouldn’t have known how much time would pass before the coming Messiah would actually arrive. Every day you would wonder if today was the day for the Messiah to be born. Some, maybe didn’t even know what this “Cornerstone” would actually be. I imagine there was great awe and wonder, maybe even fear being talked about, as the people prior to Jesus’s birth, studied and contemplated who or what this cornerstone was all about.

I’ll bet it was very frustrating for the people of that day. Wouldn’t you strive, with all your effort, to determine who or what this cornerstone was, so that if you believed in it, you would never be shaken, as the verse in Isaiah says? It would be all consuming. I would want that cornerstone more than anything. Not knowing what it was would have sent me on a wild game of hide and seek as I tried to discover what this “Cornerstone” was, so I could believe in it, so I would never be shaken!

Today…we are very fortunate…

We don’t have to be frustrated like the people who lived BC. We can look back with 20/20 hindsight and know WHO the cornerstone is. The Apostle Paul, who in the early part of his life hated Jesus and His followers, wrote the following Bible verse, “Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”

I wonder if Paul shook his head in awe and wonder as he wrote that sentence? One day He hated Jesus…the next He was admitting Jesus is the Cornerstone and Lord of all!

Paul met Jesus personally. Paul used to imprison and oversee the killing of people who dared say that Jesus was the cornerstone referred to in Isaiah. Now, Paul is the writer of more than 1/2 of the New Testament that professes that Jesus IS the cornerstone. It’s crazy what happens when someone meets Jesus personally!

You and I do not have to be frustrated wondering where hope is found. We do not have to be nervous wondering what we must do to have salvation. We do not have to argue about who is the Cornerstone that everything else is built on or stumbles on. We do not have to fight to prove that Jesus is the cornerstone. He IS the Cornerstone. He rose from the dead to prove how immovable that cornerstone…He…really is.

If you are reading this, you and I have such an advantage over the faithful followers of God that lived BC. We can look with 20/20 hindsight to know who Jesus is and what He has done. We have the new set of Scriptures called the New Testament to witness to who that Cornerstone is. We have the 39 books of the Old Testament to compare to the 27 books of the New Testament to do a full study of who the Messiah is and what we must do to make Him our Lord and Savior and King. You and I can have complete confidence in the fact that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life! He said so Himself.

That’s a good thing! That’s a good book! That’s Good News! That’s the Holy Scriptures, pointing us to a holy God and asking us to live Holy Lives. The Apostles and many others are so convinced that Jesus is the Cornerstone, that they were willing to have horrible things happen to them instead of denouncing Jesus. If you want to read about some of these people, read Hebrews chapter 11.

Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Cornerstone. A sentence was written by the great Prophet Isaiah 2700 years ago, telling us that we can live unshaken lives if we build on the foundational cornerstone of Jesus Christ Himself! He is a firm and tested stone. He is immovable, steadfast, and undefeated! He is the THE Champion of the Faith. He is the Great Physician. He is the Comforter. He is the full payment for your sins. He is the Rock! He cannot be shaken! Anything that comes against Him will not succeed!

Knowing this….check out the following passage…written by King David approximately 2900 years before Jesus came. Talk about faith. Read the hope and strength that King David had in God nearly 3000 years before the birth of the Cornerstone. If David can have this kind of faith and strength prior to the birth of Jesus…not knowing with 20/20 hindsight where His confidence should be…not knowing who the Messiah would be, then how much more faith and strength can we have knowing…with 20/20 hindsight… that Jesus IS the cornerstone?

1 I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken. Psalms 62:1-2 (NLT)

Jesus is the Rock…
You are Solid as long as you stand on The Rock.
Rock on!

Trent