Friday, October 30, 2009

Catalyst - Chuck Swindoll

Chuck Swindoll may have been the highlight of Catalyst 09 for me. He was funny, graceful, grateful and fatherly. He was awarded the Catalyst Lifetime Achievement award (whatever that is). His presentation began with a congratulations from his sister, Lucy. She told a hilarious story about teaching him to smoke when they were growing up in Houston. It involved tree bark and a sheet of loose leaf paper.

Here are some of the highlights for me of his talk.
In every ministry, there are three things that must be avoided:
  1. Hiding shameful things
  2. Doing deceitful things
  3. Corrupting fruitful things
He then looked at 2 Cor. 4.5-7 and reminded us that:
  • It isn't about us
  • It's all about Him
  • We should see ourselves as bond servants for Jesus
  • We never forget what we are...and who he is
Then he gave us five statements worth remembering:
  • So more with others and less alone (accountability)
  • Emphasize quality and not quantity
  • Wherever you go, do it the same as if you were among those who know you best
  • Whoever may respond, keep a level head
  • Keep on dripping with gratitude and grace - stay thankful

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catalyst - Priscilla Shirer

Taking forever to get my notes up about Catalyst. Preparation for our state convention's annual meeting took precedence. Couple of more left, Chuck Swindoll (highlight of Catalyst?) and Louie Giglio.

Priscilla Shirer is Tony Evans' daughter and a communicator out of Dallas, TX. You can tell she was influenced by her dad, because she has a similar cadence.
Her message was from Joshua 3. After reading the passages, she had several observations:
After Joshua received instruction from the Lord:
  1. He acted immediately in obedience
  2. He acted fearlessly
  3. He acknowledged the presence of God.
  4. He had the people consecrate themselves (that is become ritually clean in anticipation of God's presence and anticipation of God's action.
She was a very entertaining communicator and Bible teacher.

One quick quote from Dave Ramsey: Have intensity for things that matter.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Catalyst - Matt Chandler

I have prepared just some thoughts I took away from Matt's message at Catalyst, not an outline of his message. Sorry about that. One thing that struck me about his message is that twice Matt gave credit to something that Rob Bell said in his message. That told me that Matt is teachable and listened to the previous speaker's message. It also told me that he doesn't just "toe the company line" especially if you have ever listened to his buddy in Seattle's thoughts on Bell. I am sure that Matt probably has some issues with Bell's theology, but he did not let that distract him from filtering out some things that he could take away from a fellow pastor/teacher.

Matt used the text of Hebrews 11.39-12.3. He told us that God is at work (and has been at work through the faithful) and he has invited us to take part. Therefore, we should "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Matt feels that two important words for us have been hijacked, those are confession and repentance.
Every delay in obedience is a delay in the beckoning by God to deeper waters. We need to sense that we are uniquely created by God to do what we've been called to do.
Matt encouraged us to let confession and repentance be a continuing ethic in our lives and our ministries.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Bashing, But...

I have some thoughts on the Obama-Peace Prize award. My thoughts are not so much on Obama's win, I really couldn't care less. My thoughts are more on the reaction of my hero, Bono's thoughts on the award. In a recent Rolling Stone blog post, they cited Bono's op-ed piece in the NY Times, where Bono was defending Obama's win. Here is a snippet from the RS blog post:

Bono has come out in support of President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win, penning an
op-ed column in this weekend’s New York Times celebrating Obama’s goal of eradicating
world hunger and crediting the President for helping “rebrand America.”

For some reason, I found it funny that Bono thinks Obama deserved the award for his goal of eradicating world hunger. If that is true, then shouldn't I win for my goal of ending armed conflict around the world? (I do pray for world peace on a regular basis). You win awards for your goals? What if he falls woefully short (I hope he doesn't, but GWB did a lot for poor countries in Africa, what awards did he win?)
Bono is a great artist, good humanitarian, but he needs to realize that he is not the representative of caring, non-Americans and his opinion doesn't always deserve a world stage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Catalyst-Rob Bell

Random thoughts:
One thing I have noticed about Rob Bell is that dramatic...pause...talker.
Started off with a great observation about courting a following or growing a big church. He quoted a portion of John 6 and mentioned that sometimes the crowd thins and the church gets smaller. He gave a couple of instances where things he has said caused people to leave his church. He related that he had dared to question the wars the US are involved in right now and people got upset. He then poignantly stated: "When forced to choose between the flag and the cross, as followers of Christ we choose the cross."

He had his infamous "wtf" statement (just the initials, not what they stand for). I didn't think it was appropriate or even cute (like a lot of attenders did) but, honestly, I didn't think much of it. That is until, I guess, he sensed that some people in the crowd were upset by it (I couldn't tell that). So he disarms all opposition by saying, "Come on, you people are such Pharisees." I love that. If someone thinks you've moved beyond the realm of good taste or being a good representative of Jesus you can just call them a Pharisee and you can be seen as righteous. The Pharisee comment bothered me more than the "wtf".

He went on to discuss the meaning of "eucharist". Eucharist in Greek basically means "good gift." He stated that our churches should be eucharists to their cities, towns and communities. It's a really good thought.

He discussed the 10 Commandments. He believes that when you stay true to the first nine, you will not want to break the tenth (about coveting your neighbor's possessions, and really coveting your neighbor's life). He stated that when you obey God, you won't want anybody else's life.

I felt I got more out of this message than it seems here, but those are all of the notes that I have. As usual, as a style issue, the pause talking makes me giggle and I do think he gets too wordy (even in the nooma videos). I'd like to see him do a little more editing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Catalyst - Shane Hipps

Random thoughts...
I got to admit, Shane Hipps lost me. He must have lost several people because I had many people on my team ask me what I thought he was trying to say. At first, he gave credence to the line: "the methods must change, but the message should never change." Then he said something along the lines that the message does change as well. In paraphrasing Marshall McLuhan, Shane stated that how you say something determines how your message is understood. (The medium is the message). But then he went back and stated that the message is unchanging and everchanging.

I did pull one nugget out: he compared a guard to a gardener. If you think about the role of a guard, a guard protects from negative circumstances and his placement is motivated by fear. A gardener is motivated by love and in anticipation of what is expected to growth. Shane then made the statement that we should never protect at the expense of growth.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Catalyst - Malcolm Gladwell

I really enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's writing. I read Blink and even though I didn't really get what he was saying, I enjoyed reading the book. I've read most of The Tipping Point and several of his articles in the New Yorker, including this disturbing one about NFL players and head trauma (here). Gladwell spoke at Catalyst on leadership.

Specifically, Gladwell was asking the question about what the financial crisis taught us about leadership. He wondered out loud, with all of the financial experts and the knowledge they had of the market, how did they not see the collapse of Bear-Stearnes and Shearson Lehman. His point was that the collection of information does not necessarily lead to great leadership. He pointed to the Civil War battle of Chancellorsville. Gen. Hooker knew everything there was to know about Gen. Lee's position, his numbers, he knew more about Lee's army than Lee knew. He devised a battle plan that was perfect. He couldn't fail. He even stated that "God himself could not prevent their victory." He was so sure of the results of his maneuvering that he did not plan for what might happen if Lee might not act according to Hooker's plan. Of course, Lee did not act according to Hooker's plan and Lee defeated Hooker at Chancellorsville. The point of the story was to show us the consequences of being so sure and being overconfident based on our accumulation of information.

It should be obvious that we would assume that more information about a situation would lead to more confidence to act. But being over informed does not necessarily always give us the plan for action. Gladwell pointed to a study that showed doctors being provided with varying levels of information about a case. One would think that the more information that a doctor was given about a patient would result in a surer diagnosis. Gladwell pointed out that that was not always the case. The percentage of correct diagnoses based on levels of information stayed about the same.

That is the scary part. Gladwell pointed out that more information did not lead to correct action plans but to being more confident (which leads to over confidence).
Gladwell pointed out that incompetence annoys us. But overconfidence should scare us.

Getting to the one point that he wanted to leave us with: In crisis, we don't need bold, daring activity from our leaders. We need humility.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Catalyst Thoughts - Andy Stanley

Over the next couple of days, I am going to be posting my thoughts from the Catalyst Conference. I am not going to providing outlines to the messages, but I will be posting thoughts that I thought were important to me.

Andy Stanley began Catalyst 09 by looking at Joshua. He read from 5.13-15. Joshua encounters a man with a drawn sword and Joshua asks him who's side is the man on. He soon realizes that the man is the captain of the heavenly army. The angel lets him know that he is on neither side. The point being that we should seek to be on the Lord's side instead of seeking him to be on our side.

The salient points for Andy were the question, not asking God what role he is playing in our story, but what role are we playing in His story.

He states that our duty is to be obedient to God and trust him with the consequences. (That was a lesson he learned from observing his father, Charles Stanley, going through difficult circumstances).

Andy then discussed our desire to make our mark in the world. Andy turned that phrase around as well as he had mentioned being obedient to God. Me, making my mark, is too small of a thing to accomplish. Instead, I should be obedient to God and let God make his mark through me.

That got me thinking about how I could leave God's mark on my neighborhood, the campus I serve, etc. How can I, through God's power, leave this place a better place.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Lou Holtz had a story tonight that showed how he motivated his athletes at Notre Dame. He was talking to Steve Beurlein, his QB. Beurlein threw 17 interceptions one year. Lou sat down with him and said, "Steve, I can guarantee that you will not throw 7 interceptions next year." Steve said, "That's great, coach. Are we going to run better routes? New throwing technique?" "No," Lou responded, "When you get to 6 interceptions, I'm going to bench you."
That's motivation.

Discipleship: 1 Cor. 4

Last week I taught through 1 Corinthians 4 in our Missio Dei Bible study at Mizzou. I want to focus in on the closing portion of that lesson with this post.

When looking at true discipleship, Paul shows us in 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 that discipleship is not a program, it is a way of life to be modeled. "Therefore I urge you to imitate me...Timothy...will remind you of my way of life in Christ, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church."
This has been humbling to me on two levels. Is my walk with Christ true enough that I can tell others to follow me? We are not talking about going through a book study or meeting once a week. I need to invite someone to step in to my life and observe how I follow Christ in all situations. I've posted this before, but look at Paul's method of discipleship:

He encourages his congregations to be imitators of him in all respects, even as he himself is an imitator of Christ (1 Cor. 4.16; 11.1; 1 Thess. 1.6; 2 Thess. 3.7).
Paul thinks of the life of imitation which comes into being when obedient disciples receive (and pattern their lives according to) the instruction of their teacher. After his admonishment to “Be imitators of me,” he follows with the statement: “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy…He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church” (1 Cor. 4.17).
When Paul speaks of “my ways” he is referring to patterns of his life and teachings. Imitating Paul means the same as to receive and live according to the teaching which Paul proclaimed in all of his congregations. Thus Paul is not only passing down tradition as oral or written teaching but also how he lives. We see this fleshed out even more in Phil. 4.9: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice.” The Philippians were even told to look in their own community for imitators of Paul, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you” (Phil. 3.17).

Wow, do I do that with the people that I am mentoring? I know I need to, but I fear I'm just too lazy to invite someone into my life like that to share.

In the realm of college ministry, one of the challenges that I made to our students was that they could provide that type of discipleship to other students much more effectively than I could. They can model it in their lives, where they live and bring people along side and say - what you see me doing, you do. That doesn't excuse me and I hope that I can give a few of them a glimpse of that so that they can go to their dorms, apartments, fraternities, work places, cafeterias and imitate Christ in front of others.