Monday, 30 March 2015

Mad at God

"I was pretty mad with God" I said.

I was telling a story to a friend, a story that for me was full of challenges, stress, mountaintop moments and intense disappointment. I was mad at God, because I thought things should go one way but they ended up going another.

I continued saying "And I told him about it!" I was frustrated, angry and tired and I felt like I had to be honest. 

Today I read an article from Relevant Magazine (you can read it by clicking here.) It was a good article about the fact that we don't have to have to perform for God. BUT I wish it would go a little bit further.

I wish as a Christian culture we would acknowledge something. That it's okay to be mad, and God knows when we are mad, so why don't we express it? 

Do we think we are being better or more "spiritual" by not truly being open with our feelings? By pretending that everything can be defined by the Christian 'F-Word'.... FINE!

I sometimes wonder if God is frustrated or even offended by our lack of openness with Him because as we know before a word is on the tongue God knows it (Psalm 139:4). 

I have found, that when I have expressed my true feelings to God, I can move on quicker. No things don't necessarily get better... but I can process my feelings and often as I process things, with Gods help, I can start to understand what I need to learn or see.

So I want to challenge you, next time you are feeling something asides from "FINE", why don't you be honest and talk to God about what is really going on.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Energizing An Initiative

Want people to get excited about something?

Get some kids and youth involved! 

Yesterday our Student Ministry (for students grades 8-12) baked goodies for a baking fundraiser for our new building project. They came together for 3 hours and baked up a storm, and then today after our church service they gave their goods away by donation. 

People young and old were eating it up (pun intended). They thought it was so cool that our students were involved in this project so they wanted to support it. In fact they raised a couple hundred dollars more what I had projected for us to raise. And this was because our students were excited about what they did and their excitement for the project was contagious.

I'm pretty sure anyone wanted to bring excitement to a campaign, cause or initiative of any kind, if they just found a few young and energetic people who were passionate about the cause and then brought them on board they would have far greater success than they originally projected.

So think about it, how do you incorporate young people in what you do?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Relationships and Authority

My favourite teacher I ever had was Mr. Wolff. The funny thing was that not only was he my favourite teacher, he was also the teacher who was hardest on me. 

It was in Mr. Wolffs class that I pushed myself to take on huge assignments and actually not misbehave for once. And why did I do it? Because Mr. Wolff influenced me through relationships. 

Mr. Wolff would often come out at recess and lunchtime to play soccer with us, or hang out on the playground. That is what made him such an awesome teacher. He created relationships with his students and that made him well loved. But beyond his students loving him, we respected him because he invested in us outside of the classroom. 

Today I read an article in the "Leadership Journal" you can check out the article here. The premise was the fact that there is a difference between how Baby Boomers and Millenials react to pastoral leadership. I think it goes beyond pastoral leadership to how these generations view leadership in general.

Baby Boomers often tend to respect positions, education, and ultimately authority. Whereas Millenials respect relationships, authenticity and action. 

Are either of these groups wrong? I don't think so. I think that it is important to respect those in positions above ours, we can learn from those with higher educations and we need to respect our authorities, however leaders need to invest in relationships, live authentic lives, and not simply waste their position rather they need to put things into action. 

But when it comes to leadership dynamics I think that relationships are more powerful than authority. If you want people to follow you, you have to create relationships. If people are forced into following you because of your position they will do so, but not with the same passion and drive as if they are following you out of a relationship. 

I'm still working on this, how do I intentionally create relationships so that people will want to follow me. 

What ways do you lead through relationship?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Causing a Ruckus

Do you know anyone who is just always causing a ruckus? They can never seem to just simmer down and are always causing a scene. I hope I can be like that

I just finished reading Seth Godin's book "Tribes". It was a quick but insightful read about being the leader of a tribe of people. In it Seth examines some of the qualities of people who lead tribes amongst many other things.

One of the characteristics of a leader of a tribe is they cause ruckuses. Some people even refer to them as "heretics". Now as a pastor I don't want to be defined as a heretic, but I certainly don't mind creating a bit of a ruckus.

As I thought more and more about it, I began to realize that I can sometimes become confined. Sometimes by limits placed upon me, but often by limitations I place myself. And I can identify the barriers but for a number of reasons I don't move them or overcome them.

But then a started thinking about great examples of leaders of the Christian faith, starting simply with Jesus. Jesus was always causing a ruckus. He would make scenes, and do things against the status quo. He would infuriate people, and do unspeakable things... but he did it because he wanted, nay, he needed them to follow him. He needed to live an example of what it meant to live in relationship with God. He lived a life that was countercultural to show us what is Godcultural (yeah I  made that word up).

And so if I am going to be a follower of Jesus; and more than that; if I am going to be a pastor bringing people to Jesus, I need to start a ruckus.

So this week I am working on a couple new projects. They are a little out there and in some cases will stretch myself and other people. But I think they are going to cause a scene. I think they are going to get peoples attention. And the hope is that through these things people start to see Jesus through me in a new way, and start to follow him.

Care to join me?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

I'm Amazing

& five other things we should be saying

1. I'm Amazing because of how I am created (Genesis 1:27)
2. I'm Rich because of what I have recieved
3. I'm loved and nothing can stop that(Romans 8: 37-39)
4. I will never be good enough but that doesn't matter (Romans 5:8)
5. I have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
6. I can endure anything because He gives me the strength to be able to (Phillipians 4:13)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A tale of two thieves

A possible rendering of our local thief?!?
Earlier today my wife was at a local gym drop-in with our daughter. As she was leaving she noticed her wallet was missing. She looked all around and then realised it had been stolen.

Now we live in what is generally seen as a super safe neighbourhood. Lots of people in our area don't lock their houses, they leave their cars on the street running, and don't worry about leaving bikes unlocked while they run into the coffee shop. But today it caught up with us.

Within minutes the thief had bought $125 in gas, but fortunately that's all they got, my wife took care of everything like a machine.

Before this I had only had one thing ever stolen from me, a Bible off the roof of my car, which kind of made me happy because I thought that if they were stealing a Bible they could probably use it.

But it made me think about all the times I have stolen.


Hold on a sec and hear me out. I am a pretty upstanding citizen but earlier this week I did accidentally steal some food from Safeway. I gave my daughter a snack as we walked through the grocery store and I forgot about her eating it while I went through the check stand. BUT I do plan on paying for it next time I go back!

But I think when it comes to being a thief it often comes in the form of stealing of time from my family and friends. Last week I wrote about how I need to work on putting down my phone and technology to spend time with my family, and it's something I am working on. I have been intentionally putting my cell phone in the other room occasionally so I won't even be tempted to pick it up, but at the same time I have failed by looking at something and not hearing what Amy said, or not been paying full attention to Skye.

The thing that has really struck me is in this time not only am I robbing them of time with me, but I am robbing myself. Since I have been working on putting things down I have had more laughs because I've seen my hilarious daughter putting on a show. I've been happier in my marriage because I am connecting more with my wife.

So with that being said I am going to encourage you, figure out what you are stealing from and give back.... and now I'm going to run and spend some time with my wife!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Are you a conservationist?

"A true conservationist is one who knows that the world is not given by one's fathers but borrowed from one's children" -John Audubon

I read these words as I walked through the latest exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium, and it got me to thinking, "Does that apply to our faith?"

I believe: One's faith cannot simply be inherited but it can be squandered.

Many people believe that you can become a Christian simply because you grew up with it; but the truth is that you cannot; not even a little bit. Sure, you could identify yourself as a Christian; you can go to church or read a Bible but those things don't make you a follower of Jesus. To be a Christian you have to actually make a decision to follow Jesus, you have to acknowledge who he was, what he accomplished and then set him up as your Master and Chief... You have to become an actual follower of His and devote your life to chasing after his example and growing in your relationship with Him. (Incase you were wondering, yes us Christians believe Jesus is God)

So we cannot inherit our faith not from our father, not from our mother, but we can squander it.

One can squander their faith both for themselves and for their children. The Christian faith is meant to be lived out. We are hardwired to have a relationship with God, and through that relationship we experience many things. We experience hope, joy, peace, love, contentment, understanding, wisdom and forgiveness. However, just because we experience these things doesn't mean that we can just sit in a bubble and all is well and good. We are taught that we need to live these things out. We are supposed to be sharing the hope, joy, peace, love, contentment, understanding, wisdom and forgiveness we receive. And in fact, it is often through the sharing of these things that we actually receive even more. 

The sad fact is that a lot of Christians make a profession of faith one day, and then sometime thereafter sit back and forget about what it means to be a Christian. We are supposed to spend our time tirelessly devoted to following Jesus and being examples of him to others.

This idea that we need to be examples of Jesus comes into play in an even more significant way when we become parents. Deuteronomy 4:9 says "teach what you have seen and heard to your children and grandchildren." Just like the Earth we need to conserve for future generations, we need to conserve our faith. Studies have shown time and time again that the best way for a child to learn to accept Jesus and follow after him for life is to have a parent that lives it out. Children whose parents live lives with their faith as a daily part of it, are shown to have greater commitment to their own faith later on in life.

So I guess the question I have for myself and for you is: "Are you being a conservationist of your faith?"