8Mar

Too Small

Today Turning Point Church entered a new era of dreaming about what God can do in and among us. My dear friend Jay Minor spoke of the fact that God vision for our lives is so much bigger than ours is. God has been moving his heart and he let us in on the process.  You have to listen to the message and read the notes below.   http://www.vimeo.com/9989841

Snap Out Of It

Too Small – Part 1

But I said, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”

And now the LORD says… “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”                                        Isaiah 49:4-6 (NIV)

Dream Big for 2012:

  • ·                    750 members
  • ·                    1000 average attendance
  • ·                    Every member on a mission
  • ·                    Adoptions

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.                                                                                                2 Corinthians 4:10-12 (NIV)

  • ·                    Doing – Dreaming = Waste of Energy
  • ·                    Dreaming – Doing = Disobedience
  • ·                    Dreaming + Doing = Exponential Kingdom Impact

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.                                         Luke 12:48 (NLT)

 

2Mar

Notes from Radicalis

You know how some endeavors or activities are “soul killing?” Well, attending Radicalis was the exact opposite experience. I guess you could say it was “soul lifting.” The atmospherics alone made me feel better and lighter and stronger and more capable.  The take away sound bytes were great too. Below are several thoughts, quotes and semi-quotes from that week. I took notes as fast as I could but you can only capture so much. 

 

Dino Rizzo:

The integrity of your church is measured by how your members treat the one.        

 

Mark Driscoll:

We must be cross centered not cause centered

 

Andy Stanley:

Your system is perfectly designed to achieve the results you are currently achieving.

Systems determine behavior, not prayer, preaching or programs.        

 

Peter Scazzro:

There are unspoken rules in every family and in every church.          

                          

Rick Warren:

Every behavior is based on a belief.

Behind every sin is a lie people believe. The challenge is to figure out what particular lie people believe, in that given scenario, and to preach in a way that exposes it.      

What the world is looking for is an authoritative message through a humble personality.

If you’re getting the job done, I like how you’re doing it.

God knew every stupid thing you would do and still chose you. 

The PEACE plan in a sentence is ordinary people, empowered by God’s spirit, doing what Jesus did, together, wherever they are, for the glory of God.                     

We must not only be passionate about what God is passionate about: we must be indifferent about what God is indifferent about.

Never confuse prominence with significance.

156,000 died for their faith in 2009.

27 million people live in slavery today.

18Feb

Radicalis

Christian, Curtis, Jay and I were able to attend a remarkable conference for church leaders this past week. The theme of the seminar was “Radicalis,” which is a 14th century Latin term from which we get the word radical. Among many other incredible life lessons, one thought provoking insight was that the word radical doesn’t mean what most think it means. I, like everyone else, thought that radical meant fanatical, extreme, over the top, or cool. It turns out that the word literally means “from the root.”

Consider these examples:

1. A radish is a root.

2. The term eradicate means to pull up from the roots.

3. Radical surgery is to root it out the source of disease.

4. Radical leaves are those closest to the root of a tree or plant.

5. In linguistics the radical is the form of a word after any prefixes and suffixes are removed.

6. In math, a radical expression is an expression containing a square root. 

There are many other examples that show what radical really means. The point of the conference was to inspire spiritual leaders to be authentically radical, i.e. deeply rooted in the original truths of the word of God and reliance on the Spirit of God as opposed to temporal methods and concepts. Learning new things feeds the soul. It was a great week.  More details next time…

 

8Feb

What I Learned This Week (#2)

This past week, dozens of ministers from around the US and I got an opportunity to connect at a leadership retreat in Long Beach CA. It was encouraging hearing reports of growth and increasing health in our fellowship of churches. I had never met some of the guys but I have known most of them for many years.

It dawned on me that I can be around people who are incredible examples but not learn anything from them. It isn’t that there aren’t ample opportunities; it’s that I’m not paying attention.  So, in an effort to continue to train myself to try to be a learner, here are some things that I learned and the people from whom I learned them:

     1. Excellent preaching requires excellent preparation. – John Lusk

     2. God can change someone’s life through one conversation you have. – Gary Sciascia & Kevin Mains

     3.  Vision, hard work and consistency will pay off. – Bruce Williams

     4.  A little encouragement does wonders. – Loren Snyder

     5.  Humor is one of the greatest gifts God gives. – Doug Wens

     6.  The wisest people often ask the most questions. – Ron Quint

     7.  Sometimes God wants us to embrace a dream that wasn’t our idea initially.  – Marco Pellizieri

     8.  Praising God is about recognizing who God is, not trying to get him to do what I want. – Reese Kia-Aina

     9.  Great faith and appropriate self confidence are inspiring and contagious. –  John Causey

    10. Passion endures. – Marty Fuqua

    11. You can keep a positive attitude, even in toxic situations. – Rafael Lua 

We can and should learn from everyone we know. Life is much more interesting that way. As the apostle Paul said:But you should continue following the teachings you learned. You know they are true, because you trust those who taught you.” 2 Tim. 3:14 (NCV)                            

 

 

1Feb

The Rudder (Continued)

Well, here are some more thoughts on being constructive in our communication. These insights are from the Bible Knowledge Commentary on James chapter 3.  I guess we’re going to be working on this for a while, huh? Enjoy…

 Speak with Care (chap. 3)

Another measure of spiritual maturity is a believer’s speech. James devoted a good portion of his letter to attacking a careless and corrupt tongue. He appealed, however, not only for controlled tongues (3:1-12) but also for controlled thoughts (3:13-17). The mouth is, after all, connected to the mind. Winsome speech demands a wise source. Both controlled talk and cultivated thought are necessary.
A. Control talk (3:1-12)
From his discourse on idle faith, James proceeded to discuss idle speech. The failure to bridle the tongue, mentioned earlier (1:26), is now expanded. As disturbing as those who have faith with no works are those Christians who substitute words for works. One’s tongue should be controlled. Small though it is, the tongue is powerful and all too prone to perversion and pollution.
1. The Tongue Is Powerful (3:1-5)
3:1. Again addressing my brothers, a sign that a new topic is being considered, James suggested moderation and restraint in the multiplication of teachers. Obviously too many of the new Jewish Christians aspired to teach and thereby carry some of the rank and admiration given to Rabbis. It is doubtful that the reference here is to official teachers of the apostolic or prophetic status. These are the unofficial teachers (didaskaloi) in the synagogue meetings of the church family where much latitude was given for even strangers to speak. Paul frequently used this courtesy given visitors. James’ complaint was simply that too many believers were overly anxious to speak up and show off (cf. John 3:10; 9:40-41).
Teaching has to be done, but those who teach must understand their responsibility, as those who teach will be judged more strictly. A teacher’s condemnation is greater because, having professed to have a clear knowledge of duty, he is all the more bound to obey it.
3:2. James did not point a finger at the offenders without including himself: We all stumble in many ways. Nothing seems to trip a believer more than a dangling tongue. If a believer is never at fault (lit., “stumbles not”) in what he says (lit., “in word”), he is a perfect, fulfilled, mature, complete person (teleios anēr). He is able to “bridle” his whole body. Spiritual maturity requires a tamed tongue.
3:3-5. The tongue may be small but it is influential. Three illustrations make this point clear: the bit and the horse, the rudder and the ship, and the spark and the forest. James’ use of imagery drawn from natural phenomena is similar to the Lord’s. It is likewise characteristic of Jewish thought. The Greek used in this passage is both ancient and eloquent. James was both steeped in Jewish tradition and well-versed in Greek classics.
The argument is clear. Just as little bits… turn grown horses, small rudders guide large ships, and a small spark consumes an entire forest, so the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. The tongue is petite but powerful!
 

2. The Tongue Is Perverse (3:6-8)
3:6. The tongue is not only powerful; it is also perverse. It is small and influential but, worse by far, it can be satanic and infectious. The tongue… is a fire (cf. Prov. 16:27; 26:18-22), a world of evil. The tongue sets itself up (kathistatai) among the members, or parts of one’s anatomy, corrupting, spotting, or staining (spilousa; cf. aspilon, “spotless,” in James 1:27) the whole body and inflaming the whole course of… life (lit., “the wheel of existence” or “wheel of birth,” ton trochon tēs geneseōs). It is as though the tongue is at the center or hub of the wheel of nature and, like a fireworks display, the wheel is set on fire at the center. The more it burns, the faster it revolves until the whole wheel spins in a blaze, spitting fire in all directions. But the tongue is only the fuse; the source of the deadly fire is hell itself (lit., “Gehenna,” a place in the Valley of Hinnom south of Jerusalem where human sacrifice had been offered [Jer. 7:31] and where continuous burning of rubbish made it a fit illustration of the lake of fire).
3:7. The tongue is not only like an uncontrolled fire. It is also like an untamed beast. Every kind, or all nature (physis), of wild beasts—birds of the air, reptiles on land, and creatures of the sea—all are being tamed and have been tamed by man (lit., “human nature,” physis; thus “beastly nature” is tamed by “human nature”). But no human is able to tame the tongue!
3:8. No one can tame the tongue because it is a restless evil, an unruly, unsteady, staggering, reeling evil (like the “unstable” man of 1:8). Worse yet, the tongue is full of deadly poison (cf. Ps. 140:3). Like the poison of a serpent, the tongue is loaded with the venom of hate and death-dealing gossip.
 
3. The Tongue Is Polluted (3:9-12)
3:9-10. Similar to the forked tongue of a snake, man’s uncontrolled tongue both emits praise and spews out curses. “Praise,” or “saying a good word” (eulogoumen) of our Lord and Father (this is the only place where the NT uses this title of God) is polluted by a “curse,” or “wishing evil” (katarōmetha) on men… made in God’s likeness (cf. Gen. 1:27; 9:6; Col. 1:10). That both praise and cursing should come from the same mouth is incongruous. My brothers, this should not be.
3:11-12. Again James turned to the natural elements to illustrate his point. Anticipating a negative response, James asked, Can both fresh (lit., “sweet,” glyky) water and salt (lit., “bitter,” pikron) water flow, or “bubble up,” from the same spring? Can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Of course not. Neither does salt (halykon) make water sweet (glyky). The point is clear: a believer’s tongue should not be an instrument of inconsistency.
Small and influential, the tongue must be controlled; satanic and infectious, the tongue must be corralled; salty and inconsistent, the tongue must be cleansed.
 
B. Cultivate thought (3:13-18)
A key to right talk is right thought. The tongue is contained in a cage of teeth and lips, but it still escapes. It is not intelligence that keeps the lock on that cage; it is wisdom—a wisdom that is characterized by humility, grace, and peace.
 
1. Wisdom Is Humble (3:13)
3:13. James asked the rhetorical question, Who is wise and understanding among you? “Wise” (sophos; cf. sophias in 1:5) describes one with moral insight and skill in the practical issues of life. “Understanding” (epistēmōn) refers to intellectual perception and scientific acumen.
Let him show it. Here is an original “show and tell.” Wisdom is not measured by degrees but by deeds. It is not a matter of acquiring truth in lectures but of applying truth to life. The good life and deeds are best portrayed in the humility of wisdom, or “wise meekness” (prautēti sophias). The truly wise man is humble.
 
2. Wisdom Is Gracious (3:14-16)
3:14. True wisdom makes no room for bitter envy (“zealous jealousy”) or for selfish ambition (“factious rivalry,” erithian, from eritheuō, “to spin wool,” thus working for personal gain). This is nothing to glory about. To boast (lit., “exult,” katakauchasthe) in such attitudes is to deny, or “lie against,” the truth.
3:15-16. Envy and strife are clear indicators that one’s so-called wisdom is not from above (cf. 1:17), but is earthly, unspiritual (“natural, sensual,” psychikē), and of the devil (“demonic,” daimoniōdēs). Envy and selfish ambition, or rivalry, can only produce disorder, or confusion, and every evil practice. A truly wise person does not seek glory or gain; he is gracious and giving.
 
3. Wisdom Is Peaceable (3:17-18)
3:17. Wisdom that comes from heaven (lit., “wisdom from above”; cf. “from above” in 1:17) is first… pure or “holy” (hagnē), then peace-loving, considerate or “forbearing,” submissive or “easy to be entreated” (eupeithēs, only used here in the NT), full of mercy and good fruit, impartial (lit., “without uncertainty”; cf. “not doubt” in 1:6), and sincere (“without hypocrisy”).
3:18. Peace is the seed sown that yields a harvest (lit., “fruit”) of righteousness. The truly wise man is a man of peace.
To achieve “righteousness,” spiritual maturity, practical holiness—the theme of this book—a believer must learn to speak with care. Winsome speech comes from a wise spirit. A controlled tongue is possible only with cultured thought. A mouth filled with praise results from a mind filled with purity.
A believer should stand confidently (chap. 1), serve compassionately (chap. 2), and speak carefully (chap. 3). He should be what God wants him to be, do what God wants him to do, and speak as God wants him to speak.

—Bible Knowledge Commentary

 

23Jan

What I Learned This Week (#1)

At this rate my daughter Tory, a freshman at USC, will graduate before I finish my MACM degree program from Harding Graduate School of Religion. I can only handle one class per semester. Anyway, the course for this semester is Spiritual Leadership. One of the books we were assigned to read is Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership: The Paradox of Personal Dysfunction by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima. It provides a moving examination of biblical, historical and contemporary leaders who overcame their dark side or were overcome by it. One of the book’s messages is that every leader has a dark side and dysfunction. Since it’s not a matter of if but of what, the authors urge their readers to admit, acknowledge and expose their dark side, as the only way to overcome it. They point out that it doesn’t have to be one’s Achilles heal but can become one’s greatest testimony of the power of God.
 
This week one of my friends has been coming to grips with his dark side. As he goes through his journey I am acutely aware that my dark side lurks and can rear it’s ugly head at any time. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said; “in the best of us there is some evil and in the worst of us there is some good.” None of us is immune but all of us can get help from God and each other. Until next week…Kevin
12Jan

Joining the Club

So here I am; entering the blogosphere as a mere padawan learner. Fortunately, I have Jedi Masters, Jay and Christian, who’ve promised to train me in the way of all things blog. 

I don’t have much interest in expressing my opinions about life or views on different subjects in this forum. Don’t get me wrong. I have as many opinions as the next guy but I think there are enough people doing that in the blogosphere already. In addition, I’m in grad school so the few reading, writing and thinking brain cells I have are already fully employed. What this blog might be useful for is providing a way for me to share what I’m learning in my theological studies and in my day to day ministry. I hope it will be helpful and appreciate anyone taking their time to read along. Stay tuned…

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