It all started with Nehemiah hearing about the distress of his spiritual family back in Jerusalem. He prayed about their plight and God gave Nehemiah a vision of restoration. God opened the King’s heart and many other avenues to launch Nehemiah with faith and confidence on the journey toward vision fulfillment.
Advent has been a much-welcomed season for me. My soul longs for the interruption these weeks of spiritual preparation provide.
Have you noticed how many television programs use slow motion to take a subject that is complicated to the uninitiated and simplify it so you can understand it and perhaps replicate it?
One of my regular routes for traveling on conference business carries me by a lumber mill on the edge of Baxley. I have seen this lumber mill hundreds of times over the years, but only recently have I seen this plant as presenting a lesson for local churches.
We church folks are notorious for using words that we think everyone understands. This is not a new phenomenon.
One of my colleagues frequently uses the helpful phrase, “begin with the end in mind.” These words usually cause a pause in the conversation as everyone refocuses on the desired outcome. Once we are clear about the “why” we can traces backward to see if our plan is really designed to accomplish this goal.
While these are important words in so many aspects of life, today I am thinking about that phrase in relationship to church leadership.
Cable television has so many channels with 24/7 programming that it has had to reach back into the vault to pull out some of the “Oldies but Goldies” to fill all the airtime. As if that “Oldies but Goldies” phrase doesn’t already date me, this next reference will!
Think back to the most recent time your church had a project or event where things went exceedingly better than anyone dreamed possible. Certainly God was blessing the efforts so as to create a phenomenon known as synergy.
Since just after creation, God has been at work reconciling the world. Creation, which was perfect and pure, was damaged by sin. In the beginning, creation was the best of the very best. Nothing needed improving. Now, though we see some magnificent things, we only occasionally glimpse a faint resemblance of what God intended.
Lately, I have been listening to some church folks who embrace God’s assignment to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, but who find the assignment too large to comprehend. Their comments are often framed, “Yes, but how?”
We can get so involved in the routines of church life that we become numb to our real purpose.
Justice ministry is one of the most concrete ways that we engage in “Growing a Christlike World.”