Archive for May, 2008

Things I didn’t know about the Great Commission (Part 3)

Posted on 31. May, 2008 by .

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As I’ve said here, here and here, we’ve been discussing the Great Commission in our staff meeting.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This is something I’ve always thought was interesting about The Great Commission. I always thought the end of verse 18 was a misprint. It seemed to me that it should say that all authority has been given to “you.” It seems like God is commanding us to go and make disciples, you would think that he would give us the authority to do it. Why would he say that authority has been giving to him? Why won’t he give me some of that authority.

I’m not Bible scholar. I didn’t exegete this passage. But I think I know why he didn’t give me the authority. Because it causes me to daily rely on him. When I try to minister on my own, I do it without his authority. The scripture is very clear. It’s not my words that bring a person to Christ, but it’s him that draws them to himself. I’m just a tool. Ha!

The end of verse 20 wraps it up nicely. He’s reminding us that he’ll be with us until the end. Why the heck do I need my own authority? I’ve got the guy with it all with me always. Perfect!

Lord Jesus, let me daily lean in on you. Let me operate through YOUR authority!… Read the rest

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Things I didn’t know about the Great Commission (Part 2) Part B

Posted on 30. May, 2008 by .

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I forgot to mention this earlier in my this post. I wast talking about how on the day of Christ’s ascension there were some of the 11 disciples who doubted. It truly sounds crazy. How on earth could they doubt? But then I realize that I may not “doubt,” but I often live my life as one who doubts or even doesn’t believe. Seriously, if I truly had the fear of God in my life, why do I still sin so much?

Then I got thinking.

I’ve had relationships all through my life with people who don’t believe in God. I’m really not that good at debating with them. To be honest, I don’t really like it. I like them and their belief… or lack of belief doesn’t change the way I feel about them. I just don’t think I’ve got the words to sway their belief. Many times I’ve heard them say, “If there was convincing and irrefutable proof that God exists, I’d believe.” When hearing a statement like that, I’ve felt the pressure of putting together the irrefutable proof. However, being that faith is involved, there isn’t a silver bullet. There is evidence that God exists and some people are really good at presenting that proof in a very convincing way.

But today I realized something. This statement by non-believing friends is a load of garbage. Maybe it’s not a load of garbage, but it’s wishful thinking. There are scores of people from the pages of scripture who experienced God in a powerful way, yet turned away. Peter denied him. Some of the 11 doubted. Solomon (the wisest man to live) chased after other gods. Judas betrayed him.

Aren’t we just fickle?

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Things I didn’t know about the Great Commission (Part 2)

Posted on 30. May, 2008 by .

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I took one class at college in hermeneutics. I actually really enjoyed the class. I knew that it wasn’t likely that I’d be using my new hermeneutical skills on a regular basis when preparing preschool lessons, but I saw great application for my own personal knowledge and development. One of the key skills taught in hermeneutics is studying the verse in context. When looking at a particular passage, we would have to outline in detail the entire chapter in addition to a less detailed outline of the entire book. The context of the book, the chapter and surrounding verses can have a profound impact on the passage being studied.

Like I said yesterday, we’ve been looking at The Great Commission in our staff meetings. Usually people quote this passage using only verse 19 or sometimes 19 and 20. It also isn’t’ unusual for people to begin their quote starting with verse 18.

However, keeping the rules of hermeneutics in play, the passage of “The Great Commission” actually begins in verse 16. I’ve read the book of Matthew at least dozens of times, but two weeks ago I noticed something I’ve never noticed before. It’s in verse 17. I’ll quote both 16 and 17.

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

Do you see it? What the heck? Who doubted? Was it Thomas again? There must have been someone else as well if it says that “some doubted.”

It amazes me. These 11 men saw miracles performed by this man. These 11 performed miracles in his name. They witnessed his brutal crucifixion. Then they witnessed his resurrection. And here we are several weeks later and some doubted??? I don’t get it.… Read the rest

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Gateway with a twist of Indian

Posted on 30. May, 2008 by .

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This is one of the things I really love about my church, Gateway Community Church.

We’re in a series called “Dialed In: Conversations with the World.” Actually, it’s a series about other world religions. I’m sure many people would ask, why would you devote an entire series to other religions? Isn’t that something you’d teach in a small group or special extra-curricular class? Yeah, I think we actually do that as well. But you may not know our audience. Although Texas is a good ‘ol conservative/right-winged/republican state, Austin is not. Austin is an odd city with a weird vibe. It’s definitely Texas to the core, but with a liberal twist. A significant number of our church came to Christ at Gateway and a significant number of those who came to Christ were not your “grew up in the church but never made a decision” type of people. There are many people sitting in our audience every week wondering if this route is any different or better than the alternatives.

So, this last weekend was supposed to be about Hinudism and Buddhism. I think that both a Hindu and a Buddhist were either going to be interviewed or maybe it was just an expert in these religions. Unfortunately, our pastor, John Burke, called in sick. It was the first time in the 10 years of Gateway. Becasue he was out, we watched a video of a message recorded a few years ago that tied into the message from last week. It was still very good.


But what was really cool was the worship set. There was a very small set of standard instruments. Added to this was a little Indian (No, I don’t mean Native American) band. One guy was playing a very tribal looking set of hand drums. Another guy was playing the Sitar and another guy playing a Veena (I’m pretty sure).… Read the rest

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Things I didn’t know about the Great Commission (Part 1)

Posted on 29. May, 2008 by .

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At staff meeting a few weeks ago, we spent a little bit of time talking about the Great Commission. Yes! This is my verse. As someone who is very committed to the cause of reaching the unreached, the Great Commission is my motto. But I learned something that kind of shook my understanding of this verse.

Don’t worry. My new found revelation has not changed my feelings or passion for world missions. But I do look at this verse a little differently now.

“Go Ye Therefore!” I’ve listened to countless sermons where this was the thrust of the message. The last thing Jesus said to his disciples was to “GO!” This verse has been the catalyst for pushing people out of their comfortable lives a out in the world making a difference.

Then I learned something very interesting. In staff meeting someone asked, “What are the verbs in this command?” Easy. Go, make (disciples), baptize and teaching. Then someone asked, “What is the “main” verb in this command?” Duh. Everyone knows that. Go!

Wrong.

Go is not the main verb. Make disciples is the main verb.

Go, baptize and teach are participles modifying the imperative verb “make disciples.” A better way to say this verse would be “As you go” or “In your going” make disciples. It is thought that as Jesus gave this command, the “Go” was assumed. In the three years Jesus walked with his disciples, they were always on the go. He often spoke about “all nations.” The point that he was making here was that we are to “make disciples.”

Here’s some more information on the context and language of this verse: Site 1 Site 2 Site 3

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. For me I’ve “GONE” many times. I’ve been obedient to “The Great Commission.” I’ve spread the gospel.… Read the rest

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Show some love: Blog comments

Posted on 28. May, 2008 by .

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A few months ago I helped my wife set up her own blog. Once it was up, she immediately wrote four or five posts. She added her website to her facebook profile and within hours the traffic started coming.

After a day or two, she came to me with a scowl on her face. She asked, “why are all these people visiting my site (I set her up with analytics), but no one is leaving any comments?”

I smiled and said, “join the club! Everyone who blogs wants more comments on their posts.”

It’s kinda just the way it is. Lots of people read, few respond. My question is simple. Why? Why is the percentage of readers who comment so small?

Here are the reasons I came up with:

  • Readers don’t connect with the content. I’ve been known to skim over a paragraph or two. I guess that is why short posts are highly encouraged (something I’m working on).
  • Readers don’t want to comment. I’ve been on many sites with the attitude, “I’m just looking.” I guess that’s fine. If I had to comment on everything I read online every day, I’d be spending a lot of time commenting.
  • Readers don’t feel they have anything worth adding. Been there too. I’ve read some great posts but just didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to add. What’s the point?

My response? If you don’t connect, then I see no reason to comment… unless you’re a very honest reader and you want to let the blogger know that their post just put you to sleep. Harsh maybe, but honest. If you’re just looking for info and don’t have time to comment, then I understand that as well. However, if you don’t feel like you have anything to add, you’re completely wrong. I’d encourage you to at the very least post a comment like “I agree or here’s how I experienced that.”

Most bloggers expect/like comments.… Read the rest

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What (blogs) I’m reading

Posted on 25. May, 2008 by .

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Like I said, I’m doing a lot of reading now days. However, for the past several months my blog subscription has gotten pretty big (at least by my standards). During the week of Orange and the week after, I did not keep up with reading the blogs I subscribe to. Finally, the next week, it took me four hours one night to catch up. I did a lot of skimming, but I just can’t stand to miss anything.

I really need to update my blogroll. However, I thought I’d share what blogs I read right now. I remembered how when I first got into blogging, I searched the Internet both high and low to find all the CM blogs. However, I find that I don’t put nearly as much effort into finding new blogs… but I really should. I’m surprised how often I’m finding brand new blogs or blogs I’ve just missed. I must say, the quickest way I’ve found new blogs is when the authors either comment on my blog or blogs I read. So, if you’re a new blogger, be sure to interact with the blogosphere… it’s the fastest way to get connected to the network. If you’ve got a CM blog and you’re not on this list of mine, leave a comment and I’ll check you out!

Beware, this is all of the blogs I actually subscribe to. Some blogs post irregularly, some I love and other I’d subscribe to just to keep up with what is going on. I’ll put (FAV) next to the ones that are my “favorites.”  I’ll comment briefly one each one:

(BTW, I subscribe to 60 blogs)

Access Elevation Blog: (FAV) Elevation Church’s Behind the Scene’s Blog.

Being Beck: (FAV) A good friend’s family blog.

Brand New Atheist: A good friend’s blog documenting his journey from Christianity to Atheism.… Read the rest

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What I’m reading

Posted on 24. May, 2008 by .

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books

Lately I’ve been a crazy reading man!

I just updated the ‘Books I’m Reading” and Books I’ve Read” widget on the right. Unfortunately I’ve been reading Bringing Up Boys for over a year now (I need to either just wrap that one up or take it off my list). I’m about three chapters away from finishing “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.” I’ve got some blogs coming out in the next few weeks addressing this book. It’s been hitting me on so many different levels, both personally and vocationally. In the last two weeks I devoured Patrick Lencioni’s books “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” and “Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business.” I have upcoming posts on both of these books as well. As a staff at Gateway, we’re reading “Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time.” It’s a major focus for us, so I’m sure I’ll have many posts interacting with this one. Next week, however; I plant to dive into Covey’s “The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.” After that, I’ll still have two more books that Nancy Ortberg told me to read while at Orange (I just haven’t listed them on the widget yet… I have too many “Books I’m Reading” there already). Last of all, I’ve still got the book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars that I’ve only read one chapter of. So, I’ve got a lot of reading to do….

So, if you’re interested in reading any of these books, I’ll let you know what I think in the coming weeks. If you’ve read some of them, I’ll look forward to your comments!… Read the rest

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Please pray for Zayan!

Posted on 22. May, 2008 by .

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Today I had to make a hospital call. This past Sunday one of our volunteers stopped in to tell my Early Childhood Director that she would be stepping down from her volunteer position because she just found out her 18 month old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Yeah, I was standing there and my heart sank when I heard this news. I simply cannot imagine.

So, this morning I prayed for little Zayan and her mother just before she went into surgery. She had her first injection of chemotherapy today and will be in the hospital for a week. When I try to empathize, I don’t even like to think of what it would be like to be in her shoes.

If you would, please take 30 seconds to pray right now for little Zayan. They don’t have a great support system right now, so we’re trying to create that right now… but I know that your prayers from around the US and world will be very much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Vista… bring it!

Posted on 21. May, 2008 by .

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I just got my new laptop for work. I’ve been using a desktop in my office for the past few weeks. When at home I’ve used my own laptop and have been able to do everything necessary. However, now I’m glad to have my own equipment and able to set it up for getting stuff done.

However, it’s loaded with Vista. Hmmmm. Not sure how I feel about this. I’ve been an XP user for 5 years and have become very comfortable with it. I’ve been keeping tabs on the mess Microsoft has had with the Vista release. I know at some point a person must move on… I guess now is that time for me.

Before all you Macheads (you know who you are) suggest Apple as another option (and some of you would probably say the only logical option), I am not ready to go “there” yet. Yeah, I actually had the option. Actually, the IT guy was disappointed that I didn’t. So, we’ll just have to wait a little longer on that end.

Anyone else using Vista? Anyone in a Vista recovery group yet? I’ll let you know how my transition goes….… Read the rest

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