Archives For Discipleship

Radical

First, Biggest, Greatest…whenever a ministry is described by one of these terms I tend to take pause. Not because I don’t want kingdom ministries to be great. I do. Desperately. But what defines greatness in the kingdom is oftentimes far different from what people, even in the church, think of as great. Often people use superlatives because they desire for “their thing” to be great. They want to be distinguished above others. Unfortunately this is not a kingdom value. And the truth is there is not a kingdom ministry in the earth that is owned by it’s human leader. Everything in the kingdom is owned by God and as such it is His thing, not ours. Since He is the owner He gets to decide which ministries He wants to increase and which ones He wants to decrease. It’s His call, not ours. We’ve got to come to grips with the fact that in the kingdom, there are God-designed increases and God-designed decreases. Just consider John the Baptist, “He must increase, I MUST decrease.”

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fatigue 1

Leadership in ministry can be very taxing. I know firsthand the demands that ministry can put upon a leader. There is a physical, spiritual and emotional load those in leadership bare. As a result of ministry burnout many leaders end up out of ministry prematurely.

Evey leader experiences seasons of tiredness. The apostle Paul described himself as regularly weary and often going without sleep. Tiredness is normal, but ministry fatigue is dangerous. The reason I say fatigue is dangerous is because the step after fatigue is burn out.

Here’s a few identifiers and contributors to ministry fatigue. If these locate you, I encourage you, step back, get some R&R and allow the Lord to refresh your heart and vision.

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I was 24 and had just started my first full-time ministry position. From my vantage point things were pretty difficult.

“I must be going through spiritual warfare.” I reasoned. I approached my pastor after a service to pray for me.

“Pastor, I need you to prayer for me. I think I’m under spiritual attack” I said.

“Oh really. Tell me about it. What’s going on?” He was genuinely interested and willing to help.

As I tried to explain the nature of the “attack”, I realized I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific. I touched on a few challenges, but nothing materialized as an obvious problem. He looked at me with understanding eyes. I fumbled and mumbled and finally summarized, “I’m not really sure, things are just harder than I expected. I’m not doing so well.” Continue Reading…

CultureA great honor any leader has, especially a pioneering leader, is establishing the culture of a community. I remember in the early days of pioneering IHOP-Atlanta I was struck with the thought, “I don’t have to build anything I don’t want to build. God is giving me the opportunity to establish culture in our community in the way He leads. What a huge privilege!” From that time til now, developing and stewarding our culture has been a necessary, continual focus. I have found that ministry culture is a product of several components.

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judgmentWe are all judgmental.

You are.

I am.

To one extent or another, everyone is.

In fact, the ability to make value judgments is part of our design.

Judging, by definition, is simply: forming an opinion or conclusion about something.

EVERYONE judges.

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shutup-1“Why don’t you just believe what you believe and allow others to believe what they believe? You can’t force someone to believe what you believe!”

The objections rained down as the rhetoric over Chris Broussard’s statements about sin reached a fevered pitch. This type of response has become common when Christians share their perspective on issues of faith and morality. To be honest, I actually agree with these statements…in part. Here’s the part I agree with:

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Back in the Game

April 23, 2012

After four months off preaching I am back in the game. I am at the end of a sorely needed preaching sabbatical. For nearly 20 years I preached 2-4 times weekly with almost no breaks. I had vacations during the last 20 years, but to the best of my knowledge, I never went more than 3 weeks without preaching a sermon. Yeah, crazy.

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Malachi 4:6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.

The other day I felt the Lord impress me about the issue of spiritual fathering in a way I have not considered before. My thoughts on this issue have developed quite a bit over the last 15 years. I have often prayed for the Lord to raise up spiritual fathers who would minister to and lead the next generation of believers. I primarily saw the responsibility lying with the spiritual fathers to turn to the spiritual sons and daughters engaging them in a relationship of encouragement, accountability, and discipleship. I never considered the responsibility the sons and daughters may have.

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