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Family Discipleship LifeHack

Shane —  January 4, 2017 — Leave a comment

en-3ce6ba3774a2ff8aaaf0d95dfdfd144bIf you’re like my wife and I, you struggle with family discipleship.

Yeah. You know it is important to disciple your kids, but the flow of life makes it difficult. Plus, maybe you experienced this, every time you tell your kids to go get the bible, they groan. You’ve even bought the cool, colorful, comic looking bibles. But they still groan.

Even pastor’s kids do this.

I happened upon this trick the other day…

On of my boys was sitting on my lap and he was playing with my Apple Watch. He came to the Bible app and opened up the verse of the day. We read it and talked about it.

Then a light bulb went on. You know, that light bulb where you simultaneously feel smart and dumb. Smart because you discovered a tool. Dumb because you didn’t think of it before now and it was sitting on your wrist the whole time.

So, I decided to give it a try. Every night where the boys go to bed at the same time, I open up the verse of the day and read it. Then we talk a bit about it. Then I pray for them.

And they ask for it! If I forget (or, more honestly say, “I’m not going to mess with it tonight.”), they ask for me to read it. Will that last? I don’t know, but I’ll ride that train as long as I can!

Most of us have the Bible App on our phone. So just look up the verse of the day. Do it on your way to school. Do it at dinner. Do it before bedtime.

Maybe it’ll work for you. Maybe it won’t…and that is ok! But that doesn’t mean to give up figuring out how to disciple your kids. It is just that the current solution for you is something you haven’t found yet.

It is worth the fight though. Find something that’ll get them excited about hearing about God that you can do together!

Filling Roles

Shane —  August 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

The apostles were clear in what they were looking for in a new apostle.

It can be debated if they were supposed to appoint a new apostle or not. I don’t think it is that big of an issue.

But what they did get right is that they had a clear definition for who they were looking for.

When you are looking to fill a hole, do you know what you really want in that role?

Or does your description sound like everyone else’s description?

That is step number 1 in finding a good fit. You have to know what type of person fits.

Your description must end up excluding people. The apostles’ description ended up excluding all but two. Then it was a coin toss.

Strengths
Personality type
Job experience
Results
Values

All go into excluding people down to just a few. And then you might just find that the last few are really a coin toss.

How can you get a clear description of who you are looking for in your next role to be filled?

This reading plan series takes us through Acts. Today we are in Acts 1. We will look at leadership principles from the book of Acts and how they can be applied to your leadership today.

The Spirit is always at work making you holy.

Doesn’t matter what you’ve done.
Doesn’t matter what you’re doing.
Doesn’t matter what you’re going to do.

He is still making you holy.

Paul reminded the Romans about this fact. These weren’t nice, good, moral people before becoming Christians. They worshipped multiple gods. Worshipped Caesar as Lord. Worshipped those gods through sexual immorality.

Among other things.

And Paul still told them God is making them holy.

In other words, the Holy Spirit came upon them to rebuild them into Jesus’ image.

But that’s not all.

This is why Paul was so focused on non-Christans. They didn’t have the Spirit. They needed to see the power of the Spirit to transform lives.

His mission was to build this foundation everywhere this foundation wasn’t already built.

You’re not in your position for your own benefit.
God isn’t making you holy for your own benefit.

He wants you to build a foundation where no one else has built.

How can you build a foundation in someone else’s life today?

This series is called Under Construction based on how the Holy Spirit rebuilds our lives. Today’s reading is based on Romans 15:14-21.

The Holy Spirit drives everything we do.

Paul is leading his newly founded church to give up their old life. And that old life in part involved prostitutes!

He didn’t tell them that they weren’t Christians. He didn’t tell them that Christians didn’t act like that.

It goes much deeper than that.

First, God killed their sin. So they no longer are slaves to it.

Second, God put his Holy Spirit in them. Is it a good idea to join God with a prostitute?

Well, no.

As a leader, will you make decisions today based on the Holy Spirit living in you?

Maybe your issue isn’t prostitutes. Or maybe it is.
Maybe your issue is someone else that isn’t a prostitute, but the end result really is the same.
Maybe your issue is treating people with gentleness.
Maybe your issue is cheating people.

Whatever the issue is how does the Holy Spirit living in you change the way you live out your day?

This series is called Under Construction based on how the Holy Spirit rebuilds our lives. Today’s reading is based on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

Fill Your Leadership Cup

Shane —  June 23, 2014 — Leave a comment

Leadership is a draining endeavor.

When we pour ourselves out into the lives of others, we must be filled up ourselves.

Otherwise we will become dry. Much like grass on a summer day without rain for weeks, our heart becomes dry and brittle.

But once the heavens open and rain falls down, the grass thrives again.

The promise of God is that he will send his Spirit to irrigate our dry heart. To bring water that will flourish your heart.

Leadership is draining. Where do you go to fill your cup?

God has promised he will fill yours with life everlasting if you go to him.

What can you do today to have God fill your cup?

This series is called Under Construction based on how the Holy Spirit rebuilds our lives. Today’s reading is based on Isaiah 44:1-8.

Great By Access, pt. 2

Shane —  May 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

What is the ticket that allowed the high priest access to God?

A sacrifice.

It had to be a perfect sacrifice. The high priest had to sacrifice an animal on behalf of himself and his sin and on behalf of the people and their sin.

Then he could go into the Holy of Holies and have direct access with God.

But even then, the people were nervous. What if the sacrifice didn’t take? What if something was missed? What if the high priest stubbed his toe and took God’s name in vein?

They tied a rope around him. That way if he or the people weren’t holy, they could drag his dead body out of the temple without going into a place where they will be killed.

Sounds awesome.

And then there was the issue of the sacrifice. The sacrifice had a shelf life. It wasn’t good forever. They kept sinning, so they had to keep sacrificing.

The Tabernacle was a gory mess of animal blood.

And that brings us to the issue of effectiveness. Didn’t people want a better way? Didn’t they wonder if something else could be done? Didn’t they wonder is something else would be done?

And that brings us to the issue of the heart. God was quite clear in the Old Testament that sacrifice was the ticket to holiness, but our heart played a major role. Were you sacrificing just to sacrifice? Or were you sacrificing because you knew you didn’t measure up to the law and God’s holieness? That your heart was contrite because of your sin.

This is a lot of issues. Issues with the very system God gave. This was intentional by God because he was pointing to something greater. Something that will give access to his presence.

Great By Access, pt. 1

Shane —  May 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

What is the coolest thing…event, person…you’ve had access to?

I got to go to the 1994 World Cup when it came to America. Germany v. South Korea. The atmosphere is the most amazing thing that I’ve ever experienced. And I got to see now coach for the USA, Klinsmann, score this goal…

The only thing that came close was when I got to go to the Olympics in Athens, Greece. Those are the coolest two events a ticket has given me access to.

Humans are looking for access to places. We want the hottest ticket. We want to get into the coolest restaurant with the waiting list. We want access to celebrities lives.

Really, we want access to places we don’t really belong.

Last week we see that we get access into the throne room of God. Even though it is easy to forget, access to God’s throne is way cooler than anything we can go to on earth.

But how do we get access to the very presence of God? That is really a place we don’t belong.

That should be a perplexing question. Because all of us should be able to agree that we are not good enough, perfect enough, holy enough to be in God’s presence.

So how do we get into God’s presence?

Even from the beginning, God showed up among people with faith. He made his presence known despite people’s sin.

Then when he gave Moses the law and the Tabernacle (Temple) system of worship, he made his presence known despite his people’s sin.

God lived among his people in the Holy of Holies. It was completely separate from the people, he can’t associate with sin. But it was still among the people.

Even with his presence, he didn’t give his people continual access to his throne. One guy, once a year got access. That’s it. And he got access after a pretty long ritual of consecrating himself…or a ritual of making himself holy.

Because God can’t associate with sin. The high priest had to be made holy. And what was the ticket that gave him access to this place he didn’t belong?

Great By Empathy, pt. 3

Shane —  May 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

Jesus knows what it is like to suffer.

Especially when it comes to suffering through what appears to be unanswered prayer.

Jesus prayed with loud cries and tears to the one who could rescue him from death. And the Bible says that God answered him.

This is directly talking about the night before his death in Gethsemane. His spirit was so distraught that as he cried out in prayer to God that he sweated drops of blood. He prayed that there might by another way, but he would go through anything that was God’s will.

If you took snapshots of the events that happened after those prayers, you’d wonder if God really answered Jesus.

He was arrested.
Put on a mock trial.
Mocked.
Beaten.
Tried by Pilate and found innocent.
Flogged.
Given over by Pilate to be crucified.
Nailed to a cross.
Breathed his last.
Had a spear thrust through his side.
Buried in a tomb.

If you saw all of these snapshots in succession, you’d say, “God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer. God didn’t rescue him from death. He led him right into death.”

But there is one more snapshot to see.

The stone rolled away and the tomb empty.

Jesus empathizes with suffering. He empathizes with what seems to be unanswered prayers. He empathizes with snapshots that look like death.

And maybe there is where you are. Snapshot after snapshot after snapshot. Does God really answer prayer? Does God really rescue from death? Does God really care?

The whole point is that he knows what it looks like to hold out for just one more snapshot. The one that allows us to say, “Yes! God does answer prayer!”

Because with Jesus who emapthizes, it gives us the opportunity to approach places we shouldn’t be able to approach.

Great By Empathy, pt. 2

Shane —  May 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

Imagine a scenario. It couldn’t be true, but just imagine if it could be true.

Imagine there was someone who always lived in quarantine. They had never been exposed to sickness. They always were clean. Nothing dirty ever entered their world.

And then they said, “Oh, I know what it is like to experience sickness.”

We’d just roll our eyes and just walk away.

God experiencing temptation is kinda the same thought. How could Someone who lives quarantined from sin know what it is like to be tempted?

This is why God had to come “down to earth.” Jesus had to empathize with temptation.

When the woman caught in adultery was thrown in front of him, he had to fight lust.

When the devil came to him, he had to fight self-provision, self-glorification and walking away from God.

When he was at Gethsemane, he had to fight doing his own will and not sticking with faith all the way to the end.

He knows what it is like to be tempted. Tempted in every single way that we are tempted.

Yet, he never succumb to the temptation.

That’s vital because he knows the way out. When we are faced with the temptation, he can empathize with us with the struggle. Then he can lead us away from the temptation.

Not only can he empathize with temptation, but he can empathize with something that God should never be able to empathize with.

Jesus can empathize with not glorifying himself to a certain position.

He came “down to earth” but never exalted himself to a position. He gave evidence to who he was, but that evidence was built on doing what the Father told him to do.

Jesus allowed his Father to do what he needed to do, when he needed to do it.

This is something we face. The need to glorify ourselves into a position. Jesus knows what it is like to be faced with the need to have a position, but not exalting himself into that position.

As great as empathizing with temptation and self-exaltation is, there is an empathy from God that is even greater than either of those.

Great By Empathy, pt. 1

Shane —  May 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

Most elections are won on the “down to earth” factor.

Ok. So that statement really isn’t scientific or based on hours of extensive research. It is just my observation. Most people who are elected are elected based on how “down to earth” they are.

Could I have a drink with them?

However you define drink 🙂

Celebrities gain in popularity when they are seen as “down to earth.” What is is about that concept of “down to earth?”

It is all about empathy.

Even though they have this “other world” life, they seen to know what it is like to live life in “this world.”

And the same is true with our pastors and church leaders.

Chances are pretty good that if you walked away from the (or a) church at some point in time, it was because of the “down to earth” factor of the pastor and/or leaders.

Do they know what it is like to walk in your shoes?
Do they see themselves as human?
Do they think their toots don’t stink?

God always intended for the leaders of his people to be “down to earth.”

In the Old Testament, the priests represented the people to God and God to the people. But it wasn’t because they were special. They needed the sacrifice just like everyone else. They had weakness just like everyone else. They didn’t exalt themselves to the position. God put them there.

The same is true now. Pastors and church leaders aren’t special. We’re sinners too. We are weak too. We aren’t supposed to exalt ourselves to our position.

Why is this important in the conversation about Jesus?

Because we represent God to the people. If we have our head in the clouds, it is harder for others to see Jesus for who he is.

God, by definition, can’t be “down to earth.” So how on earth can a Heavenly God be “down to earth?”