Riches Have No Meaning

I’ve been reading through Shane Claiborne‘s book “The Irresistible Revolution”. Nearly every page has something that challenges and hurts to read, in a good way. This was from my reading today:

“So I did a little survey, probing Christians about their (mis)conceptions of Jesus. It was fun just to see how many people think Jesus loved homosexuals or ate kosher. But I learned a striking thing from the survey. I asked participants who claimed to be ‘strong followers of Jesus’ whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question. I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor. … I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.”

shane

Lead With Grace Before Articulating Truth

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

I heard a talk this morning that so resonated with a lot of my thinking and feeling lately on many issues facing our culture. You can check it out here.
In the talk, Michael Lindsay quoted Timothy George (Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University), as follows:

“John is such a careful writer that the order of those words [grace and truth] really mattered. I believe that Jesus’ ministry was one in which people came to encounter the GRACE of Christ before they could appreciate the TRUTH he had to offer.”

Wow.

One of the things that burns me up inside is this idea that we in the Christian community have to run towards the brokenness in our culture and shout the truth that we have personally come to realize, without first adequately communicating grace. We have burned many bridges in this process over the years. Bridges of ministry that no longer exist with many individuals, people, families, and entire communities.

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If we want to make a difference in this world, we need to learn to lead with grace before articulating truth.

Pastors and Depression

Perry Noble had all the markings of success—one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America and a great family—but as his inner world crumbled, he ending up feeling like he wanted to kill himself.

He tells an amazing story of how he overcame anxiety and depression to keep leading.

the above was taken from carey nieuwhof’s blog as he introduced an interview he ran on his brand new podcast. shanna and i listened to this together the other night and it gripped us from start to finish. i actually had a stack of copies of the mp3 burned onto cd’s and am giving them out to everyone around me.

if you’re a pastor, you’re gonna wanna hear this. 

you might not be struggling with depression right now, but your day is probably coming. don’t let your pride fool you into thinking you’re invincible.

grab the podcast here.

here’s some quotes from the interview I pulled from carey’s blog:

“People in the church will praise you for working yourself to death…until you’re in your coffin.”

“Leaders develop really unhealthy patterns and we call it leadership.”

“I wanted God to deliver me from depression. Instead, he delivered me through it.”

Depression-Low1

God, Use Me… God, I Feel Used…

so often we huddle up in our churches and prayer corners and beg God to use us. and then a couple weeks later we cry back out to God… “God, I feel used.”*

what did we expect God to do?

i feel like we have this idea of christianity and ministry that makes us look like pansies.
listen, ministry is hard. there are tough days and discouraging moments. maybe we sell it wrong when we invite others into ministry, but my bible promises none of the things we often expect.

when God called us to serve him, he didn’t promise ease and prosperity. he simply called us to serve. to get our hands dirty and invest in the messy lives of people. some of whom will only take and use. we may never see a return on a lot of the investments we make.

but we do it anyways.
and we do it again.
and when discouragement comes, we dust ourselves off and press on to the next one in line.

if you’re looking to give up today because you feel used, remember that God probably answered a prayer that you prayed. and get back at it.

*i completely stole this line from carl lentz, lead pastor at Hillsong NYC.