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I have realized that true freedom is birthed in vulnerability and brokenness. This is the place where God can come in and do the most in your life. The bible states that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. You can not be free if you are not open and vulnerable. Some call it authenticity. Honestly speaking, this is not easy for me. I am so jealous at times of people like my friend who have the ability to live their lives like an open book. He never hides his wounds or hurts. He revels in his victory and his defeat. That is an amazing thing. I am striving to be more and more like this, in an effort to figure out how to love and be loved like Christ intended. I am over taken by the desire to love, to live another level of freedom, and to impact anyone i can with anything I have, and even more with all I do not have. Finding freedom in vulnerability…there is a good chance I am going to have to work this out on the blog where it is somewhat more safe…
Here is Craig’s second talk…this was a moving time @ the conference.
Session 5: Craig G – IT
Practical Atheist – someone who believes God exists but lives like he does not. In ministry it is someone who believes God exists but does ministry like he does not.
hybel – the way i was doing the work of god was destroying the work of god in me.
3 things happen when you slip into practical atheism (you would never say these things but they are how you do what you do):
1. you believe your effort is better than gods power. you would never say this but how you do ministry expresses this…
its by my might, its by my power and not the spirit says the lord
- if i do a good enough job, God will bless my ministry.
- if/when it fails: either God let me down or I did not work hard enough.
- if you blame yourself for the failure then you will accept the praise for the increase. it is NOT about you.
2. we start to believe that our private life does not affect our public ministry. (not just the things that will get you fired, but also the spiritual stuff)
3. we believe we must please people more than we must please God.
when you are afraid of the people they can control what and how you say to them.
over time you will drift. it is not one sinful decision it is neglect after neglect, small decision after small decision. the people you are ministering to are bothering you. you no longer feel you have time for funerals and weddings.
ONE STEP. taking one step forward before he speaks in order to step out of him and step into Him.
5 radical things that changed when you take ONE STEP:
1. time in gods word, fasting, prayer
2. realm of faith. where you hear from God and get a chaztown. get to the place where it has to be God. do some things that cause you to bet the farm.
3. authentic confession – we go to god for forgiveness and people for healing.
4. full blown intentional accountability. you ministry will never outgrow your personal accountability. your willingness to be accountable shows your willingness to be corrected.
5. you step into the boldness of preaching gods word. it is gods word that changes people not stages, series, culture, etc…we have to preach biblical truth over relevance. we can not let it drift to far the other direction.
Tony is the “chief strategic officer” at New Spring in SC. I have followed Tony’s blog for a long time. He is a great blogger. here are his blog notes as I took them.
Session 4: Tony Morgan: 10 Reasons Not To Blog
1. you have not determined your primary audience. Have in your mind who you are writing too. primary and secondary audience.
2. you do not post regularly. posts are the doorway to relationship. if you wanna get your stats up, you have to put out.
3. your posts are to long.
4. your trying to sell yourself. people want to hear your story, good, bad, and mistakes. be authentic.
5. do not use humor. every blog should have a does of humor.
6. you’re attacking other people or ministries. hurt people hurt people. what are you for, not just what are you against…
7. you have forgotten that blogging is not private. eventually, people will find your blog, other churches, media, etc. you can not pull the post.
8. you’re not a thought leader. do not just cut and paste other blogs. what are your thoughts? we all have a story to share.
9. you are listening to your critics. it comes out in your writing…do not change your style, flow, or rhythm. just do you. you validate your critics when you acknowledge their criticism.
10. you’re not revealing the real you. keep it real. what are you passionate about?
Craig is the sr. pastor of a very successful movement. there are 12 churches under the life church flag all over america. craig is really awesome, very real, very ministry driven. here are the highlights from session one. Also, LifeChurch.tv has been rated the most innovative church in america by outreach magazine.
Session 3: Craig Groeschel: Confessions of a pastor
innovation: the process of making improvements by doing something new.
- u have all you need to reach the people God wants you to reach.
- limited resources + increasing passion = exponential innovation
become more passionate not about getting more people in church but getting our church into peoples world.
4 thoughts about innovative leaders…
1. Innovative leaders heal the sick. ie: its not the healthy that need a dr, it is the sick. we need to be targeting those who are in trouble, hurt, have need.
- in order to reach those no one else is reaching means we are going to have to do something no one else is doing.
- you have to find a way to get through all the religious people to get to those who need him.
- if you are going to reach the world, you have to sit in the smoking section, and that is going to make the church people mad.
- when was the last time you had a non-believer in your home?
- lead people to love those who do not know christ.
- we live in a christian bubble and all the while we are telling the world…go to hell.
- the lost need to have a name, a face, and an identity.
- let your heart break…walk around and see the hurt…where do i belong…those with no purpose…
WHO IS GOD CALLING YOU TO REACH THAT NO ONE AROUND YOU IS REACHING?
2. Innovative leaders break rules: jesus on the sabbath, leading drunks to jesus, innovative leaders are not afraid to turn right.
- whatever everyone else is doing, turn the other way.
- we have to care more about getting people saved than following the rules. there is freedom in the right turn.
- todays contemporary is tomorrow traditional!
3. innovative leaders offend pharascies -
- the things closest to the heart of god are going to offend the most christian people
- the things accepted by church today where hated and despised back in the day.
- handle the criticism with grace.
WHAT NEW THING WILL GOD CALL YOU TO CREATE THAT WILL BE HATED TODAY AND EMBRACED TOMORROW
4. innovative leaders redefine success -
- we must become less and less impressed with our latest thing and become more impressed with what God is doing.
- a mega church is a micro church….we must have a mega vision. how many people are around us?
- we have to worry more about building “THE CHURCH” and less about building our church
- success is going to be the things no one sees. (kids get saved, wife has a good life, time with god that is real, how much you give not get, how many people get out in the world and not get in a pew,)
Tim Stevens ROCKED. he spoke about culture and how churches can relate to culture. Tim had by far the most interactive talk at the conference. it was really cool. here are the highlights.
Tim Stevens: What is buzzworthy?
4 elements of buzz effects.
2. language. you have to speak into the culture. what filter do you use to look @ your services? everyone has filters (family, consumer, parenting, relational, church, pop culture) culture is the most common filter,
60% of people shape their theology based on music, film, book, and internet.
reactions to culture: ignore, separate- “dont do this…dont do that”, condemn-judgemental, embrace-unauthentic, leverage-use it to help transform lives. jesus is @ work in pop-culture. artists are even becoming more aggressive with their spiritual life. — john 1:14. Christ became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” — use the language, the signs, the symbols, become a cross-cultural missionary. bridge the culture with the creator. why is a movie, book, artist, impacting our people?
3. beliefs – do you believe that lost people matter to God?
. Use pop culture as a hook. “what is capturing their attention”
. Meet felt needs. do things that meet their physical and emothional needs so you can meet the spiritual needs.
. use pop culture to lower defenses. meet them where they are at.
Mark Batterson hosted the buzz conference. this was my first ever christian buzz here are the highlights from his 2 sessions. Mark spoke on the 10 rules of engagement as they relate to being a spy. Mark framed this talk in the sense of how we as christians should relate with culture and be spy’s in the world:
session 1: mark batterson “i spy: know your mission”
Rules of engagement:
1. Know Your Mission:
- it becomes easy to develop mission drift.
- “there are ways of doing church that no one has thought of yet.”
- have a laser focus.
- its all about 1 life @ a time…
- the more you do ministry, the harder it gets. the bigger and more success you have the more difficult it will become.
- the reward for good work is more work.
- the more we achieve, the tighter our focus should become.
- what are we doing that we should stop doing and what have we stopped doing that we should start doing again.
- do not waste critical energy in things that are not mission critical.
2. Gather Intelligence
- are we answering questions that no in is asking?
- we can exegete scripture, but can we exegete culture?
- irrelevance is irreverent
- musicians and movie makers are the preachers of our culture
- movies and music are altars to an unknown God
- movies and music are honest and brutal
- quoting sources other than the bible let the unsaved know you are not living with your head in the sand. when you quote the bible you get cred with christians, when you quote the culture you get cred with the unsaved.
- how do you study about the creator if you do not study his creation.
3. maintain a natural pace.
- pace yourself so you do not get to frustrated
- its not about what you can do for God, it is what He has done for you. do you care more about god speaking thorough you or that he is doing something in you. sermons should be more experienced…what god is doing through you.
4. Vary your pattern
- change up what you do, incorporate the element of surprise
Final Thought: everything is an experiment. you have to be willing to risk mistake.
session 6: mark batterson:
5. assume you are under servialance . we are being watched all the time. the more vulnerable a person is the more lovable they are. embrace your imperfections. the greatest freedom is having nothing to prove. when you disprove yourself, others will try to prove you.
stop trying to be a pastor and just try to be yourself.
6. blend into the crowd.
“If you are not remarkable you are invisable” – seth godin
“Criticize by creating” michalangelo
7. avoid defensiveness at all costs. becoming defensive causes you to become detectable.
the church has a perception problem. reasons are the media and the fact we to often stand to much for what we are against and less about what we are for. understand we should always ask the question “Who are you going to offend.” because we are not going to please all the people all the time. stay positive in the criticism. do not let criticism penetrate your heart until after it passes through the filter of scripture.
* find a positive way to address negative situations.
”laughter is the closest distance between 2 people” – plato
8. be aware of your enviornment at all times. be a first class “noticer.” notice people, issues, things, etc before anyone else can.
9. never go against your gut. cultivate your instincts so you can use it as a tool and not a liability.
“The difference between where you are and where you are supposed to be could be one hard decision away.” – craig g
10. don’t look back.
wow. so now i have to try and take all this information and put it into words…here it goes:First some things we have taken away from this conference:1. there is no ego @ this conference. a lot of the places we go and see other fellowships or churches, or pastors is FULL of ego. most of the time ego is birthed out of insecurity. these are just regular people. now i gotta say, i felt a little out of the loop since we are just starting to do what a lot of these other guys have been doing for a long time but it was awesome. ALSO…the no ego rule holds true to the speakers as well. they cheerfully hung out between sessions, chatted with people, and communicated non-verbally their true authenticity.2. just because people don’t do what you do how you do it they are still after the same thing…changed lives. troy and i have been digesting this concept for the past 30 hours. so often it is easy to see the success god has blessed us with and then we get caught up in how we do it but all these ministries from all these places are all after the same thing, changed lives. from seeker sensitive, to progressive, from planters to established, with video, without video….ITS ALL ABOUT SOULS! 3. mark batterson and craig groeschel are Groeschel
i am sitting @ a dope little coffee shop, a christian one that is not cheesy, and I am about to hear Tony Morgan, blog chief, talk about 10 reasons not to blog…sorry about the not reporting last night, i was beat from a long trip and crashed. more to come later.
so what do you do when it is 12:45, you have to be up @ 4 and you can’t sleep? watch a re-run of paris on larry king. what the heck? someone went to image class 101 for this one kids. the very classy and almost old lady like outfit, extensions, very safe makeup job. wow. saying and doing all she can to keep her new church girl clean image on the ups. PUH LEASE! what a waste of an hour of tv? kids are starving in africa. darfur. aids. hate crimes. energy crises…and the best cnn can pull out of there butts is PARIS FREAKING HILTON. come on. what are we about? why are we buying the bull? anyway…. so buzz is just hours away. im hoping to learn a ton. can’t wait to meet a bunch of people i feel i know already thanks to the blogosphere. anyway, off to the next thing. i will buzz blog while away… currently listening to: TI vs TIP
i am learning a lot about respect. respect is a funny thing. everyone deserves respect, but not everyone gets it. lots of people lose respect, and it is common knowledge you have to earn it. but what is the currency of respect? respect is a small thing that costs more than you can imagine. respect is thinking of others before yourself. respect is not doing something that you know will piss someone off. respect is preferring others in all areas. respect is allowing someone to be themselves. so often respect is based on success, but it really should have nothing to do with respect. why do we struggle to respect those we really know. everyone makes mistakes. people grow and change. is a lack of respect really just an enormous pride issue? is wanting respect the pride issue? how does all that work? when you look @ christ, who did he respect? do we respect people because of character or position? if we do is that idolization or respect? do we respect them because it could benefit us @ some point, and if so do we respect ourselves? that leaves me to this point. how do you respect yourself. we are sinners, saved by grace. how can i respect me when i know how filthy i am? how can i respect that…. so that is the state of affairs in my head tonight. comment, what do you think? im off to buzz tomorrow. early flight. i LOVE to travel. i miss it bad. we head out in the morning and get settled in for a long thursday and early friday. its gonna be great to get some quality face time with Troy and learn some things from some great guys. i will update you on what i find. no music tonight…that SUCKS.see ya on the flip.