I know there are physical book traditionalists out there who would hate the title but I had to go with it, if only just to poke them in the ribs a little bit. Most of my reading is done on Barnes & Noble's Nook. I have the Simple Touch and it has been great for me. I can have all my books in one location and not have the weight of carrying the physical books. The Nook does, as with all tech, have a few shortcomings but overall I love it. Most of my reading is done on the Nook and sometimes I still purchase a physical book when the ebook isn't available. My pleasure reading is done on my iPad 2. Yes, I'm a techie and a second gen adopter!
Here's my current reading list:
Hearing God by Dallas Willard
Hungry For Go: by Margaret Feinberg
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
Sticky Church by Larry Osborne
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
What are your thoughts about my reading list? Which books pique your interest? What are you currently reading? Is there a book you recommend I read?
Recently, I found myself in a position where I strongly disagreed with a speaker during a learning session. After asking a clarifying question, I sat in silence, even while being given the opportunity to share my thoughts. Most people probably would've responded by sharing their opinions on the subject. It's not like I didn't have an opinion. In fact, I had a strong opinion on the topic. It was strong enough that my heart began to race a little. The situation caused me to feel a sense of tension, but I still declined to share my thoughts.
When the session ended, a table mate admitted his surprise at my silence when given the opportunity to share. I was surprised by my response too! After thinking about it quickly, I responded to my table mate by stating that I wasn't in a good position to give my opinion due to the heightened emotions I was feeling at the time. I also got the sense that the speaker was heightened emotionally due to his, as I felt, defensive posture and response to my question. Two heightened emotionally young leaders were heading for a head on collision in front of about 40 people. One of us had to stop. I decided it would be me.
I decided to restrain my opinion until the emotional reaction, my heart racing, stopped. You see, when emotionally heightened I can come of as combative, aloof, and argumentative. This is especially the case when I'm passionate about a topic. I've been told a time or two or three that I lack couth and can be like a bull in a china shop. So, at first, I felt like a wimp for not standing up for what I believed. My combative mind has a way of making me feel emotions like this. Then I resolved in my mind that I would look for an opportunity to engage the speaker one on one.
By the end of the day, no other opportunities presented itself. I was sort of bummed but I hadn't given up. Then it happened. The speaker opened a door that I eventually kicked in by announcing he would give us his card for further discussions. So, there was my opportunity and I wasn't going to let this one pass by. I plan on having further discussions with the speaker at a later time. As I got his business card, I made it clear to him that I do have thoughts about his topic and wanted to share my thoughts at a later date. He graciously agreed to meet with me later.
If you follow me on Twitter (@Andre_Jenkins) or are a Facebook friend (kingkrill), then you may already know that the topic was starting new churches that are multicultural versus creating churches that are for one culture. As a multicultural church starter, this is one of my biggest passions. Again, it's hard for me to be quiet about my passionate topics. There were many factors that contributed to my decision to be silent. One being the timing of the conversation. I didn't feel like the environment was conducive to having such a heated discussion, especially since both of us seemed to be heightened emotionally. I really didn't want to come off as the angry black guy because I don't think the conversation would've gone well. So, I opted for better time and place. On the surface, it seems like a good, wise decision but that remains to be seen. History tells us if we're wise or foolish. I'll keep you posted on the results of our discussion. Until then, I have a few questions for you.
How have you experienced bad timing in your own life? What are some of the positive results of having good timing? Did I wimp out or make a wise move?
In the previous post I talked about being a rules follower. If you haven't read it, check it out! In it I talked about why, over the course of my life, I always tend to follow the rules. But there's the strange twist to my life story. Though I always followed the rules, I never liked being just another face in the crowd. I relished the idea of going upstream while everyone else went downstream. If a movie was a huge hit, then I refused to watch it.
While I may follow the rules, I have an urge to question, just a little, and go against the grain. I have the urge to, dare I say it, rebel. If everyone in a room likes to go to a certain seat when entering, then I would steal someone else's seat just stir things up.
It's funny how I can easily go from being a conformist to a non-conformist. Maybe it has something to do with my desire to stand out, even though I don't like the spotlight. There have been times when I'm more like the younger brother in the story of the prodigal son. I go completely against the grain of conventional wisdom. I can say that I haven't really caused any trouble in this, so I guess I'm just minor offender in this area.
The younger brother went completely against the grain of his family and society. How dare he ask for his inheritance early! How dare he treat his father as if he were dead!
Well, not so fast. Maybe, just maybe, it was a good thing for him to go against the grain. We wouldn't have many of the inventions we have today, much less the technology, if people weren't going against the grain. The person that readily pops into my mind is Magellan. Conventional wisdom said the world was flat. Magellan spit in the face of conventional wisdom and proved that the earth was round.
If the younger son never went against grain of his culture, then he never would've gotten the chance to learn a valuable life lesson. He learned that no matter what he did or could ever do, the father will still love him unconditionally. There's nothing that can be done to separate him from the love of his father.
Could the younger son have learned that lesson another way? Maybe...but we'll never find out. He learned the way Jesus tells us he learned it. Going against the grain can lead to amazing results.
What about you? When was a time you went against conventional wisdom? What was the result? What did you learn?
WOW!! It's been a while since my last "real" post. It seems I've been too busy to make this blog a much higher priority. Earlier this year I decided that I would at least post a few times a week because there was enough material, albeit in my head, to support such a push. A rule wasn't put into affect, per se. However, there was a feeling that it would be in my best interest to follow through since I had gone "on record" in cyberspace to post frequently. Well, as you can see, I started out with a bang but ended with barely even a fizzle. So here's my attempt to recapture that spark.
Speaking of rules, @ Crossroads Vineyard (CRV) we're taking an in depth look at Jesus' story commonly known as the parable of the prodigal son. It's been a great ride for us at CRV. I have really enjoyed the Life Group discussion about the older brother. You know the religious, rule-following, morally good, self-righteous older brother. I think I may have used too many adjectives but hopefully it gets you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the post.
The older brother followed the rules, not because he wanted to, but because he had a sense that it would earn him good favor with his father. He was the good son because he thought he could subtly get his father's money without really loving his father. In other words, he thought it was the right thing to do to get the reward. His plan to his father's money led him to a lost of self. He wanted freedom but ended up becoming a slave. He was a slave to his religious, morally good behavior.
Why do I follow the rules? I have always been a compliant child. If there was a rule, then I would follow it. As a fifth grader, I read the school handbook. I know, I know, I'm probably in the smallest percentage of kids that would've done such a thing. My enthusiasm for rules ended up getting me into a fight because I loved to share my new found knowledge with the other kids at the bus stop.
I follow the rules because I think it's in my nature to do so. You could probably say that I follow the rules because I feel like its in my best interest to do so. Obviously, the rules are there for a reason, most likely to keep me or others from some kind of harm.
I also follow the rules because it's the easiest way to get through life. My goal during my US Navy bootcamp experience was to make it through without getting into any trouble. I didn't want my Company Commanders, now called Recruit Division Commanders, to even know my name. Well, to my credit, if you want to call it that, I only got in trouble once. YAAAY! ME!
Early in my spiritual journey I had the same idea as the older brother. The way to earn a blessing is to follow all the rules. Yes...ALL means ALL! Even now I slip back into that thinking. Sometimes I think, "If I just pray a little more, then my children will get good grades. Or my marriage will workout better (or in my favor). If I just read my Bible more, then the things outside of my control will work in my favor." Following the rules can quickly become a means to try to control the uncontrollable, namely God. Following the rules, in my mind, can give me the false sense of being in control of the things outside of my control.
The past few months have been extremely freeing for my rule following, need for control behavior. As we were launching this in depth study, my mindset has been changed from one of praying to get psuedocontrol (I just made that word up) to praying to talk AND listen to God. This has opened a whole wide world of possibilities when it comes to rule following. Following the rules is not about trying to gain control. Instead it's about listening and doing because it's in my best interest to do so. I believe that God has my best interest in mind. He doesn't give a list a rules, instead He gives us suggestions that will be helpful for our lives, if we choose to listen and do. He's not going to make us listen and do. It's our choice to listen and do. After all, it's in our best interest to listen and do.
So, how about you? Why do you follow the rules? How has your reason for following the rules played out in your life?
Lives are changed through improved relationship with God and others
We are a community that is a safe place for the people who have been beaten, battered, and bruised by life
We are a community that accepts those who are rough around the edges
Everyone feels welcome and accepted in our community of faith
Launch Prodigal God with 165 people in attendance
Average 125 people in attendance for the remainder of the series
Get 100% participation in our Life Groups
Seamlessly and quickly move people into Life Groups
Seamlessly and quickly move people into the life of the church
A generous return on the various forms of outreach/marketing that are planned
Money to fund the outreach/marketing
Anniversary picnic celebration
Use the following verses while you pray (don’t limit yourself to these verses; these are the verses I felt the Lord gave me while prayer walking in the community)
Eph. 5:14 For it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ps. 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Amos 4:13 He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.
Haggai 2:7-9 I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty. 'The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty. 'The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,' says the LORD Almighty. 'And in this place I will grant peace,' declares the LORD Almighty."
Philippians 3:13-14 But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Hosea 2:7, 23 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.' I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one.' I will say to those called 'Not my people,' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.' "
Mountain top experiences can be exhilarating and inspiring. They set a fire in our souls and we leave the mountain ready to tackle the world. Unfortunately, mountain top experiences don't happen every day and they fade quickly. All of us allow life to take over our every day lives. When life happens we tend to miss out on the little things that God may be doing or saying in our lives.
The prophet Elijah was running for his life and found himself on Mt. Horeb. The Lord asked him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He wasn't where the Lord wanted him to be. The Lord also chose to speak to Elijah in an unexpected way. Apparently, Elijah was used to hearing from God in big, miraculous ways such as the wind, earthquake, and fire. But the Lord wasn't in any of those ways this time. This time He chose to speak to Elijah through a still, small voice.
Instead of waiting for the few mountain top experiences, allow God to speak to you in that still, small voice. Look for God to speak in unexpected ways. Running has always been a spiritual experience for me. Today I ran and the Lord spoke to me about evangelism and the church I lead. Most of us expect God to speak to us early in the morning while everyone else is still asleep or during a worship service or during a conference. These are good place to hear from God but what about the unexpected ways in which he speaks.
If you're really yearning to hear from your heavenly Father, then look for him to speak to you in unexpected ways. Expect him to speak to you in unexpected ways.
What are some of the unexpected ways God has spoken to you?
It's amazing that NBA can get more attention during it's off-season than baseball. All of this attention was because of one man, LeBron James. Regardless of your opinion about the news circus that followed his decision or the 'special' TV show put on by ESPN, there is a redeeming quality to this story.
James had tons of people grabbing at him. Every team, city, and fan wanted him to come to their city. Around 5 or 6 different teams courted James like they were looking for their future mate. Most commentators felt sorry for the people of Cleveland, OH the city where James was drafted and the state where the child prodigy was born and raised. Everyone in that state of Ohio wanted their beloved first son to stay home and bring them a championship.
Instead of folding and doing what everyone else wanted to do, James did what he wanted to do. He didn't allow people to make his decision for him. He could've easily crumbled under the pressure of trying to please everyone else. But he didn't. He made the decision that was best for him, his family, and his career.
People pleasing leads us to nowhere. People pleasing causes us to waste energy doing things that don't matter. It also affects our identity that we can only find in our heavenly Father. In people pleasing we lose ourselves and try to conform to everyone else's image of who they think we should be. In trying to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one. It's impossible to please everyone at all times.
If God has given you a task or an idea, then go out and complete that task or see that idea become a reality. It may not be the popular thing to do but go against the grain when you know that its God calling you to the task or its a God breathed idea. Decide to fear God more than you fear man. Don't fold under the pressure of doing what everyone else wants you to do. Don't fold under the pressure of doing what everyone else thinks you should be doing.