Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Synergy in the book of Acts

In Acts 2:14 we find the apostles and disciples devoting themselves daily in prayer, in unity, in one location for a period of 50 days. It takes 50 days for a team to become one unit (synergy) where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This exponential creativity, outpouring of power and enthusiasm has been sought for years in both the church and tent meetings. We have scheduled "revivals" scheduled events to recreate the Acts 3 experience.

I suggest we have never been successful simply because we have attempted to recreate the results (Pentecost) . While many churches have attempted to recreate the results,  some have attempted to recreate the preceding events (fasting and prayer for 50 days) with zero results.

So, we have tried to replicate the experience through using the same formulae, and failed. What is the answer then?

I believe we need a shift in paradigm. We have never tried to replicate what the apostles were seeking! Instead of replicating the activity, the formulae, lets replicate the hunger.

The hunger brought the Spirit down, not the formulae.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Connecting with your audience

The art of rhetoric is lost in the modern church. It gets worse. Now we have people saying that Rhema and logos are the same thing. 

1. Ethos is the credibility of the source, speaker, preacher.

2. Logos is the spoken word

3. Pathos is the emotional connection the speaker has with the audience

4. Rhema is the whole experience under divine inspiration.

 To say these three are the same is demonstrating a real lack of knowledge, spiritual, Greek and Aristoltes discourse on rhetoric. The anointing or inspired preaching of the modern day church may be what is lost, or perhaps there is just a general lack of scholarly approach to Scripture?

Modern day rhetoric should encompass all three of the elements of delivery, as well the the most important aspect of both being a divinely inspired message and  having the presence of the Holy Spirit present during your delivery. If we cannot maintain the balance of the divine and the logic (logos) as well as incorporating the pathos (emotional connection -soul realm)  and living a lifestyle that genders credibility (Ethos - fruit) then you should not be behind the pulpit in the first place.

Unfortunately there is a lack of accountability to maintain the higher level of delivery, content accuracy and revelation in modern day fellowships, that we have become complacent with  exhortation and entertainment. Exhortation and entertainment has replaced scholarly approach, reducing the pulpit to a comic show rather than a house of higher learning.

Power of agreement

Imagine if you will the team that had the same set of core values, the same mission statement and the will to focus on building the tower no matter the cost. In  Genesis we read about the united team of people that said in the hearts and minds they were going to reach heaven. Interesting enough, the core mindset was deeply ingrained within their hearts. It was not a fleeting concept, but a deeply heart felt commitment to a single goal, no matter the cost. It was the power of unity, the power of agreement, the power of a common vision, with common core value system.

 The bible records that if two people would agree there is nothing that can stop them. Powerful words indeed. One sets a 1,000 to flight but two sets 10,000 to flight. Imagine if we could get a team unified with a common goal, common core values, operating as a single unit not as competitors. The power of mutual co operation far exceeds the results obtained as competitors. 

For some this will simply never be possible. I am sad for those that cannot grasp the power behind co operation, but it am over joyed for those that are seeking to grow beyond their circumstances by focusing on a team effort rather than an individual effort. 

Team effort requires a common gaol, common core values, and an agreement to do operate at all costs in the vision of attaining the aforementioned goal. That means I am willing to come in at second place to see the team placed first. That's where the rubber hits the road. Sacrifice for the great good. In our culture we value the individual over the team. In this version, we place the value on the efforts and success of the team over the individual.

Is this model of co operation possible in the modern church? Churches traditionally are hierachial in nature and managerial in leadership. Seldom does a church have a true visonary leadership style with a win win paradigm, core values of co operation and empathetic listening. Focus on a love relationship rather than nit picking doctrine and correctly theology. Our theology is flawed, we know that. The bible indicates we know in "part" , prophesy in "part", but we act like we have all the truth, and worse still we act like we have the only licensed truth out there.  (Christ is the only way - that's about the only truth we should focus on) does it really matter if you have instruments in your worship service or not? Petty arguments are for the immature believer. Let's lay aside the childish things and mature

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Emotional bank accounts

Relationships are built upon emotional bank accounts. You make withdrawals daily, most of the time without thinking, but how many automatic deposits do you make? Answer is simple. ZERO. You cannot make an automatic deposit into somebody's emotional bank account. You have to intentionally make a deposit into the other person.

Deposits have to touch a persons deep interests and needs. One person's deposit may be an irritation and withdrawal to somebody else. You need to commit to intentionally making a deposit into other people daily. Obviously you can not deposit into every single relationship you have, but you can prioritize relationships. Use the Paretti principle to be effective in this regard. (The Paretti principle is simply 20/80 rule, 20% of what you do generates 80% of your production.) 

Prioritize your relationships. Invest more time in those that are the most important to you and place them in your inner circle, with a daily deposit into their lives. That means spending time with that person doing what is important to them on a deep level. Focus on that person and their needs for one solid hour. No distractions, no interruptions. This is time consuming, so obviously you need to prioritize relationships.

In the outer rings of your circle, you schedule less daily time and more time in the week with that individual. In this way you invest time in others, which will bring you the biggest return. Remember you make automatic withdrawals without even thinking about it. Short tempered responses, stressful situations all make withdrawals. Be intentional in your deposits. Build relationships with your immediate family through regular consisten deposits.

The temptation is to invest into the lives of those in your business and ignore those in your family. This is both unwise and destructive. Business relationships are seldom lifelong, but family will be there at your graveside one day. Develop trust, invest wisely. Time is a commodity that you can never replace, or recreate or buy. You only have a fixed amount of time in your lifetime. Invest it wisely. 

Phone calls and emails are time stealers, worse they steal time from loved ones. Schedule time to answer calls and emails. Schedule time to invest in your family. Master your schedule, or your schedule will master you.

 Ambiguous expectations in relationships is always a withdrawal, and can quite often be unavoidable. Trust and clear communication repairs this. Emotional communication makes withdrawals once again.  Take time to build and invest in relationships. You will be making withdrawals everyday through every interaction. Be intentional. Build and deposit. It takes time and intention.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Who moved my cheese

This wonderful classic contains a timeless truth. The truth is simple. When your geography stops providing for you, it's time to relocate. You survive on the interdependent relationship that exists between your environment and you.

Fishermen survive by catching fish. When there is no more fish left, then the fisherman has two choices, start another trade, or relocate to a new body of water. To continue to fish in a pool of water that has no fish is futile. Daily confessions, success quotes, dreaming of more fish is not going to provide food for your family. No fish equals no provision. Simple enough.

Now when your geography becomes hostile, then it's really time to close down your fishing business and move. If a pod of Orcas arrive and start threatening your boat, maybe it's time to stop saying I am a great fisherman and start saying, let's move.

This timeless simple truth is logical, self explanatory and universal. Despite this, it is also futile. The mind can and will rationalize (rational lie) and convince you this is not the case for you. There is still fish in your pond, deep down hiding away, if you just keep on fishing you will catch the mother lode of fish. As the cheese tale evolves, we see that there is no other lode. You have to learn to hunt again (or fish again).

Scary as that sounds, it is far worse to stay where your resources have dried out. Trying to recapture the losses, or to build a new launch pad when resources are dwindling faster and faster, is akin to digging a deeper hole. Pride kicks in. "We can't just leave." This logic is self delusional at best, destructive and dangerous at worst.

The wonderful little book called. :"Who moved my cheese?"  Is deeply poignant, ageless truth and totally futile in the hands of the proud. To deny the interaction between your supply (resources) and your environment is simply delusional. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Paradigm shift

A paradigm is best described as a mental map. Think of a old fashioned paper map. If you had a map of the city of Detroit that was labelled Chicago and you were looking for the Sears tower in Chicago, no matter how hard you worked, or how fast you drove, with the wrong map, you would never find the Sears tower. You may happen upon your destination by accident, and that accident will reinforce your error. The reality is, you will succeed by accident every now and again. The law of statistics plays in your favor. Success will be an accident, a statistic hit and miss scenario. The reality is, without the city map of Chicago, you will never be successful 100% of the time.

Paradigms are mind maps. Mind maps created through education, experience and subjective feelings. In fact all feelings and experiences are subjective. Your paradigm is subjective. You may firmly believe that you have the right map for Chicago, but your success rate should be a clear warning sign that you are an accidental success and not an intentional success. 

You can work harder, change your attitude and even be more positive. You can confess positive statements, but you will still not succeed. It will go like this. I am in the right place at the right time, the subway is exactly where God wants me, even though He sent you to the Sears tower, the subway is right on.

Oh, how we have deceived ourselves. Our confessions, our work hard ethic, our diligence, and love mindset, (all are good and worthwhile, but will not solve the problem), all amount to little with the wrong map. On this note, if you have the correct city map, but are too lazy, or self absorbed, you still will not find the Sears Towers! However if that description was true, you would not be reading this blog anyway...

So if you are reading this blog, it's safe to assume you are diligent, hard working and striving to be a success. By now you have come to realize that your confessions are not getting you to that sweet spot of success, nor is your hard work, diligence or activity levels. Working 50 hours per week, serving in excellence, working your confessions, watching your words breaking curses, and still not enough. Well, read on. I am about to unlock some simple timeless truths here.

Change your world view (your paradigm, your city map) and success is within reach. Obviously you still do the rest of what you have been doing, but now your world view has to line up. Your paradigm (worldview) can be skewed. It probably is. The key is to listen, hear deeply to what others are saying. Check your world view with what other people have to say. Challenge your perceptions. Challenge everything you know.

A practical example is when you open the bible. Do not read the same gospel with the expectation of you heard the pastor preach this message from this passage and so that's the only truth. What do you get out of that passage? How did that passage make you feel? What's The Lord trying to tell you? Read the bible as some one who has never read the bible before. Start from ground zero. Challenge your own ideas, challenge your thoughts, challenge your education. 

Joshua 1:8  says to mediate on the word and you will be a success. Start the. Find one verse, and meditate on that one verse for weeks, months even. Listen to the voice of The Lord as He starts to speak and change your heart, mind, world view. 

I did. That one verse started a journey that took me to another city, changed my ministry, changed my family, changed my finances and the adventure has only begun. Fair enough, this adventure began several years ago and is still unfolding, but now after 4 years I am starting to see major powerful differences in all areas of my life. My family is hpier, I am happier, my finances are growing in leaps and bounds, my joy is over flowing and my success rate is increasing. Change your paradigm, change your world!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What is an apostle?

Interesting title, can I now answer the question? This is where it gets messy. There have been so many definitions of the term "apostle" and I am not sure my definition is more accurate than the various other definitions out there, but for my own sake (I process through writing/speaking) I am going to attempt to formulate an answer. I fully expect all the internet theologians with their PhDs (pentecostal hair dos) to comment and give their theologically correct definition, but for us simpler folks, I want to keep this more practical.

The bible records the apostle as a special messenger from God with a special message for a certain people within a specific geography (metron) at a specific season (Kairos). These unsung heros of the faith were not self seeking, self serving, but rather foundational men and women who formulated the foundations of the church. This leads credence to the argument that we do not, 
a)need apostles today and 
b) they no longer exist.

However, we still need to plant churches, and as generations evolve with new needs, new mannerisms to maintain a cultural relevance without compromising the gospel we need new foundational people who can phrase in a relevant manner the gospel. We still need foundations to be built and set, using the same message of Christ, the same message the apostle Paul received but in a newer vernacular. Same message new vernacular. Same need, same message, different kairos, or is it the same kairos?

I believe we are in the same kairos (season of time) as what Paul vas instructed to do. Take the gospel to the Gentiles. I firmly believe that the Gentiles are as unsaved today as they were in Paul's time, and the gospel is yet to be preached to the ends of the earth.  The message is the same, the season is the same, but there is a muddying of the medium we are to use. Paul spoke in person, wrote letters to congregations and all the while he served as the foundation. Today we have the internet, Facebook, twitter instagram etc. All of these social media has done was to replace the handwritten letters that Paul used. Modern apostles need to be trained  to "write" as Paul vas trained to write. The message is the same, the world is dying as fast now (or faster now) so why debate the title?

I think we debate the title, because so many believe that the office is a promotion, a bishop type of role, an a hierachial model of church is emerging in the 21st century, with the apostle at the top!  Hence we all strive to be the top man. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that position was taken on calvary 2,000 years ago, and Chirst is the Head of the church. The rest of us are content to serve under Him. 

In my opinion, the true apostle (modern day church apostle) is the unseen foundation. You never talk about the foundation of your home, you see the walls, the roof and the gardens, but ignore the foundations. That's what the modern apostle should strive for. See Christ, not me. 

Commitment v Covenant

Commitment is to an idea, an ideal, a vision a place, and some times even a person. Covenant is between two people and lasts for ever. Commitment has a reward/cost equation, is easily broken, runs for a season, is mutually beneficial and often confused with covenant. Covenant has no end, is seldom mutually beneficial, is only between individuals, and should not be entered into at a whim.

We make commitments every day, but we covenant once or twice in a lifetime and it's for life. If you have two covenants, then there is always the risk of you having to choose between two people, and that's not of God. Covenant is really mutually exclusive, jealous if you like (God is a jealous God).

Take some time to process that statement first. We get all bent out of shape when we hear jealous, but in this context, that what a covenant relationship is. We have a covenant relationship through. Christ with God. We are committed to a church vision, and even then we are not sold out to that vision, but merely in sync with that vision. 

Covenant or commitment? Which do you have?