Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Words are powerful! They have the power to build or destroy. Most of us can remember some negative or hurtful thing directed our way as a child. And why is it the 'zingers' seem to rule our memory, and not all the positive things spoken? SGC begins a new series this weekend about this very subject, and scripture has a ton to say about it. We can upgrade our lives and relationships if we can begin to harness this truth & allow Christ to have access to our 'big mouths.' Come and grow with us this weekend at SGC.
Monday, February 16, 2009
It's amazing what happens when you focus. That's what we're doing right now at SGC. We're pouring much energy into 'upgrading' marriage relationships this year. And we're off to a good start with a kick-off movie event behind us and some small groups and a retreat yet to come. The accompanying weekend mini-series is called "Solid." Philosopher Friedrich Nietszche compared marriage to a long conversation, others have compared marriage to a long walk. That resonates with me. Marriage as an 'institution'? That leaves a sick feeling in my gut. I believe in commitment and perseverance, but not out of an obligation to an institution or an ideal. For me it's all about a person, my wife Cynthia, and a promise I made to her and to my God who has (long ago) made a promise to me to never leave me or turn away. That's the stuff I want to translate through my life and relationships with my wife, family and beyond.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We're entering into a special time of focus for our church. We are taking the next six weeks and joining forces and focus to strengthen marriage relationships. This is a daunting task especially when staying married has become a great challenge in our day. I read an interesting passage of scripture today from Exodus 21:5-6. It was a section on the practice of fair treatment of Hebrew slaves. Stay with me. The instruction to the slave master was that if he purchased a slave man who was married, when he was released from slavery, his wife would also be released. If the slave was single when purchased, and the master 'gave' him a wife, the slave man would go free upon release, but the wife and children would remain. Then it reads... "But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife and my children. I would rather die than go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl (ouch.) After that, the slave will belong to his master forever." The man has a choice to go free. In marriage, so does the wife. When life gets hard and your home feels like a prison, the temptation is to get the heck out. You can go, and see what else is out there or just get away. But if you stay and submit to the ownership of the master, Jesus, you will be provided for. In my life, I choose to allow my loving God to pierce, even nail, my ear to the door of his (my) house and live there under his rule and fight through the perils of life. I love my wife and my children and my Master like that. God help us all.
One of the things I am learning to live with, and perhaps will one day love about leadership, is the tension that it brings into my life pretty consistently. Not one to naturally hunt for discomfort or inconvenience, I am beginning to embrace, in a much more informed way, the challenge of being in a position of influence. Neither change nor growth take place without this tension. Leadership muscle does not get developed without the stretching, tearing, shredding discomfort of tension. As such, I am very grateful for the people I get to serve with and who look to me for leadership. I love what Seth Godin says on page 9 of his book, "Tribes." He says,"Tribes are all about faith--belief in an idea and in a community. And they are grounded in respect for the leader of the tribe and for the other members as well." But let me be the one-hundred millionth one to say that even with this ethos in place, real leadership is always going to invite tension of one sort or another. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, so ultimately my faith is anchored in him, but I also believe in myself. And that's OK! Increasing confidence is a must in the life of a growing leader, but so is humility and compassion and honesty.