Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the category “Focus”

A Quick Review of the Books I Consumed in 2014

Books have a way of opening our mind to experiences beyond our day to day lives. They allow us to think from different perspectives and glean from the learnings of others. I do enjoy fiction books, I principally take in non-fiction works.

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Here is a run down of the books I’ve worked through in 2014.

41 – George W. Bush’s look at his father’s life. – This was a fun and insightful look into this family which has dominated the political landscape for a generation or more. Without a doubt, George H. W. Bush has lived an amazing life and W paints the story well. I took a particular liking to the way W describes the family’s time in Odessa and Midland, Texas. Oh, if you’re looking for great quips, W quotes Barbara Bush in all her honesty and humor.

You Heard Me – Colin Cowherd of ESPN rants about his observations on life and sports. I like the way Cowherd is able to draw understandings about systems and approaches to life through breaking down sports. His unique perspective of being on the other side of sports industry helps us to see, it’s just life. If you like his radio show, you’ll enjoy the book.

Daring Greatly – Brené Brown’s stellar work on living life full on is my book of the year. Brown works through the paralyzing nature of shame and how it keeps us from living full lives. Her insights into vulnerability and courage will make you weep and inspire you to dare greatly.

A Farewell to Mars – Brian Zahnd walks through his understanding of how Christ-followers should live an alternate lifestyle when it comes to war and violence. This book will challenge your patriotic and American system sentimentalities. Zahnd sees our worship of war and violence as being an act of idolatry.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt – Edmund Morris walks us through the extraordinary life of Teddy Roosevelt as he makes his way to becoming President of the United States. Seeing sickly Roosevelt overcome one adversity after another to become the man of courage and strength was exciting and it is easy to see why he is among America’s favorite Presidents. He was bull headed, fiercely devoted, and unwavering. Morris describes him as the embodiment of America at the turn of the 20th Century.

Zealot – Reza Aslan’s look into the life of Jesus was a insightful perspective into some of the political tensions and class systems of the First Century. I was intrigued in how Aslan sought to uncover the “true” Jesus, one he describes as more of a political revolutionary than a religious leader. For me, I found his description of James and Paul’s relationship to be some of the more challenging features. I does not appear to me that Aslan has a great appreciation for Paul’s contribution to the understanding of who Jesus was/is.

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek’s exploration into how a leader’s behavior influences his followers is extremely insightful. Using examples from the Military and other fields, along with working through the chemical reactions that occur within our bodies, Sinek paints a picture in which servanthood really is the best form of leadership, especially when the servanthood is inspired by a greater purpose. I highly recommend this book.

Divergent – Veronica Roth’s post-apocolyptic teen drama is filled with a gritty world that wrestles through relationships and morals. The way Roth wrestles with the temptation to play each of us in our categories is quite interesting, especially since we are a mix of so many factors and features, so of which are in great conflict with one another.

Short Stories by Jesus – Amy-Jill Levine seeks to unpack some of Jesus’ parables a part from the anti-Jewish sentiment that they are often interpreted through into the church today. She seeks to show us how First Century Jews would have connected the words to other stories, events, and situations of their day.

Overrated – Eugen Cho is one of my favorite guys to follow on Twitter. I appreciated Cho’s call for us to be more than just talk regarding our Christian convictions, but to actually recognize that some of the difficult situations we find ourselves in are a part of how God is providing an opportunity for our convictions to be lived out. Cho pushes us to do more than just love the idea of changing the world, but to actually live out the process, even though the only world that changes may be our own.

Planting Missional Churches – Ed Stetzer is another guy I follow on Twitter (along with almost anyone else interested in church planting and leadership). This book is a reminder that so much of what we have done in the past is try to extract Christ-followers from their neighborhoods and points of life and bring them into the church, when in fact we should be helping Christ-followers see how they are to be incarnational in the places they already live.

Family-Based Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries seeks to offer a different way of youth ministry because there is a rising understanding that the traditional youth ministry model is not producing adult disciples of Jesus. DeVries is challenging the short-term nature of Youth Ministry and is hoping to help us place youth ministry within a greater context of discipleship, particularly as a part of the family’s discipleship.

One Man, One Time – Kelly Barcol is a friend and fellow church planter and this is his story. Barcol takes a honest look at his faith journey and how it is so strongly related to the time that one man, one time, loved him enough that Barcol was able to see Jesus.

The Purpose Linked Organization – Alaina Love seeks to help individuals and organizations work within their strengths. This take on personalities and strengths was helpful for me to cast in a fresh light the type of personality, temperament, and perspective I have when it comes to work. I working hard to keep my preferences (purposes) in alignment while not imposing them upon others.

Flesh – Hugh Halter is one of those guys who is just flat out honest. Yes, Halter is a pastor and church planter, but he is also someone you’d expect to find at the MMA fight or at the local pub more than leading people to follow Jesus. I guess that’s what we really need isn’t it? More regular people leading other to follow Jesus. This is as much an autobiography as it is a how to book.

Viral Churches – Ed Stetzer & Warren Bird remind us that following Jesus should involve a multiplication of followers of Jesus. Essentially, as individual grow as disciples they in turn will lead others to be disciples, which will lead to the need for more congregations/churches. So the key for the church expanding and going viral is not programs and events, but disciples making disciples.

Counterfeit Gods – Tim Keller is one of the leading Christian apologetics in the United States. Living in the heart of a culture capital, Keller sees clearly how money, sex, and power control our lives making them gods that we pursue. Keller writes, “When we are completely immersed in a society of people who consider a particular idolatrous attachment normal, it becomes almost impossible to discern it for what it is.”

Better Together – Jim Toberlin and crew explore the dynamics of a church merger. Using case studies they identify the marks that lead to a healthy merger, while being honest in stating there’s not just one type of merger. The indicators are that more churches will merge in the coming years so this is a helpful read for those exploring or leading others through this process.

So that’s what I have consumed in 2014. I’m working through Rob Bell’s book The Zimzum of Love. This book is about marriage and how we feed it to strengthen it.

In case you are wondering, I finished most of these. I either read these via Kindle or listened to them through Audible.

I Love a Good Fight!

I’ll admit it, I love a good fight!

Sometimes my wife doesn’t appreciate my passion for this. Sometimes my kids find this exasperating. I’ve been known to wear out my colleagues in a meeting because of this. What can I say, I’m a passionate guy. 

Sometimes, I get carried away. I remember chaperoning a trip to Six Flags with some teenagers. The boys wanted to ride the “Tea Cups” and see how fast we could go. It’s hard for me to back down. I made sure we went as fast as I could get us. I was on the brink of throwing up, but I wasn’t going to quit. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who was feeling queazy. On the next ride, one of the boys tossed his cookies because of the fight at the Tea Cups.

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Simon Sinek recently tweeted:

Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.

Wow! I’m not sure it could be said any better.

I recently read a blog about all the things the church is doing wrong. Ok, I’ve read several of those blogs (too many to link to). Without a doubt, these bloggers are right about almost everything they post. Some are posting out of their disgust of the church, others are posting out of their disgust for how off track the church has become. There are even a few that are posting as prophetic voices for the church. My favorites are those who are clearly posting because they love the church. Let’s fight for the church!

I along with many others have retweeted, blogged, and posted about #Ferguson and the racial challenges in our society. The fights displayed on this issues have stirred us. What we need to ask ourselves is have we stirred one another to know what we love or what we hate? I want to fight for equality!

I took the #IceBucketChallenge and didn’t fight against the negative sides of the trend. I fought for those need awareness raised about ALS.

Over the past two years, I spent a great deal of my time fighting in a struggling school district. The school district my family was a part of had a huge gap in parental and community involvement. I believe this greatly influenced the struggling test scores and overall impression of the school district. I fought for greater participation and involvement. I entered this fight with the PTA of our school, county, and state. Why did I fight? Because I believe in education and I believe in bettering things. I fought because I love seeing things get better.

In a couple of months, I plan to attend Fight Night with my wife. This marriage enrichment session with Les & Leslie Parrott should be fun. I will fight for my marriage.

This fall, I will enter into a fight with 9 others as we fight to award grants designed to help change the world.

Throughout my life, I want to be known as someone who fights, who loves a good fight! I want my fights to be for things, not against things. I want to be remembered for loving not hating.

Where are you fighting? Is it against something? Are you helping people hate? Or have you chosen to fight for something? Have you inspired them to love?

Go on, jump out there! Start a fight! But make it a good one!

(Think Mel Gibson, Braveheart, “I’m gonna pick a fight!”)

Share your thoughts in the comments. Tell me where you are fighting. Maybe I can encourage you in your fight.

#Ferguson Makes Me Mad!

I don’t know how else to say it, “#Ferguson makes me mad!”

I realize there is more to this whole situation. I realize that I am writing this post from my position of privilege and distance.

Now, let me state this clearly, I’m not mad at the residents of Ferguson. I’m not mad about those upset about the news of another unarmed young black man shot by a white male, police officer. I’m not upset at the police who are trying to protect the property of others. I am mad at the crowds!

The crowds of journalist – sure they’re just reporting what is happening. They are also escalating the situation because there are those who long to be seen on TV who are pouring into the area. If we reduced the number of journalists on the streets, we might not see all the footage, but there will also be less men and women in the midst of the crowds. To the reporters looking to establish themselves, GO AWAY!

The crowds of rioters – yes, we should assemble and peaceably protest, but looting and rioting makes things worse! The opportunist pouring into the area make the peaceable protestors look bad. For those looking to steal, kill, or destroy, GO AWAY!

The crowds of police officers – I get that you are doing your job, but when you arm up in riot gear that you purchased from the Pentagon, you become soldiers fighting an enemy. The citizens in the streets are innocent. It is not your job to defeat the enemy. It is your job to protect and defend. So instead of lining up in the streets like an invading army, line up in front of properties needing protection from looters. When you become a crowd of officers, you become an army. Our culture has a simple response to invading armies, GO AWAY!

There is quote from ‘s book Farewell to Mars that goes something like this:
 
The crowd is almost always wrong!
 
When we get into crowds we do things we wouldn’t do on our own. The mixture of hormones and emotions begin to circulate among the participants. Our bodies begin to chemically respond stirring primal feelings. In crowds we become vulnerable to suggestions. Then all it takes is for one or two little things to tip us over. Anger boils over into rage. Fear escalates into paranoia. We overreact in the crowd! This is why things are funnier, scarier, lovelier, or whatever when we experience them with others.
 
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Ferguson is a city. #Ferguson is a crowd.
 
Will you join me in praying that #Ferguson is disbanded. Pray for the individuals of the city of Ferguson. Pray for those tasked with protecting the city and its residents. Pray for cool heads. Pray that darkness is overwhelmed by light.
 
We need to speak up for the injustices that black citizens face. Parents should not have to tell their children they have to be more diligent about their body language because of the color of their skin. The statistics of the disproportionate percentages of police actions against men and women of color should cause us to explore and act for new solutions. 
 
We need to address our own fears and racisms. As I said in a previous post
– not every gay person has an agenda
– not every black person is in a gang
– not every Hispanic is a drug dealer
– not every feminist is a bitch
– not every redneck is a racist
– not every rich person is greedy
– not every poor person is lazy
– not every Christian is…..
 
Our world needs to change. Maybe #Ferguson will make us mad enough to actually do something different.
 
Thanks for reading my opinion. Add your thoughts. Please remember that you may be speaking out of your position of privilege and that others will read your comments from their position in life. Don’t refrain from expressing yourself, just do so respectfully. 

To See More Clearly, Know More Dearly, Feel More Nearly

In 1997, I moved from Clarksville, Tennessee, to attend Mid-America Bible College (now Christian University) in Oklahoma City. As a new student I was required to take a class called Biblical Life & Witness taught by Cliff Sanders.

I had come to MBC like most 21 year olds, arrogantly. I had been involved in ministry for about 30 months or so and thought I knew all I needed to know. After all, I had experienced a successful ministry and my pastor was sending me to college to get the necessary degree so that I could get a job at a church. Little did I know, how little I knew.

Bib Life (as we called it) challenged my view of God. The class provoked me to ask myself if I really knew the character of God and if I allowed him to know me. And Cliff’s teachings inspired me to live a life of evoking the imagination of others as they think about God.

This video message is a summation of Bib Life. I still have my notebook from the course, though I really don’t need to look at it. The course set me on course in such a way that I can recall much of it without even looking.

Cliff’s prayer at the end of this message is one you should stick around for, as is the entire message something that can move you in the right direction.

I realize one message won’t change your life. I was fortunate (ahem) to have Cliff as my professor for seven courses while at MBC. The messages were only part of my journey down a better path. Witnessing Cliff’s life for nearly five years was another significant part. So, don’t just listen to this message by Cliff. Connect with those who will challenge you to know God more deeply, see him more clearly, and feel him more nearly. Spend time with these people. Share life with them. Together, you will inspire others to imagine God as he wants us to see him.

The Jesus-Shaped Life – Sanctuary on Vimeo on Vimeo

via The Jesus-Shaped Life – Sanctuary on Vimeo.

Asking Too Much From Christian Believers (part 1)

It’s interesting to me that we’ve established the standards for elders and deacons, given by Paul to Timothy, as the standard for all believers.

This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position.” So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.
In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.
In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.
A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

(1 Timothy 3:1-13 NLT)

It seems to me, this is creating an unnecessary hurdle or barrier for many to feel as though they can follow Jesus.

Certainly, these standards are preferred for believers, but Paul does not seem to indicate they are required for everyone. Rather, Paul is distinguishing the difference between leader-servants for the church and all of those who are a part of the church.

Additionally, Paul does not seem to indicate that those who don’t meet these standards are ineligible to serve within the church. He is saying that to be a deacon or elder requires meeting these standards.

This leaves us, from an application point, wrestling with questions like these:
What are the markers of a disciple or believer of Jesus?
Are there markers for ordinary Christians?
What does a deacon do?
What is the role of an elder?

This may be an issue only for those of us in evangelical churches. It may be an outgrowth of the premise of “the priesthood of believers.” There are many issues that play into this practice of expecting all believers to behave as elders or deacons.

It just seems to me that we are asking and even expecting too much of the average believer.

What say you?

Buzz Words and Idols – Jesus is the Subject

Observation: in our attempts to get our corner on the market of the Christian subculture, we lift up phrases like “the gospel” or “the anointing” like they’re what faith is about.

2nd Observation: we seem to be obsessed in Christianity with creating leaders as if that’s what Jesus, the apostles, and Paul focused on.

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When we pause for a second, it’s easy to see how “the gospel” and “the anointing ” are significant. It’s also important for leaders to be raised up with in the church. Yet, these things are buzz words and focal points for our various subgroups within the church, along with many others. These buzz words can quickly become our idols.

We need to check our language as words have significance and meaning. If we are talking about “the gospel” more than Jesus we are missing the subject of the good news. If we are focused on “the anointing” we can quickly miss the anointed one (Christ). If we assume we are to only raise up leaders, we will quickly miss the one we are called to follow.

It’s a slippery slope to worshipping an idol. Many of us don’t intend to end up a few degrees off course. Sin is like that. Sin is subtle, it’s just a slight deviation from the truth.

So, let’s make Jesus the subject. He is the Christ. May our lives reflect our desires to follow him!

3 Reasons to Go to Church

Recently, a “Christian Celebrity” stated he didn’t attend church very often. His explanation was thorough, but as you can imagine there was a fair amount of push back to his comments, especially from those who go to church, and like it!

Bread and Cup

First, let me say, I appreciated his comments. He was honest. Much of what we do for church today is uninspiring and boring to him.  Now, depending upon your church experience you might agree. Specifically, it was stated that teaching and singing didn’t excite him – he would rather work or be more active. I get it!

Before I jump into my thoughts on the matter, let me first caution each of us – celebrities are the exception or outliers not the norm.  Whether the person is a famous musician, actor, author, artist, athlete, personality, etc. he or she is not like “most people.”  That is why she or he is famous! That does not mean their experience is vastly different than ours, but what they experience is different. We should be cautious in following anyone’s example, but especially that of a celebrity. Instead, consider following the example of someone you actually share time with.

Now, to my thoughts on why one should attend church*.

 *Church can mean two things: a building or a gathering of believers in Jesus.  I prefer the gathering definition.  

1. Remembrance

  • Central to many, the gathering of believers, the church, involves an act of remembrance.  In American Evangelical Christianity, the act of remembrance (communion, Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper) is practiced with varying levels of frequency. In the historical traditions of Christianity and denominations and movements around the globe, the act of remembrance is practiced nearly every time the believers gather, particularly as they gather on Sunday. The physical presence of bread and cup, serve to remind us of the presence of Jesus in history. The breaking of the bread and the wine or juice in the cup serve to remind us of God who became flesh and died for our sin. We tend to be forgetful people! When we come to church, we do so to be reminded.
  • There are also the songs that are shared and messages that are declared. Each of these, like the bread and the cup, serve to remind us of things we are inclined to forget. We tend to forget about the sacrifice of God, the call to sacrifice our own interests, the sin in our lives, the brokenness of creation, and even the sense that there is more to life than the mere physical elements of our lives. We come to church to remember, lest we forget.
  • Our memories tend to drift and so we need to be reminded of our mission, too. When we gather, we remind one another there is work to be done. Some of the work is noble, some of it is mundane. All of the work can be forgotten, and when it is, we suffer.

2. Empowerment

  • Just as the bread and cup serve as a reminder, for many they see the bread and cup as empowering. It is in the bread and cup that many experience the grace and love of Christ poured out for them.
  • There is a sense of courage that comes from being connected to a larger group. Some coming together with other believers empowers us because we are reminded we are not alone.
  • The internal sense of empowerment is increased when others speak words of hope and encouragement to us. Courage to dream and live out the dream comes through the gathering of believers.

3. Sharing

  • Just as we are forgetful and even fearful, we are also likely to be self-centered. As we gather with believers, we are given the opportunity to share with those in need. Possibly the need will be from someone within the gathering, or the need may be something we are made aware of because we are interacting with others.
  • Some of what we are led to share will come out of our reservoir of strength. You or I may be asked to contribute based on our skills or resources. If we stay selfish, we may neglect in the call to share.
  • Finally, we may be led to share out of sacrifice. Regardless of how we become aware of a need, there will arise a moment when what we are led to share will cost us something. It is at this time that our participation in the church is most tested. Left to ourselves, we are less inclined to share.

When we make church about entertainment or simply a social engagement, it will lose its appeal. The gatherings will become stale and boring. We will wonder “is there more?” After a while we will have heard all the stories, sung all most some of the songs, and been nice to the people sitting near us. Yet, it is entirely possible to miss out on what we are to remember, how we can be empowered, and the call to share.

If you are bored with your church, take a moment to ask yourself, “What do I come to church for?

The “Christian Celebrity” admitted he didn’t need the entertainment or social engagement, and so he is bored with church.

For me, the church, the gathering of believers, is done for remembrance, empowerment, and sharing. These three things will keep me participating in church.

There is a lot more to be said on this subject than one blog. My hope is this will serve as a conversation starter for you and many others. So, weigh in, what are you thoughts? Let’s wrestle with this together.

Ministry Talking Points 1/16/14

Ministry Talking Points is an attempt to share with my audience key thoughts or ideas I’ve seen that I think pastors and church leaders should be talking about.

Bible Study Religious Stock Images

In this issue:

Dennis Rodman a Missionary

Seth Godin: The Problem is Awareness

Pope Francis on Abortion and a Throwaway Culture

Dennis Rodman a Missionary?

It’s crazy to think that the “Bad Boy of Basketball” from my youth is setting an example on how to break down barriers.  The truth is Rodman has always broken the barrier (cross-dressing, dyed hair, strange piercings, tattoos, etc.).  This time, Rodman is working to develop a relationship with the isolated people in North Korea who are being held back by the barriers world leaders have established.  I’m not suggesting Rodman is doing this because he is a Christian or sees himself as a missionary, I don’t know Rodman nor his faith.  I only know what CNN reported one of his teammates, Charles Smith, as saying,

“We went there to do what we normally do, and that’s to be cross-cultural ambassadors and use the game of basketball as a bridge for exchange.”

The willingness to go cross-cultural and be an ambassador is what I see as the missionary act.  When was the last time we saw someone give up the comforts of his culture or world to learn about the culture of another?  I applaud Rodman for his efforts.  If more private citizens took it upon themselves to breakdown cultural barriers, I think we’d see some pretty remarkable things happen in our world.  CNN reports that Smith shared “he has no regrets about going. He said he was able to meet some North Korean citizens and even came across one man who winced before shaking the hand of the first African-American he had ever met. Smith said the man told him they didn’t have a very good view of African-Americans. The man rubbed his hand as if the color would come off, Smith said.”  Kudos to Rodman for breaking the barriers, and for even wishing a Happy Birthday to the North Korean leader.

Seth Godin: “Our biggest problem is awareness”

Let me start by saying, I’m a big Seth Godin fan.  He has a unique ability to articulate keen insights in a few paragraphs.  In this post, Seth reminds us that the key to raising awareness of our cause, group, church, etc. is not to focus on the big one-time event, but rather design our systems so that we are a continually in the conversations. Let me admit this, I’m really good at the big and flashy ideas.  Developing systems I can do.  My challenge is maintaining the system.  How about you?

Pope Francis: “A Throwaway Culture”

This weekend, people around the nation will take part in the remembering the historic ruling of Roe vs.Wade by the United States Supreme Court, as they hold memorials or rallies regarding the sanctity of life and the power of choice.  The news outlets reported Pope Francis recently expressed that abortion was evidence of our “throwaway culture.”  In the past, Francis has elaborated on the “throwaway culture” especially as it relates to food and other resources.  It seems Francis understands the way to overcome the desire for abortion is to address the consumer, self-centered issues of our culture.  When I first heard Francis talk about the “throwaway culture,” food seemed to be the central aspect of the conversation.  I walked away challenged to throwaway less food.  That doesn’t mean I should necessarily “clean my plate,” though I often do.  Rather, I think the challenge is to waste less food.  In that daily practice of wasting less food, could I begin to overcome my consumption desires and my tendency to throwaway things?  What if each of us wasted less food?  Would it cure many of our issues like obesity and world-hunger?  Could it even reduce poverty, abortion, war, and the like?  In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, he asserts that the reduction of litter and graffiti in New York City led to a reduction of overall crime.  Without a doubt, food is in abundance in the United States.  What if we chose to waste less of it?  Could that curb our desire to consume and throwaway?  I’m going to do my part.

Gleanings from #Exponential Day1 #Discipleshift

Gleanings from Exponential day 1 (10/8/13)
Helping new disciples understand where they are headed to, what they’re saved for, is the missing link.

What are the key things expected out of each person?

“As you are more satisfied with Jesus, you’ll want others to be satisfied in Jesus!” -Derwin Grey

Loving yourself correctly inward

If you’re a disciple, you are first a foremost a follower. You then move with the teacher.

Disciple making is an initiative issue. It only happens when a teacher initiates a relationship and selects a disciple.
Disciple making is challenged because it takes time & sacrifice.

Before you and I came into the world, we had two people working on our behalf. – Robert Coleman

There are no short cuts to parenting/raising kids and discipleship. – Coleman

If you’ve never been discipled, how can you truly disciple another.

Process of selection:
1. Prayer
2. Spirit’s guidance
3. The willing
4. Those who demonstrate an ability to pass it along.
5. The industrious
6. Fidelity (how they do with little things, personal money management, “another’s” responsibilities, prioritization – Luke 16:10-13 Rick Warren)
7. The ability to reproduce
8. Can I really help this person?

Proximity is the essential principal factor of discipleship – with him. The most significant transference occurs in the informal moments.
Teaching while you are side by side is powerful.

Plan of action with a disciple (Rick Warren -SHARE)
Study the scripture together
Help with a personal practical need
Assign a homework project
Review memory scriptures
Encourage with prayer

The goal of discipleship is not piety, it is sanctified for service.

If you’re not invited into the home, Jesus says go to the next town.

Review what Jesus says when he sends the disciples out out.
Don’t take a purse
Don’t take a staff
Eat what is before you
Find the person of peace

In the process of making disciples, don’t forget to be a disciple of the Master. If you find yourself far from the master, remember how sweet he is, repent of the distractions, return to his presence. – Shawn Mitchell

Help me to remember that I am the minister, not the messiah.

The Pharisees of the first century did not intend to become the “Pharisees” we know them as. How possible is that you and I can become just like them?

Don’t allow your passion to overcome your compassion. – Larry Osborne

Discipleship is not solely about leadership.

we love the hardcore lost and the baby Christian. “It’s cute when they sear in their prayers.” – Larry Osborne

The front of the line is dangerous because it is the place where “pride” creeps in. Pride is looking down on others. What’s wrong vs what Jesus is up to.

Everyone in the line is a disciple, even the person at the front of the line. Never forget that!

When our pride limits who is in the line and their placement, we rule out the possibility that God is at work. Joseph of Arimathea, a Pharisee, was a secret disciple. He found the courage to be used by God to make the resurrection possible.

The measure we use to judge others is used on us.

Floor Routines Gone Bad

YouTube has quickly become the location of many of our stories in life.  This compilation video of girls’ gymnastic floor routines is helping us see how our stories need proper context to be understood.


Hideous Choreography Gymnastics Montage – YouTube.

As a communicator one of the most important things you can do is ensure your audience understands the context surrounding your story.  If you fail to set the context properly, the audience is disoriented and you or your message look out of place.

Here are the A-E’s of elements to consider when setting context:

  • Acronyms or Abbreviations – Have you made sure everyone knows what you mean when you use short hand.  After all, what you mean by CYA could be different than what I mean.
  • Background – does your audience understand the proper background related to your story. This helps eliminate a number of confusions because your audience understands the time and place of your story.
  • Characters – Is your audience aware of who the protagonist and antagonist are? Do they know who they should root for or against?
  • Difficulty – In gymnastics, the scoring system is based upon the difficulty of the routine.  If your message requires a degree of expertise or concentration, let you audience know.  Alerting the audience to the need to “put their thinking caps on” is helpful.
  • Ending – Though I enjoyed the video, I felt like it was a bit long.  I think it should have been three minutes versus five.  I’ve sat in presentations where I thought we were at the end of the story, but we weren’t.  Give your audience an expectation regarding the ending and live up to it.

What advice do you have regarding setting the context for your presentation?

What is the worst example you can recall of a message that lacked context?

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