Category Archives: rants and raves

What is justice?

I’m not usually commenting on controversial topics here on the blog (unless it’s which latte is the best or something like that).  This article talks about a man who slips his pregnant girlfriend a drug that causes a miscarriage and now he is being charged with first-degree murder.  I do think that is acceptable.

What I think the challenging thing is, why is it that in a situation like that they consider that unborn a baby, and treat the punishment as fitting for someone who ends a human life… yet across the country women abort every day, and that same type of baby is not considered a valuable human life. It seems like a double-standard.
Your thoughts (agreed or disagreed, comments, etc)?

Posted by on November 30, 2007 in random stuff, rants and raves


I’ve got a telephone pole in my eye…

Todd Rhodes over at Monday Morning Insight had a post this morning that I think deserves some attention.  You can read the post here.  I’ll not comment on the people involved directly, but I do want to share some thoughts.

Now I really try to refrain from commenting on public figures and their downfalls.  But I’m so frustrated right now that I can barely speak.  I love the Church and believe it is the message of Christ fleshed out through the church that really is the hope of the world.  But things like this are why so many people don’t trust Christianity… why so many people don’t trust Christ.  We are a reflection of Him, and when we fall and don’t admit we’re wrong, or blame others, it’s a reflection of Christ.  Sometimes we chase our own ambition and motivations more than the glory of God.  I know, I’ve done it myself.
Here are a few thoughts I think we can learn from these situations:
  • If you can’t accept the responsibility of doing the right thing, don’t be a leader.  I was telling a friend this weekend that sometimes I wish I weren’t a leader, so the microscope wasn’t on me and I could do anything without anyone giving a rip.  But the truth is, I’ve chosen to accept the call to leadership, so I’m responsible for my actions.
  • If God blesses you with the opportunity to be nationally/internationally known, take it seriously and protect yourself at all costs!  We’ve all heard celebrities talk about how hard it is to have everyone looking at you, we see so-and-so in rehab all the time, they turn to drugs to deal with it, etc.  I know it’s tough, but it comes with the job.  You are in that situation, so live with integrity.  It’s just ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL, it’s NOT AN OPTION.  It’s the name and reputation of Jesus I’m worried about here.  Sure, it hurts me that your national ministry is on the verge of collapse over this scandal, and that the empire you’ve built might just tumble.  But what hurts me more is the fact that many who were teetering on the line of actually trusting Jesus might see these things and cause them to decide once and for all that Christ is not for them.  You are a reflection of Christ.
  • If you have placed your ministry over your marriage, GET OUT OF MINISTRY NOW, THAT’S IDOLATRY!!!!!  You’re placing your own selfish ambition above exalting God.  Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but just a few years ago I was in the same danger.  I was chasing ministry and my wife and I didn’t align on where we were going.  Fortunately God helped me see the error of my ways and step back and get on the same page.  If you are married, you are UNITED AS ONE.  To justify breaking up a marriage to chase a ministry endeavor, etc, IS NOT FROM GOD.  Let me repeat: if you divorce your wife because she’s not in step with your ministry or vice versa, you’re OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD.
  • If you find yourself in a position like this (placing ministry above family, foolishly believing that chasing ministry x is God’s will above your family), STEP DOWN FROM YOUR POSITION AND GET THINGS RIGHT!!!  For the love of God, why is it that the only thing non-Christ-followers see about big-name leaders who fail is that they REFUSE TO ADMIT THEY ARE WRONG or to humbly admit they are wrong and step down for a time.  Take some time off and get things right with your wife and kids.  The couple who said they were going different directions, getting a divorce, and he is staying in the pulpit and she is pursuing her ministry- please admit you screwed up and just step down for a while and get things right.  Don’t use this as a platform to be even more of a workaholic and such.  Model to your people that we don’t always have it all together, step down, and get some help.  This will bring God more glory than you rubbing it in the face of the world.
  • As a pastor of mine used to say, “If you mess up, fess up.”  Just admit you’re wrong.
  • Leadership is a privilege.  It’s easy at some point to think we’re entitled to everything we have.  I know.  It’s a privilege God bestows on us, and it takes great responsibility.  Don’t forget to keep the main thing the main thing.  I think of Paul when people tried to treat him like one of the Greek gods… he could have ran with that.  But he was always pointing people to Christ.
  • If you’re not going to live like a follower of Christ, don’t call yourself one.  Now before you get in a huff and start pointing fingers, I don’t mean that you have to be perfect.  I just mean that you have to be trying to be like Christ, and when you mess up, you simply humbly acknowledge that you messed up and work on it.  Don’t pretend you’re perfect.  Don’t pretend you have your stuff together when you don’t.  People appreciate candidness and humility.  It’s the air of perfection/superiority that pushes people far from God even farther away.
  • Don’t tell me that God wants us to be blessed, and that we can experience the favor of God, tie finances to it all, lead millions to believe that you are living what you are speaking, and you can’t even keep your marriage together.  Does God want to prosper you while your marriage goes in the toilet?  Is that abundance?  Is that the favor of God?
I’m begging you, church leaders and Christ-followers, to chase the person of Christ and the benefits that brings, and to do what you say you will do.  To acknowledge when you are wrong. To never lose sight of why we do what we do- to make Christ known.  Not my product, my cd, my TV ministry grow, to buy new houses, cars, etc, but to simply make Christ known. 
Yeah, I’m frustrated.  I know I appear judgmental.  I know I need to get the telephone pole out of my eye before I worry about the toothpick in yours. Sorry I’m irritated, but I have a feeling this stuff would drive the heart of Jesus crazy too.  Thoughts?
I want to close this long post with this thought.  Several years ago, I thought I was chasing the heart of God, but I realize I was chasing my career.  I’ll talk more about this in a subsequent post but essentially I was judging success by how many CD’s I sold, how large of an event I was doing, etc.  I had a couple of friends who were nationally-known worship leaders and I wanted to measure my impact compared to what they were doing.  It’s so foolish.  And I wasted some good years chasing building my kingdom rather than building His.  I have used the lyrics to a song by my friend Joel Engle to keep me in check on this… This is the chorus to Nothing Left of Me:
“Strip away all that remains, for Your glory and Your name, till there’s nothing left of me.
Burn the kingdoms I have made, that You would shine and I would fade, till there’s nothing left of me.”
May that be our prayer today.


Posted by on August 27, 2007 in random stuff, rants and raves


my hard drive went to be with Jesus…

hello friends…

It is with sadness (and quite a bit of irritation) that I inform you that last night at approximately 10:00 p.m. my hard drive in my MacBook went to be with Jesus.  It was only 5 months old.  It will be missed (as well as my data).
I cannot express the loss that I feel at this time.  Some important data has been lost that cannot be retrieved.
Please be in prayer for my family as I struggle through this difficult time.  I am sure to be grumpy as I rebuild my laptop data from various sources, and as I mourn the loss of data.  I’m sure I’ll remember over time more and more stuff that was lost.  
Thanks for your support and condolences.  I’m grateful.  Please be in prayer that the Apple Store has a replacement hard drive in stock…

Ed Stetzer

Oh my folks I have a great quote for you.  I am listening to a message Ed Stetzer gave at this year’s Baptistapalooza (Baptist Convention, a friend told me to check it out) and he said the following:

 “Paul in Romans 9 would be willing to sacrifice his own salvation so that others might be saved, but… many of  we cannot give up our own Sunday morning preferences so that men and women may be saved.”
Spank.  Take that folks.
I’m wrestling with who I am and who I’m supposed to be.  I don’t want to be one of “those people” who hold so dear my preferences at the cost of reaching people for Christ…
Oh man.  A lot to think about.  Go Ed!!


oh man

This has been another one of those 2-week spells where I’ve been going and going and going.  I have been in meeting after meeting and I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done with my “regular duties”.  Do you ever feel like that?
During the school year I typically am off on Fridays.  I like that.  I like getting in Mondays and sort of laying out my week.  In the summer, I have been taking Mondays off (since Annette is off Fridays and that way we only have to pay for 3 days of childcare for our boys).  It’s just been messing with my head, honestly.  Know what I mean?  It’s like I’ve been in a bad case of jet lag for a couple of months.  I just can’t seem to adjust my rhythm, so I feel farther and farther behind.  So, I’m gonna pony up the dough and have the gal that’s keeping the boys watch them Monday as well, and I’m switching.  Actually, I already did it, but have been so busy I haven’t had time to tell you about it.  
I’m off tomorrow and glad about it.  Get to spend the day with my wife and kids.  TGIF.
1 Comment

Posted by on July 12, 2007 in random stuff, rants and raves


Marketing to Employees

I’m sure many people today wish that they were full-time employees over at Apple… Steve Jobs announced yesterday that they were giving all full-time employees free iPhones.  How’s that for treating your employees well!!
I’ve been thinking about this in light of the church and staff.  I have a little document I keep in case of the traumatic event God would want me to be a lead pastor where I put things I think should be done, and this action by Jobs got me thinking about adding another line item.
Over on John Moore’s blog, Brand Autopsy, he had some great thoughts today about the Apple iPhone giveaway that I think we could lift some ideas from:
  • I am a huge proponent of companies spending marketing money on employees. It’s simple. Astonish employees and they will, in turn, astonish customers.
  • Giving every full-time employee a $600 (retail value) iPhone is an astonishing act that will only help to feed the already vibrant evangelical corporate culture within Apple.
  • At Starbucks, we would also spend marketing money on employees. We knew if we could get Baristas jazzed, they would get customers jazzed. 
  •  I applaud Apple for taking a strong financial stance in showing how much they appreciate employees by giving them a super-spendy iPhone. That says a lot!
I think these are some great thoughts, John.  And it brings me to some strong comparison regarding the men and women that give their lives to serve in ministry.  
  • If I’m ever a lead pastor, I hope I place a high value on paying my staff well (our pastor here does).
  • Lead Pastors, you need to see your staff as your primary investment outside of your family.  These are the men and women that are walking out the Gospel every day under your helm.
  • If you’re not jazzed, don’t expect your staff to be jazzed.  I’m not saying you have to be spaz personality, but you need to be excitement.  People respond to passion and excitement far more than kicking their tails and “whipping them into shape”.
  • You need to look at your staff for who they are as a person and for how they are uniquely wired AS MUCH as you look at the product of what they do.  I mean don’t just look at your music guy as the guy you need to get through 4 songs and prep some creative stuff here and there, see him WHOLISTICALLY as an asset to the Kingdom.  Know what’s going on in his life.  Know his wife.  Know his kid’s and his dog’s names. (now if you’re the pastor of a church with a very large staff, obviously I’m not saying know everyone that well, but definitely your inner circle.
  • If you create an environment where you are celebrating what God is doing through your staff, people will stay.  People will not want to leave, they will want to stay and walk this thing out long term.
  • Your staff needs to know that you are their biggest fan, that you support them and are willing to go to bat to give them the tools they need to succeed at what you asked them to do.
  • Astonish your staff, model the goodness and abundance of God, and they will model the same all the way down to the last person through the door on Sunday, the last person given food and clothing throughout the week, etc.
Steve Jobs rocked his employee’s world yesterday when he gave them free phones.  I’m not saying we need to give our staff and volunteers free iPhones (although that would be freakin cool!!).  I’m saying they need to know we care, that they are more than just someone who performs a service for us, but they are appreciated and celebrated.  I’m preaching to myself here.  I need to do a better job of this, but dream of a time when the staff and volunteers under my area feel that way with no doubts about where I stand.  And if I’m ever a lead pastor, I hope I remember to open that little document and lavish it on my staff.
Man, I’d really like an iPhone…

iPhone Craziness and a lil’ bit o’ depression…

So Pam Sanza (our worship pastor Frank’s wife and by far the smarter and hipper of the two)) is one notch behind me as a machead.  I’ve wanted this iPhone since it was announced… but have been unable to raise needed capital.  She must have sold drugs or something, she is first in line at our local AT&T store.  Keep in mind, this is a small town so it’s not some beautiful Apple store or anything like that, but there are already people in line waiting (and this before 10:00 a.m.)!!

The story of the day from here is that some guy is paying 8 Hispanic workers $7 an hour to sit in line waiting for phones for his employees to get one.  That’s pure craziness!! Who would have thought that in the midst of lil Sherman, Texas.
Our church administrator is getting one as well.  I’m the one who is a macfreak above anyone around here.  They’re the ones with the dough.  I’m a little bit depressed.  Maybe they should buy a brother a phone 🙂