Unity

Frankford and 82nd.  Sitting at the light.  Laura Kate (age almost-3) and I have been on an adventure.  And she is about to ask me a very important question.  But first, a slight rewind…

“Laura Kate, first we’ll go to the grocery store.  Then we’ll go by Grammy’s office and pick up some prizes she has for you.”

“That’s an awesome plan,” she says.

In between, she learns six (count ‘em) verses of an Easter song her uncle Joel and I wrote when he wasn’t much older than she is now.  Which brings us to the traffic light near our house on the way home.

“Papa,” says the voice in the back seat.  “Are you growed up?”

“What did you say?” I reply.  “Am I growed up?”

“Yes,” she says, very seriously.

“Yeah,” I mutter.  “I’m growed up.”

“Yay, Papa!  You did it!

Sometimes I wonder.

I wish it was that easy to claim maturity.  Sometimes I think I’m still a kid when it comes to such things.  And sometimes I feel, well, old.  But there’s a difference between growing up and growing old.  Peter Pan and his Lost Boys were only half right.

It’s OK to be a baby when you’re still a baby.  But there comes a time when the word of God and the world of people come together to shout, “Grow up!” After addressing the Corinthians as a pack of carnal children, Paul writes to the Ephesians that “we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15).

How do you measure your maturity?  How do you know when you’re growing and when you’re floundering?  Let me hasten to say that maturity isn’t found in big words or fat bank accounts, or your ability to make babies or get a job (although keeping a job may impress a few people).

In gauging your maturity level, I have found five things that act as measuring rods for progress.  You are as mature as: [click to continue…]

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A few years ago, my friend Rick was on a plane loaded to the wing flaps with hazardous cargo.

It was hauling a bunch of preachers to a convention.

Rick was in his best never-met-a-stranger form, and he was trolling up and down the aisle introducing himself.

“Are you a pastor?”

“Where are you from?”

He’d chat for a while and move on.  And the more he moved, the more the passengers paid attention.

Finally he reached one row and asked a well-dressed man, “You look like a pastor.  Where are you from?”

“I’m not,” the man replied in a louder-than-usual voice.  “I’ve just been sick for a few days.”

The whole plane erupted with laughter. [click to continue…]

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Tense Truth: If you are a follower of Jesus, you are a citizen of a kingdom that is always one generation from extinction, and you are that generation. On the other hand, you are part of a kingdom that will never die. Armed with the most relevant, life-giving message ever known to mankind, we reach out with urgency to a dying generation, yet with confidence in a living God.

angel-prayerBorn on the first Easter and commissioned forty days later, the history and destiny of the world has been forever changed and shaped by an army sent forth by the Lord Jesus Himself. You are now part of that army.

Conceived in the eternal heart of God, nurtured in the womb of a rich man’s grave, this army entered the world with very little fanfare. There were no parades. No marches. No legions of soldiers with their pomp and circumstance.

Rome hardly noticed; most of Jerusalem heaved a sigh of relief. The Rabble-rouser was dead, His disciples terrorized, His followers shocked numb. The Armies of Death had won again, and life(!) would go on as usual.

Then came Sunday. Oh, then came Sunday!

Then rolled the stone.

Then fell the guardians of the grave.

Then rose the Lamb, the Lion, the Prince of Peace!

Out came the cry, at first as hoarse as a whisper: “He’s alive! And He’s calling for you.”

From everywhere they came: Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, male and female, the religious and the rebels. They saw for themselves the difference a risen Savior would make. And true to the prophecies of Daniel, out of the kingdom of Rome there rose a kingdom that would never, never die – one that would subdue all other kingdoms and fill the world. And true to God’s promise, that kingdom and its Resurrection Army – your Resurrection Army – is still alive and well today.

What gives this Resurrection Army its power to overcome? [click to continue…]

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“We have a problem,” Perry said.  Thus began the conversation the led to my first senior pastorate.  The problem he alluded to was an open church conflict that led to a lot of angry words at a time when the church Perry attended was without a pastor.

He was asking me to come and preach (I was the associate pastor at a nearby church).  I did, and the rest, as they say….

As long as businesses, churches, and other types of organizations are comprised of humans, they will eventually experience setbacks, upsets, dysfunction, and problems.  Nobody gets it right all the time, and even healthy organizations must confront serious problems.

Broken organizations, however, are different.  [click to continue…]

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