Sep 272011
 
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I first saw it on Facebook: a link to “The Elizabeth Warren Quote Every American Needs To See” on MoveOn.org. A Google search revealed that this quote from the newly announced Massachusetts senate candidate was rapidly spreading across the internet. I eventually traced it to a video and transcription on the rumproast blog. Eventually Talking Points Memo picked up the story.

The Quote

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,’” Warren said. “No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” – Elizabeth Warren on or before 9/18/2011

The Video

What The Bible Says

This was a very concise and straightforward presentation of a truth that should be obvious to any follower of Jesus Christ. It brings to mind some very striking Bible passages:

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Sep 212011
 
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In “Hill Street Blues“, Steven Bochco’s 1981 television series about an urban police precinct, there was character named Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (played by actor Michael Conrad) who was the desk sergeant. Sgt. Esterhaus would typically wrap up his daily message to the patrol officers with the words: “Be careful out there!”

In 1 John 4:1 the Apostle John warns us:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Ever since Jesus established it, the Church has faced competition from false prophets preaching strange gospels. Like the owner’s servants in Matthew 13:24-30 who found weeds growing up right next to the wheat, we believers face the challenge of distinguishing between truth and error in the “field” of modern Christianity. Since I became a believer in 1979 I, like many of you, have come across various problems and failures in Christian ministry. You have probably noticed however that things are different today. Ministry failures and excesses that would once have circulated mainly as rumors are now recorded as video and viewable by anyone on the internet. Of course the internet doesn’t just facilitate viewing of ministry failures. It also provides a platform for the bloggers who want to comment on it and I want to share some of their comments with you. Of course I don’t agree with all of the posts on these blogs, but I have found a number of them to be helpful:

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Aug 192011
 
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In 1985 John Wimber gave a presentation on spirit-led ministry at the Signs and Wonders Conference. Here are a few key facts about John Wimber:

  • John was a musician who brought Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley together to form the Paramours. They went on to become “The Righteous Brothers”.
  • He founded the Anaheim Vineyard Christian Fellowship
  • John helped to found and went on to lead the international Vineyard Movement.
  • He went home to be with the Lord in 1997.

You can read more about John in his Wikipedia article. The 4 videos in this post show John demonstrating a very relaxed and trusting way of following the Holy Spirit’s leading during times of congregational ministry. I find it to be very freeing. Hopefully you will too.

You can also view the embedded videos right from this blog post:

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Aug 062011
 
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This week I attended the 2011 Blue Ocean Summit at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Greater Boston. From Monday (8/1) night through Wednesday (8/3) afternoon I joined dozens of pastors in a series of presentations and discussion about creating safe space for secular people to talk about God and connect with him. This is the 3rd year that the conference has taken place. Valerie Johnson, our associate pastor, attended last year, but this is the 1st time I’ve been able to participate. I plan to go back next year and bring more of our Life Church Leadership Team.

I’m excited about this gathering of churches exploring ways to engage the secular world. Although I love Jesus, I’m actually “not the religious type” (see Dave Schmelzer’s blog). The world needs Jesus and I want to tell them about him without “religion” getting in the way. I realize that God has been moving me in this direction for quite some time and the 2011 Blue Ocean Summit is yet another step in the complete reorganization of the way I express the good news about Jesus.

Mar 192011
 
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SpeedometerHere’s a thought:

Not for profit organizations can greatly improve both their outcomes and their fundability by moving from the mere reporting of program activity to real performance management.

This is the message I took away from a recent presentation by David Hunter of Hunter Consulting LLC to the Oversight Committee of the Boston Capacity Tank (BCT) (a program of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston). After David’s presentation I searched the web for more information about his organization and the work they do. I’ve written this blog entry to share what I learned.

Performance Measurement Issues

One of the items I found on the web was David Hunter’s paper “Yes We Can! Performance Management in Nonprofit Human Services“. In it he makes the following points:

  • In response to pressure from funders, donors, and the general public, nonprofits often collect large quantities of dubious data at great cost to themselves and the people they serve.
  • Many funders and nonprofits are stuck between two bad habits:
    • “Know-nothing optimism” – the persistent pursuit of admirable goals without any objective evidence that the organization is actually achieving them.
    • “Mind-numbing over-measurement” – collecting and reporting mountains of data without any clear understanding of how the measurements advance the organization’s goals.
  • “Turnstile numbers” (reports of everyone “touched” by an organization) are a poor measure of effectiveness since they combine people who receive extensive services with those who may have only glanced at a web page.
  • Outcomes are a poor measure of effectiveness since they rarely provide any comparison with a “control group” of people who receive no services whatsoever from the organization.
  • Performance management” is the proper way for organizations to achieve maximal effectiveness.

Hunter defines performance as “intentional action dedicated to reaching one or more measurable objectives”. He defines performance management, as,  “a multi-step, self-correcting  process that focuses on:

  • driving an organization with intentionality toward explicit, clear, measurable objectives,
  • instituting ways to learn from front-line and managerial experience along the way,
  • clarifying what it is doing and achieving,
  • adjusting activities as needed,
  • and even revising the original objectives if indicated.”

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Dec 172010
 
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My wife Eva and I currently volunteer with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). We work primarily with their Black Scholars and Professionals (BSAP) ministry and in partnership with their Boston area Graduate and Faculty Ministries (GFM).  Marie Williams is a former InterVarsity GFM colleague of ours who recently left InterVarsity to join her husband Andy at Hope International. Marie and Andy are now doing Christian microfinance work in the Dominican Republic.  After reading their latest update I thought I would share the following links with you:

Gad wants all of us to share his love in very practical ways with people in need. Marie and Andy are sharing God’s love in the Dominican Republic. Where and how is God calling you to serve?

Apr 232007
 
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The following observations are drawn from a discussion I facilitated during the April 22, 2007 Christian Musicians Fellowship (CMF) at the home of George and Emily Russell. The topic for the discussion was:

“How can we as musicians present our faith in our respective spheres of influence without going over the top?”

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Jun 102006
 
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In Matthew 28:18-20 the Bible says:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Have you discipled anyone lately?
Have you influenced anyone to become a Christian lately?
Have you told anyone about Jesus lately?
What would your answers to these questions have been if someone had personally trained you?

At Life Church we will teach you how to expand God’s Kingdom naturally, without using phony, impersonal gimmicks. You’ll learn how to:
  • develop godly habits and teach them to others
  • turn godly habits into skills
  • combine godly habits and skills into a ministry

In short, you’ll learn how to make evangelism and discipleship a part of your lifestyle. You’ll be amazed at how God can use the “everyday” pieces of your life and the things you do for fun to draw people into his Kingdom.

Come and join the party!

Jun 102006
 
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Is your relationship with God satisfying to you? How about:

  • your spiritual life
  • your church life
  • your home life
  • your job/school
  • your hopes and dreams

Do these pieces of your life fit together in a way that makes sense, or are you running around juggling too many balls and trying to keep everything from hitting the ground? Have you ever had to choose between doing “church work” and having a “sane”, manageable life?

At Life Church you’ll meet people who understand what you’ve been through. We want to help you live a rich and balanced life in partnership with like-minded believers. Our pastoral staff specializes in helping you find God’s plan to integrate the diverse pieces of your life.

Come and check us out!

Jun 102006
 
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Do you know God’s will for your life?

Do you know the next steps to take to see God’s will for your life fulfilled?

Do you need help overcoming obstacles that stand in the way of your spiritual destiny?

In Matthew 9:35-38 the Bible says:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

Jesus was sensitive to those who were “harassed and helpless”. He knew that they needed a shepherd or pastor to provide them with guidance and protection. To meet this need, Jesus trained leaders and sent them out to serve his people. This biblical role of pastor or shepherd is the same today, but sadly, many Christians never experience it. Many who sit in church Sunday after Sunday hear entertaining preaching but never receive the guidance they need to become what God wants them to be.

If this has been your experience and you’re ready for a change, come to Life Church. We’ll teach you how to really know God and how to fulfill his purpose for your life! We’ll also teach you how to work together with other believers to transform your community and your world!
Come and experience God doing a new thing in your life!