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The Path of Safety

A half century ago, Martin Luther King Jr. marched with his arms locked with friends, neighbors, and strangers in the pursuit of greater unity, freedom, and liberty for the oppressed. It was a dangerous time that ultimately proved to be deadly for him. As they marched forward, their eyes held the combination of hope and fear, while their jaws clenched in the strength of forward movement. They were anything but safe. Yet, they marched. Read more

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Wrestling through Biblical Postures toward Women Leaders

Last week, I wrote an article about the Silence of Women in Conservative Christianity. The article received quite a bit of reaction on social media that continued to bring to mind things that I’ve been taught, believed, or need to consider with this topic.

I’d like to begin this follow up article by admitting that I don’t have a particular agenda here. I’m not on a crusade to prove that women should or should not be pastors. But I’m seeing some pretty significant differences between how Jesus, John, and sometimes Paul consider women’s roles, and how the Jews, the conservative church…and sometimes Paul view women in ministry. So rather than acting like I have it all clear, or waiting until I do, I’m going to lay a few things out there for your consideration about where I am in this thought process. Just a heads up, if you hold to a complimentarian, inerrant view of Scripture, some of these thoughts may make you feel uncomfortable. But it’s something I’m wrestling through, and would like to ask for your input on. Read more

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The Silence of Women in Conservative Christianity

It’s been twenty five minutes, with at least twenty still to go. I’m sitting in a comfortable chair, listening to someone share what God has been revealing to him in the Bible. Their sermon is usually very interesting to me, with a mix of deep theological insight, whimsical humor, and life-giving poetry that calls me into a deeper rest in who I am as a child of a good Father. And as he speaks, my heart is both stilled and awakened. Read more

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Does Jesus Make You Smile?

Sunday mornings are fun. As a church, it’s the opportunity to pour out your hearts to your Father with your brothers and sisters. As a worship band, it’s the opportunity to pour out, not just your heart, but your art as you engage your Father with your brothers and sisters.

But for most contemporary Western churches, the morning starts early. We tend to do a sound check long before the first service begins, and often do a run through of the songs. And to make it on time for that, you usually have to wake up around 6:00 a.m. So it is quite common for worship musicians and vocalists to lack energy during the sound check.

If you have ever served on a worship team, you’ll often hear one of your pastors or worship leaders tell the team after the run through to make sure they are smiling. They’ll often say, “This song has uplifting, joyful lyrics. So let’s make sure we look joyful. I know it’s early!”

After one of these such conversations about a year ago, I began to think about that concept of smiling while leading worship. But my mind went, not to a corporate worship setting, but to the ABC hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

I have a friend that actually was on that show! And if you’ve seen that show, you’ll know that every episode features the person receiving the new house in tears, weeping for joy.

My friend is a pretty emotional person. I’ve seen him genuinely cry before, on a number of occasions. But when the producers of the show had the cameras in his face, they told him, “Okay, we need you to cry now. We need to see the tears!” They were trying to get him to cry on command for the camera because it fit the moment they needed.

And as I think back to the Sunday morning conversation we’ve all had as worship team members, I wonder how often we go through emotional expressions from a production standpoint, rather than as overflow. I’m not saying it’s wrong for pastors and worship leaders to encourage vocalists and musicians to smile. It’s important to shepherd your people toward more wholistic worship. But I am speaking to where the smile comes from.

There have been many times, when I have begun to smile while leading worship, that I was doing it more from a production standpoint than as a natural overflow of joy. Am I smiling simply because the script calls for it? Is that an okay place to start from? Or does Jesus actually make you smile? Does he make you smile like you do when you’re with the ones you love? Does he make you smile like you do when you are overflowing with joy, anticipation, or celebration? If not, why not? It might be something worth mulling over.

Leading Worship For the Hurting

Her eyes slowly opened. And for one small moment, her thoughts focused simply on noticing her ceiling. Then she felt it. A dry trail of tears from the long night stuck tightly to her temples and ended in her ears. And suddenly, the invasion of sorrow seeped into her heart again. Her mother was gone.

He woke to the muffled sounds of his children playing in the other room. As he listened to the thumping of feet and to their innocent, virgin laughter, his thoughts drifted to the empty refrigerator. He knew at any moment, his kids would burst into the room, asking what was for breakfast. And he wasn’t quite sure yet what he would say. He always seemed to be able to scrap something together for them. But then, what about lunch? His bank account was in the negative. And his manhood was gone. Read more

Prioritize Your “How?”–Multiplication

“Instead of achieving linear growth by adding new resources, you can more efficiently extract the capability of your people and watch growth skyrocket. Leaders rooted in the logic of multiplication believe:
• Most people in organizations are underutilized.
• All capability can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership.
• Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment.”
—Liz Wiseman, Multipliers, p. 29

In Genesis 1:28, God gives us the cultural mandate to “Be fruitful and multiply.” I love how the picture of a father and mother multiplying themselves in sons and daughters ultimately points us to our spiritual calling. Read more

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Prioritize Your “How?”–Focus

In our last article, we introduced how we use a progression of steps that build on one another in order to pursue our Why.

Today, I’d like to share another thought by Gary Keller, in his book The One Thing. It’s the concept of Focus.

Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.” Read more

Prioritize Your “How?”–Sequence

Those who know me best know that I am a huge Denver Broncos fan. And for those who know the NFL, you know that the Broncos just hired a new coaching staff this offseason. Having a whole new coaching staff, combined with extremely inexperienced quarterbacks, means that there is a lot of building that needs to take place this offseason.

One important part of building a strong, cohesive team is to strategically plan your path in sequence. Fundamentals of footwork and throwing mechanics come before executing a fully developed game plan on Sunday. There is a logical sequence of team building that happens over time. Read more

Internalize Your “Why?”

Have you ever found yourself doing something and wondered, “Why am I even doing this?” Or “Why am I doing it this way?”

I own a cleaning company. And there have been many times over the past 15 years that I have found myself, hovered over and scrubbing a toilet, and wondering, “Why am I doing this?”

If my entire purpose ends with that toilet, then my life would stink, pun intended. But if I see how that toilet fits in with the bigger picture of my ultimate vision, then suddenly I have inspiration to clean. Read more

Start with “Who?”

One of the most influential people I have enjoyed learning from is Simon Sinek. He began to grow in popularity with a Ted Talk he did called “Start with Why”, in which he says that the most effective leaders move from the inside out. He says that, rather than starting with what we do, we should start with why we do it, then how we pursue our value, and finally what we do. Read more