Going against the flow…it seems to be a style of living and thinking for many…especially those who seems to have the most impact in any given human situation. Yep, there can be risks to that style of life…but frankly, "no risk…no glory". As Seth Godin says below, maintaining the status quo is a recipe for failure. Seth's post today is worth a quick look:
Some artists continually seek to tear down boundaries, to find new powder, new territory, new worlds to explore. They're the ones that hop the fence to get to places no one has ever been.
Can't do both at the same time.
My guess is that you're already one kind of person or the other. When people present you with an opportunity/problem, what's your first reaction? Some people immediately start looking for loopholes or weak boundaries. "You didn't say we couldn't do xxx". For these people, the best and most obvious solution is to completely demolish the problem and play by different rules.
Other people, some just as successful, take a hard look at the boundaries and create something that plays within, that follows the rules, but that is likely to win because of this.
In my experience, either can work, but only by someone willing to push harder than most in their push to be remarkable. Going with the flow is a euphemism for failing…
A brother in the Lord by the name of Roger Thoman recently wrote an article for the Simple/House Church website that is insightful on some of the issues that any traditional “church” faces when transitions are “in the wind”. These stages are theological, biblical and “heart checks” that must be navigated for real transformation to occur. I think his list is helpful…if you want to see the entire article, click HERE.
1. Letting go of old paradigms of church life.
2. Exploring New Testament gatherings.
3. Re-boot to Jesus.
4. A new missional heart and longing.
5. Fresh discovery of our own passions, spiritual gifts, and calling.
6. Integration of an organic, fruitful lifestyle with organic gatherings that support it.
7. Our kingdom influence spreads and even becomes reproductive in its impact.
Walt Mueller of the Center for Youth and Parent Understand put it well – “Youth culture is a map and a mirror. It is both directive and
reflective. We watch it to see where it’s sending us and our kids. We
watch it to see where we are. We monitor, deconstruct, and exegete it
to know how to bring the map of the Biblical world and life view to
bear on the realities that exist. A world that’s not the way it’s
supposed to be keeps heading in that direction. We’re in desperate need
of being straightened out, fixed, and made new. That’s why we listen
and watch carefully. Looking for a cultural map and mirror to ponder and talk about over the next month or so? Here’s one worth engaging. “You 86 the rules. You do what just feels right. . . “
Is this really what Christmas has been reduced to?
Good post from the Northwood Church blog (Bob Roberts)…definitely says it as it needs to be said – it is much more difficult to be a follower of Jesus in your own context than in a context in which you don't belong.
"I have a confession to make. As a pastor, this isn’t easy for me to
say. 5 years ago I would have rather have gone to Vietnam and love the
people “over there” than go to my next door neighbor and get to know
them. It’s so much easier, cleaner and gives me that warm fuzzy
feeling inside. But my confession doesn’t end there. Here’s the long
and short history of my adventures on Latania Lane.
wife and two daughters (at the time… I now have 4 daughters, but that
is a story unto itself) moved to Keller, Texas December 23, 2005 from
Grand Junction, Colorado. On one of the first evenings in our new home
we were sitting on the floor unpacking boxes when we heard what seemed
to be a mob outside our front door. I eased over to the blinds, trying
to be sneaky… ‘cause, you know, you don’t want to look like the nosey
neighbor, and peeked through. There, on my front lawn was a group of
about 8 to 10 people just standing there talking and laughing. Now,
I’m from Colorado – the “rugged individualism” state – and this sort of
behavior was just peculiar. I couldn’t figure out why all these people
were just standing there… having conversations! My wife, being the more curious of the two of us, ventured out to see
what the commotion was all about. She was gone for almost an hour.
When she returned she says to me, “They just hang out and talk… almost
every night!” The Church Planter side of me immediately thought, “Wow!
We don’t have to work at community here! They do it for us!” But my
second thought was, “Uh oh. If they’ve already built community among
one another, what’s left for me to do?” Crazy thought, I know. In the
following months we learned that our street celebrates holidays
together, we play together, we camp together, we laugh together and cry
together… Latania Lane is our family and home away from home. Like family, we fight, but also like family we forgive. Over the last 4 years, I have had several people call me their pastor,
even though they do not attend church (some of my neighbor’s scars from
“church” run deep). You see, I learned something from Bob Roberts and
NorthWood Church – something that some people don’t understand and
criticize us for – and that is that we serve not to convert, but
because we are converted. I love my neighbors to the point where I
would not hesitate to lay my life down for any one of them. And I know
they feel the same. The fact is, most of the time my neighbors
minister to me more than I do to them. They know my glaring defects,
my hurts and my struggles and love me anyway. I know their defects,
hurts and struggles… that’s what makes family. Why do we as followers of Jesus oftentimes choose to look past our
neighbors? And when we do try to get to know them, why go with the
intent of not loving necessarily, but to convert? Like Bob says, don’t
get me wrong! I want every one of my neighbors to know Jesus and
follow him, but banging them over the head with my Bible won’t get them
there. Bob’s international involvements have taught all of us at NorthWood
some valuable lessons, but the most important lesson he has taught us
all is that love is the way to see transformation. I’m going to talk
to my fellow NorthWood-ers for a second. Don’t be like me. Don’t go to
Vietnam, Mexico, and Haltom City and forget to love your immediate
neighbors. Don’t sacrifice your neighbors’ because you “did the work”
Love your neighbors.
Vicky and I received a Christmas "circular" advertising for Jesus 'stuff' over at the local Christian bookstore. Their "logo" for the month? "We give because He gave". I know that might be a helpful logo/slogan for them during the upcoming shopping season…but really? I mean, really? Do we really want to equate what Jesus did to what we buy to give? I mean, really?