Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leadership Quote

I was listening briefly to an interview on the radio recently.  The host was interviewing author Lysa Terkeurst.  She wrote Made to Crave and she was a guest on the program to promote her most recent book Unglued.

I haven't read either of the books and had not heard of the author until listening to the interview.  I will say that Unglued looks like it could be a really good read...the sub title "Making Wise choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions" is right up my alley!

In the few minutes I listened to the interview the author had an incredible leadership quote, she said:

"Don't let criticism go to your heart and don't let compliments go to your head."

I thought it was brilliant advice for leaders. 

It is so easy to let citicism affect our heart to the point of disrupting our personal relationships.  That's when we internalize it, that's when we have let it go to our heart.

It is also easy to let compliments effect how we lead.  Maybe we think we can do it on our own.  Or maybe we become complacent.  If we receive enough compliments we may even be tempted to think God is done accomplishing things through us.

I know this advice is easier said than done, but it's worth pursuing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hate the sin love the sinner?

We are in a series called "That's not in the Bible" and this Sunday I talked about the phrase "Hate the sin love the sinner."

Here's the main hilights:

- When Augustine used the phrase, he used it about his own sin.  When we use the phrase it's always about someone else's sin or some group of people's sin.

- The sin we are usually talking about is homosexuality...what about all the other sins in the world?
- When Ghandi used the phrase he talked about how difficult it is to practice.  Here's his quote: “Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which though easy enough to understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.”

- When we use the phrase it comes across as judgmental.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this about judging: “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”  Even if we are well intentioned in our use of the phrase it comes across as judgmental.

- We should only use judgment on those who have given us permission to do so.  There is a place for a type of judgment or fruit inspection or accountability...but only for those that have given us permission to do so in their lives. 

- Using the phrase comes off as self-righteous because it's always about someone else's sin and not our own.  It comes across as "I'm better than/holier than/more Christian than you are."

- If you are going to hate someone's sin, hate your own!

- While I agree with the message of the phrase, I do not think humans have the capacity to practice it's precept because we have such a difficult time separating the sin from the person.

- When it comes to being an effective witness in the world for Christ Christians should start with love and grace not with judgement. 

- For these reasons, Christians should put this phrase in the grave never to use it again (unless teaching against using it)!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moderation in all things

On Sunday I preached part three in a series called "That's not in the Bible!" and the message centered on the phrase "in all things moderation." 

I talked about wisdom when it comes to having self-control.  The Bible teaches in Galatians 5 that self-control is in fact a fruit of the Spirit.  Moderation of certain things is a good thing. 

However, I spent the majority of the sermon talking about how there are some things that should not be moderated.  We should not moderate love.  We should not moderate forgiveness.  We should not moderate prayer.  We should not moderate worship. 

I'm so glad that God did not moderate his grace towards us.  I am so glad that God did not "sort of" save us but saved us all the way.  God has not mostly forgiven us, He has forgiven us for everything we've done, are doing and will do if we seek His forgiveness in Christ.

What then should our response be?  In 1 Thessalonians 16-18 Paul writes: 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  According to Paul, there's no place for moderation when it comes to joy, prayer and gratitude. 

Our response should be like Mary's when she pours a year's worth of perfume on Jesus' feet and worships him with everything she has and everything she is.  What a perfect example of worship without moderation.

Moderation in some things: yes
Moderation in all thigns: no