Month: August 2018

Death & Glory (Sunday Message)

This past Sunday I had the honor of preaching on John 12:20-36 at Renovation Church. In this passage Jesus makes the remarkable claim that the hour for him to be glorified is now here. In the minds of many people in the first century, this means that Jesus was getting ready to overthrow the Roman government and set up a Jewish theocracy on earth. Yet Jesus goes on to explain that his glory is displayed in his humiliating death on a cross.

In this message, I wrestle with the implications this has for our lives today. I pray this message strengthens you in your faith and challenges you to take discipleship seriously.

(If you are reading this in your e-mail you will have to go to the actual page to see the sermon video)

Slow Down.

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Over the past couple of months, through various circumstances, the Holy Spirit has revealed to me that I make decisions too quickly.

That’s right – too quickly.

I know some of you envy that. Yet often what we perceive as a strength is actually a weakness (and vice-versa). I have always been able to make quick decisions (even really big decisions). I think God has used this at times to help me grow in my faith and lead a local church. Nevertheless, I am beginning to recognize that my tendency to make quick decisions often flows out of an impatience with waiting on God.

As I have been intentionally trying to slow down, I came across an excellent book at a Last Stop CD Shop in Sioux Falls. It is called “Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus” by C. Christopher Smith & John Pattison. I HIGHLY recommend this book!

Virtually every leadership book I have read calls on the “leader” to make decisions quickly & efficiently. Unfortunately this desire for speed has poisoned the church. I used to think that one of the major weaknesses of the church is the church’s slowness to adapt to change. Although this can be a weakness depending on one’s context – I think the opposite is actually true for many churches (especially church plants). We make major decisions & changes far too quickly – relying on the wisdom of the “lead pastor” or “leadership team” – leaving the congregation in the dark.

In Slow Church, the authors challenge us to make a radical change in our churches: “We need to cultivate rich practices of discernment, where decisions are made not by a single person or a small group of leaders locked up in a boardroom, but by the community as a whole (Page 119).” 

What does this look like practically? I’m not entirely sure. Honestly, I am becoming much more comfortable with not having the answer. We are currently in a season of transition at Renovation Church as our worship leader is stepping down to pursue a different ministry. We have also had some key leaders leave or move on to other congregations. In the past, I would anxiously be trying to figure out a master plan to keep everything moving and trying to drum up momentum.

Not anymore.

In Psalm 46:10, God calls all of us to, “Be still and know that I am God.” The Hebrew phrase translated as “be still” literally means to “stop fighting.” Quit fighting for the right answer, the perfect plan, or the entrepreneurial vision.

Be still.
Become comfortable in the uncertainties.
Learn to love the tension of not knowing the next step.

This is only possible if we actually believe God is sovereign and good. This is only possible if we really believe Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His Church.

Maybe you are going through a season of transition right now… Maybe you are trying to form visionary plans according to your own wisdom… Just maybe the Spirit of God led you to this blog post to invite you on a journey of slowing down.

Quit fighting. Be still. Know God. 

Four Characteristics of True Worship

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This past Sunday I had the honor of preaching through John 12:12-19 – what is commonly referred to as “Palm Sunday.” In this passage we see four characteristics of true worship: Christ-centered, Scripture-saturated, Spirit-empowered, and Witness-creating.

I really enjoyed preaching this message and I pray it challenges you in your faith!

(If you are reading this in your e-mail you will have to go to the actual page to watch the message)