Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fear - The Quiet Killer of Leadership

As we noted before, pride is a hindrance to leadership. It limits our potential by not allowing us to utilize people who may do it better than us.
Secondly, fear is a hindrance to leadership. This is noted in how many times God has to tell His leaders in the Bible to "be of good courage." (Don't be afraid.)
Sometimes we are afraid of the responsibility and ministry that we face, like Joshua.
Sometimes we are afraid of people and what they can do to us.
Sometimes we fear what people will think and we fail to share the gospel.
Sometimes we fear death, aging and the unknown.
When we fully understand God's love for us, fear will not hinder us any longer.
Does fear hinder you? Remember courage is not the absence of fear, courage is the ability to do what is right inspite of our fears.
Be of good courage!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three to Get Ready . . . (cont.)

Well!! That was quite a break! Really. . . there are seasons when everything seems to come at you and discipline goes out the window. I just encountered such a time. Staffing changes, out of town trip, blood clot, and a reflective mood broke my routine for a couple weeks. Anyway, it is always exciting to restore discipline with the added growth that comes from the inclined terrain of challenges.

I will address the other two hinderances to leadership this week. I just wanted to let you know that I am back from a little personal retreat and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Breaking the routine and getting a little off schedule isn't always a bad thing, as long as you are able to grow from the experience and return to the discipline.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three to Get Ready . . .

Over the past several weeks I have been really intrigued by three things God showed me that can really hinder a person's ability to lead. They are not talents or knowledge. They are three internal things that alter your emotional stability and your reaction to situations.

God had just shown me the impact of these three things on my life when the gun went off on one of the hardest decisions I have had to make. I'm going to share these three things with you one-at-a-time because they each stand alone and deserve individual attention.

The first one is Pride: Pride is the need for recognition, credit or praise. It is also the inability to take criticism. The first part of pride will make you a starving idiot if you are in a culture where praise is not shoveled out. The second part will leave you wounded and bleeding if you are in an environment where authenticity and excellence are valued.

If we don't overcome Pride we will remain hungry and hurt. If we are willing to be humble we will be content to serve before an audience of One and receive corrective criticism as an ingredient for growth.

Pride doesn't always parade itself in a puffed up attitude. Sometimes it hides in the depth of our heart, hidden and undetected, but still affecting our ability to lead and grow.

Check it out.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Golf Lesson 6

Ryder cup coach, Tony Jacklin, offers this advice to team coaches: Pair players who will inspire one another.

Personal chemistry and project requirements should play a role when leaders put together a team. I made one of my biggest leadership blunders by trying to deny this principle. I figured that if two people were qualified and available that they would be able to function as a team.

Paul decided that John Mark was not the best choice for the team he was building to go on a mission trip. When there is a known problem, even a temporary tension, it is best for the ministry to avoid teaming those people up. John Mark and Paul did team up later under different circumstances.

What do you consider when you are putting together a team to accomplish ministry? A good coach will consider how the team members will encourage or discourage one another.

Just Thinking.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Golf Lesson 5

Ben Crenshaw, 1999 Ryder Cup winning coach, give advice to team coaches. He says, "A good captain is a good listener. You have to listen to what the players and the caddies say. They're reacting to the golf course nd breaking it down. I was all ears the whole week.

The same is true of ministry leaders. We must be all ears as we interact with those who serve with us. They are reacting to the area of their ministry and breaking it down. Getting the proper input "from the field" is crucial to making wise strategic decisions.

Are you listening as you are leading? Where do you receive your feedback that allows you to make wise stategic decisions? Note: Crenshaw listened to the caddies, too. All those engaged in the work have important information that could be the difference between victory and loss.
Just thinking.

Golf Lesson 4

Billy Casper, 1979 winning Ryder Cup coach, had this to say about coaching a winning team: Remind them what the Cup is about.

He showed the team old Ryder Cup footage and comments from previous winners. Sort of like staying in the Word, where we are reminded what God's mission is all about. It is good to visit past footage of God at work and hear the testimonies of those who have gone before us.

As a coach, it is important to remind our team what the mission of the church is all about. Our mission is certainly more important than bringing home a trophy for beating the European team at golf.

How often do you take time to really embed the vision in your team? Maybe video testimonies of changed lives. Old footage of where God has brought you from. Current footage of the mission field at the doorstep. Billy Casper would say, "Remind them what it is all about."

Just Thinking

Golf Lesson 3

The Ryder Cup is one of the few events that takes people from an individual sport and makes them into a team. Ryder Cup coaches have a real challenge. European coach, Seve Balleseros (probably didn't have to tell you he was a European coach), lead his team to victory in 1997.

His advice to team coaches is: Don't be afraid to bench your stars. No matter how good someone is, there are times and situations where they need to take the bench. This is a real test as to whether someone is a team player or not. Can you look objectively at the goal of the team and put it before personal participation and glory?

Do you ever change up who you pull into the room or take along to the conference depending upon the bigger team goal? Do you bench a star when he or she is sideways in their walk or having a period of being off the mark? If you are not afraid to bench the star, it will help in the star's personal development, it will help in team development, and it will send out a major signal that you are serious about the vision.

Just Thinking.

Golf Lesson 2

I want to continue sharing some leadership principles I learned from Ryder Cup team coaches. This one, from Tom Watson, is crucial:

Be Prepared to Improvise. He said we must match up the team players, have a strategy for offense and defense, and prepare for the event. Five minutes into the game, throw all that stuff aside and do what you have to do.

This doesn't mean you don't follow what you planned. It means what you planned should not paralyze you when something unexpected shows up, and it will. Moving from being an individual player to a team player also increases the variables that are out of your control and beyond the scope of any plan, no matter how well it has been thought out.

Is your team prepared to improvise on the fly. It will release the event and allow it to reach its full potential because it will not be restricted by the fear of the unexpected and the limitations of a plan.

Just Thinking.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Golf Lesson 1

I don't play much golf. I love it, but time and money prevent me from playing. I do read golf magazines and watch the golf channel to keep my game sharp for the few times I go out with out-of-town visitors.

I have found several good leadership principles in golf magazines. With the Ryder Cup coming up, I am especially interested in things the team coaches have to say about leading and motivating guys who play as individuals all season long and now must play as a team. I thought I would share a few over the next couple blogs.

Ben Crenshaw, coach of the winning 1999 team, says: Don't over strategize. "Give them a candy bar and a sandwich and tell them to play well. You don't want to tell them too much. Don't overboil it."

As a person with a temperament that leans toward strategizing, I really need to take that to heart. Trust the talent, adjust on the fly, and keep it simple.
Somewhere between "wing it" and "perfect it" is a leadership style that aggressively pursues excellence.

Just Thinking.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Conflict often arises from a breakdown in communication or differences of opinion, perception, or understanding. Where people are, conflict happens.

Conflict is not a call to arms, it is a call to prayer, creativity, re-evaluation, and discovery. Through conflict, you may discover a better way to communicate, an exciting option that had not been considered when there was no pressure, or you may find out God had other plans.

Being of one mind, one vision and one heart does not mean there will be no conflict. It means that when conflict arises, it is not personal, it is because two people with one mind, one vision and one heart see things differently. This is the catalyst of creativity and the mine from which the diamonds of God's will are discovered.

It is God's faithfulness and sovereignty that Paul uses as an appeal to not let conflict become a negative agent in the church. The Bible reminds us that the real boss is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, "God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Conflict should not provoke
quarrels. It's not about getting our own way.
Finally, let's love one another as brothers and sisters and leverage conflict as an opportunity for growth.

Just thinking.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Helping People Get Back on Track

At some time we all get off track or behave in a way that is unacceptable. Lately, I have seen many hurting people reaching out for help. Many are very fearful and guarded because they have witnessed how people deal with people who have problems. Sometimes good people become overcome by sin. Sin happens!

Check this out:
"Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important." Galatians 6:1-3 (emphasis mine)

Who are you aware of who could use some help? What are you doing to help them back on the right path?

Monday, July 14, 2008


I'm pretty psyched about the upcoming series. We live in a world of "what happens behind closed doors doesn't matter," but it does matter. The irony is that there is nothing closed or not exposed before the Lord.

Check it out:
"For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done." Hebrews 4:12-13

What would happen if we all lived with an awareness of our lives being exposed to God 24/7?

Just thinking.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Life-Stabilizing Worldview

Wow! Revisiting the life of Job is humbling. By the time I finish the first chapter my head hangs in shame. Talk about a bad day! Four people showed up to announce bad news. One guy told Job all his oxen and donkeys were gone. Another came to announce that he had lost all his sheep and shepherds. A third came to say that all his camels and servants were gone. The final messenger brought the worst news. He said that all Job's children were at his oldest son's house and the structure collapsed, killing everyone.

If one person shows up at my office with bad news, like, "your computer can't be fixed", it rocks my world.

Job wasn't without feeling. He tore his clothes, fell to the ground and felt all the grief, pain and sorrow that life had thrown at him. What he demonstrated was a life-stabilizing, biblical worldview about himself, stuff and our existence. Check it out:

“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!”

Later, he set his wife straight by asking her if we should only accept good things from the Lord and never anything bad. It is recorded that he did not blame God and did not do anything wrong as a result of his horrible circumstances.

Behind the scenes the Devil and God were taking notes. The Devil claimed that Job worshipped God because God made his life easy. God said Job would worship Him no matter what his life looked like. Ouch!

How tough is your world right now? Are you able to worship God with the same integrity as when things are going good?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Matter What Happens, Do This

There is a lot of stuff going on around us. Some of it is good. Some of it is bad (at least from the way we see it at this time.) Some of it is painful. Some of it is confusing. All of it calls for our engagement or reaction.

In my time with the Lord this morning this one passage leaped off the page as though it was a neon sign: "Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ." Philippians 1:27

Paul was in prison. Christianity was under attack. Divisions were evident. The future was unpredictable. Paul moves to the bottom line. . . God has redeemed us from the curse of the fall, come to indwell us and companion with us while we are on earth, given us His Word as a comfort and guide and sealed our eternal state with Him in glory.

So what was that problem again? God's people should come off like the kid who found the candy, the gal who got the engagement ring, the lost child who was reunited with his parents in the mall, the guy who won the lottery. No matter what is happening, live in the context of what God has done through Christ on your behalf. It might even raise some kingdom questions!

No matter what happens today, kick up your heels a little. You have reason to rejoice, and again I say, rejoice.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

God Does Want Your Ear

I was spending some time in Nehemiah this morning and licking wounds over some sniper damage I received this weekend. It was good to see that Nehemiah faced snipers, too. I then did my blog reading. This morning, Perry Noble shared how God used a trip to Chic Fil A with his toddler daughter to speak to him.

I don't know if you read the comments to your favorite blogs, but I like to go there. God seems to speak in the strangest places and many times through people we may never personally meet. (Snipers save your bullet. I am not talking about extra-Biblical revelation.)

This morning I reviewed the comments to Troy Grambling's post from Monday. Stephen Guschov, a guy I'll probably never meet, reminded me of a quote I read years ago. It was a blessing to be reminded of this great reality about snipers and critics:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again (but) ... who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."THEODORE ROOSEVELT, 1910

Are you listening for God to speak to you today?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who Do You Count On?

What an interesting day. I have been working at a voting poll all day. It is amazing to me how we put our future hopes in who is going to hold a political office. I am not against voting. It is an opportunity to have some influence on our culture, but I really am somewhat cynical when it comes to putting any hope in politicians.

The future is in the hands of the Lord. History has shown that He is the One who raises up nations and puts down kings. Check out Hannah's prayer!

Counting on the Lord takes all the anxiety of watching and participating in the American democratic system.

Who are you counting on?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Milestone Days

Today is one of those "milestone" days in our family. Our youngest son is graduating from high school. We spread out child rearing over a thirty year span. We had two boys and then eight years later had a daughter and then another son. Our oldest is 30 and our youngest is 18.

When Matt was born, I remember thinking that I would be on a cane by the time he graduated. It is amazing how time passes and how different our future is once we arrive there.

Matt is at a new stage in his life and Joan and I are entering a new stage, too. I took my last drive to the school yesterday. Our schedule will no longer revolve around a school schedule. August and September will be weird this year. Time marches on.

Today is one of those days that cause me to be amazed at life in general, and how God is at work in the midst of it all. I like to mark milestones. They represent both completion and new beginnings. Tonight marks a Commencement for Matt and for his parents.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Lost Book

In 2 Chronicles 34 God has given us a record of King Josiah's life. The kid became King when he was only eight years old!! It was said that he was straight up with the Lord and his didn't waver to the right or the left in his walk.

When he was 16 he began to really seek the Lord and four years later he started tearing down the places of idolatry in Judah. This guy was radical!!

He also ordered that the temple be repaired. While they were cleaning up, they found the "book of the law of the Lord given by Moses." The place must have been like my daughter's bedroom gets. You'll always find something that was "lost" when she periodically cleans.

In verse 19 it says that when the king heard the words of the law, he tore his clothes. God's Word really rocked his world. Check out verse 27. His reaction to God's Word moved God to bless him in spite of the condition of the world and others around him.

It seems that Josiah was a great God follower who was all about doing the right things but the real dynamic in his life came from personal interfacing with the Word of God.

Man, what a difference between the first half of this chapter and the second half. The first half is all about a great God follower doing great religious stuff. The second half, after finding God's Word, is all about a righteous servant of God who is intimately engaged in a relationship with the God of the Bible. In the first half, Josiah had an influence on Judah. In the second half, he rocked their world with God. The difference was "the Book."

My world sometimes gets so cluttered with deadlines, projects, pressures and great ministry stuff that I neglect personal quality time in the Book with God. I'm always in the Bible to do ministry but sometimes I fail to be in the Bible for me. It's a sad thing when the Bible becomes "the lost book", especially when you are a church leader.

Just Thinking.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blogging is Mental Jogging

Well, I almost ran out of time today, but just as in other disciplines, I had to make time for this blog.

I hear people, especially non-bloggers, saying, "Why?" Well, I am a communicator and a strategist. My mind is what I use to serve the Lord. The discipline of attempting to contribute something of worth to the blog world is vital to my continuing development.

I got up this morning and knew that this was my bike riding morning. Not my favorite exercise, especially when it is foggy and damp. I made myself get on the bike and start peddling. There was a satisfaction in the discipline and there are long-term rewards for the exercise.

In the same way, I want to experience the exercise and discipline of blogging five days a week. I am curious. Why do you blog (or take the time to read blogs)?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Frustrated but Growing

Man!! I can't believe how hard it is to commit to this blog! This is my second relapse this year. It seems like the tyranny of the urgent, the slave master of circumstance, and the demons of demands are holding me captive.

I have been successful in establishing a great morning discipline routine. I have lost weight, lowered my blood pressure (doc took me off the meds), lowered my colesterol (took me off those meds too), and found time to be quiet before the Lord. This was a challenge in the beginning, but now it is something I look forward to. I missed a couple days last week while recovering from food poisoning and couldn't wait to get back.

My problem now lies in navigating the active terrain of daytime demands. In the morning, everyone is sleeping. I have no human pressure requesting my time or questioning my priorities. By God's grace, I have conquered a great area of my life and am certain God will enable me to grow in my daytime disciplines also.

Here is what He brought my way today as I once again ran out of hours before projects: "If everything is important, then nothing is." OUCH!!

This week I have to determine what is important and say no to all the rest. Urgent does not equal important. Circumstances do not determine what is important. And demands are not what makes something important. I want to commit to five blogs a week. How hard can it be to chissel out thirty minutes a day to exercise my mind and discipline my agenda?

Is blogging important? We'll deal with that tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Being Transformed

Early Christian philosopher, Augustine of Hippo (354-430), proposed that to drive out the bad—those habits or qualities we don’t want—we need to focus on the good—those habits, qualities or strengths we do want. (Sounds like Ephesians 4:20-32)

There seems to be some support for this in current studies of neuroplasticity. Our brain physically changes—makes new connections—based on what we pay attention to; it moves in the direction of our most dominate thoughts.

We literally change our brain consistent with that which we spend our time thinking about.
God made our physical bodies and brains. This may be why he says that we need to change the way we think and what we think about. Check out: Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:8-9.

When we do dumb things or live outside of the abundant life God has offered, maybe the biblical response ought to be, "What was I thinking?" And, possibly the best assistance we can offer others is to challenge them with, "What are you thinking?"

By the way, what are you thinking? It is shaping your brain!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


This has been a week of meetings! For two days it was literally back-to-back meetings. I tend to not enjoy meetings unless there is an atmosphere of energy, creativity and challenge. There must also be at least one clear takeaway or I end up with a non-consumer version of "buyer's remorse."

I thought I would review some of the takeaways from this week. Sort of a therapeutic exercise for me, but maybe something that will encourage you.

Here are some of the more significant takeaways:

1. Vision drives solutions. (Core leadership meeting)
2. Our "faith brand" is hospitality.* (Staff meeting) *(Takeaway of the Week Award)
3. We're serving in the Dominican Republic in October. (Outreach Director Meeting)
4. Breaking confidence has consequences. (Personal Staff Meeting)
5. Making Christ famous takes a lot of gifted leaders. (HR Meeting)
6. God uses churches to challenge and encourage one another. (C3 Debriefing Meeting)
7. Helping people function within their sweet spot is challenging. (Personal Staff Meeting)
8. God is really awesome and powerful! (Community Group Meeting)

How are your meetings going?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lovin' Fridays!

I am outside messing with the yard, planting a couple trees, killing yard pests, feeding plants and generally having a good time.
At least I assume this is how Friday will go. Our office is now officially closed on Fridays. Yahoo! I'm loving a weekend day on a weekday before the crowds come. Especially now that we are "in-season" in Myrtle Beach.

Actually, right now it's Thursday and I am sitting at my desk, ready to take a lunch break. I'm wondering if Blogger really does have the "scheduled blogs" feature working like they said they do.

If you are reading this on Friday, the feature actually works!! This will be a great way to blog during those creative times and release them in the future.

It's suppose to be sunny and warm today. Maybe I'll take a motorcylce ride to cool off this afternoon. (Did that!)

See you Sunday.
Oh, well! This is being posted on Sunday because the scheduled posts feature apparently does not work yet. I am told by Blogger it will soon be released.
Today was awesome. There was an energy in the air that was a God-thing. God is so good. He is at work in the lives of people.
God is doing great things at Barefoot.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Community Groups

I've been praying about what role Community Groups play in our vision and how they should be administrated. The evolution of my vision for Community Groups has been a long and sometimes challenging road. I know that they are not the goal line in our strategy. In other words we do not believe that our goal is to get everyone into a small group. Our goal is given to us in Ephesians 4:11-12. We are to be equipping people for service.

Community Groups can play a vital role in that equipping. Last night, at our Community Group, part of our time was spent sharing how some of the serving is going and hearing testimony of how individual lives have been blessed and strenghtened in serving. The small group environment is a great place for encouraging each other in our growth toward service.
If we are to be like Christ, He said He came to serve, not to be served. As Leadership Development Pastor, it is my passion to see people grow and develop in their leadership. There are several environments and ingredients that encourage that growth. Over the next couple blogs I want to hit on some of them. Sunday/Small group/Service?

Got any comments or insights?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Streak of Days

This has been a great streak of days.

Wednesday - Saturday: A whirlwind of work being done around the facilities by a swarm of volunteers. It is always great when God's people get involved in working together.

Sunday: Ed Young's visit on Sunday was great. We were challenged to Wake Up and Commit. If you attended the first and evening services, you were challenged to wake up. If you attended the second morning service, you were challenged to commit to what God has called you to do. I don't know if there is any significance to that or not.

Not to take anything away from Ed, but the evening beach baptisms were the highlight of the day, the icing on the cake, the climax of the celebration. Thirty-five people publicly identified with Christ through baptism!

Monday: The C3 Conference was a great time of fellowship with pastors and challenges from Ed Young. It was just one of those days where you sense the vastness of what God is doing.

Tuesday: A great pastors meeting followed by a great leadership meeting. A race to get the Sermon Studies Series posted for Tuesday night groups . . . posting the leadership blog . . . helping a young family with some benevolence needs . . . a rendezvous with Joan in Loris to pick out a bed for some guests that will be coming next month.

Today: Working on the weekend message . . . getting ready for Community Group tonight . . . working on a Tanzania mission trip for July . . . finishing up a benevolence case . . . working on Community Group/serving strategy . . . phone calls . . . realized that I hadn't blogged for a week . . . and feeling like I am not getting anything done.

Have you ever had a streak of days like that? They came almost instantly after I began to desire to focus on the rhythm of my life and walk. I feel completely out of rhythm at this time, but I trust that the Lord is using this streak of days to show me the urgency of the desire He has placed on my heart for godly rhythm.

How is your rhythm?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Corralled by God's Love

I had a young couple come to my office today for an application for financial assistance. They didn't come across as people who lived a lifestyle of financial dependence. As we began to talk they revealed a sequence of events that brought them to this crisis. The future is beginning to look a little brighter but the challenges of the past three months brought them to this humbling encounter with the church.

I prayed with them and reminded them that money was a minor thing to God. He can often use it to cause us to look up, look in, and look around. It was like blinders were removed from their eyes! Seriously! They said they no longer cared what the church was able to do for them financially. They were no longer focused on the electric being turned off, the eviction notice and the other personal challenges they were facing. They said, "We would have come here to hear this even if we didn't have these problems." (The question is: Would they have?) They left encouraged and committed to making Christ central to their lives, marriage, work, and life.

God corrals us like wild mustangs into the narrowness of hardship in order to draw us closer to Him. Our peace, joy and hope are found in God's ever-present, caring love for us. It is always there, but sometimes it gets out of focus because we have chosen to focus on the hardship.

What are you focusing on today?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation - Final Entry

I am so tired of competition and grumbling in the church. I can understand it in religious cults who have to prove who is right about how to please God, but in the Body of Christ, which is the true church, there should be unity. This is still a passion button for me.

By the way, this is the last of the excerpts from the book. I just got into some of these topics as I picked it up a couple weeks ago for a revisit.
No, there is no real logic as to how my brain functions. I'm really into Maxwell's Laws of Teamwork right now as well as reading through the Bible with some friends on Wednesday nights, which is really exciting.

Taken from page 164:

"Camps and confusion must end if we are going to allow the world to see the witness of a resurrected Christ. We are called to love the brethren and lay down our lives for them. This is how the world is to know that we are Christians.
I have many Christian friends who hold different doctrines in non-essential areas. We disagree, but we are not disagreeable. I believe there is a correct interpretation of Scripture. Two opposing views may both be wrong, but they can not both be right. I want to know what is right, so I listen to opposing views and continually search out the Scriptures.
One of the drawbacks of not associating with camps that have differing views on non-essential things is that we are not driven to the Scriptures, and we remain confident in our own traditions. A tradition is a preference that becomes an assumption that it is no longer questioned. Some believe that even the Scriptures must yield to a tradition. “I know that’s not what the Bible says but we . . .”
The disciples were accused of transgressing the traditions of the day. Today they might be charged with standing on the platform in church with no coat and tie, or using the wrong version of the Bible, or raising their hands during a worship service. Jesus asked the Pharisees why they transgressed the commandments of God for sake of their traditions. You see, our traditions often take the same profound significance. We run around judging others who do not walk by our traditions, while we stumble at walking in accordance with the Scriptures that say, love your brother. They even warn that the absence of love for the brethren may be a revelation of an unregenerate religious condition. (1 John 3:13-16)
If we can not have honest debate in the church family, how can we expect to engage a lost culture in debate?"

I hope this series of posts have been challenging to you. These truths always help adjust my focus and attitude. I pray they have done the same for you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 5

Showing love to even our enemies is a real challenge and yet it is a hallmark of being a true Christian. I recently revisited this topic. Here it is:

Taken from page 141:

"Compassion must be the essence of our response. Compassion comes from the Hebrew “racham” which means to love, to pity, or to be merciful. Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the multitudes because He saw them as lost sheep with no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36) I am of the persuasion that if compassion fails to move us then we should not move. Stay put until you can see the situation the way the Lord sees it. Take time to commune with God, and ask Him to give you eyes that see as He sees.

We are quick to respond in order to win the battle, gain the spotlight, or voice our opinion. Remembering that the battle has been won, Christ deserves the spotlight, and our opinion does not really count will help us keep things in perspective and temper our response. When Christ responded to us while we were yet sinners, He sacrificially responded out of love for us with a desire for our benefit. (John 3:16) May our compassionate response model that of our Lord and Savior."

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 4

Taken from page 125:
"If I tell you that I will give you a million dollars if you jump from an airplane with no parachute, you will probably decline the invitation because of the assumptions you have about the possibility of surviving such an event. If you met someone who was a new millionaire because he took the offer, you would be full of questions and ready to reevaluate your first opinion. When he explained that the plane was sitting on the ground, and he jumped into an airbag, you would sadly acknowledge that your assumptions had kept you from becoming a millionaire.

This is what we are facing today in the church. The lifestyle the Bible describes is so contrary to what the world assumes will work that people daily turn down God’s invitation to spiritual riches and blessings. Asking people to love their grumbling spouse, antagonistic neighbor, or personal enemy makes about as much sense as jumping out of an airplane with no parachute. Telling people that giving and forgiving are the way to blessing may get an “amen” on Sunday, but most people sitting in the pew doubt that it will work in the real world they face on Monday. Our worldview is how we live – not what we profess. It reveals what is in our heart not what is in our heads. The church is so much like the world because it assumes the same things as the world."

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 3

Taken from page 112:
"Why does the world rejoice when one of God’s people falls? Most of the events that become scandals in a Christian leader’s life are commonplace in the lifestyle of the world. There was little fuss made as five different men stepped forward to claim that they fathered the child of Anna Nicole Smith. The world has come to accept infidelity, drug use, and other immoral behavior as normal, except in the life of a professed Christian. I believe there are two reasons for this paradox.

First of all, all mankind was made in the image of God, and there is a natural guilt that sin brings to every person. The defense mechanism for guilt is to justify the action through pointing to the failure of others, especially those who attempted to make you feel guilty. A professing Christian who falls into public sin gives others a short reprise from accusation and serves as a balm to their guilt. Remember Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” Look at what the angels say as he is cast down to the earth during the final days of God’s prophesy. "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.” (Rev 12:10-11) The only hope the world has is for God’s people to be wrong. When God’s people fall, it gives the world some hope that the message they proclaim has fallen also. "

Think about it. (For information on the book, check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 2

Taken from page 90

"Our confidence must be in God and His Word alone. We cannot put confidence in the same things in which the world puts confidence. The world trusts money, power, politics, and security. These are the things they turn to when they are threatened. As Christians we cannot compromise God’s Word in order to gain money, power, or large numbers of supporters.

This is why the “take back the culture” agenda has been virtually powerless. The fact is that we never owned our culture. Christians often fall prey to the illusion that the politicians and majorities control the American culture, but in reality they are merely a barometer of the American culture. They are not controlling the American culture, but their self-centered desire to stay in office, their hypocritical attempt to please the religious right, and their attempt to hold the party base by dancing around controversial issues represents the American culture. Truth be known, we are all amateur politicians trying to win acceptance by those around us while attempting to carryout our desired agenda."

Think about it. (Check out the Compasionate Confrontation 1 blog for information on the book.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Compassionate Confrontation 1

Over the next few blogs I want to revisit a topic that is dear to my heart. As the world gets crazier and crazier, as it begins to manifest its end-times image, it will affect how we walk and how we respond. The next few blogs will be excerpts from my book.

Please. I am not hung up on my book. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't mind the opportunity to edit it one more time. The book was written out of a passion that has been stirred from the unique experiences God has given me.

I hope you will enjoy and be challenged by the excerpts. You can order the book from Amazon.com by using the link on this blog or "while supplies last" I will send you an autographed copy for $10, including shipping. (This would involve sending a check made out to me with your address. Not for everyone, but who knows, maybe your grandchildren will find it neat that you have an autographed book from that crazy preacher who lived in North Myrtle Beach.) Send to: Jim Evans - 620 Seth Lane, Longs, SC 29568.

Taken from page 89:
"We cannot control the culture, but we can change our response to it. We have seen many times where a proper Christian response to a situation has allowed God to impact the situation and to glorify His Name. There are other times that God has allowed His children to suffer and even be martyred to declare His judgment on the wicked and to glorify His Name. The problem we often face is that we try to do what only God can do and neglect to do what is expected of us. It is God’s responsibility and privilege to change things and judge the wicked. It is our responsibility to respond like Christians to situations and the wicked."

PS Sorry to those who subscribe to this blog and got a weird posting. It was totally accidental.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lessons from a trip

Just got back from a 670 mile bike ride on my Vulcan Classic. Great trip up to Kitty Hawk, down the Outer Banks, a 40 minute ferry ride over to Ocracoke Island and a 2 hour ferry ride back to the mainland.

Top: Landmark at Ocracoke Island celebrating the killing of Blackbeard, a crazy pirate who would place two slow burning matches in his hair to give the illusion of smoke coming out his ears. Talk about "blowing smoke" in order to build an image.

Next: We visited a lighthouse. They built a duplex house for the lighthouse keepers. This meant there was always someone there to keep the light burning to guide ships into the harbor. Duplexing ministry positions will also ensure continuous coverage and growth.

Bottom: This is a statue of a man celebrating the Wright brothers' first flight. He didn't work on the plans, experience all the failures, face the pressure of nearly quitting, or take the risk of failure, but his life was changed because two guys got a vision for what others thought was impossible. It must have been cool for this guy to have been there, but imagine what the day was like for the Wright boys!

Lessons: The folly of blowing smoke. (pirate trick) The advantage of duplexing ministry positions. The excitement of doing something others think is impossible.

It was a great trip. Wish you could have been there.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Chew Your Food

I've been losing weight and getting healthy. It all started when I read a blog about how discipline bleeds. If you can discipline one area of your life, it will bleed into other areas.

The only time I can totally control my agenda is early in the morning. So . . . I get up at 6:00, do 20 - 30 minutes on my Total Gym, eat a healthy breakfast and greet the family at 7:00.

I have done away with two blood pressure meds and am maintaining great blood pressure. I am feeling great. I learned something about eating. We need to chew our food over and over to get the best results from it and to avoid gaining unwanted weight.

If we spent more time chewing on God's Word rather than just gobbling it down on Sunday, we might find that our spiritual health becomes better, too. We now have a place where you can "chew" on what is served up on Sunday.

Hey, eating with a few friends rather than by yourself is another secret of healthy eating. Why not join a Community Group (or form one) that does life together and chews on what God shared on Sunday through Clay?

Just Thinking.

Building Community

Monday we made a critical change in our Monday noon staff meeting. I believe it will prove to be one of those changes that will be noted as an historic event.

We normally meet on Monday at noon to have: opening prayer, weekend scorecard, upcoming events, and closing comments. Then it back to work. This week during our pastors meeting (which takes place earlier), we discussed the need to pray together and to eat together as a staff.

Community groups are the core of our church life because doing life with others is vital to a healthy Christ centered life. Jesus gave us the example of doing life with His disciples with prayer, fish fries, community projects and intimate Scripture lessons.

Sharing in prayer, food, Bible study and service is at the core of building community. Who are you having lunch with today?

Just Thinking.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Enjoy the Walk

Troy blogged today about the natural tendency to slow down when we reach or even exceed our initial goals. There is a inherent momentum when we begin something. There is also a slowing down that takes place when it is taking longer than expected to reach a goal.

I climbed a lot of mountains in Haiti . . . not quite as steep as the one on this blog . . . and sometimes became weary after the first four or five hours. Periodically we would stop for a break. I would ask if we were getting closer. "No, the village keeps moving away from us. Here's your sign." I knew that!

My friend, Pastor Beril (Bay-real) Pierre-Louis shared a Haitian proverb with me. "Never look a mountain in the face. Watch where you are walking and soon you will reach the top." That proverb didn't change the mountain but it sure changed me. I began to enjoy the walk without the anxiety of staring the mountain in the face!

Growing weary in well-doing? Don't look the big picture in the face. (Necessary for planning.) Walk with intention where you are and you will arrive at your destination in God's time. (Necessary of execution.) Enjoy the walk, it's half the fun of getting there.

Just Thinking.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


This graph was done by Kathy? somebody. I want to give her credit for challenging me about excellence.

The chart speaks for itself. It would seem that those who excel are those who continue to push their ability when others are content to do enough to get by. The "Kicking Butt Threshold" is also referred to as the "Passion Threshold."

This is in business lingo and I don't attain to being an "expert" at following Christ and serving but I do relate to the phrase:

"I'll keep pushing myself. There's always some way to do it better." Reminds me of Philippians 3:13.

How about you?

Just Thinking.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I rode my motorcycle to work this morning. I ride it all winter, but this morning it was actually enjoyable. I am looking forward to spring, summer and fall. Sorry winter, you're not my favorite.
I love to ride, but I have to admit, sometimes it is not as fun as other times. I put a pair of Metlzer tires on a couple weeks ago. What a difference! Man, I thought the way it rode before was "what it is." I'm now wondering what else I have come to expect as "just the way it is."
Sort of like life. Different seasons/always room for improvement.
Loving a new Thai restaurant I discovered. It's called Thai Season. My wife and I have missed Thai food ever since leaving West Palm Beach. They have great food! It's located just south of Dick's Pawn on 17 in North Myrtle Beach. Say hi to Jan, Kit or Sak and tell them Jim sent you. I have a selfish motive for helping make their business successful. If you ever have the need to schedule a lunch meeting with me, it will be at the Thai Season at the right/front corner table which has been named "Jim's corner" by Kit.
Enjoying the season, enjoying improving, lovin' the Thai restaurant.
Just Thinking.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Easter Sunday was great! God worked in the lives of many people. I was so blessed to see people walking forward to declare that they were letting go of their ropes and trusting Christ to save them. The power of the resurrected Christ was all over the property!

I watched as many "20-somethings" moved down the isle. Some with tears, some with a look of relief, some with a look of discovery and determination. This is the generation that is the product of my generation.

I am presently reading through the Bible with a group of friends who meet at our house every Wednesday night. We are watching the generational shifts that took place in Israel's history from the time they left Egypt through the period of the judges (we read through Judges 7 today). Judges 2:10 leaped off the pages this morning and pricked my heart.

A generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. My generation had a remnant of information about God available to us. The next generation had none and the recent generation (students) are even further removed from a knowledge of God and what he has done on our behalf through Christ.

The generation of Judges 2:10 was under the affliction of their own choices but Judges 2:18 says the Lord had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. And He sent leaders to save them out of the hands of their enemies.

May the Lord give us compassion, courage and wisdom as He calls us to take the Gospel to the next generation.

How do you look at the next generation?

Just Thinking

Friday, March 21, 2008

Promises, Promises II

Yesterday's blog was different. It was sort of a peek inside my weird head. I got a "?" response from some anonymous guy or girl. I can see how the blog could be confusing. The "Wow! God keeps His promises" could be read as a discovery of something new. It was surely not a discovery on my part, but rather a strong reminder that the surety of life is found only in God.
This morning as I finished Joshua, he gave the same reminder to the leaders again. (Joshua 23:14) When I focus on what God has promised, we gain a new perspective on the problems and disappointments that life often throws our way.

Things that came to mind this morning:

"And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again." Philippians 1:6 Praise the Lord for continuing to create the new man in me. What a project!

"The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish , so he is giving more time for everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9 God's all about seeing people saved before He returns. That's what I should be all about, too. Sometimes we get so caught up in baby sitting the saints that we neglect taking the life-giving gospel to the lost.

Which of God's promises rock your world today?

Just Thinking

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Promises, Promises

I don't know about you, but I put little stock in people's promises. I have spent the past month trying to get a tracking number for a transmission I ordered on e-bay. Last night I finally told the seller to cancel the order and return my deposit, which he took on March 3rd.
For the past three weeks he has promised to call me back six times and never did. He promised I would have a tracking number within three days of my order, never got one.

He is just the most recent disappointment I have had with trusting people to keep their promises.

You know what; this has probably dulled my expectations when I read of God's promises in the Bible. Today, at the end of my reading through the Bible schedule, I encountered was this verse:

Joshua 21:45 -- "Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled."

Wow! God keeps His promises! My mind immediately began to rehearse all the great promises I find given to me as a believer in Jesus Christ. It's going to be a great day. With what God has promised, it's going to be a great every day.
I needed that reality check today as I begin to look for another source for a transmission. Maybe I'll find someone I can trust.

Just Thinking

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Healthier Together

One of my ministries includes guiding people into Community Groups and plugging them into authentic relationships where real ministry can take place. This is not as easy as it sounds. People often see church as a place to fulfil their duty to the God who saved them and to learn more about God and the Bible.
God describes church as a body where every part functions with and for the other parts. Check this out: (discovered in Andy Stanley's Creating Community)

Researchers have found that most isolated people are three times more likely to die than those with strong relational connections. People who had bad health habits (such as smoking, poor eating habits, obesity, or alcohol abuse), but strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had great health habits but were isolated.

So, it is better to eat Crispy Cremes with good friends than to eat broccoli alone.

That's why the Krispy Kremes at Barefoot Church are safe to eat.

Just Thinking.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm Back

I am so sorry for my lapse. I have lots of excuses but no real reasons. I am like a cook with many pots on the stove. I seem to get focused on several things that are demanding my time and then loose sight of the things that don't call me or show up in my office. It is a privilege to be serving what God is cookin' up!
My internal conviction about neglecting my blog started last week, but today "I got the call." Not from God, but from Clay. Accountability is great!

Good things are happening here. We had a powerful time at NewSpring! The whole thing was FLAMBOYANT! (Sorry, Tony, a little late with the word.)

Easter is coming up with three services. I would imagine that we will see over a hundred people believe on the resurrected Christ for salvation. Can't wait.

I'll be back on a regular basis now. The move to the new office is nearly complete. We have Internet, praise the Lord! Phones are on the way. God is good.

Pray for a great move of God as we present the risen Christ to our world on Sunday.


Thursday, February 21, 2008


We had some stellar excitement around our house last night after our small group gathering. Everyone ran outside to see the lunar eclipse. We had been told by the weather man that it would be too cloudy for us to see, but there it was, clear as could be.
Sooo. . . I am about to blog on a subject that is "as old as the hills", the unusual circumstances that make a lunar eclipse happen.

We all know that the moon has no light of its own. It is a hunk of rock or cheese, depending upon your educational background. When we see it "shining" in the sky it is because the light from the sun is being reflected from its surface.

A lunar eclipse takes place when the earth gets between the sun and the moon. You can watch it happening as darkness slowly blocks out the brightness of the moon.

Hey, this isn't just a lunar happening. The same is true of us as Christ followers. We have no light or life of our own. Whatever shines about us is a result of the reflection of Christ in our lives. When we allow the world to get between us and the Son we eventually experience a spiritual eclipse.

People who are observing our lives can see the process as clearly as we can see a lunar eclipse taking place. The moon really has no choice. It is doomed to follow a predetermined orbital sequence that is totally predictable. We do have a choice. We can stay close enough to the Lord that the world has no place to get in the middle.

Lunar eclipses are kind of cool to watch. Spiritual eclipses are a tragedy and a heartache to watch. How much have you allowed the world to shadow and dull the Lord's light in your life?

Just Thinking about eclipses.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fathering a Vision Builds Dynamic Relationships

I am wrestling with the concept of team building in my responsibilities as leadership development pastor. We all need to find people to do the work that a growing ministry requires. I can develop org charts, develop leadership roles and training, and recruit by gifts and abilities, but a true movement of God creates growth that far exceeds the capabilities of these tools.

It seems to me that Christ gave us some insight into team building in his relational paradym as seen in Mark 3. He said that those who were engaged in the will of God were his brothers, sisters, and mother. Those who were engaged in His vision were His family.

The relationship between leaders and followers becomes as strong and dynamic as blood relationships.

Good leaders have a vision: better leaders share a vision: great leaders invite others to join them in spreading this vision. Movements create bonds between people who have never met but embrace a common vision.

It seems that great leaders are so pregnant with vision that it requires them to birth it in other leaders who in turn birth it in others. Every "job" in the church should be driven by the vision not by the present need. Vision entergizes. A person filled with vision will do what is necessary to advance the movement in fulfillment of the vision.

How pregnant are you? Are you delivering vision or building a church? Sharing your vision will create a monument. Implanting your vision in others will create a movement. How big is your visionary family? Who are your brothers, sisters, and mothers ?

Changing lives that change the world by helping people take steps toward God to begin a journey with Christ. What a great vision!!

Just Thinking.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I am excited to see that 17 people raised their hand to join the Outreach Team here at Barefoot. I am just as excited to realize that there are many other leaders in the church who received names of individuals who have stepped forward to become part of the Team. Most of them were recruited on Sunday as Clay shared why Teamwork is one of our core values.

When I served in the Army we were referred to as "recruits." In reality there were two types of recruits. One recruit was drafted and ordered to report for duty. Another recruit was a volunteer soldier who wasn't forced to join. I was one of the latter. Throughout my tours in Vietnam my mother would remind me that my "number" had not been drawn in the draft and I would not have had to go fight. It was hard to deal with the realities and difficulties of waking up in a war zone for over two years, but I can't imagine how hard it would be if I had been forced to be there because I was drafted.
I am sure some of the volunteers that I will be calling will sooner or later say, "What have I gotten into?" Serving has its issues but God honors those who volunteer to join His Army. There is a spiritual warfare taking place and God is asking His children to report for duty to rescue the perishing. When God wins and the victory celebration begins I am sure many will say, "I wish I had volunteered when I had the chance."
What a privilege it is to be a part of what God is doing here in North Myrtle Beach! To the new recruits, I say, welcome. You just joined a band of brothers and sisters who are out to change the world by loving God, loving people, and proclaiming the Gospel of Christ in the spiritual war zone of this world. Report for duty. Serve with honor and courage. Be excited about whatever assignment the Lord has given you.

Celebrating Serving.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Christian Org Charts

Man, I have been suffering from severe "blog-block" combined with extreme time demands. Just when I was committed to finding "rhythm" in my life, I was knocked over by a giant wave of urgency and out of control activity. Now that I have my head above water again, I am going to swim parallel to the shore for a while to get free from the rip tide.

This is not the subject of this blog, just an explanation, ok, excuse for my absence over the past week. I have still been reading some other stuff that is really great. Check out Perry on criticism and Troy on rhythm and discipline (rhythm was back on January 31). "Stuff Worth Your Time" (on the right sidebar of this blog) is just that. Click a few and you'll be challenged and blessed. Here goes the blog topic:

As a leadership development guy I am becoming increasing intrigued with the dynamics between structure and vitality, or maybe form and freedom. We certainly need structure. Imagine your body without bones. You would be a blob. "Hey, I want you to meet my pastor, Blob Jones." (Sorry, pretty corny. One of those days.) By the same measure if our bones become rigid we are unable to move. Meet Rigor Mortis, our pastor of finance.
The Body of Christ, i.e. the church, can suffer from the same problems. Movement can be impeded by stiff, cumbersome structure and can be impossible without the organization and leadership that structure provides.

Recently Clay suggested we turn our org chart upside down. His vision is that we serve the people under us, not vice versa. God's work, the church, is at the top. God's servants, us, are at the bottom. This is a great concept but I am having a hard time making the intention of our organization show up in the structural diagram.

One way to understand the chart is to see that when God designs His org chart He puts the responibility of service on the one who higher up on the visual org chart. In the home, His org chart flows: Husband, wife, children. You certainly don't want to invert that! But look at the role of the husband. It's all about the wife and in chapter six, the children, too.

The Corinthians misread their org chart and functioned like the Gentiles who saw leadership as lordship. The person above someone else on a Christian org chart has been placed there to enable the person below them to reach their full potential and assist them in accomplishing what God has called them to do.
Hey, guy at the top, when you look up, what do you need from the people or person over you? The people below you need the same thing.

Just thinking.