“Heart for the House” is a phrase that is common at Hillsong. It speaks of the loyalty, honor and single-mindedness that is felt for the local church. In this segment, I asked Joel to explain how they develop a “heart for the house.”
As God is leading you forward into the New Year…
- What is one thing you need to let go?
The Apostle Paul was describing how he wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. He admitted that he hadn’t taken hold of it yet and wrote the words recorded in Philippians 3:14-14, “…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I’m not certain what he wanted to forget and let go. Perhaps it was the Christians he hurt, tortured or killed. Maybe it was the abuse he suffered for boldly serving Christ: being beaten with the rod, whipped, stoned and left for dead. Maybe it was a personal failure we know nothing about.
Whatever it was, Paul knew he needed to let go of something from the past to move forward with God.
Maybe someone hurt you and you continue to harbor bitterness. Perhaps your spouse betrayed you and you still are trying to punish him or her. Maybe you let yourself down, let God down, or let those around you down, and you haven’t let it go. Perhaps you failed and fear failing again.
What one thing do you need to let go to move forward with God?
When it comes to your relationship with God…
- What one thing do you lack?
When a rich young man encountered Jesus, he wanted to know what he must do to receive eternal life. Jesus told him to obey all the commands. The confident up-and-comer believed that he’d been obedient since he was a child.
Mark 10:21-22 records what happened next. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Unfortunately, there was one thing that stood in the way of this man and his pursuit of the fullness of God in Christ: his love of his stuff. Sadly, he was unwilling to address this one hindrance.
What about you? What one thing is keeping you from further serving Christ? Maybe you have drifted from your study of God’s word or from prayer? Maybe you lack true and strong accountability? Perhaps your life is void of close Christian friends. Maybe you’ve been gripped by the things of this world rather than God’s kingdom.
Be honest. When it comes to your relationship with God, what one thing do you lack?
The American Church is not lacking for “cool” pastors. Like a single guy who is trying just-a-bit-too-hard to impress a girl, some churches are simply trying too hard to be cool.
I’m very encouraged to see a shifting in direction. For years, many of us seemed focused on:
- Designing relevant church experiences.
- Producing entertaining videos.
- Creating inviting environments.
- Crafting sermon series to draw a crowd.
- Writing sermons with shock value and plenty of humor or stories.
While all of the above can be effective tools, many of my friends are intentionally moving in a stronger direction. So many great Christian leaders are seeing far better results with:
- Bathing a sermon in prayer.
- Fasting regularly.
- Practicing personal confession and repentance.
- Preaching from the overflow of time alone in God’s word.
- Caring deeply for others in biblical community.
I’m thrilled so many leaders are placing less emphasis on being cool and more emphasis on being like Christ.
Without question, we at LifeChurch.tv have worked hard to be creative and relevant. We’ve never shied away from having fun in church. But creativity, relevance, and fun should never be the top goals when planning the weekend worship experience.
- Jesus never said, “You will watch this funny video, and the funny video will set you free.”
- John the Baptist never said, “Creativity must increase and I must decrease.”
- Paul never proclaimed, “We should preach relevance and relevance crucified.”
Perhaps some pastors are unintentionally omitting the more important questions.
- Instead of asking, “What will bring glory to God?” some appear to be asking, “What will bring in a crowd?”
- Instead of asking, “How do we communicate Scripture accurately?” some are asking, “How can we be creative?”
- Instead of asking, “How can we truly disciple those in our church?” some are asking, “How can we get people back to church?”
While the second question in each bullet point is not wrong to ask, if we aren’t asking the first questions, we are drifting into dangerous territory.
Thanks for the constructive and respectful discussion yesterday. Let’s do it again.
God told us to take a day off. Many pastors don’t.
- Those of you in smaller churches might think, “We simply can’t. Without any staff, there is always an emergency.”
- Those of you in larger churches might say, “We can’t because there are too many pressing issues in a large church.”
- Those who are staff members might say, “Our pastor might get a day off but we have to work.”
All those are poor excuses. If you don’t rest, you won’t last.
I’d love to hear from you about your struggles or victories in honoring the Sabbath.
What works for you? How do you communicate healthy boundaries on your day off? When do you make exceptions?
In ministry, I’ve had seasons of full blown passion for Christ and His Kingdom. At other times, my passion leaked and I was spiritually empty. Here are a few signs you might be a lukewarm pastor from my own life and experiences helping other pastors.
A lukewarm pastor:
- Prays as much, or more, publicly than privately.
- Is almost exclusively dependent on others’ sermons to preach than directly hearing from God.
- Cares more about his church than The Church.
- Preaches about evangelism but doesn’t practice evangelism privately.
- Tolerates and rationalizes unconfessed sin.
- Preaches for the approval of people rather than the approval of God.
- Is overly sensitive to criticism.
- Harbors bitterness and unforgiveness.
- Reads the Bible to prepare sermons but not for personal devotion to God.
- Is jealous or critical of someone else that God is blessing.
What am I forgetting? Do you see any of this in yourself?
Most pastors could easily fill dozens of extra hours a week with productive ministry—if they simply had more time. This week I’ll share a few of my slightly weird time saving tips.
I’ll Meet You in Your Office
When you need to do a quick face to face meeting with another staff member, tell them you’ll swing by their office. When you’ve covered everything important, you can politely leave—the meeting is over.
If someone is in your office, the person may not know when the meeting is over. A quick, few-minute meeting can linger and bleed over into longer and less important conversations. When you’re in someone else’s office, you can politely exit much easier than you can ask someone to leave your office.