I like to read all kinds of books on business, management and leadership. One of the authors who does a great job on his blog and in his books is Seth Godin, the marketing master. In a recent post he makes this point: Make promises and keep them.

This seems to be the problem with Christians and the Church in North America. We have failed to deliver on our "promise." You see, most everyone knows what we are supposed to be about: Doing unto others, turning the other cheek, being merciful, giving, blessing, all that Sermon on the Mount stuff. Someone else made our promises 2000 years ago, and we really haven’t lived up to them, have we? However, like the bunch of Pharisees we are, we keep saying to God, "Thank you that I am not like them." Well guess what, we are exactly like "them."

Godin makes the point that great organizations "overdeliver." My suggestion for all of us for 2008? Under-promise and Over-deliver. Tell others: We don’t have everything figured out, but here is what we do have figured out: we want to love God with all we’ve got and love our neighbors at least as well as we love ourselves. Let’s be nice to each other, especially our family members and then spread that circle out to include our co-workers and everyone we come in contact with daily.

Living on the frontlines

Once in a while I am overwhelmed by the courage I see displayed in someone. This can happen at a film or when reading an article, or simply when I am listening to someone tell a story. I just finished reading a long post by one of my favorite blogger-authors, Jordon Cooper. You can read the post here.

I guess it is the context of that post that has tears leaking from my eyes. You see Jordon Cooper is one of my heroes. A young leader who is following Jesus’ call on his life, Jordon works in an inner city mission. He actually enjoys going to work and has been rewarded with a stolen bicycle and numerous death threats. The most recent one apparently scared him because the targets of the threat had expanded beyond Jordon himself to his family.

I remember clearly a breakfast I had with Jordon at a Denny’s in Orange County near LA. He was there as a visiting "professor." As we talked the call of God on Jordon’s life became to clear me. In the aftermath Jordon has embraced his calling and helped found Resonate in Canada.

I don’t always agree with Jordon’s take on life, politics and the spiritual pursuit, but I greatly respect his authentic expression of discipleship as he writes about the trials and struggles of following Jesus in his Canadian city.

As I was reacting to Jordon’s recent posts and the one I referenced I was reminded of the opening phrases of an old Steve Camp song:

Some people want to live
within the sound of chapel bells,
But I want to run a mission
a yard from the gates of hell.

And with everyone you meet
I’ll take them the gospel and share it well
And look around you as you hesitate
for another soul just fell

Let’s run to the battle,
Run to the battle.

Jordon is living his life on the front lines of the battle that is raging in his city. And his courage moves me.

Shouting fire in a full theater

I hate to even provide a link to this website, Pyromaniacs. The baby boomer in me loves their graphics! But then I read Phil Johnson’s October 25, 2006 post entitled "Fed Up.

In that post he flays both Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll, identifying them as from the emerging church "movement." The interesting thing is that both Rev. Bell and Driscoll pastor large churches. Bell’s church, Mars Hill Bible Church was planted in 1999. Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church started in Seattle in 1996. Both of these young ministers are pastoring churches that are ministering to their peers.

When I talk about their peers, I am talking about "young adults," you know the group that is nearly missing in action from the baby boomer churches? And yet baby boomer Johnson doesn’t wait long to label these preachers as follows:

"Bell’s message is not only unbiblical; it’s anti-Christian." "…The result is not merely trivial: it’s flat-out heretical. And in more ways than I care to enumerate."

…Driscoll’s smutty language and preoccupation with all things lowbrow are inappropriate, unbecoming, and dishonoring to Christ."

Here’s what I have to say to you Mr. Johnson, who died and made you the arbiter of heresy, bibicity, anti-Christianity, etc? Here’s a biblical quotation for you:

1Judge not, that ye be not judged.2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Matt. 7:1-3 KJV via Biblegateway.com

I have some bad news for you Mr. Johnson, the people who attend the Mars Hills that you have criticized in your post won’t ever attend John MacArthur’s church. They would not be able to relate to his teaching or his theology. Should they, therefore, never hear the bible taught and be encouraged to follow Jesus? For I can guarantee you that Rev. Bell and Rev. Driscoll are teaching the bible, to the best of their ability and with all of their flaws, and they are encouraging their listeners to follow after Jesus.

You know how I define the emerging church? It is the church that will be around after you, Mr. Johnson, and I are dead and gone. Our generation will pass from the scene and we will have to answer to God for how we communicated his loving gospel to our own peers. These young men, Bell and Driscoll, will come along, maybe 25-30 years later and will give their own account. From where I sit, they aren’t doing too badly.

Palmer's Divine Intro

Everyone should have a friend like Bill Dahl. I mentioned to him the other day that I hadn’t read Jim Palmer’s Divine Nobodies and he had somebody at Thomas Nelson send me a copy.

So, I just took a break from reading the last Harry Potter book (I am sure that Harry has to die, if not, then I will have to kill him for taking so long, to move the plot forward), and I read the "pseudo" introduction to Divine Nobodies. Boy, was it good! I get sent a lot of books to read and review for Next-Wave. It is hard to know which ones are worth reading, and I don’t have time to read them all (remember I have to read the Harry Potters and the Brad Thors, and the Vince Flynns, James Pattersons, you get the idea, right?). But this Palmer, guy, I have to read his stuff.

He commends his readers at the end of the "first" introduction:

"If I haven’t scared you off by now with the vision of me sitting in an old recliner in my garage watching Mr. Holland’s Opus on my little fuzzy-screen TV, fighting off the tears, then you may actually get somethng out of the rest of this. But I’m not promising anything."


I wonder if eric keck knows how good this is:

our society needs rock stars,
we need new bands, we need new doctors, lawyers, builders, buyers, ceo’s and entrepreneurs… because as society thats what we need

somebody is going to win the race,
somebody is going to make the next Million
somebody is going to be the next brownhouse
somebody is going to change the world
there will be a next president
somebody will be the highscorer
somebody will make varsity
somebody will open a cool coffee shop
somebody will write a book
somebody will plant a church
somebody will represent a social cause in a radical way
somebody will transform a town one house at a time

might as well be …. (who?)

somebody needs to be the next rockstar…

Who are the new influencers?

I am wondering, speculating really, about when the new "young" leaders will step into the forefront of what God is doing. Yes, I know, the day of the baby boomers is not over. In fact, there are some who think there will be another "spiritual awakening" among baby boomers as they get closer to facing their own mortality.No, I am talking about the "next generation" of leaders, who are now starting to push the ripe old age of 40 pretty good. Those who are coming after Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, or for that matter Rick Warren. Joel Osteen is a young leader, but he doesn't represent what I am thinking of.I think I would like to hear more from people like Jordon Cooper, Bob Hyatt, or Kevin Rains.

The apostolic life

Do you ever wonder what daily life was like for the apostle Paul. If you read between the lines, it doesn't sound like it was much of a picnic. Apparently there is something about living through trials that strengthens. Just read about Jordon Cooper's life in 2006 to get an idea of what I am talking about. Jordon, you are my hero. May God continue to bless you in 2007.