8 Ways Trust is the Currency of Change

wp-1454508912664.pngMy friend and coach, Dave Howeth who serves a Church Planting Catalyst with NAMB here in Colorado, sent me an e-mail recently reminding me that trust is the currency of change.  He sent that to encourage my associate pastor and myself about the Great Commission direction we seek to take the church.

Here’s what I’ve gleaned in how and why trust is the currency of change–and how it can be lost.

  1. Transparency.  Communicate frequently, clearly, and passionately about the next steps with your key people.  Also, allow feedback in giving permission for them to be transparent with you.  (See Galatians 2:11-21.)
  2. Loyalty.  Trust comes when those around you know you love them and have their back.  This may mean you stick with someone longer than others believe you should, but you do all you can to help them succeed.  (Think of Barnabas with John Mark in Acts 15:33ff.)
  3. Integrity.  Align what you say with what you’ll do and vice versa.  Hypocrisy is a high crime in our culture.  Integrity is still a high virtue, even in the business world. (Look at Proverbs 10:9.)
  4. Care.  Engage people around you and ‘under’ you (in regards to chains of command).  Showing you care about them personally and genuinely will go a long way in developing a culture of trust. (John 13:34-35).
  5. Learn. Admit your mistakes, and actively seek to rectify the situation.  I’ve found that if you own your mistakes and learn from them for the future, you’ll gain even more trust from others.  If you fail to own them and blame them on people, situations, etc., trust wanes.  (“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. — Proverbs 28:13)
  6. Reconcile. Admit when you’ve acted out of line.  Jesus said, “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Come to terms quickly” (Matthew 5:24b-25a).
  7. Self-aware. Trust is an emotional bank account.  When numerous changes need to take place, “mutual trust and good relationships are sometimes the only things to hold on to.” (Source)  Trust serves as an emotional bank account through which you can make deposits or withdrawals. (Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.–Proverbs 28:26)
  8. Appreciation.  When someone is helpful or shows a nice gesture to you, say thank you.  Never let a good deed or word go by without showing appreciation. (See Philippians 1:3-6.)
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The Blessings and Benefits of a Blizzard

img-2-dscf0676“For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour” (Job 37:6, ESV).

Many lament the fact that this blizzard is coming. I can understand it, for I don’t know too many who like this weather combination.  It’s easy to talk about the negatives:—

 

Many lament the fact that this blizzard is coming. I can understand it, for I don’t know too many who like this weather combination.  It’s easy to talk about the negatives:

  • shoveling snow on the driveways and sidewalks;
  • having to drive in such conditions to get to work;
  • scraping ice and brushing snow off the car so you can drive in such conditions to get to work;
  • traffic accidents galore by those unskilled in navigating in such weather;

I’m sure we could all list off a few more negatives.  Yet, I submit this question: are there any benefits to a blizzard?  Yes!

  1. We know that God has a reason for sending this to begin with, so this is always a great place to start (Job 37:6; Romans 8:28).  Plus, blizzards are a reminder of his incredible power and majesty.
  2. The snow provides much-needed hydration, especially here in Denver.  In Denver, it only rains 12-15” per year, so the residents here do not mind the snow. One of my deacons told me when I moved here that when you look at the mountains, you need to see snow on the peaks for the main range of the Rockies because that water comes down to benefit those of us in the front range and Eastern plains.
  3. School is out!  My children come home from school, eat, do homework, take baths, then we have a little time for stories and prayer then they head to bed.  But with snow days? That means time with the kids, cozy inside, with movies, snacks, and a good time in the backyard playing in this fluffy white stuff.  Kevin DeYoung captured this in his recent blog post from December 1, 2011, “Heaven is Your Snow Day.”

What are some benefits you see to a blizzard?

The Three People You Need Most in Your Life

paul-barnabas-timothy

From J.R. Briggs’ site: http://www.jrbriggs.com 

In listening to a sermon by Alistair Begg a few weeks ago, he made mention of three people that we all need in our lives–and even three people you need to be.  Are you ready?

First, read through Titus 2:1-10.  Go ahead–I’ll wait.

Good.  You’ve read it?  Now, let’s proceed.

A Paul.  Having a Paul in your life means that you have someone to mentor you in the things of Christ.  Paul served as a mentor to many, but most famously Timothy.  Paul wrote to Timothy as his father in the faith (1 Timothy 1:1-2).  He discipled Timothy to the point where he was fit and qualified to pastor the church in Ephesus.

Do you have a Paul in your life?  It doesn’t have to be your pastor (in fact, it may be of some value if it’s not your pastor).  But finding some spiritually mature man (for men) or woman (for women) to mentor you and disciple you in the faith is so very helpful in your Christian walk.

The hardest part is not simply realizing you need a Paul–the hardest part is surrendering your pride and taking action in approaching one.  And if you’re approached, prayerfully consider this.  You’ll find you’ll grow just as much as your Timothy.

A Timothy.  Yes, speaking of Timothy: we as Christians need to look for someone to disciple.  In Titus 2, we read of older women teaching younger women.  In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, we read of teaching men who will teach others, who will in turn teach others.  Why?

One, it’s a command.  I believe God commands us because we wouldn’t do so otherwise.  I mean, this is working in the trenches.  Seasoned quarterbacks don’t like training their proteges simply because those proteges may take their jobs sooner than later.  We like being the expert, the sage–but we may struggle in passing along that wisdom to others.  When Christ commands something, then we know it’s good for us.

Two, it actually breeds humility, not pride.  Discipleship is humbling.  I have three men right now I’m discipling, and let me tell you it is humbling. You rely on Christ so heavily in this, because you realize you have nothing outside of Him to bring to the table.  It’s His command, His word, His church–we just obey by His Spirit what He’s called us to do.

A Barnabas:  Ah, Barnabas (given name and nickname, Joseph the Levite), the son of encouragement (Acts 4:32-37).  Where others are skeptical and ready to give up on you, you have a man beside you that sees what God sees in you.  Give up on John Mark, as Paul was inclined to do, Barnabas takes him under his wing (Acts 15:39ff).  Worried about the apostle Paul’s conversion and coming among the church in Jerusalem?  Barnabas put everyone at ease and they welcomed him (Acts 9).

Granted, an encourager even the likes of Barnabas could be carried away to do the wrong thing for not wanting to rock the boat (Galatians 2:11-14), having someone to come alongside and lift you up is critical.  Barnabases won’t be able to help everyone.  Some are so deep in themselves and their own inclinations and perceptions that few came snap them out of it.  But still, encouragers continue on as long as possible–without letting their burdens cause them to sin (Galatians 6:1-2).

Do you have these three people?  Do I?

Seven Qualities of an Inward, Ingrown Church

Yesterday at the church where I pastor, I shared one characteristic of what C. John Miller calls an ‘ingrown church.’ Below are a synopsis of all seven characteristics from his book, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church  by C. John Miller(Zondervan, 1986) pp. 27-40.

1. Tunnel Vision

Members of the ingrown church body are characterized by tunnel vision that limits potential ministries of the church to those that can be accomplished by the visible, human resources at hand. These possibilities are often further limited by recollections of past negative experiences and perceptions of present obstacles. At bottom, this is unbelief based on a secularized ignorance of the Spirit’s power—His ability to supply us with God’s goals for the church and the supernatural means to reach them.

2. Shared Sense of Group Superiority

This visionless church is often characterized by a sense of superiority to “the others.” Many smaller congregations and their leadership have become egocentric because of their fear of extinction. Struggling churches are likely to exaggerate points of superiority they actually possess as means of compensation for their limitations. . . . This assumed positive feature leads to an unconscious elitist attitude. If we are proudly clinging to an ecclesiastical tradition and making it our hope, we may have secured our status in our own eyes yet failed miserably with the Lord.

3. Extreme Sensitivity to Negative Human Opinion

The members of the ingrown church are also likely to feel inferior and shrivel up and die at the first sign of opposition. A world of disapproval from a “pillar” of the church is enough to rattle the ecclesiastical squirrel cage and send everyone running for cover. . . . The sad truth is that one negative critic with a loud voice who speaks from within the inner circle of the ingrown church usurps the role of Christ, wielding the power to make or break programs. . . . An ingrown church has given in for so long to intimidation that its fears have obscured vital contact with the promises of God.

4. Niceness in Tone

The ingrown church has the shared desire to be seen as “nice.” What is often wanted in the local church is unrelieved blandness: a “nice pastor” preaching “nice sermons” about a “nice Jesus” delivered in a “nice tone” of voice. . . . It is likely that those who are walking with Him in close fellowship will not always be nice and predictable. But the introverted church wants to secure the church doors against divine surprises and unannounced entrances by the King.

5. Christian Soap Opera in Style

In the introverted church we find that the members use their tongues a great deal—not to witness or pray or praise or to affirm one another, but to publicly review on another’s flaws, doings, and sins. We all know how easy it is for church members to go home after hearing a sermon and have “roast pastor” for lunch. Why does this happen? . . . . Unbelief and fear characterize the mental outlook in the ingrown church. The members of the church do not see themselves as living, praying, and talking in partnership with Christ and one another through His indwelling Holy Spirit. There is often a failure to cultivate among leaders and people a spirit of forgiveness, mutual forbearance, and love.

6. Confused Leadership Roles

In many churches the members of the congregation do not want officers who are trying to be pacesetters for God’s kingdom. This is especially true of the small church, where fear of change runs high. In the typical self-centered church, there is a hidden determination to eradicate enthusiasm that disturbs the comfortable routine dictated by self-trust, self-exaltation, niceness as a defense mechanism, and the rights of gossip. . . . In this system elders also lack great convictions about God and His gospel and have little active role in the daily lives of church members.

7. A Misdirected Purpose

It is clear from the foregoing that the controlling purpose in the ingrown church has to do with survival—not with growth through conversion of the lost. We can recognize this misdirected purpose by noting what goes into the church budget (and what is left out) and how visitors to the church services are welcomed. No planning is devoted to finding ways to assimilate visitors into the fellowship.

Read through Romans 1, Psalm 95, and Matthew 28:18-20 each day for a week. Ask God to show you how to prevent or to overcome being an inward, ingrown church.