44Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from
house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of
heart, 47praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
One of the greatest organizational temptations of the church is to stratify individuals based on spiritual maturity. It only makes sense. People with biblical knowledge and who live a life consistent with Scripture should lead.
However, when we look at the simplicity of heart demonstrated by this Acts 2 Church, we see a totally humble, interactive, unassuming church. That is an oversimplification of who this Church was. For the sake of space, I will leave it at that.
The application that I walk away with is that regardless of past or present, there should be an acceptance of one another among the believers as peers, friends, equals. I am bothered by lofty titles, highly stratified patronage systems, and entourages of important people. I am inspired by believers who regardless of social status or the lack thereof receive one another gladly, interact and engage wholly, and give freely.
The simplicity of community exists because Christ embraced the world. The simplicity of community demonstrates itself as a freely receiving, freely giving attitude among believers of all backgrounds and stages of life in Christ.
When I was in college, we would burn the midnight oil playing Sid Meir’s "Civilization." In retrospect, it looks like I would take the Starbucks’ strategy for world domination. I would begin by founding as many medium sized cities as possible defended by basic defensive units as opposed to building a limited number of world class cities. If I could fend off attacks by more advanced nations early on, I would surpass the strength of all combined peoples as these small cities had population expansion, developed technoligically, and had massive amounts of trade.
It already seems like Starbucks is everywhere. But as Allison Linn shares, Chairman Howard Schultz says, "This is still the opening act for Starbucks." Their goal? 40,000 stores. He believes that Starbucks has greatly underestimated the worldwide demand for its coffees, teas, CDs, coffee mugs, and other stuff. Bottom line? Don’t just expect Starbucks to open in new markets, expect total saturation of existing markets, more inroads into non-core business, and even greater brand awareness as if that is even conceivable. You can also expect that I will probably re-purchase one of my favorite old games.
This is a brief follow up from my FL Ministers’ Meeting post. I thought I would blog a bunch of news from the meeting. But, I can’t since I was mostly delirious. I stayed up until 3 am on Monday night at Bennigan’s having earth altering conversation, woke up at 6 am, grabbed a coffee and went to the meeting. We broke for lunch after having some difficulties with our voting pads.
We shot off to "Village Inn." By this time, I was completely overcaffeinated and underfed (if you can believe that). By the time lunch was over, I was laying on a bench outside of the restaurant, nauxious, and pale. I won’t go into details other than to say that I appreciate people getting me water, a towel, and crackers. Embarrasing for me and bad for business for them.
We went back to the meeting and I ended up bailing back to the room. I went to sleep at 5 PM and woke up the this morning. Before coming back home, we stopped in to see Sam Nelson (one of our Life Pointe Kids) at Clearwater Christian College. He’s a super kid with a great future. What a trip.
I will say that I am glad that we selected a very progressive State Council. I loved our church planting video highlighting Rockey McKinley at Destiny Community Church and Ryan Kramer at Mosaic Church in Trinity, FL. It was also cool to see Brian Hunter voted on to the Evangelism Board. Well, there’s my fun. Glad to be back. Glad to sleep in my own bed.
I’m on my way to the State Minister’s Meeting for the COG in Florida. I may blog the meeting if I get a chance. While I’m gone, I’ll stop by and see Sam Nelson, one of our college kids in Clearwater.
I just got a call from my brother and some guys I was supposed to fish with in the Marquesas from Thursday until today. At the last minute, I couldn’t go. I just got a call from Phil. He caught a 9 foot shark and they got their limit on grouper, yellow tail, etc…around 100 fish. Ouch.
My mom, Anne leads our Hospitality Ministries. She is at The Springs in Ocala, FL today for the Regional Wired Church Conference on First Impressions. I can’t wait to get her back and see what Mark Waltz and those guys had to say.
Last year, we ordered the largest yellow pages ad in the church section in Homestead, FL. When the book arrived, our large ad was not in there. Bummer. Yellow Pages dropped the ball then and after the fact while we were trying to get it all squared away. This year, we’ve decided not to spend our ad dollars in the yellow pages.
Here’s the good news: People searching for churches in Homestead, FL will google this post and visit us. Those of you that do find the church from this yellow pages rant are cool people. You can "stick it to the man" and find a really great church all in one move. We’ll save a few bucks and invest that money somewhere else.
Life Pointe practices hospitality by opening our homes and lives to others. But, we
shut the doors to my home at last night’s Life Group when a skunk sauntered up to our front door. He actually trapped 3 cars full of people and kept them outside for about 5 minutes. I didn’t even know that there were skunks in south Florida.
I went inside to get my camera and ran down the street to the place I thought he was standing. It was a clump of grass. Suddenly, I found myself very concerned that I did not know his whereabouts. All the neighbors were out…it was quite the event.
Monday mornings start slow for me. After a typical late Saturday night going over my message, an early morning at the Theater, a full day on Sunday morning, and a cookout and football with about 60 people from Life Pointe, I’m absolutely toast.
This morning I got up with Kourtney and dove into some heavy pastoral responsibilities-checking my two fantasy football teams. Here are some obersvations/highlights and then I’m off to the office for a half day:
- I need 3.5 points (roughly 80 yards receiving or a touchdown) from Bryant Johnson, WR Arizona tonight against Chi DEF for a win in the Big Daddy’s Pizza League. Its a group of local guys. The bragging stakes are huge!
- I scored 238 points in my Trick Plays league (Acts). Every player had a monster game. I’ll never see those kind of numbers again.
- Terrell Owens is a me-istic superstar. He got his 3 TDs. But, by the end of the season, this prima donna will derail the scorching hot Cowboys. ADVICE- avoid superstars who don’t know the concept of team.
- Deion Branch is a stud…glad to see that draft pick finally paying off now that his contract dispute and trade is over (see advice on TO).
- I’m praying for Trent Green to stop seeing birdies and get better so that Larry Johnson will start to produce for me.
- Don’t follow your fantasy football players while watching your favorite team. Last night, I was rooting for the NYJets Defense and Leon Washington to rack up yardage on the dolphins. I was rooting against Chris Chambers, WR Fins. Yet, I still wanted the dolphins to win. Impossibly conflicting!
Who is FIU?! We privileged them with a step up onto the national stage and we get repaid wih a thuggish brawl by a handful of students who wished they were Canes. I know Miami will take its lumps for this and we should. But, FIU instigated this when their D line body slammed our kicker. That’s no way to repay our favor.
Church and politics. These are the things you are supposed to avoid discussing in social situations. Since we are approaching the mid-term elections, I thought I’d weigh in and share my perspective, effectively mixing the two and committing a big faux paux.
- Our political outlook should reflect our moral compass with the Scriptures as our foundation.
- Christianity is not synonymous with a particular political party.
Now, I am an opinionated person by nature. I enjoy following politics, current events, and technological and sociological trends. I have formed opinions on everything from the economy to national defense. I have a biblical understanding on the sanctity of life. Over the next several weeks, you will hear nothing from the platform at Life Pointe concerning who should receive your vote. I will simply ask you to follow perspective #1. Be informed and involved in the political process as much as you can. Do it with respect, honoring God, and honoring one another. Where differences exist, be reminded that in the essentials we have unity, in non-essentials we have liberty, and in all things, we show charity.
You know that culture is experiencing a major shift when your 3 year old says, "Dad, is that a commercial?" Kourtney simply does not know life without TiVo.
When Antrel Rolle (AZ Cards), Marcus Hudson (SF 49ers), and Jarvis Johnson (Rutgers) played on my little brother’s YMCA 15-17 year old basketball team and won the championship game, I was excited. When Antrel dominated offenses at UM, it was a thing of beauty. When he was drafted 9th overall, it was great to see another brilliant athlete from Homestead step into the NFL. When he chased Larry Johnson down from the other side of the field after an 86 yard reception, I was shouting with joy until I realized that he face masked my #1 Fantasy Football RB and may have put him out of my lineup for this week. OUCH!
Antrel is the man. I just wish that someone like Ladanian Tomlinson had been on the receiving end of Antrel’s TD saving pursuit.
Over the last year, beginning with our free gas promotion and the Miami Herald article done on our church, I have received a number of emails in the positive and the negative concerning the marketing and advertising Life Pointe employs. Recently, I have entered into a great discussion via email with a young, articulate seminary student by the name of Derek Knoke. I would like to carry that discussion on over to my blog because the content and discussion is good enough to warrant opening it up for others to read and participate.
First, marketing and advertising are two totally distinct practices. Andy Havens of Sanestorm says, "Marketing is the study and practice of better, faster, cheaper and
friendlier. “Making things go more smoothly,” as I put it to my
students. The product or service a company provides is the “what” of
its existence. Marketing is the “how.” In a church setting, our “what”
is the spreading of the Word of Christ.
Brian Norris says, "Marketing is the ongoing process of moving people closer to making a
decision to purchase, use, follow…or conform to someone else’s
products, services or values. Simply, if it doesn’t facilitate a "sale"
then it’s not marketing."
The Apostle Paul says in the most radically transparent statement, "I have become all things to all men so that by all means I might save some." I Cor. 9:22-23
I would propose to those of you trying to get a handle on the appropriate mediums for communication of the Gospel that it is not only acceptable to market Christ and the Church, it is mandatory to do so. Perhaps, the best marketing statement is found in Romans 3:13, "Let us walk honestly as in the day…". Obviously, the aim is not simply to pursuade people to also follow Christ. The aim is to live out Christ in us. Marketing as an event is not primary in this passage. But, it is certainly a by-product. In answer to some marketing/advertising concerns, it would express brand and image as an authentic expression of Imago Dei.
Marty is my homeboy. I should make t-shirts.
I just placed an order on Amazon for In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson and The Big Idea by Dave Ferguson. 3-5 day shipping. I need to finish Experience the Message before they get here.
I just wrapped up Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” I am amazed that that something as complicated as the organization for battle can be explained with simplicity and in such a forumulaic fashion. One of my favorite statements came from the Nine Situations:
The following are the principles to be observed by an invading force: The further you penetrate into a country, the greater will be the solidarity of your troops, and thus the defenders will not prevail against you.
Fully apllicable in life, church, faith, family, business, and football-the best defense is a good offense. Once headway has been made into enemy territory, it is best not to retreat for the purpose of consolidating gains. Rather, it is preferable to continue advancing, winning, and succeeding.
I had a great time at my alma mater on Thursday and Friday celebrating Dr. Conn’s 20th year as the president of Lee University. We sat with Tony and Heather Byrd, Phil Harris, and Torrey and Polly Herrin at dinner Thursday. Then, we enjoyed a concert in the Dixon Center after which I had a good conversation with Dennis McGuire. I may share some of that conversation later at COG Catalyst.
Friday morning, I sat in on Pitching Your Tent at the Postmodern Carnival: Witness in a Pluralist Context seminar led by Tony Richie and Cheryl Bridges-Johns. I always enjoy listening to Cheryl. It was my first time hearing Tony speak. I wish I had been able to take notes. They both had some interesting things to say about everything from ecuminism to seeker-sensitive ministry to Brian McClaren.
Then, we participated in the Celebration service. The Symphony, mass choir, wind ensemble demonstrated one thing that Lee probably does better than most, music. Dr. Carolyn Dirksen captured the past 20 years at Lee in an inspirational talk. Dr. Conn spoke to the students and alumni concerning their roles and realities. The highlight was when he introduced K.C. Coomer III, representing the class of 2009. He left Lee and returned one year later after a tour in Iraq where his best friend was killed in Fallujah. He received a seemingly endless standing ovation.
We caught up with a lot of old friends. It was especially good to sit down with my pastor, Mitch Maloney and my 3 girls. I am always challenged by his vision and friendship.
When I left the Lee campus, I drove away with a significant amount of pride for my school. Dr. Conn is a phenomenal leader of what I would consider the premier evangelical Christian university in America. It has really shaped my life. My parents attended as did my grandparents. I imagine that one day my girls will attend Lee as well. I can’t imagine what the school will have to offer then (much less what it will cost!).
On the way home, I thought about my girls moving away one day over a chili dog at the Varsity. I guess that’s one good thing about Lee being so far from Miami, the Varsity is in between Lee and the Atlanta airport. Not bad…not bad at all.