Are you correction adverse?

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People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray. Proverbs 10:17

When a close friend or even someone outside of your circle of comfort identifies an attitude, action, or belief that is wrong what do you do? How do you respond?

Are you reactive? Or, are you responsive?

A reactive person is correction adverse. Immediately feels judged and condemned, even disrespected. A reactive person will lash out at the one who has offered a corrective criticism. The reactive person feel diminished as a person if their attitudes, actions, or beliefs are called into question or if they are called to give an account. There is a kind of foolishness shaping the reactive person and it will lead them astray.

The responsive person is celebrated as a wise one. The responsive person pauses and considers whether there is anything true in the criticism and corrective word. The responsive person is willing to change his or her mind. The responsive person has found their identity not “in being right” but in truly being righteous. The responsive person is not diminished by correction but embraces the opportunity to apply discipline to their life and thereby enter the pathway of life.

So you, are you correction adverse? Or are you responsive to correction?
It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, and therefore to Jesus and His pathway of life! There is no discipleship without responsiveness to correction.

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.3 seconds on the clock and the puck in the back of the net

Ok, it was breathtaking!  When Detroit’s Zetterberg shouldered his way from the boards to the front of the net to zip one in past Luongo with .3 seconds on the clock in overtime, it was beautiful.  Yes I’m a Canucks fan, but this time we didn’t pull off the come-from-behind-win.  It was the second time in days that I found myself painfully admiring a winning goal in the closing seconds.  Norway defeated Canada in sledge hockey with an arcing shot from Eskel Hagan with just 3.6 seconds on the clock.  With our thoughts headed towards overtime and the possibilities for the next period, it was a shocker!

And therein is the leadership lesson for me.  While there is still time on the clock, there is still “a game” to be won or lost.  The minutes of our lives count and while we still have time, living for the glory of God still matters.  When we are tied or behind by one, urgency, passion, pursuit of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom must be nurtured.  When there is time on the clock there is still time to shape the story.  No one else will do this for me.

No one else will seek strength of character formed through a persistent gaze at Jesus and His Gospel for me.  No one else will prioritize my life, days, and hours with Christ for me.  No one else will put in the behind the scenes effort and learning for me.  No one else will say “no” or “yes” for me.  No one else will push through the inertia to engage in the most rewarding but hard ways of Kingdom living for me.  I regularly pray with the Psalmist, “Lord, teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”  (Psalm 90:12)

These guys on the ice push through difficulty and pain to the last second for a number of reasons.  But what vision is compelling, shaping, and energizing me?  You?

Timothy Keller on Movement Dynamics

I have lifted Jay Lorenzen’s notes from Timothy Keller’s talk at the Global Cities Initiative Conference on Movement Dynamics.  This fantastic talk highlights the differences between a movement and institutionalism.  You can listen to the talk here.  The longer an organization exists the greater the pressure or drift to become locked into institutional ways and survivalism.   Jay’s notes are below.

Below is a summary of his points as Tim compared a movement with an institution. Let me suggest that you discuss these “dynamics” with your missional teams and help move your ministry to a movement and keep it from becoming an institution.

DYNAMIC 1: UNITY (THE FOCUS)

Oneness from common vision and beliefs: A movement is driven by a clear vision for a particular future reality, based on common beliefs.

Marks of a movement

1. Organized around a common vision for the future.

2. All leaders and key players share same goals.

3. Forward movement through arriving at consensus or near consensus on next stage in reaching the vision.

Marks of an institution

1. Organized around by-laws and ground rules.

2. Each leader/department presses for own differing agenda.

3. Forward movement through negotiated compromises to form agreed upon ‘strategy.’

DYNAMIC 2: CATHOLICITY (THE OPENNESS)

Emphasis on cooperation across lines: A movement is peopled by workers who put the vision ahead of other differences and learn from and work with people of other preferences, temperaments, and secondary beliefs.

Marks of a movement

4. Leaders have high tolerance for ambiguity and organizational “messiness”; what matters is the cause and vision. Result: lots of cooperation with those outside your organization who share the primary beliefs and vision.

5. Responsibilities of leaders overlap; everyone ‘owns’ the overall organization’s health; result is much cooperation within. Emphasis on ‘roles’ – who you are in the movement. Structure looks more ‘flat’ and like a network of teams.

Marks of an institution

4. Leaders have high need for clarity and compliance; what matters is proper procedure. Result: little cooperation with those who don’t share secondary and tertiary beliefs.

5.“Silo”and turf consciousness; the result is contentiousness. Emphasis on ‘tasks’-what you do in the organization. Structure is more ‘top-down’ like a pyramid of individuals

DYNAMIC 3: SACRIFICE (THE COMMITMENT)

Devotion to God’s kingdom over self or tribe: A movement is peopled by workers who put the vision ahead of their own interests and needs.

Marks of a movement

6. Great sacrifice is tolerated: low pay, long hours, poor conditions. Leaders need less approval and encouragement; self-starters.

7. High level of trust. Less need for accreditation and close supervision.

Marks of an institution

6. Individual needs more important than progress of the whole. Workers need rewards, much accountability from top.

7. Little trust. Constant meetings. time-consuming reporting, long approval processes.

DYNAMIC 4: SPONTANEITY (THE ORGANIC NATURE)

Spontaneous growth without top-down command: A movement constantly generates new ideas, new leaders, and new initiatives across itself—not solely from the top or from a command center outside of it.

Marks of a movement

8. Movement spreads through recruitment from relationship networks. Organic growth through friends’ enthusiasm and an appeal to sacrificial commitment.

9. New ideas are solicited and incorporated quickly. Lots of openness to creativity; freedom to try and fail. Leaders give workers more support than control.

10. Relationships strong; much “off-line” thinking occurs through friendships. Leaders naturally attract and ‘train’ new leaders through relationships.

Marks of an institution

8. Organization grows through formal processes of communication and “sales” appealing to individuals’ self-interest.

9. Innovation is seen as threatening if not coming from top. Great fear of any failure. Leaders keep tight control, give little support.

10. Few friendships; little happens outside of meetings. New leaders have to be recruited through formal processes.

Open Source Activists and Leadership

J. R. Kerr has an excellent article on Open Source Activists and leadership in LeadershipJournal.net.  Internally I am conflicted.  I love it, crave it, and know that I do things that frustrate it around me.  At Cityview I hope we will keep working on it.  Here is an excerpt:

My generation is hungry for something more than the 15 principles for building a better team or the 21 reasons why you should be a servant leader. They are not content filling a role on a task force for church growth. They are hungry for more. They want a voice. They want influence. They are a generation that isn’t content receiving a vision; they want to be part of shaping and creating the vision. My generation believes in open source influence.

Open source is everywhere and it is changing the world. Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat documents the way open source is changing how software is developed and how news is reported. Past generations went to a trusted authority, like the Encyclopedia Britannica, to find answers to their questions. The new generation logs on to Wikipedia, an open source web encyclopedia that doesn’t just provide answers but allows users to contribute their knowledge as well. And the Apple iPhone now has thousands of user-created applications available as a result of becoming an open source platform. The younger generation expects to participate in the creation and formation of products and organizations in a way earlier generations simply did not.

The Ministry of Forgiveness

Here are the notes from my talk today to Pastors/Staff at the Westcoast Baptist Association Prayer lunch.

The Ministry of Forgiveness

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  Colossians 3:13

If I were to write a book on The Minister and Forgiveness here is a rough outline of my chapter topics:

1.  The Minister receives forgiveness from God.

2.  The Minister gives forgiveness to people.

3.  The Minister receives forgiveness from people.

4.  The Minister models and teaches the forgiving life.

5.  The Minister conveys the forgiveness of God.

Jesus has set the work of forgiveness into the center of our prayer life.

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins,

for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

And lead us not into temptation.'”

Luke 11:1-4

Matthew 5:23-24

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Our capacity to minister fruitfully in the Gospel depends on our continuing experience of the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.  1 John 5:5-10

The ministry of forgiveness requires us to lead people wisely, firmly, and with respect to reorder their  relationships in Christian community.

5 If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent-not to put it too severely. 6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9 The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven-if there was anything to forgive-I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”  22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”   John 20:21-23

In the ministry of forgiveness the church practices the ministry of healing prayer that accompanies confession.

Galatians  6:1-3

6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

James 5:13-20

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.   NIV

In the ministry of forgiveness the minister of the Gospel sometimes may need to lead others into the process of forgiveness and healing by “leading from who we represent” to them.

“I am so sorry _______________ happened to you.  I believe what __________ did is wrong.  I wonder if you would forgive ___________ and enter into the freedom that Christ wants you to enjoy.  When you forgive you are not saying that ________ is OK or right.  Rather you are saying that ________ no longer owes you anything because of Jesus’s love in your life.  So could we enter together now into prayer and ask God to help you forgive and to enjoy your freedom in Christ?”

Forgiveness and Prayer Exercises of Examine

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know

my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.   Psalm 139:23-24

1. Ask God to search you and reveal any sin to confess to Him and to receive forgiveness.
2. Ask God to search you and to reveal any relationships and offenses for which you need to forgive.

Parent/s
Spouse
Children
Extended Family
Neighbours
Friends
Co-workers/Bosses
Church
Organizations/Businesses
People-groups
Countries
Governments

3. Ask God to search you and to reveal any relationships in which you need to confess your wrong and ask for forgiveness.

4. Forgiveness is a process we enter into in response to the Gospel.  Ask God for His grace to sustain you through the process.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.