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Monthly Archives: February 2021

Some Thoughts on Church Boards, especially for church planters and young pastors

Some Thoughts on Church Boards, especially for church planters and young pastors

Today, I’m drinking Peru Huabal from Equator Coffee. The beans are processed completely different. It’s called “honey process.” You can read more about it here.

So, there I was, about a year into church planting… and I was attending a Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Conference in NY. They had a Q&A session, and I asked: “what should I look for in Board Members?”

Bil Gallatin spoke up, and it felt like it was pretty quick and bold. “Look for men that are filled with the Holy Spirit.” He went on to say how often we look for people that are successful in life, or appear to be successful in the world, but neglect to look for the fruit of the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.

It was a great answer, because I wasn’t expecting it, but immediately felt… “duh! Of course!” And, then it did send me on a journey of meditating on what evidences show being filled with the Spirit. Often times, we automatically think of someone that’s “on fire for God.” But, experience has shown that sometimes, those folks aren’t consistent over time, and don’t have lives that demonstrate wisdom.

We can talk about that more if you want.

But, elders and Board members (and anyone on the platform) is a crucial decision. It’s easy to put people in those positions. It’s almost impossible to get them out if there’s problems. It’s better to be really, really slow, especially with the Board.

Because, if there’s drama at the Board level, there will be chaos in the congregation. I have a friend that just survived a coup.

I have another friend and the Board of his church is intimidated by the pastor. It’s a real problem, because it doesn’t seem like anyone is willing to share the truth in love. And, the pastor has some blind spots. In fact, he’s firmly in that place described in the phrase the emperor has no clothes.

Gen and I talked about it a bit last evening. The heartache that gets spread all around when the Board doesn’t have mature, wise, courageous people. People that are full of the Holy Spirit.

A lot of that heartache is born by the Pastor’s wife and children.

I’m very, very grateful for each of the people that serve on the Board at Calvary. We have navigated some very difficult situations in the last 3 years.

I’m also very grateful for Brett Robinson, Chuck Smith, Brian Brodersen and yes… Bil Gallatin.

What do you do if you don’t like the people in your Board, or don’t like the culture of your Board? First, it would be to pray. We have to remember that the church belongs to Jesus Christ. He purchased it (and you) with His blood. He’s the Head of the church, the brains of the operations, and as such, He has the privilege of making the decisions.

Ask Him what He wants you to do. It may be to wait. I have a friend whose church had all kinds of problems. As he prayed, the Lord caused one of the Board Members to be caught in his sin. When that happened, and the person resigned, peace came into that leadership team.

It may be that the Lord wants you to confront someone, and speak the truth in love.

It may be that you need to leave. I know of a church that seems to churn through pastors. That isn’t the pastor’s fault. There’s a problem on the Board.

I often reflect on Paul in Troas. Here’s what he wrote: “When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though the Lord opened a door for me, I had no rest in my spirit because I did not find my brother Titus. Instead, I said good-bye to them and left for Macedonia.” – 2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:12-13‬ ‭CSB‬‬

Because the Board really has to operate as a team, and because the nature of church is spiritual, and in the context of spiritual warfare, it’s important to trust and have a good relationship with everyone on the Board. If there’s no brother like Titus, even if there’s an open door. It’s okay to say good-bye and move on.

This conversation might stretch into a refill!

What are your thoughts? What’s been your experience?

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Book Review – “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen

Book Review – “Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen

“Why Liberalism Failed” by Patrick Deneen
“Maranatha” is my one word reaction to this book.
This was a very illuminating yet troubling book.
Professor Deneen explains why there’s so much distrust by the right and anger among the left of our liberal democracies. It’s actually the fruit of the liberal democracy ideology, 500 years in the making. And there’s no fix.
It’s true, it’s been a more long lasting model than fascism and monarchy. But, it, and therefore we, are in trouble. The natural next steps are undoubtedly brutal.
Barack Obama wrote that this book “offers cogent insights into the loss of leaning and community that many in the West feel.”
Ross Douthat commented with one word: “bracing.”
I’d LOVE to talk with someone else in #Ottawa that has read this and would be willing to discuss it.
In the meantime, the road ahead is to continue to share the hope we as Christians have in the good news that sets people free. It’s also to invest in local culture making activities with households and families, encouraging self-control, industry and thick community ties and relationships.
Character always makes the biggest difference no matter the situation. We have to give that gift to the next generation, especially our children.
Mr. Deneen, if you happen to read this, thank you. It’s my first political science book. And I’m indebted to you for expanding my thinking.

(Originally posted a while ago on my recently deleted profile on an undesirable platform.)

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2021 in Book Review

 

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Three Thoughts and Suggestions for Prayer that have come up in conversation recently

Three Thoughts and Suggestions for Prayer that have come up in conversation recently

Yup… surprising, I know, that a pastor would have some thoughts and suggestions around prayer. But, interestingly, in the last few days this topic has come up three different times in conversation. And it is a perennial topic, and now seems to be a good time to talk about it.

First suggestion…

Pray on your knees. I really don’t believe that praying on your knees does anything special from God’s perspective. It’s not like He sees you on your knees, and says… “oh, NOW, I’ll listen to you!”

Praying on our knees does something really good inside of us. It puts our body in a posture of humility. It helps to focus the mind. It helps us to remember what we bring to the equation. It reminds us that He’s the authority, and He may give us something to do as a result.

I believe it’s a great way to start the day. Right after your morning constitution, getting down on your knees and “offering your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord.”

Second suggestion…

Think about what your thinking about. Someone asked me about their struggle when it came to prayer. They would start to pray, and then there mind would begin to wander in all kinds of directions, and it frustrated them, as they wanted to pray.

But, what if that’s the Holy Spirit, guiding your thoughts in that moment. There’s nothing wrong with letting your mind wander during that time of prayer, going to the end of it and then returning to the topic you started with. What if the Holy Spirit is wanting to show you something, or open up your understanding or insight, or share with you his perspective on a situation, or give you something to do in that regard.

Isn’t that what we want in prayer? To have a conversation? To hear God’s voice speaking to us? Often, for me, I end up writing down todo’s, reminders to contact people, or some novel idea while I’m praying.

Last suggestion…

Read these articles. Calvary Chapel had a post a few days ago about what they had learned in praying online over the last year. Check it out. It has some really helpful observations and insights and ideas for times of prayer via technology.

Spur Ottawa had a post about answers to prayer from our local community that was very inspiring.

What do you think? I’d expect if we were having coffee and having this conversation, that it would be a conversation. That you would have some thoughts and suggestions as well.

Like…

Praying through insomnia, instead of cruising the internet, or raiding the fridge…

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Coffee & EverWell Church Website/Insta

Coffee & EverWell Church Website/Insta

If we went for coffee today, here’s what I’d probably want to ask you.

1. What kind of coffee do you like? I’m out at home, need to buy some this evening at the grocery store. Which one should I try next? I like trying new brands, blends, roasts…

2. What do you think of EverWell Church’s website and Instagram look and feel? Here is their website: https://www.everwellchurch.com and their Insta: https://www.instagram.com/everwellchurch/

I like it.

What I like about it is that it looks honest. I think they are portraying who they are, and what to expect. I like that.

What JUMPED out to me was the pictures of the people. What do you think about that? Is it a good thing to do? Kids? Families? Identities? Doxxing?

We are in a new season of ministry at Calvary. Some things have changed. Some have remained the same. Many of us have changed and grown and matured (and even reproduced!). Lots hasn’t changed. We should communicate that honestly through our online presence.

I’m opening my mind to the idea of pictures of people in our online presence. We could do that in the courtyard at Fourth Ave. And, it could be fun! Especially if we did it a couple times a year with the season changes. It would turn into a Jesus-party for sure.

Bonus. Here’s the bonus question. How do we invite people, communicate what’s happening around Calvary, put ourselves out there a bit… without Google or Facebook or Instagram. That’s an interesting question. It’s because I’ve recently deleted WhatsApp, FB, Messenger and Instagram. Google will take a little longer.

What do you think?

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Grief Recovery Handbook, the Grief Recovery Method

Grief Recovery Handbook, the Grief Recovery Method

If we went for a coffee today, we would probably talk about the Grief Recovery Method and the Grief Recovery Handbook.

There are several of us at Calvary that are reading the book together and going through the exercises. My friend Tim has joined our sessions via Zoom to help walk us through and answer questions and so forth. He’s had lots of experience with it.

Last evening, we had an interesting question, because the Grief Recovery Method doesn’t come from a Christian basis, but a science basis, how are we as Christians to interact with it? How much “faith” should we put into the method?

The question was actually a bit more focused. One of the last exercises in the method is to write a letter, and does that even make sense? And, since we are Christians, does the Bible instruct us to do this with our grief?

It’s interesting, the Grief Recovery Method has you start out by examining all the ways that we deal with loss that don’t actually help us long term. And, then the exercises start, where you set aside an hour, and graph the losses you’ve experienced in life, along with how you felt at the time, and even how you feel about it currently. The next exercise is to choose a relationship in your life that has some unfinished communication in it, and graph that relationship, it’s major events, how you felt about them and even how you feel about them now. Next, taking that information, you sort it into categories that require action, like apologies, “forgives,” and significant emotional statements. And, then from that work, you write a letter to that person. The last step is to read that letter out loud to another person. And, it rarely is read to the actual person that it’s written to.

This is the outline of the Grief Recovery Method and it’s helped thousands of people over the last 40+ years who were suffering pain from loss and grief.

So, it’s a good question. As a Christian, with access to the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1), the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer, God’s Word, why would we write a letter?

As we were thinking about that, I realized that the Psalms were an example in many ways of this grief recovery method. Actually, the imprecatory Psalms really illustrate the Grief Recovery Method.

These are the famous psalms were the writer expresses: “Happy is he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rocks.” (Psalm 137:9) This is a letter that expresses feelings from an event where there was loss, addressed to the person that is responsible for the loss, read out loud to a different person. I’ll bet these words were never said or read to the person or entities that are responsible for the loss.

Jesus is also an example. Remember when he was standing on the Mount of Olives at the end of Palm Sunday, the day of the Triumphal Entry? He said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:37‬‬)‬

Here Jesus is expressing his feelings, about an event, where He’s experienced loss, and it’s addressed to the people that are responsible for the loss, yet, it’s the disciples that hear him say it.

So, for me, I realized, this is one of those situations where science has finally caught up with where Christians have been for centuries.

As you continue reading “The Grief Recovery Handbook,” they describe how life should be lived after using this method to complete grief. The illustration they use is like visiting the aquarium where it’s so big that every once in a while one of the sharks or whales or sea creatures comes into view at the window we are looking through. When that happens we describe what we are seeing as it’s happening including how we feel about it. “Whoa! A shark! Look at those teeth! I’m glad I’m behind the glass!” We do that as it happens. Rather than, later on, or years later, we express our feelings in healthy and productive ways in real time.

This reminds me of Ephesians 4, where Paul writes how we as Christians are to be: “speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the Head…” It’s speaking the truth in and from love, in healthy and productive ways, in real time, processing life as it happens, which produces growth in wisdom and in love and in courage.

Again, from my perspective, science is finally catching up with where Christians have been for centuries.

I highly recommend the book.

And, I’m grateful that my friend Tim gave me a copy this past summer.

What do you think? What’s been your experience with processing loss and grief? How have you managed the pain of loss, disappointment, hurt?

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Compost Bins and CryptoAssets

Compost Bins and CryptoAssets

If we went for a coffee today, at some point we would talk about what happened to my compost bin yesterday.

I think it was so cold, -20, that when the men came around to empty it the plastic was so brittle it just shattered when it got knocked or banged. It’s thick plastic, so this is pretty awesome to see.

Compost Bin at -20

The other thing we could chat about is CryptoAssets and Cryptocurrency. I’m beginning to pay closer attention to what’s happening. I have a good friend that bough a Bitcoin back when it was $1500.00. He’s laughing today.

What makes it even more interesting is all that’s going on in the central banking system, quantitative easing and all the moves by Wall Street recently.

It struck me yesterday that the major news media may need to be interpreted as the opposite of what I should do. That was weird.

Have you read Mark Cubans essay on CryptoAssets as a SOV (Store of Value)? It’s here. https://blogmaverick.com/2021/01/31/the-store-of-value-generation-is-kicking-your-ass-and-you-dont-even-know-it/Mark Cubans Blog

What do you think about that? What’s your experience with compost bins and CryptoAssets? Do you have a helpful opinion?

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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And… we’re back…

And… we’re back…

If we went for a coffee today, I’d like to talk about all these changes that are happening to the online world. Several years ago, I ended this blog, and deleted all the content, because it just didn’t seem like it was the best way to put content out to the world.

But…

Over the past few months, it finally dawned on me that Facebook and Instagram and Twitter are all “private property.” I suppose WordPress is also private property, but I’m hoping that it will be a little less intense to deal with if needed.

So… my current thought is to resume using this weblog.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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