Archives For June 2015

The internet is ablaze with news on the court’s decision that allows same sex couples to wed. In the midst of the discussion about what happened and how it affects Christians and churches, there are some things you can’t control. There are some things you can. If you are a Christian, there are five things you can do:

  1. You can have a great marriage.

It is certainly harder to make a case for the sanctity of marriage by a Christian church that has similar percentages of divorce than unbelievers. Love your spouse. Show the world that the biblical model works, it’s a blessing and can help you grow in faith. Pray with and for your family. Restore the family altar. Instead of interminably reposting articles, spend some of that time loving your spouse and praying for you kids. Not many people changed their minds because of an article they read. Many did because of a relationship they had and an example they admired.

  1. You can trust God.

You can disagree with the court. That is your right. You can express your concern. That is your privilege. Just don’t forget God was not surprised nor is he rendered powerless by a court’s decision. You can still trust God to work out whatever He chooses, however He chooses.

  1. You can be kind.

I perfectly understand the preoccupation that arises when what was, is no longer. I just pray we are kind. You can be principled and patient, courageous and kind, clear and loving. Remember that everyone is in need of grace, including yourself.

  1. You can remain calm.

One of the unfortunate consequences that happen during highly controversial times is the jumping to conclusions based on fear and speculation instead of facts. No one is coming to padlock your church doors this weekend. No one is forcing our pastors to marry same sex couples. Argentina and Canada allow it and our churches there still share the word every Sabbath. That is not to say we should be silent or oblivious. We should practice what divers do when in a difficult situation: remain calm and work it out.

  1. You can continue to share the gospel.

A thought for my Adventist friends. The power of the gospel is incredibly more effective than any political strategy. If we believe that the gospel is not just the verbal assent to a doctrine but that it results in changed lives, wouldn’t it make sense to getting as many people as we can exposed to it as fast as we can?

Let’s pray that our mission is not detoured by the fixation on a decision. Share the gospel. Love your family. Live for Jesus.

 

I’m on the road quite a bit. This summer for example, I will be sleeping in my bed 8 days. Total. If you travel, here are four tips I learned along the way that will benefit you.

  1. Join frequent programs.

Early on in my life I always looked for the cheapest option. That is not always the best route. When you join frequent flyer/hotel/car programs you get perks only reserved for members that make travel easier. Give you an example or two. I was traveling with my family for a speaking appointment. Weather affected our plans significant. Instead of waiting in line to rebook for two hours, I walked right to the delta counter for sky priority and fixed our travel plans very quickly. It does not take many trips to earn rewards. The way I see it, the benefits of frequent programs help you in the following ways:

Free upgrades. You did not pay a lot, but received a lot. That sounds like grace to me.

Options. Options are always good.

Easier to change when plans change.

Traveling is not glamourous. It’s tiring actually. Any advantage you can get to make that experience a bit better is great. At the end of the day, you end up saving the church money (or yourself) when you travel.

  1. Use lesser known travel insights to help you.

Here is an example of what I mean. I needed to travel from Huntsville to Atlanta, one way. A ticket was over $400. If I bought a ticket to Charlotte that stops in Atlanta, it was less than half. The best website for that is https://skiplagged.com/ Why that happens, I have no idea, but it does. You can’t have checked baggage is the only drawback.

  1. Be connected for great deals. (Especially overseas)

I follow Airfare Watchdog. They scour the internet for super great deals. I can find tickets to Africa for $700, to Europe for $500 and many stateside trips for dirt cheap, for example Carolina to Orlando for $79 RT is a recent example. Here is their twitter handle: https://twitter.com/airfarewatchdog If your plans are flexible and you are on a budget, they are the perfect resource.  Be alerted that Southwest is not on travel search engines, so search directly on their site. www.southwest.com They also have some good deals often.

  1. Insist on making your own travel arrangements or having them follow a specific itinerary.

I have learned the hard way that when people invite you to speak, they don’t always understand or care about the impact it has on you physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. I have been flown with two layovers, leaving my house at 4am and arriving 12 hours later, to then speak 5 times and flown back with a similar schedule. This is not about being a prima donna. It’s about basic decency. When I invite I ask the guest what airline and hotel they prefer. I get to invite them again. Here are two articles with a downloadable guest form you can fill out when invited.

http://leadsu.org/2014/04/21/348/

For me, at the end of the day, it’s about being a good steward of God’s resources. Any other recommendations? Let me know in comment section.

I know you’re thinking “boy, I wish someone would write one more article on Women’s Ordination”. Well, your wish is my command. I have prayed about this for a while now, and I have decided to take a particular course of action the moment the vote is taken:

  1. I plan to pray for my church. (its God’s church, really)

This church was His before I was here, and it will be His after I am just a mention in an old yearbook. I wonder how many times we have prayed for the church. Not for others to agree with us. Not for others to change. Not for others to comply, or else. To truly pray, wishing the best on the whole body, not just the people I agree with is not just commendable, it’s a command! I will pray.

  1. I plan to finish the year with evangelism.

Atlanta is my focus in the last semester of this year. We are planning to minister to three thousand people in one day with a health fair, and follow that up with twenty five simultaneous evangelistic meetings that will conclude with a city wide three day reaping meeting.  We are praying for 500 new believers to come into the church this year as a result. While I hold strong views in support of women in ministry, an even strongly held value is lost people and their need for a savior. I won’t allow a controversy to determine the quality of the effort in reaching those God misses the most.

  1. I plan to love people I disagree with. Some from a distance.

This is not always easy. I don’t spend time arguing on Facebook and will swiftly unfriend and block aggressive saints that are not only willing to die for the truth, they are willing to kill for it. That does not mean I don’t love them. I agree with Jon Accuff that sometimes the best gift you can give an attacker is distance. Loving means not calling them names, questioning motives or demonizing people. Loving mean giving those on the opposite side the same grace I’ve experienced in my own life.

Won’t you join me in praying, working and loving?