Breaking the Huddle

huddle

This morning I heard Anthony Evans (Dr. Tony Evans’ son) being interviewed on the Catalyst Leadership Podcast and he told of something his dad taught him. His dad said, “Anthony, you don’t go to a football game to watch a huddle you go to see the difference the huddle makes.” At that point my mind began to race with thoughts. I’m not sure what he said after that but you can go iTunes and search for Catalyst Podcast and listen to the August 8th podcast. Here is what the Spirit began to teach me.

  • That is what Christians do when they worship together – So huddle.
  • That is what a Sunday School class does – So huddle.
  • That is what the purpose of a LIFEgroup is – So huddle.
  • That is what a small group is – So huddle.
  • That is what a youth trip is – So huddle.
  • That is what a bible study is – So huddle.
  • That is what a restoration team is – So huddle.
  • That is what a Christian concert or conference is – So huddle.
  • That is what a prayer group is – So huddle.
  • Christians must come together – So huddle.

BREAK THE HUDDLE

Run the play

Live the Life

Let Christ Be Your Life

Most Christians spend their life in a huddle and never run the play.

Be Disciples

Make Disciples

Unlearn It

unlearn

Some things are so much a part of us that we struggle to unlearn it. The way in which we are raised puts patterns in our life so deep that we might never consider their impact if continued. It is not necessarily bad things, just not the best way to live life. This past week I became very concerned about the state of Christianity in America and the authority of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and the Word of God. To live under the authority of Jesus seems foreign to our church culture at times. The great commission, (Matthew 28:18-20), is clear that Jesus has “authority in heaven and on earth”. He instructs us to “go make disciples”. This is a non-negotable. That is where my concern is, “making disciples”. To make a disciple is to reach them with Jesus, baptize them and teach “them to obey everything” Jesus commanded. How many of us are doing that? How many are spending intentional time investing in the life of another by reaching, baptizing and teaching them to obey all of Jesus’ commands. My fear is that we are teaching an American church culture instead of all that Jesus commanded. If we don’t sit down and open the Word of God and bring everything in life under His authority we will have troubles that are tied to our fleshly desires. I encourage you to unlearn what is not right. The areas of your life that are not under the authority of Jesus – unlearn what you are doing. Unlearn how you are living. You will only succeed at unlearning it when you learn what Jesus said and make the needed adjustments without conversation. Just do it. Today, I encourage you to bring everything in your life under Jesus’ authority. Bring your singleness, marriage, parenting, finances, works, entertainment, etc. under the authority of Jesus. Your flesh is going to push against these adjustments, but the price is too high for us to live life with a mixture of what we want and what Jesus commands.

Easter Attenders Are Not Bad People, Lesson 14, 50@50

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Lesson 14

Easter attenders are not bad people.

I guess I have been to church most Easter Sunday’s in my life. I remember the trips to downtown Tuscaloosa to get Easter clothes (there were no malls). I have often heard Christians talk about people that only go to church on Easter and usually it is in a negative way. At some point in my life I am sure I joined in on the judgmental conversation and for that I ask forgiveness. Some regular church attenders will say, “If they are not going to come the rest of the year why do they come on Easter.” I have also heard those that have decided they will not even attend on Easter say, “If I’m not going to go the rest of the year, I’m not going to be hypocritical and go only on Easter.” I think both are wrong in their judgment. Here is what I have learn in watching Easter attendance swell in the church.

  1. Most people really believe their is a God.
  2. Most people really believe Christ Jesus was an actual person who walked on earth, died on the cross for the sin of humanity and rose from the grave 3 days later.
  3. Most people really believe they should worship Jesus Christ.
  4. Most people know what church they would attend.
  5. Most people know that church should be part of their life and family.
  6. Many people will be in church for Easter that feel real uncomfortable.

So, for all you regular church attender. Have grace, mercy and love ready in your heart as they come to your church this Easter. If you show them the love of Christ, who knows, they might come back before next Easter.

You are welcome at Harvest Church even if you will not be back until next year.

 

Pick Your Crosses – 50 Lessons In 50 Years – #3

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The first pastor I served under was a gentlemen by the name of Brannon Pinion, better known as Brother Pinion. He is probably the reason many people call me Brother Dan. He gave me a couple of lessons that have stuck with me for over 25. We were talking about some issue of which I do not remember and he said,

“You can’t die on every cross so make sure you pick your crosses.”

Here is the lesson. Everything is not worth dying for. Everything is not worth fighting for. You do not have to win every battle. Now, if you know me, you know I am very competitive. I do not like to lose, so this has helped me greatly over the years when I remembered to uses this bit of wisdom.

Think about these few situations.

Have you had an argument with your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend over something that really did not matter? Then it escalates because of the tone of voice one of you takes with the other. Then you begin to argue about or get your feelings hurt about what is not the original discussion but how the original discussion was handled.

Is every battle you fight with your children really necessary? Is it worth a fight to get them to eat all their food? Is it critical that they clean their room every day?

The examples could go on and on. Here are some example of people dying on the wrong cross.

  • Lance Armstrong dying on the cross that he did not dope. 
  • Bill Clinton dying on the cross that he did not have sex with that woman.
  • Barry Bonds dying on the cross that he did not take banned substances.

Here are examples of crosses worth dying on.

  • A husband dying on the cross for his wife. 
  • A parent dying on the cross of being the spiritual leader of his home.
  • A friend dying on the cross that they will not reject their friend because they are not perfect.
  • A parent dying on the cross that church is important and the family will attend.
  • A person dying on the cross that their finances will be under the authority of God.
  • A believer dying to self so that Christ can live through them.

What crosses are you dying on?

PICK YOUR CROSSES

Lesson #1 – Jesus Is A Big Deal

Lesson #2 – Hold Your Rabbit

Create a New Normal

 

normalIt is amazing how quickly we can “go back to normal”. Our nation has seen so many devastating events over the last 50 years. It began with the assassination of John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. We have seen Vietnam, Desert Storm, the current war in the Middle East and man more conflicts around the globe. We have seen millions of babies aborted, children abused and teen suicides. We have seen addiction destroy lives and homes. We have seen divorce continue to escalate. Substance abuse continues to plague so many. 9/11 was the first attack by another people group on the United States within our own boarders. There are so many other events that could be mentioned like Waco, Oklahoma City, Columbine, Virginia Tech and more. We commit to change after these events, then we go “back to normal”.

The moment of the event, the hours that follow, the first days of trying to grasp what has happened we pray and seek others to pray – everyone to pray. We begin to have a discourse about God in the public square. Churches fill with people seek God, answers, comfort and more. Then over time we forget. We go back to life as it used to be. We quit praying, talking about God, filling our church, and seeking spiritual direction.

God created us and warned those who went before us and also warns us.

Deuteronomy 4:9–10 (ESV)

 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’ 

 I think we need to create a new normal.

One Is The Best Number You Will Ever Know

 

oneThree Dog Night had the hit One, that was originally written and and recorded by Harry Nilsson. Three Dog Night was the third to record the song and covered it in 1969 and watched it rise to the top 5 on the Billboard chart and #24 for 1969 Top 100. When you read the lyrics there is not much to the song but I bet you hear it in your head right now. You probably thought the name of the song was One Is The Loneliest Number because that line is repeated numerous times.

One is not the loneliest number. Two or twenty or two hundred or two thousand are the loneliest numbers. Any number other than One is the loneliest number. Think of it.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

(Gen 2:24,ESV)

One is what make two stop being lonely.

What about this.

For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 

Romans 12:4-5

The Body of Christ is one. We are one with our faith family. We should never be lonely in the body of Christ.

The problem is that in many marriages we see the desire to be two instead of one. In the Body of Christ we often see the desire to be many instead of one. Today, reject loneliness and enjoy your oneness with the Body of Christ and your spouse (if applicable).

 

Binding is Critical

Book Binding

I love a good book. The one thing that can make a good book frustrating is bad binding. I want a book to just lay in my hand freely, especially my bible. The key to how a book handles is the binding. I read this morning a little about binding and its importance. You might think it boring but listen to this explanation.

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 

Colossians 3:14, ESV

That is why our life seems to be coming apart at the seams at times. We have got to put on love above, meaning it is more powerful, not just before. Love is not an equal to anything, it is above everything. Love is above compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and a host of other godly characteristics. “Love binds everything together in perfect harmony”. Love is what will make it complete. The thought here is that it is complete not in the process of completion.

Love is the binding that holds our days together, our families together, our friendships together, our churches together, our spiritual lives together. Without love everything become work, exhausting work. As a friend of mine would put it, “Love On Man, Love On!”

love on

A Needed Prayer – Will You Pray It?

I ask you to read this prayer and if you agree, pray this prayer.

“Holy Spirit we need YOU to invade our lives. Not buildings but in the lives of your children. Into the hearts of dads and moms, sons and daughters, grand moms and grand dads, employers and employees, singles and married. Into faith families across our land. We need YOU to draw us with YOUR strong strength. We need YOU to soften that which we have allowed to become hardened. We need hearts to be healed. Marriages to be strengthened. Bondages to be broken. We need YOU to teach us. We need YOU to help us remember whose we are. We need YOU to magnify Christ through every song we sing, every prayer we pray, ever word that is spoken, every opportunity to participate with you. We need freedom. We need YOUR Word to EXPLODE from the pages of our Bibles into the core of our being. We need to remove everything that hinders. We need YOU to break down every barrier that we have allowed to be raised between YOU and us. Break down those barriers that we have constructed and those we have allowed others to construct. We need honesty, transparency and healing. We do not desire to just do life, family or church. We desire YOUR life, godly families and obedient faith families. We desire to be YOUR church, YOUR body, bringing YOU glory, praise and honor. Please accept our weak offering and use it. Right now please begin to draw us with YOUR strong strength. May this time be YOURS. I come to YOU as YOUR child, not in ignorance but in simplicity. I love YOU. In Jesus name and under His blood. Amen.”

 

Church – Why We Have A Problem

Yesterday, I posted Church, We Have A Problem and I think most who read it agreed. This morning in our Bible Study on Colossians we came across this verse.

“and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.”(Col. 2:19)

This follows a section of scripture about those who want to make you fit some kind of Christian mold. Looking spiritual has captured the heart of the Church while connection to the head has been sacrificed. People will show up in churches all across American this Sunday and will not have spent any time in God’s Word throughout the week. They look spiritual but they are not connecting to the head. It is connection to Christ that produces growth and fruit. Our job is connection and God’s job is producing growth and fruit. Quit playing games at the foot of the cross and connect to Christ and quit trying to look Christian. More people are connected to a set of values (moralist) than are connected to Christ (salvation).

True spirituality does not come by compliance to laws/rules but by connection with life – Christ.

Church, We Have A Problem

The line, “Houston, we have a problem!” Will forever be remember.

Swigert and then Lovell (almost) used the phrase to report a major technical fault in the electrical system of one of the Service Module’s oxygen tanks:

Swigert: ‘Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.’
Houston: ‘This is Houston. Say again please.’
Lovell: ‘Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a main B bus undervolt.’1

Dan: “Okay, Church, we have a problem here.”

Church: “This is Church, Say again please.”

Dan: “Church, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a mistaken identity”

The election is over and some are excited Obama won and others are worried because Obama won. The problems that address us this morning are not political in nature but have been brought to light through the political process. Twenty-percent of American now professes no religious affiliation. Christians are divided over social issues. Many Republican Christians say you can’t be Democrat and Christian. Democrat Christians say Republican Christians are insensitive toward the hurting in America. Democrats are intolerant of Republicans and Republicans are intolerant of Democrats. No one can really doubt that American has some major issues that must be addressed. The economy is bad, unemployment is up, abortion is still rampant, teen sex, pregnancy, and suicide are up, injustice happens, our country is divided and hurting. Here is the problem that must be addressed. This is where you and I can help by addressing the problem before us.

The church can no longer blame the politicians for not doing their job. The church can no longer think that going to church is your mandate. Republicans nor Democrats have the answers for the woes of America or the church. The church does have the answer, but she usually cowers instead of rises. She sleeps instead of fights. She is passive instead of progressive. She is silent, divided and weak. She is struggling, hurting and confused. The church is scared. The church has a mistaken identity.

We have a major problem. It appears the Church has amnesia, she does not know her identity. The Church must realize who she is and whose she is. She must realize the source of her strength, the bounty of her beauty, the power in her passion, the healing in her hands, the forwardness of her feet. She must realize the salvation in her Savior. She must realize the wisdom in her head – Christ Jesus, Lord of Lord and King of Kings. She, the Church, is the Body of Christ. She is radiant and does not reveal it. She has beauty beyond measure but hides it behind hate, blame and excuses.

The church needs to rise to the challenges that face us. We need to step out of our pew on Sunday and into our places on Monday with Christ centered passion in our heart. We need wake from our sleep and fight the good fight. We must obey with radical obedience what Christ called us to be, what the Word instructs us to do, and how the Spirit reminds us to walk. We must die to self and rise with Christ.

Obama is not our enemy nor our savior. Also, Romney is not the enemy or the savior. Our deliverer will be Jesus Christ the Son of God and no other. We must quit looking to men to solve the issues in our lives and turn our eyes upon Jesus (a song just broke out in my head, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).

The church might look like young David, but she is deadly accurate when she is prepared for battle. Let us fight the good fight of the faith (not politics). Let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us unite. Let us awake. Let us stand and pursue our enemy. Let us put on our armor and not withdraw. We cannot afford to be casual, careless, or calloused. We must demonstrate our strength, passion, beauty, resolve, faithfulness, and more in the pursuit of godliness and live in the righteousness that is ours in Christ.

Satan is our enemy so quit blaming it on men, political parties, and people who you disagree with.

Do you part. Be who you are suppose to be. Do what you are suppose to do. Obey as Christ is your Master. There are not excuses for dirty boots and wrinkled uniforms. Quit letting Satan mislead you with lies, weakening you through suffering, confusing you through pride and discouraging you through accusation.

You have the Word of God, The Grace of God, The Spirit of God and The Son of God, so live like it.