Sep 28 2011

What if “Making Disciples” Looked More Like This?

by Doug Wolter

This is Discipling from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

(HT: Brent Thomas)

Sep 26 2011

When God Calls You to Wait

by Doug Wolter

Paul Tripp with some wise words on God’s will in your time of waiting (whew … lots of “w’s”):

In ministry there are often moments when you are propelled by a biblical vision but called by God to wait. Waiting can be discouraging and hard. So what does it look like to wait in a way that makes you a participant in what God is doing rather than someone who struggles against the wait? Let me suggest several things.

Read the rest …

Sep 14 2011

Moses’s Excuses and God’s Responses

by Doug Wolter

Justin Taylor has a helpful breakdown of Moses’s unsuccessful attempt to persuade God not to send him as a deliverer of Israel from Egypt and Pharaoh, and Jared Wilson makes some brief applications for us today. Good follow-up from yesterday’s post on our passivity and God’s calling.

Sep 13 2011

God Never Makes a False Assignment

by Doug Wolter

Paul Tripp on passivity and God’s calling:

God knows that in ourselves we are not up to the tasks he calls us to, but he never makes a false assignment. When he sends us we are sent as instruments in his almighty hands. He is the one who creates the change. He is the great Restorer. He never calls us to what we cannot accomplish in him, but he always calls us to what we could never accomplish without him.

Read the whole thing …

Feb 8 2011

Still Living in Kindergarten?

by Doug Wolter

Some of us are still “living in kindergarten” because we’re were afraid to move into the unknown! Maybe this video will give us a gentle kick to move out in faith!

Jan 1 2011

A Good Conversation for Couples in the New Year

by Doug Wolter

Couples, I encourage you to block off some time together this weekend to reflect on this past year and talk, pray and dream about the coming year.  My wife and I spent some time last night going through these series of questions below – written by Justin Buzzard.  It was a sweet time together and it helped us feel united and focused on the year ahead.

Remembering 2010

What one word best sums up and describes your 2010 experience?
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2010?
What was the most loving service you performed in 2010?
What are you most happy about completing in 2010?
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2010?

Looking Forward to 2011

What advice would you like to give yourself in 2011?
What are you looking forward to learning in 2011?
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2011?
Who or what are you most committed to loving and serving in 2011?
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2011?

Read Buzzard’s entire post here …

Nov 22 2010

Every Visionary Leader Should Read This

by Doug Wolter

Will Mancini shares 4 kinds of subtle idolatry that seeps into the hearts of visionary leaders – convicting to say the least.

#1 Hardness: Loving the Vision More than the People the Vision Serves

On my first interview while still in seminary, an experienced senior pastor put a pie chart in front of me with three slices. The slices were marked “people,” “tasks,” and “ideas.” His question is simple, “Which one of these do you like the most?” As a budding pastor, my response was quick and confident- “people first, and then tasks.”

But some people are wired to love ideas. In fact, today, I would answer the question differently with “idea” at the top of the list. Many strategically minded leaders forge a ministry identity out of a love for people. But with success and growth they learn to leverage their skills with ideas and tasks. The problem is when this naturally ability trumps the essential motive of love and model of deep connection with others. Any vision you have is an idea. Therefore gifted visionaries can idolize the vision idea itself, either above the God who gave the vision or above the people the vision serves.

The great commandment is to love God and others, not to love the ideas that God gives you.

#2 Impatience: Wanting God’s Vision on Your Timetable

A God-given vision can be beautiful in an intoxicating sort of way.  When a leader experiences it and knows it’s from God, it can pulsate through your veins with a Spirit-inspired adrenaline rush. As soon as this happens, it opens the door for a form of indulgence- a holy sort of instant gratification, that in the end, isn’t holy at all.

#3 Entitlement: Using God’s Vision as a Cover for Personal Gain

We never  start out in ministry with this temptation or thinking that we will ever face it. But as a ministry grows, a subtle and unperceivable, mindset forms. Entitlement happens when the leader expects and demands certain benefits and “rights” as a leader. In essence, this form of pride layers over time with each “win” in the ministry. The leader looses the instrumental identity and assumes a cause-and-effect identity with them as the ultimate cause and not God.

#4 Buzz: Allowing the Success of the Vision to Provide Emotional Sustenance

This final idolatry is nothing different than enjoying the process addictions (shopping, gossiping,  pornography, etc) or chemical addictions that provide a high that you can’t live without. Being a part of a ministry that’s growing is a thrill ride with a lot of emotional benefits. This blessing  can easily replace the gospel as the centering driving force and  power center of our days. The emotional fruit of success becomes the functional savior.

(HT: Mark Peterson)

Aug 30 2010

Family Values

by Doug Wolter

4 New Testament (Church) Family Values:

  1. We share our stuff with one another.
  2. We share our hearts with one another.
  3. We stay, embrace the pain, and grow up with one another.
  4. Family is about more than me, the wife, and the kids.

~ Joseph Hellerman, When the Church Was a Family, (pg. 145).

Aug 8 2010

The Parable of the Sea

by Doug Wolter

Sea Parable from ilovepinatas on Vimeo.

I was intrigued by this video.  I think it captures the reality that as churches get bigger they have a tendency to become comfortable.  They can get sidetracked and forget why they started in the first place.  It reminded me of the tagline of my blog.  Life Together  — SO THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.  Our community is not for community’s sake.  It’s for mission.  I borrowed the phrase (so others may live) from the coastguard rescue swimmers.  What a fitting picture for those of us who have been rescued by Christ and sent out like Christ to seek and to save that which was lost. 

(HT: Church of the Cross)

Jul 7 2010

The Sweet Spot

by Doug Wolter

Brent Thomas:

[Our] Community Groups are made up of three spheres, “Communion,” “Community” and “Mission.” We first saw this diagram in Hugh Halter and Matt Smay’s book The Tangible Kingdom, and it made a lot of sense to us. Halter and Smay define “communion” as our connection with God; worship, both personal and corporate. Community is life together and mission is being focused outward, on others. Our Community Groups aim to be the intersection of all three, the “sweet spot.” It is when all three of these spheres intersect, that Halter and Smay say the kingdom becomes “tangible” for people. 

Community Groups are meant to be a context in which we can aim for the intersection of each sphere, where communion, community and mission so inform our lives that the kingdom becomes tangible. This means that they are not just small-group bible studies. They are that, but they are more. They are not just social gatherings. They are that, but they are more. They are not just service projects. They are that, but they are more. Community Groups at Church of the Cross are small families of learning, serving missionaries where we learn to live everyday life with Gospel intentionality.