Monday, January 29, 2007

lookers, helpers and owners

churches are full of all different kinds of people, but i have found that most people fall into one of three categories: lookers, helpers, or owners. let me explain...

lookers are people that are seeking. they are looking for a place to belong. they are looking for friends. they are looking for meaning. they are looking for answers. they come to check things out and see if its worth it to keep coming back. lookers can stay lookers for a long time. months or even years. you can get to know them and they can get to know you. they join in. they come to events. they can even turn into regular attenders. but make no mistake, they are still lookers. they give a little money, a little time, a little effort. they show interest. sometimes, they even tease you into believing they are more then just lookers. but when all is said and done, they are still lookers. they can be members. they call the church their church. they might even bring more lookers with them. but they are still lookers.

a second group of people are helpers. they are much more involved than lookers. these people can be counted on to assist. they don't mind being asked to do things and are usually more than willing to help out. they are busy people. they have jobs and families and hobbies and homes and neighbors and vacations and associations and investments. they are busy people. they have to work hard to schedule "church time", but they do it. they are people who will gladly give you their name and number and encourage you to give them a call when you have a need. they are friendly and helpful and will work hard to fit additional tasks into their busy schedules. the greater the need, the more willing these folks are to help. honestly, we couldn't do the things we do without helpers. they are usually the largest group in a healthy church.

owners are foundation of the church. they are the people who start things and finish them. they are the people who don't need to be asked to do things. they are already doing them. owners are always thinking about their jobs. always planning. always strategizing. always wrestling with new ways to do the important things they are responsible for. owners are always there. owners are responsible...even when they are not there. they make sure the job gets done. they don't call people at the last moment to fill in. you seldom have to call them because they already know what they should be doing. they are the people the helpers call. they give their own money to see tasks completed. they use their own stuff. their own homes are extensions of their church jobs. they make personal decisions in light of their ministries. they seldom get sick. they arrive early. they stay late. they make the biggest messes, but stay to clean up. they always have your back. they will climb the mountains with you. they will face the enemy with you. they are your team...your family...your brothers...your deepest friends.

are you a looker...a helper...or an owner? maybe it's time to get with the program...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Family responsibilities

groups of people who have a common goal share an incredibly important characteristic. whether its a family or an army or an athletic team or a music doesn't matter. they are all the same when it comes to meeting the goal. everybody has a role and if they don't do their part, the group will, cannot...function properly. it is no different in the church, the body of christ.

the apostle paul says in his letter to the christians in corinth:

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Romans 12:3-6

if you are part of the church family, you have a job to do. one that god has gifted you to do. one that you are needed to do. one that has to get done...and if you don't do it, it is going to require someone else to do "double duty" to make sure that its covered.

come on. that's the way it works in the army. that's the way it works on a football team. that's the way it works in the office. that's the way it works in your family. why would it be any different in the church? why?

maybe it's time for you to get busy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

So what

bad week last week. i really hate being sick. sinus congestion kept me from wearing my glasses for longer than ten minutes at a time. couldn't focus. couldn't read. couldn't write. doesn't make for a great week of study and preparation! it's good to be past all of that.

i was reading a review of a recent television show this morning and it made me think about our reputation as christians. the media, more often than not, paints a pretty crummy picture of christ's followers. whether it's a character in a drama or a participant in a reality series or a report of someone in the news, the person is usually a narrow-minded, ultra-conservative, uneducated fanatic. i suppose it bothers me, but it got me to wondering whether we have any right to expect otherwise.

i heard about a new church that said within their first seven years, they wanted to do something regularly in the community that would be missed if they ever stopped doing it. what a great goal! it makes me think about north point.

would we be missed in our community if we decided to fold up shop? the brutal answer is no. i'm sure we would be missed by our members. but the way. so here's the challenge:

i'm not saying we're a bad church. far from that. we are strong and resilient. we are good people who work hard and serve well. we care about each other. we worship. we give. we are committed to truth and believe that jesus is the way. what i am saying is that in order to be the kind of people we are truly called to be, we have to take all of that "good" and give it away to those who don't know us and don't understand us and aren't one of us.

it's astounding to me that sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors and disillusioned and forgotten people were drawn to jesus. when he was gone, i'm sure he was missed. when the disciples dispersed, i'm sure they were missed. we're not going anywhere. i want to know we would be missed, tho.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

American idol

ok, i'm going to admit it. i'm sitting here with wanda watching the season opener of american idol. yup. me. watching american idol. what are these people thinking?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


went out shopping this afternoon to buy some things before the world ends due to ice over the next couple of days. while walking the aisles of my least favorite favorite store, i ran into three different people who have left north point over the years.

i really wish them all well. really. i don't know the whole story of why they chose to move on. i never will. but i wish them well.

i wonder why people choose the churches they do? big church. lots of people. small church. everybody knows your name. music of today. music from my childhood. cool facilities. lots of options. clear focus. good people. good programs. opportunities to serve. they need me. they want me. they don't need me. they still want me. the preacher is awesome. the preacher tries real hard. great leadership. incredible vision. people who are like me. people who are really different than me. they're authentic. they're real. they're friendly. i don't have to waste a lot of gas driving to the building. they don't make me feel guilty. they motivate me to be better than i was yesterday. it's casual. it's formal. they act like a real church. they don't act like a church.

ok, i made my own head spin...

i love it when people choose to come to north point. i hate it when people choose to leave. every time. but when they do, i wish them well.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The power of play

it is amazing to me what happens to a group of people when they decide to just have some fun. shortcomings are overlooked. mistakes are poked at, but then laughter takes over. problems are forgotten. people who have different jobs and likes and dislikes and worries and fears lay them down for a while, and all is well with the world...even if it's just for a few moments. and god is pleased.

we don't play enough. we are so serious in our relationships. our memories are long and we get robbed of the moment. forgiveness and compassion and understanding and grace and spontaneity and wonder are sometimes really foreign ideas that have no place in our day to day. we don't like what people do. we don't like what people do to us and ours. honestly, if we would just play more, life would be a lot better.

there is a time and place for serious and grave and important and solemn and somber and stern and crucial and critical. but like king solomon said, "...there's a time for everything." there is a balance in life that is to be lived. there is also a time time for play and fun and whimsy and sport and laughter.

find your balance today. god wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, January 08, 2007


i ate waffles tonight while watching the big game. waffles could be the perfect food. piping hot. slightly crunchy. it's important that the waffles be made on an older waffle iron. the one we make ours with is over 30 years old. lots of character. i'm convinced that a little bit of each previous waffle we've ever made is deeply embedded into the fabric of the iron. every new waffle is related. talk about history.

the obvious perfection of the waffle is found in the dozens of little caverns for melted butter and hot syrup. those delectable pockets of taste sensation are what set the waffle apart. no "belgian" waffles. those are for strawberry eating sissies.

sometimes, tho not tonight, a layer of crunchy peanut butter serves as an amazing foundation to build on. hearty. protein-laced enjoyment. no creamy peanut butter...crunchy only. i learned about waffles and peanut butter from a good friend of mine about 25 years ago. thank you, friend. the only problem with using peanut butter is that it limits the amount of waffles you can eat in one sitting. life is full of compromises.

it is important to double syrup the waffle. the first coating of syrup needs to be put on and allowed to fully saturate the waffle. if time permits, a quick trip to the microwave before you put the second layer of syrup on is always a good thing. it is important to put syrup along the edges and down the center of the waffle. full diffusion of syrup is the key to true waffle bliss.

your face and hands are usually sticky after a truly good waffle moment. this is a small price to pay for the enjoyment received during the eating of a waffle. just thought you'd like to know.

Friday, January 05, 2007


i am going to write about pain today. even though i am totally unworthy to write on the subject, i am going to anyway. our world is full of people who live in excruciating pain everyday... unspeakable illness or loss that is beyond words. hurt that has no apparent explanation. physical agony that is unrelenting or emotional damage that never lets up.

i am no expert, but i am acquainted. it's from a "front row seat" that feel like i am writing today. i have had loss. my psyche has been scarred. my heart has been wounded. my body aches most days. my confidence has been shaken. yet, what i have experienced is nothing compared to others. not even close. nevertheless...

pain is powerful. we can repress it. we can suppress it. we can try to ignore it. we run from it. we are confused by it. it causes tunnel vision. it creates overreaction. it can make us do things we would never do under normal circumstances.

pain draws us into isolation. it makes us put up walls and run from help. it turns us into martyrs. it can make us jealous or angry or afraid or lonely or confused or depressed. pain is nasty and has no favorites. pain is mean and heartless and random and doesn't care who hurts.

pain causes us to blow things out of proportion. it has a long memory or it can cause us to forget things that are most important. it controls our emotions and influences our decisions. it can make us misinterpret motives and forget who our friends are. it robs us of joy and sucks away time and attention. it makes us long for a better place or a better time or a better set of circumstances. pain makes it look really "greener" somewhere else.

are you in pain? my best advice is to be honest about your pain and tell someone about it. don't run from it, but give someone a chance to share your pain with you. get perspective. widen your vision.

three tylenol and ice packs are good also...