Sodom & Gomorrah-pleading for the city

Yesterday in our series “The Difference” we talked about the kind of heart that is necessary for sustained and effective “difference-making”. We did this in part by examine some examples in the Bible of the right kind of heart. One of those examples was Abraham begging God for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). A few people have asked, “wasn’t Abraham pleading for the righteous and not the wicked/ unbelievers?”

Here are a few thoughts on that question:
1. It’s true Abraham does speak of the righteous and not the wicked, however Abraham is using his worldview which says God is just and therefore would not judge righteous people with wicked ones. I believe he is using that premise as a bargaining technique for the whole city, believing if God would spare the city on behalf of His justice towards the righteous.

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Thanksgiving & Gratitude

A quote has been going around the church-based internet sites, it’s credited to Pastor Steven Furtick – it says, “You can’t be grateful for something you feel entitled to.”

Over the years I’ve thought a lot about entitlement, expectations and often tied them to our willingness to serve, be humble etc. But I’d not really thought about entitlement’s connection to thanksgiving and gratitude before. But it really makes sense.

As I think about all of the things that I subtly begin to feel entitled to — health, family, house, church, job, spouse etc etc I realize how that very attitude can hinder my entire ability to be thankful for those things. A few weeks ago I practically lost my voice. My voice is so much a part of what I do and it was scary to think I wouldn’t have it, especially with messages to teach and people to talk with. This past Sunday, my voice was pretty much fully returned and I was walking up and down the office hallway yelling, “I am so excited to have a voice!” Something that I had previously felt entitled to, suddenly became an area of intense gratitude to God!

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A Different way of thinking

We are in the middle of our series: “The Difference” and we’re talking about how we can be intentional about making a difference. However as I thought deeper about it I am wondering if we need to start back a step. We need to begin with how we’re thinking. You see if the church is (in our thinking) a place we go that provides spiritual goods and services for us then the idea of “making a difference” seems out of place. Why would we talk about influencing and impacting others if church is for us? Secondly, if we view faith as a personal thing, meaning I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe than the idea of making a difference could even sound offensive! I mean who are you to try and tell me about what you believe? Keep it to yourself!

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Guest Blogger: TJ Addington–Who is Rich?

TJ Addington has been a friend and coach for me for the last six months or so and I am learning so much from him. I asked if I could share some of his thoughts here at this blog from time to time and so here is the first from our new guest blogger, TJ Addington.
(By the way TJ has written a number of great books: Live Like You Mean It; High Impact Church Boards; Leading from the Sandbox; When Life Comes Undone etc)

Who is Rich?

There is a lot of discussion among politicians about the rich today. Of course no one seems to know how to define who is rich and who is not. Usually those who have more than us are rich and we are not. And there is always someone who has more. As I suggested in yesterday’s blog, in a consumer society we start to believe the messages we are constantly bombarded with that wealth is the secret to satisfaction and happiness. I actually agree that wealth is a secret to happiness – it is all in the definition of wealth.

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The Story: Church

Our series entitled “The Story” went through the entire Bible in 8 weeks. One of those weeks (chapter 7) was called: Mosaic and covered the books of Acts-Jude. The main subject was “the church” and it’s the time of the story that we are all in right now.

I loved that message because this is my heart, it’s why I do what I do. I got into church work out of the simple passion of seeing God’s dream for the church become the reality. While I’ve seen glimpses of it through my time in church, I had yet to see it fully and gloriously lived out. This is what I work hard for — I believe it is possible (otherwise, why would God call us to it if we couldn’t get there?). A few of the characteristics and comments made about the church are:

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