Duke Student Refuses to Read Graphic Memoir by LGBTQ Author

Christianity isn't about being prudent,-2

Freshman year can be awkward enough, but Brian Grasso wasn’t afraid of awkward.

The summer reading list came out for Duke students months ago. It was an optional reading list designed to create a common experience between the over 1,750 incoming freshmen. “Fun Home” was on the list. Amazon explains this book as a “groundbreaking, bestselling graphic memoir.” The author tells her story of her journey as a lesbian through the pain of her past while coming to terms with her father’s gay lifestyle.

Brian explains that the book includes cartoon drawings of a woman masturbating and multiple women engaging in oral sex.

He knew attending Duke would require him to read things that were against his theological or moral stance. He said, “I’m not opposed to reading memoirs written by LGBTQ individuals or stories containing suicide. I’m not even opposed to reading Freud, Marx or Darwin. I know that I’ll have to grapple with ideas I don’t agree with, even ideas that I find immoral.”

However, he chose not to read the book and publically speak out against it in the Washington Post, and on his class’s Facebook page. Jeffery Wubbenhorst took the same stand and made it public in the Duke Chronicle. Their reason for opposing the read was biblical. Brian simply believed that “viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex.”

Taking a stand for what we believe can make us feel prudent at times. God was clear that we are not to have “even a hint of sexual immorality.” This command wasn’t optional, and there was no following verse that said, “…But if a school suggests you to read it…”.

We are called to complete purity regardless of cultural pressure.

Brian is not drawing a fundamentalist line here. Rather, he is living out his freedom in Christ. In the Bible, the Apostle Paul explained that we are allowed to do things (or even suggested to do things) by our culture that are not always helpful for us.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12

Our freedom is in Christ. If we give into everything that we could indulge in, we would quite literally be choosing to be controlled or dominated by something other than Christ.

I think every human knows the power of hormonal and sexual drives; we are prone to porn, we love lust, and have fun with fantasy.

“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:13

Paul makes the point that just because our stomachs can handle food or our body long for pleasure doesn’t mean that we indulge. Rather, we avoid certain things because we know we will be controlled by our flesh if we give in.

By faith, we have given our life to Christ. We are joined with Him, and He is our Lord. This doesn’t mean we deprived or missing out, but rather we’ve been given something better, so we chose to value that (Him) more. We are freed by Christ and because of that freedom we chose not to do certain things that will only cause us to be confined to bondage once again.

Brian and Jeffrey, you did the right thing. Thanks for taking a stand publically for Christ and keeping your walk with God pure. I hope you have an amazing time at Duke.

Is Donald Trump a Christian?

Miss USA 2013

The Bible never said that we should keep our faith “personal” and to yourself. Donald Trump is doing just that, I wish he would stop.

Trump claims to be a Christian and part of the Presbyterian Church. He has said that he is “very proud” of his faith. He also stated, “Believe me, if I run and I win, I will be the greatest representative of the Christians that they’ve had in a long time.” If he’s referring to the last seven years, he is not saying much.

I am glad he has faith, but I have not heard him say that faith is in Christ, though I know that he is implying it. I wish he would be more outspoken about His faith (especially when questioned) or not speak of it at all. I appreciate his recognition of his faith, but his faith isn’t the first thing people think of when they think of Trump.

The Bible is clear that we are to be quick to give an answer for the hope that is within; this means that we do not avoid questions about our faith. Rather we step into them quickly, and with passion, to give an account of the power of God in our life.

While I don’t believe that the Christian faith should be exploited for the sake of winning votes, I also don’t think it should be avoided for the sake of winning votes.

Watch this video and see how Trump handles questions about his love for the Bible. Do you think he’s avoiding talking about his faith or leaning into the opportunity?

In my opinion, that was a softball pitch. He could have easily said, “I love the Bible because I love Christ. Christ loved the Bible. I follow Him.”

Following Christ is a controversial faith issue, but “liking the Bible” is not nearly as controversial. A person can love the Bible and not be a Christ-follower.

The call of Christianity is not just to be a Bible-believing moralists, but be a person who lays down his or her agenda to embrace Christ as supreme in life. The Bible feeds our faith, but the Bible alone will not save us.

So here is my request to Trump, Huckabee, Carson, and Cruz: Please be ready to give an answer for the hope that (you say) is within you. If you truly believe in Christ as your Savior, don’t hide it.

While hiding it may seem like a good political play to get more votes, there is only one vote that counts in the end. Jesus was clear in Matt 10:33, “but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father, who is in heaven.”

Jake Weidmann: Master Penman and Master Brother

Fishin'

“Dude, is this your cousin?!” 

Over the last few weeks, people have been asking me if I know or am related to Jake Weidmann. Yes, I do know Him. Yes, I am related to Him. he is not just anyone to me, he is my brother.

Jake Weidmann is not your average artist. He is uniquely gifted and we’ve known it his whole life. I’ve had the privileged seeing Jake develop his character and skill from the day he was born. He is my younger brother by two years but has always surpassed me in wisdom and artistic ability. He loves the Lord more than He loves art (which is saying a lot). His passion for penmanship and creative design comes from a God-designed place in the core of his being. I guarantee you’ve never met someone as passionate as my brother when it come to creating.

If you don’t believe me, and you haven’t seen this viral mini-documentary on him, you need to watch it now (or again):

It is my brother’s birthday this week. In keeping with a new tradition of posting on my family’s birthday’s, I want to share with you a few things I’ve learned from this amazing man I call “brother”:

#1. God gives us gifts to grow in closeness with Him.

I used to think that my brother just did his art as a hobby. However, as I have watched him develop, I realize this is more of a worship expression than a way to pass the time in pure amusement. Jake has an understanding about God’s design of art that is deeply rooted in biblical theology. Don’t believe me? Listen to him explain it in this podcast. Our God is a creative God who gifts us all to join him in expressing ourselves creatively. Even if we can’t do what Jake does (which I can’t), there are other ways we have been given giftings for creative purposes. These are all to be expressed, not suppressed, for the sake of growing in the image of our Creator. Jake has modeled the importance of expression as a part of our spiritual discipleship.

#2. God uses our gifts to expand the minds of others.

Every time someone connects the dots that Jake is my brother, they almost always say, “His work blows my mind!” Yes, I know, that has never gotten old for me. God gave him a gift that allows others to see the marvelous skill of God expressed through human hands. While it is amazing that Jake can do what he does, it is more amazing that there is a Creator who made him in such a way that he is able to do it. Jake is 1 in a million (Maybe even a billion) and that alone gives us a deeper respect for the handiwork of our God. Jake’s art should make your heart sing to God, “Oh how marvelous are your ways.

#3. God calls us to pay attention to detail.

To say that my brother “geeks out” over art and penmanship is an understatement. He can tell you the specific texture of the wood grain of the Dalbergia retusa tree from Central America. He can tell you the exact angle by which all of his lines intersect in the Spencerian Script (one of many scripts he is proficient at). As he carves his penholders, paints his canvas, or chiseled his sculptures, his attention to detail is unprecedented. Though we are not all wired this way, he does model something that is good for all of us to learn: details always matter. Whether it is in our personal or professional life, we must pay close attention to the details if we are going to live intentionally and with excellence. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Everything we do must be done with excellence as an expression to God. Jake does this well.

I love my brother. I would be half the man I am today if it wasn’t for Jake’s friendship in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing companion to learn from, experience life with. Here’s to another year of God’s creativity expressed through Jake!

No, he’s not my cousin. He’s my best friend.

Unraveling the Confusion Around Church Ministry

SODAMany people today claim to be Christians but are not on mission for God.

They attend church as if it is a social activity. Sadly, the church has moved into entertaining Christians, rather than mobilizing Christ followers to fulfill God’s designed purpose for their lives. This has happened for several reasons:

  1. We have a lost view of the biblical purpose of ministry.
  2. We do not understand the church’s role in fulfilling that purpose.
  3. Our church leaders have assumed more activity instead of empowering others to accomplish God’s purposes as a whole body.

If we are going to return the heart of God to the hearts of His people, we must avoid mere activism and engage in His eternal purposes. In this article I will strive to biblically define what it is that the church should be busy doing, as well as, the role Christian leaders play in empowering others to move on to God’s agenda.

The biblical purpose of ministry

Christian ministry is one of the most unique calls to leadership and service. It is the call to abandon our life to serve God by serving other people, just as Christ served us. No person has ever modeled biblical ministry better than Jesus Christ Himself. He came to serve all men on behalf of God (Matt. 2:28) and expecting nothing in return for anything He did. In Mark 10:45 it is written, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” His model of sacrificial service gives us the ultimate model of biblical ministry. We can learn several specific lessons from the life of Jesus about the biblical purpose of ministry.

First, we learn that biblical ministry is for the glorification of God. Jesus never did anything that took away from the Father’s magnificence. All of His healing, teaching and disciple-making was to glorify God and spread His fame throughout the whole earth. Just as He glorified God, so also we must live to give exaltation to God by doing the work of ministry. In John 15:8 Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (NIV). Discipleship is to diligently follow God’s will and in turn bring Him honor through steadfast obedience. Adrian VanKaam reminds us that to do well in our work we ought to stand in awe of the eternal wisdom and love of God revealed in space and time.[1] His glorification begins in our hearts and extends through our actions.

Second, we can learn from Jesus’ life that biblical ministry is serving others selflessly. Jesus was never weak as a leader, yet He was never prideful or domineering. He always had others in mind. Even in moments of physical thirst or pangs, He thought of those in front of him with a spiritual mindset and a servant’s heart. For example, at the well, when longing for water, He was willing to deny himself by having a conversation with the woman about her life and relationship with God (John 4). In the same way, on the Cross, when thirsty and in agony, he cared for His mother (John 19). He served others until His last breath, never letting preference or pain stand in His way. Suffering usually causes a person to increase in their selfishness for the sake of survival, yet for Christ He remained perfectly selfless and servant-hearted throughout His whole life.

As we serve in ministry, we are to emulate the posture of our Savior and serve without reservation. Oswald Sanders wrote, “Christ taught that the kingdom of God was a community where each member serves the other.”[2] Our chief end is to glorify God and we do this by being a body that is bound by love (Col. 3:14) in all our action. We serve selflessly just as Christ did, who is the head of the church (Col. 1:18).

Third, we can learn from Jesus’ model that biblical ministry calls for a commitment of our will to God’s will. Jesus submitted His desires to God through the final hours of His life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He made His desire known to God—“Please let this cup pass from me.”—but as He always resolved, “Not my will but your will be done” (Luke 22:42). We too must ensure we are available and willing to do what God the Father asks of us as we serve in His ministry. Our availability is key; although, education is important, our effective spiritual ministry does not just come as a result of theological training or a seminary degree. Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you” (John 15:16). The sovereign selection of God gives great confidence to Christian workers. We can truly say, ‘I am here neither by selection of an individual nor selection of a group but by the almighty appointment of God.’[3]

This type of availability requires a deep commitment to prayer. Jesus modeled this throughout His entire ministry. He was not just about doing the work of God without seeking God. He was continually praying and seeking God’s will before acting. This must be true for us as well. Susan Muto wrote, “Receptivity to the will of God in prayer must revitalize the activity required of us in any ministerial situation. Mere activism must be avoided at all cost.”[4] If we act for the sake of being active about nice things we are no better than a good moralist. However, to act in good behavior with spiritual guidance in the will of God, we will be engaging in true ministry—the work of God.

Finally, we can learn from Jesus’ model that biblical ministry is to equip others to make disciples. Jesus modeled a ministry of multiplication; it went far beyond the simple addition of one man doing ministry to intentionally equipping many men to do the work of the Lord. He trained, taught, modeled and prayed for those He hand selected to do work with Him. In His leaving, Jesus told the disciples to go and do likewise, multiplying their ministry by investing in others. We see this modeled throughout the book of Acts as well. The Apostles devoted themselves to prayer and teaching and allowed other people to do the work of the ministry with them (Acts 6:4). This became the mission of the church.

Deyoung and Gilbert in their book, “What Is the Mission of the Church?” describe the ministry of the church as being on Mission with God and define it this way:

“The mission of the church is summarized in the great commission passages—the climactic marching order Jesus issues at the end of the Gospels and at the beginning of Acts. We believe the church is sent into the world to witness to Jesus by proclaiming the gospel and making disciples of all nations.”[5]

The practice of ministry in the local church

The local church is one of three divine institutions created by God; family and government are the other two. All of these institutions have their unique purpose, but are under Christ as the head of all things (Col. 1:16). The local church did not come into existence as a man’s idea, but was sovereignly designed to fulfill God’s purposes. God carries out His ministry of multiplication and glorification through the Church, which is the body of Christ. When Jesus rose again and was seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Psalm 110:1, Eph. 1:20), He left the Church to now have a greater impact than one physical human could have on earth. The Church is an organism propelled by the power of the Holy Spirit with Jesus as the goal (Col 2:19, 3:1).

One thing we need to be clear about is that the biblical ministry of the church is not merely being Jesus Christ “Incarnate”. We do not become Christ, but are united with Christ in His power and purposes. Todd Billings, in his article, “The Problem With ‘Incarnational Ministry’”, makes the case that we have over emphasized ministry as just “being Jesus with flesh on” and underemphasized that our ministry is to join with God in His purposes and His power. Billings wrote, “Over the past decade, I have come to see that ‘incarnational ministry’ actually obscures the much richer theology of servant-witness and cross-cultural ministry in the New Testament: ministry in union with Christ by the Spirit.”[6] When ministry is in its purest form of making disciples and equipping the saints, we are able to have greater impact on the cultures we serve. The local church must be preparing the people locally to do ministry relevantly.

The church has two clear areas of responsibility in ministry:

  1. Internal: The church is to provide care, teaching and fellowship for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ.
  2. External: The church is to provide care, teaching and evangelism for those who have not yet put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Christ-centric ministry has both of these mandates in mind. The church must be conscience about reaching the lost while also equipping the saints. As we are caring for the flock of God, we are to help both saved and unsaved see that their enrolment into the service of God is for their benefit and further discipleship. We care for them by meeting their needs practically and intentionally, but we do not merely allow them to be cared for without mobilizing them to action. A disciple of Christ will be actively involved in Christ’s purposes and serving other even prior to salvation. In some cases, the best way to see a person come to Christ is to help them understand their unique design and contribution to the body of Christ. Andy Stanley said it well when he stated, “When people are convinced you want something FOR them rather than something FROM them, they are less likely to be offended when you challenge them.”[7]

As we care for the church, we help the people understand that ministry is a family matter. Much like a family, all people have a unique role to play. If a dad and mom do everything in a household they are enabling their kids to be lazy, and in turn, denying them the opportunity to play a part. In the same way, if leadership or clergy within the church do all the tasks of ministry they are not giving the laity the God-designed opportunity to contribute. Mark Dever wrote, “When you are born again, you are born into a family. And that family is not only the great extended family of Christians throughout the world, but also the particular nuclear family of a local congregation.”[8] This is why we are instructed in the Bible to have The Body do the work of The Body (Eph. 4:12) with all members helping one another live out our collective goal.

The goal of church ministry is to be on God’s agenda and win souls into a relationship with Him. It is not political transformation or social liberation (the liberal agenda) or a gospel of personal fixes for our life now (the prosperity agenda). Subtle forms of the social and therapeutic agendas are often distracting our churches.[9] God’s design for the church has always been to actively engage with the Holy Spirit to call people to a reconciled relationship with God, and a deeper followership in His truth and teaching (Matt. 28:18).

The responsibility of church leadership in leading others to fulfill the purpose of ministry

So if the purpose of ministry is to engage in Gospel work, by equipping the body to multiply and make disciples, what is the specific role of those in church leadership? In the book, the Trellis and the Vine, the author, Payne, describes “the three p’s of Christian ministry” that apply well to the work of the church leader, as we saw modeled by the Apostles in Act chapter six:

  1. Proclamation: We are to constantly be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do this is both word and deed (Col. 3:17). When we empower others to do the proclaiming of God’s Word, we are to stand guard over the doctrine and ensure that what is being preaching is theologically in alignment with God’s biblical precepts and principles.
  2. Prayer: As Christian leaders we are to steadily seek God, and ask that He would work through the gospel, as well as awaken hearts by the Spirit. We are caring for the people in our church the best when we are seeking God for their spiritual well-being.
  3. People—As Christian ministers, we are the third “p,” Payne said. “Christian ministry is simply our sharing of the gospel with others in the prayer that God would give growth through it, to transfer them and transform them.”[10]

As we share in the Gospel ministry with others, we are including them in the lasting impact of God on the world. This is transformational for them, and will in turn, call more men and women to give their life to following Christ. The call to equip others for the ministry is a high calling. Church leaders are desperately needed to continue to grow the church. These leaders are not about building their own kingdoms, but live to enhance God’s Kingdom. In the book, “Made to Count!” the authors Robert Reccord and Randy Singer encourage church leaders to be about God’s ministry:

“God needs more, not fewer, Christians who will respond to His calling into full-time ministry, and prepare to lead doctrinally sound Church by seeking out the theologically training available. Our pastors and their spouses have one of the toughest and most critical roles in the kingdom: equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.”[11]

Church leaders must not increase in their own abilities; become a jack-of-all-trades and a maser of none. Rather, they must be dedicated to doing what only they can do and allowing others to own the ministry with them. This requires a close walk with God, dependence on His Spirit, and an ever-increasing understanding of God’s will. Churches grow in every way when they are led by strong, spiritual leaders with the touch of spiritual radiance in their service. Church leaders today—those who are truly spiritual—must take to heart their responsibility to pass on the torch to other people as a first line duty.[12] This not only is the will of God, but it is the means to greater impact on the lost world for Christ.

A Christian leader in the church must intimately know those in his or her care so that they can outfit them for God’s work. He understands their needs, spiritual health and natural abilities. A good pastor or under shepherd will lead the sheep along in the right pattern of discipleship and in the right timing for service. Christ is our good shepherd and model for leading the sheep along in health and growth (John 10:11). Following His example, the method of biblical leadership is one of tenderness, gentleness and compassion. James Bryant said, “We are never more like Christ than when we are shepherding His people.”[13]

Other great biblical leaders in the Bible modeled for us what it means to lead other in ministry. The greatest examples of biblical leaders all understood that they must be about empowering the people to do the work of the Lord rather than shouldering the weight alone. John MacArthur uses Nehemiah as a prime example of shared and enabled leadership when rebuilding the wall in the book of Nehemiah:

“Nehemiah did not take the responsibility of oversight and labor of the entire wall upon himself. He appointed trustworthy men to oversee sections of his labor, dividing responsibility in accord to their abilities. Nehemiah was not a passive leader. Good leaders never are. They don’t ask others to do what they are unwilling to do themselves.”[14]

Conclusion

We have a high calling to know Christ and to make Him known. This is not to be taken lightly nor is it to be lived out in solitude. God has always intended for His purposes to be carried out corporately. Jesus modeled for us the biblical purpose of ministry as He fulfilled God’s mission on earth. The church has been established on earth in His stead to do His continued work empowered by the Holy Spirit. Church leaders will miss the heart of God if we take it upon ourselves to do what God intends to be accomplished by the whole body of God. We must keep our mission to equip and multiply in ministry in order to have the greatest impact for Jesus on a world who desperately needs His touch.


 

[1] Adrian van Kaam, Fundamental Formation, vol. 1 of Formative Spirituality Series (Pittsburgh, PA: Epiphany Books, 2002), 14.

[2] Sanders, J. Oswald. Spiritual Leadership. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1994. Print.

[3] Sanders, J. Oswald. Spiritual Leadership. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1994. Print.

[4] Muto, Susan. “Living Contemplatively And Serving God In The World: Two Sides Of The Coin Of Christian Ministry.” Journal Of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care 6.1 (2013): 82-92. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. 21 July 2015. 86.

[5] DeYoung, Kevin, and Greg Gilbert. What Is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom, and the Great Commission. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Print. 26

[6] Billings, J Todd. “The Problem With ‘Incarnational Ministry’: What If Our Mission Is Not To ‘Be Jesus’ To Other Cultures But To Join With The Holy Spirit?.” Cultural Encounters (Online) 9.2 (2014): ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. 21 July 2015.

[7] Stanley, Andy. Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012. Print.

[8] Anyabwile, Thabiti M. What Is a Healthy Church Member? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. Print.

[9] Mathis, David. “The Biblical Vision of Christian Ministry.” Desiring God. Desiring God, 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 21 July 2015.

[10] Mathis, David. “The Biblical Vision of Christian Ministry.” Desiring God. Desiring God, 02 Nov. 2010. Web. 21 July 2015.

[11] Reccord, Robert E., and Randy B. Singer. Made to Count!: Discovering What to Do with Your Life. Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group, 2004.

[12] Sanders, J. Oswald. Spiritual Leadership. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1994. Print.

[13] Bryant, James W. The New Guidebook for Pastors. Nashville, TN: B & H Pub. Group, 2007. Print. 75.

[14] MacArthur, John. Called to Lead:. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print.

 

Family Matters (Colossians 3:18-4:1)

Colossians sermon graphic

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Colossians: Family Matters

“Christ is in all!” is more than a nice statement. When we see Christ in all things, it impacts our interaction with everyone we know. This begins at home. Today, we will learn how to care for those we love the most.

Josh Weidmann

This is part 7 of a 9 part series, The sermons are released as they are preached:

Part 1: What is the Gospel? (Colossians 1:1-14)

Part 2: Steadfast Faith in an Unchanging Savior (Colossians 1:15-23)

Part 3: God’s Secret Plan to Save Your Soul (Colossians 1:24-2:7)

Part 4: Finding True Life in Christ (Colossians 2:8-15)

Part 5: Get Rid of Conformity and Cling to Christ (Colossians 2:16-23)

Part 6: Put Off the Old Man, Put On the New Man (Colossians 3:1-17) 

Downloadable Files:

Sermon outlinePart 7, Col 3.18-4.1, Outline

 

3 Questions To Ask at Every Meeting

MAKING THE MOST

Meetings have become a regular part of my life. 

I spend most of my day in meetings with other people. I spend a lot of time meeting with my staff or elders. I also meet with people in the church who have (1) concerns that they would like to share, (2) hopes that they would like to express, or (3) some hardship that they would like counsel. It’s important that I spend time in meetings. That is a part of leadership.

However, I must use meetings effectively, or I will be an ineffective leader. I have to ensure I am accomplishing the most I can in every moment, even if people are sitting in front of me. Rather than having a meeting and coming away with a bunch of tasks, I use a meeting to get things done right then and there. This requires asking the right questions and taking the right actions as quickly as possible.

I ask three questions before a meeting ends to make sure we have done what we could to get the most out of our time. These are different than what I ask before each meeting is scheduled. I will ask these out loud or even just to myself before calling the meeting adjourned.

Number one, what was decided?

What did we do or decide in this meeting and who is going handle each task? I spend time writing these down in a bulleted fashion. I write them down on paper, put them on a computer screen, or jot them on a flip chart so everybody can see them.

I have learned that disappointment always comes from failed expectations. I want to be clear on what we decided so  we do not have failed expectations later. By writing down what we have done or decided, I am not only bringing clarity but also helping us all feel like we’ve accomplished something.

Number two, what is the best next action?

The next thing that I ask after each meeting is what needs to happen next? Sometimes we can decide a lot of different things, but we don’t prioritize the next step. I want to know the order these things will happen or at least what action will be taken next.  A Great way to start the prioritisation is to ask, “What needs to happen in the next 24 hours? The next 48 hours? By the end of next week?” Clarifying the next step will establish the pathway we are going to walk together.

Number three, who does this effect?

The third question I ask at the end of every meeting is who does this affect who is not in the room? This question is rarely asked, but it is an important one.

There are going to be all sorts of people that are going to be affected by the decisions we make as leaders. If we are not thinking through the ripple effect of our decision, a tidal wave of mistrust will build in our culture.  If someone were not in the meeting, it was because it was not decision for them to be involved with. Yet, they may manage an area or project that is consequently affected by our decision. Its important that we communicate to them what was decided, what the timeline was, and how it will affect them. When we think through decisions and communicate well, we will be a more effective and trusted leader. Great leaders communicate well.

A few extra minutes saved for this type of processing at the end of meeting will make a much better use of your time overall.

Here is a copy of my “Meeting Notes Template that have these three questions at the bottom. Feel free to take this and make it your own.

The secret to Unleashing Your God-given Potential


We live in a day-and-age where making our personal identity known, is of great importance to us. Consider social media, we post all sorts of things as if it validates our mere existence, but all the while we struggle in the quietness of our heart know “who am I?”  and “why do I exist?

This isn’t just a preteen question or something we struggled with when we were a junior in high school, trying to pick a college to attend. People in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s are still struggling to find their unique voice in the world.

We wander around life trying to discover our true purpose. Ed Welch said it best when he wrote, “We are like victims of amnesia who are lost and always searching for our ‘true’ identity—or perhaps we are looking for an upgrade.”

At some point, all of us wake up and ask the age-old question, “Who am I?” I’ve done it. I’ve peered across the bathroom counter into the eyes in the mirror and asked, “Who are you and why do you exist?” Great people in the Bible like David (2 Sam. 7:18), Ruth (Ruth 2:10) and Moses (Exodus 3:11) all asked similar questions. Yet, once they understood their true identity in God, nothing could stop them from living out their life purpose. Nothing!

Knowing who we are in Christ begins with understanding who God is. Colossians 1:15-16 talks about Christ being the creator of all things.  That by God, He created all things – including you! He doesn’t make any accidents. He wires everything into our life, our gifting, our experience, our passion, all designed on purpose.

Finding my life purpose requires a right view of God and a right view of myself.  I have to see Him for who He really is, and know that He has plans much greater than anything I could ever dream.

Similarly, I must gain a perspective of who I am.  I must understand the things that have to be removed from my life, so that I can walk in a manner that pleases Him.  I must also see that I’ve been designed in such a way that my unique purposes, passions and aptitudes, can be used for His glory.

We don’t have to walk around with amnesia, forgetting our true identity in Christ.  We also don’t have to look for an upgrade.  We just have to have the grace to accept that who we are is who God has intended for us to be; getting rid of the things in our life that don’t please Him, and walking fully into the life He has planned for each one of us.

Focus: The Secret Weapon of Every Leader

08.06.15, delegate wellI used to want to be skilled at everything. That was maddening.

As time as passed and I’ve matured, I realize that being the jack-of-all-trades is not that glamorous. It is better to be masterful at a few things than proficient at everything.

As a leader, it is important for me to “do only what only I can do”Andy Stanley said this once when he pointed out the necessity of using his gifts for his job. I’ve made this statement not just a motto, but a way of life. I am very intentional to delegate what I can delegate. I strive to empower others to use their gifts where I know I am not gifted.

When we bring others onto the scene of our life to accomplish what we are not good at, we will in turn get more done with more excellence. As a leader, if I am not giving things away to others, I am limiting the organization I serve only to be as strong as I am at any given moment.

True shared leadership is beyond delegation of tasks; we empower leaders to run with certain parts of our responsibility, with shared authority, resulting in greater impact.

Doing only what only I can do is a mindset. It’s intentionality to maximize my unique skill set. I cannot be someone who just holds onto things because I think I can do it better than so-and-so. Or worse yet, I can’t do things I hate or am not good at because I think others will hate that task as well. There are others around you who would have half the struggle you have to get done the things you hate because they don’t hate them half as bad.

When letting things go, we must remember that sometimes “done” is better than “done my way”. It is important that to delegate certain projects so I stay focused on the things that only I can do.

How this plays out in my life:

One of the best things I can do for my church is to preach well. That means I have to be spending time in God’s Word. I have to be prepping my sermons well. I have to be making my slides excellently. I have to be thinking through all of the other details around my message, such as the room dynamics, the use of the Bible, the setting of the stage, the outline in the bulletin. All of these details are things that I can do.

Some of these items have related tasks that I don’t have to accomplish. However, it’s important that I am leading in these areas, but delegating tasks that are not the best use of my strengths, passions or responsibilities.

Preaching and preparing well means that I have to give things away that will fight for this time. There are certain areas of finances, facility management, staff oversight and operations that I have to delegate to other leaders. If I don’t, I will be stepping into areas which I am not as gifted, and in turn steel from what is most important for me to be accomplishing.

So ask yourself these questions:
  • What am I doing that I could empower someone else to do?
  • Are there parts of my routines that need to change to incorporate others into tasks I shouldn’t be doing?
  • Is it worth it to me to talk to my boss about what he or she excepts from me and evaluate what can be handed to others without disappointing expectations?

Put Off the Old Man, Put On the New Man (Colossians 3:1-17)

Colossians sermon graphic

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It is impossible for a person to know Christ and not experience total transformation. After we have been brought to faith in Him, we enter into His school to let Him teach us how to live. This begins with the lessons of leaving our old selves behind.

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Colossians: Put Off the Old Man, Put On the New Man

It is impossible for a person to know Christ and not experience total transformation. After we have been brought to faith in Him, we enter into His school to let Him teach us how to live. This begins with the lessons of leaving our old selves behind.

Josh Weidmann

– See more at: http://www.gracechapel.org/grace-blog/august-2-2015-colossians-put-off-the-old-man-put-on-the-new-man/#sthash.bw68tx3c.dpuf

This is part 6 of a 9 part series, The sermons are released as they are preached:

Part 1: What is the Gospel? (Colossians 1:1-14)

Part 2: Steadfast Faith in an Unchanging Savior (Colossians 1:15-23)

Part 3: God’s Secret Plan to Save Your Soul (Colossians 1:24-2:7)

Part 4: Finding True Life in Christ (Colossians 2:8-15)

Part 5: Get Rid of Conformity and Cling to Christ (Colossians 2:16-23)

– See more at: http://www.joshweidmann.com/get-rid-of-conformity-and-cling-to-christ-colossians-216-23/#sthash.TrQGWHTH.dpuf

Downloadable Files:

Sermon outlinePart 6, Col 3.1-17, outline

My “Colored” sermon outline I took to the pulpitPart 6, Col 3.1-17, colored

My sermon slides:

A Leader’s Powerful Role of Inquisition

The importance of leaders to

Questions are more than just a way to make conversation.

As I start my new role as the Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel, I have been asking a lot of questions. From the very first day, I was asking questions like “where’s the bathroom?” or “where do we keep the staples?”

But as a leader I also have asked deeper questions, more meaningful questions, to understand the philosophy and the culture of this organization. I resolved that in the first few weeks of my time at Grace Chapel, it was important that I clarified for the staff why it is that I ask so many questions.

My first full week on the job, during the first regular all-staff meeting, I told the staff I was going to be asking a lot of questions. I shared with them some of my leadership uniqueness’s, things unique to me as a leader and senior level manager. The first on this list was to explain to them that I ask a lot of questions.

Why so much inquiry?

I don’t ask questions to impose judgement, but I do it to gain understanding. I believe it is a good quality for a leader to ask all sorts of questions such as “Why do we do this?”, “What are we afraid of if we try this?” and “How is it that we accomplished this goal, or something like it, previously?”

Leaders ask questions, not to impose judgement but to gain an understanding. Questions are one of the most powerful tools that a leader possesses. When we ask questions, we are striving to learn what we may not understand. By gaining understanding, then we will be able to give solid input or make decisions. A leader has to, at times, deep-dive into the details. We must ask specific questions about cultural items, decision-making processes or specific attitudes and behaviors within the organization. Once we gather the data, the leader must rise back to the highest level to cast a vision or to set a precedent for culture. A leader can’t keep deep-diving and rising back to high levels of leadership effectively if they are not asking good questions.

It is important that we ask a lot of questions, but we also must clarify why we ask questions, for those we are leading. It is not to impose judgement, but to gain understanding.