Month: December 2012

Thankful for 2012

2012 will go down as one of the most memorable years of our lives for many reasons. There was certainly too much violence with shootings in Aurora and Newtown that left scores dead. Our city also suffered through the most destructive wildfire in our history with over 300 homes lost during the summer. Then there were months of political arguing during a contentious election season.

Yes, there was plenty of bad and even horrific news, but I am also grateful for so many amazing things that happened, too.

1. Pam, Abram and Callie are healthy and we love each other.

2. We planted a thriving church in Fort Collins, CO. with our friend Aaron Stern.

3. Our church paid off over $3million of debt.

4. I met Eugene Peterson and I think he liked me.

5. The Mayans were wrong.

6. We leased our first apartment complex to house homeless single moms and their families.

7. Our downtown campus opened at Easter and is doing well under the leadership of Glenn Packiam.

8. Participated and partnered with ministries around the world that saw over 3 million people accept Christ.

9. I survived Disney.

10. We opened our first Dream Center in Swaziland.

11. I released a book called Sons and Daughters

12. We gave away over $300,000 of relief supplies to Waldo Fire victims.

13 We started a Sunday night service led by David Perkins where hundreds gather for worship and prayer.

14. Students from around the world are studying in our School of Worship, the Kings University and our Desperation Leadership Academy.

15. Miracles are happening every week in the lives of women who receive treatment at our free medical clinic.

This list could go on, for sure. I am so thankful that even in the midst of bad news, good news was breaking in all around us. God was with us. This I know.

What are you most thankful for in 2012?

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Our Violence Problem

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. Genesis 6:11

All of our hearts are sad and heavy after the tragic deaths of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. A young man armed with several guns apparently forced his way into a school and in a matter of minutes, took the lives and futures of so many innocent victims.

Almost immediately, politicians and TV pundits began talking about gun control and the need for more stringent legislation on the sale and possession of firearms. I am fine with that conversation taking place as part of civil dialogue.

I am a gun owner and have been all my life, but I realize it is too easy for some disturbed people to buy them in our sporting good stores. If there can be helpful conversations between the mental health community and our legislators resulting in laws that could eliminate this from our society, then count me in for support.

More importantly, let’s also talk about the subculture of violence in our country. Where is the outrage about the violent video games our kids are playing and the movies that are marketed trumpeting horrible scenes of carnage and bloodshed? At my house, my kids have gaming devices, but there are no games where any kind of weapon takes the life of another person, and my kids do not watch violent movies.

I challenge every parent, regardless of your views of the 2nd Amendment, to take a stand against violence in our homes. Let’s be a people of peace, who are following the Prince of Peace, and let’s teach our children that life is a gift from God which should be cherished, nourished and protected.

Let’s have these difficult conversations, starting in our homes and across the table from our friends, but let’s make sure we are tackling the root of the issue and not just the fruit.

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The Civil War – Pragmatists vs. Idealists

The leaders of most local churches generally are influenced by either pragmatism or idealism when making decisions and leading their congregations. Leaders who are pragmatists tend to assess situations and solve problems in a practical, matter-of-fact way. Idealists tend to be moved by all the possibilities, while pragmatists immediately see the limitations.

The truth is we need both influences in our churches. The problem is when one or the other dominates the church leadership culture. When the pragmatists are in charge, budgets are met, schedules are kept, and things tend to be predictable. When idealism dominates, songs are written, music is created and creative energies are released in full measure.

When the pragmatists are in charge, the creative community flees to more open waters or simply shuts down and concedes to the system. When the idealists are in charge, much is done, but sometimes very little is accomplished.

There has been a long civil war between these two groups. Pragmatists want order, the same order that can stifle the soul of the dreaming idealist. The idealist is wired to be spontaneous and often impulsive, which drives the pragmatist to the brink of insanity.

There is no way to really help either side understand the other completely. What we must agree upon is our need for one another. Idealists need boundaries in which to run, much like a race horse needs rails to guide them in the race and a finish line to know when to stop running. Pragmatists need the idealists to shock their system out of lifeless routines and to teach them to say yes more than no.

Who is in charge and creating the culture where you live and work? Have all you pragmatists learned to appreciate the messiness of the idealists and have all you idealists learned the value of predictable processes and the safety of systems?

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