10 wrong thoughts about God

It's easy to misunderstand people...
it's easy to misunderstand God.

By definition, He will always be at least one step (if not a billionth steps) beyond our understanding. After all, if you could comprehend Him in His entirety then He wouldn't be God.

On the flipside, we live in a culture full of opinions. Sometimes we end up elevating that to the point where we create an understanding of truth from ideas versus data. When I was younger, for example, I thought when we died we became angels. After all, that's what I saw in movies and TV shows. We end up creating non-fiction convictions based on fictional presentations.

The same thing can happen when life has dealt you a certain hand that you attribute to God.

I came across this list recently, which I think sums up ten of the most common "wrong" thoughts about God many people believe (and the Scriptures that prove otherwise):

How about it? Is this list accurate? What's missing?

becoming a true anomaly

"You haven't answered my question."

"Quite right. Interesting. That was quicker than the others."


Something happened this week that reminded me of a pivotal scene in the movie Matrix: Reloaded. The protagonist "Neo" finally meets the hidden antagonist behind all the events he (and others) have experienced. This "Architect" reveals that Neo is an anomaly to a mathematical matrix/world he has constructed for humanity to mentally live in.

Yes, this movie stunk compared to the original... but that's not my point.


Behind Neo are a number of monitors that represent the potential reactions the Architect has calculated Neo might make to everything he says.The antagonist is mapping without emotion the variety of emotions he is convinced Neo might experience and reply back with. Such knowledge is both intimate and cold - it requires proximity to know a person, but denies the ability of that person to grow and surprise you.

What prompted this was the realization of how I am reacting differently to something this week than I would have even a year ago.

I hope that doesn't come across as anything but surprise. While I feel that the "me" a year ago would have made a good choice to this situation, the "me" today is realizing there is another option that I can take that will opens up other doors... not because it's "more correct" or "as correct" as the option one-year-ago-me would have chosen, but because different things matter to me more today.

It's as if I'm watching images of myself "behind me" while I ponder what to do with what's in front of me.

Leadership, I have learned, requires these moments if you hope to become more than a stereotype of yourself. You will (in all the right ways possible) frustrate the "architects" who try to mathematically sum you up somehow, forcing them to either acknowledge they were wrong or that you are a greater anomaly than they predicted.

But this really isn't about them... it's about you... or else you will become nothing more than an architect yourself.

You will have to set down your desire to be correct or rest in your experience/training/validation in order to actually recognize more options than your planned response. Note that I'm not talking about your first reaction - I'm referring to the deeper reply you will offer from a place of actual conviction. You won't want to suspend it because it's how you have been trained to think.

Until you do, you won't see all the images of replies you have to choose from... and will end up becoming a caricature of yourself as you do what you are absolutely convinced is correct.

You must chose - do what you think is right, or become humble enough consider and do what is truly righteous.

Maybe someday I'll actually live this verse out:
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." (1 Cor 13:11)

your mind is made up

Let's face it - when it comes to many topics, your mind is "made up."

Today's theme (due to the press of a current Arizona bill sitting before its governor) was again homosexuality. It's such a hot topic that we always seem to circle back to as culturally, when in reality it's not just a conversation we should rapid-fire opinions into from any vantage point. Many people personally wrestle over this, which is something I didn't realize early on but have over the years. It's informed how I listen and speak into this, including noting how easy it is for any of us to claim we're being "open-minded" (from wherever you fall on this) without realizing that we're not as clever as we think.

As an example, I've spoken with people who take the approach, "That's why I won't ever go to church... because of the stereotypes I see in Christians on this topic." Without realizing it, that person has only created yet another stereotype about perceived stereotypes while taking steps toward becoming a stereotype themselves. Where is the fearless conversation, radical hospitality, Divine anticipation and genuine humility we all say should exist "out there" but we won't live out ourselves?

For that reason, I wrote something so I could own (and perhaps give you the same freedom to own) how much we tend to speak about things with our minds already "made up" - and perhaps allow them the chance to become "unmade" (the prerequisite for real transformation).

Here it is: http://youthministry.com/homosexuality-your-mind-is-made-up/

Hope you get something out of this. I wrote this to a specific audience, but I sense if you don't let that stop you it'll be a win.

with a little love... and some tenderness

Sometimes we don't realize how our actions can hurt another person.

Thankfully, the opposite can be true - we don't realize how our actions can bless another person.

Be intentional about this.

Withhold judgment.

Offer even just a simple gesture of love.

Let your kindness change another person.

Quit trying to prove you're right, and simply live righteously.


Need an example? Follow Jesus.

comparison sucks... literally

Do you allow what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?

Who would you secretly enjoy seeing fail?

Comparison is a leech. It will literally suck the life out of you.

Start your week off with a connection to something greater.

Try on one of the hardest commandments in the Bible... that will actually lead you to Life:

Count your blessings.
"O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!" (Psalm 103:2, The Message)

perspective

It's okay. It really is okay.

You're living in a Larger Story than that "thing" that's dangling out there, trying to bait you into another person's insecurities or something you weren't made for.

Don't attend every argument you're invited into or left breadcrumbs to follow. Instead, be still... know that God is God... and join Him in proactively forming Life however you can, reconciling whatever you can at all times. Question your feelings, for they are often misleading and beyond understanding. Instead, do what's right... even if it isn't popular or easy.

(felt like someone needed to hear this today)

flipping Christmas

Our church is boldly exploring the idea this month that Christmas can be flipped from what it's become to what we all know it "should" be. That concept in itself is not without controversy... some insist that the "real" way to celebrate Christmas is more about abstinence from the stereotypical stuff, while others maintain that you can buy stuff without making it all about the stuff.

The bottom line?

Christmas makes it possible for us to invert life as we know it. The birth of Jesus literally helps us discover how to flip from doubt to belief, obscurity to being blessed, separation to salvation and so much more. You really can uncover the special wonder of God's transforming love this Christmas... and you don't have to wait until December 24-25 to do it.

Sometimes it helps to flip your habits around. Try these on this week:
  • Let no phone call during your work day go to voicemail. You know how when you try to reach someone and you can't ever seem to get them on the line? Over time, that subtly communicates (even if incorrect) that the other person is too important to be reached. Now flip that around... might you have something to learn here when it comes to when you answer the phone?
     
  • Let every work phone call go to voicemail when you're with your family. Again, every conscious action you make communicates something unconscious to others around you. Make sure your family knows that you value them exclusively with one of the best bursts of your energy and time.
     
  • Set up get-togethers with people for no reason. Ask if you can just get together to hang out. If they need more than that, tell them you just want to swap stories about what's going on in each other's lives and build your friendship. That will flip the value from "I want to meet with you to get you to do something" to "I value you as a person and friend."
  • Wake up fifteen minutes earlier than normal and go to your "altar." There's probably somewhere in your home where you can be quiet and still before God. Worse case scenario, head into the bathroom (no, really). Intentionally give God your day, and invite Him to give you a fresh joy of knowing Him.
  • Read every headline in your local newspaper as a prayer request. Whether things are great or bad, allow God to break your heart for your city and love it like He does.
  • Make some new friends. It could be neighbors, co-workers or people who goes to the gym the same time that you do. Even if you just learn their names and something about them, you'll again enlarge the Story you're living in and realize God has you in their lives for a reason.
  • Become extraordinary at hospitality. This will be easier for some versus others, but find a way to make people feel incredibly comfortable wherever you're at. Let the weird lady in line at the grocery store who wants to talk with you actually feel like you are listening to her. Giving someone your full attention may be the only moment in their day when they realize they are valuable people that God loves.
  • Do something seasonally awesome. Volunteer to be a bell ringer outside of Wal-Mart. Go caroling in your neighborhood and pass out homemade cookies as you do. Get up on Christmas morning and pass out blankets to the homeless before you open your first gift.
What else? Do you have any ideas on how to flip Christmas around?

fan the flame

Think about a value that you’d like to nurture in your circle of influence.

Your home. Your business. Your neighborhood. Your school. Your church.





How can you fan the flame?

  • Maybe it’s something proactive, like a sense of Divine Expectation in what’s about to happen today. You will look for blessings and help others to see them.

  • Maybe it’s Genuine Humility so that everything that happens is less about ego or rights and more about putting the spotlight on someone/something else.

  • Maybe it's Fearless Conversation that allows others to talk about what matters most in the way that matters most.

  • Maybe it’s Radical Hospitality that makes sure everyone is profoundly relational in how they authentically interact with each other.
(thanks to Thom and Joani Schultz for the unique wording of those powerful concepts)

On the other hand, maybe what you want to nurture is reactive to something you feel isn’t happening at all or in the way you want it to. We all have these moments, and sometimes frustration is a way God gets our attention. Sometimes it’s to help offer change to the situation, and other times it’s because He wants to initiate a change inside of you.

Be aware of the difference.

We all have opinions. We all get fired up about certain things.

Imagine what would happen... what could happen...
if you keep your eyes focused on Jesus – the Author and Perfector of our faith.

Imagine what would happen... what could happen...
if we love and lead each other as we grow.
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands." (2 Timothy 1:6)

um... you're blessed

Um...
you're blessed…

generously blessed. 


The hurdle is you can easily overlook this and demand “one more blessing.”

It’s easy to get distracted by physical fatigue, emotional moments, a lack of Truth in our brains or something we feel God needs to do in/for us before we give Him the time of day. It makes us short with others and feeling short-changed.
  • Widen your gaze. Slow down and take notice of the people around you. Sure... there is always one more thing to do. Accept it. Back up a moment and enjoy the people God has given you to do life with.

  • Look over your shoulder. Who was a part of your past that you inadvertently left back there somewhere? Think of names, pray for households and reach out. Pay it "backward."

  • Extend grace. Forgive someone, remembering that who they are today is not necessarily what they did yesterday. Actions are confusing anyways, never telling the whole story or someone’s motives. Believe the best. Attempt to dig deeper.
     
  • Name your potential. Have you gotten so used to doing a routine that you’ve overlooked what you’re capable of? Be still. Lean into your Creator. What did He make you for?
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8)

an honest prayer

MY LORD GOD,

I have no idea where I am going. 

I do not see the road ahead of me. 
I cannot know for certain where it will end. 

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. 

But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. 

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. 

I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone. 

- from Through the Year With Thomas Merton

there are a few things you can't overturn

Time Magazine writes that Dola Indidis, a lawyer in Kenya, is trying to get the International Court of Justice in Hague to overturn the 2,000 year old conviction and death sentence of Jesus Christ. Since the target of the lawsuit are the religious leaders of the time (Emperor Tiberius, King Herod, Pontius Pilate and the chief priests) it is proving somewhat of a challenge.

Indidis said, “I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth. His selective and malicious prosecution violated his human rights through judicial misconduct, abuse of office bias and prejudice.”

It’s nice, but my simple response is this: there are a few things you can't overturn.
  • Jesus freely gave up not just His human rights but His divine rights for all of humanity. 
  • No person can commit a good deed that outdoes God's smallest deed.
  • What man intends for evil, God can use for good. In this case, the ultimate evil paved the way for the ultimate good.
Don’t try to talk Him out of it. Let Him give His all to you. Maybe you’ll discover the joy of giving your all to Him.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

sing sing sing

Did you know there are more than one-thousand references to music in the Bible?

In fact, the most reiterated command over and over in Scripture is to “sing.”

Seriously… “sing.”

Maybe that’s on purpose.

I like what songwriter Rich Mullins said about it:
“When you find a command that is easy to follow (and fun to follow) you should follow it a lot, because not all of them are that easy. And certainly some of them are less fun than that.”

So...

I dare you to sing out today. 
  • Maybe you’ll hear a tune on the radio that speaks your language.
  • Perhaps you'll find your hand tapping a rhythm that you're not sure you should give into.
  • It could be that it's time to crank up the music after dinner and turn your household into a house party.
 Pick something with incredible lyrics... or just find a good beat.

God gave you this gift. In fact, make it a point to bring this attitude into wherever you attend a church service this weekend. Whether or not your church experience feels like a mirror that just reflects your particular preferences, desires, and dreams… SING!

what moving on is supposed to look like


A quick message to my friends who toss around the title "Christian."

You know how you hate it when people make up their mind about you? 

Return the favor - let go of some of your passionate ideas about them.

We are all impacted by confirmation bias. We develop a belief about a person or situation then seek out information that amplifies that belief. You'll easily find a handful of others who will feed into what you've concluded, so you can then assume you're justified.

Be careful - it's possible for large groups of people or even one other person to keep you from reconciling tension. We all can help one another feel we're justified in being hacked off, and sometimes even feel it's okay because it happens among fellow church attendees who tell us exactly what we want to hear. Meanwhile, all we've done is further the tension and not actually followed Jesus.

Reconciliation, on the other hand? 


There is real peace in doing that... ironically even when it's done by yourself. 
"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you... (forgive) not seven times, but seventy-seven times." - Jesus, Matthew 18:15,22

"Nah, Jesus. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. See you this weekend! I'll high-five you on the way into Your house." - the average person

P.S. I've written this after having made space in my heart this past week for people that I need to forgive. They didn't ask for it, and likely never will. Still, it's a done deal and if given the chance one day I'd love to share that with them. Moving on...

maybe it happens just like this


Working on the laptop at McDonald's. A table full of pre-teen guys are trying to eat. The oldest (perhaps a freshman among them) is acting like a social rooster, pecking down the awkwardness of the younger guys, strutting for the girls sitting nearby, nudging the smallest one of out of the booth with his rear end... over and over.

I've been praying for several minutes about the best way to respond.

And then...

the others all suddenly had to leave. They hopped on bikes and peddled out. He looked like he was waiting for a ride - it was just him and I. I didn't move toward him, but stood up while holding my drink and spoke.

Me: (slurp) "So, are you the oldest?"

Him: (a bit startled that I'm talking to him) "Huh? Oh, yeah." (he smiles... like a security blanket... I'm "bigger than he is.")

Me: "They look up to you, you know."

Him: (he pauses, as if to realize it) "Oh, yeah. I guess."

Me: (a half-step slower this time) "They look up to you."

Him: (he catches my eye) "Yeah."

Me: "Use that wisely."

Him: (another pause) "Yeah..." (another pause) "...yeah."

I go to get a refill, and return. A couple minutes later he heads out to catch his ride. 

As he passes, he says, "Hey, see ya!"

----

 
Changing the world? Speaking Life into life?

Maybe it happens just like this.


"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." (Colossians 4:5)

a few manly words

Men/guys/boys -

Manhood is not automatic.

It's time to step away from childish things, attitudes and behaviors.

It's time to quit hanging out with people who only keep you recycling the same hollow existence.

It's time to avoid being embarrassed at how much you avoid being embarrassed, so much so that you no longer can fully admit where you've been even partially wrong.

It's time to quit looking for someone else's inconsistencies so you don't have to own your own.

It's time to quit raping women with your mind and words while shrugging it off because "that's what guys do."

It's time to man up. 
"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

super encouragement



In their off-hours, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Batman, to name a few, are washing windows at children's hospitals. Their mission? To bring happiness to the youngest of patients.

"We donned the Spider-Man costumes and we rappelled down the side of the buildings," said Harold Connolly, president of Highrise Window Cleaning of Clearwater, Fla. "We knocked on the glass, waved hello – there were a lot of big smiles."

"The kids—that the important thing," Connolly says. "We are hoping it spreads throughout the country and beyond. Other hospitals see this and then ask your window company if they will do it – I bet you they will. Who doesn't like making children happy?"

Read the full story via USATODAY.http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/22/superhero-window-washer-children-hospital-spiderman/1938799/

facing an aftermath with new grammar

You’ve read the headlines.

Not just the ones that break our hearts, but the ones that enlarge our hearts.

Our world became fragile again when we heard about the Boston explosion, and we cringed when we learned an 8-year old boy became its third fatality.

There are no words for that.

Yet somehow we were strangely encouraged when we saw how many people ran into the smoking chaos after the blast.

We cheered when Twitter posts shared how runners who crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon kept running to the hospital to donate blood.

The world took note of the District Attorney’s Office Braveheart-esque declaration, “Moments like these, terrible as they are, don’t show our weakness. They show our strength.”

Individual acts, big and small, can overcome fear and reveal Light in times of great darkness.

There is also something about the aftermath of a tragedy that gives us a desire for new grammar.

For a brief moment, virtually everyone online paused. Instead of recycling more pictures of cats waterskiing or posting our self-righteous outrage about the latest thing we didn’t like about someone else, we looked for something deeper.

Apparently, we found it in Mr. Rogers… yes, that Mr. Rogers.

Facebook was flooded with a quote Fred Rogers said years ago:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.”
What if we could live like this all the time? What if instead of living with outrage about what we find wrong, we engaged what was right from the get-go?

Most days we’re searching Starbucks cups, organic juice bottles or Chinese buffet fortune cookies for a jaunty manifesto to live our day by. Maybe your desk calendar spouts a daily quote or you regularly check your horoscope for advice from a bull or scorpion.

I wonder if we’re so distracted with all these surface-level options that we forget what it means to be deeply attentive.

Psalm 46:10 challenges, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Our hurdle is we can post a personal thought online that’s immediately met with a global audience. Facebook posts and groups can quickly devolve into a Tazmanian Devil-like mob of ranting. Even local “Letters to the Editor” often become more about stomping our feet at others than dialoguing.

We become people looking to say something versus actually becoming people who have something to say.

The aftermath of a tragedy, be it personal, local, national or global, gives us an excuse to mature in how we think and speak. You realize policemen are “heroes” instead of “someone looking to bust me.” Firemen are finally thanked for their everyday, unnoticed volunteerism because you realize when you need them they’re actually there.

Pardon the interruption, but again… why can’t we live this way more often?

I ask because the opposite observation is also true. We often assume we’re the “rescue workers” of everything from local matters to family tensions, when in reality we’re just causing more explosions.

Life is going to continue to squeeze us. Pain will happen, and what we store up in us will spill out of us. Part of the gap we see in the world tracks back to a gap inside of many of us.

Try this: Write down what you hope would come out of you in a tragic moment, then get around people and ideals that will nurture that. Make sure it’s a legitimate commitment, though - even the strongest anchor can’t serve you if you’re only loosely connected to it.

You can waste your breath complaining about life, or bring life into this world until your dying breath.

P.S. This is 8-year-old Martin Richard who died at he Boston Marathon waiting to greet his father.

I could try to say something profound here, such as Martin Richard was embraced and greeted by his heavenly Father that day instead... but I think I'm just going to weep over this for now.

TGIF?

TGIF?

Just a thought - you can just aim for the next temporary buzz, or actually thank God it's Friday by finding real joy in how you live today:
  • Look people in the eye, giving them all of your attention.
    It offers worth to the person.
  • Tell the truth, even if it means you have to appear foolish.
    It fosters integrity to your life.
  • Own a situation you should have handled differently, even if it feels "in the past" or you'd rather not acknowledge where you dropped the ball.It restores value to the relationship.
  • Make a difference by helping restore people and things back to their original, created God-given purpose.
    It adds vision to everything you do.

Or, you know... just live for the next temporary buzz.

As for me and my household, though... I'm all in.
"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

a behind-the-scenes prayer request to my church




For the past several months (and more), folks within my church have been pulling together to prep for Easter weekend. This is not only an amazing few days in itself every year, but this year represents our relaunch as a church - something we aim to do every five years.

In case you're a part of a church or wonder what some healthy priorities are, I hope you join me/us in praying like this. Here's what I shared with some of our core leaders today:
This is it! "All hands on deck."

Easter weekend. Our relaunch. Replant realized.

The city has been "egged." The building has been prepped. The sign has been made. The sermon has been created (and almost finished).

Counting Good Friday, we have FOUR services this weekend to "love and lead all people into a fully-alive connection with God."

Now... PRAY. Don't just sit there and nod your head like you're going to do it, but actually do it. Jesus prayed so intensely before the cross that the Bible said his sweat was like drops of blood. Can we expect that our prayer life should be any different?

Pray like you've never prayed before:

  • Home plate: Pray for your relationship with Christ. Fix your eyes on Jesus, "the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb 12:2)

  • First base: Pray for your character. Don't go through this weekend confident in your own self. "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:6-7)

  • Second base: Pray for your church community. May we be people who speak honor of each other, believe the best in each other and overlap ourselves into one another. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:24-25)

  • Third base: Pray for your calling. God has put you in the lives of other people for a reason. Invite Him to use your abilities, resources, finances and more to further what He's doing. "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." (1 Cor 12:27)

  • Home plate: Pray to once again give it all to Jesus. Anything we "score" is for Him and for the "team." That we would "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)

What are you waiting for? Let's get to praying! Jesus Christ is Lord... and His cross and Resurrection are about to get elevated. Get on your knees, and let's humbly get this party started. SO excited to share this journey with you!

This is only the beginning!

i'm not for sale

I'm not for sale.

By this I mean I can't soften on what's right in order to get a thumbs up, a perk or a check from someone who would have me give a "thumbs up, a perk or a check" on something wrong - be it themselves or an idea.

Every leader has to face this in a significant way, if not on an ongoing basis.

I'm not necessarily referring to an obvious, under-the-table deal. I'm talking about a grey area where you let your desire to further a dream become a logistical nightmare, or you allow your fear to not rock the boat cause you to water down a confrontation. Far too many good men and women sell their influence and passion to someone who has a big bank roll but a small character... and it's hard to ever overcome it.

There are times, though, when you get blessed for doing the right thing. Just make sure it doesn't alter your trajectory.  Don't let anyone put a price tag on your leadership no matter how much pressure you are under. 

Develop a culture where character matters, starting with your own.
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4)

a divisive mustache?

Perhaps you heard about this story:
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Pastor Rick Pfeiffer returned from vacation with a new mustache, promptly dividing his church.

"I couldn't get used to it," says Janet Stassey, one of 55 longtime members who left Living Word over the flap. "I like his preaching, but the mustache interferes with his ministry. He should recognize that."

Pfeiffer says he didn't realize his facial hair would upset so many people. Some told him he looks creepy, like a "skinny version of Robert Goulet."

"I like the old look," grumbles Leo Winter, 46, who has considered leaving the church. "When a pastor isn't consistent, things go off the rails. What's next? A goatee?"

I shared about this at the end of my message this past weekend... a message about the values the Bible says are to exist in a church. For example, Jesus entrusted His Church into the hands of a ragtag group of people who were full of imperfections, would at times get distracted from what was most important and every once in a while get on each others nerves.

If Jesus Christ has that kind of faith in the Church, who are we to have any less?

So I shared this story at the end of the message and asked our congregation, "What do you think - is this story truth or fiction?" The majority of people in both our services speculated it was truth.

Thankfully, it's fiction. (When I shared that, I even heard someone say, "Whew.")

It was at that point that I put a fake mustache on my face, said nothing for a bit and let the reality sink in...
 people leave churches for silliest of reasons.

Perhaps you've heard of a few.

Perhaps it was only a "mustache."

?

Romans 16:20 says "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet."

Keep in mind... it says that right in the middle of a passage that is full of directions on how we're to treat one another. So apparently when the church is loving and not petty... optimistic instead of critical... full of reconciliation instead of avoidance... Satan is crushed under our feet.

When we don't do those things...

when we don't treat each other the way God asks us to..

when we make the most out of mustaches...

should we really be surprised that there's something missing from our lives and our churches?

It's time to grow up and go all in.

Whether or not you join me, that's the direction I'm going. Hope to see you there.