The worst place to build a wall

The worst place to build a wall is in your heart. It’s easy to focus on arguing with people and miss seeing their creativity, their uniqueness, and their inner beauty. It’s okay to disagree with people but there is no reason to be unkind to them

The heavens declare the glory of God, but humans are actually made in His image. To neglect to see the image of God in the people you encounter is to confuse the extraordinary with the ordinary. 

Human approval isn’t an accurate measure of ethical behavior. Do what’s right, not what’s popular. True love doesn’t just passively approve of people’s and organizations’ behaviors. It challenges them to be better than they are.

When we rationalize and excuse mistreating human life in any stage or of any race, we embrace injustice. Prenatal capital punishment executes the innocent. Here’s a poem I wrote:

Prenatal care is unfair.
Some get care.
Others they tear
In pieces beyond repair.

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Sermons or discipleship

Sermons without discipleship tell people about Jesus without training them to hear Him, follow Him, and daily obey Him. Continually preaching to the same people creates an audience mentality and trains Christians to be observers, not participants. That audience mentality makes it difficult for Christians to grow up into a mature relationship with the risen Jesus.

I believe that the purpose of preaching is to proclaim the Gospel and to prepare the way for people to receive the risen Jesus into their hearts and lives. Once people receive the living Jesus, they need to be discipled (trained) to personally hear and obey Him, to read the Bible with an open heart and let it transform their lives, to actively love and minister to one another, to operate in the gifts of the Spirit, to live a godly lifestyle that manifests the fruit of the Spirit, to serve and preach the Gospel to unbelievers, and to disciple other believers. Preaching begins the process of discipleship and spiritual growth, but it isn’t discipleship. Preaching proclaims Jesus, but discipleship trains people to pursue the risen Jesus with all their heart. The body of Christ is overrun with preaching, but has a desperate need for discipleship.

The measure of a Christian life is not Bible knowledge or frequency of sermon-hearing, but daily obedience to the risen Jesus. Discipleship needs a relational, interactive environment. It won’t happen in a lecture, spectator environment. 

Spiritual leadership isn’t rulership, but heart-to-heart fellowship, personal relationship, and interactive discipleship. True disciples are not held under religious or organizational control, but are freed up to follow Jesus wherever He may lead. Discipleship is a lifetime journey away from the kingdom of self and into the kingdom (rulership) of God. 

Christianity is about living a Christ-led lifestyle, not about sitting awhile in church. When a Christ-like lifestyle is continually produced in & manifested through a person’s life, that is discipleship.
True disciples dance only to Christ’s tune, not to the tune of the world around them. It’s easy to believe in Christ — not so easy to be His disciple. 

Here’s the Christian challenge: To move from being an audience of Sunday spectators to an army of radically sold-out disciples.

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The most ignored leader

The most ignored (and rebelled against) leader is the Holy Spirit.
Christians are trained to be audience members instead of teammates — hearers rather than doers. If we would turn groups of religious onlookers into troops of Spirit-led warriors, we’d see a great Christian awakening.

The perfect leader for the body of Christ is the risen Jesus. Rather than following Jesus, church seems to teach people to sit on the Sunday message. However, Christians are called to follow and obey the Holy Spirit, not to just sit in the “Everything’s OK Corral.” (Thinking back: My Boy Scout Troop didn’t just sit & listen to the Scout Master talk. We actively engaged in interactive activities.)

To follow Christ we must be willing to seek God’s truth and align with it, even when we’re uncomfortable doing so. If there’s something we don’t see, perhaps we’re unwilling to look at it. If you look where you want, you’ll see what you want to see. If you look where God tells you, you’ll see what He wants you to.

The Holy Spirit cannot be programmed, so why do we try? Why not just let Him take control? Spirit-led discipleship groups are extremely rare compared to preaching places. Fellowship isn’t one fellow running a Sunday religious ship, but a community of people led by the Spirit.

Government trusts ordinary people to decide jury trials but church doesn’t trust them to have anything to say on Sunday morning. If ordinary people are trusted to make decisions in a jury trial, why aren’t they trusted to freely speak out in church services? Perhaps church could unblock ordinary people and let them share on the Sunday morning timeline. #openmic

When people meet in Jesus’ name and open their hearts to one another, the risen Jesus begins to actively work in their presence. Sermons are promptly forgotten, but a direct touch from the living Jesus is remembered for a lifetime! Perhaps the point of preaching isn’t to create a permanent preaching place, but to prepare and propel people to hear and obey the living Jesus.

John the Baptist wanted to decrease so Christ could increase. Perhaps all church leaders are called to do that. People need to see Christians praising and exalting Jesus, instead of praising their favorite preacher.

Our experiences can tie us to unconscious bias, but letting the light of Christ continually shine in our heart will set us free.

The most accurate prediction for your future is what you think, say, do, listen to, & watch today. (Now that’s prophetic!)

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God woke you up one more time today!

God did it one more time today. He woke you up this morning! I’m so glad that Jesus can be personally encountered and related to and not just learned about through others.

What you experience is more powerful than what you hear about. Experience Jesus! When people gather and experience Jesus together in a group, an amazing sense of community occurs. Don’t keep Christ locked up in you. Let Him flow out of you in words and actions.

When I read the Bible with an open heart, I experience Jesus working in my spirit, not just words about Him. “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself…encourage your hearts and strengthen you.” –2 Thessalonians 2:16. “Jesus Himself” — the greatest need of the body of Christ in the 21st century is the active presence of “Jesus Himself.”

When Jesus begins to stir inside you, don’t hold Him back. Let Him go and follow His leading. To put restrictions on what we will allow Jesus to do is to curtail hope and impede miracles. Christians should never put restrictions on Jesus and on what He is allowed to do when we meet. Christianity is about following Jesus — not about staying put (and comfortable in one place) with Him.

Christians are called to go on a life-long faith safari with the risen Jesus as our ever-present Guide. Biblical Christianity is a call for rough riders, not an invitation for pleasure seekers. Christ-followers should be satisfied with nothing less than an intimate, daily walk with the living Jesus.

Christianity isn’t about watching a show. It’s about showing the living Jesus everywhere you go. However, it’s easy to sit until we’re settled and set in our comfortable ways and then be upset when we’re challenged to get up. Christianity is a supernatural way to live by daily following and obeying the resurrected Jesus. It’s not a fast food restaurant where you stop by for an occasional religious burger.

Religion recycles week after week. Christ calls us to let Him change our heart, our thoughts, and our behaviors day by day. The concept of comfortable Christianity is unknown in the Bible. Ponder this rhyme: Sign up for Jesus prime! Don’t try to follow Him part time.

Wealth doesn’t make people good, happy, wise, smart, or important. It just makes them rich.

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Keeping love “the greatest”

“The greatest of these is love.” The greatest calling of the body of Christ is love. If we could get everything else “right” but leave out love, we’d be off base. Love is active surrender to and obedience to Christ as Lord, even when we want to do otherwise, not passive adherence to an organization, to a program, or to religious beliefs. Religion often tries to use outward order, tradition, and programs, as an attempt to hide inner chaos.

The good news of the Kingdom of God is an invitation to be directly ruled by God, to let the King of Kings actively lead you. “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” means “realign your thoughts and your lifestyle to obey and follow the living Jesus.”

If you follow Christ, He will often lead you to do loving and noble things that you don’t particularly want to do. Do them and then preach the story of what the risen Jesus has done in your life. God wants Christians not just to preach Jesus in history, but also to preach about what He has done to heal and change your life. You need an outlet to share what you have experienced and learned about Jesus. Since church seldom provides that, social media is a good place to start.

For better or for worse, words impact your mind and emotions, yet people tend to consume and use words with no caution or discernment at all.

Meanness and rudeness have been made very loud in our culture. It’s time to make kindness and love even louder! More and more people seem to be using words as weapons rather than as communication tools. When media is covered with trash talk it takes work not to step in it and get it all over yourself. So many people are using negative, mean, or hurtful words, it takes a whole lot of effort to avoid hearing or seeing them. Profanity is a form of rudeness, unkindness, and disrespect.

For a practical handbook on love, check out my new book: Off the RACE Track–From Color Blind to Color Kind.

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It’s time for Christ-followers to live in direct awareness of Jesus.

The direct awareness of God is far more powerful than mere information about God can ever be. Eyesight is wonderful. Heart-sight is even better. How’s your spiritual vision? Eyesight sees physical things. Heart-sight sees Christ & His inner Light!

Jesus is living in all His followers. So why does church require silence from everybody but “the pastor”? I’ve discovered that a church meeting full of people preaching Christ is more powerful than a church full of people listening to one man preach.

All soliloquy and no dialogue can make a dull meeting. A church service can be so tightly run that there’s no room for Jesus.
Spiritual family isn’t cultivated by continual lecture but by heart-to-heart interaction.

All Christ-followers are called to preach the Gospel and operate in the gifts of the Spirit–not just a pastor on Sunday morning. However, church almost always makes one person the minister and everybody else passive consumers of his ministry. Don’t just be a sermon-hearer. Proclaim and live the Gospel yourself! Church often chooses to be a stage for a soloist instead of a platform for God’s orchestra. However, a Christian leader is called to be a servant who puts others ahead of self, not a celebrity-like expert who tries to keep all the attention on himself.

Church that doesn’t demonstrate Jesus and facilitate personal interaction with Him is like an ice cream party with no ice cream. Hearing a weekly commentary about Christ is quite different than childlike delight in Christ. When one person dominates a meeting, everyone else is forced into the role of spectator.

How can we expect Jesus to transform our culture if we won’t even let Him transform church? Numerical growth without growth in Christ-like maturity, godly character, and spiritual power, is merely an illusion of progress.

I believe that God wants church to be more than it usually is. I believe that He wants it to be an actual demonstration of the presence and direct control (kingdom) of the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. When Christ-followers gather and let Jesus, Himself, actually run the meeting, amazing and supernatural things begin to happen. Jesus can lead a worship gathering so much more effectively than a merely human leader can. My heart breaks that Jesus isn’t allowed to do more in churches.

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Greatness/being great/making a great nation

Greatness is not wealth, fame, prestige, or power, but honesty, compassion, humility, and character. Greatness is not striving to be at the peak of the hierarchy, but faithfulness to truth and love.

Greatness breaks the bondage of self-focus, soars in serving others, and lives out the principle of “liberty & justice for all.” Greatness is humble obedience to the living God, not forceful self-assertion.

Here is Jesus’ definition of greatness: “The greatest among you will be your servant.” –Matthew 23:11. When asked who is the greatest, Jesus pointed to a little child and said: “Whoever takes the lowly position of this child…” 

It takes radical courage, but you can do it. Dare to be great! Great people make a great nation.

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