Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fishing Lures

fishing lures

When I was younger, I loved to fish. And it just so happened that we lived only 300 yds from a creek. It was a perfect match! I played there every single day after school. With my faithful (and very stupid) dog, Shaggy, by my side, I was in heaven. Mom only asked that I finish my homework first. So I did it as quickly as possible.
I learned that for different types of fish you need different types of lures. For catfish you need worms and other things of that sort because they are bottom feeders. For bass you often use things that pop along the surface like an insect would or move through the water as a sort of injured fish.
Each lure has one thing in common… it has a hook. Once you get the fish’s attention, it thinks the lure is a source of food and it strikes. When it does, depending on the type of fish, you let it swim off with the lure for a little while (my dad called this “letting the fish play with it”) then yank hard to set the hook. Once the hook is set, you simply reel it in. Sometimes you have to just fight the fish until it just gives up.
The world system around us seemingly has everything to offer, just like a fishing lure. What it has to offer jiggles, wriggles, sparkles, shines and smells just right. The marketing and hype surrounding this system is that if we don’t buy in to it, we will be less of a person. We become just like Homer Simpson: “Ooh… shiny objects!”
According to 1 Jn. 2:15 there are three main lures in our everyday world
  1. Lust of the flesh – Physical gratification (Wanting your own way)
  2. Lust of the eyes – Greed, desire for possessions (Wanting everything for yourself)
  3. Pride of life – arrogance (Wanting to appear important)
The problem with this system is that, just like a lure, it has a hook. When we “strike”, everything seems so exciting. We seem to have finally caught something that promises to make our life better. And we’re given some time to “play” with the lure. But my experience (and that of many I’ve spoken to) is that once the hook is set, you’re left feeling even more lost, alone and disappointed than before. It’s a hollow promise. And you’re reeled in until you finally give up and quit fighting.cross
Christianity, on the other hand, has only a plain, rough wooden  Cross. It is earthy, dirty and barren. It doesn’t seem to have anything of value to offer us… nothing to capture our attention, nothing that is flashy or loud, and certainly nothing that would have the outward promise of changing our lives for the better.
But unlike the lure, which is nothing more than a shiny object, this Cross has the power to transform lives. It’s the real deal. Its power is not in the Cross itself, but in the One that hung on it.
The whole message of Christianity hangs on what we celebrate this weekend. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead sets Him above all the other systems. He beat the biggie: death! And the Bible says He offers the same resurrection power to us. God doesn’t renovate or remodel… He resurrects!
1 Cor. 2:1-5 It's important to know what we believe and why... we need to be able to answer the tough questions. But it's the central message of Jesus Christ dying on the Cross that has the power to transform lives. (Rom. 1:16)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

PODCAST – Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (pt 1)

Duesseldorf Worship Workshop (Jon Perrin) – This podcast is from a Worship Workshop I taught in Duesseldorf, Germany in 2004. Although it primarily applies to worship leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership. (The first part of the podcast is missing, but we started with John 4:23-24)

Dieses “Podcast” kommt von ein Worship Workshop das ich in Duesseldorf, Deutschland gelehrt habe. Obwohl es sich hauptsächlich auf den Lobpreisleiter fokussiert, sind die Prinzipien die gelehrt werden für jeden der in der Leiterschaft ist, sei es im Dienst oder in der Gemeinde, von Vorteil. (Die erste Teil dieses Podcast fehlt, aber haben wir mit Johannes 4, 23-24 angefangen)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It’s all about the journey!

I have been thinking about how people are treated in churches. This one thing can really make or break a church. One of the things I see in the life of Jesus is that He was willing to be interrupted. If anyone ever had an important mission, it was Him. And He was laser-focused on this mission. But He didn’t let that stop Him from noticing the people and the needs around Him.

So often we get so concerned with the goal that we lose sight of the people around us. It’s like the bookstore owner that never opened his shop because he didn’t want the floors to get dirty. He completely forgot the purpose of the bookstore.

I’ve heard it said that our “mantras” will determine our church culture. One of the mantras I want our coming church plant to have is, “It’s all about the journey!” We can’t get so bogged down in the details and so focused on our goals that we miss the core value of connecting with people.

Remember what Jesus said…

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? – Mk. 8:36

My paraphrase of this verse goes like this: “What does it profit us if we get everything on our ‘To Do List’ accomplished, but fail to connect with and minister to the precious people God sends us?” We must remember that in our push to reach our goals, we have to hold to our core values.  And if Jesus put people high up on His list of core values, so should we.

The journey (who we are becoming) is much more important than destination (what we do for God)!

Friday, March 26, 2010

InSight 2010 rocked!

The InSight 2010 Youth Leader’s Conference was amazing!  There were three days of incredibly practical training and encouragement.  We received some incredible testimonies.  And dozens of youth and leaders made fresh commitments to follow God’s plan for their lives.

Since our goal from the outset was to not just have a one-time event, we are putting both the mp3s and other free information on the website.  The updated website is not yet finished, but it should be shortly.  Be sure to check it out!

Friday, March 12, 2010

InSight Youth Leader’s Conference is NEXT WEEKEND!!!

We are now only one week away from the InSight Youth Leader Conference. I am so pumped about this! It will be a time to speak into the lives of European youth leaders. Many of these youth leaders feel alone and underprepared.

The European Spiritual Estimate states that less than 1% of European teens have a genuine relationship with Christ. This is our chance to impact this lost generation by empowering leaders. We would appreciate your prayers for this conference from Mar. 18-20.

After the conference, we will be making many of the sessions available for download on mp3 (along with other free materials), so be sure to check the website regularly:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Silver Candlesticks

The year is 1815. A man by the name of Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 yrs. He comes to a new town where he’s forced to show his prison release papers… but then is shunned by both the mayor and the townspeople.

The only person who will feed him is Bishop Myriel, who also invites him to spend the night. Not realizing that Myriel is a bishop, he steals the silverware and leaves in the middle of the night.

Valjean is caught by the police and brought back to face Myriel. When the bishop sees him, he claims to have given Valjean the silverware and adds, “You forgot to take these two silver candlesticks I gave you as well.”

After the police let him go, the bishop offers him forgiveness. He tells him to go live an honest life. The rest of the story is about his attempt to do so.

Of course many of you recognize this story… it is from the famous musical, Les Miserables. Robin and I were fortunate enough to see this in London 8 years ago when we first visited Europe. I absolutely love the redemptive ending. I think we all do…

I believe there is something in each of us that cries out for a redemptive ending to the story of our broken lives. Thankfully, this is exactly the Gospel message. God is willing and able to take our messed up lives and broken dreams and craft something beautiful out of them. It all starts with inviting Him into our lives as our forgiver, our friend and the leader of our lives.

If you want more information on how to find a redemptive ending for your story, email us.

PS. Here are just a few “redemptive stories” in the Bible…

  • Joseph – Genesis 50:20 (the entire story is found in chapters 37-50)
  • Woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11
  • Prodigal son – Luke 15:11-32