Tag Archives: trust

How Much Do You Trust Your People?

Tuesday Re-mix –

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness…As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.  Matthew 10:1, 7-8

I have a ministry.  Well, it belongs to God, not to me…but you know what I mean.  I have been entrusted with an amazing ministry and an amazing message about unity among God’s people.  I know the feeling of ownership of a ministry.  I know the pressures of stewardship of such a message.  And I know the stress of placing the reputation, the very name, of that ministry into other people’s hands.  I know what it feels like to send other people out in the name of Christian Unity Ministries, placing them in control of our reputation, and having little or no control over how they will exercise that stewardship.

So I am more than just a little bit amazed at what Jesus does in Matthew 10, sending out the twelve to perform miracles in His name.  There was no tutorial about casting out demons.  There was no dress rehearsal for any of them to practice raising the dead.  He just gave them the authority, gave them a few verses of instruction, and sent them out.  Surely they did not all take to this task naturally.  There had to have been some humorous “fails” (like the one at the foot of the mountain in Matthew 17:16…I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him).  Nevertheless, Jesus empowered them, authorized them, and sent them out to do His Father’s work, and he exercised virtually no …

Trust as the Means of Healing

Tuesday Re-mix:

“…speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

I was maybe 9 or 10 years old.  I was at church (Dad was a pastor…I was ALWAYS at church), playing with a friend out on the church playground.  It had rained, so there was plenty of opportunity for slipping and sliding.  One of us had the brilliant idea of using the slippery circumstances to stand up on the slide and “surf” down it.  The “brilliance” of the idea, however, was soon overshadowed by the sharp pain on the back of my head after it hit the slide on my way down.  I couldn’t see it, but I knew it had to be bad by the way everyone kept reacting to it, and by the way my parents threw me into the back seat of the car and sped off to the hospital.

stitchesThis was a day I would face yet another fear on my long list of childhood phobias.  This was a fear near the top of the list, one I had carefully and gratefully avoided until now: stitches. I can still remember the word coming out of the doctor’s mouth…He was almost apologetic about it, and yet he was certain.  I wanted to ask, “Are you sure?” But I could see it in his eyes.  There would be no getting out of this.  I knew it was inevitable.  So I mustered up all the trust I could find and I put myself in his trained and skillful hands.  Mind you, I didn’t really have a choice, so “bravery” or “courage” probably are not the right words to describe it.  But I did it.  I faced my fear by trusting in someone else.…

‘Doubt’ and Its Lessons

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Last year, with its release of Doubt, Hollywood wandered not-so-innocently right into the middle of my world and, naturally, got my attention…and my $8 for a ticket.  Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play, it tells the story of a young pastor (i.e., priest) trying to bring a warmer, more relevant leadership style to a church and falling prey to the distrust and manipulative ways of an established church leader.  Sound familiar, anyone?  I’ve seen this play out in hundreds of situations and I’m sure you have seen it before as well.  Sometimes there is moral failure involved (as alleged in this case), and sometimes not so much.  But there is always plenty at risk, including the fragile spirituality of innocent bystanders, the continued credibility of established leadership and the future ministry of one “called out” to shepherd God’s people.  I must say, this movie tells the story well.  You can find some clips from the movie here.

I recommend the movie, because it is an accurate and startling depiction of a truth every church leader needs to know: when it comes to ministry, your testimony is the only currency you have.  Once it is tarnished (i.e., once the people you “lead” no longer wish to be led by you), your leadership is done.  You can lead no more.  And by the way, it doesn’t take truth to tarnish your testimony…all it takes is credible allegations and a little persistence on the part of those who stand to benefit from your departure.  In short, all it takes is sustainable doubt…doubt about you, about your past, or about your motives.

So how does a church leader protect his/her testimony from these …

Forgiveness is Not a Feeling

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

Isn’t it funny that an entire Spiritual revolution (the one called Christianity) can be founded upon the concept of forgiveness but the concept itself can be one of the most misunderstood concepts for those of us who are a part of the revolution? For so many in the Western church today, it may as well be written in Chinese (for those of you who actually read Chinese, my apologies, the illustration loses some punch with you).

Sometimes when I am counseling with someone about forgiveness, especially when it is someone who has been hurt deeply by another person, he/she will say something like this to me: “I know I need to forgive them, but I’m just not ready to forgive yet.” Most likely, what this hurting person is conveying with that comment is that he/she is not yet ready to start trusting that person again, because trust is a process and it takes time both to earn it and to give it. But I don’t think of forgiveness in that same way. As Christians, I think it is better for us to think of forgiveness as a promise. It is not something we wait to do, it is a commitment we make right up front, just as soon as the pain has occurred. That’s how God forgives us, and we are instructed to forgive others in the same way God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).

I think too often we wait to forgive. We wait until it feels right to do so. But forgiveness (in the way the Bible describes it) is not a feeling at all. If we wait until we feel like forgiving, it will never happen.

Forgiveness is …