We are all ‘Nobodies’

When I jumped into reading Marc Lamont Hill’s Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond I’d just finished reading Mychal Denzel Smith’s ‘Invisible Man’. Both books were released just five weeks apart and in realizing the similar theme between the two (a person of color being seen as insignificant) […]

The economy of our time

How profound would your life be if you truncated fluff from your daily schedule and replaced it with actions that matter?

Let’s say this is a prototypical weekday schedule for many American millenials:

6am-7am – Workout

7am-8am – Get ready for work

8am-5pm – Work

5pm-6pm – Eat

6pm-7pm – Browse internet, facebook, chat with friends

7pm-9pm – Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo, etc…

9pm-10pm – Get ready for bed, various tasks

10pm – Go to sleep.

This is pretty close to typical for many people in my age group. It’s not a bad day – and let me make it clear that I am not against this – but what’s the point?

“Wake, eat, work, eat, work, eat, rest, sleep, repeat.” Is that what we hope others remember of us long after we’re gone?  Where is the impact on the world?

What if life could have more purpose by rearranging some things and prioritizing a more profound focus on others?

6am-7am – Workout

7am-8am – Get ready for work

8am-5pm – Work

5pm-6pm – Eat

6pm-7pm – Volunteer somewhere

7pm-8pm – Journal/meditate/pray/blog about your volunteer experience

8pm-9pm – Decompression time. Netflix, book, whatever.

9pm – 9:30pm – Intentional time to connect with a loved one

9:30pm -10pm – Get ready for bed

10pm – Sleep

In an ideal world, consider this schedule. A person gives 1-2 hours a day towards bettering others. There is still self-care, still introvert time, and still time to let the brain rest…

Imagine a world where we each invested 1 hour a day in improving each other.

Each person would give 7 hours a week, 365 hours a year to others.

A town of 50,000 people would give 350,000 hours a week to each other!

How would this effect society? Politics? Socio-economic divide? Poverty? Depression? Mental and physical health?

Is this commitment possible? What do you think? Or am I just one more idealist millennial blogger, dreaming big and believing too much in the goodness of others?

 

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The identity of a leader

Who are you? I mean – really.

Have you ever found yourself claiming an identity that – upon further reflection – only applied to your past self and no longer reflected your present-day identity?

yesterday

I can remember being 10. When I turned 11, I continued to say I was 10, simply out of habit.

This also applied to my work. 3-4 years ago, I loved going on long distance hikes of 15-20 miles at a time. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that distance in a day but I still feel tempted out of habit to respond “long distance hiking” when others at work ask me what my favorite outdoor activities are. Nowadays, the truthful answer is probably “dog park” or “casual bike ride.”

Our yesterday is often not our today.

today

It is a challenge to live in reality and the present-day consistently. Our pride in yesterday’s accomplishments can cloud our present-day understanding of our self, our performance, and our impact.

Your past has helped define who are you but that is only a part of your self. For instance – if you saw yourself as a developer in your management role because you promoted 5 people 3 years ago… but you haven’t promoted anyone since… are you still a “developer?” Or have you shifted into a different season of management, life, style?

Your daily actions in the present inform who you are, just as your present-day identity informs your actions.

tomorrow

Who do you want to be? What impact do you want to have on the people, the world around you in the future? What do you want your legacy to be when you’re long gone?

These are questions that sobering but imperative to answer. Here’s the cool thing: You can have a lot of say around what your future looks like. You can lead, influence, and impact the world and the people you come in contact with.

Leadership and identity start with a choice. Who will you choose to be? Will you choose to have an impact? What will your tomorrow be and will you matter?

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“TELL SOMEONE”

Greg Laurie’s book, “Tell Someone”, is the Bible study the Men’s Ministry of our church is currently using on Tuesday nights at 7:30 and Saturday mornings at 7:30. It is a great study! By the way, if you are not yet attending, as Bob Barker used to say on The Price Is Right, “Come on Down!” We would love to have you. It is all about Christian men telling others about their spiritual pilgrimage.

That runs hand-in-hand with what I just read in the Fall 2016 issue of Facts and Trends. Scott McConnell writes about a recent Lifeway study of 2000 unchurched individuals – those who haven’t attended a worship service in the last six months. Who are they? 67% are white. 53% are male. 47% have a high school diploma or less. What did it show? 62% went to church regularly as a child. 19% had a bad experience with people at church. 21% were turned off by the church’s teaching on moral issues. Many seemed to have simply fallen out of the habit of going. Few though are hostile to church. They just don’t think church is for them.

It also showed the unchurched have Christian friends and aren’t turned off by conversations about faith. 79% said “If a friend of mine really values their faith, I don’t mind talking to them about it.” So once again, the challenge for all of us is to go “tell someone!”

(Facts and Trends, Fall 2016, pp.7-13)

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HOW TO GET NEW BELIEVERS INTO THE WORD

Tired of the “shock and awe” style of event-driven ministry? What are the key elements in helping someone else mature as a follower of Christ? How do we do it? In 2012, a LifeWay Research project showed eight key steps to follow. The study showed it all begins with Bible engagement…getting people into the Word of God. So let’s get started. Guide them into the Word of God –

1. Comprehensively. Give them a Scripture reading plan that includes the whole counsel of God, not just your favorite texts.
2. Prayerfully. Ask God to help them understand what they read.
3. Closely. Encourage them to look for truths from each passage they study.
4. Textually. Don’t let them get bogged down on a verse or two they don’t understand. Keep them moving.
5. Joyfully. Help them see Bible study as delight, not duty. They are literally hearing the Savior speak to them.
6. Audibly. God’s Word was originally delivered orally. Encourage them to read the Bible out loud . It will help them commit it to memory.
7. Congregationally. Teach them to bring their Bibles to church and read the Scriptures as the pastor does.
8. Missionally. Show them that they are on mission for God. Train them to tell people they know about Jesus.

(adapted from Philip Nation. “Eight Ways to Lead Others in Bible Engagement,” Facts and Trends, Summer 2016, pp.41-42)

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WHAT IS A CHURCH MEMBER?

christianity

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I remember the phrase from years ago, “a member in good standing.”  Maybe you do as well, but in the context of church life, what does it mean and why is it important?  Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay, recently wrote on church membership.  In his article, he gave some indicators of what being a disciple of Christ looks like.  Dr. Rainer says that a good place for a new believer to start in the discipleship journey is knowing what is expected of him as a church member.  So here goes…

  1. A member of a church should read the Bible daily.
  2. A member of  a church should be involved in a Bible study group.
  3. A member of a church should be sharing his/her faith on a regular basis.
  4. A member of a church should be a generous giver.
  5. A member of a church should attend corporate worship each week.
  6. A member of a church should be involved in ministry and missions.

As Dr. Rainer says, “As church members engage in daily Bible reading, group Bible study, evangelism, corporate worship, ministry and missions, and giving –  they will grow as disciples or followers of Christ.  And then their churches will grow and become healthier churches.”  So let’s all jump on board and become that kind of church member!

(adapted from Thom Rainer, Facts and Trends, Summer 2016, p.5)

Visit Mt. Airy Baptist Church at 8:30am or 11am on Sundays or online at .