Monday, September 26, 2011

Core Values

Core Values

I recently developed a set of CORE VALUES at Bozoo Christian Church where I now preach. I am currently going through a series with the same title and preaching on each core value.  The core values come from Acts 2:42-47 (when the New Testament church was established).  Rick Warren through his Purpose Driven Church book and this scripture says a church should have these 5 core values to make up a healthy church with purpose (ministry, mission, worship, fellowship, & discipleship).

I took the word "BOZOO" to come up with 5 statements to share our core values(yes, I know I'm creative, haha).  Core Values defined are "basic principles that guide us".  I'm sharing these with  my church,but it got me thinking about me as an individual what are my core values?  What about you? What principles,morals,or beliefs guide you?  

Even though we may not have a written down list of Core Values, we all have them, whether we know them or not. The problem is not all our values are healthy, good for us, or realistic.  Think about it, some people have no values or morals. They lie, they cheat, steal, or manipulate.  They are sneaky, arrogant, selfish, or prideful.  They are motivated by lust, greed, power, or control.  These basic principles guide them.  It's what motivates them, and even defines them and who they are and how they treat people and what they live for.

What about me? What about you?  Are our values healthy? Do we have a set of principles we live by that are hurting us? Hurting others? Destroying us?  Leaving a trail of destruction everywhere we go? If we live out life without purpose, meaning, or value, then we are going to naturally gravitate toward things,people, places, and habits that are not good for us or healthy for us.

That is why it's VITAL that you and me have some standards in our lives. Some values and principles that guide us. Our decision making, our choices, who we react to problems, and respond to issues. How we treat people and how we work, play, and live.

There is not a set list, because there may be some things that are important to me, that aren't important to you, or vice versa, but there are basic principles I think we all need.   Honesty. Integrity.  Faith. Unconditional Love.  Grace & forgivness.  I think we need first and formost to have faith in God and because of that, our relationship with God will help us mold and shape our values and principles we live by.

We will learn to be honest and practice honesty. We will know the difference between right and wrong and strive to always live and do right. I think we will know the difference and consequences of truth and lies and strive to be honest at all times no matter what we think the outcome.   We will work toward having morals that we won't compromise with greed, selfish behavior, or lust.  We will strive to live a pure and not taint our lives with drugs, abusing of alcohol, or negative things such bad sexual issues, vulgar language, or treating people like they are less than you.  We will value honesty, truth, acceptance, standards, morals, and love.

What words define you?  What words describe your personal core values.  Truth is, what we think we are. We we do we become, and how we live everyday determines our eternal destiny. What do people think of you?  Do they think you are nice or a pervert? Do they think you are compassionate or heartless? Do they know you are liar or sincere?  Do people think you are easy or know you to be a stand up person. This isn' worrying about what others think about you, it's not about perception. It's about reality.  What type of values do you have and display in your life everyday?  If you have bad values, you can change them. You can develop better, healthier, spiritual, and meaningful core values to guide your faith, relationships,and life.

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." Colossians 3:17(NIV)

"Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.  As obedient children, do not conform to evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.  But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" I Peter 1:13-15

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Proverbs 31:9(NIV)
"Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Not only is this a physical attribute all of us have (a backbone), but it's sometimes a term we use to describe someone  who stands up to what is right, or sometimes we use it negatively to describe someone who "has no backbone" and will not stand up or address conflict or problems or who acts cowardly.


Your backbone sort of keeps your body together, slangily speaking the dictionary defines one who has backbone as "strength or character; being resolute".  It shouldn't surprise me, but we live in a society today where many people don't have much of a "backbone".  They look the other way when someone does something wrong, they enable and allow friends and family to destroy their lives without stepping in or trying to intervene. We won't stand up to bullies or people who try to push us around or others for that matter.

I've always felt like people who had "no spine or backbone" had no self-respect or low self-esteem.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  Truth is truth and lies are lies.  When it comes to truth and the right thing, we should never cower, avoid, live in denial, or pretend everything is ok when it's not. Just creates an endless cycle of more problems and damage.

I am convinced that is why many of our marriages, family situations, relationships in general, work environments, and even many of our churches have major issues because leaders won't lead, people who are being taken advantage of, hurt, mistreated, abused, harassed, or walked on won't stand up.  Of if someone can't stand up for themselves, then those of us who are aware of it, need to stand up for those who are helpless, but many times don't.  Instead we make excuses, feel sorry, or simple pretend it's not there.

Many times we make excuses and feel sorry for people, so we "tolerate" their behavior or treatment, if they are sick or ill, they need help not sympathy.  Tough love is helping them, sympathy is hurting them. Sometimes we don't want to get involved, but if you don't who will? If others can't or won't do the right thing, how about you?  If you are in a position of leadership in the home, work, or even church you were put there for a reason, to lead.  You cannot lead effectively if you aren't willing to make tough decisions, deal with problems, and confront wrong.

Being a follower of Jesus doesn't mean being weak, timid, or blind.  Even those who do not follow Jesus have to have some sort of moral compass.  We cannot look the other way while people do wrong, hurt othters, or spin out of control. We cannot look the other way while people are hurt, suffer, and are pushed around.

Jesus stood up to sin, bullies, and He stood for those who were hurting and in need.  I think we are called to do the same thing. It's time that we get  a spine, get a backbone, and stop avoiding things because they make us uncomfortable or we are scared. I think it's time to stop running away because we don't want to get involved.  I think it's time that we stop ignoring things because we feel sorry for someone or don't want to make them mad or cause a riff.  Courage is not the absence of fear, it's responding through fear.  Real Character is standing up for what is right, even against oppostion or risk of making someone mad or even if you have to do it alone.

I want to encourage us all no matter the situation in life, if we are faced with an opporunity to confront a problem, deal with a tough issue, or right a wrong or help someone in need,  stop a bully, help a loved one or freind who is hurting themselves, or stop a conflict at work or church, we need to stand up!

Deuteronomy 31:6(NIV)

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

No leaders to follow

No Leaders to Follow
I've wrote on leadership before, but until now I haven't truly experienced my first leadership crisis.  I've been on staff at churches and been a part of churches in the past that lacked leadership, or had people in leadership who wouldn't lead effectively (or couldn't), I think part of the reason churches have habitual problems or do not grow is because they lack real, spiritual leadership or they have people in leadership who aren't good leader (they like the title or the attention leadership brings), but leader is not just a title, it's a position that requires you to lead.

 I also understand not everyone is a leader, but still there are many people who have ability to lead, but do not.  I am at a new church that is small,  I'm the only staff now and have no elders.  The church has been dwindling and on a downward spiral for sometime.. I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic. People have left and went to other churches, stopped going to church, or died off.  This church like others have had it's past successes and wonderful moments of blessing, but at the same time, if a church doesn't have quality, effecitve, and spiritual leaders the chuch is going to do any number of things: 1) divide 2) waffle 3) be stagnant 4) go in circles 5) be unproductive 6) quench the spirit 7) left hand not knowing what the right is doing 8) nothing will ever get done 9) dissension 10) dwindle and die.  I am sure you can think of some other things, but this was some of the things i've seen or had others share with me about their church.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from other Minister's is they have no leadership in their church.  They  have to end up doing everything themselves and either get burned out or frustrated or they do it all and get blamed for being a "dictator" or a "one man show", but the truth is, when you are the only one willing to lead, then it becomes those out of necessity and people have no right to complain if they aren't willing to serve or lead.

As I look back and learn about the church where I at now, the biggest thing that has been missing or is missing now is leadership.  People to lead.  People willing to lead.  People wanting to lead. People committed to using their leadership skills for God.   We will lead the boosters,PTA, girl/boy scouts,  the committee at work, be a supervisor or boss for a company, or coach a team, but when asked to serve in leadership at church people won't?  What happens, is churches settle and end up letting people lead who shouldn't because they aren't gifted or they want to be a "leader" for the wrong reasons(power, position, control, ego, pride, etc...).

I was called to lead and I'm going to lead. I'm also going to push for leadership and I'm going to try and call out people to lead.  We need leaders in our church, not just preachers,  Elders or Deacons/Ministry leaders, but we need people leading in our nursery, with our children, in our worship, our buildings/grounds, fellowships, meals, benevolence, outreach, evangelism, the lists of plenty of areas of our churches that need quality leadership to take these ministries, programs, and positions to the next level or begin these much needed ministries.  We need people to step up, step out, and step into leadershp in ALL churches.

I don't care your past,  your concerns, or excuses, if God gifted you with leadership abilities you need to be leading.  If God didn't equip you to be a leader, you need to be honest enough to accept it and find other ways to serve besides leadership. 

People cannot follow if they do not have a leader. People will not come to know Jesus if we do not have leaders in our churches or if churches aren't calling out and raising up and training leaders.  I'm a leader and I'm going to lead and I am leading, are you?  If you are gifted, called, and able to lead, then lead.  Ask God to give you a desire and willingness to lead, and then lead. Don't worry about criticism, complaints, or people who try to bully you. Lead!  No Preacher will be successful if he doesn't have people in the church willing to lead and no church will grow if it doesn't have people willing to lead.  Let's lead so people can follow.

Hebrews 13:7(NIV)

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Always Forget, Never Remember?

Always Forget, Never Remember?

This will be one of many articles I am sure you will read or come across talking about the 10 year annv. of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.  It falls on a Sunday, so a great opportunity for churches and preachers to use this time, as a great outreach, support, and reminder to all their church members and communities.

One thing you can be sure of, we forget, and we don't remember.  There are plenty of posters, clip art, and sign sayings, "Never Forget", and "Always Remember" and things like that about 9/11/01, but truth is we are a human race that forgets.  Go back and read the Old Testament of the Bible, how many times did the children of Israel turn to God, seek God, and get rescued and forgiven by God, only to forget, rebel, and follow their own ways or after other Gods? Plenty!  They forgot.  They didn't remember. 

Look at the New Testament, the jews were promised a Messiah and what happened when He finally came? They rejected Him, because they forgot or didn't remember the promises of God.  Look at churches today,  How many people go to church, get on fire for Jesus, get saved, etc...only in time to stop going to church or stop serving God. Why? We forget, we stop remembering.

How about your life or mine? How many times have we sinned, continued to sin, fell away, rebelled, or chose poorly? Why? We forget.  We don't remember.  We forget the kindnesss, unconditional love, grace, mercy, and salvation of God. We don't remember the healing He gave us at one time, the forgiveness, and gift He gave us.

We are forgetful people.  I know people are thinking about 9/11 because it's a 10 year annv., but I remember 10 years ago, how many people were scared the world was going to end, or we were all going to die, and people flocked to churches and God.  Where are they today? Many of them back to their old lives and back to no change.  Over time, the feelings of fear and the emotions of mortality faded, and they slowly went back to their old lives, old vices, old habits, old routines, and slowly but surely,they forgot about church, God, and faith.  Now, I am sure there were some people who came to God because of the 9/11 events, God always uses bad for good, but if I were a betting man, I'd bet more people forgot and faded than those who got saved(though we still rejoice for everyone who gets saved).

My thought for you this morming, is to develop better memory habits.  We need reminders, or we forget.  That is why  it's so important to talk (pray) to God daily, even though life may be busy. It's important to block off time daily or regularly to read/study the Bible even though you got distractions or obligations.  It's important to attend church and be involved serving in church regularly, not just sunday mornings only or hit and miss, but committed faithfully to attending, but not just attending, serving, giving, and being an active part of the church body.

In doing so, this will help you to remember and stay focused, if not the busyiness, hobbies, distractions, temptations,and life will get in the way and you will forget to serve, read, pray, attend, and grow your relationship with God.  Stay focused, stay involved, stay connected, so that you will not forget and will remember the goodness of God.

Proverbs 4:5(NIV)

"Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them."

Nehemiah 9:16-18(NIV)

16 “But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands. 17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them, 18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.