Jan 202010
 

This “profile of the Lukewarm” comes from chapter 4 of “Crazy Love” written by Frances Chan.

PROFILE OF THE LUKEWARM

Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe ‘good Christians’ do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)

Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church… as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chron 21:24, Luke 21:1-4)

Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. (Luke 6:26, Rev 3:1, Matt 23:5-7)

Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. (John 10:10, Rom 6:1-2)

Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for ‘extreme’ Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call ‘radical’ what Jesus expected of all his followers. (James 1:22, James 4:17, Matt 21:28-31)

Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbours, co-workers or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion. (Matt 10:32-33)

Lukewarm people gauge their morality or ‘goodness’ by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street. (Luke 18:11-12)

Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives. (Luke 9:57-62)

Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors, missionaries and radicals. (Matt 22:37-38)

Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focussed on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached. (Matt 5:43-47, Luke 14:13-14)

Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go, or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give. (Luke 18:21-25)

Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focussed on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they consider the life to come. Regarding this, C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.’ (Phil 3:18-20, Col 3:2)

Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, ‘Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only the love of money is.’ Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel ‘called’ to minister to the rich; very few feel ‘called’ to minister to the poor. (Matt 25: 34, 40, Isaiah 58:6-7)

Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the base minimum, to be ‘good enough’ without it requiring too much of them. They ask, ‘How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?’ instead of ‘How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?’ They ask,….’ (1 Chron 29:14, Matt 13:44-46)

Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and taking risks for God. (1 Tim 6:17-18, Matt 10:28)

Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens – they have their saving account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God. (Luke 12:16-21, Amos 6:1)

Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitised lives with holiness, but that couldn’t be more wrong. (Matt 23:25-28, Matt 7:21)

 Posted by at 10:46 am
May 192009
 

I am reading a book by a cool guy named Rick Sizemore that attends Church at the Grove right now.  He is a gifted writer and I am enjoy his book Advertising God: Shamelessly Promote and Share Your Faith with Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace.  You can check out his site at Advertising God here.

We spent Sunday talking about being “Lion-Chasers” and glorifying God with our lives as men. 

Rick tells a story about two “lion-chasers” in his book.  Its about two traveling salesmen, John Nicholson and Samuel Hill. 

While sharing a room in a crowded hotel one night in 1898, both men discovered they were Christians.  Later that evening, after reading the Bible and praying together, they discussed forming a Christian association for traveling salesmen.  Their schedules, however, forced the new friends to part ways the next day before any ideas could be solidified.  Unknown to them, God’s hand was at work.  After meeting up again the following year, the two salesmen renewed their talk of creating a Christian association, and subsequently, along with William Knights, founded the Gideons. 

At one of the association’s early meetings, someone made the bold suggestion that the Gideons place a Bible in every single hotel room in the United States so traveling men would always have a Bible to read.  The challenge was accepted and in 1908, the Gideons delivered their first Bible.  Twenty years later, the association had distributed one million Bibles.  Today, according to their website, the Gideons place more than 59 million Bibles annually in hotels, hospitals, shelters and prisons in over 181 countries and in 82 different languages.  That’s an astonishing 112 Bibles every minute!

From random encounter to lofty idea to seizing the opportunity God placed before them, these three men and their army of “silent witnesses” played a major role in introducing millions of people around the globe to the love, teachings and salvation grace of Almighty God.  Just how effective are the Gideons’ efforts?  Some years back, a Fodors survey revealed that 23% of American travelers had read a Gideons Bible in their hotel room.  Talk about following the command of the Great Commission, that’s advertising God with extreme passion! (pp. 16 & 17)

That’s Chasing Lions!

 Posted by at 9:25 am
Mar 202009
 

Leadership “Thinkholes” explained:

  • Ministry Treadmill

The first “thinkhole” is the ministry treadmill.  The treadmill is set in motion when the busyness of ministry creates a progressively irreversible hurriedness in the leader’s life.  The sheer imediacy of each next event or ministry or ministry demand prevents the leader from taking the time required for discerning the culture and defining the DNA of the church. (pg. 10 of Church Unique)

  • Competency Trap

The second thinkhole is the competency trap.  As ministry leaders experience success over time, that very success can become a liability.  Presumption that “you know how to do this thing” prohibits and eclipses the leader’s active listening and reflection observation.  He loses the habit of discerning the churches DNA. (pg. 11)

  • Needs-Based Slippery Slope

On the needs-based slippery slope, leaders are constantly trying to meet people’s needs and expectations within the church.  Whether the needs ring of “religious consumerism” or are legitimate concerns of life and death, the slippery slope works the same.  With the leaders’ cruise control set to “react,” thoughtful leadership becomes unnecessary because there is always a persistent parade of needs to be answered.  The vision of the church is reduced to making people happy. (pg. 11)

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
Feb 272009
 

The Law of Influence

We live in a dog-eat-dog world where people generally look out for their own personal interests.  As a follower of Jesus, I believe that we all inherit a sinful nature that causes us to put our own interests ahead of others.  If we want to make ourselves indispensable in the workplace and in other important areas of life, we must learn The Law of Influence.  Authors Burg and Mann state in their valuable book The Go-Giver that “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” 

Networking with people is a well known practice for expanding your business interests through developing relationships with a purpose.  Most often the purpose is selfish and agenda driven toward our own interests.  Burg and Mann challenge us to build a network of genuine friendships that transcend your business agendas and develop friendships with people that genuinely “know you, like you and trust you“.

When we genuinely invest in others and put their interests first without “keeping score”, we will unknowingly be investing in an “army of personal walking ambassadors“. (pg. 66)  As a result of our investment into other people’s interests, we will have a steady flow of referrals back to us that will keep us busy. 

Jesus taught us by example to put other’s interest ahead of our own.  The Apostle Paul refers to Jesus example.

Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 

 Posted by at 10:41 am