While we were in Dallas last weekend, we got to see one of Miranda’s old friends, Heather Zempel. She and Heather grew up spending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays playing football in the backyard of “Gran’s” house. (Miranda’s grandmother) Since those days, Heather has become a discipleship pastor and small group guru at National Community Church in DC. She’s written a small group curriculum (called Sacred Roads) which has been published all over the country and she has become a sought after speaker for events where small group folks come together.
Anyway, we got to hang out with her a bit and she treated us to a meal at Saltgrass. (Thanks Heather and by the way, you’ve got that “ticket grabbing” move perfected – it was very quick, fluid, and precise – impressive.) We not only shared a meal together, but our lives as well. She told us about her husband, niece, & ministry and asked lots of questions about our situation. I’m always amazed at the way that God is able to stitch people together. Unlike Miranda, I haven’t exactly had a lot of time (or history) with Heather, and yet, because of our connection in Christ, it felt like I was just reconnecting with an old friend. (Of course hearing all their old stories probably helped that image too.) Heather is one of those people who is easy to know. She has a contagious exuberance and an easy laugh that make her a ton of fun to hang out with. When you combine that personality with her love for God and people. . .well, I just enjoyed getting to know her and feel like it’s a privilege to call her my friend.
Prayer: Lord I ask You to lead Heather. As she continues this new era of ministry where she is bouncing from one city to the next and teaching others, I ask for you to protect her. Keep her grounded and allow her plenty of time to nurture the deep relationships in her life – the important relationships. Allow her to remain connected to You and to NCC folks in such a way that she can venture off into these other places with a lot of overflow. Allow her to do ministry in Your strength, with Your blessing, in Your power, under Your guidance. Give her wisdom to choose which opportunities to take part in and help her to discern when to say “No” in order to stay healthy. Lord continue to use her for Your glory. AMEN.
I had a thought today as I was reading a post on friend’s (Heather Zempel) blog. She was talking about how messy ministry can get due to what I will call the “human” factor. Anyway, I was just thinking about how God seems to like things to be a little messy. It seems like everywhere Jesus went, there was a bit of a mess that he left behind. People didn’t know what to think of Him. Anyway, I was just thinkin’ that maybe we’re all a little OCD compared to God. Now, let’s be clear, I’m not calling God a “slob.” You might be saying, “God is not a God of chaos but a God of order.” (that popular saying comes from I Cor 14:33 which affirms that God is not the author of confusion but of peace – and it’s speaking to a very specific situation regarding worship.)
Anyway, here’s what I’m trying to say. Maybe God’s work only seems messy to us because we’ve gotten so used to our junk piles. I mean, if God breaks our paradigms and changes things up on us, it’s gonna feel messy simply ’cause it’s new and we don’t know how to navigate the new as well. We’re OCD in the sense that we like things to remain in the places where we put them. We even like putting people into boxes so we can categorize them and place them in the right places in our lives. But if we’ve truly surrendered to God, then we’re seeking to make conscious choices to allow Him to do the arranging in our lives. That’s when things start feeling messy. The interesting thing is that God is actually “cleaning” up when He starts rearranging. OK – now I’ve gone full circle – It looks like God is the one who is OCD now. Maybe you guys should all just ignore me. . . I have no idea what I’m talking about.
Oh well. . .my random thoughts go in circles quite a bit. Maybe some of this will still be interesting to someone. I hope it at least makes you think a bit. Anybody got any other thoughts that can help clear this all up for me?
Patch Adams is a great example of leadership. He is determined to chase the dream/vision of helping people. When he fixed a cup and was called “Patch,” he realized he could help people. This identity gave him the confidence to chase after this vision and propelled him into all kinds of circumstances. He thought outside the box that medical school gave him and challenged everything he was taught in regards to professional distance. He learned to look beyond a problem to it’s solution from a man in a mental hospital and imagined a new kind of hospital by playing with a napkin dispenser and ketchup bottle. Vision and new ideas just flowed out of him because he was always on the lookout for them. These things were more than just ideas though – or as Andy Stanley would put it – they were more than dreams that “could” be, they were visions that “should” be. And Patch was the kind of guy who really worked to make them happen. He was also good at relationships – people wanted to be around him – They could get behind his vision for helping people because they trusted him so much.
Patch is a leader. He was a man of character and skills, who was good at relationships and had a vision that they could get behind.
Here’s an article describing Jesus that I found on Mark Driscoll’s (a pastor I like to listen to) blog.
No one is more loved or hated than Jesus Christ.
Jesus was born in a small town to a poor, unmarried teen mother roughly 2,000 years ago. He was adopted by Joseph, a simple carpenter, and spent the first thirty years of His life in obscurity, swinging a hammer with His dad.
Around the age of thirty, Jesus began a public ministry that included preaching, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and befriending people who were marginalized because they were perverts, drunks, thieves, and such. Jesus’ ministry spanned only three short years before He was put to death for declaring Himself to be God. He died by shameful crucifixion like tens of thousands of people had before Him.
Curiously, His résumé is rather simple. He never traveled more than a few hundred miles from His home. He never held a political office, never wrote a book, never married, never attended college, and never visited a big city. He died homeless and poor.
Yet He is the most famous person in all of human history. More songs have been sung about Him, artwork painted of Him, and books written about Him than anyone who has ever lived. Furthermore, billions of people from the nations of the earth worship Him as God. Even unbelievers are constantly reminded of His influence since we measure time around His life. Our calendar is divided into the years before and after His birth, which are noted as BC (“before Christ”) and AD (anno Domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord”).
No army, nation, or person has changed human history to the degree that Jesus the homeless man has. The symbol for Jesus, the cross, has become the most famous symbol in all of history. Even rapper 50 Cent and old-school rocker Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses recently wore one around their necks at the MTV Video Music Awards. Jesus has become a part of American fashion.
Every year, the media is filled with discussions about Jesus. Musicians like Kanye West cannot help but sing about Jesus even if they do not worship Him as God. Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ set a single-day box office record. No one is hotter than Jesus – even 2,000 years after He walked the earth. Even the mundane magazine Popular Mechanics had a cover story titled “The Real Face of Jesus” a few years back in which they attempted to determine what Jesus really looked like (complete with short hair, unlike the myth that he had long hair).
It seems that everyone has an opinion of Jesus. The following quotes are a smattering of what great figures in human history have said about Jesus:
Mahatma Gandhi: “I cannot say that Jesus was uniquely divine. He was as much God as Krishna, or Rama, or Mohammed, or Zoroaster.”
Adolf Hitler: “In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.”
Larry King “was once asked who he would most want to interview if he could choose anyone from all of history. He said, ‘Jesus Christ.’ The questioner said, ‘And what would you like to ask Him?’ King replied, I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.'”
John Lennon: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first—rock and roll or Christianity.”
Carlos Mencia: “You know what, I became more Christian after I saw the movie [The Da Vinci Code] because, I, you know, as a Christian, I was like, you know, Jesus died for our sins he suffered. But now that I know that he’s married, I’m like, wow, did he really suffer. Poor guy.”
Friedrich Nietzsche: “Jesus died too soon. If he had lived to my age he would have repudiated his doctrine.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau: “Socrates died like a philosopher; Jesus Christ died like a God.”
Joseph Smith: “Mormonism is the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed.”
Mark Twain: “If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be—a Christian.”
H. G. Wells: “I am a historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.”
Oprah Winfrey: “There couldn’t possibly be just one way . . .” [Lady in the audience: “What about Jesus?”] “What about Jesus? . . . Does God care about your heart or does God care about if you call his son Jesus?”
Malcolm X: “All white people who have studied history and geography know that Christ was a black man. Only the poor, brainwashed American Negro has been made to believe that Christ was white, to maneuver him into worshiping the white man.”
People tell us all sorts of things about Jesus. He was rich. He was poor. He was black. He was white. He was God and not God. He was a liar who told the truth, born of a virgin who was a tramp. He rose from the dead or else escaped death to shack up with His girlfriend. Even within Christianity, a goofy trend recasts Jesus and the faith; apparently, a new kind of Christian has emerged.
Maybe we should do a series soon on “Who is Jesus?”