Monday, March 30, 2015

Fellowship

Too often we throw around the term "fellowship" any time that there is a group of believers together.

We do the math this way:
One follower of Jesus + One follower of Jesus = fellowship.

I don't really think that's the case, especially considering these verses:

Romans 15:26 - For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers in Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 8: 4 - They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.
Hebrews 13:16 - And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

In these passages offering, sharing and share are the Greek word that is most often translated fellowship.  Most often, but not always.  Apparently there's an element of fellowship that should include giving.  When's the last time you were giving (yourself, your mental effort, your wealth) in a time you considered fellowship?

Huh... and I thought we just needed to talk about sports and the weather with another Christian to count it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Non-Profit History Lesson

Once upon a time someone (or a small group of someones) had an inspirational idea to make a difference.  They started small at first, but when they realized the need for donations to make their idea happen, they start a non-profit.

Every non-profit needs a board, but that's not a problem because they already have a team of committed individuals wanting to see the idea flourish.

What's interesting is that at some point in the life-cycle of non profit organizations, the board realizes they can better accomplish their mission by hiring a staff member to do the majority of the work while they provide oversight.

But then eventually the original board members (because of time, finances, family, etc) need to step down off the board. The vacancies are filled with committed individuals, but they weren't there for the original hiring of the staff member.  So in a short time span, if the board is eventually all replaced, the staff member knows more about the organization than any board member.

(This is not all non-profits as I'm sure you can have lifetime tenured board members or organizations that never hire staff.  But I think it's the majority... nothing wrong with it, just good to know.)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Commitment

I had a picture the other day of commitment.

A friend/volunteer I know who is much busier than I am showed up at an event Camp was holding.  Earlier in the year it had been communicated that he (along with a group he belonged to) should help with this event.  For this guy specifically I hadn't done any follow up because I didn't want to burden him with another thing on his schedule.

I was surprised when he was there.  I apologized for not having anything for him to do and for not communicating to him that he didn't need to come.  To which he replied.

"I just thought everyone was supposed to help."

Is that your attitude of commitment? If you're involved and you knew it was an expectation, are you there?  No questions asked?

Or are you waiting to be re-asked again?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Names

Some of you know that I have a strong dislike for naming things unnecessarily.  I think if you take a look at most church and christian organization websites you'll find something with a name that is quizzical at best and lame or misleading at worst.  I often think: "Why name it? Just do it."

But I might be starting to come around.  I think I'm realizing the importance of giving something a name.  It can help to define your culture.  It can give clarity and purpose to something that would be otherwise ambiguous.  It can do those things, but only if you find a good name.

So if you're starting something new and you feel it needs a name go ahead and name it. Just please name it well enough that we all know what you're talking about.

Monday, March 16, 2015

What's in a tithe?

Deuteronomy 14:22-23
"You must set aside a tithe of your crops—one-tenth of all the crops you harvest each year. Bring this tithe to the designated place of worship—the place the lord your God chooses for his name to be honored—and eat it there in his presence. This applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn males of your flocks and herds. Doing this will teach you always to fear the lord your God."

Emphasis (obviously) mine.

But really... tithing will teach you to always to fear the Lord your God?

What's in a tithe?  A lot apparently.

How's your giving?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Your best fundraiser...

It already happened.

Allow me to share a little story.  I work at Camp of Champions USA.  Throughout the course of a year we strive to raise over $250,000 for the ministry.  One of our biggest fundraisers is a Chili Supper, where we tell stories of God working, feed people a good meal, and ask them to consider a contribution.  It's a pretty good fundraiser (if I may say so myself.)

But we realized something funny at our event this year: A good percentage (30%? 50%?) of our guests come with their check already made out and seal it in our gift envelope before we've even gotten started.  They haven't had a bite to eat or heard one story of God working, yet they have already decided to financially support our work.

Why?

I'm guessing because they had already bought into our ministry in the first place.  We had already built their trust and engaged them to the point they were ready to give.  And we did it all before the fundraiser even happened.

Just a thought if you're holding a big shindig to raise money... your best work might have already happened.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A debt snowball

But not the Dave Ramsey kind.

Let's say that a healthy relationship with your spouse takes 30 minutes of focused time each day.  Sure you'll spend a lot of other time together doing a lot of other things, but to really build that growing and lasting friendship you need 30 minutes of time where you can just focus on each other.

30 minutes a day is 182.5 hours a year.

In ten years that's 1,825 hours of time you've spent focusing on each other, equivalent to 76 twenty-four hour days.

If you've done that your first ten years of marriage, you have an incredible amount of marriage "interest" in the bank to help get you through tough times.

If you haven't, your marriage debt is huge.  An almost insurmountable snowball.  To make it up you'll need to take 3 months off of work and spend all of it just focusing on each other.

Or you could spend 30 minutes today.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's easy to miss something...

... if you're not looking for it.

Which is why we need to have our eyes open.  And why it's okay to read something you don't agree with (or maybe you flat-out disagree with it.)

Engaging other worldviews and thought processes doesn't cheapen yours.  (And believe me when I say I have 100% confidence my worldview is correct.)  But hearing and considering other people's ideas, big or small, helps refine and strengthen your own.

And maybe, just maybe, you'll find out something you didn't know.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Cult - ure

What's the difference between a cult and a culture?

From modern vernacular a cult is a crazy something on the fringe of society that the general population isn't too sure about.  A culture is what a society produces, embodies, and (for lack of a better word) "is."

Is our job as followers of Christ to be a cult or to change the culture?

Maybe we should be a little bit of both: We shouldn't be afraid of being "weird" and we should also  seek to change our world.

I think the trouble comes when we focus on creating/maintaining/sustaining a Christian culture instead of just living the way Christ called us, even if that way feels a little weird to other folks.

Those three little letters (u.r.e.) make quite the change don't they?