Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Are We Good Role Models?

I shared this at our Navigator Training Camp on Friday night, July 17, 2009

Our Elders have been taking an assessment of ourselves lately. As we examine the 7Gs (Grace, Glorify, Growth, Group, Gifts, Good Stewardship, Go), we have been asking ourselves, “are we good role models or examples of the 7Gs for people to follow?” That may initially sound arrogant to you, but as we look into the Scriptures, we are reminded over and over that as leaders of the church we are commanded to be role models and examples and to challenge and encourage those in our care to follow us, to imitate us.

In 1 Peter 5:1-4 where Peter is writing this letter to followers of Jesus, God Word says:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

So, Peter gives a command to the elders to be examples to the flock, to “those in your charge”, to those to whom God has given you responsibility.

The author of Hebrews (who many believe is Paul), writes in 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.”

This is a tall order, a serious command, a significant responsibility. The writer is saying that we are to do as the leader says and as the leader does. We are to obey and submit to them. So, the leaders must be examples for those in his charge to follow. And then the writer delivers the knockout blow. He says the reason we are to follow, obey and submit is because those leaders are watching over our soul. They are responsible for our spiritual well being. They are going to be held accountable by God for what they did, how they led, what kind of role model they were, and what kind of example those in their charge followed.

Those leaders are US! The Scriptures give the responsibility to the Elders. The Elders of Clear Creek Community Church are entrusting some of that responsibility to US – Small Group Navigators. As Navigators, we are responsible for the spiritual development of each person in our small group. Through God’s grace, we should live our lives in a way that we beg those in our groups to follow us, to imitate us, because we must be confident enough in our Christian walk that we unashamedly say to our group members “watch me and do as I do.” We must be so dependent upon Christ in all areas of our life that we say “watch me and do as I do.” It doesn’t mean we are perfect. Paul wasn’t perfect. Peter wasn’t perfect. But, we must allow the gospel to so shape our lives that we say “watch me and do as I do.”

Father, please help me to be an example for those in my care to follow. Holy Spirit live through me in such a way that others follow me as I follow Jesus. Amen.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Celebrating 27 years!

Twenty-seven years ago tonight I was anxiously anticipating my wedding day. After dating for almost seven years, I was going to marry my High School sweetheart, Lisa Bolian. We started dating on July 5, 1975 when I finally got up enough courage to invite this fourteen year old beauty to go to the Galleria and see the new, hit movie, Jaws. I had my eye on Lisa for several months. I had flirted with her at the church Valentine Banquet and got her phone number. It only took me five more months to ask her out. As I drove into her driveway to take her home, after the movie, I thought you have to go for it. You may never get another chance. Do it! So, I kissed her as we stood on the porch and I said goodnight. I got back into the car (my Dad's 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic) and once I got out of sight of her house I started yelling and dancing and screaming, "I kissed Lisa Bolian." We dated continuously from that first date through our wedding day on May 15, 1982. Lisa was all a guy could want. She loved Jesus. And she was and is absolutely gorgeous. We wrapped up the rehearsal dinner and I was headed back to the apartment to try to go to sleep. As I lay in bed, dozens of thoughts ran through my head. What would tomorrow be like? How would the wedding ceremony go? How would our first night be? We had waited seven years for this night! Well, the wedding day and night were more than I could imagine (and believe me, I had imagined that night often). I love my wife as much or more than I did after that first kiss on July 5, 1975. She is the sparkle in my eye. She makes me laugh. She loves me. God gave me the perfect woman. Thank you God and thank you Lisa for 27 incredible years. I love you, Lisa! Happy Anniversary.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Don't Create gods For Your Children (Part 2)

. . . . So, we finished preparing our talks and I drove to Texas A&M to speak to a class on Tuesday evening before we gave our talk on Wednesday evening. As I was driving home, I got a strong impression that I need to include in my talk that "parents should not create gods for their children." A major point in our talks was that parents should make church a priority for themselves and their children. I think a significant struggle for parents today is to live out their priorities in front of their kids. Or, maybe the struggle is more with setting the priorities, rather than just living them out.

But, what kept going through my head as I drove out of College Station on Hwy 6, was that often we create gods that compete with GOD. We put our children in activities that quickly take priority in our lives. Think about it. . . . . . Before you stop reading, understand that I am not saying kids should not be in sports or activities. I have played sports throughout my life. All of my children were involved in sports and other activities. The question is, what is the priority? Does GOD have his rightful place? Or, have we created gods for our children that will compete with GOD for their priority for the rest of their life because of the lessons we have taught them. {Proverbs 22:9 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.}

I am 50 years old. What my parents did the entire time I lived with them is still influencing me today. Consider your children and what foundation you are laying for them. May GOD always be the priority in our life and not just an option. {Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. . . }

Don't Create gods For Your Children (Part 1)

Several weeks ago Yancey Arrington, our Teaching Pastor, asked if during one of our mid-week worship services I would share my story of coming to faith at a young age . Since my wife, Lisa, also came to faith at a young age and we practically grew up together, I thought it would be good for us to share our stories together. As we started to reflect on our stories and write our talks, I was overcome with gratitude and emotion as I realized how my parents had so greatly influenced my spiritual views and formation. You might think - well DUH. But, as I considered each major area of my spiritual life, I linked everything that I believe and much of my behavior to the spiritual foundation that my parents laid for me. Obviously, God put all of that together.

If you have not gone through the exercise of walking through the 7Gs (Grace, Glorify, Growth, Group, Gifts, Good Stewardship and Go) and considering the impact your childhood had on each of them, I encourage you to take a few minutes and do so. Then, tell your parents how they positively influenced your faith.

Link to our talk from The Gathering March 11, 2009
Part 2 to follow, which may help in understanding the title.