It’s Time

When your Father’s Word is not enough you will go looking for people’s validation. –Steven Furtick, Copy That

It isn’t just we who are addicted to media posts, who chase after the unholy grail of people’s praise–we are not the only ones who imitate the fake.

Churches do it, too. And, it really is time for things to change. But change, especially BIG changes? Can cost big.

I am remembering again that quote from the movie Moneyball,

“It’s always the first guy through the wall that gets bloody.”

Dangerous but Comfortable Dysfunction

One of the major drawbacks of being raised in an atmosphere of dysfunction, where duplicity and mendacity were my everyday “normal,” meant my “alarm system” when it came to dysfunctional churches and their practices needed some major rewiring.

It isn’t surprising to me now, that the first three churches I landed in (one after another) as a returned prodigal, had leadership who dealt in duplicity and mendacity, as their normal way of dealing with people.

And, since that had been my “normal” too, no alarm bells went off in me. Though many times things just didn’t “add up,” when trying to figure out their behavior vs. scripture, I ignored the all the signs that something was profoundly wrong.

Warning Signs

I say all this to warn returning prodigals: pay attention to your own dysfunctional history; the causes and the practices!

Keep your eyes open, and your ears attuned to any behavior or teaching by leaders, that doesn’t line up with scripture.

If you get repeated warning flags, rethink where you’re at, and think about a change for the sake of your own spiritual health.

I don’t mean you are looking for a perfect church–perfect churches don’t exist.

But, if you find teachers who set a different standard for themselves than what scripture teaches or what they hold others to? Leaders that become angry at being questioned about their actions? Pay attention, there may be serious trouble ahead.

If you are sitting under a “Bully Pulpit” that truth won’t take long to emerge.

As painful as it may be, pray and seek the LORD about finding a new and safe community of believers.

The Price

Jesus warned that there would be a price for doing things His way.

From The Voice:

Jesus continues to challenge Jewish ideas about who will be in the kingdom of God and how the Kingdom will work. Those who have been dishonored on earth will be honored in the Kingdom, and those in positions of economic and religious honor here will be dishonored there. He also challenges individuals to reconsider their personal value systems. They should not honor their own lives and family above Christ, but rather give them up for Him.

Great crowds joined Him on His journey, and He turned to them.

Jesus: If any of you come to Me without hating your own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, and yes, even your own life, you can’t be My disciple. If you don’t carry your own cross as if to your own execution as you follow Me, you can’t be part of My movement. Just imagine that you want to build a tower. Wouldn’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to be sure you have enough to finish what you start? If you lay the foundation but then can’t afford to finish the tower, everyone will mock you: “Look at that guy who started something that he couldn’t finish!”

Or imagine a king gearing up to go to war. Wouldn’t he begin by sitting down with his advisors to determine whether his 10,000 troops could defeat the opponent’s 20,000 troops?  If not, he’ll send a peace delegation quickly and negotiate a peace treaty. In the same way, if you want to be My disciple, it will cost you everything. Don’t underestimate that cost!

Luke 25:14-33

Real Change vs. “Managing” the Status Quo

In his book, Tempered Resilience, Tod Bolsinger writes:

“…leading change is disruptive. And everything within us resists disruption. When we are faced with change, we need leaders who can stand it when we resist the very thing we want and need, even to the point where we will turn on them, oppose them, sabotage them. According to the late Edwin Friedman, one of the critical attributes of a leader who is going to bring about a “renaissance” or renewal of deep change is “persistence in the face of resistance and downright rejection.”

Bolsinger compares the process and cost of change to tools being forged in the fire.

He continues,

Leadership therefore is always about the transformation and growth of a people–starting with the leader–to develop the resilience and adaptive capacity to wisely cut through resistance and accomplish the mission of the group. It requires learning and results in loss. And even when we know what we are signing up for, we resist both the vulnerability of learning and the pain of loss…

Resilience is not about becoming smarter or tougher; it’s about becoming stronger and more flexible. It’s about becoming tempered.

Which takes us back to the blacksmith’s shop.

Who are we copying?

I therefore return to my original quote:

When your Father’s Word is not enough you will go looking for people’s validation.

Pastor steven furtick

Who are we trying to imitate?

Is it Jesus? Or, have we traded in our blood-bought birthright, for the world’s cheap porridge?

God’s mission has not changed. He has always desired that the whole world be saved.

Our mission is not to become a brilliant success; “fitting in” in the eyes of the world.

No, we are here to accomplish the purpose for which Jesus Christ came and died–to save people. All kinds of people. From ALL nations.

Jesus taught churches HOW to do that.

So, if people are stumbling in the front door of our churches, but running out the back?

Surely, their are things that need to change.

Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.


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