9 Objections to Christianity

Over the past 2 days I have watched much of the Resurgence13 Conference (you may have seen a lot of #R13 on social media.) This Seattle based conference had live sites scattered across America and also and online contingency of over 20,000 viewers. Over the 48 hours of the conference delegates and online subscribers heard messages from Mark Driscoll, Rick Warren, Judah Smith, James McDonald and Matt Chandler just to name a few. The heart of the conference was for delegates to learn lessons from ministry leaders who have seen God’s faithfulness as they respond to his call. Many of these sessions I managed to see and found all of them especially helpful, compelling and empowering. I’m sure in time these sessions will made available at The Resurgence.

In the final session of the conference Pastor Mark Driscoll shared of a number of new developments that he, his church (Mars Hill) and The Resurgence website would be working on. One of those is a project that will become a book, sermon series and small group studies on the 9 objections to Christianity
the unchurched and dechurched (people that haven’t attended church for a considerable amount of time.)

The market research (done by some of the market leaders in research) has already been undertaken and after numerous survey’s, focus groups and interviews Mark shared the summary of the Top 9 objections to Christianity. I for one, am incredibly thankful for the time, energy and expense that has been invested and await eagerly the finalisation and communication in full of the data, it’s findings and how we as believers are to respond. So these are the 9 and below also a quote from different participants of the study.

20131107-124657.jpg

Intolerance
“Some Christian groups are too intolerant”

Sex
“The Christian religion and I have different views on social issues like abortion and gay marriage

Politics
“I don’t like how some Christian groups meddle in politics”

Hypocrisy
“Most Christians are hypocrites”

Exclusivity
“There are lots of religions, and I’m not sure only one has to be the right way”

Inequality
“All people are not created equal in the Christian faith”

Scripture
“I don’t really share the beliefs that the Christian faith tells me I should”

Greed
“Christianity is about making money, not religion”

Irrelevance
“The Christian faith is not relevant to modern times”

I wish I could post the session as I greatly appreciated how in just 90 minutes Mark unpacked these objections, it would obviously help further explain what each subheading specifically spoke too. I look forward to this project and it’s findings being shared on the global scale in the first half of 2014.

I truly believe It’s important for us as believers to be engaging in the conversations our culture is having, and be able to speak the truth into issues, shortcomings and falsehoods people have about Christianity.

20131107-124707.jpg

Where is my Value?

I’m a Performance Addict

To be honest I’ve always known it, I’ve always seemed to care too highly about what others thought and truly believed that if I succeed in things (work, radio, ministry, sport, friendships really everything) I thought it’d make me a better person & more highly valued to others and ultimately to Jesus.

During a pretty dark period in my life a few years ago I processed a lot of these thoughts and felt like God did a great work in my heart & motivations. However, as you probably know their is always MORE God wants to do.
This week after hearing a message by Peter McHugh during a Pastors Retreat I read Luke 10:38-42 in fresh eyes, it says:

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

As we look to the 10 commandments we see two very important things. The first commandment points us to intimacy with God. The second commandment speaks of involvement. The order is important. We need to find our identity in Christ not in our activity. We need to be more aware of what God is doing for us, rather than what we are doing for God. However its;

Acceptance before performance BUT not without performance.

Change your belief not just behavior. If you do it the other way you become a moralist. I must change my belief systems (by being renewed in my mind by the Gospel) about who God is and how he really truly views me and what is of greatest importance to him! Ministry to the Father comes first. What’s the father doing? That is the great question I must always ask myself.

We know all fruitfulness comes from the place of intimacy with Jesus John 15:1-17 tells us that.

Before I finish it’s important to notice one thing within the story of Mary & Martha. Jesus says “Mary has chosen the good portion” it isn’t the only portion! Doing things, leading serving are all important, it’s not the only portion, It’s just the intimacy with Jesus, finding our identity, security and value in Jesus not in what we do.

Behavior is an echo of belief.

Jesus, help me to see my value and worth is in you and that in you I am accepted and loved unconditionally And let me lead and do things from that place of acceptance.

11 Leadership Lessons

20130221-115244.jpgLast night I had a leadership training night with some of my youth leadership team. We were very lucky to be able to have Phill Brake senior minister of Compass Church share with our team.

He along with his associate Michael Salisbury shared some fantastic insights from their 15+ years of friendship and ministry together. Last night they shared about things they wish someone had told them at the start of their leadership journey. Here is just a few of the dot point notes I took from last night I found very helpful:

Don’t discount the role you can play in a young persons life.Have Fun!

You’ve gotta enjoy the ministry your doing.

Know what are your drainers & replenishes.

Be true to yourself

You reproduce after who you really are, not who you present to be.

Be servant hearted… But remember, God will do what he wanted, either with us or despite us.

You choose your attitude! You can choose how you are going respond to.

The grass is not always greener on the other side…

Believe Big, even if the last time ‘failed’. The size of your God, will determine the size of what you believe God can do!

Be accountable. Find out Godly mentors, for different areas. You’ll need to go find them.

I fast & I pray, I listen & obey.

I’m so thankful to Phill’s friendship and ministry over the years. I hope these quick 11 points help grow you in your life and leadership.

Your Life Matters.

2 Favorite Words

As your fairly aware right now I’m currently tracking through the book of Ephesians with the teens and twenties of my church. I was told this week that a number of church including Mars Hill and Discovery Church are doing, or about to do something very similar. It’s exciting to hear this, as I love the book of Ephesians  and would encourage every Christian regularly to read and meditate on, its brilliant.

I want to tell you what my two favorite words are in the bible. They come after these few verses in Ephesians 2:1-3 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

What are my favorite two words in the bible?

BUT GOD

Ephesians 2:4-5 reveals “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

butgodweb2

This tells me that even if your at the lowest point in yourself, feel broken, trapped and locked up in your sin and feel as though their is no way out for you, no hope for you, the bible has some amazingly good news for you… BUT GOD!

I know you can feel like sometimes your sin is so great that it cannot be forgiven. That that choice you made cannot be undone. The decision to do or act on the temptation can make you feel like you are done for and that your now stuck in a hopeless pit of sin and self destruction. I want to remind you… BUT GOD! There is a BUT GOD moment for you than can come to pass in your life.

You are never too far gone! You’ve never “done to much”! You are loved, grace, love, forgiveness and mercy are available for you… But the only answer is found in him. Not in your good deeds, your attendance, your acts of mercy. These are all good things, but the answer isn’t within yourself or what you can do. The answer to your sinfulness and mine is found in no other… BUT GOD!

BUT GOT