The Difference Between a Microscope and a Telescope

The Difference Between a Microscope and a Telescope

Magnification is such a valuable thing. Whether it’s a pair of reading glasses, a magnifying mirror by the sink in the bathroom or a magnifying glass by a book stand, we use magnification constantly. There is even a magnification feature on the Word program that I’m using to type this article. No matter what format it’s in, magnification is always used to make things easier to see. Our human eye can only see so much before we run out of ability to make out what we’re looking at. That happens in two ways on a regular basis:

1. We use microscopes to make very small things bigger. By its definition, micro means being able to see things that are very, very small. Microscopes help us in science projects and in health screening on a daily basis. Microscopes also help us to identify germs that are invisible to the naked eye which makes modern medicine more effective.

2. We use telescopes to see things that are far away. By its definition, tele means bringing things closer to us that are far away. We use telescopes to see the moon, stars and whole solar systems that our naked eye cannot see. Space becomes an amazing place when we can look past our atmosphere and into the world beyond our planet.

The difference between those two are as obvious as “far” and “near” are to all of us. Both are important for their ability to magnify but, they preform two very different jobs for the naked eye. It is equally important to remember that we need to have both of those perspectives going on in our lives at all times. Micro things happen in the here and now. They are right in front of us and if we have our eyes open we can see them but, if we’re not careful we can easily miss them. They are the things we could trip over if we’re not attentive. “Tele” things are the events and items that have long term effects on our lives. They are the things that have the chance to effect you for years to come. These are the things we see at a distance but, we know one day we’ll see clearly. The things that are far away are the things we’re going after that will make a difference in the lives of people who are not even born yet. If we have our eyes open we get a vision of the future. If we’re not careful, these things can seem so far off and hard to see. Both are important.

Are your eyes open to what God is doing in and around you today that might have a micro and a tele effect on your life? Something to think about.

Shine On!
Dave

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At the Heart of A Church

Over the past two months I have done a good bit of thinking about what is at the heart of a church. Now, by church I mean a local congregation/gathering of people who are striving to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ, gathering for worship together, purposefully learning together and affecting the world through daily living and missions. So, what is at the heart of a church like that?
The first heart of a church is and must be the heart of Jesus. Whatever touches the heart of Jesus should be touching the heart of those who call themselves his followers. Whether it’s the poor, the lost, the widows, the persecuted, the nation, families and marriages, or children and youth they all need to be live in the church because Jesus has given the congregation a heart for that issue/concern.

The second “heart” of a congregation must be it’s people. People are what Jesus is all about. Jesus didn’t come to the earth to live, die and rise up from the dead for a building, a denomination, a program or a position. Those things are tools that help people…they are not the end but the means. If any of them get in the way they need to given a review for their effectiveness and life expectancy. The ministries and missions of the church are useless if no one shows up. One of the values of the staff at CrossPoint Church is that “people matter more than programs and positions.” It’s too easy to fall to our human weaknesses and make ministry or a mission or a teaching or a gathering all about us. It can not be about the things we do…church has to be about people. The people who are sitting in the seats matter. Our volunteers in every area of the congregation are what makes us alive. People showing up are what makes us who we are. People who are far from God are vital. People who are not like us count in the Kingdom.

Jesus saves people…all of the other stuff like buildings and programs are the vehicles he uses to convey that message to a hurt and dying world. We’d do well to make sure we keep that perspective in front of us at all times. The danger is that we spend more on protecting the vehicle and forget the message. So, what’s at the heart of your church? Something to think about.

Shine On!
Dave

SCHOOLS OUT – LET THE LEARNING BEGIN

SCHOOLS OUT – LET THE LEARNING BEGIN
Like many people I know I have a summer reading list. I have a stack of four books on my desk, another two at home and several more in my iPad that I plan on reading this summer. I really enjoy reading. It helps keep me sharp and it helps me with my word skills as I write messages for Sunday mornings. Reading also keeps me up to speed with things I want to know more about. I do very little reading of novels or stories. Almost all of my reading material offers some kind of educational piece for me.

The books on my desk are for my professional growth and knowledge, the books at home are often historical material I want to catch up on and the books in my iPad are a mixture of both. It would be easy to look at all of the things I want to read and lose track of the most important book in all of history…the Bible. I enjoy reading the Bible every day. I also enjoy changing up my Bible reading from time to time. I’ve read the Bible from front to back in a year, I focused on just the four gospels, I’ve done just the Psalms and the Proverbs, and the list goes on. There are so many ways to read the Bible that it never gets boring.

So, what’s on your summer reading list? Does the Bible find its way into your daily reading in some way, shape or form? Will your summer reading list include the most important, life changing reading you’ll ever do? See how you can fit it in starting today and let me know how it’s going when you get a chance. I’d love to hear how you work Bible reading into your life.

What I learned in the Marine Corps

In honor of Memorial Day this weekend I wanted to share a few of the things I learned while I served my four years in the United States Marine Corps.
• Life is fragile and precious. We can be here one day and gone the next. Treat everyone like it might be the last time you see them.
• You can’t run from God. This is my equivalent of “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” I joined the Marine Corps in an attempt to run from a pastoral calling from God on my life. What I found was that God was alive and well in the Marines.
• We should always remember those who have gone on before us. Many have laid down their lives for our freedoms and we should be thankful to God for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
• Scars come in all shapes, sizes and places. While there are scars that military personnel wear on the outside, there are even more they hide on the inside. The emotional scars are the worst and they never go away…the veteran learns to live with them as a way to remember what it takes to be free.
• Live one day at a time. Tomorrow is not guaranteed…make sure you Carpe Diem (seize the day)
• Hurry up and wait. I learned a great deal of patience while in the Marines. Enough said.
• Always have a plan and be ready for the plan to change. It’s always good to have a plan but, things can happen in a split second that will make the plan obsolete. It’s good to be flexible.
• Family is, outside of your relationship with God, the most important thing. Give it as much as you can, as often as you can.
• Friendships are often what help us survive. It’s good to know the guy beside you in a red hot situation is your friend and he’s/she’s got your back and you have his/hers.
• At both the start of the day and the end of the day it is good and right to thank God.
• There is no distance that is great enough to destroy love between a man and a woman. Julie and I dated for three years and through a lot of hard moments but, no matter how far…our love could not be broken. By the way, God did that, not us.

Those are just some of the things I learned. There are a whole lot more but, you get the point. May your Memorial Day be filled with fun, laughter, family and moments of wonder and appreciation for all you have and what others did in order for you to have it.

Shine On!
Dave

Written in memory of Sgt. Ken Powell…thank you brother. I will never forget…

Seven Things to Keep in Your Mind when Going Through Massive Change

Whether you lead a business, a church, a family or an organization we know that there are times when transitional change must take place. As a leader there are times when you see the change that is needed and you are called upon to make the change happen. There are seven things that I have had to remember when leading change. Here they are:

1. Work with people not against them. This is not a war and people are not the enemy. It’s much easier to work with the current than against it. Yes, there are times when differences in direction will arise but, I found that, like tacking in a sail boat, I could accomplish more working with the wind rather than against it.

2. Work the past into the plan for the future. Make sure you do your research into where you have been with an eye for something from the past that you can bring forward and highlight as a primary part of who/what your organization is that will help people grasp the vision for the future more easily.

3. Know why change is needed. Another way to say this is to make sure you know what problem the change is addressing and how the problem will be cared for if the change takes place.

4. Take time to talk and listen. Take the needed time (6 month to a year) to verbalize the “why” and to listen to what others might think. There just may be some nuggets that come from others once you articulate where you’re going and why.

5. Trust in the vision. If you’ve done your homework or your prayer work (depending on the organization you lead) you have a clear vision of how things are supposed to look. There will be moments of questioning but, don’t let them derail the vision. Questions are usually about how to make it happen and should not be confused with what is supposed to happen.

6. Lear to say “goodby” really well. Change will effect people in many different ways. Some people will see change is a good time to lead the organization. It is natural and healthy for that to happen. Don’t get mad or upset. Celebrate people for what they’ve done and that they are going with your blessings.

7. Stay the course. There will be times when it feels like it would be better to give in or give up. The vision you have is worth it…hang in there. Staying the course isn’t easy but, when you do, you will eventually see results.

Shine On!
Dave

GROW, GIVE, LEAD

GROW, GIVE, LEAD (G2L)

Each weekend that you go into one of the worship centers at any one of the three CrossPoint campuses you see banners that proclaim who we are and what we do. On the one side of the room are the banners that spell out the “mission” of CrossPoint Church: Love God, Love Others, Make Disciples. These three phrases are the core reason that CrossPoint exists in the world and for God’s Kingdom. As a church we believe that we are to be primarily about these three things.

Then there are three other banners that proclaim who we are as disciples of Jesus Christ. Those banners say just three things: Grow, Give, Lead (G2L). As people who are living out the “mission” of God we believe that there should be some kind of evidence, some kind of results. The signs that someone is a disciple are found in the way they are maturing and developing (Grow), they are generous in every part of their lives (Give), and they show others the way to Christ and a faith filled life (Lead). How about you…are you showing the evidence of your faith today in these three ways?

Shine On!
Dave

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

The combined efforts of over 20 countries have been employed in the search for one thing…a missing airplane. There many reasons why everyone wants to find this plane. Those who’ve lost loved ones want to know, with certainty, where the people they care about are at, even if that means they are dead. Not knowing has a hold on the hearts of so many. There is the very clinical and mechanical part of finding this plane. If something went wrong we all want to know that the problem was discovered and that it won’t happen again. There is the terrorism question. If there was foul play we want to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

The world is waiting to hear the new, “we found it” spoken by someone who is searching. There is something about being lost that makes all of us feel anxious and empty all at the same time. We are not whole, not complete, and for some – not able to function when someone is lost. Just ask Viet Nam veterans who are dedicated to finding and returning the remains of those who were lost during the war. Being lost is a terrible feeling that we can all relate to as a collective people. To be found brings a conclusion, a party, a funeral an end to the searching.

Jesus said, For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10 NIV) There is something in each of that makes us want to be found. The promise Jesus has made to each person who has ever been created is that he is searching for us and that he is able to not only find us but, save us. It would be a wonderful thing if we could employ the kind of effort we are pouring into looking for the 229 people who are lost on flight 370 into looking for lost souls for Jesus. There are many who will be walking among us today who are just as lost in their soul as those who were a part of this nightmare flight. May we, those who have been found, do all we can to bring lost people into the Kingdom of God so that everyone can be found! Something to think about.

Leading with Vision in the Drivers Seat

I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to go to work each day loving what I get to do as the “vision pastor” of a church. The title vision pastor came by direction of the congregation who fully believed that if God’s vision for the church is what we live by then the senior leader should be all about the vision. So, as the vision pastor I get to stay focused on the vision each day and I get to be the primary vision casting person at the church.

Last weekend I was at a retreat weekend and I heard several people who spoke about how disappointed they were that the retreat was coming to an end. The final session meant they now had to return to a job they hated and that was more than just a little deflating. It made me realize that I not only love what I do each day but, I never think of going to work or having a “job.” Maybe that’s because I am living out a vision that is greater than myself and that guides me each day. The gauge of my success for every day it whether I was able to move the vision a little further toward reality.

So, here is a list of some of the advantages of allowing the vision of your church or organization to be in the drivers seat.

1. There’s no question like “what am I going to do today.”
2. You never have to ask, “why am I doing this.”
3. You can evaluate your day based on something greater than yourself or the organization.
4. You know that what you are doing each day is part of a much larger, greater puzzle that is being built by you and the other people in your organization/church.
5. You can find excitement and joy as well as energy in seeing a piece of the vision come together or take shape.
6. Your self-worth is based on the big picture the vision offers rather than what an individual might think or say.
7. You know that what you do will leave a mark rather than just producing widgets.
8. You find yourself investing in something greater than yourself because of its capability to have impact on the organization, the church, the community or the world in some unique or exciting way.

Okay, those are just a few of the reasons I believe it’s so much better to allow the vision of your church/organization to be in the driver’s seat. I can think of a few more reasons but, maybe you have something to add. I’d love to hear from you. Please comment if you have something to add…and thanks.

Shine On!
Dave

Israel 2015

It’s exciting for me to announce that Julie and I will be leading a tour to Israel in February 2015. We are working together with Educational Opportunities, an faith based international tour company, to provide not only a beautiful tour but also one filled with history and information. Julie and I have led this tour in the past (1997) and are looking forward to returning to the places where Jesus walked.

You can join us on this trip. There is an informational meeting on Sunday evening, March 2nd at the Colonial Park campus of CrossPoint Church (www.xpointumc.org) starting at 7:00 pm in the worship center. Here are some of the basic details you might want to know.

Dates. February 17-27 (10 days)
Cost. $2898 is all inclusive.
Travel. Depart and return from Newark with transportation from CrossPoint Colonial Park campus
Study. This trip will include a wide variety of educational events that will include lectures on historical perspectives as well as contemporary issues and finding.

There is no obligation if you attend this informational meeting. You’ll receive more info on cost, payment schedules, destinations, plans, and options. Julie and I look forward to seeing you there.

Shine On!
Dave

Tension

I live in some pretty interesting tension from time to time. As a person who is committed to the Christian faith I find myself sitting with people who are doing things I don’t agree with but, I’m called to be there and love them. Most of the time I really love it. People are wonderful, messy but, wonderful. I’m a people person so I love being around people and have people around me.

But, people create tension. Tension comes when my mind has to sit in the middle loving a person and disagreeing with something they’re doing. I know I’m not the only one who has to do this. Parents do it all the time with their children. Husbands live in the tension with wives and wives with husbands. Now and again the tension becomes theological or biblical or denominational even. Like the times when I sit with a couple who want to get married and they’re already living together. I don’t believe living together is good or healthy or right. Or the tension that comes when I hang out with some of my close friends who are homosexual. I love my friends but, I struggle with homosexuality biblically, personally, spiritually.

What I’ve discovered is that something wonderful, and beautiful and amazing can happen in the times of tension if I am willing to stay there. God shows me things I would have never seen in the tension. God lets me see people as He sees them if I hang in there when the tension rises. I become a better person when I am willing to sit in the tension.

Tension is like a really hard work out…it will stretch and damage but, when you recover, you’re stronger and more able to handle what life throws at you.

Shine On!
Dave

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