The Big Diehl

{blog of adam}

06 Apr

Exactly What DOES Jesus Look Like?

Posted in Book Reflections, Evangelism, Finding God on 04-06-11

I am reading a book right now called “Untamed” by Alan and Debra Hirsch. In the first section, they make a case for “Untaming” (our perception of) Jesus. I thought this was very interesting. (For the record: I think Mark Driscoll is the man! But I also agree with this excerpt).

A recent example of reimaging Jesus was supplied by Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll. He has become somewhat infamous for his portrayal of Jesus as some sort of ultimate fighter. But in attempting to “butch up” [our perception of] Jesus and make him appeal to “real men,” has Driscoll come close to creating Jesus in his own image? Consider this from one of his sermons:

“Latte-sipping Cabriolet drivers do not represent biblical masculinity, because real men — like Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist — are dudes: heterosexual, win-a-fight, punch-you-in-the-nose dudes. In other words, because Jesus is not a limp-wristed, dress-wearing hippie, the men created in his image are not sissified church boys; they are aggressive, assertive, and nonverbal.”

Now we don’t believe Mark’s original intention was bad. What he was trying to do is rescue Jesus from the overly feminized ways in which Jesus has been portrayed. We would agree and also want to rescue the image of Jesus from this. … But the problem with Driscoll’s ultimate-fighting Jesus is that Jesus has been freed from one distortion only to be captured by another.

It cannot be but a distortion. Is Jesus really some “punch-you-in-the-nose-type dude”? And is that really the model and type of Christlike masculinity to which every man should aspire? We think not.

I’m in full agreement. I prefer not to sweat when I work. I’ve never been in a fight. And I like lattes.

Was Jesus a manly man’s man? – You bet. But he was also kind and gentle. What if an effeminate man (with or without same-sex attraction) wanted to find salvation through Jesus? Does this demonstrate that our Jesus isn’t okay with him?

Jesus came to identify with all of mankind. Let’s be careful never to tame that.

2 Comments »

05 Apr

God Has Feelings.

Posted in Devotional Blog, Stuff About Me., The Holy Spirit on 04-05-11

This evening, I had just poured hot water over some Green Tea to sip as I wound down and read in preparation for a good night’s sleep. As I left my tea on my kitchen counter to cool, I decided to take the trash and recycling to the end of my driveway for the pickup in the morning. I left my kitchen, went into the garage, and opened the garage door leading to the driveway. Right as I opened my garage door, I turned around and noticed that I had not pushed my kitchen door all the way shut and my 87 pound Akita had gotten loose and RAN FOR IT.

She was gone! My dog never goes far – but she is very fast and she won’t let anyone catch her until she’s tired. Nevertheless, I felt like I needed to try.

I was really frustrated when my dog took off. I had other, more relaxing plans for the evening! I went inside to get a leash and flashlight and I felt something stirring inside me. I stopped for a moment and said, “God, is there something you’re trying to show me in this?”

Without hesitation I heard the Holy Spirit say back in my heart, “Yea. You’re just as stupid as your dog sometimes.” (I don’t think God will call everyone “stupid” — but He will speak in terms that you can understand; hence “stupid.”)

I’m just as stupid as my dog sometimes? …

My dog had to have it’s fun. It had to run away from what was “right” and there was nothing I could do about it. I’m just as stupid every time I fall into sin.

Furthermore, I know that the worst thing that I could do to get my dog to come back to me is to yell at it and tell it how bad she is. I love that dog, and I want her to COME to me. So when she finally did, I did not yell but I gave my dog a hug instead. That wasn’t just correct training – that was how I actually felt. I was thrilled to have my dog back. Jesus feels the same way when we decide to stop “being stupid.”

*****

As I trekked through my neighborhood this evening I pondered what else God might be saying. I was reminded of the verse in Ephesians 4:30a, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” I love the way TheMessage puts it:

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

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18 Feb

My Advice to Anyone Communicating Anything.

Posted in Communication, Stuff About Me. on 02-18-11

A little known fact about me: I love the study of communication! I actually have a minor in communication – well not technically, but I have the education required to have gotten a minor in communication. This post is written to everyone who has something to say to other people. Whether your medium is twitter, blogs, books, music, print material, images, videos, public speaking, broadcast, or WHATEVER — if you feel like you have something worth saying, this post is for you. In this post, when I refer to “message,” I’m talking about whatever it is that you have to say. It may be “why people should donate to your group” or “why we should buy your product.” For many of us, our “message” is the life changing message of Jesus, which is why this is so important to me.

Myth: As long as I get my valuable message “out there” (typed, posted, mailed, published, whatever), it doesn’t matter how excellent it is. The people who want to hear my message will find my message and will diligently work to understand it regardless of the excellence.

This is absolute bull – at least for our fast-paced consumeristic society. If you remember one thing in this post, remember this: DETAILS MATTER! Let me prove it.

Do you live by the above myth? I doubt it. In fact, I bet that several of you have already scrolled down to see how long this post actually is to decide if you want to keep reading (keep going, it could change your life). Consider this example: if you find two websites or books with the same information – but one looks janky and the other looks professional, which one will you choose? Obviously, you’ll choose the more professional looking one (even if the janky one has BETTER information or service, you’ll never know it). The truth is, in our society, we do judge a book by its cover. We just DO. You can deny it and fight it all you want – but it’s the truth and until you accept it your effectiveness as a communicator will be hindered. This “details matter” philosophy trickles down into everything. Let me give a few examples, only some of which are hypothetical:

To the musician: So you think you have an important message or feeling to share through the art of music? Great, but remember that your excellence matters. Your lyrics could very well be life-altering, but if you sing out of tune the whole time or have a lousy mix, I’m going to stop listening. I will never get to your message unless you package it with excellence. (This is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THING than singing worship to God; that’s not what I’m talking about).

To the wordsmith: If you can’t bother to proof-read your message to ensure that you’ve fixed blatant typos (“Your” welcome to attend . . . ), undefined acronyms, insensitive colloquialisms, and major spelling errors (“chruch”) — DON’T BOTHER SENDING IT. Your message may very well be important, but in our world, people aren’t going to read past your laziness. Of course we all make mistakes like a misplaced comma or something, but I’m surprised at how often I see an OBVIOUS mistake. Sometimes I want to say, “Did you even read what you wrote?” Author, if you don’t bother to read what you wrote - why should I?

I have a brilliant friend who had written a great message in a word processing program. When he posts in Facebook, however, the line returns get all screwed up and he can’t seem to get it right (not his fault). He expressed his frustration with this malfunction and one of his subscribers said, “Don’t worry about how the page is set up. If someone is truly interested in the message, the set up makes no difference.” I disagree. If you have an important message, do you only want those who are willing to “suffer through” your message to hear it? Or do you want to make your message so clear, precise, and captivating that anyone who reads the first paragraph stays interested? Kudos to my friend for caring about the details.

To the videographer/vlogger: I’m going to be honest about myself here, but I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way. When I click “play” to watch your video, the FIRST thing I look at is the length of the video. If its longer than 60 seconds, I’ll give you about 15 seconds to spark my interest before I stop watching. The exception is if I have a reason to be watching it.

Also, if you ever export your final video without watching what you’ve done to see how it communicates to you, you are being lazy. I’ve seen some horrendous transitions and some massive spelling errors that make me want to say to the creator, “Did you even watch what you did?” If you’re not willing to, why should I?

Concluding Thoughts
If you put together your message but do not even give consideration for your “audience’s” experience, stop wasting your time. Just because you “got your message out there” does not mean that anyone cares, or even that anyone will receive it. Face it – we are a shallow people who never get past the “cover” of a book without a judgment.

Should it be that way? No, of course not. But it is. That’s just reality, unfortunate as it is. Until you accept that, your communication will be hindered. With the massive influx of information, only the best presented will be looked at (we can’t read everything!)

Having a good message is only step one. Step two is “sending” your message. Do it with excellence. Be proud of the way you communicate. Try to eliminate errors. Do your best to make sure your message is easily understood (not confusing). Do not assume people are LOOKING to hear what you have to say, demonstrate to them why your message is important. In other words, take your message to your audience in a way that is easy for them to get and is attractive. If you spend 30 minutes putting your “message” together, you probably need to spend double that making sure it’s packaged effectively.

By the way, before this post went live I personally reviewed and edited it 11 times, not to mention having someone else review it. When I read what I wrote, I often saw an error or a better way to communicate my idea. When I changed something – I always reviewed it again until there were no more changes to be made. I wrote this in about an hour, but I spent at least two making sure it was excellent. I worked until I was proud of what I had done.

6 Comments »

16 Feb

John Mayer Once Said, “I just keep . . .”

Posted in Finding God, Stuff About Me. on 02-16-11

Waiting.

Although waiting can be one of the more difficult aspects of the Christian life, it is not wasted time. During periods of active waiting, the Lord may give us instruction or change our circumstances. He keeps us in step with Himself and prepares us for His answers. He uses delays to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. And when we choose to wait, God rewards us with blessings both large and unexpected.

-Unknown (to me) source

I don’t have much commentary on this one – I just thought it was great, never wanted to forget it, and thought you might enjoy it, too.

One comment »

09 Feb

Getting Stuck in the Snow Sucks.

Posted in Devotional Blog, Go read THIS!, Stuff About Me. on 02-09-11

Three months ago I made the conscious decision to not replace my somewhat balding tires on my SUV. I knew I would make it through the winter, but it wouldn’t be ideal conditions.

Tonight I got stuck in the snow . . .
. . . while trying to pull someone else out of the snow.

I had a friend with an SUV who was able to pull both of us out. His tires were just as wide as mine, but there was far more traction. He pulled us both out NO PROBLEM.

As I drove away, I was kicking myself for not getting new tires three months ago. I was cutting corners, and totally regretted it.

That got me thinking – don’t we do the same thing with our spirituality?

It’s like when things start sucking in our life we’ll turn to God and spend time getting to know Him (reading the Bible, praying, etc.). But until then, we’ll ignore Him. Of course we don’t say that, but come on – we both know its true.

Wouldn’t it be smarter to maintain our spirits on a regular basis so that when person crisis hit, our spirits are ready to handle it? I wrote about how to do that here.

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04 Feb

The Bible Is NOT Authority.

Posted in Evangelism on 02-04-11

Okay I’m so glad the title got you here.

But before I get lynched for heresy, please allow me to explain myself.

When it comes to discipleship, growing, sanctification, and discovering ultimate Truth – the Bible IS the authority. Hands down.

Let me digress for one moment with an illustration: Imagine a blended family in which a child looks at his new step-dad trying to give guidance and yells, “You’re not my dad!” In this instance, the step-father has authority, but he doesn’t have authority. The new son doesn’t recognize it yet. The father yelling back, “I am too your father now do what I say!” isn’t really going to help anything. The child needs a relationship with the (step)-Father first before he’ll recognize his authority. Okay now back to the Bible thing . . .

What about when we are sharing Christ to someone that doesn’t believe the Bible? It used to be that Billy Graham could preach an evangelistic message and constantly say, “The Bible says …, The Bible says …” and people came in droves to get saved. The Bible held authority to them (they grew up saying it in school, for crying out loud). But that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. We’re beginning to work with a post-Christian society that doesn’t give a hoot what the Bible says.


If we expect our unsaved friends to accept Jesus we need to speak to them with authority they’ll recognize – our experience. Our experience with God — how God has changed us — that’s authority to our friends that ignore what the Bible says. It’s pretty hard to argue your experience. Share it with someone!

Once you’ve shared your experience and your friends are interested in more, bust out the Bible. :D Through the authority of your first-hand experience, they’ll be more willing to accept what you place authority in. And just like a step-father and son, once there is a personal relationship, it will be much easier to rely on the authority of Scripture.

Once again, for the record, I am in no way saying that the Bible is not the authority for Christians. It absolutely is. The title of this blog was intentionally misleading. I feel a little bit bad for that … but not too much because it did get you to read this all the way through. ;)

2 Comments »

03 Feb

Napoleon Dynamite Evangelism

Posted in Evangelism on 02-03-11

I was listening to a podcast the other day of an interview with the president of a large publishing company. He said that their new marketing technique is “good product.” He says that the communication between customers has become so great, their advertising is less effective than ever before. Check out his example:

If a bad movie gets a ton of hype before its release, it still won’t do well. There will be a few people that go and see it, but after the first night, they’ll Tweet, Facebook, text their friends, and “Rotten Tomato it” about how much it sucked and the movie will become a flop.

Conversely, a good movie with NO HYPE at all can still do pretty well and gain a cult following. Like Napoleon Dynamite. I think that movie might have done better on DVD than it did in the theater! Think about your own experience with Napoleon Dynamite (if you’ve seen it). Did you see an advertisement or did someone else tell you? As I think about it, I was told by my brother, who was told by his brother-in-law, who was told by several other people I’m sure. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a Napoleon Dynamite advertisement — but I sure have heard a lot of people talk about it!

In the same way, the publishing company believes their best method of marketing their products is to just make a good product. Once someone uses a great product, they’ll spread the word. And its working quite well for them.

That got me thinking about Christianity. (I hate to think of the idea of Evangelism as “marketing” and “selling a product” because its NOT that — but nevertheless I think its a good analogy and illustration to communicate another meaning). Is the best “marketing strategy” for Christianity a good product?

Kind of a funny question – but it is something to think about.

Here’s what I think: Yes, the best “marketing strategy” (evangelism method) IS a “good product.” I mean if people are searching for Truth, they’re GOING to find the “best product.” However that’s not all. I mean – Jesus put together the “good product” already, and it can’t be improved upon. The only reason the “good product” will “sell” is because people spread the word about how great it is – just like the Bible says.

Boom – and that’s the key. Spreading the word. Fortunately, never before in history have we been in a better position to do it. Unfortunately, we often “weenie out” and don’t say anything.

There ARE many groups that aren’t scared to share what they believe. Here’s a great example!

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01 Feb

The Greatest Hope for the Future of Christianity.

Posted in Book of Acts Church, Evangelism on 02-01-11

I was recently asked, “What is the mission field of your church?” (In this post I am referring specifically to our local mission field).

I immediately thought, “That’s easy – DeKalb County.” Others from my church would probably give a similar answer — a geographical location. Perhaps you might give your church the “mission field” of a demographical target – like “young adults” or “Hispanics.”

Dr. Hunter of Church Doctor Ministries showed me how wrong that was. Let me quickly explain why.

Firstly, these answers are incredibly institutional, and the days of the church functioning primarily as an institution are numbered. Church must become less of an institutional organization and more of an organism; a family. You see, if you declare your “mission field” as a location, you’ve immediately cut off all personal relationships.

Secondly, the Bible doesn’t say anything about the Church Leadership/Organization having a mission field. The instructions for Church Leadership/Organization is to equip the people. The command for Christians (the real Church, not a building) is to go and reach the lost.

With that said, I would like to join Dr. Kent Hunter in redefining our church’s mission field:
Our mission field is the sum total of the networks of every individual in our church.

That leads me to the topic of this post: The Greatest Hope for the Future of Christianity. It’s the contacts list in our cell phones!

Cell phone, tweets, Facebook, blogs. Mankind has never been THIS networked ever before in history. The mission field of my church is my network! Your network! I have an unsaved friend in another state – THAT’S our mission field! I have no idea who you are, but my subscriber list keeps rising and rising — I’m networked with you declaring Truth and we don’t even know each other.

The greatest hope for the future of Christianity is the Church (the people) being networked together with more people (many who are searching for Truth) than ever before. Our networking makes the future look bright – if we use it.

Please understand the greatest hope for Christianity is Christ. Period. I am in no way denying that. But I’m talking about the greatest hope for the FUTURE of Christianity – the spread of it.

One comment »

31 Jan

The Sabbath and Emmy Rossum!

Posted in Finding God, Stuff About Me. on 01-31-11

Mondays are my day off. It’s my sabbath. It’s my time to recharge, detach, become renewed, and appreciate God. Most of us have this on Sundays – but for a pastor, Sunday is no sabbath.

So I came into Starbucks this afternoon for a few minutes – mostly just to do some online bill pay stuff and have a drink. It’s enjoyable here, you know. :D

When I walked in I saw my friend David Foster. He’s one of the pastors at Dayspring Community Church here in Auburn. We spoke briefly, and then continued about our personal business. About four minutes later I saw an email from David Foster, sent three minutes earlier. It simply read, “Sup dawg?”

I looked at him and said, “Did you JUST email me?”

He smiled and said, “Yep.”

Naturally, I laughed.

But then he continued, “The real question is why are you checking your work email on a Monday? Come on man, detach.”

Busted.

Thanks David.

Remember the Sabbath isn’t just about not working – its about what happens to us when we stop.

Resource(s) of the Day:
This is a spectacular book about the Sabbath. It really helped me.
This is a pretty cool song about the Sabbath… well, kind of. (Emmy Rossum, “Slow Me Down”).

2 Comments »

30 Jan

Everyone Who Considers Themself A Church Attender Should Check This Out.

Posted in Devotional Blog, Finding God, New Hope on 01-30-11

I subscribe to Sanctuary Church‘s podcast, where I spent a summer as an intern back in 2006. Ed Gungor is the pastor there, and a few weeks ago his brother Mark preached the message. It was powerful and moving to me, and I wanted to share a small portion with you. If you consider yourself a church attender, you really need to listen to the audio file. Mark says some great stuff about our need to BELONG to our church – it’s not about a club, presentation, or activist group — it’s about our family.

I edited it down to just over 3 minutes, adding an audio “boop” every time I took something out. Listen to it here.

After you listen to that, consider this: Mark’s thought’s couldn’t be more true to me. Once, at the prompting of several worship-leading mentors in my life, I tried something a LITTLE stylistically different in my church’s worship service to help us be connected to God rather than a style. The next week a woman in my church asked me about it and why we did it. I explained it to her, but then she politely told me, “Okay well if you decide to do that again, please let me know because I’d rather stay home.” I should have said, “SERIOUSLY? You’d let THAT rip THIS apart?”

The full sermon is available here.

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