Getting Stuck in the Snow Sucks.

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.

The Bible Is NOT Authority.

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. 😀 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. 😉

Napoleon Dynamite Evangelism

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!

The Greatest Hope for the Future of Christianity.

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.

The Sabbath and Emmy Rossum!

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. 😀

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.”


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”).

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

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.

MTV Skins is PORN.

If you haven’t heard, there’s this show on MTV now called Skins. The actors are 15-19 years old. It is about “real issues” teenagers face, demonstrated in a frank way (says MTV). But sex among the teenagers is EXTREMELY implied and the lewd conversation among minors is just . . . RAUNCHY. A clip on CNN showed a teen girl rubbing her chest seductively in front of another teen. In the second episode, a seventeen year old is seen running down the street away from the camera as we watch the bare butt. You can see the CNN things here and here.

How naked does it have to be before it’s pornography? How illicit does the conversation need to be before its pornographic? THIS is child pornography, folks. And parents, WAKE UP – it’s on MTV!

What really bothers me is that I’m seeing comments on Facebook of my friends saying how much they love Skins… Christian friends.


To those friends: I love you. We have freedom in Christ, and praise God for it! But does “freedom in Christ” give us liberty to see how far we can push the limit before God doesn’t like us anymore? Is that really what it means? What kind of holiness is that? I want this kind. And this kind.

Balls to the Wall.

“It’s embarrassing for an adult to drown in a kiddy pool. Or be standing ankle deep in it thinking he’s doing something commendable.”

That quote came from Steven Furtick’s blog about living life “full steam ahead,” or as they say, “balls to the wall.” I loved the blog so much I wanted to steal it and say it was mine. But I can’t because that’s illegal. And wrong. SOOOO….

Here you go. Enjoy.

New Feature

Okay this is just a super quick email to say, “Woo hoo!”

This blog has a subscribe via email feature now. If you hate blog readers like I do… this is definitely for you. Don’t freak out – it isn’t a mailing list – its actually the same company that you’d get most other rss feeds from – but instead of feeding a reading program, it feeds your email address.

Very useful. 🙂 So come on, ya’ll… subscribe away!

Sneak Peek: Worship Article

Recently I was asked to write a short article for my church‘s newsletter on worship. I did, and then I said to myself, “Frank,” (Sometimes I call myself Frank), “why limit this article to just the newsletter. It’s an amazingly concise and spot-on article, and anyone who reads it will immediately think you’re cool. Put it up on your blog.” So here it goes:

Romans 12 teaches that our spiritual act of worship to God is our whole lives. Not music – but our lives. Authentic Christianity sees worship not as a moment on Sunday but a committed life to Christ. The most important expression we can give to God should be seen by the way we live our lives. I don’t think God is nearly as impressed with our songs as He is a life devoted to Him (Psalms 51:16-17).

Then why do we use music on the weekends? Great question – I’m so glad you asked.

Firstly, because God said to. Psalm 150 is very clear.

Secondly, I’ve never heard anyone deny the power of music. Those that couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and even the deaf still greatly enjoy music. Our mind communicates with words; but our heart communicates through art. Music is a great artistic vehicle to help us express our heart rather than just our thoughts to God.

Lastly, we use music to worship in our services because it promotes church unity. Even in remote indigenous cultures, they use forms of music to promote a sense of community among themselves. I don’t know about you, but I think there’s something wonderful about lifting my voice to God in the midst of others. When we assemble together on the weekends, I’m not worshipping – WE are worshipping.