Pastor Charles’ Blog     Christ Church Senior Pastor

Posted by on Thursday, July 28th, 2016 in Blog

We need some “Good News” for a Change

Charles' Bio PicThe world is in chaos as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are having to rethink everything when it comes to protecting their countries from Isis and terrorist bombings, an 86 year old Priest Jacques Hamel was brutally killed in his parish, officers of the law are being assassinated in our streets, and angry, hate-filled people are allowed to dictate policy in our local and national government.  All the while what is really breaking down the family unit, the home, and our communities is not being addressed.   We have a sin problem in our world, which cannot be turned around until the local church cries out for our nation to live once again by the Judeo-Christian values we were founded on.

 

The world is desperately crying out for some “good news” today, but she needs to “see good news lived out”.

Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Thessalonians 5: 15-18 NRSV

Paul is clear that three things are absolutely necessary to bring healing out of pain, order out of chaos and to live like Christ:

  1. We can’t repay evil for evil! We must learn to forgive others; we must be mature people and cease acts of violence. Jesus said, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.”
  2. Do good to one another and to all. New policies, new laws, and fear driven proposals will never change a broken world—radical grace is what changes the hearts of men and women and transforms a culture.  We are the Easter people—we are the People of Grace.  If our lives have been changed by God’s unconditional love then we can’t keep this “Good News” to ourselves.  We must unleash random acts of grace and deeds of kindness in our homes and communities like never before.  See our Joshua Celebration coming September 10 and 11.
  3. Rejoice, Pray without ceasing and give thanks always. Christ Church Mt. View is hosting the Uprising Prayer and Praise Service on Tuesday, August 23 at 5:30 p.m. for prayer, 6:30 to 7 p.m. for one-on-one prayer and 7 p.m. until 8:15 we will have the Uprising Service.  We are inviting all peace officers of our communities, teachers and students to come forward for prayer. Students will be starting back to school so we will call forward both teachers, staff and students of our schools for prayer as they begin a new year.

So here is how the worshippers at Christ Church we are going to “Live the Good News” in the days ahead!  People don’t want to just hear the Good News, they want to see the Gospel fleshed out:

  1. A Church Wide Baptism Service will be held on August 28 at CC Mt. View Campus. We will be celebrating the sacrament of baptism for those who have not been baptized and those who want to remember their baptism.
  2. The Joshua Celebration will be September 10 and 11, where we reclaim what it means to be devoted followers of Christ through serving others, praying, learning through life groups, worshipping, tithing, and inviting.
  3. Random Acts of Grace—unleashed by all of our campuses on September 24 and 25 to our communities. We will be equipped and sent out to serve people for one hour to share God’s unconditional love by doing acts of kindness with “no strings attached”.

The world needs “Good News” today.  The world needs to experience God’s unconditional love like never before. People need you and me to live it out.  They need Christ Church to come together to praise, pray, and equip one another in being the “Grace People”.

See you this weekend as we join hands being the “Grace People” who are committed to worshipping our Lord Jesus who is the “Good News” and calls us to live the good news.

 

Pastor Charles

A Pastoral Epistle: “What to do with our anger and grief for Dallas, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul”
If you had just entered the temple and saw him turn over the tables and ranting about this place being a “house of prayer”, you might have thought this young man from Nazareth had lost his mind and anger had consumed him.  Our temptation is often to “jump to conclusions” before we know the full story.  We often assume the worst about others before giving them the benefit of the doubt or as we like to say in leadership at Christ Church, “Fill the gap in with trust and not with suspicion”.  When you read the whole story of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers you find that he was angry for the injustice of the poor being over charged and the great disrespect for the House of God becoming a den of thieves instead of a “house of prayer”.  You and I may have misjudged Jesus if we didn’t know the whole story.  We do this as a culture and as individuals.
The Bible speaks of the danger of anger and how it can become sinful when it controls us.  The scripture says, 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” (Ephesians 4: 26-27) John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus was carrying a whip to clear the temple before he turned over the tables, “15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the moneychangers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”  Theologically there is something called “righteous anger” when we see the poor abused, when those who can’t speak for themselves are mistreated then someone has to stand up and say, “this is not right”. But we have to be careful that our anger does not become “righteous indignation and cause us to misjudge and condemn others for Jesus said, “Judge not lest you be judged by the same standard”.
Five police officers were killed in Dallas, Texas during a peaceful protest. Some say it is in response to the anger over police officers who shot suspects in Baton Rouge and St. Paul.  These are very tragic situations and I often put myself in the place of the parent of those who have been killed. What would be going through my mind?  What questions would I have and did my child receive fair treatment or was evil and prejudice involved?  Likewise, I also put myself in the place of the officer.  What if I was trying to do the right thing but things went wrong?  What if the media and culture misunderstood my actions when I was simply doing what I was trained to do and keep the public, including the person I stopped, safe.  I also wonder if the police officer acted appropriately and pray that if he or she has not then the truth would come forth.  In any case, I caution my emotions from running away to forming quick and snappy judgments upon those involved.
You see Jesus tells us explicitly, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” (Luke 6:31)  Our constitution declares that people are “innocent until proven guilty”.  This is why I was so disappointed in President Barak Obama in the past few days for he is a lawyer and a man of faith.  I heard him with my own ears imply that the shootings were racially motivated in Baton Rouge and in St. Paul, and did not give the police officers any benefit of the doubt and thus giving credence to allowing anger to rule over reason and “doing to others as you would like them to do to you.”  I believe followers of Christ are called to pray for both sides in such an issue and not to jump to conclusions and condemn when we were not there as eye witnesses to see what actually took place. Again, if you had just walked up and saw Jesus with a whip you could easily assume that he was in the wrong and not the people who were taking advantage of the poor who had come to worship!
The killings in Dallas of five police officers, and the wounding of seven more including a civilian, have been reported as premeditated murder as snipers positioned themselves for execution of the police officers that were keeping the peace during a non-violent protest. This is a horrible tragedy to say the least. People have the right to non-violent protest and all this was going well until two men decided to be judge and jury over police officers that had nothing to do with the shootings in another city.  The Bible is right, “anger gives a foothold to the devil”.
What is our response?  We have a right to be angry when we feel either we or those we care about are not being treated fairly.  We have a right to protest non-violently when we feel things are unjust.  We have the right to disagree with persons politically and theologically.  But God’s Word tells us that anger can cloud our emotions, throw reason aside, and cause us to hurt or even kill one another.  This is wrong and sinful. We must call it out and say that hostile anger should not be tolerated, even by those who presume to be the victims.  The mistreatment from others never gives us the right to “return evil for evil”.  Secondly, we must pray for the families of those who were shot by police officers in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, and for the police officers that were involved.  Thirdly, we should pray for the churches in Dallas to rise up and love the families of the officers and civilian who were shot.  Moreover, pray that the followers of Jesus Christ would rise up like those in Charleston and come together as followers of the one who is the “prince of peace” and find union in Jesus’ love and forgiving grace.  Remember how powerful it was to hear the family members in Charleston forgive the shooter who had taken their loved ones from them?
Lastly, we should be careful to watch how our own anger and righteous indignation causes us to misjudge one another, to think the worst about our family or neighbors instead of “filling the gap in with trust instead of suspicion”.  Too often we ruin healthy marriages, good friendships, and long lasting family ties when our anger causes us to misjudge, jump to conclusions and deeply hurt one another.  In 31 years of ministry I have seen the fall out, the pain and deep hurt when anger has been inflicted upon relationships.
Go to church this weekend. Pray for peace in your home, in your workplace or school, and pray for peace in our country and for people to choose to love others by treating them as they would want others to treat them.
Jesus never said a truer word, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you”.  May we live this way, and may we love this way as we discern the difference between healthy anger and anger which can kill and destroy us and those we love.
A sinner saved by grace,
Pastor Charles Kyker

 

 

 

 

Wesley On Leadership: Why most leaders fail.

 Most Leaders fail due to hubris.  Jim Collins underscores the crippling effect of hubris in his book How The Mighty Have Fallen.   Leaders get into serious trouble when we stop asking questions and refuse to admit our mistakes.   This is why John Wesley continued to be a giant among leaders, for he never stopped learning and was able to admit his mistakes while seeking to learn from them.

 

Dr. Frank Baker, the Wesley historian at Duke University, wrote of Wesley:

“Because he was thus conscious of living under the shadow of the eternal, the humility which Wesley had rigorously pursued during his early years became as natural to him as breathing, and he attempted to analyze himself, his strengths and his weaknesses, with utter honesty.” (Works of Wesley Volume 25, p. 6).

I do not know of any leader who leads well without self-assessment.  This comes by way of not taking ourselves too seriously, and by having persons close to us who will tell us the truth.  Wesley wrote in 1765,

“When I was young I was sure of everything. In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as before. At present I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.” (January 4, 1765)

Another key to successful leadership is gratitude.  To be grateful is to see life as a gift and those around you as gifts from God.   In short, most leaders begin a downward slide when we begin to be ungrateful and when we take ourselves much too seriously than we should.  Rick Warren is right in saying, “We take ourselves much too seriously, and we don’t take God seriously enough.”   John Wesley put it this way:

“The knowledge of ourselves is true humility; and without this we cannot be freed from vanity, a desire of praise being inseparably connected with every degree of pride.  Continual watchfulness is absolutely necessary to hinder this from stealing in upon us.” (May 30, 1776, to Miss March)

This is not to suggest that a leader’s confidence in the vision of her organization and the talents of those around her should be confused with hubris.   People follow confident leaders but not “out of touch leaders.”  We get off course when we are out of touch with our own frailties and stop asking for and receive the input of others.

 

Here are leadership principles I have gained from Wesley:

  • We all make mistakes, so let us be quick to admit them, apologize to those around us, and learn from them lest they be often repeated
  • Surround yourself with good people who love you enough to be honest with you. Remember you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with.
  • Be a 360-degree leader and genuinely ask for input from those who lead above you, your peers, and those whom you lead. What are their thoughts on how to improve your organization and how can you improve in your area of influence?
  • Laugh a lot and admit your own quirks and everyone else will be relieved that you are in touch with them. People laugh less at those who laugh at themselves.

 

Next week…. Wesley as the Commensurate Coach –Adding Value to Others

Successful leaders have a Compulsion for Good!

 Today I’m launching the Wesley on Leadership Blog on the 277th anniversary of John Wesley’s conversion on May 24, 1738 at a Moravian Prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street, in London England. (More about Aldersgate in a moment).  Why a blog on Wesley?  First I believe he is one of the greatest leaders of all time.  My friend and mentor John Maxwell is right in saying, “You measure the greatness of a leader by the enduring legacy they leave behind”.   From the corpus of his written material, to the leaders he selected like Asbury and Coke to lead American Methodism, his influence upon William Wilberforce to end the slave trade, Wesley was a giant among leaders.

 My purpose in writing this blog is to encourage people in the marketplace, in business, in non-profits, in higher academia and in the local church to become better leaders.  We will learn together how Wesley had his own struggles and how learning from them was used of God to create a movement of life transformation which still impacts hundreds of millions who come from his theological loins.

 

John Wesley founded the Methodist-Movement now numbering over 70 million people worldwide and he lived every decade of the 18th century.   Some scholars have noted that Wesley preached over 40,000 sermons and rode over 225,000 miles on horseback to share the good news of Christ. To say that John Wesley was driven is an under-statement.  Wesley had a compulsion for good.  By compulsion I mean ‘driven’.  In our culture, especially in higher academia, people are often held suspect at best or demonized at worst for being highly driven.  You wonder when we turn on our lights (Edison), use Microsoft (Gates) or text on our iPhones (Jobs) if we appreciate that highly driven folk have made our lives a little better?  To be sure, people who are highly driven can abuse their leadership for narcissistic means instead of the good of others.

John Fletcher, a contemporary of Wesley’s, wrote of Wesley’s compulsion for good, “He writes as he lives. I cannot say that I know such another clergyman in England or Ireland.  He is all fire; but it is the fire of love.  His writings, like his constant conversation, breathe nothing else to those who read him with an impartial eye.”  February 8, 1772

In his Compulsion for good we learn three things from Wesley to apply in our own leadership:

  1. His compulsion for good came from admitting his own flaws.

You and I can’t lead others well until we first learn to lead ourselves well.  Wesley felt he couldn’t preach salvation by grace through faith until he had accepted this gift for himself.  On May 24, 1738 at the age of 35 he wrote:

“About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” (Wesley’s journal May 24, 1738)

  1. His compulsion for good came from his compulsion for God

Wesley believed that any good you and I have comes from God. In fact, apart from God we are incapable of doing good—we call this Depravity.  It is only by God’s grace we or anyone is capable of good. Wesley revealed his desire for holiness—to be made whole in Christ in a letter to John Fletcher:

“I believe all the Bible, as far as I can understand it, and am ready to be convinced. If I am a heretic, I became such by reading the Bible.  All my notions I drew from thence…what I want is holiness of heart and life.”  June 22, 1763.

  1. His compulsion for good challenged others to live into their full redemptive potential.

In the later part of 1739 eight to ten laity came to Wesley asking how they might grow closer in their walk with God and “flee from the wrath (judgment) to come”. Eventually he organized persons into groups of 12 called class meetings and societies were made up of all the various classes numbering 1000 people.  Wesley later shared General Rules for the Methodist Societies to help them live into their redemptive potential:

  1.  First: By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced
  2.  Secondly: By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men
  3. Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God ( worship, scripture)

What would happen to your business, your school, your place of work, your non-profit, your neighborhood, and your local church if we observed these general rules?

(For a comprehensive list of how to avoiding evil, doing good and doing no harm see the link: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/general-rules-of-the-methodist-church)

I heard Alan Hirsh, a best selling author, say at a conference “John Wesley developed the greatest disciple making model of the past 500 years.”

 

I hope you and I too can be driven people-to have a compulsion for good.

Leave a Reply