My Simple Secret To Showing Respect

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Respect is a word we throw around pretty loosely.  Reality is it is one of the most powerful values a sacramental entrepreneur can possess because it speaks to the heart of a person.  Frankly, it flows from your heart to his.  You can’t fake respect.  At its core it demands consistency and authenticity.  You can talk about being respectful all you want, but you can’t lip synch or karaoke it.  BS detectors sniff out fake respect from a mile away.

We’re in the process of doing a deep dive on FiveTwo’s three core values.  We’re looking at value #2: Respect for all. 

Here’s my simple secret to showing people respect: Posture.  By posture, I mean what posture you take in relation to the other person. Are you talking up to a person or down to a person?  When I meet someone for the first time, am I talking up to him or down to her?  Am I below her or above him?  My perception of my position in the relationship will determine whether or not I communicate respect for all.

Whose Position?

I suspect whether you agree with his policies or not, if you were to be invited to the White House for a photo op, you’d treat President Obama with respect.  Partly because of the office; partly because of the awe; partly because you know you’re not the president of the United States and He is.  Hopefully partly because as members of Jesus’ family, we called to respect those over us.

So you’d go into the White House, into that hand-shaking ceremony, with this sense of talking up to Mr. President.  And that sense of position would influence your posture, your words, your all.

Now let’s say you get done with that Rose Garden ceremony, you hop out on Pennyslvania Ave, flag a cab, and when you hop in you immediately note the smell of spices you’ve never smelled and music you can’t understand and the guy’s got skin that’s not your color and no mastery whatsoever of your language. Probably never properly educated in the finer art of linguistics. 

Are you talking up to him or down to him?  Is he beneath you or above you?  What’s your position in regards to Mr. Taxi Man?

When you look at Jesus’ life, He purposefully positioned Himself below us in order to serve.  He talked up to us, elevating social outcasts of every ilk.  And those outcasts flocked to him.  Why?  Because he truly respected them.  Did he agree with how they lived their lives?  No.  Did he love them and demonstrate honor to them regardless?  Yes.

Paul, in his ministry in Acts and in his writings of the Epistles, what posture did he take especially with those outside of Jesus’ kingdom?  How did he treat with respect the pagan philosophers in the Aeropagus in Acts 17?  What was he willing to give up in order to show respect to the Jesus doubters in 1 Corinthians 9?

Respect is all about posture.  What’s yours?

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12 No-Frills Truths About Sacramental Living

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

No fluff in this post.  Just 12 straight-up sacramental truths.

1.     I don’t confuse what I do with who I am.

2.     Who I am in Jesus redeems what I do in life.

3.     How I behave reveals what I value.

4.     I daily remember my baptism and receive the Lord’s Supper as often as offered.

5.     I speak of Jesus rather than God.

6.     I incorporate Jesus and baptism into daily conversation and especially into weekly preaching and teaching.

7.     I embrace weakness, allowing Jesus’ strength to reign in my life.

8.     I embrace the unique way Jesus has formed me.

9.     I seek ways to bless people, not to take from them.

10.   I give grace, never applying law to a broken and contrite spirit.

11.   I teach you how to live as a follower of Jesus but at the end of the day, grace is the only thing that heals and grows.

12.   I express joy in words and body language because I know the end of the story.

Which of the above 12 sacramental statements do you need to act on?

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Happy Father’s Day, Step-Dads!

Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Father's Day is upon us.  Many of us had step-fathers.  This vid is especially a shout-out to you.  Thank you for being a dad to children not (biologically) your own.  Thank you for making us your own.  Thank you for being the sacrament, the presence of Jesus for your family!


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7 Marks That Say You’re A Sacramental Entrepreneur

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

FiveTwo is looking to launch 10,000 Sacramental Entrepreneurs over the next 30 years.  Which is a big number.  Which means we need to get busy.

But what, pray tell, is a Sacramental Entrepreneur?  Glad you asked.  Let me start back a few pages.

Every now and then, like almost every week, someone asks me, "What’s FiveTwo about?  Why does it exist?"  Well, we exist b/c the mainline, sacramental church in the US is dying.  The stats are atrocious.  And we want to do something about it.  That something is to start new.  We believe that in order to reach new, the Church needs to start new. 

Now I’m not talking just new church plants.  Although that’s part of it.  I’m talking the whole spectrum: new groups, new businesses, new relationships, new community developments, new ways of thinking, new ways of acting, and yes, new churches.

You have to get out and do some new. 

Biblically speaking, the Church needs to regain its apostolic focus. 

So we’re looking for the apostolic folk who want to start sacramental communities of all sizes and shapes, generations and geographies. 

We call that guy a sacramental entrepreneur.  These are men and women who love sacramental theology AND they love Jesus’ lost people AND they like to start new. 

We're looking for 30,000 of them.  Which would be 30,000 of you.

The 7 Marks

To help you know if you're in the Sacramental Entrepreneur club, here are 7 characteristics of SE's.  If you have 3 or more, we've waived the entrance fee.  You can thank me later.

1.  I'm burdened for Jesus’ lost people.  Very simply, I love them; I want to reach them; I think the Church should reach them; and frankly, I enjoy being with them, oftentimes more so than being with followers of Jesus.  They’re refreshing.  I want them in heaven.

2.  I’m tired of the status quo.  I am frustrated by problems that go unresolved and practices that need reforming.  Today is the day to start moving the ball down the field.

3.  I see “beyond” today.  I can see what the future would be like if we move beyond today’s changeable reality.  And while that future might move through pain, it is full of hope.

4.  I multiply growth.  More people, more groups, more impact, more cities, more whatever.  Somehow when God has me touch things, they increase.  Especially disciples.

5.  I see obstacles as opportunities.  Change is a resource.  Rules are made to be rewritten.  Not God’s rules, but man’s rules, of which there are an abundance.

6.  I attract like-minded, new-start people.  People tend to say “yes” to my invitations to follow, and we tend to have a good amount of unanimity in the journey.

7.  I start things without anyone telling me I should.  I'm talking clubs, ministries, groups, businesses….  Everywhere I go, I’m the guy or gal that launches new initiatives.  It just seems natural.  This characteristic is probably the most telling of your SE-ness.  And if this is really strong in you, years later those initiatives are still happening.

You might have noted that none of these 7 marks deal with what we mean by sacramental.  If that’s still a question for you, be sure and check out other blog posts on this site.

Are you an SE?

How many of the marks do you have? 3 or more?  You’re the kind of sacramental entrepreneur we want to pour into.  I'd love to know who you are.  Share some info in the comments below.

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150 Years of Being Jesus’ Sacrament

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Ok, so you won’t live to be 150.  Unless medicine greatly morphs.  But your congregation might.  St. Paul’s Lutheran in Decatur, IL just celebrated its 150th.  150 years of being Jesus’ sacrament for the community.

Have you ever thought about blessing a community for that many years?  Ever asked your congregational leaders what that would look like?  "150 years from now, the community would look like ____________ because of our blessing."

What about simply blessing it for as long as you live there?

Radical sacramental insight:  Knowing Jesus is present in me AND acting on that knowledge doesn’t just change me; it changes my community.  Jesus-present-in-me should lead to Jesus-present-in-my-neighborhood through me.

A sacrament brings the presence of Jesus and all of His gifts into the touchable, taste-able realm.  It parts history and imparts grace.  If the presence of Jesus lives in you through your baptism, he desires to live in your community through you. 

City implications?  Global implications?  Perhaps the next great evangelistic movement will explode more through demonstration than proclamation.  Show me (the Jesus) money.  

Sadly most congregations’ blessing has a half-life like the Wicked Witch and water: it dies a quick death outside the brick.

Which leads to a Western Church more known for Word instead of works.  Not talking works-righteousness, here.  Just talking James’ concern about invisible faith.

If Christ is present in you — if you are His sacrament — then what does your sacramental presence look like for your community?  How is Jesus asking you to live out His presence with the young family whose dog keeps digging under your fence?  With the grocery store clerk who obviously expended all of her patience before you arrived?  With the business owner who is trying to start a real estate company near your church?   Do you know her name?  Have you listened to her story?  How are you helping her succeed?

This isn’t about a theological position as much as it’s about a life position.  It’s a stance that reflects God’s transforming love in me, freeing me to be a sacrament of His love to my community.  Freeing my ministry to be a sacrament for the neighborhood.

Where does Jesus want to make a difference in your community through His presence in you?  Think you’ll be in the game 150 years from now?

Share your thoughts below.

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4 Practices I Do To Deepen The Presence of Christ In Me

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

4 Practices I Do to Deepen The Presence of Christ In Me

It’s one of the most difficult Christian tenets for the non-Christian to believe:  Jesus is really present in you and me.  Yet Paul says clearly: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.  The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)  This verse depicts the depth of sacramental faith.  Jesus is really present in the life of the believer.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to grasp, I guess.  You’ve heard the truism – “You become who you hang with.”  When I spend time with you, you rub off on me.  Or as Carl Jung said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Presence changes you.  And the presence of Jesus in you should rub off some corners, smooth some creases, soften some words.  He must increase, I must decrease.

Thus these Four Practices.  Otherwise, I tend to lock Him in a pantry until Sunday…or Christmas.

1.     Read “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  I read this book at least once a year, sometimes twice.  It’s an ancient classic I didn’t discover until the early 1990’s.  Ever since then I annually read it to remind me to live in Jesus in the mundane.  His presence never deserts me, thus His ear never grows deaf nor His voice distant.  His presence never deserts me, thus where I am, He is.  This book has helped me appreciate every moment as holy, every believer as a sacrament.

2.     Use Baillie’s “A Diary of Private Prayer.”  A pastor I respect shared this with me and my wife.  She bought me a hardback used version and wrote all of my staff and families names on the appropriate pages.  If your birthdate is on April 1 or October 1, your name is written on the “First Day” morning page.  Thus when I pray one of Baillie’s stunning prayers, I also remember to pray for you.  You can thank my wife.

3.     Read through the Book of Acts.  While the book is descriptive and not prescriptive, it testifies to what God’s Spirit does when it moves into new peoples and places.  I’ve probably read this book almost 100 times over the last 27 years.  It’s a testimony to the power of the presence of Jesus in His people.  It has become my manifesto.

4.     Read through a Gospel.  I want to get to know Jesus, what He did, how He corrected, how He loved, how He lived.  I don’t read for understanding as much as I just read so the Word of Jesus gets into me.  So that Jesus gets into me.  I read the Gospels to give words to the presence of Christ already in me.  I want to know Jesus more deeply so that I depend on Him more fully.

What about you, how is the presence of Christ in you changing you?  And what do you do to deepen that presence?  I’d love to know.  Share in the comments below so that others can learn from your practices.

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