Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.


What is Kingdom Ministry?

Basic Kingdom Definition:

Allegiance to Jesus: the Rule of Heaven: Discipleship

Kingdom Ministry Defined:

Doing, and teaching others to do, the following:

1) Communion with God
2) Communion with God's People
3) Inviting Outsiders into the Kingdom
4) Liberating People from the Satanic Kingdom
5) Confronting Systems of Injustice
6) Kingdom Purpose versus Organizational Purpose
7) Collaboration with other Kingdom Ministries


Chili Recipe

Sometimes this works out well, and sometimes not so much.  I think I made my best batch ever, and my worst batch ever, in the last month.  So I finally decided that it was time to start doing something I hate…

…using measuring cups and following directions!

This is the recipe I used, but there are a few changes I would make to it.  It was a little too sweet, so less molasses next time, and I will probably add a bit more chili powder and cumin, and cut back a little on paprika, carrots, and celery…  I would also like it just a little thicker, so maybe a little more tomato paste, or some cornstarch.

Soak the following in water for 24 hours:

8 oz pinto beans (dry)
8 oz black beans (dry)
8 oz kidney beans (dry)
8 oz red beans (dry)

Then bring to a boil and then simmer til soft (this took a good chunk of the day).  Make sure to check all of the different beans, some cook more quickly than others.

Next add the following, in this order:

5 large carrots (food processor)
6 large celery stalks (food processor)
3 medium green bell peppers (food processor)
2 large onions (chopped)
5 large bay leaves

Then add 3 lbs. of ground beef, stirring it up into small chunks until browned.

Add the following:

28 oz tomato sauce (can)
28 oz diced tomatoes (can)
32 oz corn (can)
12 oz tomato paste (can)

3/4 oz chili powder
3/8 oz cumin
3/8 oz paprika
3/8 oz oregano
1/4 oz black pepper
1/2 oz salt
6 oz molasses
5 large garlic cloves (pressed)


Why I Don't Cuss...

Something that comes up from time to time with my fellow ministers, and other christian friends, is the use of profanity   I haven't personally met any non-christians who make this argument (although I am sure they are out there too), it is only christians of a certain type.  Christians who have a bone to pick with religion will, often enough, make the case that its okay to use profane language.  More often they will cuss in front of me to see if they can get a reaction.

In fact, you can usually tell the non-christians from the 'cool christians' by this.  Do they apologize to the pastor when they cuss, or do they smirk at the pastor when they cuss?
Needless to say, I have done some thinking about this, and while I am tempted to side with those who enjoy scandalizing the religious (they certainly need to be scandalized!) I am even more interested in how this plays out with those outside the bounds of our faith.  What do the cultures of the world think of when they hear followers of Jesus using profanity?

So, some basic facts:

  1. Scripture is more concerned with God than with teaching people etiquette.
  2. Vulgarity is a cultural norm that changes from culture to culture and language to language.
  3. Many of the prophets use scandalous imagery, and language that might be considered on the 'strong' side (i.e. Paul's use of skubala which is definitely less technical than 'scat or defecate' and more vulgar than 'poop,' although probably not as offensive as 's--t,' and should probably be translated as 'crap') as a way of clearly communicating the depths of God's and/or the author's displeasure.
  4. Jesus hung out with people who probably used language a lot worse than skubala (and behaved even more despicably) but managed to avoid making them uncomfortable around him AND avoid participating in their behavior.
  5. Religious folks in our day (and in Jesus' day) seem to be caught up in behaving 'properly,' and seemed to think that 'being proper' was superior to 'being godly.'  This is the most dangerous spiritual trap imaginable.

The points above definitely lean towards a relaxing of our rules around vulgarity in the church, but I just don't think that rises to the level of justifying the use of the words our culture has said are offensive in and of themselves.  It's not that the words are immoral, rather, its that they are indecent.  Using the f-word is like pooping your pants, if a 2-year old does it without really understanding, people aren't offended, they just teach the kid how to go in the toilet.  …or they say, "No son, thats not a f--k, thats called a truck."

But when adults choose to use words that are indecent, knowing they offend the sensibilities of our culture, it rises to the level of immorality.  Not because the words are immoral, but because they are intentionally offensive.  Just as if I chose to poop my pants and walk around in it all day, 'sharing' it with my neighbors.

In fact, it is probably almost exactly like flatulence in front of others (something I have had recent conversations with my kids about).  If you don't understand that its offensive to some people, then its clearly not immoral, its just unintentionally indecent.  But when you know it offends, and you do it on purpose (either to be offensive, or because you just don't care enough about others) then you are being immoral…

Matter of fact, I hung out with a local ministry leader recently who couldn't stop dropping the f-word.  The first time he used it kinda made me laugh …after all, people love to test pastors to see how they respond.  Then he wouldn't stop.  I kept thinking, this guy sounds like Eva (a teenage girl who lives on our block), who thinks she sounds like an adult by talking this way.  It just came across as immature.

Obviously, I wouldn't put this in the category of 'central doctrines.' Many of my good friends come down on the other side of this, but a point of agreement is that the use of vulgar language should not be embraced simply out of a lack of control over our tongues or our minds.  Indeed, perhaps the take away here is this: both my personal decision to avoid such language, and my colleagues' decisions to intentionally use it, are motivated by the prioritization of missional relationships to those outside the church, and the missional de-prioritization of peripheral issues like using profanity.

Rightly Ordered Love

"But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally."
(On Christian Doctrine, I.27-28)
St Augustine


What Captures your Imagination?

"There is nothing more interesting than God and nothing more exciting than watching Him move. There is nothing more boring than religion, and we are about to be delivered from religion to follow the Lord, not just men. We can also be sure that He has again saved His best wine for last."

Rick Joyner


Leadership is Four Things

In my experience, leadership can be defined in four ways:

  1. Influence - The ability to change the thinking, behavior, and desires of others.  Influence can be seen clearly in a leader by observing the people following the leader, are they taking their cues from the leader or not?
  2. Responsibility - The willingness to take ownership over a situation, problem, task, goal, person, or community.  Responsibility is seen as a leader simply does what needs to be done, or arranges to have it done by orchestrating and delegating to others.
  3. Confrontation - The ability to say what needs to be said in spite of how unpopular it might be.  Confrontation can be rejecting a poor proposal, pointing out improper thinking and behavior, or bringing an optimist back down to earth with some difficult facts.
  4. Vision - The ability to see things that do not yet exist.  Vision is ultimately an orientation towards the future that some people possess in more or less quantity than others.

All four of these characteristics are possessed in some measure by all people, and so it is fair to talk about leadership existing on a spectrum.  On one end are those individuals who are only capable of one or more of these character traits in fits and spurts and only when asked to do so by others, or when circumstances force it upon them.  In the middle are those individuals who can learn to exhibit these traits, and can ultimately grow into capable leaders.  On the other end are those gifted leaders who do these things in their sleep, they aren't capable of turning it off, they simply lead naturally.

Of course, we should be clear, this is not what godly leadership looks like, simply what leadership is.  Godly leadership must lead in a direction that honors God, and do so with a character, a posture, and an attitude that reflects Gods ultimate authority.  Indeed, godly leadership can perhaps be defined by reading through St. Pauls letter to the Corinthian church and the famous chapter defining love.


A Biblical Praxis

We are really doing our best to live our lives according to Scripture… so when the Bible is clear about how to live, we just act accordingly.  For example, when we read 2 Corinthians 13:12, we are admonished to "greet one another with a holy kiss."  

…how "biblical" are you?