Mission vs. Missions

The increase in the number of recent natural disasters and humanity crises reminds me of the danger of our day, the issues at stake, and the fragile nature of life. Life is not a necessity; death is a necessity. Life is a prolonged miracle, and every day that God gives us is a gift from Him. It must be handled with care as we respond to God and seek to be what He would have us to be.

As we embark on our month-long emphasis called Go: Missions, let me share the difference between mission and missions. Continue reading

What Happened to Civility?

The catchphrase used to be, “Chivalry is not dead.” (Although that is probably too gender offensive for today’s hyper-sensitive vernacular police). Evangelical leaders, I challenge you to consider a less difficult mantra: “Is civility dead?”

What happened to the era when being kind to someone – (especially someone with whom you disagree) was appropriate and even commended?

The vitriolic tones and discord being communicated today within the Christian community leave me dumbfounded. Often, I see highly respected people who have faithfully led the way for decades suddenly get lambasted for simply recommending a book that presumptively contains heretical teachings. I always wonder how the critics had time to read the book that had only hit the shelves that very day. It reminds me of Congressional leaders who voted on a bill that they would read later.

What about when a local pastor is asked to pick a side between John MacArthur and Beth Moore? When it comes to a topic like women in ministry, he cannot remain silent. But in this day of inflexible labels and immutable camps, trepidation cautions him to give an off-the-cuff response.

Or should he merely remove all books from both of those authors that presently sit on his bookshelves and flippantly pick a side? Maybe an old-fashioned book-burning would be more advantageous.

And heaven forbid any spiritual leader put his arm around a state or federal politician! When a pastor cannot pray for an elected official in public, nor commend any of that leader’s commendable actions for fear of being labeled or limited, this Catch-22 highlights the reality that many of our churches are merely swimming in a cesspool of irrelevancy disguised as a critical battle as important as defending the Alamo.

Everything shouldn’t be a battle.

Having grown up in the Southern Baptist Convention and holding two degrees from an SBC seminary, I am thankful for the conservative resurgence. I love our convictions to God’s Word and I am fully committed to God’s mission. Still, I’m gravely concerned with the undercurrent of battle-ready language accompanying so many current topics. If everything within our denomination becomes a battle, then we are losing the real battle.

Without question, all topics — including, but not limited to, women in ministry, ethnic diversity, evangelism and discipleship, immigration, sanctity of life, marriage, biblical sexuality, church polity, etc. — should continue to permeate our discussions. And without hesitation, we should promptly respond to and proactively act on the misgivings, neglects or abuses of any such areas that allowed or even led to harming the bride of Christ or hindering the mission of God.

But where is the fruit when the very people who teach, preach and write about the Bible do not seem to reflect the very Bible they expound? And should any peer point out such un-Christlike behavior, their voice is swiftly dismissed, or worse, their character is questioned. Such quick depositions have become the norm for our denominational culture.

Following the conservative resurgence, your voice was not heard unless you held to the inerrancy of Scripture. With that seminal battle behind us, the culture of influence seemed to slide into a more subjective vetting. One’s voice was not heard unless their church gave the right percentage of money to missions through the Cooperative Program. And in recent times, the slippery slope appears to indicate that your voice will not be heard unless your church has the right number of men-to-women ratio in your church polity or appropriate ethnic diversity on the platform each week.

A disagreement doesn’t need to be a war.

For the average pastor – who is trying to be scholar, shepherd, supporter of all things SBC, visionary, evangelist, mentor, mentee, discipler, and preacher – it seems that we leaders are still stubborn sheep. I’d rather be a pastor who lives a life above reproach than a revolutionary who creates wars out of disagreements.

I will continue to diversify my intake from blogs and books while checking it all with the uncompromising standard of Scripture and discernment from the Spirit. But I refuse to get enlisted in a war that should merely be a debate.

Today’s evangelical leaders are not perfect, nor were the Gospel writers, nor am I. I hear a lot of debate on what Paul said or Moses wrote or Peter espoused. Still, I feel certain that God is the One who spoke His own structures and qualifications through each sovereignly chosen biblical writer.

Jesus is the only perfect vessel. Scripture is the only perfect writing. It is only by His grace and sanctification any of us are even a part of what is going to be presented as blameless at the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Unstoppable Momentum

Momentum becomes unstoppable when you lead others to walk with God. Every person has influence in someone else’s life – a parent with a child, an older sibling with a younger one, a husband with a wife and vice versa, a grandparent with a grandchild. Teachers, coaches, ministers, supervisors, managers, on and on it goes because everyone influences so many other lives. Is everyone a leader? Continue reading

Ownership

Momentum_YouVersion_02Football season is here! Which teams will be good? Which ones will surprise everyone? Which ones will fall apart over the next 4 months? Which teams will gain a sense of momentum as the season goes on? One thing is certain, if you could dissect the teams that make it to the finals you would find an interesting study in personal ownership. The rosters of the teams that win are filled with athletes who take winning personally – the success of their team doesn’t only reside with their coaching staff – each player individually owns it! Ownership is making something yours. It’s taking possession of it and assuming responsibility for it. Spiritually in your relationship with God, ownership is the key to maintaining momentum. It’s one thing to get in the flow of where God is at work around you – it’s another thing to STAY there. What areas of your spiritual growth do you need to own? (Prayer? Sharing your faith? Stewardship and generosity? Personal Bible Study habits?) Whatever the discipline, follow Paul’s advice “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27 NLT)

Check out any of the upcoming messages on Ownership in person or live-streaming at mobberly.org or podcast anytime after each week.

9/1/19 “Advanced Riders Only” (Moses and Water From the Rock, Numbers 20)

9/8/19 “Follow the Signs” (Isaac and the Wells, Genesis 26)

9/15/19 “Just Keep Swimming” (Noah and the Flood, Genesis 6) 

9/22/19 “Keep Calm & Carry On” (Israelites Crossing the Red Sea, Exodus 14)

9/29/19 “Carry Your Own Weight” (Blind Man at Bethesda Pool, John 5)

Discover

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America, which has become the most powerful and influential nation in the world. In 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk discovered the cure for polio, which has saved countless lives. In 1958, Jack Kilby, working in a lab at Texas Instruments discovered the first micro-chip, which paved the way for nano-technology and personal computers. Discovery is about finding something you didn’t even know existed. All of us make discoveries throughout our lives. In our relationship with God, the first step for all of us is the same – Discovery!  What will you discover in the coming weeks about joining God where He is already working – about getting in the flow? Momentum begins when we Discover where God is at work, and we join Him there.

Seeing God Right in Front of You

How do you see God? Nothing in all your life will impact your life more than how you see God. We tend to think of God as good and powerful, but no matter how great our view of God is, we tend to reduce Him to something we can see in measurable and controllable terms. What we truly need to see is God as He has revealed Himself to us. God shows us Himself in Christ, in crisis, and even in creation. Continue reading