Greed is Tricky

Greed is tricky.

An individual who generally thinks of themselves as not greedy can, by simply adding a favorable deposit, become almost instantly greedy.

Does this mean that the individual is inherently greedy? Or is greed something that is propagated by the addition and/or subtraction of financial gain/loss?

See – greed is tricky because at the very center of greed is the root of all things evil, that being selfishness. Selfishness is this desire to want, to need, to gain some type of control or power over some random area that is otherwise inconsequential. Greed is a controlling dynamic and always seeks for more control, no matter how dormant it may have been for any period of time.

So how do you have control over greed?

It’s simple, Greed is always controlled by a spirit of gratefulness and the humility to recognize that all is nothing. Sure, at first glance this statement may smirk of nihilism, but the truth of the matter is that all gain or loss is inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

Gain everything or lose it all, the only thing we can truly have any power over is our choice to be grateful and content with what we have. Never longing for anything else nor coveting what others have. Simply put, being at peace with ourself and recognizing that God has put us in this station of life for a purpose. That recognition is what allows us to trust and have faith in Him and, satisfactorily, defeat greed.

The Goal is…

The goal is to develop spiritual stamina so when a problem occurs we don’t react out of emotion but rather out of wisdom.

While there is a place for emotion, I’m convinced in this age of outrage that responding wisely is vastly superior than responding emotionally.

Same Patterns

A friend shared this thought on Facebook and I thought it worth sharing. I found this to pattern to be true in my own context as well as the context that I’ve heard from other pastors. Here’s the thought:

I see the same pattern happen over and over.

New pastor comes in to a struggling church. Makes necessary changes to reach the community. People get saved. People get baptized. Church starts to grow. Glory hallelujah!

But then a handful of church people start to get worried about the traditions that they’ve lost. Not worried about right theology. Not worried about actual holy living. Worried about the lights, the carpet color, the musical instruments, their favorite church program, and who’s on the platform. Not worried about people’s souls. Not worried about the task at hand. More worried about the tools being used.

So they start a talking campaign against the pastor. They recruit folks to their side. They make sure that folks are vocal enough the pastor and the other leadership hear about it. They snipe and they gripe.

The pastor fights it for a while, but eventually gives up, or starts to give in. And the cycle of decline starts all over again. It’s like the cycle in the Book of Judges. Cycle, cycle, cycle. Same, same, same.

“God help us to be different, but just do it without changing anything.”

The Great Commission is not about preserving church traditions. It’s about reaching (cliche alert) a “lost and dying world” while there’s still time.

Here’s how strongly I feel about this. I literally pray that if I was ever going to be one of those people who holds back the move of God led by a person or people God has chosen, commissioned, and anointed, that God would remove me from this earth rather than to let that happen.

No wonder the church is losing ground in America. We care about stuff more than we care about souls.


1950 or 2050

Recently, a friend challenged me to think about the church and ministry differently then how I’ve been trained in the past. My friend asked me to consider this thought, was what I dreaming about aligned more with 1950 or with 2050? Where is my focus?

I found this line of questioning profound. I am certainly not interested in going back to the 1950’s, but to think about 2050 requires a significant amount of time and processing. It also requires some heavy lifting in regards to simply retraining your brain to think this way.

Thinking about things from 1950 are relatively easy. You can look at the historical data and then craft a newer, updated version of what had success in the past and use that as a catalyst to determine success in the future. It’s not perfect, but most times doing the same things that were successful in the past, tend to work out okay in the present simply because there’s a pattern of understanding that everyone is used to.

But choosing to think about 2050 is much more dangerous and stressful. You have nothing to build off of so how do you do think about 2050 well? What is the criteria that you establish to know if the dream is on track? Where do you go when you find yourself sidetracked? What happens if there really is no dream and you’re just some mindless psychopath that is ranting and raving about something that is not grounded in reality? Who determines what the reality for the future is?

These are scary and intimidating thoughts. But perhaps, these are the thoughts that need to occur if you’re going to be focused on 2050 rather than 1950.

Somebody or Nobody?

Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody; forty years learning he was nobody; and forty years discovering what God can do with a nobody.

The Servant Leader Paradox Poem

Strong enough to be weak, Successful enough to fail

Busy enough to make time, Wise enough to say “I don’t know”

Serious enough to laugh, Rich enough to be poor

Right enough to say “I’m wrong”, Compassionate enough to discipline

Mature enough to be childlike, Important enough to be last

Planned enough to be spontaneous, Controlled enough to be flexible

Free enough to endure captivity, Knowledgeable enough to ask questions

Loving enough to be angry, Great enough to be anonymous

Responsible enough to play, Assured enough to be rejected

Victorious enough to lose, Industrious enough to relax

Leading enough to serve

Poem by Brewer — as cited by Hansel, in Holy Sweat, Dallas Texas, Word, 1987. (p29)