Guest Views

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Posted 8/20/14 at 10:47 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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Getting Old: What Robin Williams Feared, we all Do

Photo: Flickr/Vinoth Chandar - Creative Commons
"The beauty of old age"

By Joe McKeever

“I said to him afterward, ‘Hey, are you O.K.?’ And he said something like, ‘It’s no fun getting old. And I am so (freaking) old.’ But he said it in one of his funny voices, like he was some ancient old guy. Like it was a joke.” –A story told by an unnamed colleague on the set of Robin Williams’ television series “The Crazy Ones.” During a break in the shooting, Williams had gone off and sat by himself. He looked exhausted and sad.

It’s no joke, this business of getting old.

The August 25, 2014 issue of TIME devotes the last half-dozen pages to the life and art of Robin Williams, the comic genius who ended his own life last week. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 12:00 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Church Power Games

Photo: Flickr/Justin Henry - Creative Commons

By David Murray

The Tomorrow’s Professor blog has a helpful post on the differences between authority and influence. It’s focused on education, but reading it through “church” eyes can also help us distinguish between two very different kinds of power in the church.

Authority is legitimate power which is vested in leaders within formal organizations and involves a legal right to make decisions which may be supported by sanctions.

Influence represents an ability to affect outcomes and depends on personal characteristics and expertise. Here are seven distinctions between authority and influence:

  • Authority is the static, structural aspect of power in organizations; influence is the dynamic, tactical element.
  • Authority is the formal aspect of power; influence is the informal aspect.
  • Authority refers to the formally sanctioned right to make final decisions; influence is not sanctioned by the organization and is, therefore, not a matter of organizational rights.
  • Authority implies involuntary submission by subordinates; influence implies voluntary submission and does not necessarily entail a superior-subordinate relationship.
  • Authority flows downward, and it is unidirectional; influence is multidirectional and can flow upward, downward, or horizontally.
  • The source of authority is solely structural; the source of influence may be personal characteristics, expertise, or opportunity.
  • Authority is circumscribed, that is, the domain, scope, and legitimacy of the power are specifically and clearly delimited; influence is uncircumscribed, that is, its domain, scope, and legitimacy are typically ambiguous.

Church leaders/officers such as elders and deacons certainly have a degree of God-given authority, but influence is almost always preferable to authority if at all possible. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 11:41 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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The Irony of Strong Leadership

Photo: Flickr/Charles Fettinger - Creative Commons
Caution: Tyranny ahead.

By Joe McKeever

“I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27).

My immediate concern is always with the Lord’s church, but this principles applies everywhere.

I am pro-pastor. Always and forever. Anyone who reads the blog and knows me will agree that I honor the pastor. God made me a pastor at the age of 22, and I’ve been one ever since.

However, we have a problem.

In churches across our land tyrants can be found who call themselves pastors and demand to be obeyed. Such men are unqualified to do anything in the kingdom and must be dealt with by courageous men and women in the pews.

Otherwise, they will corrupt the gospel, destroy the church, wound the weak, and drive away many who need Christ. FULL POST

Posted 8/18/14 at 3:14 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Five Important Questions for a Depressed Person

5 Important Questions
Photo: Flickr/Raymond Bryson - Creative Commons

By David Murray

In this video, I discuss five important questions I ask early on when counseling someone with depression. They are:

1. Do you accept you have a problem? FULL POST

Posted 8/18/14 at 11:39 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

For This Purpose Christ Came

Satellite view of earth.
Photo: NOAA/NASA GOES Project - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

To the friend who thought she was good enough to go to Heaven, I asked, “If you can be good enough to get there on your own, what was the purpose of Jesus coming earth?”

She looked at me blankly.

To the one who said he hoped he just might possibly be good enough to slip into Heaven, I asked, “Then, what was the point of Jesus coming to earth if you can do this by yourself?”

He’d never thought of that.

So many people are confused about why Jesus came to earth. Even a great many of the most religious people, those who hang His image on their walls and bow before statues dedicated in His honor or who populate the kind of churches I’m in every weekend, seem not to be clear on why He came to earth.

One would think that would be of the highest priority, to know why Jesus came and thus to align one’s life with that. FULL POST

Posted 8/17/14 at 2:27 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Sinners Not Seeking Truth Hate Jesus (and Us)

Photo: Flickr/Cam Evans - Creative Commons
Protest holds sign that says, "God hates signs."

By Wade Burleson

Within the Christian subculture of those who love Jesus and keep 'traditional' churches at arm's length, there is a false belief that has become almost an axiom for the movement. It goes like this:

"People without Jesus will want to know Jesus because we love them, do good things for them, and accept them."

Embracing this philosophy has sadly led many evangelicals to cast off speaking anything defined as 'truth.' It has led Christians to start 'new churches' that are designed never to offend anyone. Though Jesus said, "the Truth will set you free," it seems modern Jesus followers are afraid to say 'God has made us for a purpose, and He has the exclusive right to tell us how to live our lives." FULL POST

Posted 8/15/14 at 4:57 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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7 Easy Ways to Put a Not Welcome Sign on Your Church

Photo: Ron Edmondson

By Ron Edmondson

I was running recently on a route I’ve run many times, but I missed this sign until this particular run. It was too “good” not to stop and take a picture with my phone.

I saw the sign and the first word that popped in my head was “Closed”. As another sign I saw in a store window said recently (which I don’t completely understand) “Closed for Business”. (How can you be closed “for” business?)

None of us would intentionally place a sign like that on our church doors. “Closed for business”. I’m sure that’s not the intent this church has with this sign. Yet I’m certain that some of our practices serve the same purpose.

Over the years, Cheryl and I have visited dozens of churches. Whenever we travel we try to find a church. I’ve spoken at and consulted with a lot of churches. All types and sizes. FULL POST

Posted 8/15/14 at 11:56 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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Why do Rookie Pastors get Fired?

Photo: ~Pawsitive~Candie_N - (cropped) Creative Commons

By David Murray

That’s the question Josh Tandy, a real rookie pastor, asks here.

I have a simple two letter answer.

EQ.

Or rather the lack of it.

EQ is the emotional equivalent of IQ. Sometimes called “emotional intelligence” or “social intelligence,” and the lack of it is the primary reason for the majority of pastoral failures.

That’s right, the main reason for rookie pastors getting fired or, even worse, rookie pastors destroying a church, is not intellectual, moral, or theological failure, but failure in basic common-sense humanity.

We’ve all seen it, haven’t we: exceptionally clever, technically skilled, and self-disciplined people utterly fail in pastoral ministry. They just couldn’t connect with people at even the most basic levels: FULL POST

Posted 8/15/14 at 11:05 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices |

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How Epidemics Spread and Why Isn't Anyone "Catching" my Faith?

Photo: Flickr/Sari Dennise - Creative Commons

By Joe McKeever

Sometime in the 1930s people who were hunting down chimpanzees in Africa contracted the HIV virus that led to the AIDS disease. Later, when those men consorted with prostitutes, the disease was on its way. Then, when airlines developed to the point of providing intercontinental connections, the disease crossed the world.

Worldwide, we’re told that 36 million people have died from AIDS.

“Patient Zero”–the person who transported the HIV virus to America–was a flight attendant for Air Canada.

We owe that man so much.

He was truly a person of great and far-reaching influence.

But all in the wrong way.

In Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Elmer Gantry,” a disillusioned minister tells a colleague why he is caving in to his doubts about God and leaving the ministry. He cites a number of contradictions in Scripture as he sees them–or Lewis himself; you’re never quite sure of these things–and then adds something else. “If there really were a good and loving God,” he said, “instead of making disease contagious, why didn’t He make good health contagious?” FULL POST

Posted 8/14/14 at 12:01 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Bad News Sells Better Than Good News

Book cover of Upside

By David Murray

The good news about bad news is that there is not nearly as much of it as you might think. The bad news about good news is that good news doesn’t tend to sell. Dr. Bradley Wright explains this paradox in Upside: Surprising Good News about the State of our World

The media sells negative worldviews. It’s not that reporters, writers, and editors are pessimistic people; rather, they have a strong incentive to tell us about the fearful, scary, and dangerous happenings in our world. The media is a business, and it succeeds by attracting viewers and readers.

With hundreds of television channels and even more online news sources, how can they do this? One way is to offer something that is truly frightening. If watching a story can save us from some imminent danger, then maybe we’ll stop channel surfing long enough to watch it. If reading a report can protect us from a health scare, maybe we’ll pick the magazine off the rack. Sensationalism and fear sells—this is a fact of life that won’t change anytime soon. FULL POST

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