Thursday, August 25, 2005

Share the Light

After Adventurers last Saturday night Jenny and I took the kids to Salamanca to see the fairy lights. It is a beautiful sight to see the thousands of tiny lights illuminating the trees in the nature strip. I am often in that area during the day and had never noticed the lights. Then one night, after working late at the office, I drove down the hill and was delighted to see the trees all aglow.
We are much like those trees. When we spend time with fellow Christians – being light in a well lit place – we hardly notice the Light of God that lives within us. But, when we venture into the night – into the sin darkened World – we become points of light that at first intrigue passers-by, but ultimately draw them to return with friends. They want to see our lesser lights that twinkle so bright against the sunless sky. Imagine the joy they could have if shown the Son of Righteousness?
Witnessing often seems daunting. But, in its most natural form, it is merely twinkling in the dark. You know something the World doesn’t know. You know Jesus. That makes yo
u shine – wether you realise it or not! Let your light so shine before men. And when they come to see the twinkling… Testify to the Light that has come into the World to save the World from the Prince of Darkness.
Salamanca if the fairy lights failed to come on one night. Imagine all the people who would be disappointed. They would turn around and head home to their dark houses and their dark lives. Now, imagine yourself sitting at home with the lights on. It’s a dark World. Don’t leave it that way. Share the Light. It’s worth the effort!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Even the Demon's believe... and tremble

I have been feeling a special leading of the Holy Spirit in the things happening in my life in the last couple months. I know that the Spirit is always involved and guiding us, but there has been a unique powerful presence that has been overshadowing the "goings-on" at Rosny Church during the 40 Days of Knowing Jesus Better that we held in July and August.
The things that I have seen happen around me have been amazing. People are seeking the Lord. People who haven't before or not in years. There are people coming out of the woodwork (the World actually) that want to know Jesus and his truth. It is starting to get beyond wonderful, beyond exciting, even beyond weird. It's down-right spiritual in nature. I have had people ask for Bible Studies before. But, I have never experienced the rush of interest that I have in the last two months.
Yesterday afternoon I began studies with two teenage boys - one a church goer, one not - and they are fascinated by God and His Word. We met at a table in the back corner of a bakery and the new boy asked more questions than I knew there were question marks. After that study I went to the church to study with Sarah-Jayne and Linda - a study that has been going for a few weeks now. These two ladies are searching - both new to the Christian journey and both committed to following Jesus fully.
Tonight I went to the home of a 91 year old man who is rekindling an old flame he once had with the Lord. His grandson, a 10 year old, has been studying with us. After the study tonight the family came home. I met the boy's dad, his sister, and his step-brother. We sat around the kitchen table and we talked, and talked, and talked. It was fast a furious and they are all wanting to know Jesus. The boys father has committed to attending our Oct 1 "How did he know?" launch for Rosny's prophecy campaign - The Prophecy Story. And he's not coming alone. He plans on bringing his best mate, his brother and his whole family.
Tomorrow morning I will be meeting for the second time with the baptismal study class at
Hillard Christian School where I am one of the chaplains. We just finished a course on the basics of Christianity which was attended by 29 students. Now, moving into baptismal studies, I have asked for only those fully committed to following Jesus to come to the studies. 14 signed up to attend. 19 came to the first meeting last week. All, except the two already baptised, say they are wanting to follow Jesus in baptism.
Are you with me in quietly and resolutely shouting to the stars, "WHAT IS GOING ON?" I believe we are on the threshold of something mammoth. Some spiritual cyclone is about to hit. We are seeing the acceleration of the Wind. I believe there is something just around the corner... And I am a bit scared to jut my head out to see what's coming! But, one thing I do know... Toto, we're not in
Kansas anymore!
There is one more thing that has been convincing me of the spiritual nature of what’s going on. And that is the spiritual warfare that has been occurring in my personal life and in my church life. It is as if someone has grabbed the spiritual carpet and shaken it for all it’s worth. Dust, dirt, muck and mire are flying around. The Devil is trying to create clouds where the Lord’s light is shining most brightly. Of all the beings on this planet that would recognise the activities of the Holy Spirit when they happen – it would be the Devil. And I believe the Demon’s are trembling about what is happening at Rosny. We have around 20 new people regularly joining us for Sabbath services. Nearly all of them are involved in small groups or Bible Studies. Thank God that he is more powerful than Satan! But, it is certainly evident that all parties involved know that something big is going down.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Strange Dream!

I woke up at 5:15am this morning - Sunday! - due to a very odd dream.
It was a race against time. I'm not sure the reason why, but Jared Lillehagen, Angelina Jolie and myself were in a race to get to a space shuttle launch pad. I was running as fast as I could. Angelina was running too. We rounded one last corner and I was familiar with the surroundings - something that wasn't evident before - and so I took a short cut.
I came into a clearing and found the launch site. To get the space shuttle we had to dig a hole down to the sprinkler control system a metre or so under the ground. Jared was way ahead of Angelina and I. He was there, shovel in hand madly digging the hole. I ran up to the hole and saw a shovel laying on the pile of dirt (something that seems odd upon reflection… If Jared was digging furiously, as he appeared to be, how is it that a spare shovel was resting on TOP of the pile Jared was creating???)
Anyhow, I grabbed the shovel and thrust it into the ground to help Jared complete the hole so that we could turn the sprinklers on and the space shuttle would be able to launch. It was then that I had the “waking thought” – you know… that thought that just ruins the dream and brings you staggering back to reality? – and the thought was this…
There are only two seats on the space shuttle. It has to be a man and a woman to ensure the continuation of the race. I can’t go. There are still to many people who don’t know about Jesus left on this planet that is doomed to destruction.
With that inspiring, purpose driven, mission statement in mind I burst into reality. So, here I am, awake on planet Earth, with just moments to spare. I feel compelled to share the Gospel. I must also wish a fond farewell and GOOD LUCK to Jared. You lucky devil.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What a great day!

Today was fantastic! (last night Jason asked me where to get the "happy juice" that I am always drinking! I'm just blessed with one of those energizer bunny attitudes... Some bunny's gotta be happy!)

So, anyway, about my day! Two new Bible studies started up today.

The first was a group Baptismal class at Hillard Christian School. There were supposed to be 14 kids enrolled. But, when I got there 19 kids were waiting and eager to study the Word! WOW! God is good. So, we studied the first of the 10 Questions for God studies and I went to the office and picked up 5 more for next week. (pretty impressive how I did that quick calculation of how many more I needed, eh? Didn't even use a calculator...)

The second study was with a lovely couple - Brendan and Kathy Sproule - and one of their fine friends. We began studying a book by Charles Stanley. I preread the chapter and decided to focus on a couple of the Bible verses that he used and to leave a copy of the chapter with them to read during the next week. They came up with some fantastic stuff while looking at John 10:10.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (NKJV)

Here are some thoughts from the notes that I took during our study. These all came from asking, "What's the main point (BIG IDEA) in this passage?" And then writing the BIG IDEA as a question and answering the question from the text... very quick, easy and effective way to dig into a text with a group.

BI: Satan takes away, God gives all we need
Q. If Satan takes away your life, what does God give in return?
A1. life
A2. Abundantly - Everything

BI: The Devil Destroys, we need Jesus who gives abundantly
Q. If the Devil destroys, what can God give back?
A1. God gives back all the Devil destroyed, all the Devil took and more
A2. Abundantly!

BI: Satan destroys life, Jesus gives life
Q. How can God give us what Satan has taken away?
A1. Jesus gives life
A2. More is returned than was taken
A3. How does God do it? "I have come!"

I was really encouraged as we finished studying this passage and the line "I have come" emerged as the key answer to the problem of all the Devil's evil. Look at the text again...

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." - John 10:10 (NKJV)

You can see the problem - Satan the theif steals the joys of life, destroys the purpose life, and kills life altogether... But Jesus, who gives abundantly, has come that we may have life... Jesus gives back what the Devil has taken. And his gift is available because HE HAS COME!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Big Idea in Bible Study and Sermon Prep

The Big Idea is the main point in the passage you are studying.
The Subject is the Big Idea rephrased as a question that can be explored.
The Complement is possible and probable answers from the text.
The Conclusion ties it all together with a final statement based on the Big Idea.

I explored the "BIG IDEA" in John 5:1-15 with the 6/7 class at Hilliard Christian School today.

They came up with some great stuff!
My favourite was Laura Perry's Subject (question)...
"Why doesn't Jesus heal everyone?"
That really got me excited!!!

We explored some complements (answers) to the subject she created...
The man knew he was sick. He wanted help. He went to the "place of healing" demonstrating he wanted healing.
When Jesus asked, he said yes. So, Jesus healed him.
The Pharisees, on the other hand... Wouldn't admit they were spiritually sick.
They demanded others change. They said, "We are the spiritually healthy ones."
And when Jesus tried to offer healing, especially on the Sabbath question... They hated him! Jesus wanted to heal them. But they wouldn’t have it.

So, "Why doesn't Jesus heal everyone?"

Jesus even made a great tongue-in-cheek statement once about this...
He said to the Pharisees - "Healthy people don't need a doctor. Only the sick need help. I've come to heal the sick." That should have given them a good answer as to why he hung out with the poor and undesirable.
He also, in John 9, said, "I have come to help the blind to see. If only people would recognise their blindness."
The Pharisees said, "Are we blind?"
Jesus' response...?
"If you knew you were blind... I could heal you. But you believe you can see... And I can't do a thing for you!"

What a GREAT question!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

John 1:19-34 - John the Baptist - Born to Lead

John the Baptist was a natural intuitive leader. He lived the OOPA leadership model to perfection. (John 1:19-34)
The Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit Oriented his every thought and action.
His message and method were farefully Organised to give a clear presentation. His timing was perfect as he Predicted the advent of the Messiah.
And his Actions were clear, precise and perfectly executed to have the desired effect of preparing the way for the Christ by making straight pathways for the Lord into people's hearts.
And, just to put the icing on the prophetic cake, he did it all in the desert!

John 1:1-18 -- The Eternal Word Made Flesh

The opening passage of John (John 1:1-18) is written to illustrate the past, present and future of God's existence and plan.
Jesus, who is in very nature God, came from his eternal existence in heaven to save those who would accept Him. He revealed the glory of God in his Character - through his unfailing love and faithfulness (John
1:14, 17) - by giving one gracious gift after another.
Jesus was the light that sin-darkened religion needed to truly see God's nature. John the Baptist - like us - was a forerunner for the Christ. He paved the way with his words and opened the doors of people's hearts with his actions. We also are precursors to the presence of God - let your light so shine before men!

Interesting Tidbits from this passage...

John starts his Gospel where Genesis begins. He lines Jesus up as the eternal Creator!

The first person "sent" in the Gospel of John isn't Jesus, it's John the Baptist! The proclaimer, announcer, forerunner. Interesting question... Who sent him? Was he sent by the very one he was proclaiming? The prophecies that fortold John the Baptists role were given to Isaiah by whom? Jesus! Talk about circular logic!

We must remember that we are not the light. There is no light in us. We testify to the light.

Jesus' goal was to save those who choose to accept Him. Many who were connected to him were unwilling to accept him. many who were far from him understood and accepted him. Those who accepted - all who accepted - were called children of God.

When divinity became humanity he revealed to us the God of God in a way that did not kill us. The presence of the Almighty was distilled into two character traits that could be revealed in order to show the true nature and glory of God to sinful humanity. They were:
1. Grace (NIV) - Unfailing Love (NLT)
2. Truth (NIV) - Faithfulness (NLT)
Jesus perfectly modelled both of these illustrating to humanity the true character of God.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Manager vs Leader - OODA vs OOPA

I've been doing a lot of thinking, reading, praying, writing and teaching over the last year about leadership. I have also been encountering a lot of blurring in the lines between management and leadership. Many times things that are touted as leadership are actually management skills.

I have watched, admired, followed and learned from leaders who are actually gifted managers in a leadership position. They manage well, but they don't have a compelling vision that they cast everywhere they turn. They aren't blazing new trails (leadership) they are smoothing the current trails and moving along known paths (management).

Over the last couple months I have found two different models of leadership that are so similar that they were crying out to be compared. So, after much pondering and pontificating I have produced a proposition… Here are the two models of action that two different leadership sources suggested.

Observe – look, listen, explore
Orient – pick a direction and face that way
Decide – decide what must be done
Act – do it.

I call this the OODA Cycle – say it outloud, it sounds like Motor Cycle – it defines the thinking loop of decision makers. I have been exploring this model and applying it for the last few months in an attempt to see if it works. It does. But, only recently I have decided that the OODA Cycle is a management model. It is something you do daily, even hourly, to make quick decisions that are good decisions because they are well managed.

This brings us to the other model of leadership which I just discovered in the last week and it has given me a brand new view of leadership. And I like it. OOPA is based, fundamentally, on the skill of a “lucky” gambler. All great leaders have been truly great gamblers. Nearly all of them intuitively follow the OOPA strategy.

Orient – You’re looking ahead, pick a point to shoot for
Organise – Take stock (people, resources, skills)
Predict – State your goal, cast your vision
Act – Fire, roll, hit the gas, do what it takes

This is visionary leadership. OOPA is not a cycle that happens over and over. It is the natural gambling nature of truly great leaders. They see the distant future as if it were right in front of them. They believe the goal is achievable and their sheer audacity and blatant veracity convince those around them that it is possible – even probable – and certainly worth joining the crew just for the sake of the ride!

OODA is the stuff of great managers. It makes good sense and results in positive direction and consistent results. OOPA is the stuff of great leaders. It doesn’t always make sense, it can fail, but when the prediction is right, the success is unprecedented and overwhelmingly compelling.

Great leaders who live the OOPA strategy are few and far between. Great managers who faithfully apply the OODA cycle are rare as well. But, there is a distinct difference between a leader and a manager. And when it comes down to it, it’s the ability – even the desire – to guess rather than to know, to predict from your gut instinct rather than to decide from the hard facts.

The great leader is a gambler. The great manager is a statistician. Both are valuable and necessary. In fact we need more managers in society and churches than we need leaders. But, it is very important to know the difference and to know when we need a manager and when we need a leader. There is nothing more debilitating to an organisation than putting a manager in a leaders position. And nothing more dangerous than putting a leader in a managers position.

So, a few questions that every organisation should ask before filling a position at the top.

Are we looking for unprecedented growth? (Leader)
Are we looking for stability in difficult times? (Manager)

Are we looking for increased influence? (Leader)
Are we looking for increased reliability? (Manager)

Are we looking for someone with ideas? (Leader)
Are we looking for someone with strategies? (Manager)

Are we looking for someone who writes books? (Leader)
Are we looking for someone who writes manuals? (Manager)

Do we need to build new momentum? (Leader)
Do we need to maintain our momentum? (Manager)

Do we need tomorrow’s thoughts ahead of time? (Leader)
Do we need yesterday’s wisdom reworked? (Manager)

Do we need a new heart? (Leader)
Do we need a renewed mind? (Manager)

Oops and YEAH!

Here's the bad news... I took a corner to tightly, looked away from the road and CRUNCH - I ran over the curb at about 70k's and hour. Three minutes later I had a flat tyre and a bent rim.
I had been planning on puting low profile wheels on my car the next time I had to change the tyres. This accellerated the process. the tyres probably had a few thousand K's on them still but were getting close to replacement time. So, I had to find the funds... and replace the wheels. I got a good deal from Bob-Jayne T'mart.
Here's a pic of my NEW car!!! Doesn't it look cool? (I love it!)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I've been writing stories!

In the last week or so I've written an article for The Edge entitled In His Image. I also wrote a new parable for a sermon conclusion and entitled it Saving Hamsters. I have added some pics to both and put them on my In The Telling blog. I also uploaded a paper I wrote for my final year of Theology at Avondale. It is called Christory and is about the power of your story and the need for story telling in our times!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Honouring Jesus - John 12:1-11

John 12:1-11 records the aftermath of Lazarus’ resurrection. Everyone has a reaction to the power of Jesus. Those who love him, honour him. Those who hate him, step up their plan of attack. His power over death is undeniable and the reactions are unstoppable.

How do you respond to Jesus? Martha threw a banquet in Jesus’ honour. Mary poured out her love offering foreshadowing the coming of Jesus’ own death. Judas jealously longed to profit from the honour given to Christ. The people flocked to see Jesus and Lazarus, his reclaimed prize. The priests schemed to kill both Jesus and Lazarus because they were loosing power and influence over the people. And Lazarus, having experienced the life giving power of Jesus flow through him mightily, testified to the power of Jesus just by being there – by sitting at the table, by eating, by being alive! He was a living testimony.

Each of us has a unique reaction to Jesus power. Some of us wish to control Him. Some want to rebel against Him. And many of us respond out of the depths of our hearts – in the way that we feel most capable – and we honour him with our lives, our gifts and our service.

How do you honour Jesus?

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...