I had this crazy idea to write about some of the things I learn throughout the day. Maybe transform some of the stuff I write into a journal at some level. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. But to start, how about some of what I learned today. We’ll call it, “WILT.” Get it? See what I did there?
God breathes life, but you have to be dead first!
I learned that even in a book like Ezekiel, when you seek God, there are some significant spiritual truths that surface. God uses these to transform us, from the inside out. You should read Ezekiel 37. One of the moments that struck me was this one…
Ezekiel 37:9 – “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.'”
In the midst of spiritual death and dryness, God does His best work. God can’t breathe life into me if I don’t die to myself first. I must give up doing life my own way in order for God to breathe into me, true life. If I want to experience all God has to offer me, I need to be willing to die to my own wants, desires, needs and selfish patterns.
Someone needs to know the real you!
It feels good to get beyond the superficial parts of life with someone. It is healthy to share your hurts, pains and struggles with someone you know and trust. For me, it’s a group of guys I meet with for accountability. On a more personal level, it’s my wife.
There’s something healthy and great about allowing her to know what’s really going on inside me. Sitting down for a cup of coffee and really digging in is ultimately liberating. I was able to spend time with my wife today, just the two of us. It was great to be able to connect with her at a deeper level. Taking our relationship into deeper and better waters.
But it is such a good hurt. I love the way I feel when I’m working out. I love how I feel when I’m done. I really love the energy I have the next day. Yes, it hurts. But it’s such a good hurt.
What did you learn today?
Some of the staff guys from my church, New Life Christian Church, headed out of town for a few days this week. We left with the mission of hanging out, doing some team building, praying and trying to get a clear picture of what God has in mind for us in the coming months and year. We headed out on Tuesday and drove from Chantilly, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Gettysburg is the sight of one of the deadliest and most memorable battles of the Civil War. A battle lasting for three days; July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863.
Wednesday morning, we all went on a four-hour bike tour of Gettysburg. The tour was great. Watching eight pastors try to ride bikes in a straight line was downright entertaining. After the leg cramps went away from the 13-mile, four-hour ride, we sat down for some lunch and started chatting about what we learned.
Here are a couple of principles I picked up from the ride.
1 – Leadership Sometimes Means Following!
If you can’t follow the lead of those over you, it might be time for a change of scenery. Just don’t cause a scene on your way. During day two of the Battle of Gettysburg, General Sickles of the Union army, disobeyed a command from General Meade. His move to higher ground (the Peach Orchard) instead of anchoring his line where Meade had directed (base of Little Round Top), nearly cost the Union the battle. A defeat at Gettysburg would have opened the door for the Confederates to take the Capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, as well as take open routes to both Baltimore and Washington, DC.
2 – Leadership Is Making the Tough Calls!
Leaders are leaders for a reason; they make the calls that many people are unwilling to make. Sometimes the call they make isn’t popular, but the leader must make the call. Around 5:00 pm on the first day of the battle, General Lee had the Union troops on the ropes. They were outmatched and outflanked. He then delegated a decision down to General Ewell, a lower ranking General, about whether or not to pursue the already retreating Union forces. His decision? Regroup and attack the next day. Wasting two hours of daylight and precious time with the enemy on the run, the Confederates will not recover from this decision and will ultimately lose the battle at Gettysburg. Leaders, some calls are yours and yours alone. Don’t delegate away your momentum!
Of course, these are just a couple principles. There are many others. What are other leadership principles that you wouldn’t go without?
Leave me a comment and let me know.
Two weeks ago, I started training again. I haven’t been able to do any sort of training or exercise since I strained my ACL in a fierce game of dodgeball. Yes, I’m only slightly competitive. I rehabbed my knee for a few months and am now getting going again with some great fitness stuff. What is this “great fitness stuff” you ask. CrossFit.
My neighbor is working toward becoming a CrossFit trainer. So I didn’t hesitate to jump in and start working out with him. After week one, I had only worked out one time because I was so sore. This week I finished my 4th CrossFit workout. And all I have to say about CrossFit at this point; freaking awesome! I love it.
But my workout will only be as effective as much as I am dedicated to the workout.
No more Dr. Pepper.
No more late night ice cream runs.
No more eating out.
No more junk food or candy.
Dang it! Now I really want a Dr. Pepper.
Every time I workout, I’m drawn back to something the Apostle Paul said in the book of First Corinthians, chapter nine. It goes like this…
1 Corinthians 9:27 – I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.
Now to make sure I’m also training spiritually, not just physically.
Another old post. —
Last fall I played in a men’s flag football league in Fairfax, Virginia. It was a blast. One of my teammates was named, Bryan. He and I played defense on the same side of the field (this meant we got to know each other really well). He had a great phrase he would use during crucial moments of a game. He would look at me right in the eyes and say, “Time to do work, Rodda! Do work!” Granted, the grammar isn’t great, but the phrase gets the job
did done. That phrase and his intensity always challenged me to run a little faster, to jump higher and work harder than the guy lined up across from me.
Now jumping to present day life. Our Campus had an awesome Sunday. Our theme was, “Get Right With God.” We had really cool stories lined up for people to tell about how God has impacted their lives. We talked a lot about the Jordan River and water in Scripture. It seems to me that water, especially the Jordan, carries some powerful significance to God. Every time the Jordan is mentioned, it seems there is some transition in life, something leading to victory and hope.
- Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan
- Moses’ passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua
- Elijah passing the mantle of leadership to Elisha
We challenged people to come to the banks of the Jordan. To get their feet wet. To make a commitment. To dive all in for God. To give Him full control of their lives. To immerse themselves in the waters of baptism.
Then, we handed them a card. We challenged them to fill out the card and to tell us about a commitment they might need to make. We also asked them to tell us how we could pray for them. What things in life were holding them back from giving God their all and how we could we be praying for them.
Then it happened. I sat down that afternoon to read the cards. I began to pray for individuals by name who were going through some very serious things in life. And to think they trusted us enough to tell us what was going on behind closed doors. I believe it was a huge moment in the life of our Campus.
One man wrote…
I want to serve as a better example for my family – wife and kids. To live a life with God and Jesus in control.
…the strength to save my family.
And still another said…
My marriage. It is dying.
And this was just the beginning. As I prayed for these people and families, I was overwhelmed with emotion for them. I was blown away by their honesty and their stories. And that’s when it hit me. Do work!
Satan is doing work. He’s working. He’s getting after it. He’s destroying lives. He’s lying to people about what brings fulfillment and purpose. Oh yes, Satan does work!
Am I ready to, ‘Do work?’
The field is there. The people are ready. The hearts and souls of people are open and ready for transformation. As my friend Bryan would say, “It’s time to ‘Do work!'”
A fun post to get us started. It’s a little old, but that’s okay.
What I am about to say, I do not say lightly. I have been praying about this for years and I believe that God is leading me down this path. I believe that God wants me to plant churches. I am on a journey where the future is completely unknown and must fall squarely in the hands of God Himself. And there isn’t anywhere I’d rather be. From here, it gets a tad less “heavy.”
When it comes to church planting, there is a lot to ponder. Until I feel the spark to talk about other areas of church planting, I want to go ahead and offer a few tips to church planters and future church planters out there. This post will deal specifically with your church’s name. When it comes right down to it, your church name is going to be the center piece of your marketing, it will reflect who you are, what your values are, everything. You are setting out to change the world for Jesus and chances are the first impression people have of you will be your church name. That’s why the church name is almost as important as financial funding (insert hilarious laughter here).
That being said, I have some very important church names that you should consider for your church plant.
The Lord’s Vineyard
That’s right. You want people to know that there’s only one vineyard in town that God has chosen, and it’s yours. That other church down the street? Forget them. They don’t even have the right name on the door. Surely God isn’t working in their lives. You want everyone to know that if they’re going to be picked in God’s glorious elect, they better be in your vineyard. After all, it is the Lord’s.
Church of the Holy Immaculate Conception
What we’re hoping for here is for people to be confused and think you meant, “immaculate reception.” If that’s the case, they might think you’re talking football. And if you know football, maybe you’re only half-weird. Get them in the door with this brilliant “bait and switch” name.
Holiness Church of ( insert city/town name )
Nothing says, “Our church is more holy than yours, yours, yours and definitely yours,” than a church name with “Holiness” in it. If you’re in an uppity suburb somewhere, this may be the option for you. Everyone should know that while other churches might be holy, they aren’t nearly as holy as yours. The folk who love to keep up with the Jones’ will love that they can rub this one in to their friends. “Oh, you go to First Church of God down the street. Well, we have been members of the Holiness Church of ( insert city/town name ) for 42 generations. Yep, that’s right. We’re holy.”
Anything with “Whispering” in it
Whispering Pines. Whispering Grove. Whispering Creeper. Who’s whispering over my shoulder? This is just getting weird. Still, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper on a mountain side. You want people to know that at your church, they will be hearing God in whispers over their shoulder. Plus, this way you get to get them started in some Old Testament knowledge right away. They’ll be learning Bible and won’t even know it.
The First Holy Faith Tabernacle Church of Peter, Andrew, James and John Founded on the Solid Rock
If your church name is longer than your mission statement, it’s a good one. Because the one thing you don’t want to have happen is for the lost to actually remember your church name. After all, new people means being uncomfortable. So let’s just confuse them with a ridiculously long name on the sign.
Boring ( anything )
Look, I get it. You’ve lived in Boring, (State Name) since you were conceived. You are proud of the 1/2AAA Girls Checkers State Championship your school won in 1903. So go ahead and spit in the face of first impressions. Who cares if people drive by and think your church is boring. It’s worth it because of 1903.
So, there you have it. It’s not an exhaustive list, but I do hope I have helped to ease the burden that is the hard work of church planting. Feel free to use these free of charge for your church plant, or you can create your own variation as well. Now, get out there, start a church and confuse the heck out of the people in your town.
If you have a desire to church plant and you believe God is leading you in that direction, let me know. I would love to pray for you (seriously, no satire here). Also, you may want to click the image above to help you get started on your church planting journey.
Hey WordPress and everyone reading this crazy blog!
I haven’t written a blog in a very long time. Last September I believe was one of my last posts. I come to you from my last WordPress home, Cultural Awakening. To catch up on years worth of stuff or to get a feel for who I am and how I write, you should check that out.
This blog will be different though. Rather than focusing solely on issues surrounding faith and church, I’m opening it up more this time. This blog will focus more on my life as I know it. We will cover a broad variety of topics together. Hopefully, it will be a cool place for people to come together and talk about life in general. Maybe it’s a new recipe that my wife cooks up! Or it could be fun pics of my kids at a school or sports event. With college football right around the corner, we will definitely be hitting sports talk. We will talk faith as well. Most likely won’t hit politics too much, we have enough of that floating around. Check here for links to cool sites, fun videos or interesting stuff happening around the world.
Should be fun! Let’s do this!
So, I decided to move my blog. I wanted to do something a bit more general. So head over to my new site, Stan Rodda, for all the great new stuff. Well, new stuff anyway. See you over there.
Subscribe and all that good junk.
One of my favorite sites for financial resources is Christian Personal Finance. They have an amazing library of free resources for all things financial from a Christian perspective.
Here are two links to a couple of my favorite blogs on their site.
- How to Make a Budget! http://christianpf.com/how-to-make-a-budget/
- 250 Bible Verses About Money! http://christianpf.com/money-in-the-bible/
Head over to their page.
“Like” them on Facebook.
Follow them on Twitter.
Subscribe to their email updates.
And while you’re there, sign up to win a free iPad 2! =) Now that’s hard to beat!
I’m parting with several books that I have had in my library. Rather than sell them online, I thought I would give you the opportunity to ask for one first. So, if you are interested in any of the following books, let me know. First come, first serve. You can message me with your requests at firstname.lastname@example.org. All I ask is that you pay for shipping if you live far away from me. =)
I Became a Christian and All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt – Antonucci
- The Leadership Lessons of Jesus – Briner & Pritchard
Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
- Too Small To Ignore – Stafford
- Jesus Wants To Save The Christians – Bell (eBay)
Guerrilla Lovers – Antonucci When Leadership and Discipleship Collide – Hybels
- The Prodigal Hugging Church – Wright
- Taking A Stand – Knowles
- The Purpose Drive Life – Warren
- If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got To Get Out Of The Boat – Ortberg (eBay)
- Planting Growing Church for the 21st Century – Malphurs
- Faith In The Game – Osborne (eBay)
- Emerging Churches – Gibbs & Bolger (eBay)
In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day – Batterson
- Creating Web Sites – Crowder & Bailey
Building A Web Site For Dummies – Crowder
There you have it. Let me know.
A storm rolled through town tonight. My family and I were watching my son at Tae Kwon Do. Suddenly the rains came and the thunder struck. I walked through the rain to pick my wife and children up at the curb. A rainbow appeared as we were leaving the parking lot. Driving home, every one in the van strained to see the colors in the sky. That’s when I said, “God is telling us, ‘Hi.'”
Let me stop here. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I never say weird things like that. Typically, that kind of “Christianese” simply annoys me. But for some reason, this time, it was different.
I was reminded of what God told us in Genesis 9:12-15…
Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.
Somewhere along the way, rainbows became associated with different movements or stereotypes.
As a child of the ’80’s, I remember when liking rainbows made you a “girl.”
Rainbows were somehow linked with unicorns and Rainbow Brite.
Now in our modern era, the rainbow has become the proud symbol of the gay and lesbian community. A flag waving with rainbow colors declares, “PRIDE.”
Yet, I stared into the colors of this rainbow. Each color shining clear and bright. A near, complete arch, stood proudly displayed in the sky. A bold reminder that rainbows are not girlie. They shouldn’t be linked with unicorns and fairies. And it is far bigger than a community of people. The rainbow stands alone as God’s promise to mankind. A promise to never again flood and destroy all of humanity.
In all honesty, I don’t fully understand God’s mindset when it comes to the flood. But there is one thing I know…the rainbow is His.
It is a symbol of mercy and grace.
It is a symbol of His covenant.
It’s God saying, “Hey, I’m still here.”
It is His.
I probably won’t stop and stare at every rainbow I see. I won’t get “girlie” every time the rain comes and a rainbow appears. I’m just not like that. But for some reason, tonight was different. God giving me a nudge. A simple…
Hi, Stan. My promise is still good. They never fail. I love you.
What do rainbows mean to you?