When “It Doesn’t Matter”… Matters

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I opened my Bible on a Sunday evening in front of a group of men and women amidst the buzz of fluorescent bulbs and the smell of ‘church’ coffee and read aloud a well known and well read passage, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1Samuel 16:7 NIV).

I closed my Bible and looked at the crowd waiting for my response. With a hand raised in the air I asked, “How many people are glad that God looks at our hearts!” With almost immediacy hands raised all around the room with amens drowning out the hum of the lights.

“Me too!” I said. “Too bad people who come through our church doors still look at the outward appearance whether we like it or not.”

Dropped the mic. Walked out of the room.

Ok, I didn’t do quite that… but I could have. I had made my point and no one could argue.

Yet church folk argue it every Sunday. “Why change this?” “You’re wasting your money on things that don’t matter.” “No one really cares about that!”

Let me be honest with you. In the light of eternity, do the ‘things’ inside the church matter? I dare say they probably don’t matter much at all. Salvation is not dependent on our leaky roofs, grungy bathrooms, shoddy lawn care, and poor building maintenance.

But in the light of ‘their’ eternity, the women and men who do not yet know of God’s perfect grace, I would dare say that these ‘things’ that we perhaps overlook every single Sunday now really become a ‘life or death’ situation. Because whether we like it or not, ‘they’ are not overlooking these things at all. If anything, they’ve already made up their minds on how you view your church before the first note is even played. I know, it’s not fair. You saved your best for last… but sorry, they’ve unfortunately already checked out.

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That was the case with the Queen of Sheba in 1Kings 10. When she came to see King Solomon she said that it wasn’t only his wisdom that overwhelmed her; but the attention to detail in all of the buildings, supplies, and personnel that surrounded and served her. The impact that he made on her did not rest solely on what he had to say but actually was woven together with the overall experience she had from beginning to end. The whole encounter impressed her.

What about your church? What matters most? Better yet, what matters least at your church… and do those things still seem to impress those who come through the doors?

For thankfully God looks at the heart, and ultimately, we would love to have the chance to share that story of grace with those who come through our doors. So maybe if we show them that they matter to ‘us’, we’ll get the opportunity to share that they matter to ‘Him’ as well.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C

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The New Year’s Resolution Fatal Flaw

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This year I am going to lose weight, read more books, finish the Bible, and love on my family more.

No joking. Those are my goals… but NOT my New Year’s Resolutions. I won’t make any New Year’s Resolutions… because they are fixed to fail from the beginning; at least that’s how I see them.

For years I used to take some time and write down all of the things that I planned on doing the next year effective January 1. Make more money. Travel. Solve world hunger. Bend time and space. But all of my ideas and aspirations hinged on coming out of the gate like a rocket after that ball dropped on New Year’s Eve. Come January 1, things were going to CHANGE!!!!

And they did. Sometimes even for the rest of that day!

If you look here at statisticbrain.com they looked at people’s resolutions from last year and how well people did.

Top three… Lose weight. Get organized. Spend less / save more.

45% of Americans make NY’s resolutions. Percentage that make it… 8%.

So your odds of actually accomplishing your resolution is 1:12. Not bad odds if you were buying a lottery ticket. I think you’d be inclined to try it out if a million dollars was on the line; but it still constiutes a 92% chance of failure.

But what if we are doing it all wrong?!?!?! What if the problem isn’t that we WANT to change, but rather we don’t know WHAT IT TAKES to change?

Let me explain…

Google “fastest man on the earth” and what will you find? Usain Bolt… clocking in at an incredible 9.58 seconds. Florence Griffin-Joyner holds the record at 10.49 seconds. That’s amazing!! Here’s the problem… Google ASSUMES ‘we’ are judging speed on only 100 metres.

Who made that decision?!? Why 100 metres? Why isn’t it Dennis Kimetto from Kenya clocking in at an incredible 2:02:57… for 26.2 MILES (42.2km). Or Yiannis Kouros who ran 188.59 miles (303.506km) within 24 hours!!!!!! No one knows Yiannis’ name (he doesn’t make a lightning bolt move at the end of his race as far as I know)… yet no one has beat Yiannis or Dennis in their respective races.

So… I think NY Resolutions fail because too many people run the 100m dash instead of the marathon. New Year’s Resolutions are more about what you are going to DO come January 1 rather than where do you want to BE come December 31.

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So I have goals that I want to accomplish in 2016. And I hope that I do better than an 8% chance of success. But I won’t succeed by putting all the pressure on the start… but rather by focusing on crossing the line, thinner, more knowledgeable, more grounded in God’s Word, and hopefully a husband and father that my family can be proud of.

At least that’s how I see it,

 

C