Running Out or Running Up

I don’t like to run. Plain and simple.

But at the same time I feel as though I run a lot.

As a leader we run. We run ahead to see what is coming. We run back to lead the people we are entrusted with. We run ahead to see what challenges we may be facing. We run back to help equip the people to be ready for the challenges.

We run a lot.

But we don’t seem to stay in one place at a time. When we are running ahead, we are not with the people we care about. When we run back, we don’t know what may have changed.

I was talking to someone recently about this and we used the analogy of a forest. What do people see? The “trees”? The “forest”? My comment was that as leaders, we tend to  run outside of the forest to see what’s ahead and then come back.

190109 forest

Then it hit me.

Why am I running “out” of the forest? Why don’t leaders run “up” trees instead?

Perhaps a better approach for leaders is to simply stay with the crowd but instead of running “ahead” to see what’s going on, run vertically “up” to get a view of what is happening “above” the forest and get a sense of what is to come.

There is more to this analogy but I’ll leave it at this for starters.

Tell me what you think? Do leaders run “too” far ahead sometimes? Do they get lost coming back? Do they forget what they saw?





When “It Doesn’t Matter”… Matters

what doesn't matter matters1

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.

what doesn't matter matters2.png

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,



This House Is Not A Home

Well I’m staring at the last week in this house that we’ve loved to live in. It’s been a long journey trying to sell it. Ten arduous months of open houses, last-minute showings, and meals in the car while trying to spy on the potential buyers.

Kerry said something extremely profound during the process. She said, “Craig, the moment we decided to move this house no longer was our home.” It was true. It felt more like a museum or hotel. Something was missing. We were yearning for a new home… one that we can’t wait to move into at the end of this week.

The Bible talks about the same thing. The moment that we decide to follow Christ there is a new home that we look forward to. We can enjoy life and all of the blessings that God gives us here right now but there is a new place that we can’t wait to get to (see 2Corinthians 5:1-5).

Yep. Sure loved this house. It was a beautiful house and I’ll never forget it… but I just can’t wait to finally get HOME!!!

At least that’s how I see it.


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