Archive for the Leadership Category

You’re Doing It Wrong

Posted in Bible, Bullying, Christian, Church, Country, Culture, Devotion, Faith, Global, God, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Pittsburgh, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

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Every time there is a disagreement between Christ followers and the culture people are quick to tell Christ followers to stop judging others.  They are quick to remind us that the Bible says not to judge others.  They post, tweet, & Snapchat Matthew 7:1, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” It seems everyone is fluent in King James when criticizing others.

The problem is they’re wrong because the Bible does tell Christians to judge others.  The rest of the passage in Matthew 7 is about using a right judgement and not being hypocritical.  In fact, John records that one of the times that Jesus was being criticized for living a Christian life that went against the grain of the culture that He told those criticizing him, who were being hypocritical by the way, to judge not by appearances but by righteous judgement.

We as Christ followers are supposed to judge whether something is right in accordance with God’s righteousness or not.  So please, if you’re going to keep quoting that verse at least read the rest of the passage and start doing it right. #RantOver…#ForNow

What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Country, Digital, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Global, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Lent, Life, Ministry, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church, The Law with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2015 by BigPhatPastor

What We Don’t See With Cultural Morality
I used to talk a lot of junk and carry a pretty big Bible. It was a parallel Bible incorporating the KJV, Amplified, NAS, and NIV into one thick 3,000 plus page Bible. I stopped using mine because the print was so small, or I was getting so old I couldn’t see the print (toe-may-toe, toe-mah-toe); that plus I had used it so much the pages were falling out. After getting reading glasses I began using my wife’s parallel Bible for my morning study time. As I was reading through 2 Corinthians chapter 5 I can came across some notes she had written in her Bible. They were likely 7 to 10 years old but they speak volumes about what we are seeing in the world today. I have reprinted them here, with my insights after each one. However, they are likely from a Bible study or a sermon she heard preached somewhere so I cannot take credit for them. The title she had over the notes: Dangers of Cultural Morality…
1. Not our commission-we have not been mandated by God. The we being Christ followers and although true some Christ followers have embraced cultural morality more than the Gospel.
2. Wastes precious mounts of resources – is a distraction by the enemy, Eph 5:16. If we are Christ followers then we should devote all resources (time, talent, & treasures) to doing what Christ has called us to do: share & show the love of Christ, invite people to be recipients of Christ’s love.
3. If you don’t change the heart you will redirect the sin. Only God can change a person’s heart. Anything else is merely a bandaid on an eternal wound: sin.
4. Fails to understand the kingdom of God, John 18:36. Just as Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John chapter 3, without the Spirit of God one cannot understand the things of God. Cultural morality moves people away from understanding God’s overwhelming love for humanity.
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Put A Bandaid On It…

Posted in Christian, Christmas, Christmas Party, Church, Comics, Community, Country, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Dining, Election, Electronics, End Times, Entertainment, Evangelism, Faith, Family, Fantasy, Food, Fun, Geek, Global, God, Government, Health, HIstory, Holiday, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Love, Marriage, Marvel, Medical, Military, Ministry, Money, Movies, Music, Nerd, New Testament, Old Testament, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Political, Prayer, Real Talk, Resurrection, Sacrifice, Sci Fi, Social Media, Spiritual, sports, Superheroes, Supernatural, Taboo Topics, The Church, The Law, Travel, TV, Tworship, Vampires, Werewolf, worship with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

So a few months ago I pulled a tendon in my left arm.  It took forever to heal because I kept going right back out and doing the thing that caused the damage in the first place, #dagorhir (you’re going to have to Google it).  After weeks of it not healing I finally took a few weeks off from sparring and gym workouts to let it heal.  Then I gradually re-engaged in both #dagorhir  and gym workouts.  It took time but it healed. 

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So what do you think I did when I pulled a tendon in my right arm a few weeks later (this was after a pulled abdominal muscle and a few thumb smashes…#dagorhir)? I went right back at it without allowing time for healing.  Of course once I finally took a few weeks off it began to heal; I am still in that healing process.

I look at our nation now and I see a nation that needs to heal, from wounds of lost loved ones, from wounds of lost trust and confidence, and from wounds caused by hatred and bigotry. This nation, we make up this nation, need time to heal.

Over the Christmas weekend take some time to heal.  Step away from the keyboard.  Don’t respond to any flagrant posts or tweets. Ignore the rants and tirades and spend the weekend with family and loved ones.  We all need time to heal.  #merrychristmas.

We Can Still Give Thanks…

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Community, Culture, Evangelism, Faith, Global, God, Government, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Prayer, Real Talk, Spiritual, The Church with tags , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

In a week that should be capitalized with a time of giving thanks and praise to God for His blessings we as a nation are again divided over human hurts.  If nothing else, the events of this week in our nation  confirm how much this nation and this world needs the peace that only Jesus Christ can bring.  We need that peace so we are not fearful of people because of their race, or what clothes they wear, or what position of authority they hold. We need that peace so that hate is no longer one of the most powerful weapons on the planet.  We need that peace because it reveals the truth that every single life is precious to God and should be precious to His people.

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Now more than ever we, who are the Church, should pray for a spiritual awakening  across the nation: that the Gospel would be communicated across the full spectrum of American society and that people of all ages, races, backgrounds regardless of political affiliation or economic situation would be drawn to Jesus Christ and receive His life, His salvation, and His peace…and we should give thanks that we live in a nation that allows us to do so freely #givethanks

Don’t Let Fear Steal Your Vote

Posted in Bible, Christian, Church, Country, Faith, God, Government, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Pittsburgh, Political, Prayer, Real Talk, The Church with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

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Sadly, many people are going to go to the polls this week and vote based on fear: fear of decreasing income and/or fear of increased taxes; fear based on the race or gender of the individual voting and/or the race or gender of the candidate running; fear of a party losing political power or of a party gaining it.  Don’t let fear steal your vote!

I pray that we as Christ followers would go to the polls ready to vote based on faith, not fear: faith in the one who saved us, who provides for us, and who is able to, and has done, exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.  Praying that we as Christ followers would seek His face first and then vote according to the prompting of His Holy Spirit. #amen! #whomshallwefear

What Christ Followers Can Learn From Comics

Posted in Christian, Comics, Culture, DC, Devotion, Digital, Entertainment, Fantasy, Geek, Jesus Christ, Leadership, Life, Marvel, Movies, Nerd, Real Talk, Sci Fi, Superheroes, The Church, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

My top 3 movies of all time are 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, The Matrix, with Ultra Violet, Aeon Flux, and the Bollywood hit movie Bride and Prejudice all in a tie for third place (don’t judge me if you haven’t seen them).  But the super hero movies fromBlack Logo4V Marvel Comics are definitely edging their way into my top 10.  The Avengers movie from 2012, which grossed close to 2
billion dollars worldwide, was probably my favorite and sits nicely as my fourth favorite.  I went to see it with my son and some friends who were also comic book fans.  My son and I were the only ones who were actually brought to tears (yes, real tears).  Mainly because we were watching comic book heroes we were fond of brought to life on the big screen…together.

Although many of the characters appeared in movies of their own prior to the Avengers movie, seeing them overcome their differences and issues to come together for a greater cause to fight a common enemy made the movie hit home.  Marvel did the same thing with the recent hit Guardians of the Galaxy.  As a comic book fan I had a passing idea of the comic book group on which the movie was based.  However, many people who did not know the group still loved the movie.  Why?  Well (no spoilers for those who have not yet seen it), in addition to the great comedic factor, and the extremely awesome soundtrack (which any fan or child of the 1980’s will love), the movie again focused on bringing people together.  Individuals who each had different ideas of how to achieve a common goal put their differences aside to overcome a common enemy.  This hasn’t escaped the notice of DC Comics who are planning on bringing several superheroes together in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie and the Justice League movie.  Somehow Hollywood has taken notice that unity is the key to success.

Hero2So for those who have not quite caught on to where this is going I will ask the obvious question…why hasn’t the Church taken notice?  Today, depending upon your definition of the word denomination, there are close to 400,000 different denominations that exist on the planet.  These span the three major world views: Theism which holds that there is a God over all who made all; Pantheism which holds that God is all and everyone and everything is a part of that all; and Atheism which holds that there is no God at all.  Within the Christian denominations most hold to a common belief system:  there is one God who manifests Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit;   that God the Father loved humanity so much that He sent God the Son to die for the sins of humanity in the place of humanity and then was resurrected; that evidence for this exists via God the Son sending God the Holy Spirit residing within all those who believe as the promised seal of God the Father.  Many denominations have different structures and ways of worshipping God.  But of the ones who hold the above in common, and who believe that the most important role of the Church, the body of Christ, is to reveal this truth to the world, the question still remains, why are they not coming together?

Isn’t there more strength in numbers? Yes.  Wouldn’t the Church be more effective at reaching people with this truth if they combined resources? Possibly.  Has coming together to achieve a common goal proven effective for more than just comic book heroes?  Most definitely!  No matter where one stands on same sex marriage it cannot be denied that the overwhelming accomplishment of 19 states approving same sex marriage has come about because those who are proponents of it have banded together, inside and outside of the church, putting their differences aside to achieve a common goal.  The same is true of the legalization of marijuana.  Proponents of the legal use of marijuana have banded together for a common goal and currently over 20 states have laws allowing either medical use of marijuana or use for recreational purposes.  I am not trying to be negative but if “potheads” can come together, surely the Spirit filled people of God can as well.

If the Church believes the message and truth of the gospel is a more important and more life changing message than that of same sex legislation or marijuana legalization then why aren’t they banding together?  Why aren’t larger congregations and smaller congregation sharing resources?  Why are disagreements over hymns and traditional music still being debated?  Why are there still predominantly white or black congregations in communities with diversity when we are all one in Christ? Why aren’t fundamentalists and charismatics acknowledging God’s Spirit exists in all true believers and coming together to share that good news?

Just recently, over 25,000 people came together for the three day Franklin Graham Three Rivers of Hope Festival in the city of Pittsburgh. 3 Rivers2  Hundreds of churches came together for a common goal and thousands upon thousands of people put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  How would our congregations benefit if instead of bringing congregations together every few decades when a member of the Graham family came to town, we brought them together every few months?  What would it say to our communities if they consistently and regularly saw various denominations coming together to worship Jesus Christ?  How much more would the message of true transformation be heard by those in our circles of influence if the focus of all of our congregations was on inviting people into our lives and into God’s kingdom instead of just into our buildings on Sunday mornings?

As Stan Lee, comic book icon, is quoted as saying, “With great power must also come…greater responsibility,”  Since the Church, the body of Christ is filled with the greatest power known to exist on the planet, the Spirit of the Living God, we BigPhatChecklisthave a greater responsibility to come together to see God’s purposes fulfilled through His Church.   Plan a meeting with your pastor, ministry team, and then with other local pastors and/or their ministry teams within your community to see how you can start coming together to plan a community worship celebration, a praise in the park event, a community Thanksgiving celebration or to meet a community need. #wearethechurch

Just Another Day In Paradise

Posted in Celebration, Christian, Culture, Digital, Entertainment, Fun, God, Leadership, Life, Pastors, Pittsburgh, Real Talk, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2014 by BigPhatPastor

I know many people think and joke that pastors only work one day a week, and on that day literally only 90 minutes. However, I and most pastors I know put in untold hours for the kingdom…or so I thought. I actually sat down one day and chronicled a regular Tuesday for me, which is a little different from most other days but not much….

Tuesday2-06:17 – Alarm went off. It’s normally set for 06:07 but I was trying a new app called Sleep Cycle to monitor my sleeping habits. I average about 5 hours of sleep a night.

-06:37 – Finished checking news and social media happenings, checked calendar and emails, posted an inspiring pic and started cleaning kitchen whilst listening to preaching podcast (today was John Ortberg).

07:20 – Began personal Bible study (studies unrelated to sermon or small group preparation, one chapter in Jeremiah)

07:27 – Stopped to take blood pressure (not good) and drink maté (an herbal tea with twice the kick of coffee and half the caffeine).

07:35 – Continue Bible Study (one chapter in Acts and one in 2 Kings)

08:20 – Prayer (I use prayer cards and straight conversation with God…He hears me and believe me I hear Him)

09:00 – Posted updates to congregational online group. Responded to emails. Scheduled some inspirational posts and tweets.

NOTE: The time I spend in prayer and Bible study are the most important things I do all day. The Bible study is not related to any teaching or small group study, but my personal time spent digging into and understanding the Word of God. My prayer time enhances my understanding of everything I study and allows me some one on One time with God.

download_20140326_12254109:15 –  Begin stretching to begin workout (gotta stay on top of that high blood pressure)

09:20 – Cardio workout (whilst watching and catching up on Marvel’s Agents of Shield…it’s called multi-tasking for a reason).

10:00 – Post workout stretching (and yes some Yoga…don’t judge me)

10:30 – Brunch with my wife.

11:15 – Updated a few items on my ToDo list for the day, checked calendar and emails, posted information regarding events for the week in congregational online group.

11:30 – Shower (I know some of you were worried about that).

12:15 – Began working on Digital Devotion for YouTube channel (editing, rendering, etc…)

14:00 – Lunch

14:25 – Update order and flow of the Sunday Celebration (this is documenting the prayerful consideration of what will happen in the Sunday Celebration: music, announcements, communion and any other elements; copies are provided to the Praise Team and the Tech Team)

15:30 – Bible Words With Friends Small Group preparation (prayerful preparation of items for discussion and study)

17:05 – Prepare and posting of a discussion topic in a chat room I moderate.

17:40 – Scrounge for pre-dinner.

19:07 – Bible Words With Friends Small Group

20:30 – Planet Fitness to work out with friends; this week: The Batman Workout (Google it or see the picture above, I’m at the Alfred level…a work in progress)

21:50 – Dinner with my wife (late I know but that is why we do pre-dinners)
NOTE 2: Sprinkled throughout the day is time spent checking texts, Facebook, Google plus and other online venues as I sometimes receive notifications, requests for help or prayer, etc…via these venues. In addition, I consistently view some online communities to review questions from people and to post answers to questions. The ones I frequent most often are ones regarding anti-bullying, anti-suicide, and theists and anti-theists conversations.

Note 3: In January my wife completed her degree in Diagnostic Sonography. However, she is still studying to complete  two of four total certifications that are required in her field (she has already completed two of the certifications, both within 60 days of graduating whereas most do so within 18 months). So when I am working from home she is sometimes at home studying. So also sprinkled throughout the day are comments from her whilst studying: “Turn the music down. Please stop talking to yourself out loud. Are you talking to me? Who are you talking to now? Do you have to sing out loud? How is dancing related to whatever you are working on? Honey, I absolutely love being married to you.”

 

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