Christian Name Droppers

I've done it.  You've done it.  We've ALL done it.  -  I'll give you a few examples,  and you tell me if you can figure out which ones you've done or seen.

1.  @SportsStar is one of my best friends.  He once wrote a note that said "John, have a great summer."  #BFF 

2.  Ehh...not doing much today.  Just going to hang with my bud, Paul Popular Pants, so he can tell me how awesome I am.

3.  (Post Pic)  Yeah I went to Super Popular Group's concert tonight and they asked me for a pic.  It's been soooo long since we've been able to connect!  

4.  RT:  You did a fantastic job tonight!  You're just so awesome!  // THANKS!  

5.  @FamousPastorWhoNeverReplies  Yes, I totally agree with you, friend! 

No one likes a  Name-dropper.  And even worse,  CHRISTIAN name droppers!  They come in all shapes and sizes,  and they drop names like they get paid to do it.  It's a hobby rooted in pride and comes from a desire to feel important, or at least appear important to someone within eye-shot or social media follow distance.  The more names I drop,  the more "awesome by association" I appear.

We fall into the pit of self-importance, that our pride overpowers our ability to think rationally.  As embarrassing as it may be to read your own stuff, go back and look at the times you name dropped.  I'd guarantee it was tied to a self-driven desire to boost your personal image.  It is an attempt to make your name larger than it is by building off another name greater than your own.  Unfortunately, this is an epidemic that extends even into ministries and music industries.  Why do you think people do this continually?

Name Dropping is a major indicator of personal insecurity!  When my relationship with God is strong, I'm free to find my identity in him! I can put my energy into glorifying God, rather than seek the approval of others.  If someone's approval is conditional to my name's connection with another,  the foundation is little more than shifting sand.  I do no need other's approval, as I have already been approved by the creator of the universe.  

Isn't that liberating?  To know that my image in the eyes of the Father is the only one that matters.  Do you not find freedom in the realization that other's perception has no eternal value?  To those who might over-spiritualize this concept,  no, you don't have to hashtag #God into everything you say and do.  God doesn't read your status updates, so stop trying to write to Him for the benefit of those around you.  That only makes you look like the pharisee who prayed "Thank you Lord that I'm not like this other man...."  #FAVAAA (fey-vor)  God isn't just another name to be dropped.  He is THE NAME to be exalted.

Be YOU through Him, and in Him.  Stop trying to be who you think you are through the power of others.  Check your pride,  and let God be your publicity agent.  I promise He can do a better job than you.

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

 Remember those hilarious pizza commercials? Dramatic music begins to play as one character awaits death.  As you began to get caught up in the dramatization of this death scene,  the question was asked, "what do you want on your tombstone?"  With no more than a moment's pause, the answer came, "pepperoni and cheese!!!"  Insert announcer voice:  Real ingredients so it's always real good!  What do YOU want on your tombstone?"

Paul seemed to have a backward view of life, at least in comparison to most.  He wrote, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  To Paul, death was nothing more than an opportunity to testify in a greater capacity than his lips could attain.  Pause for a moment, and reflect on death.   Go with me to the funeral of that dear loved one,  and as we walk toward the casket what do you hear?  What do you see?  What does death feel like?  The sobs of relatives erupt on occasion, and a spirit of heartache sweeps through each heart.  To our eyes, death appears as a loss.  How then could we describe it as gain?

Walking toward the final resting place for the shell that once contained a soul, we see the tombstone.  Name.  Date of Birth.  Date of Death.  Inscription............  How does it read?  What great thing did he accomplish?  How does the very brief inscription that summarizes an entire life read?  What did those close and acquainted with him have to say?  All in a moment,  everything disappears, and only few descriptive words remain.

Romans 14:12 says, "So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God."  As you stand before the almighty,  you have the opportunity to deliver the obituary of your own life.  You write the tombstone!  C.T. Studd said it best, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past.  Only what is done for Christ will last."  Friend,  what do you want on your tombstone?  Have you given it thought?  As you reflect on the activities of even this day,  to what gave you the most thought?  Your clothing choice, or meal order?  Your route to work, or witty Facebook post?  How much time meditating on God's way for your life?

Write it down.  Seriously, right now.  Your name,  your date of birth,  and then what you wish others to say of you.  Make a second, with your spiritual birthday,  and what account you wish to present to God.  Now,  live backward.  Oh, how our days would look drastically different if we knew just how many we had left.  But tomorrow is not promised.  Our time would be occupied and stewarded with much care if today was known to be our last.  Bury the person you are today,  and live the life of the one you hope other's to bury someday.  Begin each day from the ground up, rather spend each day digging tomorrow's grave.  What do you want on your tombstone?

Don't Put God First

From Sunday School songs to the church lady's gentle reminders, the JOY acrostic was drilled into this young brain.  Jesus, Others, & You, as the song says, "what a wonderful way to spell JOY."  If you wanted to have true joy, you would put Jesus first in each day,  spend time doing for others, then whatever time is left over, you can use for yourself.  This checklist mentality permeated my life for many years, and as a "detail-list" sort of guy it fit my personality quite well.  

Wake up, read your Bible and pray first thing.  Go to church on Sundays, the FIRST day of the week!  Give to Jesus the FIRST 10th of what you receive.  This first thing is working out well.  I mean, now I can move on to the "others" part! CHECK!

  At least once a day, I would let someone pull out in front of me in traffic, or maybe cut in line at Wal-Mart (if they had fewer items than me...I mean, let's not get crazy.)  Offer someone a mint, hold the door for those behind me, pay it forward in the drive through at Taco Bell.  Others...CHECK!

Now, my favorite part of the day:  Me time.  I did my Jesus time early on, and then spent hours of cumulative time serving others,  and now it's all about me.  What a wonderful way to spell joy after all!  I checked off Jesus from my list early.  Of course that soothed my conscience because the pastor is going to ask if I read my Bible and pray.  I did society some favors today.  It's the least I could do,  after all I am a really great person,  and helping others makes me feel good.  Doing things for me REALLY makes me feel good...and that's what Joy is all about...feeling good. And YOU could feel good too, if you would put Jesus FIRST!  Then do everything else on your list after him.  

One day, while I was reading my Bible (first thing)  I came across these verses that struck a chord with me. 
-  ...that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18 KJV)
- Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Corinthians 10:31KJV)

As I read, I was convicted of the fact that Jesus does not want to be first in my life,  he wants to be in EVERYTHING.  He wants to be glorified in every aspect of my daily activities.  We quote it often,  "I can do all things through Christ...."  But how many of our daily routines are truly exercised in and through Christ's power?  When I check Jesus off my list for the day, my relationship with him becomes little more than routine.  But,  when I include him in every part of my day,  I find true joy.  

My acts of service to Jesus and Others were, in fact, self-centered.  Sure, I got the "feel-good" for a while, but there was no sense of satisfaction.  Why? Because all I had was a checklist.  God wants every part of my day to reflect his image.  My family time should point toward God.  My acts of service should be focused on God.  My time spent alone should bring glory to God.  I'm done putting God first.  From now on, I'm involving him in everything.  

How To Prevent Revival

Revival is not just a meeting.  It's so much more than that!  It's a culture that drives the church.  It's an atmosphere that is conducive to the working of the Holy Spirit.  Revival is where the people come to church expecting phenomenal acts of God.  A church experiencing revival is seeing salvations,  restored relationships,  discipleship relationships forming and strengthening.  Revival changes everything.  But maybe you're that person who doesn't like change.  You want to always do what you've always done....I mean, it got you this far right?  Here are a few ways to keep your church from experiencing revival.  After all,  one dedicated bad apple can, in fact spoil the whole bunch.

1.  Don't Pray.
Prayer fuels revival.  Every revival,  every move of God has begun because someone stopped to pray.  Extravagant prayers to an Almighty God will always yield results.  Period. That's dangerous to the typical church.  One preacher quoted, "prayer moves the heart that moves the hand that moves the world."  Revival happens when a people called by God's name, humble themselves and pray, fervently seeking the face of God.  If you don't want to see the heart of God stirred on behalf of his people,  whatever you do, don't pray.

2.  Don't Praise.
Have you ever stopped to think about how good God has been?  Psalm 100 commands praise,  and then presents the catalyst for praise when it says, "for the Lord, HE IS GOOD.  His mercy is everlasting.  His truth endureth to all generations."  Doesn't that make you want to SHOUT?!  Exactly.  If you want to hinder revival,  don't praise God.  You may find as you reflect on God's goodness that the Spirit will begin to stir your soul.  It may progress so rapidly that you experience a personal, contagious revival.  If you don't want that to happen, don't praise.

3.  Don't Plan.
As you examine the accounts of victory presented in the pages of the Word,  each victory came as a result of choice.  Daniel purposed in his heart.  Before the opportunities would arise,  he planned ahead.  As the Old Testament people of God would approach his presence it took advance preparation and planning.  Your life, and the life of your church has stagnated slowly over an extended period of time.  Abandoning that lifestyle won't just "happen."  Revival takes purposeful preparation.  As long as you can keep from preparing for revival,  trust me, it won't happen.

4.  Don't Pay.
The level of revival you experience is directly proportional to the amount you are willing to invest.  Let's break this up into a few pieces, as this cycle is forever tied.  The only thing Scripture requires of your pastor for his paycheck is an accurate study and presentation of the Word.  When you "muzzle the ox" so to speak, in essence you require him to budget his time in multiple areas, dividing his focus from where God intended it.  When you don't give,  he cannot give to you.  When you don't give, the corporate body is unable to effectively bless and reach the community it is commissioned to invade.  Your pastor has no time, and your church has no money, all because you chose not to give.  Introducing a new element to this cycle, the evangelist, is the way to break your pastor and people away from this cycle.  But he cannot afford to LIVE off the "tip" you might give, should you decide to show up.  So the evangelist never comes.  You will invest in what you see as a necessity.  If revival is not important to you,  no worries,  your giving record will make that statement clear.

5.  Don't Participate.
If you are going to see revival,  it's going to take some work.  If your church should see revival,  they need your help.  Yes, you!  From the youngest child to the oldest adult,  revival is both an individual and corporate matter.  If you don't want to see your church take that next step, it's as easy as you remaining seated.  Don't raise your hand.  Don't sing.  Don't enjoy fellowship with believers.  Don't get involved in the ministries of the church.  Better yet,  don't show up but every so often.  That way you can keep the pastor "in line" while anchoring the church to the status quo.  When people get involved,  revival happens.  So don't make a move.

RE: 10 Pop Stars You Might Not Have Known Were PK's

Recently, Relevant Magazine posted an article about ten well-know pop stars who were all pastor’s kids. While the names on the list were extremely impressive,  many were a bit surprising!  The list included: 

I've read article after article about PK's turning a 180 away from their upbringing, and while articles of this nature generally start with a " won't believe this..."  I appreciated Relevant's approach:

There are a lot of different stereotypes about PK’s—some more fair than others—but maybe the safest thing you can say about being a PK is that it sets you up with some expectations. Every Sunday morning, you’re on a stage (sometimes literally), with members of the congregation going through a mental checklist of how you do or don’t fit in with their preconceived notions of what the son/daughter of a preacher man ought to be like.
There’s no blueprint for what becomes of PK’s. Some of them go on to become pastors themselves. Some of them hightail it out of vocational ministry fast as possible. And some of them, well, some of them go on to be stars. Here are a few of them.

As you peruse the list of names, no doubt you will notice a great deal of success for each, at least in the world's perspective.  And while notariety is great,  for many of those PK's, their turning away from the Lord is obvious!  The article is right,  there is no blueprint for PK living.  I have known PK's to grow up to be in ministry -  I'm a fourth generation preacher.  But all too often the story reads something like "PK leaves church at first chance, and now lives to spite an semblance of his upbringing."   

Yes, there are multiple factors that play into the future of a PK.  Consistency in the lives of their parents.  The culture of respect from the church members.  A PK's personal relationship with Jesus.  If any one of these is misaligned, a PK's course can be forever altered.  

To the PK:  Channel your energy into your personal relationship with Jesus.  Allow him control of your life. You need not seek approval from any man, because Jesus has called you and counted you worthy of the office you hold.  BE YOU, and not who others perceive you should be.

To the Pastor:  If you did not grow up a PK, don't pretend to understand the struggle of your children.  Pray for God's guidance as you lead the unique culture of your home.  When your HOME/Family is your priority,  they will in turn assist you in the ministry.  Ministry is most effective as a family affair.

The the Church Member:  Raising your pastor's children is not your job, so take a sigh of relief.  For many that will be a huge burden lifted off your shoulders!  Now you will be able to spend some time examining the lives of the family for which you are accountable before God.  Then,  should you have some extra time,  INVEST in the life of your pastor's children.  Invest in the life of your pastor!  You'll never know this side of heaven what baggage they bring into the church-house each week.  Translate the time you would spend criticizing into time praying.  

If you know a PK,  please direct them to the Preacher's Kid Network page.  Home of the 2015 PK Retreat!

A Catholic Culture

Throughout Scripture, the development of a personal relationship with God is not only recommended, but even commanded.  We read of great relationships such as Enoch's, where walking with God was a daily reality. And while men like David did not physically commune with the Father,  the Scriptures allowed for a spiritual experience just as real.  The words of God were so integral to David's life that he hid them in his heart.  Jesus spoke that man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Paul wrote to Timothy, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."  Scripture suggests that communing with God is equivocated to a relationship with His Word.

Cults of all sorts distort this Christian principle,  and I see it bleeding over even into our most fundamental circles today.  The Catholic church, to name one,  highly emphasizes mass attendance, frequency of sacraments, and reading through the missals produced by the church.  Scripture's authority is degraded by the pope's ability to infallibly speak "ex cathedra" overruling the written Word.  Members of the Catholic church are not encouraged to search out the Scriptures, but rather to trust the word of their priest for doctrine and instruction.  

Those claiming the banner of independent or fundamental christianity would hold to the ideology that they should personally commune with God through His Word,  but is that truly believed?  As I sit in churches across the United States I see members with closed Bibles.  I listen as pastors, both tenured and inexperienced, recite their sermons often misconstruing details and facts.  Their interpretations of Scripture are often filtered through the lenses of their indoctrinating school, ministerial idolatry, and adherence to the traditions of men.  They subliminally promote the continued legacy of ignorance within the laypeople.  The people are not being taught to search out the Word for themselves, subsequently most are content to adopt the views of their pastor as their own with no personal affirmation.  When Scripture is not primary, the church begins to worship the stained glass, pews, former pastor's pictures, memorial plaques, and church rituals.  It's no longer genuine worship that is spiritually compelling,  its idol worship under the guise of a pursuit of old paths.

Is fundamentalism all that different from Catholicism?  As pastors of different fellowships hold to the "views" of their respective "ministerial giants" on the platform of "old paths"  do we not then make these men as gods?  When our doctrine is affirmed by the sayings, sermons, and memoirs of men of faith rather than the Author of our Faith,  do we not override the authority of the I AM?  When we are more concerned with the names on the wall, the way the piano is played, and the structure of our service do we not resemble the iconic worship of a cult?  The blame lays not solely on the shoulders of the present day ministerial hierarchy,  but also on those who do not present themselves as workmen.  I see a generation that stands before God unapproved, ashamed, and ill equipped to rightly divide truth.  Is it any wonder our culture continues to rapidly drift?  The denominational lines are greatly blurred in this respect, where even the most conservative baptist is no different than the catholic.  What are you?