Do You Want to Make a Differnce or a Point? – by Pete Wilson

Hey Guys! I was reading Pete Wilson’s blog (author of Plan B and Empty Promises) a couple days ago and really enjoyed this post. I love his thoughts about making a difference instead of making a point! It reminds me of a life-changing and ministry-chaning struggle I went through a dozen years ago as I wrestled with the difference between success and significance. It doesn’t always come with applause but I want to position myself to choose significance and faithfulness. Take a look at what Pete wrote…

Do You Want To Make A Difference Or A Point?

July 2, 2012 in Leadership with 33 Comments

There’s an article in the July issue of Church Executive that just came out last week entitled “Who Speaks Up?” I was skimming the article nodding along with most of what the author was saying until I saw my name. Then all of the sudden it became personal and I stopped to reflect.

Ron Keener wrote,

“I have to wonder: Who speaks for the church now? Billy Graham is 94 in November and we miss his presence in the pulpit. Franklin Graham has a strong message but his attention is rightfully overseas and focused on the parachurch.

When CNN’s Larry King wanted a point of view from the evangelical church he went to Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson, as if either of them really spoke for the church-at-large. Occasionally John McArthur, now 72, showed up at the “Kings Table,” and one or two other well-known preachers.

Many of the best speakers for the faith, and for the church in the world, keep busy with their own congregations and avoid the national media scene. Chuck Smith Sr. is 84 and ailing. Charles Stanley is 80. Chuck Swindoll and Jack Hayford were born in 1934.

He continues,

“Where are the “young bucks” within the church who bring it fresh thinking? And I don’t mean universalist Rob Bell. Such as David Platt, Pete Wilson, Mark Batterson, Randy Frazee or Rick Rusaw? They are so silent.

The church is under attack like no other time, and if responsible church men and women don’t speak up on its behalf int these turbulent social and cultural times, other, not so well meaning, will.

I appreciate Ron Keener and his concern even if he did somewhat call me out. :) I understand what’s he’s saying and he asks some valid questions.

Here’s my thoughts on this.

I’ve never felt called or led to be a talking head for the evangelical church. My understanding is that talking heads make points. I don’t want my life and ministry to be about making points.

To borrow a line from Andy Stanley, “I rather make a difference than a point“.

Sure, I can go on television and make some “points”, maybe  gain a few fans, get the applause of some church people. But in the process I alienate the very people that are far from God who I want to reach through my ministry.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve seen very few lives changes with preachers engaging the media and making very well crafted points. I’m not sure anyone cares about our points. I’m afraid that in making our points we forget about the very people we’re trying to reach with our points.  There’s nothing wrong with making points, I just think we might have a greater calling.

I’ll make some points in a message.

I’ll make some points in my books.

Along the way I hope some of my points may make you think, question, or even take action.

But more than anything. I want my life and ministry to be focused on making a difference.

So if the evangelical church is looking for a talking head that will cruise the media circuits trying to make points… I think I’ll pass.

If the evangelical church is looking for some pastors that want to go out and make a point by first making a difference… then you can count me in.

*If you’d like to visit Pete’s blog and see the original post, just click the link below:

http://withoutwax.tv/2012/07/02/do-you-want-to-make-a-difference-or-a-point 

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American Christian

I can’t wait for the Olympics to start in 3 1/2 weeks. To sit on the couch next to my kids and cheer on the good ol’ US of A! It is a special treat that so many of us take in every 4 years.

I am extremely grateful for the country we live in. For the unequaled freedoms we get to enjoy. And for the amazing opportunities to dream the impossible dreams and know that they can actually come true.

However, these blessings are not free. Yes, there is a tremendous price for our freedom that our military men and women defend  every day. And for that, I am humbled and honored. But there is another cost that we pay, without even noticing most times.

Because of the riches we enjoy, the independence we exercise and the freedoms we take for granted – we are so very often left with an Americanized viewpoint to our relationship with God. We assume that being blessed by God means that we will be financially affluent and never have to worry about our retirement. We function as if God’s greatest goal for us is our individual pursuit of happiness. So much so that if these things are threatened, we wonder if we have somehow stepped outside of God’s will or if he even exists at all! The end result of this is that for us – American Christians – following Jesus places God in the role of serving us, rather than us serving him and the picture of authentic Christianity is greatly distorted.

In addition to this, we have often tied our patriotism to our Christianity. This is done so much that the two are inseparable for most people. We tend to function as if standing for Christ is standing for America. This is so large that for some, America is often viewed as God’s chosen nation, even the “new Israel.”

We need to be really challenged here. We need to step back and ask some hard questions, questions that could make us uncomfortable. Consider for a moment: What does it really mean for this to not be our home? For us to be citizens of a kingdom of God more than citizens of America? What do we do when they are in conflict? When our political issues and stances are not God-honoring? When our international policies go directly against the heart of God?

Should we be surprised when this happens? Is our country really a Christian nation? Or are we a secular, worldly country that has the Kingdom of God growing inside it?

What would our advice be to our Christian brothers and sisters in China – where Christianity is illegal? Would we encourage them to declare their allegiance to their country or our God? How about our brothers and sisters who come to Christ in Muslim countries? Where they literally have to choose between country/family and Christ. We hear these stories about the persecuted church, pause for a moment and then continue on our day. But what about us? What are we choosing between? Do we consciously put ourselves in a position to choose Christ or do we simply accept the standards and values of our country – assuming that everything is fine?

What would happen inside us if we realized that every nation on this earth is deeply damaged and broken without Christ? Including America! What if we expected the heart of God that is growing inside us to be challenged by our culture? What if we turned on the TV, ready for battle? What if we measured everything on the scale of God’s heart instead of whether or not it is a normal American experience?

I’m not surprised or even threatened when prayer is removed from the schools or the 10 commandments are taken out of the courthouse. I have actually come to expect it. My goal is not to get our country’s policies to reflect Christ but to lead our people in this country to become his followers. If this happens, then even if our country declares Christianity illegal, his Kingdom will reign, his church will thrive and his people will be transformed.

The Perfect Life

How often have you seen it happen? The no-hitter. The 158.3 quarterback rating. The 300 bowling game. The elusive 10 in the Olympics. So many shoot for it but nearly everyone fails. Even the elite of the elite miss the mark over and over – most going their entire careers without ever achieving that one moment of perfection.

But still it’s chased. We hold the standard up and dare anyone to try to reach it. And when it does occur, the world stops for a moment. The athlete is raised up as the conquering hero. Adults and children alike begin to dream again imagining that the unimaginable is really possible. The sun shines brighter and everything is right in the world, at least for a day.

Moments of greatness. Deep down, we know they are fleeting. We know they won’t last but that’s part of the glory in them. Every once in a while we are witness to someone rising so far above mediocrity that they seem untouchable. We realize they don’t perform like this every day…that they are human, like us, and it gives us hope for the future for ourselves. It sets a goal for us, yes even us “normal” people, to shoot for.

Have you ever known an athlete who went the other direction with this? Who, instead of becoming a dreamer shooting for perfection, becomes defeated when watching someone else hit the mark? Their language becomes full of negativity and failure, speaking things like, “I can’t” or “I’ll never” or “I quit!” There is nothing more frustrating for a coach or a parent than watching this spirit take hold of an athlete. When it does, we push and challenge and encourage. We do anything possible to motivate and recast the dream.

But how about us? Do we still dream? Do we still chase perfection or have we been surrounded by failure so long that it is no longer even a thought for us?

Consider for a moment the perfect life. Not a life without financial struggles or the fairy tale existence but a life that is defined by peace in our hearts. A life that is so right that joy remains, even in the midst of heartache. A life overflowing with love.

Is it possible to really live this way? To live perfectly on this earth? To never step outside of God’s desire for us?

Before you answer, sit on this for a moment. Jesus told those of us who would follow his to “be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.” And the Jesus followers in Ephesus were told to “be imitators of God.” So there’s the target but our goal is not the perfect game but the perfect life!

Before you start objecting, consider for a moment that as a follower of Jesus, you are already accepted. God adores you and your pursuit of this goal has nothing to do with you earning his approval! It is completely about you claiming the blessings of the King. He wants so much for you. He has saved you to bless you and for you to be a blessing. He doesn’t want you to just play the game – he wants you to conquer it!

The crazy thing about this is there is only one thing you need to do to accomplish this incredible feet. Love! That’s it, just love.

What would life look like if every thought and every action was done in complete and total love? What if you always chose to put someone else first? What would happen to our pride, anger and greed? How about our lust, envy and selfish goals?

Imagine a life so full of love that there is no longer anything in us to make us stumble!