What should I be considering during communion?

Jesus made it very clear to his overwhelmed disciples that communion is time of remembrance.

I Cor. 11:23-26 – The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The very need for the word “remember” signifies that we tend to forget things. And I believe a big part of our stress, anxiety and sense of feeling overwhelmed is because we have forgotten some things about ourselves and our God that we should remember!

So, what are we supposed to be “remembering” during a time of communion?

What should our minds be considering as we take the bread and juice that represents the body and blood of Jesus?

What should we be thinking about …

  • As the trays are passing by
  • The lights are low
  • The room is quiet
  • And most of our heads are bowed

 

WorkJoy & Pancakes – The Personal Side

In part one of this article we realized there’s really no right or wrong way to eat a pancake.
There is not one side that tastes better.

Neither side of a pancake is more important.
Both sides matter.

Likewise, if one side gets burned it affects the taste of the other side.

It’s the same way when it comes to your work.

To experience joy at work there are two equally important sides.

You should make your work a better place,
and your workplace should make you a better person.

In part one of this article we considered how to evaluate if a person is making their workplace better. We looked at this subject from the perspective of the organization.

Today, we are taking a look at the personal side. We are going to discover several ways you can become a better person as you make your work a better place.

Here are three ways you can find value from the personal side of the work relationship:

  • Work in teams. This will make your product better.

It doesn’t matter what you are creating, a team will enable you and others to accomplish more with less stress (eventually) and in less time.

  • Work in strengths. This will make your potential better.

It doesn’t matter what you are creating or leading, if you create and lead from your strengths (delegating your weaknesses) you will produce better things, in less time and with less stress.

  • Work ahead. This will make your process better.

Good things happen in the margin. When you “work ahead” you make your career, calling, family, friendships and personal life taste better.

WorkJoy occurs when you add value to a place and that place adds value to you as a person.

Who you become is more important than what you do.

Decide today to strive for double-sided WorkJoy!

 

The multiple priority myth

I recently heard Greg McKeown, the author of a book called “Essentialism,” speak at a conference.

In his book he points out the word “priority” has been around for many hundreds of years. But we only pluralized this word within recent decades. Fascinating!

Today, because of our pace of life, we have lost track of the principle of priority as we focus on multiple objectives and initiatives. And to be honest … I love this fast paced, multi-hyphenate type of life and schedule. Each week I have many lanes that I am working in which means multiple priorities in any given hour, day or week.

And if I am not careful, I can trick myself into believing and living as though there is more than one “most important thing.”

But the fact is, in my life there can only be ONE priority.

Then everything else I do can flow from the blessings
of keeping the word “priority” singular.

This past weekend in our “BACK IN THE BLACK” teaching series at Parkview I touched on this topic.

Here is one minute of the message.

3 Differences Between Powerful And Perfect Talks

Over the past six months, I have consulted with churches and communicators about the effectiveness of their messages.

Some messages are incredibly powerful, and some are not, which leads to the question, “What is the difference between a perfect message and a powerful message?”

Let me answer this question through these lenses:   Continue reading “3 Differences Between Powerful And Perfect Talks”

5 Things To Remember When Team Teaching

Recently my wife, Rene Clark, and I did some team teaching at Parkview Christian Church. Parkview is a multi-site church of 9,000 weekend attenders in the Chicagoland area where I am stoked to be a teaching pastor.

We have spent time teaching together in the past, but I have never shared any of our rhythm for preparing, praying and presenting as a team. So … here you go, friends:

Our message on LEVITICUS / “Take Me To The Cleaners” and 5 things to think about when team teaching:

1. Know your subject more than you know your notes.

I believe Carey Nuiewhof is the first person I heard talk about how a communicator should know their subject not just their notes.

This becomes even more true in team teaching because you must bounce off each other, and you alone do not have control of the flow at all times. There are times you must build a bridge in team teaching and insert something you know about the subject that appears nowhere in your notes!

2. Transitions matter.

It is much more difficult to team teach than teach alone, in my opinion. But team teaching also adds an element that a solo person teaching can rarely achieve. That being said, when you are teaching with another person you must take time to think through transitions.

You will each have different …

  • voice
  • inflections
  • intensity
  • content

And as much as possible these things need to match up when you make the hand off. This is not always easy to do as you will see in our message on Leviticus. We still have some work to do in transitions.

But we do work hard and spend much time talking through transitions so we can keep things as congruent as possible for the congregation.

3. Create space for each person to prepare on their own.

No two people prepare themselves or their message in the same way.

You should take time to prepare your sections of the message on your own … but also spend time during the preparation process bouncing ideas, intros, endings and illustrations off of each other. This is the genius of team teaching.

In addition, when it’s an hour before go time … each person prepares their heart, mind and soul in different ways.

Allow time to speak through the message together 2-3 hours before the message arrives so that when you are 30-60 minutes out, each person can come to God and prepare their heart, mind and soul in their own unique way.

4. Do a walk through.

When you are on stage by yourself … you are by yourself.

When you add another person to the often small stage space, it can make even little movements awkward. As you will see in our Leviticus “Take Me To The Cleaners” message, we had to make sure we were not stepping in front of or behind each other at odd times. This is super distracting for the congregation.

As you will see our movements were pretty choreographed as we spent time on the stage before the message actually “blocking out” our movements like a theater or dance production.

5. Know who you are talking to.

There will be three potential audiences for your message in most churches these days.

You will be talking to …

  • Each other
  • The congregation that is in the room
  • Those who are watching at a multi-site campus or online

Therefore, it is important to makes notes concerning who you are talking to during each sentence or section.

Most of the time you will be talking to those in the room or the camera that is capturing the video for the sites and online audiences. This requires that you not regularly look at or bounce off the person who is standing just a few feet from you on stage.

Then there are certainly times when teaching as a team that you want to interact mainly with the person you are teaching alongside.

This is part of the special sauce of team teaching.

Interacting with each other adds intimacy; often humor and spontaneity will make teaching as a team powerful and meaningful in ways that teaching alone can rarely match.

4 Safe Places To Admit Your Junk!

I just launched the “BAGGAGE” series at Parkview Christian Church. Parkview is a multi-site church of 9,000 weekend attenders in the Chicago-land area.  I am honored to be part of the teaching team and find myself traveling from Huntington Beach, California to be with the Parkview crew 12-15 weekends a year.

In the first 10 minutes of this message I littered the stage with about 50 FOLDERS and I told a story of an event that occurred 8 years ago and changed the rest of my life. The bottom line …

WE ALL HAVE FOLDERS!

We all have crap in our past to get past.

So how do we do that?

In this message I talk about 4 safe places to admit your junk.

Check it out.

 

 

It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere

This past weekend at Parkview Christian Church in the Chicagoland area I shared this message about many world religions. Including Christianity, Jehovah Witness, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism and Scientology.

If you have have been told by a friend or family member or thought to yourself …

  • As long as your a good person, you’ll be fine.
  • All paths pretty much end up at the same place.
  • All religions are basically the same.

I want to encourage you to watch this 40 minute message.

Truth > Sincerity

 

3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors

In the past few months both Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant have announced their retirements. Peyton Manning, in his press conference, referred to the number 18 he has worn on his back for the past 18 seasons. “There’s something about 18 years – 18 is a good number,” said Manning. He also uttered the words that everyone already knew …

 “You don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely I will.”

Today I spend much of my time coaching pastors in transition / succession seasons of life in ministry. It is a tough season indeed, and eyes often get wet like Peyton’s did as he talked about stepping away from pro football.

Several pastors who have been at a church for 25-35 years have asked how I can possibly understand what they are going through. I then share with them my story of launching, leading and then handing off Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California.

Four years ago I transitioned away from a church that I had launched and led for ten years.  It was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

I often ask pastors … “Is it easier to hand off a 10 year old kid or a 35 year old kid?” Continue reading “3 Tips For Transitioning Pastors”

The Up & Downside of Anger

Did you know that it’s not wrong or sinful to get angry.

You will have moments of anger enter your life. It is normal.

The command, specifically in the Bible, is not don’t ever get angry.

Paul says in Ephesians …

Eph. 4:26-27 – “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

The command is “in your anger” do not sin.

Anger is a neutral emotion.

Anger, of course, can be negative.

You are waiting for a parking space in the parking lot and you see a car with its taillights lit up! And you pull up close and put on your turn signal and wait and wait and wait.

“What are they doing in there?”

Finally, as they are pulling out and you are preparing to safely pull in … another car swoops in and steals your space.

And you lose it!
In the car … with your kids watching!

Anger can obviously be a negative emotion.

But anger can also be positive.

For instance, the Super Bowl is coming to the Bay Area of California in a few weeks. And did you know that experts say that many hundreds, or some would argue thousands, of young girls are being brought into that city for the sex trade industry.

That should make you angry.

Several years ago, in 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told USA Today pertaining to the SuperBowl … “It’s commonly known as the single largest human trafficking event in the United States.”

There is what the Bible calls a “righteous” anger…

  • Children being mistreated and abused.
  • Poor being oppressed.
  • People misusing God’s name.

Friends, it is not wrong or a sin to get angry.
HOWEVER …

It is wrong and a sin to stay angry.

Eph. 4:26b – Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

The application we usually hear with this verse is in the context of married people not “going to bed angry.”

It is a good thing to stay up late and talk and resolve issues …

But there are also some issues in our lives and marriages that you cannot resolve in a few hours.

Because the anger a person feels at night is often not directly related to something that happened that day.

Here is something I have learned about anger in just the last few years …

Anger is a secondary emotion.

Anger is always a result or re-action to something else that has occurred in your life – it’s a secondary emotion.

Anger is like an iceberg where other emotions exist “below the water line.” They are not immediately obvious to you or other people. So what you are visibly angry about today … may have actually occurred days, weeks or many months ago and it’s just now coming to the surface.

You may have been “ignored” by a friend at school three weeks ago and it is just now coming to the surface today.

Your mom or dad may have “abandoned” you a decade or two or three ago and because of factors in your family, career or finances it is just now rising to the surface of your life.

angryIceberg2

So when Paul says “do not let the sun go down still while you are still angry”

He is saying … do not let today’s anger carry over into tomorrow and do not allow yesterdays anger to carry over into today.

Carry your anger as short a time as possible!

WHY????

Eph. 4:27 – and do not give the devil a foothold.

When we allow anger to exist unresolved in our lives and when we carry it over from day to day, month to month and year to year these bites can turn quickly turn into bitterness.

And Paul says that we end up giving the devil a “foothold” in our lives …

The word “foothold” in the Bible is the Greek word “topos.” And it means to stake out a claim.

When we allow anger to exist unresolved in our lives … the devil stakes out a claim in our lives.

The devil owns part of your heart.

That is why Paul goes on to say …

Eph. 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I understand that this is not easy to do. There are some of you who have experienced horrific things in your life. It is incredibly difficult to forgive. And I would suggest the only reason you can even consider forgiving others … is because God has already forgiven you through His Son Jesus!

We have all been forgiven much.

And it is forgiveness that breaks the power and grip of anger in our lives.

Realize friends the Ups & Downs of Anger …

Anger is neutral, secondary emotion that is not sinful to have, but is sinful to harbor.