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it 3 – The Last Installment

It I can't give it to you – i wish i could. You don't know how much I wish I could!!That would be easiest…

I can't even give it to myself, much as I'd like to…

Craig says in the book, "…some small adjustment isn't likely to bring it back. If all you needed was to tweak something, you'd have done that long ago. I'm guessing it'll take a significant change of direction or priorities". Amen.

A couple of statements from the book that stuck out to me:

  • "Have you noticed that new believers often have it?". Their lives have been changed – they're pumped – like "THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME!!!". Remember when you were like this? Your life was all about Him – He was almost all you could think of. I do. Then, as Craig says, "some more 'mature' believer decides to help them to grow up. 'This is just a phase you're going through' the mature believer explains, 'it'll wear off'." Oh Lord, that we would never be like this but that we would celebrate the new Jesus filled life and encourage the new believers to grow in faith and belief!
  • "It was if as if our it tank sprang a slow, small leak. Over time, it wasn't as special as it was before… we were losing it, so we decided we had to get it back… in our minds that meant more creativity… we had slipped into the dangerous belief that we could create it. Or re-create it." We can't create what doesn't come from us. It was God that was special – not us, not our ministry. Our creativity was grounded in God's creativity – it overflowed from God's heart through us. IT WAS NEVER US – IT WAS ALWAYS HIM.

I've tried the quick-fix; the thought that this small adjustment is gonna be it. I've found in my life there is no shortcut to a deeper life with Jesus. With all the awesome technical advances we've seen, one thing is for sure: we're gonna have to do it the "old-fashioned way" – we're just gonna have to cry out and humble ourselves before the Lord. Not that I thought anything different – just think it's funny how we always look for a short cut. 

I wasn't surprised by this book – only confirmed in many of the thoughts that I have had and the prayers that I've prayed over the past year.  I know I had it – I know that I want it. If I DON'T have it I know that I am closer to having it then I was a year ago. The past 6 months have been the toughest and most honest months of my ministry. As I have cried out to God and sought after Him through His Word He has spoken to me and given me a fire that I've not had in a long time. If I don't have it now I do know that I WANT IT and will do whatever necessary to get it. I'm pretty sure that I have it but I honestly don't have as much of it as I want to have.

The most frustrating thing is that I want YOU to have it and I cannot give it to you. Do you have it?

If you want it you can get it but you have to want it. You have to want it bad. If you go for it you WILL find it and it will change your life and the lives of those you have influence over.

Go for IT!!!

it – Part two

It In yesterday's post I introduced you to "it". Do you have it? I'm continuing to honestly assess myself to see if I have it. I told you – this book messed me up and challenged me beyond belief.

I truly learned through this book some of the places that I personally have missed opportunities for growth which in turn slowed down the progress of the mission i'm on. I'm sure I'll share them soon, but that's a totally different subject. Today we're gonna look at the level of our personal "buy-in".

The book says, "There are Three Levels of Vison Buy-In" when we're dealing with churches and ministries. "Ministries without it are made up of people who might like the ministry but don't understand where it is going."

  • Level one people are the people who believe in the vision enough to benefit from it. They come to church because they like it – they receive something from us and that's what's important to them. In my opinion, this would be the consumer "what's in it for me" crowd. We got plenty of these.
  • Level two people believe in the vision enough to contribute comfortably. These people were consumers but now want to contribute as long as it's easy. They'll help as long as it doesn't interfere with the more important things in their life. I believe that this may be the biggest group we have. 
  • Level three people believe in the vision enough to give their lives to it. Craig says that these are the people who "get it – they recognize their lives are not their own. They are a part of the greatest cause on earth." THIS IS THE GROUP WE NEED. There are some level two's who used to be level three's. What we need are a bunch of level two's to MOVE on up to this most important third level. But for that to happen…

Our job is to communicate the vision to you, the church, in such a compelling way that we all believe (and remember) that we are involved in something that is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN US!! As Craig says, we must "seek God, see the vision, commicate it in a compelling way, and invite people to give their lives for the greatest cause on earth – the cause of Christ." YES!!!

Today's it question: if you would honestly assess yourself, would you be a 1, 2 or 3? What's keeping you from going to the next level? How can I/WE help you to go there?

Tomorrow – how to get "it".

“it” – Part One

It I finished reading the book, "it: How Churches and Leaders Can Get it and Keep it" by Craig Groeschel, a couple of months ago.

"it" bothered me.

"it" is hard to describe to others. "it" is indescribable. Kind of like the true essence of God, though we try our best to describe it, also is indescribable.

Craig says, "many people misinterpret it. Someone might visit a growing church and observe outward signs of success – videos, buildings, fancy kids' room and so on. These well meaning guests mistakenly think, if we had all that stuff, we'd have it too. They couldn't be more wrong."  

"it" is not the stuff that we have – the tangible things that we touch. I have experienced this first hand here at hyde park. We built a great childrens building but didn't necessarily have all the right systems in place to make it function correctly. Even today we are continually working on our systems to help ministries function better. "it" isn't the tools that we use – the stuff that we think we need. How many times has someone said to me, "well, if we were in a big church like ya'll we could do that too…" as if we have it all together and assuming that there wasn't a price to pay to get to the point we are at.

I believe that the biggest problem with it is me. Isn't it funny how we convince ourselves of all that is wrong with our churches and our people when the truth is the thing that is wrong is US. We're the problem. Where am I with God? Where is my relationship? How is my prayer life? Am I having issues with others when my biggest problem is my heart, my spirit and, well… me.

Craig goes on to answer the question of what "it" is:

"The best explanation I can give you is this: it is what God does through a rare combination of these qualities found in His people:

  • Passion for His presence
  • A deep craving to reach the lost
  • Sincere integrity
  • Spirit-filled faith
  • Down-to-earth humility
  • Brokenness

Without these Christlike qualities, no matter how good things look today, no ministry or leader can sustain it with their own talent".

I am going to explore this week as to whether or not I have "it". I hope that you will ask yourself the same honest questions.

Do you want it?