Humble Pie…

Around 12am last night I began reading 1 Corinthians. There were two passages that caused me to eat some humble pie. These two passages spoke to me particularly as a leader. Here they are:

1 Corinthians 1 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.

1 Corinthians 4 7 …What do you have that you did not receive?

When I reflect on what I was when I was called all I can think of is: double minded, hypocritical, and judgmental. It has taken 17 years for me to come to a place of submission to His heart and will. I am still processing.

What do I have that I did not receive? Not even air. There is no talent that I can sharpen or multiply in which He did not loan me in the first.

Matt

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Angry Spouse

As in any marriage there are probably going to be times when you thrust your spouse into anger. Why do we do this? That is a question for eternity.

However, after prayer this morning I suddenly realized something strange about the way that I approached God and prayer.

It was as if I had just gotten out of a fight or a “spat” with God. I approached Him as if he were an angry spouse. You know – “the cold shoulder treatment” or the dreadful “silent treatment.”

How odd of me. Why would I think God acts as human beings? Is He moody? Is He offended at something I said in my last prayer time? Did I give Him an odd look at church Sunday? What is wrong with Him?

I realized – while in prayer – that God is nothing like that. Why, after so many years of times with God would I treat Him as I have my wife?

There are times when Amber and I have had “moments” and we didn’t speak for a bit. Not too long – maybe an hour or two. But for the most part, we dont even fight. We have nothing to fight about…most of the time. I know that you will find this hard to believe – but, there are times when I can be a little difficult…

I finally realized that God does need “some time” to get over my stupid ways. He does not need time or space in order to forgive me.

So, may we approach God not as an angry spouse but rather and incredibly loving daddy who has never once shown us the cold shoulder and who will never turn His back on us….even if we are a little difficult to live with.

Matt


When did it happen for u?

Looking back over the past six years or so I see something – although not evident at first – that began to change the course of my thinking and ultimately my life.

I remember when it began. I was valeting cars in Birmingham, AL on a weekend. Well actually I was watching everyone park their own car while I stood there with valet tickets in my hand.

There was a mom and pop book store next door. I quickly went in and asked for a book on leadership or Christian thought.

He had this real low voice and “the hair-do” of one of those…you know…maybe a “new ager” or a “liberal” . This young guy was the only hope I had of leading me to the perfect book for christian inspiration.

He asked me a series of questions that I particularly did not want to answer. I guess I did not want a look of disgust for my Christianity to come across his “liberal” face.

Come to find out – he was a believer as well. I judged the book by its cover… yeah, that was an attempt at a pun – lame at best – but you got it.

He asked me if I had ever read BLUE LIKE JAZZ by Donald Miller. I responded, “No, but I have heard of it.”

I HAD NEVER HEARD OF IT! I lied. I just wanted to feel important I guess.

He then walked over to where this life changing publication was supposed to be placed and said, “Sorry we are out.”

There goes all hope of inspiration for me. He then asks, “Are you familiar with Brian McLaren?” You guessed it – I lied again. “Yep”, I said. He smiled. He knew.

He recommended a book by the said author and I bought it. I had no idea what I had just over paid for. $18 later I began to read with a stack of valet tickets in one hand – so I would appear prepared in case of a convoy of vehicles decided to eat at Panera.

The book? Oh yeah – “A New Kind of Christian” I AM NOT endorsing this book. You will do as I and want to burn it or throw it. I cursed at it a couple times. However, there is much truth in McLaren’s books.

There is a lot of good theology in the book. But, you have to approach the book with an open mind and heart.

The first sentence in the book “Sometime in 1994, at the age of thirty-eight, I got sick of being a pastor.”

I immediately began to cry while holding my valet tickets. That’s when it happened for me.

From there – I ate the book – yes, I did want to throw it, burn it, and I DID curse out loud at the book. But I could not stop reading this truthful and MOST stretching book.

My journey took a shape that cost me some friends and colleagues. I’m happier.

So when did your conversion AFTER salvation take place? When did it happen for you? When did the light come on that there was something more than what you were experiencing and teaching?

Please share your story with me – it may end up in our book Human Like You.

If you do choose to share your story of freedom, please email me at info@emergenow.net

Human Like You,
Matt Wade


He Just Doesn’t Know

When Carson was around 6 months old I felt as though the Holy Spirit taught me a truth that was brought back to my memory today.

Carson was of course doing what 6 month old babies do – Cry – at 3 in the morning – one of those shrills. You know the sound.

I rushed to the kitchen to fix a warm baba (bottle). Dad was successful at getting all of this done without spilling an entire gallon of milk. I also dodged the possibility of blistering my sons mouth with hot milk and somehow managed to not wake my wife.

So here is the truth: I did not go to my son and let him know that dad was preparing what he needed – although I was. He just didn’t know that was preparing something good for him.

Our Father is preparing what we need (figuratively speaking),  even when we cannot see him work, or even if he does not announce His involvement in each of our situations.

He is completing, finishing, and perfecting all of us. Philippians 1:6

Even if I can’t see Him…

In Process,
Matt


Wasted!

Jim Bishop once said – “Nothing is as far away as a minute ago.”

I have been pondering my waste of time the last few days. It is startling to know how much time I have wasted doing “stuff”.

So, I went to the source of all knowledge, GOOGLE, and searched out the words “Wasted Time.” I was surprised to know that there are more activities to teach you how to waste your time than manage your time.

There were also more references to WASTED TIME when it came to the band The Eagles.

Now, I know I did not Google “manage your time” – I get that – but it still stands to recon that people develop things to waste time.

Time is our most precious commodity – not food. What good will food do us if we have no time to eat it?

This post today is a simple challenge to leaders to manage your time better. Here is a LINK for your to download an hourly work sheet. USE IT. Try it for three weeks and watch your productivity sky rocket!

Here are a couple of different  links for project/time management software: EASY PROJECTS & SAGE ACT

Time is helping me,
Matt


Regard Discretion

Proverbs 5:2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. (KJV)

Discreet: (Gen. 41:33, 39; Titus 2:1-5) Circumspect in word or deed; Able to keep silent about matters where prudence requires it; Tactful; Quietly tasteful.

For the sake of ministry, we must exercise discretion in both our behavior (action/reactions) and in our words/conversation (Mark 4:34; II Cor. 6:3; James 3:1-2 (AMP))

5 Areas that Discretion is of Major Important

1. Dress Attire – For every occasion there is a way to dress. Call ahead of time to an event that the attire is not suggested and find out what to wear. This may save you the uncomfortable feeling of being “out of place.” This may also save you from being looked over for a potential job or position. You never know who is watching you – be dressed for the occasion. Its not religious – its wise.

2. Cell Phone Usage – This one is a biggie. Discretion in cell phone usage is a major issue. Here are some tips that I suggest you use as a leader.

a. Turn it off. How simple is that?

b. If you are expecting a call that is considered an emergency let those who are conducting the meeting know in advance. This will keep it from being a major distraction.

c. Don’t take notes on your phone. It may look as if you are checking email or texting. No one knows. Write it down on paper – add it to your digital file later.

d. If you do get a call that is an emergency, walk out of the room to take the call. Don’t try to whisper over the one in charge of the meeting or whoever is speaking. It is incredibly inconsiderate and rude.

e. I feel as though I am repeating myself, but – DO NOT TEXT OR EMAIL!

f.  All of the above have one exception – IF THE LEADER ASKS YOU TO DO THEM. This is the only exception.

3. Timeliness – One person has said, “On time is late for leaders.” Please be 15 minutes early to an appointment – even if you have to wait for an hour. Keep your integrity. Your future depends on time.

You can replace your home, money, food, and car – but you cannot replace time. It is a rare commodity.

Be respectful and aware of others time. If you don’t waste someone else’s time, yours will not be wasted.

4. Words – say what you need to say – nothing else. We are snared by the words of our mouth. [Proverbs 6:2]

There have been more times than I want to share that what I have said has gotten me farther away from what I desired. Silence is a powerful equation. Discretion in words will keep you from sounding ignorant and arrogant.

5. Servant hood – This term means a lot of different things to many people. For me it means going out of my way for someone I may or may not know. It is giving without expecting a return. It is washing a car, cleaning a house, or traveling as an assistant to my leader, etc.

There is discretion in all sorts of these situations. Not walking into a room in which I was not invited – even though I was NOT told to NOT come in. I do not assume.

It is getting the person that I am serving something to eat before I sit down for a meal. (This is old school stuff here – but it is necessary as a servant)

It is warming up the car or cooling it down due to temperature for the person I am taking care of. (Again – this old school but maybe it needs to be reintroduced)

It is opening the door for people. Picking up trash out of the church hallway or bathroom. It is seeing a problem and discreetly fixing it. I think you get the picture.

Serve.


Mean Leader!

I didn’t know what else to title this one, so now that you are here…

4 Things You may have said as a leader, or heard a leader say…

1. Leave your mess (sin, problems, junk, etc.) at the door – don’t bring it in here.

Jesus would never propagate such a saying. I know that when we as leaders say these things, we are in good intention. However, we must realize that the sick need a physician. The weak need a hospital. Luke 5:31

May we allow ALL of our junk to be brought into His presence. Don’t leave it at the door (or wherever), bring it to the Cross.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

2. Sheep are dumb.

Why do leaders make such a statement? Yes, in the natural, actual sheep are less than intelligent. But we must not equate an animal to human beings. We are His handiwork, wonderfully made in His image. Psalm 139:14

The ignorance of an animal/sheep is NOT the point here. Jesus would never refer to those who are trying to know Him or encounter Him as ignorant, stupid, or dumb.

Maybe we as leader say these things to exalt ourselves so that others esteem our wisdom. (I hope you caught the sarcasm)

HALT in making this arrogant statement. It’s not like Jesus. Do you realize that sheep as it relates to Christians can discern His voice and His will just like leaders? We seem to forget that we too (leaders) are still sheep in need of a Great Shepherd. Matthew 23:12

John 10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

3. I love God, but not His people.

This statement must have been derived from Gandhi. Total assumption on my part. He said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

There may be much validity to this statement, but this way of thinking cannot be true nor practiced for the Christian. For Gandhi it is fine, but not for Jesus’ body.

Our Pastor, Pete Wilson, quoted Anne Lamott. She said,

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Think on that.

1 John 4: 19-21 19We love because He first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother or sister.

4. I don’t care how you feel…

This statement I have said a lot. I did not mean that I didn’t care, but it surely communicated a lack of love to the hearer.

There was a pastor in Alabama that took me aside years ago after one of my hell driven sermons – He said, “Matt, you really sounded angry when you preached, especially when you said, “I don’t care how you feel tonight”.

Again, it was not intended to hurt. But who wants to be told that no one cares how he or she feels?  NO ONE.

Matthew 22:39 …’Love your neighbor as yourself.’