Years ago, the Salvation Army was holding an international convention and their founder, Gen. William Booth, could not attend because of physical weakness. He cabled his convention message to them. It was one word: “OTHERS.”

What a simple, yet profound way to communicate the purpose of the organization that he had founded.  What was the original goal of the Salvation Army?  Serving others and meeting needs!

Who are you serving today?  As a follower of Christ, we are called to be OTHERS-centered.  The opposite of this is called “self-centeredness” which only leads to a destructive end.  “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” (Romans 2:8, NIV). 

One of the very fundamental purposes for which Christ came was to serve OTHERS!  And if He, the Son of God, did not come to be served but to serve OTHERS, who are we to refrain from service in God’s Kingdom? 

In Mark 10:42-45 Jesus stated:

You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage (The Message).

Today, why not take a few moments to talk to Jesus and ask Him where He would have you serve in His Kingdom?  Who knows?  It could change your life and the life of OTHERS!  Let’s find our place in the Kingdom.

Missional Living

My life verse is John 20:21 where Jesus makes His post-resurrection appearance to His disciples and says, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

What this really boils down to is the fact that Jesus has called us to ‘Missional’ living.  What does it mean to be Missional? It simply means that
we have the mindset of being a missionary to our culture… or, in other words, seeing  ourselves as missionaries to the communities in which we live!

When I was a youth pastor I used to tell my teenagers all the time, “You’re either a missionary or a mission field!”  You cannot live somewhere in between these opposite extremes.

So, I thought I’d share a few simple steps to developing this ‘Missional’ heart in our own lives:

  1. Learn the principles of God’s Word-His ultimate redemptive playbook!
  2. Live in obedience to God’s command to be a ‘sent person’ in the community in which you live.
  3. Love people unconditionally, for this is appropriate as children of the Most High.
  4. Listen for the cries of lost humanity-they really are searching for answers!
  5. Launch out into the deep–As a missional person, there cannot be any place that we cannot go!

I believe as we take these necessary steps we will begin to see things from a
different view–God’s view.  After all, aren’t you glad someone was ‘Missional’
in your life, willing to enter into your world to introduce you to this precious life in Christ?  Let’s return the favor by living Missionally!

Who’s Your Jethro?

In recent weeks I have been sensing that the Holy Spirit is leading me into new territory personally and spiritually, as I continue to strive toward greater maturity in my relationship with Him.  As I’ve tried my best to follow His lead, I have stumbled across some important truth’s that I believe would be beneficial for anyone wanting to become more effective in the Lord’s service.  

One of the insights that Holy Spirit has brought to my attention (again) is the need for a spiritual Father-figure, or a “Life Coach”, if you will.  In his book, Practicing Greatness, Reggie McNeal describes the “discipline of belonging”, wherein he explains the inner need of all of us to have someone in our lives who serves as a Father-Figure and coach for life.  He states, “Sometimes we choose these special people in our lives. Sometimes they choose us. The important thing is to be on the lookout for these “Jethros” in our lives” (p. 137).     

Background Info:  In Exodus 18 we see the story of Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, coming to him and giving him sound advice and wise counsel regarding his leadership strategy.  In v. 17 Jethro told Moses, “What you are doing is not good.”  He went on to coach Moses in a more effective way to lead and do ministry. 

We all need a “Jethro” in our life, those who are older, more mature, and “have been there before” and lived to tell about it!  BTW, this principle applies to both men and women!  Larry Stockstill, in his book The Remnant writes,

“All Christians can have a source of help for making decisions and seeking direction. Then, when they have found their spiritual fathers, they can in turn look for peers, perhaps a little younger than they, who desperately crave affirmation. Thus a chain of empowerment and accountability will be set up…” (p. 10).     

What would happen if we not only sought after our spiritual fathers, but also looked for opportunities to be a spiritual father for someone else, perhaps who is new in the faith, or someone who has never enjoyed this kind of relationship?  I believe the possibilities are huge!  That’s why I’ve recently asked someone whom I highly respect and who has been “successfull” in ministry to be my “Jethro.”  Who is your “Jethro”?  And whom are you being a “Jethro” to?

Actually, come to think of it… doesn’t this sound familiar [Read Matthew 28:19-20 again very carefully].  Don’t you think it kind of sounds like being a “disciple of Jesus Christ?”  I think so.  Hmmm…  Perhaps we’re on to something?

Asking the Tough Questions

I’ve been reading Reggie McNeal’s book, Practicing Greatness in which he shares 7 disciplines of extraordinary spiritual leaders.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be ordinary or average in anything… especially things pertaining to Christ’s Kingdom here on earth! If any area of life demands excellence and greatness, it is in this area of spiritual leadership in the church (whether you’re a pastor, teacher, deacon, or layperson).   

In one of the chapters in his book, McNeal encourages the leader to reconsider many of the “Wrong Questions” we are prone to ask, and replace it with the “Tough Questions” that will shed some much needed light on how we gauge effectiveness in the church.  Here’s the questions:

Wrong question: How do we “do church” better?

Tough question: How do we “be church” better? Or how do we deconvert from “churchianity” (institutional religion) to Christianity (the movement)?


Wrong question: How do we grow the church?  

Tough question: How do we serve the community?


Wrong question: How do we develop ministers for the church:                   

Tough question: How do we develop missionaries to the culture?


Wrong question: How do we develop church members?                                 

Tough question: How do we develop followers of Jesus?



Wrong question: How do we plan for the future we see?                                  

Tough question: How do we plan for the future God sees?



Wrong question: How do we develop leaders for church work?                 

Tough question: How do we develop leaders for the Christian movement?

These are questions that anybody who is passionate about the Lord and His Church should honestly consider.  Let’s stop asking the wrong questions… and start focusing on the tough questions!

Pastor James