What We, the Church, Can Learn from the Airlines


The Gospel Message of the Airlines
The airlines have a critically important message to share with each and every traveler and they don’t want anyone to miss it.  For this reason, the flight attendants act out their message, this same message is spoken over the PA system, the message can be read on a card with pictures located in everyone’s seat pocket and it can also be viewed on a video screen on longer flights.  Their message can save lives and they know how to deliver it well and how to appeal to all of our senses.  Of course I am referring to the safety instructions.
 
Our Pastors also have a critically important message to share, we do as well.  In fact, it is infinitely more important than the airlines message. We need to deliver this message so everyone hears it, sees it, feels it, smells it, sings it, prays it, meditates on it, breathes it, loves it, lives it, abides by it and tastes it.  
 
  • It’s already in our pew bibles and our bulletins so we can read it.  
  • It’s in our songs so we can sing it, ponder it, tap our feet to it and feel it.  
  • It’s in our prayers so the Holy Spirit can massage it and God can answer it.  
  • It’s in our statues, art and stained glass windows so we can adore it.   
  • It’s in our creeds so we collectively can voice it. 
  • It’s in our scripture readings for our contemplation, consideration, cogitation, meditation, pondering, rumination, deep thought, musing, deliberation, study and further reflection.
 
So what is the “it”, what is the critically important message the church needs to share?  It is the Gospel of course.
 
But getting back to those airline safety demonstrations, here’s the thing, I know how to buckle a seat belt.  I’ve done it 84,680 times.  So I tune this part out.   You do as well.   Unless I am flying Southwest because some their flight attendants are creative and they make even the mundane seat belt demonstration interesting, insightful and colorful.  And so it is with the gospel, I have heard this message enough times to save all the people in China, about 3,016 to be close to exact.  So if we follow Southwest Airlines technique, our Pastors and Worship leaders need to inject the creativity that our great God has instilled in them into their preaching and in their worship planning and preparations.  In fact, I pray that the Holy Spirit sparks a flame 🔥 in you and your whole ministry team, revitalizing and rejuvenating your thoughts, ways and means.  May he fill your mind with exuberance for the word and bless your tongue to preach the word purely and with passion.  May he use your gifts to excite your people for their savior and may his kingdom grow prolifically as a result of his gifting, his blessings and his grace, need I say not yours.  I know this is possible because even after hearing the Gospel 3,016 times, my current Pastor brings it to life for me week after week.  But sorry, he’s not amazing, God is. 
 
Isn’t it interesting that our final reward isn’t money, power, fame, success or admiration.  It’s praise, worship and rest.

The Road Less Traveled


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 
I took the road less traveled by, 
and that has made all the difference.” 
– Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

I am not  a fan of choices; choosing schools, doctors, stocks, political candidates, churches 💒, when to retire, model of car 🚗; are you picking up what I’m putting down?

I am glad that I do not have to choose a God for there is only a one, actually three in one – Father, Spirit, Son.  As a matter of fact, He chose me first.  Moreover, His Word gives clear direction, leaving little to choice.

The road less traveled is in fact a narrow road.  But this crooked road has been made straight.  You need not find it on your own, you need to be led to it.  Jesus will show you the way or someone like me, or a friend, or a Pastor might say something that the Holy Spirit himself can use to get you pointed in the right direction.  Unfortunately, these days it is the road less traveled!

The Dilemma of Thanksgiving


Penned by my brother…

I simply adore these Thanksgiving days
And the mornings of silence, I remember
The peaceful quiet of everything being closed
As we gracefully end November

The warmth, the comfort of family and friends
That we don’t see much anymore
The feast, the football, the fellowship
Is also an aura, I adore

But what really seems to bother me
In these days of superficial living
Is how we only designate one single day
As a time to give God “Thanksgiving”

Every day we should always give thanks
But unfortunately it is our way
To really not even be thankful to God
Even on Thanksgiving Day

His point is clear.  We should be giving thanks to our great God more than once, or twice, or even 52 times a year.  It should be a daily routine for us.  An author in my denomination recently wrote a book titled “364 Days of Thanksgiving.”  I do recommend this book or any devotional book that encourages you to either read a devotional thought on a daily basis or lead you to think about God’s grace in your daily life.

Here is a link to Pastor Andrew Schroer’s book: 364 Days of Thanksgiving

Here is a link to my brother’s book: The Journey Continues

Seeing God in Creation



Look at the simplest flower 🌻, there is just such elegant beauty there. The vivid color combinations, the intricate edges, the complex textures, the petals, the patterns, the stamen, the pollen, the filament, the anther, the lobes, the connective, the microsporangium, the gametophyte, even the androecium; the list is endless. Can you imagine how this flower 🌺 would come to life under a microscope 🔬? It would be breathtaking. To quote Chris Tomlin you would get “lost in wonder.” Turn the flower over and notice that even the underside is exquisite.

Now look at man’s finest garment, say the most expensive, glorious garment hand stitched for a king. Look at it under the microscope 🔬 . What do you see? My guess is that it looks like burlap. Turn the garment inside out, what does it look 👀 like? A mess? Yes, of course it does with all those loose threads and unfinished edges.

How can anyone look 👀 at a flower 🌺 and not see the hand of an incredible creator? How is this ever possible? I don’t get it.

Trees!



There is an oak tree in my hometown that is so majestic and beautiful that I often make it a point to take a slight detour on my way home from work to gaze at God’s masterpiece in awe and wonder. This monstrous oak is over 450 years old according to the nearby plaque but the local folks will tell you it’s between 200 and 250 years old. Only God knows for sure. The tree has several sprawling limbs that are bigger than most tree trunks as they stretch out horizontally and touch the ground in a few spots.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12 

Iron Sharpens Iron


I Am Ironman!

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

My brother, Bob Brown, has spent the past year working on his third book titled Spiritual Passion which is free today only in Kindle Ebook format.  

If you have read either of Bob’s first two books, no doubt, you sensed his struggle with organized religion.  Make no mistake, Bob has a command of scripture and a gift to explain God’s Word clearly and vividly through poetry but he has a deep hurt from some aspect of church life in his past that comes out when he writes.  In some respects, this is a good insight for pastors and us worship leaders to hear.  

I do recommend this book as an uplifting read that can be picked up and read in bite-sized chunks.  The book contains about 500 poems, about 1/3 dealing with scripture, church life, and faith.

A sample:
KNOWING ABOUT AND KNOWING
I can describe to you an ice cream cone
How tasty, how good, how sweet
But you will never experience it
Until like me, you eat
It’s the same when it comes to God
I’d describe him if I could
That which we have handled from the beginning
Oh taste and see, the lord is good
I can describe to you a mighty ocean
Its majesty, its grandeur, its grace
But you will never experience it
Until you allow it to splash your face
It’s the same when it comes to God
For in our churches, we only begin
There’s a difference between KNOWING ABOUT AND KNOWING
He needs to be experienced, deeply within
”Taste and see that the lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8
Here are the links for the books if interested:

Spiritual Passion (Bob’s New Release): http://amzn.to/2eQpfnY (free – today only!)
Seated Above (Bob’s First Book): http://amzn.to/2ffxH1s (free)
The Journey Continues (Bob’s Second Book): http://amzn.to/2f0JJqy ($0.99)
Lifestyle Worship (my book): http://amzn.to/2e60y5R. (On sale for $0.99 this week)
Sincerely,
The Ironmen

One Another


ONE ANOTHER

This is what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should be doing to one another to gain our respect. This is also a guide for how we all should act towards one another.

Teach and counsel one another:
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. – Colossians 1:28-29

Instruct one another:
I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. – Romans 15:14

Carry each other’s burdens:
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2

Love one another:
This is my command: Love each other. – John 15:17

Confess to one another:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

Pray for one another:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

Live in peace with one another:
Live in peace with each other. – 1 Thessalonians 5:13b

Do what is good for one another:
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. – 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Encourage one another:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Hebrews 3:13

Spur one another on towards love and good deeds:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, – Hebrews 10:24

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

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

Submit to one another:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  – Ephesians 5:21

Accept one another:
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Friends and family should follow these “”one another” scriptures!

Friends pray for each other.
Friends confide in one another.
Friends empathize with each other.
Friends help one another.
Friends do not gossip about each other. (Gossip separates the best of friends – Proverbs 16:28b)
Friends are sincere and loyal to one another.
Friends trust each other. (An honest answer is the sign of true friendship – Proverbs
24:26)
Friends enjoy time with one another.
Friends accept each other’s weaknesses and imperfections.
Friends are good medicine.
Friends enrich our lives.
Friends celebrate good times and support in difficult times.
Friends prevent loneliness.
Friends are quick to ask for forgiveness, and ready to be forgiving.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! – Philippians 2:5-8

Can you imagine a world where we all abide by these scripture verses?

In the Beginning 


In the beginning…..
In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.  – John 1:1

One trained in Hebrew and Greek might say that the following is also accurate:
In the beginning was the logos, 
and the logos was with God, 
and the logos was God.

As a writer, I like:
In the beginning was the story, 
and the story was with God, 
and the story was God.

But as a passionate believer, I also propose:
In the beginning was the love, 
and the love was with God, 
and the love was God.

Or, since “God is light” (1 John 1:5), we could also beautifully say:
In the beginning was the light, 
and the light was with God, 
and the light was God.

Isn’t this one of the most precious verses in scripture?  I think so.  It bears repeating.
In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.  – John 1:1

In the end there will also be the word 
And this word will be with God
And this word will be God

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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