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The Master's Grip: In His Grip

Happy New Year To All
Saturday, December 31, 2005

Hey just wanted to wish everyone a happy new year here in MST!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

In His Grip,

James

posted by James Dasher @ 11:10 PM, ,




The Power of Knowledge
Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hey all, went and visited the United States Air Force Academy today (along with several other places). Wanted to share a quote with you that was on a statue at the academy:
Man's flight through life is sustained by the power of his knowledge.

Knowledge my friends...never stop learning...what are you reading, are you? Keep learning, keep growing, keep changing; then you will be prepared to answer with knowledge what you believe and why. You are instruments in the hands of the master, stay sharp!

In His Grip,

James

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posted by James Dasher @ 8:29 PM, ,




Know Thy World
Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So I was reading the latest (Fall 2005) issue of Leadership: Real ministry in a complex world a journal/magazine for Pastors/church leaders...there were a few things I read that I wanted to share with you and comment on.

What Are You Still Reading?: A mentioned Barna Group survey (link to survey) of what books were on Pastor's reading lists made the statement:

When the books designated as the most helpful were categorized, there were three types of books that pastors found to be most profitable. A majority of pastors (54%) listed at least one book regarding discipleship or personal spiritual growth. Books about church growth, congregational health or ministry dynamics were the next most prolific, listed by 23% of pastors. Leadership books were equally valued, identified by 22%. No other category was cited by at least 10% of the sample.

Less influential types of books included those about theology (9%), evangelism and outreach (6%), pastoring (6%), and prayer (5%). Books regarding charismatic perspectives (5%), trends and cultural conditions (4%), and preaching (3%) also generated noteworthy interest.

Now, here is my concern...while I applaud those who read books on discipleship and spiritual growth (see my below post if you don't believe me) and the other types that were popular, it bothers me that "trends and cultural conditions" made only 4% of the reading lists. Maybe it is just me, but all the discipleship ideas, personal growth ideas, etc. put together how much good can they really do if you don't know about the world you live in and where it is headed/what it is doing.

Combined with that was a later article entitled "Doing Church at the Metro Stops" about a Pastor Mark Batterson and the church he pastors (National Community Church: http://www.theaterchurch.com/, Washington D.C.). One statement he makes in the article is:
Another core value is that "irrelevance is irreverence." According to Batterson, "Anything less than relevant is being irreverent to the Holy Spirit, who speaks more than six billion dialects in calling people to God."

I am glad that someone gets it...it would seem that this would be a trend of the younger generation of ministers/church leaders, a stronger focus on relevancy and culture. It is one of the primary values of the Postmodern movement. I must say I agree...to minister effectively you must make an effort to understand those who you minister to and what influences them. As a church leader there is no excuse for not being aware of what is going on in your community, etc. Just because it is "political" or "business" or another topic that "you aren't part of" as a church leader who is active in setting doctrine and theology for your flock you better be aware of what is going on.

Continue to learn how to better disciple your flock, how to spiritually grow, but if you can't help those of your flock with what is going on, they will find help elsewhere.

In His Grip,

James

Quotes from articles copyright either Leadership/ChristianityToday Int. or The Barna Group.


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posted by James Dasher @ 9:19 PM, ,




Multi-Dimensional Christian Life

Hey, all...I had an interesting conversation with Amy that led into a discussion about the dimensions of Christian life and relationships. Often I think the Christian world puts such a heavy focus on the point of conversion that our outlook on relationships become quite one-dimensional. Amy made a comment last night that sort of describes what I mean:
I struggle with the things I learn in class because I feel that I know everything I need to lead someone to Christ (share the Gospel) and that the information I am learning in class is sort of pointless.

The conversation continued as we discussed timelines of life, the multi-dimensional makeup of people, and how that plays into relationships. What I mean is this...If you look at the timeline of someone's life with the "salvation/conversion" experience as the key point:

Often times in our focus on the conversion experience we filter our relationships with people in the Spiritual sense around that point so much that once we have the amazing opportunity to lead someone to the Lord we are not sure what to do after that so instead of a continuing timeline of discipleship like above we have something like below:

Which leads back to a conversation I was having earlier about knowledge and continuing to learn. If everything we learn and work on is with the goal of leading others to Christ (which is not in and of itself bad) then after a while our lives will feel shallow or empty. We hear people say,
How many times have you shared the Gospel this week?

I guess my question for you would be,
Is your life an easel upon which God can work as he would will, are you allowing the master craftsman to work his art, are you displaying his glory--his multidimensional glory?

God is not one dimensional but multi-dimensional. He has imprinted his human creation with his image,

Genesis 1:26-27 26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness..."

27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

Our Christian walk should be multi-dimensional both internally and relationally. As we seek to conform and become more like Christ:
Ephesians 4:14-16 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Those who we meet and develop relationships with truly desire real relationship...that is multi-dimensional, that which meets them on multiple levels (my point is not to argue about dichotomy, trichotomy, or other groups)...
Praise God for conversions, but that is not the end, only the beginning...
Regeneration: 1. transitive and intransitive verb recover from decline: to return from a state of decline to a revitalized state, or cause something to do this; 2. transitive verb religion restore somebody spiritually: to restore and renew somebody morally or spiritually

We desire to be regenerated...that is a process not an event, but a series of events.
Relationship: 1. connection: a significant connection or similarity between two or more things, or the state of being related to something else; 2. behavior or feelings toward somebody else: the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with one another, especially as regards the way they behave toward and feel about one another

Relationship continues to and through the salvation/conversion point...relationship is a significant connection/similarity...I would say that being a Christian is significant...even more so if you played a part in the conversion. You do not enter into a true, lasting relationship with the goal of just "getting something out of it" so why do we do that in our "evangelistic relationships?"

In His Grip,

James

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posted by James Dasher @ 7:05 PM, ,




The world of web development
Monday, December 26, 2005

After having taken such an extended break from web development/design...I am now back at it. One of my major projects while I am visiting Colorado is a rehaul of my father's company site (http://www.scoolservices.com). While for the most part fun, much of the beginning work is quite slow (probably why I didn't stay with it).

I love the management and idea part of things, but the technical mumbo-jumbo after a while gets a little frustrating. I am bouncing several ideas around in my head right now about what to do with it. Often I find my problem is translating what I want from my head to the screen; often caused by limited skill/knowledge. I am reminded everytime I do this how much we need different types of people: those who enjoy spending time tweaking the smallest thing and those who enjoy the big picture ideas and the planning. I think I fall quite a bit in the second group.

I do feel like I have gotten quite a bit done today though. Well, I have been working for several hours today, so I am going to sign off.

Update: Well, we are coming along...I am going to be working on colors and such...Oh, why, oh, why couldn't I have known about CSS when I first developed this website? Now I have to edit every single page, ugh! I am redoing colors to base them around the new S'Cool Services logo (see it below):


Well, that's all for now...take care!

In His Grip,

James

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posted by James Dasher @ 7:18 PM, ,