Friday Discussions: Should Christians Boycott?


The Friday discussions have been fun. Thanks for participating. I hope you will join the dialogue. Remember, I like discussion, so don’t be bashful.

Today I want to know your thoughts on the subject of boycotting something you don’t support or believe in as a Christian. Recently I saw a group boycotting a business in another city. I won’t share the companies name, but apparently this company supports activities the Christians didn’t support. It made me curious:

Should Christians boycott products or companies because of things they are doing that may be seen as “unchristian”? Do boycotts work?

Do you think a boycott helps or hurts the cause of Christ?

What would cause you to boycott a company or product?

Would you ever publicly boycott a church if they failed to do as you think they should?

What boycotts come to your mind when you think about this issue?

Share your opinion on this issue.

Who Do You Love?

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Luke 6:32a NIV

I wonder if Jesus got an answer to this question!

Be honest…it is easier to love some people than others. Some people quite frankly are just difficult to love. (No names necessary, but you know who I’m talking about.)

Jesus doesn’t always call us to easy tasks, does He? We don’t live under the same standards as the rest of the world, do we?

You and I, the children of God, are called to live a life of love. That requirement stretches far beyond the loveable. It reaches those that are down and out; those who smell funny; those outside of our social class; those of different colors; and yes, those who are not capable of returning our love.

Jesus even calls us to love our enemies! As tough as that is, it is at the very heart of our Christian faith. Afterall, you and I were once in a similiar predicament as those so hard to love. Think about it, we were seperated from God. The crud of our sin left us unattractive to God. There was nothing any us of any value to a Holy God. We were outcast; down and out; without hope…….enemies of God!

But, praise be to God, He loved us in spite of who we were! He reached down with the depth of His love and sent us a Savior! He restored us from our sin state and gave us access into His presence! He loved us with the cross!

Now we are to love others as we have been loved…

Who is God calling you to love today?

Friday Discussion: Should Churches Compare Attendance Numbers?

I realize there is room for debate and even disagreement on this Friday discussion post. I decided when I began this series that I would not shy away from issues only because they may appear controversial. My criteria is really issues I’m wrestling with personally or have a special interest in the discussion. Today’s post fits that category.  I put this off for a couple weeks before I posted it, because I’m not trying to encourage division in the church, but this is really something I’m wrestling through.  I’d appreciate your input. (I think we can disagree on this issue and still be partners in Kingdom-building!)

Should churches be comparing numbers of attendance with other churches?

Recently I’ve read controversy over the recent “fastest growing” and “largest” churches article published in Outreach Magazine. I admit, I read the article and I was encouraged by it and the stories of some of the churches. To this point, I have chosen not to submit our numbers, even though we would easily qualify in the fastest growing category. (I share that now only to illustrate that this is not an issue of bitterness…one of the counter arguments I have heard people say.)

Recently I tweeted that we had our largest non-Easter attendance and instantly people wanted to know the number. Most conversations with pastors start with a discussion of number. Keep in mind, I’ve posted before that the spirit of competition is not always a bad thing, even in the church. (Read those posts HERE and HERE.)

I’ve heard counting attendance numbers compared to 2 Samuel 24 where David wrongly counted the fighting men. At the same time, I’ve heard others counter that there is a whole book named “Numbers” and that most churches count their offering. (True that!)

So, my question remains: Should churches be comparing numbers of attendance with other churches?

What’s the value? What’s the harm? Is it good or bad? What’s your opinion?

I’d love for you to add to the discussion.

Sermon: Dealing with Greed

When a person struggles with greed, it will rob them of the peace and joy God intends for use to have.  The saddest part of this struggle is that most people who have greed in their heart don’t even know it.  Everyone around them does though…and most of the time…that greed becomes a wedge in those relationships.

Recently I talked about this at Grace Community Church.  Listen with an open heart.
 

Have you seen greed rob someone of peace and joy?

Do you have an example of a time you’ve been encouraged to give something extraordinary?

Will We Be Obedient?

I am amazed at what God has done through the work of the people of Grace Community Church in the first five years. We celebrated that milestone last week, but tomorrow is a new day. The start of the next five years. As a natural dreamer, I can’t help but wonder what the next five years will bring.

The anniversary caused me to be reflective this week. I thought about some of the obedience of the people following God in Scripture:

  • Noah did as the Lord commanded. Genesis 6:22
  • Moses followed God even when it meant leaving the comforts of a king Hebrews 11:27
  • Joshua did what the Lord commanded. Joshua 11:9
  • Rahab sacrificed her life for the life of some Israelite spies Joshua 2
  • Gideon led the people in spite of his weaknesses Judges 6-7

Throughout the Bible we find stories of people willing to risk everything they had to follow God, simply because He is God.

And, in turn, God seemed to favor and honor people who were obedient.

My time of reflection makes me want to obey Him even more. The question of what God will call me (us) to in the next 5 years is not near as important, at least from my perspective now, as the question of whether or not I will remain obedient…regardless of the risks and obstacles along the way.

What is God calling you to do? Will you be obedient?

Seriously….will you?

Friday Discussion: Christian Response to Customer Service

Let’s discuss….

As a former business owner, I am a huge proponent for treating a customer well. I don’t know that I would say the customer is king always, but the goal should certainly be that they leave feeling good about their experience. Customer service is the front door of any business (or church). Because of that, I tip well, I express appreciation and I always have a desire to make the waiter or waitresses day better, not worse than before I came. I want to encourage and reward good service and I realize that there could always be personal reasons why a person gives bad service on a particular day. I am always perplexed, however, of the way to respond when I receive bad service.

One night this week, my small group ate together at a local restaurant. From our first encounter, we knew our waiter did not want to be there. He was obviously impatient and snappy with his responses. It wasn’t the worst customer service I’ve ever received, but it was obviously not one of the best. When a large group recognizes the tension in a waiter, it’s probably a good indicator that service is less than excellent. It reminded me, especially with the pressure of my small group around me, that I don’t always know how to respond.

Today’s Friday discussion is:

What kind of customer should a Christian be? Do Christians have a right to complain when their service is bad? If the waiter or waitress is rude, do we turn the other cheek, or speak the truth in love? Do you tip for bad service and for good? Do you talk to the manager?

Give me your thoughts. How do you personally handle bad service?

Discuss and engage! I want to learn from you.

Free Fridays Book Giveaway: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman

Here are today’s winners:

@claystorm

@rodseney

@kicktheball

@GlendaJohnson63

I have a couple more book giveaways coming up soon…stay tuned!

Today I’m super excited to give away four (4) copies of Mary Beth Chapman’s new book “Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope”.

Chapman is wife to singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. In this book, Chapman talks about how her role as the wife of her charismatic celebrity, which was never what she intended or even had planned for her life. Living outside her comfort zone was only heightened when in 2008, the tragic death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria, led to a deep inner heartache. This is the story of one family’s journey towards hope, faith, and love through the high and very low periods of life and about learning how to trust God in the worst of times.

If you would like to win a copy of this book:

1. RT this post with something such as “Free Friday giveaway by @RonEdmondson Details here: “
2. Comment on this post with your name. Make sure I have either a Twitter or email address.

After 9 PM tonight CST I will choose four (4) random winners using Random.org from the comments received.

You do not want to miss this book!

12 Random Things I Learned from My Time with Rick Warren

I had an awesome opportunity a few weeks ago to spend a couple hours with Rick Warren and a dozen or so other pastors. Rick was in town to speak to a conference and Ed Stetzer arranged for him to meet with us. Obviously, this man is a mega-influencer just because of the book, the publicity he has received, and the impact he has in the church world and society. He is becoming a statesman for the church around the world.

It was a humbling experience. I didn’t choose the seat of honor (I promise), but I ended up sitting next to him in the meeting. Rick talked randomly and conversationally with us and I took notes as fast as I could. There are so many principles I took from our time, but here are 12 random things I gleaned from him: (Some are quotes…I put them in quotation marks…some are random points of information I heard from Rick’s talk.)

“We need to be reproducing churches. We need to reward multiplication of churches, not size of churches.”

“The model of Saddleback is to take people from “come and see” to “come and die”…as Jesus modeled.”

“You only listen to people you like. Be likable.”

Rick has the gift of faith. He sees things God wants to do that others can’t and has faith that it can happen. (That’s what leaders do!)

Until a few years ago, Rick read a book a day. He is a consummate learner.

Rick Warren is passionate about equipping pastors and leaders for the next generation and wants to spend the rest of his life equipping pastors.

“The ministry is not hills and valleys, but like a railroad passing through two extremes all the time.”

When he wrote “Purpose Driven Life” God told him “It’s not about you”. He never knew how many times he would be tested by that word from God.

Rick’s prayer every Saturday and Sunday before he preaches is, “Remind me that I belong to you…not this church…and this church does not belong to me”

“Jesus hung out with lepers…today that would be people with full blown AIDS”

“If you want your ministry to last, pastors need integrity, humility, and generosity.”

“Satan tempts us to use the strengths and gifts we have in a way that gives us glory instead of God.”

I realize Rick has his critics. Honestly, until you’ve sat where I sit and had a chance to hear his heart, I wouldn’t judge his ministry. He has some incredible plans for the next phase of his ministry and the influence of Saddleback Church in the years to come. I left more impressed than before I arrived. He’s the real deal.

Has the ministry of Rick Warren had an impact on you, your ministry or church?

Friday Discussion: Is Fear an Appropriate Motivator for the Church?

Is fear an appropriate tool for motivation?

We see it in many segments of society.

Rental car companies use it to sell extras to a rental contract. The skilled agent can make me doubt my insurance. The risk isn’t any larger than when I normally drive, but I sure feel that way after their spill.

We do it to help people lose weight or live healthier. When I see the effects of obesity on the body I’m more inclined to want to stay in shape.

We use fear to get people to wear seat belts, slow down and to deter drinking and driving. The crash dummy has been made famous saving lives by inducing fear.

So, I have a fair question:

Is fear an appropriate motivation tactic for the church?

I would love your thoughts and opinions. I’m a proponent of the “kindness of God leads to repentance” approach to witnessing, but if fear is such a great motivator should we literally be scaring the Hell out of people?

I love a good discussion…so what do you think?

7 Qualities to Look for in a Pastor’s Wife

I receive dozens of emails from pastors each week. This one caught my attention and I asked permission to use it here.  Hopefully others will benefit from my response and weigh in with their own thoughts. I have changed his name.

Ron,

I hope all is well with you. I frequent your blogs ever so often via twitter, which I do enjoy. the reason for this email is for some direction. It is my belief that the Lord has called me to be a pastor, however I am presently single. I wanted to find out what are some of the qualities one should look for and how should I go about finding a wife as a future pastor. I have been keeping the issue in prayer.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Mike

Dear Mike,

Most likely you will not be able to pick every expectation or qualification you have for a spouse.  I think is is wise, however, to have a goal. You are more likely to reach a target for which you aim.  With that in mind,

Here are 7 qualities I believe make up the ideal pastor’s wife:

Your biggest supporter. You should be hers too, but as a man in your position it is critical.  People will be less likely to support you if your wife doesn’t. Is she able to respect you in public enough not to criticize you in front of others?  Nothing would be more damaging to your ministry.  Ministry is hard on a marriage. Some days are harder than others. You’ll need to know there is one person always in your corner.

Obedient to the call of God regardless of the costs. Is she willing to walk by faith?  It will be required many times.

Visible and active in the ministry and/or church and looking to partner with you in ministry. I don’t believe the pastor’s wife should be everywhere, especially at the expense of her family, but the church should know she is a real person facing life’s struggles like the rest of the church.  Serving together because of a common love for Christ and a combined vision for ministry will help protect your marriage during difficult days.

Friendly and welcoming personality. Do people like her?  Does she have a genuine love for people, even those who at the time are harder to love?  This will be tested.

Completes you by filling in your weaknesses. Your ministry will be strengthened as “the two become one” and God uses each of your strengths to  blend a stronger team. Do your strengths compliment each other?

Less concerned about the material things of the world and more concerned about things eternal. This is a critical test for the life of a pastor’s wife. It is many times a life of sacrifice. This does not mean you can’t have or even enjoy nice things, but the source of real joy should come from the things money can never buy. There may be seasons of ministry where God calls you to real faith-testing and strengthening experiences with your finances. Will she remain faithful and committed during these times?

Loves Jesus more than you. If you need this one explained you may be in the wrong profession.

The easiest way for me to put this is that you should pick one like mine.  Cheryl is the perfect pastor’s wife. Of course, she is not available, but at least you have my standard for which you can set your ambitions. Praying for you as you have spiritual eyes and discernment.

As to where, that’s a tough one.  I don’t think location is as important as the heart with which you approach the search. When that is right it seems God will be much more willing to be in tune with the process and give you eyes to see. Perhaps my readers will have some suggestions.

Where’s the best place for singles (especially single pastors) to meet people today?

And, do you have any qualities you would add to my list for “Mike”?