What's up with the church?

03/03/2009   |      |       |    1 Comment

After twenty eight chapters of Acts I’m scratching my head saying, “How in the world did we get so off track from what the church is all about?”  I don’t say this in a way that calibrates me and “my church” as having arrived… But I’m saying to myself, “Where did we miss it?”

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been repenting over getting off track as a church.  After searching my own heart, I can see where we can miss it.  Guru books, what this church is doing, felt-needs, idols, everyone’s desires, spoiled people, lack of submission, busy schedules, fear, and consumerism, etc… etc… can cause a church to miss the whole purpose for which we gather.   Now don’t get me wrong, we get that JESUS is our central focus and preaching the gospel is our message but what about how the gospel inspires us to constantly pray for one another and  experience “one heart” community life?  And better yet, what about understanding the expectation that as a church we need to prepare to endure persecution?

It’s crazy… Has, “I’m going to pray for you” become something that we just say or is it really something we take time to do?  Are IPhones and Facebook accounts meeting felt needs so much that we’ve lost our fervor to just fall on our faces for one another?  Stuff is happening all around us that needs our fervent prayers.  What are we really devoted to?

What about gathering together for community life?  Has church been reduced to Sunday morning only?  What about doing life as the body of Christ?  What about getting into someone else’s life and being there for them?  What about having fun, eating food, studying the Word, asking questions and getting to know people?  Our church communities around the world should be drawing “thirsty”, hungry and malnourished people who are starving because they don’t know Jesus.  Our communities should be blessed because there’s a group of Christians gather in a house in a particular neighborhood… Man, that’s what I want.  I want to see the church living out loud for Jesus.

Don’t get me started talking about “enduring persecution.”  No one likes persecution.  But what a blessing – Acts is loaded with testimonies of the providence of God in the midst of suffering.  Listen to me, if suffering is being the church then we can’t deny that’s it’s coming.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In the meantime, listen to the message on 3/1/09, it comes with a PPT that we followed during our time together.  Dig into Acts, find the church and let me know what you discover.

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church life, community, growth, meaning of life

What’s up with the church?

03/03/2009   |      |       |    1 Comment

After twenty eight chapters of Acts I’m scratching my head saying, “How in the world did we get so off track from what the church is all about?”  I don’t say this in a way that calibrates me and “my church” as having arrived… But I’m saying to myself, “Where did we miss it?”

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been repenting over getting off track as a church.  After searching my own heart, I can see where we can miss it.  Guru books, what this church is doing, felt-needs, idols, everyone’s desires, spoiled people, lack of submission, busy schedules, fear, and consumerism, etc… etc… can cause a church to miss the whole purpose for which we gather.   Now don’t get me wrong, we get that JESUS is our central focus and preaching the gospel is our message but what about how the gospel inspires us to constantly pray for one another and  experience “one heart” community life?  And better yet, what about understanding the expectation that as a church we need to prepare to endure persecution?

It’s crazy… Has, “I’m going to pray for you” become something that we just say or is it really something we take time to do?  Are IPhones and Facebook accounts meeting felt needs so much that we’ve lost our fervor to just fall on our faces for one another?  Stuff is happening all around us that needs our fervent prayers.  What are we really devoted to?

What about gathering together for community life?  Has church been reduced to Sunday morning only?  What about doing life as the body of Christ?  What about getting into someone else’s life and being there for them?  What about having fun, eating food, studying the Word, asking questions and getting to know people?  Our church communities around the world should be drawing “thirsty”, hungry and malnourished people who are starving because they don’t know Jesus.  Our communities should be blessed because there’s a group of Christians gather in a house in a particular neighborhood… Man, that’s what I want.  I want to see the church living out loud for Jesus.

Don’t get me started talking about “enduring persecution.”  No one likes persecution.  But what a blessing – Acts is loaded with testimonies of the providence of God in the midst of suffering.  Listen to me, if suffering is being the church then we can’t deny that’s it’s coming.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In the meantime, listen to the message on 3/1/09, it comes with a PPT that we followed during our time together.  Dig into Acts, find the church and let me know what you discover.

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church life, community, growth, meaning of life

Preoccupation with what?

01/28/2009   |      |       |    2 Comments

Being over 40 has caused me to become a little more aware of my health.  I’ve been popping vitamins, walking on a treadmill, doing aerobic exercises, watching what I eat and doing a lot of research on the web about health/fitness.

Early this morning while I was reading I noticed that I was holding my breath.  I wondered to myself, “How long have I been doing this?”  I couldn’t believe it… I asked myself, “Is this why sometimes I feel tension in my chest?”  Immediately, I began taking breaths, feeling normal again.  As I reflected on what was happening and what I was reading, I realized that I was so preoccupied with what I was reading that I stopped taking normal breaths.  What was I reading?  “Living the Cross-Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney.

I thought to myself, now wouldn’t it be “plum” crazy if I fell out dead in this closet with no one expected to wake up for hours.  Now, before I went into a full blown panic attack, I caught myself having realized how laser focused I was on the book.  Between what C.J. and my own chest was saying I said, “Is this what we do as Christ followers?” Do we become so preoccupied with what’s right in front of us that we miss the most important facet of the Christian life?  Isn’t the cross, central to everything?  Isn’t that where our focus and attention should gaze?  Or should it be on “being good”, “going to church”, “not disobeying the 10 commandments”, or “dropping a dollar or two in the offering plates as it passes.”  What is the Christian life all about? I’ll tell you… it’s about the cross.  It’s not our performance of spiritual duties; it’s the cross that Jesus died on for our sins (Romans 5:8-10).  His cross should have been our cross.  We should have died and been sent to Hell but Jesus chose to die in our place.  “He who knew no sin, became sin that we may become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus wiped the record of our sin away and gave us His righteousness.  We don’t deserve what Jesus did for us, that’s why it’s called “amazing grace.” We sing this song with “joy” because we are reminded that we didn’t do anything to deserve it.  What Jesus has done is the only basis of our forgiveness – not what we have done.

After getting up off the floor from reading I was more compelled than ever to make my affection a preoccupation with the cross (the place where Jesus died, being tortured like a common criminal so that I could be forgiven and accepted by God).  This reality has slowed me down today and has challenged me to make the “main thing” the main thing – the Cross of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10).

Every time I breathe, guess what I’ll be thinking about?  That’s right, the cross.  What about you?  Every time you breathe, what are you going to be thinking about?  What are you preoccupied with?

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church life, family living, growth, meaning of life

John Piper Sends a Message to Our President

01/27/2009   |      |       |    0 Comment

In the spirit of “Facing the Truth Before Our Righteous Judge” I have attached a riveting message from my friend to our longed for president.  Please pray for repentance and courage to stand for truth!  Be Courageous, Mr. President

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Undeniable History – 1st African American President

11/05/2008   |      |       |    2 Comments

Personally throughout this rigorous, cynical and divisive presidential campaign, I’ve been silent regarding my political preference, whether it be Democrat or Republican.  I see my role in this era of endless and even circular arguments as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I’m not a political science major, politician, media guru, activist, humanitarian leader, religious/political preacher, nor deceived into believing that Jesus champions one political party.  My life has been made alive and redeemed by an effective calling from God and predestined to proclaim the only news that can offer forgiveness of sins, liberate and transform the human heart – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We must respect the voice of America that was heard on November 4, 2008.  As an African American man, I celebrate Barak Obama on becoming the 1st African American President in this countries history.  I only wished my deceased father and mother were alive to see this historic moment.  Call it what you will, this man has had America engaged in a conversation of diversity, justice, hope and dreams that hasn’t happened at this magnitude since the foundation of this country.  Regardless of his views of inclusion and tolerance, we must all give him credit for his tenacity, consistency, call for unity and racial reconciliation, oratorical eloquence, technological savvy, intelligence and strategic exegesis of the perceived desires, needs and aspirations of so many in America. 

As Christians, we must allow the conversations of hope, dreams, equality and opportunity to lead people to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ not in an “atoning king” for the sins of America.  My challenge to American Christians is to not spend our time “hating”, “criticizing” and arrogantly politicizing what cannot be altered from the history books but to preach the gospel to a thirsty culture that is ripe for the truth of Jesus Christ.

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community, family living, meaning of life

L+E+S+D

05/29/2008   |      |       |    1 Comment

Is this a new drug?  No!  Then what is L+E+S+D?  It’s our strategic vision for 2008.  God wants the leaders and partners of Wellspring to become better lovers, engagers, sharers and disciplers in 2008.  Today, as I was thinking about our church I asked myself, “How am I loving, engaging, sharing and discipling in 2008?”  To be frank, this is the first time I’ve asked myself this questions but nevertheless, have been informally doing it.  I’ve been trying to become a better lover of my wife… not the romantic side but as a sacrificial servant.  God has been thumpin’ my heart challenging me to intentionally serve her even when I don’t feel like it.  I can’t love others if I’m not loving her first.  The Holy Spirit helped me to see that loving her always benefits others.  In my opinion, a man who loves well is a man that gives his all in loving his wife.  When a man loves his wife sacrificially, he then knows how to love others… 

I’ve also been challenged by the Holy Spirit to engage with more unbelievers than ever before in my life.  I want to be around them in order for the fragrance of Christ to be smelled.  It’s fun, exciting, real, intriguing and an opportunity for Christ to be seen.  I recognize that when I was an unbeliever, I wasn’t thinking of coming to anyone’s church but wow, wouldn’t it have been nice for the church to come to me?  I have a long way to go as I seek to engage for Jesus but I’m fully in the game. 

In regards to sharing, I am fully committed to share my life and strength with my family as my first priority.  As I share my life with them, it overflows into how I share myself in leading and shepherding God’s church.  Growing up I was so selfish but right now I really see God sanctifying me in this area. 

Discipling is the last piece to our strategy for 2008.  First, I am fired up about discipling my wife.  I haven’t always had this in balance with the rest of what I do but God’s grace has me laser focused.  My discipling routine is praying with her and for her throughout the day, reading and dialoguing over a short story in our couple’s devotional, discussing my sermons with her and encouraging her to stay intimate with Jesus.  We are currently reading a book that we are both familiar with and have been longing to read for a long time.  It’s so sweet how wives are always ready but us MEN are so distracted…  I am also excited about reading a powerful book together with oldest son as I seek to make lasting impressions in his heart. 

If you are flowing with us in this missional movement called Wellspring, how are you loving, engaging, sharing and discipling or being discipled?  I’d love to hear your story.  If you aren’t a part of Wellspring, please feel the freedom to engage with us and if you are in Charlotte, I’d love to see you at the Well. 

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church life, family living, growth, meaning of life

Reflections of 1 yr. over 40

10/16/2007   |      |       |    3 Comments

I’m not one of those bloggers who seeks to draw attention to himself to get everyone to read my blog but since I just celebrated my 41st birthday I think I have some wisdom to share.  You see, when you get “seasoned” you gravitate to things like reflecting on what you’ve learned in life rather than persistently thinking about the future.  Needless to say, I’m a visionary but every good visionary has to surmise what he or she has learned from the past.  Thus, my desire is to share random bullet thoughts that capture where I am in life regarding a few areas.

1.  JESUS

He is my hero and central focus.  I aim to please Him and not people.  I’m too old to care what people think about me anymore.  It’s too much work.

I’m reading, teaching and preaching about Him more these days – I think I finally understand.

I love Him with a fond affection and not just my head.

He is indeed Sovereign and Savior not simply theologically but intimately.

I repent to Him more and more these days as more years have past enabling me to really see how sinful I am.

2.  GOSPEL

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.

We live out the reality of the gospel in culture, not in a vacuum or in our heads.

Jesus’ penal substitutionary atonement was sufficient for my salvation.

The gospel is not something I just responded to 20 years ago, it’s what I am learning to live out everyday.

It is my very life, not just the “Four Spiritual Laws.”

I didn’t do squat to deserve salvation, it’s ALL GRACE.

3.  MY WIFE

I love her more than anything in this world and will serve her faithfully until I die.

Serving and leading my wife is true manhood not living in spineless apathy appeasing her every wish…  So many dudes are waiting on their wives to lead them instead of them leading their wives through humble servant leadership.

Headship is more about my response to God’s order than my ability to tell my wife what to do.

I need my wife more than anyone else in this world.

I’m learning to comfortably lead out of my weakness and not out of my strength.

I allow myself to be corrected more by my wife now than ever before (she’s my partner and cheerleader not my adversary).

We celebrate each other’s successes and embrace each other’s failure (it’s about the team win rather than the individual win).

4.  CHILDREN

I repent more than I ever have before.  Some days I really stink as a dad but really learn alot from those funky days.

I’m learning how to parent through the gospel and not out of a law narrative.

I love my kids tremendously and pray consistently for them.  I’ve aged watching them grow up but it’s been wonderful.

The only desire I have for my kids is that they love Jesus, His Word and honor us as parents.

5.  RELATIONSHIPS

It’s a waste of time to be anything other than myself.

Nurture a few intimate friendships and discern carefully who you let in your personal space.

Speak the truth in love to those who want to hear it and pray for those who are hardened by sin.

Don’t waste time with people who can’t rejoice with you and weep with you.

Maturity is not about how you posture yourself before men on the outside but how deep is Jesus inside of you.

6.  MINISTRY

I take joy in being a person not simply a title… Pastor is what I do not who I am.

I seek to allow the Holy Spirit to lead me in all ministry and not my flesh. 

I value a gospel-centered ministry more than ever.

My ministry and service in my home means more to me than what I do before those outside my home.

The fame of Jesus is more of a priority to me than the fame of men.  This must be due to age because early in ministry it was all about how I could be a Christian celebrity… Now I try to quietly live life because Jesus is the real hero.

I can’t stand arrogant men or woman who seek to impress people with their theological smarts when their hearts are full of themselves.  We can serve Jesus because of His work not ours.

7.  SEXUALITY

Men are called to lead in the home and in the church in full dependence of the Holy Spirit so that women can properly respond to his leadership.  For example, the Bible calls men to be elders and pastors, not women.

Men are gravitating too much towards apathy, timidity, game-systems, idol time, sillyness and meaningless hobbies.  Age has taught me to redeem the time with diligence, be courageous, read everything, serve without the longing for applause, enjoy humor and simplifying life to keep the main thing the main thing.

Some women are hurt, broken and seeking for meaning in life oftentimes at the expense of competing with men for roles clearly defined by God in the church.

Women are precious, tender, feminine, industrious, strong and worthy of respect.  Men and women are equal but distinct in their roles.

8.  HEALTH

Healthy eating and exercise isn’t optional anymore, it’s MANDATORY.

Taking vitamins have been a life saver.

It’s thrilling to age… Thanks for listening.

 

 

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family living, growth, masculinity, meaning of life, parenting

From a Sermon to an Apple Cobbler

08/24/2007   |      |       |    1 Comment

There is never a dull moment when you have children that like to eat.  I thought I had the evening planned for working on my sermon until the word “cobbler” was mentioned.  Since I am the self-proclaimed chef, it was my responsibility to slice the apples…  Off I went, slicing over 15-20 Granny Smith apples.

  apples

As my kids, hovered over the bowl asking for every fifth slice, I hurried as fast as I could in order to prevent getting weary.  After a cramp in my finger and sticky fingers, my job was over and Les’ job began.  She is what I call the “Crust Master.”  I passed the bowl of apples to her and she started mixing the crust.  However, my ego was shattered as my kids suddenly began migrating now to where my wife was working.  My stock had tanked, nonetheless, I was pumped that my job was over and forty five minutes later, the masterpiece was done.

 cobbler

In those few moments, God taught me an incredible lesson about the beauty of teamwork.  My wife and I have been teammates over 17 years… We cherish our ability to work together to see that the Bond family wins.  I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. 

As we are preparing for our community group that we will teach on teamwork – http://www.familylife.com/1-800-358-6329/detail.asp?id=6524, we are attempting to live it out. 

You may ask yourself, how do you move forward as a team:  (1)  Recognize that if a husband and wife don’t work together, no one is going to win; (2)  Determine what is the win for your family and work together towards that win; (3)  Serve one another sacrificially even when you don’t feel like it; (4)  Fight against pride of wanting to win by yourself and for yourself; (5)  Try to see the end from the beginning; (6)  Allow the strengths of your spouse to help the team win; (7)  Celebrate a win when you both work together; and (8)  Thank God always for your mate because if they weren’t in your life, you wouldn’t win.  I think this apple cobbler was God’s sermon for me this evening.  Sorry, I wish I did have a Blog-smeller! 🙂

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The simple things in life

06/25/2007   |      |       |    3 Comments

j & k

Recently, I was reminded by my two boys of the simple things in life.  As we were on the beach today enjoying some rest and relaxation, I had to capture them while they were taking advantage of some wholesome fun.  Kids are bombarded with so much these days that it’s hard for them to just be kids.  It was refreshing watching them be kids. 

There is such a valuable lesson in watching kids “keep it simple.”  My life is really complex at times which requires me to constantly practice “keeping it simple.”  Part of keeping it simple for me is not allowing life to get so complicated that I’m not having fun.  As I watched them, they didn’t care that it was over 93 degrees and humid, or whether the sun was beating down on their backs… They were in their element, focused on their mission – building an indestructable sand castle. 🙂

All of us may not have sand to build sand castles but we do have a simple equivalent.  I am compelled by my kids to find out what building my “sand castle” will take.  I wonder what adventure they will try tomorrow that will teach me about the simple things… 

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meaning of life, parenting

wish I could

04/10/2007   |      |       |    2 Comments

Life is so full of moments when you want to do something meaningful so bad but you just can’t find the time to do it.  That’s what it’s been like as I’ve tried to get back to my blog.  I love writing, expressing, creating and sharing… but good gracious, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to write. 

This may seem like a small issue but it’s huge.  There will always be tension between the necessary and the “wish I could’s.”  What I’ve been up to has been completely necessary but I’ve had my fair share of “wish I coulds.”  What do you do in those moments?  What did I do in those moments when I wanted to write but didn’t have the time or ability to focus long enough to write?.. I rested in God’s timing (sometimes), sighed with disbelief that it has been so long and wondered how to re-engage. 

There will always be seasons of busyness that create tension between the necessary and the “wishes of life” but rest assure as I’ve learned… God’s timing is perfect.  I’m back for now. 

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meaning of life