Monthly Archives: August 2015
In 2001, Mercy Me released the song “I Can Only Imagine”. The writer reflects on the day we all meet Jesus face to face for the first time. Within a few years of its release, it was all over even the Adult Contemporary charts. Why? Because we all wonder what that day will be like, don’t we?
The same year the song was released, Tim Stevenson wrote a book about a fictional character – Dan Matthewson – who comes before the “bema seat” for judgment to receive rewards “for the things done in the body, whether good or bad” 2 Cor. 5:10. Stevenson’s book about a day in Dan’s life takes a pretty smart stab at what judgment day could actually look like. Will it look more like a board meeting, a jury trial, or could it be more like one, big Oscar party?
Over the years, many have taken to the pulpit or the stage to tell Dan’s story. Beginning in 2010, I had a chance to be one of them. Over the past few years, we’ve reached a whole lot of people in the metro Atlanta area, giving them an entertaining look at what “That Day” could be. Dan’s a result oriented guy – moving up and today, he’s at the top of his game. But, like you and I, his plans for this day are often interrupted by people and other pesky “distractions”. Things get a bit tense for everyone just about the time God throws Dan the ultimate interruption… the judgment seat of Christ.
What’s My Biggest “That Day” Battle?
It takes me a lot of work to prepare for what amounts to a 90 minute “monologue”. As an actor, you have to keep the audience engaged and by grace and a lot of clever technique, we’ve done just that. Do you know what’s even harder for me? Getting people to understand they need to see this story not because I’m in it, rather because it’s vital truth for our souls that impacts our every day decisions. After our last performance, a friends’ comment told me we really hit the mark. He said his greatest regret was that he’d only brought some of his immediate family to the show, but “…next time, rather than asking people to come, we will go get them and bring them.” Thanks, David!
Can You Imagine?
When I teach our Clean Slate workshop and coach people on productivity, one of the key reference points used to help them sort through the “trivial many and decide on the vital few” is the rewards we may receive (or forfeit) at the judgment seat. It’s a crucial filter for every Christ follower to apply. But, without a vivid picture of that day in mind, it’s a more challenging exercise. What would it look like if everyone around us lived every day with eternal rewards front and center? Well, October is coming and That Day is coming to Alpharetta, GA.
If you’re interested in taking a look at what That Day might look like, we’re building our guest list for a special October showing. To be considered for an invite, fill out the form below. We may have an inside line on the tickets… 😉
First off, I’m a guy. I like movies where things blow up, cars turn into walking, talking robots, and good guys outwit the bad guys. Yes, one way I love my wife like Christ loved the church is to watch an occasional “chick flick” with her. But, as a Christ follower, I’m finding it increasingly harder to find movies where I don’t feel like I’ve violated my conscience or Psalm 101:3:
I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I will hate; they will not cling to me. (NIV 1984)
You’d think by 2015 there’d be tons of great, clean movies out there made by God following producers, wouldn’t you? Enter the Kendrick Brothers?
- The church was abuzz when “Facing the Giants” came out. Great idea. Strong values. Cheesy acting. Wonky editing. Meh.
- “Fireproof”. Kirk Cameron? Let’s give it a try. Umm… No. Good story. Kirk, not great. More slow acting… Help!
- “Courageous”… Better, but not great. Come ON, guys!!!
So, imagine my mixed thoughts when I got invited for an advanced screening of “War Room” back in May. “Please, God, don’t let it be lame.” Then again, free tickets. Having heard Priscilla Shirer speak a couple years back at Free Chapel one Sunday morning, I was willing to go give it a try since it’s her premiere on screen acting role. Plus, T.C. Stallings is a solid “man’s man”…
Understatement of the Year: “War Room” is the Kendrick’s best film yet and every God fearing man needs to see it.
Here are my Top 5 Reasons You Need to See War Room:
5. Stallings did not disappoint (see clip below).
4. Alex Kendrick took a very bold and wise step to a smaller, supporting role, but
3. Priscilla Shirer carried the film on her shoulders with craft and strength. The movie is well worth seeing for her performance alone.
2. If you can get out of the theater without falling in love with Karen Abercrombie and you have ice in your veins. One thing I remember from my senior year in college “Audition Techniques” class: “Make ’em laugh and make ’em cry.” Miss Clara will bring you to your feet and your knees.
1. Last: the story. Focused, fervent, relentless prayer should be the starting point for any man, woman, or child once our heads come off the pillow every day. We have lost that in our culture. We have become (even in the church) utterly self sufficient in many ways. War Room doesn’t beat anyone over the head with “dude, you need to pray more or you’re a miserable Christian”. Instead, it makes a graphic wake up call that will inspire you to fight your tallest battles on your knees before God.
Here’s a Michael Jr. and TC Stallings scene from the movie. War Room releases Friday, August 28th with select, preview showings on Wed & Thurs the 26th and 27th throughout Atlanta. If you’re interested in preview screenings, contact me and I’ll connect you.
Ever Felt Overwhelmed?
Ten years ago, I got a job promotion. Sounds good, right? But, without an immediate replacement for my old position, I found myself responsible for both my new job and my old job… for almost 4 months!
In very short order, I started experiencing burnout. All the while, I was being told “work smarter, not harder” by several well meaning colleagues. But, when I asked them “what’s that look like”? No one had any definitive answers that I could immediately put to work. Besides being frustrated, I felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was getting dimmer the harder I worked.
After a ton of fervent prayer, God brought to my attention a book by a secular author outlining what appeared to be completely secular ideas and practices. I would later learn he hadn’t taught me anything that God hadn’t already thought of first. Once I understood this framework, I was able to process (not merely “delete”) over 4,500 emails and make a respectable dent in my swelling in basket… in just 72 hours.
I got to share a little of this story with Ministry Ventures’ “Leader Infusion Podcast” last quarter. You can listen to it here.
God has never given us work to do without the perspective needed to accomplish it. Productivity is woven throughout the scriptures, believe it or not, and an experienced guide can help you pick up that trail, if you’re willing to watch and listen. We call it “Clean Slate”. We’ve designed a full day workshop to help men, women, and organizations rethink their work from God’s perspective and remove as many barriers to “productivity” as possible. Stage 1 of engaging with is like “Clean Slate Lite” – a free, introductory webinar that serves as a first step on the road to freedom from overwhelm.
If you’re overcommitted, overwhelmed, or just plain “over it”, carve some time out on Wednesday afternoon, August 12th and attend our introductory webinar “5 Steps to End an Inbox Crisis”. My friend, Don, attended our workshop last year and regularly reminds me how we worked together to get him from thousands of emails in his inbox to “done” in just 5 days. A ministry leader friend who attended our last webinar reminds me that if people actually do what we’re teaching, there’s no reason why they can’t catch up and get ahead when it comes to “to do”.
I hope to see you or someone you love on our upcoming webinar and look forward to helping you do what God designed you to do, further, faster, with greater impact.