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Pics – just in time! 28th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Church, CRM, Leadership.
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So at our Tuesday staff meeting last week we got our new Staff Pictures taken for the website.  I’m so glad that we did them when we did.  At some point in the next day or so I head off to to barber to get my head shaved.  The nurses recommend it as being “far less traumatic” to shave your head as opposed to watching it fall out in clumps.  That would definitely make for some interesting staff pictures!

Anywayz, here are the pics we took this week.  What a great team don’t ya think:

Brian & Kellie Ingraham

Scott Burns

Monica Burns

Andy Ashworth

Kirsty MacIntyre

Ruth Weller

In the next photos I upload, I’ll be bald just like Brian & Andy!

Spiritual Gifts 23rd May, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Leadership, Life, Musings, Spirituality.
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Spiritual Gifts is one of my favourite topics!  I guess part of the reason for this is that God created me with a passion for equipping people.  And I believe developing these gifts is extremely important in being effective for His Kingdom

When Jesus was on the earth he explained that it was good for us that He would return to heaven, because then he would send us His Spirit (John 16:7).  Why would this be better for us?  Because Jesus could only affect us from outside of us… but the Spirit can work from inside us.  The Spirit is a better teacher, comforter and equipper.

One of the Spirit’s roles is to equip us with the gifts necessary to perform our role within the Church.  The Church (empowered by the Spirit) is God’s chosen vehicle for reestablishing His Kingdom on the earth.  And the effectiveness of the church requires each of us to play the part God created us for (Rom 12:1-8 ;1 Cor 12:14-20).  Our value and sense of fulfillment are tied up in us doing what we were created to do.

God’s Spirit is the Greatest teacher and many times He has trained, developed and powerfully used people without them ever labeling the gifts they have.  However, by taking the time seek God and figure out how He has gifted us, we can partner with Him in developing those gifts and use this knowledge to help make decisions about the how and where to serve.

There is no hard fast rule on how figuring out how God has gifted you and there is no perfect tool to make the process easy, but there are some tools out there that, when coupled with prayer and input from people around us, can be extremely helpful in leading us to the right results.

Spiritual Gift Inventories

Spiritual Gift inventories are great tools for pointing us in the right direction.  There are two that I use regularly that are online:

  • Gifted2Serve:  I use this one the most.  I like the definitions it works from.  It includes the miraculous gifts but not the more skilled-based gifts (like music, craftmanship, writing, etc)
  • Kodachrome: This is my second choice.  The way it asks the questions can force greater clarity.  It measures for ‘every’ gift.

These tools make suggestions about your gifts and should not be taken as God’s Word.  (I use them to get the conversation going).   When you get the results the next step is to read and pray through all the definitions, and then to experiment and test the findings.  (A simple way is to ask friends/leaders how accurate they think they are).

Spiritual Gift tests are flawed.  The results of the tests vary because of a number of factors:

  • Answering based on what you want to have, or what you feel you ought to have.
  • Whether the test is questioning your passions, inner motivations, perceptions or past experience
  • The number of gifts included in the test
  • How each gift is defined.  (The same gift can be defined differently in each test)
  • The creator’s knowledge/bias (most likely, the test will more accurately define and check for the gifts the test-maker has that the ones the test-maker scores low on)

Gift Identifaction Patterns

In his book the Making of a Leader Dr Robert J. Clinton lists two patterns he has consistently seen over his years studying leadership emergence theory:

  1. Like Attracts Like – Potential Leaders are intuitively attracted to leadders who have the same spiritual gifts.
  2. Giftedness Drift – Potential leaders respond intuitively to ministry assignments and challenges that call for their spiritual gift, even if not explicitly known.

    A third pattern I am aware of is:

  3.  Giftedness Attack – Potential leaders’ brokenness and struggles directly attack the administration of their gifts.

Spiritual Warfare is real!  If our value and effectiveness is tied in to our ability to use our spiritual gifts then it makes sense that the Enemy of our Souls would attack those gifts.  Eg.  If I grow up in a family that instills fear and anxiety into me, it will paralyze my ability to exercise the gift of faith.  If I am a prideful/arrogant person, then my character flaws will ush people to reject my knowledge/teacher.  Being judgemental will lead me to question discernment…) So often, the various wounds, sins, and doubts that we fight have been strategically caused by the Enemy to hinder our effectivenessin the role God created us for.

The Discipler’s Heart 2nd February, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Heart, Leadership.
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There is no doubt about it: God planted within me a discipler’s heart.  Although it is tough… I love the process of discipleship.  I love meeting people, discovering how far along they are in the process of Spiritual Maturity and then helping them deepen their intimacy with God and their desire to walk a life fully surrendered to Him.  I love watching people fall in love with God’s Word as He reveals new things about Himself to them.  I love watching them praying fiery prayers, fueled by that passion, and seeing them step out in faith, embarking on an adventure of total abandon to God’s will.

It is something akin to the joy of parenting as God intended it.  Parents were to bring their children up to love the Lord and live a life fully surrendered to His Word (eg. Deut 6:4-7).

In the process of discipleship you become something of a Spiritual Parent to the people you invest in.  I love how Paul describes it in his letter to Philemon.  In talking about the runaway slave Onisemus whom Paul has been discipling he says “I appeal to you for my son Onesimus” (v10).  Using the father-son relationship to define the discipler-disciple relationship.

You can see the way a discipler invests in a disciple in the line “I am sending him–who is my very heart–back to you”.  I see two things in this:  (1)  he has invested in Onesimus so much that sending him away is like ripping out his own heart, and (2) Onesimus has been shaped by Paul so that both hearts desire God’s will, and so Onesimus has a Paul-like heart which will be modeled before Philemon.

I love Paul’s discipler-heart, for it resonates with the calling God has placed on my life.

There are some downsides to having a discipler’s heart.  (And through these downsides I’m learning a lot about the not-so-fun parts of parenting!)

  • It takes a lot of self-sacrifice to be a (spiritual) parent!  Time spent with the person is all about them and not about me.  The goal is to come alongside them in God’s work in their lives.  Something that involves sacrificing time and energy to pray for them, listen to them, step out in faith with them, and to lead by example (especially by doing things you don’t really enjoy, to help them enjoy them).
  • It is humbling!  The not-so-great qualities about myself that I permit because they “aren’t so bad” suddenly become major areas of personal development when you realize they are being imitated by the person you are discipling.  Now it’s not simply a case of dealing with my own issue, but of disclosing your error and correcting it in the other.
  • It is heart-breaking!  One of the greatest causes of sadness in my life is watching people make poor choices.  This causes a huge degree of emotional turmoil when I see poor decisions being made by someone I feel God has given me a degree of spiritual responsibility for.  I have experienced many days of spiritual angst, on my knees in prayer for someone, because I know how much the decision they are making will hurt them in the long run.  It isn’t easy to watch them ignore your advice, and to have to step back and allow them to learn from their own mistakes.

It isn’t easy by any means.  It is a process of inviting someone to enter into your journey, pouring heart and soul into them, only to send them off on their own adventure.  It is an ongoing grieving process.  Yet it is an incredibly rewarding process.

As I ponder the discipler’s heart I am struck by the Truth that God is the ultimate discipler.  When we make poor decisions He experiences pain and grief in an infinitely greater measure than we do.  But what must the shouts of joy be with every choice we make to surrender our lives to Him… for His joy is infinitely greater than ours.

What a gift it is to be loved by our Heavenly Father, infinitely patient as we make mistakes, infinitely gracious in walking with us and helping us learn lessons, and infinitely joyful as we make choices to live for Him.

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power for ever and ever” (Rev 5:13b)

LeadNow 15th November, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Church, Heart, Leadership.
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leadnowToday, along with a group from Grace Chapel, I attended the LeadNow Simulcast. The conference is set up to challenge and equip people who work with 20&30 somethings. It was great to go with the Young Adult Community leaders and a few friends to hear some amazing communicators share what God had laid on their hearts.

My favourite line of the day was from Matt Chandler who in exhorting us to live our lives in such a way that they bear witness to the light (John 1:6-8), turned his attention to God’s Word saying:

I want that if you got stuck with a needle, you would bleed Bible.

Lord, make me that kind of Man. I don’t want to merely read your Word, and I don’t want only to know your Word… I want to LIVE your Word. I want to be so steeped in your truth that my autopilot becomes your will. Raise up leaders who are saturated in your Word, so that every particle in their body is steeped in truth! Raise up men and women of the Word to impact the world.

Some other highlights…

(more…)

Leadership Lessons from Joe 20th October, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Friends, Heart, Leadership.
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Joe has written a great post called:

The Life of a Shepherd

When one is called into ministry, I truly believe it affects every aspect of their life. In a lot of ways, their life is no longer their own. They’ve made the decision to live their life with a greater purpose, a purpose that inevitably affects the eternal state of many. Accepting the call into ministry isn’t a right; it’s a privilege. The sooner the shepherd realizes this, the sooner they can get to work on how they live their life…

You should read the rest of it. Wise words from a Young Man chasing God. It is a blessing and a privilege to “do life” with this guy.

Man of God 6th October, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Blessings, Heart, Leadership, Life, Me, Multnomah.
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This is a post that has been a long time in the making, but which I have not got round to writing, until today. Allow me to introduce you to one of my profs from Multnomah who has (and is having) a MASSIVE impact on my life. His name… Dr. John Wecks.

The funny thing is, I know that if he knew I was going to write this He would probably get semi-embarrassed at the thought and tell me that I should write about our Saviour–and I grin knowing that writing about him I can’t help but write about the Saviour.

I will never forget my first class with Dr. Wecks. He opened his Bible, held it in one hand, lifted it up in front of him and asked the question “why is the Bible the Word of God”. The class eagerly put forward answers which, though good, fell short of the mark. Each time he rebutted with something to the effect of “other religions say that about their Scriptures. Why is this one the Word of God”. After some agonizing moments trying to find the answer he grinned and said, in the manner that only he can, “Because it is the Word of God”. I sat back in my seat and thanked God for bringing me to Multnomah, and I gently took note of God’s Spirit tapping on my heart, affirming to me that this man spoke with His authority.

When I look at Dr. Wecks I see the kind of man I believe God has called me to be. As I listen to him talk about the Saviour and as I witness how he masterfully teaches God’s Word, my heart longs to grow in those areas, and to become that kind of person. What is that kind of person?

He is a man of the Word: I see in him an unshakeable trust in God’s Word. This is seen in the way he teaches it, the way he preaches it, the way he lines up his life to match what it says, and more than that, the love and respect he gives to every Word that is from the mouth of God. My heart breaks for the church when I hear him voice his fears at our anemic church, and my soul cries out to God that He would teach me to honor His Word in this way.

He is a man of Prayer: The first time I heard Dr. Wecks talk about prayer I was floored. I was challenged more than ever and once again I felt my spirit soar. Listening to him divulge the necessity of become proficient in the weapons God has given us to fight in this Spiritual War I was overcome by the urgency of this exhortation and the poor job the church today is doing. It’s an amazing experience to listen to Him preach through the Armour of God. I don’t think I had ever heard someone rhyme of so much Scripture in a prayer, so much so that when he got as far as the Sword of the Spirit, he didn’t need to explain it because he had fully demonstrated the kind of proficiency we should be aiming towards (and more!). His prayers reveal an intimacy with God and a deep level of wisdom, both of which come only by spending much time in His presence.

He is a man of integrity: This week I have witnessed him walking through some tough experiences. As a friend and I sat down together to pray for John I laughed as the words fell out of my mouth “Lord, what a humbling thing it is to come before you knowing that even as I pray this man is holding to the very convictions he has taught to his classes for the last twenty years!” And it is true. Even today as class ended and he shared with us some of the lessons God has taught him through these circumstance, we got to watch all the Scriptural principles he teaches lived out in front of our eyes.

He loves the Saviour: What do I say? God loves me more than I can ever imagine, so much so that His Son, Jesus Christ came and lived here, allowing Himself to be brutally murdered, so that I could receive the gift of salvation. Jesus lived here and taught His disciples to follow Him. Paul exhorted Timothy to “follow me as I follow Christ”. I see in Dr. Wecks an incredible love for Jesus Christ, and sitting in his classes all I can do is watch how he lives his life, and be drawn closer to God. With my eyes fixed on my Saviour Jesus, I follow John as he follows Christ.

I love when he shares stories about his interactions with his dad.  Dr. Wecks holds his dad in high esteem, showing a huge amount of admiration for the way his dad honors God, still pursuing him aged 93.  If the man I esteem holds his dad in high esteem, man, what I would give to get the chance to meet his dad.  Actually, what I would give to sit in on one of their lunch time sessions and just witness them as they glorify God together.

This year, God has granted me the privilege of working more closely with Dr. Wecks, grading papers for him. It’s an amazing learning experience to be on the teacher’s side of the coursework, but more than that, it is a blessing to get to sneak a little extra time with this man and have his love for God and His Word rub off on me some more.

It is impossible to explain just how much of an impact God has had on me through this man in just one blog entry. It would require a book, and I could probably write a whole other book about his wife Carley. John is always quick to share with us stories his wife, becoming almost childlike as he tells us about the love-of-his-life. She too embodies what it means to love and follow Christ. She too loves the Word. She too is a person of prayer. She too pours herself into the lives of the students at Multnomah!

They are an incredible couple! It is clear that God created them to do what they do, and has used them to impact the lives of hundreds if not thousands of student who have passed through their care. My experience at Multnomah would be vastly different without them. And it has been worth every penny that has been invested in my education here to get to witness someone live their life the way I believe God has asked me to live mine.

I thank God for their service at Multnomah; I thank Him for bringing me here and allowing me to sit under their instruction; I ask that God would pour out His grace over them, drawing them closer to Him; and I pray that God will continue to use them to shape me into the Man of God that He created me to be.

Mountain Rain 20th June, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Bible, Books, Heart, Leadership, Mission, Prayer, Spirituality.
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Mountain RainEvery time I sat down to read some more of Mountain Rain (the biography of James O Fraser written by Eileen Crossman) I was inspired and challenged. Since I was a kid I have had a strange understanding of the influence people have on one another, and the logical conclusion when growing in my faith was to be around people who love the Lord. I prayed for years for a mentor who would push me further into God’s arms, and I received a man who far exceeded my prayers!

One of the many amazing things he taught me was to read biographies of the great men and women of the faith, and what a huge impact this has had on me! The life of James Fraser is most definitely a life worthy of imitation.

As with all the great men of faith whose lives I have enjoyed following as I read their biographies, James Fraser gave himself entirely to the Lord. His life was grounded thoroughly in the Word of God and he stayed grounded in it as he carried the gospel to the tribal people in China.

“We need to feed upon the Word of God more than we do. We need more holiness, more prayer. We shall not, then, be in so much danger of mistaking his will” ( p101)

He was a Man of Prayer… the book does a great job of showing the process of him realizing the importance of prayer in his life as he fought in the Spiritual Realm for the lives of the Lisu people. On almost every page there is a snippet of his prayer habits, be those rising early, using his travel time to talk to God, spending hours or days in prayer, fasting often, or finding a solitary place where he would go to pace back and forth and pray out loud (see my previous entry, Postures of Prayer).

Fraser understood the battle that we are a part of. He understood that our ability to walk a pure life was not found in managing our sins, but in fixing our eyes on the Saviour. He understood that it is impossible to deepen our faith apart from prayer. He understood that preaching is just noise if it is not accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit. And he knew and experienced the reality that our ministry doesn’t depend on us, but on God’s Spirit moving in the lives of those we minister to. More than any other biography I have read yet, Fraser came face to face with the demonic, learning the importance of Spiritual Warfare, and the reality that the Enemy of our Souls is real, and that he is still at work in the world (and in the church ! ) today!

He was a man who loved people deeply. In talking about the way he serves others, a friend writes:

The depth of his inward life in Christ was never more manifested than in his attention to those hundred and one little things which make comfort for others. (p249)

Even D.E.Hoste, the director of the China Inland mission at the time “found him [to be] a man of unusual spiritual power and understanding”. (p143)

Fraser’s ministry was blessed much by God, and as with all of the great men of faith that I’ve read about it is attributed to their deep spiritual lives.

Again I ask, do you want to live a godly life? Do you want to know God’s will and experience freedom from sin? Then ground yourself in God’s Word! Make it a priority in your life. Learn to start your day on your knees asking God to empower you by his Spirit!

My heart breaks over the state of the church. As I heard someone say this week…

the church today is anaemic!

We need to get back to the basics. We need to, like the great men of faith before us, ground ourselves in the Truth of His Word and usher in the power of His Spirit by humbling ourselves in Prayer.

Well-Intentioned Dragons 19th May, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Books, Church, Leadership.
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Well-Intentioned Dragons is another of the books assigned for my Conflict Resolution class this summer, so as you can guess… it’s about conflict in the church. The book is filled with stories of pastors who encountered problems with people in their churches, along with practical tips on how best to deal with conflict. In it, the writer defines different types of “dragon”, while also walking through disciplinary procedures showing the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as pointing out how things could have been done better. Towards the end of the book Marshall Shelley writes:

Anyone who looks closely knows the church’s biggest problem is people – sullen, sassy, sometimes savage, always sinful people. (p140)

Because the book contains stories from a number of pastors, there are many nuggets to live by scattered throughout the book. Usually, in explaining how a problem-person in a church shook the pastors confidence, the pastor explains a principle he ran the church by and how it was challenged. Some of these principles are wonderful insights into leadership.

Ministry is all about people! God intended us to be relational, and so conflict is an inevitable part of the vocation. Over my life I have had to deal with conflict, and sadly at times have even been the cause of conflict. We all have and will continue to deal with conflict wherever we have relationships. God asks us to love one another:

Our job is to remain faithful to the two greatest commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love even dragons as ourselves.

Father, I exalt you, for you are love! When your wrath is aroused, unlike us, your wrath is righteous and a product of your love. How true it is that you teach us to love by putting “dragons” in our lives. You teach us to love more by allowing us to experience conflict and teaching us what it means to forgive and to continue loving those we have had disagreements with. Forgive me Lord when I fail to love well. Forgive me for the times I have handled conflict badly, and for the times I have caused other people problems through things I have done, by my intentions good or bad. I love you. I don’t just say that because it sounds good. You know the longings of my heart and know how I yearn for more of you. Fill me with your Spirit. Teach me to love as Jesus loved. In his name and for the glory of your Kingdom I pray. Amen

A Tale of Three Kings 13th May, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Books, Heart, Leadership, Pain.
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A Tale of Three KingsSo, I have started the reading for the Conflict Resolution class that I’m taking over the summer. I have been wanting to read this one for a while and so I was glad it was assigned for class, that way I have to make the time to read it.

I love ‘simple’ books. There’s something wonderful about when people take Biblical truth and portray it in a way that makes it easy to understand and relevant. Gene Edwards does a great job in this book.

The book looks at three Kings, Saul, David, and Absolom, and is written as if we are angels watching David, hearing his thoughts and being allowed to enter in to the desires of his heart. It does it in two parts, by looking first at the relationship between David and Saul, when Saul is ruling the Israelites even though Samuel has anointed David to be the next king. As we look at these two people we see the characteristics of an authoritarian leader, and the godly attitude of submission God calls us to in this circumstance.

In the second part of the book, the writer moves on to the relationship between David and Absolom at the time when David is ruling and Absolom is rebelling. In this circumstance we see in David a God-following leader who is willing to relinquish his own will for God’s, and we see Absolom causing division lower in the ranks.

As a result we get to ponder our lives in 4 roles: are we a bad leader, good follower, good leader or bad follower!

My favourite aspect of the book is how it allows us to see deeper into David’s character. Gene Edwards enters into David’s brokenness, letting us see how God used David’s circumstances to instill in him such a deep and profound faith:

At night, when all the sheep lay sleeping and he sat staring at the dying fire, he would strum upon his harp and break into quiet song. He sang the ancient hymns of his forefathers’ faith. While he sang he wept, and while weeping he often broke out in abandoned praise – until mountains in distant places lifted up his praise and tears and passed them on to higher mountains until they eventually reached the ears of God. (p4)

He wove the day’s saga into a song. He hurled that hymn to the skies again and again until he had taught the melody and words to every angel that had ears. (p5)

It paints such an incredible picture of how God uses hardships in our life to draw us to Himself. It shows the amazing strength of character in David, and challenges us to trust that God is in control, and that His will is far better than our will! God calls us into roles because there are lessons we need to learn from the people over us and under us, and he puts us in those same roles because there are things that we can teach to those over us and under us. It’s not up to us to judge the people around us, it is our job to fix our eyes on God, to do our work as if we’re working for God, and to trust that He is in control of all that is going on around us.

Deadly Viper 12th May, 2008

Posted by Scotty in Books, Heart, Leadership, Life.
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So I’ve just finished reading Deadly Viper Character Assassins which was written by Jud Wilhite (Pastor of Central Christian Church in CA) and Mike Foster (who founded XXXchurch). Mike spoke at our church Men’s Retreat back in April. One of the men in our church has been so impacted by the book that he footed the bill to buy all the men who attended the retreat a copy of the book. I didn’t want to fly through it so I waited a while to read it when it would have more of a chance to sink in… and it did!

The book is about character and integrity, looking at 7 areas of character where leaders often trip up. It is a short book and easy to read, but that makes it a very quotable book. On every page there are succinct sentences jam-packed with good things to digest and live buy.

The book is about more than calling people out on these issues of character, it is about the importance of openness and transparency in godly men and women. The book exhorts us to find the one of two people in our lives who we can trust, and to open up to them about the areas where we struggle. It is about living a life of radical integrity where we do everything we can to steer clear of the assassins who are waiting to take us down, but it is also about radical grace where rather than condemning someone for taking a ‘misstep’, we love them and support them, helping them to get back on the right track. If you lead a team, it’s a great book to get and work through together!

Each chapter covers details of that particular Character Assassin and powerful stories of successes and failures in those areas. You also find some helpful steps and suggestions to guard against them!

These ninja experts are working twenty-five hours a day, eight days a week to undo you. (p11)

The 7 traits that the guys explore in the book are deadly in the lives of many. (After each one I’ll put my favourite quote from the chapter). They are: (more…)