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Have God-Sized Expectations Of God, And Human-Sized Expectations Of Humans (via Justin Buzzard)

Some helpful thoughts on pastoral leadership and the implementation of leadership vision from Justin Buzzard.

Have God-sized expectations of God, and human-sized expectations of humans.
If you can absorb this principle, then the Bible will make more sense to you, your church (and all other relationships) will make more sense to you, and you will make more sense to you. You’ll discover fresh freedom, and increasingly become a leader whose presence, prayers, dreams, decisions, and sobered disappointments bring new Life and growth to your church and city. You’ll find yourself enjoying God more, enjoying humans more, enjoying yourself more. Great things happen when we expect more from God, and when we expect human-sized outcomes from talented and maturing (but imperfect and moody) humans.

Read the whole post at Justin Buzzard – Risk Or Rust.


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Give What You Didn’t Get (via Justin Buzzard)

Justin Buzzard writes about that which truly brings healing for those whose lives are marked by loss:

Give what you didn’t get.

What didn’t you get?

A safe childhood?
A best friend?
A loving father or mother?
Opportunity?
Justice?
Words of encouragement?
Healthy touch?
A place to belong?
A good education?
A healthy church?
Physical health?
Stability?
Someone to listen to you?
Someone to mentor you?
Someone to grieve with you?
Someone to challenge you?
Exposure to diverse people, places, and cultures?
A good coach?
An example of a healthy marriage or healthy friendships?
A healthy work/life balance?
Wise and generous stewardship of money and resources?
A sense of purpose?
Adventure?
A place to call home?
Truth?
Grace?
Give what you didn’t get. Often it’s this place of not-getting—this tender territory of wounding, lack, loss, longing, weakness, and unfamiliarity—that can become your place of strongest character, greatest giftedness, highest contribution to others, and largest joy. This follows God’s counterintuitive J Curve, that our place of pain can become our place of giving and gain.

Quit waiting to get what you didn’t get. Quit stewing in bitterness over what you didn’t get. Quit holding yourself victim to what you didn’t get. Instead, realize that what you don’t have can become your greatest investment. Know that God is with you in your didn’t-get-ness, and his presence and power can transform this lack into a unique overflow of care that you lavish on others.

You can start right now, right where you are. See that person in front of you? Give them what you didn’t get. And watch how God’s supernatural mathematics show up, creating gains you couldn’t have imagined.

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Preaching That Connects With People’s Stories (via Justin Buzzard)

Received this post from both Buzzard’s own blog and Moody Publishing.
The point is one I continue to need to work on in preaching.
The answer is always ‘Jesus’, but there’s a skill in trying to help people see that their how their lives are asking a question that he alone can answer.
I don’t necessarily unpack that as clearly as I’d like.

Everybody in your city has a story. Preaching is your opportunity to share the Bible in a way that engages each one. But how do you do this with both Christians and non-Christians at your service? Effective preaching is preaching directed at both the people who are already part of your church and people in your city who are not yet part of any church. Story is the key to engaging both of these audiences well. If you can connect with each person’s story, challenge it, and recast it with your preaching, your Sunday gatherings will be increasingly filled with people who are following Jesus and people who aren’t.
Step 1: CONNECT WITH THEIR STORY
It is natural for most pastors to connect their preaching with other Christians, but they must also connect their preaching to the very different storylines inhabited by the non-Christians in their community. If you’re not yet doing this, now is the time to start. Start preaching each week as though there are non-Christians in the room, even if there aren’t. You will learn to do this better by having non-Christian friends and by knowing the pulse of your city. Eventually, non-Christians will start coming—the Christians they know will invite them because they know your preaching will speak to them.
Step 2: CHALLENGE THEIR STORY
After you connect to the storyline non-Christians are living in your city, challenge it. Use your preaching to show how the story has a bad ending—how faith in atheism, success, power, etc.—leads to disappointment instead of freedom and joy. This isn’t just a technique. This is a way of preaching that grows from a heart that wants to know and love the diverse people in your city who are far from God.
Step 3: RECAST THEIR STORY
After connecting with and challenging the non-Christian storyline, retell people’s story with the happy ending found only in the gospel and the particular text you’re preaching. For example, if you’re preaching John 10:10 in Los Angeles, a city obsessed with image and fame, you can show people that the abundant life, love, and excitement they’re searching for is found only in Jesus—the One who laid down his life and fame in order to give us true life. Such preaching is relevant to non-Christians, but it also equips the Christians in the room to better understand their faith and how to thoughtfully share it with others.
Everyone on the planet believes some sort of story to make sense out of their life. Only the story of the Bible is big enough to make sense out of both the beauty and the brokenness in people’s lives.

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