Monthly Archives: May 2009

I’m Becoming American

Okay for all you Americans getting excited out there, this Brit isn’t actually becoming American officially, but your ways have influenced me in a significant way that things I swore I’d never do I am now doing. So here is a list of things I now do since I have lived in the United States:

  • My rubbish has become trash
  • My garden has become a yard
  • I find the nearest parking space to the building
  • I feel more comfortable driving on the right hand side of the road instead of the left!
  • My 40 hour work week has become a 50, 60 and sometimes 70 hour week
  • My 5 weeks holiday has turned into 2 weeks vacation
  • I use Z’s instead of S’s, take out the U and finish with ER instead of RE. Confused? We spell things differently in the UK (Organise, Honour, Centre to name a few!)
  • I complain about my food in restaurants
  • My car gives less than 20 MPG
  • I complained when gas went over $3 a gallon. I use to paid $8 a gallon in the UK
  • I no longer say water like “wortar”
  • I wear shorts now not 3 quarter lengths
  • If I can’t wear blue jeans I don’t want to go!
  • My pants are no longer my underwear
  • I have ice with every drink, even tea and coffee!

There is a bunch of other things as well, but I can’t remember them all. Here is a list of things I’ll never do, even if I become an American Citizen (I hope I don’t offend anyone):

  • Wear a white shirt under every thing I wear
  • Wear white socks no matter what the outfit
  • Wear a phone holder on my belt
  • Say tomatoes like an American
  • Prefer iced over hot tea
  • Tell anyone “I love your accent”
  • Stop viewing the BBC website

So joking aside, what living in America has taught me is that even though you may try your hardest to never change, you eventually become like your surroundings. I have become a lot more Americanized over the last four years because I am immersed in the culture.

You will become what you hear, read and see. How ever much you try, your friends, church, employment, the TV, the Internet, the books you read and your culture will change you. Look at all the people you associate yourself with, the places you go and the things you read; do you want to become like these people? They are shaping you and there is nothing you can do about it.

What things have shaped you? Are you someone you never thought you would be? What can you do today to become more like the people you want to be?

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Paranoid Leaders

Are you a leader? It does not matter what type of leader, just a leader? You may be a leader of an organization, a leader of a business, a leader of a church, a leader of a group, a leader in a sports team or just a leader in your home and to your kids!

Leaders are interesting people. When everything is hunky dory they feel on top of the world, but when leaders sense they are not quite on the pulse to everything they are responsible for they become different type of people altogether. You see leaders are paranoid to the core! I have met both high strung and mellow leaders, team leaders and go it alone general type leaders and most possess the same attitude when a certain situation arises, people stop doing what you want them to do.

When a leader loses their voice the world has come to an end for that person. He or she feels like the world is about to end unless they rally the people back in. Then those who stop listening to every word that comes out of the leaders mouth are blacklisted, called unhealthy or just thrown on the trash heap as useless.

I have seen some leaders do all three when you question a decision or forgot to say how high when they said jump. I have even seen leaders do this when people have shown gifts in areas that the leader is also gifted in. All in all this is because leaders are paranoid.sheep

We can take a great lesson from a shepherd. A shepherd is usually in control of his sheep. When they get a little rowdy he pulls them into a tighter group. When one runs he goes after them. A shepherd is not concerned if one sheep becomes stubborn and a shepherd also knows if there is a sheep in the flock that does not belong to him. I recently read a book by Ralph Moore in which he said, ‘There will be many people who visit your church, and even hang around awhile, who can’t or won’t hear your voice as the shepherd’s’. I read this and thought if every leader took the principles of a shepherd there wouldn’t be anywhere near the level of paranoia that is in the minds of leaders today.

If you are a shepherd or a leader today, not everyone will see you as the shepherd. This is okay! Don’t get all paranoid if someone doesn’t act on every word you say. There are many shepherds out there that can lead one particular sheep and there are far more sheep out there that need a shepherd to lead and guide them. For every one sheep who can’t or won’t hear your voice there are at least one hundred who will.

As a leader what makes you paranoid? Have you had a situation that you were paranoid about but it all turned out fine?


Why My Friends Don’t Go To Church

This week I am speaking in our Sunday services about how we as Christians can be attractive to the world around us, how we can have curb appeal for Jesus Christ.

This got me thinking. When did the church stop having curb appeal? The early church had so much curb appeal that thousands became believers every time someone shared the gospel. Now many churches are lucky if they have one new follower of Christ each year.

I have many friends who use to go to church, who grew up in a Christian home but now they act as if God isn’t even on the radar. Why did these kids get turned off by church. Below are seven reason why some of my friends do not go to church anymore:

  1. There was a better buzz at the club. Most of my friends found church boring and the nightclubs exciting. When the things in this world are causing more of a stir and a buzz than the local church, you know the church is not living in the power of God!
  2. They saw the gospel of experience and didn’t experience the gospel of truth. When many went to university the sheer intelligence of the arguments against God reasoned with their mind. Many of them didn’t know the truth of the gospel in their hearts, it had all been about an experience. When that experience gave way to reason they turned away.
  3. The church did not answer the hard questions. We never heard the real biblical answers to issues like alcohol, drugs, sex before marriage, homosexuality, gambling and so forth. Just because someone in leadership said it was wrong was not good enough for my friends, they needed real answers and did not get them.
  4. All we heard was gossip. In a church that was supposed to love one another all my friends saw was gossip, hurt and regret. When the church can not even do one of the first two commandments it does not feel very real to a watching generation.
  5. Leadership was never good enough. Many of my friends are no longer following Christianity because all they saw were their parents and parents friends speak of how bad the Pastor and/or leadership was. They saw their parents cause church splits because they wanted a place of leadership.
  6. They did not see the power of Christ. Growing up we saw many people sick and then die, broke then go bankrupt, in a pickle and see no answer to prayer. If the power of Christ is not there it becomes religion. Religion was a put off, this is what many of my friends saw. All I’m going to say it is not the fault of Jesus Christ as to why is power was not seen!
  7. Their Parents stopped praying. The weekly prayer meeting became less and less attended. Many churches replaced them with small groups that were really times of connection not times of prayer. If the church is not praying, and praying together all the above will happen. Yes prayer is hard, but it is the only certain thing we saw, then it was stopped!

I have made it my life’s calling to go get these once kids back, and reintroduce them to my real friend, the one they were looking for and wanted to see all the time.

What were some of the reasons your friends left the church? What do you think we should do to get them back?