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Leadership
Is my church afraid of sin or inspired by it? In what way do we respond to the need of Christ in our community? People respond to a threat in one of two ways: fight or flight. When we chose to run away we gain security by avoidance. When we chose to combat the threat we risk victory over loss. Sin is the greatest threat to all of humanity. It is not the root of all evil, it IS all evil. What does my church do in response to this peril? Are we motivated to gain security or rick victory? These two values typify many churches today. Their entire modus operandi consists of keeping sin out or taking sin head on. I want to be a part of a church that chooses the latter. Sin should inspire Christ’s church to make disciples of all types of people. Those who are most caught up in the charade of sin should be the most compelling but the church often views them as the most repulsive. A Jewish teacher once asked, Do the healthy need a doctor or the sick?:  [1] Clearly, the sick need a doctor; but why do the healthy often chose to horde his medicine? Roger Gill discusses various ways in which people are motivated and believes that, “treating threats, problems and failures as opportunities to learn can be a source of great inspiration. [2] When sin rears its ugly head in our community do we run away clutching everything that is precious to us or do we run towards it with everything we have? What do YOU think?
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Anyone in the church or even outside the church is all too familiar with the long chain of stories concerning ministries and leaders that have been shipwrecked by scandal.  It’s an unfortunate black eye that the bride of Christ has had to sport for far too long. However, it is also a reality of ministry because in the end churches are made up of imperfect people and imperfect people make mistakes, sometimes catastrophic ones.  This being said, I think it is fair to say that by in large most church scandals involve one of two things … money or sex, sometimes both.  Why is this? Well, I’m sure we could debate that for days but in my opinion it is primarily for two reasons:  1) nothing competes against God for your heart like the love of money, and 2) ministry leaders are mostly men and men battle with lust on a daily basis.  The question then is this … What do we do?  Can we afford to keep having these newsworthy failures on a semi-regular basis without losing all credibility? The world looks at the church and sees hypocrites because in their minds, we are just like them.  The thing is, they are right … we are just like them.  We are all sinners, we all screw up, and we all need a Savior.  Yet Jesus calls us to set the bar and not crawl under it.  Sin is unavoidable, broken people are unavoidable, and too an extent failure is unavoidable so again … what can we do?  Here’s what we need to realize … failure may be inevitable but usually there are red flags along the way that if detected could save both the person and the ministry a horrible blow up. Accountability is so huge, especially in ministry.  Sometimes, because of pride, leaders look at accountability as an invasion of privacy instead of a hedge of protection.  We don’t want people asking us about finances because of course we are stewarding God’s money well! We don’t need to answer questions about counseling the opposite sex or what we do with our computer time because we are God’s servants and if anyone understands purity we do!  People better not ask us about our family dynamics because obviously we can lead our families if we can lead a church.  This type of mindset is riddled with pride.  The thing is we should not only invite accountability, we should demand it. XXXchurch.com sees emails from pastors all of the time who slipped into habitual pornography viewing quite unintentionally and by in large they have no accountability.  Maybe if they were running accountability software like X3watch their accountability partner would have confronted them earlier sparing them years of addiction and self-imposed shame.  Everyone needs accountability but in ministry it is absolutely critical! Most men don’t start with child pornography or escorts … they start with porn.  Most pastors don’t spontaneously start an affair; they do so because their relationships with women in the church weren’t being kept in check.  If you don’t want the ministry God has blessed you with to end in disaster get accountable.  Put in safe measures.  Insist on a culture of transparency among your staff members.  Install X3watch on all of your leaders’ digital devices and make sure they have trustworthy accountability partners in place who will love them but love God more. Yes, it may be uncomfortable.  It may not be welcomed by all your staff.  However, you are called to God and his churches first and foremost so fear of man issues aren’t going to cut it as far as the excuses go.  If you love God, love your church, and love your staff you should insist and implement strong accountability measures because a red flag is easier to address than the aftermath of a scandal that may ensue.
Carl Thomas blogs for XXXchurch.com & coordinates their X3groups recovery program.  XXXchurch.com is the leader in tackling issues of pornography and sexual addiction.  Their focus on awareness, prevention, and recovery solutions has helped thousands of men and women find freedom and purity through Christ.  Carl is passionate about helping others escape the hold of sexual addiction and desires the same freedom for them that he himself has found through the help of this ministry.
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Leadership
Steven Furtick writes:  Many people have a warped view of God’s reaction to our sin. They think that if God is disciplining them, He’s out to get them. They’ve walked away from God, so now He’s paying them back. Getting even. Settling the score. This misses the whole point of God’s discipline. God doesn’t discipline us to pay us back but to bring us back. To our senses. To the life we were saved for. To Him. One of the most unloving things God could do would be to allow you to live in sin and operate under the illusion that you’re still close to Him. Conversely, one of the most loving things God can do is to bust you in your sin. To make you realize just how far away you are from him. To get you to see just how far you’ve drifted, and how desperately you need to come back. And so sometimes God will discipline us. He will accept your momentary pain for your eternal pleasure. He doesn’t have a vendetta. He’s not trying to settle scores. He’s not trying to pay us back. via Pastor Steven Furtick – God Isn’t Trying to Pay You Back. Thoughts? Todd
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Current Events
Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign announced this week he will not seek reelection in 2012, saying in statement “there are consequences for sin.” “I do not want to put my family, those that I care about, or this state through what would be a very ugly campaign that would ultimately cause a great deal more pain than has already been felt as a result of my actions. For these reasons, I will not seek reelection in 2012,” Ensign said during remarks at the Lloyd G. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas. During the speech, the two-term senator made reference to his extramarital affair with Cindy Hampton, his onetime campaign treasurer, which he admitted to last June. She is the wife of Doug Hampton, a former top aide to the senator. via CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs. Good on you, Senator.  Wise decisions.  I’m sure the is the least of the consequences that this sin has brought into your life. Sin is U-G-L-Y.  No doubt about it.
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Controversy
Joel and Victoria Osteen appears tonight on the new Piers Morgan show, and Joel was asked point-blank about his views on homosexuality.  CNN provided a clip (below) of the interview. Take a look: OK… what did you think of what Joel said? On a scale of 1 – 10; one being a massive failure; and ten being a huge win, what score would you give Joel on this one. Before you answer… think about how you would answer… off the cuff… in front of cameras and a million people or so… and after the drill down four or five times by an interviewer? Good or bad performance?  I’d love hear what YOU think… Todd
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