Archive for January, 2010

The Uncertainty of Vision!

Posted in Leadership, ministry with tags on January 29, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Back in 2008 I wrote a book titled, “Vision – Key to your future!”. In the book I talk about the many dimensions of vision including: How to see it; The steps you need to take to realize it; Preparing for it and the enemies of it. Since then, I’ve learnt more things about the importance and nature of vision that I’m sure I will add into the 2nd edition of the book in time to come.

One of the things I’ve discovered about vision is the UNCERTAINTY of it. What the…? You may say, “I thought vision was supposed to be a clear and compelling picture of the future…I mean clarity and certainty are what makes vision, vision…?”

Yes, to a point vision does bring clarity but certainty… not necessarily. The more I move forward towards the vision God has called us to fulfill, the more uncertain I am about the road to it. Let’s be honest, every leader who is out on the edge, pushing the limits is leading people to a place they’ve never been before.

You can go visit a church and attend a conference or even serve on a staff that looks like they have arrived but for you to actually take the journey yourself and lead people to the fulfillment of vision… It’s full of uncertainties.

Vision is a gift from God and we are to be stewards of it, work towards it and diligently pursue it but we also need to be flexible along the journey because the road to it is full of twists and turns and what it will actually look like in the fulness of time will be slightly different and hopefully more richer and fuller than you could have imagined. Stay close to the author of vision and roll with what comes up along the way. Happy Visioneering!

Lead the Change!

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Spiritual Arrogance!

Posted in attitude, Leadership, ministry, Spirituality with tags , , on January 28, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

I recently read a Rick Warren quote saying, “Criticizing other ministries is sinful arrogance.” To be honest I find this challenging because if I was honest with myself, I would acknowledge that too many times I have criticized other churches and ministries without really knowing the full story or being justified in my perspective.

I don’t know about you but if we were all honest with ourselves we would have to acknowledge that at times we have said way too much about others when we should have prayed for them or just not said anything at all.

In Luke 9:49 the disciples said to Jesus (paraphrased) “Master we tried to stop him because he isn’t part of OUR group.” This sounds so much like us at times. We think that because someone leads or attends another church different to ours or smaller or bigger than ours that they mustn’t be God’s chosen vessels but Jesus response tells us what he thinks about other ministries not being in our tribe… Jesus said, “Do not stop them, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

 My mother used to say to me all the time, “The Church is the only army that shoots its own wounded.” Tight but I’ve observed it to be right at times. How can we ever move forward together as a Body of Christ if we find it so easy to criticize each other.

Yes, there are differences between styles & philosophies of leadership, worship, ministry and connecting with culture but at the end of the day, if someone is in a different tribe and is not against me, i should see them as an ally and rejoice that someone else is moving the kingdom forward.

We pastors and leaders can be some of the most insecure people on the planet, driving our own wheel barrows up the proverbial hill trying to make our mark. We would do well to remind ourselves, we don’t have it all together either and every stream is doing their bit to move the ball down the field according to the revelation God has given to them to work with.

Lets be a little more gracious with each other and not imbibe of the attitude of spiritual arrogance. Who knows we may actually learn something from each other…?

Lead the Change!

Dealing with Discontentment!

Posted in attitude, Spirituality with tags , on January 27, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

1 Timothy 6:6 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.”

In my own life journey I have struggled with discontentment from time to time. I’m sure someone out there can identify with this struggle as well. I think some of my struggle has to do with my wiring as a choleric, sanguine, highly directive and influential seeking personality…I know, I know… Recipe for disaster…

I also think discontentment is a key issue in our culture because of the saturation of media and information that tells us we need more of this and more of that. We are bombarded everyday with messages about our body shape, our houses, our cars, our clothing, our possessions, our social life, our sex life, our fame and fortune… and the list goes on.

If we don’t guard our hearts we can be always living in desperation, seeking after the next elusive experience or encounter that will bring a measure of satisfaction to us. I’ve discovered that holy discontentment for personal growth and development in order to see souls saved and make a difference in the world is good but continual discontentment for the wrong things can have a negative effect in every area of our lives.

I can wake up some days just feeling overwhelmed by feelings of discontentment with where things are at but i have to put it all in perspective of God’s truth and God’s plan for my life. I have to get my mind onto what life is all about – God’s glory and the service of others not my glory and people serving my needs or wants… I’m suggesting you will have to do the same as well.

There is a place in God where you can live each day with great contentment in the knowledge that God’s grace, love and power is sufficient for each day. Whenever you feel lack surfacing in your life remind yourself that godliness with contentment has great gain in every area of your life.

Lead the Change!

Unanswered Prayer!

Posted in Intimacy with God, Prayer with tags on January 25, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

The greatest cause of a struggling prayer life is our response to unanswered prayer. I have noticed in my own prayer life over the last 10 years a hesitation to pray at times because of unanswered prayer in the past. Many people’s relationship with God is stalled by their response to unanswered prayer.

Unanswered prayer is why many believers get disillusioned in their faith and start to question fundamental doctrines they have held true for many years. Truth is, unanswered prayer doesn’t have to lead to discouragement or disappointment. You can have a real, authentic, close relationship with God through prayer that does get results. And yes, you can even wrestle with God over unanswered prayer and still have a faith-filled prayer life.

I believe every genuine Christian prays actively but not necessarily intentionally or fervently. An intentional and fervent prayer life sees prayer as a daily central priority and not peripheral. As a pastor, I’ve observed many believers approach prayer like we eating vegetables. We know we need them as apart of a healthy diet but if ice-cream was on the menu, we’d prefer to eat that. Prayer doesn’t have to be like eating brussell sprouts, it can be something you enjoy and look forward to everyday. 

There have been many books written on prayer and we westerners love to read about prayer, hear teaching about prayer but we need to move beyond just reading & hearing & actually pray. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ not mental assent to mere doctrines or creeds. For our relationship with Christ to be alive and active we need to communicate with him and God has given prayer to us as the vehicle through which we communicate.

Make prayer a priority in your life and in the church you are apart of. Every move of God throughout history was preceded by a prayer meeting. Prayer signals a shift from man’s ability to God’s ability. Unified prayer is the posture God pours out his Spirit upon (Acts 1:14).

Lead the Change!

Which Bride Do You Belong To?

Posted in attitude, church with tags , , on January 21, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Bride of Frankenstein

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her…”

For many years now I have observed a growing trend of people being disgruntled with the church to the point of leaving it or redefining a whole new expression of Christian community. This is no recent phenomenon as people have questioned the role of the church in society for 2000 years.

There isn’t anything wrong with questions. Good questions should hopefully lead to good answers. I do think though that some of the redefining of what Christian community looks like in the current landscape flows from a negative perspective of the Bride of Christ as a whole.

It appears like criticising the church is the ‘in thing’ to do. Finding what’s wrong with the church has become a universal pastime and it seems like many of us feel like it’s our God-given right to do so.

How we view the church is a result of our worldview. Everyone of us have a worldview (the way we see the world) and when our worldview has been affected by a negative experience or a paradigm contrary to ours, we tend to form an opinion or a conviction that leads to us looking at the world in a certain way.

When it comes to some people’s worldview of the church, you would think that they belonged to the BRIDE of FRANKENSTEIN not the BRIDE of CHRIST! I think this is largely a matter of attitude, perspective and worldview. If you look hard enough at the church through a negative worldview, you are going to find problems… The church has always had problems within it and always will because there are people in it and we are the problem.

However, if you look at the church for what is right about it, you will discover that there are so many things going for it and the role that it plays in the world is not only critical but very needed. 

How do you see the church? Do you see it as the Bride of Frankenstein or the Bride of Christ? It all depends on the lens through which you are looking at it. Jesus loves the Church, warts and all, and he gave himself up for her. Jesus is coming back for a pure & spotless bride and we can choose to become part of the solution or part of the problem. It all comes back to our worldview.

Don’t let offense and the issues of others shape your worldview of the church. It doesn’t matter what challenges a church faces, everything is redeemable because Jesus is still the head of the church and he is sovereign over it all.

Lead the Change!

Avatar!

Posted in Pop Culture with tags , on January 19, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

I recently saw the movie ‘Avatar’ and was totally impressed with the special effects within it. If you’re going to see it make sure you see it in 3D… (You’ll get cool glasses and you feel as if you are in the film itself).

Apparently, the director James Cameron (Also, director of Titanic) spent 5 years making the film which ended up costing over $500 million. The movie has grossed over $1 billion already and recently won a golden globe for best drama.

While the movie has a dynamic creative element to it, it also touches on several spiritual, philosophical, and new age themes which appeals to a wide audience. Avatar promotes pantheism (worship of multiple gods) and the centrality of mother earth and looking after the environment.

James Cameron has done his homework and tapped into themes and ideas that are very popular at the moment. I came out of the movie feeling as if James Cameron was the new George Lucas (Star Wars Director) of our generation with the emphasis on the force.

It is important that we are aware of what our movies are promoting and that we also know what God’s Word says about such things. Movies like Avatar can provoke spiritual discussions with people that can open doors for us to share the power of the gospel with them. We must approach the ideas promoted in pop culture in light of what Scripture says and be ready to give a reason to anyone for the hope that we have.

Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Lead the Change!

Lance Armstrong

Posted in Pop Culture, Spirituality with tags on January 18, 2010 by Corey Turner #ironprophet

Lance Armstrong is my all time favourite athlete. If you don’t know much about him there are several publications as well as a ton of internet resources that can fill you in, including, “It’s not about the bike” and “How Lance does it”. Lance Armstrong won 7 Tour De Frances after overcoming a severe battle with cancer. A feat that is amazing for anyone to accomplish, let alone someone who has survived cancer.

He now leads an organisation called LIVESTRONG which promotes cancer awareness and helps people battling with cancer to survive through raising money for treatment and potential cures.

Lance is currently cycling with TEAM RADIO SHACK in the Tour Down Under in Adelaide. Just recently he invited on TWITTER anyone & everyone in Adelaide to ride with him last Saturday, meeting at a Park in the city. Approximately 5-10,000 people turned up just for a glance at Lance, including a Melbourne based pastor who flew over to Adelaide just to savor the moment.

Lance is a consummate professional and a great example of drive, determination and dedication to continual progress in sport & life. I love his approach to his career and it’s clear that he is positioned for a great comeback after a short layoff.

One of my observations of Lance and other successful people is that it’s amazing how well positioned they can be in one area of their lives e.g. career, finance, sport… and yet be out of position in other areas of their lives e.g. family, spirituality, marriage…

Society rewards gifting & talent on the field and tends to overlook the happenings away from the field and it’s no secret that Lance & other athletes more recently have struggled at times in their marriages with various issues & in Tiger Woods case, extra-curricular activities. Proverbs tells us that a “man’s gift makes room for him”. Unfortunately at times, the room that our gift makes for us doesn’t always allow for the breaches in our character within us. Never let your gift take you where your character cannot keep you.

It’s not enough to be positioned well in one area of your life and yet be out of position in the most important areas of your life – relationship with God, family, marriage, etc… How well are you positioned in these important matters as you head into 2010? Your investment portfolio may look good and your career prospects may be outstanding but what is your spiritual growth looking like and how close are you to Jesus?

Check out Lance’s progress on tourdownunder.com or on livestrong.com

Lead the Change!