Shootin’ the rock

I’d like to introduce you to a friend, fellow minister and brother blogger. Dave Rutler is a church planter at The Crossing Wichita.

I asked him for permission to republish one of his posts and he obliged, so, please enjoy this gift to our community.

I follow his blog regularly (and you should too), but this particular post was really exceptional and I loved the basketball analogy. Dave’s take on the fundamentals is exceptional. Take a few moments to read and a lifetime to apply.

Thanks Dave for your friendship, the many games of b-ball we shared, the incalculable cups of coffee consumed and the gift of your ministry.

Shootin’ the Rock
Posted on November 2, 2010 by Dave

I had a great time watching my kiddo practice basketball yesterday. She is pretty new tothe competitive style of play and is learning at a pretty rapid clip. Yesterday was a skills workout, where they were focusing on fundamentals.

It was pretty cool watching the coach start and stop the drills to get them to pay particular attention to their footwork, ball placement and body position. She explained the reason for being picky. She pointed out the benefit of doing it right and the drawback of doing it improperly, or sloppily. As expected, some kids focused hard, slowed down and tried to get it right. Others continued to run through the motions thinking they already knew what they were doing and their play was sufficient.

It made me think about how we, as Jesus followers, live out Christianity. I think we spend a lot of time free-styling, doing the moves we are comfortable with. It is sad to think that many “so-called” mature believers think they are no longer students; that they have nothing to learn. The outcome is a bunch of sloppy play that ends up in losses.

Basketball is a team sport with individual contribution. A good team requires not only individual dedication and talent but also a team mentality. I wonder how effective we have been at fostering this mentality in the church? There are too many people that have lost sight of the basics. They consider them rudimentary and no longer of value. So, instead of paying attention to where their hands are and the placement of their feet and how they handle the Gospel, they are just shooting the rock from downtown.

One drill had the coach putting the kids in position to square up and take a shot. They were positioned to take a bank shot. She explained that it is not the prettiest shot and certainly not the most glamorous shot; but it is the most high percentage shot. She asked the question, “Do you want to look pretty or do you want to score points?”

I wonder if we have gotten caught up in making our lives look pretty or if we are more concerned with taking the high percentage shot. The high percentage shot for a believer deals with being in the right place and doing that which is effective for the kingdom. It means being less concerned with what the crowd thinks about the shot and whether we make the ESPN highlights.

It means focusing on fundamental basics and doing what Jesus called us to do. He was pretty critical of those who added to his message, to those who made it into some kind of show. He was not very happy about the way the Pharisees prayed in public for all to hear when they weren’t praying with a heart to hear God. He wasn’t very happy about the fact that they bragged about keeping the Sabbath but wouldn’t help a desperate and hurting person on that day. They were more concerned with strapping on the Nikes and lofting one from three point land when they had an easy lay up under the basket.

The point is simply that we spend too much time adding frills and thrills to a pretty simple Message. We are playing a pretty sloppy game because we think the basics are for beginners. If we would spend more time concentrating on the basics of loving God and loving people we would score more points, so to speak.

Putting the “go” in gobble, gobble

Psalm 105

1 Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;

make known among the nations what he has done.

2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;

tell of all his wonderful acts.

3 Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4 Look to the Lord and his strength;

seek his face always.

What a great time of year!

For most of us, Thanksgiving is the official launch to the holiday season. We are looking forward to a day of doing nothing, watching football and eating more food than should probably be consumed in an entire week

I am right there with you.

I’m just going to have to hope that the other campus pastors who I am competing against in our year-end weight loss competition will be just as frail, and undisciplined as me (I can dream can’t I?)

But on this wonderful holiday called Thanksgiving I wonder if we really are expressing our thankfulness as we should…

Continue reading “Putting the “go” in gobble, gobble”

Let it flow…

As a church we are in the midst of a series of material called The Blessed Place On Earth.

I love the concept of blessing in Scripture. I love the way God’s people long for blessing. I have prayed the prayer’s with others, for others and for myself that God’s blessing would fall.

But, this series has led me into a direction of remembering one of the oldest promises for God’s people. That we are to become a blessing for those around us.

It is quite clear that God does not bless His children so that they can become a stock tank full of blessing. He blesses His children so that they can become a free flowing stream of blessing to  the world around them.

If you have ever seen a stock tank that has sat unattended for a long time without circulation or changing, that water gets nasty! The same is true with the believer who continually stockpiles blessings and never becomes a blessing to those around them.

The best way to make your blessings continue, to make an impact in this generation, is to make sure that every blessing on you, passes through you, to become a blessing to someone else near you. That’s what we mean by making our homes the most blessed places on Earth.

But it’s not just our homes, we need our churches, schools, workplaces, and every other place that Christians go to be places of blessing as it drips off of us, after God rained it down upon us.

So, what is this incredible Scripture that teaches us to not only receive blessing, but to be a blessing. We find it in Genesis 12:

Continue reading “Let it flow…”

The Power of Mentoring

I have a nearly indescribable feeling that I would like to, well… describe to you.

I am refreshed, energized, challenged and at peace. If you don’t know much about we preacher types, that’s unusual for a Monday morning. In fact, I have preacher friends who have a ritual of writing their resignation letters every Monday, praying over them and then throwing them away.

I thank God I don’t get that kind of grief every weekend, or at least that I’m too thick in the head to notice it… please don’t point it out if I am. I’d like to stay blissfully unaware.

The reason for my Monday morning glee is that I just spent two plus hours with one of the two men I consider to be my mentors in life and ministry. In the course of that time we talked about what we have been reading, what we have been experiencing and what has us dumbfounded.

Funny, I talked the most during that last part…

Over the years I have established a relationship with these men that allows them to be honest with me, even when I am both ignorant and stupid. There is a difference between those two you know?

Ignorance is when you do something stupid, but didn’t know you were doing something stupid. Stupid, is doing something when you’re already pretty sure whatever you’re doing might be stupid.

Continue reading “The Power of Mentoring”

When you’re hot, you’re hot

The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. This would lift us out of our pitiful narrowness and cause our hearts to be enlarged. This would burn away the impurities from our lives as the bugs and fungi were burned away by the fire that dwelt in the bush.A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit Of God 



A simple thought today. Not one to change a belief system, or alter the course of one’s destiny (Calvinists should be happy with that line since I said destiny, and Arminians should be happy since I mentioned altering it). 

This is a thought I have been pondering  since a phone call with a friend a few weeks ago. He and I had been reading A.W.  Tozers “Pursuing God” (one of the best books in the universe, by the way). He called me as I was sitting in the drive through of our bank and asked, “Why does this guy compare God to fire? I thought that was the symbol for the devil.” 

The question really caused me to think and admit, that our culture really does associate fire/flames with evil and satanic (I don’t capitalize that name on purpose, just so you know). 

I’m sure its because of our Holoywood-esque images of hell. 

Continue reading “When you’re hot, you’re hot”