Follow After

“Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” That’s what the coffee shop poster read. We’ve all heard it, but something struck me as I sipped my latte. Jesus’ disciples fished with a net, not bait and hook. The fish came in by the net-breaking, boat-sinking loads—that is, when Jesus was giving the instructions—and the fish didn’t have an option.

Do our ministries fish the same way Jesus instructed or have we dropped the powerful nets and switched to bait and hook? In Acts 1:4, Jesus ordered His disciples to WAIT until they received power. What changed since then?

Jesus’ disciples were different ages, some even in their early teens, yet He always instructed them at the same level. Ministry today, however, is often segregated by age. Adults get more “in-depth” teaching while children are reminded weekly about Bible stories and the same basic truths, though the children may have been Christians longer than some adults who lead them.

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The Poetic Magic of Policy

The Poetic Magic of Policy

Interpreting Researched Information –

Several years ago I had been reading about the British march the morning after Paul Revere’s midnight ride. While British soldiers were in retreat, American militia continued shooting. This caught the British by surprise and offended their view of “war conduct”, specifically not to fire on soldiers in retreat. In reflecting with my father, he said, “Americans didn’t much care for British ‘conduct’ in war.” I never thought much about it, nor have I had a reason to. But a thought hit me randomly just recently: It wasn’t that Americans had a different set of values about firing on an army in retreat; they didn’t see the British as being in “retreat”, but “relocating”. Ultimately, we didn’t chase the British back to England, only from our own shores. The Americans had the same values. The difference was their “view” or “vision”.

This seemed an interesting idea as it occurred to me, but I was far more interested in a later realization as I continued to ponder: The British were thinking in terms of that isolated campaign, the Americans wanted them out of the country because they knew the British wanted to launch such campaigns in the future.

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Dinner Mentors

Anymore in America, when you approach someone with a common-sense business proposition they’ll act like you were attempting a mugging. We can’t blame them. America has spent so much time “educating” itself with classroom theory that we don’t recognize a true business deal when it bites us in the face. Companies think “business” means a tsunami of junk mail and telemarketers. Those methods only pay-off because the majority of Americans can’t recognize business from bolshevik.

In Hong Kong, if you asked almost any person on the street if they were interested in business they’d be curious what you were thinking. Reflecting the long-forgotten entrepreneurship of 1900 New York, the new Asia knows that business deals must be “felt” out through relationships, not calculated with a linear programming chart. One subway ad reads, “Our way of financial background checking: A shared cup of coffee.”

We praise the success of Microsoft and Apple in their ability to see the potential in the mouse auctioned-off by XEROX.

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Misnaming the South American Waodani tribe as “A*ca” (the slur their neighbors call them) and parading the story of Jim Elliot as an example of effective American missions was more than a slight oversight. Perhaps missions would improve if Korea sent missionaries to America.

“Move your congregation slowly so that they never know they changed,” says the seminary professor. I don’t see “repentance” in that equation, do you?

The about face of saying to one’s self, “How foolish I’ve been,” doesn’t come from changing our minds so slowly that we don’t trip the motion detector. Nor does it come from beating people with the truth. Repentance results from the evangelist having made his own u-turn first, not seminary certification.

America’s increasing drama with China tells all: We don’t know who the Chinese are or how they think. The Chinese never tell you what they are thinking, even if you are a friend—they only “imply”..

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