Remember Who You Are

To listen to my father, inheriting the Glenn name was a prize to be treasured above all else. Whatever my brother and I did, we were to bring honor to our name. More than that, we were never, ever, under any circumstances to do anything to dishonor the name. I was told I was to do certain things and to NOT do certain things simply because I was a Glenn. It didn’t matter what everyone else did or didn’t do, I was a Glenn. I was different.  I lived with different expectations.

As I listened to my dad, I began to think we were the descendants of European royalty, with castles and kings and stories of great battles. Imagine my disappointment to find out we were just another clan of Scotch-Irish immigrants who wondered from the original colonies through Tennessee and down into Alabama and Mississippi.

But to me, my dad had a name to honor and I believed him. And you know what? It did make a difference. There were times in my life when I kept promises, worked harder, pushed through setbacks for no other reason than I was a Glenn.

Some of the saddest conversations I have are with people who don’t know who they are.  Because they don’t know who they are, they grope through life trying to find the moment or the people who will reveal their identity. How many times have you heard someone say, “I just don’t know who I am.” They aren’t being evasive in their answer. They really don’t know. Perhaps their parents didn’t call out their identity. Or, maybe like the prodigal son, life’s choices have caused a type of existential amnesia.

Some of my more shallow friends will say, “Just look on your driver’s license. Your name is written right there.” True, but the issue is more complicated than that. Truth is, we’re created to be in relationship with Christ and it’s in that relationship that we discover who we are.

Let me make two quick points about the uniqueness of finding your relationship in Christ:

  1. The reality is that Christ names you as a member of the kingdom family. You belong. You have a name. The value of that can’t be overestimated.
  2. The name not only carries your identity, but your destiny.  The name is always aspirational. That is, the name reveals who Christ is calling you to be as well as who you are now.

Abraham wasn’t a father at all when God called him to be the father of a great nation. Peter certainly wasn’t the rock Christ portrayed him to be. Not yet. The name always brings hope that energizes our future.

The Yes of God in Christ brings both our identity and our destiny to us. We’re created on purpose for a purpose. And it can’t be found anywhere else but in Christ.

And the good news? Jesus is eager for you to find it.

Today’s hard question:

  • Do you know who are?
  • If you do, how is your identity guiding your behavior?
  •  If you don’t know who you are, how are going to find out?

You can find a deeper discussion of our identities and destinies in Christ in my book, The Gospel of Yes.

Is Preaching Dead?

I’ve been in the ministry for over 30 years and I can’t tell you how many times someone has come out and said preaching is dead. The experts say, “Standing up in front of people and talking to them is the worst form of communication.”  People are visual now and are unable – or unwilling – to pay attention.

The experts say that sermons must become events… experiences that engage all of the senses.  Videos, sound, internet support, web supported audience participation—and on and on the suggestions go.

Sorry. Count me out. I’m just not buying it. Here’s why: Ask any marketing professional to name the most effective method of getting the word out. Their answer? Word of mouth… one person telling another person about something important they have discovered. Not technology—not unique and creative ads—but one person talking to another person about something that matters.

That’s why people went into the desert to hear John the Baptist. It’s why people came to hear Jesus. It’s still the reason people come today. Somebody is talking about something that matters to me. If a preacher has something to say about something that matters, people will come.

So maybe the problem isn’t preaching, but preachers.

But that’s another question for another blog.

But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!

Romans 10:14-15.

Stewards of our Wives

In the opening chapter of Genesis, I’ve noticed a curious series of events.  First, we’re told Adam is placed in the garden to care for it and tend it. That is, Adam is given the role as steward of God’s creation.  He would have understood that, although he didn’t own the garden, he was responsible for maximizing the potential of the garden.  That’s what stewards do.  They maximize the master’s investment.

Then, a few verses later, Adam is given Eve.  First, God didn’t give Eve to Adam until Adam had a job. (This should be a hint to us.) And, Adam would have received God’s gift of Eve as a steward.  He would have understood his role, his calling, was to maximize the potential God, the Creator had placed in Eve.  Adam was a steward of Eve.

What would happen if we as husbands understood we were stewards of our wives?

  • We would recognize our wives are gifts from God.  Just as God prepared Eve for Adam, Jeannie has been prepared by God for me and your wife for you.
  • We would become experts in our wives, students of everything about them.    If our role is to maximize their potential, we need to understand our wives better than they understand themselves.  We must be able to name their potential if we are to maximize it.
  • Our wives success would be our success.  Husbands would celebrate any success of their wives as their own success.  When our wives have accomplished their God given purpose, we as husbands have accomplished success.
  • We would pray often for our wives.  Every steward has to report is to his master.  To know your wife and then talk about her with the One who made her.
  • We would understand we will be held accountable for our wives.   As God has given our wives to us, one day we will have to give them back.  I want to be her steward who is able to say, “See, you gave me 5 talents.  Now, I’m returning to you 10.”  I can only imagine the moment when the Father and I celebrate all that Jeannie has become.

Husband, what would change in your marriage if you understand your role as a steward of your wife?

Well, change it. Because you are.

Keeping it Real: Ministry to Emerging Adults

Christian Smith, a sociologist at the University of Notre Dame has written extensively about the changing realities of young adults in our postmodern world. His books,  Soul Searching, Souls in Transition and Lost in Transition, have become the standard texts in dealing with this demographic. He practically introduced us to the concept of the emerging adult. According to Smith, we have now added another developmental stage to our human life cycle – the emerging adult. Before this, children became adolescents and adolescents became adults. There were well defined markers that defined these transitions. Starting school, getting your driver’s license and getting married were all events that told the world we were growing up.