Two Great Lies You’ve Been Told

The first lie is: “You can be anything that you want to be…” Well, no you can’t. I live in Nashville, TN. There are a lot of people who have moved to Music City because somebody told them they could sing. And they can sing—to a point.

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But they can’t sing well enough to get a record deal. The sad thing is they would do anything to have a career in music, but it’s not going to happen. Sometimes, it’s not a matter of wanting it. You have to have the talent, the natural giftedness. If you don’t have the talent, it’s not going to happen. It’s just that simple.

And this happens in all kinds of careers. I have a friend who just signed to play football with a major university. He’s 6’8” and he weighs about 300 pounds. I would give anything to have been able to play football, but, believe it or not, I’m just too small and too slow.

Desire can do a lot of things, but it can’t make you faster.

This leads to the second big lie we’re told: “You can be anything you want to be if you’re willing to work hard.” Well, again, no you can’t. Like I said, standing next to my friend celebrating as he signed a football scholarship was a powerful reminder that no matter how hard I worked I wouldn’t grow taller or faster.

It’s the same feeling I get when I hear some of my friends play and sing great music. No matter how hard I try and no matter how hard I work, I’ll never be able to play like that.

The bad news is this: we’re human, and as humans, we’re limited.

Now, here’s the good news: we can be everything Christ created us to be.

All of us have gifts. All of us have talents. All of us were created on purpose for a purpose in God’s kingdom. Now, here’s the best news of all. When you realize that and find the great purpose for which you were created, you’ll find something that brings you the greatest joy you’ve ever known. In fact, it’s what you would have wanted if you had known to want it in the first place.

No, we can’t be anything we want to be. We can be everything we were created to be. We can be everything God wants us to be…which is exactly what we should want in the first place.

Eyes That Can See

I have a friend who is a very gifted visual artist. He uses all kinds of materials to make the most interesting pieces. For instance, hanging over his couch is a brilliant metal sunburst. When you look closer, you realize the sculpture is made from old lawn mower blades. That’s right. Lawn mower blades.

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Now, who looks at an old lawn mower blade and sees sunshine? My friend does.

Artists have a different way of looking at things. Sure, they see things as they are, but they also see how things can be. Then, with their artistic work, they help us see. Great leaders have the same ability, just in a different way. They see things as they are, but they can also see how things can be. Then, they help us see the same thing.

Sadly, too many of us have chosen to live our lives at a speed where everything has become a blur. We literally can’t see what or who is right around us. They go by too fast. We just blow right by these people and moments every day of our lives. We never see them at all.

We never see the receptionist in our office.
We never see the server who brings us our food.
We never see the people in traffic around us.
We never see our neighbor who lives next door to us.
We never see our children…or our spouse…

We never see them because we never take the time to look—I mean, really LOOK. We never hear their stories. We never see their pain. We never know what’s going on with them because we’re too busy moving on to the next thing. We’re so busy looking at all of the suffering in the world, we never pay attention to the suffering that’s right around us.

The person who needs you most is closer than you think. The place you’re called to do Christ’s Kingdom work is right under your feet. The only thing we need is for Christ to heal our eyes so we can see. Yes, see things as they are, but also see how they can be if we just add His grace and power.

Why I’m Stepping Down from Kairos

Eleven years ago, a group of single adults took me to lunch to pitch an idea for an evening of worship for young adults. They had demographic studies, growth trends, and model services from other cities; it was a very impressive meeting. Of course, I told them I would help get it started, but I didn’t have time to do it.

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Famous last words…

Eleven years later, I’m still spending every Tuesday night teaching several hundred young adults who gather at Kairos. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love these young adults. I love their rawness, their honesty, and their courage. Of all of the things I’ve had the chance to be part of, Kairos has to be one of the highlights of my ministry.

But things change, and Kairos is changing. There is a different and exciting future for Kairos. I can see that future, but I’m just not the one to get Kairos there. There are several reasons for this.

  1. My life has changed. We’ve moved my mom to Nashville, and I’m responsible for her care.
  2. The Middle Tennessee Initiative means Brentwood Baptist Church has 5 campuses, and we’ll be adding more campuses in the near future. This will demand more and more of my attention and time.
  3. There is a generation of Millennials coming into Kairos, and I’m separated from them by almost 3 generations. I don’t understand the world they live in—not like I should to effectively teach them well.

For the last several months, I’ve been sensing Kairos was coming to a necessary time of transition. I talked with friends I trust, and my thoughts were confirmed. Confident of God’s leading, I asked the leadership of our church to initiate a search for the new Kairos pastor. I’m glad to write that Chris Brooks joined our staff in December. He’s going to bring a lot of good things to Kairos.

And he’s different than I am. Of course he is! The whole point was to find a different style of leadership and teaching that could bring Kairos to a new future. He has skills, experiences, and gifts I don’t have. That’s why we called him to come! Already, in big and small ways, I’ve seen his leadership and pastoral leadership confirmed. I’m confident we’ve made the right decision in bringing Chris to Kairos.

I’ll still be around. I’ll be teaching from time to time and counseling the Kairos team as they need me. I’m still committed to Kairos and its success. I just won’t be involved in the day to day ministry.

This has been my decision and mine alone. I made this decision because of my great love for Kairos. It’s time for you to fly. You’re ready, and I’m going to be your biggest fan…

Kairos, you will never know how much you mean to me.

I do love you, guys. God’s best to you all.

Mike

What if You’re Already There?

For some reason, most of us grow up thinking that all of the good stuff happens somewhere else. I grew up in Huntsville, and when I was in Huntsville, everything was happening in Birmingham. When I went to school in Birmingham, all of the good stuff had moved to Atlanta.

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Why is it that the good stuff is always happening somewhere else?

Maybe it’s not. Let’s face it. We’re all creatures of habit. We drive the same way to work, take the same elevator to our office, and buy our coffee at the same shop. Because we’re doing these things out of habit, we don’t really pay attention to what’s going on around us.

For instance, the waitress at your favorite restaurant—what’s her name?
Your bank tellers—what are their names?
The clerks at your dry cleaners—do you know their names?

See what I mean? We have all kinds of people around us every day. We just don’t see them. We don’t pay attention to them. We don’t recognize the circumstances around us where God is working. We just aren’t that aware.

So, what if?
What if you’re already at the place God wants you to be?
What if you already know the people God wants you to reach?

What if you’re already there—but you just don’t see it?

Living sent means being aware of where you are and who’s around you. Who knows? You might already be exactly where God wants you to be.