Archive | February 2014

Preparing for Gathered Worship: Put on Love


If we are to worship God in a way that honors Him, we must first be in Christ, resting in His righteousness alone, trusting in Him alone for our acceptance before God. But we must also, as people called by His name, put on love.

In Colossians 3:12–15 Paul tells us:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:36), He did not say: “Know all that you can know about God so you can understand and explain all the great mysteries.” He did not say: “Have great faith so you faith can move mountains.” He did not say: “Give all that you have to feed the poor” or “be willing to die a martyr’s death in the fire.”

Note what Jesus did say:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).

Love to God and love to one another is what should mark us out as followers of Christ.

We should love God supremely—with every part of our being—all of our heart and soul and mind and strength. And we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus concludes: “On these two commands hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It is our love for one another in the body of Christ that identifies us as disciples of Jesus. Jesus told his disciples:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

This love is manifest in numerous ways. It exults and celebrates with those who are rejoicing. It reaches out with compassion and hope to those who are struggling. It offers encouragement to those who are discouraged and weighed down. It shares in both joys and sufferings, in trials as well as triumphs. It pursues with discipline those who have strayed and turned down bad paths. It admits wrongs, seeks forgiveness and accepts with open arms those who repent and seek reconciliation.

Jesus sets our priority on love.

This is what He taught Moses, when He gave His law on Mount Sinai. It is what He lived out when He perfectly fulfilled His law and went to the cross to die for desperate, needy sinners. It is what He taught His disciples:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another (John 15:9-17)

As we prepare for worship, we must put on love. Without love—it does not matter how well we go through the motions or say the right words. Without love—it does not matter how good we sound in our prayers and our singing and our preaching. Without love we are a sounding brass and a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13).


The Jar


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember this story about a jar and a cup of coffee.

A professor at a Christian college stood before his philosophy class with several items in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They nodded their approval.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled in the gaps. He asked once more if the jar was full and the students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced a cup of coffee from under the table and poured the contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

“The golf balls are the important things–God, your family, your children, your health and your friends–things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the material things that you think matter and we seem to be so consumed by, like your job, your house and your car.

“The sand is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

“The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Have a close walk with God. Play with your children. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

“Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”

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5 Observations on being innovative (at an organizational level)

Khan's Blog

A typical organizational analysis entails observing the organization from the strategic, political and cultural lenses encompassing people, processes and technologies. While these lenses are useful in understanding the workings of an organization, they are not sufficient for an organization to be innovative. To be innovative, organizations need to have a constant flow of ideas that are generated, captured and then shared smoothly up/down and horizontally across the organization.  These ideas can potentially turn into products and/or services and thus propel the organization forward and keep them ahead of the competition.

In this blog post, I will focus on how to generate ideas for your organization and introduce a term I coined the Innovation DiversityLens. The basis of this lens emerges from the fact that given the right environment, diversity of people and ideas can lead to innovation. So how does an organization generate ideas? Well, I am glad…

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