Leadership Lessons: Mark Driscoll, Repentance, Choices and the Effects of it All

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If you haven’t been following the Mark Driscoll saga, this post might not make a ton of sense.

Here’s a good synopsis from Owen Strachan:

Some of you have been following the events related to Mark Driscoll’s publishing plan. It’s been a winding affair, but long story short, according to Warren Cole Smith of World Mars Hill Church essentially bought a best-seller spot for a recent Driscoll book. It was found out, controversy ensued (on the blogosphere, of all places), and Driscoll publicly issued a statement of repentance related not only to book-writing but his general demeanor and leadership. Ray Ortlund just wrote up a short blog post on Driscoll’s repentance that you should read.

I don’t know all that happened, but as this was unfolding, I was preaching a series on the life of Samson, leadership and manhood. I gave a sermon on how we are all one choice away from wrecking our lives the week that this blew up. As a pastor, leader, husband, father and man, it was sobering. As a pastor in Acts 29, I’ve always appreciated Mark Driscoll. This blog isn’t about what happened, if it’s true or what Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll should do moving forward. They will figure it out.

What I do want to point out is what a situation like this has taught me and what it can teach other leaders:

  1. Every choice matters. And every choice affects the next one. This is easy to forget when you live life, especially at the pace we live at. Something that you say in a meeting, counseling session, or sermon can ripple into something that happens 3 years from now. There really is no situation that is off on its own.
  2. Repentance and humility are always good. When you wrong someone, apologize. Humble yourself to say you are wrong. Church planters are not good at this because by nature, many of us are type A, driven, entrepreneurial leaders. This is good, but also leads many of us to step on people and hurt the ones we are called to shepherd and lead. When that happens, make amends. I’m thankful for the repentance Mark Driscoll has shown as a leader and pastor in this letter to his church.
  3. Every leader needs to answer to someone. Pastor, elder, deacon, missional community leader, whoever. Everyone needs to answer to someone. Everyone needs someone who can call them on the carpet in their life. Too many pastors do not have this. Too many pastors are not in a small group or missional community (and don’t tell me your elder team is your small group), they answer to no one.
  4. Everything is public now. In the age of social media, youtube, and everything else, all your reactions, comments, thoughts, body language can be made public and last forever. The moment you forget this, disaster easily strikes. This also pertains to the bloggers throwing lots and lots of mud as if it is your job to police Mars Hill and its elders. It is sad to watch how unhelpful many people are online talking about how great it would be if this is the end of Mark Driscoll as a pastor, that doesn’t move the gospel forward or is it helpful to anyone. And sadly, those opinions are public and will last forever.
  5. Be a pastor first. Mark Driscoll talked about how he is canceling speaking engagements, pulling back on social media (although his team will tweet for him) and writing books to focus on being a pastor, husband and father. This is a healthy example for younger pastors. Many of pastors dream of speaking at conferences, writing books, being known outside of their church. Many are gifted and God has called them to this, but if God has called you to be a pastor first, give your best to that. Don’t mix it up.
  6. Watch your heart first. Many people question the validity of Driscoll’s heart, motives and if he is sincere. I don’t know and neither do they. Too many get caught up in playing the Holy Spirit and saying what someone means, if they are sincere or right. Too many bloggers are the theology police and it creates too many divisions in Christianity. Stop calling people heretics and making lists of people to avoid and work on your heart first. Yes, warn people you shepherd about heretics, but build up the church in the process of doing that, don’t tear it down.
  7. You are always one choice away from losing it all. As I said in my sermon on Samson and in this post on leadership and moral failure, you are only one choice away from losing it all. People who wreck their lives do not do it in one choice, they do it in several choices over a period of time. Samson took 52,000 steps from his house to wreck his life. 52,000 chances to change his direction and his mind, yet he didn’t. He kept walking.

For me, moments like these are incredibly helpful to check my heart, my motives and my leadership. They serve as a great reminder of how fragile what I do is.

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Failing Forward

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Sunday is the last week of our series FightIt has been an incredible 5 weeks looking at the life of Samson and seeing the battles that men fight and how to beat them.

Sunday, we will look at Judges 16:22 – 31 and see one of the major battles of every man: the fear of failure. 

Failure, not measuring up, not making enough, not being all that you hope to be, not being man enough, or strong enough paralyzes many men. This fear keeps them from living the life God has called them to live.

Think for a minute about this: what would your life be like without fear, without regret, without being afraid that you won’t be enough or become enough, or being weighed down by past fear or failures?

That’s what we’ll unpack this week.

If you or someone you know struggles with fear, a fear of failure or struggles to move forward from past failure or hurt, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Getting this up a little later than normal
  • I’m trying out a new Monday morning (post-preaching) routine
  • If it works like I hope it will, I’ll blog about it
  • Yesterday was a rough sermon to give
  • I like to to preach sermons that are more exciting, uplifting and challenging
  • Preaching on Samson from Judges 16 is such a cautionary tale to look at
  • But yet so important because no one thinks they will do anything to wreck their lives
  • But, you are always one choice away from wrecking your life
  • If you missed yesterday at Revolution, you can listen to it here
  • It was heartbreaking talking to people after church yesterday and hearing story after story of how someone wrecked their life and they got caught in it
  • Heartbreaking
  • We had our newcomer’s lunch yesterday
  • Love hearing how new people find our church and how excited they are about Revolution
  • I talked to a church planter this morning that is in the hard season of planting, that season that seems dreary and it seems like nothing is working or growing
  • It was a good reminder to enjoy the seasons of growth
  • And that both seasons are evidences of God’s grace
  • So excited for the next series at Revolution called All In
  • Can’t wait to spend 4 weeks looking at how the world, a city, a neighborhood, a family and a person are changed
  • Simply by one person going All In
  • Shared about one of the best leadership books I’ve read over the weekend
  • If you are a leader, you need to check it out
  • Taking Katie to look at a photographer’s gallery tonight
  • Pretty excited about how she is opening up to use her gifts and creativity in this area
  • Love seeing that blossom in her and how many people want her to take their pictures
  • Always exciting when other people think your spouse is as awesome as you think they are
  • Going to support some friends and their adoption fundraiser tonight at Chick Fil-A
  • If you can, come out to the one at El Con Mall from 5-7 and help them bring their 2 sweet little girls home from the Congo
  • Landed on what I think will be an awesome series to kick the fall off
  • We’re going to do a series on objections and complaints people have about Christianity called Why I’m Not a Christian
  • Going to hit some hard and controversial topics
  • Should be fun
  • Time to get to it
  • Til next time…
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You Are One Choice Away from Wrecking Your Life

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Only 2 weeks left in our series Fight and you don’t want to miss either of them.

As we continue this week and look at Judges 16:1 – 22 we see how our choices matter. Most of us make decisions everyday: what to eat, who to spend time with, what to buy, what shows or movies to watch, what to read or what websites to visit. We make these decisions often with very little thought about how they will affect our lives.

Yet, every choice impacts another choice.

Which leads us to a simple truth that we will unpack this Sunday: you are one choice away from wrecking your life. 

The question is, how close are you to that choice?

If you or someone you know struggles with making right choices in their life or keeping boundaries in their life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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When You Manipulate Your Husband, You Lose Him

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Over time in a relationship, couples fall into typical roles. They learn how to push each other’s buttons. They learn how to control the other, how to manipulate situations to get what they want and ultimately, how to win. This might be through force, silent treatment, being on edge, yelling, withholding sex, controlling the money or the schedule.

Men do this. Women do this.

I’ll post another time about how men do this, but for today, I want to focus on how many wives manipulate their husband and the consequences of that manipulation.

Right now I’m preaching a series through the life of Samson at Revolution Church. While the series is geared towards men, there is a ton in it for women. Like this:

And in three days they could not solve the riddle. On the fourth day they said to Samson’s wife, “Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me; you do not love me. You have put a riddle to my people, and you have not told me what it is.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” She wept before him the seven days that their feast lasted, and on the seventh day he told her, because she pressed him hard. Then she told the riddle to her people. -Judges 14:14b – 17

Samson tells a riddle to the Philistines, who are ruling over the nation of Israel. He makes a bet that they can’t figure it out.

They can’t.

So, the Philistines go to Samson’s Philistine fiance and tell her to find out the answer, so they don’t look foolish.

This passage shows a few things about men and women and their default sins under stress. Samson wants to win at all costs. Samson wants to avoid looking foolish at all costs.

His fiance makes the go to move that every woman uses, and uses a lot in marriage, manipulation. 

She wept before Samson for 7 days. She nagged, complained, gave him the silent treatment.

And in the end, she won.

But she lost Samson.

Every time you manipulate your husband, you lose him. 

You may not lose him to divorce, but you lose a piece of him. Trust is damaged. He begins to wonder if you are just using him. He begins to wonder if you have his best interest at heart or if you are out for yourself, your kids or someone else (maybe your mother, his mother-in-law). He wonders if you will fight for your marriage. He wonders what will happen the next time you don’t get your way.

It might be you stop talking to him, stop responding to him sexually, withhold information, give him cold stares, talk in passive aggressive tones, make snide remarks towards him.

Men will acquiesce all kinds of things for peace and the path of less resistance.

So, while many women “win” and get their way through manipulation, much like Samson’s fiance. They lose their husband and a piece of their marriage every time.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • What a week
  • Yesterday was one of those sermons that is hard to preach but is part of the series because it is the next passage
  • This can be one of the blessings and curses of expository preaching
  • I preached on the riddle Samson told in Judges 14-15
  • I’ve been loving the deep dive we are doing into the life of Samson
  • Definitely challenging me as a man
  • If you missed yesterday, you can listen to it here
  • I announced yesterday that we have hired a search firm to help us find the right leader
  • So excited about what this means for Revolution Church
  • I was asked why we’re hiring a search firm and the answer is simple, “This position is too important to get this hire wrong”
  • We have needed a full-time, high capacity leader in Planet Rev for a couple of years
  • I’m so grateful for Jennifer Ingram and the team she leads and how they have gotten us to this point
  • I also love seeing the excitement among the leaders of Planet Rev about the possibility of what this leader will bring to our church and the families we serve
  • Please add this to your prayer list
  • And if you or someone you know should be considered for this role, please let me know
  • I am really excited about the next series at Revolution called All In
  • We’re going to spend the 4 weeks leading up to Easter looking at how to change the world and make your one and only life count
  • I’m hopeful I can get back to doing Crossfit this week
  • Definitely have missed that over the past week after my procedure
  • Last monday I got a vasectomy, so that totally changed how I normally do things
  • Hopeful that this week will be more normal and routine
  • I like my routine
  • If you are a leader, I recently read two books you have to add to your list: People Pleasing Pastors by Charles Stone and Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly by Mike Myatt
  • Both books are off the charts good and are easily the two best books I’ve read so far this year
  • My agent is meeting with a publisher today about the next step in the process for my book
  • Say a prayer as this is an important meeting
  • This step has been over two years in the making and I’m so excited about how close it is
  • Love all the excited and reports I heard about Rev Up’s disciple now weekend
  • Mike is doing an awesome job with our students
  • Say a prayer for me, I’m starting to work on my Easter message this week
  • Excited for it
  • We’re kicking off a series that day called Change and will look at the things we long to change but why we never do
  • I’m praying it is a series that frees people up to find life, not a list of rules
  • If you’re curious, we’ll be going through Galatians for Change
  • Time to get to it
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The One Question Every Man (and Woman) Must Answer

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So far, Fight has been incredible as we have looked at the battles every man (and woman) fight to live the life God created them to live. If you missed either of the first two weeks, you can listen to them here and here.

This week, we will be looking at the the one question every man (and woman) must answer. 

In Judges 14:11 – 15:20 (which you can look at if you want to read ahead), we see what drives Samson. All of us, whether we realize it or not, are driven by something. It might be a past memory or hurt, it might be a parent we want to please or be better than, it might be a spouse we want to make happy, it might be kids or a teacher we want to be proud of us. For many, it is their emotions that drive their decisions, habits, relationships and how they spend their money and time.

If we aren’t careful, we allow the wrong things to drive us.

Here’s one way to know:

When you look at your life and don’t like where something is? It might be your finances, school, career, a relationship, weight or your whole life. In that moment, if something is not where you think it should be, you have answered the one question incorrectly. You have allowed something other than Jesus to drive your life.

But it isn’t too late!

If you or someone you know struggles with answering this one question incorrectly, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

(I also have a really exciting announcement about the future of Revolution Church and Planet Rev, our kids ministry, that you don’t want to miss!)

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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Monday Morning Mind Dump…

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  • Yesterday was off the charts at Revolution
  • This series on manhood has simply been one of my favorite series, although Beautiful was a close second
  • Yesterday I preached on the battle we fight against sin, temptation, negative emotions and addictions
  • I’m blown away by the example that Samson is for us of what not to do
  • Loved all the conversations I had afterward as people continued to wrestle with things
  • I think for many people, the pain of being chained to something is so great, they just feel like they can’t move forward
  • Always shake my head at the guy who tells me porn isn’t a temptation
  • Let’s say that’s possible
  • If you missed it, you can listen to it here
  • I also have a long list of books, websites and other helpful things here to help you fight temptation and sin in your life
  • Not overly sad that the Olympics are ending
  • We barely watched any of them
  • I’m a bigger fan of the summer ones
  • It also means we are canceling our cable until the NFL rolls around again
  • For the first time since starting Crossfit, I’m taking a week off from lifting this week
  • It will be interesting to see how my heart and emotions deal with it, but I think it will also be good for my body
  • I have my next coaching appointment this week with Brian Howard
  • I’m already seeing the payoff to this
  • Pastors, if you don’t have a coach, you should get one
  • Started a book over the weekend that you should read if you are a pastor
  • It’s called People Pleasing Pastors
  • Good heart work for pastors
  • I can’t remember if I said this last week, but I’m going to Indonesia for 8 days this summer
  • Really excited about how that will change my viewpoint
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How to Not be Bitter When Your Prayer Isn’t Answered How You Like

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On a regular basis, either in my life or in a conversation with someone the idea of prayers come up, specifically prayers not being answered in the time we set forth or the way that we want.

This is a crossroads everyone gets to. Maybe you pray for something to happen in your spouse, to get a spouse and nothing. It might be a child and you see no movement. A pastor prays for his church to grow and it is shrinks.

These are difficult moments.

They remind we aren’t in control.

They also lead us to a choice: will we continue to trust God or will we become bitter.

There is an interesting verse in the story of Samson in chapter 14:4, it happens so quickly that you can easily read right past it:

His father and mother did not know that it was from the Lord, for he was seeking an opportunity against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

Samson was sinning and doing the exact opposite of what his parents wanted him to and he was breaking God’s law. This is so heart wrenching to watch when a loved one wrecks their life. You feel helpless.

There is a crucial phrase that we can miss, that Samson, his father and mother were unaware of what God was doing and how God would work in this, in spite of Samson’s sin.

One author said, “What we don’t know may prove to be our deepest comfort.”

Maybe the prayer you are praying is not ready to be answered the way you want. Maybe it will never be answered the way you want. That doesn’t mean God is not listening or God does not care. Often, I find that when prayers are not answered how I want, it causes me to grow in ways I would not have chosen.

At that crossroads, we still have a choice: will we continue to trust God or will we become bitter.

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When You Do the Exact Opposite of What You Want to Do

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Last week, we kicked off Fight and it was an incredible first week to our man series. If you missed it, you can listen to it here.

This week, we will once again look at the life of Samson and see from Judges 14:1 – 10 why we often do the exact opposite of what we want to do and why that is. Why many struggle to let go of negative emotions, why we fail to beat addictions and sins and why so many of us feel chained to something that controls us.

On a weekly basis I will have heartbreaking conversation after conversation that goes like this:

  • I can’t stop buying things I can’t afford.
  • I can’t stop eating.
  • I can’t stop looking in the mirror.
  • I can’t stop thinking about that woman or man.
  • I can’t stop looking at porn.
  • I can’t stop getting angry.
  • I can’t stop being not trusting people.
  • I can’t stop trusting people too soon.
  • I can’t be alone.
  • I can’t let go of that person.
  • I can’t stop hating that person.
  • I can’t trust my spouse.
  • I can’t give myself to my spouse.
  • I can’t stop sleeping with my boyfriend.

At the end, they will look at me (often with tears in their eyes) and say, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be free from this?”

That’s what we’ll answer this week.

If you or someone you know struggles with a sin, addiction, temptation or being able to live a free life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution (seriously, how we are ending the service is going to be so powerful you don’t want to miss it).

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

 
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