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the homogeneous local church

A couple of years ago a friend told me that they didn’t like what was happening in America. They weren’t making a political statement so much as it was simply a statement about sameness. They were frustrated that no matter where they went in America there seemed to be the same big box retail stores, the same fast food joints, the same home improvement stores, the same clothing stores, everywhere they turned there just seemed to be more of the same. There has been a lot of contributing factors along the way, not the least of which are technology, sociology, some good marketing, and a void of critical thinking and leadership. But the real problem is that this sameness has crept into the church. In response to this issue of sameness, Howard Hendricks said it this way, “If you’re just like somebody else, we don’t need you.” The Scriptures would teach us that the beauty of the Body of Christ, His Bride, the Church is that we are not the same and it is in our uniqueness that we need each other to be and do something together that we could never be or do alone. So how do we avoid homogony? In an age when anywhere America looks the same as anywhere else America, how do we avoid sameness in the local church? Here are a couple questions that may get you going in the right direction.

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Posted in Leadership

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What Jesus had to say to Church Leaders and why it should Freak us out…Part-2

Here are a few humbling things that Jesus had to say to the synagogue leaders of the day. Not to women at wells, people possessed by demons, men born blind or whose bodies were with crippled with leprosy or even women caught in the very act of adultery, but to the religious leaders. As church leaders today in an ever increasing busy ministry world you and I would do well to slow down for a moment and drink in these comments deeply, ponder them and allow the Spirit of God to teach and correct us.

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Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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the quality vs quantity time myth

In his book Revolutionary Parenting, George Barna writes the following:

“Millions of parents have accepted the idea that they have to make a choice. They must either give up careers and self-fulfillment and spend a lot of time with their children, or spend limited but deeply enriching time with them while maintaining the same level of vocational involvement. Over the past 15 years, various studies have shown that this switch has diminished the impact of parents. And the lie about the choice involved has hurt both parents and children, leaving a large proportion of young adults feeling as if they were not adequately parented and a shockingly high number feeling that they lacked a father figure in their lives. In fact, when we asked young adults what they felt were the most significant mistakes that America’s parents have made, the second highest ranked mistake was not spending enough time with their children.”

“The typical American family registers less than 15 minutes of direct parent-child conversation each day.”

In today’s fast paced world most parents are stuck doing their best imitation of a taxi cab driver.  They’re escorting their children from one event to the next, pounding down some fast food, chatting it up on their cell phone, and dropping french fries under the seats that will be petrified by the time the minivan gets cleaned 2 months later.  There is the revolving door at home where things seem more like Grand Central Station than a home at times. And oh yea, all while mom and dad are trying to advance in their career and let’s not forget trying to carve out a little time for some romance. Things just don’t seem so romantic now after rattling off a list like that. At that breakneck pace, how relationally deep can anyone go with their kids? While we don’t always do this right by any stretch of the imagination, the following are some examples of what has worked well in the Alexander house.

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Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation

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Kate McRae

Kate_McRae

On Monday, June 29, 2009 I received a phone call from Aaron McRae, a friend of mine that I work with at Cornerstone Chandler. His daughter Kate, who was 5 years old at the time, had just been admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and been diagnosed with brain cancer. It’s so bizarre to think that just the night before their kids were over so Holly and Aaron could go out on a date. Kate and my daughter Kennedy were set to begin Kindergarten together in the fall…man, how everything can change with a simple phone call. Together we drove to the hospital, and I tried to make small talk to keep his mind off of what we were about to walk into. We soon would find out the road that was in front of the McRae family. For the past 10 months Kate and her family have battled through an experimental treatment plan that has included brain surgery, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, stem cell transplant therapy (her own cells), and now radiation in Houston. I’ve been honored to walk each step of the way with my friends as they’ve continued to live this moment in an absolute Christ like fashion. I’ve wondered if I’d respond as well if the moment were mine… For those of you who are unfamiliar with Kate’s story you can follow along here.

On May the 4th at 6:30pm my wife is hosting a Pampered Chef Party in honor of the McRae family. The Pampered Chef Rep for the party, Trudy Maples, has donated 100% of her commission to the McRae family and the Hostess benefits are being donated to Holly McRae to allow her to order much needed supplies for her kitchen. Thankfully the McRae family has been receiving meals cooked by others since July of 2009. However, Holly has mentioned that she is looking forward to cooking again for the family once they return from treatment in Houston and getting back to some sense of normalcy.

If this is something that you would like to participate in you can order online here. Just make sure that when you are placing an order that you type in Lisa Alexander as the host so that the McRae’s will receive the benefits! While many have contributed in various ways to bless Kate over the past year, this is something that we can do together to bless Holly.


Posted in Family, Spiritual Formation

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What we can learn from crisis

Truck_crash_2

This past weekend I was sitting in a line of traffic waiting for a train to pass, innocently counting the cars on the train when WHAM!!! Once I gathered my wits about me I realized that I had just been hit. I pulled off to the side of the road and the gentleman in the giant tank of a brand new Tahoe that just plowed into me came up to check on me (very polite of him). Later that day the insurance adjuster made it over to the auto shop that the truck had been towed to and what we had speculated about became reality. He told me that it was totaled. He said that the vehicle did exactly what it was designed to do in a moment like that, protect the driver and passengers by absorbing the shock of the impact. With a speed limit of 45mph, and no skid marks, the back of my truck crinkled up like used wrapping paper from my daughters’ 5th birthday party which happened later that evening. It’s interesting to me that they design vehicles these days to absorb the shock of the impact of an accident, and fortunately for me they do.

That statement the insurance adjuster made, that I was lucky the truck did what it was designed to do in the accident made me think, among other things, about crisis. Specifically that you and I can learn a lot about ourselves, the people around us, and the organizations that we lead in a moment of crisis. Here are a couple of thoughts that may help.

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Posted in Family, Leadership, Spiritual Formation