One of the most iconic movies of my generation is ‘The Karate Kid’. It’s not just a good martial arts movie; it’s just a great film. The film shows us the life of Daniel, who is a kid who finds himself in a new high school, which comes with a new breed a bullies. Daniel’s situation grows so bad that the maintenance man of his apartment complex, Mr Miyagi, offers to take Daniel-san under his wing and train him in karate.
Daniel shows up excited to learn. His excitement quickly dissipates when he finds out that his training will begin after he does some chores. Daniel’s would-be mentor has him sand his back deck, wash and wax his car, and paint his fence. After three days of hard work and no training, Daniel has had enough. He confronts Mr Miyagi about the lack of training. Just as Daniel is about to walk away from everything, the wise old mentor asks Daniel to do all of the motions that he had over the last three days; painting the fence, sanding the floor, and famously wax on, wax off. With little warning, Mr Miyagi begins to throws kicks and punches at Daniel-san, who instinctively begins to throw near perfect blocks, deflecting the attacks.
Turns out, he had been training this whole time.
I think God is a lot like Mr Miyagi some times. Continue reading
The other night, I had the chance to go to a dueling piano bar with some colleagues. Here’s how the whole thing works: there are two piano players who take requests. They go back and forth taking the lead on playing these songs. Usually they both play during a song, but sometimes one will take a break.
There were some great lessons in leadership that I watched on display there, and I wanted to share them with you. Continue reading
Church leaders face a big struggle when it comes to revitalization of their congregations. 90% of churches are either in decline or stagnant, which means only 10% of churches are growing. Many churches (and, if we’re being honest, church leaders too) want simple solutions to make the process of turning around a decline quick and painless. But the reality is that revitalizing a church will take time. It may be helpful to think about the process of revitalization as the process of “eating an elephant”.
When I was in ROTC, I remember an instructor asking our class of cadets (who had noticeably become frustrated by our perceived lack of progress) a seemingly absurd question: How do you eat an elephant?
I remember being asked what I would do if ‘they found the body of Christ’. Like, the physical body of Christ. Would I switch faiths? Have no faith? And so on. Truthfully, it’s going to be hard to convince me you found THE body of Christ, so this is largely a hypothetical exercise. But it is a worth while exercise.
What is the greatest challenge to your faith? What would be the greatest challenge to your belief in God? If you were to ever stop being a Christian, what would cause it?