This Blog Has a New Home…

I recently decided to disconnect the good name of The Bridge from the nonsensical rantings and postings of its lead pastor…

Real Tim Dunn is the result

If you did follow Bridge Blog please transfer over, subscribe, and continue to connect with me at the new site

If you are new to blogging or reading blogs I can think of no better bless to begin filling your google reader than at “real tim dunn” (lol)

If all of this is new and pointless to you please disregard the shameless self promotion and know that I appreciate you stopping by

i started off with two posts at the new site:

“my city”  and “why NASCAR as soccer are the same”

I intend to leave up the archives of Bridge Blog for a while, but all new posts will be at the new site

BIG thanks to Jeff Flowers for the new design work

grace and peace-

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Brian Tome @ Injoy Stewardship Conference

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This was the first time I had the opportunity to hear Brian speak…really strong stuff

The Art of Raising

Give everything away…capitalism runs against the values of the church and kingdom

You don’t serve people well by not asking them to do something difficult

Vision is recession proof…because no body wants their life to matter for nothing

1.  Lift the Weight of Spiritual Development

-spiritual development and financial giving are irrevocably connected

-it is the thermometer and the thermostat

-money is the fulcrum point of spiritual development…especially in america

-be known for being a great giving church

-the church is not a capitalist enterprise, it is a kingdom enterprise

2. Develop a Culture…Don’t Raise a Budget

-tithe and beyond as a leader (whatever you do sets culture)

-finances and giving should be in your regular preaching schedule

-give first time giver letters (thank them!)

-check on your leader’s giving

-do a year end celebration, or a year end ask

-paint a picture of the local church as the infrastructure for world change…captivate the imagination by being focused and specific on projects

-most people are clueless about how to be philanthropic…teach them

3. Give Yourself Grace

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John Maxwell @ Injoy Stewardship Conference

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“Put Your Dream to the Test”

“The more valid reasons you have to achieve your vision increases the odds you will”

Questions to ask myself about my vision…

1.  The Ownership Question (Is my dream really my dream?)

-all great visions have an owner

-am I a believer in my vision or a buyer? (you don’t own what you haven’t bought)

-if you bought it, you will be willing to bet on yourself

-go no further if you cannot answer yes

2. The Passion Question (Am I excited about what I am doing?)

-passion is a great energizer…i have never known a passionate person who lacked energy

-passion sets someone apart because the world is full of passionless people

-if you cannot get excited about where you are, you will not get excited about where you are going

3. The Cost Question (Am I willing to pay the price for my dream?)

-vision that is not realized is always about cost

-in the beginning dreams are free

-4 things to know about price:

*you will pay sooner than you think

*you will pay more than you think

*you will have to pay more than once (if you are good…only the lazy and ineffective pay once)

*it is possible to pay to high a price (marriage/family/health/values)

4. The Tenacity Question (Am I moving closer to my vision?)

-every time you stop your resources will stop

-remember that God gives resources to vision

-as I move toward vision, resources will move toward me

-you don’t fulfill vision, you are faithful to it

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My Long Leadership Journey

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Yesterday our staff at The Bridge spent the day at Crossroads for  the Injoy Stewardship Challenge and had the opportunity to hear from John Maxwell and Brian Tome.  (lead and founding pastor of Crossroads)

Anytime I get the opportunity to be around men who lead, and have led for a long time I feel challenged as a man, pastor, and leader.  Our executive pastor, Jeff Flowers had a great post about the conference, and talked about it “recalibrating” his leadership.

I have to admit that I have been in deep need of a leadership recalibration…the addition of two additional staff members at The Bridge has helped tremendously, but the conference yesterday really served as a major turn of the dial for me.

I have spent a good amount of time at The Bridge as the solo lead pastor.  It is a circumstance that I strongly caution against when I talk to church planters, and men who feel they may be called to plant a church.  Beyond the lack of push back, the lack of accountability, and simply being very lonely, the danger of burnout and a willingness to give vision away for peace is a ever present threat.

Maxwell started out by talking about vision and dreams in the first session yesterday.  He started by saying the more valid reasons you have for your dream coming to fruition the more likely it is to occur.  He proceeded by talking about the ownership question…is my dream really my dream? He said it was the pinnacle question for a leader…the one on which his or her dream hangs.  The notes were…

-All great visions have an owner

-Am I a believer of my vision, or a buyer?

(You don’t own what you haven’t bought.  He went on to use the example of a rental car, saying you never stop to wash and wax a rental, because it isn’t yours.  You therefore do not care about the treatment it receives from you)

-If you own your vision you will be willing to bet on yourself!

The following questions were about passion, a willingness to pay the price, and tenacity.  Each could not be answered in the affirmative unless the ownership question was a resounding yes.

I have to admit the point was a painful but profound turning of the dial for me.  The Bridge has experienced so many changes, with so many transitions and difficult decisions.  I had honestly come to the place that I had begun to question many things…had been willing to let some vision go in the name of humility, or for the sake of peace…I had begun to fudge on the ownership question.

Maxwell said that if you have bought your vision no one, no one, no one will be able to talk you out of it.  There have been times this was true of me…but not lately…and I needed to be reminded of it.

A vision that is rented will lack passion, lack tenacity, be expected to carry a low price, and ultimately fail.  It is the mistake of many church planters who either attempt to transplant the vision of another church, or attempt to plant a church alone.

In God’s incredible goodness to me He has seen fit to add two men into my life and leadership at The Bridge.  What He is teaching me, and how He is tooling me is a great reminder to me about His redemptive plans for The Bridge and for our city.  I praise Him for this, and trust He will continue to be kind to me as I seek to grow as a leader.

I plan on posting the notes from the conference over the next couple of days.  Please check them out and let me know what you think.

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With love for AO

Shout out to our new Discipleship Pastor, Alan Oliver…

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Michael Vick: Faith or Football?

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Yesterday Michael Vick was given his second chance when he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.  The inevitable ensuing firestorm of criticism was unleashed before the ink dried on the contract.  Personally, I was thrilled to see him added to what appears to be a strong organization with a mindset to welcome him, encourage him, and keep him accountable.

Let me make three things clear about my perspective/worldview and then give my singular reason for being happy for Vick…

1. I do not in any way shape or form condone what Vick did.  It was a series of brutal acts and decisions that rightly placed him in prison

2.  I am bothered by the hypocrisy of “tolerance” in our society.  The emperor clearly has no clothes.  The truth about tolerance is that it is “live and let live” unless you kill dogs and then it is good luck finding a job a Burger King, and don’t let the door hit ya.   It is another example that tolerance is not the goal, but a shift in values.  It is as aggressive and narrow minded as any other set of values, but is for now accepted under the deceptive name of tolerance.  Many gladly watched as Vick achieved idolotrous status playing a game.  No one considered his character.  No one required integrity of him.  He was a commodity.  When the bottom fell out of his life, and his stock went from bull to bear, we suddenly require of him what we have never required.  The deification of athletes in this country makes many outcries for moral justice laughable.  Let’s admit what it is: the golden calf broke in front of us, and when our idols show themselves to be flesh and blood instead of heroic providers of entertainment and cold hard cash we feel like we have egg on our face.

3.  We are to care for all of God’s creation.  It is a mandate given by God since the garden.  BUT, when you are willing to damn people because of creation, dogs or otherwise, something has gone wrong.

The reason for my happiness is very simple.  I am a follower of Jesus.  The basis of that relationship is very simply his grace and mercy.  It is necessary for me to admit that although I have never run a dog fighting business, my sin is no less despicable to God.  I deserved and deserve judgment and justice, but I was given grace and hope.  These truths are called the gospel, and represent the fact that God is presently busy redeeming all creation back to Himself.

I am thrilled for Vick because I love stories of redemption.  I am thrilled for Vick because I love 2nd and 3rd and 4th chances, and find myself as the continual recipient of chances from my God.  I am thrilled for Vick because if you or I found ourselves looking back at decisions we made that were horrific, and despicable, the only hope we would have is to find grace in people’s eyes.  As a Christian, having received grace, I am not able, perhaps even not allowed to refuse another that grace.  To force someone to live in, and wallow in their shame in the name of justice served by those will quickly forget his misdeeds after the first touchdown he scores in the playoffs has a very crooked feeling as a human being, and a very heretical feel as a follower of Jesus.

The base truth is that Vick should be given grace by you and I, but he shouldn’t need it.  Justice was served.  He went to prison after trial by his peers.  The system worked.  He lost everything.  It is time to take your foot off of his throat.  Call it grace, call it justice, call it redemption.  But by all means do not feel full of vigor and morality when you make statements saying he should never be able to do this or that again…it doesn’t often represent a upright or just place, as much as does ignore a hypocrisy that we are free to speak of because we have never found ourselves in need of grace from a set of stranger the world over like Vick does.

Jesus said you can boil it all down to two things it is imperative all people do:

1. Love God

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.  How would you like to be loved if you were Vick?

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Expectations

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This is not a political post.  But the above cartoon does represent the following confession.

To the following you will either be willing to “absolve me of my sins”, judge me as intolerant, or empathetically understand while admitting the same tendency in yourself.  Either way here it goes…

I have expectations…almost always…ok always

I honestly hate that I do, and to be fair they are generally fairly broad, (at least I think) but they are there waiting to be stepped over and reacted to

I have them for men, for women, for friends, for The Bridge, for my wife, for my kids…I am an equal opportunity expectations provider

The problem is that when expectations are not met, and especially not met repeatedly, I am prone to developing a cynicism that I have a hard time shaking

Translation: I do not exhibit, extend, or manifest grace to those around me.  I do not love them as myself, I do not show them Jesus.

To be honest, I am torn.  I think we live in an increasingly standard less society.  Tolerance is king.  Knowledge is individual.  Accountability is archaic and judgmental.    I profoundly disagree with all of these trends, and yet I struggle to come to a biblical balance of grace and the kind of love that desires the very best for another and does all in its power to see that come to pass.

I am interested to hear from you…

Do you think having an expectation is a compromise of grace?

Do you think having expectations are valid, and provide accountability?

How do expectations affect your marriage, and your children?

Are expectations good leadership, or unnecessary burdens?

How ought we to interact with one another in the church, with those outside the church, with friends and family in this context?

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