Monday, July 25, 2011

Daily Renewal

Life was meant to be lived day by day. The cycle of 24 hours we call a day is truly all we were meant to handle. When the sun goes down each day it is a statement that says “That’s enough. Rest.”

This daily routine is where the real battle for quality of life is fought. If we can learn to live well one day at a time we find ourselves truly fit for a fulfilled life and an even better organized life.

It has been my observation that internal problems mount as we try to manage our time on earth with a monthly planner or even a yearly planner. Thinking we will diminish stress by planning ahead we actually get out of rhythm with day to day living and complicate our future in the process.

Jesus taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread.” He also said that the evil of one day is enough to handle for any of us. Consider again His words.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34

My mother-in-law Ruth McCartney once inspired me with these words. “Well, you have to be somewhere at all times so you might as well be here.” She was observing how we get all worked up about not being happy were we are because we are so anxious to get to where we are going. Maybe she noticed how anxious I could get wanting to be living tomorrow instead of enjoying today. As I wait in airports or get stuck in traffic her words come to me. “Well, you have to be somewhere at all times so you might as well be here”

As I remember Ruth’s words and I have obeyed Jesus’ words, I have come to deeply appreciate the joy of living well a day at a time. I suppose I am just a beginner at this skill of daily renewal, but I intend to keep investing in daily joy. It definitely fits better than worrying about tomorrow.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 21st Century Challenge

Thoughts for Church Leaders
21st Century Discipleship--A Difficult Reality

The 21st century challenge for churches and church leaders is to recognize the difference between local church mobilization systems and true discipleship while discovering a way to do both effectively.

The difficult reality is to admit that there is a difference between mobilizing people for the success of a church strategy and making disciples. Church mobilization is not the same as discipleship and well mobilized Christians may not be great disciples. It is hard for a church leader to say “My people are well mobilized but I don’t see the true marks of Jesus in their daily lives.” Even so, that is the reality that most pastors see if they are honest.

21st Century ministers are being primarily trained to mobilize church people because success at mobilization will most likely be the measure of their pastoral success. Ministers are becoming experts at mobilization as if great mobilization is great discipleship. Is it any wonder discipleship is the most disappointing area of modern church life for most pastors?

What can be done in light of this difficult reality? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Admit once and for all that mobilization is not discipleship. Stop trying to make a mobilization system the key to discipleship. Cooperating with Jesus in us is the key to discipleship.

2. Insist that the standard for discipleship in every church is Jesus in us and constant cooperation with His commands. Insist that discipleship is not simply meeting the demands of the mobilization system chosen by the church.

3. Affirm that every church needs a mobilization plan that fits their culture but discipleship (cooperation with Jesus) is never adjusted for culture. Being like Jesus and obeying His commands is not negotiable or flexible in any culture.

4. Train leaders who know how to affirm discipleship while leading effective mobilization. for delivering love.

5. Make discipleship the primary qualification for true mobilization. Make sure all leaders are disciples before they lead.

This is and always will be a challenge!

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


When I preach in Brazilian churches for the first time I often ask the pastor to point out to me the finest Christian that attends his church. I ask him to point out the person who most lives the teachings of Jesus found in the Sermon on the Mount.

Nearly every time the pastor will think for a few moments and then point to a small woman. Usually her name is Maria.

As the pastor describes Maria to me she is most often very poor, semi-literate, a maid in someone’s home and living a very difficult life. Even so, she is the finest Christian in his church.

Over time I have come to believe that these small Christian women are a picture of how discipleship is meant to work. These tiny ladies are not the result of years of Bible courses or specialized theological instruction. They are the result of poverty of spirit. They are what they are because they begin at zero each and every day.

Real poverty forces people to live a day at at time. Real poverty forces people to measure life each day starting from a position of dependence. In simple terms the deeply poor know that they have nothing accumulated from which they can live. If they will live today they will receive what they will live on today.

The men and women in our world who learn to live each day believing God will provide for them through Christ become the Christians who most live the Sermon on the Mount.

Maria lives in “receive mode” because she has no alternative. Over time she has learned that “receive mode” (faith) needs no alternative. It works.

Yes, Maria weeps and she is comforted. Yes, her heart is pure and she sees God.

Yes, she is a peacemaker and she is God’s child.

Little by little she becomes salt and light and that is why her pastor wishes his whole church lived like Maria.

These little Brazilian ladies have become my spiritual heroes.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Bud McCord
Abide International