Do we repell or attract?

By Scott Linscott

I prefer vibrant colors over earth tones. I prefer vibrant people over the lackluster.

Lackluster: “lacking in vitality, force, or conviction; uninspired or uninspiring.” As I see it, people have the same potential to shine. I’ve even seen dull, dark individuals transformed to vibrant.

It’s matter of habits, disciplines, and choices. I’ve met vibrant, inspiring people living in the darkest of circumstances, facing seemingly insurmountable challenges. And, I’ve met the uninspired &repelling inside health, wealth and with an impressive mountain of toys.

Are thankful people happy or are happy people thankful? Are vibrant people thankful or are thankful people vibrant?

Some people spend 90% of their time ranting, complaining, opposing and being angry about one thing or another. We see them walking toward us and think, “oh geez, what now?” I wonder if they know the repellant they wear?

There are others we see coming toward us who immediately lift our mood. We’re fairly certain our interaction will be energizing and encouraging. Vibrant. Life-giving.

Do you attract or repel?

Repellant dominant traits: critical, complaining, angry, ranting, draining, tearing, gossiping, negative, unhappy, thankless, life-draining.

Attractional dominant traits; helpful, positive, supportive, engaging, complimentary, encouraging, happy, thankful, life-giving.

I remember a colleague who always carried criticisms. When I could take no more, I stopped him before he started to speak and said, “Before you say something critical, negative or tell me a problem, tell me one thing positive or good, that you like.” He paused, thought, and then turned and walked away. I didn’t stop him. I watched him go.

The ancient manuscripts that shape my life include this counsel, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

A daily choice to live from a place of thankfulness and a positive mindset transforms the lackluster to vibrant, the repellant to attractive.

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Time to make the donuts?

By Scott Linscott

Imagine that you work in a donut shop. You arrive with the staff at 4:00 AM for your first day on the job. You are expecting to be elbow deep in flower but the owner gathers everyone around a dvd player and monitor and hits play. For the next two hours you sit and learn about the history of donut making. After a “discussion” which is actually mostly just filling in blanks in a workbook, you stand with your coworkers for a quick summary and then head home. No donuts are made.

The next day you come ready to bake but end up in the donut classroom again. On day two the focus is on ingredients. No donuts again. Day three is about donut making equipment. Day four is variety, day five oils and day 6 discusses the purpose of donut making. No donuts still.

By day ten you stop bringing your apron. The theory and practice of donut making is fascinating to study. On day 21 you get a different workbook and see that you will be talking about famous donut makers around the world. You even drop a few bucks into the collection for bringing donuts to new areas. Then there’s the discussions about the future and what will come, talk of serving donuts to the donutless and even discussions about what to study next.

You ask the long-time employee next to you, “have you ever actually made donuts?” He hasn’t but he tells you about a day before his time when this place produced piles and piles.

You’ve already surmised that im not talking about donuts at all. Im talking about the church of Jesus. We sure do like to talk, debate and study. We major in the minors while no one makes any donuts.

Throughout my ministry career I’ve noticed that we Christians tend to spend a ton of time majoring in the minors rather than focus on that which is clear. Some want to take class after class about dragons and beasts and endtime prophecies  while others love to study angels. Some want to talk about heaven and where it is, what it is like and what we will do when we get there while others love studying a new earth, new bodies and the second coming. Jesus told us to bring Good News to people but we seem more concerned with where the ark is now and what happened to the dinosaurs.

The excellent thing is that today you can Google all these fringe issues to your heart’s delight. You can spend hour-upon-hour researching aliens and the wheel-in-the-middle of the wheel. Or, you can study the depth of moon dust and use it to support your dedication to young-earth perspectives.

Me? I prefer to focus on the things that are clear and direct in Scripture. I’m not a big mystery chaser and I’m not interested in spending my time searching for secrets between the lines. I’d much rather spend my time focusing on the clear teachings of Christ rather than spend my time chasing mysteries.

If I were a donut maker, I’d want to make donuts. As a disciple of Christ I want to be a disciple maker.

“It is a bad symptom of any man’s state of soul when he begins to put the second things of religion in the first place, and the first in the second, or the things ordained by man above the things ordained by God. There is something sadly wrong when it is more important to us whether others are of our denomination and ceremonies rather than whether they repent of sin, believe on Christ and live holy lives.” ~ J.C. Ryle

Follow the Leader?

fishBy Scott Linscott

“Follow the Leader” was one of my favorite games when I was a kid. It usually was not all that difficult … right turn, left turn, around the tree. Most of us had the same moves when it was our turn to lead. I think we all played it for the thrill of being the leader with everyone lined up behind us. That was power.

But every once in awhile we got the drill sergeant leader kid. He’d run, crawl under things on his belly and make us sweat. It cost to follow him.

Some kids would start whining and complaining that it was too tough. Kids dropped off one by one. Some would demand a new leader. But a few of us really got into it. We preferred the challenge instead of the same old predictable path.

Have you ever read the Bible looking at Jesus as a leader? He never downplayed the cost or difficulty of following Him. He made a clear call, spelled out the rewards and then forged a path inviting people to follow Him. It was an all or nothing proposition.

I think His challenge is so intriguing because most of us realize that the “all” we live for now actually amounts to “nothing” in terms of things that last. We have a sense that we’re missing something. We’re following the kid in front of us knowing we are not really headed anywhere meaningful.

In Matthew 4 Jesus says, “Come, follow me” to some fishermen. Their response is immediate. They drop everything and go. All they know is that He tells them He will make them “fishers of men.” But what does that mean?

I think it means He’s going to give them a new purpose. A fisher of men is a person who impacts others. I think it means He is going to replace what they thought was so important with what He knows is vital. He is going to make them mirror Him. They are going to become rescuers, people who bring hope and guys who have Good News of a new reality. They are going to bring people in to new life in Christ.

As a leader, that is Jesus’ path and what He is all about. He’s about taking the condemned and rebuilding them. He is about taking the lost and showing them the path. He is about giving hope to the hopeless and life to the lifeless. He is about paying their debt and bringing them into the relationship with God that they were created to live. He is forgiveness for the unforgivable. Jesus walked that path with resolute determination and invites us to follow.

I think we’ve lost sight of that path in the American church. We sit, we stand, we turn left, we turn right and we go through the motions. By sitting in class after class talking about reaching out, loving others and following Jesus with everything, we have convinced ourselves that we are actually walking the path. But in reality, we rarely toss a net beyond the church parking lot. Our lines hardly ever hit the water where the fish live.

I think it’s time for a good round of Follow the Leader. The path is a lot less comfortable than our padded pews but it is the path Jesus calls us to. It’s a tough path to follow but it is worth walking.