Have you ever had a backstage pass to a high profile event? That color-coded pass is exclusive permission to mingle with the behind the scenes insiders, the movers and shakers, the power brokers, m
aybe even the celebrity voices of the event. But even with this right of entry, eventually you will most
likely come to a closed door, manned by a refrigerator of a man in a blue and yellow windbreaker. He tells you in an authoritative voice, “Beyond this point you need a yellow pass, bucko.” It’s with
During my time at CBS, I had opportunity to supervise many high visibility broadcasts (The Price is Right, Letterman, The Prime Time Emmys). My position not only afforded me not only total access, but I literally held the keys. I could go anywhere I pleased with complete authority.dismay that you are look down upon your once revered pass to reveal that it’s a disappointing blue. “The yellow pass gives you TOTAL ACCESS,” the guard informs you. Broken-heartedly you make your way back to the crew craft table of Cheez-Its and M&Ms.
The other day, at a Christian leaders meeting, a dear friend of mine posed a thought-provoking question:Is our presence enough? Good question. In terms of impacting lives for the Kingdom or being about our as
signment of making disciples of all men, is it enough to just show up? Is it enough to be a silent witness? Is our sheer presence enough to make a difference?
After a lot of contemplation and reflection, I’ve landed upon the belief that our presence isn’t enough, but God’s Presence is!
As I began my tenure at CBS, the first year or two, upon God’s direction I was a quiet (differing greatly from a silent) witness. Daily I devoted myself to connecting with my co-laborers, building trust, demonstrating care and concern, and hopefully reflecting the integrity and values of a Christian man. After this season, in short order God opened the doors to talk and sometimes pray with many of my now friends. Sometimes the influence came by what I said, sometimes it was what I did
, but I hoped I always reflected God’s heart. And God’s Presence was always in abundance.
What made the difference? As I journeyed to work each day, I would pray missionally. I would ask God to govern over my words and actions. I gave Him total access to whatever the day would bring. And I th
ink God shows up in direct proportion to the access we give him into our lives. The more we are mindful of God’s presence around us, the more we yield to the leading of His Spirit, the more we ask God to use us to demonstrate His love to those He brings across our path, the more His Presence is revealed around us.
Don’t just show up. See each day as an opportunity to be about the Father’s business. And give Him TOTAL ACCESS. My presence can do little, but His Presence can do all things. It is His Presence that differs me from the well-intentioned, kind-hearted humanitarian.
Is my presence enough? NO. Is His? More than enough.
I’ve been approached by a number of people wondering if they should see the new film NOAH or not. The mere asking of the question tells me that the film is already meeting a bit of its purpose…to get people talking. Hopefully those outside of the church will find it as compelling and thought-provoking as those of us inside the church. In addressing this question, I believe that first and foremost, believers should follow their convictions before the Lord. If you feel that this film might be offensive or a compromised approach to the inherent Word of God, I would highly recommend that you avoid this film.
My hope is that this film would provide the Christian community a wonderful opportunity to engage in a cultural conversation about a Biblical account (possibly liberal take) that brings up issues such as the nature of God, judgement, sin and redemption. If family, friends or co-workers are talking about it, shouldn’t the people of God be part of that discussion? Whatever approach you chose to take, I would strongly urge that any criticism be based upon informed (ie. actually seeing the film) opinions.
For those of you who are curious, skeptical or concerned about the film “Noah” might want to watch this film done by my friend Phil Cooke, capsulizing what many Christian leaders (who have actually seen the film) are saying.
Since the birth of digital media in 2005, I’ve had the pleasure of serving numerous church movements and ministry organizations in their various media aspirations. In recent years, as I enter into consultations or speak at their conferences, I find myself talking increasingly less about the usage of technology and media and focusing far more upon understanding the way in which the digital audience engages and consumes media. When we change our gaze away from the “how do” to the “why do” audiences connect with media in the manner in which they do, we are presented fascinating insights into the way contemporary culture wants to “do church.”
I am a Baby Boomer, part of the TV Generation, raised in front of the tube, my picture window to the world. The way in which I engaged with the predominate media of my age was the appointment TV model. At the scheduled time of 8pm on a Thursday night, I would hypnotically walk into my four-walled, living room, sit back on the barca lounger, and passively watch a one way, monologue being broadcasted into my home, by a singular entity, which in this case was a broadcast network. At the conclusion of the program, thirty minutes later, I would compliantly ascend from my comfy chair and commence my departure from the familiar room.
Now, in large part, isn’t that how we do church? We dutifully keep our prescheduled Sunday at 10am appointment at our local church building. We expectantly enter the sanctuary, get settled in our favorite pew, then after an inspiring overture of worship, we passively (with the exception of an occasional “amen”) listen to a one-way monologue, which we call sermons, then politely walk out.
Today’s emerging, millennial generation is a digital generation. How do they engage with the fast developing digital technology? They are not bound to a stationary screen or pre-determined time. They are, throughout their day, whenever and wherever they desire, actively interacting with a multi-sourced, global dialogue on a wide variety of mobile devices.
…meanwhile the church continues to offer a TV model, Analog Church to a Digital Generation!
Now, before you stop reading, I am not advocating throwing the current worship model out with the proverbial bath water. I’m not preaching a gospel of “Instead of…” but the good news of “In addition to…” In future blogs, we’ll explore the chasm that lies between cyber space, digital connections and same space, human interaction. And I’ll offer some ways in which the church can stand in the gap and, presumptuously, regain a bit of our relevancy. My hope is that we will discover a number of things we can do to give place for “digital model” interactivity within today’s appointment church service, as well as deepen our understanding of why these shifts are crucial.
Let us hear your thoughts….
Producer extraordinaire Mark Burnett – creator of Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice, Shark Tank and The Bible was our honored guest at the closing night of the Windrider Forum at the Sundance Film Festival. Mark previewed his up-coming film, Son of God. Son of God is the first film representation of the full life of Christ to come to the big screen in over 50 years (Passion of the Christ focused solely upon the Jesus’ crucifixion). Following the screening Mark graciously answered questions from the crowd of film and seminary students. Throughout the night I had the privilege of having a few nuggets of time with Mark. During the screening I helped produce a half-hour interview segment with him. Then following the screening, we attended a private reception with Mark at the home of one of our Park City friends. At the reception Mark told the both revealing and oftentimes hysterical stories of how he got some of his iconic programs made.
My take-aways from my time with him made me admire him all the more.
He is a man who deeply loves God. Mark is committed to serving His Kingdom and keeps his family a top priority. God has allowed him to build a reality show empire, one that certainly affords Mark the luxury of just enjoying his success and sail off into the sunset. But he is pushing even harder to make sure that he uses the platforms that God has given him for God’s glory. As we re-entered the auditorium at the conclusion of the film, I stood by Mark, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him lift his hands and silently pray for the film’s impact upon the crowd.
He is a man of passion, diligence and perseverance. You would think that once Survivor took the TV world by storm, that every television door would be wide open to him, and that he could get anything made that he wanted. But Hollywood doesn’t work that way. There is little equity from past successes. Everything has to be earned afresh. As Mark rehearsed the hoops he jumped through to get The Apprentice, The Voice and certainly The Bible green-lit and placed on a network television schedule, you see a man who goes after each new project with the same passion and perseverance he must have had when he was striving to get his first production Eco-Challenge on cable television.
I am thankful for my time with Mark and an impactful glimpse into the character and Christian commitment of one of the most successful producers in television history. As I continue, and many of you as well, upon my journey of media making, let me keep my faith in Jesus Christ at the forefront and remain steadfast in the calling God has place upon my life.
THANKSGIVING 2013: Whether it was serving up a meal and a hug to the lonely or offering a word of encouragement around a family Thanksgiving table, it’s wonderful to see so many extending hope, care and love to others. Made me think of David in 2 Samuel 17 when he is on the run from his enemy and hiding in the wilderness:
When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi… Machir… and Barzillai… brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat, for they said, “The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.”
God has created us for and placed us into community. And when we find ourselves in the darkest wilderness, it is the family of faith who come along side to bring us sustenance, rest and renewed strength for the journey.