As I sit here listening to "How To Save A Life" by The Fray - I cannot help but think of a book I've recently had the pleasure of reading for the opportunity to review. "Killing Cockroaches" by Tony Morgan the chief strategic officer (pastor) at NewSpring Church is one book I've looked forward to since I first heard the author, Tony, talking about it.
As someone who has read Tony's blog, http://tonymorganlive.com/ for quite some time, this book has a familiar feeling to it. It honestly reads like a hug from Tony. Sorry, Tony. I know you're not a hugger. ;) Some people give "side hugs"... others give hugs that literally feel as if you're having the you-know-what squeezed out of you. That's the type of hug this would be from Tony. Kind of like when a cockroach is stomped with a foot and out comes all that stuff that has to be cleaned up.
The following are just a few reasons why I connect with this book and its author, and hope you will as well or at least it will make you think:
"If we're just teaching people a foreign language, what have we really accomplished?" (pg 21)
- This past Sunday as I was teaching a small group, one of the 20-something guys said, "What is envy?" Now, I was reading directly from Scripture and this guy was completely unfamiliar with it. This comment from Tony was brought to my mind immediately. The individuals in the group who were more familiar with envy actually took the time to explain it to him and give personal examples. Could I have just said, "Envy means to covet an other's possessions or life." Absolutely. But would he have really understood that? Nope. Nada. Not gonna happen.
"Churchiness Is Easy" - the whole chapter! If I didn't know that Tony lived in South Carolina, I might be tempted to think he was a fly on my wall or on the inside windshield of my car or in text messages on my cell or however via facebook, myspace, twitter or etc. I definitely agree that Real Faith is Dangerous! It's no coincidence that I have been praying for Tony while he was writing this book and since its release either.
"I think we're making a huge mistake if we assume young adults will continue to come to our buildings to experience community." (pg 25)
TONY????? (Okay.. he didn't answer.) Again - this struck me as the chapter on "Churchiness Is Easy" did. As one who has come to use social media tools such as facebook, myspace, and twitter - I have come to see this alive and in living color. I can be found at the pcb (physical church building) on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m. to teach/lead our 18 to 25-year-old small group. And while there are times when they interact and really get into the discussion - what they will communicate with me through the social media tools is always greater. Shocking? To some perhaps. It is the way they know life and live it. As I was told not long ago by an 18-year-old female, "Camey, you can speak into my life because you are a part of it more than just 1 hour every Sunday. Someone who just acts like they care on Sunday but then I never hear from them again until the next does not." (Yes, I can hear the 'OUCH' that bites. Don't we all need to be bitten from time to time so we don't become immune?)
"Whatever you choose to do, encourage folks to serve others either inside or outside the walls of your church. I'm convinced that one of the primary ways we worship God with our lives is by serving others." (pg 31)
I think over the years there has become a great confusion inside the walls of the physical church buildings. Worshipping God is a way of life - not just a few minutes on Sunday morning, Saturday night, or whenever one might be at a "worship service" or "worship experience"... We were created to worship God, serve Him, and therefore, serve others. It's a daily thing. Not a "when I feel like it."
"It's sad, but I wonder if we've inadvertently designed our ministries to isolate Christians from the places where God really wants them to be." (pg 61)
Let that one sink in. Chew on it. And then, please spit it out. This past week, our oldest son - Austin (17), went to Belize. As a lifestyle missionary - he knows and understands that he is to be inside the liquor store just as much as the orphanage, physical church building, and etc wherever he may be whether in Belize or in the good ole USA. I've had some individuals tell me it's wrong to encourage him to go into such places without me or his dad there. Hello? His Real Father (God) had already gone before him. He belongs to God. He's only on loan to us. What ministries can your body be a part of that is outside the walls? I'm not talking mission trips here. If you are a Christ-follower - you too should be a lifestyle missionary - not just a sitting in the seat/pew saying, "It's good to be in God's house today." Then, leave without giving Him a second thought until next Sunday. I know.. I've been there and done that. If you think I'm pointing a figure at you.. remember - I have more pointing at me.
"We serve a God who called us to go to the lost. Care for the sick. Touch the untouchables. But too often we fail to see the painful stories that hide behind seemingly normal lives. Are you prepared to listen and help?" (pg 195)
This is what I mean by I was called to minister to the seen and unseen. So? Are you called? Are you prepared? (If you know me at all - you know how I would answer that for you.)
I could share more of my thoughts on "Killing Cockroaches" by Tony Morgan. But, honestly? I'm curious to hear yours. What strikes me as even more interesting however, is if you can merely read it and not let it impact the way you too kill cockroaches one foot at a time.
For what good does it do to read a book, web site, or whatever if you just keep it on a bookshelf, rss feed or pdf file?
And of course, you can find him (Tony Morgan) via facebook. He might even be willing to be your friend too.
As always, dear reader, you've been prayed dangerous prayers for! RISK!
1 day ago