[forthright] Got Trust?/Consumer Climate

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthright@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 15:41:20 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Hands-on Faith

Got Trust?
Barry Newton

A mouthful of dry chocolate cookie followed by the
slogan "Got Milk?" is nowhere near the power of
"Got Trust?" Trust can be harder than steel but
more fragile than glass. While trust can grow
slowly to the point where people have even given
their lives because of their trust in others, a
single event or conversation can destroy sizable
chunks of our trust in another.

A high level of performance from any company or
organization requires its members to trust each
other. The church is no exception. Without trust,
at best, relationships will limp along. Without
trust, solidarity is problematic. Without trust,
leadership is hamstrung. To build trust takes a
steady stream of positive evidence suggesting that
someone is trustworthy.

When your name is mentioned, how would others
respond to the question, "do you trust 'em?" Each
of us can ask ourselves, "What reasons am I giving
for others to trust me? Might I be undermining
their trust in me?"

• A gossip reveals a secret, but a trustworthy man
conceals the matter (Proverbs 11:13).

• Forthrightness and honesty build trust. Hidden
agendas or deception destroy trust. The funny
thing about hidden agendas is they are not so
hidden. Many people are astute enough to pick up
on patterns of behavior.

• Reliability creates trust. The failure of others
to fulfill their promises or responsibilities
erodes our confidence in them.

• Integrity, especially in the face of adversity,
strengthens trust. Conforming to the situation
like a chameleon reveals the weakness of
duplicity.

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COLUMN: Reality Check

Consumer Climate
by Stan Mitchell

"What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern
of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ
Jesus" (2 Timothy 1:13).

We have heard of "user-friendly" technology.
Should we develop "user friendly" sermons? There
are those who would reduce the sermon to a five
minute thought for the day. In an age of
television, has preaching become redundant? I
agree that some sermons, badly studied or
unbiblically based, may seem irrelevant. But I
fear that we want to do away with preaching for
the oldest reason in the world: we don't want to
be told what to do!

"Unchurched" people in the community are not
customers choosing between boutiques in a mall.
The "unchurched" are lost. In a religious climate
driven by consumer demand, "customers" dictate the
substance of preaching and churches occupy
themselves with meeting the demands of their
clientele.

We have a higher calling than that. We do not seek
merely to please the customer, but to please the
Creator. He has expectations that must be met;
worship must primarily be pleasing in his eyes. We
cannot let the least spiritual person in a church
building run the agenda. We do not seek to "dumb
down" to their level; we seek to draw all of us up
to a higher level, to an understanding of God's
ways. God's demands cannot be tamed, diluted, or
sugar-coated.

Sometimes we need to hear of our needs; other
times there are things that we need to hear,
uncomfortable things, things from which we must
repent. Preaching is to "comfort the disturbed,
and disturb the comfortable." Most of all, the
preacher must know whom he represents. He speaks
for an incomparable God, and he calls those who
hear to live up to his high calling.

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