"Winning alone is called losing." John Ortberg
Bill Ferrell, the Executive Director for Pinnacle Forum in Greater Chicago, has written the below letter to let us know that PureFlix is releasing a new movie, "Do You Believe." You can watch the trailer for this movie at the end of this post.
Dear Pinnacle Forum Partners and Friends,
PUREFLIX, the producers of “God is Not Dead” has another faith-based movie coming out today called “Do You Believe?”
The story is about 12 different people – all moving in different directions, all longing for something more. As their lives unexpectedly intersect, they each are about to discover there is power in the Cross of Christ…even if they don’t believe it. Yet.
As a result of last year’s “God Is Not Dead” hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people came to Christ and countless others were encouraged in their Christian faith.
Let's hope and pray that “Do You Believe?” has the same impact. No – even greater. Please prayerfully consider attending this movie with your family – and invite others to go with you.
The PUREFLIX production company is a result of a Pinnacle Forum Partner following his God-given passion, receiving support and encouragement from his forum, and seeking to make a difference in the arts and entertainment mountain.
Let’s support this culture-transforming effort. And – and this is a BIG AND – seriously be challenged to follow the culture-transforming passion God has placed in our hearts. What is he calling you to do? DO IT!
Because I Do Believe,
G.K. Chesterton was a brilliant thinker from England. Chesterton had an amazing ability to analyze the trajectory of the modern mind. One of the points he made was that it is not a good thing to be modest about the truth. Chesterton wrote:
But what we suffer from to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt — the Divine Reason. Huxley preached a humility content to learn from Nature. But the new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. Thus we should be wrong if we had said hastily that there is no humility typical of our time. The truth is that there is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. The old humility was a spur that prevented a man from stopping; not a nail in his boot that prevented him from going on. For the old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him, work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which will make him stop working altogether.” (Orthodoxy, chapter 3).
We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.
David Platt writes:
If we have clean water, sufficient food and clothes, a roof over our heads at night, access to medicine, a mode of transportation (even if its public), and the ability to read a book, then relative to billions of people in the world, we are incredibly wealthy. Economics professor Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert observe how the standard of living essentially common among us is extremely uncommon in human history. They write, "At no time in history has the ever been greater economic disparity in the world than at present. "By any measure we are the richest people ever to walk on planet earth." Counter Culture, page 26.
C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory and Other Sermons:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Every Christian needs to know Bible passages to turn to quickly in difficult times. John 14:1-6, in which Jesus comforts the Disciples prior to his crucifixion, is one of these passage. Read it aloud - - then write the reference on the inside cover of your Bible so that you can find it quickly.
 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:1-6 ESV)
"You can't hold a man down without staying down with him." Booker T. Washington
What Bill Hybels says of church in his book Axiom (page 52), is true of every arena in which people lead. Vision leaks.
"You or I could deliver a mind-blowing, God-honoring, pulse quickening vision talk on Sunday that leaves everyone revved up to go change the world, but by Tuesday many people have forgotten they were even in church the previous weekend . . .
Let's keep reminding people of the vision. Keep telling the story. Keep refilling "vision buckets."
"Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them." Abraham Lincoln
The Church is God’s vessel for this age. You need a local church as much as Noah needed the ark. Sure, it is not a perfect vessel. The ark wasn’t perfect either. But it beats being dog paddling in the flood of a fallen world.
Click here to read more.
In the below video Bill Hybels describes how he made changes in his schedule so that his bucket was filled.
If you don't have time to watch the whole video, at least notice the point he begins to make at about the 12:00 mark in the video.
Whenever you lead an organization . . .The best thing you bring to the table every single day is a filled up bucket and a heart that’s right with God and a heart that’s overflowing with optimism because of your faith in God. When you show up at your organization with a fresh spirit and a grace filled demeanor everybody around you benefits in profound ways.
"Whether someone is the 'right person' has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background, or skills." Jim Collins, Good to Great, page 64.
Leaders are readers. Here is a selection of six recommended books on leadership. You probably don't need to read them all. But you may need to read at least one!
While Collins does not write from a Christian perspective, this book affirms many Christian principles of leadership. He and his research team identified qualities that allowed companies to go from "good" to "great" and it makes for fascinating and inspiring reading.
Hybels is always worth watching, reading, or listening to where leadership is concerned. Leadership Axioms is a collection of short chapters that can be read in 5-10 minute intervals. Courageous Leadership is written more like a traditional book on leadership.
Written from a secular point of view, this is one of the classic books on leadership. The section on vision is worth the price of the book.
The president of Southern Seminary, Mohler is one of the most courageous Christian leaders of our time. His biblical thesis is that leadership must flow out of integrity.
Stanley begins with the thought, "Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be." From there, he unfolds a practical book on how to develop a vision and share it with others.
The biblical book of Proverbs sharpens the blades of our "wisdom saw." We need it!
There are 31 chapters in Proverbs. As a system of working through them, just read the chapter that coincides with the day of the month.
If it's the 20th day of the month, you might read, "It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling (Proverbs 20:3)."
Or, if it's the 21st day of the month, you might read, "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD (Proverbs 21:31)."
In ten minutes time you can read the Sermon on the Mount - - the greatest sermon ever preached.
The sermon on the mount (Jesus’s sermon in Matthew 5-7) is the most important sermon ever preached. It would be enough to know that it is the featured sermon of our Lord. But when we consider that in three chapters the Sermon on the Mount includes the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, the Golden Rule, and so much more we begin to appreciate its brilliance even more.
The sermon on the mount is concentrated teaching. It is brief. To read it would take only about ten minutes and yet its truth has changed the world. Statements like “judge not lest ye be judged” are quoted by people who do not otherwise believe in the Bible (and probably misunderstand what the statement means!). The beauty of Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is respected by nearly everyone. John N. Day writes:
Whether one is a Christian or not, there is much to be both honored and emulated, for Jesus cuts straight to the heart. He confronts our human tendency toward “image religion” that is based on outward show and selfish attitudes. Jesus crushes our idols, especially those stubborn ones of entitlement and hypocrisy. In doing so, He demonstrates that a genuine relationship with God shows itself in selfless and humble-hearted obedience. It can be a mind-expanding and life-transforming sermon if we will take the time to truly hear. 
Indeed, the message of the sermon on the mount runs against the grain of a Machiavellian (cunning and manipulative) world that seeks to elevate self. Christ’s emphasis on the heart rather than on external behaviors was a sharp indictment not only of the Pharisees of his day but against our age as well.
We are all the more in awe of the Sermon on the Mount when we remind ourselves that not only did Jesus teach it, he perfectly lived it. What a King we have!
 John N. Day, Truth Standing on Its Head: Insight For An Extraordinary Christian Walk from the Sermon on the Mount (Ventura, California: Nordskog Publishing, 2009), 1.
 W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew: In Three Volumes, International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1988), 467.
In the coming weeks (January - May 2015), in his study, When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, John Ortberg will remind us that in life all the tokens, game pieces, and prizes are left behind when we walk away from the table. The only real "winnings" we claim and keep are our own souls and the love we have for Christ and each other.
If you think you might need a better game plan--one that offers an eternal perspective --this strategy filled playbook walks you through what it takes to really win big at the game of life.
A large part of the reason Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so effective was because he gave hope. In the below conclusion of a speech he gave in Memphis, Dr. King assures his audience that they truly will get to the "promised land."
As leaders, the question before us today is, "How will we encourage people with the hope that racism will end?"
Dr. Martin Luther King's most famous speech was unquestionably his, "I Have a Dream," speech. Yet, it surely was not his only great speech. The speech Dr. King gave the night before he was murdered was also an incredible example of how leaders move people by their speaking. You can listen or read the entire speech.
In this speech, when Dr. King said, "I have been to the mountaintop," his biblically literate audience he immediately knew what he meant. Dr. King was comparing his leadership to that of Moses, the great Old Testament leader who led God's people out of slavery and to the Promised Land. Moses was not permitted to go into the Promised Land. But he was allowed to go to the mountaintop and see it (Deuteronomy 34:1-7). Likewise, Dr. King knew that there was a strong possibility he would be killed before the Civil Rights Movement had achieved its goals. But surely the end was in sight.
The clip is less than 3 minutes long. Yet in it we see many of the reasons Dr. King was so effective as a leader. Above all, Dr. King gave hope. After his audience heard Dr. King review all the progress that had been made, they were sure they would get to the Promised Land.
For more reflections on this speech, see Chris Brauns's post: Leadership Lessons from Dr. King.
Healthy plants grow.
Healthy Christians grow by being in their local churches, meeting with other believers (such as at Pinnacle Forum meetings!), and through prayer.
Peter concludes 2 Peter:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18