Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sin Spurred Innovation

"Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" - Mark 2:3-5 (NIV)

The people of Israel were amazed that something good could come out of Nazareth. The Disciples were amazed that the Holy Spirit came to the Gentiles. Today we are amazed when a Chinese pastor prays that we in the west will experience persecution.

Sin has some interesting side effects, doesn't it? We are all too familiar with the downward spiral of sin that traps people and claims their souls. But there are other side effects to sin as well.

In Mark 2, four men are confronted with the result of man's sinful nature - disease and sickness. Now I am not saying that this man sinned and was punished with sickness, but his sickness is itself a part of the fallen world.

As I was saying, these four men were confronted with this imperfection in their friend. They knew Jesus could do something but they could not reach him. They were too late. But then they got an idea. I can just imagine how this might go. One of them might have said, "There isn't anyone on the roof - lets go that way!" I'm sure one or two of them looked at him and laughed, but what the heck! So they put some of that first century math to work and figured out where Jesus was probably sitting. Maybe they cheated and looked into a window to get their bearing.

Either way, they got their friend to the Savior - they innovated in the face of sin's dramatic effect.

Sin can lead to innovation in our lives as well. As we come up against sin's evil results and ask "WHY?", we have a chance to look for a solution. We can look for another approach . . . another idea . . . another perspective that will break the power of sin and point back to Christ and His love.

One great example is Whoever spearheaded this service saw the aweful temptation of pornography on the internet. So they created this service called CoventantEyes that uses an innovative approach. The person who is concerned about the temptation of content online downloads a program and selects a few accountability partners. This program records every site the person goes to and sends it to the accountability partner. The email records which ones are considered concerning.

This is an amazing innovation in accountability in the Internet Age - a side effect of sin that is helping thousands.

When you come up to sin in your life, do you let it engulf you or do you innovate and apply God's strength and creativity to combatting it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Innovation in Small Groups

I read an excerpt on about a new innovation in small groups that Mike Lueken (Oak Hills Church in Folsom, CA) is developing.

They are creating what they call "One Thing" groups. These groups focus on a specific area that a set of people want to tackle and engage. The idea is that if you are trying to fix everything you will never get to any of them - so why not have groups developed around specific challenges.

This is so simple but it is a great example of holistic innovation. It takes an existing idea and rolls it out for a new purpose - spiritual formation and accountability.

When I talk with people, they usually have decided that innovation is something big that only the brainiacs can do . . . this is a great example of the fact that innovation can be done by anyone.

Enjoy innovating today.