Monday, December 18, 2017

That Little Baby (12.17.17 Notes)

That Little Baby - #CountryChristmas - 12.17.17 from Revolution Church on Vimeo.

“That Little Baby”
Country Christmas Week Three
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: Luke 1:19-45 (NLT)

19 Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! 20 But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” 

The first chapter of Luke begins as a SORROWFUL story turns miraculous, as God is often involved in bringing children to those who have no hope of having them.

Zechariah was a Jewish prophet and his wife Elizabeth was not ABLE to have children. So God promises them, but Zechariah temporarily loses his ability to talk because he did not initially BELIEVE.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.” 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary was the mother of JESUS.
Elizabeth was the mother of JOHN THE BAPTIST.

This is not the first, nor the last, time these two would be CONNECTED.

Your family is a gathering of impossible stories with incredible beginnings and UNFULFILLED purpose. While John (not the apostle or the Gospel writer) and Jesus had yet to grow and fulfill their earthly purpose, their mothers both knew how SPECIAL this story would be.

And Mary and Elizabeth had families a lot like yours!

What do you think the families of Elizabeth and Mary were like?
Unbelievers who are living nowhere close to God
Brokenness, shame and guilt with lots of unforgiveness
Unresolved hurt
Gossip and painful talk, arguments and fights
Good people who love one another
Saints who seem to tie it all together

God’s Word is a narrative of PROBLEM and PAIN turned into PURPOSE and a PLAN.

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

One little baby was the forerunner to the Savior, the voice that cries in the wilderness, the preacher who would shout and proclaim the story of a lamb who would come and take away the sins of the world!

One little baby was the incarnate son of God, the holy one of Israel, he was Emmanuel, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father and the government and all the world would sit upon his shoulders. He would grow, minister, heal and teach and give his life as a ransom for many and then on the third day after his death, rise again where he would sit at the right hand of the Father!

That little baby in a little Jewish town
One day will rule the universe and creation will bow down…

That little baby he was born of a virgin
He was sent down to save us and to bear every burden
He was God in the flesh, so let the Hallelujah’s ring
That little baby is the king.

That Little Baby, The Gold City Quartet, Revolution Church CCLI #3259924

What could happen to the smallest of beginnings in your life with the biggest of plans?

#RevWhiteHouse #CountryChristmas

Sunday, December 10, 2017

God Loves Ugly People (12.10.17 Notes)

“God Loves Ugly People”
Country Christmas Week Two
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: Romans 5:1-11 (NLT) and Isaiah 64:1-12 (NLT)

Romans 5:6-11
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Christmas - the celebration of the BIRTH of Jesus, which is more about the celebration of the INCARNATE Christ sent to earth as the Savior of the world!

Today is “ugly sweater Sunday” - and it’s one thing to feel ugly on the OUTSIDE and laugh at ourselves a little bit for it. But what do we do when we feel ugly on the INSIDE?

Isaiah 64:5-6 (NLT)
5 You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us, for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? 6 We are all infected with impure sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

But here’s what’s odd…an “ugly” people full of sin expected a Savior, the Messiah, who looked much different than them. What the common people expected the Messiah would be:
1. A king (like David)
2. A powerful prophet (like Elijah)
3. A rebellious zealot to overthrow oppression (like Moses)
4. A commander (like Joshua)
5. A wealthy royal (like Solomon)
6. An urban, city dweller (from Jerusalem)

But then, God redeemed the ugliest of sin with the most HUMBLE of ways!

    • Jesus was of royal lineage, but from the lowly regarded city of Nazareth
    • Jesus earthly family was relatively common and poor
    • Jesus was born in a borrowed location
    • Jesus was sent to earth as a baby, not a conqueror

Isaiah 57:15 (NLT)
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.

  1. My sin might be ugly, but my Jesus is BEAUTIFUL

Beautiful Savior. Wonderful counselor. Clothed in majesty, Lord of history.
You’re the way, the truth and the life.
Star of the morning. Glorious in holiness. You’re the risen one, heaven’s champion.
And you reign, you reign, over all.

Beautiful Savior, Casting Crowns, CCLI #3259924

  1. My past might be ugly, but my future is GLORIOUS

While we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13 NLT).

  1. My shame might be ugly, but my heart can be SET FREE.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV).

  1. My self-worth might be ugly, but my righteousness in Christ is WORTHY.

Always thanking the Father, for he has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light (Colossians 1:12 NLT).

I am glad God loves ugly people! And I am glad Jesus is a Beautiful Savior!

#RevWhiteHouse #CountryChristmas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Papa's Chair (12.03.17 Notes)

“Papa’s Chair”
Country Christmas Week One
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church

Scripture: John 1:1-14 (NLT)

1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. 6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

This is not your TYPICAL Christmas sermon, but I want to talk about the spiritual and historical origins of Jesus.

Does everybody remember that person in your family that always had their CHAIR? No one else sat in the chair but them! Who was that person in your family? ______________________

What are the most common qualities you remember about the person who sat in that chair?
Well-experienced but life-weary
Happy, joyful, jolly
Or maybe….they were ASLEEP!!!

Our view of God the FATHER is often like a wise, old grandpa rocking in a chair and watching over his family, but at the latter end of a long life.

However, the Bible tells us that there is a three-wide EQUALITY to the God-head. This concept is not used as a word in scripture, but it’s known as the TRINITY (TRIUNE) of GOD.

God the Father - the creator, the sovereign and wise
God the Son - the savior, the human form, the prophet/servant
God the Spirit - the guide, the comforter

God was not CREATED, but neither was Jesus or the Holy Spirit! God always WAS, always IS and always IS TO COME.

I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come--the Almighty One. (Revelation 1:8 NLT)

God is described as one who sits on the throne! But the qualities of Jesus and the Holy Spirit complete the full picture of God as three in one.

GOD - This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that? Could you build me such a resting place?” (Isaiah 66:1, Acts 7:49 NLT)

JESUS - John 1:14 is INCARNATE - God in the flesh and dwelt among us, then…
Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. (Romans 8:34 NLT)

HOLY SPIRIT - But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26 NLT)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26 NLT)

How do we understand that the same Jesus who we celebrate and remember as a baby, has the AUTHORITY and RIGHT to sit upon the throne of God and judge, rule and reign forever? He is the only one worthy to sit in Papa’s Chair!

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself. (Ephesians 1:19-23 NLT)

And then, there is a promise for YOU!

Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

Everything Rises and Falls on Communication

The following is a synthesis research project for Trevecca Nazarene University and has some critical steps about the things I have learned as a leader and how to be more effective to those around me.

I hope you'll take something from it, too, and thanks for reading.


Everything Rises and Falls on Communication (and my complete ability to screw it up!)

by Kris Freeman

Leadership is word used often in an individual context. A person of certain esteem, emerging and arising for the purpose of influencing and developing others. However, a study of leadership breaks this stereotype and reminds us of the power of leadership within the context of group and organizational behavior. The greatest leaders are those which influence, serve, listen and develop the groups of individuals entrusted to them. This is the goal of group behavior.

In the book A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction, author Stewart L. Tubbs analyzes the complex approach of collaboration and cooperation in a systems context to work toward a common goal of group behavior and interaction. This, in turn, is incredible leadership development. Systems teach us to utilize the resources around us and within us to enhance how we interact with others and work toward a common goal. As leaders develop others, group interaction fosters development within the leader, too.

Having had the privilege of serving in a leadership capacity in several avenues (sports, business, church, commerce), the last six weeks has provided a greater understanding of the power of “each other” in a two-fold purpose. My development is critical to my leadership, and my leadership is critical to the development of others. These two concepts work hand-in-hand and are best exhibited in group interaction.

Tubbs states “small group interaction is the process by which three or more members of a group exchange verbal and non-verbal messages in an attempt to influence one another” (7).  So be definition, group interaction has as its goal the same goal as leadership: to influence others. Serving in leadership roles has taught me both the energy and success derived from leading others, but more importantly the personal development experienced as many influence me.

Therefore, this analysis will center on three concepts which group interaction has produced better learning within me, all of each are explained in detail by Tubbs. The most important parts of group interaction, personally to me, are: understanding verbal and non-verbal communication (chapter two), revenant background factors and diversity (chapter three) and leadership and social influence (chapter five). Using the techniques outlined in the book and applying the same to real-life experiences, I feel I have become a better manager, teammate, coach, pastor, father and classmate by learning and listening to the experiences and wisdom of those in my circles.

Author and speaker John C. Maxwell is famously quoted as saying “everything rises and falls on leadership.” This may, indeed, be true. However, the more interactive a small group becomes, it’s evident leadership rises and falls on communication. Groups, and the individuals within them, must learn to communicate with each other to cultivate leadership.

Tubbs relates the lack of a good communication process as a contributing factor to judgment and trust. This is a critical flaw of poorly functioning groups, and improper function damages group health and produces little personal growth. This is exemplified by Princeton University research which found “people make very quick judgments about a person’s trustworthiness, competence, aggressiveness, and even likability within a fraction of a second. And people don’t usually change their perceptions” (Tubbs, 51).

A big growth step in leadership is learning the elements of verbal and non-verbal communication, and I feel this is an area of personal growth for me individually as a leader. My respect and trust for a person mirrors the Princeton study; I am much more apt to offer my attention to a person whom I have deemed to be worthy of a listen. What if, however, a personality quirk and non-verbal cues cause their voice to shadowed by my judgment? Three practices I have learned in my classes at Trevecca Nazarene University have enhanced my communication experience and how I see the input of others.

Pay close to attention to non-verbal cues and the deeper meaning, both those received and those exhibited within self. A non-verbal cue is a signal or symbol of a deeper meaning. Often, this describes personality traits and interactive skills of others. By paying attention to non-verbal cues, I better develop group interaction skills and become more aware of what is being said before what is actually being said. This leads to the next opportunity for growth in communication, which involves better listening skills.

As an announcer, coach and pastor, my experiences are exhibited by speaking. I need to be - and have become - a better listener. I do not need to dominate the room, nor the conversation, to be a leader. Instead, I can lead by listening, and I grow through wisdom of the contributions of others.

Finally, I am a better communicator as I learn to trust and listen by sharing in collaboration. Others have input which is important, even if the direction of their comments are misguided. Collaboration teaches us to value communication as an idea development and explore a teamwork approach to a solution. Collaboration allows each person to contribute to the result, even if there is a spokesman who takes the lead verbally in presentation. I am a better leader because of the verbal and non-verbal cues I have learned to respect and honor in others.

In chapter three, Tubbs explores relevant background factors in effective group interaction. No leader of any merit with an eye on the future can ignore this principle. We are now conducting business and personal interaction in the most globally-connected marketplace in the history of the world. Diversity, culture and background is so critical in understanding each other.

In a classroom presentation, I was glad to be able to discuss learning conflict management in virtual groups from chapter seven (339). Having been in four countries, three continents and serving alongside missionaries from at least 24 areas around the globe, I become a better leader by understanding the relevant background factors of my peers.

Those factors include gender, race and ethnicity, socio-economic demographics, culture, style, political science and religion. We are all more effective as leaders when due respect and equality of thought and opportunity is presented to those in which we interact, no matter the background factors which influence them. 

I recently completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and scored as a high-functioning extroverted, moderate intuitive, moderate thinking and high-functioning judgmental decision maker (ENTJ). The Myers-Briggs type exhibited by my assessment is very common among leaders of an organization. With this understanding, however, comes a challenge to see those differently from me as teammates and contributors and not lesser peers. 

In a classroom of 16 people at Trevecca Nazarene University, there are only two others adult students which share the same Myers-Briggs type. Culturally, there are less than three people in the class with a similar cultural background. These are good things. It forces an understanding of diversity, and my fellow classmates. I have watched during class presentations how each of them use relevant background factors to present information and debate in a way which would never be present to my experiences,.

I have enjoyed celebrating diversity to work for a common cause, and watching a higher level of respect for me develop within the group as I learn and value each of them individually. In our previous class, a team of eight presented a chapter on conflict management and our group was a picture of global diversity in both gender and ethnicity. Even communication skills differed and we learned to be flexible as generational differences were exhibited in whether we call, text, email or prefer face-to-face interaction. The presentation was successful because we celebrated relevant background factors, and so will every group be the same.

My attitude toward the background factors of others will determine my aptitude and altitude of potential growth.

Over 70 years ago, Gorden Allport defined an attitude as a mental and a neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related. According to Frymier and Nadler, attitudes have three components: a cognitive component, which refers to an idea or concept; an affective component, or the emotion related to the idea; and a behavioral component, which is the readiness to act (Tubbs, 139).
To understand how my attitude determines success, it is required of me to utilize relevant background factors of my group peers to the cognitive, affective and behavioral approach to attitudes and how they affect the group’s success. Where we originate, how we look and what demographic we reside is not the single most important determination in who we are. Who we are, rather, is defined by our attitude on those concepts and how it relates to others, and how we use those background factors to cultivate success.

Relevant background factors play a key role in leadership styles, which is outlined by Tubbs in the leadership and social influences of chapter five. Business School Dean Thomas S. Robertson of the University of Pennsylvania states: “What’s important as a new graduate, the set of technical skills that gets them the job, becomes less important as they get into middle and senior management:” (Tubbs, 239). This causes Tubbs - and personally within me - to ask the question, “which type of leadership is best?”

The author uses three styles of leadership to exhibit traits: authoritarian, laissez-faire and democratic. Democratic leadership evolves into team leadership in effective groups. However, the most successful groups are moderated and facilitated by super leaders, a term used to describe “a person who gets a lot of people involved is said to develop super teams” (Tubbs, 242). I believe in team leadership, and though a positional leader may be given the title to take charge in decision-making and accountability, the best groups learn to value every team member.

Bill George is the founder and CEO of Medtronic Inc., a medical supply company which grew from $1.1 billion in market cap to $60 billion under his leadership (Harvard Business School). In writing the books Authentic Leadership and True-North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, George centers his philosophy of development around this principle: “you are only as good as those you surround yourself with” (Huffington Post, 2011). 

Bill George is a “super leader.” He valued his team, and used the group interaction to explode the growth of a billionaire company which now leads the world in production of insulin pumps. In 2017, Medtronic released the first-ever artificial pancreas external pump, the Medtronic MiniMed 670G, which interactively reacts to the body’s systems to deliver insulin and measure glucose levels free of manual entry by the patient. 

His leadership of his team is critical to me as a leader in two ways. His team leadership models are very successful and worthy of modeling in business, and as an individual, I have recently been prescribed the 670G pump and a team of Medtronic employees and researchers worked for three years to get approval for the device by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

I am a better leader because of those around me. I am a better person because of the influences and wisdom of others. I am a healthier individual due to the contribution of teams working together for success. This is a great model of leadership, and this is what effective systems for small group interaction can teach all of us.