Sunday, April 29, 2018

The First Time is Not the Last Time (04.29.18 Notes)

The First Time is Not the Last Time
#Emerge Week Five
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church
Sunday, April 29, 2018

Scripture: Revelation 19:11-16 (NLT)

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.

There are differences in the Bible in descriptions of Jesus and common adjectives to describe him.

Faithful - Gr. pistos - means to be trusted with authority and the execution of decisions

True - Gr. alethinos - the genuine one

There are many imposters of the Messiah/Jesus. This is the Bible’s way of identifying him as the accurate and authoritative one.

12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. 15 From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. 16 On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

  • Eyes as flame of fire - all-seeing, all-knowing, the omniscience of God
  • Head were many crowns - he is the king of all glory, the firstborn of all creation (incarnate)
  • Name written on Him - he was, is and is to come and is the living declaration of the Word
  • (Contrast this with the sign that was placed above his head at the time of his crucifixion which mocked him as the “King of the Jews”)
  • Robe dipped in blood - he is the redemption for all people
  • White horse - purity, equity and righteousness to overcome in battle
  • Sharp sword - judgment
  • Iron rod - justice and sovereignty

Notice again the English translation capitalizes the “King” and “Lord” when referring to Jesus.

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.

  • This is not a pretty end for evil
  • This sounds like the making of a great movie!
  • The final battle waged is called “Armageddon” because it is prophetically spoken to be fought at the “Plain of Megiddo”


  • A modern city 25 miles west/southwest of the Sea of Galilee
  • Near the Kishon River
  • Carmel Mountain is the mountain in the plain of Megiddo where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:10-40
  • Mentioned 12 times in the Old Testament but all physical/geographical references. Mentioned once in the New Testament (Rev. 16:16) and it’s prophetical

The return of Christ to defeat evil forever and complete the plan of God, is a different event - by all accounts - than the calling away of the church, or “Rapture” of the saints.

Rapture is a scriptural ideal - not an actual English word used in the Bible.

15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died[h] will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NLT)

The Christian belief of the “calling away” of the church (before the Second Coming and the Battle of Armageddon) is a Greek word harpazo - which was translated into the Latin Vulgate as raptus - the root of the English/French word rapture.

Four things to remember about the end of time:

  1. The first time Christ was here was not the last time (John 14:1-6)
  2. No one knows the day nor the hour of his return (Matthew 24:36)
  3. You must be ready
  4. Once it happens, then comes the final judgment

The good news - if you know Jesus you’re going to be just fine!

#Emerge #RevWhiteHouse

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Get Up, Get Out (04.22.18 Notes)

Get Up, Get Out, Get Going
#Emerge Week Four
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Scripture: John 11:1-53 (NLT)

11 A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”

4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 

Jesus did not immediately return, instead he made a PROMISE that would later take a MIRACLE.

11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.
14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

God is in the miracle business, but he’s always about the MOMENT for it.

17 When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. 18 Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem, 19 and many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss. 20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Why did Jesus wait to return to Bethany?

  1. The waiting brought PURPOSE

This miracle was not truly about the resurrection of Lazarus. It was about the resurrection of Jesus. The miracle of the raising of Lazarus was so powerful it ushered in the conspiracy of the leaders to get rid of Jesus.

And through death, God brings LIFE. That’s the whole story of the Bible! 

2. The waiting brought TESTING

  • Jesus tested the faith of the disciples
  • Jesus tested the faith of Mary and Martha
  • Jesus tested the faith of the onlookers (the crowd)

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[e] Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

3. The waiting brought AUTHENTICATION

An ancient custom said the spirit hovered over the body for three days after death.

Had Jesus raised Lazarus immediately, people would have QUESTIONED the miracle.

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” 41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”

God has the power to transform death into life. But when he does, what is the purpose for that power in your story?

There is no mention that Lazarus eventually went to Heaven without dying. So this miracle was a TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT for a bigger purpose!

What’s DEAD in your life that needs life, for the purpose of pointing others to ETERNAL LIFE?

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”

53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.

#Emerge #RevWhiteHouse

God Not's Done...But It's a Dry Season (04.15.18)

God’s Not Done (But It’s a Dry Season)
#Emerge Week Three
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Scripture: 1 Kings 17:8-24 (NLT)

8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

Elijah was a prophet of the Lord, and not always involved in POSITIVE outcomes.

Elijah had to:
  • Prophesy to wicked kings and people
  • Speak droughts and famines
  • Relied upon the Lord for safety and provision

He was a prophet much the style of JOHN THE BAPTIST in the New Testament.

13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

How ironic God would ask a widow who was suffering during a DRY SEASON to provide food and drink for the Lord’s servant.

  1. Have you ever been asked to GIVE when you were broke?
  2. Have you ever been asked to SERVE when you are tired?
  3. Have you ever been asked to PRAY when you were speechless?
  4. Have you ever been asked to TRUST when all hope seemed lost?

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. 

17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

God satisfies the drought season, but then the woman’s son gets sick, and she loses FAITH.

When the answer to prayer doesn’t go your way, how do you respond?
  • Blame God?
  • Turn your back on people?
  • Quit and give up?
  • Harbor resentment?

In the hardest seasons of your life is when you ultimately have to trust God the MOST!

19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”

21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”

24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
1. There is nothing IMPOSSIBLE for God. But it sure seems like it when we are hurting!

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NLT)

2. There is nothing IMPATIENT for God. But it sure is hard to wait!

9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:9 NLT)

3. There is nothing IMPERFECT about God’s will. But it sure seems tough to understand it.

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! 34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? 35 And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? 36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

Maybe you’re here. It’s dry. You’re lost. Your faith is wavering. Hope seems gone. The impossible is at your doorstep.

And there is God - ready to emerge with the impossible.

#Emerge #RevWhiteHouse

Easter Sunday (04.01.18 Notes)

God Moved the Rock, but Hope Changed the World
#Emerge Week One
Pastor Kris Freeman
Revolution Church
Sunday, April 1, 2018

Scripture: Luke 24:1-12 (NLT)

24 But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 3 So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes.

These women were not looking for a man who was ALIVE but rather a body that was dead.

All my life, images of Easter have conjured death:
- The cross
- The tomb
- The crown of thorns
- The body of Jesus
- The crucifix (a Catholic symbol/necklace)

While the death of Jesus was the beginning of the Easter story, the RESURRECTION is truly the hope of what Easter is all about.

5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”

How would you feel if a man you had only known for a short time, told you he was going to do things that seemed IMPOSSIBLE

Three unbelievable things about what Jesus told them:
  1. No one gives themselves voluntarily over to death
  2. No one raises from the dead
  3. No one had ever possessed the deity or power to claim such things!

So let’s be honest - did they believe him? Or was there serious DOUBT?

8 Then they remembered that he had said this. 9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened. 11 But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. 12 However, Peter jumped up and ran to the tomb to look. Stooping, he peered in and saw the empty linen wrappings; then he went home again, wondering what had happened.

Process what happens in your mind when you have an EXPECTATION and then it doesn’t come to pass. Disappointment? Resentment? Fear? Anger? Depression? Letdown? Skepticism? 
The story of Easter is one of CRUSHED EXPECTATIONS behind the rock of a borrowed tomb.

BUT THEN…God moved the rock.

And suddenly, there is a wave of CHANGE that EMERGES inside of us.

  1. Wait, he was right!
  2. Wait, I remember what he said!
  3. Wait, he is ALIVE!!!

HOPE changes everything. 

This Easter, you have been commissioned to tell the world about the story of hope. The story of grace. The story of a Savior who died and rose again, and predicted he would do it.

Still, two thousand years later, there is no story of hope that MATCHES it.

Over the next four weeks, I want you to return just as the disciples returned to Galilee, and we see four stories of hopeless circumstances when God’s plan EMERGED right before their eyes.

There is hope for you too, and if there’s a big rock holding back your story, let God move it!

#Emerge #RevWhiteHouse

Friday, April 13, 2018

What is Live.Love.Serve. anyway?

The following is a paper on life philosophy and ethics from Pastor Kris Freeman of Revolution Church for Trevecca Nazarene University.


       The philosophy of my life is easy to write, simple to explain and short to remember, yet the ethical framework which makes it up and describes it is extensive and foundational. What sounds like a motto and rather is a mantra, the phrase Live.Love.Serve. is the foundation of Revolution Church in White House, Tenn. In reality, it's bigger and deeper than that. It's a lifestyle which carried over into the reach of the local church.

My wife, Jennifer, and I were sitting at a table with a room full of potential church-planting pastors when the instructor asked each couple to write down the potential core values of our new church. The paper contained an acronym, spelling out “HE CALLS” (Hear, Evangelize, Care, Activate, Live, Love, Serve), but when the pastor walked around the room to examine the work, another item on my table was covering the top half of the paper and the only visible portion contained the final three. He spoke out loud to the room and stated: “Live? Love? Serve? These are great. Folks, this is exactly what I am looking for.” I marked out the first four not realizing how right he was, for the entire future of our church and in hindsight the development of my life philosophy was indeed based in those three words.

Fast forward a year and we stood on the stage of our church and launched this mission with an impromptu statement: “we are here to celebrate life change, love God and love others, and serve our community and around the world.” This expanded version of Live.Love.Serve. is now the church mission statement, vision-casting foundation and frame for every ministry in our church and community. We are in our eighth year.

The reason it was so easy to state the explanation of those values on the first day was because what I wrote on the paper that random Thursday in October, 2009, was actually an overflow of the margin of my own life. Though the use of ambiguous wording sounds similar to a virtue ethic like Plato’s courage or justice (Wilkens, 2011, p. 138), or Augustine’s faith, hope and love (Wilkens, 2011, p. 138), it’s deeper defined than a virtue ethic. It’s not just an ideal or a moral code, but an action step. This philosophy is a triple verb, has a narrative, is based in Christian values and is characterized by action and application, both inside and outside the corporate setting. Over the remainder of this writing, I plan to break down the background of the framework for the actions represented in this phrase, its foundational principles and even potential issues with such a simple statement that leaves so much room for ambiguity in interpretation.

Before I continue, the most important portion of the life philosophy is its continuity and reliance upon each element. From a marketing and branding standpoint, we collectively chose to place the words together, capitalized, with no space and a period to separate them. A similar branding is used for dates (04.12.18) or series titles (Through.The.Eyes.) Good branding does not build vision, it reflects it. Nike is not a superstar of the athletic apparel world because of the “swoosh,” but the symbol of the company embodies the visual example of “Just Do It” (Cooke, 2008). The vision of Live.Love.Serve. is reflected in those three words, but builds upon itself. A life of transformational change then teaches us to love God for what He has done for us, and then because of God’s nature then love others as ourselves, and then serve one another and make a difference in the world.

If you experience life change through a salvation experience with Jesus Christ, then next logical step is to grow closer to God, which is represented by love and discipleship, and serving is a natural extension of Christ-like principles to our neighbor. One part of the philosophy leads to the other and cycles back to begin the same work in others as you minister to them.

Digging deeper than just a church mission statement, the ethical framework and foundation for these principles in my life return to my childhood. I grew up in a Christian home, but it was divided. I am the grandson of a deacon and the son of a mom who worked at the Baptist Sunday Board (now Lifeway Christian Stores). In contrast, my father left my home and my parents divorced in 1983, and he has not attended church since. My influences leaned to my mother’s side. 

The emphasis on life change began during my time in church. The biggest influence was my pastor of 22 years, Rev. Clayton Hall. He emphasized that everything in life was about salvation. Every message, song, prayer and serving experience should point someone to a relationship with Jesus Christ. In Christian tradition, this is the foundation of evangelism, rooted in The Great Commission. It is my job, and all our job, to tell others about Jesus. In the direct application of his teaching, Rev. Hall sounds like a divine command theorist, which sounds like “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it” (Wilkens, 2011, p. 197). How he - and the church - learned to apply these principles of evangelism were often dependent upon the moment, which would lean to situational ethics (Wilkens, 2011, p. 164).

This is where the life portion of the philosophy can break down with additional elements. Life change without growth is tempted to become a fleeting moment, which doesn’t stick, or what a Christian might refer to as a “false conversion” (Calvinist) or “backsliding” (Arminian) (Fairchild, 2018, p. 1). Life change needs discipleship, love and growth. All my influences until age 22 were based in a traditional church and pushed salvation and on paper, this seems like the most important focus of any Christian. It is the way we get to Heaven, through our relationship with Jesus (John 14:6, NLT). 

As Wilkins describes in Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics, by breaking down each type of ethical foundation (2011), this has both a positive and negative. The potential good is a relationship with Jesus Christ - there should be nothing wrong with this! The potential trouble spots are like a conflicting ethic. Life change needs a second step, or a conflict arises within it. Is it possible to truly experience life change in Jesus Christ and not fully understand repentance? Is redemption the goal, or do we further explore the ultimate goal of The Great Commission to be a disciple (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)? My influences in a traditional Baptist church and surrounding community did not explore the second steps because so much emphasis was placed on “getting people saved.” I did not know how to live a life of worship, or surrender every struggle in life to the lordship of Jesus, nor was I taught to read the Bible on my own and explore the Holy Spirit and gifts and fruit of the Spirit. 

Life change is not complete without true love and growth, and is dangerously balanced on a foundation that has little substance. Jesus is able to forgive us of our sins, but in echoing the words of James in the New Testament, we must be sure to take next steps so that “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:17, NLT).

The second step of the philosophy, love God, love others is based on my Christian tradition as well, but this is where I will take a pause from Christian tradition and admit it took much more life experience and cultural relevance to understand what it truly means later in life. I love my home church, but they did not teach me how to love God and love others, it was as though it was understood or expected. 

Unfortunately, I was taught to love people who looked like me, dressed like me, listened to the same music like me and talked in Biblical language from the King’s English like me. The example of my grandmother who lived a life of humility and honor drove the principle of loving God and loving others when I finally reached college and began to explore this on my own for the first time. She always said “you must love everybody.” To understand it, though, I have to know the source of why she did it, and accomplished it so successfully. She didn’t learn this from a Christian tradition, per se. She needed a deeper truth rooted in the Bible. I believe my grandmother was a situational ethicist, because just as Jesus acted in the new commandment of love (John 13:34, NLT), she believed “we do the right thing when we act in a loving manner” (Wilkens, 2011, p. 164).

The Gospel writer Luke, who penned both the book of his name in the New Testament and the Book of Acts (Bible Study Tools, n.d.), was a physician. As I began to study Luke, I listened through the words of the page to the compassion of a physician who was not an original disciple, but became a follower of Jesus and chronicled details of his life even though he likely never met him. Luke brings stories and teachings found nowhere else in the synoptic Gospels and his compassion for others jumps off the page in a writing style that is indicative of a doctor who loves his patients. 

Then in Luke, I read the story of Jesus encountering a religious law expert found in the 10th chapter. When asked, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25, NLT), Jesus answers causing the man to cite Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. This states “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus then gives the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, during which a man helps another person who is different from him.

I have always interpreted this statement, “if we love God, then we should love others.” How do we accomplish such a charge if our circle of evangelism is limited to those like us, and who we deem can become like us?

In college, I encountered cultural hot buttons for the first time which evangelism could not answer. I made friends with those of a different faith, and experienced first hand what racism looked like, both targeted at me, and aimed at my friends. I considered dating a young lady from Saudi Arabia and listened in horror as someone in my family stated I could not bring home a Muslim believer to meet the Christians close to me. I wanted to know why! Who was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and why did he have a dream, and what was this dream? How do I accept those with challenges and special needs into my world instead of making fun of them until they exit it?

These thoughts challenged my Christian tradition and my foundation but I realized Luke’s stories, and others like it in the New Testament, gave us a clue to the answer. Loving God is much deeper than a relationship with him, it’s understand that if God doesn’t just love, but “is love” (1 John 4:8-9 NLT), then we too must exhibit this love in our actions toward others.

Dr. King did not advocate for civil rights because he was an African-American, he marched and took action for civil rights because he understood love needed action, and life needed change (King, 1963). All people are deserving of a chance to know the same Gospel as I experienced with my salvation at age 11, but I must love my neighbor (and even my enemies) or evangelism is never possible. To share Christ with a Muslim means I first must build a bridge, not destroy it. This was the earthly work of Jesus. He taught, loved, served, helped, went, led and instructed. His love was evident in his actions, and then he charged his inner core of disciples to do the same.

A disciple is a learner, but an apostle is an ambassador. The transition of the disciples in the Bible from their personal relationship with Jesus on earth to their work through the Holy Spirit after he is gone is the framework for their mission. They began as learners, but they were sent to change the world.

I cannot expect life change, nor even grow closer to Christ without one final step of the life philosophy and that is through transformation and learning to love my neighbor, I will then be motivated and compelled to serve. Many who hear the vision of Live.Love.Serve. quickly understand its method of operation. It is not enough just to experience change. Change must push you to grow, and growth will push you to take action with your hands and feet. Two of the three isn’t acceptable. At least, it was never acceptable for me.

The influences which taught me to serve include a former coach, whom I have now worked together with for the last 24 years as a volunteer. While he is a teacher and a paid athletic representative, I watched all the hours he sat voluntarily upon a mower in the offseason when other teachers were taking summer breaks. I saw him make appearances for family members at a hospital room, or attend the baptism, weddings and even funerals of his former players. This example of service is inspiring. We should all work a profession that supports our family, but then we should then serve in a capacity where no reward is enough for the satisfaction received for knowing you are helping others.

I was influenced by a another pastor, Rev. Rudy Braswell, who was supposed to officiate my wedding only to lose his life on his ninth mission trip to Honduras in 1998. It was because of him I have taken six mission trips. I watched servants like Austin Hendrix, who well beyond retirement years, bricked the exterior of a brand new worship facility - for free - after a contractor left a bulging wall which had to be torn down. I paid attention to baseball superstar Albert Pujols, a man whom I have never met, who married a woman who was already a mother to a special needs child. He then adopted her as his daughter and started a foundation for Down Syndrome which first impacted his home country of the Dominican Republic and then expanded to the United States of America.

Coming full circle, I sit writing this paper looking at an autographed baseball from this same player after he visited and met a family in our church who adopted a daughter with Down Syndrome, and they brought the gift to me, to which I exchanged for a charitable contribution to the Pujols Family Foundation.

This is the basis of “serve” - to give to someone which may not be able to do for themselves, and expect nothing in return. At times, this creates an ethical conflict within my own life, but perhaps it’s a situational ethical foundation, but I have chosen that serve comes first as long as I can still represent Christ.

Serve is a core value because its a core lifestyle. I believe it is impossible to truly “teach” how to serve. While I may instruct another person on the ways to serve, the value itself is produced when we disciple others in Jesus Christ and his mission comes to life in theirs.

It is hard to summarize in a short time the principles found by Cantrell and Lucas in High Performance Ethics, but with a life slogan which works for my family, my faith and my career and my community, it’s easy to see why their ethical framework works in a business culture. “Part of the reason we don’t always value ethics is we aren’t sure what they are where they originate” (Cantrell and Lucas, 2007, p. 3). Through the class in the MHR program at Trevecca Nazarene University, I have learned to point where my ethical framework originates. As a combination of Christian ethics, divine command, narrative, virtue and situational ethics, my foundation looks messy. But for me, this is stable, diverse and builds a solid ground to move forward.

I know this is more than a church motto or slogan when I see my wife and my children live this out and echo it when they speak to and serve with others. I realize the legacy it leaves when I see former baseball players now serving others, or friends sacrificing time and money to work and even live in another country in poorer conditions for the benefit of reaching, teaching and helping people they did not know.

The greatest conflict of my life mission may come when one day, what if I am no longer a part of the church by which this mission takes definition and hold. To adhere to a life philosophy that looks like a branding bumper sticker would seem impossible when disconnected from that organization.

It was my life philosophy before, later and will continue to be not because I say it, write it, or stick it on a coffee cup and T-shirt. The foundation of Live.Love.Serve. is my mission and vision because I am it, and it is me. Without the meaning of those three words, the slogan is empty, and without the meaning of those three words, my life was never full.


Book of Luke - Read, Study Bible Verses Online. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2018, from

Cantrell, W., & Lucas, J. R. (2007). High-Performance Ethics. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

Cooke, P. (2008). Branding faith: Why Some Churches and Nonprofits Impact Culture and Others Don’t. Ventura, CA: Regal Books.

Fairchild, M. (2018). Why Do Calvinists and Arminians Disagree So Strongly? Retrieved April 11, 2018, from

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