Keeping your head up is important.  Titans Coach, Herman Boone, told his losing high school football team at halftime of the Virginia state championship, “Win or lose… we’re gonna walk out of this stadium tonight with our heads held high.”

In recent days, Sherry has been getting lost in a Nicholas Sparks book.  I’m hoping there’s a corresponding movie that can help a bro out.  As Sherry reads, her head is typically down.  She is oblivious to the rest of life as pages are flipped.

Michael busked last night.  He made a cool $26 bucks in the hour he shredded his guitar.  Sometimes his head was up and tilted back, sometimes his head was down.  He played amazing blues riffs either way.  I like it when his head is up and he looks into the eyes of folks plopping one dollar bills into his tip hat.

Sometimes we’re told to put our heads down and push ambitions forward.  Other times we’re encouraged to lift our heads up when discouragement and depression creep in.  The Bible says the Lord can lift our heads up (Psalm 3:3).

Perhaps that’s what He did for me this morning.   My head has been down lately—driving things.  Ministry.  Goals.  Messages.  Key hires.  Kenya.  Camp.  Selling current property.  Transitioning to new property.  Keeping your head down too much, no matter what you’re driving, can result in chronic lostness.  Sheep tend to do this as they move and drive from tuft to tuft of grass.  Without lifting their heads occasionally, sheep lose their way.

This morning my head was down again.  I was reading.  And then the calm early morning water stirred.  It was a dolphin about ten feet of the shoreline.  I continued looking up only to see another dolphin, about five hundred yards away , jump out of the water— three times, full body.  Amazing.  My head was lifted.

Carl George writes, “Too many churches lose valuable ministry energy because their leadership are preoccupied with that which is marginal to their mission.”  This is head down ministry stuff– going tuft to tuft– program to program.

Essential, lift-up-your-head ministry involves “leadership development where greater ministry can be accomplished in ever-widening circles of influence” according to George.

I love what my new friend, Ron Dotzler, writes about in “Beautiful Church.”  To get an entire church to lift their heads, a new outlook on our church outcomes is needed.  “People, Dotzler asserts, “are more formed then they are informed.”  Instead of relying on more and better sermons, the best discipleship play for church is getting out of the seats and into the streets.  Is this THE best way to feed the sheep as Jesus challenged Peter in John 21?

It all makes me lift up my head with a healthy examination of vision and renewed energy of possibilities.

I love summer study break.

 

(author’s note:  reading was from John 16-21; “Beautiful Church” by Ron Dotzler; “How To Break Growth Barriers” by Carl F. George & Warren Bird)