Week #3 - Kaizen

Listen to Pastor Lonnie as you follow along in the posting below:

I have been listening with interest to the job report as many of you probably do and I remember my days working for several manufacturing companies during my career. One of the most fun was with a company in Wichita Falls Texas. That was because I had the opportunity to be trained in several Japanese manufacturing techniques one of them called "Kaizen." (Pronounced Kai-zon) "Kaizen" is a Japanese word which means "quality" or "improvement." The word, "kaizen" means that you have improvement or upgrades, not just as a goal in life, but as a part of your everyday living.

What got me thinking down this path was that our Jr. High Sunday school class wanted to study about Music and its effects. The lesson was entitled “Why should the Devil get all the Good Music?” and we used YouTube videos which showed the lyrics and we critiqued the songs. What did it mean, how does it make you feel, should we listen to it any more – questions like that. We ended up ditching most of the songs we watched! What is most memorable about the class was when one of the students exclaimed, after really reading and seeing the words by a popular Christian Radio artist, “But that song is on the Christian Radio station and it has nothing to do with God!” Out of the mouth of babes.

I challenged them - not to give up listening to their popular music but to tithe their time listening to music to include music that has lyrics about God. You can’t expect them to just give up ‘cold turkey’ something that they have spent a lifetime doing overnight. It’s the same with losing weight, reading the Bible or any change we want to incorporate into our lives.

Quality, improvement and excellence need to be a part of our living. This is a mind set that keeps us moving forward. Here are three points in the area of "Kaizen":

1. How you respond to challenge is really important.

There are many negative ways people respond to challenge: they become defensive, fearful, withdrawn, angry, and have a sense of being unworthy. Do an honest assessment and ask yourself, "Is there room for improvement in my life? Will this help me be better for Christ? Is there any shred of truth from what this person is saying that is challenging me?”

Think about Peter when Jesus came out and challenged them to throw the nets on the other side of the boat and all of a sudden there was a net full of fish. What did Peter do? He ran to Jesus, fell down on his face and said, "Depart from me. I'm an unworthy man." Sometimes when you're challenged you'll see something really good or hear something that someone speaks to you and you know it's burning in your heart but you feel unworthy.

Well the best way to respond to the challenge is by accepting it. The way you respond to challenge will either increase the potential that lies within you or it will decrease the potential that lies within you. To increase your potential you must respond well to challenges.

2. Change.

Growing up I often heard about the ‘pioneer spirit’ and a ‘settler’ spirit. A settler builds a settlement and then makes it better and better. Once he's settled, he's content, but he's not pioneering new territory or new land. Once you become a settler you lose an ongoing current relationship with what the Holy Spirit is saying right now.

On the other hand a pioneer pushes towards new frontiers, taking lessons from the past and pushing toward new frontiers. The Holy Spirit is a pioneer. If we're going to stay in step with the Holy Spirit, we have to be pioneers too.

When you think of growth, improvement, upgrade, increase, fruitfulness—it assumes that you're going to somehow change. Static lives become settlers, bettering things just for themselves. Then it becomes a very myopic vortex that starts to quickly spiral south.

The first thing that we usually need to change is our mind. That's why the Bible says in 2 Cor. 10:5 that "we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," and in Col. 3:2, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

The second thing is not only do you change your mind but you change your perception of things. Perception is almost as important as the truth of reality itself. The way you perceive reality is sometimes, for you, as important as reality itself. Matthew 6:22 - 23 states "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" If you perceive something wrongly, it will affect you as if it were reality. The way you perceive things is extremely important.

3. You must champion the change.

You have to go after it with all your might. If you are hesitant about changing, you won’t change. Proverbs 19:20 says, Listen to counsel and accept discipline in order that you might be wise the rest of your days. Not only do we need to listen to counsel but the proverb says to accept the discipline necessary to follow through with that counsel. Sometimes we listen to advice but we never champion it. Wisdom won’t come just by listening to counsel it has to be put into practice.

Some items to be mindful of this week:

· Bring your crisis care kits to Church on Sunday. We will be collecting them over the next two weeks.

· I want to praise you for your generosity - $520 was given for Haiti relief this past Sunday!

· Prepare for our 5th Sunday Celebration on January 31st. It is the prayer of your Board and Pastor that we use this time to reconnect and grow with each other. We will honor “Pop” Malony on his 90th birthday.

Let's pray:

“Lord, we ain't what we ought to be. We ain't what we could be. We ain't what we gonna be, but thank God we ain't what we were." Amen.

May God show you His ways, and as you accept challenges, change your minds and champion the change, you will become more and more like Christ.