Posted by: Aaron Allison | May 1, 2015

Teaching, Civility and John Wooden

As education produces relationships among diverse people, the animosity from ignorance melts into friendship.   It is so easy to vilify those we don’t understand. Yet, through education, we get a perspective on the world that produces the kindness that exemplifies Christ’s love for the world.

John WoodenJohn Wooden (1910-2010) is the most successful collegiate basketball coach of all-time, and he considered himself a teacher. Wooden wrote, “There is nothing stronger than gentleness.”  Wooden spent his career motivating and instructing elite athletes who thrived on aggressive competition, yet he recognized the power of a civil approach to life.   Basketball was the subject he taught, but civility was his end product.   Teachers would benefit to realize the subject they teach is the means to the end when it comes to producing civil citizens.

Who would we be with out education?   Without inspirational teaching, the individual would only be an accumulation of facts, with an undeveloped heart.  Individuals with no heart, produces an uncivil society of full of endless conflict and misunderstanding and conflict. Transformational teaching produces civil people, and changes the world for good.

Posted by: Aaron Allison | April 30, 2015

Two Things Stirring Me

Two things I have learned over the last week that are stirring me …

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– “The Turks (Ottoman Empire) in 1915 destroyed the minority of Armenians in their midst, killing probably as many as a million and a half, and driving hundreds of thousands into exile.”[1] In my study of 20th century history how did I miss this? The Ottoman systematic killing of the Armenians is part of the origin of the term genocide. The modern Turkey government still will not acknowledge this as genocide.  This reality demonstrates again that even after 100 years, history is still being defined by interpretation.

[1] http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/417538/century-later-turkey-still-wont-come-terms-armenian-genocide-david-pryce-jones

IMG_0336 – I have always been impressed with the effectiveness of Awana (children’s discipleship program), but I was staggered by a statistic that Christina Keller presented at the Awana Awards ceremony. According to credible market research:

  • 69 TO 94% of teens leave the church after high school
  • Only 1.8% of Awana alumni surveyed dropped out of church as adults
  • 92% of Awana alumni still attend church weekly or more often 

There are variables of this study I have not analyzed, but the point is clear –

Awana is making a tangible difference in DISCIPLESHIP!

Posted by: Aaron Allison | April 23, 2015

Education Leads to Civility

Rude2Civility is the act of demonstrating kindness towards people with whom you disagree. Civility is an important and undervalued by-product of education.   Our culture is in desperate need of more civility.   Our culture has become so polarized; civil dialogue is virtually a lost art.  If you do not believe me, peruse Facebook during election season.

Education produces civility in students. As a student understands more about different worldviews, they will manifest more empathy and cooperation. In one of my favorite quotes, Robert Frost anecdotally said, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper.”  Our culture is more peaceful and desirable when different ideas produce civility instead of anger.

AngerHow does education effect civility?   Education exposes the individual to new ideas, perspectives and experiences that foster civility.   Learning is more than accumulating information, but it’s converting that information into beneficial behavior in society. Education has a unique platform to change the world through learners who become civil citizens. Without knowledge and its proper social applications, combative behavior will dominate society, instead of civility.

Education is a crucial path to civility.

Posted by: Aaron Allison | April 20, 2015

Great Teachers, Great Future

community-educationBeyond my vocation as a pastor, I feel called to use my leadership service for the advancement of education. One of the biggest misconceptions about education comes from a definition that is too narrow. The belief that education exists only for the dispensing of knowledge is not just a limiting description, but a destructive guiding principal. Education is more than standardized tests, graduation rates and school rankings.  Education is about the individual. When an individual’s mind and heart come alive as a life-long learner, teachers have unleashed God-given potential. With all the contemporary problems with education, I believe that effective teachers are still one of the greatest assets we have for a better future.

Posted by: Aaron Allison | April 17, 2015

And The World Goes ‘Round

The World Goes 'RoundI was so impressed with the opening night of the musical revue And The World Goes ‘Round by Actors Point Theatre Company. The show continues this weekend and next at GodWhy Church in Hendersonville. The music is written by the legendary musical theatre team known as Kander & Ebb. Though this production has no direct association with CIL, our children’s pastor Greg Wilson is the Artistic Director of Actors Point, and is one of five amazing performers. Our worship leader and my wife, Beth Allison (in the green dress), was another performer.  It was great to see Beth shine in this area, as she worked really hard to make it a success.  Beth has a bachelors degree in Performing Arts, so she is very comfortable and effective on stage. It was a fun night of music, and I highly recommend it! 

World_goes_round_logo
Saturday, April 18, 2015 (7:30 PM)

Sunday,  April 19, 2015 (2:00 PM)

Saturday, April 25, 2015 (7:30 PM)

Sunday,  April 26, 2015 (2:00 PM)

Get your tickets by clicking here

Posted by: Aaron Allison | April 13, 2015

Dr. Charles Gaulden’s Sermon

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On Sunday, April 12, my good friend Dr. Charles Gaulden spoke at CIL.  Dr. Gaulden is a professor and Old Testament scholar at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida.  He was instrumental in CIL hiring me in 2008, when we merged the two church plants.  Since then, Dr. Gaulden has served me as an academic mentor, as I sat under his teaching and leadership when earning my masters degree in 2009-10.

His message on Psalm 46 called “Therefore” was an encouragement to us all!   On a personal note, we had a great weekend of fellowship, encouraging one another and laughing quite a lot.

Take a listen to the sermon:

http://indianlake.sermon.net/main/main/20369859

Posted by: Aaron Allison | March 30, 2015

Our “List” for the Coming of the Lord

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On Sunday, as I preached about the coming of the Lord, I used the analogy of our maintenance volunteer at the church who leaves town frequently, creating a need with maintenance projects the staff does not have the skills to repair. We make a list for him to “fix” when he comes home. The list means we may have to wait, but we know its going to get fixed eventually.

In our analogy, Jesus is in heaven, and we are waiting for His return to restore our broken world.

Acts 3:21 – “Heaven must welcome Him until the times of the restoration of all things …”

Here is a list I made (and preached) that Jesus will repair when he returns again.

Come Lord, Jesus and . . .

Fix human trafficking
Repair broken families
Eradicated vicious diseases
End senseless war & conflict
Let there never be weapons of mass destruction
chemical warfare
genocide or terrorist acts
Mend racial divide
Tear down prejudice
Feed the hungry
Stop all famine, flood or destructive fire
Let crime cease to exist
There will be no more courts or jails, for they all will obey the work of the Lord
Raise up a righteous standard
Show forth your justice to the oppressed
Shine forth your truth to the deceived
Wash away the consequence of our sin
And let holiness be what we desire

Posted by: Aaron Allison | March 2, 2015

Stop Demonizing the Wealthy

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One of the great challenges to American culture is the demonizing of the wealthy. Prosperity has been equated with selfishness, as many in America believe there are limited slices of the economic pie. The erroneous belief is that if one person has more than me, than there is less for me. This is a poverty mindset that believes, “there is not enough to go around.” On the contrary, the principals of capitalism have demonstrated that as the economy expands we all should benefit. While it appears true that the American middle class is decreasing, I believe that is a symptom of many contemporary issues wrong with our current culture.

I have noticed that people who earn their wealth tend to appreciate it. Second and third generation recipients of wealth tend to down play its importance. Those who have always had a comfortable home, cars that run and access to food at every meal take for granted the privilege of provision. So, we have a lot of critics of the wealthy who have never known the stress of running a business, or the risks of starting one. It is easy to criticize the wealthy when there is no understanding of what it takes to obtain prosperity.

Bible_and_MoneyI have obviously been writing from a secular standpoint, which can be dangerous for a pastor. Now, let me include some spiritual perspective. The Bible warns us about the love of money, which is the root of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Scripture has much to say about injustice, oppression of the poor (Amos 5:11-15), and the challenges of being wealthy (James 2:5-7). On the other hand, the Bible calls us to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10), and denounces idleness and a lazy lifestyle (Proverbs 10:4). The story of the Bible is full of rich people who served God with humility, and poor people who will be highly favored in heaven. To sum up the story of Scripture on money, it is not wrong to be rich or ungodly to be poor. The heart is challenged in both situations. So, it is not good to be insecure about the blessings of God, nor demean those who are challenged economically.

So, in our current American culture, I desire to see Christians advance professionally and economically. It is my hope that believers will not get sucked into the excesses of the “prosperity gospel”, which has been a shame on the gospel message the last forty years. Instead, let us practice what John Wesley has been attributed to saying, “Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.”

Posted by: Aaron Allison | February 11, 2015

A Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech

Prayer Breakfast 2015

For the last six years I have been as supportive of President Obama as my conscious allowed me, attempting to demonstrate civility and understanding towards a leader with whom I share little policy agreement.  I have accepted him as a brother in Christ, as he claims the same grace I depend on for salvation. However, he crossed a line with me as a Christian leader during the February 5, 2015 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

There were positive aspects to the speech, as it contained some great observations about the importance of religious liberty and the need to respect religious freedom. I also appreciate his acknowledgement of Kenneth Bae’s release form North Korea and the continued struggle that Pastor Saeed Abedeni encounters in Iran.  You can view the speech here:

http://www.c-span.org/video/?324188-1/2015-national-prayer-breakfast

The troubling part of this speech came with his poorly-timed and inequitable comparison of Middle-Age Christianity to modern, radical Islam. In a time when we need global leadership against the threat of ISIS, Obama chose to minimize ISIS’ danger by generalizing them as a common threat, such as many religions have been.  ISIS is a grave, global threat to peace that the whole world should be concerned about.

Ravi ZachariasOnce you are familiar with the speech, read the reaction from Christian apologist and author, Ravi Zacharias. Zacharias’ response is well stated, and is helpful in defending Obama’s mischaracterization of Christianity.

Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.  ‎In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.” – Ravi Zacharias

http://rzim.org/blog/a-presidential-blunder-my-response-to-obamas-address-at-the-national-prayer-breakfast

Posted by: Aaron Allison | February 3, 2015

Don’t Be Scared to form an Opinion

American culture is reconciling many different social, political and religious issues in our atmosphere of pluralism. While diversity has created a greater understanding of various perspectives, there is also a great lack of confidence in actually taking a position. There are extreme groups on every position, but most Americans desire to find reasonable conclusions on complex issues. However, we often get stuck in the middle ground. If we are not careful, every discussion on difficult subjects is simply an exercise of identifying opposing views, with no personal conclusion on the matter.

What is my point? Take a position. Study. Discuss. Debate. Empathize. But, let those exercises lead you to an informed opinion. We cannot be a nation of “undecideds.” Though the middle ground may seem desirable in order to avoid labels and misunderstandings, it is not a productive place to stay.

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