Archive for the 'Life in Community' Category

21
Oct
10

100 Comments!

Although it’s not a large number in terms of the blogosphere, I want to take the opportunity to celebrate reaching 100 comments on my blog.  Since I have just become serious about this whole blogging thing in the last several weeks, I suppose reaching this milestone is worth celebrating.

Thanks to those who have commented and engaged in the conversation.  As I learn more about how this process can be developed, I hope to see the traffic (and the corresponding comments)  increase.  I am also in the process of developing a new blogging property that will be launched in the near future that will engage my training as a counselor, pastor and desire to provide guidance to those on this journey we call life.

Let’s travel together!!

19
Oct
10

It’s Your Turn

I enjoy writing.  I may not be the best writer in the world, but when it clicks, it feels good to express my ideas in a way that connects…or at least connects my thoughts to reality and relevance.  That’s my aim anyway.

Sometimes, however, I feel like a talking head.  I’m afraid I appear to be a verbal faucet that spouts off and doesn’t invite response, reply and rebuttal.  I don’t want that.  Sooo…to prove my point, I’m simply going to ask a question.  It’s your turn to speak up and share what’s on your mind!  I want to hear you…I really do!!  Let’s get some interaction going here.

QUESTION:

What drives your passion?  Where do you get your inspiration?

17
Oct
10

Refuse to Do Nothing

This Saturday, hundreds of people from First Church will be heading out into the River Valley to touch lives with the love of Jesus.  We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus by making sure that our faith is a loving, practical, active faith (James 2:18).  We’re calling this Servolution Saturday, but our desire is to adopt a Servolution Lifestyle.

If you are a follower of Christ, how are you demonstrating your faith?  What is the difference you’re making?  Whose life has been impacted for good because you cared and you stepped up to get involved?  It is easier to look the other way and not be bothered.  It is easier to think, “Someone else will do it.”  Let’s quit taking the easy way.

Josh Wilson, singer/songwriter, has written a song that says, “I refuse to do nothing.”  He produced the video below after experiencing Nashville’s 1000-year flood and being convicted about his involvement to help the victims.  I hope as you view this, you will be inspired to ask how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.

How are you inspired to serve?  Where do you make a footprint for the Kingdom?

05
Oct
10

Catalytic Adventure

In 2008 I attended my first and only Catalyst Conference. As a lead pastor, my youth pastor and I made the trek from middle Tennessee to Atlanta to experience what would be a pivotal point in my ministry. I was in a transition phase of ministry and life-journey, the full impact of which I did not fully understand at that point. I would have to characterize Catalyst that year for me as, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The speakers that I remember being impactful to me were…

Steven Furtick

Andy Stanley

Jim Collins

Craig Groeschel

Dave Ramsey

Seth Godin

Coming out of that event, I was prepared for the next “phase” of life and ministry into which God was moving me. It was only a few months until I received an invitation to join a ministry where my vision, dreams and gifting would be more completely utilized in the Kingdom. Looking back, I see clearly how God was orchestrating everything for that transition. Catalyst was a part of that process.

Now, as I anticipate attending my second Catalyst Conference in 2010, I do so with great expectation for the experience. This time I am in community with 5 other pastors from our church as well as an intern. We will spend Wednesday in a planning retreat and then experience Catalyst together as a staff. What do I hope to gain?

1. Enriched relationships with those I labor alongside in our ministry

2. Vision casting and practical planning for what God wants to do in us, and through us, in 2011

3. Inspiration for my ministry, leadership and life journey.

4. Great worship

5. Ideas for sharpening my leadership skills

In short…to be catalyzed by the Spirit for seeing even greater things accomplished for the Kingdom.

Are you attending Catalyst? What are your expectations? What are some past experiences to which you can point that were impactful?

17
Sep
10

It’s Not Rocket Science

Rocket science, it is not.  The Faith at Home movement that is taking the body of Christ by storm, and is well represented by the D6 brand, is a great example of the old song line that says, “When everything old becomes new again.”  D6 stands for Deuteronomy 6, in particular verses 4-9, which any orthodox Jew would immediately recognize as the Shema.  The Hebrews word “Shema” means “to listen.”  Quoted daily in the home of the orthodox Jew until this day, it says…

Hear, O Israel:  The LORD your God, the LORD is One!
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The ancient tradition of reciting this passage in the Jewish home has served a valuable purpose:  to pass along the faith of one generation to the next.  The Jews got it…but what about Christians?  We have failed to do the job of passing our faith on to the next generation as it is evidenced by the statistics concerning young adults in the church.  Studies tell us that between 60%-90% of young adults who have grown up in the church, leave the church after they graduate high school.  Only a fraction of those will return after they reach their late 20s to early 30s and become parents themselves.  There are two reasons that stand above the rest as the reason for this exodus.

1.    Hypocrisy in the home
2.    The Bible is irrelevant to life

The Faith at Home (D6) movement is leading the charge of taking faith back into the home…of equipping parents to be the spiritual leaders in the home rather than abdicating the responsibility to the church.  When the church and the home partner to enable the parents to pass on their faith to their children, everyone wins.  Just one statistic that paints the power of this reality is this…the number of children leaving the church as young adults drops from 60%-90% to less than 1% when they simply pray together regularly with their families.  Is it worth it to buy in to this paradigm shift?  Absolutely!

Faith lived out in the home with authenticity and passion…it’s not rocket science, it’s an ancient truth that is more powerful than anything NASA has ever launched.

How did the faith of your parents impact your faith journey?

31
May
10

Remembering & Thankful

I remember seventh grade mostly because of a classmate who experienced a tragedy I could hardly fathom.  He was new to our school that year.  His dad was in the military and serving in Vietnam.  He talked with excitement about his dad coming home in just a few weeks.  Although it wasn’t the center of attention for us as self-centered middle school kids, I remember thinking how great it would be for him to have his dad home again.  I didn’t know what that was like…to have a war separate family members.  My dad had served in the Army during the Korean War, but did so stateside as a communications instructor at Fort Gordon.  He had served before he was married and, obviously, before I was a thought in my parents’ mind.  My only other experience was an uncle who served in Germany during the Vietnam era.

I remember the years during the Vietnam War being dark and depressing as I would watch the reports on the evening news.  It was the first war where reporters were embedded in the war zone and giving “live” reports.  The feeling was oppressive.  Of course, I later came to understand more clearly the political implications of the war and how the soldiers were treated when they returned from combat.  The sad fact is that they had to endure the terrible experiences of the battle in an impossible situation and then come home to be treated as criminals.  The truth…no matter how one feels about the Vietnam war (or any other war), the soldier is just fulfilling his duty.  We should always be thankful for their courage and sacrifice…and this goes for those who served in Vietnam as well.

What was it that made my seventh grade year so memorable?  I remember the day that our teacher stood before the class to tell us that “Brian’s” dad would not be returning home to the family.  Just a few days short of his return, he was killed in combat.  Somehow, the tragedy of this death brought home to a kid, trying to figure out the world, just how much a person is willing to sacrifice to fight for his country.  I went to the funeral home for the visitation and just stood there quietly not really knowing what to say.  The sadness on my classmate’s face told me that he had suffered a loss that I could not even begin to understand.  But I knew, from that point on, I would always appreciate the courage and sacrifice of those who serve our country in the armed forces.

This Memorial Day, I remember and honor all those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom and at the call of our country.  Regardless of the political agenda, every soldier, sailor, airman and marine who has served our country with honor deserves to be applauded.  I stand today and salute them…with a grateful heart and a humbled mind.  Thank you for being willing to serve.

Do you have a friend or loved one who you wish to honor?  Write their name and/or a brief comment about their service below.

04
Apr
10

Empty Cross + Empty Tomb ≠ An Empty Life

Our pastor made a statement in the Easter sermon this morning that has stuck with me, so I thought I would write a few thoughts about it here as this Easter Sunday comes to a close.  He said, “There’s an empty cross, an empty tomb, what about your life?  Is it empty?”

My immediate mental/worship response to this question was to rejoice in the reality that my life is NOT empty.  It has been, it could be, it deserves to be, but it is NOT!  In this brief post (mostly because I’m tired) I will share a few things that are significant to me about this thought.

  1. My life was empty at one time.  Although I came to faith in Christ at an early age (9 years), I was very aware of the emptiness in my life at that time.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have described it that way as a 9-year-old.  But that is exactly where I was.  I was empty of the life that I knew I could have in trusting Christ.  I knew I was devoid of life that would be eternally with God.  That was the emptiest empty I could have imagined at that time.  So…I placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8).
  2. My life has felt pretty empty at times since then.  One might ask, if you trusted in Jesus to fill the emptiness, why would you experience an emptiness since then?  The reason…my own failure to trust.  Though I have never ceased to trust in Jesus as my Savior, there have been times when I failed to fully trust Him for a struggle, a need, a fear or a desire.  When I have chosen to do things my way with myself at the center, I have disengaged from that dependent/trusting relationship that He has intended.  In turn, I have forfeited the presence and power of Jesus in my life, resulting in a feeling of emptiness (James 4:8-10).
  3. I am most aware of the fullness of the life Jesus has given me when I am in community with others.  My life is far from empty.  There is no despair when I am aware that I am in Christ and He is in me.  That relationship is energized and experienced as I live out life with those God has placed in my life…my wife, my family, my Lifegroup, my faith community…even the non-believers with whom I have the opportunity to rub elbows (Proverbs 27:9).

My life is anything but empty.  I rejoice this Easter that an empty cross and an empty tomb do not make for an empty life.  Instead, it is the fullest life that I could ever imagine (John 10:10).

How has God filled your life?  What relationships help you to see the fullness of life that God has given you?




GET CONNECTED

Click Here to Subscribe

Subscribe via RSS & Email - Click Here!

My Tweets

eFlections Review

My Facebook


%d bloggers like this: