Monday, April 30, 2007

One down

Today was a big day in the Everette home. Nathan's first tooth came out while we were brushing his teeth this morning. So, what's the going rate from the tooth fairy these days?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Q

I'm leaving tonight after small group to go to Q. No, that's not a James Bond thing. It's a unique kind of conference on church, leadership, culture, future and the gospel. I'm looking forward to posting some learnings from the event.

I love learning, but I hate being away from my family. One good thing that's come from being at the pre-project visit in Myrtle Beach last week and going to Q this week is that it's forced me to prepare ahead for my sermons. Right now I've got this Sunday and next Sunday's sermon prepared. My goal is to be four weeks out in preparation. I'm working on sermons for our next series that starts on Mother's day: God @ the billboards. More info on that later.

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Sex God" book review


I must confess, I am a big Rob Bell fan. I first heard Rob speak at a Youth Specialties convention in Tampa, FL in 2001 and God really used him profoundly to speak into my life. Thus, when his first book came out I gobbled it down... twice. Sex God is Rob's second book. You've got to admit, the title does grab your attention. Some of you are probably slightly appalled and offended by the title, but you shouldn't be. This book is worth your time. If you are married or hope to be married one day then you need to read this book for sure... especially the last three chapters.

The premise of the whole book is that our sex lives, as they were intended by God, are really a picture of God... his relationship within the trinity and his relationship with us.

I've got to share a quick story from the book that comes from Jewish culture. When a couple would get married they would exchange the marriage covenant and then go immediately to the marriage chamber to consummate the relationship. The deal was, however, that the entire wedding party went with them and waited outside while they engaged in the act of marriage, and when they were done the partying would begin (the whole point being that you weren't married until you had sex and if you had sex then you were married). I'm glad we don't do that today! I would be a bit embarrassed. Read the book. Some of this stuff may come up in a sermon series in the future.

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Sunday night reflections 4-22-07

I felt like last night was one of those nights when it's just hard. We had some technical problems that pushed us right up to starting time in getting ready. A bunch of our folks were out of town (or at the lake). But I think it was still a good night. The sermon actually got recorded this week! I'm going to post it online in a little while. Nathan learned a Bible verse that he quoted for me on the drive home (this is a HUGE thing for me and I am so proud of him). We had some returners.

Personally, I'm really enjoying our Problem with God series. It's been good for me to focus on some simple yet profound characteristics of God. I need to be reminded every so often of who God is and what he is like. Sometimes I get distracted and forget. Sometimes I am consumed by worry and forget. Sometimes I'm just self-centered and I forget. This series has helped me to refocus on who God is and what he is like. I just wish we had more people coming to be a part of the discussion. It's good stuff. At the same time I am so thankful for who God has brought our way and for the way some of you have been inviting people.

God is way bigger than my tiny brain can comprehend, but as we've discussed, God is good, God is Generous and God is Caring. I especially am encouraged by the truth that God as a gardener doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in my life. This week I pray that you would allow our Caring-gardener God to do his work in you so that you will be all that he's created you to be.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Pnuema

I came across the following article today. It really leaves me with more questions than answers. All I know is that I want to cooperate with the Pnuema. I think you do too.

Let's Go Fly a Kite: Cooperation with the Holy Spirit

Almost half the people who think they are watching high definition television (HDTV), aren’t! This is according to a recent study by Leichtman Research Group.

That means that people are inviting their buddies over for the big game and saying, “Check out my picture. Isn’t HDTV great?” Husbands are trying to convince their wives that all the extra money was well spent, and she doesn’t see it (for good reason). The problem is that the system is not properly set up.

I wonder how many church planters never use the capacity of a high definition life God intended them to have, because they are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit. The relationship is not properly set up.

The Greek word you often see in the New Testament for Holy Spirit is Pneuma. It means “current of air” or “breath.” It is from the same root we get the word pneumonia, which deals with our breathing or pneumatic tools, which are those powered by air. Throughout the New Testament we see the concept of the Pneuma. This concept is particularly noticeable in Acts 2:2, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:2, 4a; NIV). After being filled with the Pneuma, the disciples did miraculous acts and Peter boldly shared “and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41b). That is high definition living! That is cooperation with the Holy Spirit!

Recently, while traveling, I saw a group of people flying kites in a grassy area alongside of the highway. They had beautiful kites that were soaring high in the breezy sky. The cooperation the kite flyers had with the wind painted a picture of how God desires for us to cooperate with the Pneuma.

There are a number of ways to fly a kite. Some people are kite runners. Kite runners grab hold of the string and run. The kite will fly and soar--as long as you keep running. But what happens when you stop running? The kite comes crashing down. Unfortunately, a lot of church planters are kite runners. They believe a church will be planted by their own effort. “I’m going to do it on my own. I’m going to make this church succeed.” You may be running well and your kite is soaring, but you can’t keep it up on your own. You weren’t meant to function in life this way.

On the other end of the spectrum are church planters who do nothing. They throw their kite in the air and say, “All right Pneuma, do your job,” and the kite falls back to the ground. Kite watchers think that if anything is going to happen, God is going to do it all and they are not actively involved in the process. The problem is the kite never flies and we make excuses. “If I only had a more committed core group. This community is spiritually dead and there is no hope. God must not be in this.”

If you want to fly a kite you need wind, but you have your part in the journey as well. When you understand how the wind (Pneuma) works, you see your kite can go higher than you ever thought and do things you never imagined. But you have to cooperate and do something. You have to tug on the string, turn the kite into the wind and sometimes run a little.

In church planting, there is cooperation with the Holy Spirit. You work together so people can hear the gospel in their context and lives can be transformed.

~ Steve Canter, Planter & Partner Enlistment Manager, Church Planting Group

You belong and are needed

I've always believed that the main reason people choose one church over another or one group of friends over another is because they feel like they belong and that they are needed. I want The Point to be a place where people know they belong and where they know they are needed.

I think we do a pretty good job with the belong part of that equation. But I think we are still learning how to create places of service where people can feel needed. Let me say YOU ARE NEEDED! You are needed more than you know. You are not a part of our church by accident. God has you here for a purpose.

So here's my challenge: Take the initiative and find a place to serve. If you need some ideas try reading this post. Think outside the box. God has uniquely gifted and equipped each of you to contribute to the church, the world and His Kingdom. Don't waste what he's given you by waiting for the perfect opportunity to arise or by waiting for me to beg you to get involved. You're a big kid. I can't wait to see what God is going to do through you!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Today's prayer

I read this passage this morning and it's going to be my prayer for today. I'm not sure what it would look like if God did this in Spartanburg. I don't have preconceived expectations about it, but I want to pray it today and just see what God might do. Want to join me?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

In the paper

I just found out that a photographer from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal is going to be taking pictures of us doing our giveaway at Music on Main tomorrow (Thursday) night. Pretty cool. Be praying that God would use this free publicity for His glory and that the photographer will be blown away by our Servant Evangelism. The Kinzie's small group is going to be doing the giveaway. Don't forget to meet at Morgan Square, across from Wild Wings, at 7 PM.

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Refined

I read this post last week that really resonated with what I've experienced so far in planting The Point. I think that planting a church is as much about what God wants to do in me as it is about what God wants to do through me. I think that is also true for everyone who is a part of The Point. Ben had this quote which I think is great.

When God calls us to something, he invites us into a
process of character development first. When we give-up, quit, or leave, we can use all sorts of excuses to justify it... but the reality is... we didn't want to be refined. And we miss out, ultimately, on the great rewards God had for us on the other side of the furnace. We go somewhere else and start right back up at the beginning... in our unrefined condition... blissfully unaware.
I don't want to miss out on the refining work that God wants to do in me. I don't want any of you who read this blog to miss out either. Whatever you're going through, wherever you are...don't quit, walk away or give-up. None of us is where we need to be yet. God is working his mojo in us so that we'll become like Jesus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sunday night reflections 4-15-07

I’ve got nothing so say but good stuff about this wonderful group of people that God has brought together as The Point. I am thankful for each of you and how you’re contributing.

I didn’t know what to expect this week, as far as attendance goes. Usually there’s a steep drop off after Easter. Before Easter we were averaging around 32 people a week. On Easter we had 59. Last night we had 49 people. We had 5 first time guests. All of our guests have come because they had a friend invite them. Thanks to everyone who has and is inviting folks. Keep it up. You are awesome.

I also have to say Kudos again to everyone in the kid’s area. The environment looked GREAT and personally I am so thankful for the investment so many of you have made into the lives of my kids. You are making a difference!

Finally, the band flat out ROCKED last night. I would love to hear your comments about The Problem with God series so far. Feel free to post a comment.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Taste and see

I don't know why it's taken me till today to post this, but in light of what we discussed on Sunday night about God being good I want to invite you to indulge in God's goodness. Psalms 34:8 says to taste and see that the Lord is good. That's my prayer for each of you this week. May you take a chance and taste and see that the Lord is good. May you be reminded of God's goodness at each meal you eat. May you see God's goodness in the heavens, through your struggles and as you spend time with Him in His Word.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Problem with God

I am really pumped about The Problem with God series we're doing right now at The Point. Like I said on Sunday, what we believe about God affects and influences all aspects of our life.

Sunday we said that God is good, and while most of us would intellectually agree with that statement, most of us are practicing agnostics. We don't live life like God is good. We don't respond to hard times like God is good. In all honesty, we don't believe that God is good... but he is! It's all over Scripture. Read here and here.

This Sunday is going to be a great follow-up. We're going to look at a confusing story in Luke 10:11-27. Go ahead and read over it a few times. See if you can discern who God is and what he is like from what Jesus shares.

This would be a great week to invite a friend.

One more thing: I would love for this blog to become a discussion board about your thoughts, objections, comments and responses to The Problem with God series. Post a comment. Leave your mark. Let the discussion begin.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

59!

I've got to be honest and say that I really didn't know what to expect last night at our Easter gathering. We've done a lot to get ready for Easter. I've been planning The Problem with God series for almost a year, but I didn't want to get my hopes too hight.

Well, we had 59 people at our Easter gathering last night! I was so pumped and excited that words fall short in conveying my feelings. There was such a high level of energy and excitement from our team. Some new people stepped up to serve. The children's environments were AWESOME (thanks Susan!)! The band rocked. And I know we had a number of unchurched people in the crowd. It was a great celebration of the risen Jesus. I really felt like we maximized who we are as a church.

I really have to thank everyone that worked so hard to make last night a success: Susan, Mitch, Kevin, Will, William, Claudia, JJ, Dustin, Jackie, Rick, Josh, Linda, Linwood, Michelle, Chris, Ref, Janae, Scott and Liz. Each of you had a key part in making last night such a great night. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can't say enough about how much each of you mean to me.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In the mountains

It's spring break and I'm out of the blogging world for a few days. We're up in the mountains of Tennessee. Ahhh...it is good to get away with my awesome family.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I will give you rest

Don't you just love those hopeful, yet so many times fleeting words of Jesus. I've been in a reading rut lately. It's not that I don't want to read, it's just that I don't have time or energy lately. I know...it's really a personal problem.

Well a month ago I ordered a few books from Amazon and just received two of them in the mail (I think they were back-ordered). One of the books I got is The Rest of God: Restoring your soul by restoring Sabbath.

I've always been intrigued with Sabbath. I think it might possibly be the most broken of the Ten Commandments. We don't know how to rest. We're freakin' Americans for crying out loud. We work our rear-ends off at a job and then run ourselves to death getting our kids to their myriad of practices and recitals and all the stuff that normal kids do these days. Then we slave away to have the perfect (or semi-perfect) yard and shiny car. We're always on the go, and when we do stop our physical bodies our minds continue going at light-speed.

There are so many times that I think of Sabbath as a luxury. But to God it's a command. I am looking forward to diving into The Rest of God. Who knows...there may be a series that comes from this sometime in the future...oops, there I go again turning Sabbath into work. Maybe you should just go and buy the book.