Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Advent Conspiracy

Today our church plant partnered with my in-laws Sunday school class to bring Christmas to a single mom with 5 kids. I didn't know what to expect as far as gifts are concerned. Well, we had so many gifts that there wasn't any room left on the floor in this family's living room. There were so many gifts that I think the family went into shock. We had one of those "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" moments.
Here's a picture of all of us and the family.

Labels:

Thanks

I survived my first funeral. Thanks to everyone who prayed. It was an honor to be invited into a family's life to speak words of comfort.

2007 was a banner year... my first wedding and my first funeral. I guess I'm an officially well rounded minister :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New experience

I'm going to be doing my first funeral tomorrow. I'm about to leave to meet the family. Could use your prayers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Your terms

Have you ever thought about how many times you come to God on your own terms? Think about it: Do you come to God with your agenda? Do your dreams and wishes get priority in your prayer time?

But if God is God (and I think He is) then isn't that kind of arrogant? Shouldn't we come to Him on His terms? Shouldn't we ask for things on His terms (the whole Your will be done thing)?

That's my focus this week: To come to God on His terms. So what does that look like in your life? I'd love some tips.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If I were God

As you're reading Scripture do you ever have the thought, If I were God I'd...? I was reading this today and thought, If I were God I'd have struck that leader dead on the spot. How could he be such a jerk?

But then I was reminded (maybe by the Holy Spirit) that if God struck that guy dead he should probably have struck me dead, many times over. That makes me thankful for grace. I don't deserve it, but I get it anyway.

Now, if only I could develop into the kind of grace giver that God is....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Yesterday

Yesterday was a big (and busy) day. First it was Nathan's birthday. He turned 7. I can remember scraping over an inch of ice off my car window to drive the 40 minutes to the hospital (the drive actually took 2 hours) on the day he was born. I'm so proud of him. Happy Birthday Nathan. I know it's a day late to post happy birthday, but he's really having 4 days of celebration. It began with dinner at P.F. Changs on Wednesday, then we had the real birthday with family gifts, today we're having 4 other little boys spend the night (pray for us!) and tomorrow we're having an extended family party. Life's tough for a new 7 year old.

The rest of what made yesterday busy was that I was in meetings all day. I am so appreciative of Kermit Morris (don't you just love the name Kermit?) who gave me some great ideas, advice and challenges concerning what we're doing. I was then able to meet with some other church planters who are interested in having a Power Plant team this summer. After that I met with the man, the myth, the legend... Dino Senesi to talk about our new church, what I've learned and get some input.

I really appreciate guys that give me practical advice and honest input about what we're doing. Now I need to get back to working on the stuff that was shared with me yesterday.

Oh, I almost forgot. Nathan had his first basketball practice last night. I love watching kids play. It's going to be a fun season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Great question

Read this question in an article from Tim Stevens: Have you ever had the feeling that you were meant for something extraordinary?

I think that is a great evangelism question. We've been invited to be a part of what God is doing in the world. We were meant for something extraordinary. Not that we're intrinsically extraordinary. We're definitely not (see yesterday's post). But what God is doing in the world is extraordinary, and we were created to be a part of that. We each have a role to play in God's grand story or redemption. What's your part?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Funny

Unchristian



I finished reading Unchristian today and all I can say is wow. I can attest to the findings in this book. I've seen the unchristian perspectives lived out to the detriment of the kingdom more times than I wish to count.

I think that the first place for us to begin in changing people's perspectives is for us to say we're sorry. I would love to do a series titled: We've been unchristian and we're sorry (feel free to steal that one from me).

What I love about the book, however, is not that it gives a clear picture of people's perspectives of us, but that it gives practical ways for us to move from being unchristian to being Christian. I would share details, but you need to read the book.

A reminder

I was moved by this post from Devin the other day and have been mulling over it ever since. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else out there feel the need to be reminded daily that they need the Gospel? I need to be reminded of the essence of the Gospel and that I need it just as much as someone who is far away from God.

What is the Gospel anyway? I sometimes forget that, simply put, it is the good news that Jesus took my place, paid my debt, set me free and gave his life for me when I was of no use to him (Read here). I know that it is foolish to forget this central truth to my faith, but it’s so easy to slip back into the self-sufficient thinking that keeps us from God’s grace.

Why do I need the Gospel? Duh! Do I really have to answer that question? Anyone that knows me at all knows that I need the Gospel (I’d say the same thing about you). I mess up, fall short, get angry, am inadequate, sin, ignore God’s voice, disobey… the list could go on, but I’m feeling guilty and need to stop. But that’s why I need the Gospel. I could never save myself. I need someone to rescue me from myself. I need rescue from my selfish way of living. I need rescue from my temper. I need rescue from my “thoughts of grandeur” that elevate my ideas and my way over the ideas and ways of my creator.

Not only do I need the Gospel, but the Gospel is what people need. The problem is that most of them just don’t know they need it yet. Maybe one of the reasons why they don’t think they need it is because those of us who’ve experienced it don’t act like we need it either. I don’t want to live that way… I can’t live that way.

This post isn’t some lame attempt beat myself up and say “Woe is me.” What it is, however, is a reminder to me, and to whoever else out there is reading this thing, that we need the Gospel. Of all the times of the year to be reminded of this, (other than Easter) Christmas is the time. Jesus came to rescue us, because we needed to be rescued. We didn’t deserve rescue, but He came anyway.

This is really the reason why we moved to Spartanburg to plant a church. I want to be a part of a church that shares, lives out and needs the Gospel. Imagine being a part of a community like that! I just needed a reminder. Maybe you did too.

Let's get this party started


I'm pretty pumped because this Sunday we’re having a Christmas Party. Everybody is invited. If we’ve never met you before, you’re invited. If you’re my neighbor, you’re invited. If you’re someone else’s neighbor, you’re invited. So where are you going to be on Sunday night at 5:30? You are going to be at Jonathan’s house. E-mail us at hubcitychurch@gmail.com for directions. We’ll have lots of food. See you Sunday!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Still laughing


This is the funniest thing I've seen in a while. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

A little braggin'

No, I'm not going to brag about how Clemson beat USC on a last second field goal or how Clemson's going to the Chick-fil-a Bowl and USC will be at home opening up their presents of sweaters and socks... even though I could.

What I want to brag about is not a what but a who. I want to brag on Chris and Frankie. Last night these two great (yet at times a bit crazy) guys went to the mall to do some surveying. We're in an info gathering and relationship building mode, so these guys spent three hours at the mall talking with people about their beliefs, God, Church and what we're doing. They had a ton of awesome conversations with people who wanted to share opinions.

I think things went so well for two reasons. First, I think Chris and Frankie are easy and fun to talk with. You feel at ease around them. They are gifted. My wife, Liz, also has this gift...the gift of woo: winning others over. Second, they approached people with questions, not scripts or an outline or ________________ (you fill in the blank). They just started to ask peoples opinions about stuff, and people love sharing their opinions.

As a result they not only got some great information, but had a bunch of significant conversations with people who were everything from unchurched to Jewish to Muslim to looking for a church. Who knows what God is going to do because of those conversations.

So I've got to brag on and give a big shout out to Chris and Frankie. You guys are awesome. Thanks for using your gifts to contribute towards creating a church that young adults want to be a part of. Thanks for using your gifts for the Kingdom. I'm so thankful to have you on our team.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Speaking


In five minutes I'm leaving for Columbia to speak at Columbia Metro, a worship gathering for young professionals. I'm excited about the opportunity. If you read this please say a prayer that God would use me tonight.

Monday, December 03, 2007

First things first

I was reading this passage this morning about Jesus sending out the 72 disciples (yes, these 72 were other followers in addition to his 12, although the 12 could have been a part of this group). Go read it now. Did you read it? Now, what was the first thing Jesus commanded them to do?

Make sure you've read it.

Jesus sends out the 72 and his first command is for them to pray for more workers. It's like Jesus is saying that 72 is not enough. The task is too big. We need more people. Pray for more people.

This is huge for us. Right now we have an awesome team of 7 adults and 6 kids, but the task of creating a church that young adults want to be a part of is so much bigger than the 13 of us. We need more workers. Will you join me in praying for more workers?

I need to brag on those 7 adults. I think they are awesome. Their commitment, creativity and passion to create a church that young adults want to be a part of is such an encouragement to me. I can't wait to see what God is going to do with us.

Now we're praying for more workers to join the awesome ones that are already on the team. This may be you. If so check out our new blog to find out how you can be a part.