Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Advent Conspiracy




I am really pumped about what Hub City Church is doing this Christmas season.

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to ADVENT CONSPIRACY.

We, as a community, want to make a tangible difference in the world this Christmas. So here's the plan. We are going to donate $1 on behalf of every first time guest who attends our Gathering to the Water Missions International. Then on Sunday December 21, we are going to give our ENTIRE offering away to Water Missions International.

Christmas is a time when we remember the extreme generosity of our Heavenly Father as he sent his son to earth. We're conspiring to do our part to model extreme generosity as well.

So, who are you going to invite? Come to our gathering. Do good. What are you going to give? More info to come.

Matthew's Big Night

Last night was Matthew's big night. He was recognized at the Spartanburg District 5 offices and the Holiday Card Winning Artist. That's his artwork on the screen in the background. It was really cool. The school board made a big deal of him. He got a savings bond, his original artwork will be framed and hung at his school, River Ridge, and the artwork will be on all of the Christmas cards that the district sends out. I'm very proud of him! If you're wondering, the people in the picture are the River Ridge principal (Glenda Bigby), his art teacher (Lorie Goode, who went to High School with Liz), chairman of the school board (Butch Coan), and the District 5 Superintendent (Scott Turner).

I've got to brag on Matthew a bit. His art went up against students in Kindergarten through sixth grade from all of the elementary schools in District 5. And, as a kindergardener, he won! That's really cool! Check out the detail on his train (if you can). I was really impressed. I knew he was creative, but he came up with this all by himself. Matthew is a very talented little boy.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whoa times 3

This quote from Francis Chan is so good: “I quickly found that the American church is a difficult place to fit in if you want to live out New Testament Christianity. The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who don’t swear, and good church attendance. Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered.”

May I, may Hub City Church, may we not only take the words of Christ literally and seriously, but may our lives reflect it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

7 "C's" of Leadership


I'm almost finished with Seth Godin's book, Tribes. It's a great little read with a ton of wisdom. On page 126 he lists out The Elements of Leadership. I wanted to pass them on as an encouragement for you to lead and a reminder for me.
  1. Leaders challenge the status quo.
  2. Leaders create a culture around their goal and involve others in that culture.
  3. Leaders have an extraordinary amount of curiosity about the world they're trying to change.
  4. Leaders use charisma (in a variety of forms) to atract adn motivate followers.
  5. Leaders communicate their vision of the future.
  6. Leaders commit to a vision and make decisions based on that commitment.
  7. Leaders connect their followers to one another.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I support this :)

I feel a sermon in the making... check this out.

Thought on Dream

We're in the middle of this two week series that we're calling Dream. The premise behind the series is this question: If God had a dream for the church, what would it be? We're looking at Acts 2, the story of the church's beginning, to find the answer.

This AM I read a quote by Henry Blackaby that I wanted to pass on. It has to do with the Church. Enjoy:
God established each church as a body of Christ, so that He could continue His redemptive work in the world. When Christ is allowed to function as Head of His church, God can use the body to carry out His will. Is your church working to show the entire earth that Christ is the Head of all things? He also include this prayer: Preeminent Lord of all the earth, mold your church, to reflect You so that Your will may be carried out throughout the world. Oh, Image of the invisible God, start the work of molding with me. Amen.

I got me thinking and maybe it'll get you thinking as well. We want Christ to be the head of Hub City. It's his church. We're the body. He's the head. We also want Hub City to reflect Jesus so that his will is carried out in Spartanburg and around the world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Celebration

Yesterday was a great day. We had our first baptisms as a new church! We had the privilege of baptizing 3 people(all of whom were males!), one of whom just happened to be my son. It was a special moment for me and for our church. I've got to tell you, the water in the baptistry that we used was about 33 degrees. They didn't turn the heater on until it was too late and boy was it chilly. Definitely an experience to remember. One thing that made it special was that we moved all the chairs out of the choir loft (we did the baptism at Arcadia First... they were awesome to let us use their facility), and hand everyone gather up close, around the baptistry. It was really cool. People cheered, clapped and cried. I think it was a monumental day in the life of Hub City Church. I can't wait for the next one. Here's a picture of Nathan coming out of the freezing cold water!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two pieces of good news

I've got two peices of really good news to share. First, as some of you know, Liz interviewed for the Clinical Unit Educator's position for Hospice/Home Health this past week. Well, we found out yesterday that she got the job. I am SO proud of Liz. She is amazing and is going to do a great job in her new position. I am so thankful for her.

Second, we just got a call from Matthew's (my second son) art teacher (he's in kindergarten). He designed/drew/created a Christmas card in art. It was sent in with cards from all of the elementary schools in District 5, and out of ALL of the cards, from ALL of the kids, in ALL of the elementary schools in District 5, his was chosen as the winner of the District 5 Christmas card!!!!!!!! It will go out to 2000+ businesses, he'll get a savings bond and be recognized at the district board meeting. I am so proud of him. He is so creative! I'll post the picture as soon as I get a copy so you'll be able to enjoy the masterpiece along with me and district 5. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Shut it off

I read this on Tony's blog this AM: Most people in our culture do not know when to stop using technology and start focusing on the person in front of them.

This comes from an interview he did with the author of this book (which I think I would really love to read... hint, hint).

There was something in me that really went "ding, ding, ding" when I read this. We're always checking text messages, staring at our computer, answering our cell phone, doing something instead of giving our full attention to the person in front of us. I need to become better at this. Maybe you do too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We need you!

I listen to a variety of podcasts on an on and off basis. Lately I've been listening to Matt Chandler from The Village Church. God's really been speaking to me through him. The following quote (I've tried to get it correct) is from a sermon (the sermon title is 39 Weeks) he did using Romans 12 as a text. Read it over and share your thoughts.

In order for me to be all that I'm supposed to be, I need you. In order for you to be what you were meant to be, you need me. In order for us to be all that we need to be in this city and this world for His kingdom then we desperately need one another. We need each other. Let me say it this way: The more spectators we have here the weaker we are. The more people we have who come week after week after week with no intention of anything more than hearing songs and sitting down, the weaker we are. I think this is a Bible-belt issue, but there's a big difference between going to church and belonging to a church. There's not a lot of Scripture that commands you to go to church. There are tons that talk about belonging to a church. It's really hard for you to grow into who you need to grow into without the relationships and sacrificial service of belonging to a place. And for the record, I don't care if it's here or not.

These words really spoke to me because my passion for Hub City is that it's not a church you go to, but a community to be a part of, a people/movement to belong to and we need each other. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear comments for, against, or otherwise.

The Process - part 4

My passion and our church's mission is to make disciples who make disciples. But that doesn't just happen. It's a process. It's a relational process. Our Discipleship Process involves diagnosing where someone is at and then inviting them to the next stage... and it all happens within relationships. In other words, what I'm sharing with you is relationship based, not knowledge based. Here's the second level:

Connect

I think the best description I can give you is to quote from this book (which you need to read): Connect-level people are those who have moved into a group led by a Disciple-level person (we'll talk about the disciple-level later). The are in a relational environment for the purpose of discipleship. These groups have act as little churches. People learn from one another and love each other while helping to take care of the needs of the group.

It's all about being connected in intentional relationships for the purpose of discipleship. It's not small groups or Sunday school, even though it could be. It must be an intentional discipling relationship.

Are you connected? At Hub City, our Hub Groups are our relational environments for intentional discipleship. We've got a place for you to connect.

FYI: Most Christians in America stay at this level and never move on to being disciples, but there are two more levels in our process.

Convicting

This article is worth reading.

Grill and Chill

This Sunday, after worship at Spartan 16, we're going to head over to Arcadia First for our first Grill and Chill. We'll eat, hang out and get to know one another. Hub City is providing the Hot Dogs, Chili, buns and condiments. You bring a side, drink or dessert. Bring a friend or two or three with you!

After we eat we're going to be having our first baptisms. It's going to be a party!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Process - part 2

I'm doing this blog-series on our Discipleship Process. The reason why is that my passion and Hub City's passion is to make disciples who make disciples. Over the next few days I'm going to share with you our Discipleship Process. In essence, what I'll be sharing is a ruler/measuring stick for discovering where you are, or someone else is, and where you or they need to go next. It's boiled down to four stages.

Now, before I tell you what the four stages are I need to say that being in a lower stage isn't a bad thing. What's bad is if we stay at that stage and refuse to take the next step in the process. Also, it's not like you can make it past one stage and then you can check that off. Sometimes we slip back. Sometimes we'll have one part of our life in one stage and another part in another stage... thus the reason for calling this a process. Being a disciple of Jesus is a process.

So, let me begin by giving you the stages and in my next few posts I'll start defining each stage.
  • Share
  • Connect
  • Minister
  • Disciple
Tune in next time for part 3.

Labels:

The Process - part 3

My passion and our church's mission is to make disciples who make disciples. But that doesn't just happen. It's a process. It's a relational process. Our Discipleship Process involves diagnosing where someone is at and then inviting them to the next stage... and it all happens within relationships. In other words, what I'm sharing with you is relationship based, not knowledge based. Here's the first stage:

Share

Share level people are those who have either not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior or have accepted Him but have not been connected into intentional discipling relationships with other believers. We passionately want people who are at this level to hear and understand the Gospel and commit to be disciples of Jesus. We then want to see them get connected into intentional relationship for the purpose of discipleship. Everyone needs to be connected because everyone needs to be discipled.

Like I said, there's nothing wrong with being in this level unless you stay there. God's passion is that we become disciples of Jesus who make disciples, and that won't happen if you just stay at a Share level but this is where we all start off.

Tune in next time for Level 2 (that sounds like something from Heroes.)

PS: For more on this you should read this book.

Labels:

The Process - part 1

Our church's mission is to make disciples who make disciples. If you boil it down, that's my passion too. I want to see people who are far away from God, people who are anti-God, people who are anti-church, people who've been Christians for a long time, all people, become disciples of Jesus who make other disciples.

Disciple making is messy business. I'm messy, you're messy, everybody's messy. It was messy for Jesus. I mean, have you ever notice how many times the disciples just didn't get it? Even Jesus' closest friends abandoned him when things got tough. But as the discipler, Jesus never gave up on his disciples. He also was passionate about making disciples who make disciples (check this out).

So this week I'm going to be doing another blog-series. Hip, hip, horray!!! It's going to be a discipleship series... actually, it's going to be a discipleship process series. I'm going to share our church's discipleship process. It's like a ruler, a measuring stick, to discern where you are (and I am) and then what's next. So what's our discipleship process? Check back tomorrow to find out.

Labels:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Things I prayed for our church community this week

All week I've been praying this for our church (by church I mean the people, the body, that make up our Hub City community). Just wanted to share and be an encouragement to our church and to encourage you to pray this for your family, small group and church. It comes straight from Ephesians 3:14-21.
  • I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources God will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
  • I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.
  • I pray that your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
  • I pray that you may have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
  • I pray that you may experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
  • I pray that God will be glorified through Hub City Church.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Three things you should pray - Part 3

Here it is, the final installment of my first ever blog-series. I'm sharing three things you should pray so that you will be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God in and through you. A big thanks goes to Craig for shaking me up with these prayers in his book It. May you and I be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God. Our first prayer was Lord, Stretch me. Our second prayer was Lord, Ruin me. The third prayer is:

Lord, Heal me.

All of us are broken. Most of us are just in denial about it. We need God to heal us. We need God to reach down into our brokenness and heal the wounds that keep us from being overwhelmed and overcome by his presence and power. Will you be honest with yourself for a moment? Do you have a hard time trusting? Have you been burned by church members and find it difficult to have friends? Are you distant from your spouse? Do people tell you that you're a control freak? Do you find yourself on a high wen people brag on you and a low when they criticize you? Do you feel good about yourself when your ministry is growing a depressed when it is not? Do you have a secret sin? Or a fantasy life? Are you overly critical or jealous? Do you feel like you never quite measure up (185)? Ask God to heal you.

I pray that God is stretching you. And I pray that he will ruin you. I also pray that he will heal you. I wouldn't mind you praying the same for me.

Three things you should pray - Part 2

This is the second installment of my first blog-series. I'm sharing three things you should pray so that you can put yourself in a position to be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God in and through you. As I said yesterday, this comes from Craig's book It. I'm sharing this because I desperately want all of us to be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God. Yesterday's prayer was Lord, Stretch me. Here's today's:

Lord, Ruin me.

Now that's a bit disturbing, isn't it? To be honest, I don't like this prayer, but we find all throughout Scripture that God honors and blesses broken and ruined people. Craig says, Let God crush you with a burden (180). Ask God to ruin you. Expose yourself to something that you know will move you. Don't shrink back. Don't fight your emotions. Don't lay another brick atop your self-made wall of protection. Give in to the heart. Feed the hurt. Let it bother you. Invite it to overtake you (183).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Three things you should pray - Part 1

Today I'm beginning a three part blog-series on things you should pray if you want to be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God. I'm passing on what I have learned from Craig Groeschel in his book It because it's worth sharing. If you were at Catalyst, you heard him talk about each of these. I'm also passing this along because not only do I want to be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God in and through my life, but I want that for each of you as well. So here we go:

Lord, Stretch me.

Sounds simple, right? But in reality it's anything but simple. We don't want to be stretched. We want to be comfortable. But if you want to be overwhelmed and overcome by the presence and power of God in and through your life then you're not going to be comfortable. God is going to have to stretch you. So why not ask Him to do it?

Craig says, God wants to stretch you. He wants you to live by faith, to believe in him. It will mean putting yourself in new environments. Experiencing something new. Something different. Ask God to stretch you. Then follow his direction (178).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election thoughts

Campaign length... too long.
Time it took to vote... 55 minutes.
Being a part of the process... Priceless!

There's been a lot of excitement, anger, anticipation, "hope", and interest in this year's presidential election. I love having the opportunity to be a part of the process. I had to wait longer than I've ever waited before, but 55 minutes compared to 2 or 3 hours isn't that bad.

There's also been a ton of concern from Christians about the possible outcome of the election (either way). Many are worried/concerned/elated/militant/(place your description here_____). I just want to send out a quick reminder to everyone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus.

Our hope is not in a political candidate or party. Our hope is in Jesus. We are not citizens of this world. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. For some reason, the Church is exploding in countries that don't have the rights, prosperity or freedoms that we have in America. The roots of the problems in our country are heart issues and no candidate or party can fix heart problems. Only Jesus can, so put your hope in him. Pledge your allegiance to Him. Then live like it. Let your faith in Jesus motivate you to be the agent of change. Let your faith in Jesus cause you to be the solution to poverty. Let your faith in Jesus kill the consumerism that's gotten us into the financial crisis that we're in. Let your faith in Jesus be seen, lived out, and noticeable.

The Church is to be the hope of the world because the Church is the bride of Christ. The Church is supposed to be the reflection of Jesus on earth. The church should be spearheading change. The Church should be making a difference because it is the hands and feet of Jesus. Let's make sure we're investing in the only movement that's really going to produce change.

So, should you vote? By all means, YES. It's a privilege and a duty. But remember who the real King is. Remember who ultimately changes lives, cultures, economies, societies, and hearts. And be grateful that you get to be a part of the process.

Today is the day... vote!

Monday, November 03, 2008

For all the undecided voters