Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clutter-Free Christianity


I was really excited to read Clutter-Free Christianity. For one, I love simplicity and we've made Christianity something that's way more complicated than Jesus intended.

Mainly it's a book about our hearts and our responsibility in the whole "heart-transformation process." While some of the book was just a rehashing of things I already know, the chapters on being content and prayer are worth the price of the book.

The best part of the book is the ending. The last chapter includes some practical questions that will guide you through the heart-changing disciplines that are discussed in the book. I'm all about doing something with what you know and the last section helps in taking the knowledge that you've gained in the book and putting it into practice.

The only negative about the book is that there are times when I can tell I'm reading a book by a Southern Baptist pastor. Not that that's a bad thing, but for some reason (my dysfunction) it makes me cringe. I think the guys a better writer than that (or he needs a better editor).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Tags

The new tags I got today begin with the letters "DWF." Liz assures me it's not prophetic.

I'm giving it away


I've got a copy of Clutter-Free Christianity to give away to one of the three people who read this blog. So who wants it?

Taxes

Maybe it's just me, but I feel abused after paying my car taxes. See you at the corner of Church and Main... I'll be the one with the tin cup.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quotes on Prayer

Remember, no one has time to pray; we hav to take time from other things that are valuable in order to understand how necessary prayer is. Oswald Chambers

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. Martin Luther

We shouldn't limit our praying to situations when the answer seems probable; we should definitely also pray when the answers seem impossible. Robert Jeffress

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We're worried


Matthew got this note from a girl in school yesterday. Notice how he responded with a yes. He's 5.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Some good quotes

Here are some great quotes I read this AM out of this book.
  • The desire for more is like a thief that robs us of the enjoyment of th epresent moment.
  • More. Newer. Different. Larger. Better They're all symptoms of a dissatisfaction that prevents us from enjoying the present.
  • The opposite of more isn't less. Instead it's contentment.

Easter's coming

I'm really pumped about Easter. We're starting a series on Easter that we're calling What's so Great About Christianity?

We're going all out for this series. Heck, it's our first Easter as a church! We get to celebrate Jesus' death and resurrection. In light of that, we NEED to celebrate.

So here's what we're doing: We're about to outgrow the theater that we currently meet in, so we're going to be moving to a larger theater (I think it will be #8... still @ Spartan 16). Frankie's putting together a series of videos that will be flat-out hilarious (all I can say is if Jesus made a sitcom...). The band is taking the next two Sundays off to get ready (we're going acoustic for the next two weeks... nice!). We're gearing the entire series to people who aren't Christians or who don't like Christians or who think Christianity is a waste (so for this series we won't be doing communion each Sunday).

But here's the deal: I'm scared to death! I am confident that God wants us to move to a larger theater... so is the rest of our team. I'm confident that it's time for us to do a series like What's so Great About Christianity? I'm confident that we need to do everything we can to invite people who are far away from God, disconnected from God or who think Christianity is a bunch of crap.

But what if it's a total flop? What if nobody comes to know Jesus? What if every single one of our invitations falls flat? What if nothing supernatural takes place?

You know what? All of my worries and concerns are about things that I have NO control over. I can't save anyone. That's God's job. I can't make people accept my invitation. That's their job. I can't force God to move. He moves when He wants for His glory, not mine.

All I can do is my part... and I'm going to work my butt off to do my part, and I want to challenge you to work your butt off to do your part. And just like Jonathan in the Old Testament, "Perhaps the Lord will move on our behalf." Wouldn't that be awesome!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Resources for Bailout series

Like I shared this morning, here are some GREAT resources that you can and should read:

Books:
Your Money Counts - Howard Dayton
The Treasure Principle - Randy Alcorn
Living Rich for Less - Ellie Kay
The Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
Money, Possessions and Eternity - Randy Alcorn
Fields of Gold - Andy Stanley

Web Sites:
www.crown.org
www.daveramsey.com

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The bad, the broken, the hurt, the lonely

I came across something that reminded me how much I desire for Hub City Church to be a community for the bad, the broken, the hurt, the lonely, the imperfect, etc. Jesus was always caught spending time with messy people, with people who didn't quite fit in, with people who were at the bottom of the totem pole in thier society (sinners and tax collectors). I desire for those people to find relationships, acceptance and Jesus by being a part of Hub City.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another great article from Francis Chan

This is worth your time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One of our values

One of our values at Hub City is that when we do our part, God does his part.

I read this passage this morning. It illustrates the value that when we do our part, God does his part, over and over again. At the end of that passage is this verse: As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

One of my passions is to see Hub City be a body that is healthy, growing and full of love. But to get there, according to this verse, each part of our body must do its own special work, and in doing its own special work we will help each other grow, and the end result is a body that's healthy, growing and full of love.

Which leads me to this question: Are those of us that are a part of Hub City each doing our own special work? And, as the leader, am I doing my part to prepare and equip people to do their own special work?

Just some questions I'm working through this morning.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cancelled... Bummer



A dangerous prayer

I was reminded of something we used to pray that I want to pray again, but am a bit afraid to pray: God overwhelm us.

I think that the disciples in Acts were overwhelmed by what God was doing. That's why they were filled with awe. That's why many people were added to the faith. That's why they saw the supernatural working of God.

I want to see that too. I want to be a part of that. Would you join with me and praying God overwhelm us.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're all lost part 6

I’ve titled this series “we’re all lost.” I’m still thinking through this, but the reason I’ve titled it this way is because we’re all lost, or we were all once lost, or we could wander off and get lost. I mean, even if you’ve been following Jesus for 30 years, aren’t there times when you feel a bit disconnected, or away-from your Heavenly Father?

In light of what we’ve shared the past week, how are you lost? You’ve got a God who is searching desperately for you, who is coming after you or who is waiting patiently for you.

Or are you lost in your smugness? That’s the scariest place of all.

We're all lost part 5

There’s one character who in the final story who never gets enough attention: The older brother. You can read about him here.

He’s just as lost as his rebellious brother. The only problem is that he’s too smug to realize it. He’s arrogant. He’s selfish. He’s got this entitled attitude.

Unfortunately, I think this way too often describes Christians and the church in America. I could say more, but I don’t really think I need to.

The thing that really blows me away is that the father does nothing to convince the older brother to come in to the party. I’m still thinking through this, but it’s as if he just lets the older brother miss out on the party.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If we would just have had a billboard!

Maybe we could have been a lightning rod of controversy as well. Read this.

We're all lost part 4

The third story that Jesus tells in Luke 15 is probably one of his most familiar stories. You can read it here. What we see in this story is a son who intentionally rebels against his father and has to come back begging for mercy and forgiveness.

I think that this story illustrates what my understanding of the entire chapter has always been: Intentional rebellion against God. But I also have a new perspective on this story.

I find it incredible that this is the only story of the three where the person who represents God, in this case the father, doesn’t go after what’s lost. In the previous two stories the shepherd and the woman went after the lost sheep and coin. But in this story the father lets the son leave and then waits, and waits, and waits for the son to return home. And notice he doesn’t wait like we would, with anger and bitterness. He waits with compassion and love.

He doesn’t give up on the rebellious son. And when the son returns, what does he do? He ignores the excuses and throws another party!

Come back tomorrow for another thought on this third story.

We're all lost part 3

Continuing on with my new perspective on Luke 15, after the story of the lost sheep Jesus tells the story about a woman who has ten coins and she loses one. You can read it here. After she discovers that a coin is missing she does whatever it takes to find that lost coin.

Have you ever thought about that coin? It’s not like it intentionally rolled away. It didn’t get distracted by that crack in between the cushions on the couch. Actually, in all probability, it just fell off and got lost.

This makes me think about people who are born into regions of the world or families where there’s no influence of the Gospel. They didn’t choose to be born Muslim or Hindu or Agnostic or disinterested. They are just lost.

But notice that God, who’s compared to a woman, moves heaven and earth to find the person, who is compared to a coin. And when the lost is found he has another party!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We're all lost part 2

Here’s the new perspective on Luke 15 I’m thinking through. You can read the story here. Basically, in the first story Jesus shares, there’s this shepherd who has 100 sheep. One of the sheep wanders off, and he leaves the 99 to go after the one.


Do you know anything about sheep? They aren’t that bright. They’re easily distracted. They don’t intentionally rebel against their shepherd. They just see something cool and wander in that direction. Oooh… yummy green grass.


I think that’s a pretty good description of Christians. We’re under the control of the shepherd, but something distracts us and we wander off and God has to come chase us down. We don’t intentionally rebel against God. We just get distracted and wander off. There are all kinds of distractions: Money, fame, church, sex, worry, religion, insert your distraction here ________.


But what’s so amazing in this story is that God (the shepherd) comes looking for us. He actually abandons the others to go after the wanderer, and when he finds us he doesn’t yell at us and put us in time-out for wandering off. He throws a freakin’ party!


What if, in this story of the lost sheep, the sheep are those who are already followers of Jesus who end up wandering off or drifting away? What if those of us who are in, who are disciples of Jesus, can still get lost? Can you see how this is a new perspective (or maybe I’m just slow)?


(Now before you shoot down my theology make sure you read all the posts. Jesus tells these three stories as a package deal.)

Monday, March 09, 2009

We're all lost

Our Hub Group discussed Luke 15 last night. I love our Hub Group by the way. We had some great discussion. I’m really enjoying people opening up. But an observation by Allen gave me a completely different perspective on the three stories from Luke 15.


If you’re not familiar with the stories in Luke 15 go read the chapter now. Jesus is hanging out with this crowd of sinners and tax collectors. And this fact really ticks the religious leaders off. “Why is Jesus spending time with them and not us? (Unfortunately, there’s always been an “us vs. them” mentality… but that’s for another post). In response, Jesus launches into three stories: There’s the story of a lost sheep, a story about a lost coin and a story about a lost son.


So what new perspective do I have on these stories? Check back tomorrow and we’ll look at the story of the Lost Sheep.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Interdependent

Interdependency is when I am convinced, not that I have been told, but that I am convinced that I can't do what I'm supposed to do unless you do what you're supposed to do. I realize my responsibility, but at the same time I realize that my responsibility is contingent upon other people fulfilling their responsibility. - Andy Stanley

Love this quote. It's a great picture of a healthy team, church, and discipleship relationship. It makes me ask myself, "Am I doing my part?" It makes me ask you, "Are you doing your part?"

Where have I been?

Great question. It's been a slow blogging week. I know you've missed me.

I've waited until now to share this, but one reason it's been a slow blog week is because of something I'm doing for Lent. I've never been one to celebrate Lent, but I read something that challenged me this year. It was an equation shared by Mark Batterson: + + - = x. Make sense? Good! What that means is Addition + Subtraction = Multiplication. He explains it really well on his blog, but here's what it means for me and Lent.

For Lent this year I'm giving up reading other people's blogs. That might not sound like much to you, but I follow a good number of blogs and learn all kinds of great stuff from reading what I read. But I'm giving it up for Lent and replacing that time with some more reading in the Bible. The goal is to put more Scripture into my head so that I can better hear God's voice, live more obediently to him, and grow as a disciple of Jesus.

I've waited till now to share because, honestly, I didn't know if I could give up reading blogs. It's so easy to click my Bloglines header. But so far so good. Been reading through Nehemiah and Isaiah. Good stuff.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sex Ed Resources

I have had a blast doing the Sex Ed series. Like I said over and over again, we live in a sexed up culture, and as a result, it's difficult to know what's true about sex and what's a lie. There are serious consequences to believing the lies. They take us to a place where we don't want to go. But the truth can set us free.

I know many people struggle with this issue, so here are some resources that might be helpful:
Struggling with Porn: www.xxxchurch.com
For before you're married: Going all the way,
For Newlyweds: Love for a lifetime,
For married: Celebration of sex, Sheet Music