Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something to remember

Rick Warren twittered this today: Focus on being holy not hip, competent not cool, obedient not outrageous, annointed not attractive, praying not posing. I need to remember that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ode to Frankie

Today is Frankie Creel's birthday.

For those of you who don't know Frankie, this post will be completely irrelevant to you.

I just found out yesterday that today is Frankie's birthday. Now I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed with Frankie's utter lack of self-serving, "celebrate me," kind of attitude that would have let me know that his birthday was coming up. Personally, I like to give people fair warning so that they have plenty of time to get a really great gift. But Frankie didn't give me any warning, so all he's getting is this "ode" on my blog.

What can I say about Frankie? First, I believe that God brought Frankie and I together at just the right time. Frankie had a desire to plant a church. I was planting a church. He joined up to learn something. I ruined his life. It was perfect timing.

Second, I couldn't do what I do as the pastor of Hub City if it weren't for Frankie. On top of that, Hub City wouldn't be the church that it is if it weren't for Frankie. He's creative, loyal, dependable and a Clemson fan. What more could you ask for?

Third, I don't know how many of you know this, or maybe you know this but it's never really sunk in, but Frankie works full time for Hub City for free. Seriously. And here's what's so incredible about that: Never once has he complained. Never once has he asked for anything. That is evidence of his great character, or that he's just not that smart... one or the other. BTW: I would love for us to eventually be able to pay him... like maybe some live chickens or a goat.

Finally, the thing that I appreciate most about Frankie is that he's my friend. Not many people can say that they get to work with their friends, but I do.

Happy Birthday Frankie. I hope this blog post will suffice for a gift. Maybe you'll remember to give me more warning next year.

An encouragement

This verse always encourages me. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fool Proof week 2: Musical Chairs

FYI: I just posted today's sermon transcript right here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A profound thought.

Every once in a while I have a profound thought. This one came during a conversation with the person who's getting me a killer rate on refinancing my house.

Jesus promises to build his church. We're commanded to make disciples. Most of the time we get the two reversed. We work to build the church and want God to take care of making the disciples.

Come on, admit it, that's pretty profound.

I think we switch things up because it's easier to build a church than to make disciples, but then maybe the church ends up being something it was never intended to be. Maybe we should do what we're supposed to do, make disciples, and let God take care of building his church. I wonder what that might look like?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A million miles in a thousand years


I love Donald Miller's writing. His book, Blue Like Jazz, is phenomenal. But it pales in comparison to his new book. I don't want to tell you what it's about because you need to stop what you're doing, go buy it and read it right now.

However, I will tell you how it has affected me. While reading I would find myself laughing out loud and then a few pages later I'd be bawling my eyes out. There are very few books that I read where I'm left screaming at the end, "I WANT MORE!!!" This was one of those books. I didn't want it to end. It has helped shape how I view my time, my relationships, my faith, my parenting, my marriage... I could go on. It's almost as if it helped me see my life from a different perspective, which is helpful... and healthy.

My commentary for the Herald-Journal that'll be coming out next Saturday, Oct. 3, contains some of my thoughts that came from reading this book. When you read it I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prayer Challenge

I was thinking that we need to start Year Two at Hub City Church out right, so I want to issue out a little challenge to all the Hub City Slickers. Actually, it’s a big challenge. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

Would you take 10 minutes out of your day, every day, to pray for Hub City Church? Would you carve out 10 minutes of your day, maybe on your lunch break or maybe as you drive to work or maybe right before bed, to pray for Our church?

Now you may be asking: What in the world would I pray about for 10 minutes every day? Here’s an example what I’m talking about. Would you pray these sort of prayers:
  • That God will bless Hub City and do something so supernatural in and through us that only He can get the credit.
  • That God will give us greater influence and favor in our community and around the world.
  • That God’s hand will be upon us and that there will be evidence of his grace (like there was at the church in Antioch in Acts 11:23).
  • That God will protect us from discouragement, distraction and disunity. That we will be encouraged by his work in our lives and through our lives, that we’ll be focused on making disciples who make disciples, and that we’ll be united, of the same heart and mind.
  • That Hub City will grow, and that our growth will come primarily from the harvest or by conversion growth (not just from church hoppers/shoppers). That many people would become disciples of Jesus.
  • That God will meet our financial needs in abundance so that we can be more and more generous as a church.
  • That God will grant us wisdom and courage and grace.
  • If there’s time left over, pray by name for the people in your Hub Group.

These are things that I pray on a regular basis, but I’m not nearly as regular as I’d like to be. I’m working to set aside 10 minutes (minimum) a day to pray for Hub City. Will you join me in that prayer?

If so, will you message or email me back with your commitment? I’d love to know who’s praying with me.

One more prayer item: We are going to pray together every Sunday at 9:15. I’d love for you to join with us. Show up a bit early to pray.

Here’s what I know. No movement of God has ever come about without prayer. I want to see God move in an unexplainable, supernatural way. The first step is prayer. Let’s pray! Are you in?

Stories from Year One

Click on over here to read stories from Hub City's Year One. It's pretty cool reading what God has done in people's lives over the past year.

I'm so thankful for the Hub City family. I love you guys. I love being your pastor and friend. It's an honor.

I'm looking forward to year two. Can't wait to see what God has in store for me, you, Spartanburg and the world.

BTW: If you're on facebook or twitter then post a link to these stories. Spread the word about what God has done.

The best part of my day

Yesterday afternoon Nathan was begging me to do something with him. The two games I offered to play weren't things he was interested in, so I just left him alone and came to my room to work on the story for Hub Group. A few minutes later Nathan came into my room and suggested we draw together. Since I was working on the story for Hub Group I gave him a different option. I told him to go get his Bible and help me outline the story of Noah (which is three and a half chapters).

Well, he got his Bible and we worked through Genesis 6:5-9:11 together. He did a great job picking out the main points (there's a lot of repetition in that section). At the end I asked him some of the questions we use at Hub Group to discuss the passage and we ended up having a short but neat discussion.

It was the best part of my day.

I actually felt like I was intentionally discipling my son and that he was a willing participant. Afterwards he said it was really fun. Maybe we'll try and to that every week. Wouldn't that be cool?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Rabbit and the Elephant


I'll admit I was a bit skeptical when I got this book in the mail. I'm glad I didn't resist my initial inclination to put the book down. Actually, when I started reading the book I couldn't put it down.

While it is a book about house churches it is amazingly relevant to our small groups. I think I'm going to buy a copy for each of our Hub Group leaders (if I can find the cash under a couch cushion).

There's a section on page 205-206 that lists out the following principles they've learned. I think they are worth sharing.
  • True Christianity is not a weekly event. It's a 24-7, Kingdom lifestyle.
  • Jesus is the head of His church. He really does speak to His people. We must surrender control of the church to Him.
  • We must listen to each other and to the Lord, and obey what He says. Both community and mission will result.
  • Jesus was not religious.
  • Simple is easily reproducible; complex is tough to duplicate.
  • Jesus used ordinary, untrained men and women to change the world.
  • Leadership is servanthood. We must die to ourselves.
  • God's concern is for the harvest. We must ask Him to touch our hearts with the things that are on His heart.
  • The resources are in the harvest.
  • It is more effective to start something in the home of a person of peace with his friends and family than to invite the person of peace to come to your church.
  • You can work with a group of not-yet-believers and see them become disciples together.
  • Churches are meant to multiply.
Here's my only other thought. I'm a big fan of the house church movement. I hope it does turn into a movement here in USAmerica like we're seeing in other parts of the world. But I do not think it is the only expression of church. In no way shape or form was this proposed in the book. The authors were extremely gracious towards all churches.

But here's where I think gathering together in a larger group can be beneficial. First, we can do more corporately than we can do individually. Second, there is value in a large group gathering. We get to have a band and good teaching. These things are helpful and beneficial, not essential, but beneficial. They are not all that church is (even thought they have become that in a lot of churches), but the are privileges, and they help people connect with God and grow in a relationship with Jesus. Third, not everyone will get connected first through home group/church. Some people need the safety and anonymity of a larger corporate gathering.

But this book was fantastic. One of the best books I've read in a long time.

It's never been done before

I was listening to a leadership podcast today with Andy Stanley that revolved around this quote: In order to reach people who have never been reached we need to do things that have never been done.

That's a great quote. It's the complete opposite of the definition of insanity: Insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting different results.

I want us to reach those people who have never been reached. I don't just want them to become converts who sit on their butts for an hour on Sunday and say they are a part of Hub City Church. I want to reach those who've never been reached so that we can make them into disciples of Jesus who go out and make disciples of Jesus.

This has been something that's been on my mind a lot lately. I want Hub City Church to be known for reaching people who nobody else is reaching. But in order to do that we're going to have to do what nobody else is doing. We're already doing some of that, but I believe there's more. I'm thinking through what that might be. It would be good for you to think through it too.

What if you are the key, the catalyst, the spark that God wants to use to do what's never been done so that we can reach those who've never been reached?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Made me think

This post made me think. It made me think about inviting people to be a part of Hub City. It made me think about making disciples who make disciples. Maybe it will make you think as well.

Sermon transcripts

Maybe I'm just opening myself up for ridicule, but I thought it might be helpful to some folks to be able to read my sermon transcripts. I write out the entire sermon and then memorize it. That's how my brain works. So, I'm going to be posting my transcripts on the hubcityunderground blog each week.

Now you know.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We get to

I had this thought this morning while the band was playing their last song. We don't have to have a band to worship. We get to have a band.

I really consider it a privilege that we have some guys who will serve by playing instruments and leading the rest of us to prepare our hearts to hear from God. I'm thankful for Josh and his leadership and his heart. I'm thankful for Kevin's mad drum skills, Chris's acoustic artistry, Jordan's lead guitar excellence and Jacob's bass prowess. It's an honor to have these guys serving at Hub City.

I pray for the guys in the band often. I pray that their hearts would be right with God. I pray that they will be unified as friends and musicians. I pray that their skills would improve. I pray that God will grow them as disciples. Maybe you could pray for them too.

Remember, we don't have to have a band at Hub City. We get to have a band. How awesome is that?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The note at the beginning

The note at the beginning of Donald Miller's new book says this:
If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn't cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn't tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you'd seen. The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you'd feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.
But we spend yeaers actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either. Here's what I mean by that:
I can't wait to read the rest of the book!

Friday, September 11, 2009

First time

So last night I spoke at Upstate's Campus Crusade for Christ meeting, or "Cru" if you're cool. They meet at the Amphitheater on Upstate's campus. It was really cool speaking in an amphitheater. Very Grecian.

I also just learned that I was "funny, engaging and relevant." They must have been talking about somebody else for sure. Maybe I "looked" funny. That's got to be it. The "Cru" kids (cool name, huh?) were great. They have a ton of potential to transform Upstate.

Remember, you are where you are on purpose for a purpose. Now live like it.

Good read

Ed Stetzer has a great blog post here for church planters.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

De-Parenting

I believe that the goal of parenting is de-parenting. By that I mean that I want my kids to be able to function on their own as healthy adults after they move out of the house... and I do hope the do move out. :) Then they can have their own healthy families and de-parent their own kids.

I think we do the opposite of de-parenting in church world. As people "mature" as disciples they grow more dependent on the church.

Not that I want people giving up on church... no way, Jose. There's a saying that the Chinese Christians have: "Every believer is a church planter." I'm talking about multiplication. I'm talking about every Christian making disciples who make disciples. I'm talking about raising up healthy Christians who aren't unnaturally dependent on the church for all of their spiritual needs.

This is just a thought I'm exploring. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sacrifice

All I'm saying is that you can't accuse me of not sacrificing.

I'm speaking at Upstate's Cru tomorrow night right smack dab in the middle of the Clemson/Georgia Tech game.

That's sacrifice.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Take responsibility

That's the basic theme of Obama's "back to school" speech. You can read it here.

I know there was a lot of fuss over over this speech. And while I understand some of the concern there is something in me that pushes back and fights against the fuss. It reminded me of the boycotts against Harry Potter and The DaVinci Code. Most of the people who stood against those never took the time to read the books. Most of the people who fussed about the speech never really knew what he was going to say.

Read the speech, then make a judgment.

I think that God gave us a brain for thinking. I would never say we should blindly accept what Obama says, but if we don't know what he says then we can't think through what he says. I don't think we should blindly accept what anyone says. I hope people don't blindly accept what I say. I want people to compare what I say to what the Bible says and let the Holy Spirit guide.

One thing that really impressed me about Obama's speech was his encouragement to find our what your good at and then to pursue it for the good of society. I also loved his encouragement to pursue education. Education doesn't hold all the answers to a better world, but it does open doors.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the speech. What did you think?

Friday, September 04, 2009

We are fam-i-ly...

I really do feel like Hub City Church is my family. That's why the following quote was so meaningful to me:
Church is a family. The other members are our spiritual brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We do not "go to" family--it is not an event or a place. We are family. Of course, healthy families do get together--often. But it is not their getting together that makes them a family; it is their relationship with one another.
Likewise, it is not the meeting itself that makes a church, but the relationships. Being the body of Christ involves much more than meetings.
[Family/Church] is being real with one another, loving and caring for one another genuinely and without hypocrisy. It is the knowledge that if someone is having difficulties, we know that person well enough to recognize the signs. It is learning to take off the masks that we all wear and allowing people to know us as we really are. [Family/Church] takes time and commitment.
That is a great quote from this book. Are you a part of the family?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I WON!!!


That's right. No need to be jealous, but I just won a FREE copy of Donald Miller's new book.

Just wanted to celebrate for a minute.

That's all. You can go back to getting ready to watch the Gamecocks lose tonight.

A need

I you are a part of the Hub City family or you live in Spartanburg you need to read this.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

*Sigh*

Nathan came home with a small fever and saying he didn't feel good.

This is not good at all.

*Sigh*

I'm praying for health for my boys this school year and for the health of all of our friend's kids as well. May the God who cause deaf people to hear, blind people to see and dead people to live give our children a healthy school year.