Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Read your Bible

I may post this same post multiple times over the next few days. It is so, so, so, so important. If you could do one thing this year that will have lasting positive value, what would that one thing be? I'll tell you what it should be. It should be to develop the habit of reading your Bible on a regular basis. Don't read a devotional book. Read the Bible.

If you're wondering where to start then you need to read this from Swerve:

If you’re looking for ways to encourage your church to read the Bible more this year, we’ve got some great new tools available at YouVersion.com. boxWe just launched more than 20 free Bible reading plans, which are available on the website as well as all mobile platforms. Here are a few highlights:

  • You can customize each plan by making it shorter or longer.progress
  • Easily track where you are by checking off each day’s reading. We’ll also show you how far along you are with a percentage of completion.
  • Your online and mobile accounts will synchronize your information, including your plan and your progress.sync
  • If you’ve created a group for your church on YouVersion, you can select a plan to be associated with your group.
  • Soon, you’ll be able to build a support system by opting in for accountability emails to you and/or a friend.

We hope these new reading plans help you and your church engage with Scripture in 2010!




Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lucy Lane's Gotcha Day

This video got our attention and influenced us to choose All God's Children International for our adoption. I can't watch it all the way through without crying like a baby.

143,000,000 Orphans

Thursday, December 24, 2009

For all those who work behind the scenes



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Crying like a little baby

I don't know what it is, but I've been sort of anti-Christmas-songs this year. I just haven't wanted to hear them. Well, one came on the radio this AM. I was about to switch the channel, but stopped. It was one I haven't heard before by Third Day. It was all about adoption.

I was so moved that I almost had to pull my car over.

I am ready to move forward with our adoption. It would be so awesome to have a little girl celebrating Christmas with us next year.

I'm going to go cry like a baby again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holly Jolly Christmas Offering Update

Hey everybody. Merry Christmas.

I just wanted to update you on the amount you gave to The Holly Jolly Christmas Offering. Are you ready? Here it is: $1053!!!

That's awesome! Thanks for your generosity.

Just in case you missed out there is still time to give (some of you said you forgot to bring it with you). You can mail your gives to PO Box 55, Moore, SC 29369. Mark them "Holly Jolly Christmas Offering." Alongside that, any year end financial gifts need to be postmarked by December 31. You can also give online here.

Also, don't forget that we're not meeting this coming Sunday. Enjoy some time with your family and friends.

Have a Merry Christmas. It's an honor to be your pastor.

Jonathan

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In limbo... waiting

As many of you know, Liz and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia. Right now we're kind of stuck in limbo, waiting for God to provide the financial resources for us to move forward.

I read this blog post which records a section of George Muller's autobiography. It motivate me more and more to pray and to ask God to provide the resources we need to move forward with our adoption.

I don't know if I can explain it that well, but there's something in me, call it a burden or a holy discontent, that is bothered by the financial cost of adoption. Here's why: There are 143 million kids without moms and dads, and while we may not be able to bring that number to zero in a year or less, we could do something to take a chunk out of that number if finances weren't a barrier to adoption.

If we're going to solve the problem of adoption we've got to do something to fund adoptions. I know this might sound pushy, but some of you reading this blog need to do something to help out with this issue. You can help us out. Email me and I'll tell you how you can contribute to help us adopt.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A means to an end

I read something this morning that got me thinking. And when I combined what I read with some conversations that I've had over the past few days I thought I'd jot down a few thoughts (mainly to just remind myself).

For some reason or another we've made "going to church" an end in and of itself. Now we don't say that outright, but it's implied. We think that if we go to church then we've done our religious duty and we're good to go. Being a Christian then becomes more about where we sit on Sunday morning than anything else.

The only problem with that way of thinking is that it's nowhere in the Bible. I think it's our way of doing the minimum, but we're the ones that came up with the minimum. Another problem that flows from this thinking is the idea that one church is better than another church... the whole competition thing... but I won't get into that now.

Being a part of a worship gathering/service is important. But it's not the end. It's the means to an end. So, what's the end?

The end is a life of discipleship where we are hearing from God more and more and growing in obedience by doing what he says. You cannot be a disciple if you just go sit through a church service for one hour a week. It can help you grow, but it's not the end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2020 Vision

Here's a great post by Mark Batterson that's worth reading.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Primal


What's the first book you're going to read in 2010? I would recommend... let me rephrase that... the first book you need to read in 2010 is Mark Batterson's Primal.

I could tell you about the book, but that would spoil your own discovery. I will say that I was so inspired and motivated by it that some of it's content is going to provide the framework for Hub City's first sermon series of the year. It revolves around the greatest commandment.

Here's another reason you should read this book: I will occasionally bring out the old yellow highlighter to highlight good stuff that I read. If a book is really, really good then I'll not only highlight, but I'll make some notes. If the book is really, really, really good then I'll highlight, make notes and type those notes up in a word document. Primal gets the really, really, really good treatment.

I don't like to compare authors, and I'm pretty sure that authors don't like being compared with other authors, but Mark's writing is a lot like Malcolm Gladwell's. I think that's why I enjoy his books so much.

This book was provided courtesy of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. Thanks guys!

Judgement day

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let the reader beware

This must be quote week. The following is from Eugene Peterson:

The words printed on the pages of my Bible give witness to the living and active revelation of the God of creation and salvation, the God of love who became the Word made flesh in Jesus, and I had better not forget it. If in my Bible reading I lose touch with this livingness, if I fail to listen to this living Jesus, submit to this sovereignty, and respond to this love, I become arrogant in my knowing and impersonal in my behavior. An enormous amount of damage is done in the name of Christian living by bad Bible reading. Caveat lector, let the reader beware.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Consciousness

Spiritual maturity has nothing to do with circumstances. It has everything to do with consciousness. A relationship with Christ doesn't always change our circumstances, but it does change the way we see ourselves, see others, and see God. - Mark Batterson

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Primal


I'll do a review on this book next week, but I've just got to say, so far, it is really, really good. I think you should ask Santa for it for Christmas.

Keep coming back

I don't know why I'm posting this again... maybe it's a reminder to myself.

We're not commanded to grow the church. That's God's job. We're commanded to make disciples.

For some reason those of us in the church world get this flipped. We think that it's our job to grow the church and that it's God's job to grow disciples. The problem with that thinking is that it's just not Biblical.

Maybe if we could get back to doing our part of making disciples then God would do his part of growing the church... and it would be something that's way beyond our wildest imaginations.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Like a deer caught in the headlights

This is one of those blogs when I want to write something but not sure it's going to come out like I'd like it to come out.

Last night Liz and I had our adoption orientation phone call. It basically gave us a 30,000 foot view of the adoption process. I must say, it was a bit overwhelming, but I expected that.

What I didn't expect was the discussion about financial matters. Maybe "expect" isn't the right word, but I'm not sure what word to use. Adoptions are expensive. I knew that. It wasn't like we were unaware of the costs. But both of us were taken aback when we learned that our next step is to send in the signed contracts and a check of $7390.

I'll be honest, that amount, said out loud, made me stop breathing for a minute. 19 hours later I still feel like a deer caught in the headlights.

So now we need to come up with $7390. Maybe you have some rich uncle who you could put me in touch with.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hard to put into words

Last week I had the privilege of helping facilitate a training event called Immersion 2. Three great guys came down from Real Life Ministries in Post Falls, Idaho, and they joined up with me and two other great guys from SC.

While it was fun to help facilitate the event, I think I learned more than the attendees. I'm still working through and thinking through some of what I've learned. But it's really hard to put into words right now.

It all flows out of this statement: We don't have growth barriers. We have leadership barriers.

That's really, really profound for me. And here's why: I want to reach my full potential as a disciple of Jesus. I want to help others reach their full potential as disciples of Jesus. And I want Hub City Church to reach its full potential of making disciples who make disciples.

None of those things is going to happen if I stop growing as a leader. So now I'm getting back to working through what I've learned, but before that:

Let me ask you, what barriers are getting in the way of you reaching your full potential as a disciple of Jesus?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

There's hope for me yet

Here's a great article on introverts. I say it's great because I'm an introvert and it gives me hope. I saw myself pop up in various places in the article. Very interesting.