Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A stumbling block

23Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." - Matthew 16:23

I notice something this morning from this verse that I've never noticed before.

I can be a stumbling block to Jesus. Usually we talk about being a stumbling block to other people. But this is saying that we can get in the way of what Jesus is doing.

The way we get in the way is by having the wrong mindset, by having in mind the things of men instead of the things of God.

I don't want to get in the way of what Jesus is doing. I don't think any of us does. But I fear we get in the way all the time. Our minds are far too often set on the things of me. To make sure we don't get in the way we need to have our minds set on the things of God.

The best way to do that, by the way, is to read your Bible on a regular basis. What is God showing you through his word lately?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stay Humble

These are great words from Mark Batterson:
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." I Peter 5:5

Let me make a confession: our family watches American Idol. I watch it for my kids, of course! Here's an observation I've made during the try outs to get on the show. The judges almost always react negatively to contestants who are cocky. It turns them off. It's almost like they naturally oppose them. But the judges seem to love contestants who have a quiet confidence or don't know how good they are. In a sense, have almost as much to do with the contestants making the show as their pride and humility voice quality.

Pride is a turn off isn't it? It invites opposition. But humility is endearing. It invites grace. And it's not just true in the natural realm. That is a reflection of the spiritual realm.

If I had one piece of advice for leaders I think it might be this: stay humble. If you have pride in your heart, God will oppose you and it's awfully hard to do the work of God when God Himself is opposing you! Stay humble in the way you treat others. Treat them as more important than yourself. And stay humble toward God. Keep giving credit where credit is due. And make sure you spend time on your knees kneeling before Him. The leaders that God uses the most have well worn knees.

TMI

Maybe this is TMI, but it's too funny not to record.

Background: Levi has been using the big potty for a little over a week, but has always sat down to pee.

Scene: Levi need to go pee. I start to sit him on the potty, but he wants to stand.

Levi: I want to stand up and pee.

Me: Ok.

Levi: Leave.

Me: Ok.

Levi: I did it!!!

Me: Awesome! What made you want to stand up and pee?

Levi: Girls sit down and pee, and I'm not a girl. I'm a big boy.

Me: Where did you hear that?

Levi: Matthew.

Glad to know my boys have extensive knowledge of how different sexes pee. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Matthew's Bronking Bull Ride.MP4

I was jealous. Matthew got to ride and I didn't.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wild Goose Chase

I was remined this week that following God is like chasing a wild goose. That's not a bad thing. It's what makes it exciting. It's what keeps us dependent on God.

In the words of Mark Batterson: Chase the Goose.

(BTW: He's got a great book on this very subject that's worth reading.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

When everything goes wrong

Yesterday was just one of those days. Actually, it was unlike any day we've ever had at Hub City. It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. In the words of some of our regular attenders, "It was rough this morning." Maybe it was Allen andJaimee's fault since they weren't there.... :)

So last night I laid awake in bed thinking about what we could do to keep yesterday's train wrecks from happening again, and what can we learn/take away from yesterday's experience. I've got a few thoughts.

First, it is true that Christ's power is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we are weak, he is strong. I say this to say that no matter how bad we might feel about things, God, in his unique and amazing way, shows his power.

Second, flowing out of the first, we don't say No Perfect People Allowed for no reason. We mean it. We know we're not perfect. We mess up. Sometime's life is messy, and sometimes a worship gathering is messy. No Perfect People Allowed.

Third, in all honesty we can use the first two as an excuse. I'm am NOT saying that we are doing that, but it can happen. That means we need to figure out what we can do to prevent this in the future. We have to do our part. I firmly and passionately believe that. We need to work to do the best that we can do. That's just making the most of the gifts, talents and resources that God has given us. To do any less would be being poor stewards of what God's given us. I want us to do all that we can do. But I also think that we need to pray that God would do what only he can do. That's what takes things to another level. That's when things get supernatural. We passionately want God's favor on us and all that we do.

I've got to say this too: I'm not a "demon behind every corner" type of guy, but I do believe that we have an enemy who wants to do whatever he can to destroy, distract,disunify and discourage (like my 4 "d's"?). Anytime we try and do something for God or with God our enemy is going to do whatever he can to disrupt it.

So here's my conclusion: If you're looking for a perfect church with a perfect show, then Hub City ain't the place for you (actually, I'm not sure that there is a perfect place for you). But if you're looking for a real family whose trying to figure out how to love God, love each other and do life together, then I don't know of another church family that you'd want to be a part of.

Oh, and one more thing: I love Frankie and Josh. I think Hub City is privileged to have them as servant leaders. Me, on the other hand, you're just stuck with.

When everything goes wrong

Yesterday was just one of those days. Actually, it was unlike any day we've ever had at Hub City. It seemed like everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. In the words of some of our regular attenders, "It was rough this morning." Maybe it was Allen and Jaimee's fault since they weren't there.... :)

So last night I laid awake in bed thinking about what we could do to keep yesterday's train wrecks from happening again, and what can we learn/take away from yesterday's experience. I've got a few thoughts.

First, it is true that Christ's power is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we are weak, he is strong. I say this to say that no matter how bad we might feel about things, God, in his unique and amazing way, shows his power.

Second, flowing out of the first, we don't say No Perfect People Allowed for no reason. We mean it. We know we're not perfect. We mess up. Sometime's life is messy, and sometimes a worship gathering is messy. No Perfect People Allowed.

Third, in all honesty we can use the first two as an excuse. I'm am NOT saying that we are doing that, but it can happen. That means we need to figure out what we can do to prevent this in the future. We have to do our part. I firmly and passionately believe that. We need to work to do the best that we can do. That's just making the most of the gifts, talents and resources that God has given us. To do any less would be being poor stewards of what God's given us. I want us to do all that we can do. But I also think that we need to pray that God would do what only he can do. That's what takes things to another level. That's when things get supernatural. We passionately want God's favor on us and all that we do.

I've got to say this too: I'm not a "demon behind every corner" type of guy, but I do believe that we have an enemy who wants to do whatever he can to destroy, distract, disunify and discourage (like my 4 "d's"?). Anytime we try and do something for God or with God our enemy is going to do whatever he can to disrupt it.

So here's my conclusion: If you're looking for a perfect church with a perfect show, then Hub City ain't the place for you (actually, I'm not sure that there is a perfect place for you). But if you're looking for a real family whose trying to figure out how to love God, love each other and do life together, then I don't know of another church family that you'd want to be a part of.

Oh, and one more thing: I love Frankie and Josh. I think Hub City is privileged to have them as servant leaders. Me, on the other hand, you're just stuck with.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A sad story

A very sad story. One among many coming from Haiti.

Loving God with all your heart means having a heart that breaks for the things that break the heart of God. I think God's heart is breaking.

Praying for God's lead on what we, as a Hub City family, should do.

The Male Factor - a review


I know what you're thinking: What is Jonathan doing reviewing a book that was written to women who work in a male dominated workplace? That's a great question. I don't have a great answer.

What I do know is that I've been a fan of Shaunti Feldhahn since I heard her speak at Northpoint Community Church. Her previous books have been helpful to both Liz and me. So I thought I'd give this one a try.

While being a bit long (I'm a fan these days of shorter books), this is a book that's worth reading... especially for working women. Here's a synopsis:

Many talented women today risk undermining their careers without realizing it, simply because they don’t understand how they are perceived by their male colleagues and customers. In The Male Factor, Shaunti Feldhahn reveals the inner reality behind men’s views — the unspoken expectations that no man would dare to publicly acknowledge, and no woman would learn from an HR department. These revelations include:

• Men’s unwritten ‘rules’ of the workplace
• How men perceive workplace emotion
• What common situations with female colleagues most frustrate men-- and why
• Why revealing clothing can sabotage a woman’s effectiveness
• Why some men think flextime is fine, but equal compensation for it is not

The Male Factor equips women with the information they need to make informed decisions and compete on a level playing field, which is important to me since I'm married to a wonderful working woman.

I was privileged to get a copy to give away on this blog. That's going out to Melanie Creel (I've been meaning to give it to her for weeks, but keep forgetting).

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New family activity

Today I'm going to go buy a cheap calendar for each member of my family and we're going to start a Gratitude Journal. The goal is going to be to write down three things we're thankful for each day. I want my kids to have an attitude of gratitude. The only way for us to develop that in them is to be intentional about giving thanks.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this is going to pan out. I think it could be one of those foundational activities/habits that shapes, not only my boys, by Liz and me as well.

It's also a great way to obey 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Notes from Mark Batterson

I wish everyone of you could have been a part of my time with Mark Batterson this morning. The mini-conference was set up by Anderson University and was a part of their Young Leaders Workshop. Here are some notes.
  • Don't let fear dictate your decisions.
  • The enemy has two tools: Guilt and Fear.
  • Failure could be the best thing that happens to you.
  • The greatest experiences are those where we step out in faith.
  • Are you living your life in a way that's worth telling stories about?
  • Don't we owe it to our kids to live in such a way that we have stories to tell.
  • God wants to tell his story through your life. You play an irreplacible part in God's story.
  • No guts, no glory: When we don't have the guts to live by faith we rob God of the glory that's rightfully his.
  • It took National Community Church 5 years to reach 250. Treat the small things like big things. We've got to be faithful with the small things.
  • Bill Gates said, "We tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in 2 years and underestimate what we can accomplish in 10."
  • Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is hang in there.
  • Pray for the favor of God. I want God to do for me what I cannot do for myself. Invoke the favor of God on your life, your family, your church, your community.
  • Start every meeting by sharing wins: What good thing is God doing?
  • Maybe movie theaters aren't a short term solution, but a long term strategy.
  • A problem: We're not creating disciples. We're creating spiritual co-dependents.
  • On Giving: The reason we need to grow is so that we can give more.
  • On Small Groups: God will not grow our church beyond our ability to disciple people.
I needed to hear what Mark had to say. God spoke to me about some things. I came away from our time more excited about what God wants to do in and through Hub City than ever before.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Responses

I have been blown away by the response of people to yesterday's sermon. It's humbling and cool when God uses my words to speak to people. One email I got was from Shawna Simmons. I asked if I could share what she wrote. She said yes. It's a great example of doing something. And yes, it's in pink because, well Shawna wrote it. :)

Hey Jonathan! Loved your message today. Thanks. It's easy to say I liked it, it's harder to do something about it. Compassion is not really my thing and God has really been revealing to me that I need to work on that. I know God's been speaking to me about giving to http://reecesrainbow.org/ (an organization my sister supports and fundraises for). My nephew has Downs (he turned 2 yesterday) and my sis is an advocate for a baby named Shae w/ Downs. So, today i gave. This is small, I know. I've given before, on my own accord, but I feel confident God wanted me to give to this and I hadn't yet Thanks for the push.

Maybe I need a new job

Just wanted to share a post from Shawn Lovejoy that encouraged me today. You can read it here.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Last night's conversation

Scene: Liz is putting Levi to bed and getting ready to pray with him.

Liz: Levi, is there anything you want to tell God you're sorry for?

Levi: God, I'm sorry that I didn't know you were in my heart. I want you to leave now.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How different generations view work

I found this very interesting. Would love to hear your thoughts.

The Great Depression Generation - viewed their career with an emphasis on loyalty. They would work at the same job for the same company for 40 to 50 years.

The Builder Generation (born from the Great Depression to the mid 40’s) - saw their career as a means of making a living.

The Baby Boomers (born from the mid 40’s to the mid 60’s) - saw their career as the central focus of their life. Work became the definition of who they were.

The Buster Generation - finds work to be an irritant. It distracts them from what they want to do in life. They see work as a necessary evil.

The Millennial Generation (born from 1980-2000) - sees their work as a place to serve humanity.

From Crown Financial

Be brave, wait.

Look at this verse from Ps. 27:14 - Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

We don't usually associate being brave and courageous with waiting. We usually thing that being brave and courageous means going full speed ahead, all-out, no-holds-barred.

But David says that sometimes the most courageous thing we can do is to wait. I need to meditate on this.

One thing

If you could ask God one thing, what would you want the most from him?

In Psalm 27, David does that. Look at what he asks: The one thing I ask of the Lord--the thing I seek most--is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his Temple. Ps. 27:4.

In other words, more than anything, David wants God.

Makes me wonder, do I want God more than anything? Do you want God more than anything? I want to want that. I want you to want that.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Motivation

It's funny how God works and speaks sometimes. I've been thinking a lot lately about my motivation for doing things. Like, why do I want to write for the paper? Why do I blog? Why do I want to adopt? Why do I want to be the pastor of Hub City?

The list could go on, but each of those questions involves the question of motivation. What's my motivation for whatever I do?

If I'm honest, I don't always have the most pure motivations. Way too often I'm selfish and prideful and want people to put me up on a pedestal and tell me how awesome I am. Wow, when I read that last sentence I sound like such an egomaniac.

But here's what I want my motivation to be: God's glory and God's renown. I want them to be because I've heard from God and am being obedient to him. And so here's what I want my position to be: Humble, one of humility.

John the Baptist said that he desired to be less so that God could be greater. That's what I desire as well. It's just that I get in the way...

Mark has some great posts related to this that you should read: Here, here, and here.

Monday, January 04, 2010

That's good

I find the following quote is not only encouraging, but also has a lot to say to pastors and church planters.

"We knew that Google was going to get better every single day as we worked on it, and we knew that sooner or later, everyone was going to try it. So our feeling was that the later you tried it, the better it was for us because we'd make a better impression with better technology. So we were never in a big hurry to get you to use it today. Tomorrow would be better."

~Google founder Sergey Brin as told to Seth Godin in The Dip

Frustrating

I'm kind of in shock right now.

I'm not usually the recipient of so much anger, but this whole adoption thing and the article I wrote has brought out some vicious people.

I'm not sure why. Seems like people have better stuff to do with their time than to lash out at me. (Pray that I will respond with grace and truth.)

Which reminds me of something I've read in a number of places lately (specifically from Rick Warren and Mark Batterson... I just can't think of where I read them).

They said something to the fact of us needing to use our energies to do good instead of using them to criticize. I agree.

If things continue in this direction, however, I may have to hire security.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Article

You can read my first Spartanburg Herald-Journal article here. It's on adoption.