Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Everybody

I've been reading through the book of Nehemiah. I love Nehemiah. There are so many lessons there on leadership, vision, teamwork, persistence. You should read the book.

Today I read what I had previously considered the most boring chapter of Nehemiah: Chapter 3. Chapter 3 is a list of the people who rebuilt the wall. It tells who they were, who they were sons of, it includes some of their professions and it tells which section of the wall they rebuilt.

Here's what jumped out at me today. Everybody did their part. There were priests doing construction. Perfume makers were building the wall. Goldsmiths laid aside their precious medals for hammer and nail. No matter who you were or what you did, you were expected to do your part on the wall.

The only people who didn't do their part were the nobles. I'm thinking they thought they were better than everyone else, that rebuilding the wall was beneath them. They were the losers in this chapter.

What's amazing is that besides the nobles everybody did took responsibility and did their part to accomplish the work of rebuilding the wall. And guess what? They accomplished their task in 52 days.

I think that has something to say to us as Christians. We've all got a part. We need to be doing something, anything to help build the kingdom. We need to lay aside our rights and even our gifts to do what is for the good of all.

It takes everybody.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Risking Church

This is a fantastic book. In fact, if you're a Hub Group leader at Hub City you need to read this book.

All of us have an innate longing for relationships and community. We all want to be known and loved for who we really are. The church is the place where those needs should be met.

This is a great explanation of what we mean when we talk about making disciples through intentional relationships.

I want to leave you with the prayer that Jim has at the conclusion of the book. I've reworded it for Hub City, but I'm going to be praying it often:

Father,

My prayer today is for the church. It's a prayer of vision, of what isn't now, but what could be. I know You love the church; Father, I do too. I pray that You will release Hub City Church to be a community that reflects Your Son, Jesus. I pray that we will be a loving community.
I pray that facades will be replaced by honest struggle.
I pray that self-centered attitudes of "What's in it for me?" will give way to attitudes of serving others.
I pray that the Scriptures not only will be studied but will stir a passion in us to know You more.
I pray that judgment of others will be overshadowed by radical grace given to all.
I pray that the unbelieving world will see a loving group of people living out their faith and be unable to explain it away in human terms.
I pray for community to become contagious and spread to everyone in our church.
Thank you, Father, for loving me, for speaking to me through your Son, and for giving me Your Holy Spirit to make this supernatural life possible.
I pray all of this in the powerful name of the One whose shed blood provides forgieness and established the new covenant--the name of Jesus.
Amen

Reflections from Sunday 6/27/10

Yesterday was a fun day for Hub City Church. I am thankful that Frankie took care of speaking the past three weeks. He did a great job and continues to improve as a speaker. He's also the first person I've ever heard use the term "weed of love" (I know, it sounds like some punk-rock band). Josh did a fantastic job going solo. I love the band and can't wait for them to be back next week, but I also love the slowed down ambiance of an acoustic set.

I was also super-pumped by all the new people who were in the crowd. It's a reminder to me that there are so many people in Spartanburg County who God is calling us to reach and disciple. It motivates me to go all out and do whatever it takes to accomplish our mission (Making disciples who make disciples) and reach our full redemptive potential.

But by far my favorite part of yesterday was the BBQ and Baptism. It was great hanging out with folks. It was a privilege baptizing Allen, Ashley, Jessica and Justin. I'm so proud of them for their obedience. It truly was an enormous honor for me. I love you guys. Thanks for the opportunity. You can check out pics here and here.

Seriously, if you're not a part of Hub City Church then what are you waiting for?

Five components fo a healthy marriage

If you married then you and your spouse need to read this short article. It's a great reminder.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dark

I know that I may go through a bit of withdrawal, but I'm going to go dark for a few days. No computer. No facebook. No twitter. No blogging. I'd leave my cell phone at home if I didn't need it for emergencies.

It's good to turn stuff completely off every once in a while. It's time to focus on my family. I need to remind myself that things are fine without me around. The world continues to turn when I'm computer-less.

I'll be back in a little over a week. Until then, don't eat yellow snow and tip your waitress well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest Services

I love this post from Shawn Lovejoy. It's something we all need to be reminded of on a regular basis.

What I learned @Disney World a/b Guest Services (Pt. 1)

Disney World and the church are in the same business: The people business. The church just has a higher goal for people than Disney does. Disney's goal is to deliver fun and entertainment to people. The church's goal is to deliver the message of hope, joy, and eternal life to people. So would you think Guest Services would be more important at church or at Disney? Sadly to say, however, Disney does it better most of the time. We could make some observations from them about how we can deliver our message more effectively to people by HOW we relate to guests on our church campuses each week. Here are a few observations I made about Disney and Guests Services experiences, and their implications for the church.

* Everyone is in Guest Services. They don't have a customer service area or a customer service team at Disney World. EVERYONE is in Guest Services. I mean EVERYONE! As the church, we need to realize every week that guest Services should never be limited to one ministry area. Every follower of Jesus should view themselves as a member of Guest Services! We are all there to serve guests each week! Question: If I really understood this, would this change at all where I park, what time I get there, where I sit, or or how quickly I leave each Sunday?

* The guest is always the most important thing No matter what they were doing, over and over again, Disney World "cast members" (not employees) would stop in their tracks to answer ANY question we had. Always. Never seemed rushed. Never seemed like we were interrupting what they were doing. Never. Every one of them seemed to be convinced that the guest was the most important things at every moment. As guest services volunteers in the church, we need to remember that people ARE our business! Not a program. Not a task. Not a service. People are the church. The church IS people! This means music, programming, curriculum, and meetings are not the most important thing. Loving God is best expressed by loving people! Questions: If I really understood this, how would it affect how I interact with people each week at church? How often do I have a conversation with guests at my church? Or do I only talk to non-guests?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thoughts on serving

I'm learning some stuff about serving and creating a serving-system at Hub City. I just thought I'd share a few key beliefs that we hold about serving.
  1. Every attender is a minister and ministry is serving.
  2. Serving is the act of putting the needs of others before my needs.
  3. The goal of serving is to help people become like Christ.
  4. You cannot become like Christ unless you are serving.
  5. Serving opens people's hearts to God and therefore is an act of worship.
  6. If a person isn't serving they aren't truly worshiping and growing in their faith.
  7. Mobilizing people for ministry is part of discipleship.
  8. The role of the pastor (me) is to equip people for ministry.

Friday, June 11, 2010

An exercise in trust

I am uber-pumped about Movies in the Park. I'm also, uber-nervous about Movies in the Park. I always am. My nervousness reminds me that I'm not in control. God is. I've got to trust him.

So, I'm trusting him with the weather (I can't do anything about it). I'm trusting him to bring people (we've done our part). I'm trusting him to open doors for us to build relationships with people.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him. And he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, June 10, 2010

90-Seconds of Oh My

90-Seconds of Oh My

In my opinion, this is a great commercial. I hope Frankie watches it.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Immersion

I had the honor the past two days of being a co-facilitator for Immersion. In case you don't know, Immersion is a two-day training in relational disciple-making. We (Hub City) will be doing our own Immersion in July.

But I'm so glad I was able to participate. I was reminded of some stuff that I've forgotten. I was exposed to some stuff that I needed to hear. And God gave me the opportunity to speak into some people's lives.

One thing that really stuck out to me is something that I often forget and that you need to know. In order to have a healthy Hub Group, three things need to be present.
  1. An Intentional Leader (Leadership is key)
  2. God's Word (the Bible is essential)
  3. A relational environment (Relationships are the vehicle)
I'm pretty good at two out of the three. I need to work on one. How about you (even if you're not a leader, you may be one day)?

Thursday, June 03, 2010

How do you last in ministry

I read this yesterday and wanted to pass it along.

How Do You Last In Ministry?
By Rick Warren
Ministry is a marathon: it’s not how you start in ministry; it’s how you finish. If you look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Paul gives seven suggestions for finishing the race:

(v. 1) Remember God's mercy: God has given us our ministries. We don’t have to prove our worth through our ministry, and we don’t have to wallow in our mistakes. You don’t have to earn your place as a pastor or leader in the church.

(v. 2) Be truthful and honest in all you do: Maintain your integrity because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact. Your integrity includes how you handle the Word of God. Don’t distort it or make it confusing.

(v. 5) Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires: We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities. You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one, and that one is Jesus Christ.

(v. 7) Realize that Christians are only human: We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.

(v. 15) Develop a true love for others: Churches thrive, grow and survive when love endures. You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry.

(v. 16) Allow time for inward rejuvenation: I have a motto -- Divert daily, withdraw weekly and abandon annually. You need to take time for recharging. In the Air Force, they’ve mastered the art of mid-flight refueling. You can too – you don’t have to land every time you need to refuel.

(v. 17-18) Stay focused on the important things, not distracted by momentary troubles: Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible. To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to become.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Making the most of Movies in the Park

I think that God wants to grow Hub City through Movies in the Park this summer. I really do. But it's not going to happen by accident. We've got to do our part.

Check this out: Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2.

This really speaks to me about our part. So, what is our part?

We are going to be very intentional about using MIP as a platform to invite people to be a part of Hub City. We've invited people in the past, but it's time to up our intentionality.

How that's going to play out is where I need your help. I'm looking for suggestions.

Here's what I've got so far. First, we're going to have a separate registration card for people to fill out who want more info about Hub City. Second, I need some of our outgoing, extroverts to volunteer to wander around the crowd and talk to each and every person who attends. They can tell people thanks for coming, they'll ask about the person's church involvement, and if they aren't a part of a church they'll make a personal invite to Hub City (Let me know if you want to volunteer. Some of you would be GREAT at this).

That's all I've got so far. What ideas do you have? I don't think we do MIP just to do something nice for the community. It's a part of Making Disciples. It's a way for us to "go and make disciples." It's a way for us to build relationships with people.

Office Needed

It's time. We need an office. I need an office. If you've got some suggestions or ideas please let me know. It needs to be cheap, really cheap. Hey, we wouldn't argue with some free office space!

"School's out for summer!"

Today marks the first non-holiday official start of summer. My boys are ecstatic.

I think grown-ups should get some form of summer vacation. I like the European way of taking a month off.

In fact, I'm writing the president to see if he can make August "Vacation Month." Anybody want to put their name on the letter?