Friday, October 29, 2010

Inadequate

Today was Pastries with Pastor's at Nathan and Matthew's school. I must admit, it's cool being able to be my kids' pastor. And they are at the age where they think it's cool too.

But I've got a confession to make. Whenever I get around a group of pastors I feel really inadequate and insecure. I feel like I don't have what it takes to do what I do. Most of those other guys seem like they have it all together. Me, not so much.

Often times I feel like I'm in way over my head, but this feeling of inadequacy and insecurity is different. I believe that it's a spiritual attack.

What refocuses me is knowing that even though I'm not perfect and have a long way to go to be the leader that God wants me to be, that I am doing exactly what God wants me to do. He has chosen me. He has called me. He knew what he was doing. And since that is the case, Satan can shut up and go to Hell, literally (James 4:7).

I guess I'm sharing this because I'm pretty sure some of you feel inadequate and insecure at times (maybe all the time). But remember, The one who called you is faithful and he will do it (1 Thes. 5:24).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Read this book

There aren't many books that I think should be required reading for Christians. I think The Grace of God, by Andy Stanley, should.

What sets Christianity apart from every other world religion is Grace, but for some reason or another Christianity seems to be known for it's lack of grace. Why is that? Maybe we never really understood what grace was all about. Maybe we didn't grow up in a grace-filled environment. Maybe grace just makes us uncomfortable. But it's defining to Christianity. It is essential to us doing what God put us on this planet to do.

That is why you need to read this book. It's a refresher/theology/Biblical account of grace.

So what are you waiting for? Get the book and read it. You can find a copy here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Concealing

I know I've read this verse a thousand times, but it really hit home with me today.

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

This is huge. The implication is that prospering and confession of sin go hand in hand. I can't get that out of my mind. It motivates me do some self-evaluation and confession.

I'm thankful for 1 John 1:9 which says: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We serve a forgiving God. There is no need for us to conceal our sin. There is forgiveness in mercy in confession and repentance.

Don't wait to confess. Concealing your sin will only hurt you. Confess and renounce your sin today. And God will forgive you and purify you from all unrighteousness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why Christians should celebrate Halloween

This news may not be shocking to you, but it was a bit shocking to me. I was in a Christian bookstore the other day and saw a number of anti-Halloween brochures and books. Really? Don't we have better things to do with our time?

So in rebellion against those ridiculous pamphlets, here's my take on why Christians should celebrate Halloween.

It's the only time during the year that you have lost/unchurched people knocking on your door. Seriously, most of the time we're the ones knocking on doors of people who don't necessarily care about what we have to say. On Halloween they come to us! This does not give you permission to preach at folks, take them down the Roman road or try and get them to pray the sinners prayer. It does mean that you get to be Jesus for your neighbors.

Use this opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Serve them. Say nice things about the kid's costumes.

I'm of the belief that Christians should give out the best candy in the neighborhood. We've been given extravagant grace. Let's be generous and give great candy. (This is a small pet peeve of mine: Don't give out tracks unless you're also giving out king-sized candy bars. While God can use a tract I think he would prefer to use you, so build a relationship, engage in discussion, but don't give out tracts.)

Halloween is also a great time to teach your kids to tithe. This might sound funny, but if you like candy you can always have your kids tithe their candy to you. :)

Many churches have the Christian Halloween substitute (trunk or treat, Fall festival, etc.). And those are all good and great (except if you make the kids dress up as a Bible character, that's just weird). The problem with those, however, is that the only people to attend, for the most part, are those who are already churched and who are looking for a safe place for their kids to get candy. If you're going to do something like this then do it on night other than Halloween, and then, do it really, really good and go out of your way to do it for those who are unchurched.

Jesus didn't call us to safety. Jesus didn't tell us to separate ourselves from the world. Jesus didn't command us to hole-up within the four walls of our church buildings. He called and commanded us go into the world and make disciples. I think Halloween is a great opportunity. Let's not waste it this year.

Thoughts?

Friday, October 22, 2010

The building question

People sometimes ask me, "So, when is Hub City going to get a building?"

Here's a great article about why buildings aren't all that important for churches.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doubt

In some Christian circles "doubt" is looked down upon. For some reason people incorrectly equate doubt with unbelief.

Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Unbelief is the opposite of faith. Doubt is healthy and natural.

Doubt forces us to ask questions, seek solutions and pursue God. Doubt can actually be a catalyst for spiritual growth.

Great video

Monday, October 18, 2010

Grace

It's the defining mark of Christianity, but we know so little about it.

It's given to us in abundance by God, but we have trouble extending it to others.

I'm thinking we might do a series on it next year.

What are your thoughts?

If you want to read more on grace then check out What's so amazing about grace and The Grace of God. These are two great books on grace.

The Body of Christ needs you

I read this from a devotional that Rick Warren sent out last week and thought it was a good fit to what we're learning at Hub City this week.
All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)

"Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the Body suffers. "

One reason why you need to be connected to a church family is to fulfill your calling to serve other believers in practical ways. The Bible says, "All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it." (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)

Your service is essential to the Body of Christ—just ask any local church. Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important. There is no small service to God; it all matters.

Likewise, there are no insignificant ministries in the church. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable. Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. In my home, the most important light is not the large chandelier in our dining room but the little night light that keeps me from stubbing my toe when I get up at night. There is no correlation between size and significance. Every ministry matters because we are all dependent on each other to function.

What happens when one part of your body fails to function? You get sick. The rest of your body suffers. Imagine if your liver decided to start living for itself: "I'm tired! I don't want to serve the body anymore! I want a year off just to be fed. I've got to do what's best for me! Let some other part take over."

What would happen? Your body would die. Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the Body suffers.

As I said when we began this study, God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. He created YOU for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for you to do. (see Ephesians 2:10) Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Margin

Here's a great post on creating margin in our lives.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What breaks my heart

I was being a little reflective this morning at the gym thinking about what breaks my heart. Here are three things that came to mind.
  • People who are far away from God, and don't care. I guess this messes me up because I know that people need Jesus. But they don't know they need Jesus. And I know what their missing out on in this life and what the next life holds. We've (I've) got to find a way to do my part in connecting them to Jesus. I want to partner with the Holy Spirit to create in them a hunger for God (I know it's primarily God's job, but I do believe we have a part to play).
  • People who are a part of Hub City for a while and then leave. Now, sometime's it's healthy for people to leave, but most of the time it's not. God wants people to be committed to a church family and stay, work through their problems and learn to love. When people choose to leave it usually results in a lost opportunity for spiritual growth. I've never been divorced and don't know what it would feel like to be divorced, but I compare this to divorcing the church. And the outcome isn't good for either party.
  • People who are a part of Hub City and then disappear. While the previous bullet's responsibility is primarily with the person who leaves, in this situation the one who's primarily responsible is me or the church. We (I) drop the ball, fail to care, forget about people and they just fade away. I confess that I drop the ball often (It's why we need each other, I need you to help me carry the ball). But this breaks my heart because I am responsible.
What breaks your heart?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Parenthood

Do you watch the show Parenthood? If not, you should. It's the best show on TV today.

Here's why.

It's a show about family, unconditional love, messiness, stress, sacrifice and a commitment to family that's almost supernatural.

It reminds me of how the church should be. It reminds me of what Rick Warren says, Community requires commitment.

May we be so committed to each other that we're willing to do whatever it takes to grow, stay unified, learn to love and work through our messiness.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

My Daily Goal

I read a sentence today that really is my heart's cry. It's my prayer.

Bill Hybels writes, My daily goal as a follower of Christ - to be acutely aware of God's activity in this world and to be willing for him to use me in accomplishing some part of it, be it large or small.

I don't know about you, but that is extremely powerful. It's about hearing from God and doing what he says.

May this be true of all of us today.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Article

Here's my article from Saturday's Herald-Journal.

Pray with me, please.

There are a few things that I've been praying for on a regular basis that I'd like to invite you to pray with me about.
  1. That God would provide a leader who loves kids to create and lead a children's ministry that partners with parents to help disciple their kids.
  2. That God would provide a high level leader who is amazing at creating and running systems, and developing leaders. (Found out Vince Antonucci is praying the same thing)
  3. That God will give Hub City a house to use as an office and training area. And I do mean "give". (I drive by two every day that I think would be great)
Here's the deal: I think we need these. I know we can't afford any of them, so we need God to provide something supernatural. I'd love it if you would pray with me for these three things. Thanks.

What God taught me at Disney - part 2

It's amazing what God will use to teach you and grow you if you're listening. Well, I've got to say. I wasn't really attempting to listen to God. I felt like he just butted into my Disney trip and taught me some stuff. This second thing that he taught me I'm still trying to understand and figure out. Maybe you can help.

At Disney I'm on a mission. My mission is to ride as many rides, see as many shows and do as many things as possible in our short time in the Happiest Place on Earth.

With that being said, I was out front, leading my family from attraction to attraction, walking as fast as my legs would take me and implying, "keep up or get left, we're here to have fun, not leisurely stroll around "Mickey-Mouse world."

Well, while out front, with everyone else trailing behind, God said, "This is how you lead."

I lead out front and expect others to keep up and if you don't keep up you're just going to get left behind.

Now, this is good at times, but at other times this isn't good. I'm trying to figure out how to balance on that line. I need others to help me balance that line. I don't want to unintentionally leave people behind. If I'm out front and nobody's behind me then I'm not leading, I'm just taking a walk.

So if you see me too far out front, tell me to slow down. I'm not trying to leave you (at least not most of you... some of you, well...).

I'll post something later about some specific things that you can pray with me for that I think will help with this.

What God taught me at Disney - part 1

As some of you know, my family went to Disney last week. First off, if you're planning a trip to Disney, go in September. The crowds were super-low. We got to ride everything with almost no line and most rides we got to ride over and over again. That's my kind of trip to Disney.

Well, going to Disney I was expecting to have fun with my family. I wasn't expecting to have God teach me a lesson or two. But you know God. He uses all kinds of stuff to teach us. I'll share one right now and another in a future post.

The first thing God taught me is something that I have to learn over and over and over again. See, we were at Disney over a weekend, which meant that I missed out on Hub City's worship gathering. I trust Frankie to take care of things while I'm gone, so I wasn't all that worried. But walking around Epcot God, wondering how things were going, God said, "It's My church, not yours. Forget about it."

I need to be reminded of that every day. It's Jesus' church. I'm just the under-shepherd. God doesn't need me, but he's allowed me to pastor Hub City. I love what I do. But it's his. It's a gift.