Tuesday, April 29, 2014

4 days with 167 7th graders

I have a confession to make. I think middle schoolers are so much fun to hang out with. It's a good thing I think that because last week I got to go as one of the chaperones to Washington DC with 166 of Nathan's classmates. Personally, I was responsible for three of them and I'm happy to report that all three made it back to SC safely.

Our group had a blast. I walked those boys to death. Other groups took the metro. Did we? Nope. We walked everywhere... somewhere around 21 miles over two days. DC has so much to offer.

But after spending 4 days on this school trip I'm left with a few takeaways I think all of us need to remember.

Flexibility is a fantastic trait for all of life. The communication from the teachers and people in charge was pretty sparse. This frustrated a lot of people. And while I would have done things differently if I were in charge, being flexible helped to weather the confusion. And to give the leaders credit, I think it would be extremely difficult taking 167 7th graders and 70 of their parents to a big city. Nobody died, so I'm thinking that's a win.

Being flexible meant I had to take responsibility for my own group's experience. I loved having this freedom and it reminded me of something that all of us need to remember: You are responsible for your own happiness. You can let others' confusion or craziness get in the way of your happiness or fun, but when you do that you are handing them control of your life. While you can't control your circumstances, you can control your attitude and your response to those circumstances. Our group chose to walk our butts off, see as much as possible and have a blast.


Finally, I have to share that I was able to visit Ebenezers Coffee House. Ebenezers is run and owned by National Community Church. It's the busiest coffee house on Capitol Hill and all the profits from the coffee house go directly to mission work around the world. That is AWESOME! I would love for more churches to take this kind of approach to missions. I would love for Hub City to do something like that one day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trouble believing in the resurrection?

There are a lot of people in the world that have trouble believing in the resurrection of Jesus. I get that. Believing that someone rose from the dead sounds like some X-Files' conspiracy.

What's interesting is that Jesus' closest friends and followers had trouble believing that he had risen.

That's what we'll be talking about Sunday at Hub City Church. If you're in the Spartanburg area and don't have a church, then we'd love for you to be our guest.

We meet at Spartan 16 Movie Theater (behind the mall) at 9 and 10:30. No fancy Easter clothes are required. Come as you are.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Don't miss Easter

This week and next week are extremely busy for my family. If you know me at all then you know that I value simplicity over busyness. But there are times when busyness seems to win out. This is one of those times for my family.

On top of all that we have going on, Easter is this Sunday. 

Easter's a big day for those of us who are Christians. 

But as I was getting dressed this morning I realized that I'm allowing the busyness of these two weeks distract me from Easter.

That would be a tragedy. 

So I've come up with a couple of ideas to refocus myself and my family on Easter in the midst of this busy time. I thought I'd share because I know many of you are in the same busy boat.

Thursday - My family is going to read the story of the last supper and celebrate communion together. Never done this before as a family.

Friday - Read the crucifixion story. 

Saturday - Work outside in the yard and garden. This recalibrates my spirit.

Sunday - After celebrating Easter at Hub City we'll reread the resurrection story together as a family.

I know. There's nothing profound here, but there is intentionality. I want to be intentional about not missing Easter. I think you should too.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Welcome to priesthood

Did you know that you are a priest? Wait, let me restate that. If you call yourself a follower of Jesus, then you are a priest.

Look at what Peter writes:
For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
I read something really cool about this whole idea this past week from Bill Hybels book Volunteer Revolution. He says that we become priests to one another, and then he says:
And what does a faithful priest do for his people? Prays for them. Encourages them. Watches over them. Confronts them. Grieves with those who grieve. Rejoices with those who rejoice. As a result, the people feel loved, nurtured, secure, and blessed.
And then he concludes by saying:
Imagine a community in which every member takes his or her priesthood as seriously as did the priest of the Old Testament. A community like that would turn the world upside down!
That's the kind of community I want to be a part of! Let's turn the world upside down!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Miracles


This Sunday we're seeing what we learn about Jesus from his miracles. All of us want to see a miracle, some of us want to experience a miracle, many of us are skeptical when it comes to miracles. We're just like the crowds that followed Jesus around in the first century. But Jesus' miracles teach us something very important about him. Find out what on Sunday. 9 and 10:30 AM. Spartan 16 Movie Theater.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Own your own growth

I am of the belief that each person is responsible for his or her own spiritual growth. Now, that doesn't mean that we can grow spiritually solo or all alone. We can't. We need the Church. We need one another. But someone else can't grow us. We have to own our own growth.

I came across a series of questions in a book (Simply Strategic Volunteers by Morgan and Stevens I just finished that are great self-assesment questions. I'll paraphrase them here.

  • Worship: Am I exhibiting a life devoted to God? Am I participating regularly in a corporate expression of worship? 
  • Fellowship: Am I connected in growing, healthy relationships? Have I identified myself with a local church congregation? 
  • Maturity: Am I taking the next step I'm supposed to take? Is there evidence of growth in my life? If so, what?
  • Evangelism: Do I continually build relationships with the unchurched? Am I inviting and including others who aren't like me in my life? 
  • Ministry: Have I discovered how God has wired me? Am I making a difference in other people's lives? Am I doing this in relationship with others?
When it comes to your spiritual growth you need to own it. These question may help in letting you know if you are taking ownership of your own growth.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

I want a spaghetti plant