Thursday, February 26, 2009

A challenge

Are you a reader? I love reading. I wish I had more time to read more books. But the truth is most people don't like to read. That may be you (probably not if you're reading this blog). But I had this thought today that involves reading, and it may be a challenge to you.

Have you ever compared the amount of time you spent getting ready for, planning and preparing for your wedding to the amount of time you spent getting ready for, planning and preparing for the marriage? Most couples spend an exhorbant amount of time, money and energy planning the wedding, but very little time, if any at all, preparing for the marriage. So, what if, as an investment in your marriage, you read some books on marriage or relationships or how to love your spouse better this year? I can recommend some good books if you're interested. Got any suggestions for me?

Now think about parenting. Most people work hard to come up with a name for the little suckers, they take childbirth classes, they pack the suitcase for the hospital, they paint and decorate the nursery, but how many parents spend some time and energy preparing to do the hard job of parenting? I was really convicted by this thought. So, my goal is to read four parenting books this year. Just finished this one. It's fantastic. I'm looking for the next good parenting book. Got any recommendations?

So, what are you reading? Maybe, for the sake of your marriage or your kids, you should invest in a few good books, buckle down and read.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Temptation

We live in the south, which means we live in the Bible belt. There are churches everywhere. In my county there are +/- 500 churches. Which presents some problems.

Matt Chandler says, Many of us don't even know what church even is. Church is just songs and sermons. But that's not Biblical. That's not church. Church is a group of men and women walking together, covenanting with one another, to do life together for the glory of God, and for the sanctification of their souls in the fullness of him.

I know I've said this before, but church isn't just something we go to. It's something we belong to. It's something to be a part of. I would go so far to say that most Christians in our area go to church but do not belong to one. The temptation for Hub City Church is that we become just another church that people go to... and we could do that. But then I'd have to quit because that's not what I want to be a part of and it's not what Jesus had in mind for his bride.

When church is just something that you go to then it has no power, no vitality and no strength.

The church is a body that we belong to. That means that each part must live in constant interaction and relationship to each other part. But this is hard. Most of us don't know how to do this. Heck, I don't really know how to do this... but I'm learning. It's messy. It requires transparency and openness. It requires acceptance and forgiveness. It actually requires us to love each other (profound thought).

But wouldn't be awesome to create that kind of transformational, disciple-making community, in Spartanburg?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video shoot

Just finished shooting a video of Sunday's sermon... in case I'm throwing up... which seems more likely now that Matthew's the third and final victim.

Kind of weird speaking/preaching to a video camera. I couldn't tell if I was connecting or if the camera was taking a nap.

Water your grass

One of the challenges I gave married couples last Sunday was to water their grass. In other words, invest in their marriage. I challenged couples to do things for each other that they used to do when they were dating. I challenged guys to shave, take a shower and wear clean underwear (or underwear without holes). I challenged them to date their spouse, to apologize to one another, to listen to each other.

I forgot one think that might be huge for some couple. Are you ready? It's profound. Talk. Talk to each other. Turn off the TV and talk. Maybe fast from TV for a week and instead use that time to talk with one another.

Water your grass.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some prayer

I know I posted about Levi being sick... well, he still is... and Liz came home from work sick.... I would appreciate you praying that the sickness stops with her. We don't really need all 5 of us blowing chunks..., or at least I don't want all five of us to get it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fundamentally different

I'm a bit reluctant to post this, but it's something I've been thinking lately. This past Wednesday I got to share with a group of pastors in York a little about our story and who we are as a church. For some reason, at the time, I felt like I left something out of my talk, and it wasn't until my drive home that I realized what it was. Who we are as a church is fundamentally different than most churches (notice I said different, not better... that's a big distinction. Don't hear what I'm not saying.).

Our mission is to make disciples who make disciples. Everything we do fits under that umbrella. Discipleship as a program that we do in addition to other stuff. It's all we do. That's why everything we do fits into our process for making disciples. Pretty simple (not easy, but simple).

It's also a relational process. We're trying to be intentional so that everything we do leads to relationships. Some of my Idaho friends say it this way: Making Biblical disciples in a relational context. I like that.

Not sure if this makes any sense... like I've said before, this blog is often more for my processing than other's benefit. :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good addition to Sex Ed

My story is better than yours

So, Levi threw up all night. Fun. So, Liz decided to stay home for a while this AM with him. Well, she got a call that there was a fire at her office building, so she couldn't go into the office and is getting to work from home (like me!).

Vomit and fire. I dare you to top that today.

PS. Green beans make for really disgusting vomit.

PSS. Levi just said, "It's fun to throw up." He doesn't get that from me.


I read this on Shawn's blog yesterday and it resonated with me. I have the same desire for our church, our team and our Hub Groups.
One of the other most important Ministry Team Values at [Hub City Church] is honesty. We practice and expect honesty from each other as a team. If loyalty brings leverage in a relationship, honesty brings loyalty--in the long run. However, the right kind of honesty on a team often brings SHORT TERM conflict. REAL honesty often rocks the boat. Total honesty can create awkward moments.
As some of you know, I believe one of the most damaging things that can happen on a team is when people are 90% honest with each other. I fact, I believe that most of the time, people share about 10% of their total honest feelings in conversations BECAUSE they don't want to to rock the boat. On our team, however, we practice and expect our team tell tell each other our "last ten percent." Let me know what you REALLY think. Tell me when I made you mad. Tell me when I hurt your feelings. Tell me what you REALLY think about my idea. Tell me how you REALLY think the service went this past Sunday. Tell me what you REALLY think about my preaching. Notice I said: "Tell ME". Not everyone else. That's where total honesty builds loyalty! If anyone on my team can be totally honest with me, they shouldn't have to go "vent" to anyone else! "Venting" is not Biblical and we don't allow it on ou team!
I'll grant you, not every team wants to practice the "last ten percent". Not everyone one wants to hear the last ten percent. However, I think that's because we're not used to practicing it anywhere else in our lives! Even in our own families! Here's the cool part, though: Total honesty fosters excellence. Total honesty helps me improve. Total honesty helps me make the best decisions possible. Total honesty helps keep a clean slate in our relationship. Loyalty and honesty: values of a great team! Our team!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

8 Baby Steps to Adultery

Today we're in week three of this series we're calling Sex Ed and we're talking about Adultery. We camped out in Proverbs 5. Here are the 8 Baby Steps to Adultery that I talked about:
  1. They enjoy common interests.
  2. They share personal information.
  3. They anticipate time together.
  4. They hide the relationship from their spouses.
  5. They flirt with minor arousing touch.
  6. They invent excuses to call or meet.
  7. They deceive their spouse with words and actions.
  8. They engage sexually.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prayers por favor

I'm about to take off with some of our team to Immersion 2. Would appreciate you praying for this time for us. We're going to plan, learn, develop and have fun. Thanks for praying.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What I've been reading lately

I have a confession to make. I like reading leadership books. The problem, however, is that I often come away from most leadership books with some disappointment, and an unexplainable unsettledness. That was not the case with Nancy Ortberg's new book. It is fantastic. Quite possibly the best book on leadership I've ever read. I was trying to figure out why I think it might earn that honor and here's what I came up with. While leaders are important, they aren't the superheros that other leadership books make them out to be. She talks about teamwork, collaboration, creating tension, and conflict. Honestly, the way she talks about leadership reminds me of this Rabbi guy who lead twelve nobodies to change the world. Great book. Definitely a must read.

So far I've read every book from Malcolm Gladwell. I love his stuff. Seriously, it's some of the most unique and thought provoking stuff out there. His latest book doesn't disappoint. The main point of the book is that success doesn't just happen. It's the result of being in the right place at the right time, being born in the right place at the right time, having the right resources available, perserverance, and 10,000 hours of practice. It's definitely caused me to rethink all those "out-of-nowhere" success stories. It's a great, fun read.

While I've g
ot other books in the pipeline, I just started this book. I'm supposed to write a review on in for a local magazine (Roots). So far it's pretty interesting. I think I've got an idea for a No Perfect People Allowed part 2 series. You'll just have to wait until the fall to find out more about that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What's God up to?

A lot of people are going through hard times right now. People are losing jobs. People's jobs aren't paying what they used to. Everybody's tightening their belts (except District 7). And to be honest, it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of hope on the horizon.

Here's a thought: When we're in a situation that we don't understand we're tempted to try and figure out how to get out of the situation... which is sometimes a good idea, but not always a good idea. Sometimes, that situation, is exactly where God wants us to be.

I think God is up to something. The difficulties you're facing now are part of your discipleship process. They are circumstances that God is using to refine you, grow you, make you more like Jesus. I know that doesn't make you feel any better, but it's true.

What if, instead of trying to figure everything out and trying to fix everything, you instead asked, "God, what are you up to in me? What are you trying to develop in me? What are you trying to shape in me? What are you up to?

God's always up to something. Too often we miss out on what God's doing because we forget that.

Monday, February 09, 2009

You know you want to be like us :)

Lewis and Keller on humility

Read a great article this AM from Tim Keller on humility. Thought I'd share a quote from C.S. Lewis that Keller included and a few thoughts from Keller.

If we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good--above all, that we are better than someone else--I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the Devil. -Lewis

Gracious, self-forgetful humility should be one of the primary things that distinguishes Christian believers from the many other types of moral, decent people in the world. But I think it is fair to say that humility, which is a key differentiating mark of the Christian, is largely missing in the church. Nonbelievers, detecting the stench of sanctimony, turn away. -Keller

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Preach it Ed

I believe somewhere along the way we have become confused in thinking that it is our methods, marketing, programs, staff, and facilities that will grow the church. We've somehow forgotten the impact of God working through the Spirit of God to complete his intentions from the Word of God to serve as a catalyst for transforming lost sinners into becoming the redeemed people of God. - Ed Stetzer tickets?

So, any of my readers out there have a few extra tickets you want to give away? For free? If you could hook me up let me know.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Good stuff

I've been trecking through the book of Romans. Maybe it's just me, but often times I find Romans difficult to read. But this AM I read this. Definitely good stuff. Very encouraging. No matter what's going on in your life, what you've done, what you've seen, where you are, whatever... meditate on this for a while today. I am.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Where would you invest?

Just read an interesting article. It got me thinking about something.

I want Hub City to be known as a generous church. I most definitely don't want us to end up spending all of the money that people give on ourselves. Currently we give away 10% of whatever comes in to support two church plants and foreign and domestic missionaries. We also invest a huge chunk of funds locally through Movies in the Park and other local missions activities. I would love for us to get to a place one day when we're giving 50% or more of our income away.

So that leads me to this question: If you were in charge of giving 50% of Hub City's income away, where would you give it to? I'd love to hear your suggestions. What organizations should we support? What causes should we give to? Who should we bless? Who knows, sometime in the future something that you mention might be something we support.

Conflict is good... huh?

Very few people love conflict. Most avoid it. Those that do love it usually just like being able to pounce on somebody else so they can win and feel better about themselves. But here's a profound thought I came across the other day: What if conflict and conflict resolution are as important in our discipleship as prayer and Bible reading? I think that it might be, and as a result, since most of us avoid it or don't handle it the right way then we're missing out on an essential aspect of our discipling.

It's also something that's essential to healthy teams (churches). Nancy Ortberg says this: Great teams need spirited, unfiltered debate. They need it to clear the air, they need it to trust each other, and they need it to make important decisions worth committing to. Great teams need leaders who are comfortable with debate and actually require it.

It's said that the further up in an organization you go the less likely you are to hear the truth. I want people to tell me the truth. I want people to disagree with me and challenge me. I want to do the same to them. I think that kind of conflict helps teams grow. I also think that kind of conflict is essential to discipleship.