Friday, April 30, 2010

Troop carrier or luxury liner?

I don't know if this makes sense out of context, but I thought it was a great quote that really expresses my heart for Hub City.

The purpose of the church is to mobilize a people to accomplish a mission. Yet we seem to have turned the church as a troop carrier into the church as a luxury liner. We seem to have organized ourselves, not to engage in battle for the souls of people around the world, but to indulge ourselves in the peaceful comforts of this world. - David Platt

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Two things I'm praying

Just thought I'd share two things I'm praying for Hub City Church this week:

1. For God to do this: I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Ez. 11:19.

2. For us to be a community of Christians each multiplying the gospel by going, baptizing and teaching in the contexts where we live everyday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A disconnected faith

God blesses his people with extravagant grace so they might extend his extravagant glory to all peoples of the earth. - David Platt

I read that today from David's book Radical and had this thought: We love the first part of that sentence, but we tend to ignore the second part. Later on David writes, We live in a culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the glory of God. So true.

For some reason being a Christian is all about us: God loves me. But the message of Biblical Christianity is not "God loves me, period," as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of Biblical Christianity is "God loves me so that I might make him--his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness--known among the nations.

So, if you're a Christian, what's your faith about? What's at the center of your faith? God's glory or your comfort? It would suck to get to the end of our lives and realize that our disconnected faith prevented us from accomplishing our mission on earth.

Whatever it takes

Whatever it takes. I love that phrase. If I was running for political office, that would be my slogan.

I want that to be a value for Hub City Church, too. I want us to be known as the church that will do whatever it takes to make disciples who make disciples. I want us to be known as the church that will do whatever it takes to love and accept people. I want us to be known as the church that will do whatever it takes to make Spartanburg a better place to live. I want us to be known as the church that will do whatever it takes to reach out to people who are far away from God.

Am I willing to do whatever it takes? Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Are we willing to do whatever it takes?

Do you have a whatever it takes attitude? If not, why not?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What would it take?

This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

I read that this morning out of Acts 19. All the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. All of them. In the province of Asia. That's incredible.

It got me thinking. What would it take so that it could be said, all the people of Spartanburg county heard the word of the Lord?

What would we need to do to make that a reality here?

I'd like, for one day, historians to be able to look back and say all the people of Spartanburg County heard the word of the Lord. I want to be a part of that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Gospel

I read a great, simple definition of the Gospel today and wanted to share it with you:

This is the gospel. The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his Son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in him will be reconciled to God forever.... This gospel evokes unconditional surrender of all that we are and all that we have to all that he is. David Platt

Do I really care?

I want you to ask yourself a question. It’s question that I had to answer a few years back. Here it is: Do I really care if Spartanburg is better because I’m here?

I know that you hear me say that we want Spartanburg to be a better place to live. But for me, it’s more than a catch phrase. I believe that the Bible teaches that we are where we are on purpose for a purpose, and that God has put me here, in Sparkle-city, to make a difference. I also believe that he’s put you here to make a difference. Jesus said you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Spartanburg should be better because we’re here.

That’s what I love about Movies in the Park, the Garage Unsale, Christmas in Action and Spring Fling. They make Spartanburg a better place to live. They add something to this community. And you and I get to be a part. You and I get to participate.

All of these events do something else. They communicate to Spartanburg that we care and that we’re here for them. They help us to put down roots.

Speaking of Movies in the Park, I think that God might use Movies in the Park in a way that’s bigger than ever this year. I think people are going to surrender their lives to Jesus because they came to Duncan Park or Barnet Park to see a free movie and experience love and acceptance from Hub City Church.

So, do you really care if Spartanburg is better because you’re here? I think you do. So, what are you going to do to make that happen?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A recommendation

I haven't read this yet, but it looks like a book that everybody at Hub City needs to read.

Two-Dimentional Church

I read the following post from Mark Batterson today and thought you needed to read it to.

We have a new mantra at NCC. It may not be super catchy. In fact, you may be nonplussed by it. But it's the way we're thinking about church. It's the way we're welcoming guests. It's becoming part of our DNA. Here it is: we invite YOU to be part of what God is doing at National Community Church and we want to be part of what God is doing in your life.

That may not seem like much, but I think it's huge. Most churches leave off the second-half of that statement and the result is a one-dimensional church. When people walk through our doors I assume it's because God is at work in their life somehow, someway. We want to be part of that. I think too many churches invite people to be part of what God is doing at their church. That can come across as self-serving. Don't get me wrong. We've got a huge vision at NCC. God is on the move. And God wants each of us to be part of something bigger than us and more important than us. But we've got to be two-dimensional. And that means discerning how God is already at work in people's lives and becoming part of that.

I think we had an example of that at our Kingstowne location this weekend. A woman came forward for prayer who has been coming to NCC for quite awhile and runs a missions organization. The miracle she is believing God for is the monies to open an orphanage in the Congo. They raise the cash first and they need $15,000. Her vision is our vision. That is the way God is working in her life and we want to be part of it. That doesn't always equate to a financial investment. But on this occasion I just felt like it was wrong to ask God to do something for us that we had the power to do for ourselves. So we took an impromptu offering at the end of the service. Our giving is going to translate into a miracle for those sixty kids waiting for a home!
My point? We need to have a church vision and we need to invite people to be part of it. But we also need to discern the way God is already working in each individual's life and be part of that too. Church is a two-way street.
We want to invite you to be a part of what God is doing at Hub City Church and we want to be a part of what God is doing in your life. I think I'm going to start saying that more often.

Movies in the Park 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A blur

So much has happened over the past two days that they are kind of a blur. All that's happened is good. Actually, it's really good. But all that's happened has increased my workload by about 200 times. (I'm so thankful for the people who've already stepped up to help carry the load... that's what the church is supposed to do.)

At this moment I'm just taking a break to breathe.

Here's the deal: I need your help. Here's where you can plug in today:
  • Sign up to volunteer at Spring Fling (May 1-2).
  • Help us get sunscreen donated for Spring Fling.
  • Spread the word about Movies in the Park (all the info is on our website).
  • Help us get gift certificates donated for MIP (contact me and I'll tell you how).
  • Pray for Spring Fling and Movies in the Park.
  • Pray that we don't forget anything that we need to do.
That's the short list. More info to come soon.

Friday, April 09, 2010

We're Live!

The moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived. Hub City's new website is now live! Pass it along to everybody you know.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

We need you

I read this post from Tony today and it goes right along with what I've been thinking we need at Hub City lately. Is that you? Do you work and think in systems and future? We need you.

Movies in the Park

I won't lie to you. I'm a bit frustrated that we won't be able to use Barnet Park for the May/June location for Movies in the Park. But another possible location has opened up. We're in the "wait and see" mode (even though we don't have a lot of time to "wait"). I don't want to spill the beans too early, but I would ask for you to pray.

Here's what we know for sure. Movies in the Park is ON for July 9 and August 13. Those date are a go at Barnet Park.

Here's what we need: We need you to be a part of making this happen. There is a place for you to serve.

God has granted Hub City Church amazing favor in allowing us to host Movies in the Park for Spartanburg. People are already asking for it. We don't promote the facebook fanpage, but we've got new fans every week. We want YOU to be a part of Movies in the Park this Summer. Stay tuned for where to get plugged in.


We are in the process of completely revamping Hub City's web site. Stay tuned for the launch of the new site, but let me tell you, it is going to be really good. It'll be a great front door to point people to who you've invited. It'll be a great resource to go to to find out upcoming events. It'll be more user friendly. You could win a million dollars just by using it (not really, but I just wanted to throw that in for fun.)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The secret of being a disciple

The following article is a GREAT introduction to our Speak Freely series on prayer that's starting on Sunday. I thought is was so good, I posted the whole thing for you to read.

By Caleb C. Anderson

Want to help a new generation of men and women in your church grow more and more like Christ? The key to making disciples of the next generation doesn’t lie in following the latest trend or preaching the cleverest sermons. Instead the key to discipleship in the 21st century lies in a 2,000-year-old model.

If we are going to disciple a new generation, we must teach them how to be disciples. Most Christians I know aren’t really disciples. They don’t even claim to be disciples; they claim to be Christians. Nowhere in the book of Acts did a believer claim to be Christian – as if to brand their religious movement. No – they claimed only to be disciples of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.

That needs to be our claim today. The younger generations are desperate for raw, authentic spirituality – even if it’s more demanding. To reach them, we need to do more than deliver messages about Religion vs. Relationship; we need to model them.

The staying life of the disciple
Disciples do not discipline themselves for discipline’s sake – like an overzealous military man, or a masochist. If we discipline ourselves, it is for the sake of the Discipling One. It’s for the sake of the Great Teacher, the God-man, the Humble King, whom we follow, with whom we stay.

Too many of our churches continue to emphasize the “habits” necessary to spiritual growth as the exclusive means of growing in Christ. Prayer, Bible study, Scripture memorization, fasting, solitude and tithing are essential for growing Christians. These are foundational habits that every disciple embraces in one way, shape or form.

But they should never become an end unto themselves. Instead of listing these habits as prerequisites for discipleship, we should communicate that discipleship is fueled by ONE discipline, the discipline of staying. Once a disciple understands and begins to practice this one important discipline, the other habits will follow as paths to the ultimate goal – staying in communion with Christ.

Why did Jesus choose such average disciples?

I recently took my Jewish father-in-law to see The Passion of the Christ. When we walked out, he was fuming mad that Jesus had chosen such pathetic disciples. “Not one of them stood up for him!” Jerry exclaimed.

It’s true - Jesus’ disciples were average men, at best. Yet that was by design.

It was likely that those disciples had a good foundation of the Torah; it was not unusual for Jewish boys in their day to memorize large portions of Scripture. In their youth, they'd probably developed the habits of prayer, scripture memorization, religious dieting, etc.

But you don’t see Jesus speaking much to their Jewish regimen. You don’t see Jesus commenting much on their mastery of the Torah, or on their habits of choice. Do you know why? Jesus knew that the habits - and living life to the glory of God - were going to be the Holy Spirit’s job.

Just look at the apostles’ lives: they each left everything they had to come and follow Jesus. They stayed with Jesus all day, every day, unless he sent off them with some assignment. They didn’t do anything special during those three (or more) years. They just stayed with Jesus. That was the secret of their discipleship.

After the last supper, on their way to Gethsemane, Jesus gave his disciples explicit instructions - which they wouldn’t understand until later.

He said, "Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me." (John 15:4, CEV)

Can you imagine how devastated and confused the disciples were when Jesus was taken from them that very evening and killed the very next day? “He told us to stay with him - but the show must be over. The mission must’ve been thwarted. We can’t stay with him, or abide/remain in him, if he’s not here.”

So what did the disciples do? They panicked. Without the presence of Jesus, their learning, their hope, their new way of thinking, their new perspectives on life and God were all useless. They had nothing. Even after Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection for the first time in the upper room, Peter, James and John – Jesus’ main men – still didn’t understand the bigger plan, the bigger story. They went back to what they knew. They went fishing (John 21). When godly men are not staying connected to God they will slowly regress back to their old ways.

Finally, before Jesus ascended up into heaven, he looked at his disciples and said: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:4-5, NIV)

Why was this instruction so critical? Have you noticed a trend with the disciples yet? Have you noticed a trend in your own life?

When the disciples are with Jesus, they have purpose. When the disciples obey Christ, they are blessed. When the disciples can communicate with him, they are content. And so when Jesus leaves, he doesn’t leave them alone. He sends his own Spirit to come and live in them and in us!

"To [the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27, NIV)

I am not the hope of glory; you are not the hope of glory; discipline is not the hope of glory. Christ in you is the hope of glory!

The living Spirit of the God of the universe, actively achieving his will in this world through the collective lives of his disciples – that’s the hope of glory. And we must dedicate our lives to allowing the Holy Spirit to have his way in us.

Living our lives according to the five purposes of God is going to continue to be the key to the church’s effectiveness in the next generation (the biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and missions). Communicating those purposes in the simplest, clearest, most fundamental and relevant ways is going to be the key to a leader's effectiveness in the next generation.

As for the purpose of discipleship, it is a one-discipline purpose - staying connected to Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Make people passionate about that – about the power that resides inside of every saint – then teach them the value of the ancient habits that aid in staying connected.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why we use invite cards

Disclaimer: I stole this post from Jay. :)

A few years ago, Thom Rainer reported in his book, Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, that over 80% of people who do not attend church are at least somewhat likely to attend if they were invited by a friend. Over 80%! Yet, not nearly that many said they had ever received an invitation – if memory serves me correctly, somewhere around 30% said they had ever received an invite from a friend.

We have three tools for you to use to invite your friends: 1) The invite cards that are attached to the Connection Card. 2) Postcards at the Hub Table. 3) Evites (I'm going to send an evite out with each new series.)

Here are a few ideas on how to use them…

  1. Make a list of five people, pray, and seek them out. Take them to lunch, have coffee, etc. & invite them.
  2. Hand them to people you meet and say “I’d love to invite you to my church.”
  3. Give them to neighbors, friends, and co-workers.
  4. Put a stack at your office, store, or place of work.
  5. Ask if you can set a stack out in a business that you frequent.
  6. Ask if you can place a stack in your apartment complex clubhouse.
  7. Leave them on tables at restaurants to invite your server…and tip them well!
  8. Give one to your Starbucks baristas.
  9. Give them out in the lunchroom or before class begins.
  10. Hand them out in your dorm.
  11. Keep a few in your wallet, purse, or car so you can step up when the opportunity pops up.

I’m sure you can add your own ideas to this list. The point is to leverage the opportunity to invite people to Hub City Church this Sunday!

What’s the worse thing that can happen? They say “no” or just throw the invite card in the trash. What’s the best thing that can happen? They say “yes”, hear the gospel, and surrender their lives to Jesus!

The “yes” is big time worth the invite!

The test

If I really believe "Jesus is Lord"...
• I won't worry about what others think; only what He thinks.
• I won't seek the applause of men; only His.
• I'll react to people based on His reactions toward me.
• I will begin each day with Him.
• I will spend lots of time with Him.
• I will seek to know Him personally.
• I will seek to partner in His mission throughout my day; not just accomplish my mission.
• I will seek to honor Him with my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
• I'll end each day asking two questions: "How did I partner with Jesus today? How did I resist Him today?"
• I won't be so hard on myself.
• I won't worry about the future.
• I will give to Him first; not last.
• I won't worry about my church.
• I will live and share the Gospel.
• I will surrender my agenda to Him.
• I will love God.
• I will love people; as much as I love myself!
• I'll believe that ANYTHING is possible.
• I'll believe that I can overcome any weakness, addiction, or sin that plagues me.
• I won't live in the past.
• I'll realize that this world is not my home. My home is with Him.
• I'll embrace the fact that suffering allows me to identify with Him and lean on Him.
• I'll see people with His eyes. Compassionate eyes.
• I'll believe in people.
• Prayer will be the foundation of a relationship, not religious duty.
• I'll trust Him in every circumstance.
• I'll believe in His church. He died for it He is the Head of it.
• I will follow Him, and live for His mission in my life!