Monday, January 31, 2011

The Bible as a mirror

One of the things that excites me more than anything are stories of people who are developing the habit of reading their Bibles daily. Many folks at Hub City are doing that. Like I've said before and will say again, reading the Bible daily is by far the best habit you could ever develop.

Well, I read a great perspective on reading the Bible in Mark Batterson's book Soul Print. He compares Scripture to a mirror.
Mirrors come in all sizes and shapes. Sometimes it's a prophet who helps us see the blind spots in our lives. Sometimes it's an epiphany that pulls back the veil and reveals the glory of God in new ways. But the greatest mirror, the mirror that gives us the truest reflection of ourselves, is Scripture.
The best form of self-examination is simply reading Scripture. Or maybe I should say, meditating on Scripture. After all, the Bible wasn't meant to be read. It was meant to be meditated upon.
The book of James likens the Bible to a mirror. Meditating on it is the way we can get an accurate picture of who we are. And it not only reveals the sin in our lives. It also reveals the image of God in us. As we meditate on the Bible, the picture of who we are in Christ develops like a Polaroid print.
When I was a kid, our family used to frequent a restaurant called White Fence Farm. There was always a wait, but I didn't mind because the waiting room was like an amusement park. They had games to play. They had a car museum. And there were crazy mirrors, like at carnivals, that would distort your face and figure. I'd spend fifteen minutes contorting myself into every shape imaginable.
In a sense, every mirror is a crazy mirror except Scripture. Scripture is the only perfect mirror because it reveals how our Designer sees us.
I could quote more. Use Scripture as a mirror. Read it. Meditate on it. Let God speak to you through it. It is the BEST habit you will ever develop!

Soul Print - A review

I'm a big fan of Mark Batterson's books. I am an even bigger fan now after reading Soul Print. It is such a good book. I feel as if he crafted each sentence with an incredible amount of insight and wisdom. It gets the award for my most highlighted book. There are just so many great statements.

Most books start off good, but then fade as you get half-way through. Not so with Soul Print. It gets better and better. In fact, the last two chapters may be the best of the entire book. I was disappointed that I had finished it.

What makes this a must read for you is that it speaks clearly into our culture. What I mean by that is that there are issues, struggles, idols, and problems that are unique to Christians in America in 2011. Soul Print addresses those. I would share what some of them are, but really don't want to spoil the reading for you because you NEED to read this. Besides, Mark is such a good writer that I don't want to mess up something that he says so well.

One more thing that I have to mention is that Mark comes across as extremely humble. It's such a refreshing trait that makes me respect him and his writing all the more. But don't take my word for it. Read the book for yourself.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This quote from Mark Batterson's Soulprint is a great reminder for employees who want a promotion, staff who want to be the point leader, and the second-stringer who wants to start:
If God can trust you to do the right thing when Saul is on the throne, then He can trust you to do the right thing when you're sitting on the throne.


There are two types of people in the world: Teachable and non-teachable.

A teachable person is open to learning and developing even if it might hurt a bit. They don't shut off constructive encouragement. They follow through on the advice they've been given. They know they don't know it all. Invest in these people.

A non-teachable person is closed to learning. They may seem open to learning but in reality, they don't want to hear anything that goes against their pre-set plan or direction. Don't waste time on these people.

I want to always be teachable. I want that for you as well.

A big shout out to Heidi C. who Liz and I spent some time with this AM. She was so teachable. I loved how open she was to letting us speak into her life.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Belief before behavior, or the other way around

I was having breakfast with Bryan Scott this morning talking about life and following Jesus and gym memberships.

One thing we talked about was how behavior influences belief. If our behaviors don't line up under our beliefs we change what we believe rather than changing the behavior. We don't like the cognitive dissonance. We don't like the guilt. But we like the behavior, so we change what we believe.

Take for instance sex before marriage. The Bible is against it (that may be a lightbulb for some of you). God's not against it because he wants you to be miserable. He's against it because he knows that purity paves the way to intimacy. But you want to have sex outside of marriage. It feels good. So, rather than give up sex you change what you believe about the Bible. "God didn't mean that. That's outdated. But we're eventually going to get married." You get the drift.

But following Jesus is about lining up our behavior under what we believe. I am confident that if we, as Christians, would begin to do that the world would be overwhelmed by our lives and we wouldn't be able to keep people away from the Church. But that'll never happen if we keep fitting our beliefs up under our behavior.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I'm sure you never think about this topic but it's something I think about every week. Here it is: What make for a great Sunday?

Sunday's for me revolve around church stuff. There's early morning sermon review, the worship gathering, talking with the church family, contacting folks that were absent, reviewing for Hub Group, having Hub Group... it's a busy day. And I usually have what's been titled a "holy hangover" from Sunday.

Yesterday, in my opinion, from my perspective, was a really good day. I started contemplating this AM about what made yesterday good. Here's my list so far:
  • We had seven first time guests. Having new people always pumps me up.
  • Two of those people ended up going to someone's Hub Group last night! Getting new people connected to Hub Groups is huge for me and for our mission at Hub City.
  • People laughed a few times during the sermon.
  • I was able to speak without looking at my notes too much. I know that's lame, but it's always a goal of mine.
  • I was able to have some really good conversations with people.
  • The theater looked really full. I'm not crowd focused but I believe we've got something that's worth being a part of and I don't want anybody to miss out.
  • The outreach project sponsored by the Guerrilla Lovers team that made Valentine's for kids in the hospital. It was so cool seeing so many people participate.
  • Another good offering. We're not about money. I hope you know that. But what you do with money indicates where your heart is at. Also, it takes money to do ministry.
  • GREAT discussion and participation in our Hub Group.
  • Seeing people step up in leadership roles (i.e. Kevin in leading this spring's Garage Unsale).
  • Having someone else tell the story in Hub Group. Stephanie did an awesome job.
Those are a few reasons why yesterday was good.

BTW: Our new banner is up outside the theater! Pray that God will use that to allow us to reach and disciple more and more people.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Missionaries to the city

A guy came up to me this morning at the gym to introduce himself. I had on my trusty Hub City Church t-shirt, which he recognized. He's a minister at a local church and wanted to meet me because he had heard about our church. That always scares me.

Well, come to find out, what he had heard about Hub City is that we are a church that's a missionary to our city. I thought that was really cool. We have a reputation, at least in this guy's eyes, of being missionaries to our city.

That is a passion of mine. I want us to be a church that's known for being for Spartanburg, that's making Spartanburg a better place to live, work and play.

We've got some things on the calendar already:
  • Garage Unsale in April
  • Movies in the Park in May, June, July and August
  • Guerrilla Lovers Projects throughout the year
  • ______________________ (Our best projects haven't even been thought of yet. Share your ideas and let's go!)
Stay tuned for more info on each of these projects and how you can be a part. We are missionaries together reaching Spartanburg and the world one person at a time for the glory of the one who put skin on and moved into our neighborhood.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I'm a big fan of thinking. Sometimes I think that thinking is a lost art. I love Vince's post on thinking. Read it.

How can you set aside more time in your life to think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Will you pull with me?

I heard Vince Antonucci share a stat the other day that's kind of depressing. He said that 8 out of 10 new churches shut down before their third birthday. I'm not sure where he got the stat, but from folks I know I believe it. It's kind of depressing.

He likens starting a church to trying to pull a stationary truck up a hill. It's tough to get it rolling and then when you get it rolling, if you stop pulling, even for a second, it'll roll back down the hill. I like his description. Starting a church is hard.

He goes on to say that one of the ways to keep that statistic from becoming a reality is to get more people pulling the bus. I'd say it this way: There's got to be people, other than the pastor, who are carrying the load of the new church. If it's all on the pastor's shoulders then it's almost a lost cause.

Carrying the load can mean a number of things. It involves taking ownership. It's means sacrifice. It means taking responsibility. It cannot happen without deepening relationships.

I'm so thankful for the Hub City family that is helping me carry the load. You know who you are. Thank you! I'm honored to be working along side you. You encourage me more than you know.

But I also know we have a way to go. We have such potential. With that being said let's get to work pulling the truck.


Warning: Personal Post.

I read a great article this morning titled Can Christian Consumers Ruin Pastors? You should read it and you should ask yourself: Am I a Christian consumer?

I'll be honest, I've felt this pressure from people. There are people who don't like how I speak so they compare me to the famous preacher that they listen to online each week and "gently encourage" me to talk more like him. Others want to do ministry so-and-so because they read about it working in a mega-church somewhere. The list could go on, but I'm convinced that the motivation behind these statements is a consumer mentality. It's an "all-about-me" approach to spirituality (I say "spirituality" because Christianity is inherently the opposite of a consumer mentality).

This consumer mentality is a cancer to churches. It's an unnecessary burden on pastors and it hinders the people from truly being the church.

We have a lot of great people who are a part of the Hub City family who aren't consumer Christians. They keep me going. I'm thankful for the people who love me and accept me for who I am and who encourage me to maximize my gifts and calling.

Consumers drain me. They cause me to question my gifts and calling. The problem, however, is that most consumers are blind to what they are doing. They can't see beyond their limited view of the world.

So what's the cure? I think we need a change of heart where we think of others before ourselves, where we're less about what we want and more about serving others. I think we need to ask ourselves about our motivation. Why do I like what I like? Why does this (whatever it is) make me mad? What is my motivation? Is it about me? And then we need to be in relationships with others who have the courage to speak up when our Christian consumerism rears its ugly head.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Family Traditions

Quite possibly my favorite family tradition is Friday pizza and movie night. Almost every Friday we have home-made pizza and rent a movie and just chill as a family.

Tonight it's The Sorcerer's Apprentice with the family and Dinner with the Schmucks after the kids go to bed.

What family traditions do you celebrate? Now's a great time to create some for your family.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Read more

I think you should read more. That's what I'm trying to do. I've read some great books lately. Here's a list of what I've read over the past month:
  • Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybels - Great book on church leadership
  • Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putman - This book puts words to Hub City's discipleship process. A must read.
  • Dead Heat by Joel Rosenberg - I'm not usually a fan of Christian fiction and this book was just ok (got it off my father-in-law's shelf), but sometimes reading fiction gets my creative juices flowing.
  • The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons - Great book. I wrote a review a few weeks ago. This book did a lot to help me grow spiritually.
And here's what I'm reading now (or am about to read)
I guess I'm in a reading mood. I'd encourage you to get in a reading mood too. It'll help you grow and learn. I heard someone say one time that "Leaders are Readers." You're a leader somewhere, so read!

Anything out there that you'd recommend?

Unconditional Love

Another book I'm reading right now is Decision Points by George W. Bush. I started it this AM at the gym. So far it's a captivating book. I wanted to continue my time on the Elliptical machine so I could read more. On page 8 Bush makes an incredible statement:
When you know you have unconditional love, there is no point in rebellion and no need to fear failure.
That's powerful. There is enormous power in unconditional love. I want my kids to know that they are loved unconditionally. I want our community and world to know that they are loved unconditionally.

It reminds me of one of my life's guiding principles: People don't choose their friends, they gravitate towards acceptance, therefore I want to be the most accepting person alive.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Open social networks

I'm reading a fascinating book right now called The Rise of Christianity. I just read the following quote:
The basis for successful conversionist movement is growth through social networks, through a structure of direct and intimate interpersonal attachment. Most new religious movements fail because they quickly become closed, or semiclosed networks. That is, they fail to keep forming and sustaining attachments to outsiders and thereby lose the capacity to grow. Successful movements discover techniques for remaining open networks, able to reach out and into new adjacent social networks. If we are to better understand and explain the rise of Christianity, we must discover how the early Christians maintained open networks--for it would seem certain that they did. (pgs. 20-21)
Here's why this sticks out to me. I thing that we, as a church (Hub City Church), need to be intentional about keeping open social networks. So, for you personally, how are you doing at keeping open social networks, or is your life just about the friends and community that you already have? And then, for us as a church, how can we make sure we discover and implement techniques for remaining open?