Thursday, February 27, 2014

This Sunday at Hub City Church

I am super-excited about this coming Sunday at Hub City. I hope you've heard by now, but we're going to be showing Son of God as a part of our worship gathering. This unique opportunity will set the stage for our next series and it is a great time for you to invite your unchurched friends. Here is some important info about Sunday.

  • We are having one, combined worship gathering at 10:30.
  • Concessions open up at 10 for you to get your popcorn fix. 
  • Come early to make sure you get a good seat.
  • The gathering will be structured like our regular worship gatherings. We'll sing, do a welcome, sing some more and then show the movie in place of a sermon.
  • We want you to invite your unchurched and non-Christian friends. Let's leverage this unique opportunity to expose as many people as we can to Jesus. In fact, if you are reading this and you're not a Christians. I promise not to do anything to manipulate you or ask you for money. We would be honored if you would just be our guest on Sunday. 
  • Spread the word. There are graphics on my Facebook page as well as the Hub City Facebook page. Feel free to use and share.
  • Pray for Sunday. I don't want us to just watch a movie together. I want us to encounter Jesus.
Here's the movie trailer. Just watching it moves me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I'm reading a short little e-book right now by Dave Ferguson called Keeping Score. It's written to  encourage church leaders to make sure they are keeping score in ways that matter for the kingdom. 

One of the things he says is that churches can appear successful but not be winning. That would be a tragedy, wouldn't it? (And just to be clear: I'm not making any vague accusations towards other churches. This is purely for self assessment.)

Think about it: How would you define success? Money? Fame? Position?

Wouldn't it be tragic to look successful, but end up losing in life?

I think that we can look successful from a worldly perspective, but fail to win from a Biblical perspective. This is a tragedy of epic proportions.

So, what is winning from a Biblical perspective? In one word: Faithfulness.

Over and over again we're reminded of the importance of faithfulness. Appearances can be deceiving, so are we being faithful?

Are you being faithful? At home? At work? With your church family? With your finances? With your time? Are you faithfully doing what God has told you to do?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Yesterday we finished our Lion Chaser series at Hub City Church. I think this has been one of the most impactful series in our short five-and-a-half-years of life as a local church. I would love to hear from the Hub City folks about how God has worked in your heart over the past seven weeks. 

I ended the series by sharing Mark Batterson's Lion Chaser Manifesto. It is so good that I wanted to repost it here and give credit where credit is due.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don’t try to be who you’re not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. Take a flying leap of faith. Chase the lion!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Coming Sunday, March 2, at Hub City Church

Join Hub City Church as we include Son of God  
as a part of our morning worship gathering!

Sunday, March 2
Only one Worship Gathering at 10:30

Regal Spartan 16

As an introduction to the Easter Season and a next series, The Jesus I Never Knew, we're showing Son of God as a part of our Worship Gathering on March 2. 
The theater has agreed to open concessions for you to purchase snacks.
Kids area will be provided for birth through 5 years.
We encourage you to invite friends to this unique worship experience.
(This will be a regular worship gathering with the movie in place of the sermon.) 

"The best I've ever seen." 
Rick Warren  

"Engaging and compelling."
Cardinal Wuerl, Washington DC

Producers Mark Burnett & Roma Downey have taken an unprecedented step in this generation to revive the life, love and message of Jesus Christ and are bringing his story to the big screen.

Son of God is the first major motion picture on the complete life of Jesus Christ in nearly 50 years. It will be released by 20th Century Fox in theaters nationwide on February 28, 2014, featuring powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer.
"This epic masterpiece tells the world changing story of Jesus and inspires us to love and live for others just as He did."
Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, President/CEO of Compassion International

"The best on-screen biblical account of the life of Jesus!"
Dove Foundation

"Son of God is an engaging and compelling presentation of the story of Jesus, the Son of God among us. It is a joy to watch this film bring alive the pages of the gospel and help us see what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced." 
Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington DC

"Brilliantly produced with stunning cinematography, a Hans Zimmer score and academy-worthy acting... Not since "The Passion of the Christ" ten years ago have I been this excited about a movie."
Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church and author of #1 NY Times bestseller A Purpose Driven Life

"A gift worth experiencing!"
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of National Hispanic Evangelical Association

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Hub City Church

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Looking Foolish

If we're honest with ourselves, we're already good at looking foolish, aren't we? The problem, however, is that we're good at looking foolish in the wrong ways.

But what if there's a right way to look foolish and that looking foolish is exactly what God wants from us?

We'll be talking about that this Sunday as we conclude our Lion Chaser series.

PS. Stay tuned for a special announcement regarding something unique we're doing at Hub City during our worship gathering on Sunday, March 2. I'll be announcing it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A tad bit schizophrenic

Do you hear the voices? They are everywhere. Some are blaringly loud. Others whisper softly in our minds. You'd think we're all a tad bit schizophrenic. But it's really just the culture we're swimming in. From advertisers to blogs to Facebook to our boss to family to twitter, the voices screaming for our attention are everywhere.

I don't know if you've thought about it but one of the voices that's in competition for our attention is our own. 

But as Liz and I were discussing this morning: The one voice that we don't need to listen to is our own. 

In Jeremiah 17:9 we read that the human heart is the most deceitful of all things.

Maybe you've heard the statement: Just follow your heart.

That's about the stupidest thing that you could do. Why? Because your heart is the most deceitful of all things. And you know this, don't you? How many regrets do you have as a result of you following your heart? 

Following your heart isn't going to get you to where you want to be. 

So what voice should we listen too? First and foremost we need to listen to the voice of God. This requires us reading and meditating on the Bible. It requires us memorizing scripture so that we can contradict the deceptive voices with truth from the voice of God.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The first voice you hear

One metaphor Jesus used to describe him and us was that he was the Shepherd and we are the sheep. I don't know what you think about when you think about sheep, but it's not really a flattering metaphor for us. Sheep aren't all that smart. They wander off and get in trouble. They are stubborn at times. And they can smell really, really bad.

On second thought, maybe Jesus' metaphor is perfect.

Have you ever seen a Shepherd shepherding sheep? Most of the time, when we think of a shepherd trying to get his sheep to go where he wants them to go, we think of a guy with a long staff, walking behind this group of sheep, gently patting the sheep on their backsides, guiding them towards greener pastures.

But that's not how shepherds lead sheep. Shepherds lead sheep from out in front by using their voice. And because the sheep know the shepherd's voice they follow it.

Now how in the world would the sheep know the Shepherd's voice well enough to be able to follow it?

Each morning, as the sheep were waking up, the shepherd would walk around and speak to each sheep individually by name. That meant that the first voice they heard in the morning is the voice of the shepherd. And it is the voice that they would follow. 

In John 10 Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice and follow him. Our problem, however, is that we live in a world with a million voices screaming for our attention. So how do we make sure we're following our Shepherd, Jesus?

The first voice we need to listen to each morning should be his. Our first appointment each morning should be with Jesus.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The first appointment of the day

One of my favorite Bible characters is a guy by the name of David. David was the youngest of seven sons and was relegated to taking care of the family sheep while his brothers were doing the "big boy" stuff, but one day a prophet by the name of Samuel shows up and anoints this baby brother/shepherd as the future king of Israel.

It's really a cool story. You should read it sometime. 

But the one thing I find most intriguing about David is his relationship with God. We're lucky enough to get a glimpse into his relationship with God in the Psalms. He wrote out so many of his prayers, and they've been preserved for us to read in this incredible collection.

I think that at the root of David's relationship with God is something he recorded in Psalm 5:3.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Think about it. Here's a guy who was the King of Israel. He's busy. He's got a kingdom to run. He's got fires to put out. He's got problems to solve. He's got a complicated family situation. He's carrying the weight of a nation.

But first thing, every morning, David made it a priority to spend time with God in prayer.

If David could make this a priority in his life then I think we're without excuse.

The first appointment of our day should be with God. What's keeping you from making the commitment that the first thing you do every morning be time with your Heavenly Father? 

Let's follow the example of David: In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Life Interrupted

The snow that's falling outside of my window is beautiful. We don't get snow often around here, so today is one of those rare treats. It seems like the snow brings out the kid in me. 

At the same time, this snowpocalypse is a huge interruption in my routine. I love routine. I thrive in routine, and snow, snow days and being stuck at home throws a wrench in my beloved routine.

Jesus, on the other hand, seemed to thrive in interruptions. Over and over again he's interrupted and instead of getting angry or frustrated (which is how I would have responded) he expresses compassion and love.

After news of his cousin's death (John the Baptist was beheaded), Jesus went to spend some time away from the crowds with his disciples. But when he got to the retreat area there were crowds waiting for him. 

Instead of frustration or anger he has compassion on them.

What if we were to have the same response to life's interruptions? What if, instead of frustration and anger, we were to approach interruptions with compassion?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Need a babysitter?

If you have kids and need a night out then I have the sitter that you need to hire: Nathan Everette. 

Nathan is 13. He is great with kids. He is responsible. And he will take care of your kids so that you and that special someone can have a night on the town. 

His one request is that all children be potty trained because diapers are above his pay grade. 

Seriously, Nathan is looking to start working and I told him I'd help him get the word out. I know I'm biased but I think he would be a great sitter for you and your family. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

What I've been thinking in another's words

Today I read an article from Ed Stetzer that captured a lot of what has been going through my mind about church and being a part of a church. He says it in a much better way than what I originally wrote, so I thought I'd just post his entire article here for you to chew on. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Donald Miller, perhaps best known for writing the book Blue Like Jazz, has stirred up the Evangelical internet this week with a blog post detailing why he rarely goes to church.
Let me say, I appreciate his honesty and enjoy his thinking, which is often out loud and causes worthwhile discussions. He provokes-- and that's what good writers do.
Miller writes that hearing sermons and singing songs is not how he connects with God. He says this causes church services to be difficult for him. He doesn't go often because, he says, "It's not how I learn."
So how does Miller find intimacy with God? He continues:
The answer came to me recently and it was a freeing revelation. I connect with God by working. I literally feel an intimacy with God when I build my company. I know it sounds crazy, but I believe God gave me my mission and my team and I feel closest to him when I've got my hand on the plow.
A few years ago, I was at a similar place. I had been the interim pastor at a church of 9,000 members. I loved the church, the people were great, but I just showed up on Sunday and preached. I lacked community with them.
Then I was done serving at that church and was suddenly an attendee and not the pastor. I, too, found I don't get much out of sermons, even the good ones. Honestly, there is not much new content I learn at church. Finally, I am easily distracted and the slow pace of sermons let's my mind wander, so I'd rather read a good sermon than listen to one.
So, I could've just stayed home.
But, I didn't. And neither should you. Church is more than sermons and music, it's community, mission, ordinances, and so much more.
Our church involvement is not just anticipated (1 Corinthians 12:27), but commanded (Hebrews 10:25).
I took some time over the last few days thinking over the issues Miller raised. The more I think on it, the more I see his comments are worth noting, but not emulating. Here are three reasons I found for attending (and committing to) a local church and why I think you (and Don) should.
You see, the church is where you experience the love of God, support God's people, and accomplish God's mission.

1. Experiencing God's Love

In Ephesians 5:22-32, Paul speaks of the love that should be present between a husband and wife. He compares it to the love shared by Christ and the church.
You just really can't love Jesus and ignore his wife. He loves the church—and you should be part of the bride He loves. Part of that is loving it "gathered" (and the other part is loving it "scattered," but that is for another day).
In gathering together for worship in a local church, Christians experience the love of God for his people. Sure, we must distinguish between capital "C" Church and lowercase "c" church (the people of God around the world and the local group of believers with whom we gather), but the Scriptures indicate a clear need for togetherness within the people of God.
Earlier, in Ephesians 2:19-22, Paul writes that we are members who are joined and built together as the "household of God." That takes feet and faces, not just books and electrons. In the New Testament, community requires (and clearly assumes) congregation. So it should be with us.

2. Supporting God's People

Scriptures teach that you need to go to church.
Now, I get that it is much more than a building that we go to. We need to be the church, not just go to church. And, I could add 14 more caveats and still not cover them all, but I'm sure someone will object to the idea of "going" to church.
But, the fact is, Hebrews 10:24-25 is still in the Bible and it says:
And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
The writer of Hebrews clearly took issue with believers "staying away" from worship gatherings. Gatherings of God's people are a means of encouraging one another—and we need that support. And we need to give that support to others.
Yes, church can be a mess-- and a pain-- but it is still God's plan. As Augustine famously explained, "The church may be a whore, but she is still my mother." Or in this case, she may not be the best way you learn, but you still need her and you can still be of benefit to others within her.
Hebrews 10:25 matters. Still.

3. Accomplishing God's Mission

The average church service is not the best venue for many. We need to not miss that. I resonate with that sentiment because I am the same way. I, too, connect to God through working and I love that sentiment.
But this is beside the point. This discussion is more than simply whether the church is for you, if it meets a need or if you feel you don't need it.
The fact is that God has chosen the church to be his instrument. Ephesians 3:10 says, "This is so God's multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens."
Now, the church is not the center of God's plan—Jesus is. But the church is central to God's plan. It is the means through which God has chosen to work.
Find a Way to Live Those Church Commands
So, ultimately, I get it. I often feel the same as Miller (and perhaps many others)-- I don't always need the church, at least in my own mind. But, those teachings of scripture don't just go away.
So, I had to choose not to stay home (or to just go because people would expect me to go). Instead, I decided to volunteer my time as a pastor and plant a church. Sure, I could just write and speak, flying around the country talking about living on mission. But, I know I needed this thing called church, most specifically though the small group I lead in my neighborhood-- and imperfect litte group that prays for and encourages one another each Sunday night.
So, perhaps the approach of many churches won't resonate with many. If so, it gives us an opportunity to engage in new approaches of church. If, perhaps, we don't benefit in a lecture style, maybe we need to be part of an organic church where there is a dialogue around the room, or a missional-incarnational community which is using efforts in a third space to ultimately create a church that meets the biblical marks and definition of the church.
Be bold, not by leaving, but by creating. Be a part of a church that has the marks of a biblical church but learns and engages differently. Be a part of a different kind of church (and others may join you for they feel the same), but still be a part.
We are more than consumers of church preferences. We are co-laborers, called to live and serve in this thing called church.
It's not about You (or Me)
At it's simplest, the church is not just about you. You and I are not customers, but rather we are co-laborers in Christ. You are a disciple, following a Savior—who established a church and placed you in it with other people who also need your presence and partnership.
Certainly, someone can be a Christian and not go to church. Yet, the bigger question is whether someone can be a fully obedient Christian and not be involved in a local church-- and that's hard if we see the teachings of the scripture as our guide to life and practice.
You are a disciple, following a Savior—who established a church and placed you in it with other people who also need your presence and partnership.
The fact is, even if we struggle to learn within certain practices of the church, it gives us an opportunity to engage in new approaches to church. If, perhaps, we don't benefit in a lecture style, maybe we need to be part of an organic church where there is a dialogue around the room, or a missional-incarnational community which is using efforts in a third space to ultimately create a church that meets the biblical marks and definition of the church.
Be bold, not by leaving, but by creating. Be a part of a church that has the marks of a biblical church but learns and engages differently. Be a part of a different kind of church (and others may join you for they feel the same), but still be a part.
The Church is God's Plan
In an essay he wrote fourteen years after his conversion, C.S. Lewis communicates the realization many of us go through:
I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn't go to the churches. . . But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren't fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.
Those dirty booted individuals often help remind us of how far we have to go. And maybe we can help them as well.
The church wasn't an optional idea for a portion of Christians-- it's part of God's plan for all believers.
I/we/Don need this community called church-- even when we don't know it.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Taking Risks

Martin Luther. Oskar Schindler. Rosa Parks. 

Those are three ordinary people who took a risk that changed the course of history.

Lion Chasers are Risk Takers. This Sunday at Hub City we're going to talk about taking risks.

Almost every good think in our lives can be traced back to a risk. And taking risks can be honoring to God. 

See you Sunday at 9 or 10:30. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A good butt-whoopin'

If you haven't read the book of Acts then you are missing out. Acts is the story of the early church. It's fascinating to see how the church got it start and then spread like wildfire in the first century. 

One of the most off-the-wall stories in the book of Acts comes from chapter 19. 

13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.
I love this story. These guys tried to co-opt Jesus' name for their own agenda and end up getting their butts kicked.

What I love the most, however is what happened as a result of the butt-whoopin'. 
17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
That whole paragraph is my prayer today: That a solemn fear would descend on us. That Jesus' name would be greatly honored. That many would become believers and confess (and renounce) their sinful practices. And that the message about Jesus would spread wisely and have a powerful effect.

Would you join me in praying this prayer.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

I don't believe it

I am literally in unbelief at what is happening today. Today, my oldest son, Nathan, is participating in a Math Counts competition. 

What is Math Counts, you ask? Math Counts is a math competition where schools compete against one another by doing challenging math problems. 

Why am I in unbelief? I had to take Algebra twice. Math has never been one of my best subjects. The only way I would have ever been on the Math Counts team is if I got a position holding somebody's calculator. And then I would have probably been an alternate. On the other hand, Nathan's got one of the top grades in his Algebra class. 

It makes me wonder if we're even related. 

What's funny is that Nathan and I are so alike in personality, humor and other things. But at the same time he is incredibly unique (just like his brothers Matthew and Levi). Nathan is an amazing artist. I can only draw stick figures and even they look pathetic. He has a passion for technology and knows more about Disney than Walt himself.

I love his talent and ability. I can't wait to see what God wants to with all of his gifts.

And if any of his younger brothers struggle with Algebra like their dad then at least they'll have someone who can help them besides me.

Why am I writing this? Well, it's because I'm proud of Nathan. And, since he's a 13 year old adolescent who often drives his parents crazy, I wanted it to be in writing that I'm proud of who he is and how he's growing and developing. 

I don't remember where I first read it, but sometime ago I remember reading that the one thing boys need from their dads if for their dads to be proud of them. So, if you have a son. Tell them you're proud of them. It's way easier than making the Math Counts team.

Monday, February 03, 2014

My favorite Super Bowl commercial

There were a few good commercial's on last night's Super Bowl, but by-far my favorite was "A Hero's Welcome." It was moving and meaningful. I loved the line: Every soldier deserves a hero's welcome. 

Yes they do.