Friday, April 30, 2010

Thinking Orange continued...

Our Core Values are exciting to preach.  I told a friend this week that I'm enjoying preaching them because I actually believe in them.  And, I know others already do too!  These are not some flashy bullet points out of the latest book but they are values that our leaders worked out together over the course of nearly 18 months.  I am the lucky one who gets to present them.

Last Sunday I preached the our third core value:  Foundation (listen here)
Simply put, we believe in God's word, the message of the Cross, and God's call for us to be holy.  To snag a line from Andy Stanley (whose flashy books I greatly appreciate), "Maximum Freedom is found under the Authority of God."

It may seem trite for a church to say we believe in the Scriptures.  But we believe it important to say it and live like it.  

In a couple days I'm going to preach our fourth core value:  Spiritual Vitality.
Again, simply put, we believe in the beauty of a relationship with God not the performance of the religion of following God.  

My boy, William, loves it when I spend a few minutes lying down next to him in his bed at night.  When I am in a rush to go watch "24" or something and am about ready to leave without spending those few minutes he calls to me, "Dad, aren't you going to stay a few minutes?"  Actually son, I am.  

Perhaps your relationship with God has become rigid and restricted to time/place.  Perhaps, like me, you need to just spend some time with your Father.  Perhaps, like me, you need to remember he's not in a hurry to watch a show on tv.  He's knocking on the door waiting for us to invite him in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What to say?

When people ask, "How are you doing?" I cannot always discern  if they are saying, "How are you doing today?" or if they are saying "How are you doing with...well, you're daughter's death?"

Ah, the beauty of the english language!

I can, though, answer both those questions in one statement that has become a bit of a mantra for me.  My answer is, "I'm more good than bad."
And that is the truth.  My days are mostly good.  My emotional state is mostly strong.  My workload is mostly manageable. etc...  Yes, I walk by pictures of Annie and stare in disbelief at what has happened.  Yes, I struggle to tell people I have 3 children when the truth is I have 2 children alive in my household.  But still, "I'm more good than bad."

The picture above is a group of people Sarah and I spend a weekend with not long ago.  In the lower left are the leaders of the retreat we attended, David & Nancy Guthrie.  (See my little head floating in the back row?)  They designed a weekend for parents who have lost children.  It's called Respite.  Although surrounded by stories of grief we found it refreshing to be in a setting where there was 1 thing in common---the death of a child (or children for some couples).  It was awful to hear their stories and to share ours.  But at the same time it was refreshing because the "How are you doing?" question was immediately understood.

"How are you doing?"
You may hear me asking you that the next time I see you.  Feel free to answer it as it pertains to your day.  But also feel free to answer it as it relates to some deeper aspect of your life.  And I will do my best to listen.
Thanks for listening to me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thinking Orange

Think Orange.  The title comes from a book with the same title by Reggie Joyner.  You can check it out here.  The book captivated me and Josh (our other pastor).  Not only does it ask (and answer some) great questions about practical ministry it overarching theme is partnership.  Rather than thinking of family and church as two separate entities (red & yellow) is there a way in which we can "Think Orange"?  Partnership.

I'm struck by the images above.  One includes 40 dots--representing the average number of hours a church has in a year to influence a life.  The other picture includes 3000 dots--representing the number of hours parents have to influence their kids.  How can we partner together to make each set of hours most valuable?

We are spinning off the theme of partnership as we preach through the Core Values of our church.  Our 8 Core Values are all about Partnership;  with God, with each other, with our community.

 Core Value 1:  Healthy Relationships 
Josh preached through this last week.
The ultimate goal of this value is for our church to develop intimacy with God, community with Insiders, and influence with Outsiders.  To do so we are developing a plan for small groups.  By September a renewed structure for Community Groups is going to be in place.  We believe that by connecting people in groups is our best opportunity for developing healthy relationships to take place.

 Core Value 2:  Generous Living 

If you've been around the church for long you have probably heard preachers talk about 'time, talents & treasure'.  Generous living, although we aren't using that exact terminology, is about people using what they have to accomplish greater things together.  Again, partnership is much more valuable that individual efforts.

6 more to go...stick around.
If you'd like to listen to the sermons click here