If you were traveling yesterday for Labor Day and want to conclude our 31 week series The Story with us…check out the video below. Happy Labor Day my friends.
Some go to church to see and be seen. Some go there to say they have been. Some go there to sleep and nod. But few go there to worship God.” -Unknown-
Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting. -Francis Schaeffer-
In China, where you can be arrested and imprisoned for your faith, getting together with other Christians is a lifeline and you’ll risk anything for the privilege. No one attends church in China casually, or for a social advantage – quite the opposite. -Philip Yancey-
This time of year is one of my favorite times of the year. You start to hear phrases like Pumpkin Spice Latte, changing of the leaves, sweaters, fire pits, and crisp fall air. I love the change that comes with each season. You go from lush and green in spring, to warm and less green in summer, to crisp and orange in fall, to cold and balmy in winter. Each season brings with it, its fair share of change and anticipation of something new and different.
Honestly, that is really how life is. Each and every season of life brings with it its fair share of change and anticipation of something new and different. Or at the very least something old with a new twist. In the world I live and work it seems like these things are constant. The church is a body, which means it is a living breathing organism that goes through growth and change. As we enter into a new physical season over the next month or so, the church always moves into a new season as well. After labor day, people settle into school routines, work routines, and honestly come back to church ready for the fall to bring them into something fresh in their faith. With that said, here are three things I am excited about for this fall season.
1. We Complete Our Series “THE STORY” This Weekend:
Some of you may be thinking that is a strange thing to be excited about, but I am extremely excited. Why? Because it means our church has made it through a 31 week journey of the entire bible. It is so enriching when you complete something so big. It is like reading War and Peace and then turning the last page to realize what an accomplishment it really was. Except, this time it is the entire Word of God, and you cannot help but be transformed by what you have just completed. My hope and prayer is, is that every one of our people is changed forever by the living and breathing word of God that we have just chronologically gone through.
2. We Start Our Series “I’m A Church Member” Next Weekend:
On September 7th we will be bringing our Auditorium and Gym venues together for 7 weeks to hear about what it means for us to be true church members the way that scripture lines it out. I am excited on a couple fronts here. One, our 5-8th graders are out of space and this frees up our gym to give them the best worship experience that we possibly can give them. Two, I love having our adults together. I firmly believe that we are better together and I cannot wait for the creativity and energy that comes with putting us together. Our worship and arts teams are working hard on bringing the best they have to offer as we are together. Three, we have been working for months on our pathways here at CCM. In fact, to the point that it has felt as if we have been standing still, but behind closed doors our leadership has been working hard to make sure we are creating new and stronger disciples. You will be hearing all about this in the “I’m a Church Member” series. Not only that, but our writing team has written an entire journey for us to go through. If you are in a Tribe, then you will be going through this. If you are individual, you can still journey through this as well. However, I want to encourage all of us to get into a Tribe and journey with other people. Why? Again, because we are better together.
3. Lost People Being Found
I know a lot of people do not like the term “lost.” However, without Jesus that is exactly what we are. I remember being lost in my life and the incredible joy of being found. So far this year we have seen 70 people give their lives to Jesus in baptism. Our hope and prayer is that we will see at least 70 more before the years end. Not only that, but our new pathways we are developing will ensure that each new follower will find depth and discipleship around every corner of their new journey. In fact…honestly, every seasoned follower can go through our pathways and re-discover what it means to truly be a disciple. I remind myself all the time that our main goal as Christ followers is simply “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I (Jesus) am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore, GO and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I (Jesus) am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
I truly believe that the best is yet to come in the church, and we GET to be apart of it. I hope to see you all in the weeks to come. My prayer is that you will experience Jesus like you never have before in your life and that you will reach a depth of discipleship like never before. So what is it for you? What are you most excited about this fall? Let us know in the comments section.
As we were standing there in line all I could think about was how tired I felt.
I was physically drained, and honestly even more mentally drained. The weariness was pushing all the way up to my eyeballs and causing me to almost shut them while still standing there. I cannot remember a time recently where I have felt as tired as this morning. There is no real rhyme or reason to it, I was just tired.
It was one of those rare moments where I am ok with not talking with people. You know those times…the ones where you almost live in a bubble of blur as people move around you at a faster pace than your immediate space. It’s as if you see them all moving, but you are content with staying in your space. At just that moment, when I thought I could take a stand up nap, Jake interrupted the silence and says, “Hey…I think I know that guy.” Before I could ask what he was talking about he was already tapping the tall Heath Ledger, Jason Bourne looking dude in front of us on the shoulder.
As the man turned around, Jake was already recalling for him where they knew each other from. Earlier this year Jake had met the strapping young man at two of Ravi Zacharis’ speaking engagements. As soon as this man…whose name is Matt…jogged through his mental rolodex, he began to converse with Jake. They began talking about all sorts of things. Honestly my thought was this, “Sure is nice that Jake ran into a guy he knows. Maybe they will be done talking by the time we get our coffee and we can get moving.”
A few moments later we were invited to sit down at the table with our new old friend. As the liquid caffein spilled into my soul, I began to engage more. Matt began to ask some questions and started entering our stories. He did not name drop his famous theologian friend Ravi. He actually spoke more of him as a friend and confidant. In fact he was quite guarded in the best sense. Not to hide something about his friend, but to protect the sacred space that was their special relationship.
Once I began to come out of my slow motion fog, I was intrigued. He has spent time in an orphanage in Africa, a burn victim village in India, and has helped rescue girls from sex trade in various areas of the world. He is now on a new assignment that will take him to some of the toughest regions of the globe and was asking that we simply pray. I asked more about his story and he obliged to tell me.
It is amazing to me how much people will share about themselves if you simply offer them your ear and a genuine desire to know about them.
“People are willing to share their stories if we will simply offer them an ear and genuine desire to know about them.”
For the next half an hour we simply sat, enjoyed our caffeinated drugs of choice, shared our stories, exchanged emails and pleasantries, and then shook hands and went our separate ways. My last thought as I was walking out the door was, “I could have totally just missed that moment.” I was so consumed by not wanting to interact with anyone, that I could have missed one of the greatest stories I have heard in a while. I was honestly happy that I had been “Starbucks Interrupted.”
My reminder today is that there is a story behind every person that we see and have the opportunity to meet. Someone on twitter mentioned today that people are like icebergs…you only see a little above the surface, but there is a lot of depth beneath. May we not get so focused on ourselves that we miss the depth of the icebergs right in front of us.
How about you? What interruptions have you had in your world lately that you almost missed, but are glad you had? Leave your stories in the comment section and enter the story with us.
“It’s not enough to attend church and pray every Sunday; you have to act.”
“I hate how hard spiritual transformation is and how long it takes. I hate thinking about how many people have gone to church for decades and remain joyless or judgmental or bitter or superior.”
“For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.”
Todays installment of FFF comes to you by way of the great state of Texas. Many of you know Drew Sherman. He is the lead pastor of an incredible church in the DFW area called Compass Christian Church. I have a deep love for Drew, his staff, and this church. Partly because I served the better part of 10 years there, and two, because Drew is one of my best friends on the planet.
Not only is Drew a great friend, but he brings some of the greatest freeze frames to me each week as I watch him preach. I hope you enjoy. If you are wondering what this Friday fun is all about check out THIS POST. Have a great start to your weekend with this FFF!!!