Who do you know that doesn't know God?
This evening I played darts at a local joint. It is actually fun and relaxing. During my time some guys asked if they could play. I said sure. We talked for quite a while and I learned about their jobs, one guy's engagement and the other guy's aspiration to get his CDL license.
After about 45 minutes one of the guys says "So what do you do?"
I love that question :)
"I'm a Pastor."
Now here is where you'd expect to get remarks or criticism (or my favorite) apologies for cursing. I got none of them (which was great) and instead we kept talking about other things and he asked "So where is your church." I explained that we meet in a movie theater nearby and he said "cool". We played several more games talking about various topics and then at the end of our last game one of the guys says "So tell me more about this church of yours." And then he asked me the coolest question ever...
"Does the Movie Theater pay you to do church there?"
Man... don't I wish!
I explained that we actually pay them.
He said "So how do you guys make any money from it then?
I explained that people who have had their lives changed actually give money so guys like him would come and learn why they'd actually give away their money...
He smiled and said "Cool. I'll have to check that out."
I said "Sweet. Take care bro."
That was my evening in a nut shell. Hanging out at places with smoke, beer and overpriced but crappy food. Why? Because I'm a rebel. No. Because I want to show people Jesus who don't already smell like the church.
So... we all need to ask ourselves. (As I do myself every day) "Who do I know that doesn't already know God?"
Boasting... Only In The Cross
One very cool lesson that has given me more freedom and joy in Jesus is the lesson of boasting in the cross. This lesson put words to the song of my heart and more than 'teach me' it reminded my soul of the song my life sings. This lesson was/is delivered by John Piper and the lesson is "Boasting Only In The Cross".
This is one of the greatest sermons I have ever heard. More for what God did with it and less for how I personally choose to 'judge' the delivery or any other thing. I submitted myself to the teaching and scriptures and out of my time came a beautiful song my life continues to sing. Some don't understand it but I rejoice in the truth Christ has revealed.
Dr. Piper talks about how this lesson would seem so foreign to an ancient person reading the letter. It would be today's equivalent of reading "If I am to boast, I will boast in the electric chair." OR "If I am to boast, I will boast only in the noose." That would sound so bizarre and insane. Actually, that's basically what Paul was saying in Galatians 6:14. "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
So tonight I boast.
This evening I started to think about all that is on my agenda. As Pastors one famous question of (mostly) sincere people is "What does a Pastor do all week?" Well tomorrow my list includes various tasks from completing message prep and reviewing it several times to contacting folks in the church who seek some of my counsel to reviewing graphic design elements and making purchasing decisions for those things. It will be a varied set of tasks but honestly as I reviewed my punch-list... I had a smile on my face. I boast (to God) that I'm so extremely grateful for what He has called me to do. I enjoy people, preaching and even graphic design and business. My work day will be full and busy but all that I will do tomorrow (apart from unforeseen interruptions) will line up with what God has equipped me to accomplish.
Are there times when my profession provides me long meetings, difficult people and misunderstandings that leave me in a position to feel unappreciated, unloved and undervalued? Absolutely.
Are there days when I question God's calling, my abilities and previous decisions I've made? Certainly.
But when it's all said and done and my head hits the pillow each evening I can always say that I boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ for HE called me to that for which I labor.
I can honestly say that if God had called me into any other industry or profession I would feel the same way. The reason I am confident of this is that I know that it is HE who has equipped me, prepared me and directed my steps. That God-Man who's done these things and guides me by His Spirit gives direction to guide everyone to find their "sweet spot". No matter what I would have done in life (assuming I chose to listen) I would still have landed in my sweet spot... whatever that may have been if it were not ministry.
It doesn't mean that they will not deal with difficult people or back problems or even illness. It does mean that in the midst of it all, if there is a guidance from God on their labor, they will be perfectly equipped to handle (with his leading) whatever may come their way. If they too will make the choice every day to be mindful of His leading, I'm confident that the Lord will allow them also to say "I boast in my job THROUGH the Cross of Jesus Christ because Jesus lead me here and my labor has a perfect purpose in His Kingdom." It may be to minister to co-workers, to demonstrate for that industry how Christ himself would handle that job or even to make the products that industry makes so that lives receiving said products would be blessed.
No matter the task I feel confident to say that if a person is led by God's spirit (and they follow), they can be lead to a task that is God-honoring.
Tonight I also boast in other things. I boast in my home, my family, the city in which I live, my true friendships I've built over the years. I boast in these things not because I've been so smart to create them... but that I honestly can say that I've taken a Godly approach and concern in each instance. I boast in all of these things because I first boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ and the fact that He has redeemed these things and He has also my mind and judgment toward these areas of life. I've consulted God Himself on these major decisions in my life. I aim each day to allow HIM to dictate my behavior. The times in which I've found I was getting in the way and damaging one or all of these things I've repented and sought out the Holy Spirit to bring me back into His will. For that I can boast.
I can boast that my life is a blessing right now because I can honestly say at the end of the day I'm enjoying these things due to no other reason than the Cross of Jesus Christ.
So yes, if I boast... I boast in the Cross of Jesus, my Savior who has redeemed all value for everything I cherish for without it my job, family, possessions, friends, would all be meaningless. As Solomon said... it's all worthless without redemption. On it's own none of these things should be boasted upon, but because Jesus redeemed me and because I've renewed the attitude of my mind so many times and because I've sought out the leading of the Holy Spirit I can honestly say that I boast in the Cross.
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how joyful I feel about my family!
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I look at my job.
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I view my son.
I boast in the Cross THROUGH how I consider my friendships.
I am not ashamed to say I feel extremely grateful and confident in who I am and who God has called me to be not because I think I'm so great but because I believe a life of 16 years since salvation I've given my life over to Jesus and He has taken each decision I've placed into His hand and turned my rags into something beautiful. So yes. At the end of the day I boast... but I boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ and I'm not ashamed of it.
It is honestly my prayer that if you're in a rut, take time to boast. Boast in all that you have that has been redeemed by the Cross of Christ. Boast in the fact that during the trial you are getting closer to Jesus. Boast in the fact that He's revealed Himself and He's provided The Comforter to guide you and hold you in the midst of the storm. Boast in the fact that you can be JOYFUL in trial because God is using this trial as spiritual sandpaper to make your rough edges smooth for His glory. If people don't understand you but you feel confident your actions are bathed in scripture and wise counsel, rejoice that it's God who carries the weight of redemption and not you. If you're angry, be joyful that vengeance is not in your lap but rather Gods and what remains with you are patience and freedom... because of the Cross of Christ!
Some Christians view boasting as arrogant or prideful but I feel bad for them. Boasting in this world and what you've done with it speaks of an impoverished faith but not boasting in the Cross of Jesus on a regular basis speaks of an anemic faith. For both my heart breaks. But for me and my life, I will boast in everything I have, everything I give and everything I am that has been procured by the blood, wisdom and ultimately Cross of Jesus Christ.
In my life I will boast in nothing... save the Cross of Jesus Christ.
I sincerely pray that you will do likewise.
The Discipleship Investment
I had an interesting question asked of me recently so I thought I'd share my answer and invite those of you in similar positions to add your thoughts. We all have limited time and energy but we're all called to personal discipleship. Who do you invest in and why?
The question was posed: "How do you actively decide who to invest the most time personally discipling."
To clarify, this does not refer to my role as Pastor. This refers to me, Tally Wilgis as a disciple of Jesus attempting to make other disciples in my own personal life just like every Christian is called to do. How do I determine who I will personally invest my time, take extra meetings with and intentionally walk with on a day to day basis toward Christian maturity?
In general I think it sums up what I'm instinctively looking for in a potential disciple who willingly wants me to mentor them. This is the first time I have written this down but after looking it over it is a pretty accurate representation of my standards.
Those whom I end up investing in the most are those who show a few signs:
1. They show a genuine interest.
Not everyone who says they are interested in Jesus is actually interested in Jesus. Some are drawn to the church as they are drawn to the Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs or their local tea party. For some, attending church is a nice social break where the kids are babysat and mom and dad can chill out. While I will always welcome the casual observer to investigate Jesus, long-term discipleship is far more than that. It takes a genuine interest to grow in Christ for me to invest my down time into personal discipleship.
2. They demonstrate that they actually value my wisdom.
While no one will listen all of the time, and that is never the goal, in general the person I invest mostly in will be the person who trusts what I have to say. It's my hope that they give my observation of scripture more weight than the guy at the water cooler, their hair stylist or Oprah.
When the rich young ruler showed interest, Jesus gave him instruction. The guy folded and ignored Jesus. Jesus didn't go beg him to reconsider. Jesus had a mission and he was like "Hey, feel free to come with me but it's not easy and I'm not turning around. If you listen to me you can come, if not... I'm still going." That's the approach I take. If people do not trust me or like my input, I can't make them do it. I keep moving forward and let them decide what to do with the advice I gave. It hurts every time people come back to me a year later and remind me that they went against my advice and it hurt them... but I've learned that I can't force anyone to consider me to be a wise man. Sometimes it is better that they didn't listen but most times it comes back to bite them.
I'm right a lot not because I think I'm all-knowing but that their situation and its consequences are rather normal in my line of work and most times spelled out in scripture. Call me crazy but if God wrote it down then I'd say you can bank on it being true. I can't make anyone listen to my guidance but I can decide who to give my constant time and energy, which emails to continue responding to, and which phone calls I take when I'm with my family. If someone places themselves under my care and they trust my advice, I'm much more apt to want to invest in their lives.
3. They can accept direct and frank tones.
While I'm a great guy to be around (if I do say so myself), I'm also straight forward and blunt when a person doesn't listen the first time or if they show signs of drinking their own vomit. It's God's example, not mine: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness."- Proverbs 26:11. If someone places themselves under my care and they go around licking up their own vomit, they need to be willing to know that because I love them I may not be happy when I their breath smells like puke on a regular basis.
I know that not every Rabbi is good for every disciple. I also know that if someone cares about me they'd better increase their warning level as I increase my destructive behavior. Those who prosper under my leadership most are those who appreciate a direct and strong approach when they've been wayward. In athletic terms I've never stayed with a coach who belittled me but I've never had a good coach who didn't call me out when I needed it. I appreciate leadership who do that from time and I don't respect "leaders" who coddle a person over the same issue 1000 times. They aren't leading, they're enabling.
4. They show a likelihood to reproduce in someone else's life.
I'm not a fan of Cul-de-sac Christianity. Jesus gave us a model of discipleship and it involves multi-generational discipleship. No hoarding allowed!
In college I learned a definition of discipleship which may help others to understand my world-view on this subject. I've placed that below. This definition and mindset about discipleship forces me to not only ask myself if this person is willing and able to receive guidance from me but also ask
"By using my limited time with this person will I be investing in 1 life or countless of lives because of what this person will do with the investment?"
I suppose one could say that I consider the R.O.M. (Return On Ministry). Some people would turn their nose up and spout off some idealistic chatter about everyone is equal and deserves equal time and to that I'll ask them to show me that in scripture. Everyone I see in scripture invested in those who would ultimately go on to do something with it. They viewed the Gospel as important enough to guard against idol minds and hearts.
As promised, below is the definition I most appreciate when someone says "discipleship". It's a word many Christians have varying connotations for... this is what I think of when I consider that word. If you haven't nailed down your own understanding of the definition, maybe this will help.
"Discipling others is the process by which a Christian with a life worth emulating commits himself or herself for an extended period of time to a few individuals who have been won to Christ, the purpose being to aid and guide their growth to maturity and equip them to reproduce themselves in a third spiritual generation." Discipleship: Helping Other Christians Grow by Allen Hadidian.
What I personally add to this definition is the concept that I do believe discipleship happens before salvation but this definition is specific to once a person claims to have received Christ. It's the whole belong, believe, behave vs behave, believe, belong approaches. Another post for another time.
Acting our Spiritual Age
This afternoon/evening Kristy and I took our 2 year old son to the park. He's a very sociable kid who doesn't know a stranger. Because he's so friendly he ran right up to two older girls who were piling wood chips from the playground onto a piece of playground equipment. These girls were probably in the 5 to 6 year old range. Caleb goes close to them with a big smile, watches what they are doing and like a helpful 2 year old, offers to help. He picks up wood chips and carries them to the pile.
Our new friends weren't interested in his help at all. In fact one of them pushed his hands away and said "No Babies!" the other agreed and said "This is just for big people... no babies can play with us." Caleb didn't care. He's not completely up on the whole system of pecking order and he quickly found something else to do with his time. He played all over the park and it's highly likely that this incident didn't even cause his brain to form a wrinkle for a memory.
But his dad was watching and observing. From about 10 feet away.
I couldn't help but to think that this scene plays itself out week to week on a spiritual level in every church in America. The young in the faith are enthusiastic about God's work and the church so they dive in. Upon doing so those who are 'mature' (by years) in the faith make comments about how foolish the young are and pretend that their (around the block) version is the more spiritual one simply because they have been around longer.
Truth is, my 2 year old son acted older than the 5 year olds. He actually came into the situation wanting to share, cooperate, participate and enjoy the company of others. It was the "older, more mature" who acted like the baby they accused my son of being.
I've often taught that the length of time someone claims Christ is not a sign of spiritual maturity. You can know Christ for 10 years and still be a spiritual infant because most people a decade into the faith are simply repeating the first year 10 times.
Due to this sad reality, the person who knows Christ for 3 years may be far more spiritually mature because they never had to repeat a grade. They are in their third year of maturity and the 10-year veteran would do himself good to take some cues from the "inexperience" of the less seasoned. It's funny how that works.
The Sausage Principle:
"People who love sausage and respect the law
should never watch either one being made."-- Otto von Bismarck
Unfortunately this sounds an awful lot like it could be "The Church Principle".
The 'Heart' of a Church Plant
This morning I had a great time meeting with some guys over coffee at 6 a.m. and studying the book of Titus. We actually ended up only studying the first 6 verses. What I loved about it was the lack of pretense. What I loved was the honest discussion. I sensed that our hearts are on the same page and it felt good.
This morning I've been thinking about what makes me so galvanized that God has called me to stay put. As a church planter who expected it to all be great yesterday I started to ask "Why the confidence right now?"
The reason I'm having a rebirth of confidence right now has to do with the heart of my teammates. These people are 1.)The people I'm both currently doing ministry with and 2.) those whom I see God pulling our way. A third group are those that I'm praying will hear from God and come to Hampton Roads (you know who you are).
I'm more convinced now than ever that great church planting ONLY HAPPENS IN TEAMS UNITED IN ONE HEART!
Count me in as the most anti-parachute church planter on the planet. I'm going to move on before I get started...
It's rare beyond rare to see the story of a solo church planter making it happen and then adding teammates. When I say team I don't mean people with warm blood. I mean true teammates. People who share the cause, the passion and the load from early on. I'm confident right now because I'm seeing teammates.
What sets a teammate apart from a talented person? Heart.
Great teams share a common heart. Usually that heart is rooted in God and His mission, the leader God has placed with them and the desire to see God use them to achieve His plans for that church.
What does a church plant tend to do when that team doesn't exist?
Plants without a true 'team' tend to manufacture what they hope would have come from that unified team. Now, I don't mean just the lights, camera and action (although that is involved). What I mean is that church plants without a heart try to create one using environments, colors, logos and websites. At times this works. Maybe they are in a community where there is a ton of population growth or where a 'modern' church doesn't exist and early on the pizaz draws those with a common heart to the planting Pastor and "The rest is history." But more often times than not you will find mediocrity. The reason? You can't manufacture heart.
The thing that gives me hope is that I see God bringing people around me who share a similar heart. I also see Him removing people who share a different heart. Not that their heart is 'bad' because it's not always that... it's just that their heart doesn't match my heart. I'm asking God to bring about a transformation at Focal Point. I'm asking him to do whatever he has to do to bring a team together with a common heart and an uncommon bond.
How do you know if someone has your heart? Through relationship.
It sucks that it takes a while but it's true. No matter what people 'say' to you, their actions over the long haul will show their heart. Most people come to a church plant because "At least it's not my last church." The problem is before long you WILL be their 'last church'. This is why I believe scripture warns us that we're not to lay hands on leaders in a rush. We are to observe how they handle things... observe their attitude. Observe their heart.
Unfortunately the wave of church planting in circles near me seems to be... different.
Fortunately for us, I'm observing some hearts that God has been uniting with me in ministry and I like what I see. People willing to sacrifice, overcome difficulty, look to lead and seek Jesus in all they do. You need a team of people like this to plant a great church.
This is why I love hearing stories like that of Steve Furtick and his church, Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC who moved to Charlotte with 7 other families. THEY MOVED TOGETHER! They sold homes, changed jobs, picked up their lives and MOVED! What do you think the motivation for the move was? The new church.
What do you think they thought wherever they went in that community? Their new church.
It is upon that DNA that the entire church was built. You know who was attracted to that church early on? People who were turned on by the passion of 7 families who would pack it up and become sellouts to God's call on their lives. What a heart! What a team!
O' that God would continue to bring those people to Focal Point Church.
After checking out Terry Storch's post... I decided to give it a shot. This personality test comes pretty close.
My report can be found here.
A Stylistic Conversation
This weekend I went to a stylist. Yes... the kind that cuts hair. That's not the story. I've gone to stylists but I must admit, I'm not very loyal. Most of the cuts end up the same way and I had previously cut my hair since I was about 13 years old. It's only been in the last year or two that I've been going to stylists.
Anyway... back to the lecture at hand (Dr. Dre reference)... I went to a new stylist and it is likely one that I will revisit. Not only is my cut different than before but also the experience was very different. I had a fantastic conversation. Nearly all of my conversations with sylists end up on spiritual things but this one ended up being a bilateral conversation where I gained more insight into her mindset and she into mine.
While she considers herself to be 'spiritual' she has (like many) been put off by the people who represented Christ in her world. She did have one friend however who has been a Christian light to her. She said that she turns to this friend for advice regularly and to understand life from a religious perspective when it doesn't make sense. She spoke highly of this Christian example and she even said "Things seem to always go right for her." I asked "What then is the reason you don't turn and follow Jesus like your friend? What are you holding on to?" Her countenance changed and she said "Honestly? I like to hang with friends and my Christian friend is against alcohol." So there you have it folks... Christian prohibition is the roadblock.
After more conversation I asked her about her family life. She mentioned that her husband won't go for church. I challenged her to seek out Christ on her own and when she finds Christ he'll make her a satisfied customer and nothing promotes new business like a satisfied customer. I said "As long as you keep preaching to him that the whole family needs some concept called "religion" but you haven't tasted it yourself, it's like me trying to tell people to trust you with their hair when I've never been to your Salon. A light came on. She said "No Christian has ever helped me to see that before. You honestly have changed my perception of how it should be. I don't have to force it on my husband if he's not ready... most of the time I hear the opposite."
After hearing that Jesus was accused of being a drunkard (she'd be in good company) and showing her that the best thing she could do for faith in her family is to get off her husband's back and get with Christ... we ended our conversation with kind words about one another and a promise to pick up the conversation in a few weeks. While I like my haircut, I will be returning to this stylist for reasons far beyond my vanity.
I'm reading the book "The Gospel According to Starbucks" by Leonard Sweet. My regular reading tends to keep me away from "Christian" literature, especially "Christian Pop" reading but now and then I enjoy some of what comes out, especially if it's on the fringe and offers me a Fresh Perspective. For that reason I pick up an 'Emerging' book now and then. It's also for that reason that I enjoy reading Driscoll.
I've smiled many times reading this book and if anything it's given me a 'Fresh Perspective' with which to frame those who align themselves with the postmodern mind. I'm nearing the end of the book and I've found affinity with a decent amount of Sweet's musings on both the church and my favorite drinking establishment, Starbucks.
To give myself a Fresh Perspective today I decided to read most of the book at (where else?) Starbucks. The barista asked me "Is that a good book?" I said "Yep. So good that it got me out of my office and inspired me to give you $6 (I had a snack too). She thought that was cool and said "Well that must be a good book."
If you read this book I encourage you to read it in the environment upon which the book draws its metaphors. It's a great Experience. Which is one of the four main thrusts of Sweet's comparisons to a faith with 'Grande Passion'.
In another effort for fresh perspective I walked in the house from Starbucks and dove to the floor to play with my almost 2 year old son, Caleb (July 20th) and decided to spend some time at his level. It's always cool to be at his level and see things from his size. Instead of towering over my son I am able to look him nearly eye-to-eye. He's able to get the sense that in that moment he's closer to me than when we're separated by the nearly 4 feet of height difference. It was cool as I thought "That's what God did when he introduced himself to humanity as Jesus. He got to where we could see him eye-to-eye."
Another Fresh Perspective happened when I was on the floor. I rolled over and looked up at my home. We have a vaulted ceiling in the living room that extends up to our loft. Today was the first time I laid on the carpet and looked up toward the ceiling and through the skylights. Facing upstairs from my back allowed me to see my home from a Fresh Perspective. Again I thought of how that applies to my life and view of God. No wonder people get bored in their Christian walk and expect me to be their spiritual crack dealer... they've run out of ways to experience God b/c they spend their lives looking at him from the same angle every day. He's so fresh. One of the things the book draws out is this idea of God being infinately complex. The same Jesus who said "Go the second mile" also said "Let the dead bury their dead". The same cross that bore the ultimate in evil by killing innocence also bore the ultimate in love as Jesus' death paved the way to His resurrection and my connection with my father. Speaking of father... Sweet points that out too... Our Father (personal) who art in Heaven (distant)... pretty cool stuff.
One last mind-dump on Fresh Perspectives. While laying on the floor and then looking up at the ceiling, I started to look around at my home. As I got closer to the walls, corners and paint job I noticed a LOT of imperfections. Dinged walls, crooked strokes, imperfect joints fill our homes... but when I'm walking around in my home I see nothing but the beauty and defined spaces that makes me love my home. Church is a lot like that. When people start coming to the church they do not notice the dinged edges and uneven paint lines that marked any organization with flawed people but rather they notice the inviting spaces and open floor plan. Lord willing, they find it to be a place they can call home. If however they don't find themselves as a part of the vision, the appreciation can quickly turn to cynicism and your house guest can become a critic. I'm not a fan of critics without a cause. I've found that people who are on the team have little time to criticize because they are too busy working. Usually when you find a critical person you will find a person sitting down with nothing in their hands.
They are in need of a fresh perspective.
The last month or so has been refreshing for me. There are several areas of life and ministry lining up to provide synergy for the future. God has been providing me direction and assurance about where I'm headed.
At some point I'll get to sharing more detail on the blog but for now please toss up a 'thanks' to God for his guidance in my life. With this guidance doesn't come an easier path or assurance of success. It does however provide confidence and clarity to what He's called me (and thereby our church) to.
The task is huge and well beyond anything I can accomplish on my own... but isn't that what makes Him God? :)
With that in mind I'm noticing God position people. Some he's positioning outside of my realm of influence but he's bringing many closer to me. I fully believe over the next year he will be bringing several more people together to take us all where He wants us to go.
One of our problems at Focal Point has always been having the wrong people on the bus and of those on the bus, having people in the wrong seats. God is taking care of that right now. It may be a little bumpy in the short run but I'm anticipating a breakthrough in the months ahead as the right people get to their right seats and we allow other people to get off at the next stop.
Lend to the Poor
Today I want to tell you about an organization called Kiva.org
Kiva is basically a clearing house for everyday people to lend money to some of the world's poor.
It's run by some very smart people from companies like Google, IBM, etc. Poverty (and its conjoined twin- hunger) accounts for about 1 death every 5 seconds around the world. The lack of economic opportunity is directly tied to hunger in many parts of the world. There are MANY organizations in the world (some faith based and others not) who loan small amounts of money to people in third-world countries to help them start some sort of business.
I've been lending to several people around the world through Kiva and I've become a believer. Kiva has facilitated the lending of over $7 million and to date have had NO DEFAULTS!
Here's how it works.
1. A person is vetted heavily by Kiva and their partner organizations on the ground.
2. This worthy borrower shares their need.
3. You select a person to fund (as little as $25) and Kiva matches your loan with others until that person is fully funded.
4. The person uses their loan to start/improve their business and they pay it back over the course of time (usually about 12 months).
5. Once the loan is paid in full the loan amount is deposited back into your Kiva account where you can withdraw it or you can loan it back to someone else!
Kiva gets nothing out of your particular transaction... the full amount makes it to the borrower. You also get no financial gain out of the "loan", it's basically donating the money for a time until they pay it back.
If you care about world poverty but haven't found a practical way to participate, check out Kiva.org and give it a shot. You'll get to follow these people as they improve their lives and at the end of the day you'll certainly find yourself more aware of the plight of others outside the Western world.
Last Thursday I picked up a group of 16 from Texas.
Last Sunday we were joined by a group of 35 from Pennsylvania.
This past Sunday the Pennsylvania group went home.
Yesterday we took the Texas group to the airport.
What happened in between these dates was a pretty amazing week.
The theme for the week was "I'm Dead" and was taken from John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." For about 12 days I worked with some great students who raised $4-500 each to come to Chesapeake, VA to tell the world about Christ. They did that and so much more and I am so proud of them.
At a glance:
- The Texas group started their week by visiting Liberty University (Thanks Tadd for hooking us up with housing)
- They put on a great "Church at the Beach" down along the shoreline of Virginia Beach.
- Both groups enjoyed a week of worship and teaching that challenged them to take big risks, accomplish God-sized dreams, Worship with reckless abandon and die to self daily.
- They passed out thousands of pieces of information to our community about Focal Point Church.
- They passed out nearly a thousand pieces of information for an upcoming event at Ben's Church, RCC.
- They toured Washington D.C. (many for the first time) and watched 4th of July fireworks on the National mall with the Washington Monument as their backdrop.
- They put on two block parties for our community.
- They spent 2.5 days repairing a home for a family in need in Norfolk. These kids did an AMAZING job renovating this house. New paint, repaired walls, power washed the house, complete landscaping job including planting new beds and pulling weeds, etc. The house looked fantastic!
- Three of the Texas kids had never flown before this week. One had never been further north than Houston.
- They enjoyed a day at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg VA.
These kids had an amazing week full of new experiences and lots of lessons from the Lord. Chesapeake was definitely impacted by the lives of these students. I can't thank them enough for coming. In addition to our students we were blessed by all of their sponsors. These adults rolled with the punches and kept a fantastic attitude all week. Many sleepless nights and long, hot days gave this group challenge after challenge but they met each one with grace and strength. God did great things and I'm glad to have spent the last 12 days with these brothers and sisters in Christ.