Zicam... Where Are You?
Last week I published THIS post.
This evening I feel like this:
Not good for me. That video is a true picture of me when sick.
So I went out tonight and bought this: It usually awakens the pentecostal side of my white blood cells and causes an illness enema so I expected the same with this pesky bug...
Tonight thus far? No dice.
Pray for me. I'm a terrible horrible cranky whiny baby of a sick person. So far I've kept it together... but the fever is getting hotter. It's not a good sign. When I awake I'll either be cured or be willing to check out hell for a few minutes of relaxation. (Don't take me up on that Jesus)
I think this is why God only allows me to be sick once a year. He has real problems to deal with every day. But if you want to... toss one up anyway.
"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
A Wilgis Christmas (so far)
As I sit and type this Christmas wish to my readers I have a whirlwind of thoughts racing through my mind.
Christmas itself is a wonderful holiday. That God would send his son to the earth in order to redeem man is plenty of reason to celebrate. We're fortunate to live in a country where we can openly celebrate this fact and have the opportunity to tell others about this divine encounter.
There are many people however who need a personal touch from the Divine. My wife, my son and myself spent the weekend with Kristy's family in Lynchburg this weekend. Pastor Jonathan Falwell reminded us that true peace only comes through Jesus Christ. Jonathan spent time showing how all of the world's most powerful have attempted to bring peace to the earth but peace only comes through Christ. Individuals at every stage and every status have sought peace in their lives through drugs, money, power or other vices. Peace however is still only found in Jesus.
Pastor Jonathan also reminded us that during the Christmas season there is a spike in attempted suicides mainly due to a feeling of inadequacy and loneliness. People get a broken view of themselves and their God. They feel it's better not to live than to live with pain. They want peace. They want and need Jesus at Christmas.
Tonight our home is at peace. Jesus is the center of our holiday. Kristy and I have been certain to talk about Christmas as Jesus' birthday just about daily. We talk about how all of the decorations are for the big party of Jesus' birthday. Tomorrow we will read Luke 2:1-19 together before we go to any presents. We'll share in a meal together... my wife, my son and I. We'll also sing happy birthday to Jesus before we eat desert after our meal.
Yes Caleb will receive gifts but at least at this age we can keep the focus on Jesus. This year we even took Caleb shopping with us on a few trips and let him look over the toys we thought he'd like. Why? It's not about our son's presents. It's about Jesus, It's about Peace, It's about Jesus bringing peace to this world.
I pray God's best for you and your family this Christmas. Have a fantastic day remembering that God sent his son to us. Take time to pray and thank Him for that gift. While you're at it take time to lift up those families who aren't at peace this year. There are people who need your prayers... there are people who need your Jesus. Let's get refocused and renewed on seeking and saving those who are lost this upcoming year.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Take time to read Perry's post today. He speaks to something very close to my heart.
Meet Bea Gaddy: an inspiration to me
Who is Bea Gaddy? Why should I care?
Bea Gaddy, who rose from a life of poverty to become
Gaddy, who was elected to the City Council in 1999, also operated a family center that has served more than 1 million homeless women and children, according to her Web site. She learned about domestic violence and poverty firsthand during her childhood in North Carolina. She said her father often threw her and her brother out of the house, and that her mother lived in constant fear of being beaten. After working as a housekeeper in Brooklyn, N.Y., for $50 a week, she [moved] to Baltimore in 1964 as a single mother with few hopes or dreams.
But a man she met while working as a school crossing guard encouraged her to go to college, and in the early '70s, she joined the East Baltimore Children's Fund. Her home became a distribution point for food and clothing for the poor. She used the experience to found a homeless shelter, which eventually became the Bea Gaddy Family Centers Inc.
Gaddy held her first Thanksgiving dinner in 1981, feeding 39 people. The event grew each year and peaked in 1993, when Gaddy and about 2,000 volunteers served 20,000 people. [From Here]
One woman with a cause impacted millions of people. I was one of those people. I never met Bea Gaddy but she was one of the people God used to shape my belief that any one person can make a world of difference. Bea Gaddy had a passion lit from her childhood. She confronted a cause that resonated with her core.
Imagine if every Christian focused on one segment of the world that needed Jesus and we spent the rest of our lives bringing Jesus to that aspect of society. Instead of building churches about us we'd build churches to serve our communities and bring Jesus to them. Instead of holding conferences about us and solely attending conferences dealing with the workings of church we'd have Christian leaders involved in conferences addressing socities ills. Instead of ringing church bells and asking people to come to us, we'd "go" into the world and make a difference as unto the Lord. Thankfully it appears that God is doing a work in our generation and the future may be filled with such examples.
Now more than ever I have clarity about my mission in life. Now more than ever I see how our church can revolutionize a city, state, country and world. In 2008 I'm re-organizing my life to best prepare myself and those around me to take up a cause and bring Jesus to that square. I'm certain that some will not understand but if they did it would have been done already. Stay tuned.
Another Reason Why
Constructing a Puzzle
My 2 year old loves puzzles. He's pretty good at them too. This evening he and I sat with his 12 piece puzzle. He loves handing me one piece at a time as he watches me put it together instantly. He thinks it's cool that daddy doesn't have to figure it out like he does. It actually inspires him to take the completed puzzle and turn it over as he says "Okay, I do it now."
If only his daddy could do that with the puzzle of life.
While life can feel like a puzzle not coming together, we all have to trust that if we give Him the pieces he will show us how it fits together. As I've hinted here on the blog, there will be some movement of some pieces made public in a few months. God has been teaching me things for a while and now it's nearing time to share what he's been teaching me with others around me.
Things are moving forward as we close out the year and look forward to fulfilling God's mission in the new year.
I've had a great couple of meetings recently which have spurred me on toward the vision God has given. I feel an amazing peace right now. It's the type of peace that comes with clarity of seeing the vision right down to the brass tacks.
There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle but so far many of the pieces are coming together.
God is good.
A Tale of Two Links
This Link is the reason you should care about This Link.
You ever get a "Man Cold"?
I've been blessed with a great immune system so I hardly ever get sick but when I do this is me.
Ben Stein, in the new film EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed
His heroic and, at times, shocking journey confronting the world’s top scientists, educators and philosophers, regarding the persecution of the many by an elite few.
In theaters near you, starting February 2008
Ben travels the world on his quest, and learns an awe-inspiring truth…that bewilders him, then angers him…and then spurs him to action!
Ben realizes that he has been “Expelled,” and that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired – for the “crime” of merely believing that there might be evidence of “design” in nature, and that perhaps life is not just the result of accidental, random chance.
To which Ben Says: "Enough!" And then gets busy. NOBODY messes with Ben.
NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Tell Your Friends!
Today I'm working from a coffee shop. There is a couple sitting at a table in front of me playing the board game "Sorry!". This couple is in their late-40's or early 50's. Their game-play has given me something to think about.
From their body language and game-play I get the sense that they both genuinely want to be together at a coffee shop playing the game. That part is great. The problem is how they are using the game. The husband appears to be very serious and into the rules of the game. I've observed him checking the rules various times and correcting his wife when he feels there may be an infraction. He's all business.
The wife on the other hand seems like she's valuing the time over the game. She smiles several times, jokes about her play and stares off into the distance each time he picks up the box to read the rules.
They're "doing" what couples should do. Spending time together is valuable and beneficial for the marriage. I wonder however if their activity is beneficial. As long as he focuses on the logistics of game-play and she focuses on the atmosphere of the coffee shop they will walk away with two seperate experiences neither of which being of one another. He will be glad the game was fair and that he won. She will comment on the taste of the coffee and the new art hanging on the walls.
I wonder how often I'm like the man playing the game and our congregation is like the woman looking at the walls. It's vital that as communicators and leaders we work to meet people somewhere in the middle. We should bring them to the "lesson" for sure... but we can't do so at the expense of meeting them on their level first. Emotion is something I won't naturally gravitate towards. I have a tendency to be more like a Paul or Peter.
Jesus modeled a great blend of both information and emotion. His parables met people where they were and gave them a new perspective on life. I wonder in the age of "content is King" if we miss out on the emotional side of things. There is a place for color, imagery, experience and emotion. I hope I continue to apply this understanding in my relationships and ministry. You should too or else you'll end up being "Sorry!"
Mitt Romney's Mormon Shell Game
``I told him, you cannot equate Mormonism with Christianity; you cannot say, `I am a Christian just like you,''' said Representative Bob Inglis of
``When he goes around and says Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior, he ticks off at least half the evangelicals,'' [SBC’s Richard] Land said. ``He's picking a fight he's going to lose.'' [link]
“I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.” –
Mitt, there you go again. You just lost.
There has been much speculation and posturing regarding today’s speech by Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Many in the media are having a difficult time understanding why Evangelical Christians would have concerns about Romney’s faith. Contrary to the opinion of many pundants, this issue is not about a denominational difference but rather about deception. Romney is a part of a religion which has hijacked some basic terms of Christianity and applied new definitions to them. Far from a simple denominational difference (which is akin to differences between brothers) Romney’s faith masquerades as Christianity while being a different species altogether.
What exactly does Mitt Romney’s religion teach about Jesus Christ? I’m glad you asked.
I will list a few differences and at the end of this article provide various references.
Bible- To the Christian the bible is the sole authority. To the Mormon it’s one of 5 such books. Wait until the next Mormon missionary comes to your house, they will mention one or two verses in the bible and then spend the rest of the conversation in the Book of Mormon. Romney knows that
Salvation- Evangelical Christians believe that salvation comes through Christ alone. Mormons believe that salvation comes from their god ‘jesus’ and through their works in the Mormon Church. They also believe that everyone is "saved". (see Eternity below)
Church- The Mormon Church believes it’s the restoration of the true church and therefore only they have the true religion. So as Romney talks of religious tolerance his beliefs are really that his version is right and everyone else is wrong. But its okay… they don’t believe in hell.
Eternity- Christians believe Heaven is where those who follow Jesus will spend eternity with God. Hell is the place where those who do not follow Christ will spend eternity. Mormon’s believe that Jesus died for everyone so no one will face a true hell but rather all will enter heaven. Then from there we will all have levels of Heaven. Some people will even go on to have their own god-babies and be gods of their own planet.
God- Christians believe there is only one God who revealed himself in three forms: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe in one God who’s expressed himself in three ways. Mormon’s can’t tell you how many gods there are. Sure they will start with Jesus as they stand on your porch but ask them who Jesus’ god is. Then the god before that. The god before that, and so on…. They will eventually say “We don’t know how many gods there are. So while Christians believe in a personal God who’s at the top of the chain, the Mormon’s call their god Jesus but they believe there are infinite amounts of gods and one day Mitt Romney believes he too may become a god and have his god-babies. Romney believes he will one day be worshipped on his own planet.
So yes there is a shell game going on. There is a “bait and switch” act going on. Mitt Romney wants evangelical Christians to think that we’re all just branches on the same tree of faith. As he put it today “a symphony”. The truth is… we’re not playing the same song. A symphony has harmony but there is no harmony to the LDS church and Biblical Christianity. We do not believe in the same God and to say we do is a complete lie which Romney continues to propogate in this campaign.
So why do Evangelicals think it’s important? This is important because we are Americans and Americans don’t like to be deceived. Romney already has problems with being honest about where he stands. He was once pro-life, then pro-choice and now he’s pro-life again. Americans are over being deceived. Democrats believe Bush deceived them about the
Finally, Mitt Romney said today that discussing these huge differences between his faith and evangelical Christianity would apply the religious litmus test that our founding father’s prohibited. This is yet more proof of deception which leads to my estimation that he is again playing shell games. The religious litmus test applies to the legal qualifications required of a president, not public opinion. While congress can require a minimum age and citizenship test, they cannot make a law regarding the religious preference of the President. This does not however mean that the American people themselves are not able to ask and know the religious preferences of their President.
If a potential president believes strongly in a god from Mars, it is fair game for Americans to say they are uncomfortable having their Commander-In-Chief praying to a god from Mars. If Mr. Romney felt that American Evangelicals really prayed to the same god to which he prays he wouldn’t have a problem articulating the major differences between Mormonism and Evangelical Christianity. But alas he chooses to play shell games and deceive the American people.
At the end of the day Romney is too polished, too deceptive, and too unstable to trust as the leader of the free world. His campaign should have either kept quiet about the whole thing or come clean. He’s made a poor decision by choosing to hide behind deception.
A quick reference chart:
Wacky beliefs I didn't talk about:
More Differences:A basic Google Search
On Relationships and God
There is much talk in our present generation about the necessity for a "relationship" with God. Someone recently posed the question of a necessity at all for any relationship with a deity, especially if salvation hindges on belief. Here was my immediate observation:
Relationships aren't required to be long or substantive. I have a relationship with my dentist albeit an occasional and professional one.
I would argue that a relationship is required for salvation. To pray a prayer to God requires that one know his name. Speaking to God implies some form of relationship.
People who talk about their relationship with God have a far-reaching understanding of the depth of God. God isn't a pie chart to be observed but a pie to be tasted.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good." It didn't say "Read the box to see that the Lord is good."
If I consider further the question here I'd have to consider my marriage. People can be married by document only but man... If they stopped at finishing the paperwork I'd imagine they'd never understand why couples talked so deeply and passionately about their mate.
... how about an American Health Insurance party?
In a few months I'll be considering a change in health insurance plans and/or providers. In considering this upcoming change it's been interesting to see where some people running for President stand on the health care issue.
It appears that the candidates on the Democratic side have been debating over who can force more people into socialism. Senator Obama was getting slammed last week because according to Senator Clinton his plan left 15 million people (out of a country of over 300 million) out of a 'universal' health plan.
Not to be outdone John Edwards pointed out how he'd force us all into health insurance:
"He said he would require individuals to show proof of insurance when they pay income taxes or seek health care. Those without coverage would be expected to enroll in a plan or would be assigned one. As for those who still refused, Edwards said 'the government will help collect back premiums with interest and collection costs by using tools like the ones it uses for student loans and taxes.' "
So the government may be moving into a national health care business? Has anyone seen anything government run that is efficient, ascetically pleasing or that responds well to change? Stand in a post office, department of motor vehicle or in front of a TSA worker. You'll quickly see that the government doesn't pay top dollar for the folks who run their programs and therefore lets just say that customer care doesn't rank highly on their priority list.
What happens to us as a people once we give the government control over our bodies? Is it possible that once we're all on a version of medicare/medicaid that the government may begin to regulate how much we can weigh, what amounts of cholesterol or fat we take in? What happens when it becomes in the "government's" best interest to lower your blood sugar? If it's mandated that you are in a system and if the government begins to fit the bill... surely the next step is the government telling you what your ideal weight and body fat should be. If we choose to give the federal government control of our bodies I will be gravely concerned with our future as a nation.
The good folks up in Boston had a riot because a government was trying to regulate their personal lives through levying taxes on goods in a harbour. Imagine what they'd say today if they knew their great great grandchildren would consider giving control of their bodies to the government. To say they'd be concerned is an understatement. To say we should be concerned is just as much so.
Do you have a Restless Soul?
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.1 My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
When I read this I think of when I was a kid and our family would come home to our two dogs. Before they knew who was at the door they would be barking up a storm. They would run to every window and make their deepest "back off" barks to alert whomever would bother them that they were ready for bear. Once we got close enough to the door however we would simply call out their name and they would turn their barking to happy scratching. In a sense their soul found rest in us, their Masters.
I consider my own life. So many times I can allow life and life's circumstances to get me fired up. At times it's protection and at other times it's frustration. Either way however I've learned to love the moments when I hear my Master's voice. It doesn't matter how angry or concerned I was... when I sense the presence of God I am able to calm. My soul finds rest.
I think of people all around us. So much of what they do is because their soul isn't at rest. Their restless soul leads to self destructive behavior and emotions. Their restless soul leads them to find comfort in food, alcohol, drugs or shopping. The restless soul leads to experimenting in every type of religiousity known to man (and some invented). Their restless soul leads them to worship self, worship music, worship entertainers. I consider all of the lives wasted not because the people in and of themselves want to waste their life but because they aren't close to their God. Their lives are full of noise and their response to that noise is the only way they can cope.
Is your soul restless today? Are you responding the best you know how to a world of noise? Would you prefer to find tranquility in the midst of all of the noise?
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault a man?
Would all of you throw him down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 They fully intend to topple him
from his lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God [a] ;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or take pride in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.
People Love Winners
I remember when I was a kid sitting at the edge of my grandfather's bed watching a 13 inch television with rabbit ears. The picture flickering every once in a while or adjusting if one of us walked near the antenna. As we sat on the edge of the bed I recall my grandfather to my right and my uncle behind me. In the room that day was my uncle who was an avid 49ers fan. They had already won two Super Bowls and his fondness for Joe Montana was coming through as he screemed at the television screen.
My grandfather was relatively indifferent to the game but he also favored the 49ers based on past performance.
I on the other hand was a 10year old who was just learning the professional version of the game I played for the "Dundalk-Eastfield Packers". Joe Montana to me at this time was just another quarterback. What I knew was the guy named "Boomer" was from the University of Maryland and I thought the "Icky Woods Shuffle" was a pretty sweet celebration!
The game was tied at the half and the second half was back and forth. I was learning the art of talking trash with my uncle and grand father as the game played out.
Go back with me to the 13 inch TV and see what happened in the final moments of that game.
"With the score 13-13, Cincinnati took a 16-13 lead on Jim Breech's 40-yard field goal with 3:20 remaining. It was Breech's third field goal of the day, following earlier successes from 34 and 43 yards.
The 49ers started their winning drive at their 8-yard line. Over the next 11 plays, San Francisco covered 92 yards with the decisive score coming on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Joe Montana to wide receiver John Taylor with 34 seconds remaining."I was crushed. But I was also intrigued. I just watched a team I liked for superficial reasons get beat by a team that (my family assured me) was a dynasty. People love winners.
Over the next few years I supported both the Bengals and the 49ers but my loyalties (along with winning) pulled me toward the 49ers for most of my life. It wasn't until the end of the Steve Young era and the rebirth of football in Baltimore via the Ravens did I ever again have a 'favorite' team.
What's with all the nostalgia?
It's simple. People love winners.
In church planting you have to win early and win often. This goes back to the importance of what happens in the "off season" and in "training camp" as well as what happens "in practice during the week". My friend John used to give me a quote he picked up from Matt Willmington [likely the smartest leader whom you don't know].
Matt's wisdom: "Plan now, Pastor later."
Church planters above all ministry leaders must take heed to this mantra.
When you take the time to plan and prepare, your chances of winning when the game is on the line are much higher. The 49ers were able to score with :34 on the clock because of the preperation.
Church planters don't start off frustrated, hurt, bitter or discouraged. For many of them, failure is not something they are used to. The people who tend to do well at chruch planting are often like myself, people who are used to winning despite the obstacles in front of them. (By the way, if you can't point to significant victories in the face of adversity, don't get into church planting.)
What I've discovered however is that if you do not win and win often on the front end of the church plant it will be very difficult to win in the middle of your season.
There aren't many 0-6 teams who lift up the trophy and go to Disney World at the end of the season. I am not advocating churches shutting down after the first few months or even year but what I am advocating is that we do whatever it takes to prepare in advance.
Todd Wilson of (Passion for Planting / NewChurches.com / NewLife4me.com ) affirms this principle in this free downloadable resource. He references lessons learned from Noah.
Noah and the Ark – “Make a boat from resinous wood and seal it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make it 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Construct an opening all the way around the boat, 18 inches below the roof. Then put three decks inside the boat—bottom, middle, and upper—and put a door in the side.”
Gen 6:14-16Think about the planning process that went into building the ark. Think about the time he spent making sure there weren't leaks. He didn't just tie a few pieces of bark together and say "If its God's will, he'll make it float!"
I've seen a funny (sad) trend regarding denominational/planting organizations. We want the organic 'movement' of underground China with the stability of Noah's Ark and the buzz at launch of the iphone. To do all of this we want our best and brightest to work two jobs, stress over making ends meet and go from being quality "specialists" to frustrated "generalists".
At any rate I'm confident that a vision birthed of God in the heart of a quality team which is properly funded and properly planned to reach a particular audience is what works. The term "properly" there is going to depend on the desired outcomes. Starting with the end in mind will allow the church to have realistic expectations going into their first year or two. If expectations are being met the congregation will experience a winning team. If expectations aren't being met (regarless of what they are) the team will feel like they are losing. Discouragement is the result of failed expectations. Sometimes the expectations are realistic and they don't get met which is discouraging. More often than not however the expectations aren't realistic and so discouragement sets in unnecessarially.
In our case we've had people on our team who started off with great attitudes and optomism but got crushed under the weight of failed expectations. The expectations weren't realized for various reasons but the reasons don't matter. The team saw a church get off to a healthy start and we felt like the Bengals did with just over 3 minutes on the clock. After a while however we plateued. Our quick start caught up to us.
I've been on winning and losing atheletic teams. What anyone in sports will tell you is that when you are winning morale remains high even if people aren't getting the ball or others are sitting on the bench. While these things may bother the players, the winning keeps them from getting frustrated. Let that same team however experience a few losses and the little things become big things.
I'm a huge proponent of doing whatever we can to plant churches to win and win often in the early stages because people love winners!
On that note let's not talk about my Baltimore Ravens. Unless of course they beat the Patriots tonight on Monday Night Football and ruin their run to perfection.
Am I a Phrophet?
In June of this year I wrote a post I called "Get In My Mind And Pray With Me". On the right of my page I titled it "Unmet Expectations". Among various thoughts I discussed how I felt that there was a right way and a wrong way to launch a church. Ours was the wrong way. We had a total of 5 months from the time I went to my Pastor and said "Hey, I believe God may be calling me to launch a church" until the day we started.
It wasn't that I had 5 months of planning with a core... no... just 5 months from realizing God was speaking a new thing into my heart. So by the time we launched I had barely even started to wrap my mind around the task let alone truly develop a core, cast vision, seek out proper funding, get a team of talented people, etc. Unfortunately I think my story is relatively common. Fortunately however there are some people and organizations who take the proper time to get their act together. Tadd is one of those guys. Look at what I wrote about the issue back in June:
"Then there are the best church plants from what I can tell. These are plants who take their time to gather the proper core, visit other ministries, really observe their target and become one with their community before launching out. These plants are strong in leadership before the first service ever begins. The leader is able to build confidence in his team and a cacoon has time to develop which will be useful later in protecting that team from the challenges and attacks of planting. Ultimately a launch of this church is MUCH healthier than the quick launch or what I call "parachute drop" churches. I honestly believe my friend Tadd's church, Pine Ridge Church will prove this planning and development time to be an AMAZING asset to any new church."
Tadd's church and his team at Pine Ridge are another in a line of churches who did it right. WestRidge, Elevation, Revolution and now Pine Ridge all started with a team and some funds (Revolution partly with $25k of borrowed funds). A Vision, a team and resources at launch. What a novel concept. Do not misunderstand me. These leaders aren't knocked for this.... in fact I elevate them for these (among other) wise decisions they made from the beginning. That's my whole point. They are wise for taking their time and doing it right. If you read each of their stories you will see three examples of guys who took time to pray, learn, see their vision mature, gather the team, gather some resources and go.
These guys were smart enough to see that there was a right and a wrong way to plant a church.
So am I a prophet? I don't think so. I think I'm just a veteran who's seen the worst, bad, good and best options out there.
When you get out of the gate the way we did, you find that you're always trying to patch holes. When you can get out of the gate with a larger opening day and the systems and teammates to keep the momentum going... there are many things you can skip and get on to making ministry better week in and week out.
Sadly, I think a lot of plants are more like us and less like Pine Ridge. We're an average church plant doing a so-so job in our community.
For us, patching isn't an option any more.
So where to go from here? I already know but I'll keep you posted.
Last night on NBC Nightly News my friend Tadd Grandstaff was interviewed by Tom Brokaw. The segment which aired was basically about the young churches and their desire to be less involved politically.
Tadd handled himself wonderfully and I'm praying continued blessing on Pine Ridge. Tadd has done an amazing job. Over the last year or two in talking with Tadd about his passion for Pine Ridge I have seen him time after time make very wise and mature decisions. From seeking out advice to building a team to seeking support from both denominational and non denominational entities. Tadd is doing what God called him to do and that is turn his county on its head for Jesus Christ.
NBC also put out an extended version on their site here.
A few thoughts:
1. Use the media. They want a story and you have a story to get out. If they aren't the same story it doesn't matter... a whole lot of people know about Pine Ridge Church today because of that fact.
2. Know (like Tadd points out on his blog) that your words may be edited towards the focus of their piece. Do exactly what Tadd did and get out your point of view.
3. Go back and read Tadd's account. Then watch both videos. You'll see the editing. Then consider how many times you judged someone based on a piece on the news. In the future would you say we should give the interviewee a little more slack? I think so.
As for the point of the story I think it holds generally true. Many churches aren't interested in the political process right now. If you've been around this blog very long however you'll know that I am. I'll share more in the upcoming weeks about my view of faith and politics/government and how I believe they can and in some cases should be connected.