Monday, August 29, 2011

Eastview's vision

I have spent at least ten minutes in the last three worship services sharing talking through our vision for the church. I think this is a very important part of my pastor's job. it is my job, but more my privilege as I'm as inspired as ever to become the kind of church we elders feel that God has called us to be. If thousands of e-viewers become fearless as they follow Christ, and love others in a ridiculous way and are willing to risk shaking their faith, then the world will not be able to resist coming to Jesus! Remember these simple challenges: write out your "change" story, risk an uncomfortable conversation with someone about Jesus, and pray that God open a door for that conversation...seriously..let's do it! God is doing some amazing stuff in this area as The Spirit really moved yesterday in our high school ministry (One) with 11 baptisms AND in Fuel last night with another 30 decisions for Christ AND hundreds at connections last night to get into a small group to grow in their faith. Simply...praise God.

While we're at it...the vision t-shirts have sold beyond anything we've ever had We ordered 750 originally and have made our fourth order this week. Over 1200 sold so far and child sizes on the way. So which are you? Fearless, Ridiculous, or Dangerous. I'm loving living out this vision together.

Monday, August 22, 2011

All wet

There's a saying you hear from time to time to let someone know you think they're wrong: "you're all wet!" Well, I don't think that anything was wrong at church yesterday, but it was all wet! At the end of service yesterday...after 60 baptisms (unofficial numbers as of yesterday right after church) the floor on the stage near the portable baptistery was soaked. Towels lay in a pile...dozens of them - all wet. my shirt was soaked...some from actual baptisms but more from hugs I gave and received from newborn babies in Christ.

What I loved was how many nice dresses were soaked and suit pants and dress shirts. Like Lydia in their nice clothes, many simply took the plunge without changing. I believe part of baptism is humbling ourself enough to get all wet in front of others...sounds weird I know but I think it's true. Yesterday there was an outpouring of God's grace on us in both services (ironically about 30 in each service) and it came in the form of people who were all wet. Fathers baptized sons and daughters, friends baptized friends, couples were baptized together, grown men were crying, co workers baptizing one another, teachers baptizing students, and the people of God were singing. It was a glimpse of heaven I think.

Some may look at this whole scene and think that it's fake and that God isn't real. Do I think that these people are all wet? Nope but I hope they are real soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

in threes

sorry, for the delay on today's blog, but I preached my third funeral sermon in seven days this morning at 10:00. My mom used to say that people died in threes, but of course they don't...they die in ones and someone dies just about every day. I'll have to say that funeral sermons take a lot out of me emotionally...but in a way I value being able to say a word of encouragement for the family as they go through this hard time. It is part of the job that you never are really ready for, but when you love the people, God gives you strength to do it.

Yesterday, the vision t-shirts went pretty quickly and so we are ordering more. Of course there are three choices: Fearless, Ridiculous and Dangerous. These come from our vision to be a "fearless church of Christ followers whose ridiculous love and dangerous witness are irresistible". It has been interesting for me to watch the staff and elders choose theirs. The overwhelming choice for staff and elders is "ridiculous"..but that may just be that they like the blue color. I went with "fearless" because I want to be a man who is marked by such faith in God that i face life in a fearless way. What are you?

Three more Sundays until "original sex". What is that? It is a return to the reason and design behind sexuality according to it's origins founding Genesis 2. We will use the Scriptures to guide us in addressing every sexual issue of our day. This much needed sermon is a great chance to bring friends to help understand God's view on sex and why our culture is totally messing it up. For obvious reasons, I won't be using the white board on that Sunday :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big Pansy

Well, it's that time of year where most of us are beginning the transition from summer's hectic pace to fall's hectic pace. Soon, kids will be back in school and vacations will end and we'll get a routing going until the holidays. Personally, I like these transitions and Sara and I are getting ready to transition Caleb (our 20 year old- in about a month) back to Knoxville TN for his second year of college, but it's another transition in his life that makes me smile and takes me back to my preaching roots.

Two weeks from Sunday, Caleb will begin a weekend preaching ministry in Mary Alice Kentucky. The best way to fan into flame your holy spirit gift is to use it (over and over and over). So Caleb like many preaching students (and like his dad almost exactly 26 years ago) is going to preach for a church in Kentucky that doesn't have a preacher. They pay him some money for his time, but the real benefit is the experience that just can't be taught. If they are anything like my first church (Mt. Victory Christian Church, Mt. Victory KY) they will feed him well, encourage him lots, endure so-so sermons, and teach him how to preach to real people (unlike the sermons they preach in labs at Bible College). It is a's scary and it's holy and I'm very proud of this kid and how he has responded to God's calling on his life. Oh...the name of the church? Pansy Christian Church. Can't make this one up. In two weeks, they'll have a 6'5", 215 pound rookie preacher - big pansy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

normal home

It's good to be back to "Normal" - pun intended, but I'm serious about the sentiment. We do live and do ministry in Normal (or as I like to say, "Our church is located on the edge of Normal"), but a good sign to me when I return is always that I love the place that represents normal for my life.

I love the Normal things like mowing the yard (as I was dripping from heat and having my first heart attack Saturday mowing the lawn, I thought "this is why I love snow". In a strange way, the mundane routine of mowing the lawn was a welcome thing.

I love knowing where everything's at. When you are gone, you have to look for restaurants, entertainment, dry cleaners, etc... When you are home, you know where everything is at.

I love the Normal (and normal) people I get to preach to and serve with at Eastview. I love the way God has built this church. I like the way we do it. I like seeing familiar faces in the same seats in the auditorium. I love getting hugs from people who missed me and whom I missed.

I love sleeping in my own bed. I do love hotel rooms and jumping on hotel beds, but there is a certain comfort that can be found in your bed.

I love hanging out with good friends who I missed while I was gone. Good to catch up on life, family, etc...

I know some would argue that I'm not very normal, but I feel most Normal when I'm here doing what God has called me to do.