Monday, June 25, 2012

resources for spiritual growth

One of the great advantages of our culture is having access to an abundance of tools to assist us in our walk of faith...there are literally millions of choices. Let me recommend one that our staff recently completed. It is called "Table Talk" and was written, edited and designed by a team of staff here at Eastview. We have kept the cost low ($6.99) because we want people to have access to it. This book looks like a restaurant menu and is designed to be used at family meals as it examines 9 meals that Jesus ate in the Scriptures and the lessons taught in each. Dads, If you want to have consistency with your family devotions and are looking for a cool new resource...this one is it...go to Harvest Bookstore website (through and you can get info about it. This is one of many resources we are working on (another one is out in a month and I'll talk about it then). While I'm talking resources, let me give you some guiding principles we have at Eastview for providing spiritual growth resources: 1. Our bookstore is a resource's a part of our ministry and it's main goal is not to make money. All the resources in the store are recommendations from the staff "Jesus junk" (novelty items that seem to market Jesus' good name) sold! 2. Our staff is writing more resources all the time. We want to write stuff that is useful to the people of Eastview and our ministry here. This is our first goal. If other members of God's kingdom would like to use it, we will gladly share, but we have been entrusted with Eastview, so we are ministering to this flock. 3. The authors don't make money on the books we produce and sell. Though countless hours go into writing, editing and producing these books, our staff sees this as part of their ministry all money goes back into ministry...likely more resource development. 4. We do have some sources that were written by the staff previously and are also available..really good resources, especially by J.K. 5. We stock the books necessary for our Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation degree that we do in partnership with Lincoln Christian University. 6. We hope to have a wall of complete spiritual formation material 10 years from now for small groups and individuals to use for encouragement in their walk. Pray for us as we development a collection of resources that will truly help us all mature in our faith

Monday, June 18, 2012

Here's to Dad

I heard over the weekend that Bill Hybels said that Willow Creek's church attendance is always lowest atttendance of the year on Father's Day. I wondered about ours and though that is not a pattern for us, it is typically a low attendance weekend for Eastview. I began to wonder why that is... 1. Maybe dads are more likely to request kids/families to spend time with them doing something like fishing, camping, or going away for the weekend. 2. Maybe churches have not honored father's day like we often have mother's day in the past. 3. Maybe it's just because it's the third week of June and vacations and summer activities have just kicked into full swing. I'm not sure, but I know we spent some time honoring our dads in church at each service yesterday. We borrowed the Jr. High department's "wheel of ridiculousness" and turned it into "this is my father's wheel". It is a six foot high wheel with pegs and prizes (think stand up "wheel of fortune" and we had cool dad stuff as prizes: a garden hose, fireworks, tools, grilling utensils, ties, water balloon kit, and a screwdriver set. We had fun and we celebrated our heavenly father. I celebrated father's day with some fried chicken from Popeyes (wanted it to be low key). In a way, this was kind of a remembrance of my own father (who has been gone for almost 16 years now) who loved fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and slaw...felt right to me. My oldest son joined mom, sara and I. My younger son is doing an internship in St. Louis and he texted me at 11:45 p.m. (yeah, I was already asleep) and wished me happy father's day and said he'd call tonight. It's all good, being a father is one of the hardest things I've ever done (and continue to do) and yet it is one of the great blessings of my life. That's what I was thinking proud of my boys I am (Here's to being a dad),how grateful that my father marked my life in so many ways (here's to my dad), how much I owe my heavenly father (here's to THE DAD)...and how I wish more dads would have been at church yesterday (here's to the Christian Dads that were). Another thing...I closer to mowing my lawn in black socks and shorts than I care to admit...soon

Monday, June 11, 2012

Decidedly not taking a side

I have received a lot of e-mails and had a few conversations about why I'm not more political as the preacher of an influential church. Well, there are legal considerations that require me to not endorse one candidate over another...some church leaders have been sued and lost tax exempt status recently...but this is not my primary motivation. Here are some reasons you will never hear me taking a political stance for any candidate (presidential or otherwise): 1. God is completely in charge. Why talk about small time players like presidents, governors, or representatives when you can talk about the KING of the universe. No matter what the election brings...God will be on the throne. 2. Government leaders do not change people. Politics is not the way too change people. If it were, I'd run for president. People are changed by the living Word of God from the inside out...period. Rules and laws govern people but they don't change them. I'm in the heart change I preach Jesus. 3. Time spent on political objectives could be spent in better ways. Have you ever thought about what might happen if every Christian political activist or just Christians who spend hours discussing, listening, and watching on t.v. the latest political stuff INSTEAD spent all of that energy being Jesus to their neighbors and each converted one person to following Christ. That would be changing the world. I don't politic because I have more important work to do...I represent Jesus and so do you if you follow him. 4. Good Christian people land on both the republican and democrat side. This may seem crazy to some of you...but neither platform represents completely Christian values. Take the honoring of life for instance. The democratic platform is pro-abortion and many Christian republicans would say, "how can you be democrat when killing babies is wrong?" and they quote Scriptures about he sanctity of life. On the other hand, the republican platform is pro-war and many Christian democrats would say, "how can you be republican and kill tons of innocent people in war?" and they quote the SAME Scriptures! In other words, a republican Christian and a democrat Christian don't believe whole-heartedly everything their party or candidate stand for. 5. We should drop all affiliations other than the body of Christ. When you come to Jesus, you are a part of His body the Church...and that is the only real organization you belong to. Your energy, giftedness, passion, and service are to be for the Body of Christ. When we lose focus of this truth, we miss God's point for our lives. 6. Politics are devisive and the church protects unity. There is no wriggle room for this, disunity is sin and if we make distinctions between the wide variety of Christian brothers and sisters who are a part of our fellowship; we have erred greatly in Satan's favor. If Jesus is your Lord and your are living a life of following him, then you are my brother or sister...that's all...nothing can cause me to not love you or be separated from you. Well, I could go's what you need to know about me. I celebrate fourth of July, I get a knot in my throat when they sing the star spangled banner, I love America and fly our flag in front of my home, I love basebal, hotdogs and apple pie, I'm thankful for the freedom I have and those who died for it, and I'll root for USA in the summer olypmics....but all of this is worldly stuff and it will fade away. I have my eyes set on a higher place, my eternal reward with Jesus...until then He is my only cause.

Monday, June 4, 2012

after five

Yesterday, was June 3rd and it was after five when I began to share the usual stuff I do in our monthly "what we believe class" called step one. I completed my entire theology of the Bible in one hour as usual and then made my way back up to the office as we took a break for supper. This is usually a time for me to pray, collect my thoughts, stare out the window, wander around the church checking out ministries, etc... Yesterday, I was resting my voice and drinking from a water bottle when I noticed the front page headlines from the Pantagraph from June 3, 2007. Someone framed this page to commemorate the special day. It was the first Sunday that I was Sr.Pastor of Eastview as Gary York retired. Yesterday was five years as Sr. Pastor I reflected: after five...I'm just as excited about preaching this Sunday as I was the first after five...I'm still honored that I get to do this for a living after five...I love this church even more and feel like we have grown so much after five...I'm even more appreciative of Gary York, Bob Phillips and Galen Skinner that preachers that preceded me at Eastview (four in 57 years...pretty cool) after five...I'm amazed that God has done what He has and convinced He will do more after five...I'm still not very good at arranging my schedule and balancing things...still working on it after five...I realize more than ever how this is God's work and I am only someone He uses after five...I'm usually still working in the evening..but I love it after five...I'm usually out of bed in the morning, because I'm excited about the work God has called me to