Monday, October 29, 2012

Fasting on my plate

There are many things I must do this week...the usual routine along with some extras as I prepare to leave the country next Monday. The expression, "I have a lot on my plate" comes to mind. Somehow in our vernacular this phrase has come to mean too much, but in my world a lot on your plate is a good Thanksgiving Dinner...but I digress. Here are the things on my plate right now. Good thing I'm hungry! 1. The elders are in the final stages of interviewing two potential elders to join our team. This means we will likely meet this week...a culmination of several months of prayer, questions, reflection and paying attention to the Holy Spirit. 2. Final preparations for baptism Sunday are being made. Blessed to work with a team who will do most of the organizational work for the day. 3. Finalize some lessons for the Holy Land video teachings J.K. and I will be doing in Israel next week. Our theme will be "KING" as we tour this land of both earthly and heavenly kings. 4. Pack...for most not a problem, but I always overpack because I want to have the right clothes in case it's hot, it's cold, it's rainy, it's dinner, I'm get the picture. There's more but I won't bore you further...the most interesting thing on my plate is fasting. Kind of a double negative - fasting on my plate. I will be joining a thousand people from Eastview in a day of prayer and fasting this Thursday, and I'm already getting my mind and soul ready for it. I already looking over and beginning to pray over the list of 20 prayer concerns our church will pray together. This will set in my soul a desire to hear from God. I've already begun planning my eating before and after the fast. What will my last meal be? How will I break the fast. I'm also preparing to lead others in prayer & fasting...I want to be ready to lead by example. So, much conversation with God concerning Thursday at 6:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. I will be there all three times, setting up our time of prayer together. Of all the other things on your plate, I hope fasting is on yours too this week. Phrases that didn't make the cut in this blog: *I'm hungry for fasting *Fasting...I'm eating it up *Slowing down to fast *Fasting it's what's not for dinner *Stop eating and start praying

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lincoln Preachers

At one time "preachers" was the nickname for all of Lincoln Christian University men's sports teams. Yeah, not very fearsome as far as mascots go (by it's very name, you can't make it fierce - ie. the fighting preachers, the killer preachers, and the preaching swarm really don't express what preaching is all about), but a true description of the guys who made up the basketball team. Well, for the next two days, the Lincoln Preachers will be preachers from all over Illinois who have come to the Illinois Minister's Retreat..and I'm honored to be able to preach to them three times. I must admit, it's a little more nerve-wracking because of the audience, but I know that they know how hard preaching is, so I'll get grace. Also, I'm more excited than nervous because this is a pep rally for preachers! Nothing better than to be in the company of guys who week-in and week-out carry the high calling of preaching the Word of God. We are all imperfect, but useful instruments for God (cracked pots Paul called us). I'm going to be expounding on the last chapter of II Timothy and look at Paul's charge to the young pastor Timothy, who was the preacher at First Christian Church in Ephesus. Amazingly, not much has changed in 2,000 years. Here's a basic run down our the teachings 1. II timothy 4:1-5 Paul's list of important ministry stuff (his charge). 2. II Timothy 4:9-22 Dealing with discouragement, deserters, and developers 3. II Timothy 4:6-8 Finishing Strong Registration at 3:30 and first session shortly after. Pray for me..holed up in a Lincoln motel room praying, writing, rehearsing, praying some more.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Recently I was in a meeting where several pastors revealed just how overwhelmed their schedules and demands had become for them. Honestly, for the most part, I don't feel stressed. I love being the preacher at Eastview Christian Church. It is more than I deserve and I daily thank God for the wonderful people He has placed me with. However, I have seen that as I get older and the church grows, there are more opportunities to do a lot of great things. The question is not whether something is a good thing to do or not..the question is whether God has called me to do it! There is a difference. I have spent much of the last three weeks talking with God, listening to Him and my spirit, talking with my wife and co-workers, and meditating on some of God's leaders in the Bible and have constructed my "yes" list. Once you establish "yes" then "no" becomes easier. I challenge you to try this. Below are seven things I am to say "yes" to all of the time...everything else is a "yes" for someone else...but NO for me. 1. rhythm - "yes" to balancing schedule between physical, mental, emotional and spiritual activities. 2. family - "yes" to Sara, Mikey, Caleb. Their schedules and their needs supersede all others. 3. preaching - "yes" to preaching the word of God, first at Eastview and then where other doors are opened. 4. leadership - "yes" to inspiring and leading other leaders - staff first and then others 5. vision - "yes" to every opportunity to promoting the vision that God has given Eastview Christian Church. 6. writing - "yes" to writing biblical material for spiritual growth - first for Eastview then others as doors open. 7. prayer - "yes" to praying many hours each week for personal growth, Eastview staff and elders and congregation. What's your "yes" list include. After you're done, write down some "no"s too!

Monday, October 8, 2012

txt invitation

I have to say it was an incredible blessing and honor to share the stage in ministry with my son Caleb yesterday. He did the welcome, communion, and announcements in the big house and then preached to the Jr. Highers twice in Edge. He learned the value of the preacher's Sunday afternoon nap! It was hilarious that we both wore black shirts and gray pants we didn't plan that! As a dad, I thanked God for that special moment. But I was moved even deeper by our invitation time. At the end of the sermon we asked everyone to take out their phones and text an "I will" decision in response to the James sermon to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer! Each service responded with hundreds of "I will" statements with a commitment to do something to grow in their faith. As these texts of commitment scrolled on the screens we sang "Ancient Paths" the song that Matt wrote for this WALK series. God really is teaching us to walk with Him and seeing all the tangible steps that people are willing to make was inspiring! I know, texting doesn't seem very warm and spiritual...but when you read "I will love my wife better" and "I will not be angry in traffic" and "I will quit smoking and live better for God" you realize that thousands yesterday made a decision to take at least one step of faith... Didn't know if the text invitation would work or not...but God used it to inspire a congregation. Thanks to my tech guys who made it happen and thanks to God for the grace we respond to when living for HIM.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The scary part of leading

By God's grace and design on my life, I have found myself in leadership positions most of my life. Seriously, from the time I was playing pick up games with my buddies to my current role as pastor, I have always tended towards leadership. This is nothing of my own doing, just something God decided to do in my life. All credit to him. My journey does certainly go with our theme for "WALK" this week that the Holy Spirit uses many different means in our everyday lives to help us grow. God has graciously given me a chance to lead in a lot of settings, but today I was reminded why leadership is so scary...DETAILS! Surprise...I'm not a details guy. So I get excited about this big vision that comes easily for's all so clear in my mind...THEN people started asking questions like "how?" and "why?" and "have you thought about..." and "well, I think we should". I just sat through three hours of meetings for the North American Christian Convention in 2014 (shadowing the president because in 2015, I'm going to be in that role)and I have a "details headache". I just want to dream about the theme and we have to assign workshop classes, leaders, topics, locations, etc... Well, what to do. Relax...just as the Lord created visionary leaders, he also created organizational leaders and detail leaders and stretegic planning leaders...praise God for them. Here's the big lesson they didn't tell me when I was first in ministry. I DON'T HAVE TO BE A DETAIL PERSON to be successful in ministry. Now, don't get me wrong...I've learned and matured in my ability to cover some details (like sermon preparation, and leadership meetings) but here's the "aha": someone else is dying to to the detail stuff of ministry in partnership with my vision. They get just as excited about details as I get about preaching...I had to breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes today and realize...I don't have to be scared....I'm not going to organize all of these details...someone gifted to do that will make that happen...Ahhh... I feel better now!