Archive for March, 2008

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The Beach

March 31, 2008

I love getting away with friends and family.  This weekend was awesome at Seaside.  There were so many things that I enjoyed about the last few days.  Here are some highlights.

*Kids are easier to entertain, and make laugh then adults are.  There were a lot of kids there!

*The Resnick kids are AWESOME and made Macy feel so accepted and loved!  And Chance is a ball of joyful energy.  3-27----30-08 051

*Scott’s life is amazing and he has some good stories.  He also educated us on some interesting song choices on the ipod. :) 

*Weather at the beach is very unpredictable!  We had sun and snow, hail and wind.

 

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*Macy still thinks I’m cool.  And taking her to Seaside and the bumper cars etc was SO SO fun.

*My wife is beautiful.

*The Clayvilles and the Resnicks are two awesome families.  And going to the beach made me miss the Singleys.

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Why can’t it be like that every Sunday?

March 24, 2008

This last weekend, Easter weekend, was one of the most special weekends I have ever had the privilege of being a part of at Sunset.  It was an all hands on deck type of weekend.  And lest it sound like we’re tooting our own horn let me lay that to rest.  GOD DELIVERED.  He delivered reason, energy, teamwork, stamina, communication, patience, love, promptings, creativity, purpose, a message, etc to everyone involved.

So the natural question surfaces after a weekend like this last one.  “Why can’t it be like that every Sunday?”

It’s a great question.   And part of the answer is simple, and part of it is complicated.

The simple part.   There is no way we could sustain the type of effort a service like Easter takes on a week to week basis without completely burning out the volunteer force that makes it happen, as well as the staff.   The people that serve at Sunset are AMAZINGLY committed and dedicated, and give an unbelievable amount of time out of their schedule on “normal” weeks at Sunset.   At times of the year like Easter or Christmas, people go so far above and beyond, and it really is a tremendous sacrifice of time, energy, family etc for them.    We strategically make this choice as a team because we know that while the stakes are always high every week, they are particularly higher at those two times of the year, because of how many people come to church who don’t normally attend. 

I think it’s important to note that the people who serve on staff at Sunset, wish as much as anyone that every weekend could have as much impact as an Easter weekend.  Which is a great way to get into the more complicated aspect of this discussion.

How do we measure impact?  Is it by how many people serve on a Sunday to make it happen?  Is it by how many people come through our doors?  Is it by how much we were individually moved?  Is it by how many decisions were made for Christ? 

The reality is, there are some weekends that come, and the people involved have prepared well.  They have sacrificed time and energy.  They have practiced, prayed and rehearsed and come and given it their all in their part of the service whatever that is.  And for whatever reason, for them, or for you, it might feel “off”.    The list of possibilities of why this can happen at a church is infinite.  It can range from anything to a headache, to style preferences, to a broken piece of sound equipment, to poor leadership on my part in one or more areas, to a wrong heart or perspective, etc.  It is also the reality of being at a church that is not afraid to try new things.  Whenever you are at a place that is willing to risk, there will be times when the risk pays off, and there will times when it falls flat. 

So where does this leave you and me?  It leaves us together, on the journey, serving Christ in this community.  We continue to seek to learn what it means to bring God glory, and praise Him authentically, and lead others to His feet.  We celebrate and thank God when His presence is more obvious and tangible, and we celebrate and thank God at the times where for whatever reason it feels “off”.    The good news is He NEVER CHANGES.  He is always worthy, and never grows tired or weary.

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I don’t like Easter

March 20, 2008

O.K. so that was partly for shock value.  The truth is I don’t like what the word Easter conjures up in my mind.  Seriously, the first image I see is a plastic egg and a cheap chocolate bunny.   The very word Easter bugs me for some reason.   I would love to rename this holiday.  Something more like “LIFE” day, or anything that points to something deeper than those Cadbury eggs that tempt me at every grocery line.

I look out my window at the cars passing by, and try with my imagination and everything I know to be true, to somehow grasp the reality of God becoming man, dying for me, and coming back to life.  But it’s hard.   We have to try though.  Two words of Christ that haunt me every time I read them or hear them, are “Remember me”.  Jesus knew that in 2008, it would be hard to grasp the reality of what happened on that weekend a couple thousand years ago.   

Someday soon, it will no longer be about trying to remember.   Someday soon Jesus will be on earth again, in the flesh, like he was.   For now though, and especially over this weekend, we do our best to honor what Jesus asked, and we remember. 

Isaiah 46:9
Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.

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Did you hear about……?

March 19, 2008

We have ALL been there.   And we will ALL be there again.  Where?  In a conversation about someone who is not present.   If I could see a sheet on a wall of all the times I handled one of these conversations the right way, and how many the wrong way, I’d be scared to look.

Are there times when it is appropriate?  Of course, particularly when we are building someone up behind their back.  Fair game!  But what gain can I achieve by tearing down my brother or sister behind their back?  God knows I have enough in my life for people to discuss behind mine, but has it ever helped me? 

I will fail at this again.  So will you.  But I would love my score sheet on this one to begin to get fuller in the right column, and it’s going to take work, prayer, and accountability for that to happen.    In a world where when we are thinking our absolute clearest it’s relationships that matter most, this REALLY matters.

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Men’s retreat

March 15, 2008

Its the first morning of the men’s retreat.  There is something awesome about getting away, having time, for your brain and heart to slow down and listen.  God is already speaking to me, or rather, I’m already hearing from Him. 

Loving hanging with Matt as well, up from Cali.

Missing family and friends.

And, this is my first official post using Windows Live Writer.  I like it already.

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Blindsided?

March 12, 2008

Someone you love misunderstands you and suddenly there is a rift in your relationship.

Several deadlines at work or school seem to arrive at once, and you can’t shake the feelings of stress that overwhelm you.   Getting on top of it seems next to impossible.

An addiction or habit you thought you had long since beaten suddenly seems as strong as ever.

Car bills, medical bills, school bills, unexpected bills, threaten your financial outlook from every front and you can’t figure out how it got so bleak so fast.

Forget seeing the beauty of nature or the joy of living, you are trying to figure out how you’re going to wake up tomorrow and give the energy that today drained past empty from your very core. 

Next weekend, on Easter weekend, our community at Sunset Presbyterian Church will present the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to many people who don’t normally come inside our walls.  It is the truth that can save their very souls.  It is the truth that defines their very lives, their very existence, and their future.   It is the message that our faith, and our hope is built on.  It is everything.  It is huge.  And whenever there is a chance for impact, the spiritual attack is elevated.  Don’t let this season blindside you.  Don’t head into next week with your guard down.  When something in that list above or something else not listed comes out of the blue and threatens to rock your world and make you forget all about the resurrection power of Christ, and our chance to share that message,  don’t be one of the unprepared.

Ephesians 6:10-19

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Introducing Tyler Braun

March 6, 2008

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Over and over I have watched God provide in this ministry we are a part of here at Sunset.  Time and time again He has brought people along who have hearts for Him, whom God uses for specific purposes in the life of our community.   

One such provision I would like to announce is that Tyler Braun has accepted the role of co-director of praise bands.  This will be an interim position for a short period, and Lord willing will become permanent soon!

Tyler has felt a call on his life to pursue worship ministry for some time.  The son of a pastor, he is no stranger to church life, and yet has a huge heart for connecting and engaging people not just in our walls but beyond.  He and his wife Rose took a step of faith to pursue full time ministry and he began attending seminary not long ago.  His journey for a church to plug into led him to Sunset where he spent some time as the worship leader for Fusion, and has served with the youth.   He has been on staff for quite awhile now in facilities, and is transferring over to his passion which is music and worship.  He has a lot of experience leading worship, and working with bands.  Tyler plays the acoustic guitar and is learning the electric.  He has an amazing voice, and he is a very gifted worship leader.   I am SO excited that God has brought him here and cannot wait to see how the future unfolds with Tyler joining our community. 

You can send Tyler a welcome email at TylerBraun@sunsetpres.org and check out his blog at http://manofdepravity.com