Archive for January, 2009

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That’s mine!

January 27, 2009

 

When my youngest daughter Ava has a toy, and Macy approaches that toy say within 4 ft, an event takes place that still causes shock and awe in our household. A sound instinctively begins to form in her chest, welling up and gaining momentum until it erupts out her mouth with animal like strength. The sound is like two angry witch’s that smoke too much yelling at one another.

No one taught her this instinct. She was born with it. Lucky me, I get to try and undo this in her, and it’s NOT easy, but we’re working on it.

When we grow up, our reactions look different than Ava’s for sure (hopefully), but we still have a tendency to steak our claim, to defend what’s “ours”, to fight for our territory or possessions.

In church this can look like a hundred different things. Ex: Our ministry, our team, our group, my ministry, and so on. The church, the bigger it is, begins to naturally form territories, silos, and divided turf. While some of it is just natural, it can lead to the church not working together, almost working against each other, and can stall and prevent forward movement as an organization. It can be like a runner, trying to run forward, but instead of arms and legs working with each other to create good form, you have legs and arms moving in all directions. That might be funny to watch in a track meet, but not funny when it comes to the church trying to work as one team to win souls for Christ.

The church is God’s church. It’s not mine, and it’s not yours, it’s His. I don’t own a ministry, or people, or turf, nor do you. Long after you and I are gone, Christ will be building His church, far outside of the walls of Sunset. We are one team, both inside Sunset as a church, and the broader church outside of Sunset. One body, one team, and we belong to Christ.

So next time you begin to feel two angry witches beginning to yell inside of you as you interact within the walls of the church, tell them to shut it and remind yourself that we are all on the same team!

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What if?

January 16, 2009

This is a devotional I wrote for our ministry this week.

Have you ever been to a restaurant that you love, and seen the owner walking around greeting people?  I always get the same feeling inside, impressed that he or she cares enough to do that, do you?  It adds that personal touch.

One of my favorite places on earth is Disney Land.  One of the reasons I love it, is because of the ambience, the friendliness, that they bend over backwards to extend when you set foot on their property.    It’s not just about the cool rides, it’s about the vibe, and I love taking in that vibe!!

What if Sunset was like that?  (Not the cool rides! An inviting vibe.) What if we saw ourselves as owners of the vibe here?  Yes, we have music and a message and programs etc, but what if it was so much more than that?  What if all of us that call this our church home saw it as our mission, took it on ourselves to extend love to those that stepped onto our property? 

The truth is, you are the owners of the vibe here.  Ron can go out and talk to as many people as he can after he talks on Sunday, but he at best will hit an incredibly small percentage of people in relation to our church.  

But what if just even our music ministry took this on, and really owned it?  Right now there are around 200 people that serve in some capacity in Worship.   Imagine if week in and week out, whether you were on that weekend or not, we were looking to welcome, to seek out, to extend love to our congregation? 

I can tell you what I think would happen.  I think it would rock this church, and dramatically change the vibe.   I think our back door would close exponentially.  I think it would be one of the most exciting things to happen around here in a long time.  Some of you do this SO well already, but what if we all started taking small steps this direction? 

As one of our focuses this year in looking at ways to Be Real, and be authentic, we are looking hard at the first ten and last ten.  What are those?  Those are the minutes before the service, when that person parks their car, wonders what they are even doing here this day, and wonders if anyone cares that they even exist. 

Those are the precious moments after a message, when people’s hearts are softened, and they long to connect, with someone, anyone, and they stand up and begin to walk back to their car.  

These moments, are moments we are asking you to begin to join together with us, and begin praying.  Ask God to give you strength, words, wisdom, on who you can reach out to, how he might use YOU to make a difference on Sunday when you are here. 

What if?

 

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New Year/New Heart

January 6, 2009

This is a note I wrote for our ministry at Sunset this week. 

 

It’s hard to sort out all my emotions right now, but I’m going to attempt to sort out a few! I’m sitting in a doctor’s office at 1pm on Monday Jan 5th, watching my wife sleep for the first time since around midnight last night, when the symptoms of a kidney infection hit hard. (actually I just woke her up with the sound of the typing, and am now typing vvveerrryy slowly. )

Today was the day it was finally time to really dive head first back into life. And yet here I am, tired from a sleepless night, and once again slowed from the normal routine, with more time to think than I often prefer. J

And yet, this is an opportunity for me. An opportunity to support my wife, to put her first, to love her when she needs it the most, and not just when it’s convenient. So I am trying, and the Holy Spirit is helping me.

But alas, this is not my main point. (can’t remember the last time I actually used alas in a sentence, and suddenly that’s twice).

Have you ever noticed how quickly you can tell a nice person from a not nice person in the medical field? Within a minute, you know if you or in for some tlc or some cold indifference. Allison has been cared for by about 3 people today. 2 of them, treated her with relative cold indifference, but one, Sarah, treated her with loving warmth. And oh what a difference it makes when someone’s heart is warm in whatever profession they are in.

As I assess this last year, in particular the last 6 months or so, I feel like I have failed you as a leader. The key to any good leader is their heart. Is it passionate, raw, engaged, and protected? At times my heart has been. Lately it has felt more like it’s on life support.

As I have felt my heart harden some, grow a little colder, I also began to pull back a little. Pull back a little of my engagement, some of my emotions, some of my love. If you are someone directly affected by this, please forgive me, I am sorry. But everyone who I have the privilege to serve with, is affected by this indirectly in some way, as a ministry won’t go further than the heart of a leader.

And so I’m on a crusade right now to get my heart beating at full strength again. For me it is solely and completely dependent on my obedience and reliance and trust daily in God. And by His grace and by His patience and love He is pulling me to Himself where I need to be.

I am hopeful and excited about this new year. I feel God urging me to step it up, in many ways. Thank you for your patience with me, and do say a prayer for me if you read this, as I desire more than you know to serve here with a heart that is tender and engaged in this coming year.

Sincerely,

Jay