Friday, July 23, 2010

It'll make you think...

I follow several blogs during a given week and Pastor Perry Noble from Newspring church tops my list - especially this week. Both in his writing and his preaching Perry holds nothing back - as long as it's from God - he's not afraid to talk about a topic because it's 'taboo' in the church.

That being said he's had a couple of great posts on things this week and I wanted to share just a handful. Check out Perry's blog if you want the full lists and even more writings by this great leader.

From his post titled: "8 Reasons Some Churches Do Not Grow" ~

- #1 – The Vision Is Not Clear - If people don’t know where a church is supposed to be going…then it will attempt to go everywhere and eventually wind up nowhere.

- #6 – Unwillingness To Take Risks – When our focus becomes to play it safe rather than to do whatever it takes to reach people far from God…it’s over. NOWHERE in the Scriptures did God ever ask anyone to do anything that didn’t involved an “oh crap” moment. We’ve GOT to be willing to embrace the uncertain if we want to see the unbelievable.

- #7 – Disobedience To The Scriptures – Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:48, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, II Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 19:10…I could go on and on…but we MUST understand that Jesus didn’t come to earth, live here for 33 years years, give HIS life for us and then return back to heaven to intercede for us so that we could get in really little circles and talk about ourselves and condemn those who are not as good as us. We are called to REACH PEOPLE FOR GOD–PERIOD!

From his post "12 Things Leaders Need To Realize" ~

- #1 – As long as we are listening to God…we will always have a word to speak! STOP worrying about the sermon!

- #7 – We should learn to rest and catch our breath instead of being compulsive and controlling…for in resting in Him our strength is renewed! (See Isaiah 30:15)

- #12 – We’ve GOT to have people around us who WILL speak TRUTH into our lives…even if it hurts. (Proverbs 27:6) We can’t listen to EVERYBODY…but if we listen to NOBODY then we (and the people we lead) are in trouble!

So there you have it - some inspiring thoughts from Perry - I really hope you'll go check out the rest of his lists!

Blessings this Friday,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary

4 Years ago today I married the most beautiful, loving, caring woman I know!
Someone asked me the other day if I would do it all over again and without even thinking I said absolutely!! No doubt whatsoever, especially considering we had the best wedding reception to celebrate afterward.

Not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for having Stephanie to share my life with. Yes, we've had our share of ups and downs - just like everyone else - but if it were all easy - what fun would it be? I know we've both given each other our fair share of headaches - and I know we'll continue to as the years pass - but - life is an adventure and I'm so glad I get to experience it with my best friend.

My downfall is I do not tell her often enough that I love her and that I really think she is the most beautiful, loving, caring, and sexy woman on the planet. Yes, God did a pretty great job with all of His creation - but I am fortunate to be married to the best of it. Sorry for those of you that disagree but I'm entitled to my perception and to me my perception is dead on right!

So, 4 year down and I can only hope for many many more! If you happen to see my beautiful, loving, caring and sexy wife today - do me a favor and tell her Happy Anniversary, and then tell her you'll pray for her as she continues to be married to me! :-)

Love you Mostest!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Naturally unnatural

Which are you? Natural or Unnatural

It's not a trick question - I promise. Take a look at Luke 6:33 (I could link you to the verse here - but if I don't some of you may actually open up your Bible and take a look)

Do we follow the voice of our Creator to the exclusion of all other voices?

Are you uncompromising in your stance of right/wrong?

God expects us to stand out from the crowd - our high calling is to stand out - to be unnatural! Nope, it's not easy - the easy way is to just roll with it, to go with the flow, to be a part of what's popular and easy. Yes, unnatural - but where in Scripture does God ask us to act naturally? It feels strange at first, but it's what we must do - if we're truly a God-filled person!

We must be radical in our behavior and display the radical nature of our God -- "We are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it."

Hope today you can be unnatural in the way God has asked you to be!


Early on a Tuesday

So, I was checking out several sites/blogs that I usually read daily (news, youth workers, ministry, life, etc...) and came across an amazing post by Perry Noble over on his blog....he talked about the relationship between the iPhone 4 issue and the church...very interesting comparison - hope you'll check it out.


Have a great day,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Has porn taken over?

If you've spent anytime around me in ministry over the past 5 years you know that one of the topics I am most passionate about is PORN!

Why? Cause I hate it! I hate what it is doing to men and women, old and young, to marriages and to our society in general. It sucks! And I want the youth/young people I work with to know loud and clear what my opinion is on the subject and that there is a way to overcome the addiction....yes addiction - you can say it.

It's awkward for someone to talk about especial in terms of "hey, I'm struggling with an addition to porn" - but it gets just a tiny bit easier after you've talked to more reason I preach about having a trusted mentor in your life.

So, has porn taken over your life? (note: even if you're looking at it once a week or once a month - it's taken over) God desires so much more for you.

And my experience shows that about 99% of those struggling with it can NOT face this battle alone - so, go talk to someone today! It will be hard, uncomfortable and a bit weird for you - but you need to do need to put your foot down and say enough is enough...I want out of this slavery. I want what God desires for me. With God's help you can do it!

A resource out there you might consider is called X3 Watch - a great ministry provides this on-line accountability program for your computer, iPhone, and Droids - it will send an email to two accountability partners (of your choice) every 2 weeks with a list of any 'questionable sites' you have visited...this in turn gives them the opportunity to come talk to you about it - and help hold you to your plan. (note: for a small - but worthwhile fee you can get X3 Watch Pro - if you need to make this investment)

Whatever you do - take ALL of the steps you need to to overcome this addiction. You are not the only one out there with this challenge and there are plenty of godly men & women who will walk with you to overcome this. You owe it to yourself, your family, spouse/kids, & to God to have complete purity in this area of your life.
This is one of those "we can't talk about it in church topics" - but I say forget that - it's part of our world and if we can't talk about it in church and bring it before God - then we've got some serious step up and ask for the help you need...the Church is supposed to help in times like these.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Letter to my youth...past & present

Yes, it's true - in the near future I will be stepping down as your Youth Director. I wanted to share some thoughts with those I will miss most in this time of transition...first of all, you need to know I've started conversations with the Session and will be working with Pastor Jeff, & representatives from the Personnel and CE committees to work on a transition plan for when the time comes for me to move on.

My journey to Good Shepherd was a colorful one - prior to making the decision to attend GSPC, I was actually angry at the idea of leaving the church I grew up in - but what I found was a loving God who was gently calling me to a new venture. I still remember the first Sunday I sat in worship at GS. I was welcomed with the open arms and hearts by my GS family.

The great thing is that now, over six years later you can still sense that warm family feel in the halls of Good Shep. I was just a young Youth Ministry guy when Good Shepherd took a risk in bringing me on staff as the Youth Director. Honestly, I don't think either GS or I really knew what we were in for. It's been such a great ride!

Most of this 'great-ride' can be attributed to you. Yes, there were often times when you drove me nuts (some would argue that was your job!) - but don't tell the adults, you didn't drive me as nuts as they did! :-) Each of you helped me to become the person I am today. I've learned so much from having the opportunity to be your Youth Director.

Just as Good Shepherd took a risk, so have you. Many of you trusted me enough to let me enter into your world. You've allowed me to celebrate with you in the times of joy and to be there for you when the pain of your world seemed too much. Some of you listened to my words of advice, and a few of you may have even taken that advice! :-) I am humbled and honored that you gave me permission to be a part of your journey.

The hardest part of accepting the decision to move on from Good Shepherd has been so many of you. It makes me sad that I won't get to have the great conversations with you. What has eased this for me is, knowing that if God has Called me to something new then He has something in store for each of you - and Good Shepherd. I don't know what that is - but knowing the God I know - He will take care of you!

My next step, as God has called is to continue working with youth/teens - but in a new area - suicide prevention. There are too many teens out there who are depressed, self-injurious, and/or suicidal - they need the message that this is not the solution to their challenges, the message of God's Love, and that It's Ok To Ask 4 Help! I would covet your prayers and support as I move into this new role - God knows you all have some of the best ideas on how to help each others - so feel free to send them my way.

If you only take one thing from having me as your Youth Director, I hope and pray that it is a deeper love and understanding of God. I pray that Christ will be the central part of your lives as you continue this journey called life. Remember there is nothing too big or small for God -He is always awake and always listening.

Be good, stay outta trouble and live out what I Timothy 4:12 says!

With Love,
Your Bro In Him,
~C, Chi, Tina, or just Chris!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

time to get Serious

We're back to Lincoln!

We had a great experience with nearly 30 youth in the mountains of Colorado for a week of mission work, worship and so much more!

Please join us for a youth-led worship service (in the park) at 10AM on Sun July 11th. There will be food & fellowship to follow. Join us at Antelope Park here in Lincoln.

Please continue to pray for each of the youth - that they will continue to be grounded in and challenged by Christ to 'Do Hard Things.'

Good Night,

That's A Wrap - Seriously!

We're on our way home after a week in Estes.

As I mentioned earlier - over 600 hours of service provided to the community of Estes.

Yesterday we had a free day for the youth to hangout and relax. We headed into Downtown Estes for part of the afternoon so the youth could shop/walk around and visit Laura's (a fudge shop); and the Shirt Shack. Then we took them out to Poppy's for dinner - seems to be our tradition.

Well, after a long week I think the youth are ready to head home and get a good nights sleep in their own beds. We're all looking forward to watching the youth continue to grown and be challenged as they return to their lives at home. Continue to pray for them as they step out in faith to do the hard things God has called each of them to.


Friday, July 2, 2010

It's my Free Day and I'll do what I want to!

The youth are all out enjoying their free day. Many are hiking or playing volleyball. They'll have one final small group this afternoon and we'll head to town for some hang time.

Meanwhile the youth leaders are beginning to wrap things up and get what we can packed and prepared for tomorrow's departure.

At this time we're planning to be on the road no later than 8:30 mountain time. We're shooting to be back to Lincoln between 6 & 7 PM -- BUT PLEASE FOLLOW US ON TWITTER/FACEBOOK for up-to-date ETA's from the road tomorrow.

Have a fantastic Friday and we'll see you all soon!

Seriously His,

Final work day

We finished our work week this afternoon with three different work sites - 1/2 the group worked at a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood while the other 1/2 worked on various tasks at the fair grounds. After lunch we all headed to Wind River Ranch - a Christian Dude Ranch and helped them get several projects finished and some started.

The team put in over 600 man-hours this week at work sites - believe me the community of Estes is thankful for all of the hard work and service done this week.

We closed out our night with some awesome worship planning (join us 10am on July 11th for worship in the park at Antelope Park). & an amazing campfire! Great sharing and worship once again.

Tomorrow is our free day - a time for the youth to relax, celebrate and have some fun before heading home. We'll be hanging out at the Y-camp until mid-afternoon and then we'll hit up downtown Estes for some shopping, and dinner at Poppy's.

Have a great night & we'll talk again soon!