After taking a sabbatical from my blog to focus on my new job as the Communications Director at my home church…I will pick up the digital pen once again on January 1, 2017.
Archives For Faith
The new year is almost upon us and another chapter has been written in history. When you look back and reflect on your life, what do you see? What emotions stir in your heart when you think of the choices you made…or didn’t make. For me, 2011 has been a wild ride. It has been bitter-sweet. I love where my life is now, but I do miss where it was…
My family and I have transitioned from a great ministry in Toledo to a new exciting adventure in Indy. In 2011 we added to our quiver, and now with three boys ages 5 and under, it is definitely full…lol. Personally, I made the move from being a full-time pastor at a church to a full-time stay at home dad. I went from just living my life to learning how to share it with others. BUT, reflection is more than just mentally revisiting the timeline of your life, it is about learning from your decisions….good or bad.
One of the joys of the Christmas season is giving. I love to watch as my loved ones open a gift that I picked especially for them. It can warm the heart. I think I am a giver by nature. I love to offer what I can to people, whether it’s time, advice, encouragement, an extra hand to carry the load or a simple gift. It’s just in my DNA…but…sometimes I give, give, give and my tank runs low and I have to stop and just receive.
Let’s be honest. We like to give, but sometimes it’s better, if not necessary, to receive. If we are not careful, we can run our emotional, physical or relational tanks so low that we don’t have anything left to give. So, my Christmas challenge to you is this…
One of the holiday traditions that my boys look forward to is the Toys-R-Us catalog that comes in the mail or newspaper. This is the opportunity that they have to dream big and circle all the things they want for Christmas. They go crazy as they search for the coolest toys and make their picks for Santa. I have to admit that I think I have just as much fun surfing through the pages as they do trying to find a gift that would benefit “the whole family”…or that I could play with too.
This year though, we put a twist on it. This year, we decided that we were going to downsize our gift giving…well actually our receiving. We explained that each member of the family was only going to get three gifts when they woke up for Christmas morning. We want our focus on Christmas not to be about all the toys we can rack up, but rather about three important things that should make Christmas special.
What is it about belief that makes it so powerful? Last night, I watched Tim Tebow as he rallied his team to yet another come-from-behind, overtime victory and thought to myself…WOW…this guy just makes you believe. There is something about him, especially in the fourth quarter or last drive of the game, that just seems to instill belief in those that watch him and those that play alongside him. It’s almost magical.
There are some people, whose very presence, just makes you believe. Imagine if your belief in something was so strong, that you could instill hope and faith in the hearts of those around you. I’m sure you know of a few people like that, but why can’t it be you?
Okay, I admit it. Yesterday during church, the speaker gave a great message to start off the Thanksgiving holiday right, and I “chickened out” during the response time. Maybe it’s because we are new and I am still getting my feet wet, but I decided I would share my response to this message with you guys instead. We read a great passage out of Psalm, which I am sad to say I forgot what exact passage it was…BUT the message stuck, and I memorized half of the whole chapter…it is simply, “His [God’s] love endures forever” no matter what.
At the end, we were asked to fill in the blank to these 3 statements…
How do you shop for a church anyway? My family and I have recently relocated to the Indianapolis area and we have been looking for a new church. The fact that my wife and I have been in full-time ministry for more than 15 years and that I have been on staff at some great churches…I have dreaded this part of our transition since we made our decision to move. It’s hard when your job has been “doing” church and evaluating ministries and churches for years, not to be overly critical when you walk into a “new church.” From the signage, logo, communication pieces, visual elements of worship and the kid/student areas…my mind naturally goes into evaluation mode and “what is wrong” rather than what is good.
In many church circles the word “service” refers to the time during the week when the people come together to worship, listen to a message and try to connect with people that they only see once a week. This ritual is performed methodically week after week, year after year for many Christians that GO TO CHURCH. The “service” if often more about consuming than actually serving. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is a good thing for Christ followers to gather and I echo the Bible’s teaching to meet regularly, BUT the church is not meant to be someplace we GO TO for a service. We are called to BE THE church and serve. We are called to do life together, outside of a Sunday gathering, and BE THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST and serve those in our sphere of influence…just like Jesus did.