Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Narrow Way

Christmas is a reminder about what the Bible calls the narrow way to eternal life; aka: heaven. It's really offensive to those who would rather blaze their own trail... but the offer is still on the table for even those people while they still have breath in their lungs. Congress proclaimed Christmas a federal holiday (Holy Day) in 1870. As a nation we have chosen to take a day off of work to commemorate the birth of the narrow way; aka Jesus Christ. Pastor Stephen Furtick has written a short article with good insight on the narrow way Jesus saw the world. Read it here.

I haven't read his book yet... but I'm going to soon. I'm sure it's great. Look at all the positive reviews it has on amazon:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Evil & Sin

I am reading Doctrine by Mark Driscoll. Here is a great summary paragraph of four essential Biblical truths on evil and sin:

1. God is fully and continually all-powerful.
2. God is altogether good and there is no evil in him whatsoever.
3. Evil and sin really do exist.
4. Sinners are fully responsible for their sin.

I think if God did not author the Bible at least one of these four truths would be omitted. That way we could either keep a handle on God or our sin problem. Since I can not do either I'll raise a white flag of surrender and rely on God's solution to sin. Mary delivered a baby in a dirty manger and that baby delivers sinners from the wages of their dirty sin. Hmm... that's the true meaning of Christmas!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Currently Reading

I am currently reading a book titled: "How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex" by Stan and Brenna Jones. If you are a parent this is a must read. It will help you have the 'sex talk' with your kids and will guide you on what to say at the right time. There is a series of smaller books (yellow, red and green books below) that you can read to your children beginning at age three. I'm reading them to mine. It's important that my kids learn about the specific details of human sexuality from me and my wife BEFORE the other kids in their elementary schools. And yes, this is a hot topic amongst kids... I remember kids talking about it when I was in Kindergarten and 1st grade. I know this well because I was one of the kids bringing it up.

The importance of this topic stared me in the face today. On the cover of a local Azusa newspaper is a picture of a room full of teen (14-19 year old) moms. I applaud them for their courage in taking on the challenge of being a single parent and rejecting abortion but I bet most of them would prefer a different context for their baby. Our kids are being sold a ridiculous lie from our culture and they are buying it at an alarming rate. Just last week I was volunteering in a 1st grade class. A girl said as a joke after eating pancakes, "My tummy is so full! I have a baby in there." A boy in her class said, "No you're not. You need a boyfriend." I was floored.

This is a topic you need to address with your kids. Yes you will open up a flood gate of questions that might make you feel uncomfortable BUT as a parent you must equip your kids with a healthy and moral view of sex. There is too much at stake here. There are executives making six figures in media offices coming up with powerful and creative ways to tell your kids to become sexually active. Our media talks about sex A LOT!!! Every time the media addresses this topic there is a principle being sold to your kids. Parents must combat these unhealthy messages with continuous positive ones. Saying nothing is wrong. These books can help. I bought them and they're worth every penny.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Recruiting New Volunteers

[Please don't tell anybody in my church that I use this strategy. :) ]

I have learned and used this principle over the last couple years. I have always struggled to 'sell' any volunteer opportunities that have a long time commitment. So I started doing something new a couple years ago and have had more success. The best way to recruit new volunteers is to not recruit new volunteers. :)

If I know of a potentially great youth volunteer I won't even mention volunteering. Even hinting at a time commitment is something I stay FAR away from. BUT I will ask if he/she can come and help do X at our Youth Ministry one time. Often the conversation might be, "Hey Jim, can you come and help set up some equipment on Wednesday night? My regular guy is away and I could use you to fill in." Jim is way more likely to say "yes" to this question compared to this one: "Hey Jim, I think you'd be a great youth leader. Would you consider joining our team?" That's way too big of a sell.

One night + easy service opportunity = Very easy sell.

Then, if I felt Jim had a great time and we enjoyed having him, I may ask him to come back again another time. After that I may go in for the "kill" (ask for longer commitment). But that ask is always after he has had a couple times to experience our ministry. Let the Youth Ministry sell itself by getting Jim there once.

The principle:
Never sell a commitment without a context.

Get your whole team doing this and watch your new potential volunteers come to you!

Have you struggled to sell a commitment?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Finally, a new Post!!!

Wow!!! It's been like 8 months since I've blogged... it's good I don't do this for a living or I'd be broke! ;) My family has been on quite the journey over the past 9 months and we are so thankful for where we have landed. In February I transitioned away from a North Point strategic partner church in Ventura County to a 113 year old "church plant in the making" in the San Gabriel Valley. This transition came with many challenges including transitioning away from an amazing church planting team, 2.5 month commute of 90 miles one way, moving away from great friends, moving our kids to a different school, being forced into short-selling our home (and trashing our credit!) and living in an extremely small apartment. It has not been the easiest year. On top of all that, this summer Shanna had a miscarriage in her 7th week of pregnancy. (Heaven will be that much sweeter because when we get there we'll get to meet our third child!)

BUT I sit here tonight with huge appreciation for God never leaving us or forsaking us this year. He has blessed us beyond what we deserve with new friends, an amazing staff team focused on transforming our community, a loving church family, an amazing house that we moved into this past week and the opportunity to live closer to our family.

This morning I had the privilege of preaching my first sermon at Christ First Baptist Covina. I am the worship leader at our modern service so I was out of my element without my guitar and more than a little nervous. The passage was Phil 2:3-8 and the topic was serving with humility. Humility is an interesting concept. Not something you'd think you should pursue. It's not very humble to stand before people and inform them that you are humble. BUT the bible does speak to our responsibility to pursue humility in the way we live.

James 4:10 "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

We are given a specific description of how to pursue humility here:

2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

In what ways can you consider others better than yourselves?

Monday, January 18, 2010

"His Energy"

I've been camped in the book of Colossians lately. A verse I've been thinking a lot about is 1:29. "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me."

All His energy.

What does that mean... what does that mean to you? I think it's a phrase that points out an important fact. It's a fact that some of us recognize and some not. When was the last time you sat in a quiet room with little to no ambient noise? What did you hear? If you're reading this, and I'm assuming alive, I know you heard at least two things. You heard your heart beating and your lungs breathing. Did you will that to happen? Nope. It's your creator who causes you lungs to fill with life giving oxygen and your heart to continually pump that oxygen rich blood through your body. That's "His energy"!

Be still and know that Christ is your energy. Start your day with that understanding. Take that first step out of bed and each following step acknowledging that God is with you and will never forsake you and longs to give you the desires of your heart as you serve Him. Knowing it's His energy I pray you'd have a heart for what God has a heart for... loving and serving those around you proactively and praying they end up asking you what the source of your energetic service originates.