Archive

Archive for the ‘ministry’ Category

Through…

July 29, 2013 3 comments

website_out_of_businessI’m through. Finished. Stick a fork in me, I’m done-zo… I’m done with anything other than the grace of God. Through with anything other, anything less than the grace based message of the gospel.

If you’re preaching/teaching/espousing keeping the Law, grace for salvation/performance for the Christian life, “being careful” with grace, or “balancing” grace and law, or if you like to use the phrases “hyper-grace” and “cheap grace” – if your focus is on what we do rather than what God has done – I’m not reading your books, listening to your messages or coming to your Bible studies anymore. I don’t dislike you or think I’m better than you – truth is, I love you now more than I ever have – but I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve got years of neglecting grace to make up for…

So I’m through judging and condemning people just because they don’t believe like I believe in every point of doctrine – or don’t do church, or worship, or dress, or vote like I do.

I’m praying every day for Christ to live in me, as me, through me, and to help me love and give and serve others – to make me a dispenser as well as a receiver of his grace – to make me a curator of the grace mojo for a world in need.

I know it won’t be easy. Doing the right thing seldom is. I’m sure I will have to get up, dust off my hands and knees and start again many, many times. But that’s the beauty of grace – there’s always a do over, always another chance, and always the assurance that my imperfect obedience is not a deal breaker.

I plan to spend the rest of my years in ministry proclaiming versions of the theme, “God loves you and wants you to be with him.”

I invite you to join me on this journey into the heart of God. Let’s do the grace walk together and illustrate for the world what biblical words like “love,” “forgiveness,” “acceptance,” “mercy,” and “kindness,” really mean.

Categories: grace, ministry

Block-busted

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Not too many years ago, Blockbuster was king of the hill in video movie and game rental.  The company, founded in Dallas in 1985, grew by leaps and bounds, swallowing up smaller companies and a few larger ones too.  Every Friday night all over the country the multitudes went to Blockbuster to get set for weekends filled with movies and gaming.  And then on Monday’s they trudged back – most of them anyway.  Plenty of them didn’t manage to make it back until later on Monday or even Tuesday – and paid fees that were pure profit for the company.

In case you missed it, last week Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection. It was not a huge surprise – it had been rumored for months.  The company has been on the skids for awhile.

So what happened?  In my opinion, Blockbuster either ignored or was ignorant of the fact that the way people bought and watched movies and played video games was changing.  First GameFly, then Netflix delivered the goods to your door, you kept them as long as you liked, then sent them back – no late fees, no trips to the video store.  Netflix caught and past Blockbuster in total rentals in less than two years.  Digital content streaming – something Netflix has pounced on – also caught Blockbuster sleeping.  Their troubles mounted when RedBox made it even simpler and cheaper to rent a movie.

Blockbuster didn’t go down without a fight – They started their own online rental/video-to-your-door service, but it cost more than Netflix and was more complicated than it needed to be.  Lately in our area, I’ve seen “Blockbuster Express” kiosks around – but I haven’t seen anybody using them.

The bottom line is that Blockbuster continued to run their business like it was 1985 for far, far too many years after that.

Is there a lesson for the church in all this?  I think so.  Blockbuster, Netflix, RedBox all have the same “message” – movies on video to watch at home.  Netflix and RedBox have figured out “methods” that reach the people they want to reach.

No big original revelation here – just the reality that while the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ NEVER changes, the methods used to gain a hearing for that message, for communicating that message, MUST change.  There is tension in trying to communicate an eternal message using temporal means, but unless we want to end up even more marginalized, bankrupt and ineffective, we must find a way to walk out that tension with integrity.

This is not a stump speech for one particular “style” of doing church.  I bet I repeat Rick Warren’s words a dozen times every week: “It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.” But unless a church understands how people receive, process, and respond to the messages they receive, and communicates accordingly – no one is reached.

And that is far worse than bankruptcy.

Categories: business, change, church, ministry

Breaking out of the walls

October 11, 2009 2 comments

It was a cold and dreary Sunday morning – but the Son was about to shine! Our second annual “Sunday of Service” joined us with churches around the nation to break out of the walls and take the church to the streets. We were hit hard by sickness and the cold weather didn’t help – but an amazing number of folks showed up in work clothes to labor for our neighbors:

  • A big “KUDOS” to the Friction youth group, who braved the elements to do another free carwash along the main highway through town.
  • Another crew collected bags of food for the local food pantry.
  • The “Trash Collectors” picked up litter along the highway, Main St., and in the downtown area.
  • One of our “skill teams” finished some plumbing work for an older couple in a neighboring town.
  • The “Paint Crew” worked on painting two senior citizens apartments.
  • The “Running Rakers” roamed the town looking for yards to rake.
  • A group of our younger children and adults visited the nursing homes, taking flowers and visiting with residents.

And let me tell you a little more about one of our projects… Bill is in his eighties, lives in assisted living. His wife is in a nursing home. Due to health issues and some other factors, Bill’s property had fallen into disrepair, particularly the yard. The situation came to our attention because Bill’s insurance agent is a member of our church – the insurance company was threatening to cancel the coverage on Bill’s property if something was not done. We agreed to take the project on. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a true “before” picture – but I’m a witness that it was pretty unbelievable. Picture #1 below is AFTER about 20 hours of work had already been done prior to this morning.

#1

#1

091

099102

12 of our folks worked on the property today and about 20 people total have put some time in there.

A few blessings of the day: The lady whose yard was raked, who with tears in her eyes (and after being told that she could not pay for the work), exclaimed, “There are still good people in this world!” The lady at the nursing home who was so overcome with joy by the visit that she began to weep, and another who gave away some of her stuffed animals to the children. The opportunity to invite dozens of people to church.

We do this – not because we want to be a “cool” church, or get our names in the paper – but because the church has developed a reputation of being “takers” rather than givers. We want to help change that in our community. The effects and benefits go far beyond a single Sunday – our folks now actively look for ways to help people year round. We are creating a culture of servanthood that will do more to spread the good news of Jesus than anything else.

Praise be to God for letting us be part of it!

Skipping Stones 08.02.09

August 3, 2009 Leave a comment

skipping-stonesThoughts bounce like tiny, flat pebbles across the pond in my head…

Haven’t done one of these in a while – but it feels good getting back in the saddle…

  • Sunday was a near perfect Indiana summer day – low 80’s, and just a few puffy white clouds dotting a brilliant blue sky.
  • Our worship team always handles any curveball that gets thrown at them – you all did a great job yesterday!
  • We’ve had such strong attendance all summer, no slump!  It was great to see some folks who’d been away awhile, and to have some returning guests.
  • We finished out the “Operating System – How the Christian Life is Supposed to Work” message series talking about the Spirit’s work in our lives: He works best in our areas of weakness; He works by rooting out the lies we believe and replacing them with God’s Truth; and his final product is us looking like Jesus.  The boxed sets will be available next week, and you can always listen online – click the link: Jubilee Messages Online
  • New message series begins August 16th – “Universal – the Gospel for Everybody”
  • This Sunday is Baptism Sunday – we currently have 12 baptismal candidates.  If you are one of those folks: remember to get your information sheets turned in, and be here at 9:30 AM next Sunday.  It’s going to be an AMAZING day!
  • This month I will begin a year long coaching network with Nelson Searcy, pastor of The Journey in New York City.  I’m very excited to have this chance to “sharpen the saw” and be better equipped as a leader as our church moves into the future.  We continue to gain momentum, and I don’t want my weak spots and areas of inexperience to get in the way of what could be accomplished in this community.  I truly believe God is going to take us places we’ve never been before – add to that the fact that we have to “re-build the boat while we’re on the water,” and leadership development becomes critical.  Many thanks to the elders for approving my participation in this network.
  • Sunday, August 16th is “100% Sunday.” I hope you’re inviting everyone you know with a Jubilee connection – former members, attendees, children of members, ANYBODY who’s ever driven by the building… We’re looking for this to be a time of re-connecting and renewing.
  • Exiting things coming up soon: The New Testament Challenge, our 2nd annual Sunday of Service… By God’s grace, and by His power, we ARE changing the world from this cornfield!

That’s all for now.  Have a great day!

Skipping Stones 06.14.09

June 15, 2009 2 comments

skipping-stonesThoughts bounce like tiny, flat pebbles across the pond in my head…

  • We had a nice day weather-wise – it’s going to get hot, y’all!  You can feel the temps starting to creep up.
  • We’ve had such strong attendance – I’m not even going to say the “S” words ( they rhyme with “bummer jump”).  Always good to have first time and returning guests.
  • Worship band did a good job, even with some schedule challenges they had to overcome.  I appreciate those guys and their dedication and hard work.  They are not performers – they are “lead worshippers” and for that we’re thankful!
  • I’m loving “One Prayer”!  We had a great start last week with Steven Furtick, and this week Francis Chan hit a homer with his message, “God is… Strength.” I’ve been excited about it for a couple of weeks – this truth that our God is supremely strong, and that His strength (not ours) should be reflected in what we do and how we do ministry – and it was great to see other people “get it” too.
  • Quote of the day for me was Francis Chan quoting J. Vernon McGee: “God created the universe, and He does things His way.  You may have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.”
  • We were excited and encouraged to see 9 people step forward to “officially” become members of Jubilee!
  • Bible Beach Club is just a week away!  We’re excited about this outreach to our community and the children.  Yes, “The Challenge” still stands: If we get 100 kids here on a single day, I will kiss a pig on Friday. Click HERE to register your child.
  • We’ll also be back at the 4-H Fair in July, passing out ice cold bottled water.  Watch for more details.
  • This week I’m re-reading an old favorite, Grace Walk by Steve McVey, as part of my preparation for an upcoming message series.  God used that book 15 years ago to drive me deeper into grace and to produce in me a commitment to preach and teach the grace message for as long as I have the privilege of being in ministry.  Grace Walk still resonates with me in a major way, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.
  • Our “One Prayer” message this Father’s Day Sunday is Craig Groeschel  preaching, “God is… Father.”
  • Speaking of Father’s Day, you don’t want to miss our worship service!  We’ve got some special surprises in store for our dads that day.

That’s it for now.  Have a great day!

Come As You Are

May 14, 2009 2 comments

church clothesCan church really be “come as you are?”

One of the favorite questions I am asked is “Can I wear jeans to your church?” Even though I think that’s like asking “Can I breathe air at your church?”, I try to remember to be gracious enough to just say, “Sure you can!”

The “how-do-I-dress-for-church” issue points to a divide between what the church is really like and what people think it’s like.  I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe that most, and I’m thinking a majority here, of churches today would welcome a person no matter what they’re wearing.

So yeah, at Jubilee our dress code is “Please do. Wear clothes.”  On a typical Sunday at Jubilee, a wide variety of styles can be found: people dressed in jeans and t-shirts, khakis and button-downs, shorts and flip-flops, dresses and ties (one recent Sunday, THREE men had on ties – sure it was 3 out of about 120, but still…).  Here’s the deal for us, we care more about people than what they’re wearing.  So come as you are, wear what you have, and don’t give it a second thought.

But “come as you are” also means more than how you’re dressed…

Somehow the idea has gotten around that church is for “good people,” people who have their lives together, who don’t have any real problems, or who aren’t facing any real issues.  Some people think they can’t go to church because they’re just not good enough.  With all respect to those who think that way, the good news is that nothing could be further from the truth!

The church is THE place for hurting people, needy people, people who have dug themselves into a deep hole, and people who are facing scary, messed up situations!  At Jubilee we offer love, acceptance, and forgiveness to EVERYONE, regardless of who they are or what they’ve done.

We want to be the place people turn to when they need help and hope for their life circumstances.  We won’t judge you, embarrass you, or make an example of you.  We WILL share the truth with you – The truth about a God who feels your pain and longs to bridge the gap between you and Him… The truth about a God who really does want to walk with you through the storms you face… The truth about a God who is bigger and better and closer than we dare to believe… the truth about a God who loves you so much, He would send His only Son to die for you.

At Jubilee, you’re welcome “just as you are” – jeans, junk, and all.

Skipping Stones 04.12.09

April 13, 2009 1 comment

skipping-stonesThoughts bounce like tiny, flat pebbles across the pond in my head…

  • What an AMAZING day!  The weather was absolutely beautiful!
  • We got started early at the Community Sunrise Service.  Dave Kitchel and the Flora Community Choir did an excellent job helping us welcome the day with worship.
  • I’m so glad we decided to put every chair we had in the sanctuary – the placed was packed!  
  • That coffee brewing in the lobby as we came in today smelled SO GOOD!
  • Worship band flat KICKED IT today!  The extra singers on the stage added so much – thanks Michelle, Mike and Jim!
  • We had tons of first time guests – and if any of you are reading this, yeah, pretty much every Sunday is like that.
  • Kicked off new message series, “The God Questions” answering the most important question, “Is God for real?”  We managed to have some fun with a serious, and potentially “dry” subject – I don’t think folks will ever look at bananas, pop cans or alarm clocks again without thinking about the God who is crazy in love with them.
  • Reading through the Connect Cards and so blessed to see how many people indicated that their “next step” was “Trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”  AMEN!
  • Quote of the day from one who came down front for ministry: “I’m scared to death, but I’ve GOT to take this step of faith!”  THAT, my friends, is why we do like we do…
  • Larry Osborne’s latest book, “Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe” comes out this week… I’ve pre-ordered mine and it will definitely be added to my list right away – but for now, I’m digging into “It” by Craig Groeschel.  I’m pretty sure our church has “it” but I’m reading to find out for sure…
  • We’re gonna take a few days to catch our breath and de-compress a little, so I won’t mention Bible Beach Club – except to say it’s only 2 MONTHS AWAY!

Have a great week!