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Attending Church

Most of us, in a regular and personal pattern, have the part of Church attendance confidently mastered. Our Butt in seat, smile on our face. It’s, for sure not wrong to have such a pattern. I personally think it has worked for the Church over the past 20 years or so. I think everything has phases. I’m curious to know what will happen to the Church, that has as their key strength, a focus on pretty much only Church attendance. Those who don’t attend Church look at that pattern and see Church people show up, talk to their friends, sing some songs and take notes as they learn from what they are sitting and watching. Repeat next Sunday. Those who don’t attend Church truly believe they do the same thing, just not on a Church campus or building. They show up to their local hang out, like a great coffee shop. They talk to their friends, listen and even sing some songs playing over the speaker system. They take notes as they surf the internet looking for information, current stories, and realistically get more information through 30 minutes of web surfing than they would listening to one speaker make at least 3 points. Repeat at least twice a week. They could argue that they are more productive in accomplishing more while at a coffee shop, doing the same things Church people do, when attending Church.

I’m not being cynical or rude, just wanting to converse on this subject. Don’t be offended. I think Church Services will continue in the phase they are in. The more we try to do Church differently, the more we realize Church is the same and has been the same. Church really hasn’t changed much…even from Jesus’ day around 2000 years ago. Church is Church. Always will be. It’s a good thing.

But…Some things…some very little tweaks…could make a big difference in the mentality of those outside the Church, watching us and wondering if its worth it, to even show up some Sunday and try it.

Church Attender…Showing up and taking notes isn’t your job. Its your practice. Its your good habit. Keep it up. While you do this weekly practice, please don’t forget your job. Your job, while completing your weekly practice, is to surprise and delight others that are around you, while you honor God, who lives in you. Your job is to raise the bar of personal encounter, open your circle of friends so that there is a space where you surprise and delight a stranger because you invited them to fill the space, yet never closing the circle. That job cycle must never end. Your job is to create encounters with people who have expectations of what their experience will be while attending a Church service. Your job is to shatter their low expectations with your love and verbal curiosity about who they are. Your job is to make your spiritual leaders so grateful that they have people like you teaming up with them to impact lives and work hard in Church. Do your job and the eyes of the Lord will lock in on you and you will be proven as faithful. That’s your job. That our job.

Just attending is overrated. Necessary, but not nearly what you ultimately desire.
I can’t wait for Sunday.

Church Planting Sequel

Do you remember the old Whitesnake song “Here I Go Again”? It was a #1 hit song. Originally released on their 1982 album, Saints & Sinners, the song was re-recorded for their 1987 album Whitesnake. In 2006, the 1987 version was named the 17th Greatest Song of the 1980s by VH1.

The Lyrics resonate with me as I venture into what will be my 2nd Church plant. Some of the Lyrics go like this…my comments are in parenthesis.

I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been. (Steve Jobs said, we cannot connect the dots looking forward, only looking back.)
Hanging on the promises in the songs of yesterday (Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Amazing Grace, How great thou art, The Old Rugged Cross.)
And I’ve made up my mind (I’m planting a church again. The first one was amazing, I have no idea how this 2nd one will turn out.)
I ain’t wasting no more time (I’ve been side-lined for more than a year now. Its time to do what God has created me to do, plant a Church)
Here I go again, here I go again (Yep…but the “I” should be a “we.” I can’t do this on my own. Its not mine, its the Lord’s. I want to include people from all around the world who will invest their time, talent and treasure in this church plant. What do you have that you would like to invest in this specific work of the Lord’s?)

There are so many unknowns in the future. I know this Church plant will come with some criticism, but we must move forward. There are thousands…no… millions of people who are far from God that if any Christ centered church out there doesn’t reach them, they will spend eternity is the most formidable and tormenting place ever in existence, Hell. The Church shouldn’t criticize each other. We shouldn’t compete against each other, we should celebrate our differences and march together as the body of Christ. We should complete each other.

So many people think the church is the most segregated organism on the planet. Some would “prove” this by saying that whites go to one church, blacks to another, hispanics go one way, Asians another and right on down the skin color chart….and then they’ll prove their segregation comments further by saying, the youth go to one place, the children to another, men this way, women that way, divorcees here, young couples there, senior somewhere else. This “glass half-empty” mentality says that these facts show that the current church is all a great tragedy.

I’m a “glass half full” mentality kind of guy. I agree with the description above, but I do not see it as segregation. I see it as the body of Christ and just as a heart goes one place, the lungs go to another, the toes, the head, the fingers, the kidneys, the eyeballs, the elbows, the knees….

I think the church is the most strategically located entity in the world. It has diversity that reaches to the ends of the earth. IT TAKES ALL KINDS TO REACH ALL KINDS! “Birds of a feather, flock together! Every color, race, tribe and misfit has a place in the body of Christ. A.K.A…THE CHURCH! If it is an organism that believes that Jesus Christ is THE way, THE truth, THE life…then it is a unified, universal, un-defeatable body that is a giant, beautiful, imperfect, spectacular….CHURCH! It isn’t tragic that we are spread out all over the world in like groups…its miraculous and beautiful.

I love the Church…even when her dirty laundry is hanging out for all the world to see. I love the Church. Even in it’s worst form…its beautiful!

That’s why I’m starting a brand new one in Orlando Florida…in a suburb called Oviedo.
I don’t know how it will turn out, but I give this one promise…
I’m going to love joining with a group of people who want to make a dent in this crazy world…where we team together complimenting each other with our different strengths, talents, and spiritual gifts. My greatest passion in life is helping you be successful by leading you to understand your purpose by helping you understand your giftedness that the Lord has blessed you with and then challenging you to storm the gates of Hell at all costs! I’ll storm them with you!

Its going to be an unforgettable, eternal journey.

To God Be The Glory…Great Things He Hath Done…

Here we are Lord…Use us!

What Lies Beneath?

Do you remember the movie “What Lies Beneath” with Harrison Ford? Scary! Every one of us have something that lies beneath our surface. It is so important to understand what it is in your own life that motivates you. These things lying under our surface are our ultimate motivators. There are so many metaphors I could use. (Getting under the hood, the gas in your tank, what floats your boat) If you can think of others post them in the reply section!

I wrote out a quote several years ago. The quote is inspired by many different people that have impacted my life, for good and bad, and caused me to think deeper than just the obvious surface level.

The quote; “My dreams and goals are only the surface level of my deeper heart’s desire. I may find tragedy in the pursuit of my dreams or goals because that is how God gets us to submit to Him and allows us to expose the real motivations of our hearts desire.”

Think with me here for a minute. If you are a parent and you know what your teenage son’s grandest dream is…would you be doing anything good for your son if you just granted the dream for your child. No effort, no practice, no sweat equity. Just gave them the dream. You and I both know that it wouldn’t be good if we did. I suppose we can see it in the professional sports world. How many 20 something athletes do we see flounder when they were given a multi-million dollar contract?

I have personally seen it in “Church-World.” I have caused it in church world. I have personally given too much “power” to people because I hired them to be on my church staff when previously they had really done very little before. I can personally vouch that every time I did this…it backfired on me and them and the church.

Greatness is better earned.
Influence is better earned.
Wealth is better earned.

I’m getting off track here…To get to the point on this…I think we have to get back to the question of “WHY” is it you want what you want? WHY?

Why do you want to lose weight?
Why do you want to be the boss of your company?
Why won’t you ask for help in accomplishing that goal?
Why won’t you delegate some of your work?
Why won’t you give?
Why do you want to win first place in that competition?
Why do you want to use surgery to change your body?
Why do you want to speak badly about that person?
Why do you want to gain more friends this year?
Why do you want that tattoo?
Why do you want a different spouse?
Why do you want that house/car/motorcycle/etc?
It is the magic question.
Get to the magic answer…come to grips with it….then I think you will see God begin to help you achieve your desires.

God does want you to live a full life. God does want you to enjoy life. God can give you more than than you ever dreamed of.

God is waiting on you to be truthful with yourself as to WHY you want what you want.
I wonder how many people think that they are waiting on God for things to happen….when in reality….God is waiting on them to deal with what lies beneath.

What is your new goal?