What if I told you that on Sunday we had nearly 10 times more people than Scripture says it is necessary for Jesus to show up?   Is that success to you?

Here is what I have discovered in Scripture about what God considers success.

  1. The saving gospel is preached
  2. The gospel is experienced in the observance of the Lord’s supper.
  3. God is worshiped in Spirit and in Truth
  4. People give of their time, talent and treasure in service to God and His Church
  5. The people loved each other and welcomed the stranger

Yeah, we are “successful” in the eyes of God.

Cracked, Chipped and Wholly Loved

Thanks to Cindy for sharing her insights.  Enjoy.

So, I was studying Psalm 100:3 this morning and wanted to share with you what struck me as I did.  Have you ever stopped to think of what it means that God made you?  He made you but not like he poured you into a mold, popped you out the other side and sent you on your way.  Not like that at all.  He crafted you, fashioned you, created you from nothing.  He has touched every piece that makes you, every part of your body, your mind, your personality.  He sculpted you, formed you.  All of the parts of you that you may see as flaws he has given to you and he calls them beautiful.  He has touched those flaws, know them and loves them and wants you draw closer to him in them.  All of the parts of you that you see as less than perfect he has lovingly blessed you with.  You are a one of a kind piece of God created sculpture.  This world may have weathered and worn it and sin may have cracked and chipped it, but the Great Artist has made you to always be his masterpiece.  What an amazing God we have, He fashioned every human this way whether they know it or not.  We, each of us, are His great work.

What’s your church like?

What’s your church like?

This seems like an easy question to answer and yet I always complicate the answer by trying to sound either too dismissive or too spiritual.  “It’s a small church….” or “It’s a place where we connect people with Jesus and each other.”  While both of these statements are true, I think they both miss answering the question.

What is your church LIKE?

My church is like a family dinner.  An unpretentious home-cooked meal with people who love each other, where there is always room at the table for more.  It is a family of people who are diverse in their theology, politics and personalities but who do not allow those things to become roadblocks to connecting with Jesus and each other.  We have crazy “uncles”, shy introverts, obnoxious extroverts and everyone in between.  We are the “Cheers” of churches, where everyone does know your name.

This is what we are like.

The Next Page

this is a picture of the last page in my sermon/prayer journal. In my time as a pastor I have had countless “last page” moments. Some were grateful moments as the journal represented a darker time and some were mournful as the pages of prayer and reflection documented a sweet season with God.  This morning When I flipped to it this morning it was neither sad nor joyful rather it was the feeling of a crossroad. Where will God lead me in the next season?  What will the pages of the next journal detail?

Lent is a time for hopeful introspection, a looking back and a gaze forward.   My prayer is that wherever this next season takes me, I will close that journal having seen Jesus behind me, walking with me and the destination ahead.

Even If…

I flew to Charlotte, NC this morning on a red-eye for my job.  Flying at the “wee-hours” is not something I am used to nor something I enjoy.  Usually when the clock strikes 10 I am a pumpkin.  Needless to say, I found myself walking down the jet-way, shortly after 1AM, feeling the cool of the night air and pondering the typical flying “what-ifs”.  What if the plane breaks apart after take off?  What if there is water landing…over Kansas?  What if I suddenly wake up from my cramped sleep to find myself plummeting to earth?

What if?

Do you live this way?

I was reminded yesterday, in the sermon my mentor gave at our church, that because Jesus was raised from the dead, I don’t have to live the “what-if” life.  Because He is risen (He is risen indeed), I can live the “Even if” life.

Even if the world around me explodes into a million pieces, Jesus conquered death and so will I.

Even if I find myself in a precarious and dangerous situation, I have hope in the one who faced the end of it all and was raised.  So shall I.

Even if I find that most days are ordinary and mundane, “What is sown perishable; what is raised is imperishable.”

Even if….

What do you care?

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. ― Theodore Roosevelt

Jesus teaches us that in concert with a whole-life love for God, love for people is our mission in life.  Too often we get caught up in trying to dump theological information on people  rather than loving them and showing them, through action, the great love of God.

Are you connecting people to Jesus by connecting with them?  Connection is not a surface level, social media driven, passive relationship.  True connection is real life interaction; a caring that brings lives together for the long haul.

When we connect with each other under the banner of the One, who by His grace connects to us to Him, we experience true community and belonging.  Come get connected!

Share this with a friend.


White-Hot Mission

Connecting People with Jesus and Each Other.

For nearly 11 years, our church has operated under the same basic mission statement.  Most of all of those who have made Harvest their church home at one point in time can recite it, even if they are no longer active attenders.  It occurred to me though that while many could repeat it, it does not accurately describe who we are and what we do.  The former mission while biblical and accurate does not describe the church we are today.  So we matched our mission with who we are and what we do.

Harvest connects people with Jesus and each other.

This is who we are and what we do.  We are dedicated to connecting you with the God of all creation, the loving God who sent His Son to live the life we could not, die the death we deserved and rose to give us the life He has.  We are dedicated to connecting you with the body of believers, the body  of Christ, locally, municipally, regionally and globally.  This is who we are and this is what we do.

Connecting you with Jesus and each other.  Come get connected!

Confidence and Sufficiency

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.  Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Today I received my ministerial license from the Evangelical Free Church of America.  The process was a labor of love which has taken the better part of 2 years to accomplish.  As I look at this nice piece of paper and the scripture quote above, I must always remember that my confidence and sufficiency in being a minister of Jesus comes from Him first.  Being recognized by the EFCA is awesome but nothing in comparison to the call from God to be His servant to His people.

Time to get back on mission.

If you post it will they come?

Do you think Jesus’ challenge to James, John, Peter and Andrew at the sea of Galilee to follow Him and become fishers of men translates to the world of social media?

Can we really reduce our relationship building, personal care, active listening and selfless service to a post, a Facebook Ad or a Twitter feed.  Is this really what “Go into all the world…” means?  Too often I am tempted daily to do just that.  It is less messy, less involved and easier to turn off than having relationship with real people, in person.

God forgive me for treating your church like a business or a marketing campaign and for trying to expand your kingdom within the noise of the world.

Who are the people in your neighborhood?

Come on sing it!  “Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhood. In your ney-bor-hooooood ooooh….”
Being a storefront- church means that my immediate neighbors are the other businesses attached to our “mall/movie theatre/building”.  The people who work in these places are the ones we are charged with ministering to.  From the Smoke Shop, to Music Go Round, to Lady Luck Tattoo and Royal Hilltop bar.  These are our neighbors and these are those for whom Christ died.  When you visit them, be kind, generous and ask them how you can pray for them.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus