Innovation and Attitude Change

Last night, I was bathing my four year old when he looked at me with a sad face. He didn’t want to admit that he broke his toy. He does think though that if anything breaks, you can slap some glue on it and fix it. The final analysis proved that glue would not bring his toy motorcycle back to life. He had broken the pin that held the front wheel and handle bars to the body of the bike.

As I explained to him that glue would not help his broken toy, he stared at his broken fun and fell silent. His broken toy broke my heart. It then came to me. Sure, he no longer had a motorcycle but what he did have was a unicycle. I asked him to hand me the rest of the broken motorcycle and I laid it to the side and explained to him out of this broken toy, he now has a new toy.

I dried him off and I grabbed my iPad and quickly opened my YouTube app. I searched frantically praying and hoping that what I was about to show him would satisfy him and excite him for his new toy. I found some cool unicycle freestyle videos and presented them to him. His eyes lit up and he sat still soaking in what he was watching grasping his “new” toy trying to imagine it being able to do the same as what he was seeing in the videos.

He then looked at me and held up his toy saying, “Look Daddy, a unicycle.”

He got it!

Imagine what life would be if we had this same attitude. The broken things in our life can be redeemed to bring us new and different joys. Is there something in your life that you have chalked up as broken and unfixable; marriage, church, work, sports team, family, vehicle, your heart, emotions, life? How can you come from a new angle and find a redeemable quality? It won’t be the same as it was and I would argue it shouldn’t be. To be made new is to bring a freshness, a newness that creates an alteration of attitude.

The greatest redemption ever performed was by Jesus. Jesus exemplified this by taking our broken lives and making them new (2 Corinthians 5:17). This newness brings a new attitude, a freshness of life. Finding redeeming qualities can be life changing.

How can you change your life today?

Oh, and for your entertainment, dig this!

 

 

 

 

9.28.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • When I Think About the Lord – Shane and Shane
  • God Is Able – Hillsong
  • I Stand Amazed – Chris Tomlin
  • There Is None Like You – Lenny Leblanc

Awesome day today. We had guest speaker Clem Ferris in town today. He spoke on the Holy Spirit’s role in mission using Acts 10:38.

We haven’t sang When I Think in a while and I know now why I was impressed to put it into today’s set. It really went well with Clem’s message.

I had intended for Tony to lead a couple of songs today and asked him to sing the middle two songs. He did a great job leading us and allowed me to sing BGV or play a little on the guitar. I had a lot of fun doing that. It’s my bread and butter I think.

We then wrapped it up with the chorus of There Is None Like You. I have been playing this song for years and absolutely love the simplicity of the song as well as the message. During the song, I felt we needed to individually pray so I encouraged everyone to open p their hearts and thank God for whatever they needed to thank him for or ask for faith in areas they need more faith. I thought this also played well into Clem’s message of the Holy Spirit and the power we receive from Him.

Now, two things I’m concerned about today. The Cardinals clenching the Central Division and my homework. It will be a loaded day of busyness.

Why Discipleship

For years, I’ve always felt Church was a place that served for God’s people to gather, worship, attend Sunday School, Main Service, Discipleship Service on Sunday night and Wednesday night service. It facilitated conversation and worship. It aided in gathering because if a person that wasn’t of faith wanted to meet someone who was of faith, they knew where to go on Sunday morning. It made God and the Christian easy to find.

But recently I’ve been challenged with the primary roll of the Church. Thanks to my classes at GCD, my pastor (professor), authors such as Thom Rainer, Tim Catchim, Alan Hirsch, and Mike Breen, my view on the roll of Church has changed. What I used to think was a central figure in the life of the Christian is now a come-and-see, event driven, program packed, misguided attention grabber.

So if meeting religiously (pun intended) is creating culture christians and consumerists of God, then what can we possibly do to change this and why would we want to?

Firstly, we want to change because we are making event disciples. What I mean by that is because of my experience in the church, I can throw a great Sunday morning of three to four songs, fast to slow, announcements, preach a 30-40 minute message, pray, take up offering and send off till next week only to watch those who attended forget 90% of the experience and 99% of the message. I’ve watched those before me perform the event for years. I’ve caught on pretty good.

How do we change making disciples of the event to disciples of Christ?

By taking the message outside of the cyclical production. In Jesus’ Great Commission, he gave us four verbs.

  1. Go
  2. Make Disciples
  3. Baptize
  4. Teach

It may sound cliche but it’s biblical. He told us to go into the world, not build with the expectation that they would come. That’s for the Field of Dreams, not the Church. I’ve been told lately that we were not called to build an event driven church but a deep rooted disciple. Let me say I’m not against the church building. We need a place to meet but I do think that a high investment in the building will cause us to focus on building it bigger rather than utilizing resources to reach people. It could be said that the building is used to reach people but here again I argue that God didn’t call us to build and stay but rather go!

When we go, we have a job to do; make disciples, baptize and teach. We do this in order to make Jesus famous and as we do this, those we teach will go, make disciples, baptizing and teaching and those they teach will do the same carrying further the message of Christ.

Making disciples is rather simple but simple does not always mean easy. It means getting out of our comfort zone and into the comfort zone of others. Making disciples means going where God has already begun a work and getting messy because discipleship is not sexy. It’s work. Kingdom work but still work.

Why discipleship? Because if we love God and His message, why wouldn’t we want to share it and cultivate it in others? Why discipleship? Because God told us it’s the way his message will permeate hearts (Romans 10:17).

That’s why.

 

 

 

9.21.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Not To Us – Chris Tomlin
  • Cornerstone – Hillsong
  • God of This City – Chris Tomlin

Today’s Worship Rewind will be slightly different because I didn’t play on the worship team rather I brought the message. I was really able to connect with God during the music this morning. I cried but what’s new right? I thought Tony did a great job leading us yet I also challenged him to be a little more aggressive in the sense that he knows he’s just not singing a song but actually connecting our church with our Lord and Savior.

I got the opportunity to share with our church how my wife and I will be leaving soon to go back to our hometown to plant a very grassroots, organic church. In other words, we’re going to infiltrate our neighborhood and hold church in our living room. We will be so under the radar most people will not know our church exists other than the ones we have connected with.

I’m excited about this new venture that we are taking and quite frankly, can’t wait to get back to start. It’s rather bittersweet because again, we will be leaving a church and people we truly love but I know that we are not far away to visit as well as leaving is never saying goodbye, just a see ya later.

Today’s message was very real and personable. I didn’t try to make it polished. I just wanted to talk with my church family. That’s just what I did. I did go a little long but for the first time, it didn’t bother me because I really needed to say what I did. I love the idea of speaking to our church family without feeling like I have to be a professional speaker. I just spoke like I would if we were all sitting in a coffee house having a simple conversation. Felt liberating to do so.

This week, I’ll share a short version of what I said today.

9.14.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Here For You – Matt Redman
  • Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin
  • Because Of Who You Are – Martha Munizzi

Amazing day at GraceLife today. We had a panel discussion with Pastor Carlo, Tim Catchim, and Tony Stefko about “Life on Mission.” I soaked in every word and took lots of notes.

  • Tim Catchim functions as a multi-vocational entrepreneur. He has started several business, to include a curbside recycling business, a Go Green Initiative, as well as Generate: A Coaching and Consultancy practice for church planters and start up businesses. He has also been instrumental in the start up phases of several non-profits.
  • Tony Stefko is the lead pastor at Quad 4 Church, a missional community in Clarksville Tn.

Singing wise, we had an awesome moment of worshiping God in music. I was blown away at the response through music. The place sounded amazing listening to a crowd of worshipers singing loud. Mostly, what touched me most was during the song Whom Shall I Fear. I looked over and saw my buddy’s very young daughter singing with her eyes closed and I had to back away from the mic and began to cry (just a little). It was such an innocent expression from a young girl sing to her God that she has no one to fear. what a moment.

It had been a while since we sang Because Of Who You Are and thought today was a great day to dust it off and sing it again. we could have stayed in the moment but I knew we had a lot to discuss and I didn’t feel we needed to extend worship. But it was really a great moment of worship this morning. I believe God spoke from the music and the message from what I heard from folks after we dismissed.

I love my church but I can’t wait to get back to my hometown and begin the work of building a missional community in Lewisburg, GraceLife Lewisburg.

Maybe He Can

“Maybe Jesus can gather them all up and put them back together.”

This is what my four-year old said as we were driving away from our family reunion Saturday upon seeing all the leaves falling off the trees due to the storm coming through.

We all go through “storms” in our life and it feels like all the pieces are falling apart due to the torrential winds that accompany the storm. Winds of doubt, shame, fear, anger, pride, hurt, disease, pain, struggles or stress begin to pick up and it feels like life really isn’t worth living so let the winds just tear it all down and when the storms pass, we will just try to rebuild.

Loss of hope discourages us from even fighting. What’s the point. It will all crumble anyway. It won’t be like it was. It will never be the same. Trust has been broken. Faith has been stolen. There’s no chance of reconciliation.

But I don’t believe it has to be that way. God is a God of redemption. He redeemed the fall of Adam and Eve. He redeemed Abram after the terrible choice to sleep with Hagar. He redeemed the man of Moses after murder and escape. He redeemed Jacob, Hosea, Peter and Paul. He took moments that felt like a complete disaster and made them a talking point of redemption that would bring Him glory.

Maybe (no, more than likely) what you’re going through can be redeemed if God can have anything to do with it. Because in Him is hope, faith, redemption and newness of life. You’re not a total loss. We are not a total loss.

With all these pieces laying on the ground after a marital fight, divorce, loss of a job, homelessness, addiction, sexual confusion, car accident, cancer, disease, or mental issues such as depression, anxiety,  PTSD and so much more, there is a name greater than the name of your fear. That name is Jesus.

Can He pick them up and put them back together. Maybe He can. I’m sure He can.

9.7.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Today Is The Day – Lincoln Brewster
  • Mission’s Flame – Matt Redman
  • No Turning Back – Chris Tomlin

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been at church due to ministry responsibilities and a family vacation so it was good to be back at GraceLife to see everyone and lead worship.

Back at the start of summer, we took a lot of the band off the stage due to a) doing something different and b) we meet in a gym so we wanted to see the dynamic differences in volume. Today, we brought the drums back but scaled them down significantly. We only had a snare, kick and high hats and it proved to sound great and enough not to wash out the lyrics.

Someone asked me the other day how our church was doing. I mentioned that GraceLife is growing. Growing not just numerically but spiritually which is more important. I can see that as we sing. Folks are engaging more and more and I believe when people begin to realize that worship is a way of life and the singing is a form of prayer in song then we begin to tangibly see lives being changed because the fruit of change is an outward expression of what God is doing on the inside. This was evident today as we sang. That blesses me.

Pastor Carlo shared with us a new vision for the church really stressing life on mission. Instead of being a consumer at church we should be contributors and live a life on mission to reach people in our rhythms of life with the gospel of Christ. Next week, we get to have a panel discussion of what that looks like and in a couple of weeks, I get to share our vision of what GraceLife Lewisburg will look like. It’s going to be a great month.

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