Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

i am sitting here in my chair realizing that even though i ate lunch at 1PM today, there will be no need for dinner. My parents came over, some friends from church came over and it was a relaxed, glorious day.

now, i am watching football and enjoying the evening.

happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

what a sunday

At the end of the service, a friend of mine and attender of new community, came to the stage unannounced and gave a quick snapshot of her experience with death. She described that she died and went to heaven but came back. It was truly an amazing story and most of us in the room were asking a lot of questions after this unplanned spoken word. She explained how "heaven" is right here and that our death is really a step into that reality.

So, let me clarify some things if i may

1. It took great courage to walk up front and share her Personal story with everyone. I talked with her afterwards and let her know she put me in a very awkward and vulnerable position as the leader of new community. As the leader of New Community it is my responsibility to make sure that content shared with the church is scriptural and relevant. Unplanned testimonies take the responsibility out of my hands. I also explained to her that as a staff, we were in the middle of trying to figure out how to protect the stage and group from circumstances like these when someone unannounced walks up. New Community will ask everyone to refrain from this happening in the future and all interviews/testimonies will be pre-determined so that we know what is being said before hand.

2. It was said that "heaven" is right here among us. As we have described many times before, heaven is another dimension. The physical, tangible world we live in is just one dimension of our reality. I think what was being communicated was the fact that the physical and spiritual overlap. We discussed this in July and I would encourage you to listen to those messages from our website. We have also taught that when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he instructed them to ask the father, "may your kingdom (God's space) come, may your will be done on Earth as it is already done in heaven". This paints a picture of those two colliding.

3. As far as her actual experience, we have to trust that the supernatural things that happen as we live here are hard to explain and hard to understand when it is bigger than we can wrap our heads around. New Community doesn't neccessarily have a "position" on Her experience because there are no scriptures to instruct or guide us with this type of thing. Where the scriptures speak, we speak, where the scriptures are silent, we are silent. What I do know is that these types of experiences are happening more and more often as time races on. Our job is to discern what is shared and give God the glory for what he is doing.

Grace and friends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vision coming to life

You know that feeling when something that you have been dreaming about for months finally begins to happen. I am experiencing that right this moment. I am swept up in emotion that is hard to contain because yestereday, 15 volunteers help create a safe place where people could connect to God and each other through Christ.

I cant tell you how awesome it was to actually see a first wall standing in the new building and to leave last night blown away by the fact that our entire preschool area was framed out. Unbelievable!

God is good...God is faithful...and i am thrilled just to be a part of what He is doing @ NC.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Calm before the Storm

This morning, as i sit in my office getting ready to head to the school where we come together as New Community, i realize that my day off from teaching is a blessing. Matthew Steinhour, upcoming sophmore at Johnson Bible College, will be teaching today in my place.

As many of you are aware, we have been raising money to relocate into a 26,000 square foot facility right in the center of West Jackson County. Not only is it the hotspot for commercial and residential growth, everyone knows where this 80 year old building is.

So, today as I rest as a lead communicator, it comes at the perfect time. Because tomorrow the renovation begins and it will be a full out sprint as we manage the build-out and as we lead New Community Church. The calm before the storm is always GREAT and i thank God that we have people at New Community that can stand up and communicate God's love for the world so that i can take a break and rest.

Grace and Peace...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

standing on the edge of something large

One of my favorite Crowder songs is "what a glorious day". the song starts off with these lyrics:

I'm so tired of little gods while standing on the edge of something large
standing here so close to you, i could be consumed...what a glorious day

The last three weeks have been the most intense weeks of my life in my spiritual journey. I have been teaching on Ephesians 6 (armor of God) at New Community. Not your typical mid-summer message series. Instead of dumbing down our teaching and coasting through the summer, we decided to teach some deep, hard stuff to our community. WOW, what an amazing three weeks we shared.

During this series, we have been attacked on every front because of our efforts to push back darkness and bring the truths of the scripture to the forefronts of everyones mind. What is so amazing is that this teaching is a new one for most of our people...and a new teaching/understanding for me as a christ-follower and as a pastor.

God is moving, shaping and forming me in ways that i didnt know was possible. And because of His Spirit living in me and protecting me, i am experiencing new life, new creation, full restoration of who i was meant to be.

Most of my life has been consumed with "little gods". I have always stood on the edge of God's overwhelming power to bring life-change and now i am consumed by Him through Jesus. What a glorious day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

All things new

Every time I look backwards in my life, I think “man did I make some huge mistakes”. Mistakes that could have cost me my life, imprisoned me or even disqualified me from the ministry I was serving in…yes as a pastor…I have screwed up. Shocking isn’t it.

But, as I look at my life currently, I have come down the road and have make progress in my spirituality. I share this to lead in to this idea that through Jesus, all things are new. What I mean is that when we align our lives with Jesus, we are a new creation…the way it has always been playing out.

If you look at history, there seems to be several things at work confirming this idea.

In the beginning, whether you are a creationist or evolutionist, a new thing started we call Earth (new creation) and the cosmos we find ourselves in. On this Earth, humanity came to be and we, as humans, were off and running. At some point, Adam and Eve chose to disconnect themselves from the relationship they had with God. Since then, God has been restoring the relationship with humanity one step at a time.

The first major step was the flood. God in essence had a do over and saved one family, Noah and his children, and began life again. A new start.

Humanity doesn’t take long to recover and God makes a covenant and establishes the Jews as the chosen people of God. Wars, kingdoms and progress move civilization forward and the Jewish people find themselves enslaved in Egypt.

The next person God uses in the restoration project is a guy named Moses. Moses, as uncertain as he was about his leadership, led the Jews out of Egypt at God’s leading and prompting. Again, a new start.

Fast forward to the establishment of the Kings for God’s chosen people. With this comes a new structure for how things are done. The Kings end up being imperfect and God continues to move this restoration project forward.

The prophets begin talking about things to come in the future. They begin describing how things will be when the messiah comes. They paint a picture of the future.

And sure enough, he arrives. Jesus comes and begins using language like: I make all things NEW. My yoke (teaching) is easy and burden is light. The old way is gone, the new way is here. Follow me.

You see, this is opposite of what “religion” had become. Spirituality and your relationship with God had been reduced to what you did and how well you behaved. So Jesus, came and he flipped the whole thing over…a new paradigm if you will. His teaching was a new way to look at the already existent heart of God for his creation. Jesus came through God’s chosen people to restore all of creation.

Jesus said that he makes all things new. Later on in the ancient scriptures, there is another passage that echoes his message. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone; the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

You see, the way of Christ allows me to be new. The way of Christ releases me from religious obligation and law. The Way of Christ reconciles me to my Heavenly Father and as I follow Jesus, I am made new. Yes I still blow it and mess up along the way, but; as a 33 year old man with a wife and 3 children, I am further along now that I was 10 years ago because everyday, I am becoming new!

Grace and Peace