Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Living in the "Pause"

Why am I so tempted to have an answer for everything? Why do I react so quickly and decisively to everything (while often reacting poorly)? Why am I afraid of the "pause?"

You know what I mean...someone says something and I feel the need to immediately respond or defend or counter or explain. Why do I do that?

I am discovering, in this Christian discipleship course I'm taking called life (!), that sometimes the pause isn't so bad. I am learning that sometimes no reaction is the best reaction. I am learning that I seldom find immediate results in anything, so why do I expect that I can affect immediate results in anything, especially by my hasty response?

I'm learning to live in the pause....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Great Book!

If you haven't read this, you may want to add it to your reading list. I think every Christian needs to be equipped to understand younger Christians so that we can be prepared to mentor them. This text is very helpful to me in understanding how differently our young people act from when I was considered a young person.

Sunday night with our senior high youth, I tried some things out. We rearranged the worship center and set up some candles, dimmed the lights, and had a prayer station. Our Bible study was about how our relationship with our parents can mirror and effect our relationship to our heavenly Father. The youth really seemed to enjoy our time of contemplation and introspection. One 9th grade girl texted me later that evening that the experience was "relaxing and serene."

Imagine that. In my day, we wanted to party. In this day and age, our kids are suffering from sensory overload. Time to sit quietly, listen, meditate, and reflect were a blessing to this young woman. Times are changing. I am challenged to keep up with it...for the Kingdom's sake!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Rock!

I am excited for Cornerstone's new ministry that is launching in a few weeks. It is called "The Rock" and here is the story:

I think our Sunday morning worship has been going very well. We are seeking the Lord more and more and the focus is on Him, where it ought to be.

There is more to being the church, however, than just worshiping. A few of the things that I am passionate about have really been falling through the cracks throughout our period of growth. They are:

1. Connecting people with each other. As our worship attendance continues to grow, we find it harder and harder to connect with each other on Sundays.
2. Connecting people to the Lord in the midst of community. We need to be growing deeper in our faith as we share that discipleship journey together.
3. Connecting people to the community in meaningful ministry. We need to get outside the four walls and bless this community in the name of Jesus Christ.

SO, after lots of prayer, discussion, soul-searching, brainstorming, and the like, we settled upon the ROCK. Every Wednesday evening we will gather at our Ministry Center. The worship space will be rearranged so that we'll be seated around round tables. There will be some coffee-house style opening worship, then an evening of interactive teaching, learning, discussion, and relationship building around the tables.

Once a month, we will gather for a covered dish dinner, then hit the community in some meaningful ministry. I can't wait!

This all starts on Wednesday, October 17 and we're going to kick it off with a few evenings of learning just how to dig into the Bible in rich and Kingdom building ways. Then on October 31, we are going to gather for dinner and head out into the various housing developments to "reverse trick-or-treat." We have frisbees that we'll be handing out to all the kids we see, and if don't see any, we'll be knocking on doors to give them away.

I am so blessed to be serving a church on the move. Thank you Lord for this privilege!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ping Pong Ball Brain

The staff of Cornerstone went on a mini retreat yesterday. We went to Moraine State Park for a gorgeous day of team building, Bible study, and honest reflection about ourselves and our calling to ministry. I am so blessed to work with Pat, Laura, and Lori. They are awesome, and the four of us are having fun working together, truly, as a team. This is such a blessing and a "pastoral ministry career" dream of mine come true.

One of the revelations about me that keeps coming to the surface is, as Lori puts it, my ping pong ball brain. My thoughts just bounce around inside my head and they never seem to settle down. I'm always thinking of too many things at once!

So what is the resolution to this? How do I cope? What do I need to do to give up some of the worrying in there, and the solving issues that may not even exist? Well, I believe the answer, as always, is given by God. He revealed this answer to me through Paul in 2 Corinthians 10:5: "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

So Lord, for all those ping pong thoughts in my head, I take them captive and make them obedient to you. Thanks for the help!!! Hey look at that butterfly...

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Big Time!

I just read the latest edition of the United Methodist Interlink newspaper and discovered an article about blogging. Thanks Randy for gettin' the word out, and thanks Chris for maintaining the blogroll.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boy, Did THAT Feel Good...

So yesterday I'm driving along in my little Saturn. I had a book that I wanted to share with someone so I sat it on my front seat. Well the first red light I come to, I slow down and it slides off the seat and hits the floor. I patiently pick it up and sit it on the seat again, only to repeat the process at the next red light. Now I am starting to get irritated. So realizing that it is ridiculous to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, I pick up the book and place it, with authority, on the dashboard. So when I pull away from the stop light, the book slides off the dashboard and, you guessed it, onto the floor. Now here is where I get really mature. I picked the book up off of the floor, then I wailed back to the floor with great force! (In my mind I was thinking "Fine, book, if that is where you want to be, then that is where you WILL be, ">#*%@)$*!!!")

As I drove along, I began to laugh. How silly I was a 3 year old!!! And yet, how much better I felt as I drove along with that book sitting in punishment on the floor. Yeah, I'm a big boy now!

So Lord, thanks for not slamming to the ground when I don't stay where you put me. You're SO much more mature than me! Thanks for being willing to, ever-so-slowly, make me like you...

Monday, September 10, 2007

We ask for a buck when He wants to give us $20

Yesterday, I began preaching through Philippians. We were scheduled to begin a series called "Tough Questions We Ask God" and we're still going to go there, but it is just postponed. I felt called to preach through a book of Scripture and here is why:

Often my preaching is based on a series or on issues or whatever. And so, in a sense, we go to God and say "here is what we need to know, so give us this..." OK. That is valid. So we ask Him for $1.

But God is way more able to know what we want or need more than we can know. He has a $20 for us! We miss out on the fullness of knowing Him because we think we know what He wants from us, or to give us.

We are going to God over these next weeks and saying "Hey, we don't have a clue what you want to show us!" And as I found out, we often ask for a buck, and all the while He wants to give us a $20...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Alrighty Then!

So I will continue to have convinced me that there is value in this. So here are some thoughts. I met with a "developing friend" yesterday for some thought and perspective. Randy shared with me some things he believes are important for the right balance in life:

1. Weekly worship (and for the pastor's crowd, that means going somewhere else to worship...Sunday night, Wednesday night...whatever)
2. Daily solitude (you mean I have to shut up and listen? NO!)
3. Daily Bible reading (now again, we pastor-type people do far too much Bible study for a sermon or group or SS class or to argue theology on our blogs than we do to just get to know the Author! Ouch!)
4. Time off (which Randy said, and I agree, that one day standing alone isn't effective. He suggests, for pastors, to bank our precious 1 day per week thing and lump them into 2 or 3 days off together. This allows for descent, rest, and ascent about our work.)
5. Compartmentalize your job (which for pastors means "when you're on the clock, work at it with all your heart. And when you're not, put it out of your mind until you are again."

Now some of this sounds easy, but is NOT! So who said being a Christian would be easy? Are we bowing down to the god of our personal comfort, or to the Suffering Servant? And wasn't Jesus blessed in His obedience...and won't we be?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"The Purpose-Driven Blog"

(BTW, I know many will ask how achieved such beautiful graphics on my blog. I used this really cool new program called "Paint" on my PC. You should try can see what amazing things you can do with it!)

by Rick, I mean, Brett Probert!

What IS the purpose of blogging? I am posing this question to myself a lot lately. I find that I can spend so much time blogging and reading other people's blogs that I begin to wonder why. As we say in French... a quoi bon?

So I ask thee, what IS the purpose of this all? Is it just another inane pasttime? Is it a way to avoid the true tasks of ministry? Is it really "building community," or just a false shadow of that?

What do you think? I may abandon this blog...I need to decide whether the purpose of it justifies its existence. Just think, you may save this blog from extinction with your titillating commentary, and I don't even know what titillating is!