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Archive for December, 2006

A Much Needed Break

I really missed my family at Hyde Park this morning. Keyna and I left yesterday, made our way up to the triangle for an evening alone – a meal, movie and a motel (just couldn’t resist going with another "m" – we actually stayed at Hampton Inn in Clayton). This morning we worshiped at C3 Church (Cleveland Community Church – isn’t that cool? They actually go by the name C3) in Clayton. C3 is one of the 100 fastest growing churches in America. I saw why this morning. The atmosphere was electric; The music was passionate; I saw some great ideas of things Hyde Park can do to enhance our weekly service. We can have the same impact that they have had in Clayton (which is outside of Raliegh – next to Garner). We may be able to have an even greater impact because there is nothing like Hyde Park in our region.

Now, on to where i am right now…

Do you ever feel as if you just need to STOP!?! Just quit doing everything that occupies your mind and reflect? I find myself in that place this week. As 2006 is just hours from passing by and the prospect of a new year loom in the nearness, i wonder…

What will 2007 bring our way? We know that there are some major advances around the corner. Such as:

  • Beginning the 1st weekend of March we will enhance our current worship schedule. We will add an additional Worship Service during the middle time slot. We’re calling it all "WORSHIP ON THE 1′s" So our worship service schedule will be: 8:21 – 9:51 – 11:11am.
  • Because of the additional worship time we will be able to ADD additional Small Group meeting times at 11:11am and possibly even at 8:21 am. People who attend Small groups at either of these times will attend worship at 9:51 am
  • All adults who attend Small Groups/SS at 9:45 WILL CONTINUE TO ATTEND AT THOSE TIMES unless they choose to attend one of the groups that meet at the alternate times. In other words, this only affects those who want to be affected by it.
  • This change allows us to better utilize our classrooms – rather than build more education space let’s use what we have to its fullest potential.
  • Pastor Harrell will be talking about this exciting addition during the 6 pm evening service on January 7th.

This is what i’ve been pondering on, thinking about, trying to work out because I want it to be AWESOME – we want to do whatever is necessary to reach AND connect people because people matter to Jesus! Truth is, there are hundreds of people who just attend Hyde Park but have never gotten hooked up with others. In 2007, this has gotta change because if they don’t get connected THEY WILL LEAVE.

WHERE WILL THEY GO IF THEY LEAVE HYDE PARK?

Where do I feel comfortable that they will be challenged to live a different, changed, transformed life that loves and serves others? (i’ll leave the answer to you)

Do i really believe that this region can be transformed by the transformational power of Jesus Christ? Yes, i do. And I believe that Hyde Park will be one of the driving forces behind this God sized move!

So, where am i at right now? I don’t know… i’ll spend the better part of the next few weeks figuring that out (40 Days of Prayer can’t hurt ;) . Until then i wait – i’m in no hurry.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store…

Merry Christmas

Well, it’s here. Are you ready?

It’s 12:34 in the AM, Christmas morning, and we’re just wrapping up the mom and dad Christmas stuff and I just had the urge to say…

TODAY ROCKED! The music was great, the atmosphere was electric, and I believe the overall presentation really clicked. For me, today was definitely a highlight of my life. What an honor to speak to such a great crowd.

Thank you to those who serve at Hyde Park. Today was absolutely tremendous. Without looking at the comparison stats from the last couple of years I’m guessing that today was our biggest Christmas Service EVER! Those of you who went out of your way for others, those of you who served in all your different roles, YOU made THEIR experience more than it would have been without your efforts. We went to great lengths to show people that we are honored that they chose to worship with us.

Thank you for the priviledge of serving you. I love serving JESUS at Hyde Park. I truly believe that we are making a difference in our area; I also believe that we are just getting started! Get ready, strap on your belt – it’s gonna get wild!

Merry Christmas, everyone. May the upcoming year be one that finds us all striving to live WholeHearted lives devoted to truly serving Jesus Christ.

A Special Christmas Eve, Eve, Eve TREAT!

How much do I love ya’ll? How much do I treasure you, especially during such a season as this?

Enough to record a special version of many of your favorite Christmas song?

Check it out. Listen here

The Reason for the Season

This post comes as a result of an email that i sent to my good friend Chad Fallin – chillin (literally) in Wyoming. I was sharing my thoughts for the week with him and decided to share them with you.
I’m getting ready for Sunday – I’m preaching Christmas Eve! Did you ever think about the fact that YOU’RE the reason for the season? Really. I know that the Christian mantra is "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" and I know that his birth is the reason that we commemorate the season but…
Think about it – why did He even come? It goes all the way back to Joseph’s dream during Mary’s pregnancy – he’s trying to figure out what he’s gonna do with his fiance who is obviously pregnant by another man and worse, lying about it – blaming it on the "holy spirit?"
Matt 1:20-21  20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
(from New International Version)
Jesus came to "save his people from their sins". Period. Yeah, he lived a perfect life. Yeah, he modeled how to live for God. Yeah, His teachings continue to spellbound us 2,000 years later. But He really didn’t come for any of these reasons – He came to "save His people from their sins".
Now check this out…
I get kind of frustrated at Christmas. The buying, the rush, the parties, the people. Sometimes I even get a little self-righteous, "THIS IS NOT THE REASON FOR CHRISTMAS!"
Someone rubs me the wrong way (literally doing nothing – it’s me.) – I get bent out of shape….
Someone says something that I take the wrong way (because for some reason i’m on edge) – here i go again…
Family dinner doesn’t go as planned… Service doesn’t come off right… he said / she said…. "i can’t believe they got me THAT for Christmas…" "they are always late…" (actually that’s what everyone probably says about us for the holidays :) )
Why is it that I find myself struggling in this way during "the most wonderful time of the year"? (and I feel that it is – in spite of all I said above I do love Christmas)

Because i’m imperfect. I’m not fully transformed. In me, unfortunately, you will often find darkness.

John 1:4-5 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (from New International Version)

When God looked down at this world, His world that He created, He saw darkness. And it grieved Him. When God sent Jesus He sent light into a dark world. Don’t miss what I just said. When God sent Jesus into the world as a baby it was His response to our darkness.
That has really rocked my world! Why?
I’m reminded that THIS (sin, dysfunction, darkness, imperfection, etc.) is the reason for the season. Our darkness and need for light is the reason He even came. So next time I do something dumb and get bent out of shape for no reason, hopefully i’ll remember that it’s because of idiots like me that He even came in the 1st place. "Merry Christmas, i’m the reason for the season."
The next time someone does something that I perceive as stupid I need to think to myself, "Merry Christmas – you’re the reason for the season."
I think the best thing I can do is just chill out and enjoy the lights, the people, the presents and the food and continue to thank God that He saw my darkness and responded in the way that He did. Thank You, Lord.
You know, you really are the reason for the season.

The Worst Version of a Christmas Carol…EVER!

I am truly offended, but not for the reasons that you might think. Watch at least some of this and then read the comments:

Am I offended because this has-been metal band decided to cash in on Christmas by doing a "Christmas" CD? no.

Am I offended because this is just sacrilegious? Yes, but still that is not my main beef.

Am I offended by the way they look? Yeah, but not because they "shock-me" – these guys looked like idiots in ’83 – it’s probably the only reason that they got signed – their look made them stand out in the crowd.

I AM OFFENDED BECAUSE WHAT YOU JUST HEARD IS JUST PLAIN BAD. (I don’t think i’m really offended – just kind of embarrased – for them).

Imagaine, if you will…

(phone ringing) Dee Snider (lead "singer" for Twisted Sister): Hello
Sam Sniderbaum (ficticious name of producer): Dee?
DS: Yeah?
SS: Sam Sniderbaum here, RCA records.
DS: Hey Sam, what’s up?
SS: Dude, you’re gonna LOVE THIS idea!
DS: What idea?
SS: You think you guys have 1 more album left in ya?
DS: I don’t know, man – we’re kinda old and out of shape…
SS: No, man, listen: picture this – a last Twisted Sister album
DS: yeah…
SS: You and the boys, back in the make-up…
DS: yeah…
SS: …doing a Christmas album!
DS: what ‘chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? ("vague" 80′s reference). Are you kidding me. That would be LAME!
SS: Nah, man, people would love it! They buy this junk like doughnuts!
DS: i don’t know, man – still sounds lame to me
SS: No, you aren’t hearing it, man. Not just any Christmas album – a Twisted Christmas. We’ll take your old hits, play the same music and you sing Christmas lyrics over it – IT WILL BE BRILLIANT!

It had to be something like that because i’ve always thought that Dee was more intelligent then this. I was never really a big fan, they were more entertaining than they were good as far as putting out good music (i did dig "You can’t stop Rock-n-Roll"). But honestly, musically this is not just lame – it’s bad. I can’t imagine anyone, in the WHOLE-WIDE WORLD mind you, listening to this and thinking "that is the coolest thing i’ve ever heard!". Usually, at least 1 person would think this about anything put out.

Now, if you didn’t grow up in the ’80′s then you’ve already turned me off (we’re just having a little fun – the serious blog comes later) – but those of you who know this band know how lame this really is. (of course, it’s not much worse than "Leader of the Pack").

In the end, good music is good music. This IS NOT good music. It’s lame commercialism and "i pity the fool" (another "vague" 80′s reference) that would actually waste their money on this junk. I just checked Billboard.biz for chart listing and it list at #156, falling from #149 last week. (Guess their family is finished buying it).

Just having a little fun. We’ll talk about this weekend in next post (which will hopefully come sooner than later).