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Archive for November, 2008

it – Part two

It In yesterday's post I introduced you to "it". Do you have it? I'm continuing to honestly assess myself to see if I have it. I told you – this book messed me up and challenged me beyond belief.

I truly learned through this book some of the places that I personally have missed opportunities for growth which in turn slowed down the progress of the mission i'm on. I'm sure I'll share them soon, but that's a totally different subject. Today we're gonna look at the level of our personal "buy-in".

The book says, "There are Three Levels of Vison Buy-In" when we're dealing with churches and ministries. "Ministries without it are made up of people who might like the ministry but don't understand where it is going."

  • Level one people are the people who believe in the vision enough to benefit from it. They come to church because they like it – they receive something from us and that's what's important to them. In my opinion, this would be the consumer "what's in it for me" crowd. We got plenty of these.
  • Level two people believe in the vision enough to contribute comfortably. These people were consumers but now want to contribute as long as it's easy. They'll help as long as it doesn't interfere with the more important things in their life. I believe that this may be the biggest group we have. 
  • Level three people believe in the vision enough to give their lives to it. Craig says that these are the people who "get it – they recognize their lives are not their own. They are a part of the greatest cause on earth." THIS IS THE GROUP WE NEED. There are some level two's who used to be level three's. What we need are a bunch of level two's to MOVE on up to this most important third level. But for that to happen…

Our job is to communicate the vision to you, the church, in such a compelling way that we all believe (and remember) that we are involved in something that is SO MUCH BIGGER THAN US!! As Craig says, we must "seek God, see the vision, commicate it in a compelling way, and invite people to give their lives for the greatest cause on earth – the cause of Christ." YES!!!

Today's it question: if you would honestly assess yourself, would you be a 1, 2 or 3? What's keeping you from going to the next level? How can I/WE help you to go there?

Tomorrow – how to get "it".

“it” – Part One

It I finished reading the book, "it: How Churches and Leaders Can Get it and Keep it" by Craig Groeschel, a couple of months ago.

"it" bothered me.

"it" is hard to describe to others. "it" is indescribable. Kind of like the true essence of God, though we try our best to describe it, also is indescribable.

Craig says, "many people misinterpret it. Someone might visit a growing church and observe outward signs of success – videos, buildings, fancy kids' room and so on. These well meaning guests mistakenly think, if we had all that stuff, we'd have it too. They couldn't be more wrong."  

"it" is not the stuff that we have – the tangible things that we touch. I have experienced this first hand here at hyde park. We built a great childrens building but didn't necessarily have all the right systems in place to make it function correctly. Even today we are continually working on our systems to help ministries function better. "it" isn't the tools that we use – the stuff that we think we need. How many times has someone said to me, "well, if we were in a big church like ya'll we could do that too…" as if we have it all together and assuming that there wasn't a price to pay to get to the point we are at.

I believe that the biggest problem with it is me. Isn't it funny how we convince ourselves of all that is wrong with our churches and our people when the truth is the thing that is wrong is US. We're the problem. Where am I with God? Where is my relationship? How is my prayer life? Am I having issues with others when my biggest problem is my heart, my spirit and, well… me.

Craig goes on to answer the question of what "it" is:

"The best explanation I can give you is this: it is what God does through a rare combination of these qualities found in His people:

  • Passion for His presence
  • A deep craving to reach the lost
  • Sincere integrity
  • Spirit-filled faith
  • Down-to-earth humility
  • Brokenness

Without these Christlike qualities, no matter how good things look today, no ministry or leader can sustain it with their own talent".

I am going to explore this week as to whether or not I have "it". I hope that you will ask yourself the same honest questions.

Do you want it?

Sunday Nite

So many emotions and thoughts running through my mind as I write this… We had a great day today at hyde park. The stuff I'm thinking about tell me that I just discovered my topic for this weeks WholeHearted. Here's Sunday Nite…

  • I thought that Pastor's message this morning was really strong – if you're struggling HE WAS SPEAKING TO YOU! His message, "When Times are Tough" asked the question, "What do you do when you have done right and everything seems to go wrong"?
  • One of his points was "don't let bitterness get a foot hold" and used Hebrews 12:14-15 and I made a note on part of that verse, "the key to having peace with others is to be holy and v. 14 says, 'without holiness no one will see the Lord'". DANG!
  • Enjoyed being on worship team this morning while Steven did an excellent job leading. In the last service the weightiness of "Let Me Sing" hit me: Let me sing LOUDER than creation to You (does my worship even chart with the glorious worship that YOU receive, Lord?) For the pain You bore in Your body (YOU took it on YOU for me… knowing that I would be the way that i am) to bring my soul to You (i can't believe that YOU even cared to bring me to you even though i rejected YOU).
  • I looked at Bree before she sang, "You Said" (one of my all-time favorite worship songs, by the way :)) and asked, "You got your holy ghost on"? :)
  • I can't believe that we will be doing Christmas music in less than 3 weeks!!
  • Some of you were asking about my message, "I Got This One!" – it's online here

Went to a portion of the Crossover Middle School Service tonite and it was unbelievably great!

  • Heard the Crossover band do "Everything Glorious" by David Crowder tonite and was BLOWN AWAY! Really, really great – Justin was rockin' the vocal – the whole band was terrific tonite!
  • Asked Madison tonite when she got in the car about Brandon's message and she said, "he was great tonite – He sounded like you up there, daddy!". Poor Brandon… she meant it as the ultimate compliment :)
  • Before I left Crossover I had one of our members come out and share their testimony about tithing with me. The person said that times had been really tough lately and after hearing Pastor's message ("A Manager for God") about trusting God with their finances and then reading my testimony about tithing they decided to tithe on their money – the scary thing was it was all that they had left until the 20th. They gave it because they decided they were gonna trust God. Without giving away the story (because I hope the person will share it themself) God showed Himself strong on their behalf. You can't outgive God. He challenges us to "test Him in this"… I dare ya!

In closing – Emergency Food Drive: You have given over 500 lbs of food so far hyde park!!! Way to Go! But we ain't done… keep giving until it hurts cause there are some people who do hurt and need your help. And last, Operation Christmas Child boxes are due this Wednesday – let's do this thing and be the blessing God has called us to be.

I love serving with you!

Is Lumberton a Dying City?

So, after all the talk about this past Sunday's message, "I Got This One!" I will close with this question AND statement:

What about Lumberton, IS it a dying city?

The economic indicators say it is; Forbes magazine says it is; Here's what I think…

I think that hyde park can play a huge role in the future expansion and success of our city. I think that hyde park is important to Lumberton because it is filled with the people who will make Lumberton a success. When I look at hyde park and think about our future as a congregation I see…

  • a church of influence - a church that is so powerful that it can't be ignored, a church whose presence in our community is so encompassing that buildings can't contain its influence.
  • I see a church that has worship that is so passionate that it "touches heaven while it changes earth". I see a church whose worship is so life-changing that it influences churches throughout our region in such a way that it changes the landscape of church music and helps to reach an unreached generation.
  • I look at hyde park and I see a a church that is filled with repentant sinners (that's you and I) responding to Jesus' call to salvation. I see a church that is SO dependent upon the movement of the holy spirit and has a message that is so clear that people HAVE to surrender their hearts to Him!

What will this do for our city? I believe that as people surrender their hearts and their treasure, their lives, their families (and even their bank accounts – Matt 6:19-21) to the Lord He will begin to bless their jobs, their businesses and their families. Yes, I believe that God can use you to make your neighborhood better, your workplace better, your whole life better because JESUS WILL BE AT THE CENTER OF EVERY BIT OF YOUR LIFE and everyone will know it and they will want it too. Your situation may seem hopeless but God says, "I got this one!", he can handle this… WILL… YOU… LET… HIM?

What Do You Do When Failure is Unavoidable?

God handled Hezekiah's situation but the thing we gotta discover is the way that Hezekiah handled it: He didn't.

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD : "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God. (2 Kings 19:14-16 NIV)

Hezekiah literally gave it to God – took the letter and spread it out before Him. His process was described in Sunday's message: 

  1. Humbly Seek God (2 Kings 19:1)
  2. Guidance from Scripture (2 Kings 19:2,3)
  3. Secure a prayer warrior (19:4b)
  4. Don't let your guard down (19:10)
  5. Do it all over again (19:14,15)

I think that if we'd be honest for just a moment most people say they trust in God but they live as if He doesn't exist.

Can God fix our city? Yes. Will God fix our city? I honestly don't know. Will we quit living as if God doesn't exist?

Can God do for us what He did for Hezekiah? Of course He can, God can do anything! Will God do for us what He did for Hezekiah? I don't know – are we willing to do what Hezekiah did?

Check with me tomorrow for the last part of this as we discuss whether we think that Lumberton is a dying city.