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Archive for February, 2009

Friday (and Counting on God)

Henry's It's Friday… rockin' the Henry's Blend and thinking about Jesus, my family, you and the weekend that's before me. I'm feeling like this one is gonna be all over the place. As you read, may I warn you that my A.D.D. is definitely kickin' on this Friday. First thought to come…

  • Really looking forward to this weekend's services. We will begin a new series Sunday titled, "GSP: God's Stimulus Plan". Bet there are a lot in the hyde park family who would be excited to get some of that bailout money, huh? This is going to be an excellent series and is bound to challenge the condition of all of our hearts.
  • Tonite I'll be speaking at Broadridge Baptist Church for a "True Love Waits" Banquet. I can't think of a more difficult assignment that God would have given me . The truth that I will speak tonite will be one of the most challenging issues that these young people will encounter during ALL of their lives. Pray that… 1) God will open and prepare hearts  2) I will hear from Him and be a worthy vessel to speak truth.
  • I spent the morning yesterday with Worship Pastor Danny McDonald at Arran Lake Baptist dealing with some A/V stuff that WP's deal with. Totally great hanging with him and talking church, worship and everyday stuff. Great guy (who works with a great pastor). I introduced Danny to this because it made me WAY more productive - what do you use to organize your ministry?
  • PURE2_lg …and speaking of Arran Lake BC, I am looking forward to hanging with them in a few weeks for their "LIVING LIFE PURE" Men's Conference. I hope that you're planning on being a part of it. (WholeHearted Women readers: you need to get your man to sign up for this thing – Men's Conferences is Pastor Jeff's excellent ministry – it will be the best $25 your family has spent this year!). And almost forgot… the steak dinner on Friday nite is worth the whole trip… AND… it's over at noon on Saturday (you can still do stuff). Sign up today!!!
  • …one more thing about the Men's Conference - teenagers 14 through 18 (still in hs) are FREE! They really know that this stuff is foundation in a man's life and are investing in the next generation. Dad's could bring their son's for FREE and spend some dad/son time with Jesus.  

After Sunday's Message I found myself really open to seeing needs, the opportunity to serve and had a few people speak some great stuff into my life. Here are a couple of examples:

  • If you read often you've seen me quote Ed Stetzer. Ed had an article this week called, "The Biggest Sin in Your Church", and it was a really great (and challenging piece – definitely caused me to evaluate). The quote from the article that caught me said,  

    "If I preach about gay marriage, everybody cheers. If I preach about sin you can hear the amens ring. But those aren't the real problems. I tell people that the biggest sin in our church is you sitting there doing nothing and still calling yourself a follower of Jesus." Read the rest of the article here (it's a quick read).

  • In reference to the above statement: I myself have noted that people will "preach you to death" when you preach a simple message about salvation, heaven, hell, the cross, (fill in the blank with your own example) – stuff that really no longer applies to them. It's like, "you tell THEM preacher – AMEN!!!". Preach about a believers need to repent, to turn, to go deeper things get much more quiet in the room.

Yesterday was the catalyst one day conference – I really wanted to go but just didn't work out for me to attend. However, Tony Morgan did live-blog the event and there was one section that I just had to share as we close this morning:

  • 6:16 PM tonymorganlive - ministry “programming begins as an answer to a question”
  • 6:17 PM tonymorganlive - “It ends up becoming part of our culture. It defines us.”
  • 6:19 PM tonymorganlive - Andy is talking about an old couch on the platform.
  • 6:19 PM tonymorganlive - It looks like a couch in my grandma’s house.
  • 6:20 PM tonymorganlive - The couch started out as something to sit on, but it stays around for years and years and can’t be thrown out because people have an emotional attachment to it.
  • 6:21 PM tonymorganlive - “In church life, this is deadly. It creates all kinds of problems.”
  • 6:21 PM tonymorganlive - “All ministry programming becomes an old, out-dated couch.”
  • 6:22 PM tonymorganlive - “If your passion is outsiders, then there are some couches that must be retired.”
  • 6:23 PM tonymorganlive - “It’s difficult because it’s very, very emotional.”
  • 6:26 PM tonymorganlive - “At some point a generation will come along and say, ‘I’m just not going to sit there.’”

If you have a few minutes on your busy Friday I would suggest that you check out his posts from the conference:

Love you guys… looking forward to Sunday… register YOUR MAN (and teenage son) for Men's conference. I'll leave you with a great fun Friday song…

Serving: What If I’m Not Needed?

The response that I have received since Sunday's message, "You Can't Do That!" was pretty overwhelming. No, we didn't receive the 125 new volunteers that I was hoping for yesterday but truth is, I put myself out there on that limb, went for the ask and am thankful for those who obediently stepped across the line to serve. We did have some wonderful success – new workers in Crossover, Nursery, Children's department, worship, First Impression/Greeting/Guest Services not to mention some volunteers in other areas.

To me that's a win.

However, in the spirit of transparency I wanted to share a note that I received with you. It wasn't the kind of note that you actually want to share, but I appreciated the way it was written: it was heartfelt and I felt that it asked a very legitimate question. The only thing wrong with it was that it was written anonymously (Which is NEVER a good thing to me). I normally won't even read an unsigned letter, comment or card. This one was written on the bottom of the outline and caught my attention. I am breaking my own rule (they say that rules were made to be broken, right) by actually giving attention to an anonymous piece. Pretty sure that I won't do this again (No, I definitely won't do this again – anonymity is useless becauseit keeps people from resolving issues). It read:

"but what happens when you volunteer to serve and are 'not needed' because there is already a core group of people who are always the ones asked to be there instead? You quickly stop volunteering because you are 'not wanted'. You use your gifts somewhere else or give up, even though you want to give and serve. This isn't about importance over someone else or a part of the body – it is about feeling like you can't be a part of the body."

You know how this offended me? It offended me that someone would actually think that we didn't want them! As much as we want you to grow, and strive to see you live out your faith… the thought that someone thought that they "can't be a part of the body" is amazing and disappointing - I WANT PEOPLE TO LIVE THIS THING OUT SO BAD! I didn't feel like the person was challenging the message. I really felt like they were asking in such a way that maybe they were wondering if I actually believe what I was saying. YES! Totally believe it!!! If you're the writer and read this I hope that you know that I appreciate you and am sorry that you felt unneeded in the body of hyde park. I will take a moment to comment on some of this – I hope that it's received in the manner intended.

"What happens when you volunteer and you are 'not needed'?" As you said, "You find another way to use your gift". In a church the size of hyde park (I suppose you were referrring to us as you were sitting under my teaching) there is ALWAYS a way to use that gift. The feeling that you were not needed is undoubtably a misunderstanding – I am positive that this was never spoken to you. I currently know a worship leader (from another church) whom God has greatly gifted who has sat in a position serving under another for 2 years. He has at times been frustrated by the lack of opportunity to use his gift in the way that he desires to, however, he has always been gracious in his situation. And you know what? God has used him in other ways to benefit that body. In fact, he serves in ways that he never knew he was gifted to serve in.

"there is already a core group of people who are always the ones asked to be there instead?" Leaders have a tendency to count on people who have proven themselves – they have earned their leaders trust by being there, by proving themselves over and over, by humbling themselves in challenging times and a hundred other ways. I think that most of us who lead tend to count on people we already know we can count on. I can't speak for other leaders, but It's not hard to earn my trust If you go out of your way to serve excellently.

Consistency, again, is key. The people a leader depends on haven't always been in that place with the leader – they earned it. Popularity contests don't last long when you are dealing with the week-to-week pressures of ministry – the consistent and trustworthy always survive.

"You quickly stop volunteering because you are 'not wanted'." Once again, I'm sure that it was never voiced that you were "not wanted". When we make assumptions we often clog up the process. Truth is, when you stop volunteering, the necessary consistency and building of trust is eroded. You never get my attention when you stop volunteering.

You know anonymous – we want you to serve. We want you to find your place. We want your faith to grow. We want you to be inspired… so inspired that you inspire others to seek out the faith that will save their lives. I'm sorry if you felt unwanted or unworthy – but I ask you to search your own heart about these things – do what's necessary to find the best fit for you that will bring God glory through your life. What if the reason you are actually with us is not for the reason that you believe? What if God brought you to us to do a new thing in your life? What if that new thing was not happening because you quit serving because you can't use your old thing, that thing from the past you've done for God?

I hope you find the fire for ministry again. And next time sign your name – cause my "do not read anonymous comments" is back in full-effect :)

Sunday Nite

Today was a really great day at hyde park! I know that I say that almost every weekend – I guess that would be because most every weekend is pretty incredible at hp! I can't really help but to be pumped about that. Here are some things on my mind tonite…

  • My day (at hp) started with a most welcome surprise: one of our older ladies sought me out to tell me how much our worship inspires her. She told me that she told some of her friends (who choose not to attend worship :)) that they are really missing out!!! You can't start wrong on a conversation like that.
  • The 1st service was really good today! Can we all agree that sometimes 8.21 is just early??? I try to cut the 1st crowd some slack because I know that they are there that early because THEY WANT TO BE THERE but today… that group was rockin', awake, into the service and "we" just really clicked at message time.
  • The message I preached today, "You Can't Do That!" was a tough message. We were speaking from 1Corinthians 12 and the grand conclusion was that if you aren't serving the body of Christ with the gift that God has placed in you then you are living in disobedience.
  • Yes… it was kinda tense in there at times :)
  • It would be so much more comfortable not to challenge people in these areas – it would also NOT benefit the body to ignore the fact that we need everyone to give themselves to the service of the body. As I said in this morning's message, "There is a service to the body which is the responsibility of every believer".
  • There are so many people who are followers of Jesus but they have relegated following Jesus to attending some meetings. They don't understand that not only are they hurting the body by not doing their function but they're hurting themselves because they aren't using their gifts to worship Jesus.
  • Can you imagine what kind of it would be where all the members of the body utilized their uniqueness to bring glory to Jesus, representing Him in such a way that others would recognize their need for Him? It would be a biblical, new testament church where every member recognized their service to the body matters – THAT CHURCH WOULD BE UNSTOPPABLE!
  • One day I will lead a church like that!!! No time for playing around!!
  • One last thing… Many people would chalk-up their non-service in the body as a matter of preference ("I don't come to church to work", "I'm with kidz all the time, when I come to church…", "I WANNA BE FED!", "you don't understand, I'm just kinda burnt out…"). I believe that not serving in the local body is disobedience and in makes the body incomplete. Sorry.

You know the sad thing about all of this??? You probably think that all this is in reaction to something – a situation… someone set me off (or whatever else you may be thinking). Truth is, the majority of this sermon was brainstormed and studied on January 13th during a time that I was praying for this weekend. No agenda… No situations… just a message that I believe God wanted to speak through me to you. Why?

Because the Body of Christ called hyde park will never reach its full potential until all necessary members of the body are functioning, using their gifts to help others experience the glory of Jesus and recognize, when they attend, their need for Jesus in their lives. Let me break it down further: if you're a regular attender, and you're not serving in some way – you are keeping us from reaching our full potential – you are keeping the body from functioning properly.

It matters because I believe God brought this church here to make a difference in this city and to influence this region for His glory, I'm convinced of that, AND IT ALL BEGINS RIGHT HERE.

In other things…

  • Really proud of the band and singers this morning. Regan was sick again (please pray for him – it sounded like he's still pretty sick) so we had to play musical chairs in the band. Those guys are so amazing – they barely missed a beat!
  • Worship at the 11.11 service was INCREDIBLE. I just really felt a very powerful presence of the holy Spirit in there this morning. I believe that God was working mightily in that service.
  • I don't know if we reached our 125 new volunteers today – I put it out there (in other words, I did what I felt that I was supposed to do) – if you didn't respond but should have and it's bothering you, you can respond here.
  • FAITHTrac 101, our New Attenders class, was this morning. It looked like we had a nice size group in there – so proud of all of you for taking the next step with us. I personally enjoyed spending some time with you at lunch after the services.
  • No nap this afternoon… just couldn't sleep as I was TOO JACKED from this morning. All that and even less caffeine than usual.
  • Had the priviledge of praying with some people about issues in their lives. I am SO thankful that God gives us access to Him and forgives us of ALL of our sin. Amen?!?
  • Big shout-out of thanks to Ray, Justin and KJ for being great sports today and helping all of us to better grasp and understand how important we all are to the body.

God is good – all the time and all the time – God is good.

“Hey! You Can’t Do that!!!”

It's a beautiful Friday morning! I'm rockin' my 2nd large cup of "Henry's Blend", thinking on what is going to be an outstanding weekend at hyde park!

I am SO looking forward to this Sunday morning as I will be preaching on a subject that just drives me… The Body of Christ. The title, "Hey! You Can't Do That!!!" comes from a thought that I had last month as I was praying for this weekend. It rocked my world, made the whole concept come alive and just absolutely pumped me up about where we were gonna go Sunday! I love the life-changing power of God's Word.

I am looking forward to lifting my voice in praise with you – calling out to God to be with us – to heal us – to forgive us – to draw us near to Him.

I am also excited about Sunday because our next session of FAITHTrac 101, Our New Attenders Class, will be taking place. We have an outstanding group signed up to be a part of the weekend's festivities and ready to take the next step with us at hyde park! (By the way, 101 participants, I encourage you to attend the 8.21 worship experience before you go to 101 if you wanna get the full "hyde park experience" this weekend!!! I think it will all work together in an amazing and exciting way!).

Invite a friend to church this weekend – see you Sunday!

New Attenders Class is this Weekend!

Wanted to give a big shout-out to all of you who have begun attending hyde park in the past few months!! We are SO committed to helping you to connect with us on the next level, to do the "Next Right Thing". This weekend is your opportunity to take your connection to the Next Level.

Take it from me: if you are just attending but haven't committed to the church it is easy to fall away. How often have I personally seen this played out in people's lives? All the time.

NACLogo This weeked we will host our next New Attenders Class – We call it FAITHTrac 101. FAITHTrac 101 is a one session class with Pastor Dennis that will help you to understand Why we do What we do the Way that we do. It begins at 9.51 and includes a wonderful lunch for the whole family.

When: This Sunday, February 22nd – 9.51am
Where: The ROC Gym
Who: YOU!

Interested? Let us know today!!! We want you to do the "Next Right Thing".