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Archive for October, 2009

The Week of November 1, 09

Establishment or Outcast

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The  Pharisee stood up and prayed about[a] himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14 NIV)

One was establishment, one was outcast; one was welcomed in the temple, one was scorned; one thought he was living out righteousness, one was aware that he was in need of God's righteousness (Romans 3:10). It's real easy to be like one, and takes complete honesty to be like the other (and determining which one is easy and which one is hard doesn't make sense by worldly reasoning). Don't let your heart fool you, most of us line up with one of these guys or the other.

Which one are you? 

Sunday Nite (on a Monday Afternoon)

Yesterday had to be the MOST uncomfortable day that I have ever experienced at Hyde Park. The decisions that were made, however, also showed to have an amazing payoff that I believe brought glory to our Lord Jesus. 

If you don't know what I'm talking about, I am referencing "What Happens When…" Sunday which took place yesterday. For one day we asked the question "What Happens When": 

  • When the church doesn't function like the church
  • When people don't use their spiritual gifts to serve the body
  • When new believers don't follow through with believer's baptism
  • When attenders don't become members
  • When disciples don't live out a lifestyle of repentance

We demonstrated the idea of how important it is for all of us to take our next spiritual step, whatever it may be, by not doing all the things that we normally do and that we often take for granted: we had no band, no worship team, no choir – just a guitarist and worship leader. There was no audio/visual assistance from the screen, no computer graphics, no sermon notes. We took it back to the year 2000 and had the lyrics to the songs printed inside of the bulletin. There was no iServe team working in Guest Services, parking cars, greeting and making Sunday the best day of the week. And most tragically, there was NO ROC CAFE' (oh NO!!!!! :))which meant there was a shortage of caffeine in the house not to mention a shortage of patience for those who love them some coffee…

To say the vibe was weird is an understatement. When I share with you that a tension filled the air I'm being kind. I have never felt more challenged and transparent than I did yesterday and I know that it's not because we were missing all the "bells and whistles" that we utilize. I believe that the strangeness I was feeling were the questions of the congregation wondering to themselves (and some to one another), "why are we doing church like this?"

The absence of our teams highlighted to our congregation HOW MUCH BETTER WE ARE WHEN WE TOGETHER LEVERAGE OUR TALENTS for God's glory and it reminded us how much we appreciate those who give; it reminded us of how blessed we are with the sweetest people in the land; it illustrated how many people it takes to pull off what we do every weekend; The service showed us how much better an environment we create when we allow God to use us to our fullest.

Don't get me wrong – we had a great service: the music was amazing (Brandon and Steven flat-out brought it with a great acoustic set – very proud of them) – we had MUCH movement at the invitation as people brought their "MITE" to God asking Him to make it mighty – people took next steps to join ministries, join the church, surrendered their lives and people gave their lives to Christ. All in all, a great day!

I close by sharing that I poured myself out through that message because I wanted you to see my heart as I shared with you that we want you to be part of the story of Hyde Park. I know though that it wasn't my message that stirred your hearts, rather…

THE HOLY SPIRIT MOVED AMONG US, GIVING US THROUGH THE ABSENCE OF ALL THAT IS FAMILIAR A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR WHAT HAPPENS AT HYDE PARK WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT. Thanks to all of you who pour your lives out for Jesus every Sunday through serving at Hyde Park.

With that in mind – get out the instruments, the iServe team and get ready because this weekend is going to be an explosive weekend of worship (and yes… the ROC CAFE' will definitely be open for all your caffeinated needs :)).

Video Blog: October 22nd

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What Are “THEY” Saying?

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One of the pleasures that I receive in ministry (most of the time :)) is seeing what the people who visit hyde park are saying about their experience. 

When a person or family drops in on us one of the things we do in follow up is send a self-addressed, stamped postcard that ask a few questions:

  1. I came to Hyde Park because:
  2. This is what I like best:
  3. Here are my suggestions:
  4. Sex and age-range

I wanted to share the last few that we received with you (each number represents the same card)…

I came to Hyde Park because: 

  1. Looking for a church and knew some of our members
  2. to see what you had to offer – we like what we experienced
  3. a friend
  4. we heard that it offered contemporary worship which I enjoy
  5. of the pastor's friendship over the years and wanted to hear him and was very impressed.

This is what I like best:

  1. the laid back but friendly atmosphere and the music
  2. teaching, music, atmosphere, hospitality and enthusiasm of the people
  3. I like a friendly atmosphere which this community exhibits
  4. the worship music and the friendly family atmosphere
  5. the music, teaching and friendliness of the people

Here are my suggestions:

  1. none
  2. none
  3. for newcomers, a welcome committee for such events as fun as well as employments (? :))
  4. to shorten the service a little bit. It's quite lengthy. (once again, :))
  5. none

Sex and Age

  1. Female / 30-40 years old
  2. Female / 60+
  3. Male / 50-60
  4. Female / 18-30
  5. Male / 60+

Here's what I see from the loose data:

  • 4 of the 5 mentioned the atmosphere. They are obviously referencing the environment that we create each Sunday morning – the look, the servants, the service itself, the lights – you name it, it's all atmosphere. (Either that or they are referring to the mass of air surrounding the Earth; "there was great heat as the comet entered the atmosphere" :))
  • All 5 mentioned the friendliness or the hospitality of Hyde Park's people. The people ARE the church.
  • 4 of the 5 mentioned the music (word.)
  • 4 of the 5 came because they were invited.
  • 3 of the 5 were over 50. So much for the thought that what we're doing only appeals to young people.

The cards I've mentioned here are not "carefully selected" – they were the last 5 cards we've received. We've always gotten favorable responses on this card (1 time a person said our friendliness was overwhelming – I told our volunteers that I'll lose them for that reason ANYTIME!). Sometimes it's easy to look at the glass the wrong way – it looks like half of the water's gone when in reality we have a half-glass full of refreshing water to offer.

I wanted to share with you what "THEY" were saying – you know, the people that God has placed us here to reach.