Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday Morning QB 3/27/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: When God Gives a Hard Assignment (Dave Preached)

Scripture: Jeremiah

Service Highlights: This was a powerful sermon where Dave laid out the truth about the calling that God places in our life - being obedient to God has some hard days along the way. Dave weaved the life of Jeremiah into our lives as we struggle to understand what it means that we have a hard assignment from God. In the end, Jeremiah was faithful, even though he wasn't "successful" in most people's eyes. That is what is most important for us in our walk with Jesus.

Stats: 584 in worship + 235 in Sunday School

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Having What It Takes

Last week I spent a little bit of time thinking about the question from John Wesley, "How is it with your soul?" I challenged each of you to ask yourself that question, and I went a bit farther by questioning whether we would be willing to ask that question to each other. When Kelli called from Willow Creek, I heard Maxine in the background say, "ask him how it is with his soul?" I don't know if I also heard Maxine's evil laugh behind the question or not. I have been thinking a great deal about this question this past week, especially as I am trying to order my own soul.

One of the things I am doing as part of my spiritual formation is to read through the Bible this year. I am right on target. I have never read from cover to cover like this before, well, I have attempted it many times, but I have never made it this far - I just finished Judges. I have read every book in the Bible many times - especially in seminary. But I am really trying to make this daily through the Bible in order a central part of my development as a follower of Jesus and as a leader.

The leadership of Israel during the time of the judges was either really good, or really bad.

Gideon - Good guy. Lessons learned - God uses us in spite of our limitations. Even when you make great spiritual progress you can still easily fall into sin if you aren't consistently seeking God. Leaving a legacy is very important. Gideon's was not good.

Abimelech - Bad guy. Lessons learned - Power hungry and ruthless - killed 69 brothers. Leadership isn't about power, but about serving. He didn't get it. The whole nation suffered.

Quotes from Henry Blackaby:
"Leaders do not have to prove God is guiding them. God's presence will be unmistakable."

""The definitive measure of leaders' success is whether they moved their people from where they were to where God wanted them to be."

"If your place is not great enough to suit you, make it so. The minister who is unable to make a place great is too weak to hold a great one."

"Society-shaking, world-changing, history-making thought is not produced by lackadaisical, lazy minds."

How is it with your soul today?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday Morning QB 3/20/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Doing Justice (Dave Preached)

Scripture: Micah 6:8

Service Highlights: Dave challenged us to think about justice from God's point of view. If we are wronged, we expect, we even demand justice. The problem is most of us live with a double standard. We want justice when it comes to us, but we forget to extend justice to others. We are called to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Stats: 591 in worship + 236 in Sunday school

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How Is It with Your Soul?

I have to admit that when things get busy, that my first reaction to create more time and space in my life is to eliminate the things of the Spirit. My spiritual disciplines drop significantly. My to do list is long and prayer, Bible study, fasting, being quiet just don't make that list. They aren't those quantifiable activities that show productive ingenuity towards completing a project. They are practices that are just always there. And they will continue to be there tomorrow and the day after that. But this to do list is glaring at me right in the face and I must mark through these items before the end of the day.

John Wesley used ask his pastors a very important question when he met with them. He would ask them, "How is it with your soul?" A knee jerk reaction, might be to say fine, now let's get on with our meeting. But doesn't that just compound the problem?

Whose responsibility is it to order your soul? Is it Pastor Dave's job because he is the spiritual leader of our church? Is it Maxine because she is the head of Grow? Is it your spouse or your small group leader? Whose responsible to make sure that you are more like Jesus today than you were yesterday and especially more than last year?

It's your responsibility. As we move closer and closer to transitioning into our new building, we are going to be working longer and longer hours. The to do lists are going to get much longer. The time for things of the Spirit will decrease every day. Tension and stress are going to increase. Patience with each other is going to be on edge.

This is what I want you to hear - you were made for relationships. First with God. Second with each other. You were not created to transition Charter Oak Church from 214 Frye Farm Road to 449 Frye Farm Road. This is something that God has called us to do. He wants us to do it at the very best of our ability. But first and foremost comes your growing relationship with God through Jesus. Don't forget the spiritual disciplines. If you have to, put them on the to do list - at the top. Second, comes your relationship with each other. We have to protect the relationships we have with each other so carefully. If you need to go to someone and apologize do it sooner than later.

I will be the first to admit it - I am a driver. I'm not happy unless I am going a thousand miles an hour with my hair on fire. And when I do that, I leave relationships to the side, because I have stuff to do. When I have a project that I am working on at home, like putting together some furniture or one of my kids' bikes. They know what their role is - get as far from daddy as possible. That is my natural tendency. I'm working on it.

Our natural tendency needs to be in the care and development of our souls. I know I have a long way to go. But I am starting each day by asking, "How is it with your soul?" I hope you will too.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday Morning QB 3/13/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Radical Trust (Dave preached)

Scripture: Isaiah 7

Service Highlights: Dave walked us through the difference between trust and fear. He used the example of Hezekiah to show us that in the face of uncertain odds and even the possiblilty of death, God is faithful. Here's a verse that is not in the Bible: "God panicked!" The great truth is you are never alone. There was a powerful drama and song that finalized the message and brought the point home for so many people.

Stats: 559 in worship + 258 in Sunday school

Friday, March 10, 2006

Leadership and Servant Training - 3/7/06

What is leadership? Are leaders born or created? Can anyone learn to be a leader?

The development of Peter
  1. Matthew 4:18-19 - Peter is called to be a "fisher of men" by Jesus
  2. Matthew 16:13-19 - Peter proclaims that Jesus is "the Son of the living God" and Jesus says that he will be build his church and the gates of Hades will not stand against it.
  3. Mark 14:66-72 - Peter denies Jesus three times
  4. Acts 2:14 - Peter preaches after Pentecost
  5. Acts 2:41 - 3,000 people come to faith in Jesus after Peter's message

What we learn from Peter:

  • God can use anyone
  • God has a plan - it's God's plan (not yours or mine) & it's God's church (not yours or mine)
  • God chooses to use people to fulfill his plan
  • Jesus poured the majority of his time into developing the leaders around him to multiply his work and to ensure that it would continue going forward

I met with Nancy Ortberg about a year ago and I asked her what was the decisive factor that helped the Axis ministry at Willow Creek to grow from 500 to 2500 while she led it. She said the one definitive factor was the development of leadership. She was so completely sold out to developing the leadership of that ministry that the first thing she did was hire someone to preach, even though that was a part of her original expectation as the senior leader of that ministry. She wanted to be free to pour time, energy, and value into people's lives so that they could take the ministry to the next level. And it worked.

At Willow Creek they use the formula x + y = z to explain the model they use to develop leadership in their church. The z = God's will (that none shall parish). The x = the paid staff (a very small percentage of the church). The y factor is the leadership of the church.

It is only as the "y" factor increases that we will see the fullness of the potential of the body of Christ revealed. There is no other factor in this world that will have a greater impact on this community than when we release the full power of the leadership of this church. God works through people. God will work through you as the leadership of this church to fulfill his will. God is already working through many of you and wants to do so in a more leadership intensive way.

Peter went from a fisherman, to the first person who "got it" about Jesus, to a denier, to a leader of the church. Look at what he became because Jesus poured value into his life, he poured encouragement, and he poured discipline. Here's what I want you to hear tonight - staff and I will give our life to adding value into your life. We will give whatever it takes to help develop you to the zenith of your potential. We want to partner with you to help Charter Oak Church to reach the zenith of its potential!

There is something going on here. Our average attendance is way up. People are finding us and staying. We have a youth group that is exploding. We have more people in small groups than ever before. God is at work here. God is moving and I want us to join him where he is at work. For us to make a kingdom difference, it means we are going to have to develop our leadership. We are going to have to set the bar much higher. We need leaders who are sold out to Jesus. Let me tell you straight up - we need leaders who will take a servant's towel, put it over their arm, and serve. Will you respond?

Monday Morning QB 3/5/06

Here's the Monday Morning QB for this week:

Message: Being Real (Dave Preached)

Scripture: Isaiah 6

Service Highlights: Dave challenged our view of what worship is all about. He looked at the holiness of God and asked us about our own self-serving bias when it comes to worship and living our lives as followers of Jesus. Authentic worship always ends with a heart that's willing to follow God.

Stats: 523 in worship + 261 in Sunday school

On Being Sick and Having Nothing to Do

I have been sick all week. I hate being sick. I have to admit, I am the biggest baby in the world. I was laying on the couch feeling miserable and pretty much sorry for myself, when some things started going through my mind. Here are some of those random thoughts:
  • As I'm reading through the Bible this passage really struck me this past weekend - Deuteronomy 11:18-19, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
  • As miserable as I am, I think it would be worse if Kelli was sick - then I would be in charge - SCAREY!!
  • John 17:15-17, "My praer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them for the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth."
  • When I am sick, I can't sleep. Let me just tell you - there is nothing good on television at 2:00am. There is still nothing good on at 4:00am. As a matter of fact there is so much bad stuff, I couldn't believe the stuff that was allowed to be on.
  • Kelli's brother shoots commericals for FOX. He said that it is free to shoot the commerical; you just have to pay for the airtime. Depending on when you want to show it determines the cost. He said the cheapest airtime is midnight to 6:00am. It's about $75 per showing. Talk about people who need to hear God's truth!
  • Not long after I got scared thinking about Kelli getting sick, she came in and reminded me that she will be going to Willow Creek for 3-4 days with Maxine and the children's ministry team and she wanted to know what I was going to do with the kids. Once again - SCAREY!!
  • When I am sick, the first thing that goes for me is my memory. Don't ask me why, maybe my mind just reverts back to my IUP days. I don't know. But it dawned on me that we have our first Leadership and Servant Training event tonight. It will set the standard going forward. I need to be at my best, even though I am sick.
  • Psalm 28:7, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song."