Archive for October, 2007

Pray for us

I’m soliciting your prayers here. After absorbing and intense amount of information about church, ministry, christianity and leadership lately – I am soliciting your prayers for clarity. I’ve come across so many good ideas on how to make a significant spiritual where I live, I need clarity on how to execute the right stuff at the right time. I believe we are about to embark on something seriously significant in our ministry and I need focus and clarity.

This Wednesday, I’m doing a message like I have never done before. In fact, from here on I’m embarking on a path I’ve never done before and never really seen modeled in a youth ministry before. It may cause a great spiritual breakthrough in our community. It may not. But whatever it does, that’s what its going to do because I am going forward with what is in my heart. It may land me some enemies, it will grant me some new allies in the quest to change lives on an individual and community level. Whatever it does, that’s what its going to do. I am going to go after God completely in this endeavor. I am going to impact the existing local community and impact the culture while creating a specific culture in the context of a church gathering.

So please, pray for us here in Newport. We need your prayers so that God will hear you and direct us to do what He wants. I’ve never seen the things I want to do in a youth ministy before. I’m not saying they aren’t being done, I’m just saying that I’ve never seen it.

What type of ministry are we going to build? I’ll tell you later. Love ya!

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RED SOX WIN!!


If you haven’t heard by now (ahem) THE RED SOX ARE THE 2007 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! I know there are some in Yankeeland that are grieving today (Mike, I’ll get you a Sox hat for Christmas 😉 ) but all of Red Sox Nation is rejoicing over our 2nd championship this decade. Is the Red Sox Reign beginning? One more in the next 3 years and I would have to say yes!

Congrats to the boys of Beantown! Another ring, another celebration!

And what did they Yankees get? They got A-Rod’s resignation and Joe Girardi. Not that Girardi is a bad manager, but would you pay a guy you think is going to take you into winning a championship $2 mill a year? He’s getting in 3 years what they offered Torre for 1 year! Doesn’t look like winning a title in the next 3 years is on the Yanks mind. BUT in the meantime – BOSTON and DETROIT can duke it out for the titles. This year, I’ll enjoy the Sox!

Cheers!

24 Season 7 Trailer!! YEEEEEEEAAAAHHH!!!

What if we’re wrong?

What if the way we do church is wrong? This question struck me the other day as I read Ephesians 4:11-13

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

It seems as if the systems and practices in most churches don’t really allow for this. It seems most churches don’t really EQUIP God’s people to do His work and to build up the church. Most churches are designed for the apostles, the prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to do God’s work and build up the church. Sure, we “allow” people to volunteer by ushering, singing, doing youth ministry, children’s ministry,etc – but is that fullness of “God’s work and building up the church?” It appears the only vehicle churches offer to let others do “God’s work and build up the church” is the vehicle of small groups. But what if you’re not a small group leader? What if your church doesn’t even offer small groups, then what?

I’m not saying I have the answers or that I’ve even fully explored the issue, but it seems as if our church system is flawed. It seems we look to create cultures and systems that empower church leaders and minimizes the power of the entire flock by midigating “service” to volunteering at church. Is there more? Do we have it wrong?

How do we really equip and empower people to do God’s work BEYOND a Sunday morning experience? How does doing God’s work translate to Monday morning? And is that summarized by “Friendship evangelism” or is there more? Sure, the church is the living expression (or it least its supposed to be) of the hope of the world – Jesus Christ. God placed the responsibility of building up that church not in the hands of the “ministry gifts” but in the hands of people who have other gifts outside of those referenced in Ephesians. I guess maybe we have to clearly define what God’s work is. Making disciples is not just the job of the local church, its the job of EVERY believer. Jesus didn’t want pastors making disciples, He wants DISCIPLES making DISCIPLES. The local church does a decent job and teaching people methods to reach the people they know, but what are we doing to equip people to do the work of making disciples?

Maybe I’m dead wrong and I’m just not seeing it. Or maybe, we’re missing it. Maybe our systems support our leaders and not empower our congregations.

What do you think? What, if anything, can we do differently?

What if we’re wrong?

What if the way we do church is wrong? This question struck me the other day as I read Ephesians 4:11-13

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

It seems as if the systems and practices in most churches don’t really allow for this. It seems most churches don’t really EQUIP God’s people to do His work and to build up the church. Most churches are designed for the apostles, the prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to do God’s work and build up the church. Sure, we “allow” people to volunteer by ushering, singing, doing youth ministry, children’s ministry,etc – but is that fullness of “God’s work and building up the church?” It appears the only vehicle churches offer to let others do “God’s work and build up the church” is the vehicle of small groups. But what if you’re not a small group leader? What if your church doesn’t even offer small groups, then what?

I’m not saying I have the answers or that I’ve even fully explored the issue, but it seems as if our church system is flawed. It seems we look to create cultures and systems that empower church leaders and minimizes the power of the entire flock by midigating “service” to volunteering at church. Is there more? Do we have it wrong?

How do we really equip and empower people to do God’s work BEYOND a Sunday morning experience? How does doing God’s work translate to Monday morning? And is that summarized by “Friendship evangelism” or is there more? Sure, the church is the living expression (or it least its supposed to be) of the hope of the world – Jesus Christ. God placed the responsibility of building up that church not in the hands of the “ministry gifts” but in the hands of people who have other gifts outside of those referenced in Ephesians. I guess maybe we have to clearly define what God’s work is. Making disciples is not just the job of the local church, its the job of EVERY believer. Jesus didn’t want pastors making disciples, He wants DISCIPLES making DISCIPLES. The local church does a decent job and teaching people methods to reach the people they know, but what are we doing to equip people to do the work of making disciples?

Maybe I’m dead wrong and I’m just not seeing it. Or maybe, we’re missing it. Maybe our systems support our leaders and not empower our congregations.

What do you think? What, if anything, can we do differently?

Kirk Franklin does it AGAIN (and other random thoughts)!!

-Kirk Franklin is THE guy! He’s not relevant, he sets the standard!! Awesome new song, listen above.

– HOW’BOUT DEM PATRIOTS!!! Tom Brady is going to SMASH Peyton’s record, and the Pat’s could very well go undefeated. It looks like somebody’s playing John Madden against a 5 year old! Brady has 27 touchdowns in 7 GAMES! He had 24 TD’s all of LAST YEAR!! Can’t wait until week 9 – Pats v Colts. The showdown!

– HOW ‘BOUT DEM SAWX!! The Boston Red Sox off to another World Series! And to all my Yankee fan friends (i.e. Mike, Cash, etc) I’d like to offer my most professional statement yet… nah-nah- na- nah-na! FIrst the pennant, now the Series! History made, AGAIN.

– Had a guest speaker this Sunday at church – Dr. George Kutty. He’s a missionary to India and Southern Asia with a Bible college established in India. When he starts quoting entire chapters of scripture VERBATIM and in King James English, it makes me feel like I need to read my Bible more. Great man, very humbling to be around him.

That’s it for now…I’ll do a post about the book I just finished “unChristian.”

Chocolate Rain!!

This is probably the worst song in the history of music. And I’ve heard some BAD songs (ask me about the WORST demo I received)

This has been a Youtube sensation and I don’t know why. Its bad…just see for yourself.

But…its actually DEEP! Once you get passed the extremely suckiness (“I move away from the mic when I breathe”…CLASSIC!), its actually a deep song about racial injustice. Chech lyrics (yes I found them…)

Chocolate Rain
Some stay dry and others feel the pain
Chocolate Rain
A baby born will die before the sin

Chocolate Rain
The school books say it can’t be here again
Chocolate Rain
The prisons make you wonder where it went

Chocolate Rain
Build a tent and say the world is dry
Chocolate Rain
Zoom the camera out and see the lie

Chocolate Rain
Forecast to be falling yesterday
Chocolate Rain
Only in the past is what they say

Chocolate Rain
Raised your neighborhood insurance rates
Chocolate Rain
Makes us happy ‘livin in a gate

Chocolate Rain
Made me cross the street the other day
Chocolate Rain
Made you turn your head the other way

(Chorus)
Chocolate Rain
History quickly crashing through your veins
Chocolate Rain
Using you to fall back down again
[Repeat]

Chocolate Rain
Seldom mentioned on the radio
Chocolate Rain
Its the fear your leaders call control

Chocolate Rain
Worse than swearing worse than calling names
Chocolate Rain
Say it publicly and you’re insane

Chocolate Rain
No one wants to hear about it now
Chocolate Rain
Wish real hard it goes away somehow

Chocolate Rain
Makes the best of friends begin to fight
Chocolate Rain
But did they know each other in the light?

Chocolate Rain
Every February washed away
Chocolate Rain
Stays behind as colors celebrate

Chocolate Rain
The same crime has a higher price to pay
chocolate Rain
The judge and jury swear it’s not the face

(Chorus)

Chocolate Rain
Dirty secrets of economy
Chocolate Rain
Turns that body into GDP

Chocolate Rain
The bell curve blames the baby’s DNA
Chocolate Rain
But test scores are how much the parents make

Chocolate Rain
‘Flippin cars in France the other night
Chocolate Rain
Cleans the sewers out beneath Mumbai

Chocolate Rain
‘Cross the world and back its all the same
Chocolate Rain
Angels cry and shake their heads in shame

Chocolate Rain
Lifts the ark of paradise in sin
Chocolate Rain
Which part do you think you’re ‘livin in?

Chocolate Rain
More than ‘marchin more than passing law
Chocolate Rain
Remake how we got to where we are

That went well!

Last night at The Mix, the youth ministry I lead, was great! As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we were going to do a round the room OPEN discussion. Yes, an OPEN discussion with teenagers and WHATEVER they wanted to talk about concerning things of the faith. We’ve done these things before, but not in the way we did it last night.

Usually, the people would write down questions and I would answer them. YAAAWWWN! So this time, we let them ask the questions then we ALL got to talk about the question. It was really designed to see what were the ways they REALLY felt about an issue. All were encouraged not to give the “church” answer if that’s not how they really felt.

Anyone wanna guess what the first question was about? C’mon, don’t be bashful..What? What was that you just said? That’s right – the first question was about SEX! So one guy (of course) asked the question and away we went. Lots of different views. Only a few of our people are “church” kids. Most of them have been recently introduced to the faith or they just began to explore the issues of faith for themselves. It was good to see their point of view. Of course, I brought it back to what the scripture says and even brought out some other tid bits about the benefits of waiting. I ACTUALLY said there are benefits of NOT waiting (had to be “real” or “authentic” or “transparent” or whatever you call it) but I cleaned it up with the benefits of waiting.

Then it got deeper. After covering a few other topics (friendship and music), someone brought up the issue of bi-sexuality and should that person change because people don’t like it. Off they went. Again, some great insight on both sides. Did I mention that we currently have people in our YOUTH MINISTRY who are exploring and involved in bisexuality? Figured I share that. Good discussion. Again, we closed the discussion with the balanced, Biblical perspective of homosexuality (they aren’t demon possessed!) and change – change in general. Everyone – even our biggest sceptics – said it was vey informative and they enjoyed it.

I like doing those type of sessions every few quarter because it gives the people who don’t have an outlet to discuss these issues with their parents or other adults to have that outlet. If we don’t think out, discuss and wrestle with some of these issues out loud for ourselves, we never really own the ideas. We just adopt what somebody else says until someone convences us of something different. Then we wonder why people leave the flock after they graduate high school. I encourage discussion and free thought in the issues of faith. I encourage people to ask questions and even challenge what they’ve been taught. If there is no challenge, how do we know what is a greater way? I encourage the challenge because I know scripture endures and defeats the challenge everytime!

Lastly, I know I lifted some eyebrows when I said we have people who engage in bisexuality. They have always known where we stand on the issue – its sin. Just like fornication is sin, or lying is sin or stealing is sin – its sin. No greater, no less. It STILL requires Jesus’ shed blood for redemption. Our stance is clear on the activity, but our stance is also clear that we STILL love them. They keep coming back, we keep believing that they will partner with God and change for His glory. I also let it be known that the activity is not tolerated in our settings – but the same goes for hetero stuff, too. This isn’t the place for you to go hunting for sex partners – straight, gay or bi. We love people, period. Our stance is to come as you are, and through God and God alone will you leave different.

Sharing Lives – STRMW part 2

Here’s another scripture that has rocked my world recently: 1st Thessalonians 2:8

We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.

This chapter has been a big eye opener for me in the light of building relationships to share the gospel and make disciples. Reading this chapter, I saw how Paul described his time with them during his visit and how he cared for them and was not a burden on them. He shared his life with them, then he was able to share the truth with them – and they accepted it as God’s Word (vs. 13)

These people became people who continued in the faith or, better said, they became disciples. This led me to ask myself, who am I sharing my life with? I share the Good News with people all of the time, but who am I sharing my life with. Discipleship, not just conversion, is made in relationships.

Honestly, I wasn’t really interested in sharing my life with people. They gossip to much, they take take take and never give back. They use you for what they want and then just leave without a thank you. In fact, they leave and talk about you negatively. Sharing my life wasn’t high on my priorty list – its DRAINING to share my life. But that’s where we make disciples. Isn’t that what Jesus asked His followers to do – make disciples? I’ve done a bang-up job at making converts. I could tell you probably 10 different ways to evangelize people. Friendship evangelism, prayer evangelism, the “SHARE” technique and many others. But what about making disciples? I have been TERRIBLE at making disciples. Mainly because I’ve tried to make disciples from the front of the church with the lights and video screen. Instead, I should be making disciples in the gritty uncomfortableness of life. Its easy for me to put together a message series and pray and share the truth, but who am I sharing my life with? I can honestly say, outside of my wife, I only have 1 person I am sharing my life with. I think that needs to change.

Messages don’t make disciples nor do small groups make disciples – disciples make disciples. Disciples are made by sharing the truth AND our lives with people, even when its not convenient.

So I challenge you to ask yourself the same question, “who am I sharing my life with?” Someone is counting on you to share your life with them.

World…rocked! AGAIN!

Wednesday Randomness

– Tonight’s youth service is going to be great! We’re going to do a group wide chat session called “iBlog.” We’re ACTUALLY gonna engage our youth in discussion about a few topics. Some will be questions they ask and others will be questions I ask. The goal is to get them actually thinking through issues concerning their faith AND to discover what the prevailing “world view” is in our setting. Open questions from teens…pray for me!

– The Sox are falling apart! Pray for them!

– Barak Obama and Dick Chaney are distant RELATIVES! The irony

– unChristian is a PHENOM of a book! Unfortunately, while being a little bit more that halfway through it, I left the book at a friends house just north of Boston. (Erica, send me the book PLEASE!!)

– Having trouble focusing at work…hence I am blogging…

– I REALLY can’t wait until the church can afford to bring me in full time. Being bivocational is HARD WORK! But, its the life I chose so I do it.

– I love imeem

– The Office is funny and Heroes is STILL my favorite show on TV

– WHY OH WHY does the former female hip-hop sensational group “Salt-N-Pepa” have their own reality show??? I still don’t know how I feel about them performing at Salt’s church.

– Am I the last person in the blog world who still drinks Dunkin’ Donuts coffee?

– Looking forward to recording music again…soon…hopfully

Oh well, back to work. I’ll post Scriptures That Rocked My World (STRMW) part 2 during my lunch break.

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