Monday, January 28, 2008

Get Directions

We have finished our first month of understanding our new vision statement: To be a church where you can SEE Christ. I thought I would consult the "expert" on purpose statements, Rick Warren. In the opening of his "The Purpose Driven Life" book he says, "If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose." Rick points us to the fact that to really live the kind of life we were meant to live we need to start by asking God for directions.
I look back over my life and know that when I started to ask God for directions in my life I have done more than I ever thought possible. I was never considered a leader at anything growing up. I was very much a follower and did not want to be center stage for anything. Once I started my relationship with God he has guided me to the front many times to lead. Now I lead a whole congregation into exciting ministry for the Lord. God has brought me a long way because I have focused on finding his purpose. Finding your purpose can change many things in your life.
Having a clear purpose for our church can also change many things. Rick lists several benefits of a clear church vision in his book "The Purpose Driven Church." He says a clear purpose builds morale, reduces frustration, allows concentration, attracts cooperation and assists evaluation. If we truly follow this vision statement it can be our guide in ministry as we discern where this vision leads and where it does not lead. A question that should become common for us is "Does this ministry, small group, service fulfill our vision to show Christ?"
This vision will call us to be leaders in our community. When we serve, experience and embrace Christ we will be leading others to know him. Let's step forward and step up to this calling.

MISSION: What does this vision statement mean in your life? What do you need to build on and what do you need to let go? Share with someone or comment to me where you see this vision taking our congregation.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Feel It

The second core value in our new church vision statement is to be a church where you can experience God. We want to be a church that does not just read about God or talk about God, but that we experience God.
I was thinking back to my favorite experience of feeling God's presence. I was in college, down at Iowa Wesleyan, when one night I began to feel overwhelmed. I had too much to do and too little time to do it. I wasn't able to go to sleep that night as I stared at the ceiling worrying about everything. I could not get my mind to stop thinking about how to solve all of my problems. Then all of a sudden the Spirit of God spoke to my heart. The Spirit asked me two questions: How is your worrying going to solve anything? and Don't you trust me?
After I was asked those two questions I began to laugh out loud. I could not stop laughing for several minutes because the joy of the Lord had filled me. (I did not have a roommate at the time, which was good because he would have thought I was crazy.) I knew I trusted God with my life and so I just laughed at how foolish I was to be worrying. I knew God would take care of everything and I would find my way through the mess with his help. I laughed myself to sleep that night.
I can't remember now what the concerns were that filled me with worry and apparently nothing too devastating happen from that situation, but I do remember the feeling of God's voice calling me to trust him and allow him to work in my life.
I hope no matter the worries and troubles you face that you can experience the calm assurance of God's voice reminding you if you trust him, he will see you through.

MISSION: Remember your favorite experience with God and share it with someone close to you.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow Angel

We are focusing on the service part of our new vision statement of being a church where you can SEE Christ. We show Christ to the world through our service. Sometimes we forget that one of our main callings as Christians is to be a servant.
I was reminded of a person who serves me and my family, we call him our Snow Angel. There has been many times this past year at our new home that we have had a snowfall and our sidewalk and driveway were cleared before I got to doing it (often before I got out of bed). Someone had come through with their snowblower. It didn't take long to figure out who it was because I just followed the snowblown trail back to the person's house about a block away.
This servant has blessed me very much because I only have a shovel to clear the snow and my drive is 4 times the size it was at our old house. It has been a major blessing especially on Sunday mornings when it has snowed and I don't want to get up earlier than I already do to shovel and then lead two services.
But I also thought about the other blessings of this service, specifically the time I was given. By having my walk and driveway clear of snow I was saved 30 minutes to an hour depending on the snow. That time is a real gift I hope I can use for God's kingdom because it was given to me as an act of service.
I encourage each of you to think about the gifts you have been given by servants. Thank God for the people that serve you, and be sure to thank them personally as well.

MISSION: Find a place to offer at least 5 hours a month in service to others. If you service area is only a few hours a month then spend the other time praying for that ministry.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Our new vision statement for our church is to be a church where you can SEE Christ. A main focus of this is to help others see Christ in our actions and words. In a sense, we represent Christ to the world.
I was thinking about this last night and thought about the difficulties some people have living up to expectations. Some people feel there are certain expectations placed on them and it feels like extra pressure to live up to those expectations. I was thinking specifically of pastors' kids. I am not a pastor's kid, so I don't know what that is like, but my children of course are. They are too young now, but I worry they will feel undue pressure to live up to being children of a pastor.
And then I realized how this applies to our lives as Christians. If God is our Father, then we need to remember we do represent him. Does this mean we all have that extra pressure in our lives? Honestly, I feel the pressure actually comes from not representing God well. The pressures I feel are to live life the world's way and not God's way. Living God's way is more of a relief that deflats pressure then a life that builds pressure. Try it. When you make decisions and live after God's example see if it doesn't relieve some of the pressures of life.

MISSION THIS WEEK: Pray about ways that you have misrepresented God in 2007 and ask for forgiveness. Then pray for guideness to represent God well in 2008, so others can see Christ in you.