Monday, August 25, 2008

Chrysalis Flight

Wanted this week to ask for your prayers for Helen, three of our youth and myself for this weekend. We will be participating in Flight #31 in the Cedar Rapids Chrysalis Community.
Chrysalis is a weekend retreat for young people to learn and grow in their faith. I actually went on Flight #1 in Cedar Rapids in 1994. It is to be a weekend of hearing and seeing God's love. Helen and I will be the Spiritual Directors of this weekend, which means as pastors we are in charge of praying and giving guidance when asked. It is a group of lay people, young and young at heart, who lead in the hands on ministry of mentoring the young people on the flight.
It is called a flight because they use the metaphor of a caterpillar moving through the chrysalis stage into becoming a butterfly (a really manly image for the guys). It is a good metaphor though because we are often crawling around in our faith until God transforms us into a butterfly that can fly and really go places. God has plans for us and those plans are to fly and not crawl. This weekend is geared to help these young people take flight in their own faith.
So please pray for those having this experience because prayers really work and this can be a life changing weekend for our youth and other youth from Eastern Iowa.
Also I hope you are taking flight in your own faith and flying high with Christ as your guide.

Monday, August 18, 2008

How do we learn about Jesus?

The main goal for Christians in my mind is to reflect the image of Jesus Christ. I wish I could find the perfect way to help others do this, but I am becoming more and more convinced that there is not just one way.
If all we had to do was read the Bible and then we would reflect Jesus that would be great. I could focus all of my attention and energy towards getting people to read the Bible. But just reading the Bible will not do it.
If it just took coming to worship on Sunday mornings to reflect Jesus then again I could focus my energy there. However, I think it takes both of those and then some. It takes Christian community to practice and be held accountable in our words and deeds. It takes prayer time of communicating with God. It takes action and learning as we try to act as the hands and feet of Christ.
So how do we learn who Jesus really is? How do we then help others make it a priority to reflect his character in this world? How can we get better at this?

Monday, August 11, 2008

What is it?

Yesterday I talked about "it". It came from a book called "How Churches and Leaders Can Get it and Keep it" by Craig Groeschel. I have not read his book yet, but heard him speak at a leadership conference on Friday.
It is not really something you can define, but you can describe it. It is that special something that some people have and you know it when they have it. There is just something different about them, and in most cases if we do not have it we want it.
I also mentioned how some churches have it. You can step in some churches and you can sense something special about that church. Now it is not the Holy Spirit because to say one church has the Spirit and one does not is wrong and not true. So it is more than just having the Holy Spirit.
I have been trying to get more comments on my blog to assure me people are reading, but I was told I do not always leave them open ended enough. So let's see if I can be open ended. What in the world do you think "it" is? I would like to hear your thoughts about people who have it (not that you have to name them, but describe them). Also what does a church that has "it" look like?

Monday, August 4, 2008


After preaching on "we do not live on bread alone" I had a father tell me that during my message his daughter who is going into second grade, I think, told him I was making her hungry. I shared with the folks at that service that it is good for us to be hungry, hungry for more of the Lord. So I began to think about that hunger. What am I hungry for?
Personally I am hungry from some alone time with God. It has been a very productive, but busy summer for the Parks family. All summer long I have been going from one project to the next. All great projects and important work in building the kingdom of God, but I have had little time for personal time with God for an extended period of time. Selfishly I want more time to not be working for the Lord and just being with the Lord. The work of our church has been the main focus. That work is rewarding, but I am hungry for time to work on my spiritual growth.
I guess I am in one of those desert times I keep talking about. And maybe my sermon series right now is mostly for me. I do know God will use this summer as a marking stone of his future work in me.
So where is your hungry? What are you hungry for that only the Lord can give?