Archive for June, 2007

Church Doesn’t Work.  I know that might be surprising to hear me say (given the fact that I pastor one), but I’m convinced that church, in-and-of-itself, doesn’t work (you can define “work” however you would like).  “Joining” a church, “becoming a member” of a church, “identifying” with a church, “attending” a church, or “committing” to a church (you can pick your favorite language and terminology) hasn’t done much to change anybody.  And yet, you see the attempt all the time.  A couple’s marriage is in trouble and they find they are headed down a path of “irreconcilable differences” so they decide to “find a church.”  Or mom and dad have recently been shaken from slumber as they learned their teenage son is doing drugs and into some “bad stuff.”  Their response –  “we need to go to church.”  While a high percentage of people have an erroding trust and confidence in “organized religion” and “church” you would be surprised at how many people still turn to “church” as a place where maybe things can “get fixed.” 

Unfortunately, I have to say, a commitment to church in-and-of-itself doesn’t fix much of anything.  And quite honestly, if it is an unhealthy church (and there are a lot of the out there) – things get worse.  More disappointment, more time expended elsewhere, more guilt (we did mention it was a church right?), etc.

So, let me give this bit of advice (from a guy who loves and serves within the church)…don’t commit to the church (at least not in-and-of-itself).  It won’t get you very far.  My admonition is to commit to JESUS.  He’s the one that actually makes things work!  If the marriage is in trouble, the church can’t save it…but Jesus can.  If your teenage son is going down a dark and terrible path, just “bringing him to church” won’t rescue him … but Jesus can.  Committing to church but not to Jesus usually ends up with some weird legalistic trip of religiosity (and people around you like you less). 

The purpose of the church is to be a community (with all of its struggles and problems) in which Jesus can be found.  The invitation is not to come to our church to check out how great the church is…the invitation is to our Jesus.  Invite to church, not for church, but for Jesus.  So an invitaition to church should be an invitation in reality to meet Jesus.  Church is sort of like a dating service (I know…I wince as I use the analogy myself) that hosts the event in which you meet Jesus.  It is the place that Jesus promises to show up (unless the church isn’t interested in him coming because his presence might take the focus off themselves…Jesus usually honors such disinvites!)  In the end, no one commits to e-harmony.com.  They commit to the person they met through e-harmony.com. 

Leaders of churches need to be cautioned (ESPECIALLY  MYSELF) that in our conversations with people that we don’t so promote how good the church is that we neglect to mention that it IS NOTHING IN COMPARISON to our Jesus.  And if you hear church leaders go on and on about their church and all the things they are “doing” and how “wonderful it is” and “how much you would like it” and how “friendly it is,” and how quickly it is “growing,” and “how there’s a program designed just for you“…blah, blah, blah…but don’t hear “you can find Jesus here” keep looking.

Committing to Jesus will mean committing to church (more on this in a post to come).  But committing to a church does not necessarily mean that one has committed to Jesus.  If that be the case…you’ll find church just doesn’t work.          

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Roofing

Posted: June 28, 2007 in Living Stones Church

Man this is going to be a great weekend for something like….hmmm…ROOFING!  Specifically, the roof that happens to sit on the church that happens to be located at 718 E. Donmoyer Ave.  Prep work is happening right now; shingles are being delivered tomorrow.  If we can get workers to come on Saturday – that would be awesome!  We’ll start at 7:00 a.m.  The predicted weather…upper 70s and sunny!!  Perfect weather for roofing.

Avalanche Ranch

Posted: June 28, 2007 in Living Stones Church, vision

I’m starting to get pretty excited and pumped up about the up and coming Avalanche Ranch Vacation Bible School.  Postcards are in.  They are SWEET!!  They got labeled last night in a terrific labeling/grilling party.  We will invite the children in 6800 homes around the church to this year’s VBS (a record for us!).  The t-shirts have also been ordered.  They are also SWEET!!  Everyone at the VBS will get a t-shirt (including workers – so I would highly encourage everyone to participate in this year’s VBS – how awkward would that be not to have a cool t-shirt like everyone else [peer pressure, peer pressure, peer pressure].

Had a meeting last night to finalize the different stations and plans for the big week.  Went yesterday morning to another church who is also doing the Avalanche Ranch and is willing to let us borrow a lot of their props and sets (the sets and props were SWEET!!!  – way to go North Liberty Church of Christ).  So, AVALANCHE RANCH is drawing near!!!

The dates are:

July 16 – 20 (Monday – Friday)

6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Ages:  4 year olds – 5th grade

Invite everyone!  Not only should you get your kids here!!  Have your kids bring ALL of their friends.  Kelly and I have about 20 kids on our little street – they are all getting invitations to the AVALANCHE RANCH!!  I bet we bring more friends than you!  (Yes, this is a friendly competitive throw-down of invitation challenge!)

If you haven’t signed up to help – WE CAN USE YOU!!  Lots of areas that we need support and help.  See Ann Lynn if you would be willing to help impact the lives of the children on the South Side of South Bend (who wouldn’t want to do that?!?!)

I found this quote and loved it:

“Between what I think I want to say, what I believe I’m saying, what I say, what you want to hear, what you believe you understand, and what you understood, there are at least nine possibilities for misunderstanding.”

-Francois Garagnon

Paris Hilton Leaves Jail

Posted: June 26, 2007 in Culture

STOP WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING!!!

 IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT!!!!

 DROP EVERYTHING YOU WERE WORKING ON!!!

URGENT!!!

PARIS HILTON HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM JAIL!!!

Find the nearest T.V. and turn to a 24-hour news station (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc.) to find around the clock- 24 hour a day coverage of Paris Hilton’s release from jail!  That’s right my friends – you heard it here – PARIS HILTON HAS BEEN RELEASED FROM JAIL!!

Now I have to start the whole day over again and plan accordingly.  All of my pre-planned tasks will need to be altered; my relationships with God, family, and friends – forever changed.  My hopes, dreams, and aspirations for myself, my children…all shifting on the shaky sand that is the reality of my world as it comes to grips with the latest and most urgent of world reportsPARIS HILTON IS OUT OF JAIL!!  God help us.  (I grew up in a very non-sarcastic family…he he he)

Did some serious sermon preparation this afternoon by taking the family to see Evan Almighty!!  I loved it.  Steve Carell is one of the funniest actors out there.  Great storyline and adaptation of the biblical Noah story.  We’ll dive more into the message this coming Sunday.  If you get a chance to make it to the movies before Sunday – I’d recommend it.

I was encouraged by the number of first time guests we had at the Living Stones Church yesterday as we kicked off our God on Film series.  Gave away quite a few movie passes to Showplace 16!  If I were you, I would invite a friend for this coming Sunday as well!!

It was a great week of vacation!!

 I’m glad to be home, but I had a most excellent time last week.  Kelly and I spent the first half of the week together (just by ourselves…right on…) in the Chicagoland area and then we spent the last half of the week with our three kids hanging out at the water parks of Wisconsin Dells.  The best of both vacation worlds…time with my wife; time with my children!!  The highlights for me are:

  • Going to the Medieval Times show in Schaumburg, IL.
  • The AmeriSuites in Schaumburg – very nice with a free breakfast buffet!
  • Worship at Willow Creek Community Church for Father’s Day – very cool!
  • Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field – excellent third base side seats in the shade!
  • Giordano’s Pizza!  Best deep dish pizza!
  • IKEA store (never been, never wanted to, left a huge fan!).
  • Time spent with my wife.
  • Fuddrucker’s 2/3 lbs. three cheese hamburger (2 x…yes!)
  • Outback Cheesefries.
  • Museum of Science and Industry.
  • Relaxing in a jaquzzi.
  • Wendella’s Boat Tour of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan
  • Navy Pier
  • Magnificient Mile (Michigan St.)
  • Crazy Pakistani taxi driver who thought he was a NASCAR driver
  • IMAX theaters
  • Wisconsin Dell’s Boat tour (although a little cheesy)
  • Swimming with the kids.
  • Noah’s Ark Water Park (the largest in the world!)
  • Polynesian Resort at Wisconsin Dell’s – lots of water rides for the kids