“Excellence honors God and inspires people”
That is from Steven Furtick, lead pastor, at Elevation Church in North Carolina.
Check out this sermon from a little ways back at Elevation Church.
Great word for:
1) Volunteers, Support Staff, Servants, etc.
2) Church Leaders
3) Church attenders who haven’t yet made a commitment of serving..
I actually started watching it because I like the intros of many of the sermons from the church. Super creative, fun, and sometimes thought provoking. This is a cool church growing like crazy and impacting their community. Easter had over 11,000 people in attendance, 18000 donated items (food drive), and 700 salvations. Did I mention that the church started in 2006?
Anyway, in this particular message, they decided to give their volunteers the day off to thank them but also for others to notice that this was not a one man show.. not a cruise ship if you will. What an interesting idea… I wonder what that would look like at Grace? I doubt anyone ever knows how much is done at a church by unpaid people giving their time, love, gifts and vision. A good church is helping people into this. A great church is championing them.
He also talks about being prepared for the guests.. not running out of wine (a la the story of water into wine). There should be a sense of urgency that new people come through the doors and they are looking for many things.. everything from Jesus to a place to belong to a place to learn to a place to lead. Be ready.
Why are we as a culture so afraid to ask questions? We are told there are no stupid questions (even though there are some stupid questions). We find ways to make sure we don’t need to ask questions. As Christians we confuse asking questions with doubt and insecurity with God. Unfortunately when we don’t ask questions, we may never find answers and in return we may never grow. Stunted in fear, insecurity, or pride. Weak, vulnerable to the pray of big questions that others are not afraid to ask Christians… the worst being sometimes “Do you actually believe that?”
I was struck last week by the questions some young people had. They were amazing forming questions of faith. Questions that CS Lewis would be honored to answer. They were questions that many in the church would have scolded them for asking. It was really a thing of beauty. The beauty being that the Holy Spirit moved and I was actually able to answer the questions.
I think that is the real reason that Christians are afraid to ask questions. They are afraid of the answer. They are afraid that the answer might change them. They are afraid that the Holy Spirit might not give an answer. It is a trust issue.
If you trust that God is who he says he is: all knowning, all loving, all powerful (and I do) then you should trust that the answers are from him as they line up with his Word.
The Bible calls us to reason with God. I boldly ask questions to God so that I may grow in my faith and I may have a deeper understanding of who he is.
This weekend, amidst Easter (Jesus, the bunnies, and colored eggs) ask God questions. Lord, you really did all this for me? God how did these colored eggs get involve? How do I know I am saved? Jesus, when you were 12.. did you know you would go to the cross? Do you love me? Lord, is this all real? How do I know?
Ask. The ways He answers are suprising, beautiful, and always perfectly timed. Trust God enough to ask a question.
So I suck at blogging. I’m okay with this. I love to write in spurts.. then I go on long breaks. I’m a writing binger. To be honest, I’ve really felt uninspired. I remember in school that we should just start writing lettters and phrases to get warmed up. I figure that isn’t really fair to the few who are reading this.
With that said this week I am fasting media… certain media. The two big ones.. the obvious and the subtle subversive.
One sits in the living room.. it fills the silence when Matt isn’t here late at night and the cat keeps making noises that make me think someone is breaking in. It also says hi to you when you come home and want to unwind. So does my journal but it isn’t as loud.
The other fills my most powerful prayer times.. the radio in the car. On.. I’ll sing to whatever is on. Drive by my car, trust me. I love talk radio too.. I’ll even listen to sports radio. But it fills space. It fills time. I’m an amazing car prayer. I can drive and bring down fire from heaven. It often keeps me from bringing fire down on someone’s car. Then there are those other times. Sometimes I need to be in silence. Silence is good for the soul.
Fasting is amazing because it accomplishes multiple goals. First what you initially were fasting for/from/about/etc. Then it accomplishes what God wants to accomplish. If that weren’t good enough, you get centered around and have the opportunity to crush bad habits. Like calling the Kardashians your BFFs (we will go back to being acquaintances).
So I set out to get close to God, to hear what he wants to do with me especially regarding youth. Three days in and I am weeping for the people of Camas, Washougal, and greater Clark County. I have a sense of urgency like never before. I was reminded that “By YOUR blood I was set free.. and that I am redeemed..” I am enough in the eyes of God and am made whole by his love. I feel emboldened to dream, to embrace the visionary within me, to risk, to try.
Yep it’s been good. I’m looking forward to two more days of a quiet-ish how. Can’t fast the family corgi. He barks as I write.