Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today was an even better day!

Fairmount Christian Church in Mechanicsville, VA has officially signed up to partner with the area 10 project. I met with their missions team last night and they agreed to be a significant financial supporter of the project. This is extremely exciting news.

Trying to raise funds for this project has thus far been a big faith builder for me. I've never asked for a large sum of money before. I'm excited to see God's hand in all this. I believe God prepared Fairmount for a long time for this.

Thank you so much to the team there at Fairmount for choosing to love our city and support this project!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Today was a great day

I spoke at Journey Christian Church this morning. What a great bunch of people they have there. It really was a lot of fun. Joe Westerman, their worship leader did a fine job of leading the people. I had a blast with the congregation. They even laughed at some of my jokes which is always a plus.

This afternoon, I watched my Tampa Bay Buccaneers, survive a tough game and manage to pull out a win. That always puts me in a good mood.

And tonight I hung out with my small group, who are some of my favorite people in the world. I think that having a community of Christ followers who love God and love each other is about the most beautiful thing on the planet.

Tomorrow night, I am talking to the missions team at a local church here about supporting our project. Please say a prayer for us today! God things are happening!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Love thy neighbor part II

A few nights ago, I came home at about 11 p.m. from my soccer game where our team had gotten smacked down again by a score of about 8-1. My neighbor was sitting on her porch. She is a nice lady who is a single mother of 3. I sat on her porch and talked to her for a while. She was not doing well. She seemed down. I told her that I thought she seemed depressed lately. She told me that she struggles because about 8 months ago, she lost her 10 year old daughter to some sort of illness.

Losing a child has to be the worst pain imaginable. I felt so sorry for her and totally understand her reasons for her depression. We had a great talk on the porch. I asked her at the end if I could pray for her. She said yes, so I put a hand on her shoulder and prayed for her on the spot. I prayed for God to take care of her daughter in heaven and for comfort for them here on Earth.

After the prayer I told my neighbor that I was a minister. She had no idea! (It must be because of all the wild parties we've been throwing at our house!) She was thrilled that I was a minister. I told her I would be planting a church in the city next year. She said “well my family and I are going to come to it!”

So I guess my new church that doesn't exist yet (except in my head and heart!) just grew by 4 people. That's pretty cool. I had no intention of her being a part of our church. I didn't try to love her with any ulterior motives. I was just trying to be neighborly and loving her like God would want me to. I hope that our church one day grows by repeating these kinds of stories over and over. That's the kind of church I want to be a part of.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Soft Sell

This week, the Richmond alternative newspaper ran a feature article about churches that are selling Jesus. They talked about how some churches market Jesus to hungry consumers in hopes of reaching them. It was an interesting read for me to say the least.

I think about this all the time...Can we love people without ulterior motives? Can we hand out (in Vineyard fashion) water bottles, or free parking validations, or free gift wrapping or whatever, and TRULY do it to show people's God love...not just show people God's church (ours). How can we just love people just to love them? I think the solution is to love people who cannot pay you back in any way...like the poor and oppressed. But as someone who wants to see a new church birth out of nothing...that's a strange thought...Should we just get out there and love the least of these like Jesus says and let the chips fall where they may? I guess it's sad I even ask the question. Ok...I'm off to repent now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Start spreading the news

This past weekend I led a team of 5 to go on a short term mission trip to New York City. It was awesome. We spend the weekend working with Forefront Church in Manhattan. They meet in the Blender Theatre. It was a sweet location with a great group of people! We served the homeless with them, gave out free coffee and granola to people in Union Square and had some good conversations with people on the street.

I talked with their pastor, Brian Moll for a while over lunch on Saturday. He really had some great perspective that was good for me to be reminded of. He talked about being committed to the city for the long haul and thinking long term. He told me how that changes his conversations. He is not worried so much about being "church growth guy" who has to make things happen at his church. He is just committed to staying there and letting the church grow naturally over the long haul. It takes a lot of the pressure off.

That was great for me to hear. It reminds me that I need to dig some deep roots into Richmond. We are here for the long haul. It's the only way we'll be effective, and it's the only way I'll keep my sanity.