Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Forgotten...

I have to say that the most enjoyable part of my job right now is my breakfast and lunch meetings.  Yesterday was a prime example.  I went to lunch with a new friend David Gillham who, with his wife Elaine, have decided to partner with us in the launch of the new church.  I had never spent any time with David, didn't know anything about him really except that he was my dad's age and that he worked for the post office.  But I quickly realized, after we sat down and began talking, that David and I have a very similar passion....passion for the kingdom!!

As we talked, one of the things we discussed, as it related to the kingdom of God, was the recognition that Jesus was very intentional in the people he pursued for relationship.  These relationships were the context of his ministry, the people to whom he brought the kingdom.  Infact, at the outset of his ministry he makes it very clear who those people will be.  He said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Who did Jesus name as the those he was pursuing for relationship?  The very ones in their culture who were outcasts, spiritually marginalized and forgotten.  As David and I talked we began to wonder who these forgotten people were in the area where we are doing the new church.  Who are the ones the church has passed by or not pursued for one reason or another?  The damning question may be, Why have we forgotten them?  These are all questions we have to begin answering.  
As David and I talked we decided we want to be a church that is naming and pursuing the forgotten of our area. What are your thoughts?  Who are the forgotten where we live?  Why do we forget some but pursue others?   

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aslan is on the move...

In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe one of the clearest pictures of Gods kingdom coming on earth is the idea of spring breaking into the perpetual winter that has been facing Narnia.  This winter began as a result of the work of the enemy in the land of Narnia.  However now that Aslan, the Jesus figure in the book, is approaching in His fullness, spring is breaking into winter!
I love this picture of spring because it makes sense to me.  While living in Omaha one of the most difficult times of the year for me was the end of March and early April because I was so tired of ugly, dirty snow covering the streets.  I vividly remember one spring I came home to Georgia to go on a three day fishing trip with my dad.  Spring had already begun to burst on the scene as temperatures had risen, trees and flowers had started to bloom and as we fished the chills of our Omaha snows melted away in my mind.  As I boarded my flight back to Nebraska the memory of snow had been replaced by the sounds of birds chirping and children playing and I couldn't wait to get back and dive head first into the joy of a new season.  But tragedy struck.
On the flight back to Omaha, as we were nearing the state line of Iowa and Nebraska, I looked out the window of the airplane to see, of all things, a freak, early spring snow shower that ended up dumping about five inches of snow in Omaha.  I was crushed.  I hate to say I was depressed but at the time it was definitely the word that fit my emotions most clearly.  Instead of spring breaking into my winter, the cold, lifesless and dreaded winter had invaded MY life-filled, joyous spring. 

When Jesus tells his listeners "The time has come.  The kingdom of God is near.  Turn and believe the good news", he really believes it is good news.  Why?  Because Gods kingdom coming to earth means that spring is breaking into winter.  Life, freedom, joy, salvation is breaking into the places where the enemy has been bringing about death.  And the beautiful thing about spring is when it comes, it does so in a complete manner, meaning nothing is left untouched.  There is never any snow left on the ground when spring comes to Nebraska.  It may try to hold on but ultimately it all melts away and gives way to spring.  So it is with the kingdom.  His kingdom is over all and affects all and our life and action must represent this reality.  
Question: What do you think it means to be a "Kingdom Minded People?"  What winter do you think Jesus wants to bring His spring into?  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cedarcrest Church Plant Cookout This Weekend!

We are having a cookout THIS SUNDAY, August 24th, for anyone interested in getting involved with or hearing more about the Cedarcrest Church Plant.  It will be held at the Seven Hills Clubhouse off Cedarcrest Road from 5pm-7pm.  

You don't need to bring anything- food and childcare will be provided.  We'll have babysitters to entertain the kids with crafts and games downstairs so that the adults can eat and fellowship with one another.  

Reservations are NOT required, although if you are planning on coming please let us know so that we can get an idea of how much food to bring and how many childcare workers we need. 

We are looking forward to getting to know you better and brainstorming about the future of the church!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lovin' Church...

I took a class this past week at Asbury on "Christology."  Going in all I knew was: I had a lot of reading to do by guys who were so smart it made head hurt just trying to read their names!! As the class began and my professor started to speak something amazing doors were completely blown off as we delved deep into the reality of Jesus the Son and Jesus the man and grabbed hold of the implication of what His life here meant for us today.  (Now for those of you out there who are "haters " of higher learning and believe it to be one of the seeds the mean old devil uses to subvert a real move of God, let me say this was not one of those classes.  Instead I had a Spirit filled, Scottish (cool accent...I literally heard his voice in my head when reading....kind of strange), New Testament theologian who had spent the weekend before our class partaking of the Lakeland Outpouring.  This class was an intentional move of God in my life.)
Not to go too far into the class and bore you with things that you may not care about (but probably should...but not here in this blog,) let me just say that one of the things we talked about in class was the reality of the church being the agent through whom God wants to move to reach a broken world.   However, too often we are more of a distraction to an authentic move of God than an asset.  One of these reasons is the unfortunate reality that we focus on things many times that just aren't all that important.

So here is the thought I would like for you to consider and weigh in on:

Realizing we have a clean slate of a new church plant to work with...what are the top 5 things you think are most vital to a church being used to affect positive change in a community? There are no right or wrong answers here but, the ones in which you can provide historical or biblical precedent for might just get you some bonus points with Jesus or maybe even an extra room in your mansion in heaven...I'll have to see what I can do about that.  

What are your thoughts???

Friday, June 13, 2008

So it begins...

Why are we blogging?  Because we recognize that to create a "church" we can't do it alone...we need the rest of the body to do its part and help shape an organism that is living, breathing and capable of bringing real change.  That is the heart behind "Collapse of the Cookie Cutter." 
So many churches that are started today model themselves after other churches that are drawing in large numbers of people.  There are seminars and training events that give you how to's, theories, opinions, books, etc. that show how to build a good church.   These can be good and effective, however my heart in being  the church begins with the belief that God is looking to do something new, something fresh, something that can only be birthed in his heart, not in a book to be bought.  

My plan with this blog is to throw out subjects, ideas, questions and more that we can discuss here in virtual world and in time move them from here to the real world.  Come join us for what we believe will be the beginning of an incredible adventure!!.