Tuesday, January 29, 2008

No Wonder they call it the "SUPERBOWL"

Super Bowl Sunday marks the day on which Americans chow down the second greatest amount of food. Thanksgiving is the only day on which Americans eat more food. On Super Bowl Sunday Americans eat 11 million pounds of potato chips; 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips; 3.8 million pounds of popcorn. To put it in perspective, that’s enough chips to go from here to the moon and half way back. And enough popcorn to create a popcorn string that would go around the earth almost 5 ½ times.

Furthermore, TV and antacid sales both increase. TV sales increase by 5x before the Super Bowl and antacid sales increase 20% on the day after the Super Bowl. So what are you doing for the Super Bowl? We are inviting 150 or so of our “closest friends” to join us at church for “Souper” Bowl Sunday. It will be our very first church “pot luck.” Everyone is bringing either soup, sandwiches or dessert. We will be meeting at our regular time of 4:30 and at our regular place, the Dublin Recreation Center, but instead of our regular service we will be sharing a meal and the “story” of journey church. Also, we will be introducing our “deacon/directors” and have them tell a little bit of their “story.” Feel free to join us, and don’t worry, we’ll be done in plenty of time to get you home to enjoy the Super Bowl (antacid not provided).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Triple Dog Dare" You!

I know Christmas is over but that doesn’t mean I can’t dare or even ‘triple dog dare” you. In fact, I want to give you four dares. First, I dare you to admit your need for “spiritual” friends. Studies have shown that men generally have acquaintances but few, if any, intimate friends. Two out of ten males seem to have meaningful, open and safe relationships in which both parties trust and are committed to each other. In contrast, six out of ten women enjoy this type of relationship.

Second, I dare you to find spiritual friends you can spend time with, serve in love and speak the truth. That’s the kind of relationship the apostle Paul had with the Ephesian elders. He had spend three years with them and during that time he served them with great humility and tears. Acts 20:18,19

18When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews.

Humility and tears are two “tests” of love. The apostle Paul showed them his love by serving them in humility and sorrowing with them in tears. Not only did he show them his love but he shared with them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. . Acts 20:20,21

20You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Third, I dare you to make spiritual friends of people God “forces” on you. They may not be people you would naturally choose to be your “friends” but people God nevertheless wants for you to spend time with, share your possessions and speak the truth into your lives.

That’s what God did to the apostle Paul when he brought him face to face with the Christians in Tyre where he was “forced” to spend seven days. He didn't know them before, but now he is "forced" to spend time with them, share their possessions and hear them tell him what they think he should do. Acts 21:4-6.

We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.

Fourth, I dare you to make your friendship with God as important as your friendship with people. Somewhere in the greatest commandment which is “to love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” is a connection with the rest of the commandment, “to love your neighbor as yourself.”

You can’t have “spiritual” friends without first making God your “spiritual” friend. Maybe that’s where you need to start, by making God your spiritual friend. Everything God has done since creation was to make us His spiritual friend. From creation to the cross. So I dare you, no I triple dog dare you to. . .

admit your need of spiritual friends.

form a friendship with someone you can spend time with, share love and speak the truth.

make friends with those God "forces" on you and

make spiritual friends first with God by loving him with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coffee for the "Journey"

Ok, so it’s not Starbucks or even Dunkin Donuts but is good. It’s a very special blend of coffee created by one of the members of journey church. He went to Stauff’s in Grandview and found six different coffees, that collectively spell the word J-O-U-R-N-E-Y. Java Estate; Organic Sanctuary; J.R. Mora; Nicaragua; Ethiopia; Yemen. We haven’t served at journey church yet, we do serve coffee and we even let you bring it in the service. (check out an earlier post, “Top Ten Things I’ve Learned by Being a Church Visitor”, September 17, 2007)

Coffee is just one of the things we serve at Journey Church. Something else we serve is a heart felt love for God and one another. That’s not our idea, it’s what Jesus said we should do. When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39.

Both of those are easier said than done. Yet, they are said and so we should do them. But how? Well, that is the question we are trying to answer as we unfold the 3D vision of journey church. Last week we looked at the first half of this command which is to love the love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. To do that we need to understand three things about love. We need to understand. . ..

The parameters of love,

The problem with love and

The prescription for love (sorry for the alliteration, it comes with being a pastor)

The parameters of love are both qualitative and quantitative. What I mean by that is, first, we are to love God emotionally (with our heart), volitionally (with our soul), intellectually (with our mind) and physically (with our strength). Second, we are to love him quantitatively, that is with “all” of our being.

Second is the problem with love. The problem with love is that it never stands still. It is either increasing or decreasing. You can’t be on the fence with your love. I remember a story my daughter in law told me about my second son while they were dating. She wanted the relationship to progress but couldn’t tell what he wanted, so she asked him. (He’s a middle child so he’s more laid back than the first or last) Anyway, that “pushed” him off the fence and they are now “happily” married and living in Charlotte with two dogs!

Third is the prescription for love. The apostle Paul commended the Philippians for their love but at the same time exhorted them to grow in their love. “I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge.” Philippians 1:9 I think there are three things we can do to make our love grow. These apply to any relationship, but especially our relationship with God.


Repent and

Do (sorry no alliteration, here)

That's what Jesus told the church at Ephesus to do when he condemned them for letting their love grow cold.

4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. Revelation 2:4-5a

Remember how much God loves you and how much He has forgiven you. Psalm 103:12 Repent of not loving God in return. Do or obey God's commands. 1 John 5:3 Which do you need to do today? Remember, repent or obey? Remember you can’t stay on the fence for long and if you do, it's terribly uncomfortable. Why not get off the fence and remember how much God loves you and has forgiven you and wants you to love him in return. Then enjoy a cup of coffee on the journey.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Staying Alive @ 55

Today is my fifty fifth birthday. I know you can’t believe it, but it’s true. Nevertheless I thought maybe I would reflect a little on the “benefits” of being so “old”. So here are my Top Ten Reasons I Love Being Alive @ 55.

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being Alive @ 55

I don't have to wear polyester “leisure suits" or listen to John Travolta to be "cool."

9. I can order from the over 55 menu at Bob Evans without asking “permission."

8. I can call or text message my kids on their cell phone instead of whistling for them to come home.

7. I can google "stuff" on wikipedia instead of look it up in an out of date encyclopedia.

6. I can listen to my music on an I-pod with stereo head phones instead of a six transistor radio with a single ear phone.

5. I can still wrestle with my 4 boys even though they can probably beat me.

4. I get to wake up in the morning with Carol, my wife of 12,586 days next me.

3. I have the opportunity to "journey" with a great group of people at Journey Church.

2. I have seen the incredible mercies of God that are "new every morning."

1. and even though I can't get 55% off my bill at Bill Knapps (anybody remember that) I can still enjoy eating chocolate cake on my birthday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

No Pizza for a Year

That’s not my New Year’s resolution, but it is a New Year’s resolution of a friend of my son’s. He resolved not to eat any pizza for a year and did it. Another year he resolved not to eat any cookies and did it too. I don’t know what his New Year’s resolution is for 2008 but I bet he’ll keep it. Maybe it will be something easier like not breathing!

Most people I know, including myself, are “lucky” to keep their resolutions for a week. Maybe that’s why I have yet to make mine. Yet I think making New Year’s resolutions are a good idea. In fact it was the apostle Paul who said, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13

Recently I came across an article by Joan Esherick. (Christianity Today/Today’s Christian Woman) In it she shared what I think are six very helpful hints for making and keeping your New Year’s resolution. I’ve revised them some but basically they are the same as what she said.

  • First be specific. Rather than make a resolution to grow spiritually, resolved to spend 15 minutes a day in personal Bible study
  • Second be realistic. Rather than resolve to get up early every day to pray, resolve to get up early three days a week to pray. Or better rearrange your day when you are already awake to find time to pray.
  • Third find a way to measure your success. A good goal will answer the question of what, how, and when.
  • Fourth think short-term and long-term.
  • Fifth, be flexible.
  • Sixth review and refine your goals regularly.

How about you? What New Year’s resolutions have you made and kept? What is your New Year’s resolution for 2008? What’s your secret for keeping your New Year’s resolution? Let me know, unless it's to not eat pizza.