Churchie Stuff

I don’t have a lot of time to blog lately, and tonight is no exception. But I did want to take a minute and share why I am a big Chick-fil-A fan.

I’ve always loved Chick-fil-A, ever since they came to Temecula & Murrieta; before that I had no idea what it was or even how to pronounce it. I loved the food, the service, the fun stuff they did, and just the over all experience. They always seemed to show up at conferences & church events with free food – I knew something was up. Then a couple months ago, I saw Dan Cathy share at the Saddleback Worship Conference about “Creating Raving Fans”, and I was mezmorized – I blogged about it.

After that short exposure to the Chick-fil-A model, I wondered if it would be possible to get him to come to Rancho Community to share with us and encourage our staff – it was shot in the dark. So I sent out an email and in my inbox was a response from our local Chick-fil-A saying that Dan’s son, Andrew was in Southern California and we could possibly get him to come. I was stoked to say the least. I responded and before I knew it we had Andrew booked to share with our entire staff, along with complimentary Chick-fil-A from our local Temecula store, run by Elizabeth Fritz – SCORE!

Needless to say, Andrew Cathy came and shared his heart with us and totally blew us away – I was so grateful. The staff from the Temecula store was amazing, as was the lunch! I recieved a copy of Truett Cathy’s “Eat More Chickin…”, which I am currently reading, and was just energized to continue in my role – to do the best and really go the extra mile for people.

Today (Labor Day), we decided to do something fun with the kids, and the first thing to come to my mind was, Chick-fil-A. Little did we know that today was “wear your team jersey and get a free Chick-fil-A sandwich”. We missed the mem0 and when we got there, the line was out the door, but we were committed. As usual we had an amazing experience, great food & great service. We saw about 3 other people we knew from the community, which is so cool. And the older man that roams the restaurant gave Miles and Macy 2 free Kids Meal tickets. This place knows how to “Create Raving Fans”.

So I just want to send out some props to Chick-fil-A, Andrew, Dan, Elizabeth, Mary-Joe, and the whole Temecula team. Thank you so much, you’ve got a family of fans for life!

It was with heavy hearts that Scott Treadway (Rancho Community Church), and Jim Palmer (Orange County Rescue Mission) announced at a community forum on Thursday evening, August 27th, that the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission was pulling its application for the proposed Summerhouse project. For Jen and I it just felt so wrong, thus the title of this post. But we trust that God has a plan to help the least, the last, and the lost and we will continue to support any effort to do so.

I don’t have all the inside information, and legal details that go along with this – but I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happened, and at the very least I have my first hand experiences at both the meeting hosted at Rancho Community Church last Tuesday and the Community meeting at the CRC last Thursday. Also, I need to say that I am not speaking on behalf of Rancho Community or the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission – these are just my thoughts.

We have a mandate (especially if you are a Christian) to help the poor.
We have poor and homeless people and families in Temecula (and Murrieta, and every surrounding community).
We have chronically homeless people, we have people who have made terrible choices with their lives, we have people who have just run into impossible situations and have been left with nothing (and everything in between).
All of these people need help.
The Summerhouse project (the 20 unit portion) was designed to take in “Families” in transition. This is where I think people have been mis-informed. These families are the SAME families that were living next door to the SAME people who are protesting. These are families who’s children go to the SAME schools as the people who are protesting. These are people who last year were living in 2000+ square foot homes with two cars, two jobs, and two kids…
The Orange County Rescue mission has a 40+ year successful history of running projects like the proposed Summerhouse (20 Unit) project. They have a comprehensive system that they run families through to give them transitional housing, resource them, and get them back into the middle class society.
I think what people don’t understand, or won’t understand is that homeless families are in Temecula right now. One of the arguments was that this project would attract homeless; they are here now. And now we have no solution for families, other than local people giving of their personal homes & finances.
Today I’m sad. Sad because our community failed to recognize and act together to meet the need of families in our own neighborhoods. No wonder there’s no peace amongst nations – we can’t even get it right with those people we see, live with, and work with everyday.
I’m also sad because fear overcame hope this week in Temecula. Fear of the unknown, fear of giving, fear of opening our hands and sharing our “neighborhood” with those less fortunate, fear of living a life of meaning – helping people around us.
But I am hopeful, because I believe in a God of restoration and my family and I will continue to work and pray for God’s Kingdom to come on Earth…
If you are feeling like I am, I would encourage you to a) pray (for our city, the opposition, the homeless, the rescue mission) b) write a letter to the city council members showing your support for projects like Summerhouse, and c) volunteer at the Temecula Murrieta Rescue Mission by contacting David Jones at 951.252.1200 or email him.

*Updated*

Here’s a couple links to some other blog posts on Summerhouse:

James Doezie http://jamesdoezie.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/if-we-have-received-mercy/
Rich Kirkpatrick http://www.richkirkpatrick.com/rich_kirkpatricks_weblog/2009/08/summerhouse-will-temecula-city-council-cave-in-to-the-misinformed.html

I am blessed to be on a staff at a church where development is a huge value & our leadership is serious about investing in the lives of their staff. Right now we are going through Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Life Together” – it is seriously hitting me between the eyes and right in the gut. Sometimes I find myself finding things very hard to digest and other things speaking right to my soul.

I’m writing this as we are nearly through the entire book, but I’ll probably go back and pull out some content from previous chapters.

Today I was reviewing just the intro to the chapter titled “Ministry” and was just blown away by how DB cuts like a knife into the soul of man. Here’s just some selected quotes from one and a half pages…

“There arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be the greatest” Luke 9:46… This is enough to destroy a fellowship.

…(We must) face this dangerous enemy squarely, and eradicate it… From the first moment when a man meets another person he (or she) is looking for a strategic position he can assume and hold over against that person.

Where is there a person who doesnot with instinctive sureness find the spot where he can stand and defend himeself, but which he will never give up to another, for which he will fight with all of his instict of self-assertation.

It is the struggle of the natural man for self-justification.

Um, all I have to say is: Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

This is where so many of us go wrong – and by many of us, I mean me. All I can think of to say is, DB is so right and this verse is the target I want to aim for (read it three times slowly).

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Phillipians 3:7-9

You thoughts?

Wrote this this morning based off Isaiah 42:1-9 and a talk given by our lead pastor, Scott Treadway.

God upholds me.

He chose me, and he delights in me.

He put his very own Spirit on me, to bring justice to the nations.

I will not shout, cry out, or raise my voice in the streets, but I will mend broken lives and be compassionate.

I will be faithful and not give up until justice has been established in every nation on Earth.

God has called me.

He has taken hold of my hand.

He will keep me, nothing I do can change that.

I am a living reminder of his covenant.

I am a light to the world to: open the eyes of the blind, free captives from prison, and release those trapped in darkness.

I am, a servant of the Lord.

My buddy Peter sent me this link today. I’ve read it a few times now and so should you.

We, unlike some of them, do not announce a Gospel of prosperity, but Christian realism. We do not announce miracles, as some do, but the sobriety of Christian life. We are convinced that all this sobriety and realism which announce a God Who became man (therefore a profoundly human God a God Who also suffers with us) give meaning to our own suffering. In this way, announcement has a broader horizon and a greater future. We also know that these sects are not very stable. … The announcement of prosperity, of miraculous healing, etc., may do good in the short term, but we soon see that life is difficult, that a human God, a God Who suffers with us, is more convincing, truer, and offers greater help for life.

What a humble & true statement. So many times we make the mistake of making “Christianity” about us – and it is so not. It’s the story of a God who became a man in order to bring man back into relationship with himself, the “us” part plays out that we might worship & enjoy him. I’m gonna try and not ruin the simplicity of that quote by saying any more.

Your thoughts?

Tagged as: Christianity, Pope Benedict
3 Comments

David
April 20, 2009 • 6:30 pm
Hey Alex. Been RSSing your blog for a while, but this is my first clickthrough 🙂

I appreciate what the Pope has said here, but at the same time…it’s not the whole story of the Gospel.

Just as those who preach an unbalanced everything’s hunky-dory, “your miracle and prosperity will be served at 10.15 at the next counter” brand of Christianity is also unbalanced.

Jesus came for so much more than just to be there in our suffering, He also came to empower us to do greater things than He did on earth. To be His conduit of love.

So in my view, what the Pope has said here is equally unbalanced…it focusses on the realism/sobriety, rather than dreaming/believing/hoping for a changed world that IS possible through total faith.

Not saying it’s easy though.

Davids last blog post..Worship : 19 April 2009

Peter
April 22, 2009 • 9:43 am
Yeah man I really loved this quote!
I do not find it to be unbalanced as David does. True it reflects more of a Christian realism, which at times can be very refreshing (in certain doses). Yet I feel he still gives merit to the proclamations of prosperity, healings, and empowerment that the Spirit brings.
Therefore I feel he has a very healthy view considering all whom he represents, which to me is very sober society.

Peters last blog post..Easter reigns supreme

David
April 22, 2009 • 3:07 pm
And don’t get me wrong – I think Pope Benedict is great. World Youth Day down here in Sydney last year was a powerful gathering and had churches joining together, which thrills my heart.

I know it’s not exactly been a big discussion here Alex (yet?), but I really want to thank you for posting this.

Davids last blog post..Transitional Phase

Today was a special day. It was a beautiful Southern California day, probably the best day all year.

Today we said goodbye to our Grandma. I say “our” Grandma, because Rudy was everyone’s Grandma – at least to the people my age. To others she was everyone’s mom, and to others, everyone’s friend.

At least 100 people showed up to pay their respects and celebrate the life of Ruth Green. Friends and family showed up from all over Southern California (inlcuding Catalina Island), New Mexico, Arizona, New Jersey, and of course, her church.

The service was perfect. Pastor Todd did a great job, as well as Glenda, Ron, Kevin, and my Dad – all who gave of their time and talent to honor Rudy.

I put together a little iPhoto slideshow, and spoke, er well – tried to speak. I botched it up a bit but was able to make it through. What I wanted to communicate most was that this life and all its offerings is just a taste of of true goodness & joy. So here’s what I wrote – and I kind of read through it and elaborated with more personal stories of Grandma Rudy:

From the beginning of time, we were created & designed to live in perfection with God, the people he created, and his creation – where there is no death, no pain, no suffering, and no goodbye’s. But we’ve been kind of tricked into believing that this is all there is. We’ve become so attached to this world and it’s offerings, that we think this is as good as it gets…

As good as they are, our experiences here in this life are only a glimpse, a taste, of what is good. The greatest experiences in life; the love of a wife, the care of a mother, the joy of a grandmother, the blessing of a friend – whatever we consider to be the best things in life – pale in comparison to what is to come. And so for a short time we were privileged to know Grandma Rudy – but that was just the beginning, just a taste…

Today we’re confident that Grandma Rudy is experiencing life the way it was intended – and so we celebrate her life here, and her continuing life with her heavenly father in perfection, where she knows no pain, only joy, and the completeness that comes with being reunited with God.

And so we’re going to close this time today by celebrating together the reunion that has taken place – God’s great plan of love & redemption, and the continuing life of Rudy Green…

We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the local Elk’s club, where we just reminisced and talked with family and friends. Miles and Macy were able to come and hang out – and they really shined today. There’s something so special about these kids, they just bring so much joy to people. They went around on their own & said hi to everyone and brought smiles to people’s faces. One highlight of the afternoon was just watching them play with their Grandpa Bob (Papa Bob, my dad). He played with them for at least 2 hours straight!

We’re so blessed to have a huge family & we all love each other so much – both my family and Jen’s family. In fact Grandma Rudy was one of my dad’s favorite people. He would always be the first person that I’d call when Rudy would go the hospital – and he always went to visit her. My dad is a pretty special guy & I’m so proud to be his son.

There’s so many stories I could share & people we could thank for today – I won’t because I’ll just forget someone… So, thanks to everyone who came out today & helped make it such a special day. Jen and I can’t say enough to share our gratitude to those who gave selflessly in honor of a woman who gave of herself to others her entire life.

Today I headed up to Riverside to Grove Community Church for the SouthWest Church Planter Forum. Normally we’ve been meeting at Oscar’s in Temecula – today was the first time we met in Riverside, a little inconvenient, but worth the drive. I love these gatherings for a number of reasons:

  • I believe in church planting (done right – although it’s messy)
  • There’s always a good group of people to network with
  • 2 words: Free Food
  • We always get a free book
  • It’s a good excuse to get out of the office

This is where I’ll be for the next few hours… on TwitPic Today was especially cool for me for two reasons, well three actually. (1) My wife came (love that). (2) My new boss, Pastor Scott from RCC was there. (3) I got to play drums in a quasi ‘all-star’ worship band. It was Eric on acousting & leading, Travis on electric, Vince on Bass, Emily (Travis’ wife & my sister) on vox, and a girl named Stephanie on keys & vox. We did four songs:

  1. Gravity (John Mayer) yup…
  2. From the Inside Out
  3. Some new song…
  4. Mighty to Save

It was cool to play with these people, and so much fun to be back on the skins! Plus, I was able to make the sound guy happy, which is always a good thing!

Our speaker is a dead giveaway for Tommy Lee Jones on TwitPic Dennis Keating (who is a dead look a like for Tommy Lee Jones) from Emannuel Faith in Escondido was our guest speaker today and he shared on 7 Leaks that will Drain Your Soul – here’s my notes:

1. Words without Practice. Just saying something doesn’t actualize it. Be a TREE not a PIPE.

2. Business without a Purpose. Just because ministry calls, doesn’t mean that ministry is calling. Why am I doing this? What am I good at?

3. Calendars without a Sabbath. It’s not the things you do in Ministry that kill you; it’s the things you don’t get done. A calendar that doesn’t have the time to fill you up will suck you dry. Rest, Reflection, & Exercise are no longer options.

4. Relationships without Mutual Nourishment. It’s easy in Ministry to be acquainted with too many People, but to be Known by too few. Take the risk of sharing in a reciprocal relationship honestly. Everyone needs a Titus.

5. Personality without Healthy Self-Examination. Ministry is easily Built on Unhealthy needs. I cannot play father to the world.

6. Discipline without Variety. We need to shock & awe ourselves every once in a while. Do something different; read a book, write a song, take a trip, meditate, anything different to break the routine.

7. Natural Giftedness without Spiritual Character. Pastors can go a Long way on “chutzpah“. Stay LOW before the Lord.

God’s power shows up best in dented people…

That was some pretty powerful stuff – I hope I can take it and get it deep in my soul. I want to plan on the long haul, ministry for a lifetime. One thing Dennis said was “Anyone can suck it up and do anything for a couple years”, he went on to say that you MUST view ministry as long term – something many people in ministry do not do.

What about you?

Going through my Google Reader and hit up Craig Groeschel’s blog. As usual he’s got some excellent content. He’s doing a series on ‘Successful Ministry’ right now, that is so basic that it’s ridiculous. But I assume they don’t teach this stuff in ‘Pastor School’. Check it out:

The size of your ministry does not determine the level of your success.

  • Too many pastors have led large ministries while tragically failing personally and morally.
  • Too many have sacrificed their families all in the name of church growth.
  • Too many have lost their personal passion for Jesus while leading His church.

 

Successful ministries are built on Christ by leaders who do the small things daily:

  • They return calls and emails promptly.
  • They show up on time.
  • They pray for God’s guidance.
  • They love and serve people.
  • They study hard and preach passionately.
  • They have a consistent and strong work ethic.
  • They follow through on commitments.

 

You are successful when you:

  • Live daily with integrity.
  • Pursue Christ with all your heart.
  • Preach your best sermon to a very small crowd.
  • Visit the sick in the hospital.
  • Cry with the parents who just lost a child.
  • Forgive the church member who wronged you.
  • Give privately to someone in need.

 

You and those closest to you will know:

  • The sacrifices you’ve made.
  • The pain you’ve endured.
  • The hard decisions you’ve faced.
  • The loneliness you’ve felt.
  • The fear you’ve overcome.
  • The weight you carry.

 

When working with pastors, many are often looking for a big win. They want to have a big community event, a big servants’ banquet, or a big series that runs attendance higher.

While all these can be effective, I encourage consistency in the small things daily.

I’ll compare it to football. Most championship teams win games on many four-yard, six-yard, and eleven-yard gains. They might win one game a season on a last second hail-Mary pass, but most games consistently succeeding at the basics.

To me, this all seems like common sense. But I’m surprised by the lack of these things I see in my own life and by some other leaders I know.

Time to re-focus.

satanLifechurch.tv, a cutting edge multi-site church based out of Oklahoma, has released it’s satanhateslife.com marketing campaign. Looks like they have secured the website along with using billboards with tag lines such as: “Lifechurch.tv is killing me”, “LifeChurch.tv makes me sick”, “LifeChurch.tv sucks”, etc – all signed with the name “-Satan”.

A pretty slick idea, a kind of fun insight into spiritual warfare (if you can use fun and spiritual warfare in the same breath). Get the real deal here – let me know what you think, leave a comment, I am sure this will be a hot one.

Religious mysticism surrounds U2’s frontman, Bono. When I was growing up u2’s music and lyrics had a profound effect on my life, and they have become one of the most popular and successful rock bands in the world. So it is interesting to hear their lead singer and writer comment on his faith:

“You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physicsin physical lawsevery action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that As you reap, so will you sow stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I ve done a lot of stupid stuff. . . . I d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn t excuse my mistakes, but I m holding out for Grace. I m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don t have to depend on my own religiosity.