March 23, 2010

Must Not Be God's Will

Really? How do you know?

I just had a conversation with a group of guys about God's will. We were talking about Pastor Rob's message from this past weekend. Something he said really stuck with me. "Many times we are waiting on God when He is waiting on us." You see - sometimes the green light is right in front of us, but we sit, unmoving, because we can't see past ourselves. We are too self absorbed to notice that God is waiting for us to go!

One of the guys mentioned a friend they had who had moved all the way across the country. He had moved to work with a Christian ministry. He really believed before the move that this was God's will. He believed that God had called him to move his family several thousand miles to work with this ministry. 4 years later he is questioning the move. In fact - he is moving back. Apparently there have been a lot of difficulties, a lot of "closed doors" along the way. He is thinking maybe this wasn't God's will after all! Really?

Are we out of God's will when things don't go according to our plans? When I am uncomfortable, when things don't go my way, does that mean I am out of God's will?

We have created a culture of comfort seeking Christians. I mean, after all, God wants me to be happy, right? So if I am struggling, hurting, or facing any kind of difficulty along the way, I must be out of God's will! That's what we say. That's crazy.

Moses was clearly called by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. God spoke to him through the burning bush. It doesn't get much clearer than that. Yet, several months into their wilderness journey, things weren't going so great. The people were complaining. Food was running low. Water was hard to come by. Disputes were breaking out. It wasn't really a lot of fun. It was a very difficult time. Did Moses do the wrong thing? Should they return to Egypt just because things were hard?

Just because everything is going according to your plan, does not in any way mean that you are not in God's will! God never once called us to be happy, to be comfortable, to 'enjoy' every step of the way. He did promise poverty and persecution.

Are you in God's will? Don't be too quick to say no! Check your heart, check your motives, remember your calling. But don't run and hide just because things are not going according to your plan.

March 05, 2010

Unleash 2010

I had this idea about 6 months ago. I thought I'd take our leadership team from the Monroe Campus to Unleash - a one day church conference at Newspring Church in Anderson, SC. So I presented it to the team, and most of them went out and bought their own tickets! I couldn't wait to go!

Well, about 2 months ago Pastor Rob got wind of it and said: "Why aren't more people going?"
I said: "You want to take more people? Let's do it!"
So he said: "We're gonna need two buses, we're taking 100 people! O, and everyone needs a tshirt!"
I said: "That's great - we can't pay for buses, we have no money."

So after some discussion, we decided to put it out there. We started announcing that we had purchased a block of tickets, that we wanted to charter 2 buses, and buy t-shirts for everyone that went. We put out the challenge - "The church can't pay for any of this - so we need people to step up and help us out." Within the first week both buses and all the t-shirts were paid for. People began signing up to go (purchasing their own tickets, taking days off of work).

Finally the day arrived. We loaded up on the buses yesterday morning at 5:45am (*yawn*). And we were off!

And let me say this - it was an amazing day! It was so awesome as a pastor at this church to see so many sold out and excited leaders from Southbrook learning, growing, interacting, being challenged, and building passion for the heartbeat of Jesus Christ. The sessions were great, the worship was great, but by far the best part was hearing people's hearts on the way back.

I've been saying this for awhile - and I still believe it. God has HUGE plans for Southbrook Church. Something HUGE is right ahead! And He is in the process of positioning us to handle it. Yesterday was one giant step in the right direction. I am blown away that I get to be a part of this. Why God would choose someone like me to have such a role as this I will never know. I hope you feel the same way!

Southbrook Church - I hope you're ready. There are some big challenges coming up. Impact is one of those. I hope you're ready. I can't wait!

March 02, 2010

Now or Later?

I've been reading and re-reading a book called Primal by Mark Batterson. He has done a great job in this book of helping the reader get back to the basics of Christian living. We need to strip back all the layers that we've added to our faith, things that we think are important, that really have nothing to do with what God originally intended.

We're in week 1 of our Impact series here at Southbrook Church. We're talking about money. Yes - we are a church - and we talk about money. Jesus talked about money more than any other topic. He knows that we are easily sucked into materialism. He knows that our hearts easily stray. And we want to be obedient in teaching and learning about the place money has in each of our lives.

I've been recently thinking about this a lot in my own personal life. It's easy to think that I deserve more. I work hard. I deserve to be paid well! Don't you? I think we'd all say that about ourselves. In Mark Batterson's book he talked about setting a spending ceiling. Decide right now how much you need to live on. Then choose to live on that from now on. Anything above and beyond you simply give away.

Now I can't back this with Scripture, this is just the way I have been thinking about things lately. The Bible says that where your heart is, there will your treasure be also. So the bottom line is this, you can store up wealth here on earth, and enjoy it for a few years. Or you can store up treasure in Heaven, and enjoy it for all of eternity. If you do the math, it's not hard to figure out that eternity is a lot longer than our short time spent here on earth!

It would be nice to have a bigger, nicer house. It would be great to have a bigger, fancier truck (with 4 wheel drive, of course!) But these aren't needs. There are so many things that we have come to accept as needs in our lives, that are in reality just nice comforts.

What's my point? I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I'd rather live on less now, and put as much energy and resources into growing God's kingdom in this life as possible, and spend all of eternity enjoying the fruit of that labor. What about you? Are you going to spend the rest of your life accumulating stuff? Or would you rather spend eternity enjoying the reward for what you do here?