Watch this week's video from The Walk series. Pace, doing life at Godspeed.
Casting your soul upon the altar of public approval will leave you empty. You only need one like.
For some people we make a huge mistake when it comes to Easter. We make Easter ultimate. What I mean by making Easter ultimate is that the entire conversation and invitation has been about attending church with you on Easter Sunday. Been there. Done that. Now leave me alone.
To have a great Easter at your church there must be more than great music and a great sermon. You may be the one that makes all the difference.
There is a sobriety these moments bring. None of us are going to survive life. The actors, comedians, athletes; time has a way of humbling all of us and death is cruel in that no matter how great we are, eventually our lives are taken away.
April 22, 2014
April 18, 2014
April 16, 2014
- Extend the Easter experience into a more familiar space. After Easter service, have a plan to move from 3rd space back to a 1st or 2nd space where the two of you have common ground. Go on a bike ride. Plan on sharing Easter lunch with your friend at your home. Don’t just digest the meal, somehow digest the message. Talk though the experience. The more immediate you are with this the more effective.
- Don’t be offended by criticisms. If your friend talks about parts of the service or the message that made him or her feel uncomfortable, or perhaps even points they disagreed with, don’t freak out. The gospel is offensive. Sympathize with the comment and work through it. Humor is a great way to disarm tension. Don’t laugh at your friend by laughing at their objections, but don’t shy away from laughing at yourself. If you don’t think Christians are funny, visit John Acuff’s “Stuff Christians Like.”
- Don’t belittle questions. Your friend may ask questions that seem elementary to you, but if you make them feel stupid Easter will be the end. For instance, not everyone understands that the Bible is broken down into books. When your pastor says, “Go to John” that could be taken several different ways. Never assume anyone knows the most basic stories of the Bible. When your friend asks questions, it is an invitation from them to you to reduce the alien nature of the church as a 3rd space.
- Make mental clips into conversation pieces. If your church has an app, webpage, or you pastor writes a blog, use that content to share with your friend and keep the conversation moving forward. You can do this in a not so awkward way by sharing thoughts from past sermons or articles that pertain to the natural course of conversation. “My pastor said . . .” “I read the other day . . .” Instead of, “O.K. so now I want you to sit here and watch this 30 minute message from last week and let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Make your own mental clips into conversation pieces. Your friends are like you. They need answers to life. Surely something your church is saying is meaningful to that conversation.
- They came to your 3rd space, accept an invitation to come into their space. McManus’s talk on 3rd spaces was really focused more on this concept. The reason most of us make very little cultural impact is because we will receive very few invitations into 3rd spaces. If you do make it into 3rd space, you may be every bit as uncomfortable with that experience as your friend was with their Easter experience. Recently I have accepted several invitations to speak to groups that were galaxies away from my normal Sunday context. Don’t be afraid to venture into a galaxy far, far away from Easter.
- Don’t farm out follow up. I mentioned this in my post about making Easter effective, and I want to reiterate this point again. Your pastor is a comeback killer. If all your friend gets from Easter is a call or a visit from your pastor, they will never come back and they may want to kill you :). The pastor is the master alien. The visitation team is merely his minions. Your friend probably won’t appreciate an alien invasion from 3rd space. If you wait on the pastor and his minions, you have immediately moved the gospel conversation back into outer space! You keep the conversation going in 1st and 2nd space.
- Help your church get over Easter. To be successful at reaching people, your church needs to ultimately become less of a 3rd space. Sometimes churches become calloused environments focused only on meeting the needs of the people already there. Eventually the church becomes a closed group that becomes more and more difficult for you to invite friends. We need an honest answer to this question. How many people do you see each Sunday inviting their friends? If people are not inviting people to your church, something needs to change. People will bring people to a place that is meaningful and exciting.
Look around. Does the nursery look like a kennel for Christian babies? Does the seating look KJV? Do the Sunday School or small group spaces look like a visit to the principal’s office circa 1953? If the bathroom at the rec. field has more going for it than the stalls at God’s house, oh my! You see the needs before your friends do. Help your church get over Easter by getting involved in the daily process. If you are prone only to serve at your church on clean-up day or at the egg hunt Easter week, Easter has become your ultimate end. Be a servant all year long.
April 15, 2014
April 14, 2014
April 11, 2014
If you haven't downloaded the new app for my church family (www.libertybaptistchurch.ws) get it this weekend. Three great things you can do with this app:
- You can stay current with what is going on at Liberty through social media and immediate access to announcements.
- You can keep the conversation going all week long. At Liberty Engage you can listen to any sermon you might have missed or one you want to hear again. Something I am really excited about, in a few weeks we will be posting 2 minute video clips from the weekend's sermons that will help you continue to digest truths from God's Word. There is also a link to this blog where you can read articles and share stories, connecting sermon content and Biblical truth to culture.
- Get in the Word. At LBC Engage you will find multiple versions of the Bible as well as a place to journal your thoughts. LBC Engage also interacts, in real time, with Sunday's sermon by cuing you to display Bible verses or content on the screens on your device.
Get LBC Engage for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bibleandjournalapp.liberty2go
The Selfie of God
This Sunday I will be continuing The Walk series (#TheWalk) by talking about Presence. Did you know most of the time the Bible mentions God's presence in the Old Testament the word is actually "face?" For example, Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Here are some things I am working on for Sunday:
- God has a selfie.
- God's image gives a whole new meaning to Selfie Sunday.
- We need to be less self-interested and more God interested.
- God knew the dangers of us becoming image driven (Ex. 20:4-6). He knew we would recede into a plastic world full of color but lacking redemptive conversation.
- In God's face there is providential care, fullness of joy, convicting comparison, and everlasting pleasure. We desire all of these things to be true of our selfies, but we can't deliver. This is why most of the motivations behind our "selfie" driven culture are the height of idolatry.
- When we sinned against God we fled from His selfie and became more infatuated with our own.
- God's selfie is ultimately expressed in Scripture, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.
When I Don't Desire God - How to Fight for Joy by John Piper
Selfies, Self-Deception, Self Worship by Josh Philpot
Parents, A Word About Instagram by Sarah Brooks
Moving back to Georgia gave my family and I a better opportunity to attend UGA's annual spring football game, G-DAY. We went for the first time last year and it was a blast. We are going back this Saturday and it looks like the weather is going to be perfect. I can't wait to watch a glorified football practice again this Saturday. Go Dawgs!
Our choir will be sharing this Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. It is amazing how many great songs the resurrection has inspired. I can't wait to hear them. (and the director is a hottie! aka, my wife!)
Eggstravaganza at North Murray
In case you've missed the announcement. We will be having an incredible event, Good Friday at North Murray High School. You could win a Harley! No joke, no catch, requires no cash. Just come and be ready to have a great time. Here is the info.
Have a great weekend. I hope to see you at Liberty this Sunday.
April 9, 2014