Snow Day – 1/30/10

In spite of all of the problems and madness that winter weather can cause around here, the snow and ice were a welcome distraction for the usual Saturday routine.

I love Journey and hate it when I have to miss a weekend. I even love spending the latter half of my Saturdays at the warehouse getting ready for the weekend and being a part of the Saturday evening service. But I have to admit, that it was nice today to have nothing to do but to play with my girls in the snow, make snow cream, play in the snow some more, watch movies… It was a great day.

We got about 4" of snow, but the top half inch or so was sleet rather than snow, to the point that most of the time, we walked right on top of the snow! The slippery icy surface made was a great environment for rather unique snow day fun. My wife caught some of our antics on camera. Enjoy…

A Church or a Mortuary?

Warren Wiersbe once wrote:

The fundamental problem lost sinners face isn't that they are sick and need a remedy. The problem is they are dead and need resurrection. Religion and reformation may cosmetize the corpse and make it more presentable, but they can never give life to the corpse.

 Wow. I love that statement. It encapsulates the difference between religion and a relationship with the Living and Sovereign God of the Universe. It's really quite sad that there are so many "churches" and "Christians" who don't get this truth.

Those of us who are in student ministry probably see this played out more than anyone else. Parents look for churches with a thriving "youth ministry" that will train their kids to grow up to be good, moral, and  well-adjusted adults. Even beyond youth ministry, this is the attitude of many (most?) people who go to church. They want to become moral people. The problem is that Jesus didn't come to make moral people. He came to make a different sort of personal altogether. He came to raise dead people back to life.

Eph21The Bible teaches that before Christ you were spiritually dead, but God, in his great love, made us alive together with Christ (Eph. 2). Sadly, many churches have become more like mortuaries than churches. They are just putting makeup on corpses. Rather than being about true life transformation and spiritual resurrection, they are more about teaching people the right things to say and do. "Religion and reformation may cosmetize the corpse and make it more presentable, but they can never give life to the corpse."

It may look good… but it still stinks.

First Impressions Teams: January ’10

Important Notes:

  • Remember, as a First Impressions team, you drive the anticipation and excitement level prior to the service. When our guests are arriving, be alert, awake, warm, and joyful. Greet everyone with a “Welcome to Journey!
  • Leadership Community – the first ever is at the end of this month: Sunday, January 31st @ 6:00 pm. You won’t want to miss this event. Let us as a staff serve you, our leaders.

Our Grandfather Who Art In Heaven

Sometimes it is still hard for me to believe that I am the father of 3 little girls. I believe it may be even harder for my parents to grasp that they are the grandparents of 11 grandchildren! It's been amazing and interesting for me to observe my mom and dad as grandparents. It's funny because when I was a kid growing up in their home, they were pretty strict. Don't take that the wrong way, they were (and still are) great parents who usually maintained a healthy balance between not being too strict and striving to raise  a godly family. Often they had to make difficult decisions which seemed unfair to us kids, but were necessary decisions because they loved us and wanted what's best for us.

Now watching them as grandparents, I sometimes wonder what has happened since then! When I was a kid, my dad firmly yet lovingly had full control over our household. Lately, I have watched as my two-year-old completely takes over control as my dad humbly submits to her leadership! 

"Popee, can I have some ice cream?"
"Well baby, it's too late and you've already brushed your teeth."
"But Poppee, I want some."
"Okay, sweetheart. Poppee will get you some ice cream."

You might think I'm joking, but everyone in my family knows that it is a 100% possibility that this conversation might actually place. My mom and dad are awesome grandparents, and their grandkids love them very much. They understand their roll and are very much enjoying not having to be the primary disciplinarians, but simply getting to love their grandchildren and watch them be happy, even if the method of that happiness is sometimes much to the chagrin of us parents.

Lately, I've been thinking about this scenario as it relates God. C.S. Lewis once commented that we, as sinners, would prefer a grandfather in heaven rather than a Father in Heaven.

We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven – a senile benevolence who, as they say, 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'a good time was had by all.' Not many people, I admit, would formulate a theology in precisely those terms; but a conception not very different lurks at the back of many minds. I do not claim to be an exception: I should very much like to live in a universe which was governed on such lines. But since it is abundantly clear that I don't, and since I have reason to believe, nevertheless, that God is love, I conclude that my conception of love needs correction.

Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Father disciplines those whom he loves. Furthermore, Proverbs 13:24 teaches us that parents who don't discipline hate their children. God as our Heavenly Father, loves us just the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way. He actually has something better in mind for us, but to get us where he wants to take us, he must discipline us. Sometimes I may rather wish that I had a grandfather in heaven, but I'm grateful that I don't. I need a Father who is not content to leave me as he found me, but will discipline me and mold me into the man I need to be.

About This Site


What is the purpose of this thing anyway?

The purpose of this site is to help me keep you informed with what is going on in your area of ministry. With the rate at which our church is growing and, likewise, as our ministry teams continue to grow, it becomes increasingly difficult for me to maintain personal communication with all my leaders in different areas (people like yourself). 

Hopefully, this site will help you hear from me personally more often than just once a quarter at a quarterly team meeting. At Journey, we value you as a leader, and our desire is to help facilitate you in your ministry as much as we possibly can. Thanks for all you do! You are appreciated.

About Smooth


One-Line Bio

Smooth is a follower of Jesus and a Pastor here at Journey. He leads and/or oversees many of the different ministries here at Journey, probably including the ministry of which you are a part, which is probably why you are here hearing this “Word from Smooth…”

Biography

Smooth and Kelly came to Journey in February of 2007. They had been looking for a church family that they could believe in and invest their lives in, and realized they had finally found it when they found Journey. Needless to say they were excited to begin a new level of involvement as Smooth joined the pastoral staff in November of 2007.
Smooth has some degrees you probably don’t care about, and hopes to one day hold a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics (which you probably also don’t care about). Smooth and Kelly have three girls, Cana, Kayil, and Karis and consider raising a genuine Jesus-loving family their top calling in life.

Interests

Following Jesus, theology, philosophy, ethics, church history, studying Scripture, my family, being a great husband and dad, Jeeps, music, and probably a lot of other things I can’t think of right now.

Arise Africa – Bukaleba Orphanage – Phase 1 Complete!

I just received word that Phase 1 of the Arise Africa orphanage at Bukaleba is finally finished! Praise God! Thank you to all and any of you who helped this happen. God has huge things in store for Arise Africa, as they continue to make Jesus famous in their country. The Bukaleba project has only just begun. There is still much work to be done.

Below you will find a picture slide show that follows Phase 1 from groundbreaking to completion.

P is for Prayer NOT Pancakes

As of late, my eyes have been opened to the world of worship that comes from IHOP. Not the restaurant where I always order the country fried steak, eggs and hash browns that comes with a free "short stack" on the side. No, I'm talking about the International House of Prayer based in Kansas City. Their story is a testimony to the fact that the Holy Spirit is still moving and working today.It would behoove you to check it out (yes, I used "behoove").

IHOP has many worship leaders and worship teams. Luke Wood is one of their worship leaders that I have followed for several years now. But over the past two weeks I have been introduced to two other guys from IHOP: Justin Rizzo and Cory Asbury. What I love about the music that comes from these guys is that every song is soaked in Scripture and is so worshipful that it obviously stems from a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus.

I bring all of this up here in my blog, because (1) you need to support their music by purchasing their albums (all of which are available on iTunes), and (2) I believe that it will bless you the way that it has blessed me.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from Rizzo and Asbury:

As I see the height from which you reign
and the depth to which you came
As I see the height to which you brought me
and the depth from which you saved

I will praise you
I will love you with all of my heart
I will praise you forever and ever

- "I Will Praise You" by Justin Rizzo

***

In the end, all I have is you
You are my great reward
Through it all I will not lose heart
For you are my glory and the lifter of my head

You delivered me, for you delight in me
 I am your beloved one
Now I give my life
I surrender
Come and take me, I am yours

You called me out from the darkness and shined your light
Raised me up from death and gave me life
Now I love you
Lord, I love you forever

- "Psalm 18" by Cory Asbury

***

Good stuff. Go buy these albums: Found Faithful by Justin Rizzo and Let Me See Your Eyes by Cory Asbury. You won't regret it.