Showing posts from March, 2015

Impossible Is Nothing

Later this month, my wife Merideth and I will be leading a group of over 35 people from several different churches on what will be our third trip to the Holy Land as a couple.  Honestly, I can’t wait to return to Israel .  It is a special place to me personally—a feeling I am sure that anyone who has been there shares with me. While we are on tour in Jerusalem , we will visit a first century tomb on a site that has come to be known as “The Garden Tomb .” Whether it is the actual site of the tomb of Christ, as opposed to the traditional site under the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a matter of some debate. But what I do know for sure is that the tomb we’ll visit at the Garden Tomb site is empty.  So is the tomb under the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—it’s empty as can be.  And, for that matter, so is any other tomb that might be uncovered and thought to be the real tomb of Jesus . Because Jesus is risen, my brothers and sisters.  He is risen indeed. Here’s the thing, thoug

Lego Wisdom

My ten year-old son has been building an elaborate Lego set that he got for Christmas for the past several weeks.  It was so enormous it took him a couple of months to even gather the courage to begin it.  He works on it in the playroom, taking great pains to keep his emerging creation away from his four year-old brother, who would almost certainly destroy it before it got started properly. Each time he completes a portion of the Lego set, he hides everything out of reach of his brother in a place of safekeeping.  He's been patient.  Whenever he has a free moment, which isn't often, he pulls it out and works on it a little more. The other day he brought it out to show me how much he'd gotten done.  It was fairly impressive, I have to admit.  And he's done it all on his own, without any help from me--which is a first for a set this large. Here's the thing, though.  At some point it's going to get trashed.  Something bad will happen to it.  He'll ta

The Moment Before The Moment

Today is Palm Sunday --the Sunday before Easter, the day when we celebrate the beginning of Holy Week with the waving of palms, singing of songs, and other assorted awesomeness. This is the Sunday--before the  Sunday.  The moment before the moment. Did you know that the moment before the moment is the most important moment? When I say the moment before the moment, I mean the moment before the great moment --the moment of decision, the moment of destiny, the moment that always seems to get all the attention But it's the moment before the moment that's actually the most important---moment. Think about it. Remember the first time you went on the high dive at the pool?  You climbed up that ladder that seemed like it went to heaven.  Then you stood there at the end of that diving board, barely able to walk.  But you did--you stepped forward and then stood there at the end of it looking down.  And then you took a breath. That moment--the moment before the moment wa

[Not] Your Average Church - Part 4: "Your God Is Irrelevant In My Life"

Over the last three weeks we have been working on a sermon series together entitled, "[Not] Your Average Church: Why We Need Real Church for Real People ."  Throughout this series we've been coming face to face with a crisis that the Church in America has yet to fully address: the fact that people have stopped coming to church. What we've been doing as part of this sermon series is studying the four biggest reasons that people give as to why they don't attend church, and then we've been turning those negatives into positives.  Our goal is to identify the ways that we, as a church, can overcome the objections that people might have as to why they don't want to go to church. People say that they feel judged when they come to church--so we said the church needs to be open to everyone and practice radical hospitality.  People say that they feel lectured when they come to church--so we said the church needs to engage in fearless conversations with peopl

[Not] Your Average Church - Part 3: "Genuine Humility"

We are in the middle of a four-part sermon series for the season of Lent entitled, "[Not] Your Average Church : Why We Need Real Church for Real People ."  Over the last two weeks we've discovered the two biggest reasons people give as to why they don't attend church:  They feel judged, and they feel lectured.  80 percent of the people in the United States attend church once a year or less. This is obviously a problem--and we are figuring out what we can do to solve it. We've learned that the best way we can overcome those objections is by practicing Radical Hospitality (welcoming people just as they are) and having Fearless Conversations (not being afraid to listen, engage and be open to people with real issues). Today we're going to take a step further and discuss the third biggest reason that people have shared as to why they don't want to attend church--they think the Church if full of hypocrites. Because I am a pastor, I often find myself

[Not] Your Average Church - Week Two: "I Feel Lectured"

This week we are continuing the sermon series that we started last week--a series that is going to take us all the way through the season of Lent and the month of March.  The series is entitled, [Not] Your Average Church:  Why we need real church for real people.  The goal of this series is to first uncover why people have stopped coming to church and then to discover what we can do to turn those negatives into positives... Last week we discovered that the biggest reason people have stopped coming to church is because they feel judged.  We also learned that the way we can overcome those feelings of judgement is when we practice Radical Hospitality. This week we are going to find out what the second biggest reason why people say they don't go to church.  In poll after poll, people indicate that one of the main reasons why they don't go to church is because they feel like they are being lectured when they go.  The sermons they hear are lifeless, irrelevant and often an