Making space in a packed life

Making Space1“When good things begin to happen, other good things begin to fall through the cracks.”

That is exactly what happened to the leaders of the church when it was in its early days. It’s something that happens to leaders today too. Things start going well, and then things start falling apart, and it’s often the important things that go first: spiritual vitality, relationships, physical well-being, emotional strength, mental growth, etc.

Look at this story found in the book of Acts (6:1-7) (I’m going to insert comments in bold throughout this story):

…as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent. The Greek-speaking believers complained about the Hebrew-speaking believers, saying that their widows were being discriminated against in the daily distribution of food.

Believers were “rapidly multiplying.” That’s a good thing.

Meeting basic needs, like distributing food to the poor, is a good thing, but it was falling through the cracks because the leaders were too busy… they had no space in their lives.

When good things start falling through the cracks “rumblings of discontent” will soon follow. Sometimes those rumblings come from inside your home. Sometimes they come from inside your body. Sometimes they come from the organization you lead. 

How long it takes for them to come and from where they come are different for each person. What is always true though is that when good things get ignored the rumblings will come.

So what do we do? Look at what the Apostles did:

So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”

They made a decision to let go of some things. They did not STOP them from happening, but gave them over to others to execute.

Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith). These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.

Look at what happened when the leaders let go of those extra responsibilities and focused on their sweet spot…

So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem, and many of the Jewish priests were converted, too.

Things went gangbusters when the leaders made space in their lives to function in and lead out of their sweetspot!

Now here’s the thing, if you’re in any kind of leadership position, you are going to be responsible for LOTS of people and details… and if you insist on handling everything you will soon run out of space in your life and the rumblings will begin.

Here’s something we talked about yesterday at Church180:

The things you hold onto will determine how far you go.

If you insist of doing everything and letting go of nothing… you will run out of space, the people around you will become discontent and unfulfilled… and you and your organization will soon flatline.
The alternative is letting some things go either by choosing to STOP doing them or HANDING THEM OFF to other people.
Making the decision to “hand off” is tough… especially if you love and feel the responsibility of your organization, but when you do hand off you will discover that there are incredibly passionate and capable people around you that can do things so well that the organization will be happier, healthier, and more vibrant than when you were trying to do it all yourself!
So are some self-evaluation questions for you (and me):
  • Are good things happening in your life? Business? Church? Organization?
  • Have you taken time to determine if other good things are slipping through the cracks as a result?
  • What do you, the leader, need to focus your energy and time on doing?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What do you need to hand off to a team?
  • Are you willing to let go of some things and trust others to do them?

As you’re processing this, remember that the things you hold onto will determine how far you go!

If you are interested in hearing how I taught this story yesterday you can watch it here.

 

Ten things I love about Church180

I am a deeply fulfilled man. I am a pastor and a personal trainer (in addition to my other roles of man, husband, father). I absolutely love what I get to do every day.

I often tell people that “I love our church!” Today I thought it would be cool to list out some reasons why I love Church180. Here are the top ten things, in no particular order, that I love about our church:i-love-my-church---header

We don’t fake it.

I can’t stand the “Sunday morning best” that we’ve all heard about and pulled off. We put on our “Sunday morning clothes” and “Sunday morning face” and go be fake for an hour… then we get home and back to our “Monday morning self”… which looks totally different.

I love that at Church180 you can be real. No faking allowed. Of course some people still fake it… but that’s only because they haven’t realized yet that only when we quit faking will we discover the truth that God has for us and the love of the church!

There is little to no gossip.

We say this frequently from the stage, “If you are gossiping… please stop. If you cannot stop… please leave.” We mean that too. We want people to be honest about themselves. If I am honest and you start gossiping… I’ll probably not be honest with you again… and that destroys everything we are trying to create.

I rarely hear of gossip as a problem at our church… and I love that!

We aren’t scared to make changes.

From service times to leadership transitions… from stage design to building layouts… things are always changing around here. There is minimal complaint which is another reason I love this church!

People laugh a lot around here.

I can’t recall a Sunday when there wasn’t the sound of laughter ringing through the halls. Time can slip by quickly and if you’re not careful you’ll realize that “it’s been a while since I’ve laughed.” I think it’s hard to show up several weeks in a row at our church without having a laugh sneak out! I love our church for that!

People respond well to tough teaching from Scripture.

We’ve had some tough conversations over the years I’ve been here. You can look back over the series here. We’ve talked about race, sexuality, money, relationships, faith and science, etc.

People respond well to these teachings. Tough questions are asked and solid answers are sought after, and that’s another reason I love our church.

We are realizing our goal of increasing diversity (racial and generational being the two biggies).

From day one we’ve said, “We want to be a place where Sunday looks like Monday.” We’re working hard to make that a reality…and it is coming true. It is becoming common to see different ages and races worshipping together… and that is another reason I love our church!

We honor those who have gone before us while we learn from those who are coming behind us.

We know that our faith has been passed to us by “those who have gone before.” They have taught us and modeled it for us. We honor and love them. We know, however, that if the faith is to be passed to the next generation we must present it (without changing it) in a culturally relevant way… so we are continually listening to the next generation and working to present the Scriptures and our faith in a way that engages them. That’s another reason I love our church.

People are maturing in their relationship with Jesus.

This really is the most important work of the church. It is happening. Men are assuming spiritual leadership in their homes. Women are stepping up and pursuing God-given dreams. I love this! People are embracing spiritual disciplines and maturing in their faith… and I love this about our church.

We are willing to work through problems.

When two or more people get together at some point there will be misunderstandings… arguments… frustrations… etc. We expect that. BUT we also expect that Christians will work through not run from problems! I see that happen at our church… and I’m in love with that part of our church.

I can wear my Converse sneakers!

This sounds shallow… but it’s not. At our church you can come in a suit or t-shirt and shorts. It really comes back around to this… we love it when you are you. Max Lucado wrote something that I have never forgot, “God loves you just like you are, but refuses to leave you that way.” At our church we want people to be real and experience love. We also want them to grow in that love… but that only happens when they choose to be honest first. So… wear your Converse to church! #bereal

There are other things that I love about our church too, but these are some of my favorite.

How about you? What do you love about your church?

Weekend review (5/10/15) Mother’s Day

Yesterday was one of my favorite day’s at Church180… Mother’s Day!

Mom_std_t_nvWe do something different for Mother’s Day. We serve a top-shelf breakfast to every adult in honor of mom while we’re “doing” church! I’m talking breakfast casserole, fresh fruit, sexy pastries (that we pray to God are calorie free). We turn the lights down, have a laid back worship set, and eat throughout the service while our top-notch team of volunteers serve coffee and dishes! It’s a great break for mom, and a chance to eat a nice meal in a nice environment with no kids to feed, arguments to resolve, or spills to clean up!

At our church we intentionally work to create an environment where men would come… even if their lady was out of town! We work to be a church that’s easy for a man to bring his family. In other words, we are always thinking, “How would this environment appeal to a man?”

But don’t get me wrong… we LOVE the ladies! In fact, we believe that the best gift we can give to a lady, is a man who knows God and knows how to treat a lady! So we go all out on Mother’s Day for our ladies!

Yesterday we talked about the phrase “…but mom.”

If you missed it yesterday, you can see it here!

We told three stories of people who were either discounted or on the fringe… misunderstood and underestimated by the general public… but mom…

Mom saw something that the others may have missed and was the catalyst for transformation!

From Mary, the mother of Jesus, we learned that moms:

  • watch… when others are to busy to see
  • ponder… what others might write off as a lost cause
  • believe… in the potential of their child… more than anyone else (sometimes even the child herself)
  • push… sometimes they push the child, and sometimes they push the antagonists and doubters… but great moms push… and set their kids up for success!

We also learned from the story of Erik Weihenmayer’s mom (Ellen) and Pablo Picasso’s mom (Doña Maria).

Again, if you missed the teaching, you can watch/listen here.

And now… some tweetables!

Tweetable

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Everyone else was saying, “No”… but mom said “yes.”
  • Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. (Luke 2:16-19 NLT)
  • Great moms watch, ponder, believe, and push.
  • Mom, that little person that calls you “Mom” has something special and unique inside of him/her.
  • (a little long to be a tweet… but still good) “I had done nothing yet to prove myself, so how she saw strength, opportunity, and promise while other people saw problems, obstacles, and limits, I’ll never know for sure….” Erik Weihenmayer
  • (a little long to be a tweet… but still good) “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.” Pablo Picasso

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day, and to all of you mom’s out there… from Church180 and me… “Keep up the great work!”

Killing Fear – Weekend Review (4/19/15)

Kill the Monster - Banner 4 - brighter (1)Yesterday was week three of our “Kill The Monster” series at Church180. Pastor David Roller was our guest speaker yesterday. That man can tell a story like very few people! He told the story of fear and how to kill it!

If you missed it, you can watch it here.

David Roller is not only a great storyteller, he is also a bishop in the Free Methodist church. For those of you who don’t know what that means, he is charged with the oversight of many churches. In fact, he oversees Free Methodist churches in Europe, Latin America and the East Coast of good ‘ole America!

After church was over, our pastors met with Bishop Roller and his wife to eat with them and hear from them; they also took the opportunity to hear from us.

I am so proud of our pastoral team at Church180. They are passionate, competent, and humble lovers of Jesus and people. We told our stories, laughed a ton, and were inspired as we heard from our bishop. I am excited and optimistic as our church continues to forge ahead to love God and do good in our community!

So, my favorite tweetable from Bishop Roller’s teaching yesterday..

“We are called to be kings, and yet are hiding among the suitcases.”

If you missed the teaching yesterday, I encourage you to catch it right here.

 

Weekend review (4/11/15)

Kill the Monster - Banner 4 - brighter (1)Yesterday was week two of our series called, “Kill The Monster”. We talked about killing the Anger Monster. If you missed it you can watch it here.

This particular monster is a big one for me. I hate it. It surprises me from time to time… and I’m never like, “Oh hey! It’s good to see you!” NO WAY! I hate it! It embarrasses me, shames me, and more often than not makes me look like a fool.

I taught yesterday as one who has been scarred by my own anger. I talked with humility but eagerness, because I believe there is hope for people who struggle with anger!

We looked at three pieces of advice from a man who had struggled with anger… David… the poet/warrior/king. His reflections on anger came as he was being lied about and publicly smeared by jealous, angry enemies. After some reflection he wrote:

Don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Offer proper sacrifices, and trust in the LORD. (Psalm 4:4-5 NLT)

Now I don’t want to write out all of the sermon, because you can see it online (right here). I do want to share some “tweetables” from the teaching yesterday…

  • Anger is a signal that a line has been crossed, a boundary violated, or that something is wrong.
  • Anger is a gift from God. The first thing we should do when we get angry is thank Him that our signals work!
  • Every time, in the Bible, that God gets angry, it is in response to a line being crossed… a boundary violated.
  • If we don’t address the problem to which anger is pointing, anger will destroy us.
  • I have a reputation for running out of gas.
  • Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with a hasty temper will make mistakes. (Proverbs 14:29 NLT)
  • When I’m angry, the first thing that comes to mind usually isn’t the right thing.
  • There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot. Plato
  • (too long to be tweeted, but still really good!) “When you have done everything you knew to do, been as creative as possible, received lots of sound advice, gone the third mile, persisted, and prayed then it may be time to move past anger and problem solving.” John Townsend

Again, if you missed this teaching you can catch it here.

So how about you, do you struggle with anger? What’s your plan for destroying that monster?

Evolution of a dream

Starting this weekend at Church180 we are going to learn how dreams go from beginning to end… and what happens in between!

main_blankI’d bet that at some point in your life you had a dream… a vision of what you wanted to be or do.

But somewhere along the line your dream met reality.

Then you made a decision… to stop dreaming or to start moving.

We are going to learn some lessons from the life of a man named Joseph (sometimes referred to as “The Prince of Egypt”) that will help all of us as we move towards making the dream a reality!

If you can’t be at Church180 at 10 a.m. on Sunday, then make some time next week to go online and follow this conversation at our website – right here. (If you have some time before then you might want to catch up on our conversation called, “Elbow Room”.)

Words

This coming weekend at Church180 we are starting a four week conversation about words.

Main_Slide_blank

 

This series of conversations is going to revolve around this key idea…

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).

The next four weeks we are drilling into these four areas:

  • God’s words to you.
  • Your words to God.
  • Other people’s words to you.
  • Your words to other people.

If you have been impacted by the power of words or want to impact with your words… this will be a helpful teaching series for you!

See you Sunday at 10 a.m. OR you can catch up on the teachings online at our website – www.church180.tv.