How to beat a giant

David and GoliathIt really comes down to this…

If you want to BEAT the giant, you’ve got to CONFRONT the giant!

Scared? Yep. Possibility of harm? Likely. Overwhelmed? Sure. Is there another way? No.

Oh I guess you could wait until the giant dies… but who knows how long that will be? Are you willing to live under his domination that long? By the time he dies you’ll have grown accustomed to living like a coward and you’ll not do anything different then.

Really. Seriously! The only way to beat the giant is to confront him. Take a breath and go for it.

Where’s all this coming from? I’m working on the teach for this weekend at Church180 in our Super Bowl Preach off and couldn’t hold it in any longer! We’re telling the story of David and the giant (Goliath). Hope you can be there at 10 a.m.!

3 things guys talk about

Starting this weekend at Church180 we are having a conversation called, “Three Things Guys Talk About.”

Can you guess what they are? web_currentSex. Success. and Sports.

The bottom line in this series is to make the case that “it is absolutely okay and good to be a man.” During this series we are going to explore what the Bible has to say about and to men, and we are going to learn how to be a man that makes God smile and women secure.

As a man, and a father of six daughters, it is my rock solid belief that the church needs to have this conversation! I want my girls to find good men who honor God, assume personal responsibility, and treat her with respect. I want son-in-laws who have courage, take initiative, and embrace the best of both poet and warrior.

The more I read/study Scripture the more I become convinced that God’s ideal man is the poet/warrior man who can write a sonnet and kick some tail. He has both wisdom and courage. He knows how to be gentle and stern… and the list goes on.

This will not be a series of conversations where we apologize for men. Instead we will define, explain, and encourage real manliness.

I’m looking forward to this conversation!

How do preachers come up with sermons?

Thinking ManWell, I can’t answer this question for everyone, but I can tell you how I figure out what I’m going to teach (aka preach) at Church180.

I find it helpful to plan what I’m going to teach 9-12 months ahead of time. This gives me time to pray, study, think, and apply whatever it is that I will be teaching at our church.

Now I don’t always teach what I plan because sometimes it just doesn’t seem to fit. Like for instance, we just finished a three week teaching series called, “Putting Fear in a Headlock.” Originally I was planning on doing a four week series called “Living at 90%.” However, as I was preparing for that series it just seemed like everything was pointing in a different direction.

By “everything” I mean, the stories I was reading in the Bible, the thoughts that were clicking in my mind, the “gut feeling” that said “this is where we need to go.” So, I changed the series direction and we tackled the topic of fear. Based on people’s feedback, it was the right decision. Isn’t it cool how God knows what the people at His church need to hear?

So how do I come up with sermon ideas?

  • I regularly pray and ask God what He wants our church to hear. It’s not uncommon that an idea will pop up during those prayer times, and will keep popping up until I finally realize, “Oh! This might be something God wants to say to our church!”
  • Often while reading the Bible, a question, idea, or topic will pop up and I’ll think, “Ohhh! That’s something our church needs to talk about!” So we’ll put it on the schedule.
  • Sometimes I get ideas while talking with and listening to people. I listen to their questions, ideas, etc. and often walk away thinking, “That’s something we need to talk about at church.”
  • Movies, YouTube clips (that’s where I got the idea for “Living at 90%”), songs, Facebook posts, and even tweets have all provided ideas that led to a teaching series.
  • I listen to other preachers. Sometimes they have such great material that I think, “Our church needs to have this conversation.” Our current teaching series, “Climate Change” is such a case. I was listening to Jeff Henderson, a pastor at Northpoint Church teach this series. It moved me so deeply that I knew I needed to share it. What happens then? I take his big idea and make it my own. In several cases I used different Scriptures than he used. I, of course, have to make the stories my own (although he tells some stories that are such good illustrations that I considered becoming Jeff for a Sunday just so I could tell his stories 😉 )
  • Many times there are conversations in our culture and in the headlines that we need to discuss. This was the case in our teaching series, “Breaking the Silence” in which we talked about divorce, suicide, and homosexuality.
  • Finally, there are a few things that are so important that we just plan to talk about them every year. At our church we plan on talking about these things every year: Marriage/Family, Money, Men, How to help a friend discover Jesus, Volunteering.
  • Once the big idea is in place I go to work discovering what the Bible says about this topic, looking for stories to illustrate, applying it to my own life, reading other materials about this topic (both Christian and secular), and writing out the lesson so I can best present it to you!

 

One thing I always say is that God has the trump card. He can redirect any series at any time, BUT I have been preaching long enough to realize that God works incredibly well through our planning! I love it when people come up to me after church, or send an e-mail later in the week and say, “That was just what I needed to hear!” What they don’t know… well, what they didn’t know until they read this post, was that often that sermon was planned months in advance!

Do you know what that means?!

It means that God knew you would be at Church180 on that Sunday and He’s been preparing for your arrival months in advance!

So there you go… that’s how preachers, at least this one, comes up with sermons!

Putting fear in a headlock

puttingfearinaheadlock_webThat’s the title of the three week teaching series we’re getting ready to kick off this weekend at Church180!

I can’t wait to tell the story of a man who kept staring fear in the eye… and moved forward!

Matter of fact I’m going to tell three stories about this man. Each time he faced fear he learned something new. His name is Peter.

See you Sunday at 9:30 or 11:00!

Four agreements for every family

Right now at Church180 we are in a teaching series called “Ideal Family.”

This teaching series is based on the wisdom of St. Paul in Ephesians 4:17-5:21.

Today we discussed the four agreements every family would be wise to make with one another!

Agreement #1: I will not go to bed angry. I will speak encouraging words before I go to bed.

Agreement #2: I will not make or accept excuses. I will accept responsibility for myself and my home.

Agreement #3: I will not make decisions thoughtlessly. I will seek wisdom through prayer and other means.

Agreement #4: I will not allow myself to be under the control of anything that impairs my judgment. I will allow God to control my life.

We also mentioned, as does St. Paul, that the husband, man, father, is responsible for hitting the “start” button.

These agreements will take your family to the next level and help you create the “ideal family”!

Going to two church times…

2On Sunday, September 8th, Church180 is changing church times.

We will be offering two, identical church services at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Let me tell you what will be the same:

 

  • The band will be the same.
  • We will sing the same songs.
  • The comedic elements will be the same at both church times.
  • The teaching and teacher will be the same at both church times.
  • The kids church (Family180) will be the same at both church times.

Now let me tell you what will be different:

  • The volunteers. Each church time will have a different set of volunteers. For some areas initially this may not be true, but it will be a reality for every area soon.
  • The size of the church. Initially our building will not be as full as it is now. It will seem smaller… but that gives room for your friends and family to sit with you!
  • The feel. Over time each church time will develop its own feel. This is the toughest part of going to two services. You will need to decide which church you are going to be a part of… the 9:30 or the 11:00. Just like one church time has developed a feel, so will two church times develop their own feel. You can be a big part of creating the feel of the church time you attend!

We are adding some new touches as we kick off the new church times:

  • We are asking everyone who calls C180 home to find a place to volunteer! If you are a teacher, or your volunteer position takes you out of the adult church, we are asking you to “serve in one and sit in one.” AND…
  • For our volunteers who have children, we are offering a room (we haven’t named it yet) where they can hang out, snack, play games, and chat with friends. Some of your kids may want to go to both church times, but for those that don’t we’ll take care of them while you volunteer! hoover
  • On Sunday night, September 8th, we are starting Pulse. Pulse is our student ministry for grades 6-12. Paul and Kaycee Hoover are leading this charge… and they don’t get much cooler than these guys!
  • There will be some decor changes as well… I’m sure you’ll be surprised… in a good way!

So that’s some of what you can expect as we transition our church times.

And before I go… let me tell you, again, why we are doing this…

We are intent on creating a place where men will come to church… and come back. A place where skeptics, and unchurched people will find a place to make friends, explore God’s ideas, and make some important decisions. A place where kids will experience THE BEST DAY OF THEIR WEEK!

Two church times gives people ANOTHER opportunity to experience all of these things!

Two church times also gives our volunteers a chance to sit with their family and friends in “adult” church.

It’s coming soon… September 8th!

Get ready… invite your friends… find your place to volunteer. Let’s do this!

The “ideal family”

idealFamily(6)

On Sunday, September 8th a few important things are happening at Church180!

  1. New church times will start! We will offer two identical church experiences at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
  2. A brand new teaching series, “The Ideal Family”, will begin! (I’m going to tell you more about that in a minute).
  3. Our new student ministry (for grades 6-12) will begin that night.
  4. Some new environmental changes will be finalized (e.g. the renovation of Family180… where our kids have church, etc.)!

I’m looking forward to this weekend for a lot of reasons, and one of the big ones is the conversation we’re going to begin regarding family! We’re calling this teaching series, “Ideal Family.”

What is the “ideal family”?

The dictionary says “ideal” is “a standard of perfection or excellence.”  It also defines “ideal” as, “Something that exists only in the imagination.”

Let’s be honest though… what you want your family to be and what it is may not be the same thing.

But there’s hope! During this four week teaching series we will explore God’s best ideas for family, and discover some tools that will help you build a better family!  During these four weeks we are going to:

  • re-think our paradigm of family
  • unwrap old wounds that are still disabling us AND our families… and unearth the secret for healing those wounds
  • discover the power of words and hands to build a great family
  • and finally… learn some ways to deal with family members for whom it seems all hope is lost.

September is going to be a good month for you, me, Church180, and our community! I hope you can be a part of this new journey!