Just Go Back

Summer is not an easy time to be in local church ministry. There is a great tension that those who work and serve in a local church feel. And to be honest, it is a confusing tension and one that makes me feel guilty. Please note that I am not asking anyone to feel bad for me or anyone else who serves in a church. There are plenty of reasons I love my job, but that said, every summer I get discouraged. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why this is. In the summer, the people scatter, and they scatter because the kids are out of school and there are lots of opportunities to get away for vacation and trips. They scatter because lots of weddings and family events happen. They scatter because sports takes them away for tournaments. They scatter because the routine is gone and church attendance often is connected to the routine. They scatter because there are fish to be caught and bodies of water to be skied or kayaked. They scatter because it is nice out and there are trails to be hiked or barbecues to be enjoyed. You get the point, they scatter.

Now there is something I love about the scattering – it gives God’s people, Christians, a chance to interact with many that they would not otherwise interact with around a bonfire, on boat or at a beach. And that is awesome. But here is the thing: many that scatter stay scattered. They just don’t come back. The pattern of church life gets broken and it gets hard to put back together.

Let me plead with you. Get back. Go back please. Let it begin this weekend. Summer is wrapping up shortly. For whatever has taken you from church, take this week and get back. Whether it has been something that results from the summer, like travel and time away, or something that has nothing to do with summer like a church disappointment or personal funk, just go back! And maybe you read this and you don’t normally go to church. Let me encourage you to go.

At Grace Fellowship this weekend, we are starting a new sermon series. It is a series around something we all can relate to. It is around our emotions. I am trusting it will be valuable for all of us to think through this stuff no matter what we believe. So either for the first time or for the 100th time, come join us this weekend. Break the drift or the distance you have with church.

Pick Up the Right One

With two 2 year olds around the house, there are toys pretty much all over the place all the time.  This was the case the other day in the living room. The twins had gotten out an assortment of goodies and sprawled it out across the carpet – there were trucks and dolls and puzzles and books. Amidst the display of Toys R Us on my floor, I noticed a toy mirror and some toy binoculars. I watched my daughter walk over and look at them both. In that moment, I could see her thinking through which one she would pick up. As she pondered the decision, a picture of life emerged through her decision over which innocent toy she would grab.

I think for many – your joy or lack of of joy, your hope or lack of hope, your contemned or lack of contentment, your security or lack of security – are found in whether you pick up the binoculars or the mirror. Picking up the mirror is the first step to comparison, and comparison is either the birth of depression or arrogance, neither of which go well with a cup of coffee in the morning. So much of our pain and frustration is built on the consistent habit of looking at other people’s decisions, habits, emotions and stuff.

I contend that there is power on the other side though when we pick up the mirror. The mirror puts us face to face with the person who, at the end of the day, is really in control and responsible for his or her life. So much happens to us that is out of our control and that we are not responsible for. But we are always on the hook to the image in the mirror with what we do with that stuff that happens. So much changes when we stop worrying about others and just focus on dealing with our struggles, insecurities, habits and thoughts.

Choose today to put down the binoculars and pick up the mirror. You will not regret your choice to process this life.

God Is

I really believe that many people reject not the God of the Bible, but what they believe the God of the Bible is like. I also think that there are many who interact with God based on misunderstandings and faulty assumptions of who He is. I am convinced that there are many significant things that would change in our life if we had a better understanding of who God really is.

Over the next 5 weeks at Grace Fellowship we are going to try and address some of the assumptions and thoughts people have about God and whether these things are actually true or not. I hope you make it a priority to be here if Grace is your home church. And if you do not have a church, we would love for you to check our this sermon series. Hope to see you beginning this weekend.

How to Easter at Grace Fellowship

Well it’s Easter week.  These are always incredible weeks for those of us deeply connected to a church.  Many churches have special events, unique services, times of reflections, larger attendances for weekend services as well as increased energy and involvement over the course of this week.  God has a way of uniquely moving during this time each year.

I wanted to encourage those of us who attend Grace Fellowship with some things to consider as we head into this week.

  • Get to one of the 10 services at the 3 locations.  Do whatever you have to do.  I really believe you will be blessed.  So move past any excuse (family sports, travel, sadness that the Masters is over) and just make it happen.
  • Please RSVP for the service you plan to attend.  RSVP for yourself and any person joining you that is 6th grade or over.  You can do that at gracefellowship.cc/easter.  This really helps our team.  Thanks in advance.
  • Invite friend or many friends to join you for service.  Please do not say “no” for them.  The chances are greater that they will say yes.  Take the risk.  Life change may just be one invitation away for someone you love.
  • Help us pull off Eggsplosion.  We are hosting two Eggsplosions at two of our campuses.  Our Upper Arlington and Licking Heights campuses still need volunteers.  We are at crunch time.  Sign up to help us love our communities at graceimpact.cc.
  • Be awesome in attending the service you choose.  This means be on time, be patient and kind, and scoot in the row you sit in.  With more people expected, you can be a blessing by being here early (you will be glad you did). Recognize that someone might take your seat and the parking lot might be a little more hectic than normal. Preparing for more people scooting in your row helps out a lot.
  • Pray that God moves.  Prayer works and is powerful.  Ask God to move over the course of this week in an incredible way.  Last year, the mother of one my best friends became a Christian on Easter.  Let’s pray for lots of stories like that.

 

Come Be My Coworker

Our church has several career openings right now.  Grace Fellowship is looking to bring some quality people onto our team in some unique positions.  I think Grace is not only a great church, but an incredible place to work.  (Of course I am biased)  Nothing about our environment is perfect, but we have a rewarding culture where we work hard, attack the various challenges, have fun and invest in something we believe matters.

I would love for you to take a look at the link below and jump into the process if any of these roles are for you.  Here is the link to check out the various roles we are pursuing: www.gracefellowship.cc/careers.

 

Not Feeling It

I have had the privilege of being a pastor for over 12 years.  When you do anything for any significant period of time, you hear the same comments, thoughts, frustrations and joys over and over.  Grace Fellowship is beginning a new sermon series that is built on one of the things I have heard over and over.  It is the reality that people do not engage God, drift from God or walk away from God because they say “they don’t feel it.”  People make a decision about the existence and reality of God based on emotions and feelings.

I want to encourage you to be here this weekend (and bring someone with you) as we begin a 3-week conversation about how to deal with the fact that there are times when we all don’t feel it.

That Little Plastic Ball

I was at a Cavaliers game not long ago with my son. It was between quarters and the cheerleaders and hype squad people came out and were throwing little plastic basketballs to the fans. So all around the arena, people were going crazy wanting one of these little plastic balls. This included my 11-year-old son. He was going nuts. He was jumping around and screaming. All for a ball that truth be told he has gotten before there and at other games. I am not sure he knows where any of those plastic balls are. I kept thinking “all of these people going crazy for something they will not care about in 48 hours.”

I feel like this a great microcosm of life. We all have the “little plastic balls” in our lives. It’s the thing that we work so hard for. The thing that led us to lose relationships. The thing the cost us our morality. The thing that we had to have because everyone else did. We got it and then we realized we did not even care. Maybe the great tragedy in life is not that we get what we want, but that we get what we want and realize it was the wrong thing in the first place. It seems as though we should really examine the object of our passions and count the cost before we just start praying the price.