Reflecting A Year Later

Sitting here and drifting back. Drifting back to a year ago. This drifting back is best summarized by a post from then. So…here is the then drifting into the now…from March 11, 2009. Hope you enjoy.
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Blog? What blog? Man…it has been weeks since any post which has completely derailed all nurtured and constructed momentum. What happened? I’m unsure how to answer this question or if an answer even exists.

God has remained faithful…a promise that will thankfully never change. Cool news – I changed careers. Not just a lateral transition…but, a whole new venue. Not just additional opportunities…but, a melding of the passions God has placed upon my life. Not just happenstances…but, truly molded and prepared by the hand of God. Blessed does not even begin to express my gratitude to my Lord and Savior. I’m amazed and stand in awe…honored and humbled.

I’ve basically felt like a sponge the past week or so. I’m saturated and need a good ringing to continue absorbing. Praise God!

The timing although questioned by me throughout the past few years was perfect down to the day…down to the hour. And I chuckle as if this timing was ironic. God was closing and wrapping one chapter while another was and is being paved. I’d love to share the specifics with any and all. Just get in touch with me as the story truly is a cool one.

More than anything, the essence of the ordinary seems to ring loud. I’m a pretty ordinary guy and that’s ok. There are others with the same gifts and talents. Others with similar issues, praises, and questions. Others with similar stories. There are simply others. God makes me unique. An extraordinary God.

Lay aside the preconceived notions of self. Stop looking inward. Remember…there are simply others. Others looking, seeking, and searching for truth. On a global scale…we as followers of Christ need to transform from inward to outward. While programs for self may be noteworthy, they likely miss these others. If we miss…let’s not travel down this if as the corresponding then is quite sad.

Button those shirts. Lace those shoes. Cloth the ordinary and let loose. The extraordinary God from within will overflow and use the ordinary to do the extraordinary. What an honor to be a child and friend of God. All to His glory. Until next time. Jed.

Expected Or Shocked

During college, a group of guys gathered each night for prayer. A great group which I deeply miss. One night we prayed for God to bring people to us for prayer. Guess we weren’t very missional with the whole come to us versus us to them mentality. Regardless…here’s what happened.

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Been praying for and with each other. Now, wrapping it up.

Us: “God please bring people to us for prayer…amen.”

Instantly, there was a knock at the door. I got up and answered. My neighbor, who was far from God, was standing within the hall…rocking back and forth.

Neighbor: “Hey…I think you all meet and pray. If so, may I come in and could you please pray with me? I need help.”

After my slight stroke, we did just that.

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We all were shocked. Not only did God answer our prayer…but, He answered it instantly and without delay.

Are we shocked when God answers? Or, are these answers expected?

Nothing profound within this post…other than praying with expectance as we serve a God who loves to answer.

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Luke 11:9-13. Until next time. Jed.

Why I Love My Life Group

Let me tell you about my life group. All ages from twenties to fifties. All walks of life from babies to teenagers and from blue collars to white collars. None better than the other. Simply doing life together as fellow friends of God.
Here’s what we’re up too…

Friday night we’re hanging out. Games and homemade pizzas. Mmm.

Sunday morning we’re serving together. The smiling faces for all who come through the doors of Harvest Chapel.

Monday night we’re digging into Scripture. Applying love and tackling life.

Let’s not forget the constants. Friends to count on. Laughter. Minds to pull from. Really really good food. Shoulders to lean on.

So…why do I love my life group? Seems like a silly question after noting the above. Doesn’t it? Which only begs the real question. Why struggle and stumble alone? Get plugged in. Do life together. Build support walls.

When the time comes…you’ll be glad you did as we’re designed to be actively engaged within community. And…we all know life happens and the time always comes sooner or later. Until next time. Jed.

Where Are The Leaders

I love a good game of ping pong. Unfortunately, I suck and usually lose. That’s right…I lack mad ping pong skills. But, I love a good game of ping pong nonetheless. I trust you do as well.

Now…imagine the ball hitting the net and bouncing away and off. Away and off into some corner or crevice. Some corner or crevice which simply seems impossible. Oh boy! But…away and off it goes with you chasing behind. Crawling around like a fool with your friends laughing and mocking. We’ve all been there. Right?

We pursue. We pursue despite this laughing and mocking. A relentless pursuit. Why? Well…without this ball the game is useless. Without this ball the game is over.

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Ever sit and wonder. Wonder where are the leaders. The shepherds. After all, people sit and listen week in and week out to sermon after sermon. Sit and listen to small group after small group. Shouldn’t they simply emerge? Kind of appear as a basic byproduct?

However, we often forgo the one in pursuit of the many. Creating many sheep without reproducing any shepherds.

Don’t get me wrong. Sheep rock! But, sheep without shepherds quickly fall pray to roaring lions.

The remedy? Some good old fashioned one on one mentoring.

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Back to ping pong. Pursue the ball and what do you get? Bumped heads, bruised egos, and brushed cobwebs. Still, we pursue the ball. The one. And…we pursue with intention. See the similarities?

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Back to reproducing shepherds. You guessed it. More bumped heads, bruised egos, and brushed cobwebs. But, forget the game. The stakes are greater and higher. You see, without these shepherds, ministry is useless. Without these shepherds, ministry is over.

So, here’s the summary…

- Pursue the one for the sake of the many. The shepherd for the sheep. The leader.
- Pursue the one through one on one mentoring. Who are you mentoring? Better yer, who’s mentoring you?
- Ignore the bumps, bruises, and brushes. They come with the territory.
- Be intentional or it’s useless and over.

Reminds me of a quote from my previous post. We impress people from afar, but impact them from up close. Dave Gibbons. Until next time. Jed.

The Rest Of Random Takeaways

Well…Church Planters is a wrap. Although my left ear is totally plugged from the flight, I’m grateful for the opportunities. Here are my remaining takeaways…

The sins you find most appalling to God are the ones you don’t struggle with. Pete Wilson.

It’s the church’s job to create an environment where we help people discover their new name. Pete Wilson.

Are you equipping the saints or are you just building numbers? Dave Gibbons.

We impress people from afar, but impact them from up close. Dave Gibbons.

If you treated your wife like your iPhone, you’d have a great marriage. Dave Gibbons. (Ha…now that’s a good one.)

What’s the big deal if you only love people who are like you. Dave Gibbons.

Don’t take early loses seriously. Ignore them! Rick Warren.

God grows a mushroom in six hours and an oak in sixty years. Which one are you? Rick Warren.

Determine the health of your church not on seating but on sending. Rick Warren.

Never confuse your value with your valuables. Rick Warren.

Learn humility. Remember the whales. When they get to the top and are about to blow, then they get harpooned. Rick Warren.

Stop building church and build people as when you build people God will build the church. Rick Warren.

The six phases of faith. Rick Warren.
1. Dream
2. Decision
3. Delay
4. Difficulty
5. Dead End
6. Deliverance

That’s all folks. Until next time. Jed.

Random Takeaways

Day one of Church Planters is a wrap and I’m wiped. Here are my random takeaways from the past twelve hours.

Church is driven by God and fueled by volunteers.

If you don’t need the Gospel more than the people you’re sharing it with, you ought not be sharing it with them.

You must learn to develop leaders or the mission will die or kill you and your team.

Systems aren’t sexy but they produce success.

On church systems, you can learn them every week or you can learn them once.

You must be bold and fear God…not man.

What’s the most important next step?
1. The ability to sense where God is leading.
2. The courage or insanity to actually do it.
3. The leadership to convince a few to come along.

Excuse the sporadic order as I type just moments from sleep with Seinfeld keeping me company. Until next time. Jed.

What’s Your Theology

This past week, I attended a lunch where Neil Cole spoke of Organic Church. I admit…I was skeptical as my exposure to Neil was minimal. But, I loved every minute. Here’s what stuck with me more than anything else…one simple quote.
“The greatest sin of the American Church is self preservation,” Neil Cole.

Wow. That one calls for a good gut check. Neil took it a step further and outlined two differing theologies.

The theology of SAFE:

- Self preservation is the mission.
- Avoidance of risk and/or world is also mission.
- Financial security equates to responsible faith.
- Education equates to maturity.

The theology of DEATH:

- Die daily to who we are.
- Empowerment of others is our life.
- Acceptance of risk is normative.
- Theology is not just knowledge it’s practice.
- Hold on to Christ with open hands to all else.

Which one are you living out? How about your church?

Are we trusting in self through safe or trusting in Christ through death?

I simply love these thoughts and will let them stand alone without much comment. Take them to heart, be honest, and pursue Christ!

Thanks Neil for the challenge. Feel free to visit his blog here. Until next time. Jed.

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