Monday, February 25, 2008

BEYOND: My Church

Sunday was an interesting experience to say the least. If you missed it, you need to watch the video []. The hardest part of the morning was getting true servants not to serve. That's incredible, when you think about it. Some people move to the place in their spiritual journey where serving is the most natural thing to do. It's in their DNA. It's overflow.

The response from Sunday was equally exciting. More than 100 people indicated a desire to connect in ministry. A hundred people walking by faith, stretching their surrender muscles that connects their heart with their hands and feet [see James 2:14-26]. A hundred parts of the Body working properly so the rest grow up into the fullness of Jesus. That's a "God place" no doubt!

So, let's be honest? Why do you serve others? Or, if you're really willing to be open, why don't you? What prevents you from sharing the gift God has given to you? Let's open up the conversation.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

BEYOND: My Neighborhood

Yesterday afternoon, after the Worship Service, I got an email from PBC attendees letting me know that, after our churchwide prayer to make a difference in our community, they had two different neighbors ring their doorbell asking for help in separate situations. This couple said, "Wow...Jesus doesn't waste any time!"

They're right. Because God cares more about reaching those who live around us than we do. And, if we will position ourselves humbly before Him--available to do His will--God will use us to reach people BEYOND. In case you have forgotten, our StreetLights focus last year provided a great framework for blessing your neighbors:

L = Choose to LOVE your neighbors
I = Take INITIATIVE with your neighbors
G = Extend GRACE to your neighbors
H = Show HOSPITALITY to your neighbors
T = Make TIME for your nieghbors
S = SERVE your neighbors

Which of these nieghborhood-reaching actions have you seen bear fruit in your relationships? Which one(s) is most difficult? Why?

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

How's It Growing?

Last Sunday, we talked about intentional transformation--taking responsibility for your own spiritual growth. While maturity is the work of God, He invites us to cooperate with Him. Below are 7 questions I suggested as a way to diagnose your own spiritual progress. Of course, these questions aren't inspired, but based on the 7 Functions of Biblical Community, they provide a good framework to think about our spiritual progress.

Spiritual Formation
How am I growing in godliness through spiritual disciplines?

How am I helping others in my neighborhood meet Jesus Christ?

Where am I connected in community?

When do I sacrificially support my church?

International Missions
How am I expanding the gospel around the world?

Whose needs am I meeting?

Extending Compassion
Where am I making a difference in my community?

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

BECOME: Intentional Transformation

In Mark 10, Jesus happened upon a blind fellow, begging on the street leading into Jericho. The man called out to Jesus and Jesus called the man to Himself. Then, Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” [Mark 10:51]. At that moment, time was suspended. Every option lay before the blind man. Like an audience watching a contestant in a game show, the crowd waited to see how he would answer.

Not surprisingly, the man responded, “I want to see.” He wasn’t afraid to ask Jesus for what only Jesus could give. That’s intentionality.

Spiritual growth isn’t automatic. If we don’t stand to our feet and seek Jesus to change us, it will likely not happen. We learned last week that spiritual growth does happen incidentally—along the way—without us even noticing it. But most growth is the result of us taking responsibility to join God in our own spiritual transformation.

Years ago, when I discipled college young men, I would often take them to 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Then, I would ask my group, “Do you still live like a child or have you become a man?” True, much of our physical maturity was incidental—beyond our control. But, in the spiritual life, we grow from childhood to adult by actively seeking our spiritual transformation.

What do you think? Are you a child or an adult? What are you doing to “grow up?” If Jesus asked you, “What do you want?” how would you respond?

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

BECOME: Incidental Transformation

I finally won. The last two Sundays, I've mentioned my ongoing inability to win a racquetball game. I played religiously in college but have played very little since. This week, I finally triumphed. As I left the gym, I wondered, "How did that happen?" One week I can hardly catch my beath after several serves and two weeks later, I've got game.

The answer is rhythm. I think I have rediscovered a rythym on the court. Similarly, the spiritual life requires a rhythm: Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit so we become more like Jesus. We cannot transform ourselves, but, we must be sensitive to how God is at work in our lives.

This morning, I talked about incidental transformation--the change that takes place, even without us knowing it. We look back and we see that something is different. I mentioned that such life-change takes place in community. What's your story? How have you experienced transformation through your connection to community? Perhaps a specific story of change might motivate someone here to connect.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

BELONG: My Community

The early church knew nothing of Lone Rangers. People were connected. They did life together. Today, we explored the importance of community. And, I mentioned the value of seeing truth taught and tried, of experiencing the blessing of give and take, and experiencing the joy of authentic relationships. When you choose to get together with people, you move from anonymity to authenticity and accountability. That's where real spiritual life starts to happen! So, here's the question: Why not? Do some avoid community for the same reason(s) that they easily miss church? Or is there another reason. Can anyone share a Scripture or story that might throw light on the benefit of belonging to community?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogging for Beginners | How To

New to blogging? It's simply an ongoing dialogue among a community of people. Here are the easy steps to becoming a blogging genius:

1. Every entry is called a "post." The most recent posts are at the top of the page. To see the post and comments left by others, click the post headline [i.e., click Blogging for Beginners How To above to view this post and all comments left by others for this post].

2. To leave a comment, click the tiny word COMMENTS in the last line of each post. A separate window will pop up with other's comments. Scroll to the bottom and leave your comments.

3. Enter your Blogger name and password if you have one OR click "Other" and enter your name and [as website...or choose another] OR click "Anonymous" and you don't have to make yourself known. But hey, we'd like to know who's writing!

4. Send the blog site URL [] to a friend and invite them to join the conversation.

5. Check back often to see who has reflected on what you and others have written.

You're done!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

BELONG: To My Church

Today, we talked about belonging to a church--our church. This means that the church isn't just the place I go on Sunday, but a whole community of people living in interdependence by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:22 paints a beautiful picture: "And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Take a few minutes top reflect on what it means to belong to a church. What do you gain? What do you lose? Why is it so hard? Why does the average Christian in America only attend church 48% of the time? Your thoughts here might help someone else think differently about belonging to church.

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Monday, January 14, 2008


We began our new series looking at a simple spiritual life pathway. Everyone is unique and we all meet God in ways that are as individual as we are. Yet, there are three places that God has prepared for every Christian. He invites us to find a place to BELONG, a place to BECOME and a place to go BEYOND. The spiritual life is connection, transformation and mission. One leads to the next. What do you think? Where do you belong? How are you becoming more like Christ? Where have you gone beyond your world into the bigger world? Do you know where you are or where you're going?

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