Sunday, January 11, 2009

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Quote of the week

"I'm not convinced that your date of death is the date carved on your tombstone. Most people die long before that . We start dying when we have nothing worth living for. And we don't start living until we find something worth dying for." -Mark Batterson

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Original Idea"

We're gonna be "busting" some myths about the Bible this week. The scary thing is that I'm gonna be using a metaphor for scripture that I have never heard anyone use before... I don't make a practice of repeating what other preachers/writers say...but this is an idea that came to me that is really "out there". An idea that I have been rolling around in my head for some time. Something that seems to make "too much sense". We'll see.

I'm glad you all can txt in during the service...instead of just asking for questions and comments I'm gonna ask people to tell me "what's wrong with this analogy?". I'm really not sure some days if I have had an "original idea" or if all the paint fumes are starting (!?) to get to me :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I picked up a really nasty "virus" on my computer Monday. I dropped my firewall just for a moment to "allow" in a web page for Reagan's online school and BAM! it hit me. It started out with a few annoying pop-ups but before long it had completely overtaken my desktop and main menu. I tried to fight fact I went to bed Monday night thinking I had it "beaten". I woke up yesterday morning to find my laptop on, (I had put it "to sleep") frozen, and jam packed with spam and "malware". My machine had been busily allowing in more "bad guys" while I slept. I knew that I needed help.

Once I admitted the virus was "to much for me" to handle, I decided to call in the professionals. Michele (thank you) took my laptop to the various "geek squads" in town to see if they could start it up and remove the virus. They were mainly interested in selling a "warranty package", a new computer, or charging a couple of hundred dollars to wipe the hard drive and reinstall windows. No thanks! I searched on the Internet and the software isle for a "fix". Some people wanted more money. Others scolded me for getting the virus in the first place. The "mac cult" bragged about how apple products don't get virus' (Thanks Josiah:-)

In the end I found a step by step set of instructions on the net about how to remove "my" particular virus from someone else who had experienced it. I downloaded a free took a lot of was a process not a "quick fix"...but my laptop is now malware free and better than ever. Thank you kind "stranger".

My "virus" is a lot like sin... It creeps up on you. Temptation hits you just at the moment your defences are down. You think you can handle it...but it will eventually take over everything and leave you with nothing . It's too big for us to handle alone and everyone faces it (even mac users). The question is how will we as people...and together as a church...relate to those "fighting" the affects of sin in their lives? Will we lecture...or scold? Try to enrich ourselves by "helping" others? Or will we be the "kind stranger" who shares our step-by-step battles with our own personal "virus"? Who points others to the "free scanner" for no other reason that we have been "set free"?

Thank you "kind stranger" saved my laptop...but more than that you reminded me why we do actionchurch each week...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Txt Tuesday (late night edition)

Okay, I promised I would get to the text messages that came in during the service on Sunday and technically it's still Tuesday... I've been battling a really vicious virus on my PC (more about that later.) Here they are:

Q: Do u think that sometimes our prayers aren't answered because our suffering can create in us a compassionate heart more sensitive to the suffering of others?

Me: Excellent point... absolutely. There are many examples in scripture of God allowing people to suffer for a time. (Job, Joseph, David, Daniel...etc.) Almost every "great" story in the Bible includes (unfortunately for us sometimes) suffering. I think that's why God commands us to "bear each others burdens" to be compassionate and loving to each other...because suffering is simply unavoidable...but at least we can hold each other up as we go through life.

Q. Do your parents support the direction you have gone with actionchurch?

Me: I'm pretty sure this question comes because I mentioned that my dad is a (recently retired) baptist minister. At first my parents were honestly pretty horrified when I first told them we were going to be starting a church in a bar. As Midwest baptists they get pretty offended if someone tossed a beer can on the church lawn... In August they came out from Missouri and attended a service at Fat Daddy's (with a metal band that day) and have been very supportive ever since. I guess what speaks most is that they now give financially every month to actionchurch even though they are retired and far from wealthy. I love and appreciate them both...and often ask my dad questions during the week about areas of the scriptures I am unsure about.

Q. How do you pray? Do you just pray to God like you are talking to a friend?

Me: Exactly! Only God is the very best friend you could that won't leave you...betray that you can tell anything, because he already knows. Make no mistake God is absolutely to be "feared"...but he allows us to approach him boldly...not as cowering subjects, but as sons, daughters..."friends". I hope lots of you are praying Honest, Humble, Hopeful prayers this week!

We just had the three questions this week...I hope to have more next week and see some of them on the screens. Thanks!

Monday, January 5, 2009

"No answer"

I had a great comment after talking about "what prayers God answers" yesterday. "Sometimes no answer, is the answer-NO". (Thanks Keith) It made me think about all the "no answer prayers" I have prayed as we started actionchurch... and how much I have learned from them.

When we first started promoting the idea of actionchurch I prayed for money to come in so we could buy equipment and rent a building. I "knew" what sound and lighting equipment costs...I "knew" we were going to need a lot of it...So I prayed for lots of money. No answer. Even though I have a background in "leading worship" (whatever that actually means) I knew that even I would be bored if I both sang and preached on Sunday I prayed for a "worship band". No answer. I kept praying. No answer.

One Saturday I walked out of my "hair cuttery" that just happened to be next door to Fat Daddy's night club at the time and saw my "answer". I saw a place that we could rent on Sunday mornings and not have to purchase sound and lighting equipment. I was excited! I felt that I had very clearly had my prayers "answered". In spite of the weird looks I got from everyone I told about my "Fat Daddy's answer"...I immediately began to try to contact the club owners to let them know about my "great idea". No answer. I prayed that they would be receptive to the idea. No answer. I finally managed to personally talk to one of the owners. No answer. I was so sure the Fat Daddy's Nightclub was the "answer" for actionchurch that I persistently kept trying to rent it most of the summer of '07. No answer. Our first "Test Drive" service was four months away and we still had no venue, no band, no money, and no equipment.

I began to pray differently. I "confessed" that I had been wrong about the whole Fat Daddy's thing... (I might have had a couple of "cussing prayers" during this period:-) I prayed that God would forgive me and show me the "right place" and send the "right band" for actionchurch. No answer. I decided to try "just one more time". I don't believe in coincidence so I believe God allowed me to talk to the one person with the interest and the "juice" to make the Fat Daddy's deal happen- the owner's Mother. With her introduction and "blessing" we were able to reach an agreement to rent the club... It turned out to be absolutely the "right answer" for actionchurch.

I continued to pray for the "one band" to show up to play actionchurch on Sunday mornings. No Answer. That "No answer" has allowed us to be blessed by a great "house band" (ac all-stars) and so many other talented bands that play our Sunday services.

The list of "no answer" prayers in the past few years is long. As we began to outgrow Fat Daddy's I prayed that God would help us as we made the transition to multiple services on Sunday morning. No answer. Instead he sent Club 19 "to our rescue"... I'm praying right now that God will show us how to provide more seats for the people that continue to invite their friends on Sunday morning. (and more space for their kidz also!) I haven't received an answer yet. That's fine with me.

I've come to believe that life and leadership are far less about "figuring out" the right thing to do. Far less about coming to God with a "well thought out" answer to our "problems", and asking him to bless it...but much more about bringing our problems and opportunities to God and waiting for him to guide us. The thing that I pray for most now is courage and perseverance to act on his "answers". Especially "no answers".

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Recap: Mythbusters (Prayer)

"preaching gear"
Today was the kick-off of the new year at actionchurch...and the new "mythbusters" series. I talked about prayer today..."blew up" the greatest myth about prayer...that Prayer is primarily about getting God to submit to "our will". Prayer is more about us coming around to God's way of thinking instead of "forcing" him to do what we want. In the words of Jesus, "not my will, but yours (Gods)". I challenged everyone today to "experiment" by praying Honest, Humble, Hopeful prayers (H3) like Jesus did before his Crucifixion. Our sins are forgiven because God did not "answer" the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden to "take away this cup of suffering". Learning to trust God's plan and submit to it through prayer instead of trying to get God to do what we want, is like the difference between "fighting the waves" and "catching a wave"...
The highlights:
  • I did the DUMBEST thing today! I got "faked out" by the breakdown in Chambered's first song and jumped on stage to intro the day WAY before the song was over. Really embarrassing but funny. Josiah was messaging me to "get off the stage"... I was having "flashbacks" of being a lead singer and not knowing what to do with myself during the guitar least I didn't head bang or put my arm around the guitarist like every 80's rock video...
  • Chambered on stage...besides my interruption they were fantastic as usual. They had just come off a late night club gig the night before but they were certainly no "worse for wear". Great way to kick off the new year...
  • Used the "supper prayer" clip from Talledega Nights...had a combination of huge laughs and offended looks in the audience... "Dear Baby Jesus...all soft and cuddly in your fleece blanket...tiny, but omnipotent". I "offend" myself sometimes :-)
  • Great "explosion" clip (family guy) from Josiah...looking forward to the various explosions during this series as we "blow crap up".
  • I'm going to attempt to "answer" the txts we got during the service on Tuesday...good questions. We are now opening for text questions/comments during every service. Josiah will either put them on the screen live...or we will see them on the blog on TXT Tuesdays.
  • The prayer request I read: "I really really really want a girlfriend"... was absolutely real.
  • I think I gave Garrett a concussion putting with a ladder...everyone around me should consider wearing a helmet.
  • Had a lot of people say they really missed having church last week...very cool. I dig that we can take the week off and urge people to attend other churches.
  • Crowd was down this week...but actionkidz was packed...go figure. We definitely need more space for the kidz...(and everyone else as well) in the future. There are some really exciting possibilities for that happening. I'm praying that God will lead us and show us what to do "as usual".
  • Everyone on Set up crew was early this week...I think we were all ready to get back at it! You guys are the best!
  • The ground was so frozen this morning that I couldn't get the road signs in...luckily I had a cordless drill in my old truck and was able to drill holes for the signs to go in...adapt and overcome :-)
  • I felt like the service "ran" well today...but for some reason I felt "off" the whole time... All the crew did a great job...I just was sort of "flat". It happens...maybe I have had too much rest and relaxation :-)
  • Keep your eyes open for a brand new website coming very soon. Josiah has been working so hard on it...and it shows. It's going to be really exciting to have a website that "looks" like actionchurch!

Great to be back. I'll take my "worst" day at actionchurch...over a day anywhere else. Can't wait 'til next week as we "blow up" myths about the Bible...including one that I think will shock most of you.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blown away...

I've had the most amazing morning writing personal notes to give out with the year end giving statements. I am really overwhelmed at how many people that I hadn't even met this time last year, have been so generous with both their time and money. It's both humbling and inspiring... I really wish I could better express what I'm feeling...
I'm just so grateful to be part of actionchurch.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Since this time last year actionchurch still wasn't meeting each Sunday, I'm looking forward to our first opportunity as a church to kick off the new year together!

A few things about Sunday:

  • I'm convinced that the Sunday mornings between now and Easter will be the best we have ever experienced at actionchurch... don't miss it! (After Easter we plan to "suck" until summer :-) ...actually after Easter I will be saying that "this is going to be the greatest time ever...blah, blah, blah. I'm hardly an "impartial" judge.
  • Texting is back! In 2009 you can text questions/comments anytime on Sunday Morning. If Josiah "approves" your question/comment and time permits it will go on the screens. (bring your "A" game...he's going to be tough!) If your text doesn't make it up to the screens I will attempt to answer it on the blog on "Txt Tuesdays".
  • "Mythbusters" starts Sunday. I know the safe, expected, thing in January is to do a series on "Personal goals" and encourage you all to Pray more, read your Bible more, attend church more...etc, in 2009. Instead, we are going to question everything we thought we "knew" about prayer, the Bible, our "christian" nation, and the Church. We're gonna give you "experiments" to perform on your own. Hopefully we will completely "blow up" some myths of Christianity that keep us from living passionate, purposeful, meaningful lives.
  • Chambered on stage Sunday...'nuff said!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

...according to my new "cutest guinea pigs '09" calendar, today is the start of a brand new year. It's a chance to start new...a "re-set" for this precious gift that God gives to us each

Let's live it to the fullest!
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:13-14