Soundtrack for Sermon Prep

Today has been all about sermon prep. I’m privileged to get to teach for the month of august, but it definitely puts a different kind of strain on my week.

I like to listen to music while I write. I need to be just distracted enough to focus on anything. So I like put music on that helps me to keep my brain a little bit busy.

Lately when I’ve been writing I’ve been gravitating to two artists that alway challenge me

The first is Dave Bazaan, (Pedro the Lion, headphones). Bazan used to be a Christian but he has drifted away. His music expresses his doubts and his frustrations with God, the church, Christians, his family, etc. It’s incredibly honest and listening to him helps me remember that I don’t have all the answers, but what matters are the questions. I’ve been listening to the album “Curse Your Branches” and it moves me deeply. Because vie had those same kind of doubts and frustrations. I’ve come to different conclusions than Dave but I need to be reminded that those questions are real and valid.

The second artist is Derek Webb. I love all of his albums but I’m particularly fond of the album “I See Things Upside Down”. Derek is a christian who has frustrations and believes that the church can be the force for change that the gospel commands us to be. Not through political action or strict moralism but through truly living out the gospel. His songs make me cry. The churchman be so much more.

So whenever i preach I listen to these guys because I need to be reminded that there are quest s and frustrations that deserve to be heard and the church can be a force to help set people free and provide the way to find peace in Christ.

Derek & Dave thanks for challenging me.

Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings I like to wake up early. It’s the one day of the week when I consistently wake up early. I enjoy a cup of coffee, read my bible, and get prepared for our gatherings at Creekside. It’s quiet and I love it.

I need early Sunday mornings because it’s really the only time of the week that is guaranteed to be quiet. It’s a great time to recharge fir the busy week ahead.

I have not been diligent in maintaining the spiritual discipline of silence and so Sunday morning becomes that for me. It’s amazing how an hour of silence can make everything right in my world.

I’m an introvert as well and I need solitude to keep me sane. Sundays are actually the most people filled days of my entire week. So I need to prepare my self with solitude.

Silence and Solitude can do wonders. Jesus constantly withdrew from the crowds to be alone. With the establishment of the sabbath God must have known how much we would need to retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day.

Questions I have to constantly ask myself are, when did you last sabbath? When did yup last find rest. If it’s been over a week then I’m living my life in an unsustainable rhythm and I need to stop doing that.

What about you? Hows your sabbath doing?

Stretching My Brain

My brain is tired this week. I’ve been in class 8-5 for the past two days. I have two more days to go. We are talking about Christianity And Contemporary World Views. The prof. is James K. A. Smith.
My first exposure to Smith’s work was in my second year at Northwest University. I was studying Biblical Exegesis and the text was The Fall of Interpretation. I didn’t get it. I wasn’t really ready for it.

Fast forward 10 years. I’m much more ready for the conversation than I was way back then. But I still realize that I have so much to learn, so much to read. How am I going to get it all done. I know I can’t read everything, but I want to.

Anyway, that’s what my brain is going through this week. It’s like bootcamp.

Push or Pull

I’ve been thinking a lot about my job. I’m a pastor at a great church. I love what I do. I love the people I serve. But the question that I keep wrestling with am I supposed to push or pull.

Let me explain. I have ideas. I have things that I am passionate about. I have things that I think are pretty great and I think everyone should be a part of. But more often than not I feel like I am trying to pull people into the things that I want them to do, while they couldn’t care less about these things. So I spend a lot of time trying to pull people towards my agenda. This can be exhausting. I think this is what, more often than not leads to burn out in many pastors. They are using all of their energy trying to pull things that are not going to move.

On the other hand, occasionally people will come to me with an idea that they are passionate about. They are willing to put a team together, and even if I tried to stop them, they are determined to do this thing that they feel God is calling them to. In this situation, I get to help push the snowball down the hill, and get them started. Their passion and energy is used much more effectively. And I get to be the encourager and cheerleader for their passion.

If I had to choose between these two scenarios, I’m going to have to go with being a pusher rather than a puller. If pastors are the equippers of the saints, then they need to be pushing people into ministries that they are already passionate about.

But why do I (and others) keep pulling? In my opinion, it’s a control issue. Not that I’m controlling by nature, but I like to have the final stamp of approval, I like to be involved in the process all along the way, but is that healthy?

If we keep pulling people when they want to be pushed we are going to be just like the kid in the cartoon. And we aren’t going to make any progress whatsoever.

SO my prayer now is that God would use me to help people find the things that they are passionate about. And that I would get to push them off into their ministry. I’m praying that God would help Creekside to achieve the specific things that God wants us to achieve. I’m praying that I would be willing to let go of the reigns and trust more.

Groups Launch

We are getting set at Creekside to launch our fall groups. We have a goal of launching 40 groups this Fall. 40 groups is a lot of groups. This us what 40 groups would mean for Creekside:

-40 campuses. Churches are all buzzing about multiple-site ministry. If we are able to launch 40 grouse this fall then we will effectively have 40 campus, or venues, where people are engaged in our mission of helping people discover, trust and love Jesus Christ.

-40 pastors, group leaders may be the strongest examples of the priesthood of all believers. Instead of 400 people looking to a few “professionals” for pastoral support, the groups become the primary support structure, and group leaders are serving as pastors for that community.

– 40 missional communities. We used to believe that community groups were the end goal for Christian discipleship. We now believe that groups also serve as a front door to our larger Creekside community.

– Hundreds of lives impacted because of the relationships and discipleship that happens in the context of groups.

So this is what I need from Creekside people. I need group leaders. If you’ve been in a group you know the basic structure. We offer groups that focus ob the Sunday morning question, we offer groups that study books, we are looking to start groups that simply get together to play and have fun together, we will offer Financial Peace Groups, Divorce Care, etc.

I am looking for people who care about other people and are willing to have conversations and build relationships. I am not looking for experts. I am not looking for gurus.

If you are a Christian, you like people, and are willing to talk to others you already have a lot of the prerequisites for this role. We’d love to get the ball rolling for you if you are interested in Leading a group. We have a quick info meeting this Sunday 8/8/10 in Finch Hall at 10:30. I look forward to seeing you there.