Tag Archives: loving god loving people

That time I accidentally said “fart” in my State of Faith Church sermon…and some other things as well

20 Nov

As I mentioned last week, this past Sunday I gave my State of the Church address.  As you’ll read below I talked about discipleship and simplicity, but also farts.  Yeah, you read that title right.  Farts.  But I didn’t talk about it on purpose.  Fast forward to minute 19:00, and listen in from there.  Right in the middle of a discussion of discipleship, I let it slip…  Let the hilarity ensue. If only you could have seen how many people were snickering, smiling from ear to ear, red-faced and shaking. It was crazy! Oops

And now back to the State of the Church.  I did say “fart” and a bunch of other things too!

I started by mentioning our church mission statement: Loving God, Loving People, and how we express that four ways: Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship and Outreach.

Notice the logical flow in them? Most people make their point of first contact with the family of Faith Church through worship on Sunday morning. Doesn’t have to be that way, but it usually is. And we would be remiss if all people did was enter our doors, sit in a pew and worship. Instead we desire them to go deeper, to become a part of the family. That requires the next step, Fellowship.   We want to see people build loving relationships in the church. That will happen primarily through Care Groups. But Jesus calls us to go deeper yet, to answer the call to discipleship. That means studying the Bible and learning how to implement it in all parts of our lives. When the Discipleship Commission asks “what does it mean to be a disciple-making church” we’re talking about this. Finally, disciples will want to serve, to reach out, to make more disciples.

Where are you on the four steps? We want to see you progress, grow, mature, moving from a worshipper to a disciple who is reaching out.

I also talked about a couple of our Core Values that we need to focus on: intentional simplicity and passionate spirituality. We need to be a church that practices “less is more” philosophy.  In our society “more is more”.  But maybe there is a scary downside to “more is more” philosophy.  What do you think?  Could it be better to focus on doing a few things well?

What should it look like for Faith Church to simplify?  Feel free to share your thoughts!



The State of Faith Church

14 Nov

state of the church 2014This coming Sunday I give my next State of the Church sermon.  I am excited about 2014, and equally so about 2015!

2014 has been a wonderful year. We have seen attendance increase and giving keep pace with the budget, but numbers don’t always tell us about health. A church might actually get healthier by becoming smaller. And a church might actually grow larger while becoming less healthy. Bigger does not always equal better.

What I love is that Faith Church is getting healthier and healthier. This Sunday I want to look at ways that we have gotten healthier and ways we can get healthier yet!

Areas of health are often hard to see. I think that’s why we love numbers. Numbers are easy to see. Year over year we can talk very specifically about how many people are coming, or how our giving is doing. But what does a healthy church look like?  Bigger is better?

Last week our conference minister Gordy Lewis was with us, and after worship he and I were talking. He made the comment that it was very evident to him that Faith Church is reaching out. He went on to describe how an unhealthy church looks inward, while a healthy church looks outward.

So are we a healthy church? I think we’re getting healthier and healthier! What is healthy? A healthy church focuses, like Gordy said, outwardly on the mission of God.

Our desires for Faith Church should be that Faith Church is a church that is on the Mission of God. Jesus talked about that mission in a couple ways. One way was when he was asked what the greatest commandment of God is. Remember what he said? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and he also mentioned the second. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That is the foundation on which Faith Church based on Our Mission: Loving God, Loving People and we accomplish that mission through four main areas. I want to look at each one. Each are incredibly important.

Join us Sunday morning to learn more!

Follow up to “Frustrated with Outreach?”

2 Oct


The word itself is a picture, an out-stretched set of arms with a hand ready to help a person in need. In the summer of 2005 we took a group of students and adults to Kingston, Jamaica, where we had previously lived/served in 2000-2001.  It was wonderful to be back, renew friendships, help a local pastor, and eat jerk chicken.  On a day off we traveled to the north coast to climb Dunn’s River Falls, a gorgeous place that should be one of the wonders of the world.

We lapped the lines of cruise-ship tourists holding hands on our dash to the top, fighting rushing water and moss as slick as ice.  I kept an eye on my two oldest boys, one in front, the other next to me.  At a particularly tricky spot, my son next to me lost footing and starting sliding down toward wet rocks below. Instinct shot my arm out to grab his wrist.  I had one chance.  Either my attempt would work, and my watery grip would hold, or he was going down hard.  Thank God it held, and we had one of those heart-pounding moments of fear realizing something bad almost happened.

We see this image in the story of Jesus.  We, his sons and daughters, going down, and in desperate need of a hand.  His hand was actually his entire life. It was an amazing gift of love, that he gave himself for us.

So what should outreach look like now?  How should we give ourselves for the people all around that God desperately loves and wants to experience his abundant life?

Let’s discuss!

Are you frustrated with outreach?

27 Sep

I am VERY frustrated about the topic of outreach. 

Each week at Faith Church we have two sermon discussions groups.  One 10 days before the sermon, with the goal of preparing, and one immediately after the sermon, with the goal of answering questions and making application.

The first one is called sermon roundtable, and I have my seminary professor to thank because it started from a class assignment.  I am deeply grateful for the people who come to sermon roundtable because I always leave with 3-4 pages of notes.  When Monday morning rolls around, the last thing I want to do emotionally is to start studying for another sermon.  Especially when the page on my laptop is blank.  So the roundtable notes are a great motivator, and because they come from a variety of voices, they always enriches my preparation.

Well…almost always.  Last week I came out of sermon roundtable very frustrated.  We were discussing the last sermon in our four part series on the mission of the church, and the topic is outreach.  It goes by many names including, evangelism, witnessing, and sharing our faith.  It sounds straightforward enough, but people have a lot of different ideas about how a church should do outreach.  Don’t get me wrong, people had a lot of great thoughts at roundtable, and I took a bunch of notes.  But there was definitely confusion and disagreement. Times have changed.  What was acceptable 50 years ago might be offensive now.

So let’s hear from you.  Are you frustrated about outreach?  How do you think a church should reach out to its community?  Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

Follow up to “If Jesus had a scorecard…”

23 Sep

We had a great sermon discussion yesterday, with lots of people sharing about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

So let’s continue the discussion.  One of the things that concerns me is that we can get excited discussion things for an hour or so on Sunday, but then the busyness of the life creeps in and we stop thinking about how we want to grow as disciples.

Here’s a great article that might help you think more about discipleship and common misconceptions.

What do you think?


PS – If you want to view the video from the sermon, you can do so here.

Do we need to stop singing in worship?

6 Sep

On Sunday we start a new sermon series based on our church mission statement: Loving God, Loving People.  I bet a bajillion churches have that exact same statement, but that doesn’t worry us much.  We had a fairly long strategic planning initiative a few years ago that led us to creating that statement.  Based on Matthew 22:37-39, where Jesus says that the two greatest commands in the Old Testament are to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself, we condensed them to Loving God, Loving People.

But how do we actually do that?

We read in the Bible that there at least four primary actions that we should be involved in as we seek to love God and love people: worship, fellowship, discipleship and outreach.  So our sermon series will look at each one of these, leading up to our second annual Church Has Left The Building Sunday!

On Sunday we start with…Loving God through worship.

Have you heard the story of Matt Redman’s song “Here I Am To Worship”?  Its very interesting.  What would it feel like to stop the songs???

When we come to worship, what is our attitude?  Do we come to worship with the attitude that we are participants, that we have something to offer?  Do we come to worship expecting that what we offer will launch us into a week of worshipping with our lives?

Or is worship a time where we sit and watch the professionals do the job?  Do we feel we need to “get fed”?  And if it wasn’t a good morning, if the sound wasn’t right, if the songs were not our favorites, and the preacher was just not on, then we feel dissatisfied?

Read 1 Corinthians 14:26-33 in preparations for the sermon.  Feel free to discuss any questions you have about worship here.

This sermon will lay the groundwork not only for the rest of the series, but also for a special time of worship that we’re planning to take place in November…more on that to come!