The Biggest Lie You’re Telling Right Now

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Every relationship relies on communication.

We often think of relationships through titles… boyfriend, mother, best friend, wife, boss, next-door neighbor, etc.

Relationships can perhaps be defined by titles, but they exist because we’re working to associate with each other. One of the main ways we do that is through conversation.

Think about your relationship with Jesus… it’s sustained by prayer, which is simply an ongoing conversation with Him. If conversation is that vital to our relationship with God, it’s probably going to be important in all of them.

Not all of our efforts to communicate are effective, however. If we’re honest, some of them just flat-out stink.

Here are a few standard ways we stink at communicating in our relationships…

  • Deflection. When someone tries to talk to you about something that has to do with you, you deflect the attention to something that has to do with them.
  • Reduction. We all have big problems in our lives. A reduction is when we reduce a problem’s significance. A reduction takes a big problem and talks about it like it’s insignificant.
  • Amplification. This is where someone takes a small issue and blows it up into a huge one, often to try to shift the attention from a bigger issue that’s perhaps more uncomfortable.
  • Explosion. If a difficult conversation is going a direction you’re uncomfortable with, a full-on blow up will increase the intensity of the conversation. This is often the result of someone feeling extremely vulnerable and out-of-control.

The most ineffective way we communicate is telling a lie.

Jesus took the truth so serious that He defined himself as The Truth (John 14:6). When we lie, we don’t tell the truth. This one act communicates one simple truth: we don’t trust Jesus completely.

The difficult thing to accept is that many of us are telling lies right now, but perhaps in a way that you’re not aware of.

The biggest lie you’re probably telling is something that you’re NOT saying.

I’d like to call that an OMISSION.

Here’s a few reasons we don’t talk about important things…

  1. “We’ve already talked about this.” This is a lie that we’ve believed where we think that just because we had a past conversation about this general topic, it’s covered under that umbrella. It’s where the guy who told his wife he loved her on their wedding day, gets the idea that h doesn’t need to tell her that again.
  2. “It’s going to cause a fight.” Yep, it probably is. And, that’s probably a good thing. You most likely NEED that fight to gain some central ground. And… If you run away from it, you’ll be missing out on something that you most likely need.
  3. “They don’t need to know.” Who said that… You? You decided they don’t need to know about something that’s important and could affect them? If something’s important to someone, you talk to them about it.
  4. “I’d rather not tell them.” An intentional omission is the brother to an intentional lie. If you’re not telling them, there’s a reason. Not telling someone, intentionally, is denying a very important level of vulnerability and intimacy to your relationship.

Here’s the big reason we need to talk about important things:
When we don’t talk about important things, our enemy has the chance to fill in the gaps with lies.

Our enemy is described as the “Father of Lies” in the Scriptures (John 8:44). That means that one of the most significant attacks that we are consistently under is an attack on the truth.

So… why not make every effort to make sure the truth is talked about?

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Here’s three things you might want to do today to respond to this:

  1. Tell somebody important “I love you.” Maybe even tell them why.
  2. Take a moment to remind your kids that you believe in them and that you’re always going to be there for them no matter what they’re facing.
  3. Drop a note to someone who’s made a difference in your life and remind them how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you

What else could we do to have a conversation that we’ve been omitting?

Three Things I Ask My Wife When She’s Upset

amandaIf you’re married and have a couple seasons under your belt, you know that it’s going to be vitally important to learn to navigate tension together.

You’re going to fight. That’s a good thing; it’s the tension of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 17:17). If you’ll let it, that tension will make you better.

You’re also going to deal with the tension that emotions create. Sometimes these emotions are deeply grounded in a situation that we’re walking through, and sometimes they’re just coming at us from out of nowhere.

Everyone processes emotions differently, and learning that difference is a huge step in allowing your marriage to be a safe and health place to process them.

I’m an ‘internalizer’. When I’m stressed, hurt, angry, or sad I try to keep it all inside. My wife has learned how to tell when I’ve had a bad day, how to serve me when those days come, and how to help me process the emotions.

When Amanda is upset, I’ve learned to ask her three questions, because, as her husband, my primary job is to always point her to Jesus first.

Question #1 – Have you prayed about this?

I don’t mean a passing prayer, like “God fix this.” I mean, have you sat down and really sought the wisdom of God in this situation? Have you searched the Scriptures? Have you listened for His voice?

The reason I ask this question is simple: if Jesus is going to be central to our lives, He must be central to everything. It’s too often that we run to other people before we turn to Him.

Pray first. That’s how we approach things.

Questions #2 – Who are you primarily leaning on for emotional support: me or Jesus?

If you know how I feel about my family, you know that I want to be there. I want to hold my wife’s hand when she cries. I want to hug her when she’s hurt. I want to be there as I should be.

But… there are things I cannot be to her.

Here’s a very important lesson I’ve learned recently:
You cannot hold a position in someone else’s life that God has reserved only for Jesus.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus should be our “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and invites us to “cast all our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). If I try to be any of those things, or if my wife were to expect me to be them, I’d only fail her, break her heart, and leave pain in the process.

Only Jesus can be Jesus, and only He can carry the full weight of our worry, anxiety, and fear. Faith in Him frees us of those, and, in turn, allows us to look to Him first.

Question #3 – Are you trusting Jesus with the outcome?

It’s easy to trust Jesus as a concept when everything is going well. You’re kids are behaving, there’s plenty of money in the bank account, and you haven’t fought in a few days… “YES, I TRUST JESUS!”

But have something blow up…

Watch yourself in those moments. You’ll try to fix it. You’ll get involved where you shouldn’t.

When we try to fix things, we’re practically telling Jesus: “I’m not sure I can trust what You’re doing with my problem.”

And… it’s not just ‘trusting’ Him in some abstract way; it’s trusting Him with the outcome that really matters.

When this is all over (whatever it is), Jesus is going to have His way and you’re going to be better for it. Do you trust that? If you do, hold on to it, remind yourself of it, and rest in it.

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How do you work to process emotions in a healthy way that constantly points you to trust Jesus? Leave a comment below and share it!

Two Lessons From My Kids This Morning

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Three mornings every week I have the awesome privilege of getting our kids up and to wherever they’re supposed to be.

I don’t get in a hurry, either. I enjoy my mornings with them. My daughter is super-sweet and my son is extra-happy in the morning, so I get to enjoy a lot of those moments with them. Before I know it, they’ll be in high school, so I’m not going to apologize to anyone for taking extra time to be present with them.

Here’s two things I learned from them this morning…

#1 – You can’t always see what the Father is doing for you.

Pretty much every morning my son wakes up crying. There are two reasons for this… he has pooped himself or he is hungry. Either problem requires my help to solve.

Before you give a baby bottle there’s a small amount of prep that’s required. You have to get the milk (or formula) into the bottle. Then you have to warm it up.

As my son lay in his crib crying his little head off, I was in the kitchen getting his bottle ready.

It hit me this morning: we spend too much time complaining about what our current situations. Complaining tells God, “I don’t trust you to solve this problem.” That’s why the imprisoned Apostle Paul tells us, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Phil. 2:14).

Faith says the opposite… it’s says, “God’s got this.”

You probably can’t see what Jesus is doing to solve the problems your facing right now, but trust Him with them.

#2 – Jesus is always inviting you to dance.

My daughter is a big fan of music. She loves to dance.

I rarely listen to music when I’m driving because I like to be left to some silence. It’s not uncommon for my daughter to request some music as soon as we get on the road.

This morning she was chatty, which I obviously love. We talk about stuff she wants to talk about… her mom, her “friends”, her grandmothers, her stuffed animals, and a thousand other silly things.

Out of the blue she made this comment to me:
“If you don’t play any music, I can’t dance, Daddy.”

This was her subtle way of reminding me that ‘this moment could be a tad more fun if you’d play some music and let me dance’.

The Scriptures tell us of a God that has invited us to dance. He’s more than capable of taking the broken and ugly moments, healing our hearts, and inviting us to dance with Him.

That’s how David could write, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11).

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What are the greatest lessons your kids have taught you? Leave a comment below and share with us.

4 Things To Expect As We Go To Multiple Services

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This Sunday we’re transitioning from ONE service to MULTIPLE SERVICES at Vortex!

We desperately need to increase our capacity to reach more people, so this is just us trying to be faithful to what God is doing in our church.

We want to reach more people, because we believe that there are more people who DESPERATELY NEED to be touched by the powerful, life-giving message of Jesus.

I wanted to share a few things to expect as our services change…

1. Services will not be as long.

We’ve targeted our services up to this point to be about 75 minutes, but now we’ll be shortening them by about 10 minutes to help with the turn-around between two services.

2. We’re tweaking the order of service to make sure the important things stay a priority.

We’ve always done an opening song followed by a small welcome from one of our Pastors. That’s going to change. Now, one of our Pastors will be on stage a few minutes before the service starts to welcome you

Once we start service we’re jumping right into worship. This is actually going to result in a slightly longer time of worship (moving from 15 minutes to about 20 minutes). So, if you’re the person that LOVES worship, get there on time!

3. The sermons will be slightly shorter.

Many of you don’t understand the work that goes into our sermon preparation throughout the week. We rehearse and time our messages so that we can be prepared for Sundays. Typically we’ve tried to craft messages to be around 35 minutes, but we’ll be taking about 5 minutes out of that.

You might be thinking… “Hey, that five minutes is important!” I agree with you, so that’s why I’m going to be working hard to make sure everything God would have me to say be said each and every Sunday. It’s just going to take more time to trim it down and draft the right way to say it all.

4. You won’t see everyone every week.

This past week I asked you to indicate which service you’d be attending on Connection Cards, and the crowd split right down the middle. And… That’s a healthy thing!

If visiting with your church family is a priority for you…

  • If you attend the 9am service, make plans to stay a little later and visit with your friends as they arrive for the next service.
  • If you attend the 10:30am service, get there a little early and greet your friends as the exit the earlier service.
  • We’ll have coffee service during the entire transition between services, so make the most of that time!

One last request…

Would you consider praying daily for our church as we prepare to make this change?

You matter to Jesus, and He will listen to you prayers.

Pray that God directs us, that He uses us, and that He continues to save people and reconcile them to Himself through Vortex.

Thank you so much for praying and partnering with us to see lives changed!

God Doesn’t Need Your…

God Doesn’t Need Your…

My daughter will turn 3 this July.ADI

She’s a whirlwind of affection and fun right now. She’s so expressive, dramatic, inquisitive, and relational that life with her right now is just plain fun. I love being her daddy.

Adi loves to give me gifts. She’ll grab a toy that she’s not playing with, run over to me, and give it to me with a big smile and a huge hug.

Occasionally she’ll give me her most prized possession, her blankie, only to recant the offer after a few moments.

I love it when she gives me gifts, but the truth is… I don’t need them.

I don’t need her blankie, my wife has about twenty of them stockpiled. I don’t need her toys; I’ve outgrown them. I don’t need them, but I love getting them.

There are a lot of things we think God needs from us that He really doesn’t.

Here’s a list of four things God doesn’t need from you…

#1 – God Doesn’t Need Your Talents & Gifts

He gave them to you, remember? As he formed you, He gave you those natural abilities that have grown into talents. He has given you Spiritual Gifts supernaturally since you made a decision to follow Him. He gave them to you because He loves you. He knows that we were created with a longing to be significant to others, and through His grace and mercy He has given us an opportunity to do that by making our world a better place using those talents and gifts.

#2 – God Doesn’t Need Your Money

It’s not your money, first of all. Everything you have belongs to Jesus. He has just chosen to bless you with it and trust you to carry out His plan with it. God doesn’t need your money, but He wants you to learn that you can trust Him with everything, including your financial situation.

You need money. God knows that. He knows you need shelter and groceries and gas. He wants you to give generously for YOU! If God needs our money, we HAVE to give. But… God doesn’t need our money. We don’t HAVE to give, WE GET TO!!!! There’s nothing that adds to our joy like being generous.

#3 – God Doesn’t Need You To Be Perfect

It’s easy to get in the mindset that we earn God’s favor and blessing. If we could get it right, then the cross is simply not needed, but Jesus gave us the cross because we can’t get it right without it. Actually, our perfection is never going to be the basis of our relationship with God. It’s the perfection found in Jesus that does that!

#4 – God Doesn’t Need You

We live in a world of superstars. There are magazines devoted to telling you every little detail of stars: their food, parenting decisions, style, and other obscure facts.

It’s not uncommon for our superstar culture to bleed over into our lives, as we become the superstar of the story we’re living.

Truth is, God doesn’t need you. He doesn’t need me.

I’m not a superstar. I’m not so important that God’s plan crashes to a halt if I blow it.

But… God wants me. He wants to use me.

And… He’s invited me into His story. I’m not the main character. I’m not the author. I’m just playing my part as the Grand Author writes His epic story.

What a grand invitation! God doesn’t need me, but HE WANTS ME!

Let’s embrace these as what they are, invitations to experience a loving and gracious God!

Four Things I Learned In Montana

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I just spent a week in a remote part of Montana fly fishing the Big Horn river for trout with about 12 other pastors and ministry leaders from literally all over the country.

I know, for some of you that sounds AMAZING, but I haven’t fished since I was a kid and I haven’t exactly made the outdoors a huge priority in this last season of my life.

My friend Dan Sallbaum invited me on this trip hosted by the Refuge Foundation. Dan is the Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Merrit Island, FL and also serves as one of our overseers at Vortex.

Here’s four things I learned on this trip…

1. You have to intentionally create margin. I had to plan ahead and divvy out responsibility so that I could be gone for a week. It’s true for our lives, too. If we don’t get intentional about creating margin, we’ll live at an unsustainable pace that will rob us of spiritual, emotional, and relational health.

2. Fly fishing is hard work. The Big Horn river has almost three times the amount of trout that other ‘good’ rivers have and it took some work to learn how to fish. I was the only guy out of the 12 to NOT catch a fish on the first day, but on the last day I landed almost 10 of them. In life, anything worth doing is going to be hard work. Don’t run from a challenge. Embrace it.

3. With Jesus, friends come out of nowhere. There were several guys on this trip, Dan included, that I met in weird, happenstance circumstance, but I can see God using them in my life. The best things in life are found in the margins, and if we reduce the margin in our lives… we’ll miss them.

4. Hurting people are everywhere. As the weekend closed, one of my new pastor friends that I’d met on this trip told me this: “Man, I’m hurting in life right now.” He’s the Pastor of a very successful church and has a beautiful family. I’ve been there recently… hurting and broken and not sure who really cares about you.

When you get mad & flip off that lady that wasn’t paying attention and almost ran into you on the drive into work… maybe she just found out her husbands been cheating on her and her heads not really into the drive.

When you get impatient because someone won’t return your phone call in the evening, maybe you don’t realize they’re at home taking care of a spouse that’s struggling with an addiction nobody knows about.

Let’s endeavor to be the kind of folks that refuse to make ourselves the center of our own little worlds. Let’s love other graciously and generously.

After all, if you’re the center of your world… that’s a pretty small world and Jesus has so much more for you.

Moving To Two Services

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I thought I’d share several reasons we’re moving to two services in a few weeks on May 4th.

#1 – We Need More Room

Each week two of the following three are near capacity: our parking lot, our kids environments, and the seating in our auditorium.

Have you ever walked into an auditorium with family of 5 and tried to find a seat when there’s barely three seats connected in the whole room? It’s awkward.

We need more room because our guests deserve to have a dream experience when they visit our church!

#2 – We Never Want To Be Afraid To Take A Risk

Well… For the right reasons.

We’re not afraid of more work. We’re not afraid of longer days. We ARE AFRAID of not reaching a family because we haven’t made room for them.

The move to two services is a risk because our crowds in each service will be smaller, but we’ve always said that we believe that we can grow bigger and smaller at the same time.

Multiple services has been a part of that plan from the beginning.

#3 – This Decision Reflects Our Values

It’s obvious when you visit Vortex that we don’t want to be the traditional country church you’d find throughout our community. They’re wonderful churches and fulfill a function in the kingdom of God, but we’re simply responding to Jesus by being ourself.

That means that we don’t have any ‘sacred cows’. We’ll move service times, rearrange leadership teams, and just generally be flexible to reach more people.

Whatever it takes. that’s what we’re going to do.

#4 – Our Church Isn’t Big Enough

As long as there are hurting people in our community that are far away from Jesus who need a loving church family, we’re not big enough.

As long as there is a single-mom who is struggling and feeling alone, we’re not big enough.

As long as there are men and women broken by sin who need to hear the hopeful and restoring message of the Gospel of Jesus, we are not big enough.

It’s not a numbers game. It’s a people thing.

That’s why we’re inviting you to join us May 4th at 9am or 10:30 as we take the next step in this really amazing journey of following Jesus!

10 Things I Don’t Want To Admit To You

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The following is a blog written by my friend Matt Boswell, pastor of Redemption Church in Duvall, WA and originally appeared on his blog, Missional Theologians.

There are few things more difficult, challenging, and ultimately rewarding than working with people, especially in the context of ministry. I’m sharing this blog because I can personally Identify with all 10 of these, with several of Matt’s points being very personal at this moment for me in ministry.

Here is Matt’s Blog originally titled “10 Things Pastors Hate To Admit Publicly”:

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I want to share the 10 things that we as pastors don’t really want you to know about us. Now in doing so my aim is not to rat out my fellow pastors. Nor am I doing this so our people will sleep with one eye open regarding their leadership. My intention is precisely the opposite. I hope that from this:

  • Our people will pray all the more for their pastors because they understand the challenges.
  • Our people will be doubly grateful for the fact that so many pastors stay in the saddle despite their fears, hurts and frustrations.
  • People in churches will think twice before engaging in things that sink deep into the soul of their leaders.

Therefore I give a glimpse into what we as pastors don’t like to admit about ourselves.

#1. We Take It Personally When You Leave The Church.

It’s just a straight up fact. We pastors eat, drink and sleep the local church and with that have a deep desires to see it thrive. Therefore when you leave to another church because…

  • you’re bothered by a recent leadership decision…
  • the new church has a bigger and better kids wing, youth group, worship team, building space, (fill in your blank)…
  • your friends started going there…

… it hits us personally.

For us it feels disloyal, shallow or consumer driven. People affirm that church is a family, thus when you up and leave because the church down the road has Slurpee dispensers, a fog machine or it’s just cooler, well it jams us pretty deep.

#2. We Feel Pressure To Perform Week After Week.

The average TV show has a multimillion-dollar budget, a staff of writers and only airs 22 weeks out of the year; that’s what we feel we’re up against. Where the pressure is doubled comes from the previous point. We know there are churches near by with a multimillion-dollar budget or a celebrity pastor who have the ability to do many more things at a much higher level. From this a sense of urgency is created in our mind to establish the same level of quality, option and excellence to meet the consumerist desires of culture.

Now if this were exclusively in the hopes of reaching new people this wouldn’t be so bad, but increasingly pastors feel the need to do this just to retain people who may be stuff struck by the “Bigger and Better” down the way.

#3. We Struggle With Getting Our Worth From Ministry.

When the numbers are up, the complements are flowing and the people are lively we feel great. When everything is level, it feels like it’s in decline. When things are actually in decline, it’s a full-tilt tailspin in our soul. We almost can’t help but equate the growth of the church with our ability/inability to produce growth. Therefore if there is any appearance of waning we feel defeated and wonder how long before the church board wises up and trades us to another team. The “Idol of Ministry” comes on and off the shelf pretty regularly in a pastor’s office.

#4. We Regularly Think About Quitting.

This comes in two very different forms.

One form is the variation of perhaps leaving ministry all together. While there are some really great things about vocational ministry, there are also less enjoyable realities such as: pastors’ families are noticed (i.e. judged) routinely, pastors’ purchases are observed (i.e. judged) overtly and pastors’ words are weighed (i.e. judged) consistently. Therefore the ability to hide among the masses and not be noticed is very appealing.

The second form comes with the desire for a change of scenery. Pastors are shepherds, thus we love greener grass even more than sheep. To leave for a bigger budget, better building or a place with less difficult people (yeah, we get delusional sometimes) stands out as lush Kentucky Bluegrass when contrasted with the dusty patch of ragged earth called “our current church.” This “Greener Grass Gawking” usually occurs when we become too proud (“My gifts are better than this place”) or too insecure (“I stink and just need to start over”) and flows from #3.

#5. We Say We Are Transparent – It’s Actually Opaque.

Today pastors are generally more open about their struggles than previous generations, but we still sense there is a threshold that is not to be crossed. People want open, honest and real, but not too much. Generally churches want just enough so they feel safe with you, but not so much that it spoils the expectations they have of you. Unfortunately the threshold is a blurry line by which pastors never know how much is too much until its too late. After a couple of infractions we learn that opaque is safe – even if it’s isolating.

When pastors’ wives are polled on how it feels to be the spouse of someone in full-time ministry the #1 answer is one profound word, “Lonely.” They are around hundreds of people every week, but they never feel they can let their guard down because they know people have opinions on how a pastor’s wife should be. Now I know people say they don’t, but literally every church I have served in has shared unflattering stories of the previous pastor’s wife. Many of these stories came from the spiritually mature leadership who considered the pastor and his wife to be their friends. The real irony comes in when later in the conversation I would be told, “But don’t worry, we don’t have any expectations on your wife. We just want to love on her.” Right! Now I don’t blame people for this natural human tendency, but being aware of how things are keeps you relationally opaque. And it’s not merely pastors and their wives who insulate. Pastoral families at large feel alone because there is a certain level of unknown expectations buried like landmines through the field of the church and so there is a constant mode of mostly transparent.

#6. We Measure Ourselves By The Numbers.

Numbers don’t matter! Yeah right. No matter how badly we want to slap that bumper sticker on our Ford the reality is that numbers matter to us. And they matter to us it part because they matter to God. The problem however goes back to #1-3. The absence of growth in our churches can cascade into an internal turmoil by which we begin to scrounge for “The Next Big Thing” that will bring “Radical Growth” “Guaranteed.” So we read books on how to be a “Deep & Wide, Vertical, Purpose Driven, Radical Reformission, Creature of the Word, Big Idea, Center Church.” Then we jet off to a conference with thousands of other pastors who are seeking to glean the secret of success. And what is the first question we ask one another between sessions? “So, how big is your church?” Yep, we measure ourselves by the numbers.

#7 We Spend More Time Discouraged Than Encouraged.

Occasionally people say to me, “Must be awesome to get paid to study the Bible all day.” Every time they do I think to myself, “Must be awesome to be able to give someone the finger on the 520 without people saying, ‘The pastor at Redemption Church flipped me off today during rush-hour.’” I’m not fully sure why that is the comment that flashes across my mental dashboard, but I think part of it stems from what I perceive to be the tone of the comment. Rightly or wrongly I infer they are saying, “Must be nice to have such a cush gig as a paid quiet-time.” In all honestly it is pretty awesome to be paid study the Bible, but it’s a major downer when people:

  • tell you – after 2 minutes of un-investigated reflection – that your 30 hours of study and 2 collegiate degrees were wrong.
  • tell you that they just couldn’t stay awake today during your sermon, but no offense. (How about I fall asleep at your kid’s graduation and we’ll call it even.)
  • tell you how you should have also said…
  • tell you how Pastor So-N-So says…

Aside from these particular examples I find that for most pastors it generally feels like the boat is taking on water more than racing with the wind – regardless of size or rate of growth. Lead pastors particularly suffer from this since much of their job is to focus on seeing things get better, which often translates into focusing on the broken, lacking or unfilled parts of the church more than enjoying what is right and working. Many of the most faithful and fruitful pastors in history have suffered deeply with anxiety and depression for the same reasons.

#8. We Worry About What You Think.

We’re human and we want to be liked. Therefore when we know we’re going to do or say something people won’t like, we worry about it. Now when I say that I don’t mean to infer that it causes us to avoid the hard things. There are some of my fellow pastors who avoid challenging topics or decisions out of fear of people, but most of the ones I run with still choose deliver the mail regardless of the popularity of its message. Yet we still worry about how you may take it.

#9. We Struggle With Competition And Jealousy.

We like to hold ourselves above the petty fray and reiterate, “It’s all about the Kingdom,” but in reality pastors are a competitive bunch. As soon as one pastor asks another, “How big is your church?” the game is on if the two churches are within 20 miles of each other (past 20 miles we lighten up a lot and think each other is pretty cool). Within 20 miles however we begin to assess one another’s style, focus, message, sophistication and marketing. We gauge to see if it’s a “Goldilocks Church” – not to deep, not too shallow, but just right (like us). If you’re too deep we benchmark you as internally focused. If you’re too shallow we brand you as consumer-driven. If however we conclude that you too are a “Goldilocks Church” we then figure out how our church is still better than your church. If you have lame amenities, we critique that you will never grow until you reboot that 70’s sanctuary. If you have awesome amenities, we criticize that you grow only because people are shallow and care more about stuff than Scripture.

Yes we know it’s not right. We know that it’s ego driven, but we still fall victim to it. We believe our church is the best church ever and we can’t understand why everyone doesn’t see it.

#10. We Feel Like We Failed You More Than We Helped You.

Most pastors will never be famous. Most churches will never break the 100 mark. Yet we all entered ministry to change the world and reach the masses. With this we know it is the expectation of churches that we accomplish this very thing. Every job posting reinforces the idea with the sentence, “We are looking for a man that will take our church to the next level.” Then when the next level isn’t hit in the way anticipated or within the timeline envisioned – we feel like we failed you. This is especially true in light of the reality that we are our own biggest critics. We came in with expectations higher than anyone in the church. You look to us for direction and when we feel like we failed to produce we feel like we failed you.

One Thing That Would Change Everything

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This past Sunday we started a new series that’s leading up to Easter based on the last week of Jesus.

That week starts as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey and is hailed as a king. A homeless prophet is heralded as royalty, but knows in the back of his mind… this all about to end.

In the next seven days Jesus would be betrayed, murdered, buried in a borrowed tomb, and ultimately He would raise to life as He defeated sin and death forever.

Now… that’s a week!

In that last week Jesus showed us a few key principles that should consistently define our lives.

Jesus customarily visited the temple upon coming to Jerusalem. This trip wouldn’t be any different. Jesus wakes up after being celebrated like a rock star and went to the temple.

This visit would change everything.

There were two groups of people in the temple that Jesus took issue with: those exchanging currency (the money-changers) and those who were selling pigeons.

The money-changers were turning a profit by charging high exchange rates to people who showed up with an less preferred currency. They set up shop in a sacred space to make money off the people who showed up to worship. The folks selling the doves were in the same boat. Instead of the worshippers providing their own sacrifices, these guys were making money by offering a quick-fix solution.

Even though Jesus had visited the temple the night before and seen the same things, it was now time to do something about it.

Jesus grabbed a whip and drove the merchants out of the temple.

It was time to do something.

What’s one thing that would change if you found out that you had one week left to live?

You’d DO something different.

In His last week Jesus lived unapologetically motivated by a passion to follow His Father.

As He cracked the whip in the temple, he told them “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’, but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:17)

That moment of passion ignited a hate for Jesus among the religious leaders that ended in Jesus execution.

There’s one thing that could change everything: a passion that compels us to do something.

What have you been putting off?

What has God called you to do that you’ve been refusing to respond to?

Where is that passion?

Saturday Selections – April 5th

Saturday Selections is a chance for me to share some of the most relevant news stores that grabbed my attention this past week. As a follower of Jesus we’re called to be informed about the world we live in, so that we can center our lives on a Savior that is not of this world.

DO YOU NEED APPROVAL?

I found this article extremely helpful. Give it a look and see if you’ve ever caught yourself doing the things listed on here to seek the approval of others:
[Click Here To Read The Article]

SELF-PROMOTION & ARROGANCE

This blog is by one of my favorite writers, Donald Miller. This is really a great perspective and I share the same trajectory of thought about self-promotion. It’s really worth the few seconds it’ll take to read:
[Click Here To Read The Article]

WHY WE’RE BROKE

This article lists five reasons the average American is broke. I love it because we address all of these things through Financial Peace at Vortex Church. If you’ve been struggling financially, just know that there’s a way out of the mess! Send me an email and I’ll hook you up with the next time we’re doing Financial Peace!
[Click Here To Read The Article]

What did I miss this week?

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