Saturday, December 26, 2009

Family Matters

Leaders have to ask themselves, "what are we really trying to accomplish?"
A few weeks ago my Pastor asked me a question that caused me to really stop and think.
Thinking is good.

One of the things I've discovered as I've pursued the next step for us and planting a church....IS...If God asked me, "Son, I know you want to do my will; would you want to plant a church or transition a church?" I'd answer Him by saying transition a church.

I'm not saying that church planting is out.
I've written before that I view church planting as a "family" context. I've developed a formula in church planting thinking, in regards to a spiritual son/father---family mindset.
The Parent
The Step Parent
The Illegitimate Child

The "parent" is the church that plants for the reason they see fit.

The "step parent" is an origination that plants for the value of planting. Let me stress there is nothing wrong with this system.

The "illegitimate child" is the person who goes out and does their own thing without having a covering or blessing of the parent or step parent. Perhaps a better term would be "the unauthorized church planter." But you get the point.

I went to a meeting several months ago. It consisted of a couple dozen guys about my age who were looking to church plant.
One thing that stuck out to me is that everyone seemed to want to church plant to "fix" something.
They had a bad experience.
They just came off a church staff.
Their church had a split.
The church they were at wasn't doing something they saw needed to be done.
They wanted to reach a certain demographic.

I too found myself thinking, "that's why I want too as well."
That meeting was many months ago; at the beginning of our journey to one day pastor, since then I believe my reason no longer lines up with the above reasons.

In my longing to be used by God, I know he has guided my path. While on the path to pastor, I know it's important to fall in love with the church, not the perfect church, not your ideal church, not your "dream" church; but the church with all it's warts and imperfections.

This is where I think many have missed the mark in church planting.
The last thing I want to do is reproduce a church that is a reflection of deep rooted frustration.
I'd rather a church that is focused on bringing people into the family of God.
Church families reproducing other church families.

After all, "what are we really trying to accomplish?"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

A very special Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
The Farrell Family

There would have never been a purpose for the cross without the reason for the manger.

Monday, December 21, 2009

15 Years Later

I have a fun little hobby.
Making videos.

For years I've done them as a fun little addition to ministry. I can remember my first ever video edit job. I was 14, had a VHS player, Sony Handycam and a lot of time.
My youth pastor, Preston Smith, wanted a welcome video to show visitors.

The edit was "crude" at best. Hitting pause/record on the VHS player while changing out tapes that would hopefully create an overall feel of our youth group; while holding up hand-drawn pictures to "introduce" each segment.
---I cringe just thinking about it; but it did the job and it was the best we had, and it worked.

Years later, I still enjoy producing videos for ministries; hopefully the quality has improved.
I've entered several contest over the years and have done well. While the Doritos video I produced did not make it to the finals I also got wind of some contest in the Alabama area where we use to live. So we entered (hoping God would breathe on them) because the prize money, although small, would pay the rent for another month.
Sure enough, God indeed has "given daily bread."

Here they are. Enjoy!

1st Place in County Recycling

2nd Place in General Recycling

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Chaos

The word "Christ" and its compounds, including "Christmas", have been abbreviated in English for at least the past 1,000 years, long before the modern "Xmas" was commonly used. "Christ" was often written as "XP" or "Xt"; there are references in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as far back as AD 1021. This X and P arose as the uppercase forms of the Greek letters χ and ρ used in ancient abbreviations for Χριστος (Greek for "Christ"), and are still widely seen in many Eastern Orthodox icons depicting Jesus Christ. The labarum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters rendered as , is a symbol often used to represent Christ in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christian Churches.

The labarum, often called the Chi-Rho, is a Christian symbol representing Christ.

The occasionally held belief that the "X" represents the cross on which Christ was crucified also has no basis in fact. St Andrew's Cross is X-shaped, but Christ's cross was probably shaped like a T or a †.

Indeed, X-as-chi was associated with Christ long before X-as-cross could be, since the cross as a Christian symbol developed later. (The Greek letter Chi Χ stood for "Christ" in the ancient Greek acrostic ΙΧΘΥΣ ichthys.) While some see the spelling of Christmas as Xmas a threat, others see it as a way to honor the martyrs. The use of X as an abbreviation for "cross" in modern abbreviated writing (e.g. "King's X" for "King's Cross") may have reinforced this assumption.

In ancient Christian art, χ and χρ are abbreviations for Christ's name.[9] In many manuscripts of the New Testament and icons, X is an abbreviation for Christos, as is XC (the first and last letters in Greek, using the lunate sigma); compare IC for Jesus in Greek.

(The above was taken directly from Wikipedia, and can be viewed in it's fullness here)

This is not a plea that we should all love and enjoy seeing XMAS instead of Christmas on signs or in print. Because, yes, we live in a culture where "XMAS" is thought of as "taking Christ out of Christmas."
If you are like me, you were told that from a Christian who was told that by a Christian.
But the reality is--that is simply not true.

This post is simply meant to spark a thought in your mind about how to react towards people who don't believe the same thing as you.

I know plenty of well meaning and good hearted Christians who get all up in arms when they see an "X" in place of Christmas or hear "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas.
I quickly think of the story of Uzzah. (2 Samuel 6:4-7)
God gave instruction for no one to touch the Ark, the priest of Israel are following it back to Jerusalem pulled by ox and it hits a pothole and the Ark starts to fall off the cart, Uzzah reaches up to catch it and is struck dead by God.

Can you hear that conversation in Heaven?
Uzzah---Um, God? Hey, I was just trying to help....did you see what was about to happen?
God--- I did. But Uzzah, I don't need your help. I can take care of it.
Uzzah---Good point, God. So it would have been better for me to not catch the Ark and let it crash, huh.
Uzzah---I don't know what I was thinking, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

You get the point.

This Christmas lets have a little less chaos by not trying to "help" God out by defending things that really don't matter.
I've discovered the world already knows what we stand against; we typically shout those out pretty loud.
Let's show them the things we are for.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Little Things Part 4

One of the saddest things that happens in life is to see others fail.
None of us want too, none of us plan too.

I've discovered from the stories in the Bible that it's easy for good men to fail.
If it can happen to them, it can happen to me. It's one of the reasons I believe we all must be proactive in accountability.
It's not just enough to hope or wish or pray and believe that you be a person of character, you have to be active in putting systems and processes in place to keep your character in tact.

Life principle number four, "little things always affect others."

Philippians 2:3,4 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

In the verses above there is heavy emphasis to value the needs and interests of others above personal needs and desires; the reason is because there is a link between placing values on others and how we act.

If we truly count the cost of our actions before we do them and consider the effects our actions have on others, then it would cause us to reevaluate the little things (or what we consider little) we do.
How many marriages, families, businesses, churches, lives would be whole and happy and successful because someone stopped and counted the cost for their actions by thinking how it affected someone else.

Song of Solomon 2:15 "It's the little foxes that spoil the vine."
Little things don't stay little.
Little things hamper the power of God in our lives.
Little things should not be despised.
Little things always affect others.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Little Things Part 3

Principle one: Little things don’t stay little.

Principle two: Little things hamper the power of God in our lives.

When Jesus tells the story about the master who gives three of his servants different amounts of money to take care of, he makes the statement about the two who acted wisely with their amount, he says, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.” (Matthew 25:23)

In this parable, Jesus, is unfolding the principle in life that “we are managers” and it’s how we manage what we’ve been given that determines how much we will govern in the future.

In my travels I’ve met many “if-only” people. “If only” I had that type of church, “if only” I had that type of youth budget, “if only” I had those talents and abilities, “if only” I had that type of money, if only, if only, if only……

If only is never the real issue because it allows the focus to be in the wrong area. If we really got all our “if only” wishes then we would think it’s all about us and that it’s all ours; when it’s not. Everything comes from God, everything is His; we just manage what he’s given us.

In the parable, it was the master that gave different amounts to the servants. It was then up to the individual how they managed it. Good managers not only made more, they were entrusted with more in the future.

Life principle numbers three when it comes to little things, “little things should not be despised.”

In the story of David and Goliath, after Saul tells David to put on his armor to fight Goliath, David does but the armor didn’t fit and the verse that follows points us back to the little thing principle. (1 Samuel 17:40) “Then HE took HIS staff in HIS hand; and HE chose for HIMSELF five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in HIS shepherd’s bag, in HIS pouch which HE had, and HIS sling was in HIS hand. And HE drew near to the Philistine.”

Everything we have has been given to us by God. He has given us everything we need to accomplish His will for our life. Don’t despise the little things. Whatever “little” is to you: your youth ministry, your church, the class you teach, your job, income, talent, ability; thank God for the opportunity to manage it for Him. Like my friend, Song Flagler says, “Appreciating the little things will keep us in a constant state of thanksgiving."

When we are thankful and take care of the little things God has given us to manage; He gives us more because He sees we've been faithful with what He has already given us.