Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent

First of all, thanks to Trevor for a good reminder of how religious obligations should never get in the way of following Christ. I'm hoping God will call me to a Panthers game this Fall so that I can be salt and light at Bank of America Stadium one Sunday when I'm not at Reveal.

Second, I did not grow up in a church that celebrated specific dates on the Christian calendar like Lent. I was a baptist. We celebrated Easter and Christmas. That was it. Almost my entire life has been spent attending baptist churches. Until about eight years ago, if you had asked me what Lent was, I would have told you it was the stuff I cleaned out of my dryer. At my previous church, one of my youth workers introduced me to the concept of Lent. Each year as a youth group, we discussed Lent on Ash Wednesday and the students were given an opportunity to reflect on preparing for Easter.

For many, preparing for Easter is much less important than preparing for Christmas. Yet, for the Christian, Easter may be the most important day of the year. It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, the hope of all mankind. Traditionally, people give up something for Lent. I always joke that I'm going to give up vegetables for Lent. But giving up something reminds us of the sacrifice that Christ made on our behalf. I know people who have given up a certain food or drink, or a specific meal during the week, or television. Whatever it may be, it's something that they do regularly. The 'sacrifice' then serves as a regular reminder of the ultimate sacrifice.

It's also common during Lent to make a commitment to do something that will remind us of Christ's mission on Earth. Serving somewhere (i.e soup kitchen, homeless shelter, school, etc.) or doing something (i.e. reading a specific passage of Scripture, having a special prayer time, etc) that you don't normally do can refocus and refresh us as well as prepare our hearts for the Easter celebration.

How will you prepare?

Peace - Jamie

PS - If you're not sure what Lent is, check out this out.

Teachable Moments (Guest Post by Trevor Ashe)

Don't you just love when something just "happens" to be thrown on your plate at the last minute. I had an experience like that this past week.

So Saturday on my way out of the store, I was "reminded" that we had an all store meeting on Sunday morning. I'll be honest, my first thought was to say sorry cant make it, I have better plans. Then I realized how sweet it would be to get paid for doing no work, eating breakfast, and just hanging out with fellow employees. No brainer in that context. So I told my managers I would be there and I'll see them in the morning.

Well on my way out of the store I was telling people good bye and I will see them in the morning and one of my friends asked me if I was really going to be there in the morning. I told them I certainly would. Then I get asked about if I was going to miss church for this meeting and I explained I would. She said, "I thought Christians had to go to church."

BAM!!! You hear that? That is a teachable moment knocking on the door. So I got the opportunity to explain to her that being a Christian is not just about going to church and marking things off on a never ending "spritiual check list." I told her that my faith is all about a relationship, and freedom from the check list.

As I am writing this, a picture of the "karma list" in the TV show My Name Is Earl just popped into my head. I dont know if any of you have ever seen the show but basically he is under the assumption that if he corrects every wrong doing in his life "karma" will be good to him and make his life better. But basically the more he fixes of his past, the more his list grows.
That's the mentality many people have about Christianity. That if we "fix" our lives or our past relationships with people, life will be better and we will win a spot in heaven.

In this one small moment with this young lady at my work I saw a new paradigm open up on her mind. She realized that faith is not a bunch of rules or things to do; rather its a way of living, a relationship that keeps evolving bringing you closer to the Holy Spirit. Granted, I do not know where she is in her spiritual walk, but it was really cool to see her eyes light up when I told her this simple truth about Christianity. Thats about it, just wanted to write a bit and share this pretty cool story.

Trev

PS. Sometimes the Lord might call us to "skip" church to be involved in the lives of people whom do not yet know him. Sounds like a Sunday morning mountain bike trip might be in my near future!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This Little Light

So I had a cool opportunity this weekend. I was asked to play a song for the 3 and 4 year olds Sunday morning. After I was done, we sang a few more songs off a CD. One of these songs was "This Little Light of Mine". Now I couldn't tell you the last time I sang that song.
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine

Hide it under a bushel, NO!, I'm gonna let it shine...
Such a simple song, but it really got me thinking. Am I letting my light shine? Now I think to myself: "Hey you're not doing so bad, Will, you have an ichthus fish on the back of your car, you wear your "Jesus is Rad" shirt, you lead worship each week, you blog about God, you are on staff at a church." That's a pretty good resume...but then again a relationship with God is not a job.

When I was in high school, we talked a lot about posers - someone who could dress and talk like they were involved in something even if they weren't. Sometimes I wonder if I am a Christian "poser"? I mean I can talk the talk, I have lots of head knowledge about God. But what these 3 & 4 year olds were showing me Sunday was heart knowledge. They were just worshiping. They didn't care that if my guitar was in-tune, or if I remembered all the words, or if there was a band backing me up, or that I wasn't playing the latest CCM hit off the radio. They were worshiping to a simple song in a simple way, and I believe that God heard their worship.
Luke 18:17 - Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.
I don't want to "hide it under a bushel". I don't want to be a Christian "poser" either. What I want for me and for REVEAL is to be able to worship God with abandon but also with purity of heart like those 3 & 4 year olds.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger!

Will

Monday, February 23, 2009

Set List 02.22.09

Here is the music that we used for 02.22.09 (Week 3 of God's Purpose...Right Now):

The Solid One (Jeff Zabel)
Our Love Is Loud (David Crowder)
I Stand Amazed (Charles Hutchison Gabriel)
Beautiful The Blood (Steve Fee)
My Glorious (Martin Smith)

Steve preached the third sermon of God's Purpose...Right Now. This week he focused on the story of Joseph. What a wonderful reminder to stay focused on God even when "circumstances" seem to tell us that we have been forsaken.

There were 63 people in Reveal today and 11 in childcare. Remember that next week we are going to have lunch (Fuel Pizza) for everyone after Reveal. So invite a friend and bring a couple of bucks to help offset the cost.

We are also working on putting together some small groups (catchy name to come later) in the next few weeks. If you are interested, please let me or Jamie know.

jamieb@fbcrockhill.org
willb@fbcrockhill.org

Dream Big...Pray Bigger!

Will

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Some Intresting Blog Posts

I read a lot of blogs. Some are for fun, some are for ministry growth, some are just to try and keep up with people I know. One thing that I don't particularly like is when bloggers "borrow" other peoples ideas and don't have much to add to the discussion - they just post the link to the other blog. But today I am going to do just that. Mostly because I think these blogs have said it better than I could have reworded it. So here goes.

Eric & Riley Johnson
Eric and Riley are members of FBC and attend the 10:30 service. Riley's post is a well written recap of what Steve talked about in his sermon 2/15/09 (Abraham).

Glenn Packiam
Glenn is one of the pastors at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. He has written songs such as "My Savior Lives" and "Your Name". In this post he talks about an liturgical experience he had at an Anglican church.
"we are not here for what we can get out of worship; we are here to give ourselves away in worship."
Dream Big...Pray Bigger.

Will

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Praying With Your Spouse

How important is prayer in your daily life? As a pastor the correct answer for my life should be "VERY" but the honest answer is that it varies. Some days I do really well at praying for people and situations. Other days - not so much. A lot of times, when someone comes to mind, I'll toss up a quick prayer for them or their situations.

But there is one prayer time that I don't miss. Before I go to bed, Lori and I pray together. Now this prayer time is kinda like date night that I explained in my last post. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is kinda weak. Sometimes it is a mad prayer. And sometimes, I'm half asleep when I pray. But one thing is for certain. If at all possible, we are going to pray together before we go to sleep - even if we are apart. In fact, during the 6 months that I was in SC and she was in California, we prayed over the phone.

This is something that we started when we got married and I have been very thankful for this in our marriage. It forces us to deal with issues before we go to sleep. And like the date night, the cumulative effect on your marriage will be well worth the effort.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger.

Will

Bits and Pieces

Did you ever have one of those weeks when nothing that was on your 'to do' list ends up getting done? What am I talking about? Of course you have. Well, that's the best way to describe my week. Thus for my first blog entry this week you get bits and pieces of what's been going on in my mind as opposed to the penetrating, thought-provoking entries of weeks past. Yeah, right!

  • U2 has a new song - I like U2 a lot. "War," their breakthrough album (and, yes, it was an album) dropped in 1983 just as MTV was taking off. I can still remember the music video for "New Year's Day" playing on the tv in my living room. At first, they were just another new wave band like Duran Duran and the Culture Club. I kick myself to even put those bands in the same sentence with U2 now. It was really "The Joshua Tree" that solidified U2's legendary status. Since then, I've had an off and on love affair with their music. "Pop" wasn't that great to me. But I thoroughly enjoyed "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" from 2004. All that to say that "Get on Your Boots" hasn't grabbed me yet. I've listened to it a lot because I WANT to like it but so far U2 hasn't gotten me to throw down some cash for a new CD.
  • The Carolina Panthers have a big decision to make - As much as I enjoy music, spectator sports are my passion. This big decision has nothing to do with Jake Delhomme (sorry, Hunter, you're stuck with him for at least one more season). By this time tomorrow, either Jordan Gross or Julius Peppers will be guaranteed a lot of money for the 2009 season. I hope they can get Gross signed and get something in a trade for Pep.
  • The Daytona 500 (er, 380) was a disappointment - My second favorite sport, behind the NFL, is NASCAR. I'm a Jeff Gordon fan. Boo, if you like. You won't hurt my feelings. Can you imagine if the NFL called the Super Bowl before the 4th quarter began? Because that's what NASCAR did Sunday. The race wasn't the best I've seen. But it HAS to end after 500 miles. It's your Super Bowl, NASCAR. If you have to cancel the California race this Sunday to finish The 500, you cancel the California race.

Hopefully, the rest of the week won't be as busy and I'll have a chance to post some coherent thoughts later. But probably not.

-- Peace, Jamie

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dating Your Spouse

Did you know that the divorce rate of first marriages is somewhere between 40 and 50%? And that it gets higher for second and third marriages? In fact, being Christian doesn't seem to have much impact on the stats. Now I am far from an educated psychologist, but I have a theory on why that happens:

WE FORGET TO DATE OUR SPOUSE

Now let me explain this a bit. When we find someone we are attracted to and we begin to "hang-out" together, we go out of our way to put our best out there. We make sure that we have taken a shower, have deodorant on (and perhaps perfume/cologne), our teeth are brushed, our hair is combed, our clothes are nice, etc. I think you guys get the idea. Many times, during dating we don't see each other every day - possibly only on Friday/Saturday nights. So even if we had a bad day or a bad week, we are still excited to see our girlfriend/boyfriend when the weekend comes.

Now when you get married, there is a euphoria that rules for a while. But eventually, real life shows up. You have a bad day, you get sick, you wake-up with bad breath, you stink-up the bathroom, you get in a fight, whatever. It happens. Anyone who has been married for much longer than a week will be able to relate (if not, they're probably lying). But there is hope.

START DATING AGAIN

No, I am not saying go looking for a affair - start dating your spouse again. Find a night that you can set the DVR to record "real-life" and you and your spouse can get away. Find a babysitter if you have kids. Guys this means that you NEED to make a plan on what the night will look like. Ladies this means you may have to give a little grace if its been a while since your guy asked you out (he may be a little rusty).

For some couples, once a month may be all that you can do right now. For others you may be able to have a night set aside each week. Lori and I try to have a date each week. Now they are not always "great" dates. Sometimes we get a pizza and watch TV. Sometimes we go to a restaurant and a movie. Sometimes we do something a little more exciting. Sometimes we get in an argument. It is not always great, but the cumulative effect of taking the time and making the effort has made a huge difference in our marriage and I know it will in yours too.

BTW - You can afford it, you may just have to start with frozen pizza and Blockbuster Video instead of Longhorn and Manchester Theaters. Figure something out.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger!

Will

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Set List 02.08.09 and 02.15.09

Here is the music that we used on 02.08.09 - God's Purpose...Right Now (Week 1):

Glory Defined (Building 429)
All We Need (Charlie Hall)
Song of Hope (Robbie Seay Band)
Rescue (Jared Anderson)
Come Ye Sinners (Robbie Seay Band)

Here is the music that we used on 02.15.09 - God's Purpose...Right Now (Week 2):

Worship You Forever (Todd Fields)
Let Everything That Has Breath (Matt Redman)
May The Few (Shane Barnard)
I will Exalt Your Name (Jeffrey B. Scott)
Hosanna, You're The King (David E. Bell)
Center (Charlie Hall)
Enough (Chris Tomlin)

Sorry that it took me all week to get the list posted from the 8th. I had a really bad cold and was actually worried that I wouldn't be able to sing at all on Sunday (much less run all three services). But thankfully, I healed up and was able to sing.

On the 8th we had 72 people in REVEAL and about 62 on the 15th. Numbers are steady and even though Jamie and I would love to see them around 150, God is being so faithful to us. My wife said that while we were worshiping this Sunday, God reminded her that even if the numbers aren't where we would like to see them, that He has been working on this for a long time. Remember what it was like before REVEAL started and there was no one in the APEX on Sunday's at 11:55, or even what it was like in the fall with the launch team of only about 25 people?

Every week we are STILL seeing new people come to REVEAL and Jamie, me and a few others are contacting people during the week. Remember that word of mouth is the best way to spread the news. So talk it up, leave a REVEAL card with your tip when you eat out, tell your friends, invite your neighbors. God is doing a great work here, but we have to do our part as well.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger!

Will

Friday, February 13, 2009

YouTube

I created a FBC Rock Hill channel on YouTube. Here's the link.

-- Peace, Jamie

Pizza, Anyone?

Tired of always trying to figure out what to do for lunch after Reveal? Do I go to a sit-down restaurant and hope the waitress isn't exhausted from serving all of the pagans who don't go to Reveal (just kidding)? Do I drive thru Taco Bell or Wendy's knowing that I will regret it within the hour? Do I drive home and pick through the leftovers in the fridge? Do I eat a granola bar on my way to the park for some disc golf?

On March 1, we're making the decision easy for you. As soon as Reveal is over, you can join us in the cafe for hot pizza delivered to us from Fuel Pizza. During March, we are going to set aside three Sundays (March 1, 15, and 29) to eat together right after Reveal. The great news is YOU don't have to anything but show up. Invite a friend or two to join you for Reveal AND lunch. Then stick around and get a chance to know everyone who's involved in Reveal.

-- Peace, Jamie

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why Does Reveal Exist?

I had an interesting encounter last night. I left our creative team meeting about 6:45 to make a couple of visits to families that had been to Reveal. The first family wasn't home so I headed off for my second visit. Honestly, I almost gave up. I drove down the street looking for the house numbers but there were no street lights. It was almost impossible to find a mailbox with a number on it. I turned around twice in someone's driveway. If anyone had been watching out their window, they may have called the police thinking I was either casing the street for a house to rob or driving drunk.

I finally found the house and was again tempted to give up. There were no lights on outside and only one light on in the house. It was very dark by this time (almost 7:30). But I got out. A motion light came on as I approached the house and I was able to see that I was at the right house. I really figured that no one would answer but, soon after knocking, the front door opened. I introduced myself, thanked the family for coming to Reveal, asked about their experience and had a great conversation.

Here's what caught my attention - the family was new to Rock Hill and had visited a few churches. We were the first church to contact them after they visited! Now, in my short interaction, it seemed that the family are Christ followers. But can you imagine if this was a family that decided at the beginning of the year to 'get right with the Man upstairs' and began visiting churches looking for someone to tell them one-on-one about the Greatest Story of ALL TIME and NO ONE, FLIPPING NO ONE!!! followed up with them? The family was grateful for my visit and will hopefully be back to Reveal sometime soon.

The visit served as a great reminder that Reveal and First Baptist Church does NOT exist for me or for Will or for those of us who are regular attenders. We exist for those who don't know Jesus Christ and who haven't been completely ruined by the grace of our God and for those who aren't connected to a local community of Christ followers.

Keep that in mind as we gather on Sundays!

-- Peace, Jamie

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Way

I'm doing two Bible studies that are focused on apologetics. Both have led me to do a lot of reading - books, magazines, websites. Most of it is just two sides yelling at each other, which if you know me, you know I'm not at all inclined to enjoy.

At our college Bible study on Sunday night, I mentioned that some people enjoy arguing. A few smiles broke out on the people in the room who I had just described. I am definitely NOT one of those people. I enjoy a conversation even if I don't agree with you. But I am not the one who always feels like I have to 'win' when I walk away.

Anyway, in my reading, I came across this article, which actually doesn't have a LOT to do with apologetics. But I thought I'd share it with you anyway.

-- Peace, Jamie

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday

We kicked off week 1 of God's Purpose Right Now. Here are a few highlights of Reveal:

  • Steve preached from Acts 13:36.
  • He introduced the Now and Later Principle which will be a very important part of the next two months in the life of First Baptist Church.
  • The Now and Later Principle is this - Future opportunities to serve Christ are dependent on being faithful to Christ in the present.
  • He asked the question - If you died today, what would be written on your tombstone? Not what would YOU want written but what would be written if the truth about your life was written.
  • He showed some tombstones. Here's the funniest one.
  • He also called us to live with purpose and asked the haunting question, "Am I living by default or by design?"
  • He also pointed out that obedience matters and challenged us to seize the opportunity that God gives to us when He gives it to us.
Attendance has been steady over the first three weeks of Reveal. Make sure you make a point to invite someone to join you next week at Reveal.

Also, we are beginning some discussions about starting some small groups. Shoot me an email (jamieb@fbcrockhill.org) if you are interested in being a part of leading or hosting a small group.

Have a great week.

-- Peace, Jamie

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Basketball Ministry

Here is a cool story that arose from our "Impact Sports" basketball ministry.

This past week, we had band practice on Tuesday night instead of our normal Thursday because one of our members had something on Thursday night. We went about our normal routine and I didn't think too much of it. Then on Wednesday, I was stopped by one of our FBC members after supper who told me of a woman who was in the gym and heard the music and asked about it. She asked how much it cost to become a member here at FBC. She, of course, was told that it was free, no cost at all. She asked about the music that she was hearing and it was explained to her that it was the band for our new service. She asked how much it cost to come to come to that service and, of course, was told that it was free. The member that she was talking to invited her to church and she is planning on coming this week.

REVEAL - Don't doubt that God is working in powerful ways in Rock Hill. Be faithful and ask Him to provide opportunities to lift up His name and He will provide.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger

Will

Friday, February 6, 2009

Felt Needs

There is an old saying: "No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." And man is that ever true in today's world. Did you know that 80% of Americans don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ? And York county is no different - 80%!!! And you know what, they are not just going to walk in through the front door of our church. Which of course means that we have to go to them. And that means in some way to meet their felt needs.

Does anyone listen to 91.9? I personally don't, I listen almost exclusively to CD's, but my wife, Lori, does. And back in December, they started doing this thing where they challenged people to pay for the person behind them in the drive-thru line at fast food restaurants. Well, this week, Lori felt that God was calling her to do just that over lunch. She paid for the person behind her and she said that workers in the restaurant were all looking at her to see who would do such a thing. Now I know that financial times are tough right now, but what a powerful way to meet someone's felt needs.

So, REVEAL, I challenge you to find a way to meet someone's felt needs. If you do decide to do the "drive-thru" thing, hand the person at the check-out a REVEAL card. You never know what could come of it. In fact, God could repay you in a cool way. It happened to us last night. Lori and I were having our weekly date night (more on that in a later post) and as we got up to the counter to pay for our meal, a member of FBC came up and paid for us. How cool is that? God's blessing may come in unexpected but very cool ways. (Thanks to that couple, you really made our night.)

Dream Big...Pray Bigger.

Will

Party Time

This video cracked me up, mainly because the bouncer guy was SO intimidating. Great job, Hunter.


If the video gets the song stuck in your head, you can check out the full song here.

video

Words Matter

What we say and how we are heard are important. What do you think?












Get Fuzzy

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Set List 02.01.09

Here is the music that we used on 02.01.09 - Red Letters (Week 2):

In The Light (Charlie Peacock as performed by dc Talk)
Madly (Steve Fee)
Agnus Dei (Michael W. Smith as performed by Third Day)
Word Of God Speak (MercyMe)
Worship You Forever (Todd Fields)

You ever have one of those days when everything just seems to go wrong? Well Sunday was that day for me, at least at the start. See Jamie was out of town so there were several extra things in my routine that needed to get done. And as a result, I was a little out of sorts mentally. This resulted in me starting off the first song of the 10:30 service in the wrong key. I was embarrassed to say the least. (I am hoping that Miller can edit that out before it goes to CN-2). Then, in the last song of the set, I sang the wrong lyrics. Boy what a great way to start off the day.

When I got down to the Apex, I still had several things to do before REVEAL started. By the time everything got done, I was already emotionally spent. I went over in the corner and spent some time in prayer. More than anything just trying to calm down.

Now I don't want to "over-spiritualize" the situation, but I feel that this is just another way that God is saying "Will...Me not you, My strength not yours." I guess that I am just hard-headed because I seem to find God reminding me of that a lot. But in spite of my "feelings", once we started worshiping, all of the other "stuff" faded away.

That, more than anything, is what I want to point out. When we focus on ourselves and our circumstances they seem big and many times overwhelming. But when we put our focus on God, all that "stuff" fades into the background.

Random Facts about Sunday:
1. I sang "Word of God Speak" at 10:30 and Reveal but in different keys.
2. We had about 70 people in the Apex.
3. The sermon intro video was really funny.
4. The "God's Purpose...Right Now" promo video was AWESOME! (Hunter this is the best one yet, keep up the great work.)
5. Pastors aren't perfect, we make mistakes too.
6. I continue to see new faces in Reveal.

Dream Big...Pray Bigger.

--Will

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday

While I was not in Rock Hill yesterday, I got great reports from everyone about Reveal yesterday. I will be back next week as we kick off the "God's Purpose, Right Now" series. If you don't already know, most of our launch advertising has ended. So, for new people to get to Reveal, it's going to take a personal invitation. Make a point to invite someone new this week to come to Reveal.

A quick review of my weekend looks like this - a 4 hour drive to Myrtle Beach, rocking worship with Rush of Fools, an in-your-face call to action by Clayton King, 10 hours of sleep in two days, a trip to Broadway at the Beach, a Golden Corral all-you-can-eat buffet, Krispy Kreme Hot-Now doughnuts, hanging out with 35 cool Winthrop students and 800 other SC college students, and the 4 hour drive home. If you didn't join us this year at Converge, plan on going back to Myrtle Beach with us next year.

-- Peace, Jamie