Showing posts from September, 2020

Reservoir Leadership Track

2020 was destined to be a year of growth and deeper roots for our little suburban church. Our leadership had claimed the theme of "Building Together" as we felt that coming through years of transition and replanting we were poised to spring ahead in many ways. Individual ownership of the church was increasing, meaning people were stepping up to do the work of ministry, and our identity had seemingly formed around the preaching of the gospel and living in response to the grace of Christ. Then the pandemic began seven months of disruption in every category of life, environmental, political, spiritual, and others. So the momentum met its end. The growth became a tension of keeping who was committed. Building together transitioned to a desire to just be together. While we still face the pandemic realities among the good decisions we made was to launch our leadership track anyway. It was designed to be a vital six-month cohort for learning and formation around the vision of the ch

Practicing Life

Much of what we have been studying and encouraging among each other in our little church and even in my own family's life is the experience of living transformed lives. Using this season to rightly shape how we live in light of the grace of Christ, loving God and neighbor well. Oh the crush of things that demand you put yourself first and that attempt to hide rather than expose self-righteousness. If ever we could monopolize on wrecked schedules to start something new, this is it. Into this fray comes a helpful book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction by Justin Whitmel Earley. It is primer on suggested habits for the day and for the week that we can take on to clear our head and live uncluttered devotion to Christ. I found myself served by Whitmel Earley and his suggestions especially around use of technology and always being accessible. Boundaries benefit us and we could all use a regular Sabbath! All throughout the book there is a steady flow of gospel r

Filial Reverence

"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Nothing more true than this statement. But maybe we need to rightly adapt the word fear to express more clearly its meaning. It is meant to be an awe, or reverence, not the scary sense modern vernacular lends to the word. One of the guys I am trying to disciple was recently reading an R.C. Sproul devotional that was categorizing the fear of the Lord between servile and filial. Servile being a subdued caution toward a perceived threat of the tormentor. This would be an appropriate response to thinking of the heat and hardship of eternal hell. (Sorry to bring such things up on a Friday). But that kind of reverent fear is not meant for those in Christ. Those rescued from wrath for sin, those forgiven. We are meant for filial reverence. Seeing the Father through the lens of his love. In awe of his mercy and ongoing cherishing of His children. We might think of how great it is to have a Father, especially one that loves us (as proven

The Grace of Reading the Bible with Committed Friends

The pandemic closed our preferred meeting location (a local Starbucks - suburbia has few great coffee choices.) As you can imagine then we missed a couple of months of our early morning meetings. We were forced to get creative and meet in the parking lot instead. It has been a great way to affirm guidelines for social distancing and continue studying Scripture together. Today we read an imprecatory psalm and thought through how we pray for those opposed to us in light of Christ. It was a rich conversation on trusting in the Lord's care and purpose and we set out for the day with renewed determination to trust and pray. I am thankful for these committed friends. We need them. You need them. Do what you can to find them. Open the book, and read.

Pandemic Growth

As we move through the sixth month of pandemic strangeness in the church I suspect other pastors of small churches have experienced much of the same things I have. One being the predominance of time spent thinking about or attempting to disciple those in the church that have been outliers. Those that haven't engaged in online communication or meetings, or who have prefered to not re-gather as the church has been able to. It struck me on Sunday when I was having a conversation with one of our leaders about state guidelines and what 50% capacity of our facility would look like. I made the comment that at this point I wasn't even sure what 100% of our church was. Simply because some families have been silent, others vocal about preferring to have John MacArthur as their pastor, or some other reason to not participate in the family life of the church. Truth is, I have also spent a lot of time thinking about and encouraging those that are engaging and have actually exhibited tremend

Being Direct

As the earth seems to crumble, and the structures we have built up to carry us through seem to teeter under the weight of a global pandemic, environmental disaster, and political upheaval, each of us is being stretched and made to bend in difficult ways. I have spent a lot of breath on calling my friends, family, and church to be sure not to waste the pandemic but come through it in such a way that it is clear they have been with Jesus. That's what we all want isn't it? At least those of us who call Jesus savior! But more than mere exhortation away from waste of time and energy on things temporary, I also believe we each need spurs, those that can speak directly to us and tell us the truth when we are blinded by bias and a cherishing of self over all things. To that end, this morning I had a direct conversation with a member of our church. Now, I don't think I am known for sugar-coating things, and have always attempted to be forthcoming and direct. Today was no exception,

The Road Taken