Filed under: Church
Since C3 Church did not meet this week Andrea and I decided to visit a church we have been wanting to visit for a while now. Usually Andrea and I do not get to visit other churches unless we are on vacation. When we do get a Sunday off we like to go someplace new and different because it’s almost like a time of refreshing when we can just participate in worship and be a sponge without any responsibility other than to praise our Lord. This morning was one of those times.
We visited a fairly large ministry in the central Florida area this morning. This service was such a blessing to Andrea and I. I will not name the particular church that we attended this morning because I would not like to fuel any rumors or speculation on this particular church’s situation. I only know that this particular ministry has been through some tough times this year. They referred to their trial by fire a few times this morning and how they are optimistic about the coming new year. I know personally of rumors and innuendo that have circulated about this ministry over the past several months but they are persevering and letting the people that need to leave, leave and are going on from here determined to reach lost people with the message of Christ.
One of the things that the Pastor said this morning struck me as being very profound. I probably have heard this before but it really spoke to me this morning. “It’s time to divorce ourselves from our past and get married to our future!” This statement is so true. There are people who would love to go back to the way things were or mourn that things are not like they used to be when it comes to church. But I say it is time to divorce ourselves from the past and get married to our future. The path is going to be so much brighter in C3′s future than it was in our past. This last year has been a tough one. A year filled with many struggles and many people that could not stand when the fire came. It’s time to say so long and move forward. It’s time for a new thing! Just like the Pastor preached this morning, “But forget all that- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19.”
To my brothers and sisters on the other side of town that are walking through the wasteland, don’t worry, the rivers are on their way. To my brothers and sisters at C3 Church, God has already started to do a great work, can you see it? Sometimes you have to let something die in order for something new to rise up and take it’s place. It’s time to divorce ourselves from the past and get married to the future. The future is bright. Give God praise!
Filed under: Personal
I know I have become lazy with my blogging lately but it’s the holidays. Isn’t that such a convenient, easy excuse for anything this time of year? So I am just going to put out some random thoughts so I can say that I have blogged.
I am always giving my friend Angie Bledsoe a hard time about not blogging everyday because I enjoy reading all of my friends’ blogs and I can count on her for a daily posting. It’s kinda of hypocritical of me wouldn’t you say?
My wife just started a new blog “Frills & Funk” and I rolled my eyes at her this morning when she said she was going to blog again. She looked at me and said, “You haven’t blogged in years!”, I said, “I know.”, and just smiled.
Christmas eve and day were crazy with all of people we had at our house and the garbage was just picked up today. I tell you that because that was a ton of garbage to be laying around here for a few days. It was kinda stinky!
My wife just turned on her favorite show, “The Price Is Right”, she says she likes Drew Carey more than Bob Barker now.
I got my car washed yesterday and I think I’ll get Andrea’s washed today.
I still don’t know how to put photos on my MAC. I can’t even pull them off of images from the Internet. If anyone can help me let me know. This means I can’t put pictures on my blog because I’m ignorant.
I have a lot to get done before next week so I must be disciplined with my time!
My mom comes home tomorrow. The end of an empty house for Andrea and I.
Oh yeah, C3 Church at the theaters is just around the corner!
How is this blog for some randomness?
Filed under: Church
It’s ok to look back at times just as long as you keep looking forward in the process. Tomorrow is our last service at 9000 Lake Underhill Rd. The Lake Underhill address is just that, an address. Did God do some amazing things over the years at this address? Yes He did but it is just a building. The “church” is the people, not the building. God says that He dwells in temples not made with hands. The first century “church” met in homes. What does the building at Lake Underhill contain after tomorrow for the people at C3 Church? Nothing but memories because the “church” which is the people, will call another address home for a while. Then we will make new memories at the Theaters at Waterford Lakes until God moves us from there.
People change addresses all of the time. How many homes have you lived in, in your lifetime? This move is like that. You have memories of things that you lived through in certain places that you have called home but the family keeps on going even when “home” is someplace new.
We have had triumphs and successes at 9000 Lake Underhill Rd. and we most certainly have seen our share of tough times but you know what? The family survives and moves on. God has been with us through it all and will continue to never leave or forsake us.
So, thank You God for what you have brought us through and thank You God for what lies ahead. C3 Church it’s time to move on and into the future. God has some great things ahead for us as we start to meet in the theaters. With so many in our congregation focused on others and reaching out to new people that will come to visit as we meet in the theaters we can not help but see God move. I am so proud of the 86 people alone that volunteered to be a part of the Connections Team and of all the countless people that signed up to be on the Set up/Tear down Crew and serve C3 Kids. I don’t think that we have ever in the history of our church seen such a majority percentage of people that have plugged in to serve OTHERS. God’s Church is on the move.
So thanks 9000 Lake Underhill for the memories and watch out Regal Cinemas Waterford Lakes because here comes C3 Church. Church in the marketplace. Church for others. Church that is relevant. Kinda sounds a little barbaric wouldn’t you say? C3, let’s be barbaric as we reach east Orlando with the message of Christ. Let’s show some Barbaric Grace! Connecting the Community with Christ, C3 Church!
Filed under: Personal
I guess this might be considered some sort of small achievement, I don’t know to be honest with you, but I did want this post to be special. I thought about what I could blog about and what might be appropriate all week. So here I am on an early Saturday morning in front of my computer screen blogging. Is this post going to be negative, positive, inspirational or introspective? I just really wanted God to speak to my heart and then to be able to share something earth shattering or riveting.
That statement leads me to this. I do believe that God speaks to our hearts all of the time. Sometimes we choose to listen to that still small voice and sometimes we don’t. But if you are truly seeking Him, He will answer every time. Over the past few days I have observed some things that really have troubled me inside. The things that I have observed I have laughed at before and made fun of because to be quite honest with you, in my opinion these things I am talking about are quite pathetic and sad and do deserved to be laughed at and made fun of. The things that I am talking about are church signs or marquis that churches use as “tools” to get people to visit their congregation.
Like I said I normally just get a kick out of their crazy little messages and laugh it off and go on my way but this time, over the past several days they just have been troubling me. Not because messages like, “Misfits Welcome Inside” or “Denominationally Wounded? Come Inside For First Aid” (or any other myriad of signs I have seen before) make me mad but because of their arrogant, cavalier attitude toward the very people that the signs are trying to reach.
The one sign that just cut me to the core was “Misfits Welcome Inside”. I thought to myself that if I were a person that knew nothing about God or His church and I saw that sign, that I would be crazy mad. If you truly think about what this church was saying it would even make saved people mad. This church basically labeled everyone that passes their sign as misfits. Where is the love, compassion, concern for others even beyond being saved or not. How can a church be so blatantly arrogant in their self proclamation that they are better than everyone else? Then I wondered if this church actually thought that they were reaching out to the un-saved and if they actually thought this would be compelling for the person that does not know God to walk into their church? Then I realized that I was sad for this church that their perception on what they were doing to reach the lost was so skewed by traditionalism that they were no longer reaching out but only reaching in to proclaim how screwed up everyone in the world was and they were not.
All of that to say this. God, over the past few years has really changed my heart and my perspective on reaching people who do not know the Lord. What I say, they way I act, my body language, the clothes I wear and most of all, my attitude are tools in reaching out to people that might not know God. I know traditionalists harp on being set apart and being holy as a representation of being a Christian. Let me say this, I believe in being holy if that means that I must love others with care and concern for their everyday situation in addition to their spiritual condition. Holiness is a condition of the heart not a condition of appearance. It does not matter if I wear jeans with holes or if I am in a trendy shirt, clothes do not make a person holy. A love for our Jesus and reliance upon his free gift of grace is what makes a person holy. If set apart means to love others so that they can see Jesus in my life not just on my life then I am all for that. The life I live is a testimony to the un-saved. I don’t need to look different and talk in big “churchy” words and act all arrogant and mad at the world for people to know I am a Christian. If that is what I am then I am no different than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day who were described as “White Washed Tombs”. Jesus was all God and all man, a common (a carpenter not a priest) man, who wore common (regular robes not priestly garments) clothes, who told common (parables not the “book of the law”) stories, who spoke about how God lived inside (the heart not the man-made temple) a person and Jesus was different. How was He different? He was motivated by LOVE for lost and hurting people. Love for people not a love for self. Do I live my life out of love for others or just myself? It all comes down to one word, LOVE. They will know us by our LOVE. “Misfits Welcome Inside” come on people! Where is the love? They will know us by our LOVE. They will know us by our LOVE. They will know us by our LOVE. They will know us by our LOVE!
Love truly wins!
Filed under: Church
Yesterday we had a ton of people sign up to volunteer in the three main areas where people are needed as we transition to the theaters. People signed up for Connections Team, C3 Kids and The Crew. Since my area is Connections Team, I was pumped that the most volunteers signed up for the area I am responsible for. Connecting with people as we worship in the theaters will be so important. Smiling faces in the parking lot, the doors, the information center, hosts and hostesses and ushers are going to be vital when new people come to experience C3 Church. It is great to serve in a church where we practice Barbaric Grace and are caring more about others than ourselves. When we care about others, people will come to know Jesus and life change will happen. The Holy Spirit is doing something special here at C3 Church. Let’s continue to pray that this movement will continue and that a city can be changed. Let’s Connect!
I have heard that we (C3 Church) are being criticized for how we have chosen to reach out to the community with our Christmas project. Let the criticism fly because we have given to others as Christ has led us and we are being blessed for it. My friend and brother, Barry Leathers has the perfect blog response to the criticism.
Filed under: Church
I know that I have written about being uncomfortable before and I am about to write about it again. I am convinced that most people (notice I said most, not all) want a “lazy boy” church experience. People love to come in sit in their “lazy boy” recline, pick up the remote turn on their worship experience, drink their big gulp and be fat and happy and definitely not feel uncomfortable.
People love that “remote” because they control everything. If they like what the Pastor preaches they’re happy. If not they turn it off. If they like the music they leave it on, if not they change the channel. Turn it up, turn it down, it’s all about control and what makes them comfortable.
They love being given their snacks and drinks while they’re in their “lazy boy”. They don’t want to feed themselves. They want everything given to them to eat. Because if they were responsible for their own spiritual nourishment it would make them uncomfortable. So it’s up to the Pastor to feed them on Sundays and God forbid that the message is applicable to their lives because that would make them feel uncomfortable. They don’t really want anything applicable to their lives because you know what? That might mean they would have to actually change something in their lives. And you know what? That would just be too darn uncomfortable. So give me something I can’t really understand but sounds good that way I won’t have to feel convicted about not doing it. Loving others more than myself? Well that is too hard to do because I would have to get up out of my “lazy boy” and that would make me, well you know, uncomfortable.
So in my opinion (and yes this is only my opinion) to be out on the edge, really taking risks to reach people, pushing MY pride aside, takes being uncomfortable. I don’t think Christ had a comfortable life, I don’t think the disciples had a comfortable life and I don’t think first century Christians had a comfortable life. So, why has the church, as a whole in America traded their hammers in for a lazy boy?It’s because as humans we look for the path of least resistance, the easy way, the comfortable seat. There are times when we all choose the lazy boy instead of the hammer and fortunately God’s grace covers all of us. It covers us when we get it right and wrong but more is accomplished with a good ole hammer than a lazy boy ever could.
It’s not comfortable to be a part of a church that does not focus on my comfort but with goal to do whatever it takes to reach a lost and dying world. That means putting myself aside. To be responsible for my growth and my spiritual nourishment and not expect to be spoon fed by the Pastor as an adult Christian. Can you imagine a person literally starving at Golden Corral (I know, you are asking yourself why he is using Golden Corral in this analogy) while sitting a table away from the largest buffet in Orlando simply because they wanted someone else to feed them when they were able to take five steps over and get the food and eat for themselves. That is the way most Christians operate in their spiritual lives. Expecting the Pastor to feed them on Sundays when they have the ability to feed themselves all week. Time to put the big gulp down.
It means giving up control of my worship experience as it is tailored to reach a lost and dying world. Because the most, most, important thing is to reach lost people. Time to put down the remote and relinquish control. When will people get it. It’s not about me!
There are plenty of criticisms out there about churches that are “seeker sensitive”. And I say who cares. Because every church should be sensitive to the person seeking the God of the Universe that can change their lives. And until we reach them we can not teach them. So I am proud to be uncomfortable and carry my hammer. The time for the “lazy boy” has come and gone. There is a lot of work to be done. It’s time for Christians to put on their big boy pants, stop complaining about what I didn’t get out of church or what recognition I didn’t get for my contribution because you know what? IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! So get out of the lazy boy and reach people. C3, it’s not time for the lazy boy, it’s time to be uncomfortable! Changed lives are worth our lack of comfort. No more lazy boys. Love wins!
Filed under: Church
Over the weekend I was away in Raleigh/Durham, NC visiting another church who has a great connections ministry. This church manages 800 volunteers who plug in and serve every weekend. I learned a ton and have a lot of info to process and work into our connections ministry. I missed being here for the incredible day that we had on Sunday. I heard that after the 21 baptisms that the whole congregation stood to their feet and wouldn’t stop clapping. What an experience! This is just the beginning. God has some great things in store for C3. It truly is a movement. A movement that is totally fueled by the Holy Spirit and the breath of God. It is mind blowing to see how God moves in and through a congregation that have their focus on Christ alone and lost people which God cares about more than anything. There is great joy in seeing the Great Commission at work at C3 Church. I think we are starting to see the snowball take shape and it is starting to roll. Watch out East Orlando because the snowball is going to roll your way and it will only get bigger and bigger. Changed life + Changed life + Changed life + Changed life + ….