Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How Do You View Yourself?

I love the TV shows CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Las Vegas), CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. CSI was the first TV show I set up a TiVo season pass for back in 2001. Well, the other night Courtney and I were watching CSI: New York, who stars Gary Sinise, one of my favorite actors. He seems to be a solid, stand-up guy, somewhat of a rarity in Hollywood. Anyway he told Danny, who was struggling with a decision to, “Not view yourself at your worst but view yourself at your best!”

Man - what a great quote, but I want to expand on it: “Don’t view yourself at your worst but view yourself the way God views you. See yourself at your best.”

What kind of confidence would that give you?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

3 Down - 9 More To Go

I'm happy to say I just finished finished the book “Sticky Church” by Larry Osborne. My lead pastor, Jimmy Britt got this book for me and I really enjoyed it.

This book is about small group ministries in a church. Since my primary role at Rocky River Community Church is Pastor of Connections, I made this book a priority to read.

Larry Osborne is the lead pastor at North Coast Church in Vista, California (7,000+ attend each weekend!) where he has pastored now for three decades. He believes the way to get people to connect or “stick” to church is through relationships in small groups. Besides Sunday services, small groups are North Coast Church's primary ministry. Osborne explains the process that led him and his ministry team to focus on Sermon-based small groups. As a result, the people who got involved in small groups at NCC were given an opportunity to apply what they heard the previous Sunday in the context of encouraging, accountable relationships.

I found “Sticky Church” very beneficial in helping to form and grow the small groups ministry at RRCC. Although small groups were already established before I came on staff, the church needed someone to champion these small groups. There were a lot of things going right, but there were also a lot of things that needed improvement. The biggest thing I picked up on was being intentional with what we did as a ministry in the church.

We have a lot of great small groups at Rocky River Community Church. They are the Taylors & Hills, Shropshires, Batemans, Britts, Mauldins, Bushes, GIGGLES (womens' ministry) and the worship band's small group that happens during their practices, as well.

I look forward to working with these leaders to make this a better ministry for our church. As our church grows (and it has grown a lot over the past few months!), relationships will be very important when it comes to connecting - both to people and to God.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Too Much White Noise

I remember life before cable TV. Growing up, I lived in the country, out in Mt. Pleasant. Even from there I was a good 10 minutes from town. So there was no way my family was going to get cable. My parents bowled on Fridays nights so we would go to their friends' house while they bowled - and they had cable TV! They had the box with 2 lines of buttons that made a loud clicking noise. Ah, the memories.

Anyway, before all of this high-definition stuff, my parents did have a remote control. It was called Donnie, Bobby and Dwayne! We changed the channels for our parents. On our TV there were 2 knobs - VHF and UHF. You know. You remember, right? On VHF were channels 3 and 9 which had the clearest pictures. On UHF were the new channels 18 and 36. These were always fuzzy with lots of static and white noise. So, it was hard to get a clear picture.

Well, in the past couple of weeks my life has been similar to these UHF channels. Lots of static and white noise. I've had many distractions, both personally and professionally. The white noise drowns out the important things in my life - like my bride, Courtney, and my son, MD. But, most of all it distracts me from God. If I stay distracted from Him for too long I forget my purpose and my direction and I am not the person I should be.

When the white noise gets too loud, I am forced to shut it off which is not always easy to do. I have to turn off the noise - like my phone and computer. I then go to the garage or back patio and read. In Psalm 46:10, God told David to “Be still and know that I am God!” The command to “be still” means “cause yourselves to let go.” When the white noise is too loud, I have to “be still” or “let go” to see the saving power of God in my life. I give up in trusting in what I can do or what is going on around me in order to experience the glory of God’s all-sufficiency.

When I confess the truth about who I really am and entrust all my cares, burdens and distractions to God, I regain my focus, purpose and priorities as well as an unshakable peace and confidence.