Small Groups?

September 20, 2010

Today’s post is a bit different than others. I’ve been throwing out my information about how I believe we should worship God, but… well… quite honestly I haven’t heard from hardly anyone.
So my post today is this:

Does your church have a small group format? If so, what do you call them? Small Groups? Community Groups? Cell Groups? Super Awesome Fun Time Learn About Jesus Groups?
How does your church facilitate people wanting to sign up for small groups? Is there a group size limit? How do you choose when and where to meet? What happens if someone can’t make it? How do you choose what to study; does the church appoint specific material or does the group/leader choose?

I want to hear your stories about small groups. Leave a comment below. Thanks!

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Ready for (re)launch!

September 11, 2010

As you know, over the past month, the worship team has been asked to take time and look inward.  Since I’m sure you’ve been following my blog posts, I’ll save the details of it; you can read the earlier posts if you’re interested in knowing more.

This past Wednesday night was the worship team’s first Sunday back together, and I’ve got to tell you… I’m really excited about what is to come tomorrow!  This time of focused seeking has really helped us grow deeper and seek why we are on the platform; it has caused us to become more genuine, I feel, in how we present ourselves to worship.

So how about you? How do you worship God? What is that one thing in your life that really helps you connect with God? Is it music? Is it art? Is it sitting in utter silence? Is it going on hikes and enjoying God’s creation?

Tell us about it! Leave your comments below.

Catching Up

August 28, 2010

Wow! Has it really been two and a half weeks since the last post? Crazy. Well, rather than talk about it, let’s dig right in.

So a lot has been happening over the last while.  In my last post, I told you that I had challenged my praise team to spend time seeking God’s plan for the team, the church, and even them as individuals by taking 10 minutes each day, removing any and all distractions, and asking God one simple question: “How can I worship You today?”

Well… that challenge has been going on for 3 weeks now. God has been working on things in our church, walking with us as we lead others in worship of Him.  The worship times have been smaller, more intimate, and more focused on simply seeking His Face.  While this smaller setting is to be ending soon, even once we start rebuilding, it will be a very slow and intentional process; nothing will be done out of routine or expectation.  Why? Because He deserves it. God deserves our very best.

Before I go any further, though, there was one other party that I challenged to spend more time seeking God: You. When we seek to draw near to Him, He WILL draw near to us; God promises this in James 4:8.

So, tell me, readers… how’s that going? What has God been doing in your life since you started seeking to worship Him each and every day? Leave comments below.

That’s the question that I have asked my worship team members to ask themselves each and every day from now through September 4th.  I asked them to take at least 10 minutes a day from this Monday through September 4th to simply remove themselves from every distraction of life (cell phones, computers, internet, music, etc.) and ask God “How can I worship you today?”  Then, once they’ve asked, I challenged them to simply listen for His response.  When we ask, we have to listen.  So many times, we come to God with cares or concerns or desire to grow, but when it comes to waiting and listening for Him to speak.

Also, during this time, God has directed me to strip everything away except the basics when it comes to worshipping Him, both on Sunday mornings and in other aspects.  But why?  What caused this?

The other night, Thursday evening to be exact, we had worship team practice here at the church.  While the music was good and we all wanted to contribute to worship, there was something awry in our midst.  I kept thinking perhaps that we were just having an “off” night, but that things would clear up by Sunday morning, the clouds would peel back, and God would send the “attaboy” angel to make things better.

On Friday night, after having been troubled by it all day and evening, I finally realized that God was telling me “no” and to listen up because He had other plans.  So… after a lot of praying and consideration, I yielded to God’s leading.  I wrote an e-mail to the worship team letting them know that there would be no “full team” on Sunday, and explained why.  Instantly upon clicking “send” I felt such a huge calm and peace; it was as if God was saying directly to me “NOW you’re getting it, Brian.”

Sunday morning came and I lead a simpler, more intimate worship set along with a good friend of mine.  It was not about us.  It wasn’t about the lights, the video, the instruments, the (insert distraction or object of focus here).  No.  It was truly about worshipping the God of all creation.

So why did I tell you this story?  Simple.  I want to invite you to take this challenge with me.  Even if you’re not a part of our church, or of the worship team, I’d like to invite you to take this challenge with us from now through September 4th, 2010.  Take 10 minutes each and every day from now until then and ask God one question: “How Can I Worship You Today?”

I’ll follow up on this between now and then, and also do a conclusion on the 4th.  Until then, though, feel free to leave a comment telling how God is showing YOU how you can worship Him today.

Leading by serving,

Pastor Brian

Just. Worship. God.

August 7, 2010

As I sit here on the terrace of my apartment building and stare out into the night, I wonder… “Am I doing everything I can to… Just Worship God?”  Am I focused in on Him, the Maker of all, the Almighty Savior? Or am I so distracted by all of the clutter in life? If God were to walk up to me physically right now, would I know Him? Would I recognize Him? Would I drop everything I was doing at that moment to stop and worship Him? I pray I would.

Truth be told, I have been distracted at times.  I have been tempted to want my own ideals and not what God has for me and for those at my church.  Admit it, though; you have too, haven’t you? You’ve wanted to say “But look what (Insert Random Successful Church Here) is doing! They rock! We have to do what they’re doing!”  Now I realize that it’s a whole different blog post to discuss a “successful” church, so I won’t go there (for now).  That statement, though, is what we get so hung up on in our lives.  It is half true and half false.

On the false side: It’s wrong to say in the sense that we can’t simply mimic worship… true worship, I mean.  In my world, true worship doesn’t come from fantastic, well-trained musicians, awesome bumper videos or light shows, or anything else “techie.”  True worship comes from within.  It comes from the true desire to seek something, to yearn for that thing, to hold it in such high esteem that it completely consumes you.

On the true side, that statement echoes what we need to get: “what they have.”  That worship that is portrayed in “that other church” doesn’t come from the worship leader, the pastor, the deacons, or anywhere else.  It doesn’t come from a huge offering.  It doesn’t come from huge crowds. What it DOES come from is people… US… getting over ourselves and coming before the King of Kings with a longing to worship Him, no matter whether or not we “get something out of it.”

What are some ways that you have been guilty of clouding up your worship? What are some things that have been distracting to your absolute surrender to God? What are some things that you are choosing to not rid yourself of because “I’m just not ready yet”? When is the last time you allowed yourself to… just… worship God?

Pastor Brian

We Give You Praise
When the road is rough and steep
And it leads a heart to weep
There’s a ocean of tears
That you’ve caught through the years
But we’re not stopping here
On this long and winding street
Will You guide these weary feet
Every step that we take
With our hearts full of faith
And we’re not stopping here
Together we are stronger
So put Your hand in mine
We give You praise
We give You praise
And the King of all the earth
Has saved us from ourselves
We give You praise
Through the avenues of time
Here You meet me where I am
We walk with glory and pain
And You’ve broken the chains
So there’s no stopping here
We sing glory in the darkness
There You shine let shine let shine let it shine

Echoing ECHO

August 1, 2010

For my first “real” post, I figure it’d be a good thing to explain what kicked up this blog, what inspired me to start being proactive in my world.  For that, I’m going to be mooching some material.  Not to worry, though; I’ll cite everything I use. 🙂

This past week, I had the privilege of attending the ECHO Church Media Conference in Dallas, TX (http://www.ECHOConference.com).  In a nutshell, ECHO is a huge rally of church media techies all focusing on one thing: How do we use technological advances in the multimedia industry (video, audio, imagery, lighting, etc.) to create a better worship experience for individuals that attend our services?

While attending ECHO, I had the privilege of attending keynote session by Jon Acuff, the fantastic Christian author responsible for the blog (and book) entitled “Stuff Christians Like” (http://www.StuffChristiansLike.net).  In Jon’s session, he spoke about his trek through one area of the country and an interesting radio blip he heard.  Jon tells about how a certain hip-hop/rap station regularly drops a short Bible segment in the middle of their normal programming, then returns to its typical routine.  In essence, Jon defines this as being a “Booty, God, Booty” transition.  As he puts it (humorously, yet very sincerely), it’s funny at first, but then again… how do WE “Booty, God, Booty” in our daily lives?

We get up on Sunday, go to church, throw our God moment into the mix, and then go back to Monday morning “booty” (aka: what we call our “normal life”).  What just happened to God, though?  Should it be this way? Is this all we can do? My response in one word: no.

In the upcoming week, I would like to challenge you to examine your life and see where you “Booty, God, Booty.”  This life is too short to waste.  The fields are too big to procrastinate on harvesting.  The workers are too few; it would be foolish to not try and recruit more.

So… how about it? How do you find yourself “Booty, God, Booty”-ing in life? Does it bother you enough to make you want to do something about it? If so, or if not, why?  Leave your comments in the comments section below.

For more info on Jon’s post “Booty, God, Booty” check it out here: http://stuffchristianslike.net/2008/04/113-booty-god-booty/

Just getting started…

July 30, 2010

This blog is to record my thoughts on worship, God, church, and how we all are changing our world by being Christ to others.
Stay tuned; there will be more. Buckle in, though; some of this might get bumpy.