Archive for category The Springs
Yesterday was a fun day at church! Celebrating Kids and Family Day, we had a chance to go outside our normal routine and play with kids onstage during the service. We sang some great songs, taught some motions to another (apologies to Lincoln Brewster!) and played a couple of kids games. I had a ball! But there are some thoughts I want to share with you about the service yesterday….
1) Kids are great fun, even when some of them are yours.
2) If you’re gonna plan some children’s games, on stage, you’d better be certain you have enough children in attendance to pull it off. A game designed for 5th and 6th graders doesn’t translate well to 3 and 4 year olds.
3) Don’t be afraid to try something new. (And now, for something completely different….)
4) I work with some very patient people.
5) I am the prodigal son from time to time; I am often the older brother with the hard heart and bad attitude; but I want to be the prodigal father. Recklessly, without care, lavishing expensive gifts of love, mercy, and grace to those who some say are worthless. That is what Jesus does…
6) We have the best volunteers at The Springs!
7) Brandon Irby is a creative spark-plug and has done wonders for our online identity and marketing. Plus, he’s a lot of fun!
8) God is at work in many families who attend The Springs. Let Him work.
9) We have some new setup volunteers and they are fantastic! Thanks for your service!
10) Some of you need to get off the fence and commit to follow Christ. You’ve talked about it long enough. No hesitations- come on, let’s go!
What are you putting off ’till later that you need to take care of today?
This Sunday begins a new season for us at The Springs. For two months, our church will highlight stories of some of its members. Stories of failure, success, struggle, victory. Real stories of real families. The beauty is that none of the stories have seen their final chapters. As long as we have breath in our lungs, we can re-write the outline of our lives and write brand-new conclusions to our own stories. Every chapter starts fresh, with new content… new direction… new hope.
Join us at The Springs as we celebrate our stories…. and yours.
What’s your story?
It was my privilege this week to stand with a family while a beloved mother and grandmother struggled in her final hours of life. Sweet tears flowed, and quiet prayers brought to mind the goodness of God. It was so obvious that this family was connected, strong, and beautiful.
Later, at the funeral home, I heard stories of times long ago; memories that anchored that family to who they were, who they are. And a new baby will soon be born and that sweet girl will learn of the history of that family, and will- I’m sure- help shape and mold another generation.
I was reminded that the strength of family is a beautiful thing.
For those whose family relationship isn’t something to be cherished and handed down from generation to generation, please know: there is hope. While you may not be able to change your history, you can change your future.
A strong family is a beautiful thing.
What are your favorite things about your family? What would you change if you could?
Let me be clear on this. I still really, really enjoy going to church, serving the church, working for the church, even working overtime for the church. I like the church culture (the culture of our church, anyway), the people who attend our church, and the folks who visit periodically. I like how our church uses the Bible as its primary directional document. I feel safe with other church people. I like how they make me feel, when in a church context and setting. I like our denomination (most of the time), and our efforts in missions and evangelism.
Lately, I have been bothered by the whispers of my soul about my love for the church. Those whispers reveal the truth that I am a church lover.
The truth is, I can be more concerned, place more thought and work in the culture of the church, and enjoy serving the church while almost completely losing connection with Christ, Who gave His life for us and will return one day and claim the Church, His Bride.
As a child, I was saved because of what I understood about Jesus and His loving sacrifices for me. I loved Him, read His word, and learned about Him as I attended church. It wasn’t long, however, that I began to receive more recognition, more pats on the back for good church involvement and attendance than I did for loving and following Christ. I even rode my bike to church in the snow and ice when we couldn’t get the car out. Somehow, without realizing it, I had become a church lover. Somehow, without my knowing, the thin line between loving church and loving God had become muddied. So- I dare say for many of us- it has become easy to allow the vision and administration of church to determine what is right and best for us, rather than staying true to the simple followship of Christ. The followship of Christ guarantees rejection, danger, suffering. I don’t know of many churches who market their ministries using those words.
So, I am re-focusing. Revelation 2:5 (in the Bible) says, “Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first.”
I am not giving up loving the church… just the order in which I dispense my love and allegiance. Seeking first the kingdom of God… Falling in love with Jesus on a daily basis… Keeping my conversation with Jesus open and active… Serving Jesus through the ministries of the church…
There. That’s better.
I am at my downtown office today, waiting for the completion of a memorial service for a well-respected long-time Tulsan. While preparing for Sunday, I came across a list from another pastor to his church that I thought was exciting. So I made my own list of some thoughts I have about The Springs:
#1- I believe the potential for the local church to serve and minister and create positive change in their communities is stronger than ever. That includes The Springs!
#2- I believe that at the heart of what we do to serve and minister and create that positive change is THE GOSPEL. It has proven over the years to impact the world!
#3- I believe that the more we see our communities, the more we will serve our communities. If they ain’t comin’, we gotta get goin’!
#4- I believe that it will be a difficult struggle to grow without active community groups. We are working on a plan now to increase the number of groups and the frequency in which they meet, but we still need more small group leaders who are willing to prepare, to teach, to reach out, to develop relationships in those communities that help people feel they belong!
#5- I believe that it is possible that some of the greatest Christian leaders the world will ever know are- right now- enrolled in preschool, children, elementary, middle school, and high school. Ministry to Children and Students are some of the greatest mission opportunities the local church can invest in. (I borrowed this one from another pastor, but I believe it!)
#6- I believe that- with God’s help- we are about to see impressive growth in the next several months. I believe it will be a result of Springs leaders and members becoming more active in inviting, talking to friends and family, and PRAYING LIKE CRAZY!
#7- I am so thrilled at how far we have come in just over a year! We have a great core group, and lots of friendships, and great potential. And you did all of this while I am working through my on-the-job training! I am at the office today trying to stay organized, trying to become a more efficient and effective leader. Trying to be sure that your efforts are not wasted on my account. I love working with you!
#8- I believe God wants to use our church to do unbelievable things in our community in which HE planted us!
#9- I believe as we seek and pray and serve, God will provide for us a fantastic permanent location. We work so hard at setting up and tearing down, and we need to use that positive energy on people! Let’s pray for God’s perfect choice for a location!
#10- I believe that if all of us take the advice God gave us in Galatians 6:9 that we would see Him move like we’ve never seen before!
So, where are you in all this- and what should you do next?
Special thanks to Perry Noble and NewSpring Church for the idea….
I want to give you my thoughts from today at The Springs- what a great day! While we didn’t break any attendance records, more than 33% were children! And we have fantastic Children’s workers, and I am so excited! It was so much fun to have all those kiddos running around before and after the service!
We also had a fantastic leadership meeting at Mazzio’s. We talked about a lot of areas- things that are going well, some things that need attention. We talked about how we have helped people and new ways to help even more people. We are working on a project that could bring the most exciting 4-month stretch in our short existence! However, each of these important ministry ideas need…..
…..You! I will be asking you for your involvement over the next weeks. We could make a huge impact in our community for Christ. Join us!
I wanted to share with our Springs family some thoughts and observations from the service yesterday. I didn’t post last night because I took some extra-curricular activities outside with my beautiful daughter and her longbow… and hilarity ensued.
Anyway- here goes!
1) I love to see new faces in the crowd- that is always awesome!
2) I love to see the friendships that blossom while standing around the tables over coffee and pastries. That never gets old!
3) The band was fantastic yesterday, even though we were missing a member. Get well, Sir Loftin!
4) I honestly believe these next 4 months will rock this church and this community for Christ! I can’t wait to unveil the plans and see how God uses them! Church, LET’S DO THIS!
5) Deron’s message was spot on- download it at iTunes and check it out!
6) I love meeting with and worshipping with you at The Springs!
Don’t forget our next Involvement Class on January 16, and our next Baptism on January 23! Consider attending the Involvement Class to find out what we believe, why we believe it, and why we practice and do what we do.
If you have decided to become a follower of Christ, and have not yet followed obediently in baptism, send me an email and we’ll talk!