More on McDonalds

So I was reading some more about this McDonald's thing and ran across a posting on Tim Steven's blog. This is genius. Here is an excerpt from his blog about this subject.

In their book A Matrix of Meanings, Detweiler and Taylor make a great point...

"In the New Testament, only the Gospels were written with the general public in mind. Yet many in the church read pop culture in light of Peter, Paul, and John's letters. Books of the Bible intended as “in-house” documents, designed to purify God's people, have been used inappropriately to correct the broader culture. So the warnings against sexual immorality in I Corinthians 7 get directed toward audiences Paul never intended."

The authors go on to point out Paul’s writing in I Corinthians 5:12–13, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside."

I like how the same passage reads in The Message , “God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.”

So, there it is. We have to stop worrying about how those outside of the grace of God live their lives and worry about how we can get them to know Christ. When that happens, the Holy Spirit (who I believe is in charge of convicting people of their sin) will be able to change the hearts of those who put their trust in him.

There is no need to create separation from those who are not believers. There is enough of that as it is. Christians are getting a bad rap because of those who love to create conflict and force our beliefs on people who don't know Christ from Adam's house cat...that's right, Adam's house cat. Let God take care of the outsiders. Let's focus on introducing the outsiders to Him.

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No More Big Macs

Well, sorry but no more McDonald's for us Christians. Apparently the American Family Association has decided that its not okay for McDonald's to support the Gay and Lesbian Community. According to their rhetoric they have decided not to be neutral in the same sex marriage debate. Well, I guess I better stop buying there fries. O wait, I don't expect people who are not Christ-followers to act like Christ-followers. I'm pretty sure that McDonald's is not a Christian Company if there is any such thing. What McDonald's is is a company that employs thousands upon thousands of people with families and financial obligations. The corporation will not lose out from a boycott but in some small towns that are waiting to hear what they should boycott next, the people who work at McDonald's are going to lose their jobs.

When are these people going to learn that people need the love of Christ, not a bigger gap between them and those who know Jesus Christ. If the American Family Association would concentrate its efforts on showing people the love of Christ instead of searching the TV, internet, and newspaper for their next target, maybe they won't need to call for as many boycotts. But that's just my opinion, I'm not calling for a boycott of the American Family Association, just suggesting that they revisit their Bibles and pray about the direction of their organization.

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Holy Money

I read an interesting article in Newsweek about "faith based" mutual funds. Have you heard of these? Its amazing how many crazy ideas people have. Basically, whatever your belief system, you can find the mutual fund for you to make sure that you are investing only in things that are consistent with your beliefs. So, for example, there is a Mennonite fund that will not invest an anything related to war or that harms the environment because Mennonites are pacifists and environmentalists. Another Evangelical fund has no problem with companies that harm the environment or those who profit from war but will not invest in Alcohol producers, Tobacco companies, and some of the other "7 Baptist Deadly Sins."

However, the most profitable of all of these are the Islamic funds. One called Amana has well outperformed the market. Guess what it invests heavily got it, OIL! So, next time you invest ask yourself WWJI. "Where Would Jesus Invest?" Or maybe in this case Muhammad. Isn't there something in the Bible about rich men, camels, and the eye of a needle?

You'll all be glad to know that the so-called "vice funds"...and they exist...are performing well below the market. TAKE THAT DEVIL!

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I'm Not as Good by Myself

I've found myself alone a lot lately at work. Not because no one else is doing their job but because they all seem to have a lot going on in terms of a sabbatical, recovery from surgery, speaking engagements etc. Our office manager has been around but we keep different hours and she can do a lot of her work from home. So generally, I'm the only one here the past couple of weeks. This can be good for a few days because I can get stuff done but after a while I've noticed something profound. I'm nowhere near as creative when its just me. I tried to write songs...nope. I tried to do some graphic work...nope. So I just built a roadcase out of an existing shelf I already have. Not creative at all, I just wrapped it in felt and screwed some wheels on. In fact, this is the first meaningful blog I've posted this week because I was at home talking to my wife about this very subject.

I am a social person. I always like to be in the middle of everything and I love being around other people. I have found that my creativity hinges on this as well. Not that I need other people for fact I notoriously scrap other ideas and do what I always wanted to...but I need other people as sounding boards. I need people I can share my vision with and get feedback from. I would love one day to have a large group of creative people I could meet with regularly to just throw out ideas. To brainstorm. Where nothing is outside the realm of possibility.

I need people to be around me in order to create things, ideas, concepts, whatever. I can get things done that need to be done, but for me that seems like a lost week. If I'm not creative I don' feel like I am doing what I am called to do. Maybe that's why God created Adam and Eve. Not that he needed anyone else but that he wanted them to see what he had done and enjoy it with him. He wanted to test out new inventions on them. Imagine this: God walks up to Adam in the cool of the day "hey Adam, try this out, I call it the mango." How great that must have been for God to see Adam's face light up as he took that first bite. We're the same way, we are made to live in community, to share experiences, and enjoy life together. Anyone want to enjoy life with me Tuesday-Friday from 9-5? I'll be here.

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Why Dan Patrick Makes Me Work Harder

In the past few years I've worked hard. REALLY HARD. But something has been missing and I wasn't sure what it was until I stumbled upon the solution. It was Dan Patrick. ESPN just hasn't been the same since the greatest sportscaster in history...that's right...left the network and went off of ESPN radio as well.

So I was on iTunes the other day and noticed that the Dan Patrick Podcast was featured. So I signed up and I have never been so productive. So, if you're looking for something to give you a good kick in the pants. I suggest DP.

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We are having a sermon series entitled "Mythbusters" in a couple of weeks and we're trying to get some ideas for some myths to bust. What are some myths you would like to see busted by some idiots. Any ideas? Let me know. We will be sure to put all of the videos up on the website so even if you don't go to Bay Hills you can still check them out.

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Going or Being?

As I've just been thinking about things this week, different challenges that must be met by the end of the summer such as how we are going to change to 3 services seamlessly etc., I had a bit of an realization or clarification of a previous realization. People who go to church and "the Church" are two totally different things and it is my job as a "pastor" to move people from going to church to being "the Church."

We were meeting with our staff and elders this week and a lot of what we talked about was how to get people who are standing on the sidelines to get involved and help with all of the stuff that has to get done. We talked about calling, asking, making announcements, and even threatening (I think the person who brought that up was joking...I think). But as a think about it more, its not about getting people to serve, its about getting people to become "the Church."

When I go to a restaurant I don't get up and wipe tables when I'm finished or take out the trash and I sure don't go out on the streets and recruit new patrons for them. Why should I, I'm there to receive their service not to give mine. This is the same mentality many have when they come into our churches. They are there to receive a service and when its over they leave. The key is to engage them and bring them into the community, the family that is the Church so that they will be compelled to pitch in, to help out, to make it easier for more people who are not part of the Church to become a part.

So, I'm soliciting feedback here. What are some ways that I as a "pastor" can move people from going to church to being the Church? Have you experienced anything before that really helped you to take ownership of what was going on at your church? I'm looking forward to the comments.

Also, take a deep look at your own situation, even if you are serving are going or being?

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This is pretty disturbing. A new study shows that 57% of Evangelical Christians believe that there are other ways to get to Heaven besides through Jesus Christ. That's pretty scary. We've heard this from other types of churches (non-evangelicals) but generally Evangelicals (categorized as Bible-believing people who have accepted Christ as their Savior) are pretty staunch on this fact.

Now, I know some people who believe this way or are leaning toward it. I heard Perry Noble from Newspring Church say that if you think there are other ways to heaven but also believe in Jesus Christ "pray tonight and say, 'Jesus, you're a liar.'" Because basically that is what 57% of Evangelicals are saying.

On this point Jesus was clear. He said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Now, I am not here on earth to decide who is going to Heaven and who is not and I honestly pray that by the grace of God everyone will go to Heaven but I know that it can't happen without Jesus Christ.

If you are struggling with this, please read your Bible! Because you have missed something that is so important that it changed the world.

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Confessions of a Worship Pastor

This is something that I don't share with many people but I thought that in the spirit of transparency and after reading another blog I frequent with a similar confession, I decided I would go ahead and share with everyone.

It is so hard to be all about God! Maybe some of you know what I mean, maybe some don't. We are all supposed to be only about God's kingdom growth, not ourselves right? That's one of the things I find myself struggling with the most.

Its not a secret that Northern California is not exactly the "church capital of the world," and although I love it dearly and the people here, mega churches don't really exist out here. The problem is, however, that most of the conferences I go to are at mega churches and I see these mega church pastors and mega church worship leaders. I see all of their top of the line equipment, their huge stable of professional musicians (we have great musicians here, unfortunately we don't have as many as a larger church would), their great facilities, their well produced CDs and videos, and I think, "I'm as good as that guy, how can I get there?" How can I get those things I so desperately "need." Then there's Church Production Magazine (one of my favorites). I told my worship team last week that its like Worship Pastor "pornography," with pictures of new equipment, and great church setups. Then I look at our blue and yellow gym that we have to set up each Saturday, our projection screens that will likely fall on someones head before new ones arrive, and our pieced together sound, lighting, and computer equipment. It can be depressing when you have these lofty and unrealistic expectations and a super "big head" (both figuratively and litereally) like me.

Who am I to think I deserve these things. I've been in full time ministry for almost 3 years. That's it! I haven't paid my dues, or really even had to struggle as most young ministers do. And yet I feel like I have a rain cloud over my head. I have trouble being happy for someone who made it big because I want it to be me. I want people to read my blog, buy my CD, and wait at the doors of Bay Hills just to hear my band play. What a jerk!

However, we all have something that we struggle with, that causes us to sin. Paul called it his "thorn in the flesh." Its what keeps us leaning on Jesus instead of "our own understanding." I am just grateful that God can still use an egotistical sinner like me to do His work in the church, and I hope to one day be "ALL ABOUT GOD."

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Good to Be Back

Well, we are back from vacation and we hit the ground running. We landed on Friday at about 2 pm, I went to work at about 3. Then, I got to setup on Saturday followed by band rehearsal and Sunday I was leading worship. We are so happy to be home in our own beds and hanging out with Whisper.

Sunday was a great day. The band sounded great and the congregation was pretty hyped up for the middle of the Summer. Tomorrow its back to the grind at Bay Hills. I have lots of work to do but I'm looking forward to it. Also, glad to be back to blogging.

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