That sinking feeling

Community, Ministry, Thoughts

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There have been many times in my ministry where I have gotten to this point, and yesterday was another one of those days where I evaluated who I was, what God has called me too, and how I was going to make it through.  

See this page has been an avenue where I have spoken candidly on Life, ministry, and all the grey in between.  That “Grey” is the bleed over from both compartments in my life, who I am as a Pastor and who I am to the rest of you.  Many of these posts never make it live, but nonetheless these are my thoughts.

See often times whether when I was in the corporate world or now in the church world, people have approached me and exposed their souls to me.  Which for a moment is kind of a relief… since this is something that my title has required from me for some time.  So for that moment its like we connect, we know what each other is going through and we for a second are on an even playing field.  It’s nice.  Well then other times it feels like I am a lifeguard perched in my tower. Over this sink hole.  Looking for the one, the one I am here to help bring salvation to.  The difference here is when I jump in to assist, there is too many to help, too many to bring to the surface, or to the edge.  In fact for a moment it’s like saving someone who is drowning, the natural reaction is to bring you to their level instead of you raising them to yours. And for that moment my calling feels like it’s to the bottom of the pool.  Hurt, Wounded, Broken, Hopeless, Lost, Dead.

Yesterday was that day for me.  There are so many people around me that need a hand up.  No matter if it is self induced or not, they are drowning and screaming for help.  And I hurt individually for every one of you.  And I can’t get you out of my mind.  But the message is the same.  

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Though you think this is about you, or them.  The encouraging but hard truth is, its not.  In fact it’s not about me either and in these moments I feel helpless too.  

It’s about a fight, a battle, a victory, a defeat, but not about us.  Take heart though things seem lost, He is salvation; He has overcome the very world that holds you back.  And though everything in you says you are alone, your not.  And in these moments, I am beyond thankful I am not either.

I’m sorry, but this to shall pass.

What is the Goal?

Bible, Community, Everyday Life, Group Life, Leadership, Thoughts

Community

Community has been well-defined by many people over time.  In fact, we almost have it down to a science on how to create and decimate community within our churches.  But over the last several weeks I have been pushed to answer the question on, what is our end goal?  The problem with this question is there is a long-term ultra spiritual answer that I can quote several verses in the Bible, (take a deep breath) or I can simply quote the theme song from an american sitcom that began the same time I entered this world, “Where everybody knows your name!”  So my friends the goal of group life whether you call it a small group, a community group, or  even a life group, is to create a sense of belonging.  When you feel like you belong, accountability happens, and no matter if times are good or bad, care happens.  When people have other people to count on, the sense of belonging catapults them to a new chapter in their life, where they begin to experience the abundant life John 10:10 speaks about.  No matter the leader, no matter the strategy, if you can create belonging in your communities, then you will begin to see a movement that changes the face of your church.

 

Since the beginning

Thoughts, Uncategorized

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Since I have started here at Crossroads Church God has reminded me so much of just how broken people are.  In the midst of a falling economy, of a broken family, and in the absence of morality lies the very thing that I’ve been called to reach, the lost.  In Luke 15 it is very apparent where Jesus stands, and where His heart is by the stories that he tells.  Whether it is a Shepherd leaving his flock for the one that he loses, or a father welcoming his long lost son back into the family, Jesus makes one thing clear, everyone counts.  I have come to find that my story in which I was once ashamed of is not unfamiliar to the masses.  In fact God has used my story to relate and comfort others and remind them that even in the times of strife and uncertainty He is certain.  I once heard someone mention that God still works in the meantime.  I know there are many that are in a place of hopelessness right now, but John 16:33 says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”  Stand on this truth today.

Taking a proactive approach

Thoughts

54449321_8ba29d3bfc_mI was at the beach this past weekend and one thing that I have been noticing about the lifeguards on the beach is that they spend more time taking more of a proactive preventative approach on saving lives then actually out in the water pulling people in.  I began thinking about how this really should inspire and parallel with the church.  A lot of the time in my opinion the church is out there spending most of their resources trying to save people from the chaos, then taking the time to help prevent people from being taken over from the chaos.  What if we began loving the people that need to feel love, feeding the people that are hungry and equipping the people who need purpose in there life.  Could we not prevent a ton of things just by starting their in peoples lives?  Would we see change?  Grant you it is God who saves in our business, but that is the exact thing I am trying to get at, if only God can change someone then why don’t we let him do that and we do what we can, which is teaching people how to swim safely in a dangerous ocean.  What are you doing to take a proactive approach in helping people live the life they were called to live.  It will benefit all if you stop trying to save and you start trying to  prevent.

Living above the anticipation of failure

Bible Journey, Elevate, Everyday Life, Ministry, Thoughts

144752711_baf9e92c7e_mTomorrow I will be bringing the word at Elevate Church, I am so excited not only because it is a church that I am on staff with but because I know that tomorrow could be very ground breaking for a lot of people.  We are beginning a new series called “Chase the Lion.”  I am covering the “Defying the odds” part of this series.  I will be telling a story that comes from Acts 12, about a man named Peter who was very pivotal for the church we know and love today.  During this particular story the early church stood a chance of failure because of a king and his clutch on key leaders within this movement.  I feel as though a lot of us are in a situation that is a make it or break it time for our lives and that we are living under this unspoken anticipation of failure from those around us and from even our own fears.  But like I have heard put so many times since I began church planting, “The greatest rewards lie on the other side of the greatest risk in our lives.”  You may be thinking Defying the odds is a great thought but Chris you just don’t understand what I am up against.  Here is some advice, you are right to fear your fight with the odds, but it is not your fight, it is the hope and glory in you that will take you the heights in your life that  you never thought were possible.  But here is the scary thing about all of this…the story ends with the king failing but people still praising him, and because he did not give the glory to where it was deserved he was killed, and even eaten by worms.  So when you are on the other side of this story and you do “Defy the odds” remember who saw you through and give the praise where the praise is deserved, God.  So I pray that tomorrow God will knock down the walls you have been trying to climb and create  a wholeness in you that will never leave you defeated again.

The Blind leading the Blind

Everyday Life, Ministry, Relationship, San Diego, Thoughts

3348830173_30d01723b7_mThis post is a continuation of yesterdays post …..

Yesterday I wrote about something that God has just been putting on my heart about the people I come in contact with everyday.  How a lot of times we appear that everything in our life is going fantastic and nothing is wrong inside, but when in reality we are dying on the inside.  So apart of my step into the right direction I began handing out crackers and food to those around me who are homeless.  Well God added to this story yesterday at work.

If you don’t know this already I am a pastor, and if you know anything about that lifestyle, you sometimes have to work other jobs to compensate that lifestyle of choice.  So my other job is at the great and marvelous Chick-fil-a!   So as I was working last night I noticed a blind man walking across the road, with no regard to the on coming traffic.  He was approaching our building as though this was new territory for him and he was not sure where to enter.  As he placed himself with his hand grazing our wall towards the entrance my first thought was holy crap “I can’t imagine a life with out sight!”  So he stepped into our building not knowing where to go next he began asking for someone to help him get to the counter and get him some food.  So I began to assist him through the process of life outside of his boundaries.  So throughout all of this we exchanged names and crazy stories on how we  both ended up on the west coast so far from home.  I took him back to the bus stop where he exited my life, probably thinking just another day in a dark world.  But I am telling you God really used him to help me really think through my surroundings and my lifestyle and the choices that I make.  Though I have sight, I have come to realize I have a hard time seeing. This man has learned to trust, which is hard for me, he has learned to take a step in the dark and the unknown, which seems crippling to me.  He has learned to depend on people even when most of the time they are not dependable.  And he listened to me as though there was nothing in this world he would rather do.

When will we begin to choose to surrender a life we feel we have control of and begin to grasp a life that is unknown, but is controlled by the utmost highest.  Because after a couple hours with Danny, I have realized that seeing is not always believing but having faith in the next step can take you to the next level.

Is how your living today worth someone writing about in the future.

Open your eyes…it may not be how it looks.

Everyday Life, Ministry, San Diego, Thoughts

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A couple weeks ago I started this little cracker ministry, I know your thinking what the heck is a cracker ministry? Well basically I was cleaning out our offices at Elevate and came across so many packs of crackers that we use to stuff bags for advertising that were now sitting and aging. They weren’t exactly expired but they were heading in that direction. So instead of tossing them like I really wanted to, I decide why not give them out to those in need? So I loaded up my car and hit the road, and there started a cracker ministry. Basically there are more homeless in San Diego than one would know what to do with. And they are at every traffic light asking for whatever you got. And I have CRACKERS! So I began handing out these snacks to these guys and only seeing is believing the relief on their face when they recieve what I thought was stupid and what I saw as trash. A cracker? Or is it the gesture? I am not exactly sure but what I do know is everything and everybody in this world is in a place of need and are crying out, it just takes you and I to open our eyes. Here are some sobering statistics from those you come in contact with everyday!

40% of us have inflicted self injury

1 in 5 of us have contemplated SUICIDE!

Over 1500 of us actually go through with killing ourselves each year

65% of us say there is no way to tell which religion is true

53% of us believed Jesus actually SINNED

83% of us believe truth is relative

We will see 14000 sexual references on TV this year

9 out of 10 of us have seen porn online

8000 of us contract an STD everyday

1 in 10 of us have been raped

1/2 of us are no longer virgins and are not married

1 million of us are pregnant

340000 of us get abortions each year

1 in 4 of us use illegal drugs

All of us need to be reached!

What is the idea that you think is stupid that could change a statistic? What is your cracker ministry? Just because everything seems put together in their eyes, most of us are broken and need love. How will you make the dreams of someone else possible?

The time is now.

Don’t let the world deface it, just let us shout with amazement as we dance tonight!

Elevate, Everyday Life, Family, Ministry, Prayer Request, Relationship, San Diego, Team, Thoughts

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I sit in bed right now thinking and dreaming and about to explode because I feel as though God is about to shake things up.  Tonight I am on the brink of a day with God like no other as my church takes a stand together and fast and prays for God to show out in this city!  This last week I feel like the church has gotten a lot of play time in the media from Pastors taking stands, from Pastors stepping away from topics that once were in their DNA to oppose , and from statistics that could make the cold shiver.  Here are some not easy reads but some amazing challenges for you and I–“The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled since 1990, rising from 8 to 15 percent” and “the percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 percentage points since 1990, from 86 to 76 percent.”  “Don’t let the world deface it, just let us shout with amazement as we dance tonight” is a line from a song I was listening to tonight that was talking about love and I want you and I to take a stand tonight and rejoice that God is preparing the fields for the harvest and there is going to be another Great Awakening and we will win like he has said from the beginning!  Please don’t let this world as we know it have an opinion so powerful that it defaces the bride of Christ, instead pray and fast with me and His church this weekend as we enter the “Super Bowl” for the local church and as we celebrate the risen GOD!  Trust me those statistics may not lie, we are in a battle but today is no different than yesterday, who knows what may come tomorrow but I know you and I can win with love and compassion today….so lets dance.

For more on how you can join this Journey with us this weekend read this

Between God and the girl….

Everyday Life, Relationship, Thoughts

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I guess this post has been a long time coming but here recently I have just been reminded of a plague that is out there that is cutting off the legs or the next leaders of our culture.  I feel that God has giving me a curse of a blessing when it comes to people sometimes, because I feel like one of the gifts God has giving me is the gift of discernment.  I come across so many guys these day who are in the middle of the pursuit of their lives with God and they have such a pure potential to become such a leader for our generation and the story always ends the same…they turn a corner and there she is!  The Girl.  I know this sounds so crazy but it has happened enough to mention.  There is a beautiful balance out there for you and God and you and her, I obviously believe this being married and having met the girl of my dreams on this unbelievable journey God has giving me.  But why is it that she is so intoxicating that you have to give up one life for the other?  If I had to guess I would even say “She” would desire more a man that reeks God than a man that just reeks!   I guess I write all this to say become the man God has created you to be and I promise you will become the man she needs. Keep your focus keep your priorities and build a life that shouts adventure, on the flip side of this lose your focus and I can guarantee you will be back to this crossroad.  Save yourself some time and heartache!

Well there is not a verse so it must be ok. Right?

Bible Journey, Everyday Life, Family, Ministry, Relationship, Thoughts

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I have been challenged a lot lately by people on what is right and what is wrong, whats OK and whats not OK.  Not that they are challenging my view at all but just their life and their lifestyle.  It started back when I use to work with youth, and it came in vehicle such as how far is to far?  Because I admit there is a huge gap from “whats your name?” to “SEX!”  But a lot of times in our adolescence we begin to make a game out of decision and consequense.  everyone has heard the whole baseball comparison when it comes to physical action within the relationship.  Well as we progress in life and get older there is still this lurking question in life,  it is just on a different street.  The greatest tragedy to this, is as we get older we get smarter and question more.  The biggest question I deal with to this day is “Well there is not a verse about it in the Bible so it must be OK.  Right?” Well that isn’t always true, and to add to the answer, it doesn’t have to be in the Bible telling you no for you to know it is not the wisest thing for your life and your future.  God doesnt have to tell us diving off a building headfirst into concrete is going to hurt, for us to know we might not walk away from it.  So I really believe that if we begin to ask ourselves whether this situation is the wisest for me, then we will begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.  Also another free lick of advise that may help…read the Bible more than just when you need an answer and it may save you a lot of questions!  Don’t worry..this post isn’t just for you, God is dealing with me too.