Grrrrreat!

This past weekend was Easter weekend.  This is the weekend we celebrate that everything changed – that renewal and restoration of all things is on the march!

Typically Easter weekend is a time to gather to celebrate, but thanks to an amazing team of leaders we were able to also serve our community practically.

On Saturday, the day before our Easter celebration, a huge group of Watermarkers served 101 family units a warm meal, gave helpful give-aways, listened to people’s stories, had fun with kids, handed out personal care items, and also provided a food truck with fresh food.

This day was a smashing success because:

  • We were able to make personal connections with people who found themselves in need of a hand.  It wasn’t just about the stuff – people listened, cared, and shared time together.
  • Watermarkers led the way.  Under the fantastic leadership of Becky Staal, our InCommunity ninja, Watermarkers stepped up and gave leadership to all the key areas.  They did a tremendous job and many of the folks receiving assistance commented on how well things went.
  • New Watermarkers served.  I saw a lot of newer faces serving!  It wasn’t the just the same committed crew.
  • Practical needs were able to be met!  Personal care items, medicine, food, and even gas cards were able to be utilized to bring hope.  Thanks to all the Watermarkers who generously helped make that happen!
  • We were able to be the presence of Jesus!

I feel like our faith family is at our best when we are looking beyond ourselves and banding together to offer relationship, hope, and service to folks in our community.  This “Great Saturday” made “Easter Sunday” all that more special as we celebrated the fact that Jesus is alive and His Kingdom is repairing all things!

Thanks to all who participated!

Flip it!

Pete and I in New Zealand back in the day.

We all deal with relationships.  The Bible is full of practical teaching on the importance of treating one another with love and grace.  So, I’m excited that I have the opportunity to teach alongside Dr. Peter Newhouse about this issue.

Beginning this Sunday we are rebooting a series entitled: “Relationflip.”  Flipping one negative pattern in relationships for a positive one.

Peter is a great friend and has a lot of wisdom and great tools to help us take steps in the right direction.  He also has co-authored a number of books including the Necessary Nine.

My hope and prayer is that our relationships will be strengthened and be more life giving as a result of the discussions that take place.

Learning from an Ethiopian brother.

While in Ethiopia we had the opportunity to have lunch with Pastor Yohannes Girma.  He is known as Pastor Johnny and is a dynamic and humble pastor and worship leader.

He shared his story of coming to faith.  He grew up in the faith, but became disenchanted by church/religion. One night while playing guitar and singing with his brother the Holy Spirit touched him and moved in his heart.  He began to talk to people about Jesus and wrote worship songs and started a church.

I was inspired by his vision and focus.  He is seeking to:

  • See people experience spiritual transformation through Jesus.  His belief is that if someone is changed by God then everything can change.
  • Strengthen families so that they can be a blessing to the church family and the wider community.
  • Strengthen people economically by helping them follow their dreams and provide micro-loans that give people the opportunity to provide for themselves.
  • Develop the wider community and provide key services to assist the community.
  • Be involved in national development (impact and serve the nation.)

He spends time regularly investing in men and professionals to develop them as leaders so they can lead smaller groups of 20-30 people.  His heart is not to create professional Christians, but to help develop Christian professionals.

During my time with Pastor Johnny I was challenged to dream bigger dreams, invest in people who can invest in people, and continue to see that Jesus truly makes all the difference!

I thank God for the chance to meet with an Ethiopian brother in the faith and to learn from what God is doing in and through him.

Here is a video of Pastor Johnny leading worship.  (In blue suit playing guitar.)

George Michael told us we gotta have it.

Gotta have faith, faith, faith!

I love this quote about faith from Frederick Buechner in his book, “Secrets in the Dark.

“By faith we understand, if we are to understand it at all, that the madness and lostness we see all around us and within us are not the last truth about the world, but only the next to the last truth.”  (pg.71)

Where today do you need to be reminded that the current circumstances do not have the last word?

ReWork

We are walking through the book “ReWork” as a staff team.  It is written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier.

The book promises to assist you in showing a “better, easier way to succeed in business.” It encourages the reader to, “stop talking and start working.” The book is filled with brief chapters that seem to swim against the current of conventional wisdom.

So far I have really enjoyed the brief chapters that inspire, encourage the reader to take action and think differently.  I have always enjoyed business books because I think there is some good leadership insights and truths found in them, but I also recognize that a church is not the same thing as a business.  There have been some transferable principles and ideas that have made me think about our context differently.

Here are a handful of quotes from the book so far:

“Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done.  It just means you work more.”  (pg.25)

“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”  (pg.38)

“To keep your momentum and motivation up, get in the habit of accomplishing small victories along the way.”  (pg.115)

“When you spend time worrying about someone else, you can’t spend that time improving yourself.”  (pg.148)

“Use the power of no to get your priorities straight.”  (pg.153)

So far this book has helped me think about what really matters and the importance of taking action.  What have you been learning or reading lately?