Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Is it a pandemic?

Is it Swine flu or N1H1 virus?

Do we have enough medicine to fight it off?

Should we go to Mexico?

It may be serious. It certainly bears watching. We should pray for those that are sick, and do what we need to be healthy. ( Like wash our hands.)

But the best line I heard was from my friend Vince.

" The problem with 24 hour news channels is that they have to manufacture news 24 hours a day, and there isn't that much news."

I think I like his thinking.... What would happen in the world if we only had a newspaper to read in the morning? Wait a minute... it used to be that way.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Changing times... I was thinking about how Facebook provides some immediate feedback on a sermon, paper, article, or just a subject that a person writes about..

It is the day of immediate feedback....Is that always good? Do we get feedback that requires little thought? Do we actually mull over things, let them incubate in our soul, or do we just react? And when we are looking for feedback on Facebook, or in a blog, do we consider what is going on someone's life when they give feedback? It is pretty hard to read facial expression, or hear tone of voice....

By the way, I am growing to like technology...We used SKYPE to talk to Gracie and her parents. That's cool...

Back to the feedback.... what do you think?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your ATTITUDE makes a difference...

Rick Rusaw leads a dynamic church in Longmont Colorado. He recently wrote the following to his church... I thought it was really good.

"Hi, how are you? Welcome to the men's restroom." These were the words that the small crowd of guys heading into a restroom heard. "Thanks for coming to the restroom." This was in a busy public place, and I can tell you by the response from most, it was not what you expected. This gentleman was the greeter of the Charlotte International Airport men's restroom. His job for the airport was to greet you as you used the restroom. I'm pretty confident it was also his job to keep the place clean. There is an unspoken rule among guys, and that is, you don't speak in the restroom-not to anyone. Except, when you are answering questions from the only other guy in the place, only to discover he was on his phone and not talking to you-that's another story.

In this restroom everyone was talking because everyone was caught off guard. Our greeter had changed the atmosphere. Michael was exuberant, he was smiling, he was proud of his work. He even offered breath mints or mouthwash as you were leaving. The rule is, never turn down a breath mint-but that's another story. I thanked him for thanking me for coming, and he said in return, "Thank you for thanking me-for thanking you for using the restroom."

He liked his job. His bright smile and great attitude almost made me want to go back again before I got out of the airport, which as I get older is becoming more the norm-but that's another story. You can change your place and your environment, with one tool-attitude. Your smile, your greeting, and your attitude can make the stinkiest of places different in a moment. Whose world needs to be brightened a bit? What place needs you to make a difference? I can tell you one place that doesn't-but you would have to go to Charlotte to find it. By the way, if you find greeters this week at the restroom doors, you'll know where I got the idea!

I like the his statement in the last paragraph. "You can change your place and your environment, with one tool- attitude. Your smile, your greeting, and your attitude can mke the stinkiest of places different in a moment."

As you go to church tomorrow, or to work on Monday, or as you hang out in the house, or as you wander out to the soccer or baseball field for what seems like the tenth time in a week, you bring something with you EVERY time.... your attitude. Check it out , make sure your attitude is the same as that of Christ Jesus ( Phil 2).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Matt's Most Excellent Idea

Wednesday nights have changed ... It used to be I taught or preached each Wednesday night. Sometimes it would just be Bible Study. Other seasons it would be more of a worship service and then a sermon.

But this last fall we shifted to a strategy that included small groups on Wednesday nights, ( along with home groups on almost every day of the week) and small groups and classes on Sunday mornings.

Maybe one of the toughest things for me was answering the question, "What would I do on Wednesday nights?" Its taken a while, but I think I am figuring it out. I hang out and talk to people. Doesn't seem like alot... and at first, I thought it was not productive.

But lately, it has begun to fit a little better. For instance tonight... I talked with a lady I had never met before, whose two sons come to Glimpse. Good conversation. I talked with a family who attends FCC with their two daughters. They are really cool people, and I think we are friends. I talked with a guy that I like alot...just touching base on how his life is going and what God is doing.

I talked to 4 skateboarders in the parking lot, gently ( yes I was nice and gentle) about how I don't have anything against them or their skateboards, but they really can not do it in the parking lot in and out of cars. Why? Because they would get run over and I would have to be the one to go tell their parents that their son was killed in a church parking lot. ( I thought I had gotten through to them...but as I headed to my car they were climbing on the PODS at the end of the parking lot...I presume it was to make a jump.... I yelled- loud ... sorry guys)

I talked to a small group of 3 couples.. Chris, Morgan, Eric , Lacey, Bobbie and Liz are some of the coolest people around. All in their 20's they study the Bible, support each other, are masters at reaching out to other young couples, and have some of the most mature attitudes I know. They are servants in the church...totally engaged in the life of the church. They are teachers, computer dudes, electricians, moms, dads, and just really good members of the church. I left that conversation feeling really really good about our church and its future. Thank you God!

I talked to a friend of 15 years who has been blessed by God in his business. He and his wife are super parents, great committed members of the church, servants, and people who take thier roles as parents of a bunch of kids very seriously...loved just talking life with him.

I talked to a two couples who are older than me by alot. But they are some of the "youngest" people I know...and they love the church and all the youth there on Wednesday nights.

I also got to sit in on Glimpse. The place was packed, the worship was great...and it was really good to see all the adults in there who are investing their lives in these teenagers. COOL!

I loved doing that. It is especially good because on Sunday Mornings, I hardly get to talk to anyone. So Wednesday nights have become very productive for me... It allows me to connect to lots of different people in a relaxed manner...

THANKS MATT....Great idea

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Listen to the news, read the newspapers, click on the internet... in 2009 it all seems like bad news.

So some good news is always welcome. Hero's are pretty welcome sights during this "tough time." Three hero's came to my mind today... just kind of popped in there.

One is Captain Chelsey Sullenberger of US Airways. On the plane that landed in the Hudson, this man of few words simply said to the passengers, "brace for impact." They impacted allright... and everyone lived. Along the way, the Captain was the last one off the plane...checking to make sure that everyone else was off the sinking plane.

HERO LESSON: Be the best at preparation, pay attention to the tedious instruction at work, and you never know when it might all come into play in one "defining moment." Do your job, and do it well. Hey, if you are on that plane, aren't you glad he and the rest of plane's crew were paying attention in pilot school? Heroic actions come at the interesection of preparation and confidence.

Two is Captain Richard Phillips . He's the captain of the ship that was taken captive by Somali Pirates. He traded his own life for that of his crew, spent days in a life boat, often with a gun pointed at him. Navy Seals rescued him and he was eventually brought home to a Hero's welcome. But honestly, he wanted nothing to do with it. He said, "the millitary are the real hero's, next time you see a soldier thank them. " Then he took his wife's and said, "We want to go home and spend time as a family."

HERO LESSON: Courage is cultivated in the quiet times when your soul is shaped by what you believe about yourself, and those you serve. It seems to me that in one "defining moment" Captain Phillips thought the best deal was "you take me, turn them (the crew) loose" and we will figure this out. " That's courage that he did not summon up in one moment... it was a character decision forged in much quieter times.

The third one is Susan Boyle. She is the 47 year old English Spinster that competed in Britain's edition of Idol... Britain's Got Talent. It was a long day for the audience and the judges. They were tired, and had seen some terrible acts. Out comes Susan and she tells them that she wants to be a singer. People in the crowd snicker, judges writing her off before a note is sung..."let's get through this one"... Well, she sung her socks off...and got unanimous support from the jugdes, and an apology from Simon Cowell of all people, for dismissing her before she even sang... And over the weekend, other recordings of her songs have appeared... if everything is on the up and up, she is no one hit wonder. You will be hearing from her.

HERO LESSONS- If you don't believe in yourself, no one will. Follow your dreams. Be ready when the call comes and you find yourself on the stage of your dreams. And then after it is over and the so-called experts act all astonished about what they just heard... let them know you knew you had it in you... you just had to get someone to look past the outside to what was waiting to burst out from the inside. And keep saying that all the attention won't change you!

All three of these people, from different walks of life, remind me of something very important. There is a little bit of hero in all of us. A kind word, a prayer, a annonymous gift, a smile, or an email that just says, "you are worth it.".... all of those make hero's out of us. We don't do those to become known as a hero, but we ought to set out each day, to lift someone up...

There is alot of bad news in the world...but thank God for some hero's who teach us what it means to spread a little news along the way. Be a hero to someone today. You have it in you!

Monday, April 13, 2009



-Rainy Day....but our First Touch Team was awesome.
-Record #'s of people- but evenly distrubted services (3 of them)
-Really great worship time- great mix of upbeat, special songs and some quality reflection time
-Repsonse from people who came- very positive.

Lots of people worked really hard to make it happen. From those who spent hours at the property on Saturday, to Worship Teams who were there for 6 plus hours, to First Touch, Children's and EC people- all of them invested heavily in the day. I love our people.

I think that Jesus was good with it all... The focus was on Him.

The day after- tired. So its a day off...doing little things around the house, lunch appointment and class tonight. It will take a couple days to feel normal again. (Whatever normal is.)

The Monday after ressurection day 2,000 years ago???? What a day for the disciples of Jesus! Wow.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

WWJD on Easter?

QUESTION: If Jesus lived in 2009, what would he be doing on Easter Sunday?

Just a question... At staff mtg. today I asked that question... I have been thinking about it this week. I figure that he would celebrate His Ressurection... I guess. But maybe he would do more than just go to church.

Someone said to me this week, "Well, you are getting ready for the biggest Sunday of your year, right?"

From an attendance standpoint... Yes.

From an opportunity standpoint... ( to reach new people), its a big deal.

But I cringe when I hear that... Every Sunday is a big day to us.

Can I confess something? It's pretty easy for all of us on staff at our church to miss Easter. Many of our staff are so busy planning, putting teams together, developing services, writing messages, and anticipating potential problems (weather, check-in, enough communion, plenty of bulletins, timing of services, parking, visitors, and so much more) ... that it is very possible to miss what Easter is all about. We are not bad Christians. We are not spiritual midgets. We care about all the people that will come... and do come every week. But honestly, we could learn alot from Jesus about crowd "control", messages, and what is really important on a day like Easter.

So thinking about what things Jesus might do on that day...keeps me on track.

By the way... I love our staff... their heart and dedication to the Kingdom is unmatched in my mind. And I think through it all, each of them will find a way to really celebrate Easter.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Last night, ( April 3) Pam and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. The actual anniversary is April 5, but just like 28 years ago, that falls on a Sunday... and we are pretty busy on Sundays.

So, we went out last night. Before we left the house, Pam gave me my "present." It is a CD of favorite songs of ours. She told me that she had been working on compiling the songs for years. Abigial helped her get it on a CD. What a great gift... a treasure for sure.

So we jumped into our car and went to Tulsa. We had reservations at PF Changs. ( not exactly Taco Bell - that was our first anniversary ), but it was good. It was one of the many prom nights in Tulsa, so the place was packed full of high schoolers in formal attire. Before we ate, we explored Utica Square, sat and talked on a bench... it was all so simple and nice. A GREAT night.

It would be hard to let April 3rd pass by without considering another "anniversary." Three years ago, I had a stroke. Not such a good feeling... its been a long road back, two steps forward and one step back. But there have been constant people in my life that have made it alot easier.

Pam has been wonderful. Can't say enough about the burden a "care-giving" spouse has to bear. She did not sign up for this... but then again I guess 28 years ago, she did. There are exciting things ahead for her in life...we both know it and can't wait to see how God unfolds it all.

Our kids have been incredible. Lizzie, Joel and Lydia were gone, off to college or on with thier lives. But they have been so supportive and understanding. Abigail was in High School, so she saw the day to day. It was scary for her. So what a blessing last night when I got a text from her celebrating the fact that I was alive... I think the whole thing was such a surprise to all of us. Three years later, our lives have moved on. There are husbands, a boyfriend, new places of residence and a granddaughter. And no matter what, they let me know how much they love me.

First Christian Church... what can I say? They have treated me the way a million other pastors would wish their church treated them. Patience, understanding, space... I get to preach, lead and kind of pick my spots... alll with no fear of what others will say. The Elders have been amazing to me. I could not be in a better spot.

Friends. Whether they just are people I can talk to, or staff members, or buddies who just want me to keep plugging away... they are there. I have needed several of the over the past three years.

God has been great to me. Three years ago, I was not in a healthy place on several fronts. Its still a battle on some, but I am better. Occassionally, there are reminders that I am human and I need to take care of myself.

Getting back to health has been a priority over the past three years. But where would I be, if 28 years ago, I had not stood in front of family, college friends, and a church in Superior Nebraska and pledged my love and life to Pam? From that day on we have been faithful to each other and faithful to God. He has given us every blessing we deserved ( do we really deserve any?), and a ton that we don't.

And even if there are days like April 3, 2006 in my future, I am still way better off than I could imagine... because on April 5, 1981 two lives became one.

I look forward to the "next day." I hope it ends up being another 10,220 days. But even if it is only 1 more day, I have had an incredible life, with an incredible woman...

Thanks be to God.