Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Dedications

One of the special things that I get to do is baby dedications. There was a time where we did them on one Sunday in May. We would line up 15-25 couples with their children on the stage and say their names... then I would say something, ask a couple questions, then ask the church to committ to support the families and then pray.

It was always meaningful, but it seemed like an "add on." It was not all that personal, although our EC directors at the time ( Karen Schemet and Cathy Wheeler) did their best to make it a special moment.

While on sabbatical a few years ago, I regularly attended a downtown Tulsa church who did baby dedications once or twice a month. It seemd very pastoral, personal and was something that engaged both the family and the church.

So I stole the idea from my friend and started doing them that way. It was a change that I have never regretted.

Whenever a couple or a parent wants dedicate their child, I get together with them and we talk first. We talk about how this is a dedication of the child, but even more importantly it is a dedication of the parent (s) to raise the child to love Jesus. It is about their example. It is about their faith. It is also about their church family. I think that God gives us a church family for a reason. In part it is so that no one feels like they are going through life alone. Parenting can be a difficult and even lonely journey. Church families have a responsibility to support and bless those who are raising children. So I emphasize that with the parents. Then I always get a funny story or two out of the conversation, and we talk logistics and then pray. Then the following Sunday, we have them on stage and we talk and pray together.

I appreciate the efforts that our current EC director ( Amy Bray ) goes to in order to make it a special time for the family. She has a couple photographers who take fun pictures and then it all goes into a keepsake for the family. I get such great comments about this from the families.

A few weeks ago we had a single mom with her little boy up there doing the dedication. I just thought it was an incredible moment because this little boy is so amazing. His mom and grandparents have been through alot, but here they were, committing to raise this little boy to love Jesus. He is a gift from God and I have the feeling that God is going to use him in a special way. The dedication also blessed some others who had been connected to single moms in their families. There was a huge message sent that day. They saw that our church is a church of grace... a church that looks forward to redeem situations in our lives, and a church that truly cares about everyone.

Today, I have met with two families and another one is coming in a few minutes. They all three are totally different families...but with one common thread. They love Christ, love their children and desire the blessing of God and the support of their church family in raising their children.

This is something I always look forward to... It's one of the many good things about the life I live.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend update.

Monday mornings... I like them! Especially after a great weekend.

Tackled the Sprint Triathalon yesterday. My goal was to finish.... I had a total finish time in mind and I smashed that... Great fun.... 400 meter swim, 12 mile bike ride and 2 mile run. Some serious hills... At one point I thought, " Man I am really glad they do not make us swim up hill." But I made good time for me. I also know I could do alot better. Now I have a time to work against.

Great encouragement by Pam, David, Eddie , Sharon and a bunch of other friends who were there. Pam was amazing... seemed like she was there around every turn... and crying at the finish line... Triathalon's are a team sport..

Today, felt good waking up and wondering what the next challenge is... I think I know... just need to articulate it a bit...and then do a better job of executing the plan. More about that later.

And one other thing... It feels great to go do something like this fully confident in the team we have at FCC. No concerns... Thanks to the FCC Staff! You all are awesome.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Reflections

Thinking about many things this evening...

EASTER- awesome services Sunday. I loved the music... the energy... Brittany Bolt and Tim singing "He is risen, He is risen, Alleluia!" That gave me chills! The Easter Choir, Praise Team, Orchestra and tech teams were incredible. The attendance of 2237 was a all time record for our church. AWESOME! We blew away records all over the place... including in EC and Children's. It took well over 200 volunteers to put all of it together...many of whom were at the church from 6:15 to 12:30... 3 services is a challenge...but it is worth it. God gets the praise and glory for this great day. After it all, it was his idea ( the ressurection).

THOSE SERVING IN ARMED FORCES. I was thinking about some of our guys who were not here Sunday. Roger Martinez, Matt Sewell, Eric Snider and some others... They didn't miss Easter, because the Ressurection of Jesus is for the whole world...but they were far from their families. How humbling it is to serve God in this country in freedom, all because of the many who have served our country by protecting us wherever they are called upon to do so! Pray for those guys.... they are in tough spots serving the USA...

I APPRECIATE OUR VOLUNTEERS. Our Parking guys were incredible. I got alot of comments about how friendly and helpful they were. We had enough help in Early Childhood, even though it was a record breaking day. Our Cafe team fed a bunch of people! They were so good to team. David and Kristi and the rest of the are incredible. It seemed like everything worked well all over the building.

I AMAZED AT THE GENEROSITY OF OUR PEOPLE. After a record breaking year in 2009, we stretched big time with our budget needs each week. After 14 weeks, we are right at budget! Sunday's offering of over $60,000 was HUGE... You are getting it....

IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS. "A living hope can only be brought by a living Savior." Enough said!

WE ARE NOT DONE... Easter is a catalyst for movement... a call to action.... an "ON YOUR MARK" moment... Easter can change a life, a community, and the world. We are not done with our mission ... we are not done reaching people.... we are not done caring for others... we are not done with providing ministry all across the world. We are part of a great kingdom making a dramatic move across the world.

Loved Easter... and really look forward to the coming weeks as we continue to work through "the church unleashed" in Acts 4-7.

See you there.

Friday, April 02, 2010


How does God get His message out? I think it is alot like good advertising for almost any business. The key is variety.

When a business comes to town, they look for different ways and mediums to get their message out. It may be the paper, radio, TV, Billboards, flyers....on and on the ideas come.

But there is one medium that businesses recognize as most effective. It is the "word of mouth" method. You know how it works....

Someone finds a business or resturant that is good... they try it out a couple times and make it part of their regular routine. When they need the services this business offers, they immediately think about it and head there.

Conversations between friends, neighbors, or co-workers inevitably work thier way toward something that reminds that person of a business which met a need. So they say, "Hey, this place really worked for me... you might want to try it out." They do, and soon, another conversation is hatched...

The interesting thing is that the first conversation does not just happen once. If you really believe in that business, you will have that conversation over and over. And then, if it works for them, they will have it over and over... and the messages spreads.

It's not just true about businesses. It is true about faith. When people are really convinced that Jesus makes a difference in their lives, they talk about Jesus! When people think a specific church is effective in helping them in thier lives, they talk about thier church. And they offer an invitation.

A simple invitation for people to give Jesus a real shot in thier lives can open the door to life change. A simple invitation to people to come to church and to see what is going on there can open that same door.

By the way... I have seen stats that say that over 85% of people invited to church actually say yes and try it out.

So what works for Lowes, Home Depot, Ruby Tuesday, Red Robin, Olive Garden works for the church too...

How does God get his message out? One of the most effective ways is through the invitation of transformed people... people like you.

WE WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY AT 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00. It's Easter... Invite someone and see what God does...