The Church in Post Quarantine: What did we learn?

What did you learn?

Over the past 23 years of ministry, I have had the honor of working with interns to work alongside to learn about pastoral work, get a view of day-to-day ministry, and to experience some hands-on opportunities in church life. And my favorite question to ask anyone I’ve mentored is, “What did you learn?

What’s the purpose of those 4 specific words? I think it’s essential to not only have an experience but to digest it and draw from it. If we do not stop to learn, we will continue down worn familiar paths because they are both comfortable and familiar. Without gleaning from what you’ve encountered, we will never trail-blaze new paths. Don’t get me wrong, the “worn familiar paths” are not necessarily wrong or sinful avenues to take. But often, we in ministry can get so used to what has become “routine,” we don’t ask if it is still “right” to do. Us, the church, gravitate to methods we’ve always known. We can tend to overly-criticize that which is unfamiliar. And like the children of Israel who’ve just been rescued from slavery, we cry out, “can’t we just go back?

As we sit in this global pandemic, quarantined away from the crowds, we should be asking ourselves, “What have we learned?” instead of waiting to ask till it’s over. If not, we can quickly step into, what I call, the “Samson Syndrome.” And it comes from Judges 16:20. 

I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.

This champion of God, full unbelievable strength, and uncanny victories had a streak of poor decision making (to say the least). But when I think of his story, there is one aspect of that has always triggered my heart. Previously, he lied about what would make him weak. So he’d take a nap, get bound, hear that the enemy was near, get up, and deal with his foes. 

Rinse and repeat. 

Then the day came when he gave away the source of his might. When the same opposition came, he simply said, “I’ll just do what we’ve done before.” And that was the moment when his familial mindset and methods failed him. He sabotaged himself by taking what God had done within him for granted and staying in one mode instead of learning and maturing from previous experiences. 

That, my friends, is the “Sampson Syndrome.” 

The Wrong Way to Ask “The Question”
My simple question can be completely misunderstood because that’s what desperation does. It manipulates moments by painting circumstances in a panicked light. For some pastors leading through this, you’ve been in a bit of a frantic mode in the first few weeks of this quarantine time. I remember the amount of messages and phone calls I received giving me questions like:

What are you doing?
How do we record and post it live?
How do we visit people who need us?
How are people going to know where to view our services?
Do we need multiple online platforms?
How are we going to do offerings?
How are we going to do funerals, weddings, etc.? Is communion out of the picture?
What about small groups? 

Please know that none of those were bad questions. Some churches were more prepared than others because they’d already developed a digital presence. Those first few weeks were a whirlwind for most churches. And I think we all learned a lot. 

BUT…we shouldn’t ask “what did we learn to get us through?” If we do that, we only take inventory about how we navigated a moment of crisis. That’s fine and good. But to only draw out out of this season that morsel of information is to do a disservice to the time we find ourselves in. We shouldn’t be asking that question. You and I should be asking, “What did we learn in order to take the church us forward?”  Because that, my friends, is how we truly learn from this. It is out of that mindset we can innovate, create, reshape, and propel His Kingdom forward. It becomes a place for the same creative Spirit who hovered over the deep (Genesis 1:2) to speak into us something innovative that will impact our communities His honor and for His glory. 

What are you learning about the church being “the Church?
Sometimes us pastors can forget that it is not our job to do ministry but to equip others to do the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). And perhaps because of that faux pas, church leadership is currently experiencing an identity crisis. People are not leaning on us, perhaps, like they used to. Our congregations are serving each other. They are praying for each other. People are looking to help one another. They are being creative about serving the community. Because they have more home time than normal, they are prayer more, diving into scripture in ways they have not done before, and they are taking ownership of their spiritual lives.

I have heard it said for years that “we are to be a church without walls” to the point where I think of it as a cliche’.  This quarantine has forced that to happen. And this should affect not only how we come out of quarantine but how we plan, organize, and implement ministry. What we do NEXT should be shaped out of what we are experiencing and seeing NOW. 

What are you learning about what you gained?
The cynicism of our culture loves to draw from the negative. But I implore you: Don’t worry about what your church lost but focus on the revelation of what your church has come to understand.  Here’s a couple examples: 

I’ve gained a greater vision for my ministry ministry schedule?
It has been sobering (to say the least) to discover that people are not asking about the things I thought they’d miss. Nobody is griping about missing my preaching, my counseling, a class, nor an event. Nobody is complaining about the lack of hospital calls I do. Honestly, people have stopped calling me to ask to help someone as they see themselves possessing the ability to reach out instead of it being the pastor doing it. Thus, I’m rethinking about all of the tasks I had been investing my time into. I’m now wondering, in the world of post quarantine, how I should be spending my day-to-day time.  Who and what do I need to be investing in that actually affects people and not just supports my ego and my need to be “needed”?

I’ve gained a greater understanding of what I need to disciple people in?
If our congregation’s spiritual lives plummeted because our Sunday service ceased to exist, then we have not done well with discipleship.  If the substance of our church identity and the mission we are on falls apart because we cannot meet all together in one place, we have missed something completely.  The quarantine has opened the eyes of us clergy and challenges us to repent of some of the mindsets behind our methods. The mission doesn’t serve the methods; the methods serve the mission. Our people were never meant to be pastorally dependent. They can have personal relationships with Christ that was meant to thrive in community with others. And sometimes that means “community” that happens outside of a Sunday. We need to be better at equipping people to flourish outside of Sunday AM.   

From helping people to learn how to read the scriptures, to helping them engage in a consistent prayer life. We should be training people to hear and listen to the voice of the God for themselves instead of leaning solely upon church leadership to hear for them. How transformed would our communities be if we helped our congregations recognize and respond to needs around them instead of leaning on the pastor to be the savior of the situation? Yes, your church’s name wouldn’t be as well known as you’d like but His Church would be seen in every avenue around our cities, towns, and villages.

I’ve gained a greater vision for my personal schedule?
Lots of things. Just a few examples. I’ve rediscovered running all over. I forgot how much my physical health directly affects my spiritual, emotional, and mental health. My family time has been amazing as I’ve had great opportunities with the whole family, just my wife, or private time with each of my children. But the greatest learning point is this: I cannot go back to starving them, and myself, of quality family time and attention. This MUST change.

I know there could be so many more lessons listed, but that’s for you to dive into yourselves. My heart is this: we cannot afford to be like Sampson. At the end of this quarantine, let it not be said of us that our response post-quarantine was, I’ll just do what we’ve done before.” Because if we do, we are in danger of missing great Kingdom creativity and opportunity. We will have squandered this time to learn and grow. 

This is moment is laced with destiny. We are at an amazing time to launch forward having learned from our past and be willing to heed His voice to grow into an affective Church to be a light to this world.

Love you all. I’m praying for all of us as we move forward together.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 7: “I commit my spirit”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 7 – “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.
Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

  • John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
  • Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience tfrom dead works uto serve the living God.
  • 1 John 3:1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Today’s Spiritual practice: Worship

In worship, we remember who God is and who we are in Christ. Worship embraces the mystery without words and wonder beyond imagination. These special times with God becomes moments where of intimacy and transformation. Worship is not about us, what we need, or a time to show off our abilities but to be fully present in God’s presence. Worship focuses on God’s majesty, His immeasurable greatness with awe, wonder, and reverence. Access the links to the playlist and spend some in humble worship of Jesus today.

  • Other spiritual practices to use:
    – S.O.A.P
    Lectio Divina
    – gratitude
    – sitting in creation
    – fasting
    – journaling

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 6: “It is finished”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 6 – “It is finished.” John 19:30

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.
Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

  • John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
  • Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
  • Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
  • 1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

Today’s Spiritual practice: Journaling

Spending time with God is how we develop and strengthen our relationship with Him. And journaling can deepen that connection. A journal can hold many things: the events of your day; your concerns; your prayers; your list of things to be thankful for; your praises of God; your musings about people you love, strangers you meet, surprises in your day, a beautiful moment in nature, antics from your favorite animal, an illuminating Scripture, or an inspiring quote. The point to journaling is processing and expression. It helps an individual work through thoughts and see God working in and through his/her life.  Get out a notebook and write down some thoughts about the scriptures, your day, or about a thought about Christ.

  • Other spiritual practices to use:
    – S.O.A.P
    Lectio Divina
    – gratitude
    – sitting in creation
    – fasting
    – journaling
    – worship

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 5: “I thirst”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 5 – “I thirst.” John 19:28

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.
Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

  • Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
  • Psalm 143:6 I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
  • Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.
  • 1 Peter 2:22-23 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

Today’s Spiritual practice: Fasting

Fasting is more than “going without food” for a duration of time. Fasting is separating ourselves from different forms of distraction and replacing them with acute focus on our spirit man. Fasting helps us tune into God, not God into us. For example, from a place of fasting we might discover a clearer means of intercession. Choose something “normal” from your day to fast, or step away, from and devote that time to the Lord.

  • Other spiritual practices to use:
    – S.O.A.P
    Lectio Divina
    – gratitude
    – sitting in creation
    – journaling
    – worship

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 4: “Why have you forsaken me?”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 4 – “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.
Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

  • Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Psalm 62:1-2 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
  • Luke 22:41-42 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed,  saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
  • Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Today’s Spiritual practice: Sitting in Creation 

The Bible declares that the whole earth is full of His glory. We have been given the visible creation to help reveal our invisible God. Theologians call creation God’s “general revelation.” We can miss much of this “revelation” in the pace and distraction of our modern world. So head outside on a walk without a phone. Sit on your deck without a screen. Feel the breeze on your face and listen to the birds in the air. Read your scriptures outside and quiet yourself and take in the beauty of all God has created.

  • Other spiritual practices to use: 
    – S.O.A.P
    Lectio Divina
    – gratitude
    – fasting
    – journaling
    – worship

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 3: “Here is your son”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 3 – “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother” John 19:26–27

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.
Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

    • Psalm 116:5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful.
    • Isaiah 49:13 Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
    • Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
    • Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

Today’s Spiritual practice: Gratitude

Gratitude has been called the “gateway” spiritual discipline. It ushers in humility  into our lives. Humility is a heart condition that recognizes that all of our blessings have been received, not earned.  Practice gratitude today by thinking, writing, or verbalizing everything Christ has done for you.

  • Other spiritual practices to use: 
    – S.O.A.P.
    Lectio Divina
    – sitting in creation
    – fasting
    – journaling
    – worship

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.

7 Sayings of Jesus – Day 2: “You will be with me”

Welcome to our blog series of the “7 Sayings of Jesus.”

For the days leading into Good Friday, we invite you to join us on a 7 day journey of remembering, partaking, and celebrating the cross of Christ.

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Starting on Saturday, April 4 at 6pm (EST), for seven days, I’ll release a video centered upon a few of the words of Jesus that He spoke from the cross. Take a few moments to watch and then come back to this blog to engage in some sacred elements surrounding the Passion moment we are focusing on. You can use this checklist to create a daily pattern for reflection and participation in these powerful themes. Start off with recognizing some “wins” or things to celebrate in your life. I believe that gratitude and thanksgiving are the best way to start any spiritual engagement. Additional scriptures will be provided that follow the daily theme. From there, I’d encourage you to engage in a spiritual practice. A “spiritual practice” or spiritual discipline, is an action or activity done for the purpose of cultivating spiritual development. The spiritual practices are about tuning in to God’s heart and refining our focus so that our hearts match His already established will and nature. They were not designed to be used as a power play.  You may be familiar with some of the practices. Some of them may not be familiar to you (that’s okay). Lastly, be sure to access the daily worship playlist links on this blog. You’ll be able to listen from either Spotify or Youtube. The playlists are specially created by choosing particular songs to fit each day.

I would invite you to post some thoughts, prayers, songs, or graphics from each day to encourage others to engage with us. This is going to be a powerful week.

Day 2 – “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

Click to enlarge. Download and use for Instagram.

Recognize some “wins.” What can you celebrate today?

  • Before you move forward, write down at least 3 specific things you can celebrate. We do this as a response to Psalm 100:4 that says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!

Other scriptures to consider:

    • Luke 7:50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
    • John 3:16, 40 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life…Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
    • John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
    • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Today’s Spiritual practice: Lectio Divina.

It has four separate steps: read; meditate; pray; contemplate. First a passage of scripture is read, then its meaning is reflected upon (meditate). This is followed by prayer and deep reflective thought (contemplation) on the Scriptures. Use the scripture with the words of Christ from the cross or any of the additional Scriptures given. Follow the pattern of Lectio Divina and step into a quiet moment in the Lord’s presence.

  • Other spiritual practices to use: 
    – S.O.A.P
    – gratitude
    – sitting in creation
    – fasting
    – journaling
    – worship

Click on the images below to access today’s worship playlist.

Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading. Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today’s reading.
Click on this image to access the Spotify worship playlist for today's reading. Click on this image to access the Youtube worship playlist for today’s reading.

Get ready for Easter

On Easter, Kfirst will not be able to gather physically as we traditionally do. This is heartbreaking because COVID-19 has many people looking for answers to life’s deepest questions and wondering if there is any hope. This, more than ever, is the time for the church to rise up and proclaim the message of the resurrection. But how can we do this when we are not able to meet?

We believe this obstacle is actually an opportunity — an opportunity to share the gospel with far more people than we typically would on Easter and to empower you to be the primary heralds of that good news.

Imagine preparing and recording your ‘following Jesus’ story, then, on Easter Sunday, posting on social media with the hashtag #OurEasterStory. People all over our city, quarantined in their homes and scrolling on their phones, would see a flood of stories about how the resurrected Jesus brings purpose and meaning and hope. One click on the hashtag and they could see hundreds of people — just like them — talking about how Jesus changed the trajectory of their lives!

Selfie Guide: https://bit.ly/3bOR0XP

Here are some best practices for shooting yourself on your phone.
• Simple, clean backdrops are ideal – Avoid distracting backgrounds or crowed spaces.
• In natural light – Avoid backlighting. The main source of light should be facing you, not behind you.
• In artificial light – Avoid standing directly below an overhead light or anything else that creates hard shadows. Consider using a stand lamp several feet away for good indirect light.
• Shoot eye level – Shooting from above or below will make you seem diminished or imposing. Eye level communicates accessibility.
• Clean your camera – Make sure the lens of your selfie camera is clean before shooting.
• Shoot portrait – Align your phone vertically.