Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Soundtrack to My Waiting” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Whenever I face a season of transition, I must remember: God is present, His promises are true, and He always provides.
  • “Waiting is the in-between time; it calls us to be in this moment this season without leaning so far into the future that we tear our roots from the present. When we learn to wait, we learn to experience where we are as substantial and precious in our life.” Book – “When the heart waits” by Sue Monk Kidd
  • A season of waiting is the opportunity God uses to help us loosen our grip from control and let Him be God in our lives.
  • Waiting is God’s invitation for us to actively engage into a spiritual formation experience.
  • When God invites us to wait, He invites us to release our demands to His desires.
  • What if “waiting on God” was not some grand inconvenience, but rather the very tool God wants to use to shape & change us?
  • God’s transition seasons are packed with Kingdom purpose. We can trust Him in the waiting.
  • I will work with God by waiting on God. (Psalm 130:5-7)

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Stuck in a Cul-de-sac” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Sometimes God’s direction is not about where He is taking us but what God is doing in us.
  • God doesn’t lead us into a direction to destroy us but to build us.
  • I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.
  • Faith cannot fix what you are unwilling to face.
  • Sometimes God will draw us into a cul-de-sac just so he can draw “Egypt” out of us.
  • Some of the most glorious moments will come in the face of the greatest resistance.
  • Often we can be looking for relief when God is trying to develop resilience.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: Beyond “Just” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • God loves to take what seems “ordinary” and use it for something extraordinary.
  • What you see as ”ordinary,” God sees as “opportunity.”
  • God doesn’t call you because you are holy. He calls you so that you can be holy.
  • God often leads us to engage in something we feel we are incapable of.
  • When God wants to use you, He takes your humanity into the equation.
  • God looks for a willing heart more than he looks for the “best equipped.”

Love you all. Have a great week.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Behind the Scenes” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • God sees. God knows. God is working behind the scenes.
  • God desires to draw us out of bondage and draw us into the plans and purposes He has for our lives.
  • “Faith is not believing in my own unshakable belief. Faith is believing in an unshakable God.” Beth Moore
  • The prayers of our pain do not fall on deaf ears.
  • Just because you may feel forgotten by God doesn’t mean he has forgotten about you.
  • “It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is; what really matters is where the pressure lies. Whether it comes between you and God or presses you nearer to His heart.” —Hudson Taylor
  • When it seems that God’s left the scene, it means He’s working behind the scenes.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

 

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Backstory” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Every story has a backstory; Your backstory matters.
  • It’s a dangerous thing to be jealous or critical of someone else’s “blessings” before you know their backstory.
  • We step into idolatry when we start worshiping what God has provided instead of worshiping the One that provided it.
  • You are writing tomorrow’s backstory today.
  • God‘s character is not contingent upon your circumstances.
  • Every broken backstory is a set up for a beautiful saviorIn the hands of the Enemy, your backstory is a weapon. In the hands of God, your backstory it’s a scalpel.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

The Sticky Soul: Reason Why Pastors Need Celebration and Encouragement

Coming of a tiresome Christmas season and into our annual vision series (#MYCHURCH), I cannot say I was completely prepared for what I would encounter.  Within the previous month, the Lord put a few “Pauls” (older, wiser, experienced pastors) in my pathway that transformed January’s series into something special.  It created an excitement in me for that first Sunday.

And that’s when two things began to happen.

One of them was internally.  I’ve had a determination to celebrate. It has become a drive within my spirit. And the more I celebrate what God is doing in me, my staff, and the church I pastor, the more I see hope rising. The celebration doesn’t change the circumstances, but it changes my perception of what is going on.

The second thing was something happening externally: Encouragement. I won’t build up a story of how I never get encouragement because that’s not true. But this month has been something like I’ve never seen. The encouragement has been coming from the most likely sources. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s has stuck to my soul with the adhesive of gorilla glue.  The flesh part of me wants to NOT type about this, but forget that crap…the church I serve has rocked my world and I think God has been shining amazingly through them.  There are those that have been quick to the critical, and God has used them in an extraordinary way to annihilate any discouragement.  Cards, notes, Facebook messages, hugs…it’s been in such ridiculous moments that I am literally flabbergasted that I get to pastor these people (seriously…I weep as a type this). 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m an imperfect vessel that pastors a sanctuary full of imperfection. None of us at Kfrist have reached completion of character and life. But something is stirring beyond the ordinary. And I think I’ve discovered why?

Encouragement and celebration were meant to be inseparable. One builds off the other.  My determination to celebrate has prepared me to receive encouragement. The encouragement I received has shown me what to celebrate. One feeds the other. They’re mean to be together. You may think these are not that big of a deal, but encouragement and celebration don’t seem essential until you don’t have them.  

I think the lack of encouragement and celebration is an epidemic. And it’s no wonder why so many pastors deal with loneliness and depression. Too many pastors leave ministry down and discouraged.  And I wonder, if he/she knew how to celebrate…if he/she had someone to celebrate with…if someone knew how to encourage their pastor…

…would anything be different? Would he/she still be involved in ministry?

Pastors, I’m going to challenge you with the scripture I’ve brough our church back to for the past 3 weeks.  In Genesis 22:1, God calls to Abraham he simply replies,

Here I am.”

In other words: Start with me.

Let the tone of celebration start with you.  Let the atmosphere of encouragement begin with you.  And here’s just a few things I do:

  • Refuse to start a meeting without celebration points.  I’m adamant that we don’t start a meeting till we find something to celebrate. Start with salvation and work from there.
  • Get your couples (married or premarital) to celebrate items about each other before counseling.  If they can’t, think about either canceling the rest of the meeting or spend the whole meeting learning how to look for the best in each other.
  • I use my Facebook feed to give me names of people to pray over and send an encouraging word to.  I’ll select someone, pray over them, and ask the Holy Spirit to give me a word for them. Let the gifts flow through you.  Yes, even on social media.
  • Go old school. I’m challenging my staff to make 10 points of written encouragement (in the mail) every week during our 40 days of prayer (starts on Ash Wednesday).
  • Express celebration in your services.
  • Challenge your leadership. I challenged our staff that, for every criticism, there should be 3 points of encouragement.  It makes all of us think before speaking.

When you decide to be a celebrator (don’t think that’s a word), it’s amazing how well the encouragement sticks better.  It’s not that negative things haven’t cropped up.  But they don’t seem to adhere like they used to.  Celebration and encouragement have fed off of each other and given me new life in 2016.  And quite honestly, I think there’s new life at Kfirst.

Looking back, I’ve always had a thing for fire (don’t all of us guys?). But regardless of how hot it burns, the absence of oxygen will snuff out the flame. I notice this a few weeks back when I had this brainiac idea that I could set my cup of coffee on my glass candle in my office and keep it nice and warm. Turns out that the cup sealed the top, cut off the oxygen, and extinguished the flame

A week later, I found myself in a conference in northern Michigan. And it was in this hotel room, ministers had just finished worshiping and sat down to hear a refreshing word from, who I consider, an outstanding man of God.  Rod Loy has been the lead pastor at NLR First Assembly for 15 years (as of 2016).  In his second talk about momentum, these words came out and brought be back to my little office moment with my coffee and candle…”You get what you celebrate.” It wasn’t, “you get what your congregation celebrates.” It needs to start with me (you). 

Pastor, in the words of scripture, “lift up your eyes” and find things to celebrate.  Before you preach, celebrate. Before you start your workday, celebrate. Before you have meetings, celebrate.  Set a new tone at the church. And let it start with you saying, “here am I…start with me.” And the more you celebrate, the more you’re soul will get sticky which means the more you’ll catch the things that are encouraging about the ministry God has called you to be in. 

Pastors shouldn’t ask their congregations to do something they are not willing to do themselves (at least that’s always been my rule).  Let them hear you celebrate. Find way to encourage them.  Step out with these two essential elements and watch hope rise. It may not change a circumstance, but your perception of what God is doing and what is speaking will be so much clearer.   It’s stopping the moment to recognize how awesome God is.  Celebration is a choice.

If you have no one to celebrate with, you contact me. We’ll sit over coffee, Google Hangout, or whatever and we’ll celebrate together.  Let it start with you. Let the culture of your church begin to change because the pastor refuses to be a bottom feeder on criticism and negativity. Lift up your eyes. Lift up your voice. Celebrate the goodness of God and facilitate His work in someone by encouraging them. 

Rejoice in the Lord always, and again, I say rejoice.Philippians 4:4

You want a sticky soul, rejoice….aways.

Thanks for letting me ramble…