Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Incapable of Insignificance” #OffScript

A screenwriter can spend months, or even years, perfecting a script. However, sometimes, the most iconic lines uttered on the silver screen aren’t the result of a writer at the top of his or her game, but rather an actor offering up some creative ad-libbing. Some of the most iconic moments in movie history were “off script.”

For example:
“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good.” – Avengers Infinity War
“Here’s Johnny” – The Shining
“Here’s looking at you, kid” – Casablanca
The Joker’s slow clap – The Dark Knight
“I’m king of the world.” – Titanic
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat” Jaws

“Off script” seems to be a very apt way to describe what often happens to all of us. Something transpires in our lives that strays away from our intended plan(s). But that’s most of real life happens. It’s “off script”; completely unexpected and unplanned. This June, join us as we head into a story that is everything but “expected” by the people involved. The book of Ruth is canvas to view a beautiful picture of God’s love engaging in our “off scripted” lives.

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

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • A life free from pain is not promised by God.
  • We can remain confident that whatever happens, we always have a God-given mission and a part of big things that God is doing in the world.
  • God takes what makes you feel marginal and uses it to create something meaningful.
  • Our desire to see God’s plan must be dressed in discipline.
  • We move from insignificance to significance by believing God’s voice over all the others.
  • “I may be in the SAME place, but I have a NEW story.”

Purchase the Scripture Journal of Ruth HERE

Love you all. Have a great week.

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

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “A ‘Yes’ Church” #IAmChurch

I love our church. In fact, I think that you love our church too – otherwise you wouldn’t be here.

But what is it exactly that we love about our church community? Why do we gather every Sunday here? Why do we volunteer here? Why don’t we see the people, not the building, as the church? We believe when the Church is working right, there is nothing like it. The Church is not an organization. It’s an organism designed to live, move, and have being. January is all about celebrating what Christ established. In Matthew 16, Jesus gave us this promise that He would build His Church, and that nothing could prevail against it. So, we don’t just attend a church and we don’t just tolerate the Church — we celebrate it, because we are part of that Church that Jesus is building! This month, we celebrate everything that God has done, while looking forward to the future. We have a rich history here at Kfirst, but we believe that the best is yet to come.

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

 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • God never asks for my perfection; He only wants my “yes.”
  • When we say yes to God, we open ourselves up to receiving the good things He wants to do in and through us.
  • Church isn’t supposed to be perfect, it’s supposed to be home—that’s why we all fit in.
  • Jesus does not ask for people to clean up the lives before following him.
  • I wonder how many times I’ve missed God’s “yes” because I didn’t push through someone else’s “no.”
  • Life is messy. Church is messy. Faith is messy. Let’s get over it, and get on with helping people experience God’s grace.
  • “Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly and the weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.” Brendan Manning ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’
  • It’s a dangerous prayer to ask “God, what do you want me to say yes to today?” But it’s even more dangerous not to.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s the new song we used yesterday…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Intentional Influence” #WisdomSeries #BeAProverb

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we continued our series at Kfirst. Every July and August, we have a summer series and this year we turned our focus onto Proverbs.

This amazing and often misunderstood book was used hundreds of years ago to prepare people for a wise life in service to their king. Today, we glean from it to help us live wise lives in service to Jesus our King. 

Check out this week’s message:

Other thoughts from Sunday:

  • Read our Proverbs reading plan by clicking HERE.
  • Influence is inescapable.
  • Everyone has influence, but not everyone is intentional with their influence.
  • We need to be intentional with who we allow to have influence in our lives.
  • The way you act is what you’ll attract.
  • We are not called to simply be influenced, but to be an influence.
  • Don’t expect people to follow Jesus until you treat them like they’re made in the image of God.
  • How to determine the level of influence one has in your life:
    • 1) Be Aware of the influence within the relationship.
    • 2) Be Intentional to promote positive influence.
    • 3) Set Boundaries to moderate what influences your life.
  • Father, I offer my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my hands, and my heart to you, so that I can walk in wisdom in whatever opportunities you might offer me today.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s a new song for you.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Cycle of Grace and Growth”

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, we kicked off a new series “I Am Church” at Kfirst. In this new series of talks, we are emphasizing the mindset that we don’t go to church; we are the church. And this series, we’ll be diving into the book of Acts and looking at some of the fundamental elements of the early church.

Week 1 was a special morning as we turned our attention to Acts 2 and the two intangible elements saturated in this new church.

Grace and Growth.

They responded to the grace by saying “yes” to Jesus. They began to grow by continuing to say “yes” to the direction of God.

https://twitter.com/DawnHause/status/950033303922466817

In Acts 2, both elements are not just inseparable, but they propel each other. And that’s what sends us into the “cycle of grace and growth.” What is the “Cycle of Grace and Growth”? It’s when you get who you are, what God has done, and what you can become in Him. You see His grace and allow it to propel you to growth. But to grow, you have to lean upon His grace. One feeds the other. The more I say yes, the more I grow. And the more I grow the more I realize I need His grace to accomplish it.

 

Have you said “yes” to the grace of God? 

Have you grown by continuing to say yes to the next steps the Holy Spirit has shown you?

This month, we’re asking Kfirst to dive into the book of Acts and use S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). If you need a reading plan, click HERE for one on youversion

Read it daily. In fact, find someone to meet with once a week to talk and pray about it. And when you pray, would you make your prayer,

Jesus, do this IN me, start with me.”

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: This is the song we introduced yesterday.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Hot Seat” #FromThisDaySeries

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and a workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together.

Today we continued our annual marriage series with our Kfirst community.

Click here for yesterday’s notes.

Listen to Kfirst Messages. (uploaded by the Monday following the service)

Watch on Kfirst’s Facebook. (uploaded on Monday)

Yesterday we wrapped up our annual marriage series with a service called, “The Hot Seat.” We bring up a panel of some of our Kfirst marriages to share their experiences in marriage from the live questions given from the congregation. Leading into this time, we read from Psalm 119:1-8 to challenge everyone about the Gospel by saying,

The gospel isn’t just information we share; it’s a promise we receive & live in.

The question we asked in the beginning was, “What personal change, if you made it today, would make a difference in your life and/or marriage?”  It’s not an easy question. So often we want to see things change around us but not necessarily in us. And it’s for this reason we challenged everyone to look at change in your marriage from a different light:

  • There’s no such thing as a ME issues; only WE issues
    • This prevents your spouse from feeling like they’re working alone in the marriage. If my spouse has something to work on, then we have something to work on (and vice versa).
  • There are ME changes that create WE changes; The ME must change for the WE to be blessed.
    • When you focus on some else’s faults, you have no time fixing yours. Craig Groeschel says “Don’t focus on what your spouse isn’t. Continue to grow into who you are supposed to be.”

So from Psalm 119:1-8 we challenged everyone to build a climate of change by

  1. Receiving the gospel.
    • Let God’s words be the words of your story. Be open, real, and vulnerable enough to admit you’ve fallen short and see the hope that Christ offers.
  2. Live in the gospel.
    • Be bold with truth; stand upon His promises. Be relentless with sin and courageous with obedience.

Is change comfortable? Nope. But a climate of change produces humility in our hearts and teachability in our minds. It helps us become better spouses by being more like Christ. How? Receiving what he has to say and living in response to it.

As we’ve done for the past few weeks, let me give you a few questions to ask your spouse this week:

  1. Are we more passionate about being right than we are about being healthy?
  2. Are we more passionate about getting what we want than getting what we need?
  3. Are we more passionate about seeing change in our spouse than experiencing change in our lives?

This week, humbly go over the questions. But I’d challenge you to not forget the first one from the beginning of the message: “What personal change, if you made it today, would make a difference in your life and/or marriage?”

Love you all.

See you this Sunday!!.

BTW: Here’s a song for your week

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Distraction of Rejection” #PivotPoint

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday and in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, sometimes you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

We continued our current series at Kfirst. “Pivot Point” has been our study of the life of Jacob. Even though he didn’t have the “model life”, God always had something beautiful in store for him. Our goal yesterday was to help people understand: “The rejection you feel has no bearing on the acceptance that you carry.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

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Like the narrative of Genesis 29-30 shows us, we can find ourselves shaping how we view our lives through the frame of our rejection.  And three of the main characters of our story shows us the variety of rejection we face.

  • Jacob – Performance Rejection (“if can do ______, then I can get my approval/achievement”)
  • Leah – Personal Rejection (“maybe if I try to _____, the he/she will accept me”)
  • Rachel – Reflective Rejection (“why does he/she get _______ and not me?”)

And because of rejection, we can easily find ourselves tethered by our pain. But as we said yesterday,

We believe that our places of brokeness can be God’s entry point for strength. As we look at the cross, we can see that see our hurt in the light of the acceptance He offers. Our simple next steps:

  1. Frame your vision with the mercy of God.
    • Every place where you sense that rejection is distracting you, see it through the lens of the mercy of God.
  2. Rest in God’s acceptance. Live for an audience of One.
    • Let go of the need to find approval and achievement. It doesn’t mean we stop “trying” to grow and accomplish things. It means we live for the audience of Jesus.

Spend some time in the Word and in prayer this week. Rest in the acceptance that Christ offers. If you need a scripture reading plan, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you on Sunday!

BTW: Here’s a song this week for your devotions playlist:

Pastor to Pastor: Getting and Gathering Sermon Ideas

Prepping for sermons…well, I love prepping (said in the voice of Stanley from “The Office” from the pretzel day episode).

I love preaching. Declaring the love of Christ to people is such an amazing privilege that I do not take lightly. It’s why I go full-tilt on my preaching preparation. My wife will tell you, my mind NEVER turns off of preaching prep. It’s good in the sense of having my radar up constantly to get and gather material. The negative, I struggle with turning it off as to enjoy myself. Thus, the reason why I needed to develop tactics and tools to help me in my message and sermon series prep.

Over the past couple years, I’ve been contacted about my practical approach to this, specifically, how I accumulate (get and gather) ideas and information.  Usually, the end of those conversations end with a request for a blog with the list of them.

I’ve found out that many ministers regulate research and ideas to office time.  Or, some will get ideas and don’t know how to organize them.  I want to make this as simple and practical as possible. I don’t consider myself a “specialist” on the subject, as it’s taken me years to work out what fits me and my personality type. Most of these tactics and tools require very little to no investment and they fit the type of person I am.  

But the key: These tactics and tools work for me. And that’s what you’ve got to discover for you. This is not an exhaustive list as you may uncover other ways/tactics. If you have something to add to the list…PLEASE SHARE!

First: Where I get ideas: 

  • Time in the Word
    • It’s incredibly difficult to hear a word for your congregation if you’re not in the Word yourself. It’s also important to note that if the Word isn’t challenging you, it’s probably not going to challenge your church community. Personal time in your bible can produce ideas, messages, and series but it shouldn’t be the goal. The goal is always a greater revelation of Christ and His Kingdom.
  •  Prayer
    • I know the scripture in James 1:19 is in the context of anger, but there is some beautiful wisdom for us as preachers. We should be “slow to speak and quick to listen.” We ought to be very quick to position our minds and heart to quiet ourselves and listen for the Spirit of the Lord to speak to our hearts. Which leads to my next thought…
  • Books
    • You’re heard it said, “leaders are readers.” I think it’s true.  But I have to admit, it’s not natural for me at all. I’m slow at it. I don’t comprehend at rates others do so it takes me time to take in what the author is saying. But it’s out of positioning myself with a variety of authors and subjects that the Lord has stirred ideas and thoughts. 
  • Running/walking
    • If you have time to pray, you’ve got time to walk. I start working well before the office hours begin. Sometime in the afternoon, I like to take a break from studies and counseling to go for a run. The exercise helps both clearing out the mind as well as providing necessary exercise for the body. I listen to podcasts of preachers for part of my run. I spend another part just praying over people. It may sound like multitasking, but it’s what works for me. 
    • NOTE: Pastors, your congregation needs you to get exercise, eat right, and be healthy. “Burning out for Jesus” doesn’t burn with Holy Spirit fire to give God glory, it burns with pride and makes people look at you. I’m not promoting a size or shape but promoting healthy habits that lead to a healthy life (see my post “Slave to the Scale“). 
  • Podcasts
    • I LOVE getting my creativity stretched by other preachers. Each preacher stretches me with both content and delivery. And the more I can get outside of my little Kfirst sphere and my denominational comfort zone, the more I can glean from the Kingdom of God and be a better man and preacher for it. 
  • Social media/websites/blogs
    • From a church/pastoral blog to Instagram accounts, I follow a variety of people, groups, and churches. We serve a creative God who, through His church, has amazing creativity. Don’t be afraid to see not just what others are doing but how they’re shaping the Message. Check out their approaches. See their promotional strategy.  Remember: We are not in competition with others. WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM AND PART A HIS KINGDOM. We are in a Kingdom of collaboration. Look at others. What you want, get permission to use. Let people in the Kingdom be iron sharpening iron
    • For example, a graphic artist wrote a blog about God leading us from Point A to Point B. I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to write down the idea.  A few years later, the Lord started stirring me toward a series on how God led Israel from captivity (Point A to the Promised Land (Point B).
      A2B Slide
      Series A2B

      The series was called “A2B.” One blog title turned into a series of messages and people encountered Christ because of it.  I thought he should know about it as well as to encourage him.

  • Living life (fun, vacation, struggles, etc.)
    • I don’t enjoy time with my family to get something to share, but my engagement in life naturally gives opportunity to connect the spiritual to the practical. So many times, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like…” He connected the Kingdom to things in the culture that people were familiar with. These metaphors or illustrations helped bridge the gap between mystery and understanding. Enjoy life. Engage with your families in life. Serve in your community. And the more you live, the more stories you’ll develop. You’ll no longer be depending upon some book of “101 Great Sermon Illustrations.” Why? You’re developing them right now. People want to connect to the human being on the stage. And the best way, I believe is for them to hear about how you are still working, growing, and yes, sometimes struggling.  
    • NOTE: Never share a family story without permission. I don’t share about my wife or the children unless they give me permission. 

Second: How do I gather and develop ideas?

My whiteboard – $20 (for the hardware)

 

 

 

I literally found a piece of plexiglass in a closet in a church. Paint the side facing the wall and add a couple decorative bolts and you’ve got a whiteboard. As I’m thinking, I sketch out thoughts. I’ll write out scriptures in one color and work out ideas with other colors. It helps me look at the main thought/point and work out of it while being able to go back and reference it.

My schedule – $0

My calendar has a weekly flow to it (even if I’m not preaching on Sunday).  From planned time to study to taking a break from books to go for a run to pray over the message, I do my best to keep a schedule.  Monday mornings at the coffeehouse is about getting my mind off of the previous Sunday and fixed upon the next message. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are about crafting the message. Saturday morning is about prayer and focus.

Something I’ve built into my schedule is “future” message time.

 

 

 

 

On Monday afternoons, I spend time in prayer over the preaching calendar. It’s at this time I spend time seeking and listening to God regarding the upcoming 4-6 months of the preaching calendar. That leads me to…

My “future series” calendar – $30 chalkboard from Hobby Lobby; $6 for the chalk markers

 

 

 

This might be the most expensive piece in my office. I use the colored tape to mark out how the series flow (start and stop). It helps give me an overview as to how the year looks. Some of the pieces have the names of the series. Some are blank. Usually, I have locked in the direction of the next 3-4 series as it helps me in my prep.

My Google File – Free (for 15GB)

 

 

 

 

Having a filing system at my fingertips is huge. From laptop, iPad, or iPhone, any idea or thought can go right into the appropriate file. I always add a hashtag onto the name of the current series as it keeps the file at the top (as seen in the pic as #Playlist).  The next series is always in this located on this screen as it’s there for easy access (for some reason, the next series “Pivot Point” was cut off of the graphic). Obviously, with the filename “Future Series and Messages,” it shows the catchall location for any ideas that come from prayer and research.

My Journal – $3-5

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you’ve got to close the computer and physically write things down. I can’t carry my Whiteboard in my backpack, so this is my way to sketch thoughts and connecting thoughts. Sometimes I’ll draw out an idea of graphics. Other times, I’ll write the heart of the message/series and, than underneath it, try out some titles.

My Wall – $5.99 per large sheet of foam-board (creates roughly 12 sermon plates)

 

 

 

The “wall” reminds me of the series we have covered with our congregation. Part of it helps me steward what we’ve studied as a congregation. The very practical side: We want to steward the graphics of the past series as to make sure we don’t have the same look and feel of other series. I remember something I heard on Food Network: People eat with their eyes first. I’ve taken that to proclaiming the Word. Graphics are not primary as  Jesus is primary. But a name and graphic can trigger interest as well as remind someone of the Word that was proclaimed.  

My “Preaching” Bible – $2.99 for the package of red pens 

 

 

 

 

This may seem small, but it’s a big deal to me. Since pastoring at Kfirst, I started with a fresh bible and started underlining my main preaching texts and dating them in red. It helps me be a steward of the Word in regards to what I’m bringing to our congregation. As ideas and creativity come to me, I like to get into the Word and see if and when I as a pastor have visited that passage and when that happened.

This may see like much, but over the past 7 years of being the Lead Pastor, it’s the practical way that I approach the getting, gathering, and the developing of messages and series information/creativity. The success of this blog is that you will discover, perhaps, a new way to help steward this amazing privilege that we preachers have in delivering the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

I love you all.  I’m praying that our creative God will give you creativity beyond what you could ask for or imagine. 

 

Thanks for letting me ramble…