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: “Six-Word Story” #DreamsAndDrama

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 started our fall series at Kfirst. Every September, we study a specific person in scripture and this year we’ve landed on Joseph.

He’s a brother sold into slavery. A slave who faced trials and temptation. A prisoner innocent of any crime. A wise man, full of integrity, elevated to a position of influence amongst his enemies. This is the story of Joseph.

Sunday, we continued this “dreamer’s” story. Now in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, God is blessing him in the place of his incarceration. It is here where “isolation” begins to test the dreams he’s had.

Check yesterday out either from the website or from the Facebook livestream:

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Live a story; leave a testimony.
  • Everything I do and say tells a story of whom I serve.
  • In Christ, we are NEW creatures with OLD stories.
  • God is using your whole life to tell His story. All of your story matters, because God’s story matters.
  • A glimpse of God’s glory will change how you view your story.
  • Never BURY what you are meant to CARRY. Your story matters.

Love you all. Have an amazing week.

BTW: Here’s our new song at Kfirst.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: #MYCHURCH week 1 “Everyone is Significant”

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.

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January is about “newness.” Whether we are talking about a new start, new life, new opportunities, or just new vision, a new year naturally directs our focus forward into endless possibilities.

And its every January where we celebrate the newness of what God has in store for Kfirst  community as we kickoff our annual #MYCHURCH series.

Yesterday, we focused upon one of our values which states, “Everyone is Significant.” And we believe that the cross and resurrection of Jesus is proof of that.

The first chapter of John brought our focus upon how that truth helps us to form healthy habits. And when we establish healthy habits, they lead to holy moments. In John 1:35-42, John the Baptist connected with to those around him and pointed them to Jesus. How? Through relational equity. Those in his community trusted in him because of the relationship of integrity he built.  The more you grow relationships, them more potential you have for impacting lives. He grew enough equity that when he pointed out the Messiah, people knew they could believe him.

How can we build “relational equity”? Two ways:

  1. Love people where they live.
  2. Tell people what you know.

When we form the healthy habits of loving people right where they’re at AND telling them the story of our journey, we have great potential for holy moments of impacting them. Our response of love mixed with the authenticity of our stories help build bridges from the Kingdom of God into people’s lives. (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. How can you begin these healthy habits this week? How can you begin to build relational equity with? How can you show the love of Christ in your sphere of influence? Who can you speak encouragement into? This is how we can respond and be the church Kalamazoo needs.

Also, if you’re looking for a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Sunday as we continue our series.

BTW: Here’s a song for your week’s playlist.

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “St(X)ry” #uneXpected

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.

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Yesterday, we continued our Christmas series at Kfirst called”uneXpected.” Everything about the Christmas story was completely uneXpected. A pregnant virgin. A King born in a cave. Shepherds experiencing angelic announcements. Wise men bowing before a peasant child. Nothing about the birth of Jesus was what anyone really eXpected…

…but it was exactly what we needed.

We brought a prayer for the month of December that was born out of Luke 1:38-39, “Lord, help me to be humble enough to CATCH what you say & CLING to Your instruction so CHRIST is seen in all I say & do.” (Click here for yesterday’s notes.)

Have you ever had something happen to you that made you think you had to abandon everything you planned? What you may be experiencing is not the end of your story but the end of a “season” in your story.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:18-25 as we studied Joseph. Of the little we know of him, we catch what may be the most important thing about him: His Motives.

Yesterday, we read out of Matthew 1:20 as we studied the interaction of Joseph and the Angel. The message of God to Joseph came to him at a time of frustration and failure, a place of hopelessness and heaviness. The news of his soon-to-be wife being pregnant was enough to devastate everything he envisioned. It’s why we said yesterday:

From this simple portion of scripture we see three thoughts:

  1. Everybody needs to encounter God for themselves.
  2. You can’t live for God by yourself.
  3. Every day is a decision: Live by faith or sight.

And when we step out in faith, our faith intersects with God’s faithfulness and miracles begin to happen.

What changes and challenges are you facing? Are you in the middle of a tough season? If you are, I want to challenge you to submit the brokenness and frustration to God. The problem is not that God has abandoned us in our pain, but that sometimes we refuse to face it with him. Sometimes, we hold onto it and think it’s our “sentence” in life.

But, in Christ, the best is yet to come. And God hasn’t brought you this far, to bring you this far. There’s more to your story. There’s more, in Christ, ahead of you.

Our messages are for Monday and we need to put action to what the Lord is speaking. Give God what is heavy upon your heart and ask the Lord to give you the vision to see some steps of faith to move forward in faith and not sight.

Also, if you’re looking for a scripture reading plan to go along with our message, check out this one.

Love you all.  See you this Saturday as we step into our Christmas Eve Service!

A “Yesterday Marriage”: 5 ways to help your marriage to not live off of re-runs.

Of all of our differences, Anne and I don’t really walk in agreement with the concept of re-runs.  We both love shows and enjoy watching them together.  But re-runs are a different story. I can only think of one show series in the past 17 years of marriage in which she’ll entertain the re-runs. But other than that, she watches a show and moves on.  I am her polar opposite.  I thrive on re-runs.  M*A*S*H, The West Wing, Taxi, and Whose Line are just a few I can’t get enough of (not to mention I’ll watch old football games…she totally doesn’t get that).  I love the nostalgia of it as well as the opportunity of passing great shows onto my kids.  Cammi loves a few of them (Saved by the Bell, Cosby Show).  Ethan shot down most of them after 5 minutes of the first episode. (Macgyver, A-Team, Battlestar Galactica).

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Re-runs take you back in time (without a flux capacitor).  Even just hearing theme songs, you can picture yourself in another time and place.  Things seemed much simpler…less complicated. They can even provide you with a sense of security.  Unfortunately, instead of enjoying the reflective nature of nostalgia, we tend to make it a place to live.  

This is a dangerous place for marriages.  I call them “Yesterday Marriages.” They are couples where someone (or both spouses) are living in the past.  They have the inability to move forward because they are living off of the re-runs of their marriage.  You can’t change your marriage living on re-runs. 

5 ways to help your marriage to not live off re-runs: 

1. Drop your subscription to unhealthy storylines.  Anne and I are Hulu and Netflix people (this blog isn’t sponsored by either).  The reason we subscribe to them is they provide us with the entertainment we desire.  Some of you are subscribed to attitudes that are unhealthy to your marriage. By “subscribe,” I mean you know you are doing it but do nothing about it.  Lack of action is an action in of itself.  It means you are welcoming it. Bitterness, negativity, ingratitude, and the like are attitudes that are designed corrode any sibilance of joy in your marriage. They’ll create storylines that are unnecessary.  Drop your subscription to that storyline and move on. 

2. Know your ratings; check your emotions. I’m an emotional guy and I believe that feelings are important. To have emotions proclaims our humanity. Yet, like anything in life, we are called to be stewards of our emotions.  A few weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to do exactly what the Psalmist does in Psalms 42: question your emotions. He questions his emotions 3 times.  Why? We base truth by how we feel.  I know this doesn’t apply to you, but my emotions change daily. I can be (not all the time) irrational.  If truth is how we feel, then truth shifts and changes based upon whether we had coffee, had sex with our spouse, or our NCAA bracket is going okay. Call your emotions into question and base truth upon who Christ is.  We are to bring truth to our marriage rather than allowing feelings/circumstances to dictate truth to us.

3. Shut off the drama.  We were meant to live in community/relationships. I believe God moves in community.  But that which God uses, Satan perverts. People that crave drama love to create it and feed it.  They’re easy to identify.  Look at what they post on social media. Look at what they reference whenever they contact you to you.  If they’re poking at your past and/or asking about business that isn’t theirs to know or be involved with, then they’re trying to get you to entertain “re-runs.”  Get some boundaries with them.  Draw some lines and shut off the drama.  They’re not propelling you towards health.  They are an anchor to you moving forward. 

4. Cancel the series.  Anne and I have mourned the cancellation of certain series (Jericho is one that comes to mind).  If you’re entertaining unhealthy thoughts of the past, then it’s time to stop subscribing to them.  It’s a choice.  Don’t tell me it’s not.  You may not be able to stop the thought from popping up in your head but you DO have a choice on how long that thought lingers. Lust, unforgiveness, comparing marriage, fantasies about having a different spouse are all networks that have not right being in your head feeding re-runs of what life “could have been.” Shut them down. Cancel the series.

5. New episodes cannot happen without new material.  You can’t develop anything new if you don’t do anything new. Marriages can’t move on from re-runs if there’s nothing new to work with.  Memories are created with opportunities.  Some of the reasons your marriage might be boring is, well, you are boring.  Get out and do something.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Anne and I enjoy taking walks (zero cost) and talking about our day (zero cost).  We love sitting on our bed watching shows together ($7.99 a month). New material for new memories doesn’t take much money if all, but it  Take a drive. Get some ice cream.  Be simple but creative.  Your spouse would rather you fail trying than fail to try.  Make time.  Your spouse is worth it. 

You can’t change the your world on re-runs.  It’s time to move forward.  Most people are looking for the fresh start because, in their mind, it’s the only place to start.  Instead of thinking you need a new spouse for a new start, start with a new you for your present spouse.  

Living on “re-runs” places a whole lot of trust in ourselves and in a fantasy world of “what could be.”  There is no promise in that.  But people just cast their marriage aside with empty hope, praying that the next time through will be better.  The problem is: you carry the same “re-run” issues into the next marriage.   1 Corinthians 5:17 says

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Instead of scrapping your marriage, scrap the old you and put on the new you in Christ.  Instead of placing your trust in you, place your faith in Christ and live life from that place.  What you will discover is the hope that we have in Christ moves our fixation off of us and our past, and places our focus upon who we are in him.  You need a fresh start and a fresh place to work from? Become new in Christ and let him, not your re-runs be the foundation of a new future for your marriage.

Don’t have a “yesterday marriage.” Get out of the past and see the future you two have together in Christ. 

Thanks for letting me ramble…