Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why Do We Do What We Do?

I find myself lost in a whirl wind of day to day activities and responsibilities. Sometimes, church becomes just what we do. It is part of our "job". Sometimes, I find myself annoyed at all the kids running around in the halls. Well, truthfully just annoyed at the ones that belong to me. I let Satan get the best of me sometimes.

Then, God reminds me why we do what we do. Today, we had cookies hand delivered by a girl that we take to church. With it was a thank you note for taking her to church. In the note it said, "If it wasn't for you guys, I don't think I would've ever accepted Jesus".

Life can be such a struggle. We struggle to balance everything on our plates. But here is what the fight is really for: Eternity. These kids that I come in contact with are eternal beings. The children in my home will spend eternity somewhere. I want it to be with Jesus. It's not just for fun for my kids to take friends to church. Their eternal souls are at risk! How quickly I am to grumble about the things on my plate. Each one is a blessing. Each event is a chance to change where one of these kids spend eternity.

Lesson learned, God. Lesson is learned. God alone is to be praised. If it was up to me, I would spend every Sunday morning in bed watching TV. I'm just being honest. It is because God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and self discipline that I get out of bed everyday.

So, take heart, my friends. You make the same PB&J sandwich everyday for a little eternal being. One day, he/she will have a little understanding on how consistent God is by how consistent you were in making them lunch everyday. One day, your little one will raise their hand in a church service or at a youth camp and ask Jesus to be Lord of their life.

We do what we do because eternity is on the line. We do what we do to bring glory to the God that created us. Rediscover your motivation today!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Church Planting, Part 2

Warning! This blog is going to be boring. It is just information. Sorry it is a little dry!

Here are the basics of how our church meets.

Our church meets in a local elementary school on Sunday mornings. We get there about 8am, with all our kids in tow. The men unload the trailer that houses all our stuff. They set up all the speakers, and stuff like that. The women mainly set up the kids areas. We do our worship service in the cafeteria. We have our kids space in the gym. It is divided up into three areas by the tables from the cafeteria. We have the nursery area, preschool area, and then the area for the school aged kids. We set up our hospitality tables, check in tables, make coffee and all the jazz.

We stop and have a time of prayer before people start arriving. I have to say that it is one of my favorite times of the week. It is just great to take time and prepare our hearts and attitudes before we encounter others. Let's be honest here, it can get a bit stressful when you are setting everything up and there are kids running around! We do have two youth that come in and help with that aspect of it. It is a nice luxury to have.

Then, we do church as you would assume. Afterwards, we tear it all down. It all goes back in the trailer to wait for the next Sunday.

Sunday nights are when we do our youth Bible study. Right now it is about 5 girls that come over to our house. We go over our study together. Then, we have dinner together with the youth and launch team and ALL of our kids (there are a lot of them!). After dinner we have our launch team meeting.

Wednesday nights we have Bible study for youth and above at the pastor's house. We do pizza, send the kiddos upstairs to the playroom, and jump right in. We have been doing a study on the basics.

That, in a nutshell, answers most people's basic questions on how we do church at our church. But that is just scratching at the surface. Church planting is a lifestyle. It is being a missionary. Let's explore that in another post.

Being a Missionary in Texas

I know you are asking yourself what being a missionary looks like when you are in Texas. Let me be real clear here. We are not "missionaries" under some organization. We are simply a family called to be missionaries in our present location. So what does that look like? What is being a missionary?

It is being more aware of the people you come in contact with. It is being more bold in finding out where people are in their lives, and what their needs are. It is being ready and willing to meet those needs. It is being strategic in where you put your kids in sports, so that you can come in contact with people out of your normal sphere of influence. It's being willing to help out at the school with little or no notice at all. It's doing things to show appreciation to the public servants of our city. It is simply building relationships with people you wouldn't normally. Isn't that what we would be doing in the Congo? Talking to our neighbors? Meeting whatever needs we could? Forming relationships with them in hopes that one day the doors will open for us to share the gospel with them? So, that is what it looks like. It is living your life in an intentional way for Christ.

God has brought various people into our lives. Right now, for the most part it seems to be teenagers that he is calling us to minister to. I'm going to be honest right now. I don't really like teenagers that much. I didn't like myself as a teen. I do really well with other women. So, I have asked God why can't I just lead a women's Bible study. I plead with him, "youth? Really??? Me and youth?" Yet, we are not called to what we are equipped for, but He equips us for what we are called. I know that it is not on my own understanding or talents that I lead this small group of teenage girls in Bible study every Sunday night. It is in Christ alone. That really is our theme of our lives right now.

Here is an example of being more aware of the people God places in our paths. This afternoon I had Andrew's 6Th birthday party at our home. A little boy from his kindergarten class was dropped off. The mother didn't get out of the car. Later, when she returned for her son as I was telling another mom how we do our church (see previous post), she asked where we went to church and what denomination it was. I could see the walls going up in her eyes, preparing for the worst. I, then, explained about how we are associated with the SBC of Texas and are based on those core beliefs. But, there is always a BUT after that. We are a come as you are church. We want to meet people where they are. We come to church in jeans, and most have tattoos (at least it seems to me!). We are not your stereotypical, judgmental, put you in a perfect little box church. We are real people doing life together. We welcome everyone. I could see the question of "even my family?" in her eyes. Yes. Even your family. Everyone has baggage to one extent or another. I told her how we were doing a Christmas Eve service. She was thrilled! She said she had been wanting to find somewhere to go for Christmas Eve. They have lived here for two years, and had yet to find a church. They are from California, and had felt judged everywhere they went.

So, now I just pray for her and her family. I pray that they make it in our doors, and that we get the opportunity to love on them. That is always my prayer. Let me simple love the people you bring to us. Let me show them Christ's love.

It all seems really basic, right? To some it may sound crazy. To others it sounds like what we should all be doing anyway. The problem is that we weren't really living as missionaries before. Although, we were in fact already missionaries for Christ. We were more focused on doing church, and the programs we were involved in. We didn't really see the true mission in it all. Now, our eyes have been opened, and our lives will never be the same. We are called.

What is Christ calling you to do? You, too, my friend, are called. You are kaleo. God's word says that we are called. Be bold and intentional in your lives. You don't know who God is going to place in your path. Decide today to be a missionary. Join us where you are on this great adventure!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Church Planting???

I realize it has been over a year since I have updated my blog. I recently heard a lady talk about why she blogs, and decided that there are some things that I want to let my family and friends know about. Plus, I love to read others blogs, so maybe someone will like reading mine!

First, the most important thing going on is our life for those who do not know, we left the church we have been at since moving to the Fort Worth area. We have joined in partnering in ministry with a church plant. I know that some people think, "Why? Fort Worth has tons of churches!" The answer to the question is that the population growth in our area has far surpassed church growth. There is a need that is not being met. There are lost and hurting people all around us. We are called.

For those who are wondering about the journey that brought us to Kaleo Community Church here is the story:

Towards the end of MOPS last year, I met a girl named Crystal. By met, I said good morning, and that was about it. The next meeting she came to she was wearing a Pine Cove shirt. She was not just wearing a PC shirt. She was wearing our family camp theme shirt from the year before. I know. I have it, and wear it often. Of course I went up to her and was, "Where did you get that!?! Do you go to Pine Cove?? What week?? We go week two! We love Pine Cove!" Once she figured out I wasn't crazy (well, not too crazy anyway), I found out they go week one! For all my PC peeps, you know that there is an instant bond for family camp families. I don't think that it matters what week you go. I think it must be like how some twins have a bond, and their own language. There is special camp language. You know people that go by weird names like Reba Smackentire, and Toolbie. So, this time I actually listened when she said they were church planters. I learned they were starting a church in their home. I learned they knew some of the people at my church, and that they used to go to Harvest themselves.

Over the summer I felt led to pray for them, and their ministry. Quite frankly, I didn't even remember her name. I knew that God did. I just had them on my heart all summer. I didn't see Crystal again till our MOPS meet and greet after the new school year had started. Guess what? I was put in her small group! I found out that not only were they from my "hood" (North west siders!), but they actually live in my addition! Crazy, right?

My heart was so drawn to their ministry. I asked about their church. I found out they were meeting in a school not far from our homes. I somehow convinced Bryce to go check out their church one Sunday that we didn't have any commitments at Harvest. I wanted to help support her and her ministry, and just see what a church plant was all about.

As I was sitting in the cafeteria/sanctuary singing with 15 other people, I was overwhelmed. I knew I was where God wanted me to be. I tried not to be that weird visitor that sits in service and cries, but it didn't work out so well. I knew, I mean I knew that God wanted me there. My blessed Redeemer was speaking to me personally! Now, the question Bryce hearing and feeling the same thing?

A few days later, Bryce met with Russell (Crystal's hubby and the pastor). Bryce knew he wanted to support their ministry after talking over lunch with Russ. But, he thought maybe we could just support them financially. After all, we are really plugged in, and already serving at Harvest. A few day after that Bryce got an email. Long story short, God let Bryce know that he didn't want just his money. He wanted him. Sometimes, the God of the universe uses other people and circumstances to talk to us. This was one of those times.

There was a lot of praying, a lot of talking, and a lot of least tears on my part over the next week or so. We came together and realized that God was calling us to serve at Kaleo. They were in need of people that could commit to being there, and were established in their faith. Church planting isn't about finding people from other churches that aren't happy. It is about reaching the lost people. Pastor Russ says that there should be two types of people in our church: missionaries and lost people. Guess where we fit in???

That's right. We are missionaries. That is really how we see our roll with Kaleo. I got to say that I am more that a little grateful that God didn't call us to be missionaries in the Congo, or somewhere far away. He has called us to stay in our nice, air conditioned home. Where our kids can stay in their nice, familiar schools. Where I can still still see my nice, sweet friends that I have made in the area. Thank you, Jesus! But, what does being a missionary is Saginaw, Texas look like? Where are we in this journey now? I'll be answering those questions in the next few days.

Oh, and I know you're wondering what Kaleo means. It is a weird sounding word! It is the Greek word for called. How fitting. That is what we feel. We are called. We are called to be missionaries in Saginaw, Texas.