Creating Community is today’s reading. I think one of my favorite phrases when it comes to our community of believers is “we’re doing life together“. THat’s really what community is. It’s a bunch of us being committed to each other, because of our commitment to Christ. This only happens over the long haul, as trust and understanding is developed.
I think that’s one of the things that grieves me most about our church shopping mentality in America today. People “choose” a church based on what it does for them (as if they aren’t the church), and then as soon as they’re bored or tired of that church, or heaven forbid the leadership makes a decision they don’t agree with, and they’re out.
I don’t think this is what Christ meant when He designated the church as His bride. I don’t think it’s what Paul meant when when he described the church as a body; as if the arm could simply disatttach itself without consequences the minute it didn’t agree with a decision the brain made.
I’ve committed my ministry career to serving at Palm Valley Church, and doing life with the people of this body, as their shepherd. I’m thankful for a lot of people who get that we’re in this for the long haul; and they’re willing to grow with me. Because they understand that in community we all make mistakes, we all have growing to do, and we all need each other to fully become like Christ! They allow me to be myself, do the best I can, and have a blast doing life together!
This weekend is kind of crazy. The school we’re meeting at has a dance Saturday night, so we have to cancel our Sat. night service. I love it when God has us do something different to overcome a challenge, it keeps us fresh and creative.In order to get set-up done, here’s the schedule…
Saturday at 1:30 pm:Â we will set-up all the children’s and youth rooms, including nursery, pre-school, grade-school.
Saturday at Midnight: we will set up the gym .
So, if you’re looking for something fun to do this Saturday nigth, come on down to Desert Edge and join your friends in turning a gym into a worship center. By the way, I’m bringing free pizza for everyone who shows up. It should be a blast!
This morning I was having a conversation with Paul Lewis, our Pastor To New Believers, and he was sharing how much this morning’s reading in the Purpose Driven Life had meant to him. So, I asked him to guest write today’s blog on the PDL. Enjoy Paul’s thoughts…
I love the red sandstone here in Arizona. I have a chunk that I collected off the side of the road some time back. This piece sits on a shelf in our house (I know it sounds weird, but once I even bought a rock because it looked cool). It occurred to me in my devotions that that stone is like my heart.Â It is a hard rock that you could walk on, but over time God shapes it and chips off the corners until finally it is melted away into sand. I love people, and care for them, but sometimes my hard heart makes me want to slap them up side the head and say â€œwhy did you get yourself into this mess, what were you thinking.â€Â Sometimes I care on the outside, but wonder if I really care on the inside. I donâ€™t want to go through the motions. I want to care deeply for people. I donâ€™t want to judge their situation, I just want to care and show them the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Along with my devotions (Iâ€™m currently in Jeremiah), I am reading â€œThe Purpose Driven Lifeâ€ by Rick Warren (today was day 18) and â€œJust Walk Across the Roomâ€ by Bill Hybels. Itâ€™s amazing how the Holy Spirit worked especially today through these authors to address this area of my life that I need to grow in. To reach people for Christ (and to care for those who know Him) we need to truly care for them and interact with them. Bill (JWAR) pointed out what I already knew, that for most Christians, the longer you believe, the less you interact with the non-believing world. He goes on to say that this isnâ€™t Godâ€™s plan. We need to get to know our neighbors and others we come in contact with daily by truly caring for them.Â Do you know the story of your checker at the store? Then Rick (PDL) points out that in Galatians 6:2 it says that we need to share each otherâ€™s troubles and problems, in doing so we obey the law of Christ (To love one another). Notice that it says share them, not just hear about them.
Here goes another chunk of rock! I know and trust that God is working in my heart to mold me daily more and more into His image. My prayer is that when I see Jesus face to face He will show me a jar of sand to show me that my heart was been melted away. Thatâ€™s my prayer for you today too! Take the time to call someone to show that you care. Ask someone you encounter today to tell you their story and pray for them. Let the love of Christ leak out of you today and spill into the life of someone else.
This Sunday we celebrate 6 years to the day that we started Palm Valley Church. What an incredible journey this has been! I love that God called Lori and I to start PVC.Â I’m pumped to be with our body this weekend as we celebrate!
One of the things only church planters really understand is how crazy beginning a church can be. Starting with 8 in our home, to what PVC is now has been simply off the hook. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life, I’m thankful for this.
Beginning tomorrow, I will be blogging each day for the next few weeks about lessongs I’ve learned along the way. Primarily, I’m writing to express our journey in a way that might help other church planters. But if you’re a person who attends Palm Valley, you’ll get a unique insight to some things you may have never known, issues we’ve dealt with, things I’ve never talked about publically, and just the nuts and bolts of what God has taught me! Tune in tomorrow.
We were made to belong. We were made for relationships. The focus of this is in the body of Christ, and visibly the local church. I’m a big fan of the local church, it’s the bride of Christ, He gave His life for it. I love what Bill Hybels has said, “the local church is the hope of the world”.
Specifically, I’m thankful for my local body, Palm Valley Church. I’m thankful I belong! I’m thankful for what this body has meant to my life…
- My four children are growing up at PVC.
- 3 of my kids have accepted Christ as their Savior at PVC.
- I have a ton of deep relationships I’ve formed at PVC, the best friendships I’ve ever experienced.
- I love that I can be myself at PVC, no need to try to impress anybody.
- I love that my wife loves our church (that’s huge for pastors).
- I love that my kids look forward to the weekend at PVC.
- I love that my kids love Breakout, our growth program for kids.
- I love that the nursery workers know my baby girl’s name.
- We’re reaching a ton of people for Christ.
- Lives are being changed.
- Addicts are being freed.
- Marriages are being restored.
- Young people are becoming passionate about their faith.
- We have an incredible staff team.
- I work with friends.
- People at PVC have incredible hearts for the Lord. They want to grow.
- PVC has provided me the opportunity to help other pastors.
That’s a few reasons why I’m thankful I belong in the body of Christ, and to the local church of Palm Valley. How about you?