It Chaffs Me

Most marketers and sales people focus most of their attention on taking clients or customers from “the other guy.”  If you sell Mt. Dew then you try and win over the Pepsi drinker.  If you sell Chevy’s then you need to win over the Toyota fan….I think you get the idea.

One of the things that has always chaffed my behind is how that mentality has seeped into the church world.  We set up our churches in a way that wins people over from “the other guy.”  Who is that “other guy” in church world?  Well, he is the pastor that has been just down the road for years and loves God.  He serves his people, and introduces many to Jesus.  He has set up his church experience to the best of his ability and he loves his flock that God has blessed him with.  So then Johnny come lately sets up his church 3 blocks away and markets and tells everyone how his church is not like the other one but better.  Yea that chaff’s me for a couple of reasons.

The number one reason that it makes me scratch is because I thought we were supposed to be focused on the lost.  You know, that silly little scripture about how we should leave the 99 to find the one.  Remember?  But instead we have purposefully set up systems and structures that perpetuate feeding the 99 and not allowing the one to even come in.  I know we need to take care of the flock that has been blessed to us, but wouldn’t we be better stewards if instead of feeding them and molding them, we taught them how to feed themselves.  Wouldn’t it be better to follow the example of Jesus?  What Sunday school program did he set up for his disciples?  Remember?  Oh, he said, “Go!  Don’t take anything with you.  If you get kicked out of a place, shake it off, walk it off and move on.”  Yep, no training.  No 5 steps to inner complacency, just hard core, ‘stop your whining and go.’

The second reason it chaffs me is because we are supposed to be on the same team.  That church and this church, your church and my church are all on the same team!

My 5 year old plays T-Ball, and it is a hoot!  I often relate it to watching moths mate.  One kid hits the ball, then 11 boys chase the ball.  They tackle each other, hit each other and hurt each other, all to get the ball.  The entire time coaches are yelling to get off each other, the ump is laughing, and the hitter rounds the bases to the applause of parents.  Yup, that’s a perfect picture of the Kingdom of God.  We are all fighting over the ball while Satan gets to run the bases.  How easy it would be if the mighty church would realize who is on the team, hand the ball to the one best suited at that given moment to chuck it at the Devil and beam him in the head.  (Okay I know beaming the runner in the head is not baseball, but we are talking about Satan.  Let’s beam him in the head.)

I never want SouthPoint to turn into an institution that is entirely focused on raising fat sheep who know every nook and cranny of the word, yet never leaving the stall to bring more in.  I have a dream, that it really is possible to establish a church, a movement that focuses on the un-churched and the de-churched in a powerfully life giving way.  Showing people that Jesus is loving and gracious, introduce them, and then send out those neophytes to bring in others.  When that happens we won’t have to strive for anybody to come, it will instead be a beautiful synergy that brings honor to God and the Kingdom.

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One Prayer

This Sunday we begin One Prayer.  We are joining with over 600 other churches from all over the world and it is going to be extremely exciting!  The theme this year is “God is_________”.  This Sunday I will be filling in the blank with SURPRISE!  God is full of surprises.  You gotta come and be surprised by all that God has for us.

Along with One Prayer we want to serve.  Serving the commuity is part of the DNA of SouthPoint, and it goes well with us because we have so many amazing people and servants that it would be a waste to not do anything.  Watch this video from Dino Rizzo Healing Place Church and then comment HERE on some ways you would like to see us serve our community in the next few weeks.

Called not Counted

I read today in Romans chapter 9 where Paul wrote that God doesn’t count us but He calls us.  That might not seem like a big deal to you, but to me it’s great to know that God called me.  You have to know somebody’s name in order to call them.  You have to call their name. God knows my name!  He knows that my mom named me Craig.  I’m not just “pastor number 1,365,432”, He knows my name.  That helps me get through difficult times knowing that God knows who I am, and he knows my hurts, my pains, and my joys.  He called me, he doesn’t count me.

No matter what I’m going through today, which is actually more than I think I can handle sometimes, God knows where I am and he cares.  He genuinely knows where I am and how am doing, because he’s the one who called me, by name.  Nope, today I am more than a number.  I am more than just another person in the sea of humanity, my creator knows me by name.

Don’t you always feel good when you go some where and the person in charge or a bigwig calls you by name?  Wouldn’t it be cool if you went to like a Foo Fighters concert and in front of thousands of people the lead singer said, “I just wanna give a shout out to my good friend ____________ (place your name in the blank).”  Yea that would be awesome.

Well, I know that today the creator of all is calling us by name and saying, “Yea I wanna give a shout out to _______________ (Your name on the blank).  I know they are having a bad day and a rough time of it right now, but they are on my mind and on my heart and so I wanna just give them a shout out in front of all of creation and say that you are a champion!  Keep fighting.  Don’t stop!  The battle stinks but the victory is sweet!”