Men’s Night – April 16

Men’s Night is happening TOMORROW night – Saturday, April 16 at 6 p.m. We’ll grill out, with Kevin Acevedo’s famous burgers and dogs.

We will have worship and hear a challenging message from Pastor Josh Hannah of Friendship World Outreach Church.  Josh pastors four campuses in Waverly, McEwen, Pegram and Dickson. Josh is a powerful speaker, so I know we will be blessed and challenged.

All teenage guys and men need to make every effort to attend.

Mark your attendance on Facebook by clicking here.

It’s going to be a blast!

A Family Expecting Guests

A church is suppose to be a family, but not a closed family.  We discussed this dynamic at the Volunteers Dinner on Sunday night.

As a family, we work together to to prepare for guests.   There is energy that comes from working together, making progress and making sure the “family house” (the church) is ready for guests.

Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to prepare a house for company, then ignore the guests when they arrive?   That’s what many churches do.  They have great worship facilities, rehearsed music, professional children’s ministry and skilled speaking, yet they overlook the simplest of practices – friendliness.

At CIL we want to be the friendliest church possible.   As volunteers, our motto will be we are a Family, Expecting Guests.

Creators, Not Critics

In 2006 and 2007 I went on two separate mission trips to New York City with my church plant from Tennessee (this picture is of me preaching though an interpreter at a drug rehab of Puerto Rican men).

The trip was hosted by a great group called the New York School of Urban Missions.   This trip focused on a variety of outreaches, but serving the homeless was a key focus.  We would go out at midnight, and take blankets to the homeless.  I respect so much this ministry who does this on a regular basis, and not simply a special trip.

One of the team members from my group criticized passing out blankets for not being evangelistic enough by asking the question, “So what’s the point?”  She went on to state, “what’s the point of passing out blankets if we don’t get people saved?”

In his book The Next Christians, Gabe Lyons encourages us to be creators, not critics.   He writes about acts of service:

“ . . . they don’t always lead to immediate conversions.  And for these Christians, that’s okay. They believe that part of service to God is bringing signs that point to His Kingdom and tangibly expressing his love to those in need – even when the measurable result of conversion can never be tallied (p. 93).”

I believe we need to ask people tough question about eternity, but our hysteria to get people “converted” can cause us to overlook the value of simply loving people in the name of Jesus.   To the homeless man who could have froze on the street, that blanket meant something that night.  Being warm that night was more important than being a statistic for conversion.   Non-Christians need to feel our hearts of compassion for the hurting, before they will listen to our Four Spiritual Laws.

Provoked, Not Offended

If Christians are going to become “reformers,” we need to be Provoked, Not Offended.   This is one of the conclusions of Gabe Lyons in his book The Next Christians.

The tendency we have is to get offended and withdrawn.  This was characterized in the 1990’s with the frequent calls to boycott organizations among evangelicals (for example: The boycott of Disney).   Evangelicals discovered the even though we are really big in numbers, we weren’t quite as big as we thought.   Careless withdrawal from the world is what the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day.

It’s real easy to operate like a Pharisee – I know I have.   I assume most Pharisees started out with pure motives.   In an appreciation for the spiritual life, a Pharisee wants to look, act and sound spiritual.  However, when outward appearances become more important than the condition of the heart, then a religious spirit has overtaken those initial motivations.

Instead, we should be Provoked, To Engage.  We need to see how we can engage with those people who offend us, and be the light of Christ.  As always, there are cautions that need to be observed and boundaries that need to be defined when engaging culture.  However, Lyons put it well when he wrote, “For the next Christians, running away is not an option.”