(the BOTTOM LINE from Jan 28th)

Hey gang…here’s THE BOTTOM LINE from this past Sunday, the 28th.

We continued in the teaching series “these ARE my church clothes” by focusing on the importance of doing life together. The question was asked – why do we need to do life together? Here’s the 3 reasons that were suggested:

1 – disciple-making cannot happen without it. According to Jesus’ life and ministry, doing life together is both required and is the evidence of making disciples. We have to do life together with one another and with our culture in order to make disciples, and a disciple made is evidenced by his or her love expressed within the context of true connection and community.

2 – we really need each other. We were designed for connection and community. We were made to speak into each other’s lives. We MUST lay aside “false togetherness” (being polite acquaintances with one another) and truly walk together.

3 – our needs are taken care of when we focus on taking care of one another. We can quit asking “what about my needs” when we are focusing on taking care of the needs of one another as we do life together, because our needs will be taken care as God shows His love to us through the people we are doing life with.

We read about an example of doing life together from the early church in Acts 2:42-47. Doug shared about our DLTs which you can find on the website by clicking this link: learn more about DLTs

The final question was asked – will you commit to doing life together? We can’t be faithful to the mission Christ has given us – to living sent and making disciples – without it!

If you have any desire to do so, you can listen to the various messages from this teaching series by clicking here and then clicking on the MP3 player.

Let’s be doing life together, both in VOX and face to face.

(doing life together?)

were humans made to do life together? do we actually malfunction when we don’t – not work right, not live right? can we live out the mission and purpose of our lives alone, or do we need each other?

i think we do need each other. i think we can’t operate correctly without one another. what do you think? do you think the church today is living in this kind of community – truly doing life together?

(the bottom line from Jan 21st)

continuing the conversation from this past Sunday’s teaching time, here’ s a basic summary of what we talked about:

Be the church in the daily by listening to God and living in every sphere.

Listening to God involves 2 fundamental elements:

:: PRAYER- praying constantly, ever listening for His voice among the many voices calling for our attention, seeing the stuff of life as interruptions of the ongoing conversation between you and God, interacting with people like He is always a part of the conversation, listening to Him for His promptings to give into the lives around us, listening for His promptings telling us to stop and spend some alone time with Him, listening to His promptings so that we remain unclogged in listening for Him.

:: READING the BIBLE – the living Word, the love story of His pursuit of a relationship with us, the filter that helps us discern which voice among the many is His and which needs to be ignored. Read it to know Him more and to be able to recognize Him as He breaks into the daily all around us. Don’t read it just to know about Him and attempt to systemize Him.

Living in every sphere means LIVING SENT – as a letter from God to your family, to your neighbors, in the marketplace, to the world locally and globally, and on the web.

If we say we follow Jesus, then we must always be listening for Him, faithfully be responding to His promptings, compassionately be loving the people He loves, and freely be giving ourselves away to the people we encounter in our spheres, just like He came to where we were and gave Himself away. We must BE the CHURCH.

Thankful to be in conversation with you guys. Hope this will be an encouragement to you regardless of whether you comment back.

(a blue plastic cup)

it’s funny how a simple object can often remind you of something so profound.

i meet a lot of people in my home, because my office is there. today was like normal. i typically offer water to the person or persons i am meeting with. today, when i walked into the kitchen to get it, i had a “man, i am really blessed…i am really thankful” moment.

you see, my wife keeps a little basket on the counter supplied with napkins and plastic cups for any guest that comes into our home. it’s a little thing. a simple gesture. but a profound statement about her heart for hospitality. she loves hosting people in our home. and, she has done an incredible job of creating an environment that makes it easy for me to work from home and meet with people in our home.

not to mention that every now and then, this sunshine of a beautiful 2 year old little girl and this 5 year old artist whose masterpieces decorate my french doors in my office – they come and stick their noses on the glass of those french doors just to check on daddy.

pretty cool. very blessed. extremely thankful.

thank you, Jen, for making our home such an awesome and peaceful and welcoming place. thanks for the blue plastic cups.

(what is prayer?)

Is prayer a spiritual discipline – something you have to remind yourself to do? Is it just bringing your requests to God? What if it was more like breathing? More like having a cell phone always on you with a blue tooth earpiece poised to receive a call, AND ready for you to speak, too?

Paul taught in 1st Thessalonians that we should never stop praying. That has to mean more than talking. Maybe that means listening. A lot of listening. Ever listening and responding to God. A mystical, supernatural connection to the living God leading us and speaking into our daily.

If that’s the case, prayer is not something I stop to take time to do. It is something I never stop doing. I do it ALL the time.

are you ever listening?

(the pursuit of happyness)

I just got home from watching The Pursuit of Happyness, an adapted version of the real life of Chris Gardner. Very inspiring film, not to mention how cool it was to watch Will Smith co-star with his own son. I walked away with 2 scenes etched in my mind and two thoughts that I hope will be ever burned in my heart.

The first – I will never use a public restroom the same again. There’s this scene just after Chris Gardner and his son were evicted from the place they were staying in. They were forced to find a place to sleep for the night. Chris is obviously very down about the fact that his son will not have a warm, clean bed, and they end up sitting on a bench at the subway station with all of their belongings. Long story short, Chris realized the need to make the best of the situation for his son, so he pretended they had gone back in time and were cave men. Imaginatively, they looked around the prehistoric subway station and saw all kinds of Dinosaurs. A T-Rex roared and forced them to find their “caveâ€? to rest in for safety. They escaped with their belongings into a one-person bathroom cave off to the side Mt. Subway Station and locked the door. Chris wept as he held his son in his lap. His son got a little bit of sleep there for the night. In the public restroom. On the floor.

I heard Chris Seay, a compassionate leader from Houston, TX, recently say that American church culture treats our culture kind of like the way we usually treat a public restroom. You know, I did it today at a restaurant. You enter using your feet to open the door. You pray that they have automatic flushing on the urinal. They do. You finish and…crap. They don’t have automatic paper towel dispensers. So, you pull the lever down 4 times to dispense the towel before you hold your hands under the automatic sinks. You hope the soap is antibacterial, wash and rinse, pull of the towel, and dry your hands off. Open the door back up with your damp paper towel as a magical germ barrier, and throw it away but hit short on the rim of the trash can. Somebody else will pick it up off the floor. Church culture tends to treat culture that way. So dirty that we want to use it but not touch it. So concerned about what we will catch from it that we exit as quickly and as disconnectedly as possible. I mean who knows who slept there the night before?

What are we doing? Are we really that concerned about our well-being? I’m not talking about the trip to the bathroom. I still and will continue to do that. But what about the people who exist in the daily and survive any way they can? What am I doing about them? Lord, help me to see people like you see them – valuable. Priceless. Worth dying for.

The 2nd thought – I am going to quit being annoyed by the sign on the door at my son’s school that won’t allow us to enter in through the most convenient door nearest to his classroom. Instead, we have to walk all the way around this huge building to enter the door furthest away from his 2nd floor classroom. You see, of the many times I have taken him to school this school year, only twice have I actually enjoyed the journey through the breezeway around the building holding my 5-year old’s hand.

In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris and his son walk or take the bus most places. Depending upon their lateness and destination, Chris either soaks up the blessing of that journey through the eyes of his little young explorer, or he hushes and hurries him along pouring cold water on the fire that burns within his little boy. From time to time, though, his son tells knock-knock jokes or they imagine they’re on an adventure or they just are together, and they’re happy.

The 2 times I enjoyed the breezeway trek to the furthest away door were when Caleb and I made an adventure of it. There was no adventure, but we made it one. It existed because we existed as 2 adventurers living life with imagination and fervor rather than obligation and unnecessary speed. I think I will quit grumbling under my breath about the stupid sign that won’t let me enter the most convenient doorway to drop him off at school, and instead see every crack in the sidewalk as the cavern we must jump across and every noise as the mysterious sounds of the jungle on our trek to light up the treasured, #2 button after we discover the elevator that takes us to our paradise destination.

I think I will live like something else matters besides my schedule and my supposed responsibilities at work that any other person could accomplish who isn’t the father of my 5-year old.

Bottom line is this: what do you think about when you enter a public restroom, AND whose sign do you need to quit getting ticked off at? These are two of life’s most important questions. How will you answer them? Will you be happy anyway?