Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Some awesome words on prayer...

As we get ready to finish our six weeks of prayer this Sunday called "Thunder" I want you to hear some awesome words on prayer quoted from S.M. Lockridge.

I will add no comments. It's awesome.

"Now prayer is man's job. That's the only unending obligation that our Lord has given to men. He did not say that men ought to always work, men ought to always play, but men ought to always to pray. Pray for your personal life. Pray when you are successful, lest you become selfish. Pray when you are in sorrow, lest you become cynical. Pray when you are in prosperity, lest you become proud. Pray when you are in material poverty, lest you become spiritually poor, for that is the worst kind of poverty. In sin, man declares his or her independence of God. In prayer, we declare our dependence on God. Now prayer is perplexingly paradoxical. That is, you have to have pray in order to pray. When the disciples saw how lacking they were in prayer, they prayed. Notice that the disciples did not ask Jesus to teach them how to preach, or to teach them how to work miracles or to be wise, they said, Lord, teach us how to pray. Nobody offers a course in prayer, simply because there is only one teacher and that is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Some people think that prayer is a monologue and you do all the talking. Some people talk to the Lord like he has no idea what is happening in this world, we talk to the Lord like we need to tell him what to do, when to do it and Lord, right now, and some people talk to the Lord like they are picketing the throne of grace. Like the Lord is reluctant to answer, and you have to bombard his throne with prayer in order to get in there. We call him loud, and long, Lord, come on now! We want you to go here and go yonder, do this and do this, and on the double. But prayer is not just a monologue where you do all the talking. Prayer has got to be a dialogue. You have to wait and let him talk to you. It is far better for us to hear what the Lord has to say than for Him to hear what he has to say." - S.M. Lockridge from the sermon "That's My King"

Here is the whole sermon - over an hour long:

See you Sunday!

Pastor Kris

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What our church is REALLY all about...

I really just need to take a moment and explain this whole LIVE.LOVE.SERVE. thing. You might want to get some coffee and find a relaxing chair. And don't throw anything until I'm done then you and God can work that out.

I had a phone conversation with a church member today during which we discussed the vision of the church and how our church has morphed from its time at the local elementary school as a church plant, to the permanent facility where we are now located. From 25 people at a preview service almost two years ago, to an average attendance of over 300 in 2012 calendar year.

Come to think of it, I preached a message on this Sunday, how Solomon prayed for wisdom and knowledge to lead the people as Israel prepared for its greatest task, to build the temple for the Almighty God. When Solomon prayed for the right things, he was granted the things he needed and more, as God gave him wisdom and knowledge - plus wealth, health, prosperity, people and providential supply over his enemies.

So it led me to a time of thinking and prayer. During the evening, I was a volunteer at the city park's concession stand, and before I went home, got to share about Jesus and our church to a single mom. Folks, that's how our church was and should be built - telling broken people who do not have a church home about the Savior that can radically change their lives.

So in the next few moments, you are about to read words that are going to fire you up, fire you off, or cool you down. And with all due respect, if these words resonate with you, then let's get side by side serving and change the world. After all, when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the Bible says they were on their way to the promised land UNTIL the people started murmuring against Moses and Aaron and they WANDERED LOST for 40 years and never made it.

We're not wanderers, we're world changers. Let's get that clear.

I'm not responsive, I am passionate. And under a swarm of paperwork, administration and butt-kicking, agonizing red tape that goes with organizational development, pardon me while I kick down the door and remind us all what Live.Love.Serve. means. Revolution Church is the place where the love of Christ turns lives around.

1. LIVE - We believe in broken people, we are not satisfied for them to stay that way. What that means is that on the seats of our church you will find broken relationships, broken homes, messed up lives, addictions, foul mouths, foul smells (that's just the tech team eating breakfast, mostly), bad attitudes and broken pasts. But in the midst, there is life change. There are drunks who have cast off alcohol and now are sober. There are marriages restored, even one from an affair which turned into forgiveness. There are releases of the bonds of self-esteem failures and self-inflicted sin being set free. There are tragedies turned to triumph and families who don't deserve to be together who were saved by the grace of God together.

Emerging from Egypt, the temptation is then to say - "I remember when it was like that for me" and not realize that empowered in your story is the life-transforming message of Jesus and there is someone sitting where YOU used to sit. You may be that broken person. COME TO CHURCH. I am not your judge, I am the representation of your JESUS who has the power to take away the sins of the world! People can go to Heaven despite the fact that their lives are a living Hell.

The tendency is to move from LIVING at Revolution Church to cruising in ministry without empowering your lives with the next steps. Statistics show that 75-to-80 percent of people who come to church do so through PEOPLE not through preaching, not through music and not through programs.

Moving into a facility changed us - from LIVING to MANAGING and we immediately lost our vision. We became room focused, territorial, stuff oriented. In the name of Jesus, what a GIFT God revealed to us but it's not a monument, it's a MISSION STATION. We are not a country club, everything we do to serve people is with the spiritual gift of hospitality, but our hope is not to feed people, make them happy, rub their belly and pat their head, it's to extend a life-changing moment of Jesus to them in hospitality to lead them to a life-changing moment in forgiveness. And for God to empower their story and it be TOLD.

GET ON STAGE! Tell that story! Shoot a video with our tech team and empower that person who is waiting on your boldness to believe Christ can do it in them.

One day, I hope a new worship center sits on the open lot on the back of our property, but when it does, we are building it for God's honor, not for our comfort.

We're not a rest home for saints, and with respect to the cliche, we are not a hospital for sinners. We are a life-saving mission station where people walk in dead and walk out alive.

Choose life - because Jesus said we could have it more abundantly because HE came. And we're going after it with all we got. So you bring the church full of broken people and I'll get in touch with the Holy Spirit who specializes in the convicting power to bring them to an Almighty God.

P.S. All the complainers in the wilderness? They died. Their children and grand children are the ones who saw the promised land.

2. LOVE - We love God and we love others. Love is also where the growth happens, because as we are made like Christ, we strive to become like him more everyday.

If you are searching for God to speak to you, it happens in an abundance of ways and this is the step of love at Revolution Church. When you love like Christ, you are filling his greatest commandment.

Love means forgiveness. You have to let go.
Love means prayer. You have to talk to God.
Love means praise. You have to shout it out what God has done for you.
Love means reading your Bible. If you want to hear from God, you must read what He gave us and do it often, every day, and grow in your faith.
Love means giving. If you don't tithe, it's not a heaven or hell matter. But it is an obedience matter that was issued in scripture as a challenge from the almighty God.

I have asked God to help me love others unconditionally. Except bad umpires and Cubs fans.

I have asked God to teach me to pray my heart and not my head.

I have asked God to remind me of my thankfulness and not my burdens (Psalm 13).

I have asked God to open his word to me every single day and show me things I have never seen.

I have asked God to honor my budget and teach me to give more than I receive, and live my life in such a way that I can one day live on 10 percent of what I make and give 90 percent of it away. You may think that is crazy, but I have asked God to help me budget faithfully.

And I do give to my church and have since the very beginning and have asked God to honor it.

We as a church have moved from mission status where others supported us to sovereign status financially where we support ourselves. I will not compromise our vision and our outreach and our mission and so at times I have chosen to make sacrifices for the church in my personal life because I believe in what God is doing. It's why my wife is back at work and we are praying for open doors, but we keep loving, we keep giving, and we keep serving.

A sign of a dying church is when people stop investing in vision and start complaining about where the money is being spent. Thank God we do not have a church like that. But for God to open us to the opportunities to serve the world, we must take this step of love seriously so that it burdens us from within to give of ourselves sacrificially - in love, in time, in energy, in money, in serving, in growth, and in blessing.

After all, it was love that motivated God to give his only son.

What about those in the wilderness? When things went bad, they stopped loving. They got selfish. They asked Moses to go back to the captivity of Egypt so they could have it easy and live it up as slaves - but at least they'd have luxury and supply. They complained about freedom for the sake of bad fruit.

Oh yeah, they died.

3. SERVE - Revolution Church is serving God in our community and around the world.

Today, we verbalized an agreement with the chamber of commerce to once again provide the sound stage, live music, some food and all the inflatables for the Americana Celebration on June 30th. Last year, we had 55 adult volunteers at this event. That's incredible!

Saturday, we are serving mothers who have battled cancer and washing their cars, feeding them and doing valet parking. In two weeks, we will have a bottled water bash on the city greenway (more about that later) and a gas buy down in the city on a busy day, spending four hours pumping gas and telling people about Jesus. We're working on a Father's Day event, too, and sending a team to Jamaica in June.

Sunday, we had our largest number of membership lunch attendees EVER, and we had our largest sign up for serve teams EVER and this week we will launch TEAM IMPACT with red shirts showing off our hospitality during services because that's what we do.

We have transitioned the custodial and maintenance position from a paid weekly thing to a serving role and over 12 families signed up to help. That's amazing!

It is our goal that EVERY PERSON SERVES. At one time in our early church days, 70 percent of the adults in our church were active on a serve team. That's AMAZING! But with 300-plus people average attendance and over 450 in our database, that means that we should have around 130-150 adults serving on a regular basis.

Employees are nice. As our church grows, certain things will require more. But when we SERVE together, it allows us to invest our budget in changing the community. Is it worth giving away food at an event? Yep. I'm not serving if I'm fundraising. Is it worth letting kids play on inflatables for free? Yep. I'm not running an entertainment venue. Is it worth it if we knock a quarter off someone's gas for four hours? Yep, because while I'm pumping their gas I get to stand by their car and tell them about the life-changing things happening at our church. Is it worth championing people with challenges, disabilities and special needs? Yep. Because Jesus would make a special place to make them a champion and we will too.

When we become self-focused, we are not SERVE-focused.

We don't set up and tear down any more at the school. I'd love to be doing something else with those Saturdays, and our vision is to unleash the love of Jesus on this city.

So what if the church down the road sends their church van to our gas buy down to save money on a few gallons? We'll fill it. Did you know someone got mad at me for that?

Well guess what, that little elderly lady driving that church van later sent a gift to our Jamaica team for our kindness to her church - and it exceeded the money she saved that day.

We serve like Jesus.

And we partner with other churches. We pray for other churches. We serve other churches. WE DON'T spend our time complaining about other churches or comparing to other churches (whoops, guilty, sorry I'm human too) or carrying the baggage of other churches into our worship and expecting Revolution Church to be just like every other place in town.

We serve.

Hardest thing to read on this blog - If you don't like life change, then our church isn't for you. If you don't love people and love God, then our church isn't for you. If you don't like to serve, then our church isn't for you. Now if you don't like all those things because you don't KNOW about them, then by all means, our church IS FOR YOU.

If you're following Christ, but you don't like to LIVE.LOVE.SERVE. then you should probably read your Bible.

It is not responsible, nor Biblical to be a self-focused church.

By the way, remember the wilderness? Yeah, they died.

But Joshua and Caleb were the originals who said "if the Lord delights in us, he will bring us unto that land, a land that is flowing with milk and honey."

Funny thing, Joshua led them to the promised land and then declared...

"Choose you this day whom you will serve...whether it be the gods of the Amorites, or the gods of your fathers in whose land you dwell...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15

So are you fired up? Let's do this!

I love broken people. And I'm not apologizing for it. Ever again. Let's change the world.

I love you, and these are my thoughts.