Sunday, October 28, 2012

Beautiful Feet

Today we began our 2012 vision series.  We really challenged the folks in our Intentional Communities and those connected with our church to commit to attending all 3 weeks of the series... including worship gatherings & IC's.  I really believe this series is going to be a milestone for our church as we prayerfully and intentionally seek to build on the growth and momentum God has given us over the past 6 months.  In preparation for the first message I simply wrote out my heart regarding where The Pathway has been and where we are going.  I shared it with Kelli and she suggested I share it with all of you.  I pray it gives you some insight into our vision for the future.  As always, thank you for caring & thank you so much for praying. (Warning!!!  This is really long!)

What if... we serve our communities extravagantly?

We are beginning a 3 week journey together.  The journey has a theme.  That theme is “What if?”  The journey requires commitment.  Not permanent commitment.  Although that is the ultimate goal.  Right now we’re just asking for a short term commitment.  3 weeks to be precise.  We’re asking that for 3 weeks you commit to be a part of The Pathway’s worship gathering as well as an IC gathering of your choice.  For 3 weeks we’re asking you to commit approximately 3 hours/week... that’s 9 hours total.  Why?  Because God has called us as a church to go after a very tangible vision but it’s going to take the majority of us buying in.  And even though none of us will agree all the time, it's vital that we have examined the foundations and values of the church together.  

Vision, according to pastor and author Andy Stanley, is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.

What is our vision?  It starts with “Church. Different.”
-If you are only interested in “going” to church... this is not the church for you.
-We want to do church different because we don’t believe God wants us to do church at all.
-We believe God wants us to “be” the church 24/7/365 & this happens through our Intentional Communities!
-Over the next 3 weeks we are going to examine how God has called The Pathway to “be” the church & how you can
        know if you have been called to be a part of it.

That leads me to a story...
Back in 2007 Kelli and I were newly married... it had been about a year since we tied the knot.  We were living a blissful newlywed life on 500 acres of land in the black hills of Oklahoma (one of the few pretty parts of the state of Oklahoma).  We had tons of privacy, tons of beauty... we lived right on a lake... and tons of time to just be together.  It was a wonderful existence.  But it was all about us.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, God began to place in each of us, individually and then as a couple, what we can only describe now as an overwhelming feeling of holy discontent.  There was nothing inherently evil about our lives.  Our lives were full of fun, full of each other, full of love.  But something was missing.
I remember Kelli telling me one day about a vision God had given her.  As I mentioned earlier there was a lake at the camp where we lived and worked.  But there was also a smaller, man-made swimming hole next to the lake and there was something of a land-bridge that went between the larger lake and the smaller swimming hole.  Kelli said God had put a picture in her heart of the two of us... husband and wife, a God ordained team... walking along that land bridge, perfectly dry and perfectly safe, with people all around us in the water screaming, drowning, not knowing how to get themselves back up on land.  Kelli said she saw us walking along that land bridge, together, reaching down and pulling people back up on land.  God showed her a picture of us pulling people out of the clutches of death and onto this land bridge... this pathway of life.

Now, at the time, we had no idea what this meant.  We just knew that God was giving us a discontentment.  He was telling us... I have something I want you to accomplish... more specifically I have something I want you to be a part of that isn’t about you at all.  It involves saving the lives of countless people.  Are you willing to sacrifice the comfort, security and enjoyment of this life so that I can accomplish my will for you?

As time went on God began to give us insights into this vision.  I was in seminary at the time and one of my professors introduced me to a staggering statistic for a boy that was raised in a Christian home and for the most part inside the boundaries of what we affectionately refer to as the Bible Belt.  He told me that in the greater Seattle area, less than 4% of the population attended any type of Jesus loving church.  What?  How could this be?  Less than 4% even go to church?  Now I’m no rocket scientist, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that there is a significant number of people who do go to church who are not actually followers of Jesus.  Church is a check list for many.  It is the right thing to do but it is not about a relationship with God.  Less than 4%.  More discontent.

Then we were visiting Kelli’s mom’s church in Dallas one Sunday morning and the youth pastor announced to the church that he and his family, along with another family in the church, would be moving their lives to the Seattle area to help start churches.  Kelli and I just looked at each other and by this time we knew that God was definitely up to something.

Vision.  A clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.  At this point I did not have a clear picture of anything in my mind... but I knew that something was not right where we were... living a life in Oklahoma surrounded by no one.  Something had to change.

Here’s where I want to pause and ask you... What is God’s vision for this world?  What was Jesus’ vision for this world?  Do you know?  Let me start by reading to you a portion of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi.
In Philippians 2:10-11 Paul says at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under
        the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
-In short, God’s vision for the world is that all should confess Jesus as Lord and give glory to God the Father.
        -If that’s the case, then what did Jesus envision for the world?
In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says very clearly and explicitly... Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That means we all fall short of the Philippians 2:10-11vision that God has for this world.  We are the ones standing in the way of God’s vision being accomplished. BUT... Jesus also commissions us to be a part of accomplishing God’s vision.  He says, even though we all fall short of God’s glory, we can be put back in right standing if we will become disciples of Jesus.  And he tells us that as disciples... worshippers of Jesus as Lord... it is our purpose... it is his vision that we would not just be disciples but be disciple-makers.  That is what Jesus wants from us.

But sometimes it is tremendously hard to know where to start.  After all, you are just one person.  How can you possibly know where to begin as a disciple-maker setting out to accomplish a God sized vision?

Remember the story I was telling you about Kelli and I’s journey?  Well we still did not have a complete picture of what God was calling us to but he had begun to clarify a portion of his big picture vision for this world.  And that’s important.  Before we can begin to see the vision God has for our individual lives we have to see clearly the vision he has for the world.  God began to show us that he wanted us to be disciple makers.  We figured a great place to do that was not in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma.  We figured... and again, it didn’t take a genius to figure this out... that going to one of the most unchurched parts of our nation was a great place to start.  So in the beginning of 2008 we quit our jobs, raised some money and embarked on the biggest, hardest, scariest and most fulfilling journey of our life.  We went to Snoqualmie, WA & helped plant Lifepointe Community Church.

During this time we saw God do so many amazing things.  But the coolest thing was experiencing God place in our hearts a micro-level vision for planting a church and making disciples in Tacoma, WA that was a part of his macro-level vision for seeing the world profess Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father.

So in 2009 God brought me, Kelli (and two weeks later Jagen & Rylan), Becca and another, slightly younger Becca to Tacoma, WA to plant The Pathway church.  While on some levels we had no idea what we were doing... we did have a clear vision.  This vision fueled everything we did.  It fueled every action we took, every relationship we started and every person we served.  God had given us a clear mental picture that the city of Tacoma was not just unchurched... it was full of brokenness, pain and spiritual confusion.  He had given us a glimpse into the reality that Tacoma was physically broken and spiritually lost.  But we believed... and still believe... that Tacoma could be, and more importantly should be... a breeding ground for disciples of Jesus Christ.

So that leads us to our vision.  The Pathway’s vision. The Pathway wants to be a church with beautiful feet, committed to walking with our city down The Pathway of life by
    1. Serving our communities... both the brothers and sisters in Christ we do life with in Intentional Community and also our neighbors who live around us personally and who live in the neighborhood where our IC’s meet.
    2. Sharing the gospel with those we serve.
    3. Showing people how to grow in their relationship with Jesus
    4. Sending missionaries to start new Intentional Communities and new church in Tacoma and beyond.

But here’s the deal.  For every vision there is a foundation.  When I was preparing for this message I was reading the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright... the first men to successfully accomplish a sustained manned flight.  For the world that 12 second flight was the start of a revolution of flying that impacts all of us in one way or another.  But for the Wright brothers, that day was simply the culmination of a vision who’s foundation was an experience they had with their father when they were still little boys.  They recount the story of their father coming into the house with something hidden in his hands.  When he opened his hands a foreign object.. that they referred to as a “helicopter” came zipping out into the air... flying around the room for a few seconds and then falling to the ground.  They were amazed by the short flight of the mysterious toy.  But that was the foundation for the vision that they began to see that would lead them to pioneering flight in the world.

What, then, is the foundation for The Pathway’s vision?
1) God’s word.
-Romans 10:13-15 says, For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they
        call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never
        heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are 
        sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
This passage of Scripture resonated with me so deeply when Kelli and I first felt called to leave Oklahoma and come help start churches in Washington.  Verse 13 is a declaration of hope.  Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But then we come to verse 14-15 which bring challenge and personal conviction.  Paul steps on our toes because he says while God is the one who saves, he has chosen to use us.  If we don’t take ownership of the vision... if we don’t preach the good news, how on earth will people ever know the hope that we have found in Christ.

2) Our 3 Core values.
The next foundation of our beautiful feet vision is our values.  We value a lot of things as a church but there are 3
essential things that we will not, cannot let go of.  They are biblical and we believe they are essential to 
accomplishing not just the vision God has given our church but the vision God has for the world.  These values are...
1) Gospel.
-Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we
                might become the righteousness of God.
-Everything we do is centered on the gospel.  The good news that Jesus died for our sins and that in him we can 
                have hope in this life and the life to come.
2) Community.
-The book of Acts, specifically acts 2:42-47 paints a beautiful picture of how God designed his followers to live
                and function.
-He designed us to live in community.
-He designed us to know each other... warts and all... love each other, challenge each other and grow together. 
-We do this in Intentional Community.  We love and value intentional Community because it is where Christian
                Community collides with our local communities with gospel intentionality.  Intentional Community is real life
                and it is where the vision is accomplished.
3) Mission.
-Our third value is mission.  Community is the inward focus of the church but mission is the outward focus of the
                church.  Both happen within the context of Intentional Community.

-We love a lot of things, we try a lot of new things but the gage of whether or not we will do something as a church is if it is founded in our 3 core values.
-If we ever lose the gospel, if we ever lose community, if we ever lose mission... we lose the beauty of our feet.

So what is todays message.  What do we want you to leave with today?  
3 take aways from Part 1?
  1. What if... we decided to commit to the “beautiful feet” vision of The Pathway?  Not believing or acting like it is the only way to be the church, but committing to go after the vision God has given us together.
  2. What if... we decided individually and as a church to measure everything we do by the gage of gospel, community and mission?  It may be good but if it doesn’t accomplish these things we will invest our time in areas that do.
  3. What if... we serve our communities extravagantly?
This is the one aspect of todays take aways that we haven’t yet explored but it is the first part of our vision.

What if we served our communities extravagantly?
Let me go back to the beginning of The Pathway.  Some of you know these stories and some of you don’t.  The Pathway started by serving... and God moved.  Before we knew anything about Tacoma our initial leadership team decided to infiltrate Wright Park with the love of God and the gospel of Jesus.  We went to Wright Park every Friday for an entire summer... rain or shine.  We fed people, played games with kids, played basketball with all the young guys... and some not so young guys.  We gave rides, bought foot, paid rent and utility bills... we tried to serve extravagantly.

Why?  2 reasons.
  1. That is what Jesus did.
  2. It opened up opportunities to share the gospel
We’re going to talk about the vital importance of sharing the gospel with those we serve next week.  But this week I want to talk about the fact that our heart and vision for serving our communities is based on what Jesus has done for us.

Lets read John 13:3-5 & 12-15.  
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
(John 13:3-5 ESV)
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
(John 13:12-15 ESV)

I cannot imagine being in the presence of my Savior and my Lord and having him wash my feet.  A lowly act.  In all honesty a somewhat awkward act for both parties.  But an act that demonstrates, very clearly, a desire to serve.  And what we can’t miss is Jesus clear command to wash one another’s feet. He made it clear that we are to go and do like wise.  He made it clear that his is an example that his disciples... you and I included are to follow.
Back to our story. So where is the fruit in serving.  Well, sometimes we see it and sometimes we don’t.  But let me tell you something cool... something that only God could orchestrate.  By serving at Wright Park week in and week out, a guy named Antwan Gordon gave his life to Jesus.  Antwan lived in a local apartment complex, 435 Fawcett.  Because Antwan lived there we found out several opportunities to serve and that’s how we met the 4 McQuerter boys that many of us know and love.  As a result of meeting these boys many of you had the opportunity to share the gospel with them.  When we met them one of 4 brothers were believers.  Today, all 4 brothers believe and follow Jesus Christ as Lord!!!  It started with serving.

But there’s more to our vision than just serving the lost.  We are also called to serve each other.  Paul says in Galatians 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
We are called to serve anyone and everyone we can... but especially to those who are fellow believers.  This again happens within the context of Intentional Community.  One example of this is very personal to me.  Most of you know that my son Jagen had a lot of health problems over his first couple years of life.  Well, one time in particular he went in for a surgery and things went a little haywire.  His throat closed up and they were not able to extubate him.  We ended up in the hospital with our son much longer than we originally anticipated.  We live 2000 miles from our blood family.  We had to call on the family of God.  We called Maria and she was there for us to help take care of Rylan so that both of us could be with Jagen while he was battling all sorts of medical trouble.  Serving the body of Christ... convenient?  Not usually.  A formula for beautiful feet? Always.

Here’s the deal.  The Pathway has a vision that God has given.  But our vision is not Scripture.  It is not the only way to accomplish God’s vision for the world which is making disciples and seeing every tongue confess Jesus as Lord.  But it is one way to see this happen and we believe it is a biblical way to accomplish it.  But in order for our vision to be accomplished effectively we need each member of the body to commit?

What does that look like.  It looks like Intentional Community.
-Gather weekly with an IC.
-Be transparent and vulnerable.
-Don’t be afraid to let your IC meet your needs (but don’t abuse their generosity).
-Be intentional about meeting the needs of your IC.
-Be intentional together about meeting the needs of your neighborhood.

-Copy Jesus.  Serve people.
-Use the tools we give you
-Sept. for Tacoma.
-Monthly IC serving opportunities
-the worship gathering.
-The City... we want you to log onto the city because it is the quickest way to post needs and prayer requests.
-We’ve had several people in our church lose loved ones recently... Through the city we could organize meals for the family, rides, etc.
-Through The city we can plan events like one of our IC’s that did a dump day.
-Find out when and where it is.
-What time.
-Who’s attending.
-What supplies are being brought and what are needed.

What if we served our communities extravagantly?
-Try it.  But don’t try it alone.
-Try it in the context of Intentional Community.
-As Ephesians 3:20 says, he is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

-God has given The Pathway a vision to reach Tacoma.  Will you commit?  Will you go all in?  Will you become an active, giving and receiving part of Intentional Community.  Will you serve extravagantly?

One last picture of what it means to serve extravagantly.  Philippians 2:3-8 says, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus-- the only one who is truly worthy of being served, decided to come and serve.  His ultimate act of service was not the miracles he performed, or the kindness that he showed.  His ultimate act of service was his willingness to go to the cross.  To die an excruciating death so that you and I could live.

The question remains.  Jesus gave up his life to serve and save us.  What will you do to serve him?

Remember the beginning of Kelli and I’s story? God gave Kelli a vision to pull drowning people out of the clutches of death and onto the pathway of life.

That’s what Jesus did on the cross & that’s what we want to be a part of in Tacoma.  That’s what church.  different is.  It’s not about us.  It’s about God’s glory & seeing people come to know him.  Will you commit not just to serving... but to being the church with us?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


My biggest fear in writing this weeks blog post is that I won't be able to adequately explain the emotions that my heart feels and that my words are going to try and express.  At this moment I am overwhelmed and I want to try and let you know why.

The Pathway is growing.  This is a wonderful thing.  Although our ultimate goal is not numerical growth for The Pathway, the natural outflow of our ultimate goal is numerical growth.  What is our ultimate goal?  I'm glad you asked!  Our ultimate goal is for God to get the most glory he can possibly get out of our church.  We believe we can give glory to God in numerous ways but the most basic way is to make disciples.  That means the people that make up The Pathway church will disciple, or lead, people too Jesus and then when those people meet Jesus first hand the people that led them to Jesus will show them how to follow Jesus.

The result of this is that the Kingdom of God grows and The Pathway church as well as many other Bible believing and Jesus following churches in Tacoma will grow too.  Why does this overwhelm me?  Because the number one reason people like The Pathway as a church is that it is small, relational and intimate.  It's quite overwhelming to try and show people that although this is a great thing, it's not the point.  The point is the glory of God!  I'm overwhelmed with a desire to see people catch the vision for making disciples without losing a love for the church.

Wrapping my mind around Intentional Community.  The first reality leads to the second.  I believe that as The Pathway grows in size, if we keep our eyes on the ultimate goal, we will be surprised to find that the intimacy of the church can remain.  It's hard to express to people all the reasons I believe so strongly in Intentional Community, but one big reason is that it keeps the church small while allowing God's Kingdom to grow big through that same church.  I'm overwhelmed by the task of conveying this message.  I'm overwhelmed by the responsibility to teach personal intimacy with the Almighty, authentic biblical community with believers and the call to make disciples all at the same time.

But I'm also overwhelmed with the way our church is responding.  People are wrestling with the tension of growing big for the purpose of increasing God's Kingdom but staying small through Intentional Community.  I'm overwhelmed with God's grace being poured out in our church.  It's beautiful.

The role of an under-shepherd. Jesus is the good Shepherd.  Jesus is the head of the body that God calls the church.  Jesus is the Senior Pastor of The Pathway church.  But he has, for reasons known only to him, called me to be his under-shepherd.  He's called me to be here on the ground loving his sheep, pushing them forward into Kingdom purposes, calling them back from worldly pleasures, and loving them every step of the way.  Overwhelming doesn't seem an adequate term to describe this calling.  Dependent is actually the best word.  I've learned... scratch that... I'm learning that the only way to effectively pastor a church is to be completely dependent on God.  I have to depend on him for my value & worth.  I have to depend on him for guidance, direction and discernment.  I have to depend on him for wisdom, grace, patience and love.  Most importantly, I have to depend on him so that our church will depend on him.  It's overwhelming but again, it's beautiful.

A glimpse of the BIGGER Kingdom.  This past week my family and I left our church and got to spend some time with another piece of God's kingdom here on earth.  We went to a missions conference hosted by one of our partner churches.  The week was great!  It was refreshing, educational, restful (at times), and most importantly filled with fellowship with other people who are also overwhelmed.  This particular church partners with 19 other church plants in the United States alone not to mention their numerous local ministry partners and International missionary partnerships.  The goal of the entire week was God's glory.  I can say that with confidence.  And they were going for God's glory by pushing their church to get on mission.

The final day of the conference was Sunday and the church had been challenged to meet a goal for their Missions offering.  They call this their "faith commitment" offering because they are asking their people to commit to give a certain amount of money over the coming year specifically to missions.  They are asking them to give it above their normal giving and they are asking them to trust God to provide what he leads them to commit.  The pastor compared it to your cable bill.  He said that we commit on faith that the $100 a month needed for cable/Internet/etc. would be there for the upcoming year, so why can't we step out in faith in our commitment to missions.

Well, the pastor preached a tremendous message on the will of God and the role of missions in accomplishing that will.  Then the time came for the missions offering.  They had all of us "missionaries" come to the front of the stage and hold baskets for their people to come and lay their commitment in.  At first I thought it would be awkward and cheesy but I quickly realized it was neither awkward nor cheesy.  It was worship.  It was beautiful.  It was... overwhelming.  There were probably a couple thousand people in the worship service that day (the second of two) and the people flooded down the isles.  These people, who didn't know us from Adam.  These people, many of whom had never spoken to me or Kelli.  These people of God who had never been to Tacoma or met the people of The Pathway poured out of their isles making pledges to see the will of God, that all men would come to know him, accomplished around the globe.  I tell you what, Kelli was balling beside me.  Tears were filling my eyes.  The words thank you were hard to get out and seemed far to shallow to convey the emotions of my heart.  We embraced so many people we had never met.  Some people cried, some people high-fived, and all we could do was cry.  We stood their in awe of how God's people, gathered into this band of believers we call the church, can come together and impact a lost and dying world.  These people were committing their money, their treasure, to reach the city of Tacoma, a place the majority of them will never see first hand.

Our church... 1/57 the size of the church we were visiting... is on the same team, working toward the same goal... the glory of God through the making of disciples.  This concept is unfathomable.  It's overwhelming.

I hope my ramblings were not too much for you to take in.  They were not all directly connected but they all lead to this overwhelming feeling that pushes me to utter dependance on the one whom it's all for.  All that we do as a church and all that I do as a pastor and as a Christian is for the God of the universe and the name that overwhelms me... the name that is above every name... the matchless name of JESUS.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Commitment & September for Tacoma

I haven't updated the blog in about 2 weeks.  There are two reasons for that.  First, I'm just running behind.  Second, I've been having trouble finding words lately.  For those who know me you understand how strange this is.  I'm extremely "wordy" both in speech and in print.  So having trouble finding words is a rarity for me.  At any rate, I will try this morning because I want you all to know what is happening in Tacoma and how to pray.

First, a word on September for Tacoma.  The short update is that it was fantastic.  Like any endeavor it had its ups and it's downs but overall it was awesome to see how God worked and specifically how he began to accomplish the things we had asked of him.  He doesn't have to do that you know?  It's all an outflow of his grace.  If you read my blog a couple weeks ago I was a little disappointment in the turn-out of our church at the first weekend of September for Tacoma.  While this may seem normal for many churches it has not been the case in 2012 for The Pathway.  Our people are excited, bold and willing to do what we feel like God is calling us to do.  I was definitely bummed.

A Lesson Learned:  After the first weekend we had two more events that were each hosted by one of our Intentional Communities.  Those events were very well attended both by the community and our church.  It was amazing to see the interaction of our church with the people of our city and specifically the neighborhood of Hilltop.  It was fantastic to see the same faces over and over again and it was even more exciting to see many of those faces show up at our worship gatherings and even some of them gather with one of our Intentional Communities.  So what was the lesson?  Empower the people.  I preach this point all the time to our leadership team but I didn't fully embrace it myself.  While I gave complete ownership of the last two weekends of events to our IC's I planned and led the majority of the "big" first weekend on my own.  Why was I surprised that people didn't show?  The people have to own the church... they are the church.  The people have to own the vision... they're the ones that will accomplish it.  The people have to own the outreach... they're the ones that will connect relationally.  Lesson learned.

Second, a word on commitment.  This is where we need your prayers.  We need our church, the people who have been with us for the last 9 months or more, and those who have recently joined us, to stay committed to the call to "be the church."  For the first time in a long time we have started to see life become an excuse for complacency.  I want to say upfront that I'm not innocent of this charge either.  But we must find a way to overcome.  It seems that The Pathway is not immune to the northwest disease of viewing commitment to the church as 50% attendance whether that be at worship, IC, or outreaches.  Everyone always has a reason, myself included, and most of the time the reasons are legit.  But still, commitment is more than that.  The best comparison is to a job.  It doesn't matter what happens in your life, you have to show up for work or you get fired.  While people don't like to view "being the church" as a job, that is exactly what it is.  It's hard work to follow Jesus.  It's not just a call to attend worship, serve with your IC  or show up at planned outreaches.  It's a call to commit to serve people daily in love, share the gospel regularly with the lost and invite people into the community of believers often.

It's hard.  It takes surrender, sacrifice and above all else commitment.

We're taking a baby step in October and November.  We're asking, challenging and pushing our church to COMMIT to attend three worship gatherings and three IC gatherings in a row during our vision series.  That's what we're asking them.  Whether that seems big or small to you, it is huge for our church.  Please pray that we would see commitment.  Please pray that we would show grace along the way.  Please then pray that they Holy Spirit would show up in a powerful way and that the kingdom of God would grow through our church in ways that are beyond our control or explanation.