Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to be a Church All-Star

Shine like a star
The other night was the Major League All-Star game, the mid-summer classic.  I love watching this game, because I love baseball. On this night, the best players in the game today gather and display their amazing talents. The stars come out to play.
We talk about stars a lot in our culture.  It got me thinking: if their was an all-star team for churches who would be on it?  Who are the stars in our churches today?
Sporting our Cardinal All-Stars! 
The stars of the church are the ones who actually make the church what it is.  A pastor can lead--but if no one follows, it doesn't matter how great he or she is.  A star grabs a vision and live it out.  Here is a quote I was reading in one of my son’s books by Peter C. Bjarkman talking about Roberto Clemente being a star.
“A star is not something that flashes through the sky.  That’s a comet.  Or a meteor.  A star is something you can steer ships by.  It stays in place and gives off a steady glow; it is fixed, permanent.  A star works at being a star.”
How to shine like a star for Jesus:
Love your church: When you watch great ball players, you see they love what they do.  You can't help but shine when you love what it is that you are doing.  You cannot be a star if you are negative about life. You need to love God, your life, and your church.
You work at being a star: Being a star is not something that just happens--it takes hard work.  You pray, fast, lead, and share your faith with people.  Ball players have skill, but they are also hard workers.  When you are a star for Jesus, it means you commit a lot of your time and effort being a disciple. 
You let yourself shine:  I loved Bryce Harper’s gold shoes during the All-Star game.  He is a hard working young star, but he let his shoes shine.  I think for us to shine like a star, we need to not be ashamed of the Gospel--but instead, shine brightly for Jesus.  When you do this, people will recognize there is something different about you, and will even want to model who you are.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Time

Mars Hill in Grandville

It seems that every year I am not sure if I will like summer or not, and every year I instantly fall in love with it.  There is nothing like drinking lemonade on the back patio and listening to music as the summer shines down.  Summer is a season of relaxing and enjoying the company of friends.
Summer is also a time where we can choose to grow closer, or be pulled away from God.  Even though summer can be relaxing, often the relaxing things we do begin to replace our time spent with God in study and worship.
When I was a kid my family went on many vacations throughout the summers.  Even thought we were on vacation, my parents always had planned out which church would we be attending on the Sunday mornings during our trips.  I remember me saying, “are we really going to church?” and my parents in unison saying, “We never take a vacation from God.” This instantly put me in my place, and has made a great impact on my walk with God!
That one sentence has shaped me for the rest of my life.  Even though it's summer, and it is a busy time of relaxing, don’t take a vacation from God. I believe that summer is always a great time of growth. We watched growth happen on the mission trip, we will see growth when kids go off to camp, and we will watch growth happen at Vacation Bible School! Let your summer with God be one where you choose to continue to grow in him, and continue to love others even though your schedule changes throughout the coming weeks.
Let this summer be, The Summer for Jesus!
What can you do to GROW this summer while relaxing: 

How to keep moving with God throughout the summer. 
Mars Hill in Grandville
1. When you are out of town on vacation, visit a church.  Every year my family goes to Michigan and we go to Mars Hill in Grandville outside of Grand Rapids. It is refreshing because it is a change.  When you visit pick up bulletins and other materials to take home and show to your pastor.  This can help in comparing and help your church also move forward.  

2. Pick a good novel with Christian themes to read.  The novels on my reading list for the summer are "The Hobbit" by JR Tolkien and   "The Comedians" by Graham Green.  This is a relaxing way to get good Christian perspectives and conversations going during the summer.   
3. The last thing is to intentionally help out at your church.  Do not let your church take the summer off.  Help with your mission committee or do a mission project in your community with your church.  Go to camp with the youth or help out with your church's Vacation Bible School.  Be involved this summer do not just sit back and wait till fall.  
If church is to be a movement, it will never take a break from growing in the love of Jesus Christ.  For when we grow in love with Jesus we begin to share the love of Christ with others.