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Tips for playing “Pokemon Go”

pokemon goOk so I have to say that I am not a fan of Pokemon Go. But it is making people crazy and I am not going to lie, I love the idea of this game for parents and their kids.  So I was thinking that we should list some very simple tips for playing Pokemon Go with your kids:

  1. Make sure that you are dressed for the adventure. If you are going to be outside a ton then make sure you are dressed for where you live.  Also make sure that you have something to drink while you are out and about.  Who knows this might be something that you can assign to one of the kids to handle.  Give them some ownership for the adventure. But ultimately wear good shoes, don’t want those dogs to get tired.
  2. Don’t worry about catching duplicate Pokémon. Whenever you snag a new Pokémon, you may notice you will also earn candy and stardust. Both items will help level up your characters to make them stronger. With enough candy, you can also evolve your Pokémon into something bigger and more powerful. Any duplicates you transfer to the professor net more candy. So those extra Pidgeys will come in handy.
  3. Eggs are a good way to snag more Pokémon. When you visit a Poké Stop, you can earn Balls to capture more creatures or Eggs. Players can stick an Egg in an incubator and birth their own Pokémon. All you need to do is once the Egg is inside the incubator, you must walk to complete the process. Now being dressed for the adventure will be worth it.
  4. Have your phone charger ready always.  You sure don’t want the phone to die while you are on the adventure do you?  So play with the kids and let them know that with out the phone the adventure stops.  So make it fun for how you get the phone on the charger and off when you go hunting.
  5. The way you toss the Poké Ball is important. When you capture a Pokémon, you flick the Poké Ball from the lower end of the screen toward the Pokémon to catch it. The better the toss, the more experience points you earn. You can even toss a curveball to catch them with flair. A green circle expands and shrinks when you hold down on the Poké Ball before the toss. The wider the circle, the greater the odds of making a catch.
  6. Beware of your surroundings. One thing that I have already seen is people wandering around without an awareness of what is going on around them.  So a good idea would be to have some one as your safety guard through the whole adventure.  In fact this also might be a good time to talk with your kids about being aware of people around them when they are walking to and from school, or playing with friends, or walking to practice.  Make this a teachable moment about safety.

I think it is important to know that the family that plays together stays together.  I also think that a family that attends a church together has a stronger bond then they will ever know.  If you want to know more about a church in Aurora, CO then just click here and find a place for you and your family. Don’t let the adventure stop when you are not playing Pokemon Go!

Carrying to much?

refrig and dolly

So yesterday as I was heading to the airport with my wife and daughter to fly out to an event that I was going to speak at something caught my eye.  We were sitting at an intersection that we always go through about three to four times a day and there was a man on the corner with a refrigerator.  That’s right a refrigerator all by himself on a dolly.  Then as we pulled up the light changed and he painstakingly hauled the refrigerator across the street to the other side, but when he got to the corner it got stuck.  So he worked and worked the refrigerator up on the corner as all of the cars in the turn lane waited and honked.  Then once he got it up on the corner sidewalk he paused caught his breath and then hauled the refrigerator down the street to some unknown destination.

As I watched this happen I was thinking first, how I could get out and help this guy with out getting run over and with out being late for my flight. Then the second thing that came to mind was why is there no one to help this guy to move this refrigerator? Why is he carrying so much of a load all on his own?  I thought that it was really interesting to see this since this last weekend at Elevation we talked about the need and call for community. We talked about “Relationships lead to community and community fuels maturity.”

It made me think about all the people that are involved in faith communities (churches) that are carrying to much on their own.  Whether it because of their own choice of not being involved in community by choosing to be that person who just shows up and never gets to know any one.  Or that they are involved in a faith community (church) that doesn’t make relationships a priority.  It burdened my heart to think about how we have so many people that say they are following Jesus but have made a choice to forget about the “One Another’s”.  Through out the New Testament there many “One Another’s” and there is one that I thought of when it came to the man on the corner with the refrigerator.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

When did we start to think that we need to handle things all on our own?  When did it become ok to know of the struggle someone is having and to do nothing?  It is my prayer that today you will notice the family member or friend that is carrying to much, like the refrigerator and get involved.  Who do you know that you can help carry the refrigerator down the street today? Don’t miss out on sharing in the burden.

What are you expecting?

When you get done with being in a church experience or service do you ask yourself the question, “What did I get out of this?”  Hope you think about something.

It is my hope that I can help you change your perspective about answering that question. To be honest we should be really asking the question but the idea should be more about “How is Jesus speaking to me and what am I going to do in response to what He is telling me?”

So I want to challenge you with some things that can prepare you to answer that question above:

  • Choose to really get into the singing.  That’s right really sing out! Don’t worry about what anyone is thinking about your singing if you are seeking to honor God with you singing it shouldn’t matter. You don’t care about it when you are at a concert do you? Well don’t care when you are in service either.
  • Come ready to hear and share stories that you have experienced when it comes to be being a part of a church family.  This is a chance for encouragement and for life change as you become a healthier follower of Jesus.
  • Be hungry to grow in your relationship with Jesus.  Because being hungry is your choice as to what you experience! So pray for the person that is speaking, ask God to use them to speak into your life, to those that are sitting around you, and that lives would be changed by the gospel.
  • Come prepared to be involved.  Make sure you have a bible (paper or digital) get your program ready and make sure you write out notes.  The notes will help you through out the week when it comes to working out what Jesus is doing in you and through you. Who knows the Holy Spirit might really use it to nudge in you a specific direction.
  • Come expecting to respond to what God is doing that day both during the experience and later as you walk through what you have learned. Be ready to take it back out into life.
  • Come knowing that this is not where you are going to have a strong sense of community. Remember that comes through being in a more relational driven group. (Smaller)
  • Come knowing that the experience is the beginning of the week and that the experience is not the end of be all to your spiritual health.  Take the experience and use it to grow more personally. Spiritual growth happens in many other ways then just on Sunday.

What are some ways that you get ready for a service or experience when you are a part of a church community?  Help us see other options that are out there.

Generosity is who we are . . .

generosity

One of the things that I have come to realize is that when it comes to being a generous person its not about what we do it is about who we are.  For me I was raised in home where being generous to people around you was just who you were. It wasn’t something you had to think about, or guess about, you just did it.  So when I got married I just started doing what I thought was the natural thing to do.  Well my wife had grown up differently then me and it was a point of great conversation for us. (That’s called an argument.) So we both had to come to a mutual understanding of what we were going to do when it came to being generous.  Which honestly was a really good thing for both of us to come to as a couple.  I would really say it was a great chance for me to grow as a husband, father, and as person that works in the faith community. (church)

You see because of that difference between my wife and I it enabled me to see how and why people struggle when it comes to being generous in and with their faith community.  For us at Elevation we talk a lot about being generous in fact we want to be known for our “Insane Generosity” to the community around us.  But for a community of faith (church) to be generous that means the people of the church need to be generous with what they give to that church.  If you are a part of a faith community then you will have heard this is about offerings and about tithing. (We are not going to argue Old Testament vs New Testament giving.)  So we want people to see that for us to be generous as a church community then the people need to be a part of that through their generosity through their tithes and offerings.

But most people honestly struggle here because of the different ways that they were raised. Some were raised that all you had was yours and that you take care of your own.  Some were raised without anything so you had to keep whatever you had to be able to make it.  Others were raised where you were just generous enough to make sure you looked good.  While as others were raised with the idea that helping someone in need is just what you did that you were generous.

So it is my hope that I can encourage people to live out a generous life.  Whether it is by caring for your neighbor. (Hopefully you know who they are.) By providing some food for another student at your school. (Had one of my kids do this.) Or through the tithes and offerings you share with your community of faith. (My wife does this for us now.) Because as you begin to do this you will be amazed that the words of the New Testament begin to be lived out your life in an amazing way.

Acts 20:35b “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

How are you living out a life of insane generosity in your life? How are you being generous with your faith community so that they can be generous with the community around it?

Look in the parking lot?

So this weekend I had someone invite me to come and see a car that was in our parking lot.  We walked out the front door and the person pointed out the car in the parking lot. My first thought was ok nice car but that is not the make or model that I get all fired up about, I let them know that I am a mustang kind of guy.  But then the person drew my attention to the license plate that was on the car.  There I saw what had got the attention of the individual.

Car in the lot

This is the actual license plate that was on the car. This is not fabricated or changed in any way to make this an interesting picture.  For those of you that don’t know we are a church that is in the great state of Colorado where I am a native.  A place where it is currently to legally purchase marijuana.  Now I don’t intend for this to be a place where we argue about what should be or not be legal.  We live in a state where it is legal and I have to live in that reality as a leader.  So the person that pointed out the license plate then asked me this question, “What should we do about this?”

My answer to this question was simple, “Make sure they have a great parking spot and they have a good time.” With that answer I saw a look of confusion for a minute.  But then I went on to explain what I meant.  My answer and my prayer was that this person felt comfortable enough to come and be a  part of our church so I wanted us to live out, “It’s ok to not be ok, but God doesn’t want you to stay that way.” I wanted the person that came in this car to understand that they can come here and be cared for and encouraged in their faith journey.  Then I wanted the person to know that pointed out the license plate that God is going to be the one that is going to change a life.  So we should be excited that this person was with us and hearing about the radical grace of Jesus.

We were not going to run them off because of their license plate because just down the row was another car that I knew the owner was dealing with porn, I knew that there was another car on the next row where the owner was dealing with mental illness, and I knew that there was another car on the other end of the lot that was in legal trouble.  The only thing different about this car was that their license plate was letting us know what was going on in their life.  So we were going to simply pray for this person, pray that Jesus was going to impress upon their heart about a relationship with Him, pray that this person would experience life change because of who he is and not because we pointed out their license plate.  So my encouragement to you is to look in the parking lot, look and see not the license plates but who are the people that are there to be cared for and reached with the radical grace of Jesus?  Who knows maybe you need to start with your car.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebration Matters

paper gatoradeWe see celebrations happen every weekend.  We see football players soak their coaches after a big win.  We see college fans rush the court after their basketball team accomplishes a big win.  Soccer fans will line the streets of their cities after there is a win at the World Cup. Businesses have a salesman ring a bell once they have made a sale. (Watched this when my daughter bought her first car.)  So why is it that the church community does this so poorly?  Why is that celebration has been reduced to a simple AMEN? Why is it that when we see God do something amazing in the lives of people that we keep it quiet? Why is it that when the church team accomplishes something together we receive grief from other followers of Jesus for sharing and celebrating?

Well one of the things that I have learned over the last five years of starting a church is that CELEBRATION matters.  That is right we need to celebrate more of the things that are happening in and through our church teams. This last weekend some people at Elevation chose to celebrate a great day at Elevation where 15 people said, “Yes to a relationship with Jesus” by dumping confetti over my head. (Thank you for not using Gatorade) over the top of my head.  It was something that was really awesome! I was touched as the pastor of Elevation to celebrate what had happened in our church. We all know that God is the one that made the life change happen.  But the people (Wendy & Marissa) chose to celebrate that day by doing something that we see every week in sports.  We had people watching that were just checking out Jesus and His church, they all cheered and laughed.  But then it created conversations about why that happened.  We all were able to share with them that we were celebrating what Jesus is doing in the lives of people.  To which one man that I talked with said, “I love that you guys have fun celebrating! I have never seen this in a church before.”  To which I thought, WHY?

Maybe this week I can challenge you to think about how you celebrate. Maybe it is celebrating something in your marriage.  Maybe it is celebrating something that has happened in your kids lives.  Maybe it is celebrating something that has happened in your work.  Maybe if you are a church volunteer or leader celebrating something in your church.  We can throw parties, give gifts, send thank you’s, and maybe dump confetti over someone’s head.  But let’s take the challenge this week what and how we celebrate.

 

 

Aside

Christmas Eve Hurt

Lost Man

Last week we celebrated Christmas all over the world and for many people that meant going to Christmas Eve church services. As a pastor of a church I often think about how important that these services can be for people that during the season will come and check out church.  I mean if you are involved with volunteering at a church or on staff you have probably seen the investment that comes with getting ready for Christmas Eve.  There are decorations, there is lighting, there is sound, the right songs,  cookies, people dressed up for Christmas, and stuff for the kids.  All of these things are not bad and they can be important for what you are doing at Christmas time.  But this year I saw something that has challenged and changed my heart.

You see this year as we were all getting ready that night for Christmas Eve services at our church in Aurora.  There were things that really caught my attention you see we had some places that didn’t have enough volunteers, there were some places that didn’t have the right volunteers, heck can I be honest there were places that didn’t have any volunteers.  So as I was trying to figure out how to handle the volunteer issue I do what so many other pastors do in this case, I voluntold my son to help me out.  Which he did with out a question, ok maybe with one question.  Why? I told him that he is in the best place to make a difference during our Christmas Eve services.  These words were so true, more than I would have ever known.

You see we had a man show up right about the time I was getting ready to go on stage to speak that was high and very drunk.  We do live in CO so the high part is never a shock but the drunk part well that was hard for us all to see.  So I as walked on stage I saw one of our elders, my son along and his college friend start to deal with this man.  At least that is what I thought.

The truth of the matter is that they took some amazing time to care for this man.  What my son shared with me was that this man had just walked in because he saw all the people walking in and heard the music.  He told my son that he was feeling lost and so lonely that he thought I might as well walk in there.  My son, his friend, and our elder gave him something to eat (cookies are important), then gave him a cup of coffee, and talked with him.  Even helped him walk into the auditorium for a chance to hear silent night and watch the candles being lit, after he had fallen twice just trying to sit in a chair in our lobby area.

So when the service was over I came out to meet people and make sure everything was going ok.  Well the man had wanted to go have a smoke in the parking lot (nothing new at this church), so my son and his friend went with him.  Out there he shared with my son that he had been smoking weed all day and had been drinking with different people he knew all day. That he was lonely and just hurting. Then my son told me  the man then proceeded to vomit up the cookies and the coffee. All the while my son stood with him and made sure that he was ok, even patting him on the back as he got sick.  The man being very embarrassed, put out his smoke, hugged my son said thank you for listening and caring then walked away towards the street.  My son and his friend followed the man to the street making sure that he was safe as he disappeared up the street into the darkness.

My son came back and told me how bad he felt for that man and that he was sorry that they couldn’t have done more.

To be honest as a father and pastor I have never been more proud of my son, our elder, and his friend.  Because the truth of the matter is that in many other places and yes churches this man would have been seen as a problem and a nuisance.  But on this Christmas Eve he was cared for he was fed and he was invited in to see and hear about the birth of Jesus.  So what challenged and changed for me this Christmas Eve? I have always thought about making sure that we are prepared for the people that are coming to check out church.  But in all honesty I have never thought about the people that might literally stumble into our church.  So it challenged me to start thinking about the people that stumble in that are in need for something other then a church service, especially on Christmas Eve.  It has changed me because as I stood on the stage and talked about how the shepherds that came and found Jesus were the outsiders in the community.  We had the exact same thing going on right in our lobby.  It has changed me because I want us to think about how we can have Christmas Eve services for those that are high, stumbling drunk, and lonely this next year.  It changed me because of what an amazing man my son has become and how he cares for the people that no one else wants to care for in this world. It changed me because the elder of our church could have really been more worried about getting the guy out of the building instead of caring for him. He cared for him.  It changed me because my sons friend who I know is struggling with the question of faith watched faith in action.

If this would have happened at your church how do you think people would have responded?  What can you do next Christmas Eve to make sure that your community of faith is ready for the high, the stumbling drunk, and the lonely that might show up?