So while I was looking through my Facebook feed the other day this is a video that was posted by Larry Leith from Tokyo Joe’s. (By the way I love their food and I love the culture that they have created for their business.) It is a great little coffee shop that is located down in Colorado Springs just an hour from where we live here in Aurora. The whole idea of the video is that people would go and visit other coffee shops in the area because of the community that has embraced them and by doing so end up with a free drink at Loyal Coffee. They are calling it the “Dis-Loyality Card”! What an amazing idea!
Here is where this video took me though – the church community. Isn’t this what we should be doing as the church? Letting people know that the community of faith is here for each other and build a community that is for the city not just ourselves? I was recently a part of a conversation about two churches in a community coming together for an event that helps grow leadership for both the city and the communities of faith. It was going to be an exciting opportunity to see the KINGDOM of Jesus respond in a way that would be a huge influence in the city. Well unfortunately one of the churches was not willing to partner in this endeavor because the building where the event was being held was not good enough for their people. Are you serious? The building is the reason that these two churches couldn’t come together to make a difference in the city like never before?
What if we decided to have “Dis-Loyalty” Sundays where we encouraged the people of our churches to go and support another church in the community? What if we called them BIG KINGDOM Sunday’s and we showed support for the big kingdom of Jesus?
What do you think about the coffee shop idea? What do you think about the BIG KINGDOM Sunday idea?
This week my brother Casey sent me an amazing article about Ryan Leaf and his life experiences. What was so amazing about the article is that it was Ryan Leaf writing a letter to his younger self. If you want to read it just click here you won’t be disappointed. But it made me think about what if I were to write a letter to my younger self and what would be the things that I would want to share. Here are just a few of the highlights that I would share with my younger self:
- Don’t let what people say about you or to you determine what you see in yourself.
- Just because they are people that go to church doesn’t mean that they represent Jesus.
- Know that when you experience heart break that it is leading you to the woman that you will spend the rest of your life with.
- Just because there is a job that you want doesn’t necessarily mean that is that job that you need. God’s vision for you is bigger then your vision for you.
- Enjoy the process and don’t always look for the next step.
- Remember that your accomplishments are not in what you do but who you do them with in life. There are three kids in your life that will change you and grow you more then you will ever know.
This is just a little of what I think that I would write to a younger Scott Bloyer. What are some things that you would write down and tell your younger self if you could? Looking back is always a good thing, just remember to not stay there. (Share one of your bullet points here.)
Ok 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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.
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?
At Elevation we have what we call the “Advance The Line” campaign. It is our hope that we are going to reach 1,000 people in the city of Aurora in the next year. So we have developed this campaign and prayed about what it would look like in our community. One of the things that we realized about the city is that we are seeing more and more people that speak Spanish. That there are families that have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation families that are from a Spanish speaking background in our community.
So we thought what would it look like for a church in Aurora to bring both english and spanish speaking people together. What would it look like for a church to develop a process of having the different generations of spanish speaking people all in one church. A church that is not the typical spanish speaking church with it’s traditionalism or even the charismatic side of things that are associated with a spanish speaking church. Through all of this we are excited to let people know that we have added to our team a leader that we believe is going to help us create this new opportunity as a church in Aurora for all of these people.
So I would love for you to meet Neill Snyder he is the guy that we believe that God has brought to us so that we can be exactly the church for Aurora. He and his wife are going to be helping us reach out to the spanish speaking people of Aurora. So if you would like to meet Neill, talk with Neill, or give Neill a big hug you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Over the next several months we are going to be working to forge a plan where we are going to engage people so they can experience life change in Jesus. We are planning as of now to be launching spanish speaking experiences on Easter weekend in 2014. If you are interested or if you are just curious please let us know or even take the time to come and check out Elevation as we prepare to “Advance the Line“.
Here is one of the amazing people that makes up the Dream Team at Elevation. You see we call of the people that serve at Elevation the Dream Team. Why the Dream Team? We believe that God has brought together the perfect team to accomplish what He wants to accomplish here in Aurora through Elevation. Each person on the team has been gifted and created to make the team the best it possibly can be to win the game. So we have people that serve in many different ways and make a difference in many different people’s lives. In fact we are so excited about the people that are on the team that I am going to be taking the time to share with you about who some of these people are and what they do at Elevation. Here is the first DREAM TEAM member that I want you to know about:
Alex Lopez and her daughter Genesis who is along for the ride with mommy. Alex serves alongside with her husband Josue on the Parking Lot Team. They are a major blessing to the church and the prepare the school for people to come every Sunday. They understand the importance of making sure that people know how to get in the building as well as where to park once they get to the school where we meet. You see she is one the people that makes it possible for us as a church to engage people so they can experience life change in Jesus. If you are unsure where you should serve on the Dream Team then I want to encourage you to be come to the Elevation offices and check out the Discover Workshops that we make available each month. It will open your eyes to the place where you can make the most impact. Get on the Dream Team!