We 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.
So yesterday at Elevation we had a baptism celebration at Elevation. It is one of the things that we do that amazes me that I get to be a part of. As a church family and team over the last four and a half years we have celebrated 194 people getting baptized. The baptisms are amazing as we see husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends baptize the people that they know have taken the step of saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing then watching a little boys face as he looks up at his dad after he comes out of the water. I get emotional when I see a spouse that is getting the chance to baptize the person that they are staying with for the rest of their life and eternity.
But then you get to hear the stories of how and why they said yes to a relationship with Jesus. You get to hear about the struggle, the mess, and many times the hurt that lead them to realize their need for Jesus. But then you also get to hear the stories of how families lead in the area of faith, about how students knew that it was what the knew they needed to do, and amazing stories of a life of faith and growth. No story is ever the same and no baptism is every the same because of what is happening in that persons life.
What I am excited to think about though is the stories that I have yet to hear. I am excited about the faces, the families, and the friends that we get to take pictures of baptizing those that are making their life with Jesus public. Who knows maybe you are one of the stories that we are going to get to share.
As we go through the “I Love My Church” series at Elevation this month we are going through the different areas that we believe are important for the people that make up this church. One of those areas is “Empowering people to serve with passion and focus.” We know that as followers of Jesus and the people of his church we are called and directed to serve those that are around us. We don’t because we have to but because we want too, especially because Jesus set the example.
Mark 10:45 (NLT) 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
So what does it look like to Serve ONE:
- Serve One is Relationship – we serve because of our relationship with Jesus, ultimately its about serving him. Its also because of the relationships that we have with people in our lives.
- Serve One is about Health & Hard work – we serve because it enables us to become healthy spiritually, physically, and relationally. We also know that serving is hard work and it is something that is going to challenge us. When you serve people the hard work comes from serving the people around you the way that they need to be served not necessarily the way you want too.
- Serve One is Focus – we want to be a church team that serves because we have focus together and individually. We focus our efforts together in what we do as a church every week. We also want people to focus on the way that they are created, gifted, and passionate.
We are excited as a church team and family to “Empower people so they can serve with passion and focus.” We are going to be continuing the conversation about “Why should I love the church today?” this week at Elevation. If you want to find out more about Elevation just click here to go to our website.
What are some ways that you are serving the people around you?
“Engaging people with experiences that lead to life change.”
When we moved to Colorado to start Elevation it was a passion and desire in us to reach people that didn’t have a relationship with Jesus. Michelle and I had come back to a place where family, friends, classmates, and work friends were living a part from a relationship with Jesus. So from day one we knew that we had to think of how we were going to engage people with experience that lead to life change. One of the things that I have enjoyed is to see how we can follow Jesus lead in this area of our life and our church team. In the New Testament in John there is an amazing interaction with Jesus and some disciple of John the Baptist and then those disciples who began to follow Jesus and their family and friends. But here is the conversation that Jesus has at first:
39 “Come and see,” he said. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day.
Jesus invites these men to come and see. Come and see what? His home, his new sandals, or maybe to see his new X-Box (ok not that)? The invitation was to come and see his life. It was an engaging statement to say come and follow me personally. So many people that are followers of Jesus want to have a process or a mandate on how to reach people for Jesus. The problem with that is in the New Testament we are commissioned to go but it doesn’t necessarily say how to go or exactly what to say or even do. So what I have done is spent my time going and hanging out with people and when they ask me how my life is different or has changed then when we were in high school or college I invite them to come and see. I invite them to spend time together and walk through life together so that they can see who Jesus is in my life and how he has changed me.
I also invite them to join me at the church where I belong. Now I know there are some people that are thinking why would you do that? Church why church? For me it is to get them to see that there are other people like me that have a relationship with Jesus. It also creates the opportunity where they might see or find someone that is dealing with stuff that they are dealing with in their life. That they will get inspired by what they here and experience. It is a “Come and See” about doing life where we accept you warts and all. I am only going to be able to connect with so many people and so are you. So why not create opportunities with a church team where someone that you are in a relationship with just might connect with someone else on the church team that will take them further in their faith journey with Jesus. The goal is that people will experience life change in Jesus. Not that I have all the notches on my bible where people said a statement or made a prayer about Jesus. It is about being involved in a life long spiritual fitness plan that leads to health in a relationship with Jesus and others.
I know that there are going to be people that disagree with this idea. I know that there are going to be people that think we should be running down every street with people yelling about Jesus. That is great and it awesome that you disagree because it still doesn’t change who Jesus is and it doesn’t change that we are called to tell people about Jesus. We all have been gifted and challenged to do it differently because of who we are as a follower of Jesus. Let’s just make sure that we spend more time telling people about Jesus then telling other followers of Jesus that they are not doing it right. Because if that were the case even Phillip who after he was invited to follow Jesus would have been in trouble,
John 1:45 45 Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” (my emphasis)
He said, “Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth” he didn’t say Jesus the Son of God. What he did is he took what he knew at the moment and he shared it with a friend because he wanted to share with his friend how Jesus had changed his life. He then says,
John 1:46b 46 . . . “Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
What are you doing this week to engage people where you have the opportunity to say, “Come & See”?
When I was in high school I have to be honest, I did not love my church I didn’t love any church. I was at a place in my life where it was not a place where I felt I was welcome or even wanted. Not because of all the people but some of the people. But when you are in high school you make some generalized assumptions about people and places. (Not that adults do that at all. SARCASM) It took some very tough situations and some very caring people to get me to the place where I realized not only that I needed the church. But, that the church actually had a need for me. That through time I realized that “I Loved The Church.”
Now for some of us I may need to make a clarification. The church is not the building and it is not about religion. It is about Jesus and the people that come together that become the church through a relationship with him and others. It is a place where imperfect people come together to follow a perfect savior, Jesus. The church is not perfect because people are involved. But it will be some day when we all get together as a huge church and stand before Jesus.
But “I Love My Church”! Not because I am a pastor and not because I am a church starter. But because I am a follower of Jesus and I love to watch the church be the church. I love to watch people receive Jesus radical grace! I love to hear about how the church is serving people not because they have to but because they want! I love to see the church love on people even when it gets messy! I love to watch the church become a group of people that are willing to lead and multiply! I love when Jesus takes a hold and does what he loves to do through imperfect people to engage people so they experience life change.
I Love My Church, because Jesus loves his church.
One of the things that I love to do is be able to share with the people around me is a good book. Well this is not just a good book it is a great book, especially if you are involved with Christian people.
I have been involved in working with churches for almost 20 years and I can honestly say that I have seen the best and the worst. I believe that what Mike Cheshire has written about in this book, “Why We Eat Our Own” there is still a lot for us to learn. I want you to know that it is not just my opinion but also the one of my mother. She read this book and continued to call me as she was impacted over and over through out this book. I also have a guy on our staff at Elevation that has created a list of people that he is going to send this book to as well.
This point should show us that we can and should really evaluate how we are living lives of grace and mercy to the people around us. That we need to understand that the relationships that God places in our lives will help us grow more and more like His son Jesus. That we will be able to walk through the messes of these relationships and see that we are able to either direct or destroy people. So I have to ask are you loving or eating the relationships up around you?
What if I told you that you could meet some of the guys from the Discovery Channel TV show “Gold Rush”? What if I told you that you could win some gold pans that were autographed by the guys from the TV show? What if you were able to see, “How to Survive The Holidays”?
On Sunday, December 15th during the Sunday Experiences at Elevation Christian Church we are going to have with us some of the guys from “Gold Rush”. They are going to be sharing with us about their lives and their stories. So I want to encourage you and the people that you know to come and join us at Elevation. You never know what is going to happen and you never know who you might meet. To make sure that you know all about this awesome day make sure that you go to www.elevationcc.com
What are some questions that you would want to ask the guys from “Gold Rush”? Who knows if you show up we just might use your question.