Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

OK, so it's been a while since my last post. The past couple of months have been a little crazy. But this one is LONG overdue! There are some great things going on at Rock Point and over the next few days I'm going to be highlighting some of them.

I would like to start out with our UpStreet Kids (K-5th grade). First of all, 2 weeks ago we had our largest attendance in UpStreet ever!! I was fortunate to be in there during their time together and the feel of the room was incredible. I want to personally thank our volunteers and staff who make that environment fun and engaging for kids each week. It's fun to see kids WANT to be at church. (I know I didn't when I was a kid).

Also, I was proud of our kids for their contribution to Operation Christmas Child. Each child was asked to put together a box for another child who was less fortunate. It's through Samaritan's Purse, an incredible organization that helps those who are in need all over the world. I was told by our staff that they were hoping for 25 boxes from our kids...which would have been a great number to send. But when the dust settled, our kids ended up bringing 49 boxes to ship off!! That is awesome! Way to go UpStreet Kids! I love seeing God using kids for His work. Looks like they could teach us adults a few things.

Look for a post later on about a few who got to share their life stories recently at Rock Point and other cool stuff that God is doing...


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This past Sunday evening at Rock Point we had ELEVATE - a Night of Worship. This evening was an incredible time of worship with our band...an opportunity for those who wanted to experience communion...and a time of corporate prayer for what God is doing in this world, this country and in Chattanooga. I was blown away with the attendance on a Sunday evening as over 200 people came to worship the God of the Universe and celebrate who He is and what He has done in our lives and in this this world. The worship was electric...the communion was moving...and the prayer time inspiring...at least for me.

Also, our Nexus (college) and Fusion (single adults) groups had outings surrounding the evening and by all accounts they were wildly successful! Great turnout and lots of new people. Just our college and single adult crowds had over 60 people present at ELEVATE!

So, for all of those who helped make this night possible...thank you! We had staff and volunteers pull of a very full day to create this environment and I am so grateful for them. I am blessed to be the pastor at Rock Point and I am so excited to see what God is going to do through this church in Chattanooga!!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Catching Up...

OK, so it has been a few weeks since my last blog post. Please forgive me. But God is doing some great stuff here at Rock Point and I don't want to leave everyone hanging. Since there is a lot to catchup on...I'll cut the chase and get rolling.

* Last week I had the opportunity of visiting with a church in Azua, Dominican Republic with Mark & Beth Newsome. The intent of the trip was to discuss how we might be able to partner with a church in the D.R. in creating a relevant church there. We had some great conversations with the church leadership and had the opportunity to talk pretty candidly about leading a church that desires to reach people instead of keep people. Very excited about the potential future here. Will keep everyone posted as to how things progress. Oh, yeah...the people in Azua are AMAZING! Some of the kindest people I have ever met. I was blessed to be able to spend the week with them.

* This past Sunday at Rock Point was a very memorable one...(OK, so that is like the 3rd time I have used that sentence this year alone). But when it's true, I can't help but say it! In the sermon, Jeff Henderson spoke about "coming out of the shadows and into the light" with areas in our lives that keep us from truly being all that God desires for us to be. At the conclusion of the service we gave people an opportunity to respond on the spot to the message. Several people in both services were bold enough to come down during the closing song to kneel and pray. Very moving for me to watch. Thanks to Jeff and our production team for helping to create that type of atmosphere.

* OK, so this isn't going on right now...but it will be in 2 weeks. We have been planning our second "Elevate - a Night of Worship", and I am so excited about this night. We have incredible worship leaders for this night and also we will be worshipping through prayer and sharing of the Lord's Supper together. So, for a shameless plug...You want to be at Rock Point on October 11th at 6pm! Can't wait to see you there.

Well, that's it for now. Make sure you join us for the conclusion of Illusions this Sunday at Rock Point. 10am & 11:30am are the service times.

See you Sunday.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Last week I had the privilege of taking my family away for a week to the beach for vacation. It was a much needed rest for us and a wonderful break. If you don't like being around a lot of people I highly recommend going the week before Labor Day. It was a ghost town.

Had a lot of time to think...process...pray. It's amazing what God can do in your life when you stop and rest and allow him to speak to you. One day I actually floated out on a raft for about an hour in the ocean (the kids thought Daddy was headed to Mexico). It was one of the best prayer times I have had in a while. I know...I wasn't in a "prayer closet", but it still rocked.

Anyway, thought I would share a few of the reflections I had while I was down there.

* When God speaks of a day of rest and worship...He means it. Maybe we need to listen to Him more about REALLY stopping each week to allow our bodies, minds and spirits to be rested and refreshed.

* Stress can ruin you. It's amazing how NICE we all can be by removing a little stress from our lives. Get rid of the stress and "cast all of our cares on HIM". He's man enough to handle them! It will change your life.

* Family time is a lost art. Sure, we can justify our crazy schedules with "it's not quantity time but quality time". Although there is a degree of truth to this, extended time with your spouse and children can not be replaced with a forced dinner together or a quick few minutes in the car on the way to school. IF YOU ARE A PARENT...FIND TIME TO BE WITH YOUR KIDS. IF YOU ARE MARRIED...FIND TIME TO BE WITH YOUR SPOUSE. Your family is the greatest gift God has given you in this world. Value it.

* God created a beautiful world. Still can't figure out how some people can think this thing called the world all happened by "accident".

* I love my church! I know because I am the pastor I am supposed to say this, but it's so true. I missed the people...the worship...the opportunity of seeing guests come in. I love the opportunity to create a church where unchurched people want to come. It's such a challenge...but so rewarding!

So, there they are. My random thoughts from vacation.

Well, that's it for now. Have a great week and if you are in Chattanooga, come join us for the conclusion of "5 Things God Uses to Grow Your Faith" this Sunday. You won't regret it!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Volunteers...WE LOVE YOU!

Now I know we are in Tennessee and it's easy to associate the words "VOLUNTEERS" with that team up in Knoxville. As much as I know some of you would like for this to be the case, that's not who I'm speaking of. I'm talking about the amazing volunteers who jump in to make Rock Point happen every week. You are the backbone of this church. Between setting up (which is very physically taxing)...to welcoming people with a smile at the door...to leading a small group of children or students...to setting up that entire stage (that's right, when we arrive on Sunday morning that stage is bare)...our volunteer teams continually amaze me. Serving is not easy. It does take sacrifice because you are giving up time and energy to make this happen. But you all have caught the vision of this church and realized that creating a church where unchurched people would want to go is hard work...but so worth it. I realize that you don't do it for the pats on the back and the hugs...but I wanted to give you one anyway. So here it is...

Volunteers at Rock Point...you are appreciated and loved! Thank you for all you do and continue to do.

If you would be interested in joining one of these incredible teams at Rock Point, head to our volunteer page on our website to express your interest. A staff member will be with you soon thereafter!

Have a great weekend and we'll see you Sunday!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

North Point Online

OK, so long time since my last post. Sorry about that. Lots of great stuff happening at RPCC the past couple of weeks and has kept me busy. Wow...I'm so blessed to be the Lead Pastor here. More on that later...

For now, I'm going to express my absolute joy about a very cool thing happening with North Point Ministries. As many of you know, we are a part of the "North Point Network" being a strategic partner. This is exciting for us as we not only get to experience great resources from North Point but to know we are part of something greater than just Rock Point in Chattanooga. There is a movement amongst churches all over the country who desire to create a church "where unchurched people would want to attend." We can learn from each other as well as celebrate with each other. So...onto the REALLY cool part of this.

Beginning this coming Sunday, August 16, North Point Ministries is launching "North Point Online". This will be live streaming of the evening service at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA. The beauty of this is that people from all over the country...even the world...can experience a relevant church experience from their computer screen. I could go on and on and describe what this will be like, but you just have to experience yourself.

Check out the website here: http://northpointonline.tv/
They also have a facebook fan page with updates: http://www.facebook.com/northpointonline
(I just became fan 3,400)

So get online this Sunday evening and check it out.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baptism & Football

This past Sunday was a memorable one at Rock Point. To begin with, we were fortunate to have the entire UTC Football Team join us for our 10am service. It definitely added to the "size" of the service. I loved seeing those guys there and thanks to the FCA guys for helping us get this together. It was a real treat seeing them filling up (literally) the first 3 rows.

Following that we experienced our first live baptisms at Rock Point. If you weren't there, you really missed out on a special moment as each of those baptized videoed their story and we were able to show that before the actual baptism. Fortunately, with the magic of technology and the internet, we're able to show you one of those stories.

Here is the story of Garry Rodgers and his baptism. (Please excuse the focus on Garry at the beginning and the audio following. This was our first time attempting live baptisms and we had a few "hurdles").

What a story...what a privilege to experience that with Garry. Lauren his wife and Jolynn Linder were the others baptized and we'll post those later.

Thanks to all who helped make this past Sunday possible. God is doing great things at Rock Point and I am blessed to be a part of it.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Going Global

This past Sunday was a very memorable service for me at RPCC. We announced our relationship that we are beginning with Compassion International and had over 20 children sponsored that day. What an awesome thing to see with God's people stepping up to help others in need, even when they are in another part of the world. Kevin Meyers from Compassion dropped by for an interview and helped us understand what Compassion International is doing around the world.

I am so excited about this partnership with Compassion as we will not only be able to sponsor children from here in the states but we will be able to take trips to Lima, Peru to assist with what Compassion is doing there. The mission of Compassion is to "release children from poverty in Jesus' name". Very simple mission, but very impactful organization. After witnessing first hand what is taking place through Compassion in Lima, I am thrilled to be able to partner with them in not only assisting children with physical poverty, but spiritual, economic and social poverty as well.

Thanks to all those who agreed to sponsor children this past Sunday. If you weren't able to come by the table Sunday and are interested in sponsoring a child, you can either drop by the Compassion table this week at Rock Point or go to our website to pick up a sponsor packet.

Can't wait to see you all this Sunday at Rock Point.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Random thoughts...

Do you every have random thoughts that go through your mind? I know I do. Sometimes these make sense, but other times, it might just mean that the way the mind that is sending the messages is a little off. (See, that doesn't even make sense)

I've been thinking about the following things here and there....off and on. Let me know your thoughts.

* Why does the church have the best message in the world, but often times we present it in the worst possible way?

* As a Christian, is it more important to be "in the world" or "not of it".

* Why does the culture in America get a bad rap but culture is embraced in other parts of the world with the intent of "reaching the lost"?

* Why is it so easy for us to spend over 30 hours a week watching TV but so hard to give 1 hour a week to serving at your church?

* If Jesus was so concerned with the needs of others...why is it so often that we want our needs addressed first and then we'll worry about "them"?

These are just observations that I have been making over the past month or so. Not jabs...not aimed at any religious group or person...just general thoughts about the church today. Been in church work for a long time...plenty of time to build up some questions. What are yours? Are you thinking about God's Kingdom work here? I hope so.


Thursday, June 4, 2009


OK, so most of you when you read this post title, you thought of texting via your phone or handheld device. But I'm using this phrase in conjunction with our series currently going on at Rock Point. The series is called TEXT and we're talking about diving into the TEXT that God has given us...His Word...the Bible. I personally believe that the Bible is not just a compilation of a lot great writings from a lot of great people. I believe that it is God's written word for us...even thousands of years after it was penned. It is incredibly rich with wisdom...poetry...drama...redemption...love...etc. TEXTing in this context means to read the text...the Bible...which doesn't always mean you totally understand it. Anything that has ever stretched me or I have grown after reading, was not completely comprehendible the first time I read it. But it was so worth it when I immersed myself into it.

This book...the Bible...is alive. It will change you if you read it. So how about it?
If you choose this challenge, let me give you a few places to start.

Step #1 - Get a Bible. I recommend something that is readable in our language today. I prefer the NIV version, but there are a lot of great translations. Yeah, the "thees and thous" from the KJV are very poetic, but I don't know how many of my friends speak like that today. (FYI - that version is a translation as well.)

Step #2 - Pick a time and place. Just like reading a good book, it's probably not the best idea to try and read the Bible with a lot of distractions.

Step #3 - Read it. Below are a weeks worth of reading if that helps you know where to start. All Bibles have a place in the front which helps you know where the individual books are found. (Ex. Matthew, Isaiah, Psalms, etc) Use this. It will help you if you need it.

Monday: Psalm 1

Tuesday: Psalm 119:9-16

Wednesday: Psalm 119:33-37

Thursday: Psalm 119:97-104

Friday: Proverbs 2:1-6

That's pretty much it! Now you can take this as deep as you want to, but for those who have never even given the TEXT a try, this will help you get started.

So pick it up...read it...you won't regret it!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stories of Life Change...

I love hearing stories of life change. I'm not talking about winning the lottery or finding your "soul mate". I'm talking real life change by having a relationship with your Heavenly Father through Christ. Jesus promised abundant life and it's for real. I love hearing people who were far away from God and now are walking with Him...not living perfect...but trusting in Him. Wow!

In fact, down the hall from where I am sitting, we are filming 3 stories of those who have experienced this new life in Christ. We'll be showing these before they get baptized at Rock Point in a few weeks. For us baptism isn't just something you do in church, it is really celebrating what God has done on the inside of us through an external act. So we want to give those who are being baptized the opportunity to share their story with others. It's pretty cool!

Isn't that really what it's all about? Sharing our story. I'm so glad we're doing this. Can't wait to see and hear their stories!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer at Rock Point

Wow. Just got finished working on the summer schedule at Rock Point and I am getting extremely excited! Here's why:

* Memorial Day weekend is when Louie Giglio wraps up the series, "Home Free, Even Me". If you have ever wondered what God's grace really is all about...you will be there for this!

* We start off the Summer with the series, "Text" where we will take a close look at the significance of the Scriptures in our lives and how to read and apply it. Very cool approach to an extremely important aspect of our Spiritual Growth.

* We will have a Sunday in late June where we will be discussing what Rock Point is doing as it pertains to impacting the world the world for Christ globally. God has blessed us...let's bless others!

* We are working on a cool environment for the Rock Point attenders to invest and invite outside of Sunday morning. More info on that later.

* We will be combining both of our services for 1 at 10:30am this Summer. The cool thing about that is the crowd that will be combined with both services together. Should create a really cool vibe in the room for the summer.

Keep checking the bulletin on Sunday as well as the website at rockpointcc.org for more details throughout the summer.

Can't wait to see you all this Sunday. If you are in town, don't miss out!


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day...Together...and Louie...

Alright so I need to get a few things off my chest...not really, but it sounded good. Here are some random thoughts I've got going on.

* This past Sunday was Mother's Day and I hope all of the Moms out there had a great day. But really shouldn't every day be Mother's Day? I mean, they have the most difficult job in the world and they just keep going and going. I am amazed at how my wife raises our children...I often wonder why God asked ME to be the head of the household. She does a much better job than I do!! So to all of you Moms out there...remind the family that every day should be Mother's Day.

* Also, this past Sunday we talked about "Together" at Rock Point. About how important it is for us as a church to work TOGETHER as we move forward in leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We discussed 4 areas that are critical for this to happen...
- Join a Team (find a place to serve)
- Invite a Friend (think of someone and invite them to church)
- Give Generously (consider giving of what we do have...that is generosity)
- Do Life Together (get in a small group)

I wholeheartedly believe that as we move forward if we have a deficit in any of these areas we will not be able to be all we could be in creating a church where unchurched people would want to attend. Environments need people to pull it off...we need invitations from individuals to help guests connect...we need to be a generous church (to avoid presenting God's truth "cheaply")...people need to connect with people (because God made us that way).

So how about it? Even if you are not a part of Rock Point, are you joining your church with these 4 areas? If not...why not?

* Finally, we've got an amazing series from Louie Giglio the next 2 weeks at Rock Point. It's titled, "Home Free, Even Me". If you have never understood what grace is all about, you need to be at Rock Point on May 17 & 24. You won't regret it.



Friday, May 1, 2009

Invest...Invite...Just Ask...Then What?

There is a phrase that we use around Rock Point a lot..."Invest and Invite". This phrase is in relation to every attendee of Rock Point considering someone to invest in and eventually invite them to church by asking them to join them. We believe this is the best way to get people through the doors of church...many for the first time ever. While this seems to be working pretty well...we still seem to be missing something. Let me paint a picture for you:

* You invest in a friend from work and are building a relationship with them. You really want to ask them to church with you and finally one day...
*...You invite them to church. Not just a casual invite, but a "hey why don't we meet up before church at Starbucks and grab a coffee on our way in!!"
* You're rockin' as your friend comes with you and they seem to really have a great time.
* You go home and wonder, "I hope they had enjoyed today...maybe they will come back".
* Then comes the feeling we all have..."should I leave it up them or invite them back?"

This is really a big deal because we don't want to be forceful with our faith, but we don't want to sit on our hands either. What if some of those people are sitting at home and wondering, "I wonder if they will ask me back to their church...I really enjoyed it!"
Hmmm....something to think about.

I personally think we should follow up with our guests. That follow up being from the one's who invited them. I really don't think they would feel pressured at all, especially if the vibe you got following the service was that they enjoyed themselves. Maybe, it's as simple as making the second "ask" and base what comes next on that response...not on what we think they will say.

Maybe we ought to add something on after "invest and invite". Not sure what that cool little catch phrase could be...maybe, "Invest...invite...just ask...
get 'em back?"

Any suggestions?


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Birthday Celebration

On Sunday, April 19th, Rock Point had it's first birthday celebration! "What is a birthday celebration?", you might ask...well, it's a special service we have to baptize the kids at Rock Point who have trusted Jesus with their lives and asked Him to be their Savior. This was a very special one for me as I had the privilege of baptizing our little girl Kailey. I was a blubbering mess, but I got through it...

During the service we baptized 6 kids, and really celebrated their new life in Christ! 2 of our UpStreet worship leaders, Matt & Stephanie Rector, led us in worship...we had a prayer time with the kids...and when everything was over we had an awesome "birthday party" celebrating their "new birth". It was a blast. Great job Jared & the chilren's staff in planning this event for everyone.

It was such a pleasure to be a part of a cool service like that with our kids and their friends and families. I can't wait 'till the next one!


P.S. Check back later as we'll post some picture and video of the event!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Post-Easter notes

INCREDIBLE Day at Rock Point on Easter Sunday!! I have to tell you that I am amazed at our teams and the environments they help create every week. This Sunday they absolutely went over the top to create excellent environments for our guests that were irresistible and...well...just cool! So thank you to all of our staff and volunteers who helped create such a wonderful place on Sunday. After the dust settled we realized that almost 500 people attended Rock Point this past week! God is doing an amazing thing at Rock Point and I am so grateful to be play a small part on this journey!

Here is an email I received Sunday afternoon from someone who invited guests with them to Rock Point this past Sunday. This got me pretty excited:

A family I have been investing in for a few months came to church today. It was he and his wife and 3 children. They were blown away by RPCC and the excellence they experienced...they have been searching for a church home and decided to come today...From Waumba Land to Upstreet to the music to the message they were BLOWN away...I love that I can invest and invite and have confidence in what a great experience those visitors will have.

So, thank you to all of the volunteers to help create environments where this can happen...thank you to the staff for your countless hours and your leadership...and thank you God for giving us this incredible opportunity of leading people in Chattanooga into a growing relationship with You.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter at Rock Point

Easter Sunday is one of the saddest, but happiest Holidays. The day is so bitter-sweet. Every year I go through a bevy of emotions. The sadness comes from the simple fact that someone so innocent had to die for someone so guilty. I deserved to die...not Jesus. But the joy comes from knowing that my eternity is settled because of this payment...this gift. So do I mourn or celebrate on this day?

I have chosen to celebrate. The reason why is because Jesus did not stay in the grave...He did not turn to dust and whither away. 3 days later, he stepped out of the tomb that he was put in. No, he didn't just fall asleep for a couple of days. He died...and came back from the dead. And today He lives!! Seriously!! Why would he do this? The innocent died so those who were dead might have life. (FYI - that's us).

So how about you? Won't you celebrate with me? No...I mean REALLY celebrate?

Come join us at Rock Point for our Easter Celebration. I know I can't wait.
check out our website at www.rockpointcc.org for times and directions.

See you there.


Friday, March 27, 2009

My Peruvian Experience - Part 2

Well, it's been almost 3 weeks since I have been back from my trip to Peru and although some of the emotion has worn off, (pretty typical I hear), I still can't get some of the little faces I saw out of my head. There is something about children that naturally touches your heart and these children grabbed mine and haven't let go. As I have been reflecting on the trip, I thought I might put down some of the thoughts I had after returning. Not sure where all of this fits, but sometimes clarity comes out of randomness...

* First of all, we were treated like Rock Stars! I'm not sure if it was because we were visitors from America or they saw us as representing all who assist them with their daily necessities. It was absolutely amazing the treatment we received from the children as well as those who worked with the church. I was humbled by this. Pretty big responsibility.

* Gifts in this life are not always tangible. I witnessed a mother play peekaboo with her child (an act she apparently did not know how to do with her previous children), and the joy on her face and her child's spoke volumes. She merely enjoyed the presence of this gift (her child) and the child enjoyed the discovery of his mother. I learned from this lady that day.

* I need to stop using the word "need" so much...Most often I interchange "want" with "need". Not that wants are all bad either...I just need to be more honest with myself about it. I have witnessed true need and it's not how I use it.

Also, I have finally finished a highlight video of the trip. These are the faces I can't get out of my head...and I hope I never do.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Peruvian Experience - Part 1

Last week I was blessed with the incredible opportunity of going with Compassion International to Lima, Peru. I have been out of the country and have been on Mission Trips before but this trip affected me like no other trip I have ever been on. The poverty that these children and families are in is mind boggling. Dirt floor homes (or shacks), walls made of cardboard, no running water...the list could go on and on. The looks on their faces when they were given pencils or stickers or bubbles brought tears to my eyes. You would have thought they had received a million dollars. On this trip I cried...I laughed...I felt sorrow and my heart rejoiced. I realized that God is not a God of America. Many in our country have categorized Him as being formed in the buckle of the Bible Belt. A child's song came to mind as I walked through the trash filled streets of Lima..."He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." God is doing a great thing in Peru and around the world. I was grateful to have experienced just a small part of that. Thank you to those who prayed for us while we were on this trip.

I realize that pictures speak a thousand words, so here
are a few pictures and clips from the trip.

This is outside of the window of the first church we visit
ed. The homes on the hillside tell the story. Check out the boy at the end of it being brought to church by the other kids...physically!

On day 2 we were greeted by over 200 children at Compassion Project 444. I have no idea what they were singing, but it was wonderful!!

I also was blessed to have the opportunity of meeting a little girl whom my family will be sponsoring in the future. Later that day I had the privilege of visiting her at her home!

Well, there really was too much to try and post right now, so I'll be posting more on this trip later. Thanks for reading.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Starbucks & the Church

I am sitting in Starbucks right now thinking to myself, "Wow, the church could learn a lot from Starbucks!" Now I'm not talking in just serving better coffee...I mean churches today even market, "Now serving Starbucks coffee!" I'm more thinking about the quality of the environment...the welcoming of people from all demographics and socio-econonomic status...the vibe that you get where you feel like you could stay here all day! It's just a cool place. (I'm still hoping that the one I'm sitting in won't one that is shut down.)

So, we have the most important message to be presented to this world but often the church "experience" is either non-inviting...non-welcoming...or non-relevant. When was the last time that your average church goer was sad that the church service ended?! Why do we tend to settle for mediocrity in our presentation of the most important message ever?

I'm thinking right now about how this applies to Rock Point. Do we settle for mediocrity? Are our environments as engaging and welcoming as they can and should be? If someone had the option to spend their morning at Starbucks or Rock Point where would they choose?

Hmmm...I'll get back with you on that one.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Judgment Call

OK, so when a pastor is convicted from the sermon from Sunday it usually means one of 2 things:
1. He didn't preach the sermon.
2. He found himself struggling with the subject matter.

Well, as it so happens, this week I'm batting .1000. Andy Stanley's sermon on judging others and how we need to approach this so important topic really nailed me to the wall. I don't like to judge others, but I find myself doing this often. But I also find myself on the other side of the debate often and I sometimes ignore areas in others lives that I need to confront. It's an area that is harming them or others and they are headed down a slippery slope. For some reason I then go into overdrive with the "don't judge lest you will be judged" excuse. Not that Andy is reading this blog, but thanks Andy for digging deep to help us begin to understand how to make the "judgment call".

Here is part one of Judgment Call in case you missed it. Join us next week at Rock Point for part 2!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paul Would Be At Home Today...

In our small group recently we have been trekking through the book of Galatians. This "letter" was probably written around 50AD to the beginning church in Galatia. (I emphasized "letter" because we often call it a "book" but it was originally a letter.) Here's the Cliffs Notes version of this letter...The new Christians were being swayed into falling back into believing that we achieve our relationship with God on our own. If we're "good enough" we can make it, and God will bless us here and for eternity. Paul is reminding them sternly that this is not only wrong but dangerous. That if that was the case...what did Jesus die for?! He reminds them that this gift was free and you do nothing to earn it...just accept it. Wow, we have come such a long way since that time...or have we?

If Paul were walking the streets of America, say in Chattanooga, and he began hanging out with followers of Christ, I think he might begin to have flashbacks of the church in Galatia almost 2000 years ago. How often we think God blessed because we were "good". How often do we compare ourselves with others and justify our actions because we're at least "better than them" and God's eternal scale surely will tilt our direction. It's the Merry-Go-Round of self-righteousness that ends up having much more "self" than "God" as the focus. This way ends up dangerous for ourselves and for others.

So what does it boil down to? One word - GRACE. Sounds like a real churchy term and there's even an old song written about it. But there is no other word that can calm our anxious hearts or stop our pursuit of "goodness". It is the word that releases us from ourselves and puts the keys of eternity in the hands of the Creator. It's the word that allows us to welcome anyone and everyone into our church doors because we're really all in the same boat!

I would be nowhere without this gift of GRACE. How about you? Do you expend your time and energies earning God's love and acceptance or living in His GRACE?


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Group LIFE!

I love my small group. I just had to get that off my chest. Our group constantly challenges me in my faith...my marriage...my parenting...my investment in others. I love the "diversity" in our backgrounds and faiths. I love that we can all share our struggles and pray for one another. I love that we don't have all of the answers about God and the Bible and what is going on in this world. We are doing life together. And I have to tell you, that's fun!

When we moved to Chattanooga a year and a half ago, we really didn't know a whole lot of people. Even showing up on Sunday as the pastor of a church, relationships weren't flourishing. But when we joined our small group several months later, everything changed. We now have a group of people that we not only meet with every week, but we call them friends. And we are so grateful for them.

So how about you? Where are you experiencing Community? Do you have some people who are pouring into you and you have the opportunity to return the favor? If not, why not check out Group Link at Rock Point. From my vantage point, you won't regret it.

Here's the Group Link...link. Check it out!

Rock Point Group Link