The Answer

February 1, 2008

The game was great last night.  I mentioned here that I was invited to the Celtics-Mavs game last night.  I of course had a decision to make.  The Celtics game was great, and Rajon Rondo was the hero in a 96-90 victory for the C’s.  This was an important victory for the Celtics, who had lost a few games to some mediocre teams in the last couple weeks.  And they did not disappoint.

However, I was not in attendance last night.  I chose to attend my life group. I love the Celtics like I love pizza, roller coasters, and any other of my several sports teams.  But I really love my life group.  Like I love my family.  Ya know, my mom, my dad, my sisters,etc…?  We had planned a special event of nothing more than hang out time, but I wanted to be there for it. 

You see, as much as I like the Celtics, they won’t be there for me if I have a family emergency or if I’m going through a hard time with any number of emotional, spiritual, or relational struggles, or if I just want to hang out with friends.  They might make for a good 2 hour event, and I’ll certainly go again if I’m asked in the future, but priorities are priorities and I’m committed to growing spiritually through the relationships in my life – not the least of which is this group that has been meeting together for the last year.

This weekend at Fellowship, we’ll be continuing our series on “The ATOM Bomb” by addressing the principle of Transformation.  I’m excited to share what I’ve learned in the last few years about this subject that I’m pasisonate about.

What relationships are transforming your life?

Until next time…

The Dilemma

January 31, 2008

Decisions are hard sometimes.  Making the right decision can be even harder.  We face all sorts of decisions everyday that we don’t think twice about, and then some, both of consequence and otherwise.

Like for instance the decision I had yesterday when a friend of mine called me up and invited me to join him for the Celtics-Mavs game tonight, which according to this poll, is the 2nd and 3rd best team in the NBA right now.

The situation:  I have life group tonight (our small groups) and its at our house and I really believe in authentic community, and it’s italian dinner night and 100 other things on my mind.  The other end:  I love the Celtics (specifically the new Celtics).  Always have. Ever since the 80’s when my dad and I would sit in front of the TV and watch Larry, Robert,and Kevin dual away at Magic, Kareem, and James.

So what decision do I make?  I’ll tell you tomorrow, but I’ve learned this:  Some decisions don’t have a right and a wrong answer.  Some just are.  You go with what feels right based on your past experiences, present circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, and “hopefully” represents the direction you want your life to go.

In this case, both answers in different ways represent a good direction.

What would you do?

The Big Three

The process

January 30, 2008

So the process is evidently very important when it comes to churches.  I’m currently working on our “process” at Fellowship Church.  When speaking of the process I’m speaking of a particular way which we use to accomplish everything that we set out to do. 

So a process for us might be how we staff our lobby with greeters and cafe workers, or how we program our Sunday service, or where we want people to go into and out of, as far as environments at Fellowship.  The truth is, since I have difficulty with detail minded organization, this is very difficult for me so I have a team of people who are helping me with this.

Our focus (of course) is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our opening environment is the Sunday morning service.  But a success for us is to move unchurched people into life groups.  It is in this environment where people can grow (we hope)relationally in authentic community with God and with other people.

This is our process.  Moving people from introduction to relationships. 

So I have two questions I hope you can help me answer:

1.  What is your process (either in your life or in your church?)

2.  What do you do to make sure your process is working the way you want it to work?

Until next time…

Sunday morning recap…

January 28, 2008

I just saw Rambo on the big screen.  It was short, action packed, and Sylvester Stallone talked only a small amount. All of this led to a pretty good movie if you’re down with blood and violence.  If not…I’d go with “The Bucket List”.

Now, about yesterdays services at Fellowship.

*We started a new series called “The ATOM Bomb” that focuses on the four principles we use for each of our life groups. Here’s a link where I talked about our small groups.

*It snowed.

*I’m excited to see what the future of Fellowship Church’s small group community is going to look like. 

*Al and Amy busted out some great vocals in the music.

*I was told in one service on Sunday the nursery had double digits.  Babies coming left and right @ FC!

*I love talking about authentic community.  And the rest of this series is going to be great!

*I’m playing my first basketball game tonight.  Pray for me.  I’ll probably blog about it tomorrow, amidst the pain.

Until next time…

MWS circa 1983

November 29, 2007

I feel great this morning!  For the first time in a week I had a full nights sleep and Carie and I have been hard at work during the evenings moving into our new house.  We’re really excited that the project will be finished soon.  We’re pretty busy, and this task, along with our mutual sickness, has made us to be busier than we’d really like to be.

Anyways, todays topic on my blog features some of my closest friends over the last several years.  I have had many more, but I wanted to offer up special attention to these friends and the influence they have had on my life.  So many people in the world believe themselves to be “self-made” peeps, when in reality, without the support, encouragement ,and love of other people, we would fall very short of any goal we’d like to accomplish.

So I’d like to take the time to write up some words about some close friends of mine (just a brief summary really) and hopefully encourage you to find friends, not just one, but a couple, or even many, who will influence you to become the person you cannot become by yourself.  (For a better glimpse at what I’m saying, recall Michael W Smith’s song “Friends” circa 1983) Enjoy!

Clay Davis
I have had no friend as close and for a longer period of time than my junior high best friend, Clay Davis.  We were the biggest nerds back in 1988 and 89, but we loved the spotlight and loved making people laugh, including one another.  Later on, in college and beyond, Clay and I continued our friendship, and he always told me the truth, even when it was hard.  Even to this day, I spend most holidays, either before or after I hang with my parents, with Clay and his wife Carrie (who I went to school with since kindergarten). 

Chad Ridgeway
I first met Chad in my freshman year at Pensacola Christian College (don’t ask),and thought we were not going to like each other.  He was from the backwoods of Alabama, and hated contemporary Christian music, specifically DC Talk.  We then proceeded to live in the same hall at college for the next four years, and our friendship grew the entire time.  Ridgeway is one of the most loving, loyal friends a guy could ever have.  Right now, he’s going through some hard times personally, and my hope is that I can be there for him as much as he’s always been there for me.

Ruben Cimbron & Al Dancy
I put these two guys together because we always hung out together.  Ruben I knew because we were NBT Evangelists together, and Al went to college with Roo here in Boston for a few years.  We did some pretty crazy stuff together, none of which I’ll share with you here in this venue, however, I really appreciate these guys and there impact on my life.  In a way, they helped me to grow up faster than I probably would have, and yet we always had the time of our lives when we were together.  Roo is currently teaching in Virginia, and Al is about to come and work with us here at Fellowship Church.  Sweet!

David, Amber, & DD Huey
There’s no greater sibling mix than this.  I met Dave in College, and later, I met his sister Amber.  After school, I moved to Atlanta, GA, where I ran into them at the church I attended, and the relationship blossomed.  (is that the appropriate word?)  So Dave and I would hang out, go to concerts, steal newspaper machines (don’t worry, they were the free ones), eat Chick Fil-A and Ramen noodles for about the same cost, and listen to music.  Amber and DD became my sisters and outside of my wife and my own family, there’s no females I have loved more in my lifetime.  This family has meant a lot to me, and though my schedule gets busier and busier, (hopefully not for long)  There will always be time for them.  (Of course, I really do need to call all of them as of this writing)

Brandon Whittall, Steve MacArthur, and Ray Pierce
These guys helped me make it through a period of time at Wachusett Valley Christian Church that I didn’t think I was going to make it through.  We became as close as brothers, and they seemed to be always there when I needed them.  Steve is now one of my heroes, in Iraq, Brandon works as a caterer in Texas, and Ray works for the State of New York (which I try not to hold against him). 

Everyone in my last 4 small groups
I know we constantly say this at Fellowship Church, and maybe if you’ve heard me say this, you think it’s a commercial or something, but the truth is that when I go into a small group, I literally put my all into it.  I try to influence and be influenced by the people in them.  I know it’s not going to be a seminary education but I don’t need one of those.  I need spiritual growth and influence which I can get and give in the contexts of relationships.  So over the last few years, here is who I can say that I’ve influenced and who has influenced me to lead me into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ from 2003 – present:

Jeff and Kiley Campbell, Billy & Colleen McGuiness, Brandon & Michelle Whittall, Steve & Amy MacArthur, Steve & Tina Blumer, Beth Parent, Pam Watson, Jim & Kristen Hilton, Dave & Sharron Smith, the Crafts, Simon & Tiffani Beckwith, Scott & Diane Herzig, Chris Pezzano, Joe & Neva Novarro, Trinke Vaughn, MB Makara, Garret & Sue Walker, Phil & Leslie Kenney, Ben Daggett, Whitney Jones, Mark Duclos, Nicole Lagace

So I’m interested in knowing:  Who are you influencing and being influenced by?

Until next time…

The power of the ATOM

November 15, 2007

Last night we met with all of our life group leaders.  Jeff, our life group director (You can find his blog on my blogroll) did an amazing job sharing with our leaders some of the new things will be doing to reinforce the importance of small groups in our church. 

We also unveiled the new values of our life groups, and I’d like to share them with you if you don’t mind.  I think they encompass a lot of what we want our life groups to be about, and how we want them to move forward and in the same direction toward leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.  So here they are:

Value 1:  Authenticity – We provide a predictable environment for our community to come to the point where they can be real with one another.

Value 2:  Transformation – We don’t want to stay the same, we want to allow God to transform us by changing the way we think and to become more like the example of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Value 3:  Outward-Reaching – We constantly want to be moving out of our comfort zone and to serve others, both evangelistically and in the area of need.

Value 4:  Multiplication – After two years of influencing one another and pouring our hearts into our Life group community, we understand that there are others that we can influence, so we split our life groups and allow twice as many people to be influenced the way we’ve been influenced in the last two years.

So these are the ATOM Values of our life groups.  My prayer is that we can build on these elements (pun intended) and eventually our community can be led into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ!

Until next time…