One of Those Weeks...

On Monday of this week the school that we use on the weekends called an audible and we had to tear everything down. On Tuesday my laptop's hard drive, that we also use for MediaShout on the weekends, took a dump. Lost everything and had not backed up since Easter. So today at 9:14pm I am just getting everything back to near normal... I have also been fighting some health issues... It's one of those weeks.

BUT, this is what I am excited about! This Sunday I get to finish out the One Prayer series with my one prayer, "God Makes Us... Open to Change." Stay tuned for the podcast on Monday. We also are dunking some people in baptism and collecting an offering to start churches through One Prayer. God is up to something for there to be this much hassle going on you know! Say a prayer for this weekend at Church of the Suncoast. (And for my computer)

God on Your Vacation

This past week my wife and I went on vacation! If you are a church planter then you know how hard that can be sometimes (or at least we make it seem that way).

I want to throw a question out to other church leaders and planters. Do you take God on your vacation? Here is what I mean and if this sounds awful then I'm sorry... this is just my own transparency.

As a church leader it is easy to get burned out on the "things" of God. We are God's spokesman in our communities, we are always reading and studying to present God's Word on the weekends, we are always praying for God to bless this or work in that situation. If I am not careful my walk with God can become tiring because I mix my job and walk together so much of the time. So, when I go on vacation I usually leave God back at the office too. Now, I am not saying I act like God is away, or that I don't pray before a meal, but I didn't have a single quiet time alone with God. I didn't read my Bible once even though I did take it this time... because I mix my walk with God and my job up I tend to take a "God" vacation too I have noticed.

Does anyone else ever feel like this? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear what others think.

More One Prayer Stories

Here are more stories:
(See HERE for what this is all about)

My donation went to a school teacher whose school is in summer sessions due to FCAT scores that place them in danger of being closed down. The teachers\' budget is zero - the school is in one of the poorest sections of Clearwater. The teachers already use their own money to buy the children clothes.

This past Sunday my wife, daughter, and I were given $20.00 a piece to take it and INVEST in our community on a something or someone we felt it would do most good. We decided to group our funds and ($60.00) and match it with another $60.00. During this difficult economic times and so many people being un-employed, we identified a family that is unemployed and had no income for the immediate needs. We visited the family and told them of our experience with the Church of Suncoast. We also shared our financial struggles and told them that we know how difficult things can get and then gave them the envelope but also shared the message of having faith during times of uncertainty. This family was very grateful and mentioned that at the moment when they needed help the most, we knock on the door and bring this surprise. They were actually praying when we decided to visit.

I stopped up at the Shepherd Center in Tarpon Springs to see if there might be some need or special treat I could contribute to....I told them I had $40 (mine/ Mike\'s) from Church of the Suncoast\'s offering given back to us last Sunday to contribute to our community in some way this week... and we would match that with a total of $80I could just give them that amount and know that they would apply as they saw fit ...but what would be needed? .....Bus passes...I said bus passes?...yes. I have volunteered there for several years in various areas and wouldn\'t of guessed that one on my own but..I know they give them out sparingly (because they don\'t have the money to purchase) to those most in need....for dr. appts., going to shelters, filling perscription and even getting to and from the center to pick up groceries or seek help. They were very grateful and said that Suncoast ...seems to be coming through for us when we need them.....I did share with the director\'s husband about the ONE PRAYER series ...which really corresponds with the ONE NIGHT fundraiser we contributed to in April...also contributing at just the right time.


One Prayer Stories

This past Sunday we gave everyone an envelope with $20 inside of it and these instructions:

Here are a couple of the first stories:

I put together ten envelopes. On each envelope, I put the church website and two instructions: 1. Take what you need, or leave what you can. 2. Pass it on. I put $20 in each and gave them out--some who will likely put in and pass on, some who could probably use the money.

I took the $20 and gave it to the manager at Barnhill\'s Restaurant in Elfers. He was perplexed at first, but then he was amazed that someone would just give $20 to help someone that they didn\'t know have a good meal or two. I told him it was at his discretion to give it to senior citizens or anyone that looked like they might need some help in paying for a good meal. He said, \"God Bless You\" know what? He already had! Like that song says.....\"What a feeling....\"!

For Those that Serve

For anyone that serves at a church either as a staff person or as a volunteer like the awesome volunteers at Church of the Suncoast this is especially for you:

In Matthew 20:15-16 Jesus tells a story about a land owner who goes out and hires people at different times of the day, but pays them all the same thing. The owner when questioned by the people hired first (and who had expected more money) says that he has the right to pay people as he sees fit. Basically, they were envious of the owners generosity in rewarding those who didn't work as hard or as long.

As I was reading that the other day it hit me. We do that all the time in the church world. We do that in our serving in two ways!!! We have to be very careful in being over confident in our service. Just because we think we served longer or harder than someone in another ministry doesn't mean the reward will be greater. BUT, we also tend to get discouraged when our serving is not in as glamorous a role and we think our reward will be small because this job seems so unimportant. We might be doing something small but God might reward it even more we find in this verse.

HERE is the bottom line. We don't set up, tear down, change diapers, set up hospitality stuff, run a video camera, play an instrument, run a computer, tweak a sound board, run a cable, lead a children's environment, hand out a program, or wave people down in a parking lot for the reward. God gets to reward us as HE sees fit. We don't serve to be rewarded. This is not a contract deal, otherwise we have already had our reward. We serve because we love God and we want to put a smile on His face by helping create environments for people to fall in love with Him too. We serve because Jesus served us and gave His life up for us on the cross! We serve with all we have, we give all, we do what we have to do, we come early and stay late because Jesus gave us ALL He had. He gave us His best!!!

The take home? Don't compare your service or volunteering on a Sunday with anyone else. AND, for pastors like me... Don't compare your church to the guys down the road or the one everyone is talking about in the blogosphere!

Tell me what you think? Do you have a take on this? Leave a comment: