What Helps Keep Us On Track?

I am absolutely convinced that 20Somethings are longing for a faith and a church that is rich and vibrant. In fact, I am convinced that when 20Somethings discover a kind of faith that is worthy of their very lives, they will pursue that faith with all they have.

There is nothing like seeing a church thrive. Seriously, nothing. When the church is thriving we see addictions broken, relationships restored, generosity unleashed, and the glory of God revealed in this world. But churches don’t thrive by accident. They don’t stumble into active and life giving faith. Churches that aren’t intentional about pursuing God’s heart for the world will quickly get off track becoming more focused on the “insiders” while neglecting those far from God.

Any experienced hiker knows how easy it is to wander off track. Hiker’s know that a compass is an essential tool outdoors. The point of a compass is to orient you, to help you get your bearings, to help you plot a course. At LCBC we have a series of 4 learning environments designed to help orient you to LCBC and the life we believe God is calling you into. We call these our Compass Classes.

Our Compass Classes are intended to help people at LCBC know what that kind of faith could look like and call them into greater living. But we don’t only want to inspire people, to great faith, we also want to give people practical handles on how to go after it. This is why we take time in our Compass Classes to talk about our strategy for ministry at LCBC. We take time to talk about what a growing relationships with Jesus looks like. We take time to explore how to read the bible. And we take time to cast a compelling vision as to why you should partner with us in the mission and calling God has placed on this church.

At LCBC we don’t want to get off track. We want to passionately pursue all that God has for our world. And we want to invite you to join us in where that journey might be taking us.

(Photo Props)

The Time Is Now

Take a couple minutes and hear Jason’s thoughts on why the time is now for 20somethings to be leading in the Church

Sexuality and The Heart

We live in a highly sexualized world. It would be difficult to watch TV, listen to the radio, or walk the corridors of the mall without being bombarded with sexualized images and messages. The opportunity for lust is everywhere. Yet Jesus has strong words about lust. Jesus says that it isn’t enough just to avoid using people sexually, Jesus wants to free us from even having the desires to. This is why Jesus says in Matthew 5 that if any of us lust, we have already committed adultery in our hearts. In the end, the biblical vision for sexuality is so much more than abstinence, it is a calling to pursue purity.

In this podcast we’ll explore Jesus own words about lust, the effects that lust can have on us, and a way forward in a highly sexualized world.

Listen on iTunes Here

Why Mentoring

In reading through the Old Testament this last fall I was struck by the number of times that the scriptures would mention a group of people sitting by the city gates. These people were considered to be the village elders. They helped make decisions, provide insight, protect, and give direction to the community. For ages, communities have been built around the wisdom of village elders. They’re wisdom and experience was necessary in building communities and leading emerging generations towards thriving lives.

I do not think things have changed. Communities and personal lives must still be built on wisdom and I firmly believe that there are village elders in our day but most of them are simply ignored.

One of the things we have talked about on the Saturate team has been the cultural shift away from being a wisdom culture. A wisdom culture sees value in its older citizens. A wisdom culture celebrates apprenticeship. A wisdom culture embraces the reality that we are not solely autonomous, self-made individuals, but rather we are in need of community, guidance, and patient counsel as we move forward in this life. However, it is now youth that is celebrated in our culture. Younger is better, what’s new is best, and so the wisdom of the tried and tested seems outdated to a degree. Yet while our culture may communicate that wisdom from our elders is an antiquated idea, our hearts and experiences as 20Somethings tells us otherwise.

I have heard 20Somethings described as having the world at their fingertips but having no clue how to grab it. So many of the 20Somethigns I know would agree with this statement at many levels. And this is why we must have a renewed embrace of wisdom in our day. This is why we have to commit ourselves to listening to the village elders that have gone ahead of us and can help us learn to grab the world in front of us.

This is why the Saturate team has worked hard at creating an environment that you can get mentoring. These aren’t crazy intense sessions of bearing the deepest parts of your soul. Rather these are practical and relational interactions intended to simply help give guidance in relevant areas of life you face. I can’t encourage you enough to consider being a part of our next mentoring cycle. Because our hearts still long for village elders and the good news is, they are waiting to invest into us.

(Photo Props)

A Story Of Humility

I kind of feel bad for Thanksgiving. It used to be a legit holiday but not anymore. Thanksgiving has become the opening band for Christmas. So forgive me for offering up a few thoughts about Christmas on Thanksgiving week but we all know Thanksgiving is just there to remind us that Christmas is coming.

Christmas is the ultimate story of humility. At the center of the story is a God who humbles himself by becoming like the very ones he has created. The thought of a God lowering himself to become human is striking enough but this God goes further. He isn’t born in a palace but rather in an animal stall. His birth isn’t attended by royal attendants but rather a couple of peasants and some barn animals.

This God comes to us wrapped in scraps of cloth surrounded by manure. As the vocal chords of this God in flesh stretch to let out its first sounds we don’t hear a mighty roar but rather a humble cry.

Humility. The defining mark of God in the flesh. Because God knew all along that there is a power in humility. A subversive strength that comes from lowering oneself and freely giving oneself for the good of another.

When humility is acted out, when it takes on flesh, when it moves from being simply a nice ideal to becoming gritty action, it carries with it intense influence and power.

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a man named Joseph who was from Kenya. He had visited the U.S. a few years ago and while he was here he actually visited our church. He told me that he had all kinds of assumptions about Americans coming into his trip to the States. But when he was here his assumptions were proven wrong. In fact he said that is was the humility of the people at LCBC that changed his mind.

The humility of a group of people changed his mind.

I can’t imagine how many people have assumptions about the church, assumptions about Christians, and assumptions about God that would be challenged if they simply witnessed a group of people who lived humbly.

As we enter into the holiday season let’s remember that at the center of our story is a God who lowers and humbles himself to change our minds. And let’s set out to change the minds of skeptics not by our arguments but by our humble service to those around us.

(Photo Props)

Saturate Tuesdays 11-9-10::Like – “Followers”

A Profile Pic Faith

I will confess. I have spent way too much time looking at pictures of myself trying to determine which one should be my profile pic on my Facebook, Twitter, and blog sites. I have been known to axe certain pics simply because the lighting wasn’t just right. I know it’s ridiculous but don’t act like you haven’t done the same.

Let those who haven’t vainly obsessed over their profile pic throw out the first “Unlike”.

The reality is that social media has given us one more platform to practice an OCD like attention to our own brand management. We only post the pics of us that cast us in a good light. We only create albums of the vacations with family and never the arguments. Only the best moments, rarely the worst. Many of us have mastered the art creating a carefully crafted image that paints us in the best possible light.

This doesn’t at all mean that we need to avoid new social media pathways. But if we aren’t careful we might just start to believe that the skillfully crafted image we put out there for others to see is indeed the truth of who we are. We have to fight the urge to keep everyone at a digital distance so that they don’t discover the “real” us.

The apostle Paul invited Christians in the early church to “imitate” him and pattern their lives after his (1 Cor. 4.16 / 1 Cor. 11.1 / Phil. 3.17 / 1 Thess. 1.6). This kind of imitation can only be done up close and personal. People are waiting for Christians who will say, “pattern your lives after mine”, not with a spirit of having arrived, but from a place of humility.

And what others need to see isn’t just the “profile pic” kind of faith that is full of clichéd promises we have never really experienced and victories in Christ we have only heard about. They need to see us in our struggling, our suffering, our doubting, as well as our moments of victory and deepening faith.

In other words, don’t ask people to imitate a fake you. A false self. A “profle pic” you. Let others in so that they can see the fullness of who you are, not just the carefully crafted image of who you want them to think you are.

Because in the end, people aren’t asking, “HOW do you follow Jesus?”, they are asking, “How do YOU follow Jesus?”

And when we are honest and allow others to get close enough to see past our profile pic kind of life and faith, they will see a real and authentic faith that has room for the struggle.

That will be a life and faith worth imitating.

Saturate Tuesdays 9-14-10::Who Are You? – Hungry

God Is On Your Side

Last night we continued our series called “Who Are You”. The answer to this question is at the center of Jesus’ opening words in Matthew 5. Jesus begins his grand sermon by announcing to a group of sick, irreligious, outsiders that who they are is, in a word, blessed.

Last night we explored the reality that God is on the side of those who hunger and thirst for things to be made right. Two of the blessings that follow this are as follows:

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
If you have ever found yourself giving and sacrificing for others to the point of being taken advantage of, God is on your side. The merciful may not have others on their side since they will be viewed as weak and unwilling to “stand up for their rights”, but the kingdom belongs to them.

“God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.”
Some of us have a deep sense of dissatisfaction over the state of our soul and the condition of our heart. Some of us voluntarily place ourselves in the prison of perfectionism and Jesus announces good news for us, there is rest. Because you are blessed as well and your pure heart will find fulfillment when it sees God, the one who is good enough.

To the spiritual failures, the zeroes, the church dropouts,
To the sick,
To the grieving,
To the stepped on, the second place finishers,
To the ones who don’t want to, but want to want to,
To the ones who have an ache, a desire, a hunger for things to be made right
To the ones who live with a profound sense of lack…

Jesus announces that God is on your side.

You are blessed.

Saturate12-9-09::All I Want For Christmas is – Money