Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Than A Building...

At Hannaford, I've referred to our recent building expansion as "More Than a Building." Why? Because all the excitement of adding on, of expanding, of creating a different feel with our physical building can sometimes take over.

I'd like to say that there isn't arguing and bickering over decorating and music and other little things at our church, but it simply isn't true. Reminding each other of our vision to "connect people with God and each other" means refocusing our efforts on God's desires for us ... to worship, grow, and share.

I'm hoping to use the excitement of physical changes at Hannaford to point people toward the spiritual changes that God has in store. Our physical growth is an opportunity to remind and encourage our people that Church is more than simply a place, "but a home to a calling that goes far deeper. A sanctuary ... to empower us to share the love of Christ with those around us. It is an opportunity to work together and effectively touch a world in need. An opportunity to be more ... than a building."

Check out a great video on this topic here.

What do you think? Do you think people can wrap their heads around this? I pray so.

Sunday Reflections - Courage To Be Nobody

Paul says in Galatians 6:3, "If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself."

This Sunday, I was privileged to give the message in both services, entitled "Courage To Be Nobody." I've been gearing up for this for about four weeks. That's good for prep time and planning, but it also gives the Holy Spirit a lot of time to work on you in the process. I ended up changing the message four times in the process. The last time was this Thursday night - I would say it was then that the Spirit pulled through, giving me what I knew God really wanted me to share. Whew!

THEME: I am nobody and God is The Ultimate Somebody. When we compare ourselves to the infinite majesty and glory of God, we really don’t amount to much. Basically, today was an invitation to put OUR story aside and join God in His story.

We reviewed the story of Moses and the burning bush in Exodus 3, focusing on God laying out HIS plans for Moses and also focusing on God’s revelation of himself as I AM. It only follows that we are “i am not!”

I also spoke of the true challenge — It’s not understanding that we're nobody, but having the courage to live it out. And for that, we used the example of King Jehosaphat and the nation of Judah in 2 Chronicles 20:1-25. What we find is not so surprising. The way courage happens is simple: It's worship – surrendering all that we are to all of who God is.

Finally, our greatest example is Jesus. Jesus became small — Jesus became nobody — so that we could leave our stories behind and join as active participants in God’s story (see Philippians 2:5-11).

INSPIRATION: 1) Holy Spirit. 2) Louie Giglio’s i am not, but i know I AM. I just finished it — it’s amazing. Just makes you want to fall on your knees and give all you can to our great God. 3) I also referenced some notes I took from a message from Rick Warren, "How to Worship Instead Of Worry." 4) And the basic idea of “Courage to be Nobody” came from Josh Scott at The Church At Polaris in Columbus, Ohio. (Thanks Josh! Shoot me an email, I didn't know how to get a hold of you.)

MEXICO MISSIONS REPORT: The team on the Mexico Mission Project returned this week. In the main services, we had a video/slide show of photos from the experience promoting our Sunday School time which was a full-on report of what happened last week in Mexico.

MORE THAN A BUILDING: "Let The Walls Fall Down!" We announced today that tomorrow we're tearing down the wall separating the current auditorium and the new expansion. Our new worship center expansion will add about 150 more seats and have an official stage area (including updated technical improvements). For now, though, we still have a lot of work to do including tearing down the wall, dismantling the old stage and sound booth, re-carpeting, painting, electrical, audio/video/lighting wiring, and much, much more. We're hoping to have it done within the next four weeks. For now, we'll be meeting in our Fellowship Area. It was exciting knowing that this is the LAST TIME we'll be meeting in the auditorium as it is now.

WORSHIP: Since I spoke this Sunday, RJ Chambers led worship with his sister Kaci and Cody Kauffman on drums. They did a great job. Good song choice and a heartfelt approach to the throne of God. It was a challenge, too, because we had a lot of elements to fit into the service. (Sorry, no music samples this week - but here is the mp3 recording of the message.)

Forever - Chris Tomlin
How Great Is Our God - Chris Tomlin
Who Am I? - Casting Crowns (Mark Hall)
We Fall Down - Passion
Praise Adonai - Paul Baloche

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sunday Reflections - Forgiveness

THE THEME: This last Sunday at Hannaford, Pastor Scott Yebba spoke on forgiveness. He addressed both sides: being forgiven by Christ and, in turn, forgiving others.

We began the service with some general worship focusing on lifting up the name of Jesus (All Hail The Power) and placing the focus on Him and not us (Not To Us, Blessed Be Your Name).

We then planted the topic of forgiveness with this man-on-the-street video, then responding with the thankfulness of being forgiven so that we can forgive others (You Are My King).

He shared about Spiritual Forgiveness. How in the Old Testament the people offered animal sacrifices in the form of burnt, sin, and guilt offerings (Leviticus 1-4). These were to TEMPORARILY receive forgiveness from God - to cover sin, not remove it. They always involved the shedding of blood. In the new Testament, however, Jesus offered COMPLETE forgiveness and reconciliation with God once and for all! (Hebrews 10:11-12) Jesus also shed his blood as a sacrifice for our sins.

It follows that because we were forgiven, we too can forgive others. This is where Scott covered Human Forgiveness. The easy part is that you have to able to ask for forgiveness when you have wronged someone else. The hard part: You have to forgive people that have wronged us before an unforgiving heart make you bitter and angry.

We closed the message with this video of an interview with the brother of the woman murdered by Karla Faye Tucker.

PRAYER: (Adapted from Church Smith, Jr.) Lord Father, we ask you this morning to speak to us, to reveal to us, or to renew in us the purpose of our worship. If we’ve come today with our hearts crippled by resentment, You will teach us the dance of forgiveness. If we’ve come, blinded by sin, You will show us the colors of mercy. If we’ve come, deaf to the praise of creation, You will give us ears to hear, a heart to believe, and a voice to sing, Amen.
FEATURED MUSIC: Andrea and I sang Delirious' Majesty (using a drum loop on the church's new Korg Triton Extreme). The lyrics include, "Here I am humbled by the love that you give/Forgiven so that I can forgive."

PERSONAL NOTE: I spoke with a man in our foyer who explained to me that His daughter had been murdered and that forgiveness was a message he could not hear this last Sunday. It was, in fact, the two year anniversary of losing his daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to lose a child this way and all I could do is pray with him because really – it’s all in the Lord’s hands. But I have to tell you something he said. Amidst all the pain and turmoil of this tragic event, he told me that his daughter had left several blessings – her children. What a wonderful gift to find blessings in the midst of our pain and trials.

Welcome To The BattleZONE!

You may have heard of some Christian men's movements like Promise Keepers or GodMen. I've been involved in the local Promise Keepers conferences and the GodMen conferences have been the subject of discussion and debate recently.

This last Friday and Saturday at Hannaford, we hosted the BattleZONE 2Day Men's Summit. Founded by Montana State University Football All-Star Michael Pouliot, BattleZone Ministries exists to coach every willing man to live victorious in Christ.

We formed a worship team for music. Michael and Dr. Dave Wardell (co-founder of Promise Keepers) were featured speakers, while athletes Jason Crebo (3-time All-American and Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP) and Byron Molyneaux both told how they came to trust Christ.

As we were meeting with Michael to go over last-minute details, he shared his vision for the conference. He said, "I don't do conferences. Conferences are a "flash in the pan." They last for a day or two, the guys go home, and there is no lasting effect." BattleZone is a tool to help men develop lasting discipleship and accountability networks.

I am convinced that BattleZone brings together the best elements of both Promise Keepers AND GodMen and allows men to bring a network of discipleship INTO the local church.

With all that said, I wanted to share a little of what I've taken away from the summit:
  • I do believe that men are hurting, and a majority of men don't connect with church.
  • Michael says that men (even Christian men) are not confronting their pain, but soothing it with repetitive sin (porn, alchohol, work, gambling, etc.). The reasons? Confusion over masculinity from a fuzzy and incorrect view of Jesus. From whom did you learn to be a man? What does it mean to be a man?
  • Every man struggles with these Battle Zones (see the website). What we need to do is identify and address them head-on.
  • Consequently, men are isolated. Isolation…leads to secrecy. Secrecy… leads to a sick character. Sick character…leads to sick conduct and SIN. Sick conduct and SIN…leads to broken relationships with God and people. (from Kenny Luck, Every Man’s Ministries)
  • Most guys see Christianity as Wimpianity, Perfectianity, Borianity, or Crutchianity.
  • Here's the truth about masculinity: Real men admit weakness (then do something about them). Being “macho” (pretending to be strong) has nothing to do with masculinity. Being macho is a symptom of being out of touch with our true self (feelings and motives), is one of our biggest weaknesses, and is a cover-up and denial of our insecurity. Genuine masculinity and true strength starts with being ruthlessly honest with our inner feelings and motives. One thing is certain, Jesus was always real. A true masculine is intimately on-line with God’s will. The key for the Masculinity of Jesus was His desire to endure the Cross in the place of each of us.
Needless to say, I wholly recommend BattleZone and encourage you to look into it.

Modern Day Bully

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great FREE Worship Resource!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Martin Allen from Worship Foundations sent me an email about an online event called the 2007 National Worship TeleSeminar.

It is a new FREE worship training event for worship leaders and ministry members, that's done entirely online or by phone. Some of today's leading worship teachers, give you some top notch training to take your worship ministry to the next level, enhance your worship leading skills, and discover how to deepen your congregation's passion for worship. And it's all done right from home, as you log on or dial-in to these live, nationwide conference calls.

There are two one-hour sessions per week through July and August and although it's already started, all the sessions are available for "re-play" (downloadable mp3). I've listened to two live sessions and two "re-plays" and I can say these are a great FREE resource for anyone in ministry or just interested in being a worshiper.

Some "gems" I caught this week's sessions from Gerrit Gustafson ("Mighty Is Our God") and John Chism (Worship4Life Ministries):
  • Authentic worship is only authentic when worshipers are changed.
  • The role of the worship leader is not to "create" worship but to "express" it. We prompt, model, release, facilitate, exhort, and teach worship...but we don't create it. The role of the worship leader is to prompt what is already in the heart of believers.
  • "Every man's way is right in his own eyes" (Prov 21:2). We all have our own biases and preferences. Are we willing to learn to express our love for God in ways He prescribes, even if they are outside of what is easy for me?
  • "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). It says MUST. All worship must be in spirit and truth.
  • Spirit: Worship in the spirit centers on Jesus. It is born out of dependency on God and repudiates confidence in the flesh. Spirit contrasts with the flesh. Living according to the flesh refers to human effort independent of God (Gal. 3:3), and human wisdom apart from God (1 Cor. 2:12-14). Therefore, worship is not driven by human initiative, but is is instead a response to God's grace (Rom. 12:1).
  • Truth: Worship in truth means that it aligns with God's truth. It also means that it has a spiritual reality - External expression without internal reality is unacceptable worship. Jesus referred to that as vain worship (Matt. 15:8-9). How can I as a worshiper ensure that I don't get into the habit of drawing near in word when my heart is somewhere else?
  • If I am to "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30), then I am to worship the same way. Simply, worship is the expression of our love for God. And God requires our totality in worship - everything!
I hope these "gems" inspire you as either a worshiper or a worship leader and I encourage you to sign up and partake of the FREE offerings from the 2007 National Worship TeleSeminar.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday Reflections - Michael Pouliot

MICHAEL POULIOT: This last Sunday at Hannaford, Michael Pouliot of BattleZone Ministries spoke. He basically shared how he came to trust Jesus. He grew up as a Catholic who "believed" in Christ, but later learned to move past "religion" and develop a "relationship" with Jesus.

HOLY IS THE LORD: At Hannaford, one song we often sing is “Holy Is The Lord” written by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. I shared the origin of this song Sunday. It was inspired by the picture of worship around the throne of God in Isaiah 6 … the heavenly creatures sounding this anthem back and forth to one another:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

The song is completed with another picture from Nehemiah, where the people joined in a mass assembly … a great example of corporate worship. The Bible says they raised their hands to God at the hearing of his Word, they bowed with their faces to the ground and together would proclaim "the joy of the Lord is our strength."

While researching I came across an audio file of Chris Tomlin describing how the song came about. I didn't get to share it all on Sunday but the story left a lump in my throat. Listen to or download the mp3 here from Or use the player below (as long as the link remains valid).

THE LION AND THE LAMB: During offering, we recited the introduction to "The Lion And The Lamb." from the Every One CD. Every One is a CD collaboration from Worship Foundations International. It's an awesome CD and I'm not sure you can pick it up anywhere but here at the WFI website...

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands; And they cried out in a loud voice ... “Salvation belongs to our God Who sits on the throne ... and to the Lamb.'"

BATTLEZONE SUMMIT: Also, this coming Friday and Saturday were having the BattleZone Men's Summit here at Hannaford. Michael Pouliot will be speaking as well as Dr. Dave Wardell, co-founder of Promise Keepers. We're preparing some worship for the event as I write this. You can find out more about it here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Missing? More On The Kingdom Of God

I found this over at Josh Scott's

I would say that most of the Christians I know think of the story of salvation like this: Fall, Redemption and Heaven. In this story, the purpose of redemption is life after this world and the only people who have any value are “saved” people. All efforts, resources, talent, time and money are spent solely for the purpose of evangelism. I think that’s why we’re called evangelicals.

But what if the story goes like this: Creation, Fall, Redemption and Heaven. It actually becomes a different story. The purpose of redemption becomes much more than just escaping this world. It actually becomes about renewing it.

The gospel then isn’t just about individual happiness and fulfillment and God’s wonderful plan for my life. It’s about His wonderful plan for the whole world. It’s a story of God’s kingdom renewing ALL things.

The kingdom of God has come near to you... What do you think?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sunday Reflections - The Kingdom Of God Is At Hand!

This Sunday at Hannaford, Ray Fuller spoke on the return of Jesus and our personal holiness. He mentioned one of those "Five Words of Worship:" MARANATHA. It is an Aramaic phrase meaning "Our Lord come!" that only occurs once in the New Testament, but was commonly used by the early church.

Truly, we do long for the Lord to come - and He is coming any moment. We need to live our lives in Christ with a sense of urgency. This is not only for ourselves and our personal holiness (which comes from God, not ourselves), but also for the sake of those who do not yet know Christ. Let us live our lives not only proclaiming the kingdom of God, but also doing our part in ushering in the kingdom..."The kingdom of God has come near to you!"

Who He Is!

“The Spirit of God has made [us]; the breath of the Almighty gives [us] life.” (Job 33:4)

While I've always tended to look at the Psalms for great "worship" passages, I have recently been turning to Job. As things got worse for Job, he began to discover what it really means to worship God. Eventually, Job was able to get past that main thing we worship God for (what He does) and worship on the foundational reason we worship God (who He is).

Too often, we get stuck on the first - and in a really shallow way. You know. "God made my life better so now I'll worship Him," or "Let me worship You and then You can bless me." We need to get over trying to earn favor with God and playing the "give and receive game." God ended that through the death (and resurrection) of Jesus.

Let's worship Him, simply because He is!

What I Do As A Leader

I came across a post from Tony Morgan last week that helped me reconsider (or maybe just focus on) what I do as a leader. (It was actually a recap of Craig Groeschel's session at the Buzz Conference.)

So here it is. What is it that I need to be doing as a leader? This short list really defines it well. So well, in fact, that I think I need to put up a reminder in my office so that I don't loose sight. Here they are with my own definitions...
  1. Heal the Sick - I need to help point people toward Jesus, the true Healer.
  2. Break the Rules - I need to care more about reaching people than following man’s rules.
  3. Offend the Pharisees - I need to follow God, ignore the criticism, and get over the anger.
  4. Redefine Success - I need to be less satisfied with where I am, and seek new levels of God's success (not mine) - And help others do the same.
Really, it's just following in Jesus' footsteps. Read Tony's post here.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Quotable Quips - What You're Meant To Do

"Doing what you're meant to do is the best form of marketing (which is why everyone is so excited about the iPhone)."

Kevin D. Hendricks, Chief Blogger of As quoted from his post Turning Churches Into Homeless Shelters (July 5, 2007)

While Kevin makes a point here, I believe our job in ministry is to help people discover what they are "meant to do." We were all created with a specific purpose (see the last post). As for the iPhone, it's too bad you can't get service for one in the whole state of Montana!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Making Jesus Famous

Each one of us was created by God with a for a purpose. God said to Moses in Exodus 9:16, "I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

God demonstrates His power in our lived every day, but we are often to busy to see it. We miss it. Sometimes we live week after week failing to recognize God working in our lives. We were created to recognize His power and to tell others about it. We were created to make Jesus famous; to make Him known in all the earth.

What if we truly grasped how famous Jesus is? The entire last book of the scriptures tells about it; "One day every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord." Our job now is to tell others how He has shown His power in our lives and to help make Jesus even more famous.

Lord Father, give us the boldness to tell the world that "Jesus is King" and to proclaim with our worship that "He alone is worthy!" Because of who You are, because of your great love and power demonstrated to us not only through salvation, but through your day-to-day speaking into our lives. We want to make Jesus famous and we will not stop until the whole world knows.

I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Listen to Famous One sung by Chris Tomlin

Smoking In the UK

"...At the stroke of 6am, lighting a cigarette or cigar became illegal in confined spaces shared by England's 50 million people. The Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, hailed the introduction of the ban - the biggest smoking ban in the world - as an important step towards a healthier population..."

Read it all here.

Here's my take. Smoking never helped anyone, but I know it's hard to stop once you smoke. The more incentive that we can provide, the better. Here's a great video on the subject...

Some Funny Stuff

Here is some stuff from around the web...

I guess Apple Pie and Donuts need not apply.

I'm still trying to figure out how to break this bar into 4 even pieces!

A beautiful sunset in Helena last week (okay, not funny).

And finally, this is a very short "dramatic" video. The more I watch it over and over, the funnier it gets!