Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Weekend Sermon Update

Well I have had several people now requesting that I transcript the weekend sermons. So here is the first installment of what looks to be a weekly new thing now.

Paul this is for you!

"I have a dream"
Playing it Safe is Risky

In this I have a dream series we are looking at what the Vision for JCFC is for this year and the upcoming years. I love to talk about vision and dream, because I am a dreamer from way back. I used to sit as a little boy and dream about the things I would do as an adult. Over time those dreams shifted from Josh’s dreams to what I now call God Dreams. I think it is vitally important that we focus on the God dreams we have.

I think one God idea is better than a 1000 good ideas. I have been dreaming of this dream idea to plant a church that tries to take away some of the cultural traditions that are just western culture. I have dreamt of a place that skeptics and seekers can come and ask questions and engage during worship just to experience God.

I see a place that builds community within the church body. We are cultivating that right now, by putting emphasis on our Life Groups. We are doing life together by entering into small group discipleship times of community. These groups pray for each other, encourage one another, and grow in a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is an awesome example of the New Testament church.

I see us growing in our Sunday morning worship experience. We are working hard at making Sundays a success. In that the whole experience is awesome. From the first impression of what you see in the hallway to, to what is felt and communicated in the worship, and the teaching. We try hard to make worship a time of engagement. Not just for the believer who has grown up in church, but for those who are new on the journey with Jesus, and for those who have never experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our kid’s ministry is about to go crazy. Beginning the 1st week in Feb we are starting the buzz. A family production interactive teaching time that is great for both parents and kids. It is going to revolutionize kids ministry in this city. We are investing a lot of time and energy and money to win people to the kingdom.

Bill Hybels pastor of Willow Creek church was asked once about how much ministry could take place for $100 bucks. He replied ever so spiritual, “about a hundred dollars worth.”

The same is true here, we can hold on to money, or we can use it for the kingdom. Which is why we don’t have a building of our own. We rent this facility because to have something thing like this right now, would bankrupt us. And not allow us any kind of ministry tools. We rent this for the weekend, and it is working well. We also have an office space that we are utilizing through out the week, and our ministry partners are taking advantage of as well.

It isn’t huge, but it is available for small groups, or other things to utilize.

As far as how long will be here? Who really knows? Let me share with you some other church plants that were mobile you might recognize.

Valley E-free here in town meet in Jr high and high schools for at least 10 years before it moved into a “regular” building.

Point of Grace church moved in and out of rented facilities for 8.5 years before moving to their current facility in Waukee.

Saddleback Church, Rick Warren purpose driven life guy, was portable for 17 years, and had 70 locations. There theme was if you can find us you have can service with us.

So when people get antsy about us being in the theater for over a year now, I simply reply, well it takes time and money. The average church plant is portable for 7.5 years. We are just over a year old, and are growing and letting God show us more and more of His vision.

Here is how I see it this point. I love meeting here in the theater. I love the interaction that it creates in conversation. I love seeing people’s expression change when I tell them we meet in the century theaters at Jordan Creek Mall. They are like, “How does that work. “
Actually if they have church background they act funny, but if they don’t have any or much church experience they are like cool, how does that work. Very interesting.

But even though the theaters are great, they pose a problem in long-term growth. Once we reach 300 or so in Sunday attendance we will have to move to the next theater over. No problem, some retooling, and more help setting up and tearing down, but we can handle it.

But once we begin to reach that 500+ number, then we have to seriously consider some drastic changes. That being the case, I think at this point moving to a more permanent location of like a strip mall, we can purchase, and rent the other units out until we grow to need them. Then ultimately building a facility on some acreage that we can grow and expand with a multiphase building project that allows us to reach more people and grow mature believers.

But doing all of this, is a risk. A big risk, a risk of finances, a risk of trust, a risk of putting your heart n the line, a risk of your “respectability” in the eyes of your peers. A risk of maybe not just leading a few people to Jesus, but actually changing the culture of our community.

It is our vision to lead people into life changing encounters with God that turns them into fully devoted followers of Christ.

Let me tell you though that playing it safe is risky. Just sitting idly by and not trying anything or reaching out, or putting your self at risk of potential embarrassment is too safe. And too safe is ultimately the riskiest thing a church can do, because it becomes stale, dry, boring.

Go with me now to one of the craziest things we read about in the text.

I Samuel 14
1 One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armor, "Come, let's go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side." But he did not tell his father.

4 On each side of the pass that Jonathan intended to cross to reach the Philistine outpost was a cliff; one was called Bozez, and the other Seneh. 5 One cliff stood to the north toward Micmash, the other to the south toward Geba.

6 Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, "Come, let's go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."

7 "Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."

8 Jonathan said, "Come, then; we will cross over toward the men and let them see us. 9 If they say to us, 'Wait there until we come to you,' we will stay where we are and not go up to them. 10 But if they say, 'Come up to us,' we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands."

11 So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. "Look!" said the Philistines. "The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in." 12 The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, "Come up to us and we'll teach you a lesson."
So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, "Climb up after me; the LORD has given them into the hand of Israel."

13 Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him. 14 In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre.

Let me tell you, that is a crazy story. Nothing about the story seemed like the thing to do. They left without telling anyone of their plan. They didn’t really have a plan other than lets go see if we can get something done. The entered into a fight having to climb up a mountainside, which is tactically wrong, but here is the deal. They knew that God was working on their side

Now Jonathan’s father Saul, probably would not have ok’ed what Jon was proposing to do. He probably would have said, lets just think about this a moment. Well this isn’t the way we have done battles in the past. And I am not so sure you approach to climbing the cliffs is going to work. I mean really if we study the battle history of the Philistines, we see that 9 of 10 times they have won battles when they had the upper hand on being on top of the mountain.

As a church we have to be willing to put ourselves at risk. So often the church in the west has just done the same thing over and over and over again, year after year. Then we wonder why the church isn’t growing in US. It is rapidly growing in most of the rest of the world, yet here it is only growing in pockets.

Listen to this form the barna group.

Recent American church statistics show:
· In America, 3500 – 4000 churches close their doors each year
· Half of all churches last year did not add one new member through conversion growth
· Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to nominalism and secularism
· Approximately 98 million people are under the age of 25 in the United States, and those between the ages of 18 and 25 are the least likely to attend a church
(George Barna, Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in Christian Churches,

That should be very disturbing to us. That is why I am committed to not doing church as usual. I am not satisfied with just coming, punching the clock for 1 hour and 15 and going home. I think our spiritual journey is so much more than just Sunday. It is living as Jesus lived; it is seeing what Jesus saw. Not just being holy, and carrying a bible. It is responding to people like Jesus did.

He saw the woman caught in adultery differently than the others did. The Pharisees that caught her, were ready to judge her and kill her one the spot. How many of us see people in other conditions than us, and we condemn them to die right now.

What are your thoughts when you meet a drug addict? How about a prostitute? How about a rebellious hippie? What about when you meet a homosexual?

Is your first thought disgust, or is it how can I show them the love of Christ? Jesus responded to the woman in a very interesting way. Many of us, would have said, Oh get away from me, shielded our family from the disturbing site, and said I am too good to be a part of this. I can’t associate with this kind of a woman.

But Jesus saw her with compassion. After he wrote in the said, he asked her where her accusers where? She no doubt has half dressed or worse, probably bloodied already by the rough Pharisees. But Jesus saw her with love and compassion and forgiveness.

See so often after we have been in this journey for a while, we forget that, that was just the same way we came to Jesus. Broken, hurt, confused, and lost. We didn’t deserve the love God gave us, but he gave it to us anyway.

Don’t ever feel like you are better than the drug addict, or the hooker, or thief. Paul tells us that except for the grace of God it could be us.

Jonathan took a huge risk, when he stepped out of what was normal and comfortable. He took a huge risk when he asked God to simply go before him and help him. It was a risk that could have cost him his life.

Today there are risks to take at JCFC. We could just sit back and watch everything happen. We could be like Saul just watching the whole thing unfold. Or like Jonathan ready to make a change.

Ready to be a risk taker. Many of you are comfortable being a part of the Sunday morning worship experience. I am glad you are. But some of you have been here for while, and need to get plugged into really being a part of the church.

I ask you what would God have you to do that may be a bit risky for you. There are plenty of things that need your input, your direction, your leadership and help.

If you like physical work, and want to be a part of the production team. You may love knowing that you are setting things up for service that is going to change someone’s life because of the work you did. Running cords, carrying stages, hanging lights. Driving the truck, pulling some routine maintenance on the truck.

Maybe you love children, and want to volunteer with the nursery, or baby steps, or now the Buzz. If you want to help corral kids and teach on a basic level then Baby steps is for you. If you want to be more involved in teaching and discipleship the you need to see Lori Eilers in Creek Kids today. If teaching through song, and drama, is your deal then join us for the BUZZ.

Maybe your heart is in a different area. Maybe it is in music and arts. We have limited spots available right now in the band, but it is always growing and changing. I long for the time that we can have some “art”-taking taking place during the worship or during the trenching time. I would love to do a series that includes some live drama, or video teaching for a point of a sermon, or painting during the teaching time…

Maybe you feel God leading you in our new prayer ministry. I am starting to get some feedback from the sign up that was out in the past weeks. We need people praying regularly for our church, this community, and the state. Prayer makes all the difference in the world.

Maybe you would like to get involved with some connections and follow up with people who have arrived a the church. You would like to make some phone calls or do some bread or cookie drops on Monday or Tuesday evenings. Just saying thank you for attending service with us.

Maybe you love to bake, and would like to bake some breakfast foods for Sunday morning coffee bar. Of for the bread drops.

And the list goes on and on. If you have a heart for something, and you feel god is leading you in that area, then come on. Lets move forward together.

All of this is risk, taking steps to grow our church, to grow the kingdom. No matter where you are at in your journey we have a place for you. And god is calling you to be a part of this thing.

I want to read you this prayer from…

Sir Francis Drake is credited with this prayer from 1577.

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Playing it safe is too risky for us as a church. Lets take some risks that really will make a difference.

Friday, January 19, 2007


What a heavy word. Proverbs teaches us that with out vision people perish. Without a dream people stop living. The definition of death is the absence of change. So vision is a constant thought, idea, or dream that is changing, yet stays the same.

Without vision accomplishments are rarely accomplished.

Without vision dreams never come to reality.

Without vision things just continue in the downward spiral they already are in.

I think vision unites people, I think vision challenges people, I think vision creates synergy. I know vision sparks new vision in those who haven't dreamt in forever.

But the problem is, is that vision leaks. It simply sounds great once its cast, once it is poured out into the vessel receiving it. Sometimes we blame the vision for why things are accomplished or come to pass, but really its not the vision that is unattainable. Often it is keeping that vision alive in the hearts of those listening to it.

We all leak. We get busy, our thoughts become consumed with what else is happening around us, and we need to be recharged with the vision.

For me, God has called me to be laser focused on the vision he has for JCFC. To create a place where people can have a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. To turn people into fully devoted followers of Jesus.

There are some 460,000 plus people in the metro area. I know it is Gods heart to have every single one of them form a life long commitment with him. A relationship or covenant if you will that is unbreakable. Something that once we join up, it is for life. We understand that this thing called Christianity isn't on one day and off the next. It is an entire life change, something that shapes not just a piece of your life, but how you actually do life.

It shapes the very essence of who you are, how you think, what you do, where you spend you money. I love the journey of discover that a real relationship with Jesus leads us on.

I think of my marriage with my wife. We were young and "in love." That new romance, couldn't wait to find out more about each other feeling. Amazing. But now 9 years later we are more in love, and really know what love is right now, more than ever.

See the journey of our relationship has created this environment that fuels us to work harder to become one. To put each other first, and look out for each other before ourselves.

I think the text leads us to the thought that God wants that same kind of intimate relationship with him, as we have with our mates. Yet so many people see God as this harsh, distant Zues sort of figure holding a thunder bolt, ready to strike down the simple servants who don't do all the right things...

When that isn't the case at all. God so desperately loves us, he is doing all kinds of things to get our attention. But are we paying any attention to him.

"your a good painter dad"

Wednesday night the kids were getting ready to go to bed and I was painting the living room. The had bathed and were giving dad some good night kisses. Awnna went upstairs and Colin was trying to "help me." After a minute or so I told him to head up stairs. He took a few steps turned back and said, "daddy you're a good painter."

I melted. Of course he doesn't really know the difference between a good and bad painter. But I will talk a comment like that from my son.

He really is a "words of affirmation" kid. If you have read Gary Chapmans book, "The Five Love Languages" then you know what I am talking about. If not go to amazon and buy it. Annwa is a quality time girl, Dara is acts of service. Once you read the book you begin to understand how important it is for a person to "feel" loved from others in the way that they process love.

For a quality time person, acts of service might be nice, but it isnt what you really long for. You want undivided attention. For an Acts of Service person, you might feel like quality time s just a waste of time, since "nothing is getting done."

So finding out yours and your families love language is very important. It is very interesting...

Pop corn boxes

We are really trying to "beef" up our gift boxes that we give out to new guests on Sundays. One of the ways that we are going to step it up, is by including a book by Mark Batterson called "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day."

I have contacted Mark and I will be getting a bulk rate for the books. Awesome! So in 7-10 days we should get our first shipment. We then can get them into the boxes and go from there. We have some more ideas and working on getting that together.

Building relationships in any way possible. Even if it means blessing someone with a popcorn box of microwave popcorn, some church info and a book. You never know what God is going to do with someone!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

last Post of the day...

I am feeling technology overload. I am trying my best to figure a few things out on my own between netvibes, gmail, a mac, trying to make my ipod work on my new mac (with some disdain) and catching up 515 email contacts in my new gmail account.

I really do think I am going to like this, but it will take me a minute to get acclimated. I was actually going to get a new phone the 1st of March, but I am waiting now on the new Iphone, or apple phone or macphone or whatever it will actually be called.

So for all you mac and anti aol guys out there, as usual I am bringing up the rear. I am now once again mac, and no longer a paying aol customer. (does that mean I have moved from the darkside?)

Paul, I do need your help. With setting up pop3 on my church email accounts.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I got my first Monk E Mail today

Check this out. Monk-E-Mail.

Too funny. Got to this link and watch the fun begin.

Sorry, about not having a real link. I just switched to MAC and I dont know the short cut. argh.

Still love the Mac though.


Upon reading Craig Groeschele's blog - I had to just post it - so good what he had to say about why some churches fail and why others succeed:

"Some church plants make it. Some don’t.

Some ministries grow and reach people for Christ. Some slowly die.

Some student ministries explode. Others implode.

I’ve often wondered why. What’s the difference? While only God can sort out the details, I’ve noticed one phrase that leaders of struggling ministries often repeat. If a leader says this phrase too many times, worse yet, believes it, the ministry or organization will likely struggle or fade away. I call it the “phrase of death.” What is this deadly combination of words?

“The people won’t…”

Here is what someone might say:

* “The people won’t bring their lost friends.”
* “The people won’t tithe?”
* “The people won’t get into small groups.”
* “The people won’t serve.”
* “The people don’t care about the poor.”
* “The people won’t come to the prayer meeting.”
* “The people won’t do what I want them to do.”

There’s a fine line between asking someone to do something and leading them to do something. If we just ask a crowd of people to do something, they probably won’t. But if we lead them, chances are much better they will."

Here was the positive response from Eric Mason:

"Perhaps we should concentrate of or better yet begin to state these words “I will…”

• I will go
• I will give
• I will create a small group
• I will serve that small group
• I will care about the poor
• I will pray for all
• I will do what others won’t do

Perhaps the answer lies in what each of us “Will Do” not so much in what we say … the scripture does teach that we are to let our light so shine that they see our “good works” and glorify our father which is in heaven.

Note: A few things I see in this passage… it says let them see my good works not hear my big mouth. The other is that since the bible teaches there is none good but the father I have to conclude that the statement is saying, “…that they see your God works…” And the works God asks of me is to Love God and to love my neighbor as myself. I find that I am able to practice this as I host my LifeGroups. I also find it is a great and effective way to fulfill His mandate to make disciples of all men.

May God Favor All that you do for the Love of Jesus Christ."

Guys Night Out!

Hey guys - upon hearing that there were no "guy" events on the church calendar - Jeff and Lisa Little decided to have a guys night at there house this Sunday Night. We will be watching the final football game before the super-bowl next week. Lisa is making meatball subs. We will eat at 6 and the game starts at 6:30 PM. Please RSVP to Thanks to Jeff and Lisa for opening there home and giving the guys an opportunity to connect.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Youngs

Had dinner last night with Micheal and Lindsey Young ( I probably spelled her name wrong. She also has great blog, but in mind sleepy state I cant find it)

Anyway, what a cool couple.

We laughed and had a blast. They are from Omaha and yes like the Huskers, but that's ok. maybe. Anyway, really connected and laughed a bunch. I don't plan on taking Micheal canoeing... ask him why when you have a minute to crack up.


Wow, what a week. My computer blitzed this wek, and I have felt like a lost puppy with out it.

I am not sure how much it can really be saved with out a ton of money being spent. Well it can be saved and I probably will save her, but... I ordered a new Mac yesterday! Actually a refurb, but it should be sweet! I cant wait for it to get here.

We are getting ready for our first planning meeting as a team for 07. We are looking at a lot of things for the year, and I am stoked. We have spent a ton of time getting things planned and in the works. I am so excited about what our church is trying to accomplish in 07.

More to come.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

sick baby

There is a 4 month old baby who is in Pediatric Intensive Care at Blank. She is there becuase she is has recieved some head trauma this week. Her little brain is bleeding and she has blood behind her retinas. Just terrible.

Please pray for her parents.

Our church dropped off a cooler full of drinks and goodies for the family. It is a new compassion ministry that I think will just love people right where the are. Whether a person is a believer or not the hospital is not a fun place.

Pray for this family. They are looking for faith.

Blog Hiatus

Just like any good television show, my blog took a hiatus for December.

I have to say that I have really missed sitting down and collecting my thoughts in the blogosphere. A whole lot has happened in the Josh brain the past month. WOW!

First I have been taking a class called Christ Life. Absolutely amazing. You can check it out at here. I am going to recommending that all of the church team leaders begin the classes in 2007. It radically changes your thought patterns about nearly everything. It begins to renew your mind as the Word teaches to really let Jesus be the source of strength, vision and encouragement in your life. So many of us have let our past experiences determine who we are today, and not really live in the promises we find in Jesus.

It isn't an easy process, but it has been life altering for me and my family. I also have had a lot of time to begin planning the 07 year for JCFC. Really evaluating who we are and what we want to do for the kingdom this year.

It is paramount that we are intentional about several things. One of the those things is discipleship. From the very beginning of JCFC, even in the dream stages, "disciple tracks to run in" so to speak have been on my heart. To this point we haven't put the emphasis there that needed to be there. So we are going that direction now! The Buzz and our new life groups (especially Alpha) are going to really drive us to that.

It is important that we keep the main thing the main thing. If not we just end up with chaos. The main thing is leading people into a personal relationship with Christ. I think that this community is going to be eternally changed by the Church. Not just JCFC, but the church of Jesus.

I have partnered with and meet with several pastors here in town and we want to change our city. It is the heartbeat of God to be at the very center of the lives of this town.

God it is my prayer that I am centered on you. That you lead and direct my footsteps everyday.

My scripture for at least January is Romans 8:28. All things work together for the good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.

All things, God is working on all things for our good. What a God.