Monday, June 30, 2008

Wisdom of the Board

I am thankful tonight for the wisdom of our CCF Executive Board. We had a meeting tonight and we discussed several issues. They bring wisdom and honesty to the table that is so necessary to our success as a church. I was appreciative of the angle that each of them brought to our conversation. I really saw that tonight. Ultimately, they almost always take good ideas and make them great. I am thankful to them for that. Even in the times that we have tough conversations, their love for the church speaks louder than anything else! I thank the Lord for them tonight.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Hold on....wait a second.....just a minute.....

....preached on patience this morning. Then, before we even got in the house, Davis tested my obedience to my own sermon by running away from me toward the street....I caught myself when I was about to jump on him. about practicing what you preach (and fast application)!!

A few nuggets from the message this morning for church skippers, missers and non-locals....
  • Here was my prayer for the church today....."that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need." Colossians 1:11
  • Patience is: waiting until later for what you want now!
  • Patience is not: gained by the push of a button or with the wave of a wand, but it is developed in a disciple BY the Holy Spirit and over TIME.
  • In the fast track, fast food, high speed, digital camera, instant pudding, and hands free culture we live in.....we can begin to become programmed for FAST, when God sometime needs us to take it SLOW so that we get all that he intended us to get.
May great patience be yours this your home, on your job, in your relationships and in your faith journey. Remember, God has been patient with you....he has been waiting for you to respond to him since before the earth was formed (Jer. 1:5)!


Saturday, June 28, 2008


Just finishing up my Birthday....first down time I have had all day. It was a great day, though. I am really blessed with a great family and some great friends. I enjoyed my evening with each of them. I like to just be with them and sometimes one of the things that I appreciate the most is sitting quiet and listening to others laugh. Even though it was my birthday (and a great one), it just felt like another day. I thank the Lord for another year and dedicate this next one into his hands.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Edna Custis

My Friend and former Colleague, TC is a great guy. His Dad Dwight still comes to CCF regularly. His Dad is actually in our Small Group and we were with him just last night. While we were in Small Group, Dwight shared about his mother (Edna Custis) and his need to move her to a different care facility. Within the context of that conversation, I affirmed Dwight for the marvelous job that he does caring for his Mom and told him that I have been wanting to go see her. I got the info to where she is and scheduled to go see here just last night.

In the middle of the night, I got a call that Edna went home to be with the Lord. She went into Cardiac Arrest in the middle of the night. Edna was already suffering from Dementia. Please pray for Dwight, Saundra, Ebony, TC and all of the Custis family during their time of loss. Edna was a woman of great faith. I will never forget the time that I had her in Discovery 101...she could pray the house down!!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obvious Realities

In a writing groove today....only posting SOME of it. Bear with me.

I want to list a few obvious realities that are on my mind right now. Warning: They are obvious. Second Warning: If we pay attention to them, they could lead us to a transformational discovery. See if you can track with me here:

(Disclaimer: The following statements apply to most people, not all! If you are retired or single or have a really organized world, this may not apply to you. Think with me about the majority.)

Obvious Realities:
  • People are busy!
  • Many of the people in our congregation work jobs that have them away from the home 10-12 hours a day (including the commute).
  • For most, they have about 3-4 good hours a night to cook, eat, shop, run errands, spend time with kids, bond with spouse, get on computer, watch a show, clean, and whatever else they have to do! There is NO extra time.
  • Most people in our church WANT to grow in Christ!
  • Most people in our church WANT to form meaningful relationships with other believers.
  • Most people in our church WANT to support and live according to the vision of the church.
  • It is not an issue of desire. The demands are just too great.
  • Saturdays are like GOLD!! Everything under the sun has to get shoved into Saturday because you know you cannot get in done during the week or on Sunday.
  • But, Sunday! Sunday! Sunday, MOST people get dressed, leave their home, travel to 10411 Greenbelt Road and "go to church." 300-400 people vote with their feet every Sunday morning that they ARE able to dedicate that time. The demands are low enough on Sunday morning OR they ARE willing to say no to everything else on Sunday morning and BE AT CHURCH!
  • But, we want people to come to large group AND small group, right?
Questions that follow these realities:
  • Then why...when they have already traveled to the church on a Sunday morning, why don't we provide space for both? Why can't people go to Small Group and Large Group back to back? They are already there!
  • Why is Walmart so successful? Maybe because it is a one stop shop? You can get everything that you need in one space and time. Is that appealing BECAUSE we are busy?
  • Why did the old "Sunday School Hour" work? Would attendance have been anywhere near the same if Sunday School was on Tuesday night at 7pm at someone's house? I think not! Why? Because we were already at church anyway. Sunday School was a natural part of the Sunday morning experience.
  • Now, let's think in business terms for a minute. Imagine that you have 2 products that you want to sell. Now imagine that ONE time per week, several hundred people were coming to your place of business to purchase just ONE of your products. Would you not want to market and sell the other one while you had the hundreds of customers there? Wouldn't you want them to buy both of your products instead of just one? Why would you miss the opportunity to sell the other half of your enterprise while hundreds of customers stand in front of you? It doesn't even start to make sense to me.
  • Now apply to church...we want people in Large Group and Small Group gatherings, right? Why aren't we intentionally creating the environment for that to happen on Sundays when the largest amount of people already come?
What would happen if we dedicated 9:00am-10:30am as Small Group Time at CCF and had one Main Worship Service at 10:30am? Actually, people could do Small Group before or after the Large Gathering as well. Weeknights groups could continue at their normal time if they want. Other existing and new groups could begin meeting Sunday mornings at the church or in local coffee houses or breakfast shops. Then, we would all combine for worship at 10:30.

This is hounding me all week! I don't see other churches doing this....and that makes me like the idea even more.

I would LOVE to hear from you on this. In the thinking phase.


Greatest Leadership Challenge

I was recently asked to answer the question -- "what is the greatest leadership challenge you face?" Here is my answer, without a doubt:

Knowing when to step out and provide point leadership for people VS. when to poll people, get opinions and let their feelings and feedback lead me. Undoubtedly, the single greatest leadership challenge is knowing when it is time to just say...."this is what I sense the Lord is saying, so here is where we are headed!" I struggle with doing this....ever! Every single decision that I make goes through the filter of everyone's opinions and feelings. And that's ok! I have to care about what people think and feel. But how far do I take that and how can I know those instances from the ones where I just need to LEAD and not ASK! God, help me with this one. I am struggling with this right now. There is a sense/idea/inspiration that I have had all week that I feel has awesome potential to take us to new heights as a church. I want so badly for God to write on the wall...."this is from me....DO IT....don't ask 75 people permission first!!" This is where I struggle. I lean toward wanting to go the safe route of making sure I sell the idea and please everyone first....simultaneously knowing that will never work.

Wow, I was just more open in this post than I set out to be. Just kinda happened. Oh, well. There you go. Just plain ole' me! I so badly want to be the leader God needs me to be at such a time as this!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Praying about tomorrow

Tomorrow is my sermon day. I prefer Wednesdays, but in light of being out of town recently, I had too many meetings and too much catch up to feel like I could be out of the office any earlier. Will prepare my message tomorrow off site.

Been praying about the message. I feel like the Lord has really helped me
frame and develop
my series for the month of July. It will be called "One Heart". There are several creative elements that we will be including. My prayer for this series is that it will bring us to a place of even greater unity as a church. Will you pray with me to that end?

As for this Sunday, been sensing a leading to preach on one of the fruits of the spirit....a particular one! If you wait a while, you might just find out which one....Sunday! Be patient. :-)


"One Heart"...Upcoming Sermon Series starting July 13th!

Spread the Word about VBS at CCF!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One Prayer

If you have a minute, check out this website and the endeavor and vision it represents. I am fascinated by it and would have totally involved CCF in it formally if I had heard about it in time. It is called One Prayer!

Thinking and praying about using some of it for a July series that I am working on centered on unity and one heart! This kind of stuff really excites me. I dream of seeing denominational walls break down and churches working together as the BODY that they are. This type of thing is a step in that direction!


I want you to come on the Church Retreat!

I am really looking forward to the CCF Church Retreat in October. It is always a VERY worthwhile time if for no other reason than relationships! We always leave feeling closer. There are many reasons that you should come. Sunday, we will give you 12 reasons you should come!! Be looking for them.

We currently have just under 60 people signed up. There is still room for 50-75 more! I just want to take every chance I can to encourage you to come. Here is my theory. Almost all of us WANT to go, but many of us are unsure we can afford it! It is not an issue of desire, it is an issue of money. (It is $175.oo per adult, after all....which is a lot and not a lot at the same time.)

Hey, if you REALLY want to come but are choosing not to come because of money, email me! You need not feel embarrassed. I want to talk to you. I want to see what possibilities there are.

--Pastor Noah

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Role is Changing

Well, I think I am ready to go public and say that my role at the church has officially changed over the last year (for the real good). I am finally backing out of lots of the details and doing way less administrative stuff than I used to do. Honestly, I used to log over 25 hours a week of administrative work...much of which was system development and getting things operating with the building and structure and such. Now, much of that is done and on auto-pilot. In addition, the staff are finding their groove in new ways. They are really a big blessing to work with. Now, I probably log 5-10 hours a week of administrative stuff. Some of the biggest changes that I have noticed in my role have been:
  • I am almost never in my church office. I meet with people on their turf, I am all over the building connecting with people and such. (and I like people to much to be in my office for very long)
  • I spend a LOT MORE of my time leading leaders. My philosophy is that staff and key church leaders will disciple others to the level that I am discipling them. A day spent investing in staff and key leaders is a day well spent!
  • I pray, write, read and study more! I dedicate a minimum of 8 hours to every message I preach. I aim to one day be spending 2 days a week preparing to communicate with increased excellence. I see this as one of the most vital contributions that I make to the organization.
  • I delegate more. I am not where I want to be on this, but I am getting better. I still struggle with the pride of thinking that it is better and easier if i just do it! But, i am getting better, I promise! I see improvements often. I did today. I delegated a list of things to Tricia (who is home for the summer), a list of things to my Mom who is helping lots with the upcoming church retreat and of course numerous things to Jaye. Jaye told me again today that "this is how it is supposed to be and I need to just get used to it". I know that she is right, but I am not fully comfortable in it yet. Getting there.
I love what I do! I seriously have to pinch myself sometimes to think that I get to do what I was made to do full-time and get paid to do it! Thank you, Jesus!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Corn Hole

I have heard people talk about the game of corn hole many times. The people that play it, love it. we played it today at my nephew's birthday party and we loved it!! So fun!! We will have to make one. If you have never played, give it a try if given a chance!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sense of Relief

Man, do I feel a great sense of relief. My Dad is home and feeling good, my yard and pool are looking great, the house is clean, SOME tasks are caught up, email is caught up for the most part, and I am finally staring to get my bearings after being away almost 2 weeks.

Looking forward to being back with the congregation tomorrow after 2 Sundays out. We have a guest speaker...Galen Burkholder, one of Pastor Nelson's mentors. I am looking forward to his message. The title is "I am doing a new thing!" Pretty appropriate for us at CCF!


Friday, June 20, 2008


Dad’s surgery this morning was successful! 2 stints were installed. All is well and they hope to send him home tonight. Thanks for your many prayers, calls and concerns. Mom appreciates it too!!


We went to Karaoke on the boat. That led to "tryouts" for the finale show. They needed a Frank Sinatra, an Alvis, a Britney Spears, a Gloria Estefan, a Garth Brooks and others. Well, I was pressured into trying out for Garth Brooks as I do like country music. I won. I was in the show. Here is the picture of me in costume. It's hard to see the big black cowboy hat I had to sport! They are lucky that I did not start preaching. You never give a preacher a microphone and 1,500 people! Smile. It was a good memory. They even gave us a DVD of the performance.


I first heard about Twitter 6 months ago from a Pastor friend of mine. Basically it is a very fast growing program that allows mini-blogs for people to basically answer the question...."What are you doing?" in 140 characters or less. Here is the coolest part...that I just found out yesterday...with Twitter you can text message updates and they immediately appear on Twitter and on your blog!! No computer access needed. For example....many of you were waiting to hear about my Dad yesterday. I could have sent a twitter update to my blog and you could have known as soon as I did! No need to wait to get back to a computer. I have considered joining twitter for a while now, but I like to count the cost first. When I discovered that I could text updates, it was all over. I'm in!

So, look over on the right. That is updated with each new Twitter post.

To see my Twitter page or follow me, click here!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

7 Practices....Great Book!

Read this book on vacation...."7 Practices of Effective Ministry." It was an outstanding book. It has been recommended from several trusted sources that I go through this book with our leadership teams. I have already ordered everyone a copy! I look forward to leading the Pastoral Team and Executive Board through a thoughtful review of this book over the next few months. Lots of great takeaways for CCF in this book. Looking forward to diving into it with other key leaders. If you want to read it, buy one and join in with us. Just let me know if you are reading it...I will pick your brain. It would be cool.


Made some progress

Put time in the office, pulled some weeds, did some yard work, returned some emails, spent time with Dad (he will stay overnight at WHC and they will do the stints tomorrow....I will update you tomorrow), and made some progress toward re-acclimating to work and life. It was a good day.

I got something I gotta tell you about the cruise. I was in the finale show on the last night...sang in front of 1,500 people on a boat. I will post proof later. It was an embarrassing blast!

Update on my Dad

They went in this morning at about 9am to determine blockage to his heart and maybe do a procedure. They found that the blockage was pretty bad. They would prefer to do bypass surgery, but they fear that he is not healthy enough at this time. They will be running more extensive tests today and tonight and plan to attempt stints tomorrow (if they assess that the risk is low enough). That may buy him a year or so to get healthier at which point he may need to have bypass surgery. Not a great report, but we serve a GREAT God! Keep praying for Dad and all.


(We are headed over to see him now.)

My Dad

Pray for my Dad! He is in the hospital right now having a procedure done on his heart. Mom should be calling in the next hour and we will likely be headed over there. We hope that the report is positive and that everything was successful. Pray that Dad's nerves stay calm. I know that he was nervous last night. Will update you later. Thanks for praying. His name is Joe Kaye (for those who do not know my Dad). Pray for Mom too!


Back Home and Out of Sorts

We are home! Vacation was GREAT!!!! Lots of "husband and wife time" and lots of fun! We really went for it. This will probably be our last vacation without Davis (and other kids), so we partied hard! Glad to be home, though! Thrilled to be with Davis!!! Reality hit hard when we pulled in. My yard is out of control, weeds everywhere, our pool is half-opened where I left it when we got the call about Brayden, behind on emails, lots of catch-up to play, and Tricia and I were both remarking that we feel out of sorts and out of place. I know that will fade away, but the last few weeks have been so crazy. Gotta chip away at it. A little reorganizing and reprioritizing and we will be set!

I am SO THANKFUL for a tremendous Staff and church and a Family that is out of this world! They are so on top of everything and so supportive. Man, the staff is trying to kick me out today and I just got back. Smile. They want me to go be with my Dad. I will tell you about Dad in the next post.

Glad to be back in the Blogosphere! (Funny fact....we hit a record high blog hits 2 days before I left for the cruise and a record low while I was not blogging during the cruise. Glad you took a break while I did!)


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Having a Blast

We are having a GREAT time cruising. Friday we were in Puerto Rico, yesterday we were in St. Thomas and today we were in British Tortola. We are doing lots of resting, relaxing and really enjoying being together. Tricia and I have needed these moments. We miss Davis very much, but we are really at peace that he is in great hands with my parents. They are such a blessing! Missed being at church this morning. Well, just wanted to say hello. We have started our 2 day sail back to NYC!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Mourning into Joy...Thoughts from Raleigh Airport

OK, how about an update. Why not? We have nothing else to do since our flight home is 3 HOURS DELAYED!!! We asked God to let us get here in time to catch our flight. He did what we asked him to. He just did too good! We made it here to Raleigh at 5pm for our 5:40 flight only to find it very delayed. So, I will give you an update from the airport.

Miraculous day. Isaiah 61:3 was lived out in a real way today with Jake and Michelle. It says this...unto them that mourn in Zion, He will give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness...that he might be glorified. The memorial service was like nothing I have ever seen (I made it through without crying...wept up until I spoke and right after). Definitely broke the mold. Real, honest, worshipful, celebratory, equal parts tears of joy and tears of pain. At the end of the service we opened up the room for a time of response to God. People lit candles, nailed their feelings and prayers to the cross at the front of the room, took communion, worshiped, and made new and renewed commitments to God. Check this out. Jake's older sister has been running from God for many, many years. She came back to Christ today with her whole family standing around her. Unbelievable moment! They left the funeral full of the Joy of the Lord. Is that not a miracle?!?! Here's what I told the congregation as I invited them to respond....GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED THROUGH THIS! The number one form that he wants this glory to be taking on is for his kids to turn to him. Why not let the glory begin today! And it did!

We serve a wonderful God! I wanted to leave you with this testimony before I jet. Jake has already called me on my cell this evening. They are sitting around laughing and enjoying being with family. I know there are tough days ahead, but God is already turning their mourning into joy!!

Get ready Davis, it is going to be a late night...because WE WILL BE HANGING OUT WHEN WE GET HOME!! I don't care what time it is! I don't care if we pull an all-nighter! We will all recover. We miss this kid like a lost leg.

Being Personal

I know I am writing a lot tonight, but I have a lot to get off my chest before I can sleep. This whole thing has been a whirlwind for Tricia and I. We have felt amazingly close these last few days, but there have also been some dynamics that have made this a really difficult experience for us. Let me be personal with you. Here are some of the difficult personal dynamics to this whole thing:
  • It was really, really hard to leave Davis, but we felt that we had to! We just knew that we could not provide Jake and Michelle the care that we needed to if Davis came with us. We also knew that it would be wildly difficult for them to see Davis after having just lost Brayden. Even though we know it was the right thing to do, we have missed him so much it hurts! You know, when you hear of a tragedy, you want to go hold your kids. Well, we left ours! So difficult! I feel like a jerk for even saying that because what we are feeling is absolutely no comparison to what Jake and Michelle are feeling!
  • To add insult to injury, we have had a vacation planned for 9 months...scheduled to leave o Tuesday from NYC on a cruise and planned to leave Davis with my Mom and Dad. We knew that he would have a blast with his grandparents, and that we needed this for our marriage (yesterday was our 6 year anniversary). However, now we have been away from him for 3 days dealing with the death of a baby his age!! It is just so complex. We are gonna miss him so much! We called and tried to add him on to the cruise, but it was impossible.
  • We could really use your prayers for tomorrow! We will help them pick a burial plot at 9, get to the church at 10, service at 11, drive 300 miles to Raleigh, NC, and try to hop a 5:40 flight to BWI (that we will barely make in time), land at 6:30, be loving on Davis until 10:30, packing, getting up and leaving at 6:00am Tuesday for NYC! Now, breathe. Please pray that we make our 5:40 flight. If we don't, we have to take the 9:30 flight and miss all time with Davis. Those 4 hours with Davis tomorrow evening will be worth 4 million dollars to us!
  • I thank God for a great staff and a great church! I know everything has been and will continue to be fine & dandy at the church until I am back and back in action on June 19th! They don't need me anyway. :-)
  • Something cool...1 year ago Tuesday is when Tricia's dad passed away. She told me tonight that this has been the greatest thing that she could have ever done. Pay back what she received a year ago. Comforting the grieving! I wish you could have seen my wife down here these last few days! Take charge, leader, organizer, calling the women together to accomplish and do all that needed done. Tricia is a strong leader! Yall better look out for her as she matures and grows in confidence. She is coming at ya! Awesome heart! I wish you knew the half of it!
Alright, I am tired and going to bed. I doubt I will post tomorrow. We leave Tuesday. I may not post for a while. I really don't know. If I do, great! If I don't, bye bye until June 19th! I will be laying in the sun!

Love you all so much!


Seacoast Rocks!!

Seacoast Church (Summerville Campus) is their home church here in SC. You may remember my site visit here a few months back that I wrote about. Anyway, this church has been an amazing display of how the body of Christ should work! We are staying with a family we have never met! There is enough food at the Michelle's parents house to feed the state of South Carolina, the Pastor and Staff have been amazingly supportive, and the care has been tactful, sensitive and timely. Great Church!! Just wanted to give them a shout out in the midst of this whole thing!

Baby Brayden

Jake and Michelle said many times today that they wanted many pictures around that celebrate his life. Tomorrow at the funeral, instead of a casket with Brayden it it, there will just be a memorial of pictures capturing his life at the front of the worship center at the church. We will be placing all focus on his life, not his death. Here is a good picture of the Brayden that we celebrate!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Some things that God has been showing me...

There are a few things that I feel like God has been showing me over the last few days. I want to capture them now and share them or else I am afraid that I will forget them. My mind is spinning right now as it is.
  • Phillipinas 4:7 has new meaning for me. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Sometimes we need peace to come and replace our need for understanding. This has been one of those times for Jake and Michelle. I have been asking God for a peace that replaces their longing for understanding! We lack understanding when tragedies like this happen. There is no explanation and there are no answers to the many questions that Michelle and Jake have tonight! So, since there is no way to gain human understanding, divine God, grant peace!
  • Brayden went from love to love! Born into a family of love, lived 17 months of love, and was ushered into the courts of a God of love. Brayden skipped the awkwardness of adolescence, the pain of a teen break-up, the identity crisis of the twenties, the mid life crisis of the forties....he skipped all that crap. He went from love to love. He never knew the pain that we do!
  • I have heard it said that the goal of every parent is to see their child make it to heaven. Well, if that was true for Jake and Michelle, they reached their goal and they beat many of us to it! Brayden made it to heaven on Friday.

Do you want to help this family?

Perhaps you know Jake and Michelle and you want to help or perhaps you do not know them, but you want to help. There are two main ways that you can help them:
  1. Pray fervently for them!! Not just today and tomorrow, but for weeks and months!
  2. Send them a card with money in it!! They are stressed about finances, paying for a funeral, medical bills, neither can afford to miss work but need to for a while...they just need financial help. They have such a heavy load to carry that the last thing that they need to is to be worried about money. So, I am shooting straight with you here...if you know them or not and you feel led to help...send them money to:
Made out to: Jake & Michelle Zieg
Mailed to: 117 St. Awdry St.
Summerville SC, 29485

Tired Mind, Thankful Heart

Stealing a few minutes away at the end of an emotionally exhausting day to get my thoughts together before bed.

Today was tough and amazing all at the same time.

It was tough for many reasons....the main one being that we went with Jake and Michelle to see little Brayden's body for a final private viewing. The experience cannot be described with words. If you have done this before, you know what we experienced. If you have not ever seen a baby casket with a baby in it, there are not words to explain it. Period. I will say this. we knew and felt that people were praying.

Today was amazing in many ways too. God's strength and grace evidenced itself throughout the day. We knew there were moments that were humanly overwhelming and then they would be followed by moments that were divinely orchestrated. That divine intervention came today in the form a laughter a few times (nothing better than seeing Jake and Michelle smile) and in the form of encouraging words and thoughts that were shared that we knew had to be from God himself!

Tomorrow will be beautiful and difficult. The church was prepared by many helping hands tonight and the service plan for tomorrow feels really led of the Lord. Me and their Pastor Phil will be sharing leadership of the funeral service. We both KNOW that the Lord will be glorified through this tragedy, so we want it to start right away. We will be inviting people to respond to God tomorrow. Please be praying. I have a sense that as difficult as this will be, there will be a very strong sense of the presence of God with us all tomorrow...especially with Jake and Michelle.


Saturday, June 7, 2008


At 7pm last night, I received a frantic call from our friends in South Carolina, the Zieg's. Jake Zieg and I have been friends for 24 years. Jake and Michelle are 2 of our closest friends in the world. Last night, their son Brayden (born 2 DAYS before Davis) accidentally got out into their back yard, climbed into their above ground pool and drowned. This is one of the saddest situations that you could ever imagine. There are no words!!! We are here in SC (after a late night flight and 300 mile drive), helping, pouring ourselves out, meeting their needs and crying out to God for miraculous strength for them. PLEASE PRAY! Pray for peace that passes all understanding...because none of us have any understanding right now. How could we? The funeral service will be Monday. Pray especially for Jacob and Michelle and their 3 year old son, Nathaniel. Michelle is 2 months pregnant with what would have been their 3rd child. Dear God! Oh, how they need you!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Seeing God Today

There were 2 particular moments that I really felt like I saw God today:
  1. The first was sitting with Lisa Savoy at a Nursing Hospice Center in DC. As she sat in her wheelchair barely able to move her arms enough to get a cup to her mouth, she shared this with me....I will paraphrase...."Nothing, absolutely nothing will ever cause me to doubt our God, the one true God. Only a real and powerful God could have made the human body in all of its greatness. What a network it is as he intended it to all work together. Losing my bodily movement has proven how amazing the body is and has solidified my faith in Almighty God!" Are you kidding me?!?! I want to weep just typing this!
  2. The second was at Small Group tonight. I saw and felt the presence of the Lord as 9 people sat around a table tonight pastoring and caring for one another. Listening to each other. Challenging each other. Proclaiming faith and hope to each other. It was genuine and real. And I just sat there and watched and listened and thanked God. There were caring for each other and for me! How cool is that?!?! Day by day, I am more convinced that life change happens in circles, not rows! (We had Small Group at a new couple's house....on their deck backing to the woods. It was a great night.)


There has been a growing list of people that I have wanted to go visit over the last 2 weeks, but of course not a growing amount of time with which to do it. Well, I have dedicated this day to be a day of visitations. I will be from DC to Upper Marlboro to Laurel. I look forward to seeing our oldest member, Mr. Yip, Lisa Savoy and others! Funny thing about visitations is that you go intending to bless these folks and it is almost always the other way around.

--Good Day to you!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

To God Be the Glory!!

Since, we learn well with images and because I NEVER WANT US TO ABANDON THE SYMBOLS OF OUR HISTORY AND GOD'S FAITHFULNESS, here are the 3 physical locations that Capital Christian Fellowship (formerly Cottage City Mennonite) has met at from 1927-2008...WOW...80 YEARS!!!

Cottage City Mennonite Church, Cottage City, MD (1927-1995)

Capitol College Auditorium, Laurel, MD (1995-2004)

Capital Christian Fellowship, Lanham, MD (2004-Present)

Question for CCF'rs

Are you a member or attendee of CCF? If so, I have a question for you. It was buried in my post on worship yesterday, but I am learning that most of you DO NOT READ LONG POSTS, so if it is important, I have to extract it to a shorter post. So, here is the question. In light of our diverse congregation (experientially, culturally, generationally)...

What do you think about CCF having a traditional (but not WAY traditional) 9:30am service and a contemporary (but not WAY contemporary) 11:00am service? (new times start in September)

Comment, email, talk to any staff member when you see us. Just wanting to solicit some feedback on this one.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Small Groups

Very excited about some of the things that we discussed and dreamed about for Small Groups this fall at CCF! It was a great onsite offsite. A highlight for me was standing in the front parking lot with joined hands as a team and pleading with God to bring us the people that he has destined for us to care for...and to send us to GO get them!

Awkward Worship

There are loads of books out there on worship. Ones about authentic worship, spirit filled worship, high-tech worship, contemplative worship, etc. I think that someone should write a book called awkward worship. Bear with me. I think that there is awkward worship going on all the time in churches. Awkward of participants. Awkward for leaders. Reasons for awkward worship could include:
  • The music is too loud for my preference and I am holding my ears or really wanting to. Awkward.
  • I am excited about God and these people look like they are ready to fall asleep on him. Awkward.
  • The style of music is to gospel-ish or rock-ish or country-ish for my preference and I hate it. Awkward.
  • I am young and this song sounds like my great grandmother wrote it and I don't even understand what it is saying. Awkward.
  • The words are meaningless or repetitive for my preference and I feel like a fool trying to talk to a deaf God. Awkward.
  • I have never been taught what a musical note is, but I am expected to read music and sing tenor when I visit your church. Not happening. Awkward.
  • My preference is to worship quiet and still, but the person next to me is dancing, jumping and yelling. Awkward.
  • The people on the stage sound like they are playing 2 different songs at the same time. I would rather listen to grinding brakes. Awkward.
  • (Notice how many times the word preference appears above!!)
I am really thinking about worship a lot this week. I think that it is actually one of the opportunities/challenges on the horizon for us as a church and we need to talk candidly about it. I think that a lot of this dialogue is about personal experience and preference and not about worship. Let's call it what it is. The Bible says to worship in the midst of trial. Paul and Silas were worshiping at midnight in jail!! Hello!! A song style that we don't like certainly better not be a trial big enough to interrupt our worship to God for who He is! If so, we are really in trouble when REAL TRIALS strike. God doesn't stand a chance.

Before I start preaching...I think we need to explore questions like:
  1. How can such a DIVERSE congregation as ours have a worship experience/song service that is appealing to the most people's as inviting them into worship?
  2. How can we talk more openly so as to cut down on the feelings of awkward...which often come because we don't name things and do lots of quiet assuming?
  3. Do many of these churches have an idea? Should CCF consider a contemporary and traditional service model?
  4. How can we find more ways to teach people that worship is about much more than a music style, volume or church service. It is about how we do life! I think that Christians connect worship to music WAY MORE than they connect worship to life! God, help us with that.
This is getting long and I have lots more to say. Let me stop. More later. Any thoughts?

--Pastor Noah

An Onsite Offsite

Every few months I bring our staff away from the church offices and we spend a workday together dreaming and planning. If we don't regularly get into new places for longer periods of time, I don't think that we will be getting many new revelations of what God wants to do among us.

Today, is an off site all day staff meeting. However, it will be on-site here at the church for several reasons. Pray for us today if you read this. Will be spending intentional time hearing from God and then we will be talking about Small Group improvement and changes to come this fall! We are really seeking the Lord today for new ways to get people into groups and to get groups into people. More on that later.


Monday, June 2, 2008

A Different Look at Stewardship

I never thought of using the parable of the Good Samaritan (click here to read it) as a message about Stewardship until last week....but, watch this...

(this was my sermon yesterday) There were 3 attitudes displayed in this story:
  1. What's yours is mine and I am going to take it! (The robber/thief stole from and injured the man on the road.)
  2. What's mine in mine and I am going to keep it! (Religious men walked right by unwilling to give up their time, ability or money.)
  3. What's mine is really not mine, and I am going to share it! (Good Samaritan gave his time, ability and money to help.)
Stewardship is about the ATTITUDE behind WHY I give!! It is less about what I give, how much I give, or what I do.

Think about it. Read Luke 10:25-37 today!