Friday, May 23, 2008

Rainbows and Revelation

This is my best attempt to recount a recent "Brown Family Conversation":

Maddie: Daddy, why doesn't God just talk out loud to us?

Me: That's a really great question, Maddie. Your mother is going into the grocery store and she'll be happy to answer that when she gets back:-)

Angie (My wife): Ohhhhh no...your daddy will answer you while I'm in the store.

PAUSE: [This what I saw--Blank stares from my two girls wondering what Mommy and Daddy are doing---slight smirk from my son, because he is learning to pick up on my sarcasm--and appreciate it and even replicate it!]

Me: Well, Maddie. I'm not 100% sure why God doesn't talk out loud to us. Maybe he knows that we are so distracted by other stuff that we wouldn't listen, or maybe he knows that he doesn't have to because he we have his words written down, in the Bible.

Summary: I spent a few minutes explaining that prayer is us talking to God, and the Bible is God talking to us. I talked a little bit about the importance of believing in God even when we couldn't physically see or audibly hear. It was a great sermon, mostly because it was short, and no one fell asleep!

Maddie was still thinking and concluded out loud, "Yeah, but it would still be easier if He just said stuff out loud." I just agreed!

Angie got back in and as we started down the road, we saw an incredible rainbow. In fact it was a double rainbow. Literally breath taking. So, seizing my "divine moment", I said to Maddie:

Me: See Maddie, that rainbow is God talking to us.

(Then I explained the whole story of the rainbow and God's promise to humanity. I had a pretty captive audience) was a pretty cool moment with the family. They really seemed to be "getting it." Then just when I began to privately gloat I heard...

Maddie: I can't hear anything, what is he saying in the rainbow?

**Angie and I laughed about it a little bit, but we love to have conversations with our children about God, their Heavenly Father. We want them to know how much He loves them. The coolest part of this happened the following day. The girls teacher came to Angie and said that they had told the entire story of the rainbow to the teachers and "all that would listen."

Maddie might not know exactly what the rainbow "said", but she now knows and believes that it was God talking! And it didn't stop there. She told everyone she could. WOW! Parents, no one influences your children's view of God like you. Let's shape the next generation starting in our homes! That's what our current series "Parental Guidance Required" is all about! Listen Here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Parental Guidance Begins

We began a new series called "Parental Guidance Required", May 11th at 6pm. We wrestled with the issue as a staff of whether it was best to meet or not meet or Mother's Day since we still meet on Sunday nights. Kind of risky business (you church leaders out there know what I'm talking about!)

We decided to go for it and fortunately still had a pretty good crowd in the building. It was a great night. Popcorn Machine and bottled coke at the clips on the big screen before the service...and Josh Bayne and the band really did a great job leading worship.

Stage set was pretty incredible. Rusty is the brain child behind all of that stuff, and he actually constructed the movie marquee himself. Across the board, it was a great night. Andy's message on parenting was on point for sure. Every parent should hear this stuff! We have high hopes and expectations for part 2, coming this weekend (May 18th, 6pm) as well as the remainder of the series.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Invest and Invite

This past weekend's service at Ridge Church was called "Leverage" (Listen Here) and it was built entirely around this idea of investing relationally in people and then eventually at the appropriate time inviting them to come and experience God through Ridge Church.

As people exited the service our host teams passed out popcorn bags complete with information on our next series "Parental Guidance Required" as well as information cards that looked like movie tickets. People are using these to invite the people at work, in their neighborhoods, families they have been investing in, etc. We will be starting this new series at 6PM on Mother's Day. Keep inviting. We want this to be an epedimic that "BEGINS" with changing the lives of our neighbors, our family, our co-workers--->our city and THEN...? Well we will start here!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Leverage Pics

Great night at Ridge. We did a stand alone talk called "Leverage (Listen Here)" We are gearing up for a really awesome summer and look forward to meeting a ton a new folks at Ridge along the way. Michael Johnston and the band did an amazing job leading worship.

Here are a few pics from the adult stage that night. I am surrounded by some very talented individuals at Ridge Church. They continue to amaze me with their abilities. They transform a "Senior Center" into some amazing environments every single time we meet.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Do you ever preach/speak at Ridge?

Partner with North Point:
If you have been to Ridge Church, then you probably know that we are in a strategic partnership with North Point Community Church where Andy Stanley is the lead pastor. One of the many perks of our partnership with them is that we are able to show Andy (a uniquely, and extraordinarily gifted communicator) on video as a teaching pastor for Ridge Church.

Lead Pastor Speaking?:
I have people ask me pretty frequently if I ever speak, or when will I speak again (maybe so they could schedule vacation for that week:-) The short answer to that is yes, and I will actually be speaking for a stand alone message we are doing this weekend called "Leverage."

From time to time I have people that say they would prefer for me to speak live more, to which my normal response is thanks, BUT " Seriously, have you heard, Andy?" He is literally phenomenal at communicating truth in way that sticks in your mind for weeks. He is masterful at explaining difficult subject matter in simple ways.

Filter for our decision making:
For us we decided early on that we would attempt to love everyone but not to make our decisions based on "who we were keeping, but rather on who we are reaching." The fact that we use Andy as a video speaker reflects that decision. People who are coming back to church for the first time in a long time, and many who were totally disconnected, absolutely love him. They never even ask about video. Peoples lives are being radically changed and we hear those stories constantly.

I love to speak and will continue to do so at Ridge, probably more in the days ahead than during these early days of Ridge Church. But for us-- this thing isn't about a person or personality. Not me, not Andy, not my staff. This whole thing for us is about " bringing God glory and reaching people." We want people to know how much their Heavenly Father loves them.

Come out this weekend. It will be a great night. Michael Johnston is leading worship.