For Those Who Don’t Know It All

“What if?”

Have you ever asked that question in regards to some aspect of your life?

If you’ve already arrived and have no need to grow, then this blog post isn’t for you.

But I’m guessing you haven’t.

I know I haven’t.

So no matter who you are or where you are it’s one of the best questions you could ask yourself.

And you should ask it today.

A “What if?” question is pregnant with possibility.

Once you ask it, you’ll start to wonder.

“Could this really happen? Is this really possible? Wow, what life would be like if…”

Then you’ll quickly experience a tension. And it’s painful to wrestle with.

This tension is so strong that millions of dollars have been left on the table. Relationships that could have been haven’t. Businesses were never started. An invention never developed. A book never written. An apology never said. A difference never made. A God never explored.

It’s the tension between an idea and action

You don’t have to be brilliant or clever to stir up an idea. And you don’t have to be strong or disciplined to step into action.

You must only wonder your way into wander.

What if instead of thinking you had to have the perfect idea and plan of action, you allowed the wonder of your idea to compel you to wander into action?

Don’t worry about not having a detailed plan or a stellar track record in the past.

Simply wander into doing something about that possibility you sense.

Start walking.

Make some kind of move even if you don’t know why or what you’re doing. Even if it’s aimless.

Take a baby step in the direction you long to know more about or desire to be true for your life.

I don’t know the exact “What if?” question you should ask yourself. But below are several to give you an idea of some you could ask.

What if life’s not all about me?

What if I switched my college major?

What if I tried harder in school?

What if there’s more to life than living the American dream?

What if there is a God?

What if I could beat this addiction?

What if I was a better father?

What if I was a better husband?

What if I went on a diet?

What if I ran a marathon?

What if I wasn’t in debt?

What if I invited my neighbor over for dinner?

What if I wasn’t so empty inside?

What if I went for what I’ve always felt called to do?

What if I got a new job?

What if I apologized to my friend?

What if Jesus really is who he claimed to be?

What if __________?

So. What “What if?” question do you need to ask?

Don’t wait until tomorrow or 20 years from now.

Ask it today.

Begin to wonder.

Move into wander.

Then tell me a year from now how thankful you–and those who know you–are that you asked that simple question.

What if?

Whatever It Takes

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen last Wednesday night.

I had prayed a lot and I knew our leaders were praying too.

I had challenged all of our students to bring one friend. “Plus 1” we were calling it.

I tried my best to show from Scripture that following Christ necessitates inviting others to follow Him as well.

I promised that the gospel would be shared and their friends would have a chance to respond.

Our office had sent out reminder emails, Facebook posts, text updates and gathered supplies. (My administrative assistant is amazing!)

We were offering lots of FREE food and exploding watermelons with rubber bands. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!

We also gave incentives for meeting certain attendance goals. Pies in the face. Getting slimed. And the thing no sane adult looks forward to–a Lock-In.

I’m not sure what else we could have done.

I was confident it would be a good night, but there’s always that doubt. There’s always that question of “What if nobody shows up?”

I mean, I’ve certainly been a part of events that didn’t go as planned and I’m sure I’ll be a part of more in the future. Haven’t you? You pray, work hard, get commitments from people who say they’re going to come, and then they don’t show up, a projector breaks and it rains. Total bummer.

And in this case, it’s middle school. We’re depending on parents. So if we have a student who is iffy about coming, a parent can say “get in the car, you’re going. You’ll have a great time!” Or, we could have a student who really wants to come, but a parent gets off work too late to get them there, doesn’t feel like bringing them, or makes the student stay home to get homework done (I’m not against doing homework, by the way). There are lots of factors.

All to say, in faith, I was believing it would be a great night!

So what happened?

We had a Wednesday night attendance record and 5 students prayed to receive Christ! Amazing!! And for breaking 1 goal and coming within 1 person of another (We had 139 in attendance and the second goal was for 140. I showed some grace.) I and 3 other leaders got a pie in the face. And gladly, I might add.

It was a FUN night. Lots of laughing. Lots of celebration. And we will be doing another night like this in the near future.

Some might criticize and say, “Oh that’s gimmicky. You should want kids there who want to be there. Kids who have the right heart. And just preach the Word. Stop all the shenanigans.”

Sure.

No doubt.

I hear ya.

But often times it takes doing something you don’t want to do, or even doing something for the wrong reason, to be exposed to a message that changes your heart.

So if playing a crazy game and getting pied in the face brings a student out who wouldn’t have come otherwise, we’ll keep doing it. At least 5 students are glad they came. Their eternity has been altered. 

Also, we do this kind of night once every couple months. It’s not an every week thing.

And don’t forget, Jesus didn’t just walk around preaching. He performed miracles, hung out with people and gave away a lot of FREE food. 

Bottom line: We need to have a more “whatever it takes” approach to life and ministry instead of doing the “same old thing” and expecting different results. 

What could you do differently for your next event to see extraordinary results? What do you need to change in your life personally to see some change? Have you truly exhausted every opportunity and option to do your part, or are you being stubborn or lazy and just praying that God will do something miraculous?

What happened last Wednesday night was an “Only God” moment. God was the one who brought the students, changed hearts and made the night a success. He gets all the glory. But at the same time, there was an incredible team of people that He used to accomplish the night. Those people get all the credit.

So, thank you volunteer leaders! It’s a honor to serve with you each and every week.

Thank you Parents! It’s a privilege to partner with you to reach and grow your students for Christ.

Thank you students! I pray you continue to catch the vision that life isn’t about you, but is about serving others and inviting others to follow Jesus. Keep it up!

Let’s continue to pray for God to do incredible things in our lives and ministries and work hard to see them happen. Let’s do whatever it takes.

It’s Sunday

It’s Sunday.

You’re tired from staying up late to watch college football games.

You’re bummed because Chick-fil-A is closed.

You’re excited for the first full day of the 2015 NFL season.

You’re…well…maybe you aren’t a football or chicken fan. I know I am! And these 3 things for sure describe my feelings today.

But there’s something more. This Sunday, and pretty much every other Sunday of the year, I get together with other people and attend a church service. I don’t say that arrogantly or to try and make you feel bad if you don’t attend, it’s just what I do. For those who know me might say, “Well of course that’s what you do. It’s your job. You’re a pastor.”

And you’d be right.

However, that’s not the primary reason I go each week, and if I wasn’t on staff I’d still go.

Why?

Because I believe in the church.

I believe in its mission.

I believe its message, the gospel, is the only true hope for the world. 

My life was changed through being a part of a local church.

And I want to be a part of helping others have the same story.

So that’s why I go and I serve.

Maybe you’re already planning to go to a local church this morning.

Or maybe you’ve had a terrible experience in the past with a church. You don’t believe. Or you’re skeptical at best. That’s okay.

It’s Sunday. And that means there are churches that have prayed for you this morning, have planned services with you in mind, and will bring a message of hope that you might just need to hear. I know I do.

So even if you hadn’t planned on it, why not give it a try?

It’s Sunday.

I pray you do.