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Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's the big deal about the church?

I shared last Sunday that the second conviction we must have in our lives (It is all about God is the first) is that the church will last forever (in order to build a lasting legacy).

Nothing else on this planet will last forever - expect for the Church.

And....of our course, the church is not a building.......the church is people.

You and I, servants of Christ, those who walk with God.

So what is the big deal about the church (outside of the above comments)?

Well, here's what I know.

The church is the only institution dealing with the ultimate issues - death, judgment, relationships, purpose, priorities, meaning in life.  heaven and hell.

The church provides perspective that gives dignity to this world.  We live in a world where people love things and use people.  The church is a place where people are loved and things are used to advance God's kingdom.

The church provides a moral and ethical compass in the midst of culture that works and plays within the boundaries of relativism.  We stand upon the absolutes of the Word of God.

The church is the only place to find true community, healing, compassion and love.  Why?  Because we really care about people - not because of their status or money but because we are a family - the family of God.

The church provides a format (and motivation) for lasting, unselfish, essential and courageous ministry to others on this planet. 

Those are just some of the reasons why the church is a big deal.

We need the church - and the church needs you!

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

God's love

We sometimes have a difficult time understanding God's love for us.  Mainly because we connect it with and equate it with our own human understanding of God.

We think that love is a feeling. 

An emotion.  We are always searching for that feeling.  We talk about "falling in love" and "falling out of love" which basically means we either feel emotion or we don't feel emotion toward someone.

Or, we can think that love is uncontrollable. 

"I just can't help myself if I fall in love".

But love is most certainly more than a feeling - and it is controllable - in other words, it is a choice.  I can choose to love or not.

Do you know that daily, God chooses to love you? 

Did you know that God is never in a bad mood?

Did you know that God never has a "bad hair day"?

Did you know that God is not moody?

God's love for us is constant, unconditional, sacrificial.

Paul tells us in Romans 5:6-8 (which we will study this evening), "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless (we can't change our basic nature on our own), Christ died for the ungodly (not just the godly) (those who had no desire to change).  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:   While we were still sinners (or those who miss the mark - in other words, those who just don't get it), Christ died for us."

Powerful words.

Two questions:

1.  Who would you die for?
2.  Who would die for you?

Our human love has its limits, but thankfully, the love of God does not!

Karl Barth, the great German theologian, was asked one time the question, "What is Thermos profound thought that you know, Dr. Barth?"

He answered, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

Now then, a challenge - let's make this practical.

Let God's love prompt you to love Jesus more.

Let God's love change your life.

Let God's love in you propel you to demonstrate His sacrificial love for others.

Who is God calling you to love, today?

Who is God bringing to your mind right now?

Don't wait for that person to "clean up their act" or until "forgiveness is asked for."

God didn't wait for you to worship him before He took the first step.

Jesus said, "Love others, as I have loved you."

Just some thoughts for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Had a wonderful time with my family over the weekend.

Christie, Andrew and Georgia and Kinley were with us - as well as Becky and my mom and dad.

Great time hanging out together, eating and playing games.

Took my dad to a White Sox game last night - lots of fun.

Sox lost - Cubs won.

Ate a Bobek's brat at the game - man those things are good.

Three new families visited us this past Sunday morning (in the first service).

I am grateful that people are beginning to find us in Orland Park!

I love to meet new guests who are checking us out!

Thanks to Stephanie Zwartz for leading in worship Sunday - wonderful job!

Truly we felt the presence of the Lord.

I encourage everyone to be faithful this summer to God and to His church.

We need you - and you need the church!

Just love it when my granddaughters come and sit on my lap as we watch a cartoon.

Portillo's has great milkshakes and malts.

It's been a long time since I had a chocolate malt.

Thankful for all the men and women who have given their lives so that we might live in freedom.

God is good - all the time!

Love you all......

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cynicism or joy

Either way - it is a choice.

Cynicism or joy.

Cynics seek the negative side of everything - wherever they go.

They always point to the possibility of danger, impure motives, and hidden agendas in the life of others. 

They can find a problem in every solution.

They sneer at enthusiasm, they ridicule those who are spiritually on fire for God, and they despise, I mean especially despise someone who exhibits charismatic behavior (in the sense of having an out-going personality).

Only here's the deal:  If you would ask them if they were a cynic, they would respond by saying, "no, I am not - I am a realist who sees reality for what it truly is - and I am not deceived by the "escapist emotions" of others (to use a phrase from Henri Nouwen).

Here's what I know:  negativism always breeds more negativism.

Contrast that with a person who consistently chooses to live in joy.

They don't deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it.

Rather than whining, they worship.

Rather than speaking ill of others (or talking about others at all), they speak of the things of God.

As Henri Nouwen writes, "they claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness."

Rather than looking at the dark side of people (continually), they really believe that there are people who heal each other's wounds, forgive each other's offenses, share their possessions and enjoy the spirit of community. 

Here's what I also know:  positivism always breeds more positivism - and I love to hang around positive people.

Now then, here is the challenge.  Every moment of every day, you and I have the chance to choose between cynicism and joy.

Every thought I have can be cynical or joyful.

Every word I speak can be cynical or joyful.

Every action I take can be cynical or joyful.

What are you today?  A cynic?  Or a person full of God's joy?

It is your choice.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

choosing to have joy

Here's what I know today:

Joy is a choice.

I choose to walk in joy.

There is such a temptation to walk by my feelings - to put my faith and hope in how I feel at any given moment - especially in the midst of trials.

However, I can't let my feeling tell me how to live.  Instead, I am to tell (if not command) my feelings to obey God - in the midst of difficult circumstances. 

I make the choice to rejoice and find joy in the junk of my life.

Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.

You and I can't avoid pain - but we can avoid joy.

God has given us such immense freedom that he will allow us to be as miserable as we want to be . 

So many are caught up in the "as soon as".

"As soon as I get well, I will do something for God."

"As soon as my kids are out of the house, I will have some devotional time with God."

"As soon as this problem is solved - I will really worship God."

As soon as, as soon as, as soon as.

Life will never be free from "as soon as'".

Why not worship today - and leave the whining to others?

To give you something practical - as you are driving around, I encourage you to recite the phrase "Praise the Lord" five times in a row - and get a little louder and more exuberant each time you say it (the person in the car next to you might think you are weird - but that's okay).

In fact, try it right now as you are reading this (each time a little bit louder).

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Truly his name is great - and greatly to be praised.

Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Being all that we can be

One of the slogans that the army used to use was that they were there to help people, "be all that they can be."

To reach their potential.

God wants you and I to "be all that we can be".

And like an army sergeant, God will inspect us from time to time.

He will check us out - to see if we are "battle ready" in the warfare that we fight against Satan and his demons. check us out - God will often use problems as a test.

Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us, "The Lord led you all the way in the desert these forty years to test you in order to know what was in your heart."

Testing.  Examination.  Problems. 

Those are not fun words.

Some days I feel like Mark Twain who said, "for me a change of trouble is as good as a vacation!"

God let the children of Israel wander around in the desert for 40 years and He gave them seven different tests and every single test they failed.  So God said, "Okay, one more lap around the desert!"

The Israelites spent 40  years dying in the desert while God was testing them and they failed every test.

Here's what I know:  problems reveal our character.  They reveal what is inside of us.

When you and I get under pressure (because our problems can seem to be overwhelming) it reveals how strong our faith in Christ is.

It reveals our strength of character.

Anybody can serve God and be happy during good times.

So maybe, just maybe, instead of asking, "why is this happening to me," we should be asking, "Lord, what are you trying to teach me."

I want to be ready for battle - how about you?  I want to "pass inspection," how about you?

Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

I really enjoyed meeting new people at our church yesterday!

Met some older guests and some younger ones as well.

May The Lord continue to lead people to us!

I am also thankful for a group of people who understand and respect communion!

Thanks to our worship team - they are doing a great job of leading us in worship!

Grateful to the Lord for 7 new members that we welcomed into our church yesterday.

Sitting in District Council - attending a business meeting.

So glad to have Debbie back from attending our youngest granddaughter's dedication.

Encourage all of us to come to this Sunday!  We will be having a great service!

God is a good God - all the time!

My responsibility is to continue to do God's will - God's responsibility is to move as He sees fit!

I've been thinking a lot about the favor of God.  Why God moves some places and passes by others.

Lord, I would ask for your favor upon us!  We crave your favor!

Love you all

Thursday, May 16, 2013

God is not like me

God is not like me.

Whew.  I said it.

And I am ecstatic that He is not.

Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, "The Lord says, 'My thoughts are not like your thoughts.  Your ways are not like my ways.  Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than  your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts'" 

Here's what I know:  God's schedule is different from mine.

If you know me at all - you know that I typically need and want things now.  Not tomorrow.  Today.

I can be very impatient (although to my credit - I am becoming more patient as I get older).

Waiting is not really a big part of my DNA.

And yet God specializes in making us wait.

We continually find ourselves in the "waiting room" of life. 

However, there is a qualifier here:  God puts us in situations where we wait - but he wants us to wait with the hope that something is about to happen.

Trust is probably a good word to throw in here.

He wants us to wait - but trusting in him.

Please know this:  that while we wait - God is doing something in us.  The process is what He is interested in - far more than the end result.

Secondly, God sees things differently than we do.  Where we see problems and disappointment, God sees opportunities.

When we go to God with a problem, expecting him to solve it, he will tell us to take another look.

And usually what we will see is that the problem (or opportunity) is there to help us become more like Jesus. 

Finally, God loves differently than we do.

God's love is perfect.  Flawless.  He never stops loving us no matter what we do.

This is huge:  God loves me the way I wish I could love others. 

God says, essentially, "there are no deal breakers with me."

God is not like me - and (if I can say it this way) I am thankful that He is not like you.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Having direct and effective access

In our study of Romans, this evening we will look at Romans 5:1,2.

Paul writes, "Therefore (or because of everything he has written in the first four chapters),  since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." 

Because we are connected to God through faith, we now have the privilege of coming into God's presence day and night.  24/7.


Because of what Jesus did for me, I have direct access to him!

Let's suppose I went to Washington D.C. and showed up outside the White House and asked to see the President.

When the guards asked who I am, suppose I say, "Just tell the President that George is here to see him."

You and I both know that my visit with the president is not going to happen.  I'm not a personal friend or a family member.  I don't have an appointment.

But suppose one of the President's daughters needed some lunch money.  She could just walk in and say, "Dad, I need some money for lunch."  And he would give her the money.  No one would say anything.

Paul writes, that you and I have that kind of direct access to the Father.  When we come to Jesus Christ, we are admitted into the very presence of God himself!

Yet, this access is not only direct it is also effective.

This truth is taught by Ephesians 3:12. It emphasizes that through faith in Christ “we have boldness and access with confidence.” Confidence in what? Obviously that he will hear us and answer our prayers according to his wise and perfect will.

We can pray wrongly, of course, and we often do. But when we pray according to the wise will of God, we can be confident that he will both hear us and answer our prayers.

My favorite story in this respect is about Martin Luther and his good friend and assistant Frederick Myconius.
One day Myconius became sick and was expected to die within a short time.
On his bed he wrote a loving farewell note to Luther; but when Luther received it he sat down instantly and wrote this reply:
“I command you in the name of God to live, because I still have need of you in the work of reforming the church. . . . The Lord will never let me hear that you are dead, but will permit you to survive me. For this I am praying. This is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God.”

The words seem shocking to us, because we live in less fervent times. But Luther’s prayer was clearly of God and therefore effective. For, although Myconius had already lost the ability to speak when Luther’s letter came, in a short time he revived, and he lived six more years, surviving Luther by two months.

Can we be bold in prayer, as Luther was?
Know this - you can come to God directly today - and with confidence!
Just a thought for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Storms and rainbows

Rainbows are cool.
Beautiful.  Colorful.
In the Bible, they are symbolic of the moving of God in our lives.
Whenever you read of a rainbow in the Scriptures, I encourage you to pause and realize the tremendous significance they have - not only for the person in the passage - but for you and I today.
Three men in the Bible saw significant rainbows.
Noah saw the rainbow after the storm – just as God’s people see it today (We will look at this on Sunday).
Ezekiel saw the rainbow in the middle of a storm when he had this incredible vision of the wheels and the throne.  He saw living creatures and each one had four faces.  One was like a man, one like a lion, one like an ox, and one like an eagle – the same faces that John saw in Revelation 4:6,7.
Finally, the apostle John saw the rainbow before the storm of judgment broke loose in Revelation 4:3.
In fact, John saw a complete rainbow around the throne of God!
What’s the lesson for us?  In the storms of life, always look for the rainbow of God’s covenant promise. 
You may see the rainbow before the storm like John.
You may see the rainbow in the midst of a storm like Ezekiel.
You may see the rainbow after the storm like Noah.
But you can always see the rainbow of God’s promise if you look by faith.
My thought of the day?  Why not pause and focus not on the storm you are walking through - but on the promise of God's help, peace and security in the midst of that storm. 
God has a rainbow of promise for you today.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

Being the loving husband that I am - I took Debbie to a White Sox game last Friday evening for Mother's Day.  :) :)

(The punch line is that Debbie doesn't care for baseball).

It was 39 degrees.

Yet, we still had a great time.

The White Sox lost.

They are bad.

Did manage to pound down a brat with sauerkraut.  Man, those things are good.

Had a great meeting with our adult bible teachers this past Saturday morning.  What a wonderful group of quality, godly people.  We are working on coming up with a system of discipleship, connecting all of the classes together.

Kind of like spokes on a wheel.  Connected to the hub - the purpose and the process of discipleship.

Many, many thanks to Debbie for speaking yesterday.  Her presentation was truly anointed!

I appreciated her down to earth, common sense, funny sermon.  Many shared how much it meant to them - and ministered to them.

Truly, God knows our name!

We love you Debbie!

Watched a little bit of Sergio Garcia chocking on the 17th hole yesterday at the player's championship.  Some can handle pressure - others can't.

It was almost like watching the movie Tin Cup.

Looking forward to the warmer weather this week.

Met several newer people this past Sunday. 

We are working hard at assimilating those who are visiting us.

Busy, busy, busy - but it is a good busy. 

Love you all!


Thursday, May 09, 2013

God is strong

As most of our congregation know, I go to Charter Fitness six days a week.

I walk the treadmill for 40 minutes.  2 miles.

But there is a part of the gym that I dare not trod.  It is the section where the free weights are.

The guys (and gals) that are there - scare me to death.

Huge muscles.  Arms bigger than my thighs.

The floor to that area is cover with a black rubbery substance.  I joke with the guys lifting the weights that I don't dare to walk on it.

(BTW, the guys and gals working out on the weights are some of the nicest people I've ever met).

These people are strong.

Even the women working out in that area are stronger than me - and could beat me up.

Here's what I know:  while I am weak - my God is strong.

I need to focus in on that.  I need to realize that in the midst of my weakness, my God is strong - and that the more I focus on God's strength and power, the more I find I have the courage to do and to say the things that God wants me to.

Throughout the Bible, God is presented as strong.  Powerful.

Who wants to serve a timid God?  Who wants to serve a God that gets run over?

In our study in the book of Genesis, we saw that God created the heavens and the earth - and if he did that - and he did, that what can't he do?

Psalms 115:3 says it very succinctly:  "Our God is in the heavens.  He does all that he pleases."

God does whatever he wants, and when he wants to.

J. Vernon McGee once said, "This is God's universe, and God does things his way.  You may have a better way, but you don't have a universe."

That is perfect.

In other words, "When you get a universe, you do it your way.  But for now, this is God's universe.  And no one holds back his hand."

God is strong.

And because of his strength - I can be strong.  God tells Joshua, "Be strong and courageous.  be strong and courageous."  Over and over again, God says, "Be strong and courageous."

Strength and courage should be a part of our spiritual DNA.  It should typify us, characterize us, define us.

We should not be afraid.

Don't be afraid this day, my friends.  Your God is strong.  And He lives in you.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Faith, moms and Abraham

Being that Sunday is Mother's Day, it is very appropriate that we will look at Abraham and Sarah this evening in our bible study (Romans 4:18-25).

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest woman in the world to give birth was Ruth Alice Kistler - who gave birth to a daughter at the age of 57.

There comes a time in every woman's life where she can no longer bear children.  It is a normal and natural passage of life that marks a transition form one phase of life to another.

That is what makes the story of Sarah so remarkable.

Sarah is a woman who gives birth at the age of 90 and get this:  her husband is 100 years old.

Dr. Luke writes in Luke 18:27, "What is impossible with me is possible with God."

Here's what I know:  Our God is a God who can make the impossible possible.

When Abraham heard the news he laughed (at the promise of God for a child - at his age).  Sarah also laughed.  (What's ironic is that when the baby was born they named him Isaac - which means "laughter").

They wrestled with the promise of God - but at the end of the day - both of them had faith that God would do what he promised.

I want to leave you with this.  Something practical.

Where did Abraham and Sarah find the faith to believe?  Romans 4:20 tells us that Abraham was "strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God."

Abraham found the will and emotion to believe by resting in God.  By trusting in God.  And that in turn gave God glory.  Abraham and Sarah glorified God by letting God be God!

Why not let God be God today!

In what area do you need to trust God?

Is there something that you've given up on, that just seems dead?

I would suggest that you trust that God can bring life out of that which is lifeless.  A dead marriage.  A ruptured relationship.  A financial situation.  A health crisis.

Give it to God right now and let Him "give life to the dead and call things that are not as though they were." (Romans 4:17)

Why not trust more - and let God move?

Just a thought for a Wednesday

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Condemnation and conviction

When we sin, God doesn't condemn us - but we does convict us.

Well, God will send the conviction of his Holy Spirit – the conviction of the Holy Spirit which will woo them back into the faith. 
He always responds with grace.
Paul writes in Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus Christ.”
Do you belong to Jesus today?
When you sin, when you have a bad day like Noah, the Holy Spirit will convict you and never, ever condemn you.
There is NO condemnation.  No.
That word "No" is the strongest possible negative in the Greek language.
It means, “no, no..Never…never...not in a million years.
There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
There is a difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the enemy.
Paul writes in Second Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow (conviction) leads to repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow (condemnation) brings death.”
The conviction of the Holy Spirit makes us painfully aware of our sinfulness and our failures, but even as it does we are motivated to confess our sins and try again.
We hear ourselves saying, “I know I’ve failed, but I will do better next time.”
Condemnation, on the other hand, makes us feel like giving up.  It tells us that we will never be any different that God is sick of our repeated failure.
That God is ready to wash His hands of us.  It drives us into hiding away from God.
The conviction of the Holy Spirit is always very specific when He convicts us of sin.  He puts his finger on it – identifies it – so we can deal with it and bring it to God and get rid of it.
Condemnation is vague, general, it leaves us feeling guilty, unworthy but not really sure why.
It does not identify a particular sin, lest we deal with it and be delivered.
In fact, the only time condemnation is specific is when it condemns us of sins we’ve already confessed.
God forgives our sins, He is done with them; he never brings them up to us again, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalms 103:12
As you come to God in repentance - God will never, ever reject you.
Just a thought for a Tuesday.




Monday, May 06, 2013

Thoughts from the weekend

Thoughts from the weekend:

What a privilege it was to introduce our new youth pastor, Charlie Bassett, to our church!

Charlie has been an "immediate hit" with all of our kids and church family.

Please be praying with them as they make the transition from Florida to Chicago!

It will be a busy summer for them - moving into the area, youth camps, planning for the fall, etc.

Thank you to everyone who came and helped us move some mulch into the children's playground area this past Saturday!

We really appreciated your time! 

I know that Saturday's are busy for everyone - I am grateful for folks who serve in this capacity.

I trust that you are finding our series in Genesis to be spiritually profitable.  I know that I take a great deal of personal satisfaction in preparing the messages.

The whole "verse by verse" thing in teaching, gets me into the Word as much as anybody else!

I would ask that you consider inviting your friends to one of our services this coming Sunday morning. 

It is going to be a wonderful Mother's Day, as Debbie will be speaking and we will be recognizing and praying for moms.

The White Sox and Cubs continue their downward pilgrimage in the baseball standings.

The positive side of it is that we don't have to worry about spending money on playoff tickets.

Derek Rose needs to play in the series against the Miami Heat.  No doubt.

Thought of the day:  Just because something is a sin - and I, as a follower of Christ tell someone what the Bible says about the sin - doesn't mean that I hate them.  In fact, it is just the opposite - it means that I love them enough to tell them the truth.  In love.

Love you all....George

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Don't quit

Here's something I know:

When you are walking through a trial - don't quit.

Don't get discouraged or frustrated and quit before the test is complete.

Don't bail and don't run away.

God has allowed that trial for a purpose - and that purpose is ultimately to grow closer to Him.

So even though the test is hard, don't lay down your pencil, walk up to the teacher, hand her your paper and leave the room.

Pastor James writes in James 1:4, "Let endurance have its perfect result".

In other words, if you and I don't complete the test (trial) that is before us, we will stunt the growth process God has built into our trial.

I read today of a little boy who saw a cocoon wiggling on the side of a tree.  He knew it was a butterfly struggling to emerge, and that when it came out it would be beautiful.

The boy watched the struggle for a while because he wanted to see the butterfly come out and fly away, but he grew impatient as time passed.

So the little boy decided to help the butterfly, which he figured had to be exhausted by now.  He broke the cocoon open, but the butterfly inside was unable to fly because its wings were not strong enough.

What the boy didn't know was that the battle to shed the cocoon is necessary to develop and strengthen the butterfly's wings.

The butterfly he "helped" was grounded because the boy let it out too soon.

So - have patience!  Don't quit!

You may not like your trial (test), and that is very, very natural.  There is nothing wrong with wrestling with a trial emotionally.  Emotions will come.  We all get discouraged from time to time.

But don't cut the trial short by running away.

Now then, a key point to remember:  God has His hand on both the clock and the thermostat of your trial.  The "how long" and the "how intense" the trial will be.

And....I am grateful for that.

Just a thought for a Thursday.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Taking ownership

I had a great conversation last night (for about an hour and a half) with David Dewes and Russ Bettenhausen concerning, "assimilating new people into our church".

It's a great topic - one that I think about constantly.

We are seeing a new influx of people coming to our church and checking us out.  I am really excited and jazzed about that.

Here's the question:

How can we get them to "stick"?

How can we lead people to it becoming "your church" to "my church"?

As "our" church becomes "their" church, they will assimilate into our church family.

Nelson Searcy writes about the "Three R's of retention".

Return, relationships and responsibility.

When new guests walk through the door for the first time, our initial goal is to earn return visits from them.

When they do return, our goal evolves to relationship.  We desire to place people in a setting that encourages and builds relationships.  Small groups are perfect for this.

After creating friendships, we our focus comes from relationships to responsibility.

You see, I will become responsible over something that I "own", something that I care about.

If you have ever rented a car, you know the feeling of a lack of ownership.  I mean - you treat the car right, but if it becomes dirty, "oh well", it is not my car.  I am not responsible for it.

However, if you own the car, you want to take care of it the best you can.  You change the oil.  You get the car washed.

Responsibility is always the catalyst that moves people from regular attendance to membership. 

It does not matter how well I preach or how passionate our worship team is - if our newcomers do not find relationship and take on responsibility within our church, they will not stay long.

How does that play out practically?

Talk to newer people in the hallways and foyer of our church.  Break out of the mold of always talking to the same people every Sunday.

Invite newer people out for dinner.  Take them out after a Sunday service.  (Debbie and I do this on a consistent basis).

Encourage them to return.  Share positive events and happenings of our church.

Invite someone to your small group.  Let them meet others who might have similar likes and dislikes.

Follow up with a phone call or an email.

I guess what I am saying is that we each, everyone of us, must take personal responsibility of leading people from return to relationship to responsibility.

Just a thought for a Wednesday.