Just Falling Forward

**if you have 5 min play the video below.  You can do work on other tabs or play it in the background, but do yourself the favor of listening**

I haven’t posted something here in a while, but have some things simmering.

However, this past weekend warrants more than a passing social media post.

Following worship I received more positive feedback than usual about the service, and it was nice.  But, it had little to do with me.

Pastor Mike Slaughter said that the job of his worship team is to get him to the goal line, and to score he just has to fall forward when he is preaching.

Well that happened this weekend in spades.  It starts with our worship design team and goes to our admin and communications folks who send out weekly emails and have input about the bulletin.  Then on Sunday, our mobile ministry team, hospitality, greeters, band, lead worshipers, audio and video engineers, nursery and children’s ministry staff come together to do some heavy lifting.  Also, those people who remind me what I have forgotten or make sure I don’t fumble during worship. They are invaluable even when they don’t carry an official title.

Below is a little video that began ad a mid week text message about a song that “might fit for this week.” And it turned into this:

Thanks for helping me fall in the right direction this week team!

Ordinary Time: Real

This past weekend we took a look at the lectionary readings and connected them to the word “Real” as prescribed in Erik Willits’ book Common Time.

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35

The readings start off with 2 readings centering around David’s taking of a woman named Bathsheba.  After realizing that she was pregnant while her husband Uriah was off to war David tried to scheme and think about how he could make it look like Uriah’s child and when all else failed he had the man killed on the battle field.

Oh did I mention that we also had a baptism this weekend?

So there is that where we have scripture about the fallout after a rape and murder, and then we have to talk about how we might come to the waters of baptism.

My church is all about being real.  Our mission is that we are “Real people living Real lives encountering a Real and life-changing faith in Jesus Christ.”  The hope is also that we are able to be real and honest with one another.  We try to reach out to those who have been hurt or alienated by the church and in doing so we strive to be authentic and open.  You don’t have to wear a mask at FaithPoint, and even if you do, there are people that will love you when you decide to take it off weather that be on Sunday morning, in a life group or serving in another ministry, or even in a pastoral care exchange on Facebook Messenger.

We often get off track however or imagine a different reality than the one we live.  Think about someone trying on VR goggles for the first time.  There are times when reality meets your virtual construction of reality and you will trip over a chair or couch in the throws of battling aliens or pretending that you are base jumping.

Before there was VR and AR (augmented reality) there was our imagination.  You have seen AR in action while people try to catch invisible Pokemon on the streets of your neighborhood. Imaginatoin is still around, but you have to look a little harder to find it at times.  We imagine what our first day of class is going to be like, weather you are a teacher or student.  We make plans for our future, or what we think others will say when we tell them big news.

Then when that virtual reality that we have constructed meets reality there are some things that change and unexpected variables crop up.  But from the lectionary readings this weekend we learned a few things about Reality.  Continue reading…

Participate..join in

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So today I was making good on my goal of reading more and happened to be reading Andrew Roots new book (well one of them) about theology and student ministry.  Here he made a really great point about what the point of youth ministry is.  I would say that this conversation would just about be a 1:1 correlation to ministry in general. 
Here he talks about the desire of well minded ministers and youth workers to want to be everything for their congregation.  That the personal taking on the pastoral roll has a tendency to think that it is up to them to change the person. 
Root then reminds the readers that when we try and rush God’s will and forget that God has a hand in all of this too (in fact God has been moving before we even got involved). Then we should be willing to understand that we are not called to change, convert, or mold the congregation, but rather participate in what God is already doing.  So think about Abraham for a little bit.  He tries to rush things and knocks up Hagar to have Ishmael.  The thinking was Abraham and Sarah were too old and God better speed things up.  Then Isaac comes along and they realize that it is in our brokenness, meekness, or our “it’s not Me-ness” (humility for you church people playing at home) that God acts.  This is to perhaps remind us that God is God and we don’t have to be.  What we do have to be is willing to accept the invitation to be in relationship and partner with God in bringing about the kingdom. 
This weekend I am preaching on sharing our faith.  WE are called to partner with what God has been doing for thousands of years and tell our little piece of the story and how we fit into the bigger story.  When we find ways to tell the story we invite others to see the awesome way God convicts, and transforms us into those people we were made to be.  It isn’t about us and how well we debate, argue or bludgeon others to see it our way, rather it is about how well we invite others into the story that we are enfolded in to. 

A couple of new goals

So I haven’t posted for sometime now because of a number of things that have come up in the Bishop house (say a new baby and new church).  However after some vacation time a couple of weeks ago I promised myself that I was going to try and do 2 things on a more frequent basis (blog and read the books I want to read).  This personal goal was set when I was able to read a couple of books on vacation and I has forgotten how nice it is to read even in the 5 minutes of down time you have while children are content or napping (rather than looking at facebook or twitter for those 5 minutes)
So with this i am hoping to see some more activity on here as well as some really cool new changes on the church’s website and some other things on the digital frontier.  So, with that I will hopefully be back soon with some new stuff like reflections on ministry, life, and the connections that are made in my mind while I continue to see God working in this world. 

One Full Week In

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I have 2 official worship celebrations under my belt and I feel blessed all around.  It has been really wonderful to meet the Faithpoint community and I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There is a wonderful energy and a definite working of the Holy Spirit moving thought out the area.

I have been shocked at how a cafeteria can be turned into some really great worship space through the hard work of community members.  My role has been to watch in awe and move things that don’t really need to be moved (but I wanted to look like I was doing something).  Tonight I got a peek at some of the VBS decorations and I cannot wait to be a part of a week of sharing God’s love with the children and their families.

As I am meeting new faces I am quickly learning that Facebook is a great tool (read crutch) in putting names with faces (read: stalking).

Many times this week I have thought about blessing.  The blessing of the work and ministry of Matt and Tim at Faithpoint to make it a place with real people, real life and real faith.  I have been thanking God for the gifts of time and that so many have poured into me over the years so that I might be the best pastor of this congregation that I know how to be.  Finally, I thank God for the people of Faithpoint who have servant hearts and are putting up with my rumblings.

I am can’t wait to see with this week brings.  (meeting and sharing meals together is a great start)

April fool a little late

April Fools Fuel 2012-1176I love that my small group students would care enough to take the time to totally destroy my office like this.  I am still unwrapping things. They took the time to wrap up my books, individual DVDs, my phone, funeral shoes, bobble head Jesus (which they think is a sin), and much much more, 

They even took pictures and video of the vandalism.  Best prank ever 🙂

Rockstar or social worker

MSW-IG-Social-Work-101-600This week I am preaching on the triumphal entry.  This is the part of the biblical narrative where Jesus rides a donkey, or colt into Jerusalem.  In my sermon prep and research for this week, I have been struck by the the disconnect between the way we celebrate rockstars vs the people who are fighting for social change in the trenches every day.

This week I think part of the sermon is going to allude to the way that we fall all over ourselves for people who make music, art or other forms of creative expressions as if they are on a wonderful crusade.  It is important to note that some artists are working for social change and advocacy.  Yet the fact is we give much more press, celebration and acclaim to these folks than we do the civil servants (social workers, firefighters, police officers, EMTs…).

In this kind of thinking I thought about the influential bands and artists I could name (a good number), contrasted with the number of social workers I could name (none, unless you count family members).

This weekend we are going to be using this discrepancy to illustrate difference between being in love with God and falling in love with God.

Come and see the difference.

 

The Infographic came from USCSocialWork.  Check out the Original article fromcan be found here: http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/national-social-work-month-2013-social-work101/.