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Last night, my beautiful wife Tricia came up the stairs from our office with a perplexed look and an even more vexing comment, “so, Facebook is nothing more than email that everyone can read … right?”

The next hour was me on my perennial soapbox of digital connectivity and all of the possibilities for faith communities, et al … it was brilliant. I even made a chart. I was AMAZING.

So, with her newly acquired knowledge she said, “so, Facebook is nothing more than email that everyone can read … right?”

I found myself asking myself a similar – although altogether conceptually different – question, “when is it okay to not follow (or out and out just block) someone who is following you?”

Ignoring Someone Is Wrong
Last week, someone got into a Facebook conversation with me that I had no real interest in keeping up with. So, I just ignored the message. HOWEVER, if I were to do that in real life, don’t you think that would be the rudest possible thing I could do? How do you politely tell someone, I’m not that interested in what you’re talking about?

Are You “Working” or being “Worked”
To be honest, I have three email addresses to keep up with. A Facebook wall and inbox. A Twitter account. A Blog. IM and Skype. And that doesn’t even take into account my three voicemail boxes (mobile, office and home). God forbid someone send me something via snail mail … to either location.

I wonder how much more “connected” we are today with all of this at our fingertips. Are we really connected or just net-worked?

Forgive me if I don’t follow you on Twitter or add another Facebook application or subscribe to your blog. It’s not that I’m so important and busy or that you’re not important. I hope that doesn’t convey the way I feel about you. Please don’t feel that way.

If you ask me to go to Chipotle and I say “no”, then you should get that feeling. 🙂

cheers,
bc

Last night I was reading in the book of Acts about the early church.

One night, the religious leaders of the day had them surrounded in a house owned by a guy named Jason. Their charge? “These men are turning the world upside down, and now they’re here to do the same.”

Turning the world upside down … now that has a good ring to it.

Instead of cut throat individualism, imagine a community that values good for others at the same level as good for oneself?

Sign me up for that one,
bc

If you haven’t heard by now, I’m following hard after Jesus back to God’s country … or Colorado for those unfamiliar. I’ll be the next church planter at The Rock. They don’t do things the way most churches do. The Senior Pastor, Bruce Fosdick, is actually asking people to leave his church and go with us to start a new community of believers in Littleton. Bruce is one of the most energetic – and humble – men I have ever met. Gotta be honest, he is refreshing.

The last hive (that’s what they call their church plants – churches shouldn’t split but multiply people!!!) is rocking and rolling and recently moved into their own space earlier this year. I’m stoked to be able to walk in Pat’s footsteps. They have left the soil very, very fertile for us to continue the work.

We hope to launch the new church four weeks before Easter next year … so that makes it March 15, 2009. If you’re in the Denver area – come check us out!

I can’t tell you how awesome the team for the new church is shaping up to be:

Ron Bansil will be stepping up as my associate pastor. Those of you from the old “crossing” days remember Ron as our community pastor. Now he has an MBA and is even smarter. Ron will be watching over small groups, integration, and anything related to being pastoral. He has more “pastor” in his little finger than I will EVER BE! Anyone that knows the two of us knows that he’s the real brain behind it all.

Josh Chapman – my current partner in crime … I mean ministry … is going to be taking care of all things student. My Burke family was all surprised this past month when Josh shared his decision to drop everything and to obey the call of God … which includes moving ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY! Ask him about the way God used Gideon in his life … it’s powerful. Oh ya, Josh’s wife Jenna is coming, too (go figure) … she may be the most passionate person I HAVE EVER MET!

There’s already a few other families that have expressed an interest in jumping on board. Gotta be honest – we’d love to have each and every one of you on board, too!

Think about it: Helping People Find Their Way Back To God. Experiential Worship. Transparent Community. Hard Questions. Authentic Faith. People Doing Life Together. Cutting to the chase. Mentoring the young. Penetrating the Darkness. Reaching the Lost. Honoring our God.

We’d like to fill every high school in Jefferson and Douglas Counties with one of our multi-site campuses eventually – creating environments and building relationships that promote devotion to our Jesus. It actually is that simple.

I can’t wait. I hope you can’t either.

cheers,
bc

Ed is a think tank kind of guy at Lifeway.

Ed Stetzer

Mark Dever stood out like Joel Osteen at a John MacArthur conference.

Let’s talk about going through doubt to faith.

We are often trying to fool people that our lives are perfect.

I am convinced you cannot get to faith without going through doubt. If there is no doubt, there is no need for faith.

Doubting Thomas: historical evidence that Thomas made it all the way to India … he went further than any other disciple.

How do you get labeled this way?

For most of us, ministry is not going to look like we see at a conference.

Ministry is going to be hard and hurtful, people are going to hurt you and you are going to hurt people … these conferences are like ministry pornography.

The reality is that most of us are going to struggle and most of us are going to hurt.

John 14

Trust in God. Trust also in Me, Jesus says.

Thomas’ question is natural “Jesus, we don’t know where you are going …” even when everyone else seems to “get it”

V16: and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor … Jesus lays out the Trinitarian view in scripture

All these verses come when Thomas and Philip doubt and ask questions …

We try and keep people quiet – why can’t people ask why in the midst of the hurt?

Don’t be afraid to say, “God, I don’t get it!”

Sometimes we mislead our own people because we’re unwilling to share our doubts and questions.

The Christian life is not “marked” by happiness. People that are “happy all the time” are mentally ill.

We typically keep asking “why”. Our theology typically tells us that God is a gumball machine in the sky.

God is not afraid of your questions. The world is increasingly tired of a church that wraps everything up and makes everything look great (5 ways to have a happy marriage …)

John 20

God promises us His presence, he doesn’t promise us answers.

The gospel is not a gospel of personal happiness. He does not promise us your “best life”.

Saying to a lost person “I don’t know” is not a sign of immaturity, it is a sign of maturity.

Jewish, Roman and Greek law all agree that women could not be trusted in a court of law … but Jesus first appeared to a woman.

Jesus doesn’t always speak happiness but he always speaks peace.

Jesus sends us on a mission. Every time he sends us on a mission he promises us peace or the Spirit.

We do mission statements, purpose statements, vision statements … you don’t need to look for a mission, Jesus already gave it to us here. The church (the sender and the sent) is being sent as the Father has sent the Son.

Thomas misses the meeting …

V24: now Thomas wasn’t there when the initial mission was given

No one can accomplish something that has not transformed your own life.

V26: Thomas didn’t miss the second worship service.

There’s a time for doubt … that’s not wrong. You have to push through that doubt.

Jesus = Lord = He calls the shots in my life

You are going to be with people that hurt and you are going to be hurting yourself.

I don’t know who told people that going into ministry was going to be easy.

Thomas says, “my Lord and my God.”

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This is the guy I was most excited to hear. And he didn’t let us down … He’s the pastor at New Spring.

Perry Noble

If you can lead a church you can lead any secular organization. In a secular organization you can lead with power … in a church you have to take the towel of humility and lead from there.

I love Jesus I just don’t love the people that love Jesus.

We better know why we’re doing what we’re doing because if we don’t, we’ll quit or we will disqualify ourselves.

Mark 3

1. We have to understand that we’re called.

Are you here because God called you – OR – because of immaturity?
When it comes to ministry, if I weren’t called I would quit most days.
V13: Jesus went up on a mountain and he called those he wanted.
Thank God I didn’t volunteer … if you volunteer for this stuff, you’re stupid.
If you ever take pride that you’re called, read 1 Corinthians 1:26 (not wise, not influential – boast in Jesus)
This wasn’t my idea: the Creator of the universe pulled me up

2. We have to understand what is important

v14
a.    called them to be WITH Jesus (ministry cannot take the place of our personal time with Jesus)
–    if we would spend more time focusing on Jesus we would be more successful
–    we spend way too much time trying to get somebody else’s mail
–    there is way too much imitation and way too little revelation in the church
–    we will get it when we are willing to spend time with him
b.    called them to PREACH
–    there’s going to be plenty of time to love one another in heaven, we need to get out and preach the gospel
–    God is not green; Kermit is
–    We can save the planet and the people on it will go to hell
–    It will be a cold day in hell when I preach on hell and ignore the gospel of Jesus
–    The problem with the church is that we have more than Jesus
–    I’m crazy enough to believe that God has one more huge move in Him
c.    Called to have AUTHORITY (v15)
–    You have authority to drive out decons … demons
–    It is my desire to see you do exactly what God has called you to do
–    It is time for us to stop walking in fear and begin walking in the authority of what God has called us to do

People say, “I wish I could say what you say at your church” … why can’t you? Do you want to be a prostitute for the rest of your life?

Don’t ever apologize for dreaming big. You can do EXACTLY what God called you to do.

Models vary: these men walk under the authority of God.

The only people that get mad when you preach on money are the people that …
The only people that get mad when you preach about adultery are the people that …

Have you ever argued with God on the platform?

You do what I tell you to do and let me handle the results – God.

3. Understand the Temptation

If you are a pastor, there is a bigger target on your back than anybody else in your church – it is an extreme victory for Satan.

V16 – 19: Judas walked closer to Jesus than most of us will ever … but he didn’t finish because he fell into temptation. Men, you have to understand that Satan desires to sift you … to “halve” you.

What are you doing to protect yourself?

The kingdom of God doesn’t need it anymore … no more falling into temptation.

If I confess, it’ll hurt people … your sin is already hurting people.

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John Burke is the pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX.

John Burke

Our motto was “if you can find us, you can come”

After a year of hearing nothing but silence from God I finally became silent.

The question that kept popping in my mind, “am I [God] enough?”

Teaching the 12 steps, I realized that I have an addiction to self. I have to have things go according to my ways. When God didn’t obey my ways, I realized that I was addicted.

Pharisees were good religious people addicted to self.

How many years have I spent selling a product I haven’t spent years drinking from deeply?

The way we love God is by responding to His Spirit.

John 15: Stay Connected, Fruit Happens

Stay connected moment by moment. Think hard and strategize on how to help people do this – everything else will take care of itself.

Galatians 5: walk by the spirit moment by moment

The point of grace is not to get into heaven, but is to connect us moment by moment with God.

Staying connected is so easy a child can do it … but do we do it?

Most Christians DO NOT follow Jesus in this way … maybe that is why we see the results we are seeing.

God alone changes people and only when they’re willing.

He just referred to “Dellionaires” and then said neo-nazis … that’s funny.

Help others stay connected and the community will grow. Help people stay connected and the gates of well don’t have a chance.

60/60 Experiment … didn’t catch what it was … google it.

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Mark Dever is the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Mark Dever

I would like to talk about the church.

I have no new ideas, that’s not what I specialize in. But I do have one fresh idea.

“One thing I can promise you is that the church will win. God will accomplish his victory.”

Success looks like faithfulness. My job is not to determine where the church will go, but to be faithful.

We don’t pay staff to emotionally manipulate us into being involved.

The big idea: something far more important is going on in the local church than we tend to think – God has put himself on display for the world to see. God is about showing himself.

When you read your Bible, God has always been about displaying himself.

The theme of 1 Corinthians is that the church is the display of the very character of God.

In the OT, God chooses a nation to display himself. In the NT, God chooses the church.

Catholics: the church created the Bible
Protestants: the Bible created the church

God’s people have never created His word. God’s word builds God’s church.

Sermons should be monologues: displays the character of God and how we have done nothing to earn our salvation.

God is about making a new creation – that is not good news for us particularly – but that Jesus died and offers salvation and new birth, that’s good news for us!

Culture is not neutral; culture is hostile to the gospel. Paul understood the “normal” way of communicating in Corinth and he would not use it.

Truths are not at war with a personal relationship with God; they are part of what God uses to build us up in the gospel.

The church is a bowl that God holds up to the world to display what He can (and is doing) do.

We do not want to ever undermine the distinction between the church and the world. We want to see our lives now as believers and those without Christ.

It is not just us as individuals, there is a corporate nature. Matthew 18 helps us see necessity of membership. As unrelated as membership seems to this issue, it is crucial to see what God is calling us to do in evangelism.

Our lives should be congregationally centered. We are not called to be a lone ranger portfolio.

There is something about how we “do life together” that confounds the world.

Imagine if our churches stopped talking about quantity and start talking about quality. What if we saw people in our churches investing in others.

SBC churches are known for nominalism and carnality.

Being asked about an altar call at an SBC church is like being asked about mass at a roman catholic church.

How does someone get saved? The same way people did for the 1800 years before altar calls were created.

God set up the church to make it deliberately distinct from the world.

Don’t think of your church as event to be produced but a community to be cultivated.

You need the long lasting love of a parent as a pastor.

God must laugh at us when we discover something that “works”.

My soul is fed and terrified by Hebrews 13:11. We must give an account … to God.

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