Directions 10/16/14

Finding Friends…

Lisa Degliantoni is an educational fund-raising executive in Chicago.   A few months ago while  planning her 39th birthday party, she realized that she had 857 Facebook friends and 509 Twitter followers, but still did not know if she could fill her party’s invitation list. “I did an inventory of the phases of my life where I’ve managed to make the most friends, and it was definitely high school and my first job,” she said.[1]

This happens to us.  It’s easy to make friends in college: “Hey, you’re a freshman?  I’m a freshman too!”  It’s easy to make friends at your first job: “Hey, I’m new.  Are you new?  Can we be friends?”
When we get married it gets harder.  Four people have to find things in common.  Children come along and the dynamic gets even stranger.  We make friends not because we bond with the adults but because the kids bonded.  While our children are romping, playing, and having a good time, we are making polite chit-chat, but not really connecting.  Then what do you do when the kids “break up?”  It’s hard to stay friends if the kids can’t stand each other.

No wonder 25% of Americans say they have no one to talk to about important things.[2]  Despite all our ways to connect, we are lonely people.

This is why God offers you a new family.  To come into this family requires new birth.  You are born again into the new family when you confess your sin and your need to Jesus, accept His offer of grace, and commit yourself to following Him.  This new family, called church, is a place to belong, to feel real connection, and to lean into each other.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do relationship in this new family.  Be sincere in our love.  Be devoted to each other.  See the good in people.  Be positive.  All of these are things you can do; they are behavioral choices.

Unfortunately, churches often decide to make other choices.  They act more like human families than God’s family.  They hate.  They have come and go commitment.  They are better at tearing people down than building people up.  They are negative, known more for what they are against than what they are for.  All of these are behavioral choices as well.  People choose this behaviors because they are afraid of what would happen if they really followed Jesus.

What would happen if people really behaved like Jesus?  Maybe there would be a love revolution.  Maybe people who be drawn to church because there was radical love.  Maybe church would be known for love, not war.

What would happen to you, if you stepped into a circle of God’s people and shared from your heart: “I’m here to find friends.  I need a new family to help me in life.  I need people who will love me like Jesus.”

[1] Alex Williams, “Friends of a Certain Age,” The New York Times, (7-13-12).

[2] “Americans Have Fewer Friends Outside the Family, Study Shows,” Duke Today (6-23-06).

Better Together – Directions 10/9/14

Better Together

Even atheists long for community.

A church-like atheist establishment called “Sunday Assembly” is being established across the Western world.  To date, 58 of these assemblies have formed in the United States. A new chapter was recently launched in Rochester, New York, and congregants say the fellowship meets a unique need in the area.

Derrick Stein, 29, drove almost 80 miles from his home in Camillus, New York,  to experience the unorthodox service with his wife Danika who had been searching for a group like this for a long time. “She grew up pretty religious,” said Stein.  “She misses the community, but not the church.”

God never designed you to do life alone.  Even atheists know this.

Jesus never designed His movement to be done solo.  His first and best gift to us was the church. When we follow Him, we are part of His family, His group, His body.

There are still people who erroneously think you can follow Jesus without being part of His body, the Church.  Jesus never taught this.  This idea comes from our idea that following Jesus is mostly about going to heaven.  It’s not.  Following Jesus starts right here in this time and space.

Jesus wants you to learn to love people like He does.  That means spending time with them, knowing them, doing life with them, and going on the adventure of following Jesus with them.

This is why we are doing 40 Days of Community.  We want every ADBC attender to join a group.  You don’t have to join forever, just for 40 days.  See if God teaches you anything.  See if God grows your capacity for relationships.  See if God helps you connect to someone who might help you.

40 Days of Community is an adventure we’re on together.  I hope you will be here for every Sunday/Monday and you will connect with some believers to share this journey.

Even atheists know the journey is meant to be shared.

Grace

Clay

 

Tuesday Celebrations 10/7/14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

We wrapped up the Family Influence series this past Sunday/Monday.  I hope you will keep the big idea of series before you:  I put you first, You put me first, because Jesus is first.

40 Days of Community begins this Sunday/Monday!  We’re going to live a holy experiment of doing life together with Jesus for the next 40 Days.  I think it will change your life.  Our goal:  every Alice Drive attender to be part of group during this 40 day period.  You need the joy of real community!

Being in worship on Sunday or Monday (or both!) matters.  It matters because we focus on our Lord, our Leader – and worship reminds us to do this every day, every moment.

Smile:

With apologies to all teachers:

Teacher: “Kids, what does the chicken give you?” Student: “Meat!” Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pig give you?” Student: “Bacon!” Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?” Student: “Homework!”

Tuesday Celebrations 9/30/14

Tuesday Celebrations

Good Morning Good People of Alice Drive!

Hope you enjoyed Jock’s message about work/family balance.  Mutual submission works in every area of life.

Blessed to attend Redeemer Church this past Sunday.  The phrase that stuck with me from sermon: “Learn the enjoyment of obedience.”  I forget obedience is enjoyable.

40 Days of Community begins Oct. 12th!  Our goal:  every Alice Drive attender to be part of group during this 40 day period.  You need the joy of real community!

Smile:

A man went into a restaurant which was offering a fixed-menu, three-course meal. When the waiter brought the first course, the man tasted it and said: “What is this?”

The waiter replied: “It’s bean soup.”

The man then said: “I don’t care what it’s been. What is it supposed to be now?”