Archives For November 2008

a monday like most mondays, the sun has rose over the east and the wind is cold. The 7/8th grade men are restless and we are listening to crappy music. It is a good day…

-Purchased the new coldplay ep today. This ep contains tracks that were left over from Viva la Vida. Really good stuff
-Watched 24 redemption last night, awesomeness was had by all. I found it funny that it was called redemption, made me feel a little better about missing church that night.
-Some of the most recent converts to the iPhone family is my family. My sister and Dad both got iPhones this last week. Pretty exciting. I feel like a parent of the child that is the star in the school play.
-Speaking of plays, I went to a high school play this weekend. Good stuff, shout out to Eric Peters, he did a great job, funny and sexy as well.
-Looking forward to the time off, we get out of school on Tuesday. Much needed.
-Looking forward to the weekend, have a bachelor party and a breakfast with old friends (and their wives, dangit)
-Reading a new book this week, “The myth of a christian nation” by Greg Boyd, it is awesome and I got it for 4 bones.
-Leaving on Thursday for grandparents house, always an interesting time. Meeting a couple new family members that I have not met before.
-Also forgot that this weekend is my sisters 18th birthday, I am getting her a cigar
-My other sister, Kamrie, has her first varsity basketball game tonight. I am excited, but very nervous for her.
-Encourage everyone to try and find time to serve somewhere, whether it be church, a homeless shelter, your home, or Africa. Find somewhere and be Jesus.
-Busy week ahead of me and I am ready to sleep.

Grace and Peace (very trendy to say this now)

As the week begins I count down the days to Thanksgiving break and the time when I can shave.

-Today begins spiritual emphasis week here at the school I teach at. I forgot all about it, until a teacher reminded me this morning. Thanks for the heads up. I don’t really know what we are emphasizing, but we are emphasizing something.
-I am hungry, and it is only 1030
-My legs are incredible sore from working out on Saturday, I am pathetic.
-I am working on a sermon over Job, working on a couple week series over it. Hopefully will get to preach it in December.
-I love Pandora, the greatest app on the iPhone ever
-It is getting cold, time to bust out the sweaters. YES
-Did I mention that I am hungry
-I have lunch duty today as well, awesomeness

What are you doing this week?

Story I read on a friends blog

From the Associated Press –

Hiam Shatir may look like your average pastor, but he’s not acting like one. In a nation filled with expensive mega-church buildings popping up, Hiam instead chose to sell his mega-church, Crestview Community Church, and attempt to live into what he says is the call to “be the church.” And although many doubt him, Hiam just knew it was the right move to make.

“We just felt it was the right thing to do,” said Hiam, a businessman turned pastor, from his converted basement where he now administrates the church. “We couldn’t put our foot on the problem. People were sitting in the pews and not doing anything. They would come and sit and leave. And we began to ask if this is the Gospel.”

Crestview was known for its amazing stage productions, heartfelt contemporary worship, and relevant sermon topics often based on current events and pop culture. It quickly grew in numbers—adding two satellite “video campuses” and a recently launched online church campus—and was cited as one of the fastest growing churches in the nation. “Having someone validate what we were doing like that was really cool at first. We were really good at creating the ‘Wow’ factor that would have them wanting more,” Hiam says in reflection. “But I would go home exhausted and consistently wonder what difference we were making. I didn’t like that. And I just reached a point where I couldn’t do it anymore.”

In what many would consider a stunning move for a 8,000-member mega-church, Hiam and the board of elders chose to sell their recently developed $12 million dollar campus to a local technology company, which is now planning to convert the sanctuary into a manufacturing facility. “Selling the building was easier than we thought,” one elder stated.

So what made this ultra-successful pastor of one of the city’s largest suburban communities take such a radical step? Hiam shared that it was faith. “One day I walked into the main sanctuary, and it was empty. It was this huge building that we were paying a mortgage on and it was dark. I just had this sense of wonder if this is really what Jesus would do. Would he have created this building? And then when the economy took a downturn, paying the mortgage became our primary concern. But everyone was hurting. We had to let people go from their jobs. All of a sudden paying the bills became our primary motivation.”

Hiam shared that his messages became motivated by how much those people could give to the church rather than the Gospel. And then a moment of clarity hit me. “I was standing there on a Sunday and, right in the middle of my sermon, I just stopped. I looked around and just realized that, if we let go of this burden, everything would change. It was at that time I started to really question our intentions. At the same time, some really good people asked if we were living ‘missionally.’ Were we really releasing people to minister to their neighbor? I didn’t have a good answer to that question.”

Hiam began to doubt his own faith and purpose. “It was a dark time. More than once I told my wife I wanted to quit and go back to business,” Hiam said. “I felt like I was losing my soul. But the board of elders stuck with me, and they began to ask how we could begin to use money to solve real needs when we saw them. We suddenly realized we had the power to release people to be ‘missional.’”

Hiam wrestled with the decision over a six-month period. He knew that letting go of the building meant doing things in a completely different way. “The show would be gone, and, in some ways, that was hard for my ego to let go. It essentially meant trusting God to work in the people and not being everything to everybody. It was like we had new glasses on. We quickly realized that, before, a small majority of people were doing almost everything. They were burned out and completely exhausted. Now everyone has responsibility and purpose. So many people came to me, thanking me,” Hiam said.

When the building was sold, many felt lost in the transition. “We immediately lost about 30% of the people who attended our church,” Hiam shared. That number roughly translates to almost a thousand people. “Everyone called me and told me they just wanted a place to go on Sunday. They didn’t want to go out into the world. People’s primary concern was the loss of our children’s program.”

In talking with several families that had left, one woman expressed what has become a common refrain of ex-Crestview members, “Who will teach our children about Jesus? We just felt we needed a good children’s program and didn’t want to lose that.”

Life for Hiam and the church is now more complex but, he says, more rewarding. To accommodate the lack of facilities, Hiam took the radical step and converted his basement into an administration center. “We slimmed down everything and focused on following Jesus into mission. We asked what it would mean to love God and our neighbor as ourselves. We now meet once a month for a large gathering and meal, and put all of our focus on meeting in homes. It meant really getting serious about discipleship and putting our trust into the hands of our gifted leaders.”

Once a regular speaker at evangelical conferences on topics such as leadership and church growth, Hiam says the invitations to speak have all but dried up. The shift has allowed Hiam to focus almost exclusively on meeting with leaders. He now meets almost daily with those who run discipleship groups in their homes. One leader, Bill Jarvis, liked the transition, “For the first time, I feel like I am understanding what Jesus meant when he said, ‘Go and make disciples.’ And I like it.”

The lack of mortgage has allowed the church community to give almost 80% of their tithe away. “We’re now seeing people take initiative where they wouldn’t before. We’ve empowered them to be Jesus right where they’re at. And they like it. One part of the community is using their money to help single mothers get through college. Another group has renovated an old warehouse and turned it into a community art complex. A third group builds fresh water wells for third world countries almost every month.”

Hiam is now more aware of his impact on the community and can’t imagine going back. “Someone just yesterday came up to me and said, ‘I don’t have to drive to the church to feel like a Christian anymore. I just have to go out my front door.’ That right there told me we made the right decision.”

This is a work of satire. We hope it causes some reflection and sparks some good discussion about how we steward the church in the midst of this economic crisis.

via [Emergent Village]

As I get ready to head to class. I stop to take a couple of minutes to reflect on the past week.

-I spent the weekend in Illinoise at ICTC (Illinios Christian Teen Convention). Had a good time and got to see a lot of people from College that i have not seen in a little while.
-I continue my no shave november in spite of feeling like an idiot, I do it for my students
-I love fires, on a cold Sunday afternoon, there is nothing like sitting in the sofa next to a nice fire after church and watching football with your dad.
-Preached last night at our College service. I preached for 45 minutes, impressive. I didn’t think I could talk for that long. It really did not feel like that, but I guess I had a lot to say. Hopefully the content was good and not just me rambling.
-I miss being at Lincoln. As weird as this is, I miss being in class with guys like JK and Rondel and I especialy miss being in the dorm with the men of F2. Oh the good old days…
-I need to cut my finger nails but I am to lazy, is that pathetic?
-I have started back therapy at a place called breakthrough therapy. It is great, I get a back massage and electrical therapy every day.
-I miss soccer
-I finished Rob Bell’s new book last week, good stuff. I highly recommend it
-Just bought Aaron Neiquist CD, he was the guy that lead worship at ICTC, goods stuff, interesting.
-I ave finally got to wear my full length coat, it is awesome and warm. Got it for 15 bucks at Salvation army, has to be worth about 100 or so.
That is about it, hopefully this week will continue with the wonderful world of teaching and I will not be to cold.

I am wearing an Obama pin today. Why you might ask? or maybe you are asking, “did Kyle vote for Obama?” Well, first God forbid I vote for Obama right, or that I voted pro-choice. Because I did see a sign in someones yard yesterday that said “God votes pro-life and so should you.” So obviously I didn’t vote for Obama because he is pro-choice and God doesn’t do that, and I follow God, so I then voted for McCain.
Putting all this tongue and cheek stuff aside, not matter who I voted for or who you voted for I would encourage you to wear an Obama pin today.
I am wearing one for a couple of reasons:
1) I like to make people mad, and I work at a place that is 98% republican Obama haters
2) I really believe that we should support our leaders, whoever they may be, and pray for them.
3) I am a teacher. Though this might seem a little contradictory of what I should be teaching on, in my mind it is not. I want to teach my students to stop thinking the way that they are told to think. I want them to evaluate, process and then act. I told them this formula yesterday: Hear, believe, act. Whatever they may hear believe and act on is up to them, but they need to pursue truth. I want to encourage them to love their enemies and ones they do not like. Just a thought.

I feel really trendy writing this, check this link as to why I feel like this:

But I feel strong on this. So no matter who you voted for, your next 48 hours of actions will speak highly of you and what you ascribe to as truth.

-I am excited to have some freedom in the afternoons, now that soccer if over
-I am going to get my membership at snap fitness this afternoon, it is about time I start to take care of myself
-Coffee is really good
-Really looking forward to Friday and ICTC, not only for the band that I am going to see, but I am getting to work with a guy named Gabe Rutledge. Cool guy, knows a lot about media stuff, and just a fun guy to be around. And who knows I might get to do some MC stuff on stage.
-Hope Dad gets to preach Sunday, looking forward to whatever happens with that
-Looking forward to the future of rocking the father son tag team edition of paradox
-I am going to help coach baseball in the spring for sure, going to be fun, really like the guys on the team
-nervous about having to wait a really long time tomorrow in line to vote, is it worth it?
-Today starts no shave November with my 7/8th grade boys, it is a secret, dont tell anyone. We are not allowed to have facial hair here at the school
-Ready for it to get cold, I think
-Looking forward to my back consultation tomorrow. My lower back has been killing me
-Already miss soccer and the team

What are your Monday ramblings?