Christmas Creed

Chilly —  December 19, 2017 — Leave a comment

ghetto-ChristmasI believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the One whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the One for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the One who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the One who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible.

I believe in the One whose cradle was a mother’s arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God’s love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.

~ Anonymous

                I BELIEVE, chilly

*Feel free to add a line (in the comments)! Thanks!

Cha-Cha-Cha-Change!

Chilly —  December 12, 2017 — Leave a comment

I’m addicted to Transformation!

And, I’m SO excited for a NEW opportunity to grow, learn, love and CHANGE!

The last several years of my life have been a crazy, whirl-wind, type of season. So many things happened. God was SO good! And, WOW, I’m so pumped about the NEW things He’s about to do in and through my life (and all of you)! Change is a good GREAT thing! There’s so much to learn through change!

Two basic principles:

1. Change is Inevitable

2. Everyone Resists Change.

changeWe often cry out for change but rarely do we do anything about it. We’re bored, dissatisfied, depressed or bummed-out… yet we sit & whine – doing nothing – being nothing … that’s sad (and pretty lame). Well, I say, it’s change time! IF not now, then when??

It’s only the view from where you sit that makes you feel defeated. Life is full of many aisles, so why don’t you change your seat? Seriously, get up! Move! Begin seeing from a new perspective!

I think one of the dangers can be focusing on how change will affect us. We fail to pray for others – especially for those about to be changed – because we’re so obsessed with how it makes us feel and what it will do in us.

It’s also really easy to become stingy with our gifts — you know, our time, abilities and finances until we see what happens (and if we approve). But, God wants us to have generous faith! To give courageously! Everything we have is HIS, right?

Nervousness or restlessness is not a permission-slip to be lazy, careless, apathetic or lethargic. People who wait for changes to occur on the outside, before they commit to making changes on the inside, usually never make any changes at all.  Continue Reading…

Are you feelin’ me?

Chilly —  December 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

SaturdaySighIt seems that often, far too often, we “Christians” find ourselves over-our-heads in pity, condemnation, discouragement or doubt because of this little thing called: “feelings.”  We don’t feel like reading our Bibles, sharing our faith, going to church, etc.  Or, we don’t feel like anything is happening in areas where we need answers or miracles (me, right now) … So, we long for those times when we felt God in such a real way we thought we were going to explode!!

Feelings by their very nature are misleading. Surely you’ve felt something one day, only to feel nearly the opposite the next. I believe feelings and emotions are part of being a Christian and in being human in general, but God calls us to much more than that. God calls us to work. We certainly aren’t saved by works – as Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us – but we sure aren’t saved by feelings, either. We’re saved by God, and therefore should take Him seriously when he says, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). That means it’s possible for us to feel as though we have faith to move mountains, yet in reality it could be that we have the dead faith spoken of in James 2:17. God calls us to be and do rather than to simply feelHe calls us to have real faith instead of only emotional highs.

Continue Reading…

Don’t Call it a Come Back!

Chilly —  December 6, 2017 — 2 Comments

I’m not DEAD!

In fact, I’M MORE ALIVE THAN I’VE EVER BEEN!!

Recklessly AbandonedAfter almost 14 years planting churches, building friendships, reaching communities, training ministers, loving teenagers and raising leaders in Michigan (11+ years in Detroit and 2+ years in Lansing); God is leading me and my family to Burlington, Vermont!  I will be launching a community-based student outreach called Revolution Youth in the most unchurched community in America.  Read previous post, Life Update, for details.

When I was young in ministry, I often said “I’m youth ministry for life” and I would quote Psalm 71:18, Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” … I believed this and, back then, “old” seemed like forever away! Then, our church planting, being a lead pastor and presbyter and other grown-up stuff happened. Not to mention changes in my family! LIFE happened! So,   was I wrong? Did God change His mind? Was it immature or irresponsible to stay in youth ministry?  Was I chasing some fictional fountain of youth??

Absolutely not. Even when serving in those roles, my heart, style, approach and passion continued to have a youth edge and emphasis. I believe in the next generation! I love millennials and generation z!  They must be the heart of the church today because they are the hope for the church tomorrow — I believe this!

So, here I am, in over-my-head in crazy, faith-required, youth ministry…

God’s timing is perfect. The seasons & roles leading up to this were right (obeying God always is). I wasn’t wrong about the serving the other roles — they were character building and helped me mature in ways I didn’t even know that I needed. And so, YesI’m still living THE DREAM (which happens to be satan’s nightmare)!! With this in mind, I thought I might share a few lessons – in no particular order – that I’ve learned through all of this…

    • Tell A Vision — don’t be afraid to share the vision God gives you! Share it with your team, staff & supporters. Yeah, I’m sure over the last 14 years some have thought “yeah, right, it’s never gonna happen” — maybe even a few rolled their eyes. But it DID happen! And this teaches us that God’s timing is perfect and that perseverance builds character, trust and loyalty. And, doing your current assignment with all your heart qualifies you for the next assignment. Don’t get ahead of the vision.
    • Revel in ANY Win — sometimes the thought of winning Detroit for Christ seemed insurmountable or raising the capital to fund the BIG vision is so daunting. And, now, reaching 1000’s students seems ridiculous!! So, focus on what you can do TODAY, this week, this month… find joy in the little victories (which often are way bigger than your realize)! When you begin to experience win after win after win, you’ll believe for bigger things and you’ll create the momentum & confidence needed to GO FOR IT! Plus, it sets an atmosphere of joy!
    • Laugh at Yourself  A LOT — oh wow, I’ve said and done some things that are simply ridiculous! They make for a great story and, hopefully, build camaraderie amongst my team but not every idea works, not every sermon rocks and not every outreach wins. But, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, right?! Face it, some things don’t always work or maybe something work only once. Don’t get locked in on methods — ONLY the message is sacred!
    • Disciple — be personally involved in making disciples and stick with it until your disciples can make disciples who make disciples! Then make more!! This will produce life, love and purpose inside of you and will bring about cool changes in your own walk with God! You can’t simply delegate this or allow it to become a program. Our Lord’s last few words before ascending told us to do it — He’s going to ask us about it — so, DO IT and do it well. Because of my heart for discipleship, I’m NOT moving to Vermont alone! No way, I have 3 young adults stepping up & stepping out of their comfort zones to join this amazing adventure! Discipling them and seeing them thrive has been and will continue to be one of my greatest joys! And, more are being raised every day!!
    • Plant the Flag —  In our short-attention culture, it’s hard to find people who stick with anything for very long… I think we must learn to plant the flag. To take our stand and be determined to STAY until the task is complete – no matter who leaves you, no matter how big the other offer is, no matter how frustrated you get, no matter how bad it hurts, no matter what advice you’re given… fight to be faithful and fight to finish! And, by the way, the first and best flag you plant should be ALL white: Surrender! He can take it from there!  In fact, our logo for Revolution Youth is based on a white flag…

I may be adding more to this tomorrow but I wanted to just throw down a few things to get you thinking. Feel free to jump on any of these points in the comments. I’d love to hear where you’re at in all of this… please invite others to the conversation too by using one of the social media buttons below this post or top of the site). And, after reading this, IF you feel a tug on your heart be part of our adventure in Vermont (in prayer, with finances or even, in person); I would LOVE to hear from you!!  Thanks!

I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Press on my friend, Chilly