Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shoexbox Packing Party 2009

We had a shoebox packing party for Operation Christmas Child with the kids' cousins from both sides of the family.  They all had lots and lots of fun packing a total of 66 shoeboxes!!!

This is one of our best loved family traditions! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Externally Focused Church

I just finished reading The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson. Awesome book!!! Wow, it is very exciting to know that what we are doing at our church is actually being written about in a book. 

There are so many good ideas and pointers in the book that I can write a super long blog post about it but I think I'll stick to the main things that spoke to my heart. Here they are:
"Service is only truly service when it is done without the expectation of a payback."
"All of us who know Christ personally would say that he has radically changed our lives. But often we limit these changes to what Christ does in us without allowing him to work through us. To belong to Christ, to be adopted into his family, is to begin to care about what he cares about --- to move outside of ourselves and toward others in mercy and justice."
"We need to earn the right to be heard with a message that can heal the holes in people's hearts. Serving provides a bridge that can build those relationships."
"It's not what you add to your life, it's what you abandon that will make the difference. As you expand your externally focused ministries, what will you abandon? You can't continue to do everything."
"Once a church moves outside its four walls --- its well --- and begins to experience the big world of ministry, things will never be quite the same. The well will seem small and provincial, safe but boring. The world of externally focused ministry will seem dangerous but exciting. Each church will have to decide to opt for safety or danger, boredom or adventure."
"If we are going to get well, if our churches are going to get better, then some change is likely. Our lives are likely to be disturbed if we allow the One who can heal to lead."
"The best years for the church are still ahead, and the best ideas have yet to be invented. The challenges and opportunities are too massive to rely on old, tired methodologies."
"To create a different future is going to take leaders with the vision to see, the passion to feel, and the courage to do. These leaders must keep pressing forward despite inevitable squalls, adjusting the rudder and the sail as they go."
"Sometimes it may seem that you are not making progress, but you are. You are learning; you are growing. You are becoming more useful for the kingdom. After all, you are simply the helmsman, not the Captain, of this ship. You may not have a map, but you do have a compass. This is about the journey and adventure more than the destination. This is really about the kingdom, not programs. It's about relationships, not numbers. It's about changed lives, not endless activity."
"God meets us when we step out in faith. He reveals solutions as we go; we mustn't wait to act until we have all the answers."
May we, as a church, persevere in what God has called us to do in this time and place! Just like Moses as he is described in Hebrews 11:27 (NIV): "By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw HIM who is invisible."