Step into the New

Today is a day we celebrate newness. There's something about the crispness of a new year that get's us excited about the possibility in front of us. We've not screwed up our diet... yet. We've kept all our promises. Nothing's happened, but anything's possible. It's new... or is it?

The power of the new is in the different that we do.
[Go ahead and say that, it rhymes... kinda great.]

This year won't be new if you do nothing new. If you still hold the same grudges, if you refuse to surround yourself with the people you know you need, if you continue to allow what's held you back to hold you down... this year won't be new, it'll be the same, just with a larger number.

The sad reality is most of us live our lives never experiencing the new we should. The calendar changes, but we don't. Some of us have been living the same year the last five years of our life. Enough is enough.

I believe this year can be different. I believe this year should be different. 

There's great potential in today. Now, if you start Googling "new years resolutions" you'll find more articles that you can handle about how they are a waste of time, won't work, and that some microscopic percentage of people actually fulfill them.

This year can be different if you choose to make this day different.

Love, today. Forgive, today. Commit, today. Serve, today. Invite, today. Believe, today. I believe that's one of God's great desires for you... to do something new in you so that He can accomplish something new through you. In Revelation 21 He says, "I am making all things new." That would include you and me. Paul told us in his letter to the church at Corinth that "if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old is gone and the new has come." God desires for the new to come, but you gotta do something new.

I believe this can be the year that you experience the new, but you've gotta step into it.

You want to grow spiritually? Take a step and be in church. You want to get out of debt? Take a step and start living with a budget, getting some coaching, or even having a conversation with someone not in debt. You want new friends? Take a step and invite yourself into the conversation. You want ask her out? Ask. Her. Out.

Is it scary? Sure, but aren't you done with last year? Leave it there, and take a step, today, into the new. Besides... that thing you're leaving is so 2016 anyways.

 

THIS!!!

I rarely use multiple pieces of punctuation. It's just not proper, and it usually bothers me. I've typically laughed when people use more than one question mark to emphasize how significant a question is or when more than one exclamation point is used to show how excited they are. However, THIS!!! deserves it... to me.

This past Sunday was fantastic. We wrapped up our #More series and gave away a couple hundred t-shirts for people to start wearing to promote the launch of our second worship experience beginning September 13. It was great!

Energetic? Yes! Excited? For sure! I've heard many great stories from the past Sunday, but my favorite story was one I just had to share...

We're located in the city. If you're not from the area, you may not know that. We've got all kinds of folks that come to our church. People that own companies and people without jobs. Young and old. Different ethnicities, likes and dislikes... we're all here. We're here because that's what our city looks like, and we just believe that amazing things can happen when we come together rather than stay a part.

One of our partners in the city serves the men at the Opportunity Center in Memphis regularly. This is a place for men who are coming out of homelessness by giving them consistency with their food, water and shelter as their life gets back in order. Many of the men there don't have reliable transportation except for the feet God gave them, so they walk or take the bus.

One thing I love about our location is we have a bus stop right in front of our facility. Literally, our sign on Poplar Avenue is next to a bus stop. This Sunday, through the invitation of one of the people serving at the Opportunity Center, a gentleman came to BELIEVING. He rode the bus. He got here early because that's when the bus got him here. He stayed for the whole experience and loved it. Afterwards, he went and got a yellow t-shirt that we were giving out, put it on, and went to the bus stop to wait for his ride back to the Opportunity Center.

Someone who was leaving BELIEVING in a car [and a yellow t-shirt] saw this gentleman waiting on the bus at the bus stop. So they stopped, asked him where he was going, and gave him a ride home.

Did they go to lunch? I dunno. Did they become best friends? Not sure. Is there anything wrong with taking the bus? Not at all. What struck me was that in a city that is more divided by its classism than its racism someone took the time and the energy to be a neighbor to... well... their neighbor. Was it on the guy who gave him a ride's way? I have no idea. What I do know is that Jesus encouraged us to "love our neighbor as we would love ourselves" and, to me, this looks a lot like that. 

So, whomever you are who gave the ride... thank you for tangibly demonstrating the love of Jesus. Whomever you were that received the ride... thank you for being at BELIEVING Sunday and I hope you're here this Sunday. Thank you both for giving us a glimpse of what can happen when we come together.

BELIEVING. It's a place for everyone. A place for anyone. A place you should COME AND SEE.

Just Come and See...

This fall we have an incredible opportunity in front of us. The opportunity to love people in our city and invite them to experience a new, life-giving church in the heart of the city. Our invitation is open and consistent... just COME AND SEE.

We put our sign in our yard and we don't live on the busiest street ever, but already my wife has gotten to have a conversation with one of our neighbors about the church. He was like, "Come and see? What am I supposed to come and see?" When the door opens you walk through. We believe that hundreds of conversations and impressions just like that will happen throughout the city as we invite people to COME AND SEE. 

But are we gonna see? COME AND SEE a church where kids are excited to learn about Jesus on their level. COME AND SEE a church where all people are welcome no matter what is going on in their life. COME AND SEE a church full of passion, creativity and love for God and the city of Memphis. COME AND SEE a new church that's investing itself in serving the people of our city through partnering with organizations already making a difference.

It's been said that seeing is believing, so yeah, COME AND SEE... BELIEVING.

As we prepare for an incredible fall where we believe God will do more than we can even imagine  it's so critical that we all prepare in every way. 

We're preparing spiritually by praying for our friends who need Jesus and doing whatever is needed to compel them to come. We're preparing by getting the word out stronger than ever. From yard signs to car magnets, from t-shirts to social media tools, from love events to mailers and much more... simply to help the people of our city COME AND SEE.

So, I want to encourage and invite you into the journey.

This Sunday we're gonna have an incredible worship experience. Literally, a can't miss day as we help everyone begin to participate at BELIEVING. We've got more materials to help get the word out. It's gonna be great.

So, let's get excited. Let's get ready. Let's invite like never before and help people COME AND SEE. Then, we believe God will do what only He can do inside of every one of our hearts... MORE. More than we ever thought or imagined. It's the theme of this series, but my prayer is that it will be true for all of our lives.

"God can do anything.
You know-- far more than we could ever think up or guess or imagine in our wildest dreams.
He does this, not by pushing us around, but through His power that is at work within us."

Ephesians 3:20
#more

MORE

In Ephesians 3:20, Paul makes a challenging statement. It seems encouraging on first glance, and it most certainly is, but it's a statement that pushes us as well. Paul wrote, "Now to Him is able to do immeasurably more than than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." Wow. What a verse... What a promise!

However, if we're truthful, most of us don't live and act with big faith like that. We don't live like we believe God can do more than we imagine or ask. We just hope he'll bless the food before us and pray the Lord our soul to keep. Why do we do that when we serve a God who can do more! 

Starting this Sunday at BELIEVING we're going to begin a NEW SERIES with this verse as our theme. It's a series of vision for our church and for your life, and I'm so excited for it. I encourage you to join us, invite your friends, and do whatever you can to be a part of this! In the few short months we've existed as a church God has done so much. Some of that, I'm gonna share over the course of this series, but what I believe and know is that He can do MORE!

See you Sunday! Get ready. Get excited. MORE is coming!

You Wanna Pray?

We sit down to eat, and once the food gets there people start staring at each other. Some people just wanna eat, some people wanna "say grace", and most are just wondering which camp the most people are in so we can get through this and get to eating... Right? So, someone, inevitably, speaks up and directs a comment to the person they deem to be most spiritual... "You wanna pray?" 

From there, it's pretty straight forward. They pray. Everyone eats. No one thinks any more about the question... There was a question?

Yes, "You wanna pray?"

That's our question to you. Not simply over a meal to oblige to some tradition, but to begin to gather and pray as a community. For some, this might be the point where you stop reading, for others, details are below...

Since we started BELIEVING a couple months ago, we've gathered with the team of volunteers each Sunday morning at 9:30A. We sing together, we communicate vision or teach leadership, then we get announcements and go. Effective, yes, but for a few weeks we're doing something different.

I feel so impressed that we, as a church, in this all important season, ought to pray. Now, you may be wondering, then, if we even pray right now... and we most definitely do. Individually. In groups. As teams. We pray. However, we want to begin praying together corporately, and we're utilizing this time we have on Sunday mornings to do that.

Starting Sunday, June 14, we're going to begin time of praying together at 9:30A.

We'll begin with a song, have a corporate time of directed prayer, and we'll close with a bit of info for the day. We'll be done at 10A and then be ready to greet our guests, connect with our friends, and have an incredible time together at BELIEVING.

I want to invite you to consider joining us. Doesn't matter if you don't volunteer, you can come. Doesn't matter if you're not the praying type, you can come. Doesn't matter if you're new to BELIEVING [cause we all are], you can come.

Join us this Sunday for church, and come early if you'd like to pray. We'd love for you to be a part as we pray BELIEVING.