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We ended the year with a pancake breakfast and celebration of what God has done. Many of our people gave testimonies of God’s working in their life and shared the blessings of being a part of the Body at CCC.
As a church, we celebrated:
– Over 20 people that came to Christ
– 7 people taking their next step of Baptism
– 18 people that took the step of Church membership
– A 33% attendance increase over the year
– Many, many people stepped up to make a difference by serving others in ministry both in the church and outside the church at things like our Second Saturday opportunities.
– Over half of our weekly attenders are studying God’s Word in LifeGroups
– And, the church adjusted to a crazy new Lead Pastor!

We are blessed! I cannot wait to see how God leads us in 2013 to love Him, and to love others by helping people take next steps towards Him!

We also showed this video last Sunday of our year-in-review as a church.

I Want To Be In On It!

Jason Petermann  —  February 25, 2010 — 1 Comment

As I was reading through some older posts from blogs that I follow (using Evernote… love that app!), I came across a post from Mark Beeson that had this Scripture in it.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 –  “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!”

I love the way that “The Message” puts it here! Look at what he says:

  • “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people…” I am free, yet I voluntarily place myself under the preferences and expectations of others, so that I might reach them.  Most of us (I am speaking to myself here!) spend more time defending our rights than we do trying to reach people.
  • “…nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized…” Most of these types of people are people I was taught all my life to stay away from because they would ruin me.  Funny thing is, these are the very people Jesus sought to have a relationship with.
  • “—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.” Where did we ever get the idea that we were to stay out of the world?  That thought never came out of Jesus’ mouth.  In fact, He prayed “Father, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one.” and “I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me.” (John 17)  That kind of sounds like the opposite of what a lot of churches teach today.
  • “I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ” It is possible, as Paul says here to be in the world, but keep your bearings in Christ.  In fact, it is expected of us to do that!  Is that not what living the Christian life is all about? People outside of the church are not looking for holier than thou, perfect people.  They are looking for real people, with real struggles who just happen to have found all the answers they were looking for in a relationship with Jesus Christ and His church.  That is what makes impact.  That is what gives influence!
  • “I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.” Wow!  I have no where near become “about every type of servant there is…” to reach people.  Lord, give me the humility to serve people better… whatever it takes!
  • “I did all this because of the Message.” We have the most important message that there is to share.  The influence of the message in our life should compel us to take it to others.
  • I didn’t just want to talk about  it; I wanted to be in on it!” People outside of the church are tired of people inside the church talking.  They want to see us doing and being!  As Christ-followers, we need to realize that all of our talk is no match for a life lived for Him.  We need to live a life that says we are in on it!

I want to be in on it!  How about you?

millionmilesHow can I make a difference in the world I live in?  How can I impact the lives of other people? Will the story of my life be worth reading when it is over?  These are questions that Donald Miller tackles in his new book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  As two film makers come to him to make a movie from one of his books (Blue Like Jazz), Donald looks at his life and realizes that there really is nothing exciting about the life he has lived.  The rest of the book is a description of how Donald sets out to change that; to write a better story for his life. Donald’s writing is so different from any other author I have read.  He is authentic, honest and sometimes would be considered irreverent by some mainstream denominations.  One part of the book that really grabbed me was this paragraph;

If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as thought to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I created you.

God has given us the freedom to be creative and to write a great story for our life.  As Donald elaborates throughout the book, that great story inevitably will include conflict, and inciting incident that will stir our souls to do something that will make our stories better as we live within the great story of God.

Our stories may not include as exciting of a journey as Donald’s did.  That is not his point.  His point is that we should do our best to live a life that matters. That we should get off of our butts and live to impact others around us.  That alone will create a better story.

You can win a copy of this book by leaving a comment here on this post.  Winner will be chosen by random drawing on Friday!

You can purchase the book here at Amazon.com.

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I have been  anticipating the release of Donald Miller’s new book, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” for quite some time! I was fortunate to be able to get an advance copy to read and write a review on it for the release of the book on September 29th.  So, the book will release, my review will be posted, and everyone that posts a comment on my review post that day will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of the book.  So, visit here on the 29th, leave a comment telling me why you want this book, and be entered into the give away! Oh, you can visit before the 29th too!  That would be perfectly acceptable.

A couple of months ago I was at Granger Community Church for a couple days of workshops that they were holding.  I took Mark Waltz’s classes both days, and a statement he made in that class has stuck with me and keeps replaying itself in my head (Yes, I hear voices! – JK).  That statement was this, “We are responsible ‘to’ people, we are not responsible ‘for’ people.”

As I have mulled that over in my head for the last couple of months, and used it as a lens in which to do ministry, it has helped to to focus on what I need to do for others, and leave the rest up to God.  As I was reading in Acts this morning, I came across Paul’s goodbye to the church in Ephesus.  As he writes to them, he says in verse 26I tell you today that I am no longer responsible for any of you!” A few verses later (32) he says, “I now place you in God’s care.” He says that after he tells them all of the things he has done to help them take their next steps and after he tells them, “Ok, now it is up to you to go on from here.”  Paul knew he had come to the end of what he could do, and that the rest was up to the work that God wold have to do in their lives.

Many people in churches today have this idea that we must push people along the same route, and that it all takes the same amount of time for everyone to get to the next step.  They treat the journey in Christ like it has a cookie cutter design to it that everyone should follow.  That breeds image rather than true spiritual growth.  It breeds Pharisees rather than disciples.  But that is what happens when we think we are responsible for people rather than to them.

Being responsible for people brings a pressure and responsibility that God never designed into a person’s life.  If someone does not take their next step, then I feel like I have failed.  Being responsible to people means that I am sharing what I have to share, leading people to the table, but they have to make the decision to eat, I cannot force them. That is up to them to decide and for God to work.

Mark illustrated it so well.  Let me just cut and paste here:

  • If we understand that are are responsible to people, then I understand they have a choice… if I feel responsible for people, I think I should choose for them.
  • If we understand that are are responsible to people, then I know they must figure out their next step… if I feel responsible for people, I think I should tell them what there next step is.
  • If we understand that are are responsible to people, then I understand they must bear the consequences of their actions… if I feel responsible for people, I assume the guilt, or worse yet the shame for them.
  • If we understand that are are responsible to people, then I share their journeys, offering encouragement and teaching… if I feel responsible for people, I try to direct their journeys, never allowing them to wrestle or mess up.
  • If we understand that are are responsible to people, then I talk to God a lot on their behalf… if I feel responsible for people, I tend to talk to people a lot on God’s behalf.
  • “If Jesus trusts the Holy Spirit, maybe we should too!”
  • “It is God that does the growing, we just get in the way.”

So, how do you do ministry?  Do you feel responsible for people or to people?  What do you think about the difference?