Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get Plugged In....Family Festival

Today's blog post is by Hannah Montgomery....the illustrious leader of the GLCC's Family Festival.

The yearly Family Festival never fails to excite and bless me. To many it’s just an event the church has to bring in some community people and show everyone a good time. To me it’s a chance to put my all into creating a fun and safe place for our church members and our community to come together and have fun. It’s a time to connect people who may have never met before. It’s a chance to offer a good time for free to some families who may not have the money to go to Chuck E. Cheese or House of Bounce. It’s an opportunity to collect food for our food pantry, to offer a warm and inviting smile to a child or parent who just needs a moment of being happy. It’s being real, authentic, community minded, carefree, and just plain crazy!
You can’t downplay how much of an outreach it is. I used to wonder what kind of impact we were actually having with this event. I mean, there is no preaching or curriculum or anything like that. But there are smiles given out at every booth, there’s a puppet show sharing about Jesus, there are prizes given out that make a child feel special, there is an invitation to come in and see our church without the uncomfortable feeling of being out of place. There are so many people that come through our doors on the day of the Family Festival that would have never come here on a Sunday. It’s our chance to show them what we have to offer and then in the long run, what God has to offer. It’s getting our foot in the door. An opportunity to make a little crack so that God can step right in and continue to work in those lives.
The one thing that does put a damper on things for me each year is the lack of our own church community at the Festival. We scrounge up volunteers and the majority of the people enjoying the games and events, I have never seen before. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but I wish more of our own church family would join in on the fun… on the opportunity to connect with others in the community.
I always struggle with the sign up part of this planning process. Not trying to guilt anyone or anything, but we have upwards of 600 people in this church. We advertised via bulletin, a movie clip and a long announcement on Sunday and we had about 10 people sign up… 4 of which are teens. What in the world?! One day of the year… 2 ½ hours of your day, actually… and out of at least 600 we get 10. I honestly just don’t get it. What does it take to interest people? To pull them in to this great opportunity? I have so much passion for this event and I so badly want to be able to transfer that to the rest of the congregation. I want to throw it out there and have God put that desire to be involved in your hearts.
I haven’t been able to control that frustration yet. My flesh gets frustrated every time. I never understand the lack of volunteers. But I constantly try to let go and give the frustration to God. I pray that He will move those in the congregation to sign up. To take action. To give of their time for God and for others.  In the end, I want others to volunteer for that reason. For God and others. Not because they feel guilted or because they want some credit for volunteering. It has to be a God thing. But that doesn’t mean I’ve come to terms with that yet… my controlling flesh wants to guilt you like crazy!! J
I do still want to challenge you. Is God asking you to become involved? To take action? Maybe not even in this event (though I hope he is!!) There are so many places in our church where we need volunteers and it seems like we get the same handful of people every time. How awesome would it be for everyone to be plugged in somewhere. Just one place. Receiving and giving. I mean, that’s what it should be. So what in the world is holding us back…

Saturday, September 15, 2012

RGIII or Tebow? Wear Your Sign

I was trying to make a turn at a stoplight yesterday and there was this man in my line of sight.  I couldn't see around him to save my life.  He was wearing a sandwich board with instructions to "Follow Me to the New Car Wash-------->"  I craned my neck, inched out a bit in the intersection, but no luck.  Finally he moved and I could see, so went on my way.

A bit later I was listening to ESPN radio because that's what I like to do occasionally.  The topic of conversation was RGIII.  We are in the suburbs of DC so who is NOT talking about RGIII?  This conversation gave me pause for thought and maybe you'll think along with me.  The commentary guy said this...."Tim Tebow is a crap quarterback.  There's no two ways about it.  All the hype, all the promises, and we are left with the truth that he simply can't throw.  Besides that, he wears his faith around like a your face with all of this God stuff.  Now, RGIII, he's a good guy.  He likes God too, but he doesn't wear it around like a sign, like Tebow does".

Hmmmm.....I had just seen this man with a huge sign on, walking up and down the street in order to be noticed.  I noticed and maybe other people did, too.  That was the purpose.  I got the impression from the sports guy that RGIII was somehow better because he didn't advertise his faith and that Tim Tebow was somehow a lesser man because he did.

I know neither of these young men....surprises you, doesn't it?  I know what everyone else does by watching a Sunday game or looking them up on Wikipedia ( I did to see what RGIII's faith was before I wrote this.)  My conclusion is this.  What God has given them to do and the way God has given them to do it, they are doing.  If Tim feels like he should be out in public in a very obvious way, then he seems to be doing more of that.  John 3:16 on the eye black during a game is his thing....or at least used to be his thing.  Robert Griffin may be called to be more quiet about his faith, less talk the talk, and more walk the walk.  Whatever they have been asked to do, they might very well be doing that.

Back to my sign guy.  His job was to wear that sandwich board and walk down the street advertising the new car wash.  He did it and I suppose people will get their car washed because of his hard work.  It made me think....What am I willing to do for Christ?  If I was asked to wear a sandwich sign advertising new life in Christ, would I?  If it advertised the message of hope in a risen Savior, would I be bold enough to do so?  Do I walk with God every day, in such a way, that others know my faith and are pointed to Christ through me?  Thoughts to ponder, for sure.

Tomorrow we'll watch two young men on different teams, in different towns doing what they do best and what they love to do.  I trust that when the Lord moves them, they wear their "sign" in whatever way they are asked, not for what glory it might bring them, but for the glory it might bring to God.

Now, go watch some football.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Grass is Growing

Note: This was written last fall during a rainy spell, but never posted and still applicable, in spite of not having an abundance of rain.

The grass is growing!! “Well, of course it is,” you say. “What did you expect with all the rain we’ve been getting?” Honestly, not much. You see, I’ve been pulling weeds for a year with visions of grass dancing in my head. Even when I’ve put down grass seed, not much has happened. But I’ve learned a lot.
§  Years of neglect will turn a yard into a haven for every known weed in the region.
§  The yard can look good from a distance and still be full of weeds…they’re green, too.
§  Some weeds are more troublesome and relentless than others.
§  Some seasons are better for eliminating weeds than others.
§  If weeds aren’t deliberately and swiftly replaced with something else (like grass seed) they will return with a vengeance.
§  The more established a weed is, the harder it is to get rid of.
§  Grass seed needs to be nurtured in order to take root and thrive.
So why am telling you about the mess of a yard that came with the house we bought two years ago? Because the Lord has been using the weeds to speak to me about the difficulties of life…sins, wounds, lies, and labels to use the *Soul Restoration vernacular.
Another way to tell you what I’ve been pondering is this:
§  Years of neglect will turn a heart and mind into a haven for every lie or label known to mankind.
§  We can look good from a distance and still be full of sin and wounds…we know how to smile, too.
§  Some sins and wounds are more troublesome and relentless than others.
§  Some seasons are made for dealing with sin and wounds. Sometimes God lets us avoid these things and sometimes He won’t let loose.
§  If sins, wounds, lies, and labels aren’t deliberately and swiftly replaced with something else (like honesty, grace, forgiveness, and truth to name a few) they will return with a vengeance.
§  The more established a sin, lie, or label is, the more entrenched it is in our hearts and minds.
§  Our relationship with the Lord needs to be nurtured in order to take root and thrive.
Could the Lord be calling you to take a closer look at your life and relationship with Him? If so, you may want to consider coming to the Soul Restoration Open House on Sunday, September 9 at 6:00. It will be a great opportunity to learn more about an opportunity to more freely and fully live the life you’ve been created for and to talk to people who’ve been through one or more seasons of SR. Hope to see you there.
*Click here for more information about the Soul Restoration ministry.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."