Monday, February 2, 2009

From Here to There

I know I've mentioned to several of you about the message series we are in the midst of at Church of the Highlands, "From Here to There". I think just about every church starts of the begining of the year with a theme centered around change - changing habits, changing perspective, making changes, etc. What better time of year other than January can you reach out to people when they are bound to be making resolutions for the rest of the year.

What I find intriguing about this series is that rather than focusing on resolutions (which for me are exactly the same as the previous year because I never actually get them accomplished), Pastor Chris is focusing on the journey. I know where I want to go, but I never seem able to focus on how exactly to get there.

Apparently I am not the only one that finds this series inspiring, because we are now maxed out in two of the three Sunday a.m. services, including the overflow auditorium upstairs and therefore are adding a fourth, at 1pm in addition to the Sunday 6pm service. And that's just our main campus! It's so wonderful to see each Sunday the lives that are changed through these messages and it makes me want to reach out and share with others what we are experiencing. Of course, for those of you that are local and are reading this, PLEASE, by all means, come to one of our services! This experience at Church of the Highlands began for Cory and I seven years ago - just a year after the church opened with just 300 members, and now we are 11,000+ strong, with 4 (I think: Grants Mill, Riverchase, Tuscaloosa and Auburn) campuses and I can't count how many services. Plus there are over 700 weekly small groups - lunch groups, moms groups, mens groups, sports groups, work groups, outreach, etc. that you can join at any time to get connected. It's nothing short of God's miracle on earth that so many have found a relationship with Him through this amazing church and the people that have made it there home.

Back to the message series...each of them have spoken to me in one way or another, but today's really hit at a time I needed to hear it. (For some reason, this happens quite often, hmmmm....)

The theme verse to this series is Proverbs 29: 18 "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." and with it is this thought:

Everyone ends up somewhere.
Few people end up somewhere on purpose.
Week 1 focused on this thought, and a visiting pastor, Craig Groeschel, from Oklahoma City, challenged everyone to uncover our core values.

Week 2 moved to spiritual goals and understanding how to improve our relationship with God. Pointing out everyone is at some stage of hot, cold or lukewarm and the danger of these is the lukewarm - those that know God, but are drifting from that focus and rather than having a consistent relationship with Him; my friend, my father, my everyday buddy. And this is one area I have found I firmly agree with and for me I pray regularly that anyone in my life that finds themself in this place be moved by my example to go the next step. Many believe in God, but have no actual tangible relationship with Him - without the relationship, I'm sorry to put it bluntly, you do not know God. There is no deadline you have to meet to change that, but I encourage anyone that is in this place, please, make it a priority to make God an everyday part of your life, talk to Him, ask Him for help, thank Him for what he means to you and does for you, make Him a part of your everyday!

Week 3 I missed due to a sick child, BUT, there's always the internet video to watch - which I plan to do this week now that things are considerably less hectic. The theme - Work Life! I can't wait to see it as this is an area that creates constant stress not just for me, but others I work with that I feel close to and want to help them grow in. And, of course, muddy waters run deep, with Cory and I both working for the same company, work life is very intermingled in our home life.

Week 4 Financial Life was the focus last week, and all I will say on this was Cory and I spent the better part of this week revisiting our budgets and accounts and he has already met with the accountant on our 2008 taxes and I met with our financial advisor on moving some of our funds around and adding to our retirement and college savings plans. So, enough said, we were moved by it!

Today's message wasn't available to link to this blog at the time I posted it, but I encourage everyone that reads this blog entry to listen this week. The message was on Relationships and defining goals in this area.

You can listen and watch as soon as it's posted, sometime surely by tomorrow, and I hope you do, and although for Cory and I, it's the marriage relationship that we constantly need freshening and a reminder to focus on, really all relationships need to nurtured in some way. Here are four preconditions we discussed that you need to do before you can even consider getting to where you want to be in your relationships:

Am I willing to change?
Am I willing to put others first?
Am I willling to let go of the past?
Am I willing to lvoe as Jesus did?

I hope that if you are struggling with a relationship in your life, that you will give this message a listen and see if it moves you to conversation with the person you want to improve your relationship with. Cory and I talked more productively on the way home from church today than we have in a month and it was much needed. We are looking forward to continuing this work in the week ahead!
God Bless!
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