Selah in the Park [May 08]

We grilled 80 hot dogs and I only dropped one of them on the ground.

On most blogging occasions, that would be good enough. I could stop right there. If anyone has every seen me try to pass the grilled, simmering hot dog from the grill to the bun, you know what I mean.

Suffice it to say, 79 out of 80 is really really good.

There are a few things that concern me. Please do not misunderstand. A lot of good happened this weekend. We fed a lot of people, most of whom were homeless or at least struggling to make ends meet.

My biggest concern is that a lot of people missed out on being Jesus' hands and feet that day.
A lot of people had a great time.
A relaxing time.
A selfish time?

Maybe I am too cynical.
Maybe I am too judgmental.
Maybe I expect too much from people.
Maybe...no...certainly, I expect more from a Christian than I do from anyone else, especially one who "knows" better.

Selah in the Park started off as an opportunity to serve our community. It began as a scheduled event we were to use to intentionally get out of our comfort zones, out of our gray chairs, out of the four-walled, safe confines of our church.

It appears to me that we have become really good at just moving our whole comfort zone.
I think we should all attach a "WIDE LOAD" sign to our backs, like those semis who move whole houses down the interstate.

What began as a chance to display our love for others has turned into a chance to display our love for ourselves.

It is scary to notice that no matter where we are, the same people sit with the same people on the same side of the room/park/van. Have we become that good at being comfortable that we can "make ourselves at home" everywhere?

At one point there was a line of homeless men waiting for the hot dogs to come off the grill.
...And ONE WOMAN serving them drinks and preparing their plates.

While everyone else stayed in their seats, next to the same people, comfortably eating and drinking food that was made for them.

And we wonder why our churches aren't growing.
We wonder why people are turned off by church.
We wonder why Christians are looked down upon.
We wonder...and wonder...and wonder...
...in our same seats, next to the same people, comfortably consuming what was prepared for us.

I wish I could say we are different. I wish I could say that Saturday was an aberration. I wish I could say we were all just tired from a long week. I wish I could say that is a poor reflection of our ministry.

It may be the truest reflection of us, all.

On a typical Wednesday night,
we sit in our same seats, next to the same people, comfortably consuming what was prepared for us.

We sit. We may stand to sing. Because if we didn't while everyone else did, that would be just too uncomfortable.
We sit by the same people. Because if we sat anywhere else, we wouldn't be comfortable.
We consume. Because we need to be filled to be comfortable.

While a line grows...and grows...and grows...
But we just sit, next to the same people, consuming what was prepared for us.


Selah | 05.21.08 | Belts, Sandals and Cloaks

Well, last night was our first night in "The Attic." I have to say, the room is coming along nicely. There is plenty of space and it is very conducive to the type of environment we would like to create.

That being said, we ran into a few glitches last night, which I am learning are really not a big deal, but at the time are pretty frustrating. The computer that is up there to run our videos and worship lyrics is antiquated at best and the system used to send the video to the displays is a little weird. It will just take experience with it to get us familiar with it all.

The number of people who come has never really been too important to me. I mean, it is certainly discouraging when one week we have close to 40 people show up and the next week we have barely 20. I just keep reminding myself that God is still in control and that He has there the people who need to be there. The concern I have is that we are not concerned enough with people outside of our ministry or outside of our church. That is something I will have to work on myself, first.

I was curious to see where everyone was going to sit in the new room. For years we have had the same room and have sat in the same seats. I was curious to see how that translated to a new room. It was fun to watch that unfold. I do get the sense that we are slowly sliding back into our comfort groups though, and that is another concern of mine. I am sure that has much to do with my other concern mentioned earlier.

The music was good. I am continually impressed with what the guys can do with just the three of them and I have been inspired seeing Blake pick up the bass now and just figure it out. I know he misses and loves playing the acoustic so it is hard for him to play bass each week, but I love his heart in it.

This week's talk really got to me as I studied. We did not have the audio recording working, so we could not record for you podcast listeners...sorry about that. It was weird, I was uncomfortable at the beginning. I am not sure why, maybe because I recognized the importance of the words I was about to say or because I was painfully aware of the impact they have had on my life, who knows. Either way, it took me a while to get going.

People often ask me how I think Selah went or how I thought the talk was. To me, it takes some time to discern the impact of a night like that. It can be great and full of momentum and emotion, but if no changes are made in lives as we walk out of that room...was it still what it was supposed to be?

I would love to hear your stories.
I would love to hear how you think Selah has gone.
Last night or previously.
I would love to hear if Selah is connecting you to God and to each other.

May we never forget the importance and significance of what we do on Wednesday nights.
May we never let little glitches get in the way of our greater calling and purpose.
May peace be with you.



in review

It appears as though I do not blog enough. That sounds a bit better than just saying that I am a lazy slacker. (As opposed to a hard-working slacker?)

So, to remedy that situation, I have a plan.

After each event we do (Selah, small group, Selah in the Park, Hands and Feet, etc.) I will do my best to write a blog in review.

That being said...

Wednesday night we began the process of switching rooms for Selah, which is basically a gathering of young adults. It was exciting and frustrating all at the same time.

Why do churches continue to settle for mediocrity?
Why do churches continue to do things without excellence and without quality?

I just do not get it.

I really want the ministry we have been given to be one of excellence, one that reflects the superior quality of the God that we serve. If we cannot do it to the best of our ability, is it even worth doing?

However, I am excited. Excited to have a space that can be used creatively and uniquely. A space that will allow us to do so much more with what we have already been given.

I'm stoked.