March 31st, 2012
March 13th, 2012
When God does a work, He wants us marking those moments…for us to celebrate Him and for others to become aware of Him. This is what Passover was about in the Old Testament. This is what communion is about in the New Testament. What just recently happened at NorthRidge is so clearly a work of God, I think it’s appropriate to Mark the Moment. As you watch this video…celebrate God…know that He is real and working today.
March 6th, 2012
This past weekend at NorthRidge Church, I had the privilege to stand up and cast vision toward a new partnership we’re forging with World Vision to bring physical and spiritual transformation to Zambia. In order to accomplish it, I made it clear that we were seeking to fulfill a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) that many felt was unreachable…actually crazy. It was a goal that had never been accomplished before by a single church in a weekend. The goal was to see 2000 children sponsored immediately…the most that we could secure from World Vision for our two target areas.
As I shared that goal, I made it clear that I believed it could happen for two reasons. The first was the simple fact that I believe in what God can do. As Ephesians 3:20 says, He can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. Since I could imagine us achieving this goal, I knew that God could do immeasurably more. The second was that I believe in the NorthRidge Church family. Time and time again, when God’s Truth and a great need has been communicated to them, they have been all in. I had no reason to doubt that this weekend would be any different.
I was right. In fact, as it turns out, I set man sized goals…but we experienced God sized results. With our last and largest service yet to happen at Plymouth, as well as our on-line service…we had already run out of children to sponsor. In keeping with the heart of NorthRidge, the people in our last service were willing to step out in faith and commit to sponsoring children that are at this time nameless and faceless. What an amazing response. I’m so proud of and thankful for our church family. But, even more, I’m thrilled about all God is going to do to change the lives, circumstances, and eternal hope of so many precious people in Zambia.
So…(drum roll please)…our one weekend total of sponsored children stands at 2,780. And, this is just the beginning. Though I was proud of our willingness to step out and declare a goal beyond any achieved before, God has, once again, humbled me. 1 John 3:1 expresses my heart very well…”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Yea God! Yea NorthRidge! Yea World Vision! And…Yea for the children and people of Zambia.
If you missed my talk, you can watch it here: http://ow.ly/9upxC
January 27th, 2012
I love communion…which is a long way from how I used to feel about the celebration of the bread and the cup. To be honest, in the early days of my faith, there was no way that I would have put the words “celebration” and “communion” in the same sentence. The way I experienced it was BORING!
But, it wasn’t meant to be and it doesn’t have to be. According to Jesus Himself, it’s intended to inspire…to inspire us to remember.
As a pastor, I’ve taken this seriously. We don’t approach communion as a throw away…as an unconnected tack on to our already full weekend services. On the contrary, when we celebrate communion, it is the point, the entire focus of the service. And, we don’t just mindlessly repeat the same service over and over and over again. We’re trying to wake people up to the vital reality and life defining importance of Christ in their lives. We’re not trying to dull them spiritually through mind numbing redundancy. We’re trying to sharpen them spiritually by taking them deeper in their understanding and experience of the power of the cross…of Christ’s sacrifice for them.
We do this by focusing the entire communion celebration on different aspects of Christ and what He did for us…can do in us…if we genuinely depend on Him. We do this by seeking to build on what Jesus did in giving us the bread and the cup…we attempt to use tangible things to bring to life the intangible. We’ve given people post-its to write their burdens on and then encouraged them to let go of them as they stuck them to the wall. (What a beautiful site…church walls full of burdens representing people free of them.) We’ve given nails to pound into the cross; party favors to remember their victory in Christ; cheap little erasable slates for them to write their sin on and see it disappear; etc. As the above video shows, this week we used suitcases to picture the baggage we carry in life…the baggage that, in Jesus, we no longer have to carry. (You can watch the full talk here: http://ow.ly/8IjZx)
We want to invest the creativity God has given us to inspire people to remember…Jesus died to set them free!
So…if you’re a part of NorthRidge, I encourage you to make our New Life Communion services a “not to miss” part of your life. If you’re a pastor, I encourage you to take a new look at and new approach to how you lead out communion in your spiritual family. If you’re a believer, remember…there’s nothing in all the world more worthy of celebrating than Jesus…and what He’s done for…and wants to do in you. Celebrate Him today by living for Him.
I’d love it if you shared some of your thoughts on or experiences with communion.
April 18th, 2011
I’m sitting in my office following a powerful weekend focused on the cross feeling three intense emotions…gratitude, anticipation, and burden.
Gratitude for all God has done and is doing for us, in us, and through us as individual believers and as the NorthRidge family. Anticipation for all God will do this coming week through our 11 Easter services and in His Church everywhere around the world. Burden for all those in the areas around our three NorthRidge campuses who haven’t yet experienced the hope of the resurrection. I want us to do everything in our power to help reach them. So, I’m doing something a little unusual on my blog site right now. I’m posting a video blog directly to the NorthRidge family…to encourage them to invest themselves in making a difference this coming weekend…by inviting as many people to join them as possible.
If you’re not part of the NorthRidge family, I hope this video motivates you to be reaching out to and inviting people to celebrate Easter with you and your church family. If you are part of the NorthRidge family, this video is to and for you. Hope to see you this weekend…Easter really is ALMOST here.
April 1st, 2011
It’s sad, but here’s the reality. Charlie Sheen isn’t alone in having, (how can I say this sensitively), a bizarre view of what it means to be “winning.” Our culture tends to get it wrong as well.
I think it’s absolutely essential that those of us who know Christ, the only valid path to “winning”, share Him with people who want it so badly but have lost their way.
NorthRidge is a church that is committed to sharing the truth and hope of Christ with all people, and Easter is the ultimate celebration of that truth and hope. So, we came up with a formula that can help people like Charlie find what they’re looking for…
Yes, it sounds crazy. And, some people will probably be offended…(something that happened to Jesus a lot.) But, we are simply trying to do what Jesus called us to do…help people find their way to what He created them for…”winning.” (See John 10:10)
Of course, for most, church is the last place they’d look. So, we want to wake people up to the fact that, though all of us have experienced boredom with church at one time or another, it doesn’t have to be that way. We want people to wake up to a new and different opportunity this Easter. Church can and should be authentic – a place where people can genuinely get to know God and His truth, move past their failures and experience the hope and promises of God.
March 2nd, 2011
Compassion and generosity in action… thanks for caring and reflecting the love of Christ.
February 27th, 2011
After one more long flight from Amsterdam to Mumbai, Roxann, our NorthRidge team, and I will be with some of these wonderful people in India. We have a pretty aggressive and diverse agenda for our time in India. I’ll be privileged to partner with another leader in teaching approximately 850 spiritual leaders and pastors who represent 3500 churches and the millions of lives that they have the potential to reach. They are moving through change as they seek to plant many more churches and reach the yet unreached multitudes of their country. I’m so thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to share some of my passion and experience for leading God’s people through change. Our entire team will be helping to make our time with these leaders special and impacting…by leading out in serving, praying, and even worship.
We will also be visiting several sites where we are seeking God’s leadership for a further way to expand our impact in India…such as a home for children with HIV Aids; a home for the children of women forced into prostitution; some schools that we are sponsoring in very poor areas that provide the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty in young peoples lives; and we’re hoping to be able to be at the official opening of a new water well that the NorthRidge family has made possible. I’m expecting our time with these precious people to be emotional but meaningful, exhausting but exhilarating, discouraging but life expanding, and life changing for all of us…those we are going to serve and our entire team.
More than anything, it’s my prayer that this trip will give God pleasure. After all, His love and compassion is what makes ours possible. As 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”
Hopefully, as I have access to internet, I’ll be able to share some of the pictures and videos that we take. Either way…thanks for following and praying for us.
September 14th, 2010
This past weekend I started a new series called “Change Your Game.” And, it turned out to be a “game changing” weekend on so many levels. We were celebrating the one year anniversary of our first satellite church, NorthRidge Ann Arbor-Saline. We opened the doors to our second satellite church, NorthRidge Brighton-Howell, with over 1,100 (not including kid’s or student ministries.) We experienced a huge upswing in our overall attendance. And, most importantly, we know of ten who made the choice to receive Christ for the very first time. Yea God! Yea team.
The opening talk of this series focused on the realities that we’re not always who or where we want to be in life. But, (and this is a huge “BUT”), we can always have hope because of the potential God has given us for change. Though people tend to hate and resist it, change really is the basis of hope.
If you’re interested, you can check out my talk at this link http://bit.ly/9oMv0L.
If you were at one of our NorthRidge Church campuses this past weekend, or if you watched the talk online, I’d love to hear about your experience and/or how God used the talk in your life.
July 8th, 2010
Jesus gave us a promise 2000 years ago that He would “build His Church.” This was not a promise with an expiration date. The only question is whether His people in any given place will have the faith to embrace and experience the promise. I’m so thankful for and proud of the privilege I have to pastor a church family that is both embracing and experiencing this promise today.
Check out the video above which shows the latest step of faith the NorthRidge Church family is taking.
Beginning the weekend after Labor Day, we will go from being one church in two locations…to three. If you’re in the Brighton/Howell area and your heart beats to know Christ more fully and bring His hope to your community, I’d love to invite you to join this new and exciting adventure.
If you’re in other parts of the world, I would encourage you to take Jesus at His Word and start experiencing His promise. After all, His Church is not meant to be a museum talking about what He once did but a mission revealing what He is now doing.
If you’d like to know more about the vision for NorthRidge Brighton/Howell, check out my talk from the weekend of June 12-13, 2010 at… http://northridgechurch.com/online-talks/all-series/