April 2009


I’ve been with a lot of hurting people this week. 

Failed marriages, derailed relationships, deeply-entrenched sin, broken dreams, disturbing doctor’s reports, addictions that seemingly can’t be kicked.

There’s one thing that serves as a common denominator for each of these broken people, and that’s their view of Jesus.

When Jesus serves as Savior, they are able to see above their circumstances.  Are things still tough?  Sure.  Do they want to bypass this stage of life?  Absolutely.  But with Jesus as Savior, broken people know that there is a method to the madness.  They know that even though they’ve hit bottom, Jesus is there with them.  Therefore, they have hope.

When Jesus serves as Safety, things are entirely different.  You’re familiar with that term, right?  Your “safety” is the thing you go back to when your other pursuits don’t work out…like your undergrad degree or your familiar ex-boyfriend or even my Reese’s Cup milkshake from Cook Out.  We try other things because we know the safety is there…just in case.  Jesus as safety is a train wreck waiting to happen.  While he will still patiently wait, we do great damage to our soul as we pursue life outside of Jesus.  We drift.  We get off course.  We lose perspective.  And then we wonder why we’re in the shape we’re in.

Jesus never asked to be safety, he asked to be Savior.  He doesn’t desire to sit on the sidelines until we call him into the game as a last-inning substitution.  He wants to charge headlong into our lives and transform us from the inside out.

How about you?  Is Jesus functioning as your Savior?  Or as your safety?

°  °  °  °  °

Audience Participation Week is cranking up.  Because we’ve now gone well over five contributions through comments and e-mails, I’ve formed an independent committee who will be selecting the top five challenges.  Feel free to attempt to bribe our judges: Gaston, Shannon, and Spence.

You can still contribute by commenting here or e-mailing me at dfranks[at]summitchurch[dot]cc.

Okay gang, you’ve been quiet as of late.  Maybe 121 baptisms don’t excite you the way they excite me.  Maybe you don’t think a prayer cross is funny.  Maybe pictures of ducks don’t elicit the response I thought they might.

And yes, I’ve already acknowledged 50 Word Week was a bad idea.  Let’s move on.  Please.  

So here’s the dealio: next week is Audience Participation Week.  You’re going to help write the posts…or do everything you can to derail ’em, whichever you prefer.  (In case you’re wondering, I was inspired by co-worker Shannon’s blog post earlier this week.)

Here’s how it works: I will give you the five blog topics for next week.  You will give me sets of three completely unrelated words that I have to use on one of the days.  You can pick which topic the words will belong to, or let me pick…it doesn’t matter.  The bottom line is that I have to make the words fit as seamlessly as possible into a pre-selected topic, and you can bust my chops if it doesn’t work, or stand in amazement as I show off my wordsmithing skills.

Editor’s Note: a true wordsmith would know there’s no such word as “wordsmithing.”

Again, I am looking for sets of three non-related words.  For example: purple, aardvark, hallelujah.  Or mailbox, Topeka, cheeseburger.  Words can’t be naughty.  And you should probably be able to use them in Scrabble.

Okey dokey, the topics (in no particular order):

  • Professional Christians
  • Listen to Your Wife
  • Secondary Issues
  • Every Day is Sunday Morning
  • Mosquitoes 

Leave your set of three words below, or if you have comment-phobia, e-mail ’em to me at dfranks[at]summitchurch[dot]cc.

On Sunday we baptized 121 people at the Summit.  It was a very, very cool day, but days like that always bring questions…

  • Why did you do it that way?
  • Is that even biblical?
  • Seriously?  J.D. preached in swim trunks and a tie?
  • Doesn’t the church pay him enough to go to a tanning bed?

After we tried this for the first time last fall, I gave some scriptural rationale in this post.  If you’d like to go a little deeper in figuring out the “how” behind this thing, that’s the place to go.  

The biggest thing you should know is that nobody was baptized that wasn’t ready to be.  Everyone met with a counselor, and everyone had to be able to give a clear story of salvation and being impacted by the gospel.  For those who weren’t clear on that point, we either shared the gospel with them (thereby leading them to faith in Christ) or gently asked them to wait until a later date to make the decision.  At this point, we know of two who chose to wait, and we’ll be following up with them.

We’ll also follow up with everyone who was baptized in order to make sure they go through Starting Point, our catch-all process to make sure people get connected.  That targeted follow up begins today.

What’s the other stuff I learned?  I’m glad you asked…

  • Just because you’re doing the Lord’s work and baptizing people doesn’t mean he won’t let your bald spot fry in the sun.
  • Cute rubber ducky non-slip tread things don’t stick to a fiberglass baptistery.  They will, however, make you slip worse.
  • People do not like their baptistery water too cold.  
  • Neither do they like it too hot.  
  • We never can get baptistery water juuuuust riiiiiight.
  • If you borrow a megaphone, you shouldn’t drop it.
  • If you drop it, you should thank the Lord that it bounces and doesn’t break.
  • There is no amount of hand sanitizer that will make you feel better about washing wet baptismal clothes and towels in a laundromat.

Tommy

I’ve had my snarky friends remind me for the past 24 hours that I am a blogger in a Twitter world and that my tardiness in passing along numbers is a reflection of my real-time lameness.  Oh sure, they’ve been posting numbers and tweeting results and firing on all four cylinders and whooshing past me at the speed of sound, but they’re only missing one thing:

The accurate numbers.

You see, it’s my team that counts the numbers and makes sure that all of our proverbial ducks were in a row on Sunday.  So while I can’t get you the fastest numbers, I can give you the rightest numbers (is that a word?).

Take that, Twits.  Um…I mean…Twitterers.

Yesterday was indeed an amazing day at the Summit.  For the second time, J.D. preached a “Get baptized right now, no matter what you’re wearing, who’s waiting on you, or what your objections might be” sermon.  Here at Brier Creek, we baptized in the great outdoors, just like Jesus.  (Provided that Jesus had a portable fiberglass baptistery sitting on an asphalt parking lot.)

My favorite moment is pictured above.  That’s me baptizing my friend Tommy.  I’ve known Tommy almost as long as I’ve been at the Summit. Our families often hang out together for Easter, Thanksgiving, birthday parties, you name it.  He’s one of the friendliest, most likable guys that you’d ever want to meet…but he’d never surrendered his heart to Jesus.  

For six years, I’ve prayed for him.  For much longer than that, his family has prayed for him.  Yesterday, he white-knucked it in the 10:45 service, and finally walked forward.  My friend Jason and I sat with him as he prayed to receive Christ, and after the baptism he told me, “If I knew it would feel this good, I would never have waited this long.”  

So here are the numbers…

  •  6 at Cole Mill
  • 13 at West Club
  • 23 at Brier Creek PM
  • 79 at Brier Creek AM
  • =121 total stories of life change

Come back tomorrow for more stories from the tank.

I saw this ad on TV the other night and I have six words for you: 163 shopping days until my birthday.  Somebody’s gotta get me one of these.

Favorite moments:

  • :26 – the little girl proving that she is indeed hooked on phonics.  Check out her enunciation.  
  • :57 – pretty stoked about that certificate of authenticity, because otherwise all my friends will think I’ve gotten a black market prayer cross.
  • :59 – “A prayer cross?  And I was SO afraid that I’d get an engagement ring for Christmas!”

Anybody else have that cheer at your high school?  That might have been my second-to-least favorite cheer that our girls had, coming in only after “It’s hot, it’s hot, it’s hot in here…there must be a hawk in the atmosphere.”  Of course, I went to a very conservative Christian school and we couldn’t necessarily have Duke / Carolina-style cheers that included four letter words.  And we also couldn’t make fun of the Pope.*

From whence cometh this walk down memory lane?  Here’s my diatribe for the day: I believe that churches and fast food joints should be more aggressive.  Take, for example, Tuesday night.  On Tuesday night, my 13 year old and I walked into an artery-clogging establishment to get our grub on.  As you know if you’re a faithful reader of this blog, when I’m shaming a retail place I don’t name names because it’s not Christlike, plus I don’t want to be sued and end up living under I-85 eating Cheez Whiz out of a shoe.

Anyway, we were waited on by a shift manager, a lady who had apparently not been trained on the “new system,” because she couldn’t get our order right no matter how much she talked to the computer.  I got the wrong side, Jacob didn’t get his entire order, and we waited for about six minutes in an otherwise empty restaurant to get our food.  

Our fast food.

Once I got to the table and realized my side was wrong (No, I won’t tell you what I ordered.  Stop asking questions.), I walked back up to the register to see if I could make a trade.  Once there, I was treated to the backside of not one, not two, but three employees who were carrying on a conversation and had their backs to me.  I stood there for a full three minutes – not long if you’re blowing bubbles with chipmunks in a field of poppies, but a darn long time if your food is getting cold and you’ve already been waiting since the Reagan administration.  During this time, I had one other employee walk up to the front, look at me, and turn around and walk back.  I had another employee say the very bad “S” word (not shut up, the other very bad “S” word) in order to describe the wind blowing in from the drive through window.  Finally, a very nice person who I assume was the manager popped out of her office, made the trade, and I went back to the table a somewhat happy camper, mainly because I had something to blog about.

Here’s the point: whether it’s paying attention to your customer or to a guest at church, we simply must be more aggressive.  We can’t clump up in conversation groups.  We can’t assume that nobody needs nothin’.  We can’t pretend that because we’re satisfied, everyone else is satisfied.  We have to anticipate the need, and be aggressive in answering the need.

So how about it?  Anybody lurking at your register?  Be aggressive.  Be, be aggressive.

 

*True story.  Ask me about it sometime.

I was reminded this week about the power of the Why.  We’ve talked about the Why here before, but this week was a fresh memory jog that you can never tell the story too much.

Pastor J.D. says that when you’re sick of repeating the vision, your people are just beginning to get it.  And since I’m sick of hearing him say that, maybe it means that his words have sunk deep into my skull.

Here’s why you have to continuously repeat the Why…

  • The Why gives credence to the What.  Without the Why, nobody really cares about the What.  They’ll fudge on the What.  They’ll cut corners on the What.  They’ll get so caught up in the What that they start doing things that the What never intended.
  • The Why reminds people the reason they serve.  The reason they give.  The reason they roll out of bed early on a Sunday morning.
  • Without the Why, people drift.  Visions fade.  Tensions rise.
  • A constant infusion of the Why almost guarantees that your organization’s DNA remains strong, that your people remain on board, and that your mission remains uncompromised.

Want to know more about the Why?  Check out this previous post.

indiv_promo_ad_250x250Last Wednesday I watched in fascination as millions of Americans took to the streets to participate in “tea parties” – their official stamp of disapproval on paying taxes.  I realized that if this pastor gig doesn’t work out, I’d really like to get a job designing tea party picket signs.  Those things are fun.

But I digress.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Calvinist*, you know that our economy has all the stability of a one-legged turkey on a pogo stick…one false move and that sucker is coming unglued.  The problem is, far too many of us have put our hope and trust in the condition of our checking account and 401(k)s.  

That’s why I’m a huge fan of a guy named Dave Ramsey.  If you don’t know Dave, he’s an internationally-known financial expert who has ridden the waves of a bad economy, and he came out on the other side with biblically-based strategies to get out of debt and develop a plan for financial stability.

This Thursday night, we’re joining over 6,000 other churches and organizations across the country to host Town Hall for Hope.  This will be a 90-minute, high-impact, high-energy event where Dave will inject some common sense into the bizarro world we call the national economy.  

Town Hall for Hope will be held at our Brier Creek Campus at 8:00 PM.  Be there – it’ll be a high-water mark in your financial life.  No childcare is provided.

 

*Just kidding.  It’s not a political party.  I think.

Just DuckyWhen I arrived at the office this morning, this guy* and one of his friends were waiting on me.  I know it’s dreary and rainy and somebody out there is making cracks about building a boat, but come on.  A duck in the middle of an office complex?  Oh sure, if we had a cool office complex with a pond and paddle boats and a little bridge and park benches like those hoity-toitys over at SAS**, well okay then.  But we’re industrial ghetto, and this is just insulting.  

So I rolled down the window and told him that a crazy man with a gun was going to arrive any minute, and he should either fly to safety or prepare to meet Jesus***.  Otherwise, he’d join this guy by the end of the day.

 

*Okay, so it really wasn’t this exact guy.  I tried taking a picture with my cell phone, but he kept walking away and the people in the office next door were beginning to taunt me.  (They didn’t say anything, but in their hearts they were taunting me.)  But in fairness, this is a picture of an actual duck that I actually took when he was actually standing about two feet away from me.  I snapped this picture this time last year when my wife and I were celebrating our 15th anniversary in San Antonio.  Where it was dry.

**That one’s for you, Mr. Y.

***All ducks go to heaven.

Today we wrap up 50 Word Week on the blog.  The title and this paragraph don’t count.  Fifty words begin…now.

Here’s what I’ve learned at the end of 50 Word Week:

  • You can crank out five 50 word posts in less than ten minutes.
  • I need much more than 50 words in order to be funny.
  • Many of you would agree.
  • This experiment was very lame.

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