Anything more than mediocre?

“I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that’s more terrible than dying.”
Joan of Arc’

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to a big difference that we often cannot foresee.
Marian Wright Edelman

It seems people don’t necessarily remember what they are told of God’s love, but they never forget what they have experienced of God’s live.
Steve Sjorgen

I have never met anyone who planned on having a mediocre life, but I have met lots of mediocre people.
Howard Hendricks

What will you be remembered for?
What kind of a difference will you make with your life?
How much will God’s love flow through you?
Will your life be anything more than mediocre?

Lifeboat 14

On April 14, 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and began taking on water. By the time the lifeboats were deployed, it was clear that the ship was sinking. Passengers were loaded into lifeboats, and the lifeboats were lowered into the icy waters. Of the twenty lifeboats lowered into the water, most had room for more people. Despite the cries for help, those in the lifeboats were afraid to return to the drowning people lest the boats be swamped. Resisting the cries for help, the people in the boats rowed away from hundreds of people floating in the water.

In Lifeboat 14, Fifth Officer Harold Lowe thought differently and acted differently. He transferred many of his passengers to other lifeboats and returned to the sinking ship to pick up more survivors. Though he could not save them all, he could save a precious few from death in the icy sea. Survivors rescued survivors.

Can NVCC become a metaphor for Lifeboat 14 in this community? We have been rescued. Can we become rescuers so that those who are rescued might also become rescuers? Let’s not stop caring for those who are already in the boat but can we begin to be defined by going after those who are still in the water. Can we be a group of “transformed people transforming people?” Can we see “church” as not just what happens on Sunday morning in this place? Can we begin, more than ever to live out our faith in the community? Can we get involved in the dreams and hurts of our community? Don’t condemn, love and serve. Don’t retreat; just go after those still in the water. The Titanic remains at the bottom of the Atlantic, but Lifeboat 14 can still be involved in pulling people out of the chilling waters of our community.

What is God saying to you?

If…

…we will not have a lasting impact on our community, city and the world until we learn to serve the people of the world?
…we will have no relational strength to speak into the fabric of our community until we engage in serving the people of it…
…safety first is a tremendous model for an airline but not a church that wants to be the authentic presence of Christ in the community…
…becoming an externally focused church requires changing the DNA of the church…
…something is missing when all or most of our human and financial recourses are expended inside the meeting place of the church…
…”critical mass is one person with a vision”…
…good news and good deeds can’t and shouldn’t be separated…
…salt, light and leaven don’t work very well from a distance…
…ministering and serving are the normal expression of Christian living…
…congregations with a strong commitment to social justice and with direct participation in community outreach ministries are more likely to be growing than other churches…
…more and more people these days don’t know how to go to church…
…when people who talk about a loving God demonstrate love, the gap between doubt and faith is narrowed, and people around them often find themselves wanting to believe…

…then what is God saying to you?

Restoring Value to the Community

Every statistic tells us that the church in America today is becoming more and more marginalized and less and less influential. We don’t need another survey to tell us that fewer and fewer people feel the church can help them.

I strongly believe that our communities need the church. They need what the church has to offer. They need the assets and resources of the church. But most communities and most people in our communities do not feel the same way. They see the church as something to be tolerated but not really valued or crucial to the warp and woof of the community.

Why is this so? It hasn’t always been this way. There was a time when the church was the center of community life and activity. What has happened since then? What must the church do to reclaim its place of importance in the heart of its community? Even more so, what must the church become in order to be recognized as a valued asset to the community once again?

I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings.