best message ever

That is at least what others have said about the subject I addressed last Sunday. It was the last of three messages in the “Its All Relative Series.” On Sunday I addressed UNCHANGING PRINCIPLES OF PARENTING. Since it was a holiday weekend and many of the NV people were out of town I am sending this email with an easy link to the free online listening of the message. http://www.relaxedchurch.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=57

I have contacted my married children and strongly emphasized that the message is required listening for them. I would encourage you, not only if you have children, but if you have any relationships at all, to take a few minutes and listen to the recording. You will want to have a pen and paper with you and maybe a few Kleenexes. The principles addressed apply to all relationships. If you would, let me know how the content spoke to you.

Comment or not, please listen and share it with other you think could also benefit as well.

facebook holdout

I have labeled myself as a facebook holdout. I hear others say, “Everyone is on Facebook.” Which makes me question who everyone is? Is everyone on facebook? I know lots of people are. The latest figures exceed 50 million active users. 40 billion pages are viewed daily. 11% of users are over 35 and the fastest growing demographic is the over 30 population. I think that includes me.

On February 4th, 2004 Mark Zuckerberg launched The Facebook, a social network that was at the time exclusively for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskowitz and Chris Hughes to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. Today the social network is valued at $6 billion.

But I’m still not on facebook. I have even filled out the registration page two different times but never activated my account. I’m a holdout.

Here’s where I’m coming from. It comes down to a single issue, from my perspective. How is facebook able to save me time and enhance my ability to do effective ministry? My life is already overfilled with demands and responsibilities. I don’t need something new to take up my time. I need something that will save me time and increase effectiveness.

Meanwhile, I hear people all the time talking about this new social disease called “facebook addiction.” I don’t need another addiction. And I’m not interested in ease-dropping on the personal details of people’s everyday life. When people want me to know about something significant happening in their life they call me or email or text me. They might even do the unheard of and arrive in person. The crucial stuff already gets to me. And I’m not into fads. I don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it.

So I need your help. In fact I would like to begin a dialogue. Share with me how you think it would be a benefit for me to get on facebook when it comes to saving time and enhancing ministry. And I have to caution you. I will respond when I feel it necessary to do so. I would even like to hear from those of you who are not on facebook. Why are you holding out too?

I really do want to get on facebook but the verdict is still out on the time saving and value it can bring to my life. That’s where I need your help. Now, if I had teens I would have been one of the first ones to sign up, but I’m not there either.

So help me on this one.

Oh, I forgot to mention. I’m even reading a book on how to use facebook in ministry. Maybe that will push me over the edge.

choices dads must make

From our discussion on Sunday, May 17, here is a recap of five choices dads must make.

1. Present or Presence?

We are talking about the choice between being around and being a major player in the development and direction of your children, or your marriage for that much. It is the choice between taking up space and making a major contribution, between being a provider and being personally involved. It is the difference between being there and making a difference. Present is there. Presence makes a difference.

2. Wise Direction or Cool Dad?

Do I give my children what they need or what they want.

3. Parent or Friend?

It would be great if you could be both but you can’t. If being a friend is most important you will fail as a parent. And as hard as it is, you will have to choose, parent or friend.

4.Love or Stuff?

Again, we’re talking about giving our kids what they want or what they need. They are given way too much stuff that they don’t need, that’s not good for them, and not nearly enough of what they desperately crave. And what they crave is real love. You can’t buy that.

5.Religious or Real?

We’re talking about the difference between being a religious person and a real Christ follower. Here are some contrasts.

Religious                                                                                                 Real

Sunday Christian or confined to certain events                        all the time 24/7 Christ follower
About rules and rituals                                                        about a relationship with the creator
Often discriminatory                                                            treats all people with equal respect
Dispenses truth                                                                       offers grace and truth
Points a finger                                                                         opens arms
Knows the Bible                                                                      lives by the Bible
Informed                                                                                   transformed
Driven by the law of God                                                    compelled by the love of God
Looks good                                                                               is good
Hates the sin and the sinner                                              hates the sin and loves the sinner
Confined mostly in church                                                sees the world as the mission field
Skin deep                                                                                   to the core

Get the point? If you want to be the kind of dad that is respected and followed, get rid of the cloak of religion and put on the real thing. Be an authentic follower of Jesus. Nothing will turn your kids away from God more than hypocrisy, nothing will draw them to God more than the real thing.

Everything in life is about choices, EVERYTHING. The choices aren’t always between good and bad. Sometimes it’s two bads, the lesser of two evils or two goods, which one is the best? But there is always choice in everything we do. You will not avoid it until the day you die.

Success in life more than anything else comes down to one thing, MAKING RIGHT CHOICES. I know, there are some genetics involves and sometimes just plane luck, but the overwhelming determiner when it comes to success is all about making right choices.

Building Needed for Base of Operations

We are looking for a facility to use for a community based operation to help and serve the under resourced people of Chesterfield County and the greater Richmond area.

We are a not-for-profit group and do not have funds to rent or purchase such a facility.  However, all gifts to our non-profit, including non-cash donations, are tax deductible up to the fair market value.

We are interested in accessing the facility for as long as it remains unsold or unrented with the understanding that we might have to relocate on a short notice.

As long as we have use of the facility it will be used as a base of operations for gathering donations, serving as the middle person to recourse already existing community based organizations, store materials and supplies to be used in assisting under resourced people of the county and city and a variety of other serving uses.

Here are a few examples of services we currently offer or are in the process of launching.
Moving operations team
Home improvements for elderly or single mothers
Homeless ministry
Elder yard care
Children’s clothing for homeless and low incomes
Generosity cans operations

For further information about these external focus operations or for information on possible facilities contact Kristin Blalock at blalock_ck@hotmail.com, 245-1469 or Steve Thornton at steve@relaxedchurch.com, 874-3269.

Why moms are so special!

Here are some of the comments expressed Sunday about what you appreciate so much in your mom. Moms are special and here are some of the reasons why.

“I mostly appreciate my mom’s unwavering faith in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.”

“She was always there when I came home.”

“Being there when I was young.”

“My mom is very supportive about my education and career goals.”

“She is ALWAYS there for me, loves me no matter what, giving caring.”

“Selfless”

“No matter what I can always depend on my mom to be there to support me.”

“Her weirdness…uh, I mean uniqueness.”

“Mom always wanted the best for me.”

“I am thankful for her strong will.”

“I love how patient she is and how she never lets me second guess her love.”

“She made me feel safe–always.”

These are some of the reasons why you said your mom was special to you. I hope you took some time on Mother’s Day to express your gratitude to her.

Here’s an idea, how about letting her know how much you appreciate her and are grateful to her on a regular basis. Go ahead, I bet her heart can take it.

committed to serve

“I commit to active pursue serving God by serving the people of this community and the greater Richmond area.”

For ten weeks we have talked and it is now time to get beyond words and put some commitment and action to our rhetoric. Churches have been notorious for telling and not showing. The church has declared what it is against and even what it is for, with little to limited demonstration of its faith.

We don’t want to be just another talking church. So we devoted ten weeks to building an understanding of how to be a radically external church and how to live life as a life on loan from God. As we ended week ten, on May 3, I invited everyone who would declare, “I commit to active pursue serving God by serving the people of this community and the greater Richmond area” to join me at the front of the auditorium to join hands and arms in a public statement of commitment. Ninety people flooded to the front to proclaim their commitment to serve outside the walls of our meeting place. img_09531

Some are already serving and renewed their commitment to continue. Others have a pretty clear idea of where they could and should be serving and committed to get on with it. But most said, “I have no idea how this will flesh out but I declare my intention to ask God to show me and I will say ‘yes.’”

If you were there you very likely committed to serve the Lord in real and tangible ways in our community. If you were there and didn’t commit, I encourage you to take the same step you witnessed others taking on Sunday.

If you were not in attendance on Sunday I invite and challenge you to join the others of NV who have boldly declared their availability to God in the greater Richmond area. Will you do so in a definitive way? Maybe write your commitment to God on a piece of paper and offer it to Him. Or declare it to someone else so it is real and not just a hopeful thought. Or respond to this blog with the declaration of your commitment to actively pursue serving God by serving others in our community and the greater Richmond area. Let’s make a difference. It takes all of us to do so. Are you in?img_0952