Special Speaker on Sunday for Mother’s Day…My Mom

408018_10200936532202423_1368427763_nSunday is a special Sunday, it’s Mother’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate all the moms in our lives.

Since I’m not a mom, last year I had my wonderful wife share. It was her first time ever speaking a message at a church, and she did a terrific job. But I also know it stressed her out, and she said once was enough. In fact, she said she had new respect for what I do each week after having to do it for one week!

So I was praying and wondering if I should share, or have someone else share when all of a sudden I had a brilliant idea. Who better to share on Mother’s day…than my mom. So that’s right, my mom, Marion Mills will be sharing on Sunday.

I’m so excited for her to share. Many of you might not know this but my mom is extremely accomplished and a great speaker. She’s spoken at countless retreats, and conferences. She is amazingly talented in her work with mental health, and also in her work with changing global poverty and disability. She is the international chair of cbm, an amazing organization committed to changing lives all over the world. She has been an executive at World Vision, done tremendous ministry locally and globally, and raised three fantastic boys (if I do say so myself!).

So on Sunday we are going to be opening it up for my mom to share. And so if you can join us please do because trust me it will be worth it.

P.S. Also don’t forget to give your mom a gift this Sunday, that means me especially as she is speaking for me!

Healthy Families Start Where?

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series looking at Roots. We are looking at how to have healthy roots in our families, friendships, and relationships. The reality is that if we want to have healthy connections with people we need deep foundations. So we are going to be looking at a few ways to develop that in our relationships all around us.

But before we get there it’s good to think through on our own: what makes relationships healthy? What are some of the keys to having healthy and strong foundations?

I know the answer is Jesus and love. Those are true. But why not press a bit deeper. How do you ensure that your family foundation is strong? How do you practice having whole and healthy friendships? What is the difference between relationships that last and survive difficulty and ones that don’t?

On Sunday we are going to be looking at the first family, Adam and Eve, to see what caused issues in their relationship and how we can learn from their mistakes. But we have all been a part of families and relationships for good or bad.

What have you learned that makes them work? What have you learned that doesn’t make them work?

Roots

Difficult Passages and Deep Meanings: Ezekiel 1

This Sunday we are going to be exploring an overwhelming if not downright difficult vision. We are going to be looking at Ezekiel 1 and the vision that God gives to Ezekiel there. Why not take a moment right now if you can and take a look at the vision.

It is complex, startling, and seems very otherworldly. Ezekiel paints a difficult to see picture of wheels within wheels, beings that had a human shape with four faces and lots of fire.

The question I really want to pursue on Sunday is what does this vision mean? What do we do when we come up to something like this in the Bible that isn’t just difficult to picture but difficult to understand? And also what do we do with some visions like this that happened so long ago? How do they relate to a world with blogs, iPhones, and Pinterest?

Well, as we’ll discover this vision has just about everything to do with our everyday lives. This vision has so much to tell us about how our relationships work, how our hope works, and most of all, where God is in the darkness. So come Sunday we’re going to unpack this difficult vision. I’m going to attempt to also draw and illustrate what’s going on in it.

But here is a little cryptic teaser about how to discover the meaning and message of this vision beforehand.

           The message isn’t in the vision; the vision is the message.

I’ll unpack that statement on Sunday, but for today read the vision, try to picture it, wrestle with it, and come ready to discover on Sunday…and also be ready for some really poor drawing…

Father’s Day Sermon

This week I’ve been thinking about this question: what makes a great father?

This is important to me as a father. My hope is that when Hudson looks back on his memories with me growing up, and all through his life he will see that I left a legacy. The question is how do you do that?

This is a picture of my dad with my son. And when I look back on my relationship with him I realize what a huge impact and legacy he has left with me. He was a great father through doing a few simple things. He gave me his time and attention. Such a simple thing but so difficult to fully do. He actually valued my input and treated me not as a child but as someone with value. This encouraged me and helped me to mature in a way I never realized until recently as I look back. Maybe the biggest thing he taught me though was about God.

My dad was a pastor but taught me so much about God in the way he lived, talked, and what he did. So on Sunday I want to share some of those lessons with you. I want to share about what my dad taught me about God and who He is and how it’s still shaping me today.

Maybe this week it’s a good time for you to reflect and think about what your dad taught you. But I also know that not all of us were blessed with dads like mine. In that case then,reflect on our heavenly Father and think about what he’s taught you…because the best dads in the world learn from him and live like him…

To Bless ~ To Give Life

This past Sunday we talked about how we are called to bless people.

The main idea was that blessing in Genesis 12 in the Old Testament was tied to giving life. I think this is a much better way to understand it for our lives today. The word bless seems to be one we only use when someone sneezes. “Blessing” can be hard to picture, and even harder to practice.

But “giving life” isn’t hard to picture or practice. Whatever makes someone else’s life full, deeper, meets a need, relieves a concern, frees a worry, or generates love is giving life.

This can be simply listening, fixing a roof, baking cookies, having neighbors in to your house. The possibilities of how to “give life” are endless. This as a church needs to be our calling. God in Genesis 12 has promised to bless us – or give us life and we are then called to bless others or give them life.

  • Imagine what would happen, and how disciples would be made, if giving life to others becomes a major part of our identity and action?
  • What if your house and home was known as a place of life in and for the community?
  • What if in your workplace you were recognized as the person who gives joy, love, and meaning to others?
  • What if your church was known as a place where those in need could find life in practical and real ways?

Doesn’t that sound like God’s Kingdom? It does to me.

So this week go out and start to bless people. To literally give them life. Be generous, be spontaneous, and give life in the context of relationship and share with me here how its going and what’s happened. Because when you share stories of blessing, you are also spreading blessing…

Discussion Questions from this Week Sermon

  • Adult Questions
  • Who in your life can you bless or “give life” too?
  • What needs do your neighbors have, or co-workers?
  • Who has blessed you in the past few weeks? Why not thank them.
  • Questions for Young Families
  • Talk to your children about how you are called to be a blessing to others and to serve. Ask them if they have any ideas who or how they could bless people. Maybe make cookies with them for your neighbors, or a card. Involve them in a giving life to others.

Finding Peace

Peace can be elusive can’t it. It seems to be with us one day and gone the next. We can have peace and get stuck at a stop light and it vanishes. We can be happy and peaceful and one phone call can derail us. We’re in a a great space and one mistimed comment, or conversation leads to deep agitation, doubt, and difficulty. Peace, at least in my life, seems to be transient and based on what happens, or doesn’t happen in my life.

But what if you could have lasting peace?

Peace that goes beyond what happens day to day, and is there as a constant? What might that feel like for you? How might that change your attitude, disposition, and enjoyment of life? Take a moment and imagine having a deep peace that permeates and invades every area of your life.

Isn’t that something worth finding this Christmas?

But here’s the catch, you can only have that type of peace if you stop seraching for some “thing”. Because peace isn’t a “thing” to be found at all. Peace is a person to be encountered, a relationship to be nurtured, and a life to be joined.

That’s what we’re exploring this coming Sunday. The person of peace found in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus doesn’t bring peace, Jesus Christ is peace. And that subtle change makes all the difference.

And so this Sunday and this week, make finding Jesus the focus rather than “peace”. And my guess is that when you start finding Jesus, and truly experiencing and hearing from him…peace is never far behind…

The People of Hope

Yesterday we talked about hope. And after last night I realized something. So often our hope is based in things. For example that this thing will change, that we’ll get this thing, or that this thing will come about. Whether that “thing” is a job, a desire, a relationship, or whatever, true hope isn’t based in things.

True hope is based in a person, and in people.

True hope is based in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the reason we can have hope because he enters into our lives, meets with us wherever we are at, and promises no matter what we are going through we’ll never go through it alone.

True hope is also found in people; in a caring community that loves and supports. Last night I was at a Small Group where a few couples gathered to share, pray, and talk. And what I saw was honesty, openness, deep caring, love, a bit of crying, but true friendship. Hope is found there too, because when you care like that you are literally being Jesus Christ. Whenever this happens hope is found…

So whatever you are in the midst of needing or hoping for this season, don’t forget to find hope in Jesus Christ who walks with you. And also don’t forget to lean on those who surround you and who care for, find hope there as well.

And if you don’t have either of those things…well then I think this is the perfect time to find Jesus…and people who live like him too…