Hey Alpha leaders… here is the promised list of Alpha Teams we want to build. If I missed any teams, we can amend the list. Please put prayer and thought into where you’d like to serve. We’ll discuss it more on Wed. and form some teams… and again, thanks for all you do!!!

– Drama Team (needs a better name)
This team will add in elements for the ministry portion of the service, i.e. dramas,
skits, fun stuff, etc.

– Greet / Follow-up Team
This team will help welcome students to Alpha and give after care for visitors!

– Video / Tech Team
This team will help make videos and help in the tech areas of Alpha

– Event Team
This team will be responsible for planning and helping execute special events
for Alpha!

– Serve Team
This team will help doing things that need to be done for Alpha services and
special events, like setting up / tearing down for an outdoor event, etc.

– Communications Team
This team will maintain Alpha’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. They will also
spend time weekly on Twitter and Facebook (and other awesome places)
connecting with students and creating relationships. Also be responsible for
using various methods to communicate with students and community about
special events, etc.

Like we discussed, the team you join will not be your forever team… we will rotate and allow different leaders to serve in different roles, and expand their abilities. Some things may stretch you and challenge you, but that’s the only way you know you are growing!!!!

Pastor Chuck

This is an interesting quote…

4. Steve Jobs said: “You know, we don’t grow most of the food we eat. We wear clothes other people make. We speak a language that other people developed. We use a mathematics that other people evolved… I mean, we’re constantly taking things. It’s a wonderful, ecstatic feeling to create something that puts it back in the pool of human experience and knowledge.

I hope that each of you are creating in some way.  There is nothing more powerful or freeing or exhilarating than creating something.  Maybe you are an artist, and you can sketch or paint something of beauty.  Maybe you are a writer, and use words to craft ideas and thoughts that provoke something in someone else.  Maybe you are a leader, and your desire is to create a church, organization or ministry that will minister to the needs of others.  Perhaps you are a songwriter, and find no joy greater than sitting with your guitar and creating melodies that others will hum.  Whatever your skill… create!

Maybe you don’t think you can do any of those things, and you don’t, “have a creative bone in my body!”  Well then, may I encourage you to create relationships.  Form and nurture friendships that lead people toward God!

You don’t have to be creative to create.  You don’t have to be on a stage to lead.  You don’t need to be handed a microphone to have a voice.  Create something out of nothing, and lead others toward the cross.

Well, it’s the start of another great week!  Let’s continue a look at a great list of Steve Job’s quotes that I stumbled upon.  When I saw these, I knew there was application that could be made for the Pastor heart, because they spoke to me.  Here’s number three…

3. Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

If you have served God for any length of time, especially if you are serving Him in a leadership/Pastoral role, then you know that you WILL NOT always love the task at hand.  Some thing will be enjoyable, some things will be stressful, and some things will be downright painful to you, but in all of that, we can maintain a joy in our work for God.

I think we in ministry have an advantage over those working solely in the business/financial/commercial workplace.  I don’t have to land the ideal job, build a dream team of co-workers, or find a dream set-up to be able to love what I do.  Rather, I love WHO I work for, and therefore love whatever I can do for Him.  I’m not saying there aren’t those days you’d rather mail it in than do a particularly dreadful task, I’m speaking to the deeper matters of the heart, like contentment and joy.

In Phillipians 4:11-12, Paul says this, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I hope today, that whether you’re a student, kids or lead pastor or someone that volunteers at their local church, that you discover or re-discover the joy that is available in serving the Lord.  When you serve someone you love, you never mind the work… and that will lead to you doing some GREAT WORK!

Alright, day 2 of awesome Steve Jobs quotes here we go…

2. Steve Jobs said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

Excellence is a driving force for me.  I have been part of too many church outings, services and experiences where excellence was never a consideration.  I have a definite bent toward being overly concerned with the marketing and branding of church bodies and church functions, and I am in counseling to deal with my issues, but I don’t know how to avoid the desire I have for excellence.  From the small things, to the large, I want the people I’m trying to reach to know that I/we care about doing it “right.”

There are certainly things more important than the excellence of our music or the slickness of our sermon mailer.  Without God at the helm of our plans, we can be as excellent as we want, and our desired results will not be achieved.  Please don’t trade relevancy or anointing for excellent logo design…

That being said, if your heart is right, and you’re on a God-given mission, why not do everything you can with excellence?  I know that Apple Inc. is ultimately concerned with setting a standard that is hard to match, and even harder to supersede.  Let set a high standard in our churches/ministry and be a yardstick of our own!

I found a great post over at ririanproject.com about Steve Jobs and 10 great quotes that are attributed to him.  I read them, and saw ministry applications that any Pastor could use.  It’s not uncommon that I find truth for my pastoral life in non-pastoral areas, like business.  I’ll post one quote a day and make application.  They speak to me (in varying degrees), so maybe they’ll speak to you too!

#1 Steve Jobs said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

I think a quick look around the landscape of the American church scene would prove this to be true.  Many of the churches that are reaching their communities in a big way, are led by men/women that are innovating.  Innovation can take many forms.  It might look like video church, or multi-site church.  It might be an innovation in the type or format of services and outreaches that we are doing in our community.

I absolutely believe that solid, true ministry can and does happen all over the place where there is little innovation.  I personally know of tons of churches that are solid and working hard to feed the spiritual needs of their community, but are not innovating, and therefore have a glass ceiling on the length of the reach that their ministry will be able to achieve.

Where we see growth and community reach happening, we are going to almost always find innovation.  Let’s be leaders that embrace change, opportunities and innovation.  If we don’t, we are probably following, not leading…

My Grandfather, Charles Greenaway, may be best known for one saying, “Hang in there… we may not look like much when we get there, but we’ll make it!”

I was talking to a young man in the ministry the other day and we talked a little bit about hanging in there in dificult/trying times, and the importance of remaining faithful to God when other things seem uncertain.  Anyone that’s ever served God while working with other people (which is ALL ministry… paid, volunteer, unsolicited… ALL ministry) for any length of time has wanted to quit, run, scream, choke someone, etc.  Hopefully, you haven’t tried all of these examples…

Maybe you are in that place right now, unsure what direction to take in life, not sure what God is up to and waiting on Him is not your strong suit.  Be encouraged!  You are not alone. (Cue Michael Jackson music, “You are not alone…”)

As hard as it can be, that waiting period is often an integral part of the change process.  Our faith is built when we wait on Him and wait for Him to move and shift us.  Just think of this pause, this waiting time, this somewhat confusing period, as a great chance to show God your tremendous faith in Him!

“Hang in there!”

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.  It’s crazy here, with school stuff, family stuff and a church Christmas production with a student missions fundraiser rolled up in it, too!  Our family is looking forward to retreating to the woods of TN and being with Cheryl’s family for a week.  If we missed you on our Christmas card list, I’ve posted our family Christmas card here so everyone will feel the Christmas love coming your way!

Thanks to Courtney Bell for the great picture taking!

– Chuck

Old train station pics...

If you live in my area (Central Florida) you should come check out The Gospel According to Scrooge! I haven’t attempted to act since I was a small fry… hopefully I don’t destroy Bob Cratchit for everyone.

A bunch of our Alpha students are involved and hopefully it will be a big blessing to our community!

Christmas is a busy time for all of us.  If you part of the leadership team at your church, paid or volunteer, then you know what the Christmas season can be like.  Not only is this one of the prime seasons of the year to reach out to your community, it’s one of the craziest times of the year in your own home; presents to buy, home to decorate, possibly some lemon bars or sugar cookies to make, kids Christmas productions at school and list goes on and on.

Take a moment and take a deep breath.  Pause and remember the cause for all the scurrying… Jesus!  My Pastor preached a simple message yesterday morning called, “The Beauty of Christmas.”  It’s beautiful because it HAPPENED, and because of HOW it happened.

Here’s an interesting passage I preached out of a couple of weeks ago…

In Ezekiel chapter 14, the Lord speaks through His prophet Ezekiel a message to His people.  In verses 12-14, Ezekiel, speaking for God says, “The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD.”

The  next 6 verses of Ezekiel describe more of the same.  Basically, when God gets ready to do something to Jerusalem, for their unfaithfulness to Him, it’s going to be worse than these examples, and not even the presence of Noah, Daniel and Job would stay God’s hand.  Only those three men would be spared.

The scripture notes their righteousness as the cause of their salvation from these judgements from God, but my question is, why these three men?  God uses these same three men each time over a course of different judgement examples.

Where is Moses on this list, the savior of God’s people from Egypt?  He would have been a great example.  How about Abraham, a man the Bible calls the God’s friend, he was certainly righteous in God’s eyes.  Joseph is another candidate for the list.  No one in the Old Testament was more a type of Christ than Joseph.  In fact, the Bible does not record any sins committed by Joseph, but he’s not on the list.  The list could go on and on… Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David (a man after God’s own heart), Elijah, Jeremiah???

There has to be something that links these men together, something that sets them apart for this example, something that we can identify as the quality that cause God, speaking through Ezekiel, to use these three men as the lone survivors of God’s wrath in His example to His people.

Faithfulness.  I believe the answer is faithfulness.  In there own way, each of these men proved their faithfulness to God in the face of varied and difficult circumstances.

Noah faced the test of futility.  He proved faithful, even when he wasn’t sure the rains would ever come or this huge ship he built on dry ground would ever have a chance to float.  He probably looked like a fool to those around him, but he didn’t waiver.

Daniel showed his faithfulness to God at the King’s table.  He refused to eat things that he believed he shouldn’t eat, and the rest is history.   You could say that the test he faced was the temptation to lower his standards.

You might think that God put Daniel on this list because he showed himself to be faithful to God in the lion’s den.  The only problem with that, is that when God spoke this statement about Noah, Daniel and Job, it was years before Daniel would have to face the lions… His stand at the king’s table proved the faithfulness of his heart to God, well before Daniel had to face the lion’s den.

Job’s great test was the test of suffering.  The Bible says that satan reached out and touched everything Job had.  He killed his family and servants, flocks and herds.  All was lost.  His wife even told him, “Why don’t you just curse God, and when you’re done giving God a good cursing, why don’t you just die?”

Job looked it all over and said, “I was naked when I cae into this world, I’ll be naked when I go out, the Lord gives and takes away… blessed be the name of the Lord.”

When I see something in the Bible that shows me the likes/dislikes of God, I like to pick up on those cues and see where I can be more pleasing to Him.  I think He was very pleased with the faithfulness of these 3 men, and they are company that I would not mind keeping!

Have you ever experienced that moment, when you are watching a movie or reading something or talking to someone, and you find something “real.” Something real about love or life or passion or intent.  These are moments that bring clarity, moments that bring perspective, moments that make some things seem suddenly very important and other things seems suddenly very unimportant.

Those moments sneak up on me a lot.  I’m not looking for real… I’m looking for entertainment or escape or conversation, and I find real.  Often those moments are unexpected, but I’m always grateful for them.  I long for those moments of clarity, I need them, I crave them.  We all need them.

Last night over the course of a couple of conversations with my wife, Cheryl, I had some “clarifying” moments.  Some realities about life, marriage, family and ministry made themselves evident.  In that moment, I knew with a great degree of certainty, what is and isn’t important in life, and the things that are worth focusing on and the things that aren’t.

Those moments serve as road markers.  They direct you and illuminate the path you are on.  I don’t know how many times the insanity, cares, and pace of my life cause me to forget the direction I was called to walk, not just as a Pastor, but as a father and husband.  Thank you, Lord, for those moments…

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