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What if Jesus Facebooked? (Part 4)

October 28, 2009

The Bay to Breakers footrace is an annual event in San Francisco that isn’t your everyday jog. To picture the Bay to Breakers race isn’t to picture your normal 5K. The runners in this West Coast race are anything but serious runners. In fact, to prove they’re not serious about running, they choose to not run empty-handed. Some athletes (and I use that word loosely) carry kitchen sinks while running, others push entire beds while they “sprint” down the street. The crucial runners in this race dress up as cucumbers or bananas. Due to all of this craziness and due to the weight some runners choose to carry while racing, only 1 out of 4 runners finish. This is not your normal race.

To the world, the world also sees the Christian life as “not your normal race”. God’s race is for serious runners – because it’s only for those who aim to finish.  Hebrews 12, at the beginning, shows us that the Christian life is a race. While running God’s race we are instructed to throw off everything that hinders (Hebrews 12:1). What hinders you in the running of God’s race? What trips us up in a relationship with Him? We have choices to make. We can’t have everything we want. We can’t do everything that seems good to us. If we’re serious about crossing the finish line we must set certain things aside and for too long we chosen to run in the “work race” or the “hobby race” or the “relationship with others race” and have tripped in God’s race in the process.

I’ll say it again, if we’re serious about crossing the finish line in God’s race, we must set certain things aside. Some of you are working way TOO much and way TOO hard. Not only is it affecting your relationships at home, but it’s harmful to the most important relationship you have – you and God. Yes work is good, and it does provide, but are you willing to set aside what is good (hours and hours of work) to have God’s best (the real Provider)? Slowing down and taking time off work (and that means your to-do list around the house as well) so that we can deepen our relationship with God is always worth it. We need to be sensitive to God’s direction. We need to “throw off” any excess baggage that interferes with our relationship with God, and for many of us, we’re working too much and too hard. We need to let go some of that kitchen sink (work) so that we can finish God’s race.

Because I’ll tell you this, He’s strong enough to carry the kitchen sink for you while you run. But how would you know if you’re still holding onto work instead of allowing God’s word to hold onto you? Chew on that. Good luck in the race.

Zach

October 28, 2009 Posted by | Zach | , | Leave a comment

What if Jesus Facebooked? (Part 3)

October 21, 2009

50 days before our wedding, Whit and I fasted from all caffeine (soda, Starbucks, tea, Red Bull, you name it). We drank water and milk like they were they only things left on the planet. We chose the most hectic time of our lives to go without what we thought we needed to make it through the day – the god of caffeine. We wanted to start our marriage out on something more solid than a Grande Vanilla Chai; we wanted to begin our new life together on God’s foundation. Since then we’ve done the 50 day no caffeine fast a couple times and have been renewed that God gets us through the day, not caffeine.

You can fast from mostly anything – food, television, music, internet, being mean to people. I tried to fast from doing chores as a teenager, but failed to do so since my mother pointed out that it wasn’t biblical to fast from taking the trash out. I hope Robin’s sermon has triggered some things in your life that you’ve lately depended on more so than God. If so, it’s time to fast.

One of the great benefits of fasting from a meal is that it forces you to reflect on your life. We’re all so busy, so packed full in our schedules that we go from work to family to hobbies to errands to church and back to work again that we never, ever, ever sit down to meditate on what God may be trying to do in our lives.

But when you fast, when you take that lunch and make it just for God and you, and choose to not eat physical food, but open up your Bible and eat on God’s wisdom – that’s when He’ll open your eyes to what He’s been trying to do in your life. And then for the rest of the day, when your stomach growls (it will), you can be reminded that God is your strength, not food.

Honestly I think most of us don’t fast, and yet most of us would deepen our relationship with God if we chose to fast a meal once a week. Start doing that and then maybe you’ll be crazy enough to give up caffeine for a while.

Zach

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Zach | , | 4 Comments

What if Jesus Facebooked? (Part 2)

October 14, 2009

If you want to brush up on the text from Sunday’s sermon, here it is Mark 2:13-17

After reading Mark 2:13-17, I can’t help but wonder how the story of Jesus eating with sinners looks like today on October 14th, 2009. For starters, asking what kind of “sinners” Jesus was spending time with is, by extension, a question about what sorts of people Jesus would be spending time with if He were walking the earth right now. Strippers? Drug addicts? Thieves? CEOs? Politicians? Your enemy?

Are the sinners Jesus hung around in Mark 2 really the sort of people Jesus would be spending time with today? Maybe a better question would be, Is the Jesus you have come to love the same Jesus who was hanging around sinners throughout the gospels, or have you turned Him into something different?

Jesus’ eating with unpopular and ritually impure people is treated as a sign of His mission to overturn traditional social and religious assumptions. When can you retrieve a fresh memory when the church emulated behavior like this? How often do Christians (Christ-followers) try to actively minister to racists, child molesters, or even to widows and orphans? Some do, certainly, but in most cases if I was caught bar hopping for Jesus on the weekend, it would be a scandal. Imagine if a registered child molester moved into your neighborhood and you invited him over for dinner with your entire family and friends. It’s hard to think about something like this happening, isn’t it? It’s hard to take Mark 2 and insert it into our world right now.

The teachers of the law complained to Jesus’ disciples about this nasty habit of hanging out with “sinners”. They didn’t go to Jesus Himself, they went to His followers. Were they afraid to confront Jesus directly? Were they trying to sow discord between Jesus and His disciples? I can’t help but think what Mark is trying to tell us (because I believe every single word the gospel writers wrote has significance and every word they chose to omit was done so because it was irrelevant).

Jesus’ response is awesome, for He is awesome in Himself. His reply, which was to the Pharisees, but the disciples are still within the conversation, was that it should be expected that He spend His time with sinners like the tax collectors. Why? Because His purpose was to help those who are sick (spiritually). Doctors don’t spend all their time with healthy people, why should Jesus spend all His time with those who think they are righteous? He can’t help those who refuse to admit they are broken.

Remember, not just today but for our precious time on earth – The church is not a hotel for saints, it is a hospital for sinners. And the Doctor is always in, waiting for us to lead our broken loved ones to Him.

Zach

October 14, 2009 Posted by | Zach | , | Leave a comment

What if Jesus Facebooked? (Part1)

October 7, 2009

Anybody have a favorite word out there? I go through phases where I like to use certain words. I’ve been saying audacity a lot lately for some reason. Last month I was saying the word emulsifying just because I heard it used on the food network. I’m still not sure I know what it means. Whit’s been using the word, getoffthecouch a lot lately.

The writer of the Gospel Mark loves to use a word to describe Jesus’ ministry: immediately. Immediately Jesus is healing someone. Immediately Jesus is teaching a large crowd. Immediately a storm comes. Immediately the Pharisees show up on the scene. So much happens in Mark and we don’t want to miss any significance.

Sunday’s sermon began a brand new series Robin and I will be doing together through Mark chapter 2. So much happens in the book of Mark that if you read it too fast, you miss so much significance. And in the beginning of Mark 2 is one of the most powerful stories – Jesus heals the paralytic (Mark 2:1-12).

This is truly a fascinating story and if you closed your eyes and pretended that you were inside the house with the huge crowd, you will certainly find this a very intriguing story. When the four men carrying the paralytic found their way blocked by the crowd, they still persisted to bring the paralytic to Jesus, hence (another favorite word of mine) they cleverly found that the only way in was to climb up the roof and remove the stone or ceramic tiles piece by piece. I’m sure that the crowd below must have heard the noise from above that the men were making as they painstakingly removed the tiled roof.

If you looked back at the beginning of this story, the men bringing the paralytic sought Jesus in Capernaum and found him inside the house. But their way to Jesus was blocked by the huge crowd that surrounded him. So they did more than just knocked the door, they literally knocked open the roof tiles. What about you? Have you sought the Lord lately? If you are seeking Him, it is good to know that you don’t have to climb anything, or ruin anyone’s roof. He’s made the way to Him easy and true. I’d rather open my Bible and pray any day over climbing a stranger’s roof. I don’t have the audacity to climb my neighbor’s roof; that would just be emulsifying J.

Make time for God and watch Him work in your life this week.

Zach

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Zach | , , | Leave a comment

Facebook Survey Results

I thought I would take the opportunity to present some of the results of our Facebook Survey. Thanks to the 33 Fans who took the time to give their input. The first question was designed to determine if we were creating too many links to other websites for helpful information. 79% thought is was just right, while 15% thought it was too much. As a result we will attempt to limit our links to valuable and informative information. The next question was designed to help us determine what those links should be. Below is a list of the top vote getters.

Spiritual Living 60%
Exploring God’s Word 67%
Church Programs 60%
Christians in the Workplace 43%
Family 47%

We will continue to link to many of the different types of information in our original listing, including the one that I left off the list but was reminded of by a commenter, which was Education. We will try to focus on the list above since that seems to be what most are interested in.

Next we asked if we were linking back to the Church website enough. 83% thought it was just about right, while 17% thought we needed to do more. We are continuously monitoring the Church website for changes and updates. We will do our best to stay current and on top of Church events and activities.

With our next question we were looking for what changes or additional information you wanted to see between Facebook and our Church website. By far and wide “Pictures from events” was the winner at 89%. For the most part the only church photographers we have are you. So if you have pictures from church events that you would like to share, either post to your Facebook page and send me a email and I will link to your page for everyone to see or send your pictures to NorthsideCC.oh@gmail.com and I will post them here. A good example was all the pictures from the Pig Pit Classic that were shared for everyone to see. Like I said earlier we will attempt to stay current on events and programs that are going on at the church or are connected to the church.

Another item we asked about was the Sermons on the Church website. It was encouraging to see 35% of the respondents have listened to at least one sermon online. In response to some comments, the internet connection into the building is not the most reliable connection and sometimes things come up that are more important. But in general the sermons are uploaded to the website on Monday morning.

Next we asked you “How did you find out about us on Facebook?” Below are the responses:

Found on Facebook/Search 23%
In Church or Bulletin 35%
Friend 35%
Church Website 4%
Unknown 4%

Finally we asked you what you thought about certain types of content. 92% of you wanted to see more Christian videos including music. 96% wanted more G rated funny or interesting videos. Also 80% were fine with my random thoughts, but some thought I should lighten up on Robin and concentrate more on people like Zach or Ben or other members of the staff. Hey, I can do that. The problem was that Robin just provides so much material. Now I will have to follow the activities of the rest of the staff a little closer. That’s okay, there are reports and books out there that tell me that I am a great multi-tasker.

Also 81% of you like the idea of welcoming new fans. Finally, I wanted to respond to a comment about a post I made showing the difference between male and female fans. It was to show how the female fans seem more into relationships, even relationships out on a social network like Facebook and how men don’t seem to be interested one way or the other. That’s all for now.

July 31, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment