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This past Sunday at Centerpoint we started our now annual series called Faith & Film. Since we meet in a movie theatre this series makes sense for us but on a deeper level, I believe it helps us shatter the often imaginary line between the sacred and the secular.
One of the worst things about creating a “Christian subculture” is that it essentially shuts down our ability to think and process things outside of their respective labels. We see the label “Christian” on a book, song, or movie and assume it must be sanctified and redeemed. The same is true when that label is absent. We don’t see it, so we assume it’s entertainment and nothing more. This is unhealthy.
The Bible is an epic journey of liberation and redemption but the path that leads there is filled with all kinds of darkness and things that are anything but “spiritual”. It is in the midst of that darkness we are able to see the light that much brighter and this is why we must learn to find spiritual truth in unlikely places. When we look at the world through a lens of faith we will see God working in things where everyone else believes He’s absent.
God didn’t draw the line, we did and it’s time we start processing things through His lens instead of following everyone else’s label.
Since the creation of humanity, people have had different opinions. Thanks to technology, we are now are able to see and hear everyone’s opinion more transparently than ever before. This has apparently resulted in more outspoken and public opposition to people who have different opinions from our own.
This has led to protests where some throw out Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in opposition to gay rights, while others throw out Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in support of gay rights. This has been going on for years with everything from Disney World to Pepsi. Both sides then call foul on the other for their boycott and I say it’s all NONSENSE!
For those on both sides of the issue, I implore you to stop acting like someone’s opinion is an infringement on your rights. It isn’t and it never will be. The only thing we do when we throw out Ben & Jerry’s and Chick-Fil-A is waste really great food and on a more serious note, we push those who are different from us even farther away.
Something tells me that arguing over the opinions of those running a chicken and ice cream joint isn’t what Jesus wanted us to do when He left us. LET’S STOP THE NONSENSE and learn to get along even when we don’t agree.
Levi Paul Franklin VanBuskirk born 7/11/12 at 11:51pm 8lbs 21inches
One week ago today, Levi Paul Franklin VanBuskirk was born! It was a 9-month journey that started and ended with the gift of life. I’ve always had a profound belief in God but watching all 3 of my children enter this world has only strengthened my faith. My belief in God comes not only from my convictions and upbringing but from my personal experience with the Divine. As I helped deliver Levi I was reminded this couldn’t just happen. This moment couldn’t exist without purpose. Without meaning. Without a Divine Creator who ordained it to be. Nothing I’ve witnessed in life has brought heaven any closer to earth than watching new life enter into it. There are many reasons why I believe in God but nothing has brought Him closer to me than the gift of Aubri, Owen and Levi.
Last week at Centerpoint we kicked-off a new series called I Have Decided to Follow Jesus and week #1 was spent examining the term “Christian” by exploring its history and perception. Most of us know the really bad stuff that can be associated with this term so I thought it would be fun to discuss the lighter side of the perception. I developed a satirical list which I entitled Stuff Christians NEVER Say. It’s not really stuff Christians never say as much as it’s stuff Christian’s would rarely admit they say. It got a lot of laughs and I’ve been asked for the list several times in the past week so I thought I’d post it here. Hope you enjoy!
For decades, if not centuries, churches have often failed to work together unless a crisis forced them to do so. We’ve let the non-essentials divide us and we’ve played for the name on the back of the jersey instead of playing for the team on the front of the jersey. Many of us in the church have praised unity publicly while failing to practice it privately.
My father was a well respected pastor and leader in the community of Chillicothe we planted Centerpoint in. For years he prayed for unity and did everything he could to see the walls of division come tumbling down. Some people were receptive. Many were not. He spearheaded a Tuesday morning prayer time for area pastors of all denominations that still exists today and it’s growing as the circle prayers he prayed around this community for years begin to get answered.
Part of the answer to those prayers came early this year as local churches in our area came together to help fund and staff The Hope Clinic. The Hope Clinic provides free basic medical assistance for the individuals in our community without insurance. Instead of complaining about how something needed to be done we did it…together. The success of the clinic has prompted vision from some of it’s leaders on what else we might be able to do together. The clinic is only the beginning.
With a mindset of unity in front of us, Centerpoint held a combination baptism service last night with another local church (Church Triumphant) and together, we packed out a building and baptized over 20 people! As we closed out the service in worship the words THE ENEMY’S BEEN DEFEATED echoed loudly through the building and it wasn’t just a statement, it was a proclamation! We had plundered the gates of hell by joining together to do something significant and we knew it!
The idea churches can’t work well together is straight from hell and personally, I think those of us who truly want to build bridges would do well to send it back where it came from! It’s time each of us, in our specific communities, change the trend and show the world what can happen when the church unites under the heading of Jesus! The trend is certainly changing in Chillicothe, OH but I don’t believe we are the first nor will we be the last. Together, we can change the world and it’s time we do it.
Monday, my wife and I braved the Memorial Day crowds of IKEA to get some much desired furnishing for our recent remodel. In the process of navigating the endless room sets and wall to wall people, I begin to look at IKEA through to eyes of a church planter and pastor asking myself what the church could learn from IKEA. Here’s what I came up with.
Last week at Centerpoint an individual whom I greatly respect shared his personal journey through divorce. His divorce was triggered by an affair. His two girls, 10 and 12 at the time, were thrown into the midst of it and ended up with baggage of their own because of his mistake. He was on a journey to pastor and lost just about everything. He shared the whole messy story and people were healed because he was real.
Many of us in this postmodern, relevant church movement with our organic coffee, hip bands, and polished services can to easily forget that authenticity is what people ultimately hope to find at our churches. They want to know and see that we, just like them, are sinners in need of a Savior.
Sunday was an incredible reminder to me of what God can do when we decide to just be real. I believe the church needs more of those Sunday’s and it starts with those of us who lead. If we can’t admit our flaws and regrets than how can we expect anyone in our communities to do the same? God can take our mess and turn it into something beautiful but we have to confess it first.
You can listen to last week’s sermon from Centerpoint and guest speaker Rick Tripp HERE
In order to promote an upcoming sex and marriage series at Centerpoint, two of our best creatives (Wes Molebash & Johnny Ropple) created a series of 4 short films to compare and contrast the fairytale version of marriage vs. its reality. All 4 of the videos were hilarious but the one I’ve posted above was my favorite.
Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. I think it’s easy for those of us in the church to get so involved with our routines, structure and plans that we forget to laugh. The Gospel is a serious topic but life is funny and God created us with the ability to laugh at the funny moments of life.
I believe those of us in church must realize that laughter helps people un-cross their arms and open their hearts. May we live with the joy God has placed in our hearts & may we learn it’s ok to laugh when life sends something funny our way.
Yesterday at Centerpoint we had a tremendous response as our church of just under 150 people raised over $1,000 in gift cards to meet a practical need for a family in our community. With 4-days notice, I watched the people of our church get energized, passionate & excited about joining a cause bigger than themselves.
In a little over 2 years since our official launch, we have been dubbed as the Crazy Love church. A lot of people seem to think we dream up these awesome projects & outreach efforts but in all honesty, most of what we do is not that sexy & yes, I said sexy. We’ve bought a farm overseas, we put on an annual family carnival for free & we’re building a house in Mexico but honestly, most of our efforts to show Crazy Love don’t come packaged with a lot of fluff.
Likely using Matthew 25:31-46 as her guide Mother Teresa famously said that “small things, done with great love can change the world” We believe this & we take it to heart as a church. Feeding people isn’t that sexy but it matters. Doing a clothing drive isn’t that sexy but it matters. Providing clean water isn’t that sexy but it matters. Buying a $20 gift card for a family in need isn’t that sexy but it matters.
As followers of Christ we must remember to look beyond the sexy projects & learn to see the daily needs right in front of our eyes. Alone, these things probably won’t set the world on fire but when we put them all together we will see authentic life change & life change is what the Crazy Love of Jesus is all about to begin with.