Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wal-Mart is awesome

The word "Evangelism" has some really negative connotations. It makes me think of people knocking on doors, ready to fire some presentation about the "4 spiritual laws" at you, trying to coerce you into saying some sort of prayer. I'll be honest, even as a pastor who has the gift of evangelism, I'm still scared of the word.
But when we understand what the word really means (if we recliam it from those who have given the word its negative connotations), we' don't have to be scared of it, neither do we relegate it to the door-to-door people, or those who want to argue you into agreeing with their view of salvation.

The greek word from which we get the word evangelism, simply means "telling the good news." It was a military term that referred to the people who would ride city-to-city, announcing the victories of Caesar (the 'King' of the Roman Empire). So, to do evangelism in the name of Jesus, we're telling people the good news about Jesus, our King. What's the good news of Jesus? The good news is that His love conquers all and is for all! Anytime you're sharing the love of Jesus, you're doing evangelism.

In April, I spent some time praying; asking God how I could get more involved in the community, with the hope of sharing Jesus' love with some people who haven't yet experienced it. A week after starting to pray that way, we found a flier for The Music Man tryouts in a Wal-Mart shopping cart. It almost brings tears to my eyes thinking of the ways we were able to share Jesus' love over the past 3 months through our involvement in The Music Man. Whether it was sitting in a bar late Friday night/early Saturday morning and having someone say, "I'm not too religious and I prejudged you when I heard you were a pastor, but you're a pretty cool guy" or being able to pray for someone who lost a loved one, we had so many opportunities to share Jesus' love. We were able to have spiritual conversations but we didn't need to force any conversations, we simply responded to the questions people had of us or TFC.

But what's really blown me away over the past couple days is how when you share the love of Jesus with someone; it often happens that you get that love in return, no matter where the person may be on their spiritual journey. I was thinking about this after Erin's trip to the clubs on Friday evening. Even though we were in a hurry to get over to GEHS to prepare for opening night, she was able to talk with some people at one of the clubs. While passing out the gifts is Erin's attempt to share Jesus' love (she said the ladies really enjoyed this months' gift) she was also loved in return. Guido, part-owner of Bonita Flats with whom we've gotten to be pretty good friends, told Erin they've been reading this blog (what up, Guido) and so he knew about our failed IVF attempt. So, Guido gave Erin a hug and encouraged her. Erin said she almost started crying, but since we were in a hurry wasn't able to talk much. But that's exactly how the Kingdom of God works; the love of Jesus just flows between people!

There were a few people in particular with whom we were able to build deep relationships with through The Music Man. But again, the love and investment goes both ways. We invested and loved them and they did the same for us. There was one person in particular we've been really fortunate to build a relationship with. On Sunday night, this person told me something that confirmed what I was already pretty sure of, that the flier at Wal-Mart wasn't just a coincidence. This person told us, "Wal-Mart is awesome because God answered your prayer there!"

Evangelism is sharing the all-powerful and all-inclusive love of Jesus Christ!

Some videos from the show

I'm having trouble getting the video of "Trouble" from my camera to my computer because the file is so big. But I was able to upload to youtube two videos from our performance.
Thanks to _______ for ('illegally') recording a couple of the songs on Sunday. We did video the dress rehearsal on Thursday night, so we do have the entire show.

76 Trombones
Saturday night's curtain call
N-Sync version of Iowa Stubborn
Tomorrow (Alex and Michael decided to perform "Little Orphan Annie" on the side)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our Final Performance

The Music Man has consumed my life for the past 3 months, so it's hard to believe it's all over. I can finally stop worrying about losing my voice and always carrying around bottles of water. While we were getting dressed before the show, someone (I think it was Nick Marsh) said ending the show will be like a divorce; an abrupt end to some very deep relationships. It's hard not to get close to people when you're working together that intensely for that long. It also helps that we were working to make something beautiful. As I said in my "pre-game" prayer on Sunday, the community developed during The Music Man is a small picture of the Kingdom Jesus came into the world to establish. So many different people coming together for a common mission. It was a wonderful experience. After the final scene was over and the lights went off, I gave Caitlin (Marian) a big hug and almost started crying as I said, "we did it!"

We all made some mistakes on Sunday but I think the general energy level was still pretty high. We wanted to send it out with all that we had. Each performance I made different mistakes. On Sunday, for the first time in weeks, I got off rhythm on "Trouble." For a second I panicked, not sure if I could get back on rhythm. But the band actually stopped and came back in with me and it really wasn't that bad, all things considered. Thanks Will and Annie. In fact, Annie told me that it's one thing to do it perfectly but it takes even more talent to fix a mistake 'mid-stream.' Erin said she could tell my voice was sore during "Trouble." But I must've fixed it somehow because I was able to sing "Marian" better than any other performance. Maybe I just wasn't warmed up yet.
Probably the best compliment I received yesterday was from Chris Haag, telling me (several times) that I was "very professional" throughout these three months. I think he was referring to my work ethic and the fact that I tried to stay ahead of the rest of the cast in regards to memorization. I worked really hard at all of this; partly to lead by example but also because I needed to, none of this came naturally. I also received some compliments from drama teachers, including Heather Tinker. Getting compliments from "professionals" is a nice feeling.

One final, funny note. Our director, Franci, pulled an M. Night Shyamalan by appearing in the 2nd to final scene, one with the entire cast. She grabbed costume, put on some makeup and nonchalantly took a seat on the picnic table. I'm not sure how many cast members even noticed. Jake, a stage crew member said, "have you seen Franci? She's on stage!" So I ran and grabbed a camera and barely had enough time to snap a few blurry pictures. We were able to bring Franci up on stage during our final curtain call but she wasn't where she was supposed to be, so after running across the stage a couple times, I finally yelled out "Stop! Where's our fine director?" She then came running down from the back and we were able to give her the recognition she deserved.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Night Two of Music Man

Tonight was our second night. Supposedly, in theatre folklore, this the night where you have a letdown. Opening night is awesome, you want to give your best performance for the closer, so the second night suffers from the sophomore slump. I don't think we were much different than last night, although there was less adrenaline. I did, however, start out really badly. My entire family and some friends were sitting in the second row and when I came out and saw them there, it completely freaked me out! I messed up my lines during the opening scene with Marcellus and as soon as I made the mistake, I totally blanked! All I could think about was embarrassing myself in front of my family. Thankfully, Pete (Marcellus) is quite the actor, since he's the drama teacher at PRMS and he bailed me out. Even found a way to backtrack to the lines I'd skipped so we got the main point of the dialogue across. After that, though, I settled down and I feel like we put on a good show!

At the very beginning of practices, back in May, the assistant director told me she was going to have me pray before we went on stage. So I'd been working on a prayer for months. I hadn't heard anything else about it though, until our director texted me at about 4:30 on Friday to see if I'd lead in prayer. I told her I don't believe in prayer... (because I'm just witty like that). I won't detail the whole prayer, but I talked about how when we create, as we're doing with this show, we're tapping into God's creative energy and expressing that we're made in the image of our Creator. Just before warm ups, Franci asked me to pray again and I'd already shot all my creative theological bullets the night before, but it was okay.

I received three incredible compliments tonight. One of the "dancing/Pick-a-little ladies" told me that her husband hates musicals but came to support her and their girls. He told her last night, "that guy who played the salesman was pretty good." I had someone else say their spouse thought I was right for the part. And our director, Franci, who obviously runs in theatre/performance circles had a friend there tonight who Franci says is a pretty harsh critic of musicals. Along the same lines as to why I'd never preach at Seminary, didn't want my preaching subjected to the critical eyes of other preachers. Well, this friend thought I did a great job with Harold and she liked the show so much she's staying over tonight to watch it again on Sunday. We've got an AWESOME cast!!! Except for Paul Fibelkorn... Just kidding, Paul!

Now that I've got all of that out of my head, I can go to bed so I'll be ready to lead my congregation in the morning!

I signed an autograph tonight

Yes, for a little girl who was having cast members sign her program. I'm not sure if I've ever done that before.

Whenever I watch a musical, which I try to do at least a few times a year, I always get goosebumps during the curtain call. And when the leads come out, I almost always give them a standing ovation. Which is why since I was cast as Harold Hill back in early May, I've been looking forward to the curtain call as much as any other part of the performance. I must say, the experience didn't disappoint. When it was Caitlin and my turn, I came bounding out with the drum major high step I use during 76 Trombones. I'm not exaggerating (other people were telling me this, too) in saying the crowd erupted in a scream/roar! By the time Caitlin and I met at center stage, most of the house was on their feet. It's a moment I'll never, EVER forget!

The show tonight was amazing! It was by far the best we've ever done, so I guess you could say we're peaking at the right time. I didn't drop a SINGLE line in the songs or my dialogue. There were a few tiny mistakes here and there, but everyone was ON! The adrenaline rush was causing me to double the force of my expressions and reactions and I discovered several impromptu ways of bringing out Harold's character.

I was changing in the dressing room after the show, when someone came in telling me, "The Mayor is waiting to talk to you." I had seen Carol and her mother (who lives in Vintage Park and comes to the services we do there) sitting in the second row, stage right and was glad to see them. Anyway, Carol sincerely and enthusiastically thanked me for giving such a wonderful gift to our community. I've gotten a lot of compliments but that might be the most meaningful.

Two rather sad notes from last night. 1) While the teens were pumping themselves up by dancing around to "Go Ninja Go!", the lead part for the quartet (the quartet has, by far, the most important musical parts of the show) Alex Goerring, took an elbow to the chin which put his teeth through his upper lip. This happened 20 minutes before curtain! One of our cast members, Jacyln Dyer, is a nurse and she stitched him up.
2) We're supposed to move from the last scene to the curtain call in a matter of seconds. Which is why when the curtain closes, it's mass chaos. As soon as the curtain closes, it goes pitch black, which is quite dangers with 91 people frantically running across the stage. Thursday night, I almost plowed over a couple kids. Last night, Melissa Jackson (who is the sister-in-law of my cousin) fell off the top row of the bleachers and landed on the corner of the bottom bleacher, on her chin. It was really bad. Her teeth didn't go through but she has 3 big red marks. Again, Jacyln patched her up. She's hurt pretty bad but she was able to make it out for the curtain call!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Opening Night

Today begins one of the most unique weekends of my life. I've never been in a show like this and I might never be again (at least not the lead). We saw the programs last night and I must say it's a bit surreal to see my name at the top of the cast list.

This whole experience has been quite a ride. It's been a pleasure to work with so many talented people. I've been surprised by my ability to develop the character of Harold Hill. Franci, our director, told me she really likes the character into which I've made Harold.
On top of all the wonderful aspects of the musical itself, Erin and I have had significant opportunities to love, serve and build relationships with new people. Although the 2 1/2 months of work we've put in has been to prepare for this weekend, I feel that even were we not able to perform this weekend, the entire experience has been great. It's been well worth all the time and energy we've given. Even though I've put in a LOT of work, I've gotten more back in return.

Despite what everyone has been telling me, I have no intention of breaking either of my legs!
We've uploaded tons of pictures, here are some links to some albums.
Album 1
Album 2

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Performance Week!

The week of the show is finally here. I've actually been dreading this week a little bit. I'm not nervous about the show (at least I wasn't until last night), but I've been worried my voice won't hold out for the entire week. We're running through the show every night this week and we'll be doing the show Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But we've now got one night down, 6 more to go.

I choked a bit last night, forgetting dialogue, lyrics and dance steps. I think the lights and costumes made me a bit nervous, but I was flustered most of the night, trying to change costumes, grab props and remember when/where I was supposed to come on. By the second act however, I'd relaxed and was much more confident. I guess this is why we do a whole week of dress rehearsals.

If you'd like to see more pictures, you can check out my facebook album.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Mom" preached at TFC on Sunday

Or at least my second mom, as we called her in college. Dr. Sondra Cave is one of the (if not the) single most significant mentors in my life. Sondra is currently a professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University (my Alma matter). I first met Sondra when I was the chaplain for my freshman class and we worked together for the next four years, especially my senior year when I was Student Body President. Sondra planned our wedding, taught me tons about leadership and let me cry in her office when Erin broke up with me the first summer we were dating. (Which I laugh about now). Sondra is also on Erin and my personal intercessors team. Sondra helps her husband lead Faith Chapel Assembly of God in Stanley.

I'd wanted to have Sondra come preach for awhile and I decided the Sunday after I went to the Foo Fighter's concert would be the perfect day. Since I'd picked Sunday's passage back in October, I simply told her what I'd like her to preach on; Matthew 20:1-16. Afterwards, she asked why I gave her such a hard passage, "now I have to live what I just preached." To which I responded, "why do you think I had you preach that, so I wouldn't have to live it."

Sondra did preach a powerful message that spoke right to my heart. Or better said, it felt like God was pounding me over the head with the need to extend the same grace to others that he extended to me.

If you'd like to hear the message, click here.

My interview with the Gardner News

So, I got some crap at practice the other night after the article on The Music Man came out in the Gardner News. What I thought sounded funny while talking on the phone with the lady doing the interview, didn't seem so funny in print. I told Franci, our director, that I was just setting her up. If I actually dance well, then she looks good for "coaching me up," if I suck, people know it isn't her fault.
I'm hoping Gardner News prints a correction; "contrary to what we printed on July 16th, Donnie Miller pastors Trinity Family Church and he's a HE, not a She. But there's no such thing as bad publicity, right? I just copied this off the website (which probably breaks copyright regulations) because you'd need a password to read it. So, buy a paper for $1 this week and keep my butt out of jail.

Danedri Thompson
Seventy-six trombones and a big parade will march onto the Gardner Edgerton High School auditorium stage in late July when the Gardner Community Theater opens its production of "The Music Man."
The cast is a cross section of the local community including more than children and adults.
Annie Biggs is the show’s music director. Since early June, she’s been working with soloists, ensembles and the entire cast from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
"I think it’s a great community builder to bring neighbors and friends and families together to see a great family show," she said.
Like most good stories, "The Music Man" centers on the romance between characters Harold Hill, a con man, and Marian, the librarian.
Harold arrives in River City, Iowa, as the community’s billiard parlor installs a new pool table. According to Harold, that stands for trouble with a capital, "T." He tells parents "that game with the 15 numbered balls is the devil’s tool."
He convinces the townspeople to allow him to create a boys band to counter the evil at the billiard parlor. The only problem: Harold knows nothing about music.
But Marian, the town’s librarian, does. Harold flirts with the librarian in an attempt to charm her away from learning his secret. When Marian’s younger brother, Winthrop, gains confidence with his shiny, new band instrument, Marian falls for Harold.
Donnie Miller, pastor at Trinity Church in Gardner, portrays Harold in the production. It will be his first time in a large musical. He found a flyer about auditions in a Wal-Mart shopping cart and decided to try out.
"It’s one of my favorite musicals," she said. "I grew up in a river city in Iowa. so I really identified with the place."
Originally, he was going to sign up for the chorus.
"The directors talked me into trying out for a main part," he said. "In high school I sang in a group. I sang in a show choir. But I was one of the worst dancers. I haven’t done any music since high school really."
Gardner townspeople will recognize much of the music, according to Biggs.
"This a show a lot of people know," she said. "I think that will also help bring people in to come see the show."
Some of the more popular songs in the musical include, "Gary, Indiana," "Seventy-six Trombones," and "Goodnight my Someone." But the music isn’t the only thing Biggs thinks will interest viewers.
"It’s awesome seeing all of the talent that is in and around Gardner and the people that are making up the show," she said. "And I just get goose bumps, especially at the scene where Marian and Harold figure out they’re in love. It’s awesome."
The show opens on July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Gardner Edgerton High School auditorium. It will run on July 26 at 7 p.m. and on July 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at Price Chopper

The Fighters of Foo

I'm not a big concert goer, but when I heard the Foo was coming to town, I had to get tickets. I even went against my normal cheapness and bought lower level tickets. The tickets were well worth it, during their acoustic set, the stage (which dropped from the ceiling) was 50-75 yards away from us. It's almost like there were two concerts, from the acoustic set to the rock sets.

Dave sang "Everlong" by in the spotlight by himself on the acoustic stage, while the rest of the band walked back to the main stage. Just as it seemed the song had slowed to its final chord, Dave hit one more chord on the guitar, threw his hair back, the lights on the main stage came on and the rest of the band came into the song full blast. They had a lot of timing effects like that that were very impressive.

Dave Grohl knows how to put on a show. I don't think however that he knew what city he was in and I know he wasn't sure what day of the week it was. While he was quite humorous when talking, Forrest Gump could best summarize Grohl's stand-up shtick, "for whatever reason, that man sure loved saying the F-word. And every time he said the F-word, people would cheer real loud." Grohl continued reminding us of how lucky we were that they weren't like other loser bands that only plan for 1 1/2 hours and that since they don't suck like they used to (his words) they have enough good songs to play for 2 1/2 hours, which they did. We certainly got our money's worth.

They didn't play many non-radio songs off their newest album, so I didn't get to hear "Come Alive" which bummed me out. But I was correct in guessing they'd close with "Best of You." I had a spiritual experience while they were playing and the crowd was singing that song; WOW!!!

I'm usually in bed by 10:00 on Saturday night but I didn't get into bed until after 1:30 last night. It would've been sooner, but they talked me into going to Waffle House. Fortunately, Zach talked me into sleeping in on Sunday morning (I didn't get up until 8:09 and didn't get to church until 9:00) so I was completely alert for leading worship and giving my annual report.

They also talked me into joining them in wearing the concert shirt we bought last night. Chris waited too long and couldn't get the cool one and for some reason, Nate didn't buy one. So, for the first time in the history of our church, I wore a t-shirt on a Sunday morning. Since our we have the best Foo cover band (at least among church bands) it would be okay. But considering the bomb-looking thing on the front of the shirt and that I preached on non-violent resistance last Sunday, I might have been sending mixed messages. What's the preacher line, "do as I say, not as I wear?"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a Weekend!

Quite the weekend it's turning out to be.
Last night we went to a performance of a dance camp in Gardner. We went to support our Music Man director, who lead the camp, too. After that, we went to Austin's with a group from the musical. We then went to Wally's and sang karioke until about 1 AM.

Sunday night we're having some more people from the musical over for dinner, which will be nice. We've been able to meet some wonderful and creative people through the musical. The president of Gardner Community Theatre was talking with Erin and I about joining their leadership team. I'm going to seriously consider doing that.

Tonight however, is the big night! Chris, Zach, Nate, Josh and I are going to Kemper to see the Foo Fighters! I think Nate could probably teach Dave Grohl a thing or two, but we probably won't get close enough.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I can't wait until the move!

Pastor Andy, David Brush and I went over to Pioneer Ridge Middle School to do some more measuring and planning for our move to PRMS on August 31st. I came away from there so pumped about moving into that new facility! There is so much open space that has yet to be filled. Not only will we have lots of room, but our sanctuary set-up is going to get dramatically quicker. Our band out to be playing by 9:00, easily.

Our kids' set-up is going to take more work however, so it will be an even trade-off. After our guys finish the sanctuary, they'll head down the hall to the cafetaria area where Pastor Andy will be leading TFC Kidz.

It also looks like the play panels we'll need to buy for the kids' area will cost exactly what was pledged in our child-credit campaign. What an amazing coincidence, huh?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No Perfect People Allowed - Chapter 9

The Humble Truth about Truth: Creating a Culture of Truth-Telling Humility

"We must know where to doubt, where to feel certain, where to submit." - Pascal

Arrogant truth is the greatest evil.

The greatest resistance to Christian truth happens when Christians come across as arrogant rather than humble - so we must first create a culture that reflects the humble nature of Jesus.

I believe that ultimately, Truth is a person. (as do I)

It is important for leaders to be able to humbly admit our human limitations of knowledge. But the fact that I cannot know all truth does not mean I cannot know any truth! Humble truth allows us to admit we're not always right as fallible humans, yet it points out that we can know some things are true about God, even though we can't know all truth. Often, this opens the door for people to continue seeking truth.

Maybe part of the reason the church is losing the battle for truth is that the quality of life the Living-Truth produces is not that evident in our churches. Knowing God in truth produces an eternal quality of life, and the impact is wonderfully freeing and life-giving to our relationships, our work-world, and our moment-by-moment experience of life. Jesus said, "if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

In most everyone's journey of faith, there are times when God seemed to be gently tapping them on the shoulder. If we can make people aware of the mystery of the Truth, who personally pursues wayward people, they become more open to responding to him.

Truth, we must remember, belongs to God alone. As people are restored into right relationship with the Truth, then by his Spirit he guides people into all truth just as he promised. Church leaders must understand this multi-dimensional process of culture creation by which our postmodern, post-Christian world arrives at truth - through humility, practical understanding, rational reasoning, and ultimately the mystery of God's guidance.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Some thoughts from yesterday

Yesterday was a wonderful day! It was one of those days in which I'm incredible grateful for the privilege of being a pastor!
- Since we didn't have a lot of sound equipment, set-up and tear-down were really quick and painless. Noel was pulling away the trailer at 12:15!
- Ryan did a wonderful job leading our music. Ryan is one of the most genuine guys I know and he has a strong, vibrant commitment to Christ. I believe Ryan's ability to lead corporate worship flows from the vitality of his relationship with Christ.
- I had a serious encounter with God during yesterday's music, as did my wife. This past week was really difficult, but we were both able to experience a few moments where our worries and pain melted away while we were overwhelmed by the goodness of God.
- I had planned to cite my sources for yesterday's sermon during the blessing, but I forgot. My two main sources for yesterday's sermon was a message from Rob Bell's series, "Calling All Peacemakers" and Jim Wallis' book, "God's Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn't get it." I'd highly recommend both of these listens/reads.
- There's a running joke among those of us who go to Gambino's EVERY single Sunday after church. The joke is, "where should we go to lunch?" "I don't know, let's try something different, like Gambino's." Thanks, I'll be here all week. If you haven't make the trek to TFC East (Gambino's) after worship, do it sometime soon. Cheap lunch specials.
- Some of our teens leave for Juarez, Mexico this Saturday morning! I was talking with Michelle Corbin and she said she's so excited she's having trouble sleeping. It's going to be an amazing experience for this group.
- David Brush and I got in 18 holes of disc golf on Sunday afternoon. You don't get much more beautiful weather in July.
- I had an amazing conversation with a fairly new family last night. Being a pastor means I have an incredible opportunity to both observe the steps people take in their spiritual journey as well as leading them into some new territory.
- I spent the last 1 1/2 hours of my day running through my lines for the millionth time. And yet, I still keep making some dumb, little mistakes.
- Which reminds me, we've got 4 complimentary tickets since we took out an add in the program. The first person/family to tell me they're taking some unchurched friends to the show can have the tickets. You need to let me know the night, though, so I can get the correct tickets.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

IVF Update

About a week ago, Erin started taking some medicine that's supposed to stimulate her estrogen levels for the egg retrieval procedure. When Erin was tested right before starting the medicine, her estrogen level was at a healthy rate, just right for normal ovulation.
After a week of taking the medicine, rather than multiplying as they're supposed to, her estrogen level actually dropped to below normal. Our nurse informed us that women occasionally have this type of reaction. So the whole process had to be stopped.
This is VERY disappointing.
We knew there were risks in the procedure and a lot of things have to go right for a pregnancy to happen, but we thought this stage was the least risky of the several stages. It turns out we didn't even make it through the egg production stage so we could move onto the egg retrieval, fertilization and implantation.
Have I mentioned this is really disappointing?
We have some options. We will be thinking and praying about them over the next few weeks before making any decisions.
The fact that so many people want to know what's going on and are praying for us is a wonderful thing. We know we're loved and we know we're not going through this alone. Due to the emotional roller coaster of getting our hopes up, the heartbreak of having it fail and then having to think of more options with the mixture of hope and fear, we're not going to be talking publicly about this for awhile. It's just too painful to talk about it again and again.
Thanks for loving us.
Thanks for praying for us.

The reason I'm in the musical!

I shared in an earlier post how the opportunity to be in this musical was either a timely answer to prayer or an amazing coincidence.
For the two months I've been practicing, I've spent hours praying that God would use me in this situation.
Everyone in the cast knows I'm a pastor. I've been intentional about finding ways to talk about my "day job" as a spiritual leader while at the same time breaking down possible stereotypes of conservative, up-tight pastors.
But I still had yet to have the opportunity to have a serious spiritual conversation with anyone. But the 'breakthrough' I've been waiting for happened on Monday night, as we were nearing the end of our 5th (yes, 5th) hour of practice.
I'm not going to go into details, out of respect for the people with whom I was talking, but I'll let you know I came away from the conversation with tears in my eyes. I came home and told Erin, "I finally know why I'm supposed to be in this musical."

Now I want to challenge you in the way I was challenged last spring, which prompted me to get involved in this musical. What are you doing to build relationships with unchurched people? How are you breaking out of your comfort zone? What are you intentionally doing to give yourself the opportunity to build relationships with future Christ-followers?

My conversation last night was a perfect example of how God works through us. I didn't spark the conversation, but finding ways to build relationships and spending hours in prayer, put me in the right place to be used by God.

And let me challenge you in this way, too. Are you willing to love people simply for who they are and where they are, whether or not you have a spiritual conversation with them or they ever accept your invitation to church? Sure, there's nothing better than helping a person put their faith in Christ, but can you continue to love even if that decision never happens? Are you loving people with no strings attached, no agendas? You can't do it if you're stuck in your christian subculture or comfortzone all the time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

TFC Movie Night

We had a great night on Saturday night. It's a holiday weekend, so not a big crowd, but still a good night. Pastor Andy had the idea of hosting a "family movie night" and I later thought it would be a great idea to invite my entire neighborhood. So Scott Sidusky and I walked our neighborhood, sticking 248 flyers into doors.
As we were walking the nieghborhood, I realized I've lost count of how many times I've gone door-to-door in my neighborhood, passing out flyers for events like our Love and Logic class, other movie nights, Easter Egg hunt, Trunk-or-Treat. I was thinking about how I'm going to keep trying to find ways to serve my neighborhood. God has placed us here for a reason and we're going to keep doing what he's called us to do.
We did have one family come on Saturday night because of a flyer. They're brand new, just moved into Doublegate. I was proud to see Tonya Pride invite them to our church picnic the next day. Tonya said the wife was the one to bring up the subject of church. I was able to talk with them a bit about church, too; the wife telling me she doesn't have much experience in church. I told her she'd fit right in at TFC! I gave them my business card, with our church webaddress and we'll see what happens.
It's as I said in the post below, I'm settling into a rythmn of daily work with an eye on the long-term. If we keep being faithful with what God asks us to do today, we'll see kingdom results over the long term.