Sunday Debrief: I am a Member (8/18/13) (or, The Show Goes On)

It happened again. Another Sunday where I realized how unneeded I was (there are many). As you may (or may not) know, Courtney delivered Abram Alexander on Monday. Now, I’m one for preaching every Sunday I’m given, so I asked Courtney if she’d let me preach the Sunday after his delivery. She said “yes” (it was almost as exciting as the day we got engaged). I let the big dawg know (who some call Kevin McKee), and he kindly suggested I take that Sunday off.

I fought it at first, then thought it might be good to remind myself how I’m not in this thing for me, so I tapped Corey O’Quin, our Community Groups Guru, to preach the sermon since it was right up his alley (talking about being members together in the body), and he did a great job! I took him to a long lunch afterward to talk about all kinds of things, and the bulk of my comments were on delivery, not content. (Hey, you don’t win “Best Male Actor” in 8th grade without learning a thing or–no, just one thing–about communicating.)

1 Corinthians 12 teaches us the value of being members together in the body (and we will talk further about our giftedness next Sunday)–that Jesus is doing a work bigger than we can imagine when He calls us together in His Body. We ended with this great testimony of a young member of our congregation finding a way she can put her membership in Christ’s body on display in a beautiful way.

(Untitled from The Chapel on Vimeo.)

You know, though, as great as Corey was (and he did do a wonderful job), I come away realizing a few things about my own replaceability. So, without further ado, here are my three thoughts about being disposable in ministry.

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Sunday Debrief: I am in Christ (8/11/13) (or, welcome to the world, Abram!)

Ok, I’ll be honest. It’s been a little bit of a distracting week, so this is almost one week late. Monday morning we welcomed Abram Alexander to the Googer family, forever tipping the scales in favor of the Y-chromosome. 

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So preach on Sunday, baby on Monday. With Asher it was baby on Thursday, preach on Sunday. With Ethan it was baby on Monday, preach five weeks later as a filler for a vacationing Kevin (pulpit supply is a viable ministry!).

So this past Sunday began our new Who Am I? series–eleven weeks focusing in on issues of our own identity in Jesus, and (some of) the central truths that we wanted to focus on for our specific congregation, and being “in Christ” is, to me, the central truth from which all others flow. . .

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Sunday Debrief: Be the Church (Finishing Acts)

We did it. You may not have though it would happen, but we finished our Acts series. One year later and 42 sermons (41 at The Campus Location–I want The Oaks to over-achieve). That means that if you came to The Oaks you likely gave over a day of your life to listening to me (I’m sorry for that).

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It was a sweet Sunday. And as part of it we went through Acts in 24 words. Here they are (for you Bible nerds). . .

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Four Thoughts Four Years In

Four years ago today I got out of bed at Courtney’s cousin’s guest house in Dallas. It was early, and mornings and I are not always on the greatest terms. I had a trek ahead of me. The first stop: drive close to the DTS campus and pick up my friend, Jeff. There was no issue at all figuring out which vehicle was mine. I rolled up in the 17-foot U-Haul, loaded up the night before by some great friends (and, if I remember correctly, we ate pizza that night as well). Our six hundred(ish) square-foot apartment had been emptied, our U-Haul packed, and our sights set on Baton Rouge, Louisiana–where I had just accepted a job doing Lord knows what.

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 Toby and I doing what we do best: not moving boxes and looking tough. (PS-Toby and his wife had twins about a week ago.)

A lot has changed in those four years. We’ve added two children (with a third coming August 12th) and endured the first one staying in the hospital his first month. We’ve done big kid things like plan for our future and the inevitable end of being gainfully employed, buy a house, get life insurance (well, I [Hans] have), pay bills, and gain weight (though Courtney has an excuse, I don’t). We’ve developed an entirely new network of relationships out of the church. And I (Hans) have had I’m not sure how many job changes (when you don’t have a job description, you aren’t really sure what is and isn’t your job). But I’ve been in my role as teaching pastor of The Oaks for over a year now.

I have many thoughts on the past four years, but, for your sake, I’ll limit them to four. . .

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What On Earth is Discipleship?

Jesus made it plain: make disciples of all nations. Now, much can be said for different programs, methods, strategies, models, books, structures, articles, ministries, non-profits, para-churches, Bible studies, experts, bloggers, consultants, and pastors who have the way to disciple. Like Coach Boone, they proudly say about their strategy, “I run six plays, split veer. It’s like novocaine. Just give it time, always works. See you on the bus.

But discipleship isn’t clean. And, despite one’s best efforts, it doesn’t work every time. Local churches need to intentionally disciple their people, but what on earth does that mean? One of my favorite videos on the subject. . .

This is Discipling from The Foursquare Church on Vimeo.

So how do we define discipleship? And how do we know if it is getting accomplished? When I find out, I’ll let you know. And I ask you to please return the favor. Until then, here’s what I say to pretend like I know.

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Sunday Debrief: Compelled to Continue (7/21/13)

We are getting close to the end. Close to the completion of our Acts series. About a year after we began, we will be finishing up. And today was a great Sunday. (Don’t ask me what makes one Sunday better than another. It is almost completely arbitrary.)

We use a semi-confusing pattern for planning services and working on sermons. It leads us to often say, “Wait. What Sunday are we talking about?” Needless to say, it requires us to stay in planning mode a lot. However, on Sundays like this, we (or I) get to call an audible. There are always dates on the preaching calendar (which maps out our passages over the course of a year) that are “open” and, at times, we can fill those with what we want. I wanted to finish Paul’s third journey (Acts 21:1-16), and I’m glad we did, because it touches on how we should act when believers want different outcomes.

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