Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sunday Stroll

Even though our winter in north Idaho has been exceptionally mild, cabin fever still creeps in about this time of year. Sunday afternoon was nice so we decided to see if we could get to Jolene and Vance’s remote cabin area. Snow was not a hindrance but there was ice on the road was so we put on tire chains and drove there easily. We have never been there this early.

We parked at the edge of a clear cut and walked around on bare ground. Lizzie and I found a small deer antler that had been dropped so we were encouraged to look for more. Lizzie and Hannah are getting good identifying animal tracks and they were quick to point them out. Even though we couldn’t find anymore antlers it was fun to walk around and explore. The afternoon ended too soon and we had to head back home. It was good to see the deer, elk, and moose are wintering well this year after two years of deep snow.

The opportunity to get the granddaughters outside was the highlight of the day. Anytime you can get a child outside is good. Too many children do not get this opportunity. If you have a chance, go show a child the amazing world God created. You will both learn something about this wild creation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sport Show 2010

The Sport Expo is over and it was a huge success thanks to the many volunteers that devoted their time over the weekend. It is proof that people from six churches can work together. Now if we can only convince some more pastors in the community that God really does exist outside the church walls.

It was great to see children catching trout with a big smile on their faces but I think the volunteers at the fish pond had as much fun as the kids did. Home Depot also provided a hands on work shop for kids to build things. We had Fjord horses giving wagon rides which were quite popular. People were able to browse through booths containing a wide variety of outdoor related sports. There was hunting, fishing, ATV, snowmobile, antique firearms, knives, taxidermy, rafting, boats, hickory rockers, stained glass, archery, float planes, and great food available. We also had booths for National Day of Prayer, The Luke Commission, and Love Inc.

The Sunday morning service was well attended even though it was at 8 a.m. I gave a message titled Unprepared, which was about a caribou hunt that went bad. We thank God for everyone that attended over the weekend. Now we will put our heads together to see how to improve it for next year.

God calls us to get out of the church into the community to transform lives. A sport show is just one way. We need to be aware that many people in our community are going through bad times and pray for them. People don’t care how much you know; they want to know how much you care.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Breaking Tradition

Traditional Christianity seems to go something like this; go to church once a week, raise a family, work hard, and try to be generally good. The only difference from non Christians is going to church once a week or less. The national rate is something like two and a half times per month. No wonder we aren’t transforming America. Jesus commanded us to go out and make disciples which we think only means mission work to other countries. I believe Jesus was really saying, “Start right where you are.”

Since most church growth in this country is lateral, meaning people leaving churches and going to another, we aren’t growing much. I’m going into hostile territory, but most people and churches hinder the Holy Spirit by being afraid to break from tradition. When you read the Book of Acts you see the Holy Spirit very much alive in the early Christians and their churches. That is why Christianity spread like wildfire even against extreme oppression. We have grown afraid to challenge tradition and think outside the box.

A group of men in the Sandpoint area formed over a year ago to launch a ministry to reach the non churched people. We held an outdoor expo that targeted many outdoor sport venues. Results the first year exceeded our expectations because we let God take over. We were able to connect with the community in a way never tried in Sandpoint. Over sixty retail vendors signed up, many of those were not Christian. Several vendors stated after the show that this was the best show they had ever participated in. We don’t take credit for that, it belongs to God. The second annual sports expo will be held this year at the Bonner County Fairgrounds from February 12 through the 14th. We look forward to impact people’s lives with the realness of Jesus.

The lack of local churches to catch this ministry vision is disappointing. The men come from five churches but Sandpoint has over twenty. Many pastors will not bring it up to their men. We have tried approaching them through a variety of ways but tradition seems to block our efforts. Our prayer is for these pastors to catch the vision of transforming Sandpoint for Christ. You do that by building relationships with the community not by religion.