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CCC blog

Archive for February 2008

Authentic Humans

“If we let God make us authentic humans–not sub-cultural Christians, but affirming, vulnerable, open people who penetrate the world and love it as deeply as Jesus did–then the presence of God will be overwhelmingly felt by the world.”
~Becky Pippert

Jumping Jacks for your soul!

Dear Sarpy Campus,

I spent this past week debating on what to say in this weeks Sarpy Campus email. After several attempts, I realized that the best writing was already done to describe how last Sunday went.

Below is an email the CCC church staff and elders received from Lead Pastor Mark Ashton last Sunday after he joined us for our Grand Opening.

My heart was just about to leap out of my chest at 8:55 this morning. I was standing at the middle of the ‘cafeteria’ at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Sarpy county. The room had been utterly transformed. The white floors were carpeted, brown drapes hung around the formerly sterile brick walls. The stage came out in four foot stair steps out into the room. Band equipment decorated the stage, a monster video screen was in the front of the room. Round tables with 200 purple chairs were all around the 27 tables, tastefully decorated with tan table cloths, and beautiful vases.

But the real buzz in the room was the people. People who were lost. People who were saved. People who were broken and people who had been redeemed. When I saw the people, my soul began to do jumping jacks.

For 18 months, we have prayed, planned, given, hired, trained, built teams and designed stuff. Now, the day was finally here. Sarpy was open.

Dozens of people from the community poured in…then more and more. After the music began, more people trickled into the back. The worship was well led and people engaged. Conversations around tables were lively as people met new friends for the first time.

Watching the people, I could not help but feel like we, as a church, had given birth. Not to a scrawny, underdeveloped four pounder, but to a strapping ten pound baby boy. Before the morning was done, 353 people attended the services. Not bad for a bad-weather, cold-and-flu, holiday weekend.

CCC Sarpy is born, thanks to the Sarpy campus staff, 4 elders, tons of volunteers, lots of service, not a little money, and a bunch of love. But most important, thanks to God for bringing this vision to life! With the birth of Sarpy, the DNA of CCC changes a little bit. Our hearts grow as we reach and stretch. Our capacity for reaching people moves to the next level.

We now have seven services meeting in four venues and two locations on a Sunday morning. And with the ‘multisite mentality’, there is no limit to the impact that God can have through us in Omaha and beyond!

In the next three months, be sure to visit Lewis and Clark Middle School at least once…see what God is doing…see if your soul does jumping jacks too…

Well, we have completed four weeks of services, including our Grand Opening. Please keep in prayer for the Sarpy Campus to have favor in the community and to reach those who have no church home.

Thankfully yours,

Steve Walters
Christ Community Church
Sarpy Campus Pastor

Marriage Practicals

A few people have asked me, or emailed about the ‘practical list’ of things a husband can do to love his wife and a wife can do to respect her husband from last week’s message “Designer Genes”. So, it is listed below. Be sure to be around for the next four weeks as we set marriages on fire!

Guys, Here’s your part:

Here is the deal: your wife needs not merely to be loved, but to feel loved. One woman complained to her husband “You never say you love me!” He responded “The day we got married I told you I love you and if I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”

Truth about women is that they need to ‘hear’ I LOVE YOU all the time in repeated and varied ways. They yearn for it and never get tired. I am going to give you some ideas of what you can do this week to accelerate her love quotient to maximum levels. Experiment with some of these and you’ll see a different lady by the end of your experiment.

First, you need to know that your wife wants to feel close to you. For women, it is not good enough to just physically share the same space. They need a sense of connection. Here are some ways that that happens.

  • Hold her hand*
  • Show some affection… without expecting a roll in the hay
  • Get a few minutes alone with her every day and just talk – no TV, no kids, no guests
  • Plan a date…do something unexpected when you are with her
  • Tell her about your day and the challenges you’re are facing
  • Take her for a walk and reminisce about some good memories from dating or early marriage
  • When she talks about problems she is facing, just listen and repeat back what you heard her say… try not to give advice to ‘fix’ her, but ask another question to ‘understand her’
  • Try to put a name to her feelings when she tells you stories “That sounds distressing” “That must have hurt”
  • Cut her some slack during her least favorite time of the month* Pray with her – let your deepest desires before God show in front of her

In addition to her need for closeness, she needs to know of your loyalty…that ‘she’s the only one for you.’ She will fly high under the security of your undying love for her and esteem of her. Here’s a few more practical ideas…

  • Always speak highly of her in front of others
  • Be involved in things that are important to her – especially if it is in regards to your children* Don’t be scoping out other women
  • Tell the kids “don’t speak to your mother that way!”
  • Let her know about your plans…especially if there are changes
  • Notice things that change about her physical appearance – new haircuts and clothes are key moments to pay attention.
  • Praise her accomplishments with sincerity and enthusiasm
  • Tell her she is the most important person in your life…and back it up with your priorities

Ladies, here’s your stuff:

Here is a secret you can take to the bank. Showing respect for your husband is like rocket fuel in his emotional tanker…just like love fills your soul to the top, respect fans his flame. A man’s natural response to receiving respect is to …get this… to serve! Really…when he is in an environment where he is valued and his contribution is valued, his natural instinct is to contribute MORE!

Try this as a test someday. Write down a list of the things you really respect about your husband. For some of you this will be easy, but for others it might take some time. But do it. It may be “I respect the fact that you get up every day and work hard to provide for our family.” It may be “I respect the way you make decisions about repairing our cars.” Or, I respect the skills you have in fixing the plumbing.” There are a ton of possibilities.
Then, one day, just drop it on him. Not the list…just say “you know, I was thinking about some things that I really respect about you today.” Then casually excuse yourself because you have something to do. He’ll likely jump out of his chair to find what those things are! Let him know a few things and watch how he responds.

You might think of other ways to do it…a voicemail, a note, a face-to-face conversation, an email…but whatever you do be sure to regularly and enthusiastically show respect.
Here are some other great ways to demonstrate that you respect him:

  • Learn from him
  • Support him in things he is leading
  • Praise his good decisions
  • Thank him for his advice
  • Give him kudos for accomplishing athletic, or exercise goals
  • Initiate some bedtime activity, telling him how irresistible he is to you
  • Act with gratitude for his income

Jumping Jacks

My heart was just about to leap out of my chest at 8:55 this morning. I was standing at the middle of the ‘cafeteria’ at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Sarpy county. The room had been utterly transformed. The white floors were carpeted, brown drapes hung around the formerly sterile brick walls. The stage came out in four foot stair steps out into the room. Band equipment decorated the stage, a monster video screen was in the front of the room. Round tables with 200 purple chairs were all around the 27 tables, tastefully decorated with tan table cloths, and beautiful vases.

But the real buzz in the room was the people. People who were lost. People who were saved. People who were broken and people who had been redeemed. When I saw the people, my soul began to do jumping jacks.

For 18 months, we have prayed, planned, given, hired, trained, built teams and designed stuff. Now, the day was finally here. Sarpy was open.

Dozens of people from the community poured in…then more and more. After the music began, more people trickled into the back. The worship was well led and people engaged. Conversations around tables were lively as people met new friends for the first time.

Watching the people, I could not help but feel like we, as a church, had given birth. Not to a scrawny, underdeveloped four pounder, but to a strapping ten pound baby boy. Before the morning was done, 353 people attended the services. Not bad for a bad-weather, cold-and-flu, holiday weekend.

CCC Sarpy is born, thanks to Steve Walters, 4 other staff, 4 elders, tons of volunteers, lots of service, not a little money, and a bunch of love. But most important, thanks to God for bringing this vision to life! With the birth of Sarpy, the DNA of CCC changes a little bit. Our hearts grow as we reach and stretch. Our capacity for reaching people moves to the next level.

We now have seven services meeting in four venues and two locations on a Sunday morning. And with the ‘multisite mentality’, there is no limit to the impact that God can have through us in Omaha and beyond!

In the next three months, be sure to visit Lewis and Clark Middle School at least once…see what God is doing…see if your soul does jumping jacks too…

Anticipate with no Agenda!

328 That is the approximate number of sunrises we have experienced since the idea of a multi-site in Sarpy County was introduced to Christ Community Old Mill. Since then God has brought together a great staff, excellent facilities, and a fantastic launch team. Because of all the work put into CC-Sarpy we are under budget in start up expenses, we have over 12 Journey Groups in place for adults and have averaged 70+ children in the previous Sunday mornings.

3 That is what is on my “Sarpy Campus Countdown Clock.” Yes, we have experienced three exciting “soft opening” services but the reality is that there are only three days before our grand opening.

I ask that you be in prayer for not only for this Sunday, but also in the months ahead.
Recently, I heard a speaker say that we should go to church with expectation that God will work, but with no agenda on how He will work.

I want all of us to anticipate that God will do a great work this and every Sunday but know that it won’t necessarily be in ways that you think. We know the ‘biggies’ of church is music, message or coffee :). However, God could work powerfully in a person’s life at the Sarpy Campus because of you inviting them to sit at your table, or for you saying hi to an individual as you are both getting a cup of coffee. God can work through the parking lot greeters waving at the car coming in or with the children thoroughly enjoying themselves in Kids Connect. Regardless, it is ultimately trusting God to do His work using us in a variety of ways to touch lives.

Take time right now after reading this email to ask God to show you the people He is working in and how He wants you to minister to them through seemingly insignificant ways.

6-8: We need 6-8 people to meet at 11am Saturday the 16th to get set up for Sunday. It will take approximately 90 minutes to transform the cafeteria into a sanctuary and classrooms into Children’s Kids Connect.

On Sunday, be sure to have your best smile and your eyes open to the guests who God brings on the 17th.

3.20-21 “To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! [Ephesians]

Enjoying the Journey!

Steve Walters
Sarpy Campus Pastor
stevew@cccomaha.org

Defining Pluralism

I want to thank Jim for his response to last week’s blog. Just so you know how it works, you’ve got to write me so I can include your thoughts in the interaction. So…jump in, send me an e-mail and we’ll take it from there.

Pluralism can be defined a number of ways. I’ve found it helpful to make a distinction between pluralism as an observation of fact, and pluralism as a prescriptive conviction. As an observable fact, pluralism is an undeniably valid description of the religious and philosophical landscape of our times. There are hundreds and hundreds of interesting ways people have attempted to make sense of the world and relate to God. A quick scan of the top twenty religious groupings in the United States will convince just about anyone that pluralism is a fact. One study estimates that in addition to 160 million Christians in the US, there are 2.8 million followers of Judaism, 1.1 million practicing Muslims, about a million Buddhists, 900-thousand Agnostics and about the same size group of Athiests, and nearly 800-thousand Hindus. Add to that half a million Universalists, 100-thousand Spiritualists, 100-thousand practicioners of Native American religions, 84,000 Baha’i, 68,000 New Agers, and 57,000 Sikhs! (see http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html)

As Jim has pointed out, however, pluralism is more than a mere fact about American society. Pluralism in America is becoming a cherished value by many. Pluralism as a conviction dictates that every world view and every religion is equally valid. In order for pluralism to “work like a magnet” on Christianity, it has to alter its substance at the very core. Biblical Christianity is like most coins – completely irresponsive to the magnet. The claims of Jesus identity as the only son of God and the only way to salvation absolutely disqualify Christianity from pluralism’s pull. Christianity has nothing to fear – bring on every magnet you’ve got! In fact, because Christianity is not susceptible to the corrosion of philosophical pluralism we can joyfully venture into the fray of world views and engage them with the powerful person of Jesus!

Pluralism is a Lame Magnet – Comments from Jim

I find the analogy of pluralism to a magnet to be confusing and potentially harmful: in making pluralism the focus… and since the answer to “Does the pull of pluralism really work on Christianity?” is “No.” … it casts Christianity as lacking some element.

The analogy is also confusing because it compares something true to something false. Magnets attract iron. All religions don’t lead to the same destination, and sincerity is not all that is required, as are the claims of pluralism. Magnets ARE attractive; pluralism only “sounds” attractive to the unknowledgeable or to the deceived.

The question, “Does the pull of pluralism really work on Christianity?”, is absurd, given that the pull of pluralism is a lie.

“Can you be a Christian and a pluralist at the same time?” Unqualified, perhaps surprisingly, the answer has to be “Yes,” especially if Christianity and pluralism are equated only as personal identities, or philosophies, ideas, thought constructs or concepts. …

It is possible, after, through belief, having been created (re-born) as a Christian, to also have other, even contradictory, beliefs as well. One can still be a Christian dispite his or her thoughts about particular topics or issues. Since we are born again from sin as infants (inexperienced, naive), it is more likely that we will also have contradictory beliefs earlier in our Christian life. The more we come to learn, know, and understand the Word of God, and the triune God Himself, the less contradictory beliefs we will hold, so it will be less true for a more mature Christian to be a pluralist. It makes sense to be asking questions about pluralism in a seekers group.

Sarpy Campus Library Wish List

Dear Sarpy Campus”ites”

We have a great opportunity to help individuals and families on their spiritual journey. If you could help us out by donating cash, purchase an item or give us your gently used copy, it would be appreciated.


Books for Adults
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
What is So Amazing About Grace? By Phillip Yancey
No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke
Get Out of That Pit! Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance by Beth Moore
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God But Were Afraid to Ask
Blue Like Jazz

DVDs for Adults
NOOMA DVDs [“Lump” “Name” and “Today”]

Books for Youth
Red Rock mysteries for 8-12 year olds, beginning with #1
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe
Color Me series by Melody Carlson
Wally McDoogle (My life as series)

Books for Children
Mark Lowry: Pipers Greatest Adventures
VeggieTales books
Legend of the Three Trees
Gods Wonderful Plan

DVDs for Children
Boz
Bibleman (we have Crushing the Conspiracy of the Cheaters)
VeggieTales [we have newest one]

CDs for children
Adventures in Odyssey;
Discovering Odyssey
Into the Light
Moment of Truth
Passport to Adventure
Flights of Imagination
Wish You Were Here
Twists and Turns
Darkness Before dawn
Eugene Returns

If you have any questions, contact our librarian Donna Wenzel at: Donwenz@aol.com

Thanks for your interest and help!

On the Journey,
Steve Walters
Sarpy Campus Pastor