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Archive for February 2009

Happy Birthday Christ Community!

This weekend we celebrate Christ Community turning 1 year old! We intentionally aren’t saying Christ Community Sarpy, because we are one church with one message in multiple venues.

So actually, the 1 year birthday for Christ Community Church meeting in Sarpy County at Lewis & Clark Middle School is a 1 year birthday for all of us. Whether you worship in Access, in Traditions or in Connection, “our birthday” is YOUR birthday.

This is a huge milestone in the history of Christ Community. Not just for this campus but also for the next campus we want to start in the fall of 2010.

Sunday at Sarpy we will celebrate all that has been done over the last year and look forward to where God is taking us. You won’t want to miss it! The magic words for the day is “free cupcakes for everyone!”

Also, this is a great Sunday to invite somebody to see what Christ Community is all about. Invite a friend or neighbor to come along and join us for this big day.

Feeling younger while getting “older,”

Steve Walters
Campus Pastor

Bill Russell, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.


What do these towering figures have in common? We’ll …Lincoln was certainly tall enough to play for the Celtics but didn’t. I’m not sure how tall Darwin actually stood, but he probably didn’t bring much to the game of basketball either. In fact all three men share February 12 as their birthday. Lincoln and Darwin were actually born on the same day within minutes of each other.

Darwin-ism was born about 50 years later with the publication of On the Origin of Species. In honor of Darwin’s birth and his book, science enthusiasts and proponents of evolution everywhere are celebrating the impact of his theory on the world. Almost any where you tune into newsmedia this week, you’ll bump into stories about Darwin.

This morning as I dropped my son off at High School, an NPR reporter sent to Cambrige, England (to cover all the Darwin hype) was crooning while handling one of Darwin’s own little red notebooks, containing sketches of his theory of common ancestry. Ooooo! Glowing accounts of Darwin are being pumped at us all week. Here’s an interesting statement typical of what will make these stories:

“Darwin is not the controversial figure in the United Kingdom that he continues to be in the United States. … the reason for this is science has proved Darwin right. Unless you want to disregard the weight of evidence, there’s not really a controversy… Most difficulties come from people who have a fixed perspective on either the nature of time or either the created nature of the natural world. But in Britain, even those who see the hand of a creator in the natural world don’t have a problem with Darwin. The reason is that science and religion answer different questions…”

Darwinism can be a dangerous combination of scientific method mixed with a whole lot of naturalistic world-view. Whereas in the U.K. (according to this report) Darwinism is slam-dunk winner unchallenged by anyone with a brain-stem, it is definitely NOT a no-brainer among all scientists either in the U.S. The U.K. either in fact! As the hype builds this week, I urge you listen with an ear for the difference between evolution as a theory and evolution as a stated fact. You’ll hear much more that claims to be fact than the theory itself can actually deliver in terms of proof. Try to discern the world-view behind the scientific verbage. Science is a methodology. Atheistic Darwinism is a philosophy. I’ll try to point out some examples as the week rolls along. Jump in with me, readers!

Coming up in March we’ll be sponsoring an event called Cosmic Fingerprints here at Christ Community Church. Christian astrophysicist Hugh Ross and his ministry Reasons to Believe will be here for a three day series of events helping us think about issues of Faith and Science. As we ramp up for Hugh’s presentations, I encourage you to tune into the issues. Listen in on some Darwin Day stories and send me your thoughts and questions. Take a minute to check out Reasons to Believe online at http://reasons.org/

Before this is all over I think I’ll wish Bill Russell would have been born on a different date! 11 National Championships… now that’s a fact!

Sarpy Staff

Today, I need to take a detour in the blogs I had planned out for February. It’s always nice to lay out a schedule of what to write about, but I do think it is even nicer when you realize there needs to be a last minute change.

This past weekend, I was humbled. Humbled because I realized how great of a volunteer staff we have at Sarpy. Now mind you, we do have a great paid staff, no question about that. However, I want to take time to acknowledge those who have worked faithfully for the past 12 months of preparation, training, meetings or in the construction or transporting of our cases.
Then, since we started on February 17th, 2008, there is the regular set up, tear down and an ongoing volunteer presence each Sunday in a variety of ministry areas.

And you know what? There is joy and excitement of the volunteers that in turn excites those who attend Sarpy. This past Sunday I saw a husband and wife team leading the children in an action song with joy and energy. Then I saw a woman in the hallway who was on her way to a class. I thanked her for all her work and she teared up. As a guy, I thought I had said something wrong, but actually she was appreciative of the opportunity to serve.

Wow. I’m in awe. What a privilege to work and minister by their side knowing we are doing kingdom work that has eternal impact.

I get a lot of joy in being campus pastor. There are many ways that I get joy here at the Sarpy campus, but one of the primary sources is to see such a wonderful team serving God so faithfully with a joyful, servant attitude.

Humbly,
Steve Walters
CC-Sarpy Campus Pastor

Thanks Ed!

Hello Tim,

Below is my 100 Word Challenge. I found several thoughts flowing through my head, and then Christ helped me type the following:

Before I became an active follower of Christ, I had to win, I was judgmental towards others, and I was worried about what others thought. After accepting Christ, I realize that He is the victor of all, including death! I have given my worries to Him, and He takes care of them. I leave the judging to Christ, which gives me more opportunities to help others. It does not matter what people think of me. I live for Christ, and He accepts all to join His winning team!

I purposely left this story to be generic because I want to be questioned those I share it with. From the DVD, I learned that we do not need to overkill the listener with detail. We provide highlights in our story leaving some gaps. The gaps will be filled by answering questions of our listeners. If there are no questions, they are not ready for more information, and I pray that my story gets them closer to Christ.

Thank you for the workshop Saturday. I had an enlightening experience!

In Christ,

Ed

Not Bad, Steve – 135 Words!

My Story – Steve

I grew up in a church but really didn’t understand anything about Christianity. I was a nice guy, but didn’t have much purpose in life and didn’t like myself very much. My girlfriend, who I later married, invited me to a Bible study. I didn’t want to go, but really wanted to be with her, so I went. I found a group of people who loved me unconditionally. I read the Bible on my own and realized that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I asked Christ to forgive me and to come into my life and make me a new person. Now I know that I am forgiven, and he has given me a purpose to live for him each day. He has made me into a new person in Christ.

The 100 most important Words you say about yourself.


Another invaluable thing you’ll find among Hybel’s wisdom in reaching people is the need for focus in communicating our faith. In chapter 6 of Bill’s book, he challenges readers to put their story in a compact essay of 100 words or less! This forces several helpful things in talking with others.

First of all, conversations can move pretty quickly in the flow of daily living. We seldom have an extensive chunk of any one’s time and attention when the possibility arise. The briefer the better! Enough about that…

A second great reason for putting it in a compact form is for the sake of focus. When we’re relating our experience with God to someone who isn’t familiar with us, or church, or the bible, there are lots of extraneous details we’re better off leaving out. Hybels advises one brief paragraph on life before Christ, another one on how your commitment to Jesus took place and a few comments on what life with Christ since has been like.

Last of all, perhaps the best reason for brevity is this. Keeping it short leaves room for questions. Its so much better for conversation not to tell everything up front and so cover the bases that there’s no place for curiosity or dialogue.

A couple of weeks ago, a couple of brave workshop attenders took my challenge to write out their story. I’ll put them in the next couple of posts so you can see what we’re talking about. Feel free to e-mail me your story (timp@cccomaha.org) or just post it as a comment on the blog. But remember. 100 words is the target!

Drive-Thru not Drive-By…

Some have (rightfully) accused Christians of harsh, “drive-by” evangelistic tactics. Here’s a cool example from Julie on how different and fun “Just Walk Across the Room” evangelism can be. Way to go, Julie!

Hi Tim
I just wanted to share with you my on going evangelism story with Diane. Diane is my drive-through lady friend. For years I have been going through the drive-through at a fast food place by my house and talking to Diane. I know about her kids- her daughter, her son even her various health problems. I know about her job and what they do there to help her keep warm in the drive through window-installing a heater ect. I know a lot by just my drive through minutes. I have prayed for her and let her know I am and she has given me prayer requests over these years. I have given her cards and handouts about Christmas and Easter musicals at our church.

I went on a diet and stopped going through for my Coke, but was convicted that I wasn’t seeing her nor having any contacting with her. So now I go through for iced tea. I have been thinking lately that I hadn’t had any spiritual conversations with her lately and thinking about how to do that—and then today.

I drove up and she said “I was hoping you would come through today.” I need some special prayers for my mom today. Would you pray for her? Bingo! Thank you Lord for opening up once again that spiritual conversation. We talked about her mom and the needs there. So I plan to stop in once again tomorrow with a prayer shawl for her mom and a warm scarf for Diane that I have made for her in the cold drive through window.

It proves to me that you don’t need a program, a book, a theory, to share the love of Jesus with everyone we come in contact with. You don’t need a specific amount of time or money-this costs me $1 a day for my drink – but is recouping eternal rewards. I just am who I am-and let Jesus live through me and spill over.

Thanks for sharing my story on the blog!
Julie

Hopefully Julie will keep spilling Jesus in that drive-through. Last thing I spilled in a drive-through was an enormous diet Coke all over the interior of my car. Maybe I should switch to Ice-Tea and start having more intentional conversations like Julie!

Just Walk Across The Room

Recently Christ Community Church was visited by Bill Hybels, senior pastor of Willowcreek Community Church. To kick off a leadership training event called Accelerate, we all got the chance to listen to a true master of sharing Jesus with others. Many were pleasantly surprised to find the great Bill Hybels at heart is a humble guy, in love with Jesus and passionate about telling the Jesus story to others.

Bill told story after story in a winsome, Jesus-focused way and those of us listening were inspired by the example the man’s life sets. Evangelism according to Bill is nothing more than stepping into the moment and being willing to speak up, reach out, in simple, non-threatening ways. The title of his book “Just Walk Across the Room” pretty much sums up Bill’s appeal. Over time, as God does his work in people’s lives, and as God continues to intersect our lives with others, people move closer and closer to Jesus.

No kidding. It’s really that simple. And what’s been fun as I’ve hung around and heard conversations since Bill Hybels’ visit is that people really are discovering that there’s nothing to fear in taking initiative with others. Just this morning I heard a story about staff member who plucked up her courage to walk across the lawn to invite a neighbor to a bible study. That neighbor actually showed up at the group and fit right in. Even after YEARS of living next door, a simple innocuous invitation has led to a new level of spiritual engagement.

I dare you. Try it out. I’m hearing story after story. Just do it! Even people who aren’t there yet with God, actually like this kind of evangelism, because Christians engaged this way seem….well…. a bit more human, a bit more relaxed and genuine. Give it a try. I’ve got more stories…wanna here a few more?

Indicator Light

OK, so last Sunday I did the illustration about the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is like a good indicator light on your dashboard that alerts you something is wrong. But once it is taken care of, the guilt disappears, just like the indicator light goes off when it’s problem is solved.

But my car has this broken tire indicator light. For eighteen months it has not gone out no matter if the problem is fixed or not. Shame is like that…pervasive…even after confession, even after the problem is solved.

So I get in the car after the service. The tire indicator light is out – totally fixed. The past four days it has not come on at all…first time in eighteen months…

Weird conincidence? Is there a hidden message? I’ll let you decide!

6 + is all

6+

That is what I am taking away from Pastor Mark’s talk from Accelerate. Accelerate was a leadership development opportunity for those connected to either campus of Christ Community held last month.

Mark pointed out that we as a church are woefully below average on if we have 6 or more spiritual conversations or offer 6 or more invitations to others to attend a CCC church service. Just think…if each person had 6 or more spiritual conversations in a year…how that would impact you and the ones you talk with!

May God Bless you as you take this step of faith.

Steve Walters
Sarpy – Campus Pastor

p.s. It would be good to hear the message from Pastor Mark. I encourage you to go to our media page at and click on Accelerate-Day Two with Mark Ashton. (or click here for the mp3) It is a brief challenge by Mark encouraging us to feel free to have spiritual conversations with people and to not hesitate to invite them to a service.