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Archive for May 2009

Finished the Race

I have the privilege of preaching on II Timothy 4.6-8 at the Sarpy Campus in a couple of weeks. I just love verse 7. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

After spending this past Friday and Saturday at the Nebraska State Track and Field event, I am especially drawn to, “I have finished the race.”

During this two day event I saw crowds rise to their feet as athletes literally ran away from the competition and break long standing records. I also saw the crowds rise to their feet to applaud a valiant effort by individuals who were obviously in pain and who finished the race minutes after the rest crossed the finish line.

I’m working on that phrase and how it affects my life and the choices I make in life and how I live my life.

This is what I am mulling over so far.

Regardless of when you cross the finish line you need to be able to say like Paul, I have FINISHED the race. Not, I quit before the finish line, but that I ran toward the finished line and crossed it.

More to come.

On the journey,
Steve Walters
CCC-Sarpy
Campus Pastor

Scripture Memory Tips

Hey everybody,

Memorizing stuff – it brings back painful memories of cramming for calculus exams at 4 AM hyped up on Mountain Dew or long lists of French vocabulary with the guttural “r” sound.  Memorizing God’s word is a whole different story.  It molds my thinking and, unlike calculus, I use it every day.  It brings life.

After yesterday’s message on sticking to God’s word, I thought I’d pass on a few memorization tips.  You can use them to create an unforgettable experience this summer by training in righteousness as you memorize God’s word.

  1. An aggressive goal for memorization is seven verses a week.  You should be able to do this in about 20 minutes per day.
  2. An easy goal is one verse a week.  This can be done in five minutes a day.
  3. Put your verses in small cards to carry in your wallet, purse, daytimer or in your PDA.  That way, you can memorize them in the cracks of your day as you wait for appointments, planes, etc.
  4. Memorize something you like.  Some of my favorites are: Psalm 23, Psalm 100, the Beatitudes in Matthew 5, Romans 8, Romans 12, Hebrews 12, Matthew 5-7.  Consider trying a whole book like Philippians or 2 Timothy.
  5. Even 2 and 3-year-olds can memorize scripture.  My kids learned Psalm 23 as I repeated it every night before bed.  Soon they were saying it along with me.  The grandparents were very impressed.
  6. Older kids can be motivated with treats or cold hard cash.  Shameless? Yes, but it works.  I know one dad who told his kids he would give them $100 if they memorized the Declaration of Independence word perfect. One week later he watched a $100 bill move from his wallet to his 14-year-old daughter’s.  He said it was “the best money I ever spent on her education.”
  7. Tell somebody about your goal.  Have them quiz you weekly, or challenge your Journey Group, spouse or roommate to do it with you.  Weekly check-ins keep you motivated.
  8. Remember the formula:
    • 7 times/day for 7 days
    • 7 times/week for 7 weeks
    • 7 times/month for 7 months

 OK, that’s enough tips.  Enjoy memorizing, and may God’s Word make you wise, full of life and righteousness!

Volunteers make it happen!

This past Sunday we had our Second Annual Biker-Blues-BBQ. What a great time! Typically, we get all excited about record numbers attending the services and meals served. Yet I want to recognize that none of this would of happened without the volunteers at CCC-Sarpy.

Volunteers make my heart smile. Actually, in a multi site setting, we should actually call anybody who volunteers as volunteer staff. Any church will say that they could never do ministry if it wasn’t for volunteers.

However, I think that we have the best volunteer staff here at CCC-Sarpy. In this blog I will call them staff, even though they are not paid staff. On a given weekend, we have “staff” who come either Saturday morning to set up either the worship venue and or the children’s venue. We have staff who prepare for teaching children and youth each Sunday. We have staff who come in early Sunday morning to get the area ready for coffee and free treats. Then there is staff who stay after church to tear down and pack up all our equipment for storage.

Each weekend I am humbled by the generosity that our volunteer staff give of themselves and their time for CCC-Sarpy to minister to the community.

Sir Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

I am so thankful for the volunteer staff who “makes a life” by how they give.
On the Journey,
Steve Walters
Campus Pastor

Leaving a Legacy

You’ve probably noticed a pattern in this blog. I enjoy gleaning information, knowledge and ideas from books and articles that I read. It is not that I can’t think for myself, but I love being challenged by the thinking and writing of others smarter than me. I pray that I can always be on the learning curve in life.

Richard Geberding in “New Man eMagazine” wrote how men tend to focus on projects and events. He succinctly summarized a typical man’s schedule as “plan, act, rest” cycle. He said that men tend to lay out a course of action, execute it and then take a break until it’s time to plan again.

Unfortunately, we [I’m inserting women into this now] tend to get so focused on the project that we lose sight of the purpose. Meaning, it is possible our woodworking hobby or desire to garden can leave a legacy, if we see a purpose in what we do, that is, touching the lives of those around us.

Whatever we do, we need to ask ourselves what is the big picture?

Geberding goes on to say,
“Your finest woodwork will someday be firewood. Monday morning’s blue ribbon tomatoes are rotting under swarms of flies by Friday afternoon. If we want to leave a legacy, we can’t settle for short-term results at long term expense.”

I can’t help but think of Luke 9:24-25 where Jesus says;
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

May we look at these upcoming summer months as a chance to leave a legacy!

On the Journey,
Steve Walters
Campus Pastor

Justice Journey

Hey Friends,

I woke up in my Birmingham hotel room last week, and my mind was buzzing with thoughts of justice, righteousness and the role of the church.  After spending three days with white and black church leaders from Omaha, my learning curve was high, my frustration level was high and my sense of having any ability solve the situations we face was low.  From Selma, AL to Atlanta and Birmingham we traveled, learning, confronting, repenting, praying and loving across our differences.

I knew so little about the struggle for civil rights; it was embarrassing.  There are problems in North Omaha that I barely ever think about out in the southwest corner of town. Here are some of the things that I heard:

  • 59% of African American kids in Omaha live in poverty, more than any U.S. city;
  • despite the fact that income is adjusted for cost of living, Omaha has the second highest median income in the country;
  • an African American male entering OPS has less than a 50% chance of graduating, while a Caucasian student in Elkhorn has a 96% chance; and
  • African Americans in the prison system in Nebraska get sentences three times as long as Caucasians.

The list could continue, but I am motivated to pray – for our city, for unity, for justice, for God’s kingdom to be manifest in our midst and for CCC to be the church the way God meant it to be.

I think about our nation. The economy is struggling, massive changes are taking place in the halls of Washington and we are at war. Shifting our focus, we are overspending by trillions of dollars, unborn babies are being killed, born babies are being neglected and abuse is rampant.

Again, I am motivated to pray.  I’m motivated to pray for wisdom for our leaders, for truth to be known, for protection, for love to be spread and for God’s kingdom to come.  Our problems are deeply rooted in spiritual issues.  The solution must begin with God and tapping into His power of prayer.

Most of my fifty friends from this trip are coming to CCC on Thursday night for the National Day of Prayer (7 PM / Worship Center / Old Mill Campus).  They are bringing people from their congregations: white, black, Hispanic, young, old, rich and poor.  We will be joining together in prayer for our city and our country. 

I want to invite you to come for a couple of reasons.

  1. It will be good to host the city-church well.  CCC doesn’t get this opportunity very often, so let’s do it right.
  2. We need to pray, to be connected with God, to intercede for our city and country and to unite as a city around the things that bring community.

If there has ever been a time for prayer, it is now.  Our city is desperate, our nation is hurting and we need to stay connected to the vine of life.