CCC blog

Archive for August 2009

New Website

Whoa! Cool! It has been a year…or more… in the making. But it is worth the wait! The new Christ Community Church website is rolling! Kudos to webmaster Greg Nunamaker. He has done a phenominal job. Here are some of the things that I love:

  1. The look and feel is consistent with the look and feel of CCC’s reality
  2. The navigation is more intuitive and easy to follow
  3. You can find all of the staff, their role and picture
  4. The media page is vastly improved with MP3s, videos, and more!
  5. The color shift from Iowa Hawkeye Black and Yellow to Illini Blue and Orange is a monsterous improvement.

Way to go Greg! Check it out now…

It's been awhile

I have spent the last week thinking about college. My wife and I took our son Tony up to Crown College near Waconia, MN. It was an interesting week leading up to the journey north. We attempted to stock pile stuff that we/he thought we needed. Sometimes we differed on what was important. Bed sheets and towels weren’t seen as important as cool pens, iPod gadgets, etc.
It was his money, but he does have enough bed sheet sets and towels as well as being fully equipped to do well in school.

Before I left for Minnesota I came across an article about Henry Kelly. After reading the article I knew I would comment via several blogs on his views on Satan.

Mr. Kelly is a UCLA English professor who spoke during a four day international Catholic biblical conference on the Creighton University Campus. His soap box was to argue for “an angel that popular culture incorrectly portrays as the pitchfork-toting emodiment of all evil.” His talk was titled, “Lucifer: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Bad.”

I need to reread the article so I can give some semi-intelligent thought and reaction to what he had to say.

Stay tuned…..

On the journey,
Steve Walters
CCC-Sarpy Campus Pastor

Why Does John the Baptist Tell People to Repent?

In last night’s Jesus Class, more than one participant remarked at the way Jesus is introduced by John the Baptist. In the fist place John the Baptist is not marketed well for a successful ministry. He’s not in the temple being video cast to multi-sites all over Palestine. Let’s just say… he’s not in Jerusalem (the center of Jewish spiritual life) he’s not in the temple (the center of the center). He’s in the wilderness.

He’s preaching repentance! Not grace! And people are coming to him from everywhere. It would be like Mark Ashton deciding he’d like to go to a corn field outside Wahoo and deliver his Sunday messages… and people would actually flock to be there! And in response to such a message, people would actually be cut to the heart, repent and be living in expectation of Jesus’ arrival.

Could it be we actually need to clean up our life BEFORE meeting Jesus makes any sense? John can’t be telling us that we have to get rid of all our sins before we encounter Jesus! Got any thoughts?

The Jesus Class – Starting This Tuesday Night!

This week we launch The Jesus Class here at the Old Mill Campus in FLC 154. For eight weeks, participants will gather and meet around tables to peer into the life of the world’s greatest spiritual leader. Our text will not be a study guide, or a book about Jesus, or even a video series by a famous scholar or mega-church pastor. The text we’re following is Mark’s gospel in an unusual format.

You won’t need your bibles. Hope that’s OK. What you will get is a thing called a manuscript. The pic above gives you some idea of how we’ll do this. Everyone attending will receive a complete text manuscript of Mark’s gospel biography of Jesus. Each week, we’ll dive straight into the world, words and actions of Jesus himself. We’ll learn the story line of the Jesus scene by scene. Each week we’ll read several pages, have lots of room for questions and first-hand observations. Jesus will come alive, jumping off the page saying and doing the most surprising things.

People who know Jesus well and people who are dying to meet him for real for the first time, will find the Jesus Class an equally rewarding experience. If you want to check it out for a week and see if it fits your interests, you’re welcome to try it. If you have a seeking friend and would like to invite them along, you can have them join you at your table. If you’ve got questions just shoot me a comment and I’ll contact you.

The Biography of Jesus

So if the best way for people to get introduced to Jesus is to let him speak for himself, what does that mean for people seeking spiritual truth? At a minimum it means getting Jesus himself in front of us as the subject. It means setting aside our theories about him and investigating the evidence for him. It means getting as close as we can humanly speaking to his words and actions. What did he tell people? What was their reaction? What decisions did he make about where he went, how he spent his time?

If Christians could show people THAT Jesus, we’d be so much more interesting to people curious about his life. People wouldn’t hear our spin on Jesus. They’d hear Jesus himself! No hype. No exaggeration. Everything about him, not what us Christians think others would find interesting. You’d be surprised at how interesting it gets when people actually encounter the Jesus the reporters of his day wrote stories about.

That’s what the power of a live story does! The biography of Jesus is nothing less than a running travelogue trying to keep up with the worlds most brilliant spiritual authority. That’s what we’re trying to capture with the Jesus Class that starts this week at CCC.

Coming this Fall at CCC

Wow – what a weekend!  I had the opportunity to worship in all three venues at the Old Mill Campus this weekend, and I am here to say that God was present and pleased with what He saw.  Word on the street is that the Sarpy Campus experienced similar power.  What a feast of song and scripture across all CCC venues!

If that wasn’t enough, 1500 people suited up in red shirts and invaded the city with the love and serving power of Jesus through Step Out and Serve, painting, landscaping, conversing, weeding, scraping, cleaning and loving our city.  I am so proud to be a part of a church that serves.  Kudos to the bridge team for leading and creating tracks for the entire church to run on. Once again, I am confident that God was pleased with what He saw as His kids served their city with Jesus’ love.  Way to be the church!

“So,” you might ask, “what are we going to do next week?”  Well, the answer is that next week all kinds of things launch.  Kids Connect and youth ministries start, New Community Groups get into full swing, Journey Groups launch and a brand new in-depth Bible study of Jesus begins on Tuesday nights.

But the big news is that for twelve weeks, beginning this Sunday, the whole church wraps its arms around one of the pinnacle figures of the entire Bible: King David the Renaissance man.  We will be intensely studying this warrior, statesman, athlete, musician, poet, king from every angle possible.  This will probably be the most comprehensive and in-depth Bible adventure that we have ever been on together.  Here is what you can expect:

a twelve week message series from stories you may know and others that will surprise you
a sixty-part devotional guide taking you through David’s life and poetry in the Psalms
a twelve week Bible study on David’s life in Journey Groups, Kids Connect and NC groups
a worship CD assembled from all of the different venues designed to point us to worship God through the lens of one of God’s greatest worship poets: David.

This youngest child from an obscure village in Judah changed the course of Israel and the course of history.  God chose him, molded him, gave him amazing talent and formed his heart to serve him in all phases of life.  You can become more like this man after God’s own heart by studying his life.  It all kicks off this Sunday, August 23, at the Old Mill Campus and Sunday, August 30, at Sarpy County.  Use the evite to invite friends and gear up for the adventure.

Thirteen Candles

I am so proud of my daughter, Caysie. Yesterday she became a teenager. Her thirteenth birthday fell on Step-Out Sunday. So we asked her a couple of months ago what she wanted to do. She said “there’s nothing I’d rather do on my birthday than step out and serve!”

Her reward? The satisfaction of serving, fun with family and friends…and her picture in the Omaha World Herald. Check it out here!

Stepping Out!

Yesterday, I talked to Linda and Tony. They owned the house that our Step Out team (also my journey group…) painted yesterday. Both have medical issues. They could not possible paint their own house. It had not been painted in ten years. It had never been anything but white. Linda said “I never thought our house would get repainted. I certainly never thought it could look this good.”

Adam, and a team of singles from our Thursday night Bible Study went out twice before Step-out even happened. Once to scrape…once to prime…and finally with 45 others to paint the house. Neighbors came out to watch. One spent part of his afternoon helping. Another yelled out to us from her porch “tell Linda her house never looked better!”

Some may say it’s just a paint job. But it is so much more. It is a living example of how community can come together to make a worthwhile effort happen. It is about how God cares for the least of these. It is about learning to serve with no expectation of payback. It is about becoming more like Jesus. It is about Kingdom impact.

1500 people from CCC on 45 projects. 6000 people from churches around the city on 150 sites. In an era where the government is raising taxes and cutting benefits, the church is still on the move…in full force…serving people for free.

Way to go church! Keep on being the church!

This Can't Be That Hard!

Two things help people meet Jesus more than anything else I’ve ever seen in my 20+ years of ministry.

1 – Let Jesus speak for himself.
2 – Let people discover him for themselves.

Pretty profound given how much we Christians can knock ourselves out trying to share the Gospel with others. Sometimes I get to thinking, “Maybe we’re working too hard at this? Maybe Christ followers today are actually clogging up the connection between people who don’t know God, and the Jesus who loves them and is pursuing them already.”

Before you check out of this post, ask yourself this question, Christian: “If people need to meet Jesus for themselves, and if Jesus is already pursuing them, what am I supposed to do anyway?”

Many of us so badly want our friend or family member to meet Jesus, that we can come off like an annoying match-maker trying to get people we feel empathy for to meet Mr. Right and fall in love. Trust me, it’s just not that complicated.

Don’t get me wrong, our role is to introduce people to Jesus. It’s the greatest priviledge in the world to do so! The question is, how do we best do that? How can we tap into the kind of joy we feel when we introduce two people we know well… and they actually hit it off on their own without us trying all that hard? Can we really trust people to like Jesus on their own without us trying so hard to sell him? That’s what I want to know. Any thoughts?

19 years

Nineteen years ago this week I married. I married up…way up. I found a girl who is smarter, richer, funner, and kinder than me…and way, way prettier. The best part was that she said she would take me to be hers forever! Yes!

There is no question that marriage has been one of the hardest things in life. It has also been one of the absolute best. Because the best things in life are not easy. Here’s what I love about being married for a long time.

  • We can agree on what dishes we want
  • We have been through all of the conflicts about the best brand of spaghetti sauce, the right way to fold towels, and who makes the popcorn
  • Every day is still a mystery
  • We have four growing kids to carry on a legacy of love and influence
  • We have shared history. For nineteen years, we have shared friends, shared context, shared challenges, shared ups and downs, and shared love for each other. The older I get, the more I realize that this is utterly irreplaceable. There is no other person in the world that I will ever share life with like this.

Marriage is worth the investment. Through all of the turmoil, you wind up with a person who is utterly dedicated to you, knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you anyway. There is nothing better…I love you Kelle!