Archive for the 'Spiritual Journey' Category

Thoughts on Turning 30

Man, I’m finally here. I feel this sense of accomplishment. I guess it’s because people often tell me I look like I’m 14. I’m kinda pumped to make the big three-oh.

Our culture worships youth. I’m no longer 20-something. I’m no longer relevant. I’m no longer the target audience. I’m no longer cool. (The jury’s still out on if I was ever cool.)

Youth worship always rubbed me the wrong way.

Scripture says,

Gray hair is a crown of splendor

The people who have had the deepest impact on my life all have gray hair. My parents. Dan Flynn. David Neidnagle.

The impact I have on the world today for Christ is crazy, rediculously more than even a year ago and exponentially more than before that. I enjoied being young, but I also mourn the foolishness of my youth. I love being 30, it’s exactly perfect. I also look forward to getting older and wiser. (Older ≠ wiser. God gives wisdom.) I can only imagine the kind of Christian I’ll be with 10 more years under my belt, or 20 or 30!

So right now you’re thinking, “wow, Billy’s pretty confident and content with his age.”

I am.

You may also think, “I wish I could feel like that.”

You can

– it’s a side-effect of following Jesus. Seriously, following Jesus won’t make your life perfect, but it’s the craziest awesome adventure on the planet. It’s what you were made for. It’s the only way to be content because Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Following Jesus will also cost you your whole life. (If you want to know more about following Jesus, you’re welcome to shoot me an email. I’d be happy to start a dialogue with you.)

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Life Priorities

  1. God
  2. Spouse
  3. Children
  4. Friendship
  5. Physical health
    • Eating right
    • Exercise
    • Sleep
  6. Career
  7. Enrichment
    • Learning
    • Adventure
    • Fun
This is a list of life priorities I journaled recently. The idea was to have a broad measuring stick as I started to do task/time management to see if my calendar and my todo list were taking me in a direction I wanted to go.

Beginning a Search

Today we worshiped with Buliding Church. It surprised me how refreshing it was to just go somewhere and worship God. Not show up several hours early and do a bunch of set up and lead a sound check and various other distractions from God’s presence, but just show up and worship.

After the service I talked briefly with Pastor David about being an ex-church staffer trying to find a place to plug in. He said, “I know it can be awkward.”

Man, it totally is.

The pull is to critique everything. When you’re a church professional trying to find a church it’s like John Madden trying to simply enjoy a football game. Rather than focus on a “What impressed me? – What did I enjoy?” attitude I tried to have a “How could God use me in this community? Is God calling my family here?” attitude.

I will say I really enjoyed the worship and teaching. The welcome team was on point!

We sang –

  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • Joy to the World
  • Angles We Have Heard on High
  • The First Noel
  • Another song I’d never heard before
  • Run, Run Rudolph (walk out song)

Check out other Churches’ Sunday morning set lists on Fred’s blog.

The Building Church worship pastor only led one song. It was cool to see a guy who empowers his team. I’m not a big fan of Christmas carols for Sunday morning services, but O Come All Ye Faithful and Angles we have heard on High were rockin’. Seriously, some of the most worshipful arrangements of those I’ve heard.

In terms of the big 4

Solid Preaching: Check. David spoke about how Christians don’t search for peace – they HAVE peace, they don’t search for Joy, they HAVE joy. In a culture where it’s super hip and trendy to be “seeking” and very nerdy to be “found” I really appreciated the good theology.

Another thing that struck me that was HUGE was how much vision was just littered through the message. Getting into a small group as well as going through the “growth track” classes were both plugged during the sermon.

Love Huntsville: Check. We prayed over some build-a-bears (“Building Bears”) that were being sent to Children who were spending Christmas in Huntsville Hospital.

Love the World: Check. The put a picture on the screen of the orphans in Venezuela who they were helping. The Pastor and his wife served as missionaries before become church planters.

Passionate about church planting: Big Check. What really impressed me the most was the confidence that folks had about being called to Huntsville. Pat, an associate pastor, shared with wild excitement about how he’d left a paying job to raise support, take on a part-time job and help plant Building Church. They are only a little over a year old and are looking open another campus in Madison in February.

With all this I didn’t hear the whisper of God saying, “This is the place.” I have a feeling like it’s probably not gonna happen that way. I envision it more like us visiting several places and then praying in light of those experiences about where to go.

You can check out Sarah’s take on visiting Building Church.

Obama – Helping me Share Jesus

This morning at work the crew was pretty pumped about the election results. Most of them supported Obama in the election. One of my co-workers was really excited about all the Democrats who won. She kept singing “Oh happy day, Oh happy day.”

She sang, “Oh happy Day” then someon else echoed “Oh happy day.”

At this point I chimed in with the next two lines, “When Jesus washed, my sins away.”

Another coworker said, “Break it down Church!” (They call me “Church.”)

I told the crew I’d bring my guitar in tomorrow.

Honestly I was pretty bummed when I woke up to today’s elections results. But when else do you get to sing about Jesus at work with your non-churchgoing coworkers? That’s a win in my book.

As for our political leaders I think I can deal. God is the one who sets up rulers and governors so I’ll trust Him on this one. Besides, my real citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven and Jesus Chris is my King.

Just to Put Something Up

Blogging is a tricky endeavor. My first week of bivocatinalism left me zero time to blog. The problem is that once you take a day off you tell yourself, “I can just do a really good post tomorrow that will make up for skipping a day.” Then you are 2 days behind and the stakes get higher. By the end of the week you start dismissing all of your blog ideas becuase none of them are this amazing prolific post you need to get back in the game. So here’s some multi-topic ramble to get things up and going.

The Job

Work is terrrific. It’s also tiring. I walk…a lot. I think I’m going to get skinny again like when I was a waiter. I’m not looking forward to that. I work with a great crew of people I just like to be around. They call me, “Church.” (You can’t say it “cherch” it’s more like “ch-uh-ch”) Apparently my addiction is immediately evident upon meeting me.

Ministry

As far as worship leading goes. I’ve had to drop tasks like crazy. I cut and cut and prioritized and cut some more and still ended up work-o-holic-ing my week. My daughter added, “Spend time with Eve-Marie” to my to-do list. Apparently she’s noticed my increase in busyness and thinks she’ll get left out. She’s right. This week failed. I need to recalibrate going forward.

The Bail-out

I am so angry over this. I have lost almost all respect for President Bush. This was the stupidest move ever invented. It was billed as a “we have no choice, it’s this or nothing.” That’s a wicked lie. There were many free market solutions. Alabama Senator, Richard Shelby did me proud.

Some Good Stuff

Mark Dirscoll is writing a free ebook called, “Porn-again Christian.” If you are man you need to read this and then point all of your buddies to it as well. The first chapter is up on his website. More chapters are coming soon.

I usually find Bob Kauflin’s blog painfully boring, but this video was SPOT ON:

My only qualm with this video is that it’s long on theory and short on practicality. It’s easy to pointificate about how noble it is to embrace paradox and “healthy tensions” but living them out is infinitely difficult. Bob sets up a problem for us and then doesn’t offer any solutions. Then again maybe I should read his book instead of making fun of his video. Check out 3 other top-notch videos here.

Becoming Bivocational

Be careful who your heroes are – you’ll probably end up like them.

For me, I have always admired bivocational pastors. I think it takes a tons of guts, a loads of dedication and a bit of insanity to work full-time and still be on a Church staff. These guys have the tenaciousness and fearlessness that makes them my heroes and very soon I will be one of them.

My Church Makes Me Proud

Last night my church’s Administrative Counsel passed the most recent wave of budget cuts. This time dramatic cuts were made to staffing costs and on Nov. 1st my position as Worship Arts Pastor becomes a volunteer role.

I’m am wildly proud of my Admin Counsel and those who specifically serve on the Staff Parish Relations Team (Human Resources Committee). The fact is that this decision was the right thing to do. This is a giant step forward for our church. It was an extremely difficult decision to make. It took boat loads of character, integrity and courage for those who stepped up to make it.

Why This is a Step Forward

According to Steve Stoope the money you spend on staff should be 50% of the money you have coming in. This include salaries, insurance, benefits, ect… all your staffing costs should be 50% of what you bring in. We are a church that averages 100 adults in worship on Sunday and we have 5 full time staff members. Our previous staffing costs were more than 50%. In a time of financial crisis we were spending above our means. Because of leaders with integrity who made difficult decisions we are now living with honest staffing costs.

It’s not the end of the battle – we still have a long way to go before we beat this crisis, but this is a huge win on the battle front. As the church grows and finances increase we’ll go back to having a full-time worship pastor.

You Can Help Me Find a Job

In the meantime I’m in the market for a secular job so I can pay my bills and still lead worship on Sunday. I’ve already had a few opportunities come my way even before this news went public – God is good and He is taking care of me. If you’d like to help me out – I’m looking for a job in Huntsville and I’m not scared of hard work. An 8-5 would work best leaving my nights and weekends for family and Chase Valley. A bonus would be some type of job where I get to contribute to Huntsville – where my job would show my love for my city. Shoot me an email if you have any ideas.

When It All Falls Into Place

Yesterday was hard.

After getting many positive replies to Sunday’s worship from members of my church community and online commmunity, I received one negative response. It was from a leader in my community who I respect. She didn’t dislike the idea of solo worship, but she thought it was poor timing.

The most important reason to do scaled down worship is to teach people that you don’t need all the glitter and sizzle to worship God. Glitter and sizzle isn’t bad. We intentionally make worship exciting every week and don’t apologize for it. But the flash and hype is just not necessary, and believing it is necessary is bad. My friend notes that it is a good and lofty goal to teach this type of worship theology, but now was probably not the time to do that.

The argument makes sense to me. People have a hierarchy of needs – they don’t really care how to increase the battery life of their iPod if they don’t have food to eat or basic shelter. Right now our church is in several layers of crisis. Is it the time to focus on deeper lessons of faith or stick to the basis? Despite my feeling that it was a smashing success, I’ve still been in thought over whether this was a wise call or not.

Today on the other hand was an awesome day.

Everything just fell into place. I seriously feel at ease and happy – two emotions that have been elusive recently. Today, plans that I didn’t think were going to work out, ended up working out. It happened all day long. One example was that I found out 2 band members could not play this week. When I called them up they had already taken the initiative to find their own replacements. Score!

I had five or six difficult conversations today. They were all difficult for different reasons, but in each case those who I spoke with surprised me with thier empathy, dedication and faith. I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. God has surrounded me with some amazing friends.

I’m pretty thankful for today.


 

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