Archive for March, 2008

Following much prayer this week, God (and my Pastor Brad) confirmed I am now the student ministry (aka FUSION) Pastor at RiverPoint Church. Sadly, I will not be leading worship after tomorrow. This will allow me to be fully devoted to our students and their relationships with Jesus Christ. Time to saddle up!! Good reading below:

They are demanding something more.
It is the great hope of most youth pastors that their Christ-centered investment in the lives of the new millennium students might yield a return of graduates who are mighty kingdom warriors for a lifetime. It is my belief, however, that if we stay on our current track of student ministry, there will be a great decline in effectiveness as we crash head-on into the unique needs of this generation. They are demanding something more. They simply will not allow ministries to stay as most are.
This forced maturity will be greatly challenging to many student pastors, but will hopefully lead them to their greatest victory. God has a habit of doing that. How will this generation be our teacher?
• Their entertainment is highly imaginative, has ridiculous satire, and includes fast-paced games. However, when it comes to relationship and beliefs, they will recoil at anything less than that which is substantive and authentic.
– They are not interested in imaginary platitudes.

– They will demand the straight-up truth, and anything less will prove offensive and useless.

– Only what they deem as “real” will capture their attention and gain their commitment.

– They will simply not accept what seems like inauthentic promises which do not deliver true results. They are too smart for that.
• They will not settle for hearing about a relationship with Christ. If interested, they will demand, with an insatiable appetite, to experience the intimacy of that relationship. They do not want to only hear of the God of the past patriarchs or the God of the future heavenly. They will desperately desire the touch of that God in their lives today.

• They will not accept this truth handed to them from a distance. They will demand nothing short of individual interest and investment.

• Finally, this generation will not simply sit on the bench and applaud adults who seem to be in the ministry game. As they grow older and more mobile, those on the inside will simply vote with their feet and quietly slip away unless they can contribute. They crave eternal purpose and desperately will demand the opportunity to be an impact player for the King. Those on the outside will display little interest.
While the new millennium teenager probably cannot articulate these very real passions, they exist more clearly than ever. Youth ministries not willing to meet these very real spiritual passions will be of less and less spiritual significance and eventually might only serve as a window dressing – yielding a church or youth pastor with only a superficial significance.  

(although borrowed, I found this to be incredibly parallel to my feelings about youth ministry over the last 20 years) ……….more to come

-tom

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Tom and Brad talking about the future of RiverPointOne year ago, we had 10 people sitting in the senior center in Halstead. Waiting, anticipating and wondering what God was going to do with us and another family from Plano, Texas. Well, Sharon, Alex, Lauren, Corey, Dave, Jill, Kelsi, Jordan, Josh, Brad, Sally, Luke and Grace, look what God has done!!! Blessing our stinking socks off!

Tom and Brad talking about the future of RiverPoint

Yesterday, we had almost 300 people at two services at RiverPoint Church. God is so large and in charge (sovereign). We had an unbelievable time. Supernatural!!

 -tom

Was thinking about my “it” today. Yesterday Brad encouraged us during worship to pray and discern what our “it” was when it comes to being a Christ follower. When Christ said”it is finished” it was all about his earthly work. But, His work in us has never ceased.

Today, I am thinking a lot about those who may know their “it”, but don’t live it. We talk a lot about:

*reaching those who are far from God and helping them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ …..but what if we ourselves are far from Him?

*bringing the biblical tithe to God, as in Malichi, and put Him to the test………….but what if we talk but don’t “give it”? Who is that putting to the test?

Let us walk the talk and let others know by our actions how much God is the light that shines through us!

“shine,
make ´em wonder what you´ve got
make ´em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored


shine,
let it shine before all men
let´em see good works, and then
let ´em glorify the Lord                     -the Newsboys

-thanks to Jesus Christ for walking the talk!

-tom

papers & nails

Posted: March 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

48 hours of life:

*yesterday my nephew Konner was nails on the basketball court, 30 pts in 2 games.

*yesterday my brother asked me to help him make a decision that effects his future. I love him so much. He is much tougher than I could ever be.

*Attended a fundraiser for someone in a neighboring town who is going through the same situation my brother is. Lot’s of generosity was going on there.

*Enjoyed a couple of movies with my family last night. Good time! Lauren went to a birthday sleepover that included 12 girls her age. She had a blast.

*This morning had a brief temporary lapse of focus. Got over it, but grace is always appreciated.

* Had incredible worship experience this morning at RiverPoint. Had over 170 people and several new families who were lit up by Brad‘s message and the worshipful environment.

*This morning we nailed our unfinished business to a huge 8ft cross using index cards, hammers and nails. I could hardly make it through leading songs during that time.

*Sharon and I took great naps this afternoon. Good for both of us. Love her so much!

*Alex and Lauren spent the afternoon filming RiverPoint kids stuff with Amy & Hope. They had a blast. We are blessed to have strong Christ following adults in their lives.

*Finally, Fusion was a great experience for me tonight. A chance to help effect change in the lives of our local middle and high school students.

-tom

My thoughts toss and turn a lot lately. Yesterday I celebrated one month as the Director of Imaging Services at Newton Medical Center. I love it! Good people, management that wants to see you succeed and believe it or not: I have not heard a four letter word since I started here!!Praise God for that. Our staff is incredibly experienced and just good folks. But, believe you me this is a stinkin’ REAL JOB! A true opportunity to make changes that help others from our local communities with their healthcare.

My awesome family is really busy right now. Sharon is loving her new job as the administrative assistant at RiverPoint Church. She is healing up from her latest bout with low back pain. Lauren with track and dance tryouts. Alex is the lead in the spring play tomorrow night! Rock on son! Corey is coming home next week from KSU during spring break and I miss him big time. Trevor moved home yesterday in preparation for his deployment to Kuwait beginining in April. Hard to believe what an awesome young man he has become. And finally Amanda, who is working two jobs and living in Wichita, with a boyfriend who is in Iraq currently.

Needless to say, I love my family. We all know it, even when we are apart or together. Looks say it. Words say it. Enough said. Even though we are very busy (oh yeah, we are all knee deep in starting a new church) God is still even bigger and better, large and in-charge. Love you Jesus!

 -tom

expecting His miracles

Posted: March 12, 2008 in far from God, men

I can’t speak for you, but I am tired of “business as usual.” I don’t like to think thoughts like: Well, that’s about what we expected. This is what the team projected for this year.

This is the norm for most Church goer’s. I believe in a God who can do the unexpected, the unusual, the totally radical off-the-chart kinds of things. I am learning to pray and expect the “Great and mighty things which you do not know.” Jeremiah. 33:3. My verse here is Psalm 42:11 (The Living Bible) “But O my soul, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise Him for all that He will do. He is my help! He is my God!” When I meet with someone I truly, genuinely expect God to act, to do His thing, to invade the time with His power, presence and wisdom.

So how is your time spent with others? At RPM last Saturday morning, we discussed how we go about praying for those who are in our life and are “far from God”. I was excited to hear the first names of people that these men were praying for. How about you? Who has God put in your path that is need of a Saviour

Should community be a safe place?

I often hear it said that to have a healthy growing LifeGroups ministry, the groups must be a safe place for believer and non-believer alike. And to this point I agree, that the community of God should be a place that is welcoming to all comers, hospitable and loving. and in that sense very safe.

But what are people really saying when they say they want their community to be safe?

I fear that many equate safety with comfort. Defining a safe group as one where I can be myself, not judged but excepted as I am, “judge not, lest ye be judged”.right?

Sounds great. but wait. what if “myself” is a gossip. or a liar, or ungrateful, or self worshiping. Should a LifeGroup be a place where I am free to be those things in a safe environment? Have we not been called to spur one another on to good deeds. to encourage and rebuke one another so that we glorify Jesus with this fleeting life? (Hebrews 3:12-14)

 If safety is comfort then I pray RiverPoint Church LifeGroups are never safe. To be comfortable with your sin is to be dead to the work of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-9). In authentic community, I cannot hide my sin for long because, inevitably, pressure and time will expose it among a group of people who truly care and love me. In such a community, I am forced to confront, confess and repent of my sin. This is painful, unsettling, and certainly not safe by the standard of comfort. Safety is not in that I will not be challenged to live a life worthy of my calling to Christ, but it is in that it will be done in love from a brother or sister that is, or has, walked through that same fire. Ultimately, there is no safer place then in the arms of Christ, to whom this process points and draws us.

Considering the non-believer, it is unfathomable to me that we can believe it is safer to be left in a state of death and decay, dangling over the flames of hell, then to be confronted with the life-giving message of the Gospel. This is rarely a comfortable confrontation with the living the God, but how desperate is their need to be saved from the destruction they are hurtling toward. Yet we hold our tongue for comfort? Unfortunately we are often deceived that what would be safe (God) is dangerous (uncomfortable) and that which is dangerous (damnation) is safe (comfortable). (Isa. 5:20).

My encouragement to you is to embrace the danger of living in authentic biblical community. Look forward to the work God is doing in you and through you as part of a community. Embraced discomfort for a greater joy, Sanctification.

My prayer is that RiverPoint LifeGroups will be a place where we encounter God, and challenge one another to glorify Him. That’s not safe. That’s community. Let’s share it.

-tom