Monday, January 10, 2011

15 days - Revival2011!

So you can watch my video message (and the life journey reflections of others) – but then follow for the full 15 days with these daily times of quiet, a short Bible passage, some thoughts, a prayer, and a song! And if you have intellectual or emotional questions about God, or life, of following Christ, look at our Q&A page or just email me ( Share with me your thoughts, quandaries, and new insights as we move along!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Revival2011 is here! View NOW!

Revival2011 is here! It’s 7pm on January 9 as this goes online! Read, view the linked videos below, think and pray - and email me when you're done: I want to hear from you! After lots of preparation (on our part, and hopefully yours too!) we begin what we’ve jokingly called “not-your-grandmother’s-revival.” Some of that is about style, as we are using modern media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, email and blogs, and also because we aren’t asking for you one big emotional moment. Yes, there is a big decision every person needs to make – and you may actually need to make that big decision a few times, many times in life.

But there are a host of little decisions that make or break the big decision. Revival, or conversion, or a serious faith in Christ, isn’t any one single thought or settling accounts with God: it’s a whole new life, manifested in a deep sense of joy, new habits, a steel strength in the soul to weather tough times, becoming physical instruments of Christ in the real world. That doesn’t happen overnight.

So we begin 15 days with a big event tonight. Those showing up in our building this evening find their seats, singing informally together as others gather. Then we begin with an amazing little intro video: “In the beginning was the Word” (you can watch this on YouTube and imagine you are there!). Then some fun, raucous singing along with Jimmy Jones: “Over my head, I hear music in the air! There must be a God somewhere…”

With images (some of which you see here!), dance, and a couple of dramatic readings, the crowd is drawn into my main message – and you can get that message right now: I sat down in front of a camera a couple of weeks ago, and got the substance of it in just 11 minutes. I hope you will watch this, now, and perhaps forward this to friends or family. It seems to me like it’s the most important thing, ever, not because I’m saying it, but because people over the centuries have found hope and life in this message – and in making a positive commitment to this message.

We also will watch pretty moving video clips of some of our Church members, people just like you, telling how they came to know, trust, and delight in Christ: you will want to watch and listen, now!

My message, and theirs, is an invitation to believe in Christ, to make a serious commitment, to feel the joy, to take a giant step closer to God, and to the life you crave. But no 11 minute message is enough. That’s where the 15 days come in. Starting tomorrow, you will get an email each day (or find all of them online now), with an image to reflect on, a Bible verse to read and weigh, some thoughts I think are essential, and even a link to a song (if that’s the kind of thing that stirs you). Stick with this 15 day program! Give it some time; don’t rush; we even ask you to be silent for a little bit of time each day.

During this time, if you have questions (of course you do!) about God, or the Bible, or other religions, or your life, come to the “ask anything!” sessions I’m offering, or check out this Q&A page – or email me ( It makes my day when we explore questions together; and I believe questions are good – and at the same time, questions can insulate us against taking steps we need to take to follow Christ. You can love without having every question answered, can’t you? And maybe we can resolve some questions and get unstuck.

Then on January 23 we’ll ask (again, but more definitively) for a commitment, a decision, a big decision that will embrace a thousand little decisions). Give us 15 days. Give yourself 15 days. Give God 15 days (or at least 15 minutes each of those 15 days).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

12 year old wishes God HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This morning I heard from a mom whose 12 year old was saying her prayers on New Year’s night: She started her prayers like she usually does, “Dear God, thank you for this day…” And then she said, “Oh! And Happy New Year to you!” She went on to thank God for many things of 2010, and prayed for 2011. Later on she asked me if it was weird to wish God a Happy New Year. I thought about it and told her that I thought God appreciated it – that she would take the time to tell Him that. But what was really neat is that we talked about what would make for a “happy new year” for God. That is, what would make God’s 2011 really happy, and what could we do about it?

She went on to share what I seemed to notice this year: we say “Happy New Year,” and it’s a simple seasonally-appropriate greeting, not much more. We don’t exactly commit ourselves to helping the receiver actually have a Happy New Year. But the mother-daughter conversation raises a lovely question: what would it mean for us to commit to help 2011 be a “happy” year for God?

It’s easy to say Oh, it’s God, God is infinite, omniscient, ineffable, cradling the entire universe in omnipotent care: does it make sense to think we might make God “happy” or “unhappy”? Yet the Bible’s best insight, one shared by Christians for 2000 years, is that God is all heart, God feels even more than we do, and it’s quite personal with each one of us: we have the capacity to delight God’s soul, or to break God’s heart. This delight or heartbreak happens when we make big decisions, or small decisions, when something just happens to us or we think we are in control of things.
The fascinating quirk in this is: when we break God’s heart, our own hearts feel hollow, or thin, or even vaguely sad; and when we delight God’s soul, when we make God happy, then – and only then! – we discover that we really are happy, or even joyful.
2011 is here: Happy New Year – to you, O God? Here’s a New Year’s resolution: I will pray, and try hard, and trust beyond what I’m capable of, that 2011 is a year in which my thoughts, words, deeds, lifestyle and big and little decisions bring happiness to the heart of God.
Revival2011 is upon us. January 9, 7pm, kicks off 15 days of what I dream of being a significant beginning to us making God – and ourselves – happy in 2011, and beyond.