Bridges

I have always lived in towns that have rivers as a predominate feature. In Ottawa Illinois the Illinois River divided the town into north and south. Hartford Illinois is located where the Mississippi River and the Missouri River converged. The Rock River cuts Rockford into the east and west sides of town. The river is the line that people use when trying to figure out if you are on the bad side or good side of town.

All of the towns I have lived in are vastly different, but they all have something in common; bridges. 

In Ottawa the coolest looking bridge wasn't the one we drove on, but the one for the train. The middle section would raise and lower for barge traffic. On top of that section was a house. As a kid I thought it would be cool to live up there.

The Clark bridge over the Mississippi River may be one of the best looking bridges in Illinois. It was one of the things that I would always point out as I gave tours at the Confluence Towers.

The bridges in Rockford are some of the coolest features in the city. The bridges downtown are simple looking, but the arches that support them are beautiful (especially when they are illuminated  for Christmas). The suspension bridges are the ones that you have to take notice of. You know that hours were spent planning the look of the bridges not to mention the hours spent to figure out the structural integrity of them.

Bridges exist to connect two place where there is a barrier in the way. Bridges are opportunities to create something new. 

What would happen if we stopped looking at the barrier and start seeing that we can make a new path?

Our church and your church have barriers that they have to figure out how to get past. The barrier is an opportunity in waiting. Bridges make a mark on their community.  Churches need to be the ones who show how we get past the barriers to where we want to go.

Jesus was the ultimate bridge. The barrier between us and God is sin. Jesus' death and resurrection is the bridge that we needed to get to God.

So let's stop looking at the barriers and start building bridges.

Prince of Peace

My teenage son asks why I watch the news. He says that all it ever does is tell what people died in a horrible way, and most days he is right. The top stories are almost always about, murder, war, and terrorism. Those are not the most happy type of stories that most want to hear.

In a world that is falling apart, what do you cling to? During the Christmas season we are often reminded of what Isaiah said the savoir will be. Listen to what Isaiah 9:6 says; For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

My favorite name given in that verse is Prince of Peace.

In a world that looks like it is falling apart and is filled with chaos it helps to know peace. The only place we find peace in our lives is only in Jesus Christ. In the midst of personal conflict Jesus offers peace. I can have peace no matter what craziness is around me because of who Jesus is. He is peace.

The only chance you, I, or the world will ever have at peace will only happen when we know the Prince of Peace.

This Christmas make sure that you take some time to know the Prince of Peace before the craziness kicks in.

Success

What does success look like to you?

In different areas success looks different. In sports success  usually comes down to who wins and who loses. In business success can be all about profitability. 

How should churches determine success? Is church success all about numbers? 

Sunday night we had our 5th annual Trunk n Treat and this year was by far the biggest yet. But for me what makes it successful is found in the picture below.

These are the people who made Trunk n Treat happen. They are the ones who made contact with there friends and coworkers and invited them to come. These are the ones who made all of our guests feel welcomed.

Our church posted this photo on our Facebook page and the responses showed the success of the event. People were thankful for the event, the food, and the great time.

Now the hard part of success comes in. Now we need to build on the success of this. Ultimately we are not event planners, we are a church. To be successful as a church means to reach the lost with the message of Jesus and see them grow in a relationship with him.

The event was great, but success by God's terms isn't bringing over 500 people for an event. But let's build on the momentum from this event to reach our world with the message of the gospel. Then we will have real success.