Sep 282007

The Student Ministry of Church at the Grove for the second year now has adopted Relay for Life as a point of connection in our local community.  Tonight we get to be a part of something special and significant in celebrating life with cancer survivors.  It is also a time to remember those that didn’t survive the potential deadly impact of cancer.  It is an incredibly worthy cause to raise money for cancer research. 

My favorite part is connecting with people I have never met and having conversations that potentially lead to talking about Jesus.  In an event like this, so many people have either been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer.  These people know how precious and fragile life on this earth can be.  In this environment, the conversations are rich, deep and carry an eternal “beyond this world” perspective.  This is perfect environment to have conversations that lead to sharing the hope found in Christ.

Our purpose at Church at the Grove is to lead people to follow Jesus and Make Disciples.  We do that through creating Environments like our gathering on Sunday mornings, Encouraging relationships through our Community Groups, and doing things like Relay for Life that enable us to Start Discussions that lead to sharing Christ.

Go do something that helps you stay focused on things of an eternal nature.  Go have a conversation that could lead to talking about Jesus!

I love being a part of a church that is involved in things like Relay for Life!

 Posted by at 5:23 pm
Sep 272007

 How the Irish Saved Civilization

I just finished reading How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill.  It helped that I am a history nerd, but I think anyone would enjoy the perspective that Cahill offers on the Irish’s influence in preserving much of the literature and cultural beauty the world almost lost as a result of the fall of Rome.

The highlight of the book was becoming more familiar with Saint Patrick’s missional pursuit of taking the gospel of Christ to Ireland.  Patrick was born in the Roman Empire and was taken as a slave to Ireland.  He left after hearing God speak to him and returned to the Roman Empire for the purpose of preparing (educationally and theologically) to return to Ireland for the sole purpose of sharing Christ with an uncivilized people.  As a result, many Irish monks were equipped and ready to leave Ireland and travel east to Europe where they would share the hope found in Christ.  The message of Christ spread throughout Europe and filled a huge vacuum left as a result of the Barbarian Invasions. 

The Multi-site Church Revolution

Next on the list:  The Multi-site Church Revolution.  I am convinced that launching another Church at the Grove location in the Social Circle area is in our future.  With the area rapidly growing and the absence of a church that is positioned to reach disconnected and unconvinced people, this is where we sense God leading us.  So many people need Christ!  I am convicted that our vision should be “out of this world” and “crazy” to the point that if God is not leading us, there is no way it can be accomplished.  What do you think? 

 Posted by at 12:52 pm
Sep 252007

My 2 1/2 year old son, Caleb was taking his turn to pray in our family devotion tonight and he said, “Dear Jesus, I love cookies, and I love my daddy’s cookies and the Bible loves me so!  AMEN! 

 Well, considering the cookie part, I have no defense, like father-like son.  I am sure he will improve on the theological essence of his prayers.

Check out this video on what John Piper thinks about the prosperity gospel.  I agree!

Check out this music video from Brad Paisley and Sara Evans. It is a great song and a great video!

This blog post by Vince Antonucci challenges me regarding reaching unchurched, disconnected, and unconvinced people.  We talk about it a lot, but are we really doing it and are we willing to pay the price to do it?

 This post is “Hello, my name is clueless and I am coming to your church tomorrow.”  I love this pastor from Nashville, TN.  Check out David Foster. 

I love sharing with you what I am reading on other blogs or what someone sends me that is worth passing along. 

I hope you will be challenged and I hope you will have fun.

 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Sep 252007

I was involved in a conversation recently where a person who has grown up in church and claims to have been a Christian most of their life made an interesting statement.  The conversation was moving in the direction of how Christ-followers are responsible for building relationships with people who don’t follow Christ.  Then came the statement that is still ringing in my ears, “I just don’t cross paths with ‘those people’ in my circle of friends.” 

I just about came unglued!  I felt like Bobby Cox probably feels when he comes out of the dugout after an umpire clearly misses a call on the field.  It was all I could do to keep my composure, but because I am a good pastor and want to stay in the good graces of the people in this community, and largely because I don’t want to go to jail, I kept my composure and have waited until now to fully address the comment.  To that person who doesn’t cross paths with “those people”:

  • ‘Those people’ are created in the image of Almighty God.
  • ‘Those people’ simply need to hear that their creator loves them and created them for a relationship with HIM.
  • ‘Those people’ are who Jesus Christ died for on the cross.
  • ‘Those people’ are all potential children of God.
  • ‘Those people’ are dependent on YOU to authentically and genuinely show them the true character of Jesus Christ.
  • ‘Those people’ are why I, Craig Story, and more than a dozen families left the secure confines of a wonderful, established church home to launch Church at the Grove.
  • ‘Those people’ are why we will resist the distractions of becoming a “comfortable” church that exists for those inside the church rather than those outside the church.
  • I used to be one of “those people” and if it wasn’t for a brother inviting me to his church and a host of ‘church people’ who opened their arms to this “those people”, I would not be a Christ-follower, much less a church-planting pastor. 
  • God loves “those people”.
  • We all were one of “those people”. 

Now, to the person who made that statement:  If you are not willing to get off your lazy, affluent-American Christian, “I need another Bible study”, “I don’t give a rip about people dying and going to hell” BEHIND, then politely take the fish off your car and turn in your tithing envelopes! 

Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost.  Check out Luke 19:10.  What was lost was a connection with HIS prized creation on earth: HUMANITY! 

Charles Spurgeon said that if all of the elect had a stripe painted down their back, he would spend his life running up and down the streets pulling up shirt-tails and sharing the gospel. (paraphrased)

If we can’t get that simple truth and apply it to ALL that we do as the CHURCH, we simply need to close up shop and go home.

Whew!  Man I feel better!  Have a nice day!  Oh, and go walk across your office, street, or neighborhood and have a conversation with one of “those people”. 

 Posted by at 8:22 am