Saturday, April 26, 2008

CalvarySLO in the OT?: Nehemiah 7:5-73

The priests, Levites, security guards, singers, and Temple support staff, along with some others, and the rest of the People of Israel, all found a place to live in their own towns. (Neh 7:73 MSG)

Well we did it...we studied through Nehemiah 7, the equivalent of the Jerusalem phone book!

We actually learned quite a bit; that God chooses to use People, their gifts, talents, and generous giving. We also learned that the way God organized the people of Jerusalem is very similar to the way he has chosen to organize CalvarySLO.

Here's what I mean This information is my understanding of CalvarySLO organization as of right now, which often changes:

Verse 7 mentions men of the people which equates to the congregation, those who call CalvarySLO their church home. This is everyone who gets their nourishment on Sunday and all of the other ministries that are offered at CalvarySLO.

Verses 39 and 43 mention the priests and the Levites which equates to the paid staff of CalvarySLO. These are:

Bryan - Senior Pastor
James - Associate Pastor
Nick - College Pastor
Ben - Youth Pastor (High School & Jr. High)
Leah - Children's Ministry Coordinator
Melissa - Office Manager
Cole - Accounting

Verse 44 mentions the singers which equates to our worship team at CalvarySLO. This is lead by Kris Stipech, but there are many more who lead us to the throne on Sunday morning and in our other ministries and events. Isn't it cool that thousands of years ago there was Worship through Song?

Verse 45 mentions the gatekeepers which equates to our elders at CalvarySLO. These are:

Steve - Evangelism and Outreach
Marc - Children's Ministry
Sean - Just came back from Sabbatical...Youth Ministries before
Dave - Missions
Joey - Deacons
Albert - Sunday Morning Services
Patrick - Men's Ministry
Larry - Finances

Verse 60 mentions Temple servants and Solomon's servants which equates to the deacons at CalvarySLO. These are:

Jeff - Community Groups
Gabe - Sunday Morning Services
Tim - Sound Ministry
Eric - Floating Deacon
Jonathan - Children & Youth Worship

Hope that is helpful. The men leading and coordinating KingdomBuilders with me thought so.

It's super amazing that God chooses to use us, normal and sinful people, to move and build his Kingdom here on earth. He has called us to use the gifts and talents he has given us to serve and love the bride...even giving our lives for her. It's sobering and exciting at the same time.

As the verse above states everyone listed in this long list of names found a place to live, and might I add serve, in their towns. We all should find our place to live and serve at the church we call home!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thoughts on Spring Training 2008

I wish I had some pictures to show you! Hopefully Stupar will upload some soon that I can steal.

My day started at 4:30am...couldn't sleep, usually can't right before a big event. So I practiced my message on my dog, Sophie. Pretty sure she's going to be Playing for Keeps real soon.

Then I headed over to the local donut shop, for a dozen, and then picked up James and Steve at James' house. We headed over to Pacheco for the sound equipment and picked up Austin as well.

We arrived at 8:45am and there were already men there! We quickly setup and were on our way at about 9:45am. Nick led us in a couple of songs and I spoke about "How Invested Nehemiah was in God's Kingdom." We sent everyone out for some reflection time asking:

  • Am I Playing for Keeps?
  • What does God want to do in my heart today?
  • What does God want me to invest my energy, passions, time, and life in?
At about 11:10 we got back together. Aaron Wise ran us through the rules of the Softball tourney and broke the news that even though some of the men didn't want to play softball we were going to have to ask them to, because there just weren't enough men to spare. Thank men!

The first games were Team Nesper vs. Team McFarland on Field 1; Team Wise vs. Team Gardner on Field 2. I was on Team Gardner so I don't know what happened on Field 1, but we had a very competitive game that saw us come back from a 9 run deficit. I do know that Team Nesper won on Field 1 (I heard that Steve had to learn how to catch the ball on first base though.)

Also on Field 2 Patrick Malloy took one for Team Wise. As he was touching 3rd base he twisted his knee. We prayed for him and he started to ice it, but ended up going to the emergency room: Thanks Aaron Enstad! I didn't get the official report, but I heard that his knee was hurt, but as we continued to pray for him the pain was decreasing.

We had some lunch at about 12:45pm; three 6 ft Subway sandwiches, chips, soda, and cookies. We had way too much food so we invited the SLO Heavies who were practicing in a field next to ours. The SLO Heavies are a team of really big mostly Scottish men in kilts that throw huge logs, boulders, and hammers in what's called the Scottish games. They were fun men.

At about 1:25pm or so the KB Leaders/Coordinators told me if we didn't get something going everyone was going to fall asleep! So we started with some worship from Westberg and then a message on Grace by Steve. I could see there were a good amount of men that were moved as men were split up into small groups and prayed for each other.

Sometime around 3:15pm or so we got started on the second game: winners vs. losers. Team Nesper vs. Team Wise on Field 2; Team McFarland vs. Team Gardner on Field 1. It was a very heated game on Field 1 as a couple of our players had to leave or just decided to stop playing. McFarland's team played catcher for us and missed a couple of plays...and I have to confess I started losing it. I ended up apologizing for my sinful competitiveness.

At around 4:45pm we started our last worship/teaching session. Nick lead us in worship and Bryan taught on the Curse on Men due to the Fall. We were all ready for some dinner when that was over and the food showed up at about 6:15pm. Also about that time some of our families, wives, and girlfriends showed up to share in the copious amounts of food and to watch the Championship game.

As we unwrapped the pig I heard a lot of comments, mostly about how people didn't really realize that we were actually going to see a whole roasted pig. I thought I was pretty clear about that so I thought that was funny. We all enjoyed whole roasted pig (Lechon), Filipino Eggrolls (Lumpia), Filipino Chow Mein (Pancit), and white rice. Along with the Lechon was a secret sauce, which many were game to try. I'm honestly not sure what it is, but my guess is it's cooked innards and drippings somehow turned into a sauce. But man was it good!

Championship game was Team Nesper vs. Team McFarland. I heard these men really wanted to win the Championship and the knives. The consolation game was kind of a farce as both teams were short players so we did our best. The Championship game saw a blowout 18 to 12 with a huge rally at the end from 18 to 6 or something like that. Team Nesper won, with an undefeated record. They played their hearts out.

We had a bit of a ceremony after that where I handed out the knives and congratulated the winners. We gave knives to the MVPs of the 2nd thru 4th place teams: Dan from Team McFarland, Gavin from Team Gardner, Will from Team Wise. They were pleasantly surprised. Last, we were going to raffle off the rest of the knives but there were enough for everyone that stuck it out until the end so everyone got one.

Thanks to everyone who stuck around to help clean up. We were like zombies walking around not talking to each other, just cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. It was crazy! On our way home we found out that a bunch of men were going to soak in Jeff Little's hot tub...every muscle in our bodies was saying, "Please go!" So we did...I don't know what kind of condition I would be in now if we hadn't.

All in all in was a really great day. I'm starting to realize that I need to (and can) rely on the KB Leaders/Coordinators. See I've been doing KB alone for so long I forget I have men that really want to serve as well. All day they just owned it and kept telling me to let them do something.

Thanks Nesper, Wise, AMac, and Austin for your means more than you'll ever know. Same to James and guys stuck it out with us to the very end! A huge thanks to Jerry and Lorie Apilado, who cooked everything but the pig for dinner...from scratch! BTW these aren't professional Caterers they are my neighbors sister and brother-in-law that willingly spent hours making and frying each Eggroll for a very good price. Thanks also to Manong Eddie who cooked the pig, probably starting at the crack of dawn!

Praise the Lord! I just love hanging out with the men and learning to Play for Keeps, both through the worship/teaching and realizing that the competitiveness we felt during the tourney is how God made us. We just have to redeem that and use it for the Kingdom of God!

If you were there I'd love to see your leave one!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Venue for ST08

Men...I was in A-town for work today so I stopped by the Venue for ST08, aka Paloma Creek Park Atascadero. Let me tell you, this picture cannot convey how sweet the park is. See I'm used to Santa Rosa Park where the diamonds are so close you can hit a dude on the back of the head in the outfield of the next diamond over...while bunting. Or Soto Sports Complex in AG where the grass looks like mowed over weeds and well dare I say ghetto?

So that's what I expected when I got to Paloma Creek Park...oh I thought no parking too, boy was I wrong on all accounts! Seemed like plenty of parking available, not that we shouldn't carpool because Al Gore told me the globe is warming. Well I got out of my car and what was I greeted with but green; green grass everywhere. Two huge sunken soccer fields to the left and a little league diamond (we didn't rent that...apparently you can't).

And a path down the middle to two (2) sweet softball diamonds. They are totally separate entities. They were chalked and had bases like they will on Saturday and they looked great like the pic above shows, but in person even better. Get this they even have real dugouts! I am pumped...I hope you are too.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It is Finished? Neh 6:1-7:4

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. Neh 6:15

We (KingdomBuilders leaders) have met twice since I updated you last on our journey through Nehemiah, so I am combining both studies here.

The main deal I got out of Chapter 6 and part of 7 is that Nehemiah doesn't rest on his laurels, you know what I mean? Here he is, he's completed what many before him have tried and failed to complete; restoring the wall around Jerusalem. Some would say it is THE work he was put on this earth to do. It's a huge structure requiring hundreds of people to clear rubble and burnt doors and THEN build the wall. On top of that he was hounded by constant opposition from within and without.

With all that he uses 16 words (at least in the ESV) to describe this massive work that only took 52 days. I think I'd have used at least 52 words, you know what I'm saying? What we came up with is that Nehemiah was able to deadpan the whole thing because:

  1. Nehemiah knew the work wasn't done yet. This part of it was done, which I'm sure he was glad about and rejoiced, but there was more work to be done to organize the people and to point their hearts towards Jesus. Alas, the leader's work is never done.

  2. Nehemiah found complete satisfaction in God rather than his job. Sure it was neat that they accomplished so much in so little time, but it sure pales in comparison to our great and awesome God!

  3. Nehemiah wanted ALL the glory to go to God. Waxing eloquent about his accomplishments would have taken the focus off of God and put it on him and his team.
This is a hard word from the Lord who gives us Nehemiah as an example of working hard for the Lord, finding satisfaction in only him, and not being a glory thief. We'll find there is quite a bit more work for Nehemiah to do and he continues to be faithful. It's so hard in this day and age with Yahoo banner ads telling us our dream job is a mouse click away, to be content in the job God has given us and to only find satisfaction in him...not a job. Most of all as selfish sinful broken people that want attention and accolades, it is very difficult to not be a glory thief.