Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Best Holiday

I found myself this week thinking about an idea that our lead worshipper shared with us on Sunday between songs. He mentioned that Christmas was his favorite holiday while growing up, but now Easter is his favorite holiday. I think I can identify with that as well - there is a richness to the celebration of Holy Week that can be found no where else.

Yes, it's necessary to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, or else we wouldn't have Easter, but during Holy Week we experience the full spectrum of human emotion, we see the depth of the human condition, and we understand the fullness of God's love and power. We travel through a time of worship and praise on Palm Sunday, as we exalt Christ as the King. We move into the fullness of human relationships on Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, as we remember the Last Supper. We slide into the depths of grief and despair, as we gaze upon Christ crucified for our sins on Good Friday. And then we soar to the heights of joy and new life on Easter morning, as we realize that His resurrection means new, abundant and eternal life for us as well.

So, embrace the richness of the season; let yourself experience fully God's love and power at this Easter time. Consider fully what Jesus Christ has done for you, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you with the same power that raised Christ from the dead. He is risen!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Upside-Down Road to Life

The last will be first? Leaders will be servants? Those who die will live? The poor will be rich? The weak will be strong?

So often, the Kingdom of God is upside-down. When we truly dig into who Jesus Christ was, and what He's called us to do, we don't find what we thought we'd find. God's ways are mysterious, and we often find Him doing what we would least expect.

As we journey through this season called Lent, the 40 days leading toward the celebration of Christ's death and resurrection, this 'upside-downness' of the Kingdom is brought clearly into focus. Who would think to overcome death by dying? Who would think to establish a Kingdom by being humble? Who would think that God would die in humanity's place?

We invite you to become part of Chapel Next and join us as we seek to be like Christ, embracing the seemingly backwards way that God works, moving forward purposefully to what God has in store for us, and finding life along the upside-down road that leads to His Kingdom.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Putting Yourself In Prison

I, and I think most other chaplains, would tell you that the vast majority of issues I counsel Soldiers and Families regarding are self-inflicted. We place ourselves in difficult, complicated situations because we make sinful, selfish, or unwise decisions. We find ourselves trapped in consequences of our own making, unable to get out.

In the Biblical book of Proverbs, God often warns that the foolish or evil will fall into their own pit. In Hebrews, the picture is drawn for us of sin that so easily entangles. So many times, when we find ourselves trapped, or at a dead end, or stuck in the mire, it's because of our own sinful or unwise decisions. We throw away the freedom that Christ bought for us, and lock ourselves into the prison of consequence and complication.

The good news? We don't have to do this! Jesus Christ died to bring us true freedom. God has designed the creation and His commands to show us the path to freedom. In the next few weeks at Chapel Next, we are going to explore some of the foundational biblical principles that help us stay out of our self-made prisons, and enjoy the freedom that comes only from walking with God.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Christmas season is now ending, and for my family it was the season of plenty - plenty of Christmas cookies, plenty of miles driven, plenty of presents opened, plenty of sick kids, plenty of activities and events, plenty of snow. About the only thing I seem to be short of is time!

You may be in a similar situation, it seems like 2008 slipped by without me accomplishing everything I wanted to, and now 2009 is quickly approaching. Somewhere in here we should take some time for introspection and thinking about changes for the next year - but it's hard to find the quiet moments to do our resolutions. So, to save you time, here's three New Year's resolutions for you:

1. Resolve to Live for God as His Child - like a young child, be sure the your 2009 revolves around your heavenly Father. Seek His approval before any one else. Lean on Him for all your needs. Trust that He will give you what is best. Work to please Him with your actions and attitudes.

2. Resolve to Live For God Where You Are With What You Have - don't wait for the next promotion, pay raise, or promise of a better life. You don't need more stuff to serve God faithfully, you don't need different life circumstances, you don't need a change in scenery. God, your Father, wants you to serve Him faithfully with what He's given you. And, as we are faithful with what we have, He will entrust us with more.

3. Resolve to Live For God as if Now Were the Future - we always think that the next stage of life will be easier: we'll have more time, money and/or energy. But, it never seems to happen. Don't wait to make the changes you need to make in your life. We do not know how much time we have on earth, or how much time we have until Jesus returns. We can only live in the 'now'.

So, I've saved you the time of writing these resolutions. Now, we all only need to live them!

Friday, December 5, 2008

There Is Always Hope!

I'm not sure where this Advent season finds you, but for most of us in the Army, Christmas happens in odd places. We may celebrate it with our family at a new post. We may celebrate it separated from our spouse because of deployment. We may celebrate it in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, or many other countries. Last year, my family was homeless for Christmas, since we cleared housing on 23DEC! Regardless of what odd place we find ourselves in for Christmas though, the message of Christmas stays the same.

CH Pies reminded us of the hope we have last Sunday. When times seem dark, God is still working. When His presence seems gone from our life, God is still moving. When Israel waited for 400 years to hear from Him, to receive their Messiah, to find their hope, God was planning the perfect moment - the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So, wherever you find yourself this Christmas - there is hope! God is at work in your life. God is at work in the darkness, in the silence, in the joy, and in the busyness. God is always at work in us, helping us to take the next step with Christ. There is always hope!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Below Average People Needed!!

Well, I'm not sure if anyone is coming back to Chapel Next after the sermon last week, where I told the congregation that half of them were below average! Statistically speaking, this is the truth; but saying so isn't always the best way to win friends and influence people. There was a legitimate point to my observation though and here it is: God isn't looking for people who are 'great' as the world sees it. He's looking for 'average' people who are willing to be used by Him, for His glory and His purposes.

So, I extend the call to anyone reading this blog - come, be a part of the body of Christ (the Church). We'd love for you to come to Chapel Next, of course, but the important thing is to be part of the body of Christ. Because whether you think you are above average, average or below average, being a part of His body makes you great. Think about it. Is there anything insignificant about our Savior? Is there any part of representing Him to a hurting, broken, average world that is insignificant? Is there any part of His work and love in this world that is below average?

Greatness and significance don't come from public recognition and worldly achievement. Greatness and significance come from an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ and participation in His plan to make broken lives new.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The First Quarter

Chapel Next has now officially kicked off! If I can continue the football metaphor then, we are now in the first quarter, and the game is going well. We've seen many new players on the team in the past two weeks, attendance has steadily increased, and people are getting involved in the vision to reach the Next generation of Soldiers and Families on Fort Carson.

What's the 'gameplan' for this first quarter?

Eyes on the Prize - We'll keep an unwavering focus on our purpose for existing - taking the Next step in an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Like a football team tries to move yard by yard toward the goal, God wants to transform us step by step into more Christ-like people who show His glory, love and grace to the world around us.

Teamwork - We want to continue to build a Chapel Community, not just hold a Chapel Service. We'll be starting a new small group or two in the next month and continuing to hold fellowship events after the service, so that we can build life-long, genuine personal relationships.

Recruitment - A large part of our goal is to reach single Soldiers. We will continue to become the contemporary and cutting-edge chapel community on Fort Carson, and will begin some intentional efforts to involve and support our single Soldiers.

Once again, we invite you to join us. We can't promise you that the 'game' of life will be easy, but we can promise that as we take the Next step with Christ together, God will provide the victory!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chapel Next Kick-Off

On 19OCT, Fort Carson will become home to the newest Chapel Next worship service in the Army! As Chapel Next, our desire is to work with the next generation of Soldiers and Families. Whether you are trying discover what you believe, working to establish a spiritual walk, or well on the way in your spiritual journey, we want to help lead you to the next step in an ever deepening relationship with Jesus Christ.

We believe that worship in a chapel can be exciting - contemporary and cutting-edge worship music, video segments, and real life application of God's Word.

We believe that you're looking for more than just a chapel service, you want a chapel community - fellowship, small groups, and people who love and support you through tough times.

We believe that the wholeness, significance, passion and purpose that you are seeking can be found - right now, here in the Army - when we are part of God's Kingdom through Jesus Christ.

So we invite you to join us. We can't promise you that we can change your life, but we can promise that taking the next step with Christ will transform it!