Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keep Christ in Christmas!!! POW!

Every year people make a big deal out of whether certain stores use the word, "Christmas" in their advertising. Stores that use Christmas want everyone to know. They display it for the world to see. But then the other stores, well, you'd hardly know there was a special day once a year at the end of December. For them it has become winter holiday.

I'm not really the boycotting type, but seriously, I'm buying these gifts for Christmas and if your store doesn't recognize the holiday I'm certainly not going out of my way to support it. And why would I? My family celebrates Christmas and not winter. I don't even really like winter... I'm never dreaming of a white Christmas.

Just this week I read a post on Facebook which caught me off guard. At first I was outraged... but then I started thinking about it a little more. What do you think?

It's true we can't make anyone celebrate our Savior's birth. When I celebrate my wedding anniversary I don't force others to celebrate it with me and shun them if they don't. It's their choice if they want to be happy for me and my wife. And the truth is, it's everyones choice to keep Christ in Christmas. If they just want to have Christmas or winter holiday that is there loss.

That being said, I'm determined to celebrate Christ this Christmas. I'm making a strong personal effort to keep Him as the number one reason for the day. Which is exactly why I like this status update. I think if people saw Christians keep Jesus the real reason for the season they would want to embrace Christ.

Christians do ourselves a disservice when we stand for things but have inconsistant stances. Christians scream "Sanctity of marriage", but we have an insanely high divorce rate. We press sexual purity and feed our addiction of pornography at home. We yell, "keep Christ in Christmas", but beat the snot out of people to get a Nintendo Wii on Black Friday. Before we start focusing on the spec in everyone else's eye let's focus on the log in our own.
Christians say Christmas isn't about the gifts, but we don't mean it. Allie and I have decided to do Christmas a little different this year. Maybe it's something that you'd be interested in. We're going to invest in world missions through our Church's yearly Christmas offering and Samaritans purse. A large portion of the money we usually spend on Christmas gifts is going to go to feeding the hungry, sharing the gospel, freeing slaves, and providing water. Jesus was/is serious about helping those in need. Get a refresher course in Matthew 25:34-46.

I'm not against gifts at Christmas at all. So, don't misunderstand me. We're still giving toys to the kids and giving each other gifts, but we're cutting down on all the extra filler junk and knocking it down to the gifts  we really want.

How are you keeping Christ in your Christmas? 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10 Steps to Cook the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Ever

I like good turkey and I don't like bad turkey. I'm sure you feel the same way. Instead of a deep heavy post this Thanksgiving I'm going to tell you how to cook a REALLY killer turkey.

I'm passing this on to you with a couple of provisos I'd like you to understand. 1) My wife cooks the turkeys. She is Italian and a very skilled homemade cook. I'm blessed. I'm sure she was meant to marry a fatter guy who would take advantage of her cooking more, but she got me... 2) I believe what has come to be known as Allie's recipe is actually inspired from cooking scientist Alton Brown.

Before you follow any of these steps thaw the turkey thoroughly.

  1. Cook the turkey for the lowest hours suggested for your its weight.
  2. Take all the stuff out of the turkey, including the neck and do whatever you want with it.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Drown turkey in your cooking oil of choice (Olive, corn, etc.). Even put the oil inside the turkey.
  5. Liberally sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on the turkey.
  6. Take sticks of margarine and flatten them with your hands. Blanket the butter over the turkey (Especially the breasts). Make sure to stick some on the legs too.
  7. Place it in the preheated oven.
  8. About 1/2 way through cooking the turkey loosely cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil, making sure to tuck the aluminum foil under the sides the turkey.
  9. Let it cook the rest of the time needed.
  10. Take it out of the oven and let sit uncut for 30 minutes. CUT IT RIGHT BEFORE SERVING so that it is still moist when you eat it.
There you have it. That is my wife's turkey and it's marvelous. In the comments tell me what you thought after cooking the turkey. Also, if you have any questions leave those there too. I'll ask my wife and try to get back to you quickly.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

7 Ways To Keep Oceanside's Momentum

The problem with momentum is the more of it you need the harder it is to get going. A 4 ton rock might have a huge amount of momentum while rolling down hill, but getting that rock rolling is very difficult. A 5 pound stone would be much easier to push down a hill, but it would also be far easier to stop.

Oceanside has struggled with momentum throughout our 9 year history. Buildings, health, finances, and confusion of Oceanside's vision and mission have all built huge walls that many times have taken years to breakthrough and overcome.

Once again Oceanside has a little momentum on our side. We've picked up some steam! People are getting their lives changed and we've seen real growth in our worship services. Events like Scaremare have given us little nudges to get us rolling. The question is, how do we keep this momentum? Here are 7 ways that I thought of today.

1. Provide The Finances Needed For Growth.
I wish everything was free, but few things are. If we're going to continue to grow and keep this momentum we're going to have to trust God and do some sacrificial giving. One of Oceanside's biggest barriers is money. Matthew 6:19-21

2. Stay On Board With The Mission.
Far too often people get confused about the mission of Oceanside. We're not left here on Earth to just build cool buildings and hang out together. We're here to build relationships and make disciples. Oceanside needs to be out there making friends and making disciples. That's our mission. Matthew 28:19

3. Love Each Other.
Dissension in the church can ruin momentum faster than you can blink. The sad part is, most of the time church arguments aren't about things that matter. Stay on task, love each other, and take care of each other. Hebrews 10:24-25

4. It's Not About You (Or me).
We often get way too caught up in ourselves. We think the church needs to meet our needs. But if Oceanside is going to continue to grow you're going to have to stop worrying about your comfort and start thinking about the greater mission of Christ's church. Sometimes we forget that we're not people who work and go to church on the weekends. We're the church and we work. Church isn't something we do it's something that we are. Colossians 1:16

I saw this tweet and had to share it with you.

5. Stay In Church.
It is most important that you are THE Church at your job, in your classroom, with your friends, and at home. But don't quit coming to church and small group. Sometimes that means getting up on Sunday is going to be really tough, and staying out late on Saturday might be a little too much. But the fact is your spirit needs the energy is received when Christ's Church meets together. Hebrews 10:25

6. Stay in God's Word and Take Care of Your Spiritual Health.
The temptation is going to be to let that time alone with God slip. DON'T YOU DO IT! In this time of momentum if you're going to participate and get involved where God's at work you'll have to stay in the Bible. You'll have to have deep prayer times with God. You'll have to be on your spiritual guard against Satan. Otherwise this whole thing will fall apart. Proverbs 4:23

7. Forget About Normal.
God doesn't need our normal. There was nothing normal about Jesus. If you're about a church being normal then you are at the wrong church. We're about changing our world, and a lot of times that means we're going to do some strange things. You might have to get on board with some weird things. Like what if we started meeting in a tent for church. Yeah, that would be weird, but it might just be exactly what we need to do. Learn to accept WEIRD and reject NORMAL. Matthew 7:13

There you have it! That's what I came up with. Are there any other ways you can think of to keep our momentum?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scaremare 2011 by the Numbers (A Postmortem, If You Will)

Only a few of the volunteer group

What a week! Scaremare was amazing. Just take a look at the numbers.
  • 2 Workers Made Life Changing Decisions
  • 2 Baptisms Scheduled for November
  • 3 Nights
  • 6.5 Was the Average Group Size (WHO IS THAT HALF PERSON!?)
  • 6 Hours Touring
  • 8 Salvations
  • 15 Tours
  • 35 Volunteers
  • 91 Non-Oceansiders Toured Through Scaremare
  • 500 Man-hours in Preparation
Numbers matter because people matter. Numbers are individuals. By the numbers this is one of the most successful events Oceanside Church has ever done. We were able to share the Gospel with more lost people in those three nights than we have probably been able to do for the rest of the year. Of those 91 people toured MANY of them did not know Christ.

Painting the Checkerboard Hallway

One of the most powerful parts of the whole experience was the camaraderie between all the volunteers. From set up to tear down everyone spent well over a week together. New friendships were sparked, inside jokes were made, and Christ was spoken into the lives of many workers who had abandoned Him long ago.

Emmie Gluing Newspaper to the Wall For Our Goose Bump Inducing Serial Killer Room

Truly, some of the greatest life change happened in the lives of those who worked in Scaremare. Every night we shared the gospel with ever person who volunteered. They listened and participated. Some made huge decisions, and all left closer to Christ than they came through our doors. That is success.

All these things can happen because of your support of time, prayer, and money. It would not be possible without your audacious vision for this little church in the middle of Mount Pleasant.