Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bible Reading Plans

I have mixed feelings about Bible reading plans. On one hand, they are very helpful in keeping me on a plan to systematically and thoroughly read the Bible. However, on the other hand, they can also be an accuser when I fall behind schedule and I have a lot of "unchecked boxes" staring me in the face. When that happens, I completely miss the point, which is to connect with the living God.

Ultimately, I think Bible Plans are helpful and should be used as a guide to stay on track to do what you what to do. Paul says in I Corinthians 9:26-27a, "So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control,..." In this life, we shouldn't be casual about our pursuit of God. We are pursuing an "imperishable wreath"!

If the the truth be told, we apply discipline to that area of our life we are most passionate about. Could be work, could be video games, could be golf, could be fantasy sports, could be a lot of stuff. The funny thing is that when we apply discipline to those areas we are passionate about, it doesn't feel like work nor is it a strain. So maybe when I look at my Bible reading plan and feel condemned, stressed and strained, it's not the plan's fault. Maybe my heart has lost some zeal and passion for God? What I need to do is step back, and pray for a renewed faith and zeal and then, like Paul, continue to apply discipline in my pursuit of God.

With that being said, I have enclosed a couple Bible Reading Plan options for you:


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Look Back at a Decade: PART TWO

Last Blog: People Impact

What God Has Produced in Us

Our mission is to Connect People to Jesus Resulting in God-Honoring Life Change. This statement implies that we will be proactive about reaching the lost, which was what my last blog was about. However, this mission of ours also implies that God will produce a work in us. When I look back at the recent decade, three things come to mind that I believe are strong community characteristics:
  1. Generosity: The people of Jubilee Church have invested $3.55 million into the Kingdom in the past ten years. I find that to be an outstanding number for a few reasons. A) We are not a large group. We were only 66 when the decade began and 137 five years later. It wasn't until 2007 that we started to break through the 200 number and it wasn't until this year that we starting breaking through 300. B) We're a young group. The average age of adults is 27. This tells me that people are giving not out of their surplus, but out of sacrifice. God loves a cheerful giver an blesses those who seek first the kingdom. I'm proud to lead such a generous group.
  2. Flexibility: Do you know that Jubilee Church has met in 11 different locations in the past 10 years? I couldn't believe it either. It takes a lot of flexibility for a group of people to make that many major changes. Not to mention all the set up and tear down of our rental locations. Church growth experts say that you will lose 10% of your congregation in making a location move. If that would have been true for us, we would have zero people. However, we have not moved from place to place due to our wisdom, but because of God's direction. We have been a people that have paid close attention to God's prophetic direction. Words like "I'm moving you out of the shade and into the light" that we received in 2003 got us thinking beyond 700 Tuxedo Boulevard. God also said that we would be like a lunar module bouncing around on the moon (and we bounced around for a few years), but then we would settle into a place and where there was once not life, life would emerge. I always thought that had spiritual implications only, but who would have thought it meant taking a mortuary and turning into a celebration center for the glory of Jesus and the benefit of the city?
  3. Love for one another: We have been through a lot together in these past years. We have mourned together and we have rejoiced together. I am grateful for both because I believe it has produced a genuine love one for another. I don't just have friends at Jubilee...I have brothers and sisters as well as fathers and mothers. I love that we are not just about doing church but being the Church. I love that we do life together. That we know each other, care for one another, serve one another, and give to one another as there is need. I'm grateful too that it's not an inward love, but a love that is inclusive of new brothers and sisters. No group is immune to the temptation to form cliques, so it is a battle we'll need to continue to fight...but I'm proud of what I see.
God is so good to work in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Let's continue to seek after Jesus and have Him form us and mold us more and more into His image.

Next Blog: Leaders We've Trained

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Look Back at a Decade: PART ONE

As I have contemplated this past year and decade, I’ve quickly become grateful for all that God has done in and through Jubilee. It’s a lot, so I’ve broken it down into four parts: 1) People Impact, 2) What that Impact Has Produced in Us, 3) Leadership Training, and 4) Our Future.

People Impact

Saved and Added

As we concluded 1999, Jubilee averaged 66 people in our gatherings. We now gather 330 worshippers in St. Louis City and Wentzville combined (about 400 including Union). My gratitude goes well beyond the numbers because each one of us has a story. It is a story of God’s grace and redemption. It is a story of how we were once strung out, addicted, on the verge of divorce, broken, lonely, without purpose or plan, with no hope and no future—but God’s grace saved us. We were once a God-less people, but now we are the people of God! It is with His grace in full view that we gather together for celebratory worship and to be equipped so that we can worship Him by serving, giving and telling others of His wonderful works. (I really, really would like to hear your specific story. I would be blessed and encouraged if you took the time to email your story to office@jubileestl.org so I can read it.)

Saved and Sent

Now Jubilee’s people-impact goes well beyond our current gathering of 400. Over this past decade, dozens of people have felt the call of God to go elsewhere and we have had the pleasure of sending them. I think about people like the Largents and the Eftychious who in 2005 went to help plant Jubilee Church (Atlanta, GA) led by Carl Herrington. Jonathan and Leigh-Anne Eftychiou are a leading couple. Jonathan was on staff with us and oversaw worship. Both of them are classically trained musicians and were a huge blessing. Dave and Tasha Largent are a spunky couple who are very evangelistic. It was rare that they were not bringing someone with them on Sunday to hear the gospel. There have been several others, including Sam and Marlene Poe, who were with Jubilee in the beginning. Sam and Marlene moved to Tacoma, WA in 2006 to help plant New Community Church led by Bo Noonan (Bo will be speaking at Mobilise USA 2010 and to Jubilee on January 17). Sam Poe is highly prophetic and plays a huge role in our Newfrontiers family of churches to preach the gospel in nations who have yet to hear of Jesus Christ. He spearheaded a charge to develop a system of communicating the Bible through storytelling in order to reach oral learners who represent 70% of the earth’s population. Sending people is bittersweet. I love these people and wish they were still here, but I am encouraged how God is using them and feel honored that we were able to play a role in their lives.

Scattering Seed

Over the past decade, we have preached the gospel to hundreds of people who may not have stuck with us, but I am confident we impacted their life. Sometimes you reap where you do not sow, and sometimes you sow where you do not reap. When this life is over, we will not be judged by the results that we see but by the results that God sees. Our primary call as a church is to be witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For some the gospel is the power of God but for most it is the stench of death. Although we want to see people converted, it is outside our abilities to convert them. Our part is to proclaim and demonstrate the gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to do all the heavy lifting. However, we have seen literally hundreds of people make commitments to Christ and have baptized more than a hundred of them. There is nothing more encouraging for me as a pastor than to lead someone to Jesus or to hear that someone else has. It is why we do what we do.

Next Post: What God Produced in Us

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jesus is Knocking

I find it amazing how much God desires to be with His people and demonstrate His love for them. Over and over in Scripture you see this desire. Crowds of people with all kinds of needs flocked toward Jesus and he graciously met with them over and over again. This idea is most clearly seen in Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus comes right out and says that He so wants to meet with us it's like He's standing right outside our door knocking, alerting us to the fact He's here! All it takes from us to meet with Him, to dine with Him, is to open the door. That's it!

I am writing about this now because I sense that Jesus is knocking on our door a little louder these days. When I look around at our church and here the stories of people encountering God, I see evidence of a louder knock. Salvations are on the rise and healings are on the rise. People are encountering His presence in an increased manner. I'm hearing about "chance" meetings with old friends that God is working powerfully through those encounters.

Here's the point. God is a God who loves His people and wants to administer healing in our lives. He is standing at our door...your door and He's knocking. Are you going to let Him in?


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A New Normal

A person who is normal is one who conforms to the dominant behavior in a particular society or community of people. Whether you realize it or not, you have a desire to be normal.

Normal Christianity in the New Testament meant to completely sell out to following Jesus. It meant to completely devote yourself to Scripture (living it, not just reading it), prayer, unity, one another, the poor, and the evangelization of the whole world. The early church looked after each other's needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual), they were honest with one another, they regularly confessed sin, there was a sense of awe because of the demonstrations of Holy Spirit's power, and they had a loose grip on this world and a tight one on the Kingdom. The word of God spread quickly but it cost many of them their lives. There were no pretenders or casual attenders because to say you followed Jesus was risky business.

Now, normal church life in America is quite different. To be a Christian in America simply means to go to church on Sunday, read your Bible, pray at meals, give a few dollars and perhaps volunteer once in a while. The Christianity we experience today is in large part sub-normal to that of the Bible.

However, in recent days, I believe that God is speaking to me that He wants Jubilee to experience a new normal. A normal that includes an increasing number of salvations, healings, miracles and joy in His presence. This new normal will be resisted by our desire for the status quo, but we must contend for all that God has for us. To not settle for a sedentary Christian lifestyle that can lead us to experience spiritual atrophy. I believe He wants to awaken our hearts and revive our souls through the power and the coming upon of His Holy Spirit. This new normal isn't for our benefit, but for the benefit of those God has called us to reach who are many.

I would encourage you to be in prayer as God so desire to move upon your life in ways you can't imaging (Eph 3:20) to demonstrate His love for you and the world.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Expanding Our Borders

Isaiah 54:2-3, 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.

A consistent theme in the prophetic call to God’s people is to make preparation for expansion. It is a promise of blessing in order that we might bless others. However, to receive this promise, we must in faith make preparations (changes) in order to make room for the blessing God wants to pour out.

I have spent the last couple of days in Northeast Missouri…about 25 miles south of the Iowa border. It is very rural and with lots of farms. Any farmer knows that you have to build a silo before you can harvest. Moreover, the size of your silo (or the number of your silos) depends upon how big you expect your harvest to be.

Jubilee has always lived with the expectation of a big harvest, and has sought to be the kind of church that has prepared for growth before it’s happened. This has meant we have:

  1. Rented or bought facilities bigger than maybe we needed at the time
  2. Developed and trained more leaders than we needed
  3. Remained very flexible with our systems and methods of going about our mission.

Our hope and plan is to continue to “enlarge the place of our tent”, to lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes.

This Sunday, December 6, the roughly 75 people that currently make up Life Church in Union, will officially come under the leadership of the Jubilee elders, making them a part of Jubilee Church. This is an exciting time…the family is growing!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Nations Are In Our Basement

The call to go to the nations is clear. There are oodles of verses in the Bible that command us (Christians) to go "into all the world to preach the gospel" (Mt 28) or to be His witnesses "to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1) This is a command that should effect the ministry goals and plans of EVERY church.

One of the great advantages of living in a global society is that the call to go to the nations no longer requires you to get on a boat or an airplane. You do not have to look far to reach the nations because the nations have come to us. Within just a few miles of our Kingshighway building, there are dozens of languages spoken by people all over the globe. In recent years, south St. Louis city has experienced the biggest influx of people from Bosnia, Iraq, Vietnam and Eastern African countries. Some of you may or may not know that there is a food pantry in Jubilee Church St. Louis City Location's basement that primarily serves these new Americans.

My Action Track served there this morning by giving away donuts and coffee to nearly 100 people as they waited in line to receive their food. Everyone in my group was blown away by this experience to interact and befriend others from a different countries, listen to their stories and even pray for a few.

If you are a part of Jubilee, I would encourage you to check it out one Saturday morning. If you're in an Action Track in the city, encourage your track to serve there as a group.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sharing the Gospel

Every Sunday, it's my aim as a communicator/preacher to shed light on the gospel. It may not be as direct as the "Roman Road" (Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-10; 10:13), but my hope is that everyone (Christian or non-Christian) walks away with a better understanding of the gospel.

However, this Sunday my hope is to be direct and take dead aim at explaining how God makes knowing Him possible. The friends you bring along with you (you are bringing a friend right?) will receive about a 35-40 minute explanation of the gospel of grace, and in doing so, my hope is also to provide you with a model of how you can also explain the gospel. Here's rough outline of my message that you can use:

1. "...(God) took on flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14)
a. God became one of us to identify with our lives
b. He dwells among us to so we can really know Him
2. The invitation of salvation is for everyone (John 3:16)
a. People no one else wants to relate to
i. Samaritan woman (John 4)
ii. Woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)
iii. Mary of Bethany (John 12:1-8)
b. People who are low on the totem poll (Peter, James and John - Luke 5)
3. Jesus came to show us truth and grace (John 1:14)
a. He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life (John 14:6)
b. We don't earn anything it's grace
i. unmerited favor
ii. through the death of Jesus
4. Sin deserves death (Rom 6:23), but by trusting in Jesus we get life
a. Why did Jesus die if he didn't sin?
b. He took our sin and we get his perfection! (2 Cor 5:21)
5. Now what?
a. We don't walk with a swagger as if we did anything (humility - Eph 2:8)
b. We don't loathe life as if we are still under condemnation (Rom 8:1)
c. We worship with our whole lives (Eph 2:10; Rom 12:1)

I'll see you and your friends on Sunday!

What is an Elder?

Read this great post about eldership by Rick Hein.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Jubileeite Gets Baptized

Nathan Deming is a student from Webster who connected with Jubilee last year through Latitude. He had quite a year with us as God really broke through in his life. He ended up participating in the Evangelism Internship in Chicago last summer. Currently, he is studying abroad in London and is attending one of our (Newfrontiers) churches in London called ChristChurch.

Check out his baptism from last week!

Nathan plans to return to St. Louis and Webster next semester.

I Hope Your Friendships Are Deeper than Andre Agassi's

Saturday afternoons are pretty intense sermon prep days for me primarily because it is non-stop from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. So, I need little points of relief throughout the day and one of the most common is checking out the headlines on ESPN.com. This Saturday, the headline that caught my attention first was: "Ex-coach had 'no clue' Agassi was taking meth."

Here's a quote from that article by Brad Gilbert (Agassi's former trainer and friend): Because we (Gilbert and Agassi) hung out a ton, but that doesn't mean you ask things that are personal. As I read the article, I became deeply saddened by the reality of most people's relationships.

I believe that in a Biblically functioning church, relationships are intensely personal. Now granted, not everyone in the church will be best friends, but the ones you "hang out a ton" with, better be personal. How sad is it and unloving is it that we would never ask, "Hey bro, how are you doing...really?" That all we would do is gather together and watch TV, play board games, eat guacamole, but never be caring enough, be loving enough to make it personal. Recently, I had very good friend of mine asked me how I was doing in the area of spending time with my son. The long and short of it was that he was able to show me that I was, in fact, being inattentive with my son. Furthermore, this inattentiveness was resulting not just in a lack of relationship, but in a lack of discipline, which really is a lack of love that puts stress on my wife and will someday, cause my son to pay a bigger than expected price. I made the adjustment and things are much better because of good friends who ask personal questions.

With the backdrop of a hyper-individualistic and relationally desolate culture, the church must rise up and be different. We must be personal. We are in relationship with a personal God. The world didn't start with power by an isolated and alone God. It start with love and community within the triune God and out of that overflow, the world and human beings were created. Sin in your life will cause you to drift from relationships (real relationships), but as you draw near to God, expect (and inspect) that you will draw near to others as well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Want a T-Shirt?


Last Sunday, I kicked off Jubilee’s new sermon series titled the “God Series” where we will look at 10 characteristics about God (a complete list found at www.jubileestl.org/city). I started the God Series with “God Creates” and to help promote the subject I wore a t-shirt with the title on the front (as I will each week throughout the series). I received a lot of requests for the t-shirt so we called the company we bought the shirt from to make more available. If you’re interested in getting a shirt, they are $10 and you can select your favorite color, title and series title through this order form.


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Bible in 90 Days, Part 2 (Guest Blogger)

On October 1, the elders and staff of jubilee church st. louis city embarked on a 90-day adventure through the entire Bible. Our hope is that we would gain a new perspective by reading the Bible quickly (an "aerial" view) versus and reading the Bible devotionally (an "on the ground" view). From time to time, I hope to share our insights. Here is one from one of our Administrative Assistants, Amie Fox:

I have felt incredibly inspired by God through the stories I’ve read so far. Some of my previous understandings of Him have definitely deepened and I find I’m just more in awe of Him than before. I’m sure that will continue through the rest of the reading plan. There is one thing that I specifically wanted to mention because I thought of our (Jubilee’s) presence in St. Louis and sensed God’s favor. In Exodus 3:19-20 when God is speaking to Moses about the Israelites enslavement in Egypt by the Pharaoh, He said, “I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except under heavy pressure. So I will reach out and strike at the heart of Egypt with all kinds of miracles. Then at last he will let you go,” and I remembered how in previous years it was prophesied over Jubilee that God would cause us to be fruitful throughout the St. Louis region and specifically at the heart of our city...

In reviewing what I know of St. Louis and what I know of God, I was encouraged by the fact that no matter the type or degree of enslavement our city can be experiencing in poverty, depression, abuse, etc. -we serve a God whose arm is not too short to save or incapable of breaking the chains. In fact, the heavier and stronger the chains, the greater and more powerful His miracles!

Above it all though, as I continued to follow their journey into freedom, what I was most moved by was God’s heroic nature. His determination to rescue us despite our circumstances is so captivating... and a reminder of how He alone is worthy of my worship.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Sermon Series

We just finished our four part "Jubilee Series" where we looked at Jubilee Past, Jubilee Present, Jubilee Future and How to Participate. If you missed it and call Jubilee home, I would highly encourage you to listen to these messages. The can be downloaded from our website.

This Sunday I am very excited to kick off our 10 week sermon series "God Series" where we seek to reveal the breadth and depth of God's brilliant character to a world that is desperate to know Him. While no sermon series can comprehensively reveal all of God's glory, our hope is that through this series people will come face to face with the grandeur and majesty of who God is and how He interacts with His creation, mankind. As an added bonus to the series, all Jubilee Action Tracks (small groups) will be discussing this sermon series in their weekly gatherings. We hope you will join us for this significant series of messages.

Week 1 - Bible in 90 Days

Going through the Bible in 90 days has been a great experience so far. Genesis. Done. Exodus. Done. Leviticus. Done. Here's what I know so far - God is very good and humans have an unbelievable capacity to mess up, take for granted and forget God's grace and mercy. Most people view the God described in the Old Testament as the mean, old grumpy God who destroys everything and gives rules that are impossible to follow, and that it took Him to the New Testament to mellow out and be nice. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He has always been gracious merciful.

1) He sent Adam and Eve away from the Garden, but gave them the promise of a Savior (Gen 3:15) and would not leave them separate forever (Gen 3:22)
2) Spared humanity through Noah
3) Promised blessing to the whole world through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3)
4) Was willing to spare Sodom for not 50, not 45, not 40, not 30, not 20, but for the sake of 10 righteous...oh well...there was 10 found righteous
5) Saved His people from bondage (Ex 1-15)
6) Feed them manna (Ex 16:31) and supplied water from a rock (Ex 17)
7) Gave them leadership (Ex 18)
8) Gave them a sacrificial system to deal with their sin (Leviticus)

Through all this, the primary response form people was to complain and forget the promises and faithfulness of God. In your life, what are the blessings God has given you? Do you remind yourself of them often or do you tend to complain about what you don't have?








Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Bible in 90 Days

The jubilee city elders and staff just finished an insane two-month period of hard work in getting our location ready for two services that launched on Sept 13 (going very well so far). Instead of all going on vacations, we've decided to due something different - go on a spiritual adventure by reading through the Bible in 90 days starting tomorrow.

Over the next 90 days I'll be sharing with you some insights of our process and hopefully have a guest blogger or two along the way.

If you want to join us, follow this link: Bible in 90 Days

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Ready for Gift Day

In light of our upcoming Gift Days (9/27 & 10/4), Rick Hein (a Jubilee elder and Wentzville Location Pastor), posted this blog recently and I found it personally helpful:

Once a year Jubilee Church St. Louis receives an offering above and beyond our normal contributions. Though established years ago, this Gift Day continues to be practiced, not because the church is in dire straits, because we're not. It's been an ongoing practice of Jubilee's because it reinforces in our minds and hearts that everything we have has been given to us by God. The realization of this truth affects every facet of our lives.

Every year when Gayle and I prayerfully consider what God would want us to give for theGift Day offering we keep coming back to the fact that all we have is from God (1 Chronicles 29:12) and belongs to God (Revelation 4:11). This gracious reminder solidifies so many things in our hearts, such as...
  • Our very lives are not ours, but God's (1 Corinthians 6:20)
  • Purpose in life is about glorifying God (1 Corinthians 10:31), not riches. Hording stuff glorifies our stuff. Generosity towards God glorifies God.
  • It's a way to increase our own joy because "God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
If you're like Gayle and me you don't have much, if any "extra" money laying around. On a personal note in the past week and a half Gayle and I have been hit by our two largest car repair bills of the year. We are grateful for God's provision, though it put a sizable dent in our finances. Nonetheless, we will be doing what we do every year at this time, praying what God would want us to give on Gift Day.

Plans are to use Gift Day funds for future staff, building improvements at the City Location and freeing up resources for future locations of Jubilee Church. Ask God what He wants you to give and then give it with a joyful heart. The Gift Day offering will be received Sunday, September 27 and Sunday, October 4.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why Go to an Action Track?

Action Tracks are a HUGE part of what we do at Jubilee. They are not just a great next step to get more involved, they are the door way to many other things we do as a church like praying together, serving the community together, discipleship, spiritual formation and the list goes on. In fact, speaking of lists, let me give you 10 reasons why you MUST sign up for an Action Track if you call Jubilee "your church".

10. It's the best way to meet new friends at Jubilee
9 . You will learn more about Jesus with other people than you could ever do on your own
8. You will have an opportunity to serve the St. Louis community with others (very Christ-like)
7. It's an opportunity to receive prayer for your daily concerns
6. It will require you to put others first (very Christ-like)
5. It will multiply what you get out of the Sunday morning messages (note: all Action Tracks in the fall trimester will be following the fall sermon series "God Series")
4. You can be a friend to someone else who really needs one
3. It's a place to use your spiritual gifts (serving, mercy, encouragement, leadership, etc)
2. It's the primary way you will receive care
1. Because God never called us to go it alone...you need others and others needs you

Here's how to sign up:
  1. Sign-up during our Sunday morning service beginning Sunday, September 13th, 2009.
  2. Sign-up online beginning Sunday, September 13th, 2009. REGISTER TODAY!

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Been A While

My goal is to make 1 or 2 blog posts a week...it's been almost 3 weeks since my last one. The reason why is because, along with the rest of the elders and staff, I have been crazy busy with the launch of two services at Jubilee Church St. Louis in the City, which turned out great (btw). We had good crowds at both services and John Lanferman delivered a "must listen to" message if you call Jubilee home.

Along with the launch two services, we also took the opportunity to update our bulletin, interior signage, website, and the J Kids check-in process. It was all possible because of a great staff and a lot of volunteerism. I am very proud to be a member of Jubilee Church! More posts will becoming soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Volunteer Appreciation

I am truly grateful for the volunteerism that happens at Jubilee Church St. Louis. Week in and week out, hundreds of hours are logged collectively by more than 120 people. The other day I got curious and figured out that if we paid minimum wage for every volunteer hour (and most of our volunteer jobs are worth far more), it would cost the church nearly $100,000 per year! But more than saving a few bucks, the high level of volunteerism has enabled us to reach more people and participate more in life transformation. Our children's ministry, that is almost exclusively run by volunteers, has effected the lives of hundreds of kids. All of our graphic designers are volunteers and have helped us communicate our message and have been instrumental in attracting and gathering. Our Sunday morning teams are all volunteers and show such great hospitality and create a warm friendly environment (which, by the way, is the first thing people mention in describing our church). And the list of life-impacting volunteerism goes on and on.

Some might say, "God doesn't need us. He can build the church just fine on His own." To that, I would say a big, "Amen!" However, let us never use God's sovereignty as an excuse for our apathy. God could do it all by Himself, but He hasn't choosen to do it that way. It must be that it's such a thrill and a joy to participate in changing someone's life for all eternity, He wanted to let us in on it.

So if you have every volunteered at Jubilee, thank you for doing so. If you haven't joined the fun yet, what are you waiting for?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Leaders Wanted Audio and Notes

If you missed Leaders Wanted last Saturday, but would like the audio recording as well as the notes and worksheet, you can download them separately below:

Session One Audio
Session Two Audio
Session Three Audio

Notes

Worksheet

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Leaders Wanted

The popular view of leadership is that is for the select view - Ghandi, Obama, Martin Luther King, and William Wallace quickly come to mind. No doubt these men are (were) very powerful leaders. However, I would contend that 99% of all leadership comes from the middle and not the top. Everyone is in a position to provide leadership for their family, their workplace, their neighborhood and the church. You just have to understand your role and how you can best play our role.

For the Christian, leadership is more than just a possibility, it's a calling. We are instructed by Jesus to go into all the world and make disciples (lead people). In Matthew 5, Jesus said that we are to be salt and light. That is we are to be an influence in society for his glory. Therefore, I believe it is crucial that we undertand what it takes to be a leader and to be the most effective leader we can be.

If you're in St. Louis this Saturday, I will be doing a seminar on leadership titled, "Leaders Wanted" from 9 am to noon at Jubilee Church St. Louis City. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August Bible Reading Plan

Here is the August Bible reading plan for all of you who use it. If you don't, I hope you're using something to help you read the best book ever written!

I'll begin a new one in September

Friday, July 31, 2009

Diversity Matters

There are reasons to encourage diversity within a church that go beyond political correctness. A highly homogeneous church is as susceptible to disease and infestations (you can call them blind spots) as is a large biological monoculture. "Every farmer knows that when he and his neighbors plant tens of thousands of contiguous acres in a particular variety of wheat year after year, that variety will soon become vulnerable to new diseases or new strains of insects. Ecosystems that are biologically diverse are much tougher and more resilient in the long run than monocultures, and so it is with organizations (churches) that contain a wide variety of people working toward a common goal." (excerpt taken from the book "The Contrarian's Guide to Leadership")

I can think of a few reasons why this is true for the church (for the record, when I refer to diversity I mean race, age, education, socioeconomic, etc):
  1. The more the people around you are just like you, the less likely their opinions and views on life will contradict yours. This is another form of individualism that can lead to big problems because it will cause you to live life with huge blind spots and sin in your life gets more difficult to spot.
  2. Creativity is stifled. If you're all the same, it's difficult for new ideas to emerge that make long-term sustainability possible (just ask GM). Without fresh ideas and perspectives, you end up doing the same old, same old, which gets outdated quickly.
  3. Bringing people together who are different is at the very heart of the gospel. Simply put, sin separates, but it's the gospel that brings us together. The gospel wants to bring everyone together from every tribe and tongue, from every nation, and from every generation. If in your church, everyone is the same, it could indicate that you have a gospel problem. If you have a gospel problem, you won't have a church for very long.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Serving Opportunity

Guest Blogger: Gabe Dunn, volunteer Coordinator for Community Relations

I just wanted to take a minute to tell people about an upcoming opportunity to demonstrate discipleship by serving a great local organization. This Saturday, July 25th a group from Jubilee will be helping do some yard work and brush clearing for the Bevo Area Community Improvement Corporation (a.k.a. the Bevo). For those of you who are not familiar with the Bevo is is located at 4705 Ridgewood, only a few blocks from the Jubilee city location building. The Bevo is a blessing to the community in several ways. It is home to the Alice & Alex Aboussie Senior Citizens Center which offers transportation, meal delivery, entertainment, and community building activities year round to the elderly in the South City area. The Bevo also opperates a large food pantry, works to improve area housing value, and has a field where area kids play ball. In the past Jubilee has helped the Bevo in a variety of ways, for which the personel at the Bevo have expressed their deep appreciation. Helping the Bevo this coming Saturday would be a great way for us as members and attenders of Jubilee to express our desire to nurture the relationship we have established over the years with this service minded organization. It would also be a great demonstration of our Lord's ability to transform and restore the South City area by using us, His hands and feet, to serve those that serve. If your intereseted, below is more infromation...

Meeting Time: 9:30am Saturday July 25th
Meeting Location: Jubilee Building (carpool from there)
Things to bring if you can: Work gloves, tree trimmers, hand saws, shovels, bug spray.
What to wear: Things you don't mind getting dirty! Work shoes/boots and old jeans/shorts.
Type of Work: Pulling weeds, clearing brush, trimming, cutting down, and digging out small trees.
Who we're helping: The Bevo Area Community Improvement Corporation @ 4705 Ridgewood, St. Louis, MO, 63116
Contact: Gabe Dunn phone:616.502.3081 email:gdunn77@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the mystery of godliness

Guest Blogger: Seth Hein, Worship Pastor at Jubilee Church St. Louis

I was reading in first Timothy this morning, and a verse jumped out at me in an interesting way. It was in verse 16 in chapter 3. Paul writes:

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

I realized that the second bit is about Jesus, He’s the one who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated, seen, proclaimed, believed and taken up into glory. But the part that struck me was how Paul sets it up. He says that this is the mystery of godliness! I was surprised. When I originally read that first sentence, I was expecting Paul to explain godliness in a different way. I expected a standard of living, similar to what is laid out for elders and deacons shortly before this passage. I expected a picture of what it means to live a good life. But instead I got a picture of Jesus. After thinking a bit more about all this, things started to make sense. Godliness isn’t really about being a good person, following lots of rules, or religious codes. If that was all godliness is, you wouldn’t even need to follow Jesus. There are loads of decent people who follow all the rules but still seem empty on the Inside. Real godliness is about knowing Jesus. It’s about finding our fulfillment in His saving grace, and finding ourselves adopted as sons and daughters of the King, God almighty who made all things. Godliness isn’t about me, it’s about Him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tough Subject

There is no question about it, this Sunday's sermon topic from Hebrews 6 is one of the most difficult and weighty that I have had to deal with in my young pastoral career. I have spent countless hours studying this passage and researching the issues surrounding the security of the believer. I have read several books on the subject, listened to several messages by other respected preachers, discussed it with the elders as well as with other friends and mentors and I still feel a bit intimidated (if I'm being honest) at tackling such a subject.

In my study, I have reviewed at least 16 basic (yes, I said 16 and I said basic) ways of interpreting this text. There are two views that are the most common: 1) is the Armenian view that says a once saved person can fall away; hence losing their salvation and be subject to eternal damnation; and 2) the Calvinist view that says you cannot lose your salvation and people who fall away must have not been saved in the first place.

I believe that both of these systems of thinking find themselves in a head on collision at Hebrews 6 and I'm not sure I have found a survivor yet at the scene of the accident. I think both systems of thinking are problematic to what the writer of Hebrews is actually trying convey.

Here's what I think everyone (including me) can agree on: 1) this passage contains a strong warning to maintain an ACTIVE faith in Jesus Christ, 2) God desires that we have an abundant life full of joy and fruitfulness, and 3) we can be sure of our salvation and our relationship with the Father, through the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So here's my plan for Sunday: I want to be the best teacher I can and offer an explanation of what the writer of Hebrews is trying to convey and then I want to be the best pastor I can by giving us an exhortation and a challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What Are You Wishing For?

When I was growing up, my dream, my wish was for a 3-wheeler. I had a couple of friends who had one and I thought they were the luckiest kids in the world. That dream lasted for a while until it became a car, a girl, a job and then one day, God completed interrupted my world. He told me through Psalm 81:10, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." From that day on, my dream (my food) was to do the will of the Father...to get caught up with his agenda. What's his agenda? Bringing glory to His name by saving the world from the deadly effects of sin, which He makes available free of charge (to the beneficiary) through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. So he gets a hold of people like you and me, gets rid of our old life and gives us a new life with new dreams. He makes us fishers of men! (Mt 4:19).

So what am I wishing for now? People. My wish is that the people that God has put in my path...people in my sphere of influence (neighbors, relatives, people I play sports with, etc) will come to know the living God...that they would be connected to Jesus. This is also the passion, the dream, the wish of Jubilee Church...to Connect People to Jesus that results in a brand new, God-honoring life.

This line of thinking (along with the help of some creative types) gave me the idea to create a book mark called a "Wish List" (see example of the front and back). It's a tool to help you and me keep the names of the people God has put on our heart to pray for, to love, to share the gospel with and invite to Jubilee...all in effort to see them connected to Jesus. They are free to any one who wants one. You can get them at a Jubilee Sunday service (both locations). Hope they help!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July Bible Reading Plan

Sorry this is a few days late. I was in Chicago and I haven't been the same since having to pay $32 to park my car for 12 hours.

July's Bible Reading Plan

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday Leftovers

In preparation for last Sunday, I felt like God wanted me to narrow the focus of my message to finding His rest and I'm glad I did. I was so amazed at how this message effected so many. Never in Jubilee's history have so many people come forward for prayer (roughly 80-90 people). If you were one those people who received prayer...I would love to hear a testimony of how God met with you. Leave a comment on this post or email me at bryan@jubileestl.org.

Narrowing the focus to God's rest was absolutely the right call, but there were so many leftover thoughts that I would have liked to included. I'll mention one of them.

In Hebrews 3, Jesus is compared to Moses and it's the writer's contention that Jesus is better than Moses. Now, this wasn't meant to discredit Moses (he was a faithful servant), but rather highlight the greatness of Jesus as a Son and builder of the house.

There are a lot of things we can say about why the writer chose to make this comparison, but the one that I find the most helpful will require us to be reminded that this letter is addressed to a 1st century Jewish audience. What we must remember is that most of these Jewish Christians were probably kicked out of the synagogue and perhaps their families for following Jesus. They became outcasts and their families were probably very disappointed for them turning their backs on the "family religion". It was necessary to remind them that in Christ, they most certainly belong to the House of God. They may have been cast out of the local synagogue, but they have not been cast out by God.

Maybe you have had a difficult time with your family for turning your back on the "family religion". You may even feel isolated and alone for doing so. The writer of Hebrews would remind you that you are not an outcast in God's eyes. If you are a believer in Jesus, you belong to the House of God.

Joint us this Sunday as we continue in our series in Hebrews, Rescued Faith. I will elaborate on finding God's rest and how we can help one another stay there.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Message for the Weary and the Wanderers

For those tuning into Jubilee's sermon series in Hebrews titled "Rescued Faith", I hope that you are finding it both meaningful and beneficial to your life.

This week, I will be preaching from Hebrews 3 and will be addressing the idea that God wants to bring us to a place of rest...a place life, vitality and fulfillment. However, most of us (like the Israelites) reject God's offer and prefer to wander. This kind of life is God is far below what He has in mind for us and usually leads to discouragement, disillusionment and disappointment.

If you know someone who is discouraged in their Christian experience, this will be a highly relevant message for them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Abby Loves Her Church

Abby Chance (age 13) and her family are members of Jubilee Church in St. Louis. Recently, she was given the assignment in school to write a persuasive speech. She choose to do her speech on, "why you should go to Jubilee." I thought I would pass it along to you:

Everyone has different habits. One thing my family always does is go to church. We truly enjoy doing this. Three reasons why you should come to church with me are you will be welcome, you will meet great people, and you will learn some things you may not have known.
One reason you should come to my church is because you will feel welcome. People will not snub you. They will accept you. You won't be uncomfortable. People will want to be your friend.
Another reason is because you will meet awesome people. You may meet new friends. I can guarantee people will be kind and you will enjoy being with them. You will want to come back.
It won't just be about people, it will also be about learning. You may learn something you didn't know. It may even be something that will change your life.
Going to my church will be a great experience. You will be welcome, you will meet great people and you will learn things. All of these things will make it a great time for you. You should come and be amazed.

Abby loves her church. What has been your experience?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Don't Miss Father's Day

This Sunday at Jubilee Church in St. Louis City, all fathers will receive a free copy of the book Wild At Heart by John Eldredge. In this book, John invites men to recover their masculine heart, defined in the image of a passionate God. This is an excellent book and a must read by every man.

John Lanferman will continue our series, "Rescued Faith."

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rescued Faith


This Sunday, I will begin a 13 week sermon series in the book of Hebrews titled “Rescued Faith”. The unknown writer of Hebrews is writing this letter to believers who were about to give up on their faith...some were under intense persecution...others were falling back into religion and legalism...others were just bored, immature and unfruitful and maybe were never Christians to begin with. They were a group of believers whose faith was in need of rescue. And I’m pretty excited about this series for a few reasons:
  1. It is a book that is intended to be inspiring and thought-provoking with very few commands. This isn’t a book with a lot of "do this" or "don’t do this". This is a book that explains to us ultimate reality found in the person of Jesus Christ. So this isn’t a book that is meant to be immediately practical, but I think it will be eternally helpful.
  2. There is some ideas in here that I normally wouldn’t touch with a 10-ft pole like, “Can you lose your salvation?” I will cover that July 19 in chapter 6.
  3. And there are some beautiful, beautiful OT practices that come alive as the revelation of who Jesus is becomes clear.
So let me ask you a question: Does your faith need to be rescued? Do you can relate to these believers? Maybe you know someone who's faith is waning? They know the church game all too well, but they've lost sight of Jesus. This is why we are doing this series. To help those of us who have lost sight of true faith in Jesus.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Excellent Teaching!

Celebration MW is a great event for many reasons...the fellowship, the sense of unity, the prayer, the worship, the recreation, but this year, I felt as though the teaching was the highlight and will be what I remember about 2009. The teaching is always good, but this year was especially good.

If you missed it, the good news is that it's currently online. You can listen to it on the Newfrontiers USA website. If you only have time to listen to one message, try Lanferman's talk in the final session.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Living Single

I can't remember a message at Jubilee that has had more buzz than the message from this past Sunday titled, "Living Single". I think it confirms my suspicion that a message on singlehood was long overdue. It was encouraging to hear that marrieds also found this message helpful and applicable to them.

You can listen to the entire message online, but I wanted to highlight the main points:
  1. Singlehood as well as marriage is a gift: Like any gift, don't wish for something different, but make the most of it. Ask yourself, "How can I leverage my status as a single (whether temporary or permanent) to make the most kingdom impact?
  2. Don't use your status as a single to pursue self, but use this as an opportunity to decrease self. Seek to know God more (and yourself less). Self-discovery is a dead end road.
  3. Don't idolize sex and marriage. Most people view sex and marriage from a self-centered perspective...a way to to have your own needs fulfilled. From a Biblical perspective, sex and marriage is an opportunity to meet the needs of your spouse.
  4. Wanting to be married isn't wrong, but don't allow that "want to" to consume you. Allow the truth of God's sufficiency to permeate your heart. Rest in his grace.
Singles (as well as marrieds) are a gift to the church. It's my desire that as we grow and mature as a church, we'll discover this to be true and learn to rest in the sovereign grace of Jesus.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

june Bible Reading Plan

Keep it up! The year is almost over.

June's Reading Plan

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Everyone Wants to Be Missed

I think one of the worse things in the world is to be forgotten. I want to know that if I'm missing...I'll be missed. I want to know that there are people who care whether I'm around or not.

At Jubilee, we fiercely believe that God made us to know and be known. That we would walk out our days on earth knowing others and being known by others in a real and personal way. So while God is wanting to "fill the earth with His glory" by saving milllions (like in St. Louis), His desire is that they walk out this journey with Him and for Him together. That's why for us, Action Tracks are so huge.

I want to encourage you to sign up for a Track today by clicking here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Celebration MW Deadline

Celebration MW Standard Registration Deadline is Monday, May 11, 2009. If you haven't signed up you and plan to do so, you better hurry! To sign up, simply log onto http://celebration.newfrontiersusa.org/mw-home.html and click "FULL REGISTRATION" at the bottom of the page. If finances are an issue, request to speak to an elder at info@jubileestl.org.

WHY CELEBRATION MIDWEST IS AN IMPORTANT EVENT FOR JUBILEE


We talk a lot about community at Jubilee, highlighting the importance of interdependence. Interdependence is this idea that we rely on one another, understanding that we can do more together than we can on our own. This is true not only on the individual level (individuals need to be in community on mission), but it's true for churches as well (churches need to be in community with other churches on mission).

Because we are connected with Newfrontiers, we have participated in proclaiming the gospel not only to St. Louis, but our nation and even our world. We are currently in 8 of the top 100 cities in the US and 24 churches total. Internationally, we are 600 churches strong in more than 50 countries.

Celebration Midwest is a once a year opportunity for the churches in the midwest to come together to celebration all that God is doing among us and receive much needed envisioning concerning our future together. It's fun, inspiring and something you don't want to miss. For more info, log onto http://celebration.newfrontiersusa.org.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sunday, May 3 Leftovers Part 2

I think one of the biggest tensions the elders of Jubilee feel is structuring the church for growth as well as creating an environment for authentic and robust community life. It's so much easier to go for one and leave the other behind. However, we must go for both if we want to follow the New Testament layout for church life.

One of the most freeing ideas that we have come across is sourced from a book called A Search to Belong by Joseph Myers. In A Search to Belong, Myers explains four different types of "spaces" and how we can connect with others through each space. Below is a listed summary of his findings and how it relates to us.

A Summary of Joseph R. Myers' A Search to Belong

PUBLIC SPACE: "Public space happens when we connect through outside influences. It isn't about connecting person to person; it is about sharing a common experience. Think of fans at a football game, members of the PTA, shoppers at a grocery store. In each case an outside influence brings these people into a common grouping. They connect because of the outside influence, not because of shared personal information" (p. 41).

SOCIAL SPACE: Social space is often denigrated as superficial, but it is vitally important. "In many ways, social belonging is the 'small talk' of our relationships" (p. 45). The neighbor relationships of social belonging allow us to "share snapshots" of who we are with others. A shared social space also "provides a safe selection space for us to decide with whom we would like to grow a 'deeper' relationship" (p. 46).

PERSONAL SPACE: Personal space involves the sharing of private information. It takes place in a safe setting where trustworthy confidences are built. We connect through sharing private - although not 'naked' - experiences, feelings, and thoughts" (p. 47). The people to whom we belong in this space are friends or "close friends" rather than acquaintances.

INTIMATE SPACE: "In intimate space, we share 'naked' experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Very few relationships are intimate. Intimate relationships are those in which another person knows the 'naked truth' about us and yet the two of us are 'not ashamed'" (p. 50).

How This Applies to Us
The big issue in the American church world is that, in general, we settle for public space and social space. There is little interaction among church members outside Sunday. Our connection is limited to a "shared experience" (public space) or perhaps some small talk (social space). However, if we are going for New Testament community life, our relationships have to go deeper! We have to be real with one another...but not necessarily everyone. That is where I think the tension is for us in Jubilee and where Joseph Myers can be helpful.

Those of us who are passionate about personal connections, who like our gatherings small and intimate, will naturally struggle when we show up on a Sunday morning because we don't know everyone. The reasoning being that we don't have the same family feel like we did when we were smaller.

As a church grows, members need to be comfortable and understand that there are different levels of connecting with people and that is actually a healthy thing. Sunday morning, for example, is more and more going to resemble "public space" where your connection with some people is purely an experience. Now if that is all it is for you (a Sunday experience), that's an issue, but that is where Action Tracks come in. Let's not forget that the community portrayed in Acts 2:42 was 3,000 people strong...so how did they achieve such deep community? Well, they met in the temple (Sunday) and in homes (Action Tracks). So are Actions Tracks where we develop deep, authentic community? Yes and no. Because in an Action Track we are still bringing people together who may not have previously met, it can most accurately be described as social space. Action Tracks are medium sized groups (10-20 people) that provide a great opportunity to meet new friends, but it may not be the best place to "get real" with one another although that could happen.

So how do we connect deeply with one another? Developing deep, authentic community won't be found in simply attending Sunday (although that's an important part of the process) and it won't be found in simply attending an Action Track. Our hope for authentic community is that we come together and share a common experience on Sunday that would lead us to a social environment like an Action Track (or serving together), and from those environments we would connect with 3 or 4 people and begin to do life with one another (share personal space).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday, May 3 Leftovers Part 1

In my message this past Sunday on Community, I concluded by saying the greatest enemy of building NT community is self-love. The gospel, however, puts our attention on God and others. Here's how we can apply the gospel to everyday issues that will help us build community.

What if somebody wrongs me?
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

I'm tired and I get asked for help
But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service
coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Philippians 2:17)

I start asking, ‘How will this affect me?’
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of
others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus … he humbled
himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:4-5,8)

I open my wallet?
See that you also excel in this grace of giving … For you know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you
through his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:7, 9)

Friends urge me to join them in sinful behavior?
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same
attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin … They think it
strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they
heap abuse on you. (1 Peter 4:1,4)

I find other Christians difficult to get on with?
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
(Romans 15:7)

I get in a position of power.
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants
to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but
to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:42-45)

I see other Christians in need?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we
ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and
sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:16-17)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Action Track Sign Up This Sunday

At Jubilee Church St. Louis, we believe that life is a team sport; therefore, Action Tracks (small groups) are integral to all that we do at Jubilee. As our church grows larger on Sunday, we grow smaller during the week. Action Tracks are a great way to meet new friends, grow in your relationship with God and make a difference. We encourage everyone to be involved in an Action Track on a weekly basis.

Action Tracks are groups of 10-15 people that get together each week throughout metro St. Louis to grow, have fun and meet new people.

More than 130 people participated in one of the nine Spring Action Tracks! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to sign up for the upcoming Summer Trimester.

You will be able to sign up for the track of your choice in one of two ways:
• Sign up on Sunday morning beginning Sunday, May 3
• Sign up on-line beginning Sunday, May 3

If you have any questions about Action Tracks or would like help finding other ways to get involved at Jubilee, contact Samantha Bryan at grouplife@jubileestl.org or call 314.832.9033.


Summer Trimester Choices

Tuesday Night Tracks

Connect Series: The Connect Series is the Jubilee Church membership track. Those interested in learning what it means to be a member, or would like to become a member should choose this Action Track. After completing this track, those who feel joined to the mission, values and leadership of Jubilee Church and have been baptized by emersion are welcomed as new members.

Region: South City
Location: Kingshighway Building
Facilitator(s): Bryan Mowrey
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Available upon request.

Walking on Water: Participants of this Track will read and discuss questions about the book If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. This book will helps you answer Christ’s call to greater faith, power-filled deeds, and a new way of knowing him. This will be an incredible opportunity to discover the potential that awaits you outside your comfort zone.

Region: TBA
Location: TBA
Facilitator(s): Michael Whitmer
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: TBA

Hebrews Bible Study: Join us in a fun and relaxed atmosphere as we take an in-depth look at the Book of Hebrews. This group will focus on a parallel study and discussion that will follow the series from this summer's Sunday morning messages. We will dive a little deeper into the topics covered and discuss practical applications for living the messages being shared. Whether or not you've ever participated in a bible study, we're sure you will find this action track challenging, rewarding, and a whole lot of fun!!

Region: St. Louis County
Location: TBA
Facilitator(s): Mick Vedova
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Yes

Just Walk Across the Room: Discover how to partner with the Holy Spirit in a way that allows him to accomplish his kingdom-building activity through you. It has nothing to do with methods and everything to do with taking a genuine interest in another human being. This track offers a natural and empowering approach to evangelism which will equip and inspire you to follow Jesus' lead in extending care, compassion, and inclusiveness to people who might need a touch of God's love today. Just Walk Across the Room Participant's Guide by Bill Hybels will need to be purchased and is available for $10 at Amazon.com.

Region: South City
Location: 4966 Sutherland Avenue, 63109
Facilitator(s): Amie Fox and Rebekah Kruvand
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Not available.

Love & Respect: This group will learn about (and improve!) male and female communication in marriage. This video & discussion group serves to answer three main questions: (1) Why do we negatively react to each other? (2) How can I energize my spouse to respond more positively? (3) What can I do when my spouse does not respond? Will God help? This enlightening and fun discussion group will help you understand your spouse and provide ways to enrich your marriage. Each couple is required to purchase a $7 workbook that will be made available at the first session.

Region: South City
Location: Kingshighway Building
Facilitator(s): Curt & Brenda McCutcheon
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Available upon request.


Wednesday Night Tracks

Purpose Driven Life: A book study. Cost of the book is $10 on Amazon.com.

Region: South City
Location: TBA
Facilitator(s): Ginger Price
Childcare: TBA

Hearing God: In Hearing God we will discover and apply insights into how we can hear God's voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with him in the work of his kingdom. After all, being close to God means communicating with him, telling him what is on our hearts and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. We can learn to hear his voice and balance biblical principles of divine guidance with our own thoughts, personal desires, the advice of others, and daily circumstances. Hearing God by Dallas Willard will need to be purchased and is available for $11 (new) and $5 (used) on Amazon.com.

Region: South City
Location: 3421 Missouri Avenue, 63118
Facilitator(s): Larry Mowrey
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Provided.

Grace-Based Parenting: There is a book to purchase that costs $10 at Amazon.com.

Region: South City
Location: Bldg
Facilitator(s): Mike and Lisa Chance
Time: 7 PM
Childcare: Yes


Sunday Night

Youth: At Jubilee, we believe that youth are as much a part of the church as anyone else. Our philosophy is not to create a completely separate program, but to include them with the adults as much as possible. Therefore, the youth will have an Action Track where they will gather weekly to learn and grow from the Bible and one another. If you are between the ages of 12 and high school senior, this is the track to sign-up for.

Region: South City
Location: Kingshighway Building
Facilitator(s): John & Kara Russo
Time: 6:30 PM

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May's Bible Reading Plan

Here is May's Bible Reading Plan.

Positive News Among the Younger Unchurched

I had the privilege of hearing Ed Stetzer speak at the Acts 29 Midwest Quarterly in St. Louis, MO. Ed Stetzer is the co-author of "LOST AND FOUND: The Young Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them" and he also does some amazing cultural research that I find very helpful as a pastor. In his talk, he gave some encouraging news about the receptivity among the younger unchurched to the gospel. I thought I would share some of his research included in a pdf you can download by clicking here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Men: Don't Miss It

Well guys, it's time for another men's retreat created by men and for men, which means it may be a bit unorganized, but it will be a blast.

It's just a week away (May 1 & 2). Here are the details:

MISSION
To get back in touch with our masculine side, build team, and camaraderie amongst us men.

SCHEDULE
TBA

*You will need to bring your own food, tent, and sleeping bag.

TO REGISTER
Sign-up through your Communication Card on Sunday morning, then designate a $5 payment to "Men's Retreat" and drop in an offering basket.

DIRECTIONS
1. Take I-64 E toward ILLINOIS / US-40, go 4.5 miles
2. Continue on I-55 N, go 2.8 miles
3. Take RIGHT fork onto I-64 E toward LOUISVILLE / IL-3 N / ST CLAIRE AVE, go 71.2 miles
4. MERGE onto I-57 S, go 0.9 miles
5. EXIT #95 / MT. VERNON / ASHLEY, go 0.3 miles
6. Turn LEFT on BROADWAY ST (IL-15 E), go 3.7 miles
7. Continue to follow IL-15 E, go 5.3 miles
8. Turn LEFT on N HARMONY LN (CR-3), go 5.0 miles
9. Turn RIGHT on E SILENCE RD, go 0.8 miles
10. Bear RIGHT on DUNER RD, go 0.2 miles
11. Turn LEFT on E PINECONE RD, go 0.4 miles
12. Arrive at 20124 E Pinecone Bluford II, on the LEFT

*Do NOT mapquest / google. Directions are incorrect.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter Pics

If you were at Jubilee Church St. Louis City on Easter, you probably had your picture taken. To see those pics, you can go to the city's main page and look under "resources" > "photos" or follow this link.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Great Easter Sunday!

My heart was full yesterday. I saw passion at Jubilee for Jesus and people. It's always been there, but it surfaced in a new way. I'm so proud of how well everyone invited. We had 275 in the city location yesterday and 361 total in both Jubilee locations. Both were a big answer to prayer.

People served in an excellent way...the childrens workers took on an increased number of kids, the greeters and ushers were also kept on their toes by all the new people, the worship band lead us in a excellent time of worship, the hospitality crew, the communion set up team, the photographers, prayer team, the offering team, the sound men and women and the list goes on and on. What hearts for service!

Jubilee also did a great job in being hospitable to new people. There was a buzz in a the room of conversation. The most common positive comment we get about Jubilee from our guests is the friendliness and the love that is expressed by Jubilee peeps taking the time to talk to them.

Jubilee Church St. Louis is just that...a church. It's not a one-man show. It's not centered around the gifting of a few. It's a growing group of men and women who are living stones, presenting themselves as living sacrifices out of worship of their God and great Champion...the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. I love being a member of this church and feel privileged to have a leadership role.

This Sunday, I will start a new series titled, "Sent to the City" where I will discuss the following three reasons why were are here: To Serve, To Love, To Build community. See you then! Watch this short promo video.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Looking fwd to Easter

So far my vacation has involved lots of driving, lots of sleep, lots of food, lots of Wii (a gaming system), lots of family time and a little sun. It's cooler than normal down in Florida (not as cold as STL, however), but it's still be very sunny and mid to upper 70s. Today my wife and I even hit the tennis courts...it's been about a year. We are having a great time with Rachel's family, celebrating her father's 60th B-day (Wynn Douglass). I also must mention her brother, Josh Douglass, so my blog will come up next time he does a google search on his name...a complaint of his. He's a great guy and a lawyer for the Kansas City School District.

I'm really looking forward to this Sunday (Easter). First of all, it is the anniversary of Jesus Christ's defeat of Satan, sin and death. Secondly, I'm really looking forward to hosting the friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors we have all invited to Easter service. It's been a prayer of mine this past week that we would have great success. On the drive down here, I had some time to think quite a bit what I might say and what God would give me that would be the right words at the right moment. I really feel strongly to particularly address those who have a negative opinion of the church (and Jesus) based on a past experience or how they were raised. So if you know people how are familiar with church, but have grown sour, I want to encourage you to particularly invite those people.

See you soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

On Vacation

Tomorrow morning, I will be taking the fam down to Florida for eight days to help celebrate Rachel's father's 60th birthday. I'm looking forward to a little down time.

This Sunday, John Lanferman will continue our series "Finding Jesus in the Old Testament" by looking at Jesus as our Jubilee.

See you on Easter!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April's Bible Reading Plan

I hope you are finding your days enriched by the reading of Scripture.

Here is April's plan.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are you ready for Easter?

Easter is just around the corner. For Christians, this is special day that looks back at the biggest event in human history that has given us so much hope, love, peace and joy. It is Jesus' death on a cross that paid the penalty for our sin and His resurrection gives us hope for new life. Jesus has defeated our enemies of Satan, sin and death...forever.

This is a great day for celebration and a great day for inviting friends. It's interesting that when the two Mary's were met by an angel (presumably) at the empty tomb of Jesus, they were told to go tell the other disciples...."And he (the angel) said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."

We should also go and tell others! Tell them about empty tomb. Tell them about the hope found in Jesus.

I would like to encourage you to invite 10 of your friends, neighbors, coworkers or relatives on Sunday, April 12. After all, they are more likely to come on Easter than any other day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Interview with Tom Shaw

Last week I was in Seattle, WA to attend the Acts 29 Bootcamp hosted by Mars Hill Church (led by Mark Driscoll). There were several other pastors from Newfrontiers from the UK and Africa who also attended the conference, one of those guys was Tom Shaw. Many of you would know Tom from Mobilise this year and he spoke at Jubilee in 2008. I had the opportunity to sit down with him at the airport before our flights out so I asked him a few questions about Acts 29, Mark Driscoll, and what's going on in the UK.


Bryan: We just finished a few days with the Acts 29 guys and Mark Driscoll. What's your overall impression with Mark Driscoll and the whole Acts 29 network?

Tom: I've been very impressed with the humility of Mark Driscoll and the whole way that they conduct themselves is very strongly emphasizing repentance, emphasizing of humility. I think, to be honest with you, many people wouldn't necessarily when they think of Mark Driscoll immediately think humility, and that was one of the most immediately interesting things I think. Great humility, obviously huge intentionality and focus on what they're doing which is fantastic. Just an extrodinary series of leadership gifts both in Mark and many others around him. I think he's a blessing, not only to America and Seattle, but to many movements. We, I know have been hugely helped in the short hours we've had together in terms of what Newfrontiers can take away from a time of such a 'king' in terms of his love for systems and processes and that kind of thing.

Bryan: So what would you say is the top thing we (Newfronters) can learn from them (Acts 29)?

Tom: Passion for the cross, a passion for mission, and contextualization. I would say they're brilliant in terms of organization. A thinking outside of the box in terms of how a church grows, for example, their use of old quirky buildings, which I would have ruled out, they've used. And obviously a huge emphasis on men, which I think is very much in need in the evangelical world. So that would be just a handful of things.

Bryan: Mark Driscoll gets a lot of criticism. What criticism do you think is unfair?

Tom: Most of it I guess, I think that most of the criticism against him would be primarily in arrogance and a sense of lack of grace but I think that he is just a man who is very intelligent so often I think he's several steps ahead of the average person, myself very much included, so I think he's frustrated why people don't get what he's saying because for him I think things are very obvious. For example, various patterns in scripture about male government, or the passion of the cross, or mission, and therefore I think he's often frustrated. That might sometimes appear as arrogance, but I don't think he's arrogant. So I think that would be one major thing. Another unfair criticism is I think there's a huge openhandedness to them and a huge generosity and a real humility to learn and also to become far more internationally effective which I think is outside of their comfort zones and I think that takes a lot more humility, but I think they would want to be open to all that God would have for them. So I guess that all ties in with a wrong presumption of arrogance and I think they're not. I think they're growing in that.

Bryan: We have a lot of young people who listen to Mark Driscoll podcasts. Nobody's perfect. What are some things you would hope our young people DON'T pick up on?

Tom: What I wouldn't want them to pick up on is if Mark Driscoll says it's true, it's true because I think he does exaggerate and I think he's still very young, and he still overstates things. Therefore, I think you still have to maintain still a holding of it loosely. So I hope we don't have a lot of angry people who think it's justifiable to be angry or very confident that they've always got it right, when actually I think often we're still learning.

Bryan: Let’s switch gears here. Tell us what's going in Newfrontiers in the UK?

Tom: Things are going really well. We're church planting about one church a month. Recently, Dave Stroud of the UK team launched a vision for our next step to get to 400 churches. There's a great level of intentionality in terms of church planting, in terms of parachuting people in, but also wanting to see churches reproduce themselves more and more in local areas. So I think there's a great momentum, to be honest with you. Something I'm particularly passionate about is the student conference Mobilise which is hugely important for what is happening in the UK, because, as of everywhere, we are in desperate need of more leaders and a summer gathering of a couple thousand students and 20's is a key area where we can actually grow leaders and see them released into all that God would have for them. So I think things are going well. There's a huge transition happening at the moment, new leaders coming through. The ongoing question about whether apostolic work should be regional or whether it should be relational, hopefully it should be both, but that means that things get messy. That's another ongoing thing that's happening. I think a lot of movement, a lot of change. Generally growth. And a lot more marketable services which is a huge thing that's happening as well.

Bryan: You've come to us for two years in a row now and really owned what we're doing here. If you were to return in a 3-5 years, what would be your hope for us?

Tom: I know you're living with church planting in the 100 most influential cities, I think I would hope that God would give you steps in that overall hundred, some key cities that God has really underlined. I would want to see a whole raft of new leaders emerging. Thirdly, massive student works because you've have the biggest student population in the whole world in your country so I would want to see massive pumping student works and that flowing into a faster catalytic leadership production all over America and breakthrough into church size so some churches into the thousands and church planting from America overseas. Church planters being raised up here who are going to church plant all over the world!