This last week we picked up in our “The Power of One” series and looked at The Power of One Step. Here are a few thoughts that I’d like to revisit from yesterday’s message:
- In order for us to experience the power of one step, our steps must be intentional. (Mt 14:22,23)
Jesus modeled a life and relationship with God that included times of solitude dedicated to prayer. This was never more pronounced than before any major event, happening or event in the life of Jesus or his ministry.Before we make decisions and take steps toward what we feel God might be calling us to, we absolutely MUST make time with God, seeking His face, a priority in order for us to really be intentional about each step we take.
- Fear is the number one reason that people don’t step up or step out in faith. (Mt 14:24-30)
Money, reasoning, opportunities, etc. These are just some of the barriers that stand in our way and keep us from pursuing the God-sized dreams in our life. The reality is that these all pale in comparison to fear. Fear is the biggest setback we often face when it comes to taking our first steps toward anything.
In order for us to be effective in stepping into what God is calling us to, we must both address and choose to overcome our fears.
- As long as our eyes are fixed on Jesus, the impossible becomes possible. (Mt 14:31,32)
Seriously?! Peter walked on water. That’s impossible according to the standards of this world. Yet we serve a God that isn’t confined by the finite thinking of humanity. No! We live for a God who is all about the possible in the impossible.
As long as our eyes are fixed on Jesus and not on the things of this work, anything becomes possible in and through Him!
So here are 3 questions that I think we ought to be wrestling with this week:
- What “mile” (opportunity) is waiting for you to take the first step?
- What storms of life have you allowed to hold you back from stepping out in faith?
- What step do you need to take right now, today, in this moment, to begin the journey that God has in store for you?
“The journey of every mile begins with one step.” There IS power in one step! So go on and step out in faith today!!
Here’s what I’m excited about from this past week…
- An amazing community! It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly welcoming and friendly the people here at Illumination Church are. Just blows my mind!
- IC volunteers are second to none. I am so incredibly blessed by the way the people of our church step up time and again to give of themselves; their time, their experiences, their gifts and more.
- The way the Spirit of God is moving in and through Illumination Church. It’s absolutely outstanding to be a part of what God is doing both in spirit and in breadth.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to this coming week…
- I’m looking forward to this weekend’s message; a message focused on the power of one meal. I can hardly wait to experience communion for the first time in our new Burnsville campus.
- I’m excited to spend time connecting with our volunteers and leaders as we dream of ways to continue to execute our mission and vision within our new community.
- I’m thrilled to spend time reading, processing and praying.
May the grace and the peace of God be evident in your life as you seek the face of God and desire to grow in knowledge, in understanding and in your relationship with Jesus this week!
Yesterday was AWESOME! Seriously, I can’t think of much better than celebrating an empty tomb and a resurrected Christ. What’s more is that I can hardly imagine experiencing this celebration any other place than with Illumination Church.
Here are some of my reflections from yesterday:
- The tomb is EMPTY!
- Jesus is ALIVE!!
- In Him we, too, are made ALIVE!!!
- 7 people responded to the gospel and gave their lives to Jesus!
- 9 people in all responded to commit or recommit their lives to Christ!\
- I’m totally excited about our new, now current series, “The Power of One”
- One choice can change everything! (from yesterday’s message)
- We moved to 2 services: 9 & 10:45
- The band was phenomenal in leading the church to a place of reflection and worship. Never hurts to kick things off with a little Journey, “Don’t Stop Believing”.
- IC has the most incredible volunteers and leaders!
- I’m reminded once again that one of the things that sets IC apart is the people; an amazing community that takes doing life and ministry together to a whole new level.
- Healing. For many, yesterday was a day of healing in many ways.
Here are a few of the things that I’m looking forward to as a church this week:
- The message this weekend, “The Power of One Step!”
- IGNITE kicks off on Sunday night (a practical and hands on look at the Bible) – Sunday night from 6 to 7:30 @ our IC Cafe
- Connecting with and getting to know some of the many new faces and families here at IC.
- Continuing to connect with the community around our new campus in Burnsville
I’m praying that the presence of the Holy Spirit and the power of God in our lives will be evident this week both in word and deed, that people might see Christ in and through us as individuals and as a church.
Until all hear,
In this brief video you’ll come to hear and understand WHYIC matters for you, for me and for our community.
I’m sitting in my office on Monday afternoon, nearly 3:30pm in the afternoon, and still can’t get over what we’ve experienced recently as a church. Wow! Seriously?! It’s rare, but I find myself near speechless… Nah!
Here are a few thoughts that are bouncing around in my brain from yesterday:
- The Campus: When I look around at our new Burnsville Campus, it never ceases to amaze me how many people have stepped up and helped to make our new worship space what it is – warm, inviting, exciting, relevant and so much more. I’m blessed by the countless incredible volunteers who have absolutely poured it out for Jesus in an effort to make His name famous in our new building.
- The Music: Yesterday was the first time we’ve experienced live music from a full band and it was nothing short of awesome! Pastor Brian has done an outstanding job recruiting, training and leading musicians and vocalists, all in an effort to glorify the Name of God and in leading people to a place of reflection and adoration through music.
- The People: I serve the greatest church in Minnesota…really! No, REALLY!! I cannot imagine a more exceptional group of men, women and children to do life and ministry with. If you’re reading this and you’re a part of Illumination Church, that means YOU! What’s more is that I am so encouraged by how many new people God is drawing to IC. I’m looking forward to our continued growth in life and ministry as we continue to be a church on purpose, with a purpose and for a purpose.
- The Volunteers: From IC Kids to our Greeters and Parking Attendants and more, IC is blessed by the people who have stepped up to make our ministries possible; to make them what they are. God is using the volunteers here at our church to help change the way people view God. Thank you for those within Illumination Church who continue to step up and pour it out. It matters!
- WHYIC?: Talk about impact – our WHYIC? campaign is being seen far and wide. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share IC with our new community and beyond and to be able to engage people where they’re at, inviting them to partner with us in life and ministry and all of the reasons why. From the tee-shirts to the invites, the black “goodie-bags” and more, I can hardly wait to see how God uses this campaign to reach people. It’s going to be awesome!
This week I’m looking forward to:
- Going to 2 services on Sunday morning. We’ve added a second service and changed the times of our Celebration Services for convenience and in order to accommodate for the growth that we’re expecting as well as to allow our amazing volunteers an opportunity to serve as well as attend a Celebration Service without missing a beat.
- Starting our new “The Power One” series. It’s going to be phenomenal! I’m so excited to kick things off this coming weekend in sharing about one of the most powerful numbers in existence: the number 1.
- Encountering Christ. I cannot begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to encountering Christ with the people of our church as well as with the people that will come and be a part of IC for the first time. Looking forward to being a part of what God’s going to do this weekend.
So there you have it; some things that are bouncing around in my head on a Monday afternoon.
I pray that you find encouragement in who you are in Christ. I pray that God’s presence is both felt and in experienced in your life this week and that you others will see Jesus in you and me.
Until all hear,
In a culture and society that is big on picking through bargain bins, sale racks, and custom orders whether online or in person, many people take this same approach to their faith and their relationship with God. In this series we are taking a sober look at the idea that you can’t put God in a box. In other words, God isn’t negotiable; His qualities and characteristics aren’t something that we can simply sift through, picking and choosing what we want and putting those things in a box while putting the rest of God back on the shelves.
Need more than a word picture? Check out the bumper video for this series.
This last week we set the foundation for the series. God is so much more than something that we can choose what components or pieces or parts we want to include in our faith while forgoing those that we aren’t as partial or excited about. Yet this is the approach, systematic or not, to much of the human existence. We are so used to choices. Don’t believe it? Stop and take a minute to consider how things are marketed to us:
- “Have it your way right away at BK” (Burger King)
- “That was easy” (Office Max)
- “I’m lovin’ it!” (McDonald’s)
- “YOLO” (You Only Live Once)
- “It’s your world. Take control” (American Express)
- “Your world. Delivered” (AT&T)
- “Business without boundaries” (Nortel Networks)
These are just a few of the many ad campaigns and slogans that are designed for us, the consumer; a consumer with options. Still don’t buy it? I invite you to consider how we eat: made to order, buffets, countless options of restaraunts, etc., all with you and me in mind. But wait! There’s more…
Don’t like your spouse? Divorce him/her. Don’t like your car? Trade it in or a new model or consider a lease for even more options. Like your dog, but tired of cleaning up after it Throw it on Craigslist or take it to the pound. These are just a few more examples of how we have choices in life, choices designed to make us happy. We can take what we want and leave what we don’t. And why options and choices in and of themselves aren’t necessarily a bad thing, we cannot have this approach to our faith and relationship with God. Let me overstate it. I am NOT suggesting that options and choices are a bad thing. I hate onions more than any other food on the planet, even more than guacamole. If I go anywhere and order anything to eat, I will always order it without onions. I’ll take the rest of the food, but leave out the onions. That’s because onions are absolutely disgusting!!
While choices aren’t a bad thing, this concept simply isn’t how it works with God. You don’t pick and choose the characteristics of God that you want as though you are moving through a buffet line. “Umm…I’ll have some grace and a bit of mercy. Oh yeah! Extra prosperity and blessing. I think I’m gonna pass on the judgement and humility today. Just not really feel’n it.”
That sounds ridiculous, right?! Absolutely! Yet this is the approach of countless men and women who claim the name of Christ every day.
I’m excited for this series and looking forward to all that God does in and through it. I hope you’ll stay tuned and join us over the next few weeks as we discover, together, what it looks like to try and order a “God In A Box” as well as what we are called to in terms of a relationship with God.
Stay tuned for more…
What is the reason to celebrate?
This is a great question and a pretty loaded one at that, you know?! There are so many incredible things deserving of celebration and not the least of these the mere fact that it’s Christmas time; the time of year where we recognize and focus on the gift of God through His Son’s birth. That’s worth celebrating!
While there are many, many reasons to celebrate, the purpose of this blog is to celebrate how God is at work in regards to our new building in Burnsville (12156 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville).
Five reasons to celebrate our new building:
Reason #1 – This past week, Wednesday, the City Council lead by Burnsville’s Mayor, Elizabeth Kautz, voted in favor of our church taking up residence in Burnsville. The City Council issued us our CUP (Conditional Use Permit). This was the last step in allowing Illumination Church to take up residency in the city and begin the buildout. Burnsville, Savage, Bloomington and Eagan (4-corners) as well as Prior Lake, HERE WE COME!!!
Reason #2 – The property owner has agreed to invest $80,000.00 This money will go toward the demolition and reconstruction of our Worship Center as well as our Fellowship Hall. What’s more is that the property owner has agreed to invest an additional $30,000.00 of his money into a mandatory covered trash and recycling receptacle, a necessity in order for our church to take up occupancy. That’s an invest of $110,000.00 from the owner that he is willing to spend in order for our church to be there. That’s worth celebrating!!
Reason #3 – Having our own facility will allow us the opportunity to facilitate the ministry that we believe God has been calling us to, ministry that is real and relevant in reaching the lost for Christ as well as changing the way people view God. We will have our own space to worship in, to host community events, a place for our children and youth, a facility to use for various ministries, and a place to pursue the people that God has called us to with a concentrated effort week in and week out. No more set up and tearing down means more time and energy invested in the community and the body of believers. That’s reason to celebrate…especially if you’ve been a part of the set-up and tear-down crew ;0
Reason #4 – Multiplication. This is always something that we’ve seen in our future as a church. By securing our own space we will be able to multiply the amount of worship experiences we are able to offer. Instead of being limited by time and space on a Sunday or mid-week, we will be able to have more Celebration Services as well as various other programs including SONshine Kids, FireLight Youth, Ignite classes, community ed., counseling, weddings, funerals, baptisms, dedications and much, much, much more. Volunteers who were once limited to either serving or attending service, but never both, will now have options and can do both. That’s a reason to celebrate!
Reason #5 – Obedience is our success. That’s a CORE value of our church and has been sense our inception. We’re not bogged down by the standards of this world as tempting as it can be at times. Instead, we believe that this is something that God placed upon our hearts and we want nothing more than to be obedient to what he has called us to. It’s in obedience that we determine our success. The fact that we are being obedient gives us reason to celebrate!
The work has just begun…
With the incredible opportunities that lie ahead of us, the work has just begun. Though we’ve raised $38,337.00 to date and having had our first Serve Sunday at the new facility with many projects taking place, there is still a lot of work in front of us, and while some might be overwhelmed by the projects and money that needs to be raised, we are excited because this is an opportunity like never before for us to step up as a church and to go all in for what we believe God calling us to. With that in mind, here are some ways that we still need to work…
- Prayer. We need a lot of prayer. Prayer for God’s will. Prayer for favor in the community. Prayer for the finances to come through. Prayer that we don’t come up against any snags as we move forward with the building. Prayer that people all over will be excited about our church and want to be a part of how God is moving in Illumination Church. Prayer for our staff and incredible volunteers to be effective in sharing the gospel. We need prayer!
- We still need to raise approximately $70,000.00 additional dollars to meet our projected budget for the buildout and building launch; money that is necessary in building the stage, buying chairs, furnishings, paint, building supplies, marketing and advertising, landscaping, signs, updated ProAudio (lights and sound), and more.
- December 15th is our next Serve Sunday. You can sign up to partner up with many others from within the church on this day to help build out the administration wing, to help demo (demolish) walls and ceiling tiles, etc., to help patch and paint, to help remodel bathrooms, to help with landscaping and more. It’s a great way to connect with others and to serve the church and community.
- Spreading the word. We NEED people like you to continue to get behind the work of God in and through Illumination Church and help spread the word. We want to reach as many for Christ and it begins with one; the power of one person and one conversation and one invitation. Who knows how God might use you as you get excited and tell your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about what God is doing at Illumination Church.
So as you can see we have a lot of reasons to celebrate! Will you join with us in celebrating and making an eternal difference in the lives of so many who need Jesus as we partner together through our SOS (secure our own space) initiative?!
This past week we buttoned up our series that we called HEROES; a look at various characteristics of a biblical hero. What a great series and what an awesome opportunity for me to share one of my favorite stories and characters in all of the Bible, Ruth.
This short 4-Chapter book is a truly amazing, heroic story that includes great love, loyalty and commitment, faithfulness and truth, all tied up with a beautiful redemption message in the end. It almost reads like a romance novel of old, yet is full of suspense and action. One can’t help but be drawn in to the story and the lives of the characters in the story, women like Orpah and Naomi and Ruth. Awesome!
If you haven’t already I encourage you to take some time this week and read or listen to Ruth in its entirety with a heart open to loving in a whole new, God-focused, selfless way.
At the end of the sermon on Sunday I posed a few questions for your consideration. In this short blog I want to take just a minute and reflect on these questions:
QUESTION 1 – Where are you being asked to step out in faith and love someone else in a completely selfless way? In what specific ways could you show that love?
Could you fight the need to be right, and instead bite your tongue when dealing with someone you care about? Maybe you’re being shown someone who needs to be served in a specific way that you know you can serve, but you’ve been struggling with finding the time or energy.
QUESTION 2 – Where do you hide behind a mask of “this world” vs. showing your authentic you?
Do you really tell anyone that 10% that you need help or struggle with? Who holds you accountable to living life the way that God calls you to? Are you always “alright, fine or great”? Who in your faith community do you connect with and take down the walls of the world? Reach out in faith that someone else is going to love you selflessly and is not only willing but eager to walk along side you in your journey and lift you up in your pain.
QUESTION 3 – Where do you need to exercise more complete faith in God as your redeemer?
Do you live daily with the knowledge that you have already been redeemed? Do you know in your heart that the price for your life has already been paid through the perfect life and death of our Christ Jesus? Do you fully understand that and what Paul writes in Romans 8:28,”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV). If He is leading you, calling you, or asking something of you; He already has a plan that includes caring for your every need.
That about wraps up my thoughts for this week. I invite you to share your thoughts, findings and insights as well.
Have a blessed week!
SOS Update – 11.26.2013
There is so much excitement about the SOS (secure our own space) Initiative; so many wonderful and incredible things taking place surrounding the possibility of us, Illumination Church, taking residence in our own permanent facility in Burnsville (12156 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville, MN). In this short blog I’m excited to share some of the latest updates on our new Burnsville Illumination Church space!
- Financial(s) to date: Our projected budget amount to secure our own space and be able to build the (Burnsville, MN) facility out for optimal use is $110,211.00. This budget amount includes everything in the Worship Center (chairs, stage, lights, sound equipment, and more) as well as the SONShine Kid’s Wing, Fellowship Hall, Conference Room, Administration Wing and more. *An itemized list is available at your request. Simply email Pastor Dan with an inquiry at: email@example.com. As of Sunday, November 24th, we have raised a total of $37,037, which is just over 1/3 of the way there. Here is what it looks like broken down:
- NOTE: We have an active graphic, which shows us weekly updates at our Sunday Celebration Services at Twin Oaks Middle School. As you come in be sure to look for the Light House near Guest Central. It will have the latest in financials.
- Burnsville City Commissioners Town Hall Meeting: At the City Commissioners Town Hall meeting last night, Pastor Dan and I sat in as the Burnsville City Planner gave a report and recommendation to the five Commissioners sitting on the board. It was interesting listening to someone outside of Illumination give an explanation of what our intentions are both within the building as well as throughout the community. For me, the coolest part of the whole meeting was at the end of the City Planners presentation. Asked by the Chair of the Board if any of the Commissioners had questions or discussion items, a hand quickly shot up. Anticipating some push-back, I sat in utter amazement as the Commissioner actively encouraged the other Commissioners to strongly support our church in our desire to secure our own space as he would be recommending approval. What’s more is that he gave several reasons why he felt a church in their community would be a wonderful thing. Immediately following the first Commissioners response another hand of a different Commissioner was raised who decisively agreed with the first Commissioners recommendation and threw in his thoughts on why our church in this space at this time would be a wonderful thing. Soon after a motion was made and adopted and the City Commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to accept our proposal and to make a recommendation on our behalf to the Mayor and City Council at next week’s meeting, December 2nd. What an exciting experience; one that will not quickly be forgotten, and one that is a pre-cursor for what everyone believes we will receive from the City Council as well. Praise God!
- Serve Sunday (11.24.2013): Last Sunday was the first of our Serve Sunday’s at the new facility. 27 people showed up and worked for nearly 4 hours cleaning, constructing, landscaping, scrubbing, smiling, working, hauling, laughing, sweating and doing life and ministry together. All reports that I’ve heard were phenomenal; a huge success! Here are just a few snapshots into what our Serve Sunday looked like:
Because of the amazing hearts and work of those who were able to make our Serve Sunday, we were able to clean the restrooms (deep clean), prep all of the SONShine Kid’s classrooms for painting, significantly clean up the yard with landscaping, frame in the offices in the administrative wing, tear out SheetRock in preparation for a hallway and much, much, much more…
Church, I am absolutely amazed at God and what He’s doing! I couldn’t have imagined any of this had I tried. What’s more is that I am overcome with joy and pride (a good sense of pride) at our church whom have stepped up in so many ways, whether financially or physically or spiritually and more, God is using the men and women and youth of our church to do incredible things together, things that will serve to change the way people view God in a community that is desperate for a church that is real, relevant and reaching. Way to go church!
I’m looking forward to continuing in this journey together over the days, weeks, months and years to come…
But wait! There’s more…
Here are just a few ways that you can still be involved in our SOS Initiative…
- Get signed up for our next Serve Sunday Project (December 15th) – firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up on Sunday.
- We are still $73,174.00 away from our projected budget for our new space. We’d love for you to prayerfully consider how God might be leading you to give sacrificially in an effort to see our initiative reach it’s fullest potential. You can give online (www.illuminationchurch.com) or give on Sunday morning at our Celebration Service. Be sure to “earmark” your SOS Initiative offering as separate from your tithes and other gifts.
- Annual Commitment Cards: We are asking everyone to prayerfully consider what they might be willing to sacrificially give above and beyond their tithe toward the SOS Initiative. You can download and print a card online at http://www.illuminationchurch.com or ask for Commitment Card at our Guest Central table on Sunday morning.
- Prayer: We need to be intentional about praying through this process and for our community, that God will use these efforts to advance His kingdom and to make His name famous; that God will give us favor in Burnsville in Savage in Prior Lake and in the community that we believe God calling us to.
- Spread the word: We’d love for you to share the exciting things that God is doing within Illumination Church with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. What’s more is that we would love for you to invite those in your community and spheres of influence to come and experience, first hand, the way God is working so that they might experience the work of the Holy Spirit through you and Illumination Church as well.