Giving It All I Have


Ever feel like the life you want is just out of your reach? You know what it looks like, you can feel it, but you can’t get to it.

This week, as we continue our series All In we will look be looking at Luke 10:25 – 37, at a very familiar story for many people and seeing what Jesus says about the life we long to live and how to get there.

In one conversation, Jesus answers the question of how someone finds life. Not just answering the question about eternal life, but how does one find a life worth getting up for in the morning? How do we find a life that is full of adventure, passion and risk? One that at the end of our life, we will know that it mattered.

Think for a minute, what if you could live the life God has called you to live? Imagine being able to be the kind of person others wanted to have around, a person others were thankful to know because of the way you impacted those around you.

If you or someone you know feels aimless in their life, struggles to see how God could use their one and only life, this is a great week to bring them to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

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Serving Like Jesus

Made for Glory

All of us want our lives to matter. No one wants to go through life unnoticed and not be remembered.

The problem in our culture is that we often have the wrong idea about how to live a great life, to be noticed and remembered.

We want to get to the top instead of being left at the bottom. We want to be the most important, the guest of honor instead the one serving in the background.

For Jesus, greatness is upside down from how we often think of it.

This Sunday at Revolution Church we’ll uncover the glory we were made for and how to get there. The answer is through serving like Jesus. 

I’m excited because we will have a special guest preacher, Seth McBee. Seth is an entrepreneur, an author, a church planter, president of McBee Advisors, Inc as well as a missional community leader/trainer/coach and executive team member of the GCM Collective.

This is an important Sunday at Revolution if you’ve felt like your life should be more than it is or if you’ve wondered how to make an impact in the people around you. 

Remember, we meet at 10am on Sunday mornings at 8300 E Speedway Blvd.

You Rock

Last night we had our volunteer appreciation dinner. What a night.

The theme of the night was “You Rock.” We (as the staff team) even sang a song with the same title about what our volunteers do and mean to us as a team. When we say they are the backbone of what we do and that what we do as Revolution would not happen without them, those are not just words. Here is the video of the song:

The goal of the night was to say thank you but to also remind everyone that we couldn’t do Revolution without them, that it would fall apart. We showed that with dinner. We grilled chicken that wasn’t done on time (in fact it wasn’t ready until almost 45 minutes late, not on purpose). When everyone arrived, I had over 10 people ask me what they could do to help. We even had to tell people to stop working and enjoy the night. Love that attitude.

It is humbling to me that guys show up at 7am to set up signs on the side of the road so that people can find out about our church and find their way, that people show up at 2pm to start setting up for the band, kids areas, signs, prepping food and drinks, that teachers prep during the week and then show up to love on our kids and teach them the gospel, that people sit in booth running lights, sound and computers, that greeters make people feel welcome, the list goes on and on. Then, they tear it all down after we are done and they do it week in and week out without complaining, always bringing their A game all so we can help people find their way back to God.

As I stood in front of our volunteers last night, I was struck by a thought. There were 4 times as many people in the room last night as compared to when we started the church. It is amazing to see what God has done and the people who have bought in, the time and effort they pour in to make Revolution happen every week. I cannot say thank you enough.

Pictures of a Follower of Jesus: Farmer

Saturday was part 2 of our Ultimate Fighter series. In 2 Timothy 2, Paul gives 3 pictures of what a follower of Jesus is to be like. The first is a soldier. The second is an athlete. And the third is a farmer.

While the other two images can sound glorious and exciting, while this one is rather ordinary and mundane. A farmer works long, hard hours. Many of them in the heat or rain, through drought, snow, whenever it is necessary. The farmer though has his eyes on the prize, the harvest. It is all about the harvest.

To be a farmer though, is to do many seemingly thankless, insignificant things. While it may seem that way to an outsider, they are all necessary. Without one of those tasks being done, the harvest suffers.

For many Christians, we want to big, public assignment from God. We don’t want the assignment that seems insignificant, thankless or in the background, we want to be out in front. In short, we want credit. We want to be seen, to be known. This desire keeps God from using many of us because we are more concerned with getting noticed and getting the credit than we are with moving the gospel forward.

Practically, this means there are no unimportant roles in the church or the kingdom. There is nothing too small. Every part matters. Whether that means you use your gifts to hold babies, play in the band, make people feel welcome, follow up, lead a small group, run lights or preach, they all matter because without each one, the harvest is not what it is.

Farmers, every year keep their eye on the prize of the harvest. They know that everything matters and if everything doesn’t happen, the harvest will not be what it could be.

What You Can Control

I was reading Exodus 18 – 20 this morning. It is the classic passage on delegation. Whenever you go to a pastor’s conference, someone is bound to use this passage to show how to delegate. The example of Moses doing everything for the Israelites and not handing things off, for a number of reasons, is something every pastor and leader can relate to.

Jethro (Moses’ Father in law) watches as all the people line up to let Moses answer their questions and make decisions for them. Jethro asks him, “Why are you doing this? All by yourself?”

Moses answers, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me.”

Now, it is easy to look at this and think, but Moses is wise. Maybe Moses was the best person to do this, the best person to answer all their questions. But Moses also kept other people from being involved. By doing this, he was really being selfish by not allowing others to help and he was setting up a system that made it that only he could answer people’s questions.

One of the things that many pastors struggle with is letting go of things. Letting go of control and letting other leaders step up. Not being in every meeting, every conversation, every decision. This makes the pastor the bottleneck of the church. It keeps the church from being healthy and effective, and it keeps highly talented leaders from doing what God created them to do.

Once in my coaching network, Nelson made the comment that there are two reasons churches do not break through the 65 and 125 barrier (these are considered the two hardest growth barriers for a church to breakthrough). They are connected:  either the pastor will not give up control and delegate to other leaders, or the church won’t let him.

At Revolution, we are entering this stage. We prepared for it by raising up leaders and passing things off to them before we needed to. We have always tried to be ahead of growth and staff and prepare for it instead of reacting to it. I shared on Saturday night that right now, you don’t have to talk to me to get involved and connected at Revolution. That is awesome.

We are trying to remove the barriers to breaking through 125 before we have them. This is exciting and scary for me as the lead pastor. Giving anything away as a person is difficult, but when you start a church or business, it is hard to let others care as much as you do. Even though they do, it is still hard.

I was reminded Saturday night how many people in our church care about Revolution and how much effort everyone puts in to make it happen. As a leader, I am humbled by this.

In a growing church, the lead pastor must let go of control to high capacity leaders. They must let leaders do what God created them to do. It is a win-win situation.

A leader must learn to control what they can control. A leader can control what they give away and how they do when they give it away.

Life, Work & God

Had a fascinating discussion with some Revolutionaries after Saturday night. I preached on Nehemiah 3 and we looked at what it took the rebuild the city wall of Jerusalem and compared it to what it takes to build a church in our culture.

One of the misconceptions that is incredibly dangerous for many Christians is that they are not doing ministry or working for God if it doesn’t involve building a church or using their spiritual gift at church. This is dangerous because it leads to a place where we see our work and how we live our lives the other 6 days of the week as not holy and therefore, not as important.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Think about Nehemiah 3. They were rebuilding a wall. Now, one can make the case (and I am trying to in this series) that they were not just building a wall, but they were attempting to place God in his rightful place of honor. The city of Jerusalem and its existence was connected with God because it is where His people dwelled. Nehemiah raises up this team of people because God is being defamed because the city is broken down.

But, they were still building a wall. A wall that would glorify God.

When people leave church, pastors do them a disservice if they leave with the idea that what they do throughout the week is not ministry. It is just as important as ministry in the church, because both glorify and honor God when we do them. Don’t miss this, we need to do both. Not just one, but both, every follower of Jesus.

Here is what it does. It makes you think about your job, your time (how you spend it and waste it), your parenting, your marriage, how you treat your neighbor and boss. It makes you think about those things and more differently. If you view your life through the lens of “I am reflecting God in every part of my life (good and bad), I need to watch what I do.”

Why does this matter? Because we are called by God to reflect Him and in everything we do to honor and glorify Him (Colossians 3:17) and because it leads people to Jesus.

Why Highly Talented, Busy People Volunteer

This past Saturday, I talked about how we build the city (Revolution) within the city of Tucson. How it takes everyone to do what God has called us to. To amplify the point, we did what we called “No Show Saturday.”

I came across this list on Mark Beeson’s blog about why highly talented, busy people volunteer at a church:

  1. They want to see done the thing you’re trying to get done.  What you’re doing is clear to them, and clearly important to them.  Because they value what you value, what you’re doing is clearly worth their sacrificial effort.
  2. They see the need and want to help meet the need.  Whether they jump in to help for a moment (helping with one step of the process), or stay with you for the entire mission (laying down their life for ultimate mission success), they see how they can assist you and they do.
  3. They want to be involved. After considering their other options (how they could otherwise be using their time, energy, knowledge and skills), they prioritize your mission above other competing values. The success of your work – for one reason, or another – is important to them.  They believe the work is worthy.
  4. They’re invited. They feel welcomed and valued. They recognize you’ve made it possible for them to join the effort. There is a place for them on the team. Affirmation and appreciation are hand-in-glove with a mission strategy that organizes all available human resources.
  5. They understand how their personal involvement improves the work. Once they understand your mission, most people know themselves well enough to realize whether their skills, training, education, strength, possessions and experiences can be leveraged against your need. They see how they can add value and advance the mission.
  6. They want you to succeed. Your ultimate success in life matters and they believe your mission success in the particulars of the moment will serve as a step toward the ultimate fulfillment of your life. For reasons you may not even understand, they want you to succeed. Since they care about you, and want you to fulfill your destiny, they volunteer to help you all along the way.
  7. They love working with you. You are inspiring, encouraging, positive, expectant, trustworthy, successful and fun.
  8. They love working with the other volunteers. They want to be with the other volunteers on your team. They love the way they’re treated and valued. It’s fun, fulfilling and rewarding to do what you’re doing with you and your team.

Conversely, good people will quit, and leave your team, if they no longer feel welcomed, don’t feel valued, lose their vision for mission success, can’t make a contribution worthy of their effort, don’t like you or find the rest of the volunteers unkind, unreasonable and impossible.

See original post here.

No Show Saturday

This past Saturday was unlike any other night at Revolution. It was unlike any other night at any church I have ever been to.

As we were planning the big creative elements for this series, we came to the idea of teamwork and volunteerism that it takes to make Revolution happen week in and week out. We tossed around how to really bring this idea home without having the normal, “It would be really great if you served and here is why…”

During this planning time (in the fall) I came across the idea of a no show service from Steven Furtick at Elevation Church and loved it.

So, on Saturday, we had no greeters, no signs around the church telling you where to take your child (we had a full staff in Planet Rev because we wanted to make a point not be a distraction), no food or coffee, no one handing out programs, no Bibles on the seats (you picked up the programs, pens and Bibles from boxes), no moving backgrounds on the screen, no videos, no band, no candles.

Only paid staff did something at Revolution on Saturday.

As a portable church, most people have no idea what goes into making a church happen. It is easy to walk in every week and think everything it just happens.

Paul walked out on stage with an amp, his guitar and a mic and that was our sound system. We had no intro video for me, I carried my table out. It was weird, but it was a beautiful night. God moved in the worship time in a special way.

The point was to say, this is how many people it takes to pull Revolution off week in and week out and that number is growing as God continues to entrust us with more and more people. We also wanted to give all our volunteers a night off (although many of them confided in me that it was tough not doing anything and they wanted to fix problems they saw). In fact, when we brought the screens down at the beginning of the service, one of them did not come down. Not planned, but it went perfectly with the night.

Every week, it takes almost 40 people every week to make Revolution happen. From office help, printing, folding, setting up chairs, bibles, candles, sound equipment, running the lights, sound and video, greeting, setting up food, signs, curtains, teaching classes, holding babies, leading small groups. And then we take it all down. That doesn’t even include small group leaders and hosts.

No Show Saturday was a huge success. It was a risk we were willing to take to say thank you to all of our volunteers and to challenge the rest of our church to jump and help build the city (Revolution)!

The Future of Revolution

For the last two weeks in our Nehemiah series, I have been laying out who we are as a church, where we have come from, where we are going and how we plan to get there.

In the last year, we have gone from 30 – 100. We are praying, dreaming and moving towards going from 100 – 300 in this next year.

Before diving into how we will get there, let me recap how we got here:

  • In December 2008, we were a church of 30 people. Paul and Jennifer raised half of their salary in 6 weeks and moved out here to be a part of this adventure of reaching the city of Tucson. Our weekly giving at that time averaged $800/week. With them coming on and our plans for 2009, our weekly budgeted need went to $3,118.
  • In the last quarter of 2008, we averaged 97 people and our weekly giving average was $3,118.

So how do we get to 300? Here are some ideas we have and we’d love to hear yours:

  • Invest and invite. As followers of Jesus we are called to invest in relationships and invite people to church. This way, we partner together in the process and it is not just up to one person. It is up to us with the help of the Holy Spirit.
  • We are doing more for families and kids. We will be kicking off Revolution VBS this summer. More details will follow soon.
  • We are doing more for students. Rev Up will kick off this year. Rev Up is being headed up by Cody and Hannah Brasher. This is a bright young couple that has been attending Revolution since August. So excited about the leadership, passion and energy they bring to reaching students and their families. This is huge for Revolution. It enables us to reach an entire demographic that previously we could not reach.
  • We are becoming more intentional about helping people discover their gifts, how they are wired and how they can better help build the city (Revolution) to reach the city of Tucson. More on this January 30th.
  • Small groups. This is the next step from Saturday night. If you want to get better connected at Revolution, grow in your relationship with God and have opportunities to serve in our city, this is the place. We are doing sign ups for our spring semester right now. You can learn more about that here. We are launching 5 small groups this spring, which is largest number yet, with plans to launch more small groups in the summer and fall semesters to accomodate the growth we are hoping to have.
  • Servant evangelism. Being missional an in our city has always been the heartbeat of Revolution. We are stepping that up this year. Each small group will do at least one servant evangelism outing (which we will open up to the whole church to participate in) and then an outing during the 4 weeks off from small groups.
  • Being expectant. As we have prepared for this series on Nehemiah, myself and the other leaders have been challenged by Nehemiah’s prayer life. He prayed specifically and intentionally for God to move. When we pray generally, it doesn’t take any faith. So we are praying specific prayers. This has raised our awareness and antennas to be a part of what God is up to in our world. It has also made us more expectant not only as we walk through our days that God will use us, but showing up on Saturday night expecting God to move and do big things.

Here is what I’m asking us to do as a church:

  • Pray specific prayers. Ask God to give you opportunities to talk with your friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Ask God to give you an opportunity to invite them to Revolution.
  • Then invite them.
  • Jump in. If you are not in a small group, get in one. If you are not serving on a team, get on one.
  • If you are not giving back to God, start. Honor God not only with your talents and time, but also the resources that He has blessed you with.
  • Show up on Saturday expecting God to move, expecting people to begin a relationship with Jesus, marriages saved, hurts healed.

2010 is going to be our best year as a church. Get ready Revolutionaries for God to some HUGE things in and through us.

What Guides Revolution #3 [Rewind]

On January 9th, we launched a brand new series on the book of Nehemiah called Building a City Within the City. Every church, organization or family has a list of seen and unseen things that guide decisions, what they value and how they function. Since we have so many new people at Revolution, I thought it would be good to share what guides us.

#3:  We will stay simple.

When I was growing up, we were at church all morning on Sunday morning:  Sunday school and then church. Back for choir practice Sunday afternoon, then church. Back Wednesday night, throw in some other ministries and you are living there.

A few years ago I was in a staff meeting at a church I just started working at. The Executive Pastor said with a smile, “If you wanted to, your family could be at our church 7 nights a week.” I asked, “Is that good?” You should have seen the glares I got. Apparently, I didn’t know what was “good.”

One of the things that has driven us is to be simple. At Revolution, we want to do a few things and we want to do them well. When we got started, we looked at what the Bible said a Christian was, what they did, what practices they were involved in and then set out to just do those things (worship, teaching, serving, community, reaching out).

Right now, here’s what we do:

  1. Worship gathering
  2. Small groups
  3. Kids ministry (Planet Rev)
  4. Student ministry (Rev Up)
  5. Missional Life Projects (outreach/serving)

One of the things we are doing to stay simple is with small groups. They run on semesters. There are 3, 12 week semesters each year, with a 4 week break in between. This is when we have sign ups for the upcoming semester. We also do most of our missional life projects in the context of small groups in place of having a “normal” small group time that week.

As you can see from the list above, there are a few less things than the church you grew up in. This is intentional. Does this mean the list will always be this small? Not necessarily, but we are not going to do something just because another church does it.

When a new idea comes up we ask:  Will this help us reach our target (20 – 40 year old men), can we do it better than anyone else? If we can’t do it better and someone else is doing it, our stance is how can we support them and be a part of what they’re doing? The goal is not to grow Revolution, but to expand the kingdom of God in Tucson.

What is interesting about this is the only push back we get on this is from people with a churched background. Unchurched people don’t give push back to this idea. The conversations I have with people as to why we don’t do more are always interesting. I will say something like this, “This isn’t the only biblical way to do church, it is just the way we do church. It may not seem right, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t work.” By staying simple, we are able to help people grow, not kill themselves with church activities, and stay on mission. Because their calendar doesn’t revolve around church, you are able to build relationships with those who don’t know Jesus and live out the gospel in front of them and share it with them. If you are always with Christians at church, you aren’t able to do that.

I think this philosophy is one of the reasons God is blessing Revolution and moving the way he is.