Leaders, if you are looking for a COVID-19 specific message outline to build your weekend talk and/or communication to your family, school or business … please feel free to use any of this content or stream this message as needed.
This past weekend we made a pivot at Parkview Christian Church in Chicagoland and I rewrote the weekend message to address specific coronavirus concerns and bring perspective and hope to our community.
We are one church, now with thousands of locations!
Leaders, I am here to serve you any way I can in this unprecedented season. If you need more messages, full series content with sermon bumper videos and graphics packages to switch up your teaching series before or after Easter … please let me know. I would be honored to connect with you and serve you.
Yes, we are moving our gatherings and giving online … but we are staying on mission. It doesn’t matter if we are on campus or online. The Church remains on mission ether way!
Here is what I believe …
I believe we are going to be forced to learn things in the coming weeks and months about how to gather online that are going to grow Gods Church and advance His Kingdom rapidly and more comprehensively into the digital age.
And I am certain that God is not surprised by the Coronavirus! God is not looking down saying, “What … whoah … when and how did this happen?
Where did this originate?”
He knows and He has also given us the digital tools to continue meeting and growing even in these uncertain times. I believe that we are going to see God move big time in His Church around our nation and our world. Though we are separated physically, this coronavirus crisis is going to unite Gods Church globally.
I believe this because when we study the early church that grew like wildfire you see they met in “temple courts” and “house to house.”
Acts 5:42 – Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
– Temple courts … is more like our large church buildings and campuses.
– House to house … is well … our houses / our homes / our online campuses.
Gods Church can and will flourish as we gather from house to house to house to house to house to house to house.
I truly believe, even as we sit here today with some uncertainty, if we could see into heaven right now. All heaven is gathered around saying … “Oh man, watch this … watch what God is doing on earth during this uncertain season.”
– People are unleashing compassion like never before.
– People are leaning into His Word all around the world.
– People are praying and uniting their hearts in unprecedented ways.
– People are using their homes as places to gather and broadcast Truth!
Could it be … could it be … that one of the ways that GODS CHURCH is going to explode and begin to reach all nations is through hundreds of thousands of online gatherings like we are experiencing this weekend?
Could it be that the message of Jesus will spread like wildfire across the world as many thousands of churches move their message online more than any other time in the history of the world?
More people are going to have access to Gods Word, Worship and Prayer this weekend than any other weekend in human history!
As ministries move online, Gods church is going to be on fire.
“God is great. Don’t get more simpler than that bro.”
“Until you have to pick up that cross that you can’t carry, and He picks it up for you. And carries you and the cross. Then you know.”
Recently was talking with a good friend who is considering stepping away from a marketplace job and people he has been serving and leading for over 13 years.
He said Todd, “Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze!”
I laughed outloud. I had never heard that before, whata line!
Maybe as we enter a New Year you are also considering a change. Maybe you are feeling the squeeeeeeeze!
If you are considering a change … here are four things to consider if you want to leave a place and people well.
How you leave is how you are remembered.
You can have an incredible season of life in a place serving people and still completely blow it in the end. I can tell you from experience … it could be five or ten years of faithful service, friendships and memories … but make no mistake how you leave is how you are remembered.
Just like preaching and public speaking … whatever you say last is usually what people remember most.
It is the same with life.
Your words and actions are amplified 30X in your last 30 days in a place.
How you act and react determines how you will be remembered.
This a sobering truth and reminder to …
- Make peace
- Assume positive intentions
- Speak well
- Be honest
- Be loving
- Be patient
- Be generous
… as you leave.
Understand not everyone will understand.
Especially if you are a follower of Jesus … not everyone will always understand how, when, where and why He is leading you.
You will not always understand how God leads you!
And in a crazy way it’s not actually your job to understand everything God is doing or leading in your life. It’s just your job to be obedient. In addition, it is not your job to make sure everyone you know understands or agrees with God’s leading in your life and family. It is your job, however, to do the best job possible when discerning God’s plans for your future.
For most of us one of the major things that keeps us up at night is worrying about what’s next … what is coming tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.
The good news is there is Good News in the Bible.
Jer. 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This verse states clearly that God knows the plans He has for you. And that’s great news! That is great that GOD KNOWS His plans for you.
But what keeps most of us up at night is wondering how do I KNOW God’s plans for MY FUTURE?
Is it even really possible to know God’s specific plans for your life?
Here are three questions you can ask when trying to discern whether a direction is really from God:
- Have I taken time to pray, or am I rushing into things?
Sometimes we rush into decisions thinking …
- If I don’t take this job
- If I don’t marry this person
- If I don’t make this move right now
I will miss this incredible opportunity.
And here is what I learned many years ago …
If God is in it … it can wait a minute!
God is not sitting in heaven saying, “If you don’t hurry up and take this job, buy this car, marry this person or make this move – you are going to miss out … I can’t hold this together forever!”
So … slow down and take time to get away. Be alone and pray.
2. Do my friends and family agree, or do they think I am foolish?
Anyone who thinks they don’t need the advice of others is foolish.
When you are trying to discern God’s plans for your future, you should seek and listen to the advice of your friends and family.
However, here is what often happens …
Many of us will keep seeking advice until we find the advice we are seeking.
We must be willing to seek and LISTEN to advice even if it is not the advice we are seeking
3. Does this plan agree with scripture or contradict it?
God will never guide you to do something in the future that is opposed to what He has already said in the Bible in the past. God’s Word will never contradict God’s Will for leading in your life.
So, if you really want to know God’s personal plans for your future, here is the key …
Saturate yourself with Scripture.
And don’t read it and debate it.
Read it and obey it!
You never show your own character so clearly as when you describe another’s.
When leaving places and people there will be those who take cheap shots at you.
Just be ready for it.
It usually has far more to say about the other person than it does about you. It is not easy for the people who are being “left behind” even when they are very good people. And it is certianly never easy for comfortable and complacent people to watch others chase God’s dreams, be brave and live curiously!
It is far easier to stay in a safe place and critique
than it is to push away from the dock into some deep waters and create.
This is especially true in our socially connected world. Social media is like a petri dish for criticism, comparisons and commentary on the actions of others.
And there will be those who once stood by you who now want to grab your leg and trip you up as you try to step away.
Just remember … the way you speak about others says far more about you than it does about them.
Do not sell out your own character to publicly or even privately take someone down a notch.
One of my mentor pastors from years ago said …
“When you wrestle with a pig you both get muddy, and the pig likes it.”
Stay out of the mud.
Do not let a rough season of life characterize you for the next two months or years!
And realize the high road will never be the easy road.
Be thankful looking back and brave looking forward.
I am a nostalgic futurist.
Which means I am simultaneously looking back and dreaming forward.
When you prepare to leave places and people, take some time to look back.
Remember how good God has been to you.
And take some time to dream forward.
Remember that God has a perfect track record of faithfulness …
and He is not going to blow it on you!
“Sometimes the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze.”
This was spoken to me today by a friend who is considering a career change after more than thirteen years at the same place.
How do you know when you should hold on tighter and when you should let go?
I have had this conversation with at least ten leaders already in 2020. I personally believe and counsel most leaders to hang on, whenever they can! I believe hanging on and choosing longevity is to be prized.
But there are times in your career where you certainly feel like the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze! (Whata line!)
If this is you … I will be posting an article in a few hours with several things to consider when considering leaving people and places.
I am calling out.
I am not hiding.
I want to be found.
“Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
I am wisdom.
As we enter this New Year and decade I am overwhelmed by Gods goodness, favor and grace.
I look at me in 2010 and today.
And I consider all the good things I have been able to experience.
All of the places God has allowed me and my family to love and lead.
I am humbled and grateful.
The truth is as I sit around this December 31st NYE afternoon at 3:51pm Pacific washing Jetty …
All I want to do is write an inspiring article like my friend Will Mancini! (You should really read his article today – The 2020 Pastor)
But the truth is … I feel like my 2020 already has “should” all over it.
I mean there are so many shoulds sitting on my shoulder and whispering into my ear today. And there are many people who believe they know exactly what I should do in 2020 and beyond.
Maybe you feel like that too.
You wish you had 2020 vision for 2020!
But the truth is … you don’t.
So, what do you do when you can’t perfectly post all your 2020 plans and ambitions by the time the ball drops in New York?
Here’s what I am going to do.
I am going to give myself
I am going to spend a little more time this week praying, celebrating and in some cases grieving things from the past decade. And when I have fully looked back, I will dream and plan forward.
I am anticipating and dreaming of big things in 2020 and I know there are going to be some major fireworks this New Year …
I just have to be sure I am lighting the right fuse!
Here is all I really want to say …
It’s OK if your New Year and decade plans are not yet ready to launch.
Give yourself some grace.
And then light the right fuse!
The last should of them all …
This is why …
– The person you work with or your neighbor makes jokes, or is cynical about God.
– The person you go to school with says they are an atheist.
– Your husband, wife, brother or sister, aunt or uncle said “I’m out” and quit going to church.
It’s because at some point in life God did not act like we think He should.
Shoulding on God is not a religious thing.
It’s not a church thing.
It’s not a Christian thing.
It’s a human thing.
Everyone single person on this planet thinks they know how God “should” act.
If I do this … God will do this. It’s like He is required to do this if I do this and then He doesn’t.
And we “should” all over Him.
This message talks about how we can continue to trust God, even when we don’t understand or agree with God.
Have you ever run out of gas in your car? You’re driving along – no problem and suddenly you’re about to be out of gas, or you are out of gas. Several years ago, I was driving my mobile office around Phoenix and I am not sure how it happened but at one moment the gas gauge read half full and just a minute later it was sitting on E.
My first tendency was to question the reading. This can’t be right, I was just half full a few minutes ago. How can I be on “E?” So, I ignored the reading for about 10 miles and the needle started to move below E! How can something be below E? Isn’t empty, empty? Well, to make a long story medium length … you can’t drive on “E” for long.
Here is my question for you … have you ever run out of gas? Not in your car … but in life? Have you ever been at the place in your life where you have been going so hard for so long and doing so many things. You are caring for so many people and carrying so many other peoples burdens … that you are just running on empty? What about right now?
Let’s say this gas gauge could register what’s in your heart, what’s it reading right now?
Is it on “F” for full? Or on “E” for empty? Or somewhere in-between?
If you are you less than half full and headed towards empty … what caused you to feel empty and out of gas? Maybe it was the unrealistic expectations put on you by others?
The shoulds of others.
In this message we talk about how to kindly but confidently say “not now” to the shoulds of others. And begin to move from a should life to a good life.