Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Picture updates of Random Happenings

Here are some pics of things I've seen or taken part in lately that are pretty cool.  Enjoy!!

This was taken at Irving Bible Church, the church that I used to be on staff with.  I went back to IBC this week for a conference, and, as usual, the church facility was full of interesting and fascinating information.  Nobody brings meaning to their facility better than IBC.  This was a great display promoting a ministry called "Water is Basic."  Really cool (This picture doesn't do it justice).

Another of the many interesting displays at Irving Bible Church.  That's a pretty sobering fact.

This is a letter that my son, Cale, wrote to his older brother, Trent.  It was displayed outside of his classroom at school.  I love it that my boys not only get along, but that they openly share their fondness for each other.  That's pretty special.

This is a picture of a ministry that my church has started recently, whereby we go to different parts of our community and serve a free meal from a gigantic BBQ pit on wheels.  Pretty awesome.  At this particular event we fed about 200 people in 40 minutes.  Wow!!

Look at all that free food!  Yummy!!

This is a pic of my little girl, Jillian, while we were riding one of those terrible spinning rides at the Fall Festival.  I love that sweet little girl!

This is my youngest son, Quinn in his Halloween costume.  

Check out all the Hayes kids (and Mom)!  Pierce was a Hamburger, Quinn was a Puppy, Trent was a very tall and skinny Yoda, Cale was a Land Shark, and Jillian was a Dalmatian.  Kim was a Pentamom (Mother of 5).

This is Jet, our new Miniature Schnauzer/Scottish Terrier mixed puppy.  Jet was Jillian's 5th birthday present.  Like we needed any more mouths to feed!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Random Stuff

  • LSU plays Alabama this week. In honor of the game, I landscaped "LSU" into the ivy in my yard. Here's a pic.
  • I've been preaching a series called "What Would God Say to... ?" It's about what God might say to some of our culture's most notorious figures. The first week was "What Would God Say to Oprah Winfrey?" The second week was "What Would God Say to Donald Trump?" Week 3 was "What Would God Say to Britney Spears?" Week 4 was "What Would God Say to Darth Vader?" Last Sunday was the final week, and we finished off with "What Would God Say to John and Kate Goselin?" Each week really dealt with what these certain personalities represent in our culture. Oprah represents religious pluralism; Trump represents arrogance and greed; Britney represents what happens when someone falls apart; Darth Vader represents a lust for power; John and Kate represent divorce. God has a lot to say about all of those things. Interesting stuff.
  • We've been busy at church lately. 4 events in two weeks! Last Saturday we fed about 200 people at the East Side Apartments in Corsicana. That's a lot of BBQ!! It was awesome! This past Friday we gave out over 1,000 bags of candy to the kids who came to the downtown trick or treat. That's a lot of candy! On Halloween we ran a couple of booths at the Fall Festival at First Baptist Corsicana. There were a ton of people there. That's a lot of folks!! On Sunday they threw a pastor appreciation lunch for me. The food was great and people said nice things.
  • More people came to the pastor appreciation lunch than to the other three events combined. That doesn't make me feel appreciated.
  • I found some new bands that I really like, and I may have made the best mix on my ipod that I've ever heard. It's loaded with stuff from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Parlor Mob, The Mumlers, The Black Keys, The Raconteurs, Ray LaMontagne, Spoon, and others. Awesome!

"A Revered Spiritual Powerhouse"

I haven't posted in a while, and I'm really not sure how much longer I'll keep this thing going. I'm torn, really, about whether or not the "Beef" is feasible for me at this stage of my life. Perhaps I just need to buckle down and make it work. Let me know what you think I should do if you have a chance.

To continue with the "Beef" or not, however, is not the intention of this post. I just saw something that will take a while to completely digest. I'll ponder this for a while. You see, the church that I pastor is in the process of making several changes. In our efforts to become more faithful practitioners of what Scot McKnight calls "The Jesus Creed" (Love God, Love Others), we feel that it's necessary to renovate some portions of our facility. In my view, this is really an issue of stewardship and service more than anything else. Our building is unfinished, and, particularly from the outside, it is difficult to know whether or not we're actually viable. One could easily drive or walk past our church and wonder if we're open for business (so to speak).

The Bible calls the man a "sluggard" who lets his grass become overgrown and his wall (fence) fall down (Proverbs 24:30-34). God speaks of being a good manager of what He has given us, and I believe in my heart that Grace Community Church of Corsicana, TX, has tried very hard to do the best with what we've had, but it is time to make a few adjustments that will enhance and complete what is currently the equivalent of an overgrown yard and a broken wall. We have committed to do so without incurring any debt, and we're determined to restore our facility to its humble and transparent roots.

I wrestle with spending money on a facility. It feels dirty sometimes because that money could seemingly be spent on any number of things that might go toward flesh and blood rather than bricks and mortar. I do think, however, that there are times when taking care of your facility means that you give yourself a greater opportunity to help more people and have more impact than you would otherwise. This is the motivation that is driving our church, and I can say with total confidence that this renovation is not a power play or a lust for luxury. That's just not what we're trying to do.

Today I was made aware of First Baptist Church of Dallas' plans to re-create their downtown fortress into "a revered spiritual powerhouse." The project will cost a mere $130,000,000. It's the largest church building program in modern history. I watched the videos on this web site to see more about the project. It's massive and gaudy, and I feel a little sick over the whole thing. It feels like what might happen if Jerry Jones were to become a pastor. Yuck!

My wife taught school at First Baptist Academy in Dallas for years until they lowered her pay last year in an effort to make their private school less of a drain on the church. Now I know what they were up to!! My two oldest boys were no longer eligible for scholarships because FBC Dallas had other plans for that money. Who needs an education when you can look at a whole bunch of shiny new stuff?

So now I'm left with the question, "Are we doing the same thing?" Are we renovating our little facility at the expense of the very people Jesus came to serve and love and save? Are we putting a building ahead of our mission to empower people to know and love Jesus? These are the questions that haunts me.

Now, I don't know how much is too much when it comes to this kind of thing, but I'm prone to think that if I invite people to my house for a party, but haven't bothered to mow the yard, pick up the half eaten pizza on the table or clean up the dog poop in the middle of the area rug, it's not going to be much fun for my special guests. Aesthetics play a direct role in the comfort level and involvement of the people. If things look nice, folks are more likely to have experiences that are good and inviting. If a church seeks to pursue that end, I think that's reasonable and noble.

On the other hand, if I expect people to come to my party just because I have a rock band, a laser light show, several inflatable games, and a few celebrities at a mansion in the Hampton's, that's a different story. I'm sure folks will come by the droves, but are they really the kinds of people I want at my party? And is all that stuff necessary for us to enjoy each other or is it simply extravagant and useless? I think you know the answer.

So, for now, I think we'll move forward with our plans to renovate, and I know that FBC Dallas will move forward with their plans to re-create. I'd like to think there is no difference in the motivation for these two projects... aside from about $129,900,000.