Latest Thoughts

The Best Mother’s Day Gift…Ever

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Mother's Day is this Sunday.  In our ministry, Mother's Day is the 3rd highest attended holiday in the year, beat out only by Christmas and Easter.  Mom's like their families worshiping together.

While Mother's Day is designed to be a day of celebration, our media-rich world too often celebrates the bad about moms.  Killing your babies or selling them into sexual slavery sells.  Sadly.

Here is a 3 minute vid on how to approach Mother's Day well…and make Mother's Day a day that lasts year round.

 

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Burn, Baby, Burn: Our Inaugural Dose of O2

Posted by on May 7, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Fires burn best with O2.  Lots of it.  As FiveTwo seeks to light a movement fire in God's sacramental church, we're launching a Dose of O2, a new source of O2 for all of you sacramental entrepreneurs.  We'll post these O2 doses twice a month, always talking about the values, behaviors, and best practices we need to be instilling in ourselves and the people we lead.  

Spread the O2 around, baby.  There's plenty for all.

 

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Dream Big or Go Home

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

Dreams are the playground of fantasy and fiction.  Whether we’re watching Leonardo Dicapprio try to escape one…

 

or simply daydreaming about emerald water lapping on white sands, dreams speak to what we hope could be (or if of a nightmare genre, what we hope could be not).

When our group of church planters sat in that 24-hour divine think tank back in 2009, our crazy 2017 dream was to grow FiveTwo from the nine of us to a local presence in 29 metro areas in the US and an international presence in five countries.

Today, FiveTwo has 40 local groups in 37 cities; over 800 sacramental leaders attending our annual gathering every September in west Houston; and an international footprint on the way.  God is taking us on a humbling but exciting ride.

As the journey has unfolded, we have fine-tuned the mission we’re on.  We realize God is calling us to ignite a movement of sacramental entrepreneurs.  These are men and women who follow Jesus and want to start ministries and businesses and community endeavors that help others follow Jesus well.  To ignite the movement, we need a network full of people with practical, personal know-how.  Which is why this year we’re investing heavily in a website overhaul, including the back engine that gathers the resources you need.

We’ve also realized, however, that our dream was a little small.  With 2017 only 3 years off, we sat back and thought, “What about a blue sky dream?  What would we love to see happen through our efforts by, say, 2044?”

It sounds like a long ways out.  And it is.  But we dreamed about it anyway, asking God for some Psalm 37:4 favor.  I’m not sure I’ll still be here to see how God answers, but why not dream?

So here you go.  Here’s our big, crazy 30 year, humanly-impossible but divinely-probable dream, boiled down into one cup of joe.  Are you ready?  Drum roll, please:  Over the next 30 years we want to enlist an unstoppable force of 10,000 sacramental entrepreneurs who start 1,000,000 spiritual communities.  Is that crazy or what?  30 years | 10,000 sacramental entrepreneurs | 1,000,000 spiritual communities.  

Those spiritual communities will include little churches, big churches, house churches.  They’ll include businesses dedicated to using their profits and influence to bring Jesus to the community.  They’ll include community development endeavors that move into the community and let the Gospel transform the community from the ground up, holistically.  They’ll include sacramental entrepreneurs who take baby steps and start a book club in order to get to know their neighbors so they can ultimately introduce Jesus to their neighbors.  

The sky’s the limit as long as these 1,000,000 spiritual communities’ ultimate goal is more people in Jesus’ kingdom.

If you'd like more than just a cup of the dream, here's the whole pot.  Drink away.  Embrace the caffeine.  Hopefully it will lead you to dream big as well.

30 Years from now, FiveTwo will be known as:

·      A Sacramental multiplication movement that abides in Jesus Christ while listening for and obeying the Holy Spirit.  Centered in Jesus.

·      A multi-faceted network built on a unified heart for helping lost people follow Jesus.  We all agree the harvest is ripe NOW…and we need to do something about it.

·      An unstoppable force of 10,000+ sacramental entrepreneurs who catalyze the Great Commission.  We're turning the world upside down.

·      A multiplication movement that catalyzes 1,000,000 sacramental spiritual communities, including churches, businesses and community development groups.  1,000,000 is a huge number–but not to God.

·      A truly global, multilingual movement with expressions in at least Chinese, Spanish & English. The three most spoken languages in the world.

·      A learning community spanning cultures and generations while growing in depth and numbers at all times.  Deuteronomy 6 stuff.

·      A movement equipped with multi-media and community building platforms. If the WWW is still around, we'll be there.

·      A movement that has experienced great conflict and because of this conflict, FiveTwo will grow in faith, wisdom and missional focus; develop nimble systems that deepen connectivity; and greatly multiply the Kingdom of God.  Conflict precedes change. We don't like it but we'll move through it.

There it is.  Holy-Spirit dependent and needing people like you.  We have a long ways to go, but the train has left the station and over 300 congregations are on board.

What do you think?  Want to sign on?  Drop your comments below.

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Leave It To Beaver, The Walking Dead, and FiveTwo

Posted by on May 2, 2014 in Blog | 2 comments

The world has shifted from Leave It To Beaver to The Walking Dead.  Your grandmother could not have predicted 15.7 million people watching zombies after church on Sunday evening.  My kids loved Lucy and laughed at Gilligan on TVLand, but they’ll be the first to tell you zombies rule the world. 

This fundamental cultural shift leaves many of the congregations we attend reeling and retreating.  They lack a language – they lack a love – that embraces the unique opportunity before us.  They have forgotten the power of the Sacraments and what it means to live those out in real time and space.

While it’s been said that the Church in the West is hemorrhaging, the Church of the Scripture is anything but.  It realizes the personal, sacramental role it plays.  Thriving and vibrant, it seeks to join the Father in expanding His Kingdom in today’s world.

Jesus followers don’t ignore the radical shifts in culture nor do they deny the mainline Church’s seeming inability to speak into them.  Their hearts break over both the condition of our country and the condition of local congregations who adopt a Sargent Schultz attitude.   How they address this new world, however, is at the core of their effectiveness. 

Do they simply dispense spiritual goods and services like your office vending machine?  Do they hole up in a Christian cave, shopping only at Christian bookstores and consuming only organic Christian food produced by organic Christian people while listening solely to indie Christian radio?  Or do they go on the attack, picketing their neighbor’s lifestyle, demeaning their neighbor’s children, and avoiding their neighbor’s need?

Dr. Robert Webber writes: “Christians in the postmodern world will succeed, not by watering down the faith, but by being a counter-cultural community that invites people to be shaped by the story of Israel and Jesus.”

My discontent in years past centered on the Church’s lack of counter-cultural community coupled with a lack of desire to truly invite ‘outsiders’ inside.  Often we became vending machines, dispensing what we wanted or what the culture wanted rather than wrapping what the culture needed in a language it could understand, in a food it loved, in a meal that truly satisfied. 

We counted inputs – people needing discipling – rather than outputs – regenerated, transformed followers of Jesus.   Or when no inputs desired to be put in to, we counted faithfulness, wrapping fondant around our unwillingness to change, hoping it looked like love.

Nothing wrong, mind you, with inputs.  You need them and you should count them.  Nor with trying to meet people where they are.  Read 1 Corinthians 9.  Frankly, too many congregations who love the sacraments on Sunday refuse to be sacramental – the real presence of Christ, offering grace and mercy in real-time, tangible history – the rest of the week.  They do church on Sundays rather than be Church on all days.

It was this reality, coupled with a passion to act rather than task-force our way into a thoughtful stupor, that in March 2009—after a few years of talking about it—nine church planters gathered in a makeshift conference room in a Lutheran community church in Katy, Texas. Three other guys couldn’t make it or there would have been twelve of us.

We brought in a high-powered vision guru, Will Mancini, and asked him to help us stop talking and start doing. He did.

After 24 hours of praying and dreaming and cigar smoking (not the entire time), we arrived at FiveTwo. Actually, the name careened out from the doctored brain of Scott Rische who deftly explained the community impact of the feeding of the five thousand, that everything the planter needs to feed his community is already in the community. It just needs to be brought to Jesus for blessing.

We all sat in silent awe.

Silence led to light bulbs and the birth of a church planting network specializing in the “personal how.” When it came to planting churches—immigrant, suburban, high cost, low cost, more traditional, and crazily progressive—this crew knew how.

And we were sticklers for personal. To a man, we had all been encouraged, inspired and coached by someone. We each had a guy we could pick up the phone and call when we were disappointed or confused. Which happened often.

Great consensus broke out, and we white boarded the steps to launch a network that brought “personal” and “how” together for those front-line harvesters in the US and around the world.

Since then, we’ve expanded FiveTwo to help existing churches as well.  We’re no longer just for church planters.  We now help existing congregations sharpen their community focus so they can start new ministries for Jesus’ lost people.  We want to help ALL apostolic leaders start more effectively.

So FiveTwo is here because The Walking Dead is here.  The Church never retreats.  It reforms, reshapes and redeems.  It starts new to reach new.  That’s the FiveTwo journey.  I hope you’ll join us in birthing spiritual communities of passionate disciples of Jesus that transform their worlds.

What thoughts or questions do you have?  Give us your comments below!

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Institution VS Movement

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“A strong, dynamic movement, then, occupies this difficult space in the center—the place of tension and balance between being a freewheeling organism and a disciplined organization. A movement that refuses to take on some organizational characteristics—authority, tradition, unity of belief, and quality control—will fragment and dissipate. Movements that fail to resist the inevitable tendency toward complete institutionalization will end up losing their vitality and effectiveness. The job of the movement leader is to steer the ship safely between these two perils.” —Timothy J. Keller

As you examine your local congregation against Tim Keller's chart below, where do you fall?  As you seek to be the presence of Christ — His sacrament — for your community, what vision do you have for that community?  This balance between institution and movement is the challenge for mission-minded Christian leaders, especially in the US.  As CrossPoint continues to grow and impact, we are striving to keep a movement mentality.  As FiveTwo continues to grow and impact, movement is definitely our goal.  

institutions and movements

Where do you see your ministry?

 

 

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An Interview about Sacramental Leadership

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Just what changes when "sacramental" is added to "leadership?"  Here is an interview I did recently with R. J. Grunewald, a great pastor in Michigan.

 http://www.rjgrune.com/bill-woolsey/

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Stetzer Interviews Metaxas

Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This time, Eric Metaxas is on the receiving end.  This interview, conducted by Ed Stetzer, is also worth the watch.  

Eric Metaxas on #TheExchange with @EdStetzer from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

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Metaxas Interviews Gladwell

Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

This rather lengthy Eric Metaxas interview from earlier this year is an intriguing look into Malcolm Gladwell's spiritual journey. Definitely worth the watch.

Malcolm Gladwell: "David and Goliath" from Socrates in the City on Vimeo.

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7 Ways to Celebrate Easter Like It’s 1999

Posted by on Apr 16, 2014 in Blog | 9 comments

I’ve celebrated Easter for 53 years.  53 years of Easter baskets and Easter eggs, of Easter suits and Easter lilies, of Easter Jesus outside an empty Easter tomb.  Being a conscientious Easter celebrator, I’ve gathered what I think are seven of the best ways to celebrate Easter like a mad man.  Like a crazy fool.  Like it’s 1999

Here you go.  Feel free to repost and tweet away.  No credit necessary.

1.     Attend a really dark, depressing Good Friday service.  Counter intuitive, I know, but it works.   You need to get divinely bummed before you can be divinely surprised.  Find a church that leaves the depression in Good Friday.  No smiling.  No happy-clappy.  Jesus didn't clap on the cross.  There were those nails, remember?  Lots of wailing, black, and depravity – that’s what you want.  Coffins of depravity.  Rumination is good for the soul.  To get your head there, consider a world of only Good Fridays.  What if funerals were all she wrote, if cancer had the last laugh, if rape and abuse and divorce and desertion were your life’s defining stroke?  What if the story ended there?  How often have you lived like it did?   Wallow here until you smell like pig mud.  No one wants to live in pig mud but wallowing on the Friday before Easter makes Easter more fun.

2.     Hide Easter eggs in your neighbor’s yard.  Their front yard.  By their garage or wherever they come in and out the most.  That way they’ll find them.  Fill them with wrapped Easter candy so their three year-old doesn’t get an egg of ants.  That wouldn’t be good.  Put them in their mailbox.  Gift wrap a box full of them and place them on their front porch and ring the bell.  (Be sure and run.)  Hang Easter eggs from their trees.  Go crazy like these Germans.  Rather than expect your neighbor to go to Easter, take Easter to her.  Make her smile.  Make her feel like a kid again.  Bring that Easter ‘Aha!’

3.     Read all four crucifixion and resurrection accounts in one sitting.  Over-the-top crazy ambitious, I know.  Probably take you a whole hour and with your busy schedule…  Ok, that was sarcastic.  Sorry.  Most of us have heard of Good Friday and Easter but have never read word-for-word what the Bible says about them.  Matthew 26:47-28:15; Mark 14:32-16:8; Luke 22:47-24:48; John 18:1-20:22 provide eyewitness accounts to these events.  Think USA Today.  Read them.  Mark them up.  Take notes.  Let them soak in so that when you show up in church later this week, your worship is framed in truth.  Take your time with them so when your equally ignorant friend says, “The Bible doesn’t really say Jesus rose from the dead,” you can lovingly redirect him.  (If you don’t have the hour to read all four accounts at once, read one a day.)

4.     Serve Peeps instead of ham.   Ham?  Seriously? Can’t you do better than that?  Where’s the joy in ham?  Ham puts you to sleep.  Peeps pep you up.  Easter is about up.  Rise and shine.  You can get ham any Sunday.  But Peeps, they only happen once a year.  (Ok, Amazon has ruined that.)  Make this a festive meal.  Memorable.  Peeps with gravy, that’s memorable.  Ham with raisin sauce…I’m not sure what to say.  If you’re Peeps challenged, go here.  

5.     Thank those who taught you about “Jesus” Easter.  As opposed to “bunny” Easter.  A friend of mine tells of memories of her mom teaching her about Jesus while giving her a bath as a child.  Bath-time was Jesus time.  Who told you about Jesus and the reason for the crucifixion and the hope of the resurrection?  Who reframed elves and eggs so that they were a part of the celebration but not the center?  How old were you when you realized Jesus died for your sin and rose so you’ll rise?  Who was the Who who taught you?  Dial the number, click “send” on the email, buy a stamp and send a card.  And if the “who” is no longer here – like Leona Elenora Renatta Richter Fischer (now that’s a name), the grandma who taught me – then thank the Creator who keeps her in paradise.  Easter means you’ll go there, too.

6.     Set off those fireworks you saved from New Year’s Eve.  What, you didn’t save any?  What were you thinking???  Imagine this: Easter Sunday, sunrise, 6 am, and “boom.”  Stone rolled away sound effects.  The neighbors might not be totally thrilled but when was the last time someone shot off fireworks on Easter?  Never!  This has your name written all over it.  If fireworks aren’t an option, try party poppers, party horns, and party hats.  Key word: Party!  (If fireworks are illegal in your neighborhood…then find another neighborhood.)

7.     Party with a group of other Jesus crazies.  Partying alone is a drag.  Find a local Christian Church (no such thing as an un-Christian Church but sometimes I feel like not everyone knows that)…find a local Christian Church and join them on Easter Sunday.  Try to sing all of the songs, even if you don’t know them.  Listen to the Bible readings.  Count how many smiles you see on the faces.  Hopefully you’ll count over 100.  Consider that your true, real, life-defining moment wasn’t the crisis or the failure that pinned Jesus to the cross in your place, but rather the empty tomb and Risen Savior promising “Empty tombs for everyone!”  Easter defines you.  Your flawed body is on borrowed time, but one day it will be on Easter time, restored, renewed, and never to die again.  That’s why you can celebrate like there’s no tomorrow.  Because when Easter defines you, there always is.

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10 Valentine’s Day Gifts Women Say They Want

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

It's Valentine's Day.  What's a guy to do?  Standard fall-back on card and roses?  "That will do, pig.  That will do."  But what if she's allergic to pollen?  What if thorns give her nightmares?  What if red only reminds her of the blood drive where she fainted?  That's what I mean.  And that's why I decided to help needy Valentine's Day men everywhere.  

I conducted a totally non-scientific Valentine's Day poll and asked a bunch of women to tell me the best Valentine's Day gift they ever received.   Mind-boggling, eh?  Thus this blog, complete with real wives' testimony in italics.

Men, leave a dime in the till and take the credit.  These are virtually fail-safe.  Virtually.  Because nothing's guaranteed when it comes to women.

1.    Babies.  This one’s a little tricky and definitely requires advance planning so if you're just now doing the shopping for Valentine's Day gifts, you're a little late.

·      I had a baby. 

·      I got my first born Feb 19th so that was my favorite Valentine’s gift.

2.    Dedicated Alone Time.  This Valentine’s Day, give her the gift of focus.  Just you and her.  No texts or tweets.  Please.

·      Turn off the technology, have a nice dinner, and find a quiet place to talk and dream together.

3.    Flowers.  They still seem to work Valentine's Day magic, but are rarely a stand-alone.  For instance try pairing them with breaking and entering.

·      One Valentine’s Day Mike left roses in my car when I was at work. I am not sure how he got off work to get to my school to do it but it was so sweet. It was very early in our relationship and he left flowers for Brenna too. So sweet!!

4.    Handmade crafts.  I know—limited clientele, for you artistic fellows only. My handmade paper Valentine’s Day flowers would look like crumpled meteorites on a stick.

·      Handmade paper flowers in a jar of vintage buttons. Hands down.

5.    Household Chores.  You can give a Valentine's gift of rolling up your own sleeves and getting those dishes done…or pay someone.  Either way seems to work magic.

·      I am an "acts of service" person so I would have to say something like cleaning the house or making dinner or something like that.

·      A quiet evening in a clean house with the man I love – no frills.

·      Molly Maids – deep cleaning of the house! Baseboards, fans, windows…..Yeah!!! All the things I hate doing

·      No dishes to wash.

6.    Heart-shaped flower bed.  This was above and beyond from a guy named Wayne.  Someone put a leash on this man.

·      Wayne dug out a heart shaped flower bed in our front yard. He lined it with stones and planted a tree and some flowers in it. He got a LOT of grief from the other husbands in our neighborhood, but they all ended up pitching in to dig a little up and help out.

7.    Jewelry.  Gold. Pearls.  Rubies.  Emeralds.  Choose your weapon.

·      A pair of Mikimoto pearl earrings and dinner with my sweetie.

8.    Massage Plus.    Nothing says Valentine’s Day romance like massages…and crème brulee or wine or…

·      Foot and shoulder massage, biggest bottle of Lambrusco there is.

·      Spa or massage gift certificate, night out (really out!….dinner. hotel, etc)

·      Couples massage . We get a 2 hours massage and it’s nice knowing my husband is in the same room with me.  Gives us time together and time to relax . After the massage we like to have a quiet dinner.

9.    Momentos.  These received huge “Likes” by ladies on Facebook.  Give this gift this Valentine’s Day and you’re set for at least five years.

·      He gave me a personalized music box.  It played our wedding song with a note written in it for our unborn daughter!  She is now 13 and has the music box for herself. 

·      I had a blue security blanket as a small child. Rob saw a picture of me clinging to it. I loved that blanket. On Valentine's Day 8 yrs ago, Rob gave me a blue blanket just like the one I had as a child. "When you are tired, stressed, or feeling sad, and I am not there to hold you, wrap this blanket around you and know you are loved." I cried. Other than my two girls, this was the best gift he has ever given me.

10. Singing Quartet.   If you can’t carry a tune, let someone else do it for you. (And what’s with this Wayne?  The name must come implanted with Valentine’s DNA.)

·      Wayne has sent me the Houston Tidelanders for about 15 years and I still look forward to them. They are an amazing barbershop quartet and usually sing four songs. We also started sending them to both my mom and mother in law. Whether singing in the middle of the bank lobby to me, or in the middle of the dining room at the ALF/nursing home to the moms…they are a huge hit and if you don't have a specific time, at $60, they are a much more affordable Valentine’s Day gift than roses!

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