September 25, 2007

Sadly Spectators Not Disciples

Posted in better disciples at 10:54 AM by alexlozada

The congregation I serve is praying for, giving to, and traveling to Africa more since our Global Impact emphasis in Sp 07. Though our raw numbers are smaller than the American church referenced in this post, we face the same phenomena of people who identify Mountain Christian as their “home church,” but are not connected in weekly worship, small groups, serving, or giving. Mountain needs prayer (from Africa and elsewhere) for members for whom “church membership has become a spectator sport rather than a vital part of daily life.”

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September 21, 2007

Ajai Lall on Christ’s Call for Extremism

Posted in better disciples at 5:14 PM by alexlozada

Ajai Lall made a strong impact on me when spoke @ MCC 2 years ago. His life experience brings him credibility when he writes about true Christian extremism.

September 20, 2007

Funeral of a Family Friend

Posted in personal at 8:42 AM by alexlozada

I attended a funeral for a family friend on Monday – the son of my childhood minister. He was only a little older than me. Several other life circumstances come together to make me even more introspective than usual, but I hope to blog a little more soon.

September 11, 2007

9/11 and 9/16

Posted in NYC at 10:24 AM by alexlozada

Today it’s gray and rainy where I live now, Maryland north of Baltimore. Six years ago it was a weather-perfect day where I was living, Long Island about forty miles east of New York City…

This is the message I preached the next Sunday, Sept 16, 2001 @ ENCC.

September 10, 2007

Remembering Stand in the Gap Oct 97

Posted in men at 7:23 AM by alexlozada

I attended Stand in the Gap Oct 97 w/ men from the congregation w/ which I was serving, East Northport Christian Church.  Though it was a great day (Long Island Rail Road very early in the AM to Penn Sta then Amtrak to DC), my strongest memory is getting sick from heat exhaustion.  Though years have gone by, I’m still grateful to the ENCC guys for helping me get home.

I’m going to try to be better prepared for this year’s Stand in the Gap w/ the men from Mountain Christian 🙂

September 6, 2007

Suffering is not Simple

Posted in servant-leader at 3:59 PM by alexlozada

I read Walter Kaiser’s article in the same week that I heard about a horrendous crime committed against the family member of a Christian friend.  Any of us trying to share the Spirit’s comfort as disciple-makers, pastors, small group leader, or friends must be careful to not oversimplify: “God is punishing ___”; “Satan is trying to stop ___”; etc.  The article lists types of suffering mentioned in the Bible. Don’t use the list to pigeon-hole a person’s pain as type ___ – instead let it remind you that the Bible speaks honestly about all of life, including suffering.

September 3, 2007

Mother Teresa and Future Leader Development in Large Churches

Posted in servant-leader at 3:28 PM by alexlozada

Mountain Christian’s senior pastor Ben Cachiaras’ e-note on Mother Teresa reminded me again of the contrast between Western pop culture’s treatment of her passing w/ that of Diana, Princess of Wales – they died w/in a week of each other in 1997.

A recent thread on this blog brought up the question of identifying and training students (or adults) as leaders in larger churches. If leader development opportunities are defined as “opportunities from the main stage (Sunday AM service)” then yes – that is a narrow pipeline for leadership development (like there is only one Crown Princess at a time). But if identifying and training leaders is more than “the main stage”, then current leaders can create many opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

Most importantly, true Christian leader development is mostly unrelated to public speaking / music performance. In some ways, small group leaders and serving team leaders and short term mission trip leaders and student ministries leaders are following in the Mother Teresa model of servant-leadership outside the spotlight.

Large churches also have ways to multiply limelight-in-front-of-large-group speaking & music opportunities, because they have the resources to create non-Sunday-whole-adult-congregation events, such as life-stage-specific worship events (youth, college, children, senior adults, singles, etc.) . Some large churches have “believers’ services.” Mountain Christian is in the process of starting leader-feeding spiritual formation events with the purpose of filling our adult small group leaders so the Spirit can overflow from them into their group members.

“Little things are indeed little, but to be faithful in little things is a great thing. ” – Mother Teresa attributed via EWTN

September 2, 2007

Love NYC Day – Sept 15

Posted in NYC at 10:05 PM by alexlozada

I’m a New Yorker at heart, and even w/ an insane schedule this fall, when my teammate Tom Moen (Mountain Christian’s pastor for GLocal outreach) passed along an invite to participate in Love NYC Day led by Forefront Church, I said “I’m going!”

It means leaving up early on a Saturday AM (aprx 7a if you’re coming w/ me), driving the NJ Turnpike (argh), getting home tired & late @ PM before a busy Sunday. It means giving $50 to Forefront Church to cover the cost of giving away servant evangelism materials (so suspicious NY-ers are disarmed by receiving something for free). It means finding somebody to watch my two younger daughter, because the day is demandingly long (comfy footwear!) and designed for high school and adults.

It also means being in my favorite city where millions of people that Jesus loves don’t know that He loves them. At the end of the day, my hope is that there might be just a few (potential) “more disciples” AND that I (and whoever from Mountain Christian comes along for the wild ride) might be just a little bit of a “better disciple.”

Download the (PDF) Love NYC Day flyer for more details. And email me if you’d like to come alex (at) mountainchristian.org

Stand In the Gap

Posted in men, servant-leader at 11:01 AM by alexlozada

Stand In the Gap will be a gathering for Christian men from around the nation, coming to Washington D.C. on Saturday, October 6, 2007. I attended the Promise Keeper organized Stand in the Gap in 1997 (more on personal memories from that later). I’m working alongside some “stand-in-the-gap” hearted volunteers to organize Mountain Christian’s participation.

The phrase “stand in the gap” comes from Ezekiel 22:29-31. The context is sobering, because God did not find anyone who would serve-lead, and He judged the nation accordingly.