November 22, 2007

Thanking and shopping and serving

Posted in more disciples at 10:03 PM by alexlozada

Though my family jokes that Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president because we share initials – it goes deeper than that 🙂 Though relatively minor among his accomplishments, he (along w/ his Secretary of State William Seward at the prompting of editor Sarah Joseph Hale) set the precedent for America’s national Thanksgiving Day.

Along w/ overeating one of my favorite meals of the year, and watching the Macy’s parade (on TV, not yet in person) I admit I’ve participated in that other Thanksgiving season tradition: the shopping craze known as Black Friday – waking early for good deals on hot items.

When I was living in Cincinnati, driving home for Thanksgiving included taking my mom shopping in NJ (lower taxes) on the day after Thanksgiving. The occasion was as much about spending time w/ her & my sisters – (dad wisely stayed home) as it was about shopping (ugh NJ mall parking). Some day I may blog about some of those mother-son Hallmark-moment-type conversations.

The last few years there have been specialty items that made it “worth the trip” but some of it was simply the challenge of the quest. Thinking about people I know who work retail and the hardships for them in scrambling their holiday schedule sobers my shopping excitement. And MCC’s recent message series on generosity has also made me reconsider my spending.

Maybe this explains why I’m so excited about MCC’s giving-reaching-serving opportunities this season, especially partnering with the Salvation Army to provide bell-ringers at the Abingdon Wal-Mart. For an hour (or more) this season, folks at MCC will focus less on what we’ll shop-spend and more how we can serve-give.

November 21, 2007

Study guide for Nov 18

Posted in MCC resources at 12:36 PM by alexlozada

My teammate Ethan Magness spoke on how to excel at giving thanks in the most recent Sunday message @ MCC. Even if you aren’t planning on using this study during this holiday, learning about Bible truths on giving thanks never goes out of season.

Thanksgiving study guide

November 17, 2007

Everything Tastes Better Shared

Posted in the Northeast at 11:42 PM by alexlozada

I am blessed to have shared @ the Eastern Christian Convention today on a workshop about life-changing & disciple-making relationships and how small groups can provide the environment for them.

Here is the “Everything Tastes Better Shared” take-away sheet (answer key on the bottom). Some of my thoughts came from an article I wrote for The Lookout earlier this year.

November 14, 2007

Externally Focused Church conference

Posted in better disciples, servant-leader, tech at 11:49 PM by alexlozada

Monday and Tuesday, MCC hosted the Externally Focused Church conference (East Coast edition). My primary role was behind-the-scenes tech support, and I re-learned the importance of thinking ahead about multiple audiences. In this case, the challenge of leading a break-out session for attenders that is also being recorded for people to hear later. Thankfully, none of the presenters was rude, but some presented recording challenges. The technical part is not as important as the reminder to me as I prepare to present at the Eastern Chr Convention this weekend – remember the behind-the-scenes servants who are irreplaceably important to the effectiveness of special events and Sunday mornings and weekly small group gatherings.

November 12, 2007

Veterans Day late

Posted in better disciples, history at 11:46 PM by alexlozada

At prayer small group yesterday morning, I was reminded by the prayers of other group members that the day was both Veterans Day and International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

A few days before, Mountain Christian’s senior pastor Ben Cachiaras had written an e-note telling us about both days (I’ll post the link as soon as its uploaded), but in the busyness of getting ready on Sunday morning, the importance of Nov 11 had slipped my mind.

Charles Colson’s Veterans Day article from a few years challenges me, “whenever we find ourselves thinking we have sacrificed enough in our all-too-comfortable lives, we ought to remember the four chaplains whose heroism reminds us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Last study guide for Get a Grip series

Posted in MCC resources at 11:16 PM by alexlozada

Basic and advanced study guides for Nov 11 message.

Basic and advanced Nov 11 study guide

November 7, 2007

Living generously is more than giving to church

Posted in better disciples at 1:48 PM by alexlozada

During last Sunday’s Mountain Christian Church message, my teammate Ethan Magness asked the congregation fill-in-the-blanks “God has given ___ to me so that I can live generously by giving it to ___.”

Though this article about free clinics is about the broader topic of “the power of personal compassion in action in the bureaucratized world of today”- it highlights examples of disciples living generously with their professions, church buildings, time, and money.

November 6, 2007

“The Turning of an Atheist”

Posted in NYC at 2:17 PM by alexlozada

This article in my “home-town paper” tickled my long-time interest in Christian evidences, science, etc. but as I read it, I also recognized the role that the story of Anthony Flew is not only about intellectual debate, but about the life-changing power of respectful, thoughtful, probing-but-not-polarizing discussion of challenging issues.

NOTE: Though I live in Maryland, in some ways I’ll always think of NY as “home” – not that the NY Times and I agree on very many opinions <humor on>

November 5, 2007

Combined basic and advanced study guide for Nov 4

Posted in MCC resources at 9:45 AM by alexlozada

Mix and match the questions and background info to fit your group.

Combined study guide Nov 4

November 3, 2007

Discipleship is more than excellence

Posted in servant-leader at 9:57 PM by alexlozada

Thought provoking article from Dan Schantz “Recovering from Excellence.”

Life changing relationships among trying-to-be-better disciples are not “excellent” in the sense of “without flaw” or “the best they can be” – because disciples still make mistakes and need grace & forgiveness. Disciple-making relationships and small groups are for not-excellent-this-side-of-heaven imperfect people who follow a perfect excellent Savior,.