Thursday, November 13, 2008

John McKinzie - Lead Pastor

Welcome to our 3rd week of Hope’s new Blog Spot! I’m not one to read a whole lot of blogs (hardly any…), partly because of time and partly because of time… J But maybe you have time and love to read blogs and if that’s the case, hopefully you’ll find ours helpful & encouraging for your spiritual journey.

Speaking of journeys… since the very beginning of Hope, our theme has been “experience the journey”. The whole idea is that our relationship with God is a process not just an event. For so long I focused on getting people to “experience God” rather than inviting them on a journey with him. I most definitely believe our experiences with God are awesome & potentially “life changing” but in my view what happens between the experiences is just as important if not more.

Simply following Christ authentically each day is an “experience” in and of itself. It’s not always “touchy feely” or as some same “sexy”… but there’s nothing like it. I’ll leave you with some of my favorite words spoken by Jesus. They’re found in Luke 9:

Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

John McKinzie
Lead Pastor
Hope Fellowship

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Libba Tullos - Programming Director

I love Tuesdays and the weekends! I love looking over my calendar, preparing for meetings, and seeing what lies ahead. I love working with a team to make things happen. I love dreaming and imagining what might be, what the future could look like, how we could make a difference. I love starting to change things, and setting things in motion that might make those changes happen. I love celebrating the wins along the way and learning from the losses. I love watching the team getting healthier and happier as it gets better and better at the work it does.

In just a few weeks, our team will come together for a time of prayer, brainstorming, and decision making. I'm living for December 2! What might God want to speak to us in 2009? What challenges will we face next year? Who should we interview? What passages in the Bible should we respond to? Inspire us. Challenge us. Surprise Us. Make us cry, laugh, think....

I'm most inspired whenever I take a look at what my long distance mentor, Willow Creek Community Church, is creating. I read this recently and wanted to share it with you! I'm INSPIRED when God speaks clearly to a group of artists in the local church. Check out this weekend experience:

Darren Whitehead delivered a powerful message about the "Potential of the Young", featuring a teaching about King Josiah who was only 8 when he led the people of God. But the major moments of the service were still to come. Darren described a young man now in his twenties, a guy named Joe, who grew up in a terribly difficult home which led to foster care. From the time he was 5 years old until the age of 7, his first foster care parents brought him to our church, to the ministry of Promiseland. Later the state moved this kid all over the place, and he completely lost his way. He got into a serious drug problem and was arrested for assault in his early 20’s. When Joe hit rock bottom, he called that first foster mother, sobbing and threatening to take his own life. She pleaded him to return to God, to turn his life over to the Father he had learned about years ago. And Joe made that decision! He also went to AA, and began a process of healing that ultimately led him to 4 years studying at Moody Bible Institute to be a pastor to the young.

At that point in the service, Darren called Joe up front along with those original foster care parents! Our church just went crazy. To see how the seeds sown in a child’s life two decades ago ultimately bore fruit and brought him home to a relationship with God was hugely inspiring. As if all that wasn’t moving enough, the service came to a rousing climax when the adult worship team began leading us in the song, How Great is Our God. One by one, the adult instrumentalists were replaced by junior high students, starting with the drummer, then the guitarist, bass player (a young girl!), and keyboard player. At that moment, three young vocalists took over for the adults, and no one over 18 was left on the stage! All of us were blessed with a vivid picture of what it means to pass the baton of the church intentionally and enthusiastically to its future leaders!

In 2009, I hope to focus on the power of stories. Philippians 1:6 says "And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns"....

If you are open, I would love to hear YOUR story. E-mail me at

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door. -- Emily Dickinson

What is now proved was once only imagined. -- William Blake

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. --Albert Einstein

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Aubrey McGowan - Worship Pastor/Student Ministries Pastor

Here it is! Hope Fellowship’s endeavor into the blogosphere! I know that you and the whole church world have been waiting on pins and needles to hear the meanderings and musings of your beloved Hope pastors and leaders. Well, wait no more… “Hope’s Blog Spot” is bursting on the scene and I have been entrusted with the great responsibility of startin’ this e-party off right.

Blogs are an interesting odd mixture of someone’s thoughts, opinions, grammatical prowess, wordsmithy-ness, sense of humor, and of course typographical accuracy. All of these things hopefully communicate the writer’s personal perspective. That, after all, is the attraction of a blog; it is an invitation to hear a person of interest’s private perspective that they are extending to the rest of the public world to see, hear, criticize, etc.

With that in mind, I was watching a video produced by a creative design firm today and in that video they talked about the importance of gaining fresh perspective. Here are some of the methods they suggested for gaining that fresh outlook: (1) Wear a patch over one eye for a day and see the world differently; (2) Wear earplugs while walking down the street and hear the world differently; (3) Take the long way to work and notice the things that go unnoticed. It is important that we gain fresh perspective because that is what keeps us from creating, writing, doing, living the same old things we’ve seen repeated over and over. You can do better than that. You were created by an Infinite Creative God for more than living a rutted routine ridden life. So, break out and stretch for a new perspective. Believe me, sometimes it takes hard work, but it is always rewarding when you see fresh color in those things that have faded into every day grey.

Ephesians 2:10
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Maybe you should start by finding a new perspective on the masterpiece that is You! I hope that this blog helps you in some way to see things in a different way. May your perspective be changed and challenged revealing the endlessly fresh beautiful colors of God’s creation.