Got a Complaint?… Get a Clue!

I was asked to speak at the Fall Men’s Retreat a couple years ago. When I arrived, I spotted a large jar with dollar bills in it. Not sure what that was about, I inquired of someone who arrived earlier. He said, “Oh, that? That is the ‘you oughta’ jar.” I pondered that for a moment and then, at the risk of sounding stupid, asked, “What’s a ‘you oughta’ jar?”

“You know, it’s because when a bunch of men get together at a place like the ranch we just can’t help but share what oughta happen with the place. That gets pretty old after a while, so we established a ‘you oughta’ jar. Now whenever someone says, ‘you oughta do this,’ or ‘you oughta do that,’ they have to put $1 in the jar. It doesn’t really cover the cost of the ‘you oughta,’ but it is starting to reduce the number of those ‘great ideas for someone else to do.’” GENIUS!

When we finished the new construction and remodel at CCC, we began to get “you oughtas” here, too. Rather quickly we established a policy: “Got a great idea for something we oughta do? Bring us the idea with a check to cover it!” That has worked amazingly well. We have received some excellent ideas AND the means to make them happen. Honestly, I have been so very impressed with the people of CCC. They are a “get your hands dirty and make it happen” kind of people.

Recently, I was hit with some other wonderful ideas on “things we oughta do.” These were things that required some labor. I asked if the person was willing to put in the effort personally or recruit a team of people to make it happen. They said no. I believe they insinuated that was my job. Don’t you just love it when someone has an idea, and they expect you to make their idea happen? ……..Yah, neither do I. Like my dad always told me, “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.” I think he also might have said, “Put up or shut up,” but I’m not sure you can get away with that in nice church circles.

All this to say: we have an amazing culture of solution oriented people at CCC. One of our other mottos around here is, “We criticize by creating.” That is another way of saying the same thing. If something needs fixing we are gonna roll up our sleeves and be solution oriented people. One of my devotions this past week reminded me that God calls us to be “solutionists.” The author reminded us that God is always solving problems in the Bible: famine, illness, hunger, barrenness, death, eternal death, etc. God uses His people to bring extraordinary solutions to really big problems: Elijah and the widow, two loaves and five fish, Abraham and Sara, the story of Lazarus, and Jesus’ death on the cross. These are all examples of God’s problem solving throughout history because of His love for mankind.

God calls us as His children to be solution-oriented as well. He calls us to be “solutionists,” just like He was. I am grateful to be part of a community that mirrors our God. May God bless you this week as you seek to be a solutionist whenever you bump into something that isn’t right….or could be just a little bit better.

Sunday Isn’t My Sabbath

Today is Sunday. Maybe not for you as the reader but for me as the writer…today is most definitely Sunday. This morning, I saw many of your smiling faces! You may have seen me smile back, or you may have caught a glimpse of what looked more like a chicken with her sweet head cut off. Often Sunday mornings find me battling technology, enjoying what I can catch of the 8:30 service, prepping for our elementary class (which had over 20 kids this week, praise the Lord!), and connecting with our amazing leaders, apprentices, and check in crew. In between, you no doubt catch me slam a cup of coffee or two in an effort to keep me competent. Needless to say, Sundays aren’t my sabbath!
 
For a while, that bothered me. Sunday had always been a day of “rest” for me. The High Holy Christian Sabbath as mandated by God in the book of Exodus and modeled by Him in the 7th day of the creation story. For me, it had always been about enjoying a service and then going out to lunch with friends or perhaps having a large family gathering in the evening. When I officially stepped fully into the role of Kid Pastor at CCC, I knew that would no longer be the case. I knew that my new reality would mean making some shifts. If I’m honest, that made me pretty nervous initially. But just like every other time that I have taken a step of faith, God provided! When I decided that Sundays were a day of the week that I hustle for Jesus, I discovered increased passion, commitment, and clarity of purpose in my life. When the amount of allocated free time shrunk, the value of that time rose. I didn’t even realize that was possible?! I also discovered that some of the ways in which I was “resting” before weren’t serving the purpose to which God had called me. Is it really restful for me to binge watch Netflix midday? Does it empower my ministry when my rest consists of 3-hour long naps that leave me drowsy the next day? Or maybe, God meant something else… Maybe when He created the world, His rest was a kind that empowered rather than indulged? 
 
Of course, I don’t rest perfectly, but I do promise you that I take time to rest. Oftentimes, people will ask me if I ever stop working. In this new season of life I find incredibly restful moments on non-Sundays. I see God in the beauty of the desert on a hike on a Saturday morning, or I take a morning off during the week after a particularly busy program day and slowly sip that blessed brown brew and reflect with gratitude on the life that He has given me. 
 
I guess what I’m trying to say is that a “work/life balance,” or balance in life in general, doesn’t have to fit a cookie cutter mold. Is it important to rest? Absolutely! Is it important to labor? Heck, yeah!  I believe that God has instilled within each of us an internal clock for waking, working, and resting. Listen to your soul! Listen to His Spirit. What do you need more in your life? What must you cut out? How can you discover increased abundance in your life as you know it? I believe there is tremendous opportunity to discover the fullness of life that God has for you through intentional Sabbath any day of the week.
 

New Staff Members

Andrew Alkire is the new Administrator at Christ’s Community Church. Andrew helped lead his small hometown church in Joshua Tree, California, before moving to Phoenix for school. He has since found a home at CCC and, after serving in various ministries, is thrilled at the opportunity to now serve in his new capacity. Andrew has been an avid Laker fan since birth and loves basketball in general. He spends most of his time outside of church learning in addition to playing piano and various games.

Grace Mungovan is CCC’s new Administrative Assistant. Grace also looks forward to her time to volunteer with the 4th-6th graders on Wednesday nights. As a result of being at CCC her whole life, she has been involved in many ministries at church because to Grace, CCC feels like home. She has always loved serving and helping others, putting smiles on their faces. She can hardly contain her joy as she gets to do that every day in her new role.

Sonny Perez is the proud father of 3 boys: Sonny Jr., who is 9 years old, and 3 year-old identical twins Elijah and Isaiah. Sonny has 2 older brothers, 7 nephews, and one niece. Prior to coming to CCC, Sonny worked 13 years in the Maintenance Department with Glendale Elementary School District. He is a huge sports fanatic and enjoys playing/coaching baseball, football, and basketball with his boys and nephews. Another hobby he has is restoring/customizing vehicles, especially classic cars.

FEATURED MINISTRY FROM DEACONS

Simply Green Team Update

We have some good news!  Another member of our congregation has a friend who is collecting bottle caps for the same organization we were contributing to through the school, so we will be able to continue taking plastic bottle caps until we hear otherwise. Just seeing all the caps that have been brought in over the last year amazes and excites me to know that at least those aren’t going into landfills, and they are also going to good use.  You can leave them by Lori Weesner’s mailbox; a more permanent solution will be put in place soon.

Unfortunately, we have had to stop the plastic shopping bag collection for making the mats.  If you have been bringing bags to the church, please make sure you take them to Fry’s, Walmart, or Target to be recycled.  Once again, keeping bags out of landfills is important. 

Christmas is just around the corner.  If anyone has any ideas about gift wrapping etc. please feel free to contact Lori Weesner at LWeesner@cox.net or leave a note in her mailbox at church.  We would love to share your ideas next month.

If you are passionate about the environment and would like to be a part of our team, please contact us at simplygreen@cccaz.org.