A Private Litany of Humility

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, help me put my self importance aside to learn the kind of cooperation with others that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household.

From the prayer book, For Jesuits, Loyola Press, 1963 – adapted from a prayer by Rafael, Cardinal Merry Del Val (1865-1930)

Photo by: Kim Graham – Charleston, SC


What Will Your Legacy Be?

Have you ever thought about what your legacy will be? I think about it all the time. Especially when I look at my children and think about their future. I ask myself “What am I going to leave behind for them once I am gone?” For most of us it will be memories, for others it will be valuable life lessons, and for some it might even be wealth or possessions. The bottom line though is the same for us all – our legacy is determined by our investments. 

Last week we received the shocking news of the untimely death of Seacoast Student Minister, Jacob Hull. Jacob had been a teenager in my youth group in California and moved to Charleston to follow God’s call into vocational ministry. As the news of his accident began to spread, an overwhelming response of Facebook posts and pictures came pouring in along with letters, cards, emails, and text messages. WHY? Because although Jacob was only 22 years old, he left incredible proof of investment behind.

In fact, you can see it here: http://m.live5news.com/live5news/db/330614/content/goPHFIi6

Although Jacob is gone, he left behind a legacy that stretches from California to the Carolinas. He invested his TIME relationally in teenagers and young adults, used his TALENTS to serve others any way he could, and generously gave his TREASURE towards global missions and the ministry of Seacoast Church.

As we prepare for his funeral, (Friday, Jan 29th at 4pm at Seacoast Church: West Ashley Campus) and teenagers & adults alike continue to share their stories of how Jacob’s life has affected them, I want to challenge you to ask yourself a few questions :

Who am I helping grow their faith?

What skills or abilities could I use to serve others? 

Am I using my money to make a difference? 

Our message is clear: “You Belong”

Over the past few weeks, I have met several people from our area that had no idea that our Campus even existed! Unless you drive by Charleston Collegiate School on a Sunday morning, you might never realize that there is a life-giving church in your neighborhood. We need your help to get the word out to our community. Here are a few simple things you can do:

• Invite your friends! This is the single greatest thing you can do to let people know about our church. Word of mouth advertising beats all other forms, especially when it comes from someone you trust.
• Grab a hand full of “You Belong” cards and give them out to people you meet that are new in town or looking for a church home. It could also be fun to sneak them into a “random act of kindness”
• Start taking pictures of some of the great things happening while you are at church and post them to your Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to add Seacoast Church: Johns Island Campus as your location.
• Check into our location on Facebook when you get here on Sundays and write something short and positive as you post. Be sure you have “Liked” our Page: https://www.facebook.com/seacoastjohnsisland/

I believe that God is doing something incredible each and every Sunday as we gather. Let’s spread the good news by inviting our friends and neighbors so that we can see lives change and people discover God’s love!

It’s Summer! What do I do with my Small Group?

I’m sure by now you’ve noticed that the seasons have changed and the days have gotten hotter! This is the time of year when people get the itch to travel, go to the beach, sleep in, and have less structure in their weekly schedule. For this reason, we are asking all of our Small Groups to start planning how they will slow down and eventually take a break from their regular rhythm of meeting for the summer.
As you know Seacoast Church is committed to being externally focused and our Small Groups are a major part of that strategy. This is why we have clearly defined “start” and “stop” dates for our Small Groups. New people need to feel like they can easily get connected when Groups kickoff and that the commitment has a time limit. This can be tough to hear when you feel like you’ve got a good thing going. So here are a few ideas you might consider if you don’t simply want to take a break:
– Meet twice a month instead of weekly during June and July
– Have fun together and focus on relational growth instead of meeting to study
– Plan an outreach/serve project and make an impact in our community
– Spend this summer in discipleship with someone in your group to train them to start a new group in the Fall
We will be doing a Small Group leader’s training in August and then a hosting a rally to highlight Small Groups where people can join one. We will also be calling for new Groups and Leaders to rise up. We currently have 11 Small Group that meet throughout the Sea Islands but we still have lots of disconnected people. Would you begin to pray that God would raise up 9 new leaders and groups so that we would have 20 Small Groups up and running in the Fall? I am praying specifically for new Small Groups to meet in the new neighborhoods on Johns Island and also behind the gates of Kiawah and Seabrook. What area of our city has God put on your heart? Let’s pray together and ask God to do “Immeasurably MORE” through life-giving relationships!

Small Group Leader: You Can Do It!

Being a Small Group Leader is one of the most exciting ways to serve in ministry at Seacoast Church. As you open up your heart and home to your neighbors on Kiawah, Seabrook, Wadmalaw and Johns Island, you will see God do incredible things!  We’ve been thinking about how we do Small Groups lately and believe these four priorities will empower you to lead well regardless of the size or style of your group.

E – Encourage people in your group. Small Groups are the primary way we take care of one another at Seacoast. Listen closely as people share and look for ways you can speak life into them. Grace, Hope, Joy, Love, and Peace should be takeaways each time you meet. Encouraged people will always want to come back to your group!

S – Scripture is critical to seeing people grow. We want everyone to know who God is and who they are as revealed in the Word of God. Look for opportunities to point your people to Biblical solutions for situations they find themselves in. Spending time in Scripture personally is vital to being a great small group leader. You may not always have the answer to every question, but time in His word brings a better understanding of the Father’s heart for His people.

P – Prayer is the power of God being released into the lives of our people. When you gather, adopt the habit of stopping to pray for each person that has expressed a need instead of simply sharing prayer requests. Great things to pray for: physical/emotional healing, financial provision, salvation of friends and family, relational conflict to be resolved, an application of God’s Word, and anything else relevant to your group. Offer opportunities for your group to pray for one another and allow time for it to happen.

N – “Next Steps” are an essential part of walking by Faith. Look for specific ways to apply the scripture or the truth that was discussed. One form of doing this is by ALWAYS asking your group, “What is one thing you can/will do in light of tonight’s discussion?” Don’t rush through this phase of the meeting! Follow up with people throughout the week and help them stay focused on their “next step.” A few to lead people towards: giving their life to Christ, having a Bible reading plan, being baptized, finding an accountability/prayer partner, trusting God with their finances, joining the Dream Team, etc. We believe God is always speaking, and part of the small group leader’s privilege is to guide his or her members in listening to what God is saying and encouraging them to do something about it.

Are you looking for a life-giving church with a vibrant small group landscape? The Johns Island Campus of Seacoast Church meets at Charleston Collegiate School (2024 Academy Rd, Johns Island, SC 29455) Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and 11:15 am.  We would love to meet you and help you find a small group that’s an ideal fit for you! Our weekend experience includes engaging kids and student ministries, compelling worship and timely teaching– with a small-town charm.

Let’s read the Bible together in 2015!

Consistently reading the Bible has always been a struggle for me. It just seems to be something that causes my internal wiring to short circuit. My mind and body seem to respond to extended times of reading Scripture like a cat thrown into a swimming pool. According to my Myers-Briggs personality type, I am an ENTP which means I am a dreamer who enjoys the world around me and thrive on change. I have also battled ADHD my entire life. Simply put, sitting quietly and focusing on any one thing day after day is just shy of torture. Rather than using my shortcomings as an excuse or thinking I get a “free pass” from a devotional life, I have continued to experiment with times, places, plans, and methods that others recommend. I have discovered a few things that are actually working and might help others struggling in this area.

First – I’ve chosen a specific Bible reading plan. I know playing Bible roulette is not sustainable and I have never grown from a shot in the dark approach to spiritual reading. I have had success in past years the Moravian Daily Text but this year I decided to try the One Year Bible. It is the reading plan that many of my friends and mentors are already doing. It seems very reliable and I will be able to talk with people I love about what I am reading in God’s Word – which is absolute gold for an extrovert. Using this plan in community will add an extra layer of accountability, which I find spurs me to read on, even when I don’t feel like it. I also love that it is was available as a hard copy Bible and/or digital on the YouVersion Bible App for free. Laura and I will be starting fresh on New Year’s Day and we’d love for you to join us! If you are interested, you can find out more info here:  http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com

Next – I had to decide when & how I will carry out this plan. This is just as important as the plan itself because it involves dedication and consistency. Because the One Year Bible is divided into four sections (Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, & Proverbs) I thought it would be great to intersperse these passages throughout my day. This will help my attention span and set me up for success. I’m going to use the same formula that worked well when I was using the Moravian plan. I usually read the Psalms & Proverbs in the mornings on my iPhone through the YouVersion App before I head to work. If something really jumped out at me, I might share that verse from the reading on Facebook or Twitter. Rather than reading in the afternoon, I often listen to the Old Testament passage on “The Bible Experience” or another audio Bible that I’ve imported through iTunes while wearing headphones; this really helps keep my attention, partly because I share an office. Finally in the evenings, I read through the New Testament passage in a physical Bible so that my mind doesn’t wander onto a website or check baseball scores. These are usually very short intervals thus making my devotional times sustainable and life giving.

How about you? Do you have a specific plan to reading God’s Word in 2015? Do you struggle with consistency? What could you do to join together with people you are in community with to unpack Scripture and apply it to your life?

Join us in South Carolina!

“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.” — Ernest Shackleton’s newspaper ad to recruit men for his exploration of Antarctica in 1914.

Laura and I wanted to share something with you that is burning in our hearts. Since arriving in Charleston, South Carolina last Fall, we have been dreaming of people we love and have shared life with from all over the nation joining us here as an “extended family on mission.” Scripture calls this concept of spiritual household “oikos” in the original greek and it was how the Gospel rapidly spread in the New Testament but it seems to be a lost concept in modern society. Oikos is simply a network of believers usually ranging in size from 20-50 people of both blood relatives and covenant friends all doing life together in a certain place for the Glory of Jesus and the expansion of His Kingdom.

We believe that Charleston is where God has called us to plant roots and raise a family and we want to invite you to be part of that family. Many of you are young leaders that would grow exponentially and make a major impact in your sphere of influence if you said yes to an opportunity like this! Imagine the benefit of continued discipleship by people that already know and love you.

Others of you are already in full swing career and family mode. Think about the benefits of raising kids together and seeing their lives blessed by growing up together with the full support of other families. We could tap into the relational capital we’ve already established together and see God do things for generations because of our covenant community and Kingdom action! Regular times of gathering around meals, celebrating what God is doing in each other’s lives, joining together for prayer, having fun at the beach, vacations near and abroad, and going out on mission to serve the community would be essential practices we share together. I want my kids to grow up in an environment like that!

We currently live on James Island, a mere 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean (Folly Beach) and about 5 minutes from historic downtown Charleston. Simply put, it is paradise! In fact, it’s been voted the “Top City in the US” for the last 3 years by Condé Nast. All around us are historic sites from the American Revolution & Civil War, beautiful sunsets, tidal creeks, shade trees, abundant fishing, some of the nicest people in the nation, and perhaps best of all – the food capital of the East Coast.

For all it’s perks, it is still a large city with people that desperately need Jesus. It seems that Charleston is a city constantly receiving new families that are disconnected from a church home and ultimately God Himself. We want to invite you here with us to reach the disconnected, lonely, and lost. The harvest is plentiful but we are praying God would send us more workers for the harvest. This could be your opportunity to truly change the world! 

For those of you exploring a call to ministry, we are part of a large life-giving church called Seacoast that has been an incredible learning environment for us as well as a church that has opportunities in virtually every ministry imaginable. We meet in 12 different locations around North and South Carolina and have plans to launch several new campuses in the forthcoming months. There is a lot of room for you to be yourself, use your gifts, and live out your passions with tons of support, encouragement, and accountability. We have over 30 Global Missions trips planned each year and are sending people to every location imaginable. In fact, in December, I am leading a group of young adults to Holland! Our worship services are Spirit filled and full of cutting-edge technology, contemporary music, and in-depth Biblical teaching that is always life applicable. You can even join us online and experience it at http://live.seacoast.org As great as Seacoast is, we are currently believing and asking God for more!

A few key areas we need immediate help are: leaders in student ministry, children’s ministry, marriage mentors, small group coaches, Huddle leaders, local evangelism and outreach in severely under-resourced areas. We have more than just serving opportunities though, we are really committed to raising up leaders in the Kingdom and deploying them into full time ministry, church planters, campus pastors, missionaries, worship leaders, and successful leaders in the business world as well. There are lots of opportunities for you to grow and increase your capacity so that you can live out your calling!

For others of you, especially on the West Coast, simply finding a job and home in Charleston would be a tremendous improvement in your quality of life. The cost of living in South Carolina is considerably cheaper with lower costs of food, gas, taxes, rent, utilities, and colleges. South Carolina is also considered a “magnet” or “sticky” state with an ever increasing population of people moving here for their education, work, or retirement. This has led our economy being more energized and stable than states in the US that have people migrating away from them. We have great resale value on real estate, unbelievable proximity to beaches and rivers, and many educational opportunities for children that simply didn’t exist other places we’ve lived. In the summer, tourists from all over the world and further stimulate local businesses, restaurants, and stores.

Here are some “action steps” you can begin to do if are even remotely interested in joining us as extended family on mission:  

  • Pray. Seriously, If you are considering making any big decisions cover it in prayer.
  • Let’s talk. I’m sure you have a million questions. Let’s connect and address them.
  • Come visit us! Why not simply plan a trip or vacation out to Charleston and enjoy the “top tourist destination in the world?!” (also decided by Conde Nast) You’ll be able to get a lay of the land and see if this is a place you’d want to invest your life into. If not, at least you’ll have a great time and get to see us for a week.
  • Come for a season and grow! Check out Seacoast’s “All Access” Ministry Internship or our “School of Worship.” Both are incredibly affordable and are great launch points to get you started in a career in full time ministry while working at a nationally acclaimed church of 15k+ people. Many our graduates have found placement within Seacoast or used these programs to build a great resume and references after completion. More info is available at http://www.seacoastschoolofworship.com and All Access Internship.
  • Come and Stay. Start looking into jobs, colleges, and housing in the area. Depending on your phase of life, Charleston offers a booming economy, affordable cost of living, and a large spectrum of colleges. I can help connect you to real estate agents, employers in your field, and solutions to moving across the country. For those of you wanting to pursue full time ministry here, we frequently post jobs within our church at http://seacoa.st/jobs