Christian Celebrity & the Church

There are a lot of blogs, articles and conversations that circle around the topic of ‘Christian Celebrity.’ I find it pretty interesting that the Church now has ‘celebrities’ that are only ‘famous’ within the church.  If you ask any non-believer who Chris Tomlin, James Dobson, and Tim LaHaye are, you’ll get a blank stare.  It’s even more mind blowing that there are hundreds and thousands of people who are trying to ‘break’ into the Christian realm of celebrity with their blogs, records and books; solely to become ‘famous.’

Now, they would never say that outright.  It would be masked by saying, ‘I want what God has put on my heart to be heard’ or ‘I have a deep passion for ____ and God is using it to impact the lost’ when the truth is their books/records are only being sold in Christian bookstores never reaching the hands of the lost and is simply inflating their infatuation to be ‘heard’ and only heard by other Christians.

The reason this fires me up is because I’ve had the same passion and desire deeply rooted in me almost my entire life.  I wanted to be famous, bigger than Elvis!  I had no other reason for wanting to be known other than to be known, which translates into ‘I have deep-rooted idolatry in pride.’  It was always about me and what I wanted.  I played shows to make me famous.  I led worship to make me famous.  I acted to make me famous; all the while slapping a loose fitting Christianity sticker to everything I did to cover my tracks.

In Romans 12, Paul talks about the unity of the body of Christ and being members of one another.  What we’ve done is taken this passage and sectioned it off into ‘most important to least important’ in a practical way to serve our selfish desires in the church, and the interesting thing is I don’t see ‘Worship Leader’ ‘Executive Pastor’ ‘Youth Pastor’ or ‘______ Pastor’ in there anywhere.  I fully believe that those positions are important in the church today and would go as far to say we need those positions filled to serve our community well, but it’s when we get wrapped up in the status of those positions and the seductive lure of  entitlement that we begin to construct idols in our lives and deconstructing the unity of the body at the same time.

In his book, ‘Unceasing Worship,’ Harold M. Best unpacks Romans 12 and says this,

‘Being members one of another is not a mechanical arrangement, this part interlocking with another, the whole somehow greased up into smoothness.  Rather, being members of one another is organic.  In a love-driven community of believers, no one should be able to find the seams.’

When we project our faith in Christ for the glory of ourselves and not for Him, not only are there seams, but those seams are busting with pride, arrogance and disunity.  If our sense of entitlement either in our role in the church or lack thereof becomes our focus instead of Christ crucified and resurrected, we have some serious heart checking to do with the Holy Spirit.  To put it more bluntly, if being a Lead Pastor, Worship Pastor, Christian Recording Artist, and having people know you for what you do is more important than giving God glory and pointing people to Christ; take a week off and see if anybody notices.  Chances are, you’re bigger in your head than you think you are.  I know I was.

Am I calling us to retraction of public exposure in the vein of the ‘Christian Industry,’ no, but does anyone else find it interesting that there is a ‘Christian Industry?’  As if God chooses to dwell in a duality of His presence being only in this place, but not that place.  His Spirit moving in this song, but not that song?  Have we so pressed down our view of God that He exists only in the radio stations found between 88.1-91.1FM?

My observation is simple and pointed at me directly.  Let me not be misunderstood in what I’m saying because this all stems from a place in my personal heart where I feel convicted.  I simply wanted to share it with you all to examine yourselves as well if you may or may not have the same tendencies as I do.

Am I living to glorify God or myself?

Do I still struggle with pride, wanting to be known, fame?  Yes…but it’s beginning to expose just how really sinful I am, and just how perfect and holy God is.  He’s been so gracious enough to take my sin, put it on Christ and punish Him in my place.  Who do I think I am, scratching at glory as if it were ever intended for me?

What do we do next?  How do we live in such a way that we aim to give God glory and not hijack it for ourselves?  Louie Giglio puts it this way,

“But to mean it when I say that I want my life to count for His glory is to drive a stake through the heart of self – a painful and determined dying to me that must be a part of every day I live.”

Every day.  Not just an epiphany or  a moment of clarity.  Everyday.  We die to ourselves everyday.  I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but I know what it looks like for me and although it is very painful, my heart yearns to give God His glory forever.

So much is happening!

We don’t even know where to start!  God has been so gracious to us these past few months.

We had our baby girl Mercy Elia Potter on August 8th.  She weighed 7.7 and is so precious.  We love her so much!

These photos were taken by the Elia’s pictured above.  They are also the reason Mercy’s middle name is ‘Elia’.  We love them.

We will continue to keep you updated on our lives.  This week we have our last preview service with Crosspointe Waterford Lakes before we go public in the Radisson Hotel!

Setting the example

I hope you begin to see the trend that I (Josiah) spend most of my time each day serving at Chili’s.  Here’s another story of how God’s working in our lives in Orlando.

At the end of my shift I had a table sit down and order Chicken Fried Chicken.  I rang in Country Fried Steak b/c I’m human and I make mistakes.  The food comes out and the three ladies look at it and say, “This isn’t what we ordered.”

No harm so far.  We weren’t busy.  Their food came out literally five minutes after they ordered.  I had my manager swing by and talk to them and we got them their correct order in a matter of 5-10 minutes.  They were still working on their salad and black beans so they weren’t without food at any point.

I bring out their correct order and magically there aren’t any mashed potatoes on the plate.  The lady to my right says, “You got it wrong again, there aren’t any mp’s.”  The lady to my left says, “Stupid.”  (Under her breath but loud enough for me to hear)

I’m furious.  I don’t show it.  I smile and say I’ll be right back with that.  They had mp’s in a matter of 40 seconds.

I continue to wait on them, anticipating their needs with refills and boxes and the whole nine yards.  I figure, I’m not going to let a grumpy old lady steal my joy for the day.

I bring the check and they pay with 100$ bill.  NOTE*  If you go out to eat and your bill is less than 50$  do NOT pay with 100$ bill.  We’re not a bank, we don’t have that kind of cash in our server books at 1pm, especially when everyone else is paying with debit cards.  It’s a huge hassle.

Anyway, I finally scrounge up their change and bring it to them with To-Go drinks.

They leave.

I go to the table to collect the tip but………………there is no tip.  There’s no tip.  They ran up a 50$ check and stiffed me.

I’m fuming.

I look out and see the ladies walking to their van.  On this van, neatly placed on the right side is a Jesus Fish.  Just like this car.

You can only imagine what’s running through my head now.  As I begin to sift through my thoughts to pick an appropriate one to attach to these ladies I look down and see this.


That’s right.  They left their take out boxes full of their left over food.  (There was a lot of it.)

I look out the window and see the ladies having a nervous conversation looking back towards the restaurant wondering if they can sneak back in knowing full well what they just did.

Then it hits me.

I grab the box and run out to their car and say, “Hey ladies!  You forgot your take out food!”  They say anxiously, “yes……yes we did, didn’t we?”  I reply, “I like your Jesus fish.”  “You do?”  “Yes ma’am, I’m a Pastor.”

Silence.

“Oh really?”  “Yes ma’am, well you all have a great day!”

I watched those women talk to each other in bewilderment for the next five minutes as I cleaned their table.  They never came back in and tipped me, I didn’t even really care about the tip that much.  What I did care about was the example I got to set for my co-workers.  I spent the next ten minutes telling and retelling my story to my teammates and they laughed hysterically!  They couldn’t believe, first of all, that I would take those ladies their food after they had stiffed me and then they couldn’t believe how foolish those women must have felt after they received the knowledge that they had just stiffed a local Pastor waiting tables to scrape by.

I had a choice.  I could have cussed those women and bad mouthed them to my teammates and just been another disgruntled server, or I could swallow my pride, take those women their take out food and set an example for my friends at Chili’s that even when people treat you unfairly, you can still love them while exposing their wrong doing without hurting them.

I hope those women learned a valuable lesson today.  As Christians, how can we go to a restaurant, run up a 50$ bill and then not be gracious to the person who served us that meal?  You don’t have to tip 30% to show how awesome Christians are when they go out to eat.  Just be patient, kind, gentle, and generous and maybe people will recognize you by your love.

Table for 3

One thing you all should know about servers at restaurants is this……it’s going to sting…..are you ready?

If you’re not a regular (someone who comes in the same time ever week and sits in the same section and orders the same thing)……if you’re not a regular, your server doesn’t care about you.  It’s nothing personal, actually that’s sort of the gist of it.  Guests are merely dollar signs to servers.  Sure they’ll treat you like kings and queens but as soon as that credit card receipt is signed you’re simply taking up precious space until the next party of four dollars sits down.  Is this taught by the companies/restaurants in training?  No.  This is an unspoken norm that I see played out every day.  I’m ashamed to say that I get caught up in it.

One night, a week or so ago I had two people sit in my section.  It was close to closing time, I was tired, I wanted to go home and be with my wife….needless to say, I didn’t care about these people.  I walked up to greet them, put on my fake server smile and asked if I could get them something to drink.  The guy informed me that he was an employee of Chilis.  That changed everything.  Employees get 50% off their bill and usually tip really good so my demeanor shifted a little.  I was refilling drinks, chips and working my tail off for that one table because the little dollars just turned into bigger dollars.

Later in the meal I stopped by to see if they needed anything.  The girl had gone to the restroom and the guy looks up at me and says, “Hey man, sorry I’ve had such a bad attitude this entire meal.  I got some really bad news today.”  Oh no.  This isn’t good.  My dollars were turning back into people.  People with real problems, real families and real souls.  I had a choice.  I could blow it off and say, “sorry bro, more sweet tea?” or I could truly serve “the least of these.”

I said, “I’m so sorry man, what happened?”  He said that he just found out that he got rejected by the law school he’s been dreaming of going to since he was a little boy.  I replied, “Wow.  That’s awful man.  Well, I know some people with connections to some great schools in Georgia.  I’m a pastor, here’s my card.  Call me and we’ll grab coffee or something and talk about what’s next for you.”  He looks up at me, “You’re a pastor?  Me and my girlfriend have been looking for a church to go to around here.”  From there on I told him about Crosspointe and where we meet.

I’m not sure if that guy will come to church, or even call to talk about what’s next in life for him.  I’m not sure if that was even the reason for the lesson I learned that evening.  I am convinced of one thing though, we all get caught up in whatever it is that we do and devalue people.  Pastors devalue people to numbers.  Serves devalue people to dollars.  Politicians devalue people to votes.  So how do we change that?  How do we see the value in people?

We serve them.  Whether it be with time, money, work or refills of sweet tea, we serve them.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

Love,

Josiah and Jordan

Praying amidst the chaos

In Exodus 17:8-13 there’s a story of perseverance in which the armies of Amalek and Israel fought with one another.  Moses instructed Joshua to choose men personally to go and fight with  him.  The deal was that Moses had to lift his hands (in which he held his staff) above his head, raised and the Israelites would win.  If he lowered them, the Israelites would lose.  Short version of the story-Moses raised hands, he grew weary, Aaron and Hur each held one arm up, Joshua cleaned house with his sword and God facilitated the win.

Last week I was working a shift at Chili’s and the night came to a close.  If you’ve never worked at a restaurant, here’s a look into what happens at the end of the night.  It’s insane.  The servers are taking care of their last tables while doing sidework (i.e. cleaning drink stations, salsa cooler, chip machine, trays, trivets, soup station, dessert station) and trying to clean their tables, all so they can roll two buckets of silverware before they can go home to their families or cats.  All the while, the bartender is cleaning the bar, the bussers are taking out the trash, cleaning the bathrooms and bussing tables, and the kitchen is cleaning all the grills, fryers, bowls, utensils and well……it’s chaos.

I walked back to my manager’s office to cash out for the night and we begin talking about Jesus, life, Christianity, and the church.  This is all fairly normal as the relationship I’ve developed with my boss has basically become a really great Q&A concerning the Gospel.  My boss begins to tell me about his life and the things he’s going through with his family and work and basically let’s me know he’s broken.  I assured him that we’re all broken and in need of Christ.  I explained God’s sovereignty and how He’s way ahead of us and is already putting into place things in our lives to draw us closer to him.  I shared 1 Peter 5:5 with him and explained the difficult process of how getting walked on glorifies God.

After talking I asked if I could pray with him.  He said yes.  So amidst the chaos of the restaurant closing, I laid hands on my boss and prayed for him.

God is moving in Orlando to redeem this city.  God is using Crosspointe Church to reorient people to the gospel, and God is using simple servers at Chili’s to pray over their bosses  prayers of healing and grace.  This is all being facilitated by and through your prayers and your giving.  Thank you for trusting God and supporting us.

Love,

The Potters

God’s Faithfulness

So over the last few weeks God has shown us how faithful He is over and over and over!

Jordan has been busy nannying and going to school full time and is almost finished with her Bachelor’s degree in Christian Leadership and Josiah has been asked to speak all semester at TNL presents The Anchor at Palm Beach Atlantic University as well as lead worship for the FCA chapels on friday mornings.

God has also been using us at Truth Point Church in West Palm Beach which just had it’s first Sunday in Bear Lakes Middle School a couple weeks ago!  It’s been a wonderful win-win situation where God has provided us a place to serve and be ministered to at the same time!  Here’s a photo from the first Sunday!

First Bear Lakes Service - 09-20-09

The biggest thing that God has been challenging us to do is to surrender everything we want to worry about to Him.

Money—->worry—->surrender—–>God provides

House—->worry—–>surrender—–>God sells it in 3 days

A place to live in waterford lakes—–>currently surrendering that to Him 🙂

As full time missionaries now the biggest concern is how we will afford to live in this American society without getting full time jobs on top of our full time calling/job.

Thankfully Jesus has been providing for us and showing us that He will choose who He wants to support us with.

The first thing people tell you when you are about to ask friends & family for support is; ‘Make sure you send letters to people who have a lot of money!‘ and while that is tempting we choose to prayerfully consider who we send letters to and trust that God will take care of the $$.  Here’s a perfect example.

This is Taylor.

Taylor

She is one of my guitar students and has been taking lessons for about six months now and she’s getting quite good at her instrument!  I had the joy of meeting Taylor and her family at the last church I served at and am so thankful for them as they have been so supportive of Jordan and I in our transitional season.

One day Taylor came for her lesson and when she was about to leave, she handed me two envelopes.

Two envelopes? I  thought.  Hmmm….maybe we missed a week of lessons and I forgot about it. Nope.

This is the envelope.

Photo 2

That’s right.  In parenthesis it reads “My God money”

We were so touched by Taylor’s love and support and this was just another HUGE reminder that God’s going to use the ‘least of these’ to give Him glory.

As we continue to take steps in the direction that God’s leading us in we are constantly reminded of His love and grace and provision as we seek His glory in planting in Orlando.

Thank you to all who have supported us and are continuing to support us in this next season!  We love you and are praying for you!

Love,

The Potters

Online Giving Step by Step Instructions

We know online giving is a new thing in the church realm and we had a lot of questions ourselves about what happens and how to do it.

Here is a step by step instruction guide to giving to the Potters through Crosspointe church online.

FAQ’s

*When do you get the online support? Once payment is received, the accounting office at Crosspointe cuts and mails us a check.

*Is it tax deductible? Yes.  When you login you will see your contribution schedule and a year to date contribution history and total for your records.

Step 1: Go to the Crosspointe Church Website and click on ‘Give’ in the upper right hand corner

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Step 2: Click on the ‘click here’ button to give online or simply mail your contribution to the address provided

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Step 3: If you are a new user, click on the ‘create account’ button

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Step 4: Fill out the information sheet (this is all strictly confidential)

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Step 5: This is where you can either give a one time gift or schedule a monthly contribution.  Click ‘Individual Support’ next to ‘Fund’ and then click ‘Josiah Potter’ next to ‘Sub Fund.’ After that you can choose what day you would like to give and then fill out your Billing Info.  Below you will be able to keep track of your schedule and history with a year to date total at the very bottom.

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Thank you all so much for your support!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers!

Our immediate requests are

*Sell our home in Boynton Beach Florida

*Find a house to rent in Waterford Lakes that is big enough to have meetings/small groups in

*That God will provide 100% support by November

Blessings,

The Potters