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.

First Sunday Morning at CPWL

The time has arrived.  After just over a year we have planted with Crosspointe Church Waterford Lakes.  It’s been a long, excruciating, joyful, tiring, encouraging and Spirit filled journey, and it’s just beginning!  We are so thankful for all of your support, prayer and fellowship.  God is so good and receives all the glory!  We are humbled and thankful to serve Crosspointe each week and are just in awe of God’s providence and faithfulness as we heard His call and obeyed it for the glory of His Son!  Here are a few photos and a video from our first Sunday!

We had 52 people join us in worship this past week from college age students to families to older couples.  We can’t wait to see what God has in store next week and are blessed to be a part of what He is doing in Orlando Florida!

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 Providence

This past weekend Jordan and I went to Waterford Lakes to celebrate Kelly Allen’s birthday, Jocelyn Davis’ baby shower and hopefully lease a house in Waterford.

This is Crosspointe’s Lake Nona Campus where we worshipped and heard the Gospel from Pastor Chan Kilgore.

crosspointe 1

Here’s Sydney the proud big sister of Brody.  They’re Rob and Kellie’s children.Sydney and Brody

Who would’ve thought I’d reconnect with my dear friend JT Dellis in Orlando!?  God is moving and shaping JT in amazing ways!!!!JT and I

Here’s Jo at Disney.  She loves Disney!disney 2

Here’s the Allen/Potter/Davis clan at Disney.  We’re excited about sharing the Gospel with these people!disney 1

Our Saturday was filled with appointment after appointment on every half hour with realtors and home owners that Jordan skillfully planned down to the minute from 9am-4pm.  After hours of searching and taking photos and reviewing and praying we finally decided upon a house!!!  Here it is!

Neighborhood_1

Above is the neighborhood we’ll be living in.  From what the neighbors tell us it’s filled with young families, UCF graduates and students!Front_of_House

Above is the front of our house.  We are thankful that it will have enough space to host Bible Studies/Small Groups and it fit our housing budget perfectly!

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Above is a lake near our house.Trees_2

These are the roads that weave in and out of Waterford lakes.  There are lots of little playgrounds like this in the area.  The one below happens to be immediately off of our cauldesac. Playground

We are so thankful for God’s providence in bringing us to Waterford Lakes.  It’s been an exteremely difficult six months and not how we would’ve pictured our first six months of marriage but God has proved over and over again that He is faithful and continues to guide us as we seek Him in everything we do!

Our next step is Jordan graduating from Palm Beach Atlantic University on December 19th!  After that we will drive up and begin our lives in Waterford Lakes, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone.

We are currently 30% supported and are praying for God to provide 75% support by Christmas!  The more we are supported the more we are freed up to minister to Waterford Lakes so if you have a moment today, pray about partnering with us in ministry and God’s redemption of Orlando.

We love you all!

Josiah & Jordan

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

Worship is not about you

worship2

This picture would have been inspiring a year ago but it no longer is.  This picture would have captured my idea of “worship” six months ago but it no longer does.  This picture would have been used as a promo shot for a worship night with the time and location on it a month ago, but it will no longer even be considered.

This is a dangerous area to enter so I am going to explore it cautiously.  I know there are some of you waiting to bite at the throat the moment you finish reading this and I ask you to keep one thing in mind before you comment….have you ever led worship?  

If the answer is no, please be gracious in trying to communicate your thoughts because they may fall to a deaf ear.  I am coming to realize through this whole blog thing that everyone has an opinion on everything and half the time they don’t have the vaguest idea of what they’re talking about.  Some people like to say things just to say things.  So, with that in mind, before you comment, think….”If my mechanic was telling me something he found out about working on cars, would I attack his opinion even though I don’t know how to change my oil?”  Just a thought…on to the writing.

I’ve been reading “The Dangerous Act of Worship” by Mark Labberton and following up his commentary by exploring the scriptures to test the waters he’s been testing for years.  Along with quotes from his book, I’ll provide commentary on what I’m feeling and exploring this new year in regards to worship, biblical worship.

“Christian worship is only possible as our response to the glory, power and love of God as revealed most clearly in and through Jesus Christ.  The gift of God’s revelation enables humanity to worship.”

I am convicted in the knowledge that my response to the glory of God is continually sinful and selfish.  This goes way beyond Sunday morning.  We’re all good to go on Sunday morning.  Worship goes beyond Sunday morning.  Your opinion of worship in the context of instruments and click tracks and hands raised is elementary and short sighted.  Worship goes beyond our preferences.  Worship should not include our preferences in the fashion we’ve sutured them to our ideology of how things should operate within the confines of the “church.”  There wouldn’t even be a “church” if Christ hadn’t died for us and somehow we lose sight of the only reason we are able to gather as one body.

“What is ironic and especially pertinent is that many debates about worship are just indirect ways of talking about ourselves, not God.  Our debates can readily devolve into little more than preference lists for how we like our worship served up each week.  It’s worship as consumption rather than offering; it’s an expression of human taste-not a longing to reflect God’s glory.”

Every week I receive a request to do “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe.  No name, no email, no contact info, no identity.  Just an anonymous request every week from the same person.  I don’t know who this is and I’m not trying to embarrass anyone but this is precisely what Mark is talking about.  This person continues to submit this anonymous request with one thing in mind; “I want this song played.”  It’s tough receiving this request week after week because I have no way of contacting this person to tell them that I have listened to the song and ran it by my teams and we decided that we cannot do the song.  It’s a beautiful song, but it’s one of those songs that you need an entire symphony and four part harmony on to even attempt and just thinking about needing that much production on one song makes me think, “is it really worth it when we have to dress it up so?”

We are consumers.  We live in a nation that glorifies over-consumption.  Sex, media, music, cars, fashion, fame, consume consume and consume some more.  Why wouldn’t our natural upbringing of consumption be reflected on Sunday mornings as well?  This is the Goliath we are trying to attack on Sunday mornings as a worship team at The Journey.  We truly believe, that personal worship is important, but that’s another blog and exactly what it sounds like, personal.  How you choose to personally worship God throughout the week is between you and the Lord.  That’s not what we’re exploring.  We’re exploring worship as a body, a gathering to glorify God as a community, as a family.

Exodus 7:16 

16 Then say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened.

Exodus 10:8-11 

8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the LORD your God,” he said. “But just who will be going?”

 9 Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.”

 10 Pharaoh said, “The LORD be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. [a] 11 No! Have only the men go; and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

Exodus 10:24-26 

24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

 25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the LORD our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the LORD.”

 

There’s a running theme in Exodus.  Worship as a community.  Worshiping together.  They needed everything they had in order to worship.  Let me repeat that sentence and maybe write it down somewhere.

They needed everything they had in order to worship.

I’m going to leave you with that thought because that’s where I’m at today.  What does that look like?  What would it look like if we needed everything we had, not to live, not to exist, not to get by, not to be entertained, but to worship?

Thoughts?  Comments?  What do you think?

my weekend in williamsport

it ruled.  tons of students had their hearts rocked.  tons of leaders had their hearts checked.

God grabbed ahold of me in a wild way.

i finished Tim Steven’s “Pop Goes the Church”  it ruled.  go get it.  no seriously.  go get it now.

i finished gary thomas’ “Sacred Marriage”  a good read.  helpful.  

here are some happenings from the weekend via airplane.  more photos to come from robert madrid.

this is when we first boarded the plane after waiting hours to get on and then hours sitting on the runway.  us airways suck.

this is another reason us airways suck.  do yourself a favor and fly jet blue people.  they got rad pilots.