The edges of life are deeply spiritual.  

When faced with how fragile and finite we are, everyone lifts their eyes.  We may not know who we are looking for, who we are saying thank you too, or who we are asking for help, but at birth and death, all eyes go up.  

I was reminded of that last week, when my friend Ryan died of cancer. Or should I say went on to life.  He left behind a wife, three kids, and a legacy of godliness.  

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A couple months ago a Freshman asked me how long I've been leading worship.  I told him I started when I was 15, then did the math, and said, "I guess it's been 18 years now."  He said, "That's as long as I've been alive."  

Dang.  18 years.  And I still can't get our team to start the audio with the video.  

I still have so much to learn.  We all do.  

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My heart rate is higher in August.  I don’t even have a Fitbit HR but I know it’s true.  The whole month, I’m on edge.  To-do lists fill every white board in our office, post-its are everywhere, orders need to be placed, deadlines need to be met, leaders need to be trained, events need to be promoted, decisions need to be decided, broken things need to be fixed, and somebody needs go to Cost-co.

If you're in college ministry you get it.  It's like we have an internal Paul Revere yelling, "The students are coming, the students are coming!" And if we're not careful that voice will make everything feel urgent and we will miss what the students need most from us.  

So, as risky as it may be, I’d like to add to your plate of needs.  Because there’s a call whispering in the chaos.  A voice reminding us why and who… a voice not anxious or stressed, not worried or hurried, and we need to hear what He has to say. 

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New churches don't have grand openings. They don't commence, kick off, or inagurate. They don't get underway, begin going, or embark. New churches launch.

Somewhere, someone—who’d probably started a few churches—thought the word to describe what happens in a new church should be more aggressive than what happens at a furniture store.  Someone thought - let’s compare this thing to a rocket being sent into orbit.  Liftoff is magical; it’s explosive and the trail of smoke left behind makes onlookers celebrate.  Launches are dangerous.  People are watching.  Lives are at stake. 

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I grew up in a world of either/or choices. You could either like the Dallas Cowboys or the Houston Oilers, the Longhorns or the Aggies, Dr. Pepper or Coke, but you could not like both. You could like Mexican food, or you could move from Texas to somewhere far far away.  

In the church world it wasn’t much different.  It seemed you had to make a choice: You could be traditional or you could be contemporary. You could use screens or use hymnals. You could preach sermon series or you could preach books of the bible verse by verse. You could have pews or chairs, jeans or slacks, ties or tee shirts.  

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“Reach the Freshmen, reach the world.” You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it. And it’s true. College students are among the top 1% of the world’s influencers. These freshmen become upperclassmen, who become graduates, who become world-changers. They are strategic to the core. And the first year of college is foundational in establishing community and rhythms that sustain and enrich their experience. It takes a lot of resources and man hours to reach freshmen, and we are more committed than ever to stay the course. 

But what happens after those first 30 credits? When the skills and knowledge and ramen noodles of year one come to a close. What do we do differently—uniquely—for a group of Sophomores to Seniors.  We call them SUP’s (sophomores and up). How do we shape the students in our SUP culture into leaders and givers, not followers and consumers? That question has been on our hearts and our white boards for years now. 

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Do churches have anniversaries or birthdays? I’m not sure. Let me know if you find out. 

Either way, today is that thing for Resonate Church. We were born on August 19th, 2007. We are seven. Just entering the sensitive social space of 1st grade. The time when they let you play at recess without supervision. Or teach you to count by two’s. Or quit kissing your knee when you scrape it. They just give band-aids now. And blow the whistle when it’s time to come in. 

It’s fun and frustrating being seven. You don’t know much, but you know some stuff. 

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Our calendars should have the word “expecting” written all over them. Just like we mark down a friend’s birthday, or a lunch date, we should schedule in our expectation.

We should say, “God, I’m going to share the Gospel, and I’m going to expect you to save, and I’m going to do it on Saturday at 9am. See you then.”

Putting expectation on the calendar would be a good practice for the church. And if it doesn’t work, just like any meeting, you scratch it out and reschedule. But you don’t give up. We should plan towards and believe for God to save. Through strategic preaching on Sunday and ready living every other day, the yearly rhythm of the church should be filled with Gospel intent.

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