Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thanks to some amazing people!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

When you drive onto our lovely campus this weekend, your eyes will be greeted by green. This week we were finally able to finish the landscaping out front, and it looks awesome. I can’t wait for the time when it will become established and mature. I am so grateful for the team that helped us get to this place – Ted Sirjesse of TMS Construction, Kevin Blaz of Living Water Landscaping, Dave Matson of DMCE Concrete, Jo McProud of McProud and Associates, Brent Daggett of Daggett Designs, Jeff Heilmann, Doyle Coker and Brett Malech.

While this space will serve all our ministries, I think the biggest recipients will be our children and students. We designed an environment that would be conducive to kids at play. At the same time, the lawn will be a great space for Community Groups, families and friends to have gatherings. In addition, this will be a beautiful spot for weddings. As a couple makes a covenant to become husband and wife, they will have the cross and fountain as a background for all the guests to see. The entire setting will be will be inviting, peaceful and spiritual.

One of the biggest issues we faced was whether to plant grass considering the current California drought. In order to address those concerns we consulted with many different people with expertise in landscaping and lawns of this type. Based upon our projected use for this space, it was determined that grass was the best option.

After that was determined, we went to work to make sure that we used the most efficient irrigation system available today. We then asked for the best grass mix that would use the least amount of water once the lawn was established. It is highly drought resistant. Our Facility Care Team has already been working all summer to replace our site-wide irrigation system with efficient nozzles and devices.

I look forward to how this new addition to our facility will be used by God to lead more people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

This weekend we’re going to continue our Pray Like series as we look at Jehoshaphat. Please make your weekend plans now so that you can be with us as we worship together.

Looking longingly toward God,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Some awesome opportunities to GROW!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

We started out our year with a strategic shift in focus: to help people in their desire to GROW to be more like Jesus. Pastor Mark Hadley was given the responsibility to help us learn what would be helpful in assisting people who are part of our church in their journey of spiritual development. I have been encouraged by Mark and the team God has given him, and we’re beginning to see more and more of you engage more fully to take responsibility for your growth.

A key component of the growth strategy includes helping more and more of our people in what we’ve started to call Bible engagement. We’ve always taught the Bible in our services and Community Groups, but we’re seeing the need to help people engage more with God’s word. You’ve probably noticed a clear shift in our Sunday morning teaching style, but there are other ways in which we’re helping our people engage with the Bible.

This summer we offered a special class to help people learn how to study the Bible on their own. That class is still going if you’d like to join in. We’re also launching a study of Romans as part of our LifeSkills schedule this fall. This class begins TODAY! It’s not too late to come, so join us this evening. If you’re already committed tonight make sure to come next week. The class is taught by Jay Lee. Many of you have been in one of his classes before. Jay has a great love for God’s word, and people fill his group each time he teaches.

The next big deal we’re offering in order to help us grow is Walk Thru the Bible. As word gets out, more and more people are signing up for this informative and inspirational event. We even have people coming from the Sacramento area. I wish I could sit down with each of you and talk about how Walk Thru the Bible will benefit your spiritual journey. I can’t, but I want to ask you to please make this a priority and come. You won’t regret it. Sign up online or at the Groups table on Sunday.

Men, we still have ten spaces available for our Men’s Retreat this weekend. Call John Fairchild at our office to get more information. We’d love to have you join us at beautiful Lake Tahoe!

This Sunday at TCC we’re going to focus on Jonah’s prayer when he was running from God. You won’t want to miss it. Go ahead and invite your friends to come hear this true slice of life story.

Love talking about spiritual growth with you,

Serve Opportunity – Join Anew Day, our Community Partner, on September 20 for R.A.K.E. and serve our community. At the same time you will bring awareness to Anew Day’s vision to bring low-cost, faith-based counseling to our community.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

It's all about God!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

For the past two weeks, I’ve written about corporate worship by defining it, comparing it to personal worship and listing some reasons why people might miss out on this essential experience with God and others. Today I’d like to give a vision of what corporate worship can be. First, it’s all about God (unlike this description by Victoria Osteen where she received a lot of criticism for her description of worship). In corporate worship we come to God to tell Him who He is, what He’s done and what He’s promised to do. We are reminded in a clear way just how great, powerful, faithful, and glorious He is. When we gather corporately, our teams serve us by putting God on display though music, spoken word, prayer, visual arts and expressions of beauty.

Second, it’s all about what God is doing in our world. He is drawing all people to Himself. He decrees that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess their allegiance to Him. We are reminded of God’s redemptive story for mankind and His gift of Jesus Christ, sacrificed on a cross and resurrected from the grave for us. We get to see how we fit into His story as we focus on His purposes in our world.

Third, corporate worship reminds me of God’s love for me. There’s a complex juxtaposition of both what all of us need and what I need at this moment in time. What’s amazing is how one person’s struggle or concern is so many times what the majority of us need. The really cool thing is how the Holy Spirit interprets for all of us just what God has to say to encourage or challenge us. The awesome thing is that God already knows what we all need. That’s why we begin each service planning time with prayer. We want to know His heart.

At TCC, we have the privilege of being led by Dave Bollen, who loves Jesus and wants to make much of Him. Last week Dave celebrated eighteen years as our Lead Worship Pastor. I love this man, and it’s been an honor to serve, lead and worship with him in many different seasons of our lives. I am inspired by the fact that Dave realizes his need for God, grace and continued surrender after all this time in ministry. He realizes that he’s not “there” yet and is hungry for the transformational power of Jesus. Will you please look for an opportunity to give him and Michelle a shout out and hug when you see them next?

Love talking about worship with you,


Serve Opportunity
– Join Anew Day, our Community Partner, on September 20 for R.A.K.E. and serve our community. At the same time you will bring awareness to Anew Day’s vision to bring low-cost, faith-based counseling to our community.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Choices, Rituals and Getting What I Put In

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

Last week I wrote a short blurb about corporate worship and how we all need it in our walk with Jesus. I mentioned that it is vital to our growth as a follower of Jesus. If that is true, then why do so many people choose to skip church or attend irregularly? That is a good question, and I have some thoughts.

One reason we choose to miss out on corporate worship is that we’re confused about priorities and values. In our culture today, choice is the primary value for many people. And therefore, the freedom to choose from a buffet of options is the highest priority. Corporate worship has become one of the many options for many people. Instead of it being a priority, it’s just another activity from which to choose.

Another reason is that some people just don’t get anything from their corporate worship experience. Now, I agree that there are seasons when it takes a lot of effort to “get” something from church; I also believe that I get what I put into it. I remember so well an experience 25 years ago, where I was being critical about the worship in my church. I had one of those moments when God spoke to me and said, “If you’re not getting anything today, it’s your deal. In fact, anytime or anywhere I am lifted up and you don’t get anything, it’s because you choose not to.” Ouch! Since that day, there have only been a couple of times when I felt the service didn’t move me, and each time, it was because I was either too critical or not engaged enough.

The last reason people may choose to miss out on the corporate worship experience is that it has become a ritual to be observed instead of a relationship to be expressed. Corporate worship at its core is about God’s people coming to Him to express love to Him. When I do that, my eyes are moved from my stuff, difficulties, problems, even preferences and placed on Him. I get to be part of an experience where my God, my Jesus, is lifted up. As He is lifted up, I am drawn to Him.

I invite you to join us on Sunday as we are led to express our worship to God. If you missed last week, please watch the service and hear my story of how God spoke to me and how a specific song we sang was such a lift to my soul. It’s at the very beginning of the service. This Sunday we’ll learn to Pray Like Jacob when we are desperate for God’s blessing.

Looking forward to engaging and being led to make much of God with you in corporate worship,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Worship: Our passionate response to God

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

Recently, someone wrote on a Connection Card (yes, I do read them) and asked if we could explain what “corporate worship” means. Let’s begin with an understanding of worship. Worship – means to put God first with our heart, mind, soul and strength. It means to ascribe worth, to make worthy, to hold the Lord before us in His fullness, to express His greatness. David said, “I have set the Lord always before me. He is at my right hand, therefore, I shall not be moved.”

Worship in the Bible is much more than what we do personally to express our love to God. It’s also what we do when we gather together to be led to make much of God with others.

The Psalmist says, “Come worship the Lord with me.” The writer of Hebrews says, “Don’t drop the habit of meeting together.” I believe there is something that happens spiritually in our hearts, when we allow ourselves to be led by someone else to express our love for God and need of God with others. Corporate worship allows me to give up myself and my needs and worship God for who He is. It challenges me to surrender myself to God even when it’s not natural or comfortable. It allows me to be vulnerable with my church family and express the reality that I am desperate for Him.

Corporate worship helps us realize we are not alone. Christianity is not a personal faith. It is a communal faith. Only in our culture have we redefined our faith as a personal experience. For centuries, Followers of Jesus have gathered together under the leadership of individuals called and anointed by God to be led before His throne. We sing, dance (even though I have Baptist roots), cry, give, listen and praise God together – as one.

Corporate worship unifies a church. It brings us together to state that we need God first and foremost, and we need each other. At TCC, we define worship this way: Our passionate response to all God is with all that we are. We do that both personally and corporately. We need both.

I hope you will be with us on Sunday as we gather together to be led before God’s throne and express our firm conviction that He is our only hope. We get to begin a new series as we learn to “Pray Like” people in the Bible as they faced difficulties and trials in their times of need.

Looking forward to engaging and being led to make much of God with you in corporate worship,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sunday morning schedule - come early and hang out with us!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

What a great experience we had Sunday at Pioneer Park. Many of you came to hang out, play, eat and celebrate baptisms. The shade and cooler temperatures of Nevada City, the music from Rob Lambert and Andrew Paden, the swimming pool and the free ice cream blended together to create an atmosphere that was fun! Several people from the community who were attracted by the music and activity stopped to talk. We were able to represent Jesus in a warm and friendly way.  Pray with me that some of those folks will make their way to a TCC service in the future.

I want to thank the amazing and tireless team led by Andi Lambert and Brett Malech who did all they could to make the event such a huge success. We look forward to an opportunity to do this again. What a great way to experience community and develop new relationships which are the core of who we are as a church.

As we’ve listened to people who have commented on our summer service schedule, it’s been clear that seeing more of the larger church, connecting with old friends and the added excitement of being in a fuller service has been a positive for many. Therefore, we’re going to make 9:00 and 10:45 our permanent Sunday morning schedule. This is a great way to connect with friends, make new friends,  and discover new opportunities for service while enjoying the excitement of being part of what God is doing.

For those of you who’ve been part of the 8:00 service, we’ve listened to you as well, and we want to help keep some of what made that service time meaningful for you. If you’ve been part of the 8:00 service, we’re going to open the Coffee Bar at 8:30 a.m.  We invite you to come early, engage with your friends and hang with some of our pastors for a cup of coffee. What a great way to enjoy a more intimate fellowship together before the service begins.

This Sunday we’re going to wrap up our Daniel series. You won’t want to miss Daniel’s words of encouragement and hope for standing strong in tough times. I am thrilled at how God is using this series to help us know how to live in our current cultural reality.

Enjoying God's love and grace,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let's hang out Sunday!

Hey Friends and Family of TCC,

Our annual summer picnic is this Sunday at Pioneer Park in Nevada City. Brett Malech and Andi Lambert have pulled a creative group of people together to bring this event to life. We’ve rented the public swimming pool for swimming fun and a great way to escape the heat. We’ll have a band, barbecue, Ultimate Frisbee, face painting, kid’s games and end the evening with BAPTISMS.

You’ll want to bring your own food – either a picnic type meal or meat to barbecue – and your own drinks. We’ll provide hot coals that will be grill-ready at 4:30. We’ll also provide frozen ice cream cups for all who want to indulge, and they’re free. Our picnic is a super time to make new friends, connect with old friends and celebrate God’s grace as we watch some folks go public for Jesus through baptism. Come have a fun time with your church family!

As we move into the fall, we sense a clear direction to stay at the schedule we’ve been at all summer. Our current service schedule, 9:00 and 10:45, will now be our permanent schedule. We’re looking forward to creating more opportunities for people to connect and make Twin Cities feel smaller during this next season. For example, you can come 30 minutes before the service you plan to attend and enjoy coffee and friends. Our goal is to come together, enjoy community with friends, and experience the excitement of what God is doing in our church.

This Sunday we’re going to walk through Daniel 9:1-20 as we continue our Babylon series. I am thrilled at how God is using this series to help us know how to live in our current cultural reality. If you miss a week, please watch or listen online so you can keep up with your church family.

Looking forward to a fun day with you at Pioneer Park,