My Not-Quite-Ideal Launch Week

2 Pillars Church–Northeast launches this Sunday. Here's a brief summary of what launch week has looked like so far:

  • Monday–Thursday: I was sick for the first four days of the week. I can't remember the last time I was sick and out of commission for this long.
  • Friday (Today): Fever free, I finally got to the office this morning to spend some uninterrupted time working on my sermon for Sunday when...the sewer in our building backed up. A few hours later, the water has been shop vac'd from the carpets, box fans are in place, and I'm sitting at my desk once again.

You can't make this stuff up! I'm beginning to wonder if this is all part of some church planter hazing ritual I wasn't told about.

I know God is up to something here, though I'm not entirely sure what it is. At the very least, I suspect it includes teaching me lessons about my sinful desire for control and how critical it is that I trust Him as we launch this 2 Pillars Northeast.

Now, back to that sermon.

10:15 AM

We nailed down a start time for 2 Pillars Church–Northeast worship gatherings:

We recently announced our public launch date, but left you hanging regarding the exact time of our Sunday gatherings. Well, we've finally arrived at a start time: 10:15AM.

Conveniently, we're starting fifteen minutes later than our sending church. Do you think I'll have time to grab a few pointers from Todd's sermon before I preach each week? 


2 Pillars Church–Northeast Public Launch

Last week was an exciting one for 2 Pillars Church–Northeast. We launched a new website and announced the date of our upcoming public launch.

From my post on the 2PCNE blog:

We are thrilled to announce that 2 Pillars Church–Northeast will hold its first-ever public worship service on Sunday, February 28. The gathering will be held at the Joyo Theatre in Havelock which will serve as our new home on Sunday mornings.

What an incredible announcement! We've been praying for this church plant, talking about this church plant, dreaming about this church plant, and planning for this church plant for years. And now, here we are.

Do you live in the Lincoln area? If so, I'd love for you to mark the date on your calendar and join us.

Tech Growth in Lincoln

Bloomberg featured Lincoln today as an emerging tech hub in the midwest. Strong salaries, low cost of living, and reasonable real estate prices are major contributors to the growth:

High prices on the West Coast are making it easier for the fresh crop of computer-science graduates and other techies to choose heartland hubs that are growing, in part, because putting down roots there doesn’t require a small fortune.

You don't have to search long to find evidence of serious growth in Lincoln.

The tech echo-boom is already starting to hipsterize Nebraska’s capital city. The downtown now has three sushi restaurants, a speakeasy serving $12 cocktails and dozens of startups filling once-abandoned warehouses. New workers are pushing up real estate values. Home prices are up almost 14 percent since 2012 and apartment rents have risen 38 percent.

It's an exciting time to call Lincoln home—even if you don't care for sushi.

Eating Spicy Food Linked to a Longer Life

Nicholas Bakalar:

After controlling for family medical history, age, education, diabetes, smoking and many other variables, the researchers found that compared with eating hot food, mainly chili peppers, less than once a week, having it once or twice a week resulted in a 10 percent reduced overall risk for death. Consuming spicy food six to seven times a week reduced the risk by 14 percent.

This is great news! I'm eating buffalo wings this week to celebrate.

(HT: David Chartier[1])

Todd, you came back!

Todd Bumgarner, lead pastor of 2 Pillars Church, on his return from sabbatical:

But do you want to know how the overwhelming majority of people have responded? They’ve said, “We didn’t think you would come back.” I’ve had—no exaggeration—over 15 people say something like that.

Fortunately, Todd did come back. But, as he explains, it isn't always a bad thing if a pastor doesn't return to "ministry as usual" following his sabbatical:

Pastoral sabbaticals (whether the pastor is paid or unpaid) are a regular, normal, and healthy thing for healthy churches.

And even when a pastor comes back from a sabbatical and quits… that’s still healthy because the sabbatical revealed the fact that that pastor wasn’t healthy. Something was off. Whether it was his health, his pace, his marriage, his walk with God, or his calling—something was off. And the healthiest thing for that pastor could be, to step back (and possibly down) in order to address that lack of health.

Glad to see you back in the saddle after a restful season away, Todd. Welcome back.


John Stott on the closing verses of 2 Timothy:

Paul is fully alert to the difficulties, however, both internal and external. Timothy himself is inexperienced, infirm and shy. The world’s opposition is strong and subtle. And behind these things stands the devil, bent on ‘taking men alive’ and keeping them prisoner. For the devil hates the gospel and uses all his strength and cunning to obstruct its progress, now by perverting it in the mouths of those who preach it, now by frightening them into silence through persecution or ridicule, now by persuading them to advance beyond it into some fancy novelty, now by making them so busy with defending the gospel that they have no time to proclaim it.

Sermon Preparation Time

Thom Rainer:

These numbers represent total sermon preparation time per week, and the increase from a decade ago is dramatic. Of the pastors we surveyed, nearly seven out of ten spend eight or more hours in sermon preparation. More than four out of ten spend eleven or more hours; and more than one out of five spend 15 hours or more preparing sermons each week.

I am encouraged. In past studies, I have found a correlative relationship between time in sermon preparation and church health metrics. The greater the time in sermon preparation, the more likely the church is to be evangelistically effective, have a higher retention rate of members, and have a higher weekly per capita giving.

Simply stated, when the pastor spends more time in the Word, the church tends to be healthier.

Jason Snell on David Letterman

In anticipation of David Letterman's final show this week, Jason Snell gives his take (an interviews others about theirs) on Letterman's significance and legacy on The Incomparable podcast.

I didn't get a chance to listen until after Wednesday, but I found it to be really interesting. If you're a fan of David Letterman, Johnny Carson, or late night talk shows in general, I'd recommend giving this a listen.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ © 2016 Adam Stahr