Tim Lucas I serve as Lead Pastor of Liquid Church-- a creative, come-as-you-are church based in NJ with friends all across the world (sup, Australia?). A lady once visited and said, "Never thought I'd enjoy listening to some Big Hair Preacher, but you're different."
I took that as a compliment.
BHP is all about the stuff I love-- my kids, God, life, our church, media, culture, and my lazy hound Percy.
So I recently asked "How many of you have a Catholic family member or friend?" and about 80% of the hands shot up during a worship service at Liquid. That's roughly 4 out of 5 people who attend attend our church-- one of the many reasons I'm pumped for our new series this March!
The goal of this series is NOT to bash Catholics-- in fact, just the opposite! The goal of "Catholic Questions" is to BUILD BRIDGES to family, friends, and Catholic neighbors in our everyday
Lemme assure you I'm taking GREAT CARE to make sure folks understand the heart behind what we're doing. My deep heart is to reach-out to folks who haven't been to Mass in
years-- or are new to this whole "relationship with Jesus" thing-- and
are wondering if there's still a place at church for them?
Candidly, I believe we best answer Jesus' prayer for unity (John 17:21-23) when we show respect & honor our Catholic brothers & sisters-- without white-washing the fact that we do, indeed, have doctrinal differences.
My hope is to apply Grace and Truth in equal measures and clear-up some of the confusion that exists out there among Catholics & Protestants alike. We have much in common in Christ to celebrate-- and I hope this series will encourage folks across the spectrum to follow hard after Jesus.
Do you have a Catholic question?
If so, I'll be inviting folks to submit theirs during week one of the series... Be sure to invite a friend here!
It was cool to see folks really click with the Rapture message this past Sunday. I think one of the reasons I've been reluctant to address the Rapture in a message is childhood trauma from this movie I saw in church as a kid:
Remember "Thief in the Night"? Gotta love B-grade Christian scare films-- especially the slo-mo running with Larry Norman's "I Wish We'd All Been Ready."
In truth, I've been thrilled with the response to 200X, our series on biblical Prophecy. We've had RECORD attendance at all our campuses as people are hungry to make sense of what the Bible says about future events.
This week at Liquid, we're going to rock some radical Islamic Shi'ite eschatology (try saying that three times fast). Islam, oil, and Israel are all part of the current rumblings in the Middle East-- which is setting the stage for future events.
New alliances among key nations are forming which bring fresh urgency to the prophecy found in Ezekiel 38-- the War of Gog & Magog.
This January, I am PSYCHED to tackle a topic we have yet to dive into at Liquid-- Biblical Prophecy and Future Events! I think a lot of folks watch the nightly news, see unsettling events unfolding around the world, and assume God is simply rolling a pair of cosmic dice.
Kinda like this:
The reality is that Biblical Prophecy is a tricky-- but compelling-- topic. Our new series for January 2010 is called "200X: The Bible, Prophecy, and Future Events." I've been learning a ton during my research for this series and can't wait to tackle this topic in the new year.
We live in interesting times and one thing's for certain-- God's timetable for bringing His Kingdom is closer than ever before!
So we're holding our first-ever Christmas Eve services at Liquid this Thursday, December 24th... and I can't wait! I'll be speaking LIVE at each campus and the hour-long experience features Christmas carols, a Kids Choir, and Candle Lighting.
Morristown services are at 4:00pm and 5:30pm.
New Brunswick's Christmas Eve service is 7:00pm.
I've been told the 4pm service in Motown is already SOLD-OUT so be sure to bring your tickets with you! Get your Free Tickets here.
All told, we baptized 108 PEOPLE at Liquid this weekend--
talk about Holy Ghost power!
The stories of life change were incredible. From broken childhoods, to absent parents, abuse, divorce, alcohol... every broken piece of our broken lives is picked up by Christ, washed clean, and then used for His Glory.
Here's a slice of Marlene's story (I love her son Randy):
And here's the look on her face yesterday.
The power of Christ to change lives...
Just looking at these faces makes my jaw drop all over again.
To check out the Baptism Pix from Morristown, click here.
To view the Baptism Pix from New Brunswick, click here.
To watch the Church Online Baptisms from Australia, click here.
So we're currently planning our 2010 Preaching Calendar at Liquid, and I'm pretty pumped about some of the ideas we're chewing on... Prophecy, Prayer, tongue-piercing (don't ask!), and Catholicism to name just a few.
The current trailer for 2012 has me thinking about kicking off 2010 with a series on Biblical prophecy:
End Times = Good Times.
What topics would you like to learn about? What would help you to grow spiritually?
BTW: A lot of people assume preachers just pick what they feel like talking about from week to week.
At Liquid, it's just the opposite. We plan almost a year in advance so we have time to pray it through, see where God's leading our community, study Scripture & read broadly, and have adequate time to plan creative elements.
While some may think this inhibits spontaneity, we've discovered the Holy Spirit shows up just as powerfully 12 months out as He does the night before ;-)
Whenever I preach a new series, I always try to read broadly and be in dialogue with other authors & thinkers to enlarge my perspective. During our current series on the Holy Spirit, I'm enjoying "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan.
Chan is the real-deal. Pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, he is a passionate follower of Christ, both convicting and hilarious.
He and I come from a similar background (conservative evangelical churches), and he does a wonderful job exposing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit (the subtitle of his book).
Here's a quote I shared last week that's stretching me in all the right ways. Noting that contemporary churches tend to rely more on natural abilities than supernatural power, Chan confesses:
"Let's be honest: If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday."
Ouch! I mean: We all know that ultimately God is behind the life & growth of any church.
But I wonder: How much of what happens at Liquid is "explainable" in human terms? Like the world looks at us and thinks: "Wow, 1,200 people. Well, that makes sense. They’ve got a great band. Tim's a funny guy. They did a series on Movies or Rock songs-- people like that. I get why people go to that church."
Again, this is the SUPER-FICIAL side of Spirituality-- we gauge "spiritual success" by the SIZE of a crowd. What's happening "above the line." What people can see.
But God's not interested in numbers. As Chan notes, when it comes to His Bride-- Christ cares most about her faithfulness, not her size.
He cares about whether people are PASSIONATE LOVERS of HIM... truly desperate for His power in their life. I don't want people to look at Liquid a year or 2 from now and say "Wow, 2,000 or 3000 people—good marketing, guys!”
That's SUPERFICIAL stuff! I want there to be SUPERNATURAL evidence that the Spirit of God is IN us-- lives being changed, marriages saved, people falling crazy in love with Jesus.
And NONE of IT can happen… except by the Power of God.
The Fire has to Fall.
Do you feel that desperation?
I'm learning that EVEN THE DESIRE for more of God's Spirit is a gift.
If you wanna stoke your desire for more of God's Spirit, check out Chan & enjoy the sparks.
In a couple weeks, I'll be teaching a new series on the Holy Spirit at LiquidChurch.com. It's called "Wild Goose Chase!"
Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit-- An Geadh-Glas-- or "the Wild Goose." In life, most of us chase after things that bring us security, comfort, & predictability. But when we chase the Wild Goose -- or follow the Holy Spirit -- we experience the wildness & power of God in a whole new way!
So it's Tuesday, and here's what's got me celebrating today: This weekend, eight people at Liquid Church travelled the longest distance known to man-- 18 inches!
If you didn't know-- that's the distance between your Head and your Heart! For so many people, religion can be a sterile, lifeless, academic exercise. Faith is a code of ethics, morals, and rules to live by-- but nothing personal.
Thank God, Jesus invites us into a personal-- sometimes messy--
relationship where we can "let our hair down" before God & give Him access to every inch of us.
This past Sunday, those eight people-- including two who attended Church Online-- prayed for Jesus to come into their heart for the first time!
How cool is that!?
What helped me bridge that 18 inches in my own life? The story of how Christ came for my wife Colleen's heart is the thing that pierces my own.
So God showed-up BIG-TIME at our Rock-&-Run for Africa this past Sunday!
All told, over 1,040 people ran, walked, or rolled to bring Clean Water to Africa. Many thanks to all you guys who made an eternal difference in the lives of our brothers & sisters on the other side of the world!
One of Liquid's Core Values-- Church is Fun!-- came through for a great Cause!