It’s Baptism Time

I’m super excited for Sunday to get here. Why? Because it is baptism Sunday. And let me tell you, it is an event to remember. We don’t just sit in pews quietly while someone professes to the world that they are a lover of Jesus. Oh, no we do not. We clap, we yell, we blow on really loud noise makers, we wave signs, we cry with joy, we C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E. Why? Because Jesus radically changing someone’s life is worth celebrating. If the angels rejoice when someone goes from death to life, shouldn’t we?

Who wouldn’t get excited about this? This is Malachi. He’s an awesomely cool kid. And Malachi, well, he’s my brother in Christ as of last year. 

This is Mike. Mike serves hard ALL THE TIME. And on this day, he was super pumped. 

And Star. Star came out of the water with so much joy that you had to see it to understand it. There are just no words to describe it. 

So I look forward to Sunday with anticipation because I know what is coming, but even though I know what is coming it will new and different because different people with new stories of life change will be telling everyone how much they love Jesus. But to make it extra sweet, our friends and neighbors, Shana and Andrew, are being baptized together. It is such an exciting moment to get to be a part of. My heart is leaping out of my chest and I still a day and half to wait. 

A Journey Through Communion

Today we had communion at REVO. Communion always brings such a wide range of thoughts and emotion for me. Today, it was especially sweet. I think because of the journey I have been on the last several months.

You see, communion is a concentrated time when I…all those who call themselves followers of Jesus really…see ourselves as the fallen people we are, sinful, fallen, longing for something more than ourselves and at times we don’t even know it people. We come face-to-face with our separation from the God who not only made us but also desires us for relationship with Himself and the fact that we can do nothing to mend that separation, for it is vast and immeasurable.

But then we are taken to a place of awareness of God’s love that reaches out into that vast and immeasurable expanse, taking hold of us and bringing us into His embrace.

We are brought into His embrace by the broken body and shed blood of Christ. We are forgiven.

“…, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22

We are made right before God, justified, because Christ did not remain in the grave.

“…who (Jesus our Lord) was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”  Romans 4:25                                                                                  

It is a love story. The greatest one of my life. One that began with me being pursued and loved by the One who formed me and knitted me together. Who taught me love.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Because He loves me so deeply, richly, vastly, extremely, extravagantly I am able to fall more and more in love with Him, never being separated from that great love.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

May God Almighty always be my delight, my strength, my salvation, my prize, my devotion, the love song I sing in the depths of my heart.

Serving Big

This past week REVO participated in The Big Serve. For those who don’t know The Big Serve is a week long event in which churches in our area blitz their communities with service projects. It’s an incredible week of serving our city. What I’ve found is that it has lead me to be more passionate and involved and to care more about the people I serve…and I want to keep serving them.

The cool thing this year was that our kids went with us to a few of the places we worked. We took meals to firefighters a couple of nights and my kids ate it up – both the food and being with the firemen. Lily now wants to be a firefighter.

This little guy was the life of the party. He loved every minute and took as many stickers as the firemen would give him.

Saturday I took Lily to serve at Ashley Elementary School to help with landscaping and gardening. She was just so excited that she was getting to play in the dirt and wear her gloves.

 We served along some of my favorite people. This is Zena. She’s from Jordan. This was her first time doing landscaping work…she killed it.

 This is Leigha, a dear friend. She is so passionate about the school. She serves them hard and wants others to care about them as much as she does. I love to hear her talk about the students and teachers.

I think the thing that hit me the most about The Big Serve this year was our kids being involved. I cherished being able to work with Lily by my side and talking about why we were working at the school. It’s one of my favorite moments to date.

It’s More Than a Building

I have written several posts on the new building lately. It’s been exciting to see the transformation, even to be a small part of that transformation. However, I don’t want anyone to think that what we at REVO care about is a building. A building is just that…a building. It’s not who we are. It does not define us. That might bring up a couple of questions.

Question 1. If it is not about the building then why work so hard to change it?
We want to create an environment that is inviting and welcoming. We want you to be comfortable when you walk in, to know where to go (who doesn’t want to know where the bathroom is?), to be comfortable leaving your children in our care. That’s not only why we want the building to be appealing, but also why we believe the service on Sunday morning begins in the parking lot. That’s why we have people to help you park and if it is raining to walk you from your car to the door under the protection of an umbrella. It’s why you are greeted and welcomed when you come in by more than one person. It’s why we print identification tags for your children and have fun things for them to do when you drop them off in rWorld. We know that if the environment is stuffy, unwelcoming, and hard to get around then odds are you won’t come back. And we want you to come back because we want you to hear about the amazing love of Jesus, His gospel, and how we are to live in the world for His glory.

Question 2. If it is not about the building, then what is it about?
In order to answer this question, you have to rephrase the question because it’s not about the “what” but the “who”. We exist to spark a revolution of life change through Jesus. That’s why we do everything in the answer from Question 1. We do everything to bring honor, glory, and worth to His holy name. That’s why we are one church in two locations. Next week, people downtown and on the north side will hear the good news of Jesus. Children downtown and on the north side will learn how to live for Jesus. If it was just about a building then we would cease to have a downtown campus. If it was just about REVO then we’d be pushing an agenda of our own making. You’d see no gospel-centeredness anywhere. We want to spread the glory of Jesus in Winston and to the ends of the earth. We want to Love Big, Serve Hard, Grow Deep, Live Bold, and Move Forward because in doing those things we bring honor and glory to Him who saved us

The Finished Product and A Night of Worship

After many long days, even longer nights, numerous amounts of empty paint cans, and countless empty fast food containers, I am happy to report the building is done…almost…for now. There are a couple of more things that we hope will be done this week – like carpet in rWorld and a few more signs around the building – but other than that this phase is complete!

This is the wall leading in to rGarden, which is where I hang out on Sunday mornings. And if you think this is cool,

then this…

and this might just knock your socks off. And this is just rGarden!

Here is a little peek inside the room. I had to take three pictures to get the entire room. I am going to blame it on the size of the room, where I was standing, the camera photo I was using, and maybe the lighting too. If I had PhotoShop I believe I might could put all these pictures together so you could see the room as it really is, but alas, I do not. So you’ll have to use your imagination a wee bit here. 
This is what you see when you open the door.

 As you turn to the left…

 And even further left….

I took pictures of rTheater, which is incredibly cool, but they came out blurry. I again blame this on the camera phone, the lighting of the room, etc. It has nothing to do with the operator of the camera at all…nothing at all.

Going upstairs, which is really ground level…

Here you have the connections desk in the center of the room. You can’t tell from the photo – maybe I should think about how to operate a decent camera – but there are two iPads on top of the desk, where you can sign up for an rGroup or a mission trip, get more information about things that are going on, etc. There are generally folks hanging out here to help you out if need something, talk with you and welcome you to REVO.

 This is our wall of life change. It makes me happy every time I see it. Each picture tells a story of a life or lives that have been changed by Jesus, for Jesus. One of my favorite parts of the building.

This, however, is my absolutely favorite part…

Our friends David and Zena did this….It’s so incredible. I see it and think about all the people in the world who don’t yet know that Jesus loves them, that there is more to life than what they know, that there is One worth living for, worth dying for, worth everything. I think about Isaiah who answered the call to go with “Here am I, send me,” and I pray that I am as obedient as he.

 People were working until the last minute, making sure every detail was in place, on Saturday. At 7:00 we had a night of worship. It was a time to come together…and if you are my friend Heather Johnson (aka Preacher’s Wife) you strike a pose…

enjoy the upcoming moment with your spouse…

or your daughter…

meditate on who God is and why we do what we do…

 sing out to the God who has gone before us…

and worship with reckless, unadulterated abandonment.

Building update

Tons has happened since the last building update. Windows have been blacked out, there’s been tons more painting, there is a stage, rGarden (aka nursery) is about finished up….I can’t wait for the finished product.

 This is the stage in rTheater, where all our kids ages 18 months through 5th grade go for large group. Matt Forestieri, a friend at church, and another Matt did the construction in this room. It’s unbelievable.

These two pictures are of the sound booth in rTheater. A SOUND BOOTH!! Matt and Matt had to rip out a counter and sink before they could build this wonderful thing. SO EXCITED!

The following pictures of in rGarden (6weeks olds through 18 months). It’s where I hang out on Sunday mornings. Don’t let the green scare you or make you worried we are all going to go blind. It’s not as bright as it appears…okay, that could be a slight falsehood. It is really bright…bright and incredibly cool.

 My friend and neighbor, Shana, worked tirelessly putting this shelving unit together. She’s a hard worker, a great mom and wife, and I am so very glad we are friends.

 Kat was working on getting the computers do to whatever it is we need them to do in rWorld. I don’t think it was going very well at this moment.

Sorry for the blurriness of this photo, but I think I captures the essence of Kelley Lambert. This picture is who Kelley is…cheerful, positive, energetic…oh, and she and her husband, Chase, are adopting babies from Ethiopia. Please take just a few minutes and go to their website to learn their story and find out ways you can help two amazing people bring home two amazing babies.

I promise we are not going to stick the babies in the crib while it is on it’s side. 

 Chase, Kelley’s husband, worked hard blackening out the windows so we can control the lighting in the sanctuary. There are lots of windows. I am going to go out on a limb and say he worked really hard to get this done.

My two favorite guys sitting on the stage. I believe at this point work was being done to take down hanging microphones and the choir pews.

I’ll have more updates soon. Only 3 more days until the launch!

A new do

Many of you know that REVO is launching its North Campus in less than two weeks!
That means a ton of work on the building. There’s been a lot of painting going on, not to mention buying furniture, TVs, sound equipment, etc., scrubbing gooey tape residue off windows, putting together cribs, building a stage, getting internet through the whole building, and a gazillion other things.

I will be posting pictures of our progress over the next week and a half. Here are a couple of shots from the first day of painting. I hate there aren’t more but I didn’t have room on my phone for any more pictures. Ya know, ten years ago I never would have dreamed of making the previous statement. It’d have been more like, oops, I ran out of film. Oh how far we’ve come since Zak Morris first carried around that HUMONGOUS phone through the halls of Bayside High.

I digress.

Back to the building.

 The first night there was a ton of scrapping, taping trims, putting down plastic, and finally painting.
This is the door to the kitchen which is part of the  main lobby area.

Wait, oh, wait until you see what is going on this wall! It is going to be incredible. I get goosebumps when I think about it.


Until next time,