Is that all there is?

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Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends
Then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is
– lyrics by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller as sung by Peggy Lee

Okay I lied, only just a little bit. My point yesterday about not answering questions was a bit of an overstatement. I was trying to make a point that our job as believers is not to answer all questions people pose to us — especially not dogmatically — but to use questions as an opportunity for conversation. Dogmatic answers have a way of ending conversations. It’s all in how we go about it. But there are ways we can go about getting to some possible answers, or at least getting someone to consider some.

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What are the questions of a generation?

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He was just looking for the answers to the same questions we all have…

Someone appreciated my discussion yesterday about the importance of listening to, and repeating the questions of our generation. So much so that they asked me a question: so what are some of the questions of our generation?

Good question.

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Jesus Freaks, then and now

Tin soldiers and Nixon comingth-3
We’re finally on our own
This summer I hear the drumming
Four dead in Ohio
– Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970)

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight
– Starlight Vocal Band (1976)

I’ve had the worst pop song in decades stuck in my mind for two days now. Chandler and I were shopping for some school clothes when I realized I was getting annoyed, but I didn’t know why. Then I realized they were playing music from the 70s, but not the early 70s; this was all the late 70s. This was the birth of disco. And when “Afternoon Delight” came on I should have screamed and run out of the place. That’s the thing about these era-related pop music stations. Just because something was popular once doesn’t mean it should be remembered. Some hits were awful. Why can’t we admit that?

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Click on me

Click. Open me up. See what’s inside. th-2

Click on me. Open me up. Find out what you want to know. You’re on the information highway; click anywhere you like — anywhere you see the arrow turn into a hand is a place you can click to make something happen on the screen. A click will get you where you want to go. You get a new window; you go to a new place. The click is the handshake of cyberspace. It’s how you go deeper. Of course, it’s all programmed on the Internet. The clicks are rigged. They take you to a place that has been predetermined.

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Feed it where you find it

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I love Tim’s comment from a few weeks ago, “if we as parents had no spiritual expectations for our children life would be easier.” Not only would it be easier, it would be truer, and better for them, as well. And this goes way beyond parents and kids; it’s true for all our relationships in the body of Christ. Spiritual expectations almost always end up in spiritual manipulations. We have expectations; we try and skew reality to meet them. In the worst cases it can turn into spiritual abuse.

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Where did we go right?

SOME OF YOU WHO JUST CHECK IN WITH THE CATCH ONLINE MAY NOT KNOW THIS, but a month ago we were on the verge of a transformational event for our community. Hundreds of you were ready for an online Facebook event where we could speak directly to you and interact like never before as a community, about what is happening right now with this ministry and what is important to us all in it. It was a chance for the Catch Ministry to present itself like never before.

The technology failed (and failed, and hopelessly failed).

It would have been so good to talk to you about what the Catch is, not in the language of ideas and ideals, but also by describing what is happening. This always involves surprise. Here are some:

Just how did the Catch, begun as the domain of Boomers, become a gathering place for Millennials?

More, how did Millennials and Boomers cross-pollinate there and develop rare cross-generational relationships, talking about life and spiritual things to each other?

Where did 500 world-wide volunteers whom we know by name come from, praying and keeping faith with people?

Connecting with Millennials is the number one challenge the brick-and-mortar church talks about; creating cross-cultural and cross-generational community is the next one. What did we do right?

Did we plan on this last year when we “cast our vision” (yes, we do that) for the coming year? There is no way we could anticipate the things that are actually happening among us. Who knew?

But we wanted you to know, you who are the lifeblood of the ministry, you who check-in occasionally, and you hard-core boots on the ground, and all of us in-between: this is who we have become.

Whatever we dream of doing in the future, these two enormous facts should remain in our vision: the Christians between 18-29 who do not attend church are independently finding us and we are connecting with them — we are closing the generation gap.

All we can think is that Grace is doing its work, and, out there among you, you are following Grace, and not getting in its way. You are Showing Up.

With all of this wonderful news comes responsibility, which was also intended to be boldly shared in light of the exciting news during the Facebook event, because the financial health of the ministry is something that affects all of us.

Since we couldn’t do that, we missed a chance to talk together — face-to-face — about the needs at the time and do our own fundraising amongst ourselves to accommodate our ever-expanding efforts until December’s end-of-the-year campaign.

We are grateful for those who came alongside of us in response to our smaller campaigns, but we really missed the chance on Facebook Live to show our due diligence, state the needs and simply ask ourselves to consider a special contribution. We were heading into a tough time then; now, we are in arrears. We need $9,000, now, very quickly, in support of the new platform we are building for our Millennial partnership, and for our cross-generational community and an additional $5,000 to accommodate our ever-expanding efforts until December’s end-of-the-year campaign.

I don’t want to try to do in text what we so hoped to do Live. Dear Catch family, now you know the need, and now the time is short. Forgive us for losing our way a bit after the Facebook crash, and mercifully remember how stretched the ministry is (another thing that is better said live) with the things in life that chase us all to the Lord – health, pressures, kids, bills, and people hurting worse than we are.

We missed the chance to meet live, so I invite any of you who are considering giving right now to simply call us and talk about it. We may be on the phone for a couple of solid days, but you are our best part and our (no other way to say it) pride and joy. Look at what you are doing! Look at it.

We will keep you posted throughout the weekend, but we are praying that you will put to bed the Ministry’s need by Sunday evening and in time for Church at the Catch on Sunday, September 25th at:

11:00 am Sidney
9:00 am Hong Cong
4:00 am Jerusalem
3:00 am Paris
2:00 am London
9:00 pm Eastern
8:00 pm Mid West
6:00 pm Pacific
3:00 pm Honolulu

We remain yours for the Journey,

John 949/315-5533
Marti 949/500-3490
To contribute now: Click here

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What to do with pain?

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I spent the night in the hospital earlier this week. It was just precautionary, and everything checked out okay. I might not have gone in if my daughter hadn’t insisted. She’s a doctor in Hawaii, and when she heard about my symptoms, she told Marti to get me to the E.R. right away. She’s actually a Physician’s Assistant, but that’s just not a name worthy of her knowledge and experience. I hate the name. Physician’s Assistant sounds like someone who follows the doctor around with a clipboard, taking notes and getting coffee. She is operating in most cases as a doctor and often outshines them, so I have simply taken to saying she’s a doctor, and leave it at that. I was in the hospital she used to work at before she moved to Hawaii, and her name around there can still part the waters.

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Giving and getting

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God is a giver. He created our world and then gave it to us. He gave us all life when He breathed into Adam and he became a living soul. He gave us Jesus, our redemption, His most unspeakable gift. He gives us grace for every moment of every day. He gives healing. He gives comfort. He gives forgiveness. He is a part of every good and perfect gift. It’s His nature to do this. He gives when we don’t deserve it. So when you give, you are stepping into the very nature and flow of God.

Pretty much everything in this world’s economy centers around getting. Getting fit; getting rich; getting healthy; getting ahead; getting a job; getting a promotion; getting a car, getting an education — it is a big part of the nature and flow of being human to get. Getting is earning. When you get it, it’s yours. You deserve it. You go out and get something. That’s why getting is all about me. Getting is human; giving is of God.

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