The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


I’ve heard a lot of folks displaying what I call, ‘Optimistic Schizophrenia.’ Yes, I made it up, thus the statement, ‘what I call.’

What is it you ask? Well it’s the fired up, joy-filled, ecstatic, child-like wonder we all share at seeing God continue to bring people to Southbrook in droves, on the one hand. And the utter, terror filled, horrific panic at wondering if the walls will cave in from the pressure of people stacked inside like sardines, on the other hand.

Alas, these things too often go together and we must do our best to intervene (like in the case with Sybil and her 17 personalities) and make sure the real, faith driven Christ follower emerges. So…

Doctor…oops, pastor Rob is here to help — Session I

No matter how much it rains, or how long winded some preachers get (ok, ONE preacher in particular), or how inconvenienced we are in the parking lot, or how often our children’s rooms close due to hitting full capacity…PEOPLE KEEP COMING! And way, WAY more importantly, lives are transformed through the saving power of Jesus Christ every single weekend! Gang, I know of pastors and churches around the country who would give their right arms to see this kind of movement of God where they are at. So, remember, it’s a good thing.

I remember the last Panther’s game I went to (it was actually 2 years ago during their incredible late season run to the championship game). We had to park 7 blocks away, pay $10 for the privilege of getting both car doors dinged into oblivion, go through tighter security than the typical airline passenger boarding an EL Al flight in Jerusalem, sit in a pathetic fold down plastic seat made for the average four year old, endure freezing rain and hunger pangs (unless you wanted to forgo that month’s car payment to get a couple of hot dogs and a coke to share — and that’s AFTER you already decided to hold off on the rent in order to buy the tickets in the first place), stand nearly the entire game because the world’s most dedicated Panther’s fans had the 2 seats in front of you and considered it blasphemy to sit while their men in blue and black took the field, dodge flying peanuts and waterfalls of beer, file out behind several thousand of your closest friends at a snail’s pace when the game ended, hike the endless return trek to the car, wait 6 hours for someone to let you exit the parking area, endure post game interview after post game interview on the radio while your car inched down the road at a slower pace than you just managed WALKING out of the stadium, arrive home a week later exhausted and depressed because the Panthers lost…ALL BECAUSE WE LOVE FOOTBALL!!

I admit it. I love football too. After all, I was describing a game I went to. But my point is, why do people endure all of this?

Because the experience inside the stadium is one they consider worth it.

Well, I for one consider what is happening at SCC far more ‘worth it’ than any football game on earth. That is why I don’t get too worked up about this season of life at SCC with all it’s overcrowdedness and inconveniences — this too shall pass.

We are hoping to open our new worship center sometime in November of this year. It will seat around 1300 people and should bring some relief to the 8 services we now have at Southbrook each week. And how long will this season of relief last you wonder?

I feel like God has let me in on this one. Want to know what I believe he’s going to do?

We will see 4,000 people by the end of this year and over 5,000 around Christmas. By early 2008 we will be right back to 8 services again and running nearly 6,000! I believe more people will come to know Jesus in the next 12 – 18 months than in the entire first 7 years of Southbrook’s existence (hmm…I just fought back the incredible urge to suck my thumb and curl up into the fetal position)! Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the old saying, “If you build it, they will come!”

So, friends, don’t think of this time in the life of our church as a problem. Think of it as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for each and everyone of us to play a vital role in bringing people to the love and saving power of Jesus Christ. And never forget…

THAT”S a good thing!

In my next session I will give you several easy, practical steps you can take to help make this opportunity a reality. Soon you will be soaring and on top of the world — just like Bill Murry in, “What About Bob.”

But remember his key to success…baby steps.