Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2012! What A Year!!!

2012 was an amazing year at CX!  I wanted to post some of my personal favorites.  

We took our first major mission trip to Thailand. Five of us traveled over 9,000 miles to share Jesus' love with some people on the other side of the world. We taught some English to a handful of kids in an Muslim village.  We worshipped on street corners, in restaurants and at a great church some of our missionaries started. We also prayed with a number of people on the streets, got to be a part of three salvations and even helped with the baptisms!  You can watch the highlights here.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg_K6IM3tfk&feature=share&list=UUeUz74mCtPHWICseUfwau1g

This year we also did a plethora (yes plethora!) of service projects. We held our annual free garage sale where we gave everything away to unsuspecting shoppers.  We served meals and loved on people at the Boise Rescue Mission and City Light.  We played board games with some really sweet people at a local nursing home. We painted walls for the Christian Children's Ranch and took their kids out on the town for dinner, a movie and Christmas stockings. We wrapped Christmas presents for free at the neighborhood Fred Meyer. This list could go on and on with even more projects that our individual small groups did. What an honor to wear the name of Christ and love on people! Highlights here . . . http://youtu.be/BZ29_Jyc9MM

Also, at the tail end of 2012 God opened the door to hire a couple of part-time staff to help move Connections further toward the vision.  I am super excited we are to have Allegra Finnigan and Jeremy Wight join the team.  Besides helping with the typical office challenges and weekly to-do lists, Jeremy and Allegra are both pastors at heart and are excited to come along aside us to encourage and pray with us. 

If 2013 and every year after were as good as 2012, I would consider CX a massive success. But truth is, I believe this year will be even better. I know this to be true for two reasons. First, God has allowed us to press on and do greater things every year and we have even higher expectations for 2013.  Secondly, we serve a God who is alive. He is still in the business of changing lives and reconciling relationships.  I believe if we simply submit to Him, He will use us to love on even more people!

God is moving! And we're drafting right behind Him!  I can't wait to see what's next!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

We Have a Calling

I believe every church should have a calling - a God ordained directive that influences its daily decisions. Without this vision in place, we naturally begin to drift into chaos. It my be well-intentioned chaos; nonetheless, it is still without direction or target.
This coming weekend, I'm excited to remind us, again, of who we are supposed to be. Connections has a specific vision. I'll be breaking it out in detail over the weekend, but I want to lay out the big picture here. This is the most succinct way I know to explain our calling.
--Connections is a Bible based community for your lost friends and family.--

We will probably never put that on our website or in our print material, but it's who we are supposed to be. All of us (and I mean ALL OF US) have friends and family who either don't believe or, more likely, have walked away from God. Maybe they got mad at Him, maybe they just drifted away, either way, we desire to see them have a strong relationship with God. I want CX to be a place where you can bring your friends and you don't have to worry about them being embarrassed or offended. We use phrases like, "Turn to page 89," instead of, "Open to Luke 9." We say things like "Right living" instead of "righteousness" and we focus on being more relevant than simply reverent. We have never taken an offering and rarely talk about finances from the stage.

This doesn't mean that we water down our messages or God's word. We say what needs to be said, but make sure we say it as clearly as possible. And we choose, when possible, to look at the positive side of an issue instead of the negative. Jesus said, "Do to others what you want done to you." Interestingly enough, most religions teach, "Don't do things to people that you don't want done to you." Jesus looks at the positive side of things. We try to do the same. We have a sermon coming soon about life. We'll be talking about the joy of life and value of life. We'll spend 30 minutes talking about it and watching interviews and never once use the word, "abortion." People will get the message.

The term evangelism means good news. Most of us have heard that before, but we need to be reminded that we're bringing people some amazing hope, not eternal judgement. That's what Connections is called to do. If you're around this weekend, we'd love for you to join us. We'll be looking at how these philosophies practically play out at CX. If you can't make it in person, we're live online at 10:30 (another easy way for people to hear about Jesus). Just go to our website and jack in!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheeseburgers and Christianity

Let's say you're going to start a new church and right before you launch you're given a choice about the future of your church. You can choose one of the following, and only one.
1. Your church is going to make lots of money.
2. Your church is going to be HUGE! So many people you won't know what to do.
3. Your church is going to impact a ton of lives. Everyone will know what you're about.

Which do you choose? Obviously you want all three. Money supports missionaries, people do more ministry and reaching people is what we're all called to do. But if only one...?

We don't have the first two at CX. At least not yet anyway. Maybe one day we will, maybe not, but that shouldn't keep us from number 3. We can do great things with what we have.

This weekend we took over a couple of fast food restaurants, a Jack in the Box and a Burger King down the street. For a few hours we paid for all the meals that came through the line. The cashier would say the total, "That'll be 13.24." and we held out the money and paid. The results were very positive. It's amazing how few people complain about churches when you're buying their lunch. I wish we could do it every weekend. It was a minimal investment and made a great impact.

Lately it's been my goal to try and turn the tide on the reputation of Christians. Let's be honest, right now we're mostly known for hating gays and being hypocritcal. The only way we're going to overcome that is to start loving people and being generous. People in our cities need to see us investing our time and money in the community around us. They need to see us give selflessly without a I'll-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine mentality.

I'm proud of the church I serve with. This summer, we're doing/did free guitar lessons for a week, 2 BBQ's in the park, fixing up housing in the neighborhood behind our church, buying lunches, hosting video game nights and a few other little things. I'm praying that some of the people we hit will get hit twice and realize what we're really about. And maybe we can change a few minds and eventually a few hearts!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Honored today to baptize 6 people. 6 different individuals from 7 to 33 took the plunge and let the whole world know they were followers of Jesus. How amazing is that!

God is moving right now through Connections. This isn't something I'm feeling; it's something I'm hearing about and seeing with my own eyes. I want to overemphasize this point. I'm in no way saying that I feel God stirring in my soul. Nor am I saying that "Great things are about to happen." What I'm saying is that lives are being changed and I'm seeing it with my eyes. What I'm saying is little revivals are happening in homes around Meridian. What I'm saying is that people are changing their habits and chasing after God. I'm honored to be a spectator and see what God is doing!

Last weekend we had a men's retreat. 12 of us invested 48 hours to see if God had something to say. Ended up He did. I believe for many of us, God has left a couple of voice mails on our hearts. And when we're quiet and listen, we can hear what he's trying to say. I was so proud of our men. We had some real heart to heart stuff happening. Guys sharing stuff that "They've never told anyone." Small groups praying together. Grown men crying (I can only confirm that with my group). God was peeling away layers and sometimes years of hurt and confusion. It was an amazing time! I can say that a number of men left the mountain top changed.

I should mention this too. It wasn't all emo. We also shot zombies, played golf, grilled burgers and did the other typical guy stuff. Favorite moment: We packed 7 full sized guys in a hot tub. I was the fifth guy in and it was already spilling over the top before I added my 270lbs. When we all got out, the water level resembled more of a wading pool and less of a hot tub. Good times.

That was last weekend. This weekend, we did baptisms. I'll be posting the videos a little later, on our youtube channel (youtube.com/connectionvids) but I was proud of our guys sharing their hearts. Being vulnerable is not something very many of us are good at. The world has taught us to build our defenses and not to let anyone in. We had 5 guys get baptized. At the end of service, I offered to baptize anyone who wanted in. No one responded (which is typical). After service, a fellow "Connector" asked if she could be baptized. I asked permission to invite everyone to sit back down and watch. She was courageous and agreed! A few people had slipped out, but 90% found a chair and we baptized one more! Jeans and all! Another revival in another heart!

God is moving. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes it's just happening. I really don't care which way it shakes down. It just feels good to be in a community where people I know and love are changing. I want in! I'm praying God continues to move in the Taylor household too. I want more God! I want more Holy Spirit moments. I want more Jesus singing in my heart all day long!

"GOD! Bring us more of these little revivals! May they stir into something great, something bigger than all of us! May You rise up in this generation, in this time! I AM LISTENING!"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

God Made Yellow

This week I prepared and preached a sermon about how powerful God is. And, as we all know, He is bigger, stronger, and more awesome(r) than all of us put together. There's really no adequate analogy sizing up big God to little us. In fact, we probably shouldn't even attempt to compare the two.

God's power is not just greater than ours in value, but it's conceptually different. In order to understand this, we must first grasp our own view of power. In our world, we view power as more money or success. It means that I can do whatever I want. I can boss other people around. That's power! It means that I have riches and entitlements that most others don't have. It means you have to respect me because my bank statement has a few more numbers than yours. That's power, worldly power. "Look at what I can do! I'm building my own mansion! In fact, I'm buying my own island and designing it exactly like I want. I'm putting waterfalls in the bedrooms and jumbotrons in the living rooms. I'm hiring servants and workers and personal assistants. I can do whatever I want, because I'M ALL POWERFUL!" This is the world's view of power. It's selfish, mostly sinful and very human.

Some religions even take this to the next level. They say after you leave this planet that you will gain amazing power. You can even have your own planet or kingdom. You can have 21 virgins that you lord over. Some even teach that if you handle things right you can become a god. A god that is equal to the I AM, God. That's real power.

These are all great for daydreaming. It's fun to think about designing a castle or a company or pretty much anything just the way you want. And, that would be alot of power. But does that compare to the power of God.

No it doesn't. His ways are different than ours.

I've summed up how God's power is different in three words. I'm warning you, it will seem a little odd at first, but keep reading. Eventually it will sink in. Here comes the three words . . .

God made yellow.

Kinda odd right? How is making yellow power? Well, here's the thing, He didn't find a rainbow and pull yellow out of it. Nor did He pick up a banana and say, "We will call this, yellow." Nope, He made yellow from scratch. It didn't exist and then suddenly it was there. Then he probably made red then blue. He created the very concept of visual attributes. That is power! Creating the idea of colors! Who can do that? Do you have that sort of power? What color is your planet going to be? Green and Blue? Can't have those, God made those colors. If you're going to be all powerful, go make your own colors.

God also made the distance between two actions. The space between two moments. We call this time. God created time. It didn't exist and then it did. God lived outside of time. Like existing in a time machine that is stuck in one moment, God just was. Then, He kickstarted some universal clock and everything changed. Now we have minutes and hours and days and decades. Who else can create time? Can you do that? When you design your universe, will there be day and night and stars and moons and suns? Don't plagiarize God. If you are going to be just as powerful, make up your own . . . whatevers.

God also gave us feeling. He made things like laughter and love. He gave us compassion and desires. Let me give you a quick story.

This week, my wife and my boys came up to Connections to help us build a few things (we're currently in expansion mode). While we were working my three year old got 5 cups, filled them each with water and put a straw in every one of them. Then he put them all in a nice row on a table away from the ladders and pieces of broken drop ceiling. Then, he called us over to take a break from our laboring. I was so impressed! The cups were organized in a row and after I finished mine, he took it from my hand and asked if I wanted more! I stood staring at my curly haired young man and a mixture of emotions overcame me. I was proud of this little Taylor. There was a feeling of respect and love and excitement and probably a dozen other things in me. These are feelings that God made up for us. He designed us to feel all these things! Amazing!

Our power on the other hand is so limited. I consider myself a creative. I love to write music, paint pictures, edit videos and type blogs. But even on my brightest, most creative days; even with an unlimited budget and dozens of people to boss around; even with unparalleled inspiration, grandiose visions and detailed followthrough, I'm not really doing anything new. I'm just reorganizing what God has given us. I'm stealing his colors and notes and his words. I'm robbing the shapes and textures that He himself spoke into being. I'm simply putting them in a different order. It may be a new order for us, but rest assured, I'm just playing in the sandbox that God constructed. In the words of Carl Sagan, "If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

I'm no where close to being a god, much less God. And I never will be. His power is not only greater, but fundamentally different than mine. His simple concepts dwarf my greatest creativity (like South America dwarfs a gnat). His ways are higher than my ways. And now, it makes all the more sense why the angels spend all their time hovering around God saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty."

God made yellow. It's pretty amazing. It has changed my view of God. Before I used to tell God what to do. I had all the answers and He just needed to answer my requests. Now, I'm changing. Now I'm doing my best to answer His. And it's all because He made yellow. Honestly, I'm not really fond of the color, but I do like green and you can't get there without yellow.

postscript: this was written to go with the sermon. Just some more rearranging.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Latest On The Building . . .

We've signed the papers to expand our current storefront. We're going from 2800 s/f to over 4000. This is significant for us. I've been working with an architect to get the most milage out of a relatively small amount of space. Here are the latest plans. We're meeting again tomorrow to see if we can get a few more things squeezed in. Specifically, we need another stall in the ladies restroom and might shift some space out of the lobby and into the classrooms. Whatever we end up doing, this will be a huge shift forward for the way we worship and the way we work with kids!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Last week I had the privilege of sharing the stage with Alan Bradshaw as we unfolded both the logical and emotional reasons for belief in a Creator. There are some great resources out there to further your study on this and/or help you present to your kids the side they probably will not hear in their secular schools. Check these out. The more you know, the more it just makes sense to believe.

Institution of Creation Research  (Check out their video on Mt. St. Helens!)

'What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs?'

Creatures that Defy 
Evolution dvd series.  (These are available on netflix instant watch - possibly hulu too) 

Moody Bible Institute (These guys have great science videos) 

The Truth Project (put out by 
Focus on the Family)  

'Inherently Wind, A Hollywood History of the Scopes Trial'

'Mysteries of Creation' - super book

'Yellow and Pink' - another great book by 
William Steig (Shrek author)

Dinosaurs & Dragon Legends (A Creation Museum Collection)