Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Journey to the Sanctuary - Part 4

This is the last testimony from our Elders of their journey to the sanctuary. This is from Bob Fuzak. This will be the final blog until our vote on Sunday night. I know this journey has been hard on all of us, but as I reflect on it I am thankful that God has taken us through it.

The rest of the blog is from Bob...remember he is responding to an email from one of our faithful members...

"Great email…Thanks for asking. You make some very valid points in your email:

- It is just a name
- Unity in the body is far more important
- Tyson does have a point in that unless you have a strong reason against with more than “feelings” as in a faith based reason we in the body should trust those whom we have placed in the position to lead.
- This happened quickly and has been tough for many to process (sometimes that is how God works unfortunately – sometimes I will get the sense He says “trust me” and GO!)

When I first heard about it (the name change) I will admit I was not pleased and did not like the thought of putting all these resources (time and people) into a name change. Being a little older now and realizing I need to listen more and react less… I finished reading the whole statement for a name change – still undecided I looked at the potential logo and felt worse about it. Not a fan of the logo J

As I prayed and read the statement a few more times I realized that this name biblically describes who we are and gives me a platform to explain to the churched and un-churched who we are and what we are about. First thing out of my mouth when people ask me who CTC is, I say an E-Free church, Protestant Christian… blah blah blah. Can I change that to say exactly what I would say to describe the sanctuary? YES! However the name CTC does not reinforce or coincide what I describe who we are and what we are to become…

We are on the cusp of an amazing journey – the time is now. God is raising up this church to heal a hurting community in ways we cannot even imagine. It has been 9 Looooong years of being refined and prepared for the vision we have been given for this church. Building homes of faith transcends color, income, status, location, etc… it is bigger than ALLL of that. It is about people in need that we see and restore (through Christ) one home at time. We are to be the hands and feet of Christ and in our heart and homes is the place God dwells… I ask you is that best described by The Sanctuary or CrossTown?

Regardless of the name – 5 years we will look back at this time and say this was the time it all changed and God moved….

As I read and pray through the 30 day study, I can’t help but feel that this name is who we are. Some may leave over this and my heart breaks for them because they will miss the most amazing joy-filled journey of a lifetime, and for what? A disagreement over a name? It could be a final pruning before we set off. I pray that all of those in our body will avail themselves to the Holy Spirit seeking what He has for this body and will follow with relentless pursuit no matter the cost.

I am in that process now… I did not like the name, then liked it too much and made it too precious… now I don’t concern myself with it or the outcome. It is Him and only Him that matters. I’ll figure something out to describe who we are I am sure whether it is The Sanctuary or CrossTown and I am not leaving until He calls me elsewhere no matter what the cost – even if this place is flat as a pancake (meaning Illinois:))!

I have peace regardless and pray you will too J

God amazes me everyday – His presence is like Christmas morning EVERYDAY. EVERYBODY should get “let-go” once in their life J

If something puzzles you or does not make sense ask away – I have no agenda or desire to persuade anyone for or against a name only to ask we all pray and seek God in our decision."

Bob Fuzak

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Journey to the Sanctuary - Part 3

This is the journey for Jeff Holtz - another one of our elders. I continue to pray for us as a church that we will continue to seek the Lord. Remember these testimonies come from a letter written by one of the members of CrossTown asking the Elders to tell their journey to the potential new name. Jeff is a very personal guy so the first couple of paragraphs that he wrote were written to the recipient so I edited those out. Here is the meat of his story.

"I have been praying that God uses this time in a powerful way for our church and that each of us works through this in a prayerful and loving way and shows a lot of mercy towards one another as different thoughts are shared. We do not need to agree on everything, but I pray that we will continue to love one another even when we disagree or have different opinions/perspectives. I have seen us doing this as a church over the last few weeks which is exciting and encouraging. It is an opportunity for each of us to keep our hearts in check which I can tell you have done by your e-mail below.

I personally believe that there is not a right or wrong around preferences that people have towards the name of the church. The elders spent time praying, seeking the Lord and discussing the name change prior to making the decision to propose it to the church. We spent this time together as well as individually and all felt that this was the way that we should move forward. I personally took a short time to warm up to the name, but started to get very excited when I saw the linkage to the vision "Building Homes of Faith". Pastor Ronn shared some verses, and I Corinthians Chapter 3 really hit me. We (together) are the Sanctuary and a place where God dwells. Chapter 6 talks about us as individuals being a place where God (The Holy Spirit) dwells. The reality is that I do not want to do or be a part of anything that God is not part of or dwelling within, at church, at my home, and for me personally as I go about showing up at work day in and day out. If God is not with me or with us, it is not meaningful which is what I have come to love about the name the Sanctuary (a place where God dwells). I can share more about my personal journey when we meet if you'd like."

Hope this helps.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Does No mean I am against the Elders - Part 2

This entry is from Larry Sault our wonderful chairman. He shares his journey to the name the Sanctuary. Remember these were taken from an email that someone in our church asked each elder to share their story of how they got on board of the sanctuary. You will see in this one that he talks right away about does a "no" vote mean I am going against the elders.

"First of all, I do not necessarily interpret a “no” vote as a going against the leadership of the church. In cases where a person just has a reaction against it and won’t pray about it, or where a person doesn’t like “how” it was done and so decides to vote against it, I would say that person needs to seriously be confronted with what the Bible says about submitting to and supporting the leadership God has appointed. But I know that doesn’t apply to you in any way, shape or form. I believe God was present when the bylaws and constitution of the church were written, and there is a reason the congregation gets to vote on things like this. I know there’s a tension here – do you just vote with the elders because they are your leaders or do you vote what you really think (after praying and seeking God) even if it is not in line with the elders? But remember, you have the Holy Spirit in you just as much as I do – so pray and go where God leads. Frankly, I continue to pray that the church will become unanimously excited about this name change – God can still do that!

As for my personal journey, I can frankly say I wasn’t excited about the concept of changing the name when it was first presented to me over Christmastime (before anyone proposed the name “The Sanctuary”). I felt that if we were to change our name God would reveal when and to what during the course of our leading in the new vision. But then Ronn gave his first message on the new vision at the start of the year, and emphasized that our church, our homes and each of us as individuals are God’s sanctuary, and we are to go out from there to reach others. After that the proposal to change the name to The Sanctuary was brought to the elders. I still was not super excited about it because my initial thought about “sanctuary” was as a place of refuge to get away from the world. But if you examine the Bible, God’s sanctuary is in the midst of His people, and we are to go out from there to impact the world. The people of Israel, with God’s sanctuary in their midst, went out to take hold of the promised land. And according to I Corinthians God dwells in the midst of our church and our homes, and He dwells in us as the Holy Spirit – and what are we to do? Go out and give glory to Jesus and His gospel! We hashed all this out at a meeting in mid-January, and that’s when I got it; a home of faith is a home where God is present and a home that reaches out to others in love. This, combined with the fact the a name like “The Sanctuary” certainly will be a conversation starter with people I meet, convinced me that it is the right thing to do. I don’t mind the name Crosstown Church, but I can’t get excited about it like I can “The Sanctuary”. When we decided I actually wanted to move a bit quicker than the other elders – fortunately, they calmed me down a bit!

That’s my story in brief – I hope it helps. If you want to know more, just ask!"


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Journey to the Sanctuary

The elders recently received a great email from someone in our church asking each one of us to tell them our journey to affirming the potential new name "The Sanctuary." As I read the elders responses I thought it would be great if all of you could hear some personal testimonies of why the sanctuary and what it means to each one of here is the first one - it is from Mike Willer.

"I will share with you some of the ways God has worked in me as I have prayed about this. I was initially opposed to changing the name as I think nearly everyone was. It is part of our human reaction to change. Personally, I had no issues with the name Crosstown Church, and my initial response to the notion that our name doesn't reflect who we are is that neither does Willow Creek Church or Saddleback Church. It is not the name that defines a church, but rather the people. I was concerned too much importance was being placed on the name.

However, I knew that God had laid this on the hearts of the staff, so I intentionally laid aside my human reactions and opened my heart to the concept. What I found is that God used my own argument that our name is not important and turned it around on me. He confirmed in my heart that since the name is not who we are, I should not hold tightly to it just because that's what it has always been.

In fact, as I think about it even now, I am reminded that names in the Bible were changed occasionally, and it was always to commemorate something significant. The examples that come to mind are Saul to Paul and Jacob to Israel. That affirms it for me even more because I believe this is a significant time in the history of our church. The elders have felt it for some time and talk about it often. We know we are on the verge of something big. We're not entirely sure what it is, but God is already moving in our body and in our community. We know we will look back on these past few months and realize it was a crucial time for us and a launching point for what God is about to accomplish -- even and especially without a building of our own. As we strive to follow His lead, using the vision that He has given to Ronn as a guide, this is the perfect time to commemorate the start of something big with a name change. The Sanctuary is a name that signifies who we are (the dwelling place of God) as well as what we are not (a church that is all about a permanent building).

One point someone brought up at the meeting was that his friends did not go to church and did not know the Bible, so telling them that he went to the Sanctuary would sound more heavy and churchy than Crosstown Church. I have the opposite reaction when I hear that. For those people, the opportunities to hear about the Word are limited, and telling them you go to the Sanctuary lends you a perfect opportunity to explain what it means. You can dispel the idea that a sanctuary is a big marble building where they wouldn't want to go, and tell them what the Bible says a sanctuary is. This is how God reaches the lost, and something as simple as a name change can create those opportunities to have the conversation.

Another thing that God has made clear to me is that no decision of ours either way is going to make or break His ability to accomplish His purpose. Whether our neighbors come to know Him or not, whether our church grows or not, whether the community is impacted or lives are changed -- it is all out of our hands. He can do His work with or without us and in spite of what we do or what we call our church. Thankfully, He has offered us the incredible opportunity to join Him in His work. It is our heart's desire to do just that, and we feel strongly that the Sanctuary fits so well with the vision, with who we already are as a church, and with our conviction that God is dwelling among us and is moving in a mighty way toward something great.

It is true that we can carry out the vision of building homes of faith without a name change as you suggested. That's exactly what we will do if our congregation does not support this proposal. You should feel comfortable to vote your heart after surrendering any personal convictions that may hinder you. I don't believe you are going against the leadership if you vote against this proposal. My encouragement to you is to examine, no matter which way you vote, the motives of your heart. Jesus is always more concerned about that than the actual outcome.

Thank you for seeking us out and for being genuinely interested in our own hearts on this matter. I will pray that God gives you and everyone else clear guidance and a peaceful spirit as we all seek to follow Him."

Blessings to you and your family,


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the Sanctuary

This is my first real blog entry in writing. I am not a very good writer but I will do my best. I don't know if this is the right thing to do but I want get after the "the" in "The Sanctuary". Some may think this is small...but to some this has become an important word in our possible new let me try to make a quick response.

2 Cor. 6:16 says, "What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. as God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'"

Here in Scripture we do see the "the" being used. The context is in comparing the dwelling place of God to other idols. The text is referring to the Church (worldwide - so thankful we are not alone). The reality is there are other sanctuaries out there. There are spas and resorts, there are bird baths and other places that call themselves a sanctuary, but the Church is the only true sanctuary. Do we want to communicate that? Do we want people out there to know that the church is The only Sanctuary? I think it is important that we are distinct from the world and having the word "the" may communicate that to some. Personally, I don't think "the" is going to really communicate that, but maybe there are those out there (there are obviously some in our church) where the "the" is important.

Now, obviously the comment made about "the" is in the context of other churches. Are we communicating to all the other churches that we are the one and only sanctuary? No! In our logo the "the" is small compared to Sanctuary. I think that represents that the "the" is not that big of a deal. My brother is a pastor at "The Chapel". Are people out there thinking they are the one and only chapel - how arrogant? I don't think so. My Dad goes to a church called "The Orchard". My friend pastors a church called "The Edge' The reality is there are a bunch of churches called The Chapel, The Orchard, and even The Edge and they certainly are not THE one and only.

Personally, I think the way we live will communicate our heart much more. I think the way we love will communicate our heart for a lost and dying world and the way we serve will demonstrate that we KNOW that we are not the only fact every follower of Jesus is a sanctuary, and is part of the sanctuary.

Coming soon...If I vote "no" am I rejecting my Elders...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Sanctuary Video

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fearless: John 13 - John 14:4

What a powerful challenge we have beginning in this sermon series "FEARLESS".

As we begin to reflect on the sermon series, in this post, please share initial reactions, challenges, and what you're taking away from this series. More blogs to come and more discussions to be had. We look forward to hearing your hearts!

After reading John 13:1-30 ...

1. Jesus knew Judas had already purposed in his heart to betray Him. What can we learn about being fearless from Jesus’ decision to wash Judas’s feet?

2. In verse 12 Jesus asks, “Do you know what I have done to you?” What did Jesus do to them? What has Jesus done to you?

After reading John 13:31- John 14:4:

Consider a time that you were lost - you didn't know where you were going. Were you scared? Were you alone? Did you panic or stay calm?

Now - if you have mentored someone, or know of someone who has, consider how it felt to train them and then watch them leave. Did they succeed? Do you think they will ever come back for advice?

3. NOW - How do you think Jesus felt when He said, “Where I am going you can not come?” How do you think the disciples felt? (remember they had spent every waking moment with Jesus for the past 3+ years)

Have a blessed week!