Archive for the ‘What I’m Learning’ Category

To Do or Not To Do

Today I had the opportunity to lead our staff meeting.  What a team!  I’m so proud and privileged to be a part of the Northway Church staff.  As I prepared for the meeting I felt God speaking to me.  I’ve been so focused on what I do for the church, what I do for God.  I want to be productive.  I want to be effective.  Great thoughts and actions, but then it hit me.

What are you doing?  That’s always the question…a good one, a neccessary one.  It determines results.  Identifying what you do is definitely important.  It’s how you measure success.  It’s how you know if you’re doing a good job or not.  But I felt God asking me, “what are you NOT doing?”  I would argue that if you’re not identifying the things you’re NOT doing as well, you’re setting yourself up to fail.

Crazy to think about, but ask that question through every lens of your life:  your relationship with God, your marriage, your parenting, your friendships, your job, etc…

So what are you not doing?  What do you need to start doing?

21

07 2009

MORE!

My Sr Pastor had the privilege of being featured on LifeChurch.tv’s Online Campus today!  What an honor!  As he spoke about Peter’s experiences and the more he got to know Jesus, it really hit me that not only is there more to my relationship with Jesus – that Jesus is more than who I think He is – but that there’s more to what I do at Northway Church than what I think.  It’s easy to put my head down and push forward, but I have to remember that the impact and power of God’s word is far more, far bigger, much deeper than I think.

Today, over 22 countries were represented as people watched the message online.  Right now, there are 1870 churches representing over 1 million people taking part in One Prayer - coming together as One Church.

What a humbling experience.  I just felt like crying after our entire staff watched the online experience together in the worship area.  What an honor it is to call Northway Church my home and my job…my life.  The cool thing is…there’s more to do.  More to me.  More to God’s church.  More people to reach.  More kingdom building to do.

16

06 2009

Holy Busy Batman!

These past couple of weeks have been so busy.  Easter is right around the corner and we’re getting ready to take the Berkshires by storm.  I’m so excited, as this is the first time in a long time that we at Northway have celebrated Easter somewhere other than home…of course we’ll have our normal services on Saturday and Sunday at both of our locations, but Good Friday we’ll be at the Colonial Theatre.

At one of my many meetings this past week, my pastor asked me a sobering question…”What if this were your last chance to share the Good News?”  I of course thought the normal pastoral answer…”wow, how deep.”  But then he said, “if it were, it would change how you live and work.”  That hit me.

I have to admit, sometimes my job feels like a job, not a calling.  It’s stinkin’ hard to separate.  How do I categorize my personal and professional life with Jesus.  I battle that a lot…I bet most pastors do.

These last couple of weeks have been so busy.  I feel like everything I do, everyone I talk to, everything I plan…all of it is for the eternal investment in the lives of the people that will visit our church next weekend.  This is one of those times throughout the year that people who don’t normally go to church…will.  I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do next weekend.

What if it were your last chance to tell someone your story…the story of how Jesus changed your life?

03

04 2009

Monumental Moment – PS:

Emily wore the clothes we laid out…still the parent.

21

03 2009

Monumental Moment

Yesterday was a pretty busy day.  Started out like normal…rushing around the morning trying to get the kids ready for school in time.  I’m pretty sure that every parent deals with clothes wars with their kids.  Your kids want to wear one thing, yet you’ve already set something else out for them.  By the time they get around to putting them on and realize that they don’t want what you set out, it’s time to go.  Does anyone feel my pain?

Yesterday was no different.  5 minutes before departure, Emily had a meltdown.  I have to admit, she did well to obey…even though she wanted nothing to do with what Leah set out for her, she put it on…mumbling under her breath the whole time.  We’re firm believers that we’re the parents…not puppets.  Our kids do what we ask…they obey.  Most of the time, our kids will fight it, we hear what they have to say, then stay on mission…”mom and dad said this…that’s what you need to do…please obey.”

So Emily put up her normal fight, we held our ground…”put the clothes on Emily.”  Then she changed everything.  She came into the kitchen reluctantly with the clothes on…finally we thought.  Then she dropped to her knees and started crying.  “What’s wrong Emi?”

I don’t like these clothes…I don’t feel like me!

I didn’t put up my normal parental front…”stop crying, you’re not getting your way.”  We stopped, wrapped our arms around her and just let her get it out.  Lately she’s been asking me if she’s as pretty as girls/women on TV.  Of course I gave the standard answer…”of course you are, you’re beautiful!”  But yesterday was different.  I looked her in the eyes and told her she was beautiful…no matter what she was wearing.  It was a great moment for us.  I sat down…late for school…and took the time to let her talk it out.  It was important to her.  It made my day that she opened up.

Sometimes I get mixed up on what I should be doing as a parent.  “Don’t! Stop! Quit! Do this! Do that!  Obey!” are my normal mantras.  I can’t forget that my real job is to teach.  Yesterday was a teachable moment.  To give her the tools to handle life…that’s my calling.  If I don’t, someone/something else will.

Holy responsibility batman!  That moment was huge because it had nothing to do with clothes…it was all about inner beauty.  That was just one monumental moment…that started with clothes.  What’s the one about God going to start with?  Scares me…I want to get it right!

21

03 2009

“A Pleasant Surprise”

“A pleasant surprise”, Dr. Spooner said as we sat in the room listening to the results of Eliana’s latest echo cardiogram.  Since Eliana’s release from the hospital, the pressure gradient of her aortic valve has been doubling each visit to the doctors.  Not good.  Normal levels would be around 4, but Eliana’s number trend went all the way up to 57 six weeks ago.  The doc not only expected it to continue to increase, but pretty much said that these trends never change…maybe taper off, but following Eli’s trend, she’ll reach 70 and then internention would be needed.  We fully expected him to say that that was the case…but a “pleasant surprise” was not what we expected.

For the past 6 weeks we have prayed over her and spoke God’s power into her heart.  And low and behold, the pressure that usually doubles only increased by one point.  Bringing the gradient to 58…“a pleasant surprise.” While she is not healed of the problem, she won’t have to be checked again for 3 months.  This gives her time to gain more weight.  Which will help her when she does need the “intervention”…if she’ll need it.  Once again, the doc said that the trend should continue and we’ll be in the cath lab within her first year.

So the doc called this a, “pleasant surprise”, but I call it God’s hand working a masterpiece in my baby girl, building my faith day by day.  Its hard for me to express how I feel.  God is making his presence known in my life through my children.  I’m all choked up as I write this, because only a few days ago, I doubted.  “Did I pray enough?”  “Did I spend enough time with her?”  “Have I given enough attention to my little girl?”  “Could I/Should I have done more?”  I would have never chosen this path for my family.  But one day at a time, I know God has his hand on us.

Through all of this, I’ve met the most amazing medical staff.  Every visit brings back so many memories…so much gratitude.  I think I’ve left part of my heart at Albany Medical Center.  Every time we visit the cardiologist, we take the time to visit the NICU and  PICU. We love those nurses and doctors.  They’ve made such an investment in our family that we can never repay.

For the next 3 months I’ll enjoy each day with Eliana, Andrew & Emily.  We’ll finish up preschool, pick up their rooms countless times, change dirty diapers, ride bikes and hopefully take a trip to Alabama to visit Chad’s family.  I know that another echo cardiogram is just 3 months away, but for now I can relax because God has given us time.  My prayer is complete healing for Eliana.  And if not, I’m confident that God will walk us through whatever, “pleasant surprise” is next.

13

03 2009

The Office

What does a pastor do during the week?  The only thing people really see is what happens on the weekends, but by far the most strenuous work is done from Monday thru Friday.  All of the planning, effort, research, studying, scheduling, programming and practice happens when no one else is watching.  On a typical day, we may get visitors that want to see the church, ask questions or try and sell us something.  The same thing happens on the phones…questions about the church or again trying to sell the latest and greatest church resource.   Bottom line, it’s a pretty busy work environment.

Most of the time, when people call or visit that need help or have a question – although it’s never easy to break concentration on what you’re working on – it’s an honor and privlege to help when you can.  But, on occasion we get someone who simply wants to pick a fight under the guise of innocent questions.  You can always tell because they always preface their question or comments by this phrase, “I’d like to get your opinion on something”, or “What does your church believe about…?”  Although these conversations are so distracting, I have to be honest and say that I really like them.  I like the challenge of answering hard biblical or theological questions…ok, that was too nice, I just like having fun with people.  I was the lucky one that answered the phone and got the million dollar question this week.  Here’s how that conversation went:

“Are you a pastor?”  “Yes I am”, I answered.  Oh goody, I passed the credential test.  “What version do you use?”  I answered, “which one would you like to use?”  Nice one Chad, empower his question.   Then he asked me if John, when writing Revelation, only had the use of common language of the time in which he wrote it.  My answer, “great question, not a clue, I would assume so.  I wasn’t alive back then.”  Sweet…act dumb.  Now at this point, he really believed that he had me, he said, “Chad, I think I’m on to something here and I need your oppinion.  “Of course”, I said.  “Do you think that John, even though limited in his language back then to describe what he was seeing, was describing cloning in Revelation 13:15?”  “What do you think?”  I answered.  Nice…answer a question with a question.

Now at this point, I figured that I had spent enough time with this guy and asked what his name was and where he went to church.  He told me his name and then said that he doesn’t go to any church…not into the religion thing, just into Bible prophecy.  What a waste of brain power and time.  The longer I do this, the more I understand how mid-week distractions are one of the enemy’s best weapon.

 1 Timothy 6:20-21 says, “And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.”

 2 Timothy 2:23-24 says, “Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.”

 Titus 3:9 says, “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”

06

03 2009

What a Weekend…NC Rocks!

Get your worship on!  A taste of this past weekend:


Freedom Reigns / Healer from Northway Church on Vimeo.

I had the opportunity to speak on Anger and wrap up our series…ESCAPE!  What an honor!


Escape Part 7 “Anger Management” – Chad Clem from Northway Church on Vimeo.

24

02 2009

Lesson Learned?

During our stent in the hospital with Eliana, my mom lived here for those two months.  She borrowed our car while here.  My daddy helped out by driving his car up here for us to borrow.  After everything was said and done, my parents went home but left the car here for us.  That means we have three cars right now.  I’ve had the Taurus on the market for about a month now…no bites.

PhotobucketAbout two weeks ago, I lost the keys to the Taurus.  No big deal.  I’m not driving it and no one seems to want to buy it anyway.  Well wouldn’t you know it, somebody’s asking about the car and I can’t even show it to them.  So yesterday, I decided to take the plunge.  I had to have the car towed to the Ford place and have two keys programmed to the car.  $220 later, I have new keys.

Now, normally that would be a great ending to a frustrating story, but it gets better – or worse I should say.  Literally minutes after I get the bill for the keys, Dave – our media director – tells me he has the keys.  He found them frozen in the ice next to his car this past Friday.

Don’t have a clue as to this lesson learned for this one.  I’ve been praying that God would find those keys.  Should I have waited?  But the right thing to do, the responsible thing to do, was to get that car ready to sell.  Not a clue as to what I should have done now.  What I do know now is that I’ll pray more specifically next time.  God did answer my prayers on finding those keys, I just forgot to add in my prayer,

“God please help me find those keys, and cost me no money!”

12

02 2009

NC Rocks!

This past weekend at NC rocked!  It was awesome! Yesterday marked the 5th message in our series, Escape.  If you missed it, check it out…great recap and great message!  We’ve been learning about the trash in our lives that we need to get rid of.  God’s in the garbage removal business and has a great vision for our lives…trash free.

At the end of the service,  everyone was asked  to write down the trash they knew they needed to get rid of.  Everyone came forward.  Not one person stayed seated in each service.  It was off the chain.  People were letting the Holy Spirit guide their lives.  It was awesome.

Yesterday was also the official day to break our 21 day fast…unless you’re a slacker like me and started a week later then everyone else.  Anyway, we celebrated by taking communion together.  It was so good to remember Christ’s one act on that cross that changed our lives.  Hard to imagine where I’d be in life without that truth.  Some of my favorites from the litany of Pastor Buddy’s verses yesterday:

Romans 5:6-11 – “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”

09

02 2009