Monday, June 8, 2015

Mercy Church Olathe - A Church on the Move

(Photo taken by Professional Photographer and Mercy Church member: Whitney Box)

Wow, what a huge turn out for Mercy Church's FIRST service in Olathe! It was overwhelming to see so many people turn out, some familiar faces, as well as some new faces! Imagine that, "first time guests" coming to church in a garage, crazy cool!

Big thank you to everyone who helped make this happen! Absolutely impossible to have done it alone ... you know who you are! The Elders, Management Team, Staff, Team Leaders, all Volunteers and the entire community at Mercy Church are just amazing! Thank you for believing in me and Jana and the vision of Mercy Church to lead people to a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, without being weird about it! 

BIG NEWS: This week, Sunday, June 14 is our LAST WEEK in my garage ... we have a summer location that is going to be sweet - with A/C! We'll start meeting in NEW summer space Sunday, June 21 (Father's Day) and we'll be celebrating with a BIG HOT PANCAKE BREAKFAST (including Sausage, Eggs, Potatoes, Fruit Salad, Biscuits and Gravy and juice! Everyone is invited out! 

For purposes of food preparations PLEASE shoot me an email to let me know you are coming so I can tell the cooks how much food to prepare! Thank you!  
(Photo taken by Professional Photographer and Mercy Church member: Whitney Box)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Mercy Church in a Garage, Really?


Q: Why is Mercy Church starting in a garage in Olathe, Kansas?

A: Simple, we are starting over as a church and we want to conserve our resources. And in order to re-group we (Elders and Staff) felt we should start small and see just where God takes Mercy Church from here. Yes, it's going to be ridiculously awesome crazy at first, but this will give us an idea of just what to prepare for as we move forward.

As many of you know, Mercy Church has a 13 year history in Kansas City. Originally starting in Olathe, Kansas in 2003 as Olathe Life Fellowship, then in 2009 changed name to Mercy Church, then in 2010 moved to Prairie Village. And now June 2015 we are moving back home to Olathe ... to start all over, in a garage! But we are in good company, many a great organizations (pictured above) started in a garage, faced hardship, loss, failure, bankruptcy yet went on to change the world.

The good news is we haven't filed bankruptcy or anything, but we've fallen on hard lean times and it's only up from here for Mercy Church. I hope you will join us in the journey of Mercy moving forward!

Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand." NLT

I am sure you remember the Sunday School story of the five loaves and two fish from the little boy that were brought to Jesus? Instead of despising the boy’s small lunch, Jesus caused the small lunch to feed more than 5,000 people with 12 baskets full of leftovers! Friends, whatever you are building right now in your career, ministry or business, don't despise the day of small, humble and seemingly insignificant beginnings. (I am preaching to myself now!) Involve Jesus and allow His provision of favor, wisdom and power to multiply and grow whatever little things are in your hands. See them as your very own “five loaves and two fish” even when people around you mock and belittle you. Learn to disregard such people and lay your little before Jesus. While you and I have no power to supernaturally multiply, Jesus certainly does!

Blessings to you!

If you are interested in joining Mercy Church on this journey, here is the info?

Sunday, June 7 - 10:00 am
16272 S. Lennox St. Olathe, KS 66062
(913) 390-1200

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mercy Church is Moving to Olathe

Mercy Church is moving back home to Olathe this summer (Our first Sunday in Olathe will be June 7, 2015), the city where it all began 13 years ago on January 5, 2003! Wow, 13 years ago... gesh, I am getting old!

I don't even know where to start this blog really, so I'll just start: We moved from Olathe down to Prairie Village back in February of 2010 with hopes and dreams of continuing to fulfill the vision and mission of "leading people to a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ" ... without being weird about it! And we have reached many wonderful people, many of whom will be a part of the move back to Olathe, but we never hit stride like we intended. There have been several people over the last 6 years who have said that, "Mercy Church restored my faith in God AND the church!" And because of that how can I have regrets for the work we did accomplish down in Prairie Village. There are people and relationships that have been forged that would have never happened had we not moved.

I have pondered, as anyone would, did we miss God moving from Olathe in the first place? I mean it was going so well, why the move? I can honestly say I do not feel we missed God. And for whatever purpose God lead us to move to Prairie Village, and now He is leading us back to Olathe. Until God visits me and gives me the "whys" to all that happens in life's journey, I just continue to follow Him the best I can.

I could get into all the reasons I feel we didn't ever thrive in Prairie Village like we had planned, or like we had in Olathe, but that's all water under the bridge now. There's no point or value in coulda-shoulda-wouldas! (I do believe there are great benefits in me and the team knowing the reasons, but for the sake of this blog post it's not important for me to share them. Though I will say if you are a church planter it's critically important to know your city, it's culture, it's vibe, and especially know all the demographics.)

The bottom line for me and Mercy Church is that we (7 Elders and 4 Staff) looked at where we were, and looked at our vision and felt that we needed to move to a community that we could reach our full potential as a church community. And as they say in the business world, "LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION are the three most important things" when looking for a place to launch a business (and this would include launching a church).

If you are interested in attending Mercy Church Olathe, or being a part of the launch team we are assembling, please email me directly and I will get you in touch with the right team member for whatever opportunities you are interested in here at Mercy: tj@mercychurchkc.com

I would like to conclude this blog post by saying I am sorry for those of you who are hurt that we are moving. I am sad, and do wish we could make everyone happy. I know it's not possible, but it is still my wish.

As we prepare for the official public launch date we are assembling a Dream Team ... if you are interested in helping plant a thriving church in Olathe with a vision of leading people to a healthy relationship with Jesus without being weird, please contact us!

Available Leadership Positions:
Worship Leader
Kid's Life Coordinator
Youth Pastor
Small Group Pastor

Saturday, May 2, 2015

What Should I Do?

As a Pastor, Relationship Coach, and over-all Spiritual Adviser I am often asked, "What should I do?" in any given situation. The reality is, you can't always know just how things will turn out, especially if it's involving others. You don't know what they will ultimately do. Most people, if not all people go to the marriage altar fully committed to and believing that they will be together forever. At leasts that's the plan. I mean who, unless nutty, goes to the altar thinking, "If it lasts a year that's cool!" No, we all were thinking, "Till death do us part!" (Then when things get off course the thoughts enter of cutting the brake lines of your spouses car.)

I cried laughing at the movie This is 40, starring Paul Rudd (actually a High School friend of mine) when they talked about thoughts of killing each other and how would they do it; he said, "I'd throw you in a wood chipper!" She said, "I would poison the cupcakes ... so you would die slowly and peacefully." So funny!

All that aside, What Should I Do? is a great question we should always be asking ourselves, all through our entire life! Let's not get stuck, especially if you are in an unhappy place. Why stay in a bad place in your relationship? Why not change it up? Go get needed counseling! Do something you've never done before? Ask different questions? Ask even the tough questions you are afraid to ask.

The harsh reality is that often we don't know just how good or bad our decisions are until we are living in the results of them. Right? You think he's the perfect one, or she's the perfect one ... then 3 years later ... ugh! The annoyances! Ugh! The hard work begins! Or 3 years later you are just so thrilled about your choice of partner! That "perfect job" that seemed like a Golden Opportunity, doesn't seem so golden in 12 months, or maybe it gets even more golden. Sometimes you just gotta go for it! Jump and see if you fly or fall.

I'm currently reading a book, From Zero to One by Peter Thiel and he says that what often keeps people from achieving greatness is being too "risk-averse" meaning, scared to jump! Scared to try something new ... fear of failure. I've been there. But I've also been on the other side when you do jump, and hope to fly, but you fall. At those times, you get back up and look for another place to jump off again.

Just a side note here in case someone is reading into this post; I am not saying that if you are married and feel as though you are falling to just jump out of the relationship. As you know I am a firm believer in marriage and giving it every shot you can possibly give it before ever 'jumping off' from your commitments! Just to be clear IF you are thinking about getting divorced I highly recommend postponing it at least 3 - 6 months to work on yourself AND your relationship with a Coach, like me, or whoever to save it.

Trust me here, I work with a lot of divorcees and most of them wish they would have given it more of a shot before running the other way. There are a lot of reasons for this; no one wants to be considered a quitter. Especially if they quit without some valiant effort to fix it. But if there is valiant effort and it still ends, you will sleep better knowing you gave it a real shot! Make sense? I'm telling you this only because it will save you from so much guilt, shame, and self esteem issues!

In closing, so how can we make the best decisions when asking the question, "What Should I Do?"

1) Pray/Meditate on it. (Ask God for guidance)

2) Seek advice from friends, family, and professionals. (Those closest to you)

3) Look at the evidence. (What are the facts telling you?)   

4) Do the necessary research to get answers. 

5) Jump!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Making Long Distance Relationships Work

Long distance relationships can be difficult, and if that is your current relationship reality keep reading, I've got good news; There are a few simple things you can do to make it work and you probably already know what they are.

First, I have to say that being in a long distance relationship in this age of crazy-awesome technology is far better than back 30 years ago, like when I was dating and all we had was the United States Postal Service! Gesh, I'm old! Ha ha!


7 Things To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work

1) Trust

This is the MOST important element that must be present for a long distance relationship to work, and work well. In fact, this may be the most important element needed for any relationship to work well and be healthy. Without 'trust' there will be constant discord in the relationship. Suspicions run high in relationships where trust is not present.


2) Communication

Text, email, phone call, messenger, letters (the old fashion ones). Of course communication is important in all relationships, but especially when you are far apart it must be intentional and frequent and consistent. Never leave each other hanging!


3) Daily Updates

Now with texting, facebook, snapchat and every other social network you can keep each other updated on the little happenings throughout the day. This keeps your partner in the know with each facet of your everyday life.


4) Be quick to forgive.

No one is perfect, so give your partner a break and be quick about giving forgiveness! You will need it soon enough, so be generous in giving it!


5) Be quick to say, "I'm sorry!"

I was taught growing up we should always be quick to say, "I'm sorry" especially if and when you are the one in the wrong. Make amends! There is nothing more toxic than bitterness, or holding a grudge. Apologize when you are wrong.


6) Trust

I believe there is only one option when it comes to trust, you give it until it is broken. When it is broken, then you must rebuild to a place of trust again (if you chose to walk that road), but that may take some time. And it will definitely take some hard work, oh, and patience!


7) Trust

Refer back to #1 & #6





Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Rest for the Soul

I was speaking to someone the other day who used to be a pastor. He said he lost his family, his church and is driving a delivery truck now all because he didn't take time for himself and his family. He said, "I worked all the time, and I didn't know how to slow down or say no. I was trying to be the 'pastor' everyone wanted. I tried to be all things to all people all the time and I ended up losing myself and my family in the process."

I do not think this "busy thing" is unique to pastors. I think this is a problem we all face in culture today, especially with the use of all the wonderful technology, which is a blessing AND a curse. 24 hour connectivity is great for those who need to get a hold of you, but isn't good for the soul.


Take (1) day of rest, a sabbath - Exodus 20:8–11

It's important to have (1) day you cease from your work. Do what you love to do. On that day do only what refreshes you, builds you up, encourages you and makes you smile. Make sure to surround yourself with people who make you laugh, smile and feel good about life.

I must warn you, guard this day with your life! And invite close friends and family to hold you accountable to it. People will try to steal it from you, not intentionally of course, but it will happen. You are often the only one who can stand guard over your life, do it with all diligence! Your Soul will be glad!

I read an amazing book that touches on this topic even more, called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and I did a review here!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015 Reflection

I always enjoy Easter. It's when you can expect to see the whole church family on the same Sunday. It's like a huge "church reunion" of sorts. And this year was no different. The parking lot was full, the pews were packed, the energy was palatable, and most importantly the presence of God was powerful. Watch it HERE!

SPECIAL THANKS to all the wonderful, kind, compassionate and committed people at Mercy Church who served to make the day a success! You are the best!

Notes from Easter Message:

MEMORY VERSE: Matthew 1:21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

MAIN TEXT: Luke 23:26-43

1) God hasn't FORGOTTEN you.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 “... anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. (NLT)

2) You are FORGIVEN.

Romans 3:23-24 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (NLT)

3) God wants you to live FREE.

Romans 8:1-3 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”

4) NEW life is available through JESUS.

Romans 6:4 “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

(All Scriptures are New International Version unless otherwise noted)