Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Monday, November 25, 2013

Your Most Important Human Investment

I was reminded in several ways last week about the importance of the most sacred human relationship for most people - the relationship you have with your spouse. Especially if you are married, indulge me here with a little leeway for a story or two and I think I'll be able to help you.

Each of us is gifted the exact same amount of time every week. There are 10,080 minutes spanning every seven rhythmic days. Regardless of your wealth, health, family size, workload or responsibilities - we all get the exact same amount of time every week - not a second more or a second less.

What is particularly shocking to me is how few of those precious minutes we spend investing in our marriages. People squander time here and there, investing discretionary minutes in many areas of their lives that will yield far less of a return than if that same time were invested in their marriage. Seriously, very few things offer even a remotely similar benefit of a fully functioning, healthy, God-honoring marriage.

And yet, so few married couples actually achieve that kind of marriage.
Those who have a not-so-great marriage (which represent the majority, by the way) blame all kinds of things - incompatibility, a past mistake, their parents, their kids, their boss...

But for many (not all, but most) couples, the true source of their less-than-fantastic marriage is a lack of willingness (by one or both spouses) to give the time that is needed to have the marriage they say they want.
  • We go to school for 13 years to graduate from high school. That's an investment!
  • We go to college for 4+ years to get a degree. That's an investment!
  • We go to training to learn a skill - and continuing education to keep our skill sharp. That's an investment!
  • We practice for countless hours to learn our sport or instrument. That's an investment!
And we scratch our heads in bewilderment that our marraige is not awesome even though we only give it the leftover time, when we're tired, hungry, broke and grumpy. If it weren't so sad it would actually be funny.

But it's not. Funny, that is.

Last week, Susan and I went away together for the 3rd or 4th time this year. Just the two of us. Two days, in the mountains. Yes, it cost real money that I had to scrape to find. Yes, we left our kids at home. Yes, there was undone work on our desks. Yes, there were a thousand things we needed to do at home.

But we believe that the greatest return for our time can be found by investing it in our marriage. So we do whatever it takes to make that investment. And as a bonus, we're teaching our kids what a great marriage looks like! (Did you know that your kids will very likely have a marriage like yours because it's all they know? Would you be pleased or dismayed if your kids had a marriage like that?)

For the record, the odds were stacked against Susan and me. We were married very young (19), and we had a child 7 months later (no, she wasn't premature). And we had no money. I worked 3 jobs and went to school full time and we barely saw each other. It was a rocky start!

But some people mentored us and helped us to see that we had to invest in our marriage - regardless of the cost. We had to read books about marriage together (one every year). We had to go away together (3-4 times a year). We had to go to marriage retreats together (once a year). We had to spend dedicated time together (a date every week). We had to get tools to help us hone our skill as husband and wife.

I'll share some of those tools with you in another post this week. But right now, I'm asking you - if you are married - to find some time - no, to MAKE some time - this week to talk about your marriage and to make some plans to go away. Even if it's January before you can do it - even if that IS your Christmas gift to each other - it could be the best gift the two of you have ever given. It's the gift of a great marriage.

And the only way to have one is with time!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FIVE Things I want you to know

Hey PCC'ers!  It was a GREAT day for our church.  We're in a really great season right now.   Like the rest of our lives, our church has experienced times when we were firing on all cylinders and a few moments when we struggled.  Ups and downs are a part of life, but we savor the moments when we are on the receiving end of an extra portion of God's blessing.  This is one of those times.

Here are 5 things you need to know about PCC right now:

#1  I don't care about being a big church.  I mentioned today that last Sunday was our largest non-holiday attendance ever.  Over 1,600 people came to one of PCC's campuses last week.  And we have consistently been over 1,400 for several weeks before that.  It can seem to the casual observer that all we care about is numbers.

We do.  We care deeply about the numbers.  Every single number is a person that Jesus died for.  Every one of those people is someone God wants.  Every one of them can only find their most fulfilling life potential when they dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ.  We care about every single person because God cares about every single person.  And we won't rest until every person around us has been introduced to the Truth and is a part of the movement called the church.

But I don't care about being a big church.  I care about reaching people and guiding them to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.  If we are a big church as a byproduct of that goal, then so be it.

#2  You will never be a fully devoted follower of Jesus sitting on the sidelines.  If you are not using your gift, skill, talent and time to serve people, you are not reaching your full potential.  God didn't give you the special makeup you have so that you can use all you have for your own benefit.  In Matthew 20:28, Jesus states that he did not come to be served, but to serve others.  If you want to be like Jesus (which should be the goal if you are His follower), then you have to serve.

But there is a bonus.  Yes, there is a cost.  But the benefit is that you get to be used to change the course of someone's life.  And we get to see glimpses of those results along the way.

There IS a place for you at PCC.  And we're not interested in sucking the life out of you.  We want to use your gifts, skills, passion and talent in a way that gives life to others and is life-giving for you at the same time.

#3  We are planning to launch a 3rd service at the Powhatan Campus soon.  When?  As soon as we can do it well - but hopefully before Christmas.  We've been very crowded for the past few Sundays.  Obviously, we don't want someone to come to church and not be able to sit or sit together with their family or friends.  It's a GREAT opportunity for us to create another service and add capacity for you to invite folks to church.

This will probably make for some adjustment in our current service times to make room for a 3rd service.  We're working now with Campus Coordinators from all the ministry areas to figure it out.  This is very exciting, because it means that God is bringing people who are investigating spiritual Truth to PCC.

#4  Christmas Eve will be AWESOME!!!  We're have an  incredible Christmas Eve experience planned, with services starting at 2pm and the last service starting at 10pm.  We'll have something great for all three physical campuses, so keep your eyes open because tickets are free, but you will need to get them!

#5  You can still get a T-Shirt!

We thought that giving away shirts would be a good gift AND a good way for folks to start conversations about PCC.  We scraped together all the funds we could find and bought all the shirts we could afford.  I know we ran out and I know we didn't have every size.   If you weren't there today or if we didn't have the size that you need, you can still get one at our cost.  We don't have any more to give away, but we won't make any money on any we sell.  I'm personally going to buy a few for some folks in my family and a few friends.  You might want to do that, too.

We are setting up that link right now, and I'll have it for you in a couple of days, as soon as it's available.

See you next week!