Saturday, February 28, 2009

truenorth up north

So I posted the wrong article from this weekend's Decatur newspaper. This is the one I really meant to share:

A new stage: Forsyth's TrueNorth Church brings worship to movie theater

By SHEILA SMITH - FORSYTH - Pastor Steve Davis sat inside the large theater in Hickory Point Cinemas.

He wasn't there to watch a blockbuster movie on the giant screen. Instead, the pastor from North Augusta, S.C., was making sure everything was in place to launch his new church, TrueNorth, inside the theater.

The first public worship service will begin at 9:33 a.m. Sunday.

"My wife and I recognized the need for the style of church that we created - one that is seeker-friendly, not as many barriers with clothes and stained glass windows, and have an environment for people that was easy to come into," said Davis, 44, who launched his nondenominational church inside a South Carolina high school in 2004.

He started out with a handful of couples and has since seen the church grow to 600 members. He opened a second TrueNorth church campus in Augusta, Ga.

Instead of the traditional church building and hymns, you'll hear secular music playing at the beginning of worship, such as "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi or "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles, Davis said.

TrueNorth Church in Forsyth will be Davis' third launch but the first in a theater.

Renting space at theaters is a growing trend nationwide.

One major chain, National CineMedia, which manages 1,400 theaters nationwide, said it rents space to about 200 churches.

"These are multimillion dollar buildings, and it's great for the churches because of the low cost," said Barry Brown, director of worship services for National CineMedia.

Brown observed that most theaters sit empty on Sunday mornings, and he said there's an increase every year in the number of churches renting them.

Carmike Cinemas, which owns Hickory Point Cinemas in Forsyth and Strand 10 Cinemas in Decatur, also has been in the business of renting space to churches.

Last November, the Rev. B.K. Smith started Harvest Bible Chapel at the Strand 10 Cinemas.

That first Sunday service brought out 150 people to the movie theater, Smith said, and since then, an average of 110 people have come to worship.

"I didn't know what to expect, but now people know we are there. One lady came up to me and said she felt safe coming to the theater. She told me how she felt uncomfortable going inside a church," he said.

Smith said it's not about a building but winning souls and bringing the unchurched to God.

"If you are an unbeliever and never went to a church, it's like you need to know some secret handshake, but we get rid of all that. Now what used to be unbelievers are coming and inviting their unbeliever friends."

TrueNorth's Davis said he found that offering a different church setting tended to draw in more of the unchurched.

Because his church sites are portable, with no debt or mortgage payments, there is flexibility to open up more sites in the near future.

National CineMedia's Brown called this the multisite movement, with some churches choosing to be in multiple locations across the country.

Davis grew up in Mount Zion, and he finally has the opportunity to open up a church in his home state.

His sermons will be recorded and, through a digital stream, downloaded on the Internet and played on the big screen at the Forsyth theater.

His brother, Shane Davis, will be leading the worship service, which includes a live praise band.

Shane Davis, 38, is the former youth pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church.

He admitted he is pumped and excited about using the Hickory Point theater to serve God.

"I will be the pastor of this church, doing all the pastoral duties on site. And Steve will teach and bring the message," he said.

Both brothers agree it's not about where a person worships but who they worship.

"Jesus said you come to worship me in spirit and truth. And the theater becomes our sanctuary, it becomes a place where God's people come together, and as we worship him, his spirit presides," Steve Davis said.

"It's a beautiful thing."

Friday, February 27, 2009

a pain in my neck

So I survived my thyroid biopsy today. During the procedure, as the doctor punctured my neck with a needle three times, I found a spot on the ceiling and focused on it. I tried to think of something to take my mind off the needle and my neck, but all I could think of were the vampires from the Twilight series.

My discharge papers indicated the following instructions. I added my own interpretations:

1. Rest quietly for the remainder of the day
Translation: I must take a very loooong nap.

2. DO NOT operate appliances.
Translation: I must not do any cooking, laundry, or vacuuming the floors. I must order take-out.

3. DO NOT make any legal decisions today.
Translation: I should not respond when someone yells "MOM! They pushed me!"

4. You may resume your normal diet after the procedure.
Translation: I must drink milkshakes all day long. No fruits or vegetables allowed.

Maybe biopsies aren't so bad after all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

philippians 4:6-7

On Friday morning I will be having a biopsy on a "thing" on my thyroid gland. My doctor wants to find out if this "thing" is a good "thing" or a bad "thing". I am definitely not looking forward to having a needle-stabbing in my neck. But surprisingly I am not very nervous at all about the procedure or the outcome. Maybe because my Googling has taught me that the odds are on my side even if this "thing" is bad. I think my peace has come mostly from the prayers of my friends and family. I know that someone, somewhere, has prayed specifically that I would have "the peace of God that surpasses all understanding". I just know it. That can be the only explanation why I'm not freaking out over this like I normally would.

Have you ever had an experience when you could actually feel prayers on your behalf? It's better than any anxiety pill on the market.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

got my shimmy on

I tried something new this morning. Although I had a sneak peek at belly dancing during a women's retreat this past weekend, an hour-long Belly Rok class was a whole different story. The instructor, Nanani, makes belly dancing look so easy and sensual. I make it look awkward. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, I caught a glimpse of myself in the wall-length mirror and realized I had a long way to go. But just like everything else, practice makes perfect! I will not give up on it because it is a great hips and abs workout...and the coin skirts are just too darn cute!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

i dare ya

Not only am I blogging for 40 consecutive days, Alan and I are also reading the Love Dare devotional guide for married couples. We are being challenged for 40 days with a daily "dare" that is scripture-based. For us it is a marriage reinforcement, for others it could be the tool that puts their troubled marriage back on track.

The Love Dare book was birthed out of the movie Fireproof, which we watched with our journey team a couple of weeks ago and is the subject of our group study for six weeks. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually liked the movie. It had a great storyline with some surprising twists. My heart went out to the husband (Kirk Cameron) as he decided to stop fighting WITH his wife and to fight FOR her. He decided to do things for her that went against his human desire. But it wasn't until he accepted Christ in the midst of the struggle that he had what it took to win her back.

If you're looking for a movie to put in your Blockbuster or Netflix queue, go ahead and add Fireproof. I dare ya! Make it a date night. You might need some tissue to go with that popcorn, but in the end isn't your marriage worth it?

Monday, February 23, 2009

40 days of blogging

I have totally ignored my blog for quite some time. I appreciate the comments I have received from friends telling me to get back on the blogging wagon. Besides being super-busy, another thing that has distracted me from writing and reading other blogs is Facebook. If I have the urge to say something, I can just throw out a one-line status update instead of taking the time to blog. But I have missed it big time! That is why I have decided to start a 40 Days of Blogging spree. Thanks to Alan Jones for giving me the idea. I am going to post at least once each day for 40 days. I don't like making commitments like this, but I see it as a challenge. There is no telling what is going to come out of this. But I hope it will open my eyes back up to the stories and thoughts God puts in front of me each day!

Hang on for the ride! 39 days left!