What’s in a Name?

The Real Reason Why We Chose Mars Hill As Our Name

When someone asks, “what’s the name of the church you pastor” and I respond, “Mars Hill,” three things happen:

  1. A blank stare
  2. They ask: “Are you affiliated with the church that disbanded in Seattle, WA?” (NO! We were Mars Hill before they were)
  3. They ask: “Are you affiliated with Rob Bell and the church in Grand Rapids, MI?” (see #2)

History makes one’s life richer by giving meaning to the origin.  It broadens one’s outlook and enables one to grasp an understanding of one’s being by shedding light on its past.  Since it is Black History Month, I would like to share the history behind why we chose Mars Hill as our name.

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Athens, Greece | Photographs of Mars’ Hill, Acropolis

The Origin of our Name

The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the “Hill of Ares” or Mars Hill.  It is located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens.

In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens.  It is known as the location where Ares was supposed to have been tried by the Gods for the murder of Poseidon’s son, Alirrothios.  Also, the hill was said to be the site for the trial of Orestes, for killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, his stepmother and her lover.

In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders, in the city, and were much like the Roman Senate.  Similar to the Senate, its membership derived from those who held high public office, in this case that would be the Archon.  In 462 BC, Ephialtes put forth reforms, which deprived the Areopagus of mostly all its functions, except the murder tribunal.

At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers would find shelter, in an effort not to face the consequences of their actions.  Near the Areopagus, the Basilica of Dionysius Areopagites was constructed.  The basilica was a rectangular building used as a town hall and law courts.  It was used in the Christian period and served as the blueprint for early churches.

Don’t Settle for Average When You Can Be Awesome

Do you really want to be like everybody else?

Everybody else takes their cues from everybody else. Being like everybody else just makes you average—worried, in debt, bored, and dissatisfied with what you have. Historically, the way we measure standards is based on the average….from school to work, we’ve been conditioned to see what the average is and then strive to be average, like everyone else. But why should we sell ourselves short? Why should we settle for average when we can be awesome?

Averge to Awesome

Why Blogging Makes Me Better (and you too)

The Top 10 Reasons Why I Blog

Imagine a life without hobbies. I can’t.

Hobbies are often thought of as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. However, people with full, busy, even stressful lives may need hobbies more than the average person, and benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives. Hobbies bring many benefits that usually make them more than worth the time they require, according to Stress Management Expert Elizabeth Scott.

I have a few hobbies but none of them have changed my life or brought me as much satisfaction as blogging. In almost too many ways to count, it has changed me and the way I live my life.

In fact, I love blogging so much that I regularly recommend it to others. I started blogging because writing in a journal wasn’t very appealing. But somewhere along the line, my journaling became less about me writing the story and more about the story changing me.

why blog question handwritten on the school blackboard

I started blogging “unofficially” on MySpace as a hobby (remember them). Now it’s a vital part of my professional portfolio. I write on personal development, leadership, finance, relationships, inspiration, and motivation.

Welcome to Rewind Live Streaming

At Mars Hill, “we become all things to all people that we may win some to Christ.”

Therefore, we decided a long time ago to use technology as another tool to help people find their way back to God.  Before you write me off as a heretic, Christianity was, in a very real sense, the first technologically driven religion.  You can read more about it HERE.  

Welcome to Live Streaming

With Facebook’s newest feature Facebook Live, you can start a Live broadcast that’s posted to the News Feed, watch comments overlaid in real-time on their stream, and then make the recording permanently available for viewing.  I’m using Facebook Live to review the previous Sunday message and live stream a video devotional.  I’m calling it Rewind.

Rewind

REWIND is a live stream (Facebook Live and Periscope) designed for us to look back to Sunday’s message and allow God’s Spirit to prompt us in areas that need to change in our lives (before we shelve the thoughts in the archives of our mind).

Rewind Live Stream

There are three sections to it:

  1. Recall: a quick blurb about the big idea of the previous Sunday message along with links to the audio/video/transcription of the message (in case you missed it or want to go back to it),
  2. Reflect: some key questions to digest as a group, family, or individual, and
  3. Respond: action steps that might be helpful to pursue a healthy change in our daily lives.

I’m inviting you to find a quite place and subscribe to my Facebook Profile or follow me on Periscope.

You Can’t Have It Both Ways, It’s Either All or Nothing

New Message Series For 2016

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase, “I’m All In or All or Nothing?”

Originally and still a poker metatphor, ‘all in’ has also come to mean a situation whose subject is unreservedly involved, without qualification. Fully committed. In this sense the term “all in” is almost the same as its denotative opposite, “all out,” as in all-out warfare.

When many people think of church membership, they may think that it just means their name is on a roll at a church. And in some churches it means you were baptized or dedicated at that church. But it’s actually much more than that.

ALL OR NOTHING

It’s about an attitude, not an action.

In my new message series for 2016, I’m laying out the basic principles for what it means to be “ALL IN.”

  • All In
  • It’s Not About me…It’s All About Him
  • In Order to Go Up, I Must be Prayed Up.
  • As For Me and My House, It’s Settled.
  • Sit or Serve…It’s a Choice

Why waste your life when you can make something of your life? If you wait, life will probably pass you by. But if you go out and do the things you want to, take the risks you fear, you may just find that everything falls into place. Join us each Sunday in January at the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago at 8 AM or 10:30 AM. It’s a safe place to hear a dangerous message.

Question: What would it take for you to be “All In” in 2016 Share your answer on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Why You Should Be Working on Your Dream NOW!

Living in Chicago is, as Charles Dickens says in the Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

It is the best of times (at least for Christians) because there’s a dark political, moral, and corrupt cloud hovering begging for light (Matthew 5:13-14).  It is the worst of times because we’re witnessing some activists, politicians, glory-seekers, and even preachers/pastors clamoring for the spotlight to build their platform. It’s sickening.

Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action, concept, tags on the table.

Watching this tragic drama unfold reminds me of Tony Gaskins’ quote:

If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

According to this quote, if don’t wake up and begin pursuing your dreams, someone will recognize your abilities and recruit you to help build theirs. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong, improper, or illegal about helping others fulfill their dreams, remember God has something He wants you to accomplish that only you can accomplish.

However, it’s possible to work on both at the same time. Everyone has the same thing in common: 24 hours in a day. Since time is passing, why wouldn’t you be working, at least, part-time, on your dreams.