You’re invited to celebrate with us this Easter at the Mars Hill Baptist Church of Chicago.

No matter your background, you will find a warm welcome, uplifting music, children and youth activities, and a clear, relevant message. Watch this quick video to learn about what we have planned for you this Easter.

When you’re finished watching the video, click THIS LINK to win a $100 gift card (who says Christmas can’t come early).

New series beginning this Easter

 

You haven’t finished your life story. What will you do with the blank pages? The choices you make today will lead you one way or another—but when you know who to trust, you’ll always be headed in the right Direction. In this series, you will discover how to See It. Say It. Seize It.

What To Do When Facing Dark Days and Sleepless Nights

What happens when you combine trust, faith, and hope?  They produce grit.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.”

In light of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas Police Officers, I decided to tweak this definition to be the ability to keep going despite setbacks, even when your efforts are not rewarded.  Grit is what you need when facing dark days and sleepless nights.

Grit (1)

Have You Experienced Our OnDemand Worship Services?

If Netflix, Comcast, and Apple TV can offer programs, why can’t the church do likewise?

Our journey to live streaming began with the aforementioned question.  Offering OnDemand Worship Experiences allows busy adults to come together to worship and learn God’s word. We think of it as a strategy for busy adults to grow spiritually.  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW.

I Had These Friends

What’s your story when it comes to relationships? Who are your friends? Whether you’re 2 or 72, it’s all about who is influencing your life.

So often, when someone’s life heads down the wrong path, they can look back to where it started to go wrong and say, “I had these friends…” God wants us all to move from “I had these friends…” to “I have these friends…”

The right friends in life take us to the right places. And they help our lives down the right path. Where do you find “I have these friends…” kind of friends?

I Had These Friends

You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

Let’s Light It Up

To demonstrate the impact these people would make on their world, Jesus used two common illustrations: salt and light. Jesus’ followers would be like salt in that they would create a thirst for greater information. A light is meant to shine and give direction. A concealed lamp, placed under a bowl (a clay container for measuring grain) would be useless.

Let's Light It Up

We are called to light up the world! Light, by nature, penetrates darkness.

Are you ready to ‪#‎LightItUp‬?  You can CLICK HERE to see what’s available NOW and invite a friend to worship OnDemand.

‪#‎Invite‬

‪#‎Share‬

‪#‎digitaldisciples‬

How to Make The Sermon Stick Past Sunday

Give Me 10 Minutes and I'll Show You a Strategy That Will Keep Your Congregation Talking About Your Sermon Beyond Sunday

Leading a church in Chicago, IL is tough.

It’s even tougher during our brutal winters. So what does a pastor to do when the temperature dips below zero, and the wind chill factor dips to double digits? Cancel service? Oh no! We’re the City of Broad Shoulders, and we don’t dare cancel services due to inclement weather.

Imagine making your sermons stick past Sunday? Imagine a proven strategy to get members and guests engaging with your messages long after Sunday. Are you interested? If so, read on.

Hand holding tablet with Live Streaming word on wood table ,Internet marketing concept..

My generation experienced the election of the first African-American President, the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, Desert Storm, Iraq War, historic government bailouts, the passing of healthcare reform, and the greatest economic downturn since The Great Depression. However, in my opinion, the greatest shifts are happening now!

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.

mars-hill-01

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.

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.

What to do When There’s Bad Blood

Mars Hill Mobile App
November 15, 2015

Bad Blood is defined as having unpleasant feelings or animosity between people.

No matter how badly you want peace, there are some relationships that may never be fully restored. But doing this one thing can help you find peace about any relationship.

Bad Blood

Photo Credit: Twibbon

If you’ve ever experienced “Bad Blood” in a relationship and want to know what to do, find a quite place and listen to “Bad Blood.”   You will laugh, think, and come away with a solid strategy. You can CLICK HERE to listen NOW!

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

#PrayFirst | Day 8

Pray for F.O.C.U.S. (Follow One Course Until Successful)

Welcome to Day 8 (the FINAL day) of our #PrayFirst Campaign!

For One Week, we will pray for One Minute every hour about One Topic as One Church to One God! Pray for the first 60 seconds of every hour and watch God bless the other 59 minutes! There is power when God’s people pray in unity. Join us as we answer Jesus’ prayer “May they be ONE” (John 17:21).

Copy of #PrayFirst Focus

If you’d like to know more about our #PrayFirst Campaign you can:

  1. Click HERE to read the overview
  2. You can read our Day One Devotional on Faith HERE
  3. You can read our Day Two Family Devotional HERE
  4. You can read our Day Three Finance Devotional HERE
  5. You can read our Day Four Facilities Devotional HERE
  6. You can read our Day Five Fulfillment Devotional HERE
  7. You can read our Day Six Family Devotional HERE
  8. You can read our Day Seven Devotional on Finishing Strong HERE

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves…Really?

Although it sounds great, it’s not in the Bible.  No matter how good it sounds, if we demonstrate some effort to improve, God will give us a little push in that direction.  So we decide to make it by sheer willpower and discipline.  The problem is, we run out of steam and lose focus.

Next year, millions will make and break resolutions because they’re trying to solve a spiritual problem through earthly means.  The challenge we all face is that we want to be transformed.  However, we tend to look within ourselves for the solution.  The solution resides outside of ourselves.  The solution is God.

Transformation is a problem that we cannot solve.  That’s why God sent Jesus!  Apart from him, we can do absolutely nothing!  In Galatians 3:3, Paul reminds the Galatians that God has given them His Spirit and with this – combined with their faith, they can make it.

Who Does God Help?

God doesn’t help those with themselves.  God helps those who abide with Him and those who walk with Him in faith (John 15:1-5).  Our efforts were never the impetus for God’s transforming grace.  Nor will they be the impetus for our changed hearts.

The Bible says that we are justified by faith.  We don’t need willpower or self-effort as much as we need faith that God will accomplish in us and for us what we can’t do ourselves.  He is the source of what we long for and need.  Willpower and self-effort can only take us so far in our desire to change.

What’s The Point?

 Change is Possible

Focus is Required

Dependence on God is Foundational

Focus requires discipline. As the famed personal finance guru Robert Kiyosaki defines it: Follow One Course Until Successful.

follow-one-course

Prayer of F.O.C.U.S (Follow One Course Until Successful)

Lord, right now, eliminate all distractions for the time it takes me to complete my priorities. Help me to turn off the wifi, silence cell notifications, and schedule F.O.C.U.S. time with you. Help me to stay on task and Follow One Course Until I’m Successful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.