In preparing for the Refuel series, during the series, and all the way up to Easter, Pastor Doug Fields shared his heart, thoughts, and random musings. Below you’ll be able to read his daily blog postings, including feedback from people who were a part of the Refuel journey, what they thought of the series, and how it impacted their lives. Pastor Doug also shares photos, poems, and e-mails from Saddleback members, as well as personal anecdotes from his own life, and so much more. We’re excited you’re going to take part in the Refuel study and we hope it results in spiritual renewal in you, your small group, your friends, your church, or whoever is taking this journey with you!
He is risen...
If you didn't get to hear Pastor Rick's message... watch it on-line... get the CD. Such a strong, clear presentation of God's plan for humanity.
I've honestly been a little surprised at how much people are enjoying getting the text and/or Twitter reminders to make a refueling connection with God.
Here's another email to share:
I know you probably won't get this email but I just need to tell someone how God is always with us and definitely worthy of our praise. So I just finished lunch, and went to start my car. At the very same nano second I got a text saying, "God is worthy of praise". I have lots of praise music on my ipod and as I turned the car on my ipod started playing. The song on my ipod. "You are worthy of my praise". I almost started to cry, got the biggest goose bumps and smiled.Praise God
I just had to tell someone. Praise God and thank you for the text messages and all Saddleback does to let us all know how worthy he is of praise... We are all blessed to have God 1st and Saddleback to continue to remind us of Him.
From an attender to our Sunday night FUSE crowd:
Have you ever been “forced” to do something you just didn’t want to do? What about getting forced into something and realizing it was just what you needed? I’m a very stubborn person and I hate being forced to do something I didn’t think of doing myself. What’s even worse is when you realize that the decision that was made is better for you in the long run. God can be that for us sometimes and as much as we don’t want to admit it, He knows what’s best. In His word He talks about having a friendship; a loving, deep and personal relationship with Him. If we’re honest with ourselves we really don’t know how to have one either but He’ll teach us if we spend time with Him. That’s why these messages on Refuel are so important to our spiritual health and relationship with our Father. I’m definitely not an expert on this, in fact most recently I’ve been struggling with guilt, comparison, busyness, just being empty.
Here’s the story: I was busy. Busy with work, busy with ministry, busy with family and friends and I didn’t have time for God or myself. I was miserable. If any of you have been reading Refuel I was exactly the woman that Doug talks about in Chapter 3 expect instead of blowing up with obscenities I’d cry because of stress. I literally cried everyday and I blamed it on my job. I started praying about it and I asked God to move me if the job that I was in wasn’t right. I told God that He’d need to move me somewhere because I had no clue as to what was next. Well, I didn’t think that He’d actually do it but He did. (Be careful what you pray for). Not that long after I started praying that prayer I was told that I was switching departments. It was everything that I had hoped would happen except for two things: 1) I didn’t make the decision myself and 2) the job was less hours. I let those two reasons consume my thoughts for the whole weekend and I was nervous going into my “new job” the following Monday.
Since the move I’ve been adjusting to this less stressful and less busy life and I’ve got to admit that it’s been hard but rewarding. Hard because I find myself having to choose what to do with my extra time but rewarding because I’m developing a deeper relationship with my Creator. In the next couple weeks I ask you all to join me on this journey as we learn to stop, be quiet and make a connection. I hope that it brings you closer to the God who would do anything for you. I pray that it doesn’t get as drastic as my story. Thank you for letting me share.
About 10:30 Sunday night I'm driving home from FUSE (the 7th service of the weekend)... beat tired from a long weekend and my son calls me and says his car died. How's that for timing? The famous 1990 Buick LaSabre (maroon) that was the marquee car and the inspiration behind the Refuel series died at about the same time that I finished the 3 week series. He had to push it into a parking spot and we got it towed yesterday. Still trying to find out if it will be worth the repair. May be time to retire the car at the same time the series ends. Interesting timing.
What are your thoughts? Were they helpful? Leave comments and let us know if we should continue with the texting and Twittering.
I got this email from a teenager in our HS ministry. Sharp kid... loves Jesus. Adults have a lot to learn from kids who walk their talk... let's learn together.
Thanks for your message last week. It really caused me to look for ways to connect to God that I hadn't done before...here are some of them:
at the gas pump - instead of watching the numbers go up, i reflected on the day and talked to God and just listened to Him. I found many moments like this where all I did before was blankly stare at something or clue out instead of make use of the time. at the pump, waiting in the drive thru, waiting for someone to pick me up, driving, walking, etc.
reading the Bible like a book instead of trying to dissect it and take away a cute little application to my life every time I read it. Letting the whole story of God and His character sink into my life instead of trying to grab cliche lessons for myself. Learning about God and letting Him speak to me instead of the other way around. After awhile of taking something away for myself every time i read the Bible, i felt weird and a little greedy. In my normal conversations with best friends, i don't go into it expecting to experience some big revelation every time. Most of the time, it's just being with each other and enjoying each others' presence. I think we miss that in our relationship with God. We want something for ourselves every time we meet with Him. We expect something big to happen every day and we forget about enjoying God and enjoying being in His presence. We have to learn to forget about ourselves and our own lives and shift that to learning more and enjoying more about God.
I also worshiped God in 3 new ways this week:
the great taste of food/drink
sound of the natural world
beauty of everyday life when you look for it
Here's an email that I recieved from a small group:
Our small group is enjoying Refuel a lot!! One of our members has written the attached poems that I thought you might be interested in reading.
The quiet, so peaceful
The quiet is You
The quiet so restful
So special to hear you
Amid the noise and pressure
And stress of everyday
I still hear you and feel
You but you seem so far away…
In the quiet, the stillness
I can listen for your Voice
And hear you more clearly as
We talk without the noise.
You tell me things I need to hear,
You calm me as I pray
You heal my heart and show me things
That help me on Your way
Thank you for your quiet
Your voice I treasure most
The quiet, so powerful
The Quiet is You.
Come and Sit
Come, sit with me awhile
Come and feel me smile
The world has lots for you to do
But isn’t it more fun
Just us two?
I hear the voice of God now, going round and round
He speaks to me so clearly that I hear each and every sound
He loves me as I’m waking each and every day
It’s in His love I think of those oh so far away.
Those that have no voice and those that have no hope…
I hear his gentle whisper and want to let them know..
That as much as He loves me and I can feel His love,
He loves them so much more than I can dream of
In each and every little face
There is His breath of life
Oh please—don’t miss His whisper
Because you’ll miss your Life.
Your life in Him’s eternal
Your life in Him renewed
In each and every whisper
Feel your heart renewed.
And he says:
Can’t you hear me whisper? Can’t you hear my voice?
Can’t you hear me whisper? Can’t you hear my voice?
Can you hear me whisper? Can you hear my voice?
Can you hear me whisper? Can you hear my voice?
Come and sing my song with every little voice
Come and feel His whisper
Come and hear my voice…
Oh gently in your ear
go and tell and show His love
for everyone to hear.
Oh please don’t miss His whisper
--His voice to you so strong
He shouts so loud from heaven
-can you hear His song?
So please don’t miss His whisper—so gentle and so strong
For in His gentle whisper is His eternal song.
This song and photos fits nicely with the message of Refuel...check it out.
Don't tell my mom...
Oh yeah... what's today's date?
I've got a few emails from folks who are digging the texts... thought I share these with you. If you've not signed up yet, give it a try (see the buttons on the right). Good for 1 more week.
1. I signed up last night for your text messages, and today have received 3 so far. They are short, to the point, and excellent. Great reminders.
2. The text messages are a great reminder to refocus, connect with God, and get refueled during the day.
3. Thank you so much for the texts. Wow. What a profound impact they are having on my days!! I am connecting with God in ways I never have before. Who would have thought it could be this simple. PLEASE consider keeping the texting going past the three weeks. I love having these little God moments all day long and am not sure I'll be able to keep it up on my own after the series ends. I'll try though!
4. I have been getting your text messages 3 times a day and find that I really need them because there are times I don't even have the time to open and read the text. Thanks, this is a nice idea and helps me to focus.
Because it's Sunday and I have 5 services today (2 morning & 3 at FUSE) I don't really have the brain capacity to blog anything of any value (keep your joke to yourself here)... but, I thought I'd share an email that someone sent me after the 9am service.
Did you lose a bet to have to wear that shirt?
Now, I'm going to keep the guy who wrote this from public embarrassment so he will go anonymous. But I did notice under his signature that he's a VP with a big bank (or formally big bank). Need I say more? In banking? Really? And, you're questioning my decisions? Obviously the man's discernment is way off or he's got bad taste (because it was a really sweet shirt).
Dear Mr. Anonymous Big Shot banker man... I know what you really want is to borrow my shirt. I will prayerfully consider your request.
When I arrived at the 4:30 service today, there was still a line to be baptized. Pastor Rick was in the baptismal for over 4 hours. I'm sure these aren't the exact numbers, but I heard 2400 people took Class 101 and 750 were baptized. WOW! Awesome.
The highlight for me was when Pastor Rick finished, he raced up to stage and interrupted the sermon to share the news. It was a GREAT moment--the church was thrilled to cheer on all that he had done to serve our church.
It can be spiritually refueling to watch others serve the Lord.
Got this from a buddy who is leading a Refuel group with some college-age students.
I joined a 3 week Refuel small group with some college students. We are meeting at a place called ~partyopolis~ the cool thing was that only two or three people knew each other--a lot of new connections. The curriculum is written so well and led the group so efficiently that by the end of our time there was a deep connection among the students that was raw and real. I continually heard them say how relevant the series is for them at this point in time in their life.
Able to refuel,
I got this email from an adult who leads a junior high small group. I thought it was worthy to share:
I know you're busy and need yet another e-mail like you need a hole in the head, but I just wanted to thank you for Refuel.
Decided to take my small-group through it and what a great night it was. Ten 14 year old boys focused on God for over an hour--very cool.
I spoke for over 5 hours at a conference today and had dozens of conversations. I am so drained that I'm going to bed early (which I never do). While my body needs to be refueled, my heart is full. Made several connections with God today and even read and responded to my own Refuel texts.
How do you make connections with God throughout the day?
I heard a story today of a Saddleback Church member who locked his keys in his car. Then, when he was about to get angry at his mistake, he got my text/Twitter prompt that said, “Refuel: Stop long enough for all the day’s stress to disappear and turn your thoughts toward God.” He said, “The reminder came at the perfect time. A time when I could have quickly dipped to empty, I stopped and turned my thoughts to God.”
No specific Refuel post today... Cathy & I are celebrating our 24th anniversary. Although because of the Refuel series and several hundred youth pastors coming in tomorrow for a Purpose Driven Youth Ministry Conference, it was too busy to get away so we are going to "officially celebrate" and go some place in a couple weeks. I'm so blessed to have an incredible, God-fearing wife.
In this weekend's message I said that I'd "prompt you" to make connections with God throughout the day. There are two options to make this happen (for 7 days).
Either sign up for Twitter or Text messaging... look to the right---> (nice arrow huh?). Click on one of those babies and I'll prompt you a few times a day.
Just finished the 8:30 Fuse service...7 services this weekend, a lot of great conversations. God is good. My body is tried, but my soul is full!
It was nice to kick off the series with the Saturday Saddleback Crowd... some very long term, faithful folks come on Saturday night. I don't think I've ever chosen the Saturday night service for the one to duplicate on CD's... usually, I'm think messing/fussing/tweaking the message a little and Sunday morning goes a lot better. Although my mom tells me that she can't tell the difference between the Saturday and Sunday services--I guess she's right. But, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow (5 services--9, 11:14 & three services at the FUSE--4:30, 6:30, 8:30). A long but satisfying day with people at the church I love.
Today I went into the main worship service because I wanted to see what the brilliant graphics’ folks were doing with the stage for Refuel. Of course it looks good. It’s simple, clean and ties in with all the stuff that we’ve been doing on this web-site. Our graphics team is really good and Jim Dobbs (the leader of graphics) does a great job of directing his team and really caring for them. He's a good, faithful and hard working servant.
One of the thoughts that struck me while I was there was the fact that there are so many people who work behind the scenes that you will never know/see. I watched a facilities guy (Eric) touching up paint on one of the props on stage. He didn’t need to, but he’s committed to serve faithfully. I love seeing stuff like that!
I get refueled in several different ways… which I’ll be talking about during this series. But, today I was refueled by praising God for the collective Body of Christ who faithfully serves at Saddleback Church in ways that will never be noticed. God is so good that he uses people's unique skills to serve others and advance the Good News.
I talked to someone today who told me that she dropped her Refuel book in the toliet and that's it's "drying out." I assured her that I knew the author well enough to get her a new one. Apparently she was holding a child and [story got confusing here...sorry]... the book was in the toliet.
I'm glad she dropped the book and not the child! I also told her that I'd rather hear her story than someone who actually read it and then threw it in the toliet (although I'm sure that will happen too).
It made me laugh!
Today was a wild day because it was my deadline for all the small group questions and Bible studies. They're done! Special thanks to Pastor Tom & Buddy for helping with the small group questions and Pastor Matt for help with the Bible studies. Everything is in the hands of our capable designers now and they should be put on the web-asap.