I’m a full-blown extravert! I miss connecting with people. I miss you! I love to sing worship songs with the band in a full room! I know that’s true for many of you also. Yes, I’m excited to regather! My two main goals as I lead our staff and volunteers in regathering are to create as safe as possible experience with the quality and excellence we are used to at Pantano. 

We will regather in physical services on Sunday, October 4th at 9am, and 11am. That’s six weeks away. For some of you, that’s still too soon. That’s okay, and we respect your decision. We will always provide a quality online experience for you. For some of you, that is too far away. I get it and feel it too. We have a pile of things to address and work on to be able to regather with my two key criteria: safety and excellence. 

There are a ton of factors that led to deciding on this date. None of this is born out of the fear of the virus, the government, or whatever. This date was set because we are a bit short on staff and have some staff schedule issues we need to consider. We are contacting our volunteers to ensure we’ll have enough volunteers willing to serve. We are also in the middle of some major program changes that require staff attention and energy which would be diluted once we restart our physical services. We have to train our volunteers and then put our new procedures for kids and students on video to help families prepare for regathering. And so much more. Please trust your leadership and me that we have tried to make the wisest decision to open as soon as we can.

Here are some more details about regathering:

  • We will regather with adults, students, and kids on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 9am and 11am. 
  • We will still have all three services online (9am, 11am, 1pm). We’ll add the 1pm in-person service when we see we’ll need to add more room. 
  • The office will reopen on Monday, August 17th (8am-5pm)
  • Groups can meet at the East Campus. Contact Jamie Everson for more information at jeverson@pantano.church.
  • The middle school and high school student’s main service and small groups will continue to meet on Wednesday nights. A student Bible study will be provided for Sunday morning at 9am and 11am.
  • All adult classes this fall are online. Sign up now!
  • Our Wednesday night kids program restart will follow sometime after our Oct. 4th regathering. Stay tuned for more information on that.
  • Revive (our bilingual church) is working on plans to regather. Stay tuned!
  • Until we can regather at the Southeast Campus, we encourage you to either participate at the East Campus or online.

Our safety measures will include:

  • We’ll sanitize the campus between each event or room use. 
  • We’ll follow the state’s guidelines for using rooms at 50% or less. 
  • We ask everyone to wear a mask (with notable exceptions for small children, etc.) and practice proper physical distancing. 

Please check our website that we’ll continuously be updating over the next few weeks. As we get closer to our actual regathering, we’ll provide details regarding the procedures that will be in place for our kids regathering. Go to https://pantano.church/updates/ or the Covid-19 Response at the top of our home webpage.

Pantano, I’m so grateful for you. You have continued to be the church, the true church, that has not been dependent on a building. You have continued to love people to Jesus! Thank you!

I just did a memorial or celebration of life service on Friday for an 11-month old that died from a rare kidney disease. He died one day before his scheduled transplant. What can I say to that grieving mom and dad and family? There are no words of comfort.

There is rarely a week when I don’t hear about a heartache, a tragedy, about suffering and pain. It might be a scary medical diagnosis. It might be a financial setback. It might be an accident. It might be the breakup of a marriage. It might be a student who took their life. I’m telling you, they come to me with such frequency that find myself having to fight the temptation to just go numb. I pray and my heart breaks, but I’m left with the age-old question that we all ask: “Why?” It was the question Job and Moses asked of God. It’s the question I asked God about my mom getting Multiple Sclerosis.

I think I came to begin to understand this better while we lived in Ukraine. You see, Ukraine has no natural boundaries (mountains, rivers, oceans, etc.). For thousands of years in their history, they have been conquered, beaten down and suffered at the hands of enemy after enemy. In more recent history Stalin manufactured a famine that killed over 10 million Ukrainians. Nazi Germany walked right over them. Recently the Russians walked in and took the Crimea away. They’ve known suffering for centuries as a people.

It was living with them that taught me that there is meaning and purpose in suffering. I had known it in my head as an intellectual idea. But they showed me how suffering deepened their faith and their relationship with God. With a deepened faith and connection to God, their character was powerfully formed to be more like Jesus. That’s what I want. But I don’t want it at the price of the pain. You see, the thing we hate is often the thing we most need. It’s one of those many spiritual paradoxes.

I came across a statement Randy Alcorn made. It offers huge wisdom in helping us understand the meaning and purpose of pain. He said; “There’s no nearness to God without dependence on God. And nothing makes us more dependent on Him than when the bottom drops out.” Being near to God is of far greater value than any struggle we face. It is in the struggle that we are most likely to do draw near to him. That’s what he wants. That’s what we need.

Of course, Paul said it the best in Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

The thing we hate the most…is often the thing we need the most.

This past Sunday, I introduced our new series: This Is Pantano. We looked at the first value that we hold as people of Pantano – What matters most is loving people to Jesus. I made a strong case that it is God’s will that because all people have value and matter to him, we have to love all people, even the messed up, misinformed and misguided folks, no matter how difficult they are. However, there’s a fuller picture to love. How are we to love those who abuse us? How are we to love those who pose a real danger to us and those we love?

Back in 2017, I did a whole series called Peopling that addresses this. If you missed it or need a refresher, you can watch the four-part series on our message page and go to previous messages or click here. The idea is that the Bible teaches there are three basic kinds of people. The Bible labels them as Wise, Fool, and Evil. Each kind of person requires that we respond in a way that matches who they are. There is no “one size fits all” way to engage and love people.

There are some people who outright reject God and the truth, and are intent on hurting us. They are called evil. Their only intent is to hurt you. There are some people who refuse to deal with truth and reality. They are called fools. In their denial of truth and reality, they blame you, others and circumstances for the trouble they are in. They are selfish, self-centered, and won’t take responsibility for their actions. They refuse to listen. Then there are the wise who want to know the truth and listen to the truth and allow God’s wisdom to transform how they live. In the Peopling series, we saw how the book of Proverbs (for example, see Proverbs 9:6-9; 4:14-16; 18:2; 19:19; 27:12) describes and gives us wisdom on how to respond to each type.

The point of the Peopling series is that you can love a wise and healthy person by seeking to serve them, engage with them, be kind, etc. This was what I was focusing on this last Sunday. When you genuinely try to love and give grace to a “fool,” you’ll discover that they continue in their negative or hurtful ways. Your “normal” kind of love doesn’t help. In fact, it might actually enable them to hurt you and others more. That’s when love has to change.

My simple definition of love is to seek the best for someone. The way you do that with a fool is to set “boundaries.” You want to love them, but they make it almost impossible to love them in the “normal” ways. Boundaries are the best way we can LOVE them. Boundaries define what will be accepted or not and gives consequences for their behavior. They will only change for their own good and for the good of others when it costs them enough to change. What’s best for a fool (that’s love) is often not what they want – that’s why the Bible calls them a fool. Some call this tough love.

Finally, there are evil people and the Bible tells us to avoid them. An evil person has one focus and purpose – to hurt and destroy you. Evil people abuse and injure people. You can’t help or serve an evil person. All you can do is confront them (which only makes them more hurtful) and then pray for them. We praying for what’s best for them. Then, forgive them. We forgive them more for ourselves (they don’t care). We let go of our hurt in forgiveness. You can’t be friends with them because they will only use that to hurt, abuse and damage you more. With an “evil” person you lock the door, defriend them on social media, get a gun or get a lawyer (just kidding….sort of). You have to separate from someone whose evil and pray for God to rescue and transform them.

We are called to love all people. But that love will look differently depending on who we are trying to love.

Our family had just finished our mission work in Ukraine and we moved to Tucson in June of 1998. It was so good to be back in Arizona, as both Jolene and I grew up here. I was the first mission’s pastor that Pantano had ever had. I can’t remember why, but my employment didn’t start until August 1st. I remember I had a mission’s related meeting that Saturday morning. That afternoon of my first official work day, my daughter had 3 grand mal seizures that ended up requiring surgery. That’s how my life and work started here 20 years ago.

I served as Mission Pastor for a few years and then became the Executive Pastor. I loved both roles. It was during a season of genuine gratitude in 2003 that I sensed God calling me to be a Lead Pastor somewhere. Now, the number one rule of an Executive Pastor is to not desire the role of the Lead Pastor. So, I had a conversation with Tim Coop, the Senior Pastor at the time, and told him I loved working with him, I loved Pantano, I loved my job and I loved Tucson – but God was calling me to serve as a Lead Pastor, which at that time was a bit out of my comfort zone. I told Tim I wanted to honor him and Pantano, why I would start looking for a Lead Pastor job, and that I didn’t want to surprise anyone in the process. It was then that Tim offered to do a planned succession. I became Lead Pastor in January of 2007.

I would never trade these last 20 years for anything. Yes, there were some really hard seasons. But, those pale in comparison to the amazing people I’ve had the opportunity to share life with at Pantano and the amazing things we’ve accomplished. I love our church. I’m so proud of our church. I’m so honored to be the 8th Lead Pastor (over the 57 years Pantano has existed).

Here’s what I love about our church: It is a place of grace, and I mean real grace. Pantano is a loving, safe place where anyone can be real and authentic and still be loved and appreciated. That is rare just about anywhere and is even rare in churches. We don’t have to put on a mask and pretend to be anywhere near perfect at our church. I love that Pantano is focused and passionate about reaching people not connected to God or a church. I love that we are invested in making a difference in our city and in key places around the world. God is using us to bring the influence of Jesus to so many people and places. I love that we are a church that has embraced change and are willing to eliminate anything that will hinder a person from finding Jesus, without giving up our commitment to the truth and the Bible. We are externally-focused and not just consumed by our own church’s needs. We are launching our own Pantano folks to all kinds of ministries, organizations and churches around Tucson and beyond. And, there is so much more that I love.

I’ve been in full-time ministry for a total of 41 years. Just about half of that has been here at Pantano. Thank you for allowing me to serve you and be the Lead Pastor. Thank you for sharing your lives with me and my family. Thank you for truly understanding our vision, mission and purpose. Thank you for making Pantano one of the healthiest churches in the country (I mean that!). Thank you for supporting me, encouraging me and loving me, even when I’m not always easy to love. THANK YOU for a great 20 years!

“Together to make a difference.” For many years I put this phrase at the end of my letters and emails. Our mission is to make a difference and as a church we’ll only make a real difference if we all do something! That’s why, as a church, we ARE making a difference here and around the world. For example, our church helped start and sustain Care Portal which has helped literally thousands of families be able to reunited after the Department of Child Safety determined it was safe to do so. And, we helped start a movement that is now in 16 states! There are so many more stories like this. Together we DO make a difference.

God is moving in and through our church. So many of you are DOING our mission. You are loving people to Jesus. You are inviting people. THANK YOU! In the last 12 months, 326 people were baptized. And, we’ve been experiencing significant growth consistently now for well over a year. On campus, adult attendance growth is over 10%. Add our online attendance and it nears 30%! Middle school and children have grown significantly, but our high school ministry has declined by almost 40% and that is because of space issues.

We have combined middle school and high school in the Student Center on Sundays. At 9am and 11am the room is completely full. There is no room to grow. We have to build, and it is in the best interests of the students to separate middle school and high school so they can each have their own service and focus. We are in active search for a middle school pastor to allow Brian Lucas to focus on high school. But, we also need more room!

This Sunday, we’ll “officially” launch Room for More. We are going to build a 19,000 sq. ft. “sprung structure.” We have loan papers signed. Our architectural plans are almost finished. Once finished, we’ll hire a general contractor and submit for permits. This next week, we’ll start preparing the site by removing the storage units, the old ramada and the modular units. We are giving the modulars to two churches. So, you’ll start to see some movement soon.

I’ve been a part of building in every church I’ve served (Yuma, Cincinnati, Ukraine, and Pantano). Every project always took longer than promised! Right now, barring any challenges, we hope to occupy the new high school auditorium no later than November.

While final costs are never guaranteed, it looks like the cost for the preparation, construction and furnishings will be about 2 million dollars. We will be both wise and frugal as we proceed. This not only gets us a state-of-the-art high school room, but we’ll move all the offices to one place and that will free up more rooms on our existing campus for our adult, children and student growth.

Together, we can do this. Please prayerfully consider giving a generous gift above your regular giving. My prayer is that we can pay off the loan by the end of the year. I don’t want to add debt to our budget. Pray and think through how you can make a gift sometime before the end of the year. I began praying about this back in the winter. God provided, so that my wife and I were able to make two gifts already, and I’m trusting we’ll be able to give more. Join me so we can make Room for More. Starting Sunday, we’ll have new offering envelopes where you can identify if your gift is a regular gift or a Room for More gift. You can give online where you have the option of where to direct your gifts (options under “Giving Fund”). Thank you in advance for helping us reach people to introduce them to Jesus, in order to follow Jesus.

We are in the middle of a teaching series on Sundays called Trust. We are taking a deep dive to better understand this core part of our faith. And as we think about trust there is a pesky word that reflects our struggle to trust; it’s the word “if.” When it comes to trusting God, our “ifs” reflect that while we love God and believe he wants good for us, we are uncertain IF he can do what seems impossible in us (changing us) and through us (in how we respond to the storm or crisis we face).

We all, at times, experience genuine doubt. If we are honest, there are times we all doubt and wonder IF God will show up or IF he’ll be faithful to his promises or IF he really loves me like they say he does. I’ve been following Jesus for 48 years now and there are moments when I still deal with doubt. They don’t last as long and not are as frequent as they used to be. So, let’s be spiritually honest and admit that doubt still shows up.

We are in the middle of a teaching series on Sundays called Trust. We are taking a deep dive to better understand this core part of our faith. And as we think about trust there is a pesky word that reflects our struggle to trust; it’s the word “if.” When it comes to trusting God, our “ifs” reflect that while we love God and believe he wants good for us, we are uncertain IF he can do what seems impossible in us (changing us) and through us (in how we respond to the storm or crisis we face).

We all, at times, experience genuine doubt. If we are honest, there are times we all doubt and wonder IF God will show up or IF he’ll be faithful to his promises or IF he really loves me like they say he does. I’ve been following Jesus for 48 years now and there are moments when I still deal with doubt. They don’t last as long and not are as frequent as they used to be. So, let’s be spiritually honest and admit that doubt still shows up.

As I’ve been preparing for the series on trust, I spent a long time looking at and studying a situation Jesus encountered in Mark 9:14-29. In the end, I couldn’t fit it into our four-week teaching, as much as I love this story. Jesus just came down from what we call the “transfiguration” where he appears with Moses and Elijah. God affirms Jesus to Peter, James and John and said for the second time, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

They come down the mountain to encounter the other nine disciples who can’t drive out a demon that has caused a boy to be mute and face constant lethal seizures. Read the descriptions of what the boy endured and your heart breaks. But the story is clear – there is a lack of faith and trust in the disciples, the crowd and the boy’s father. Jesus declares this in verse 19 – “You unbelieving generation.” We too are the generation that struggles to fully trust God.

The boy’s father begs Jesus and says in verse 22, “But IF you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” There’s the “if” word. Jesus replies; “If you can?” I can hear Jesus emphasize the word “if” when he repeated what the father said. Then Jesus says; “Everything is possible for the one who believes.” Jesus is inviting the father of the boy and you and me to believe that Jesus is God’s Son who can do anything. Please catch this. Our faith and trust believes that Jesus can do anything. There are no limits to his power. That of course doesn’t mean that Jesus is our genie who will grant our every wish. We don’t control Jesus. He is both loving and wise and knows how best to respond. We trust there are no limits to what Jesus can do in us, in others and in situations. But we also trust that how Jesus responds is what’s best and it will always be consistent with the character of God.

Then the father says what we all should probably say to Jesus; “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” That’s honest! That’s real. What we have here is the result of an IF kind of faith – guarded hope. In my storm, in my crisis, when I’m challenged to really obey and submit – will I trust him? Do I believe that he can help me do the hard things that require I trust him? The hard thing is to forgive someone who did terrible things to me. The hard thing is to obey him when it seems it might cost me a lot to obey. The hard thing is to really give generously first to God even when I don’t seem to have any extra. The hard thing is to take a risk and follow Jesus in serving or going on a short-term mission to Rocky Point. The hard thing is to invest in someone and look for a way to invite them to get to know Jesus. The hard things do require trust.

I do believe the ways of Jesus are good and are the best ways. I do trust you Jesus! But help me in all the ways I still struggle to trust you!

Happy Independence Day!

In terms of the history of the world, America is a still a young experiment in democracy and true personal freedom. Having travelled and lived in other countries and systems, I’ll tell you that what we have is very unique and special. There are very few places in the world where freedom is cherished, protected and actually experienced like it is in America.

No, we are not perfect. In humble honesty, we must acknowledge that there is so much in our country that is still wrong and needs to be fixed. And, we are free to even disagree on what needs to be fixed and how we do that. We will have imperfect freedoms as long as humans are a part of the system!

And while our legal freedoms are still not equally distributed, underneath the parts that are broken and even unjust, there is an amazing value and provision of personal freedom. The Bill of Rights is still an amazing protection of personal freedoms. I love our country and the freedom and opportunities it offers.

There is even a greater freedom offered to every human, despite the system they live in. Paul says is so well in Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. The context is regarding the religious slavery of having to follow certain rules to be accepted into the community of faith. Paul boldly announces that we are free of religion. We can’t gain or earn God’s love by trying to be good and by following certain rules. We don’t have to jump through a bunch of religious hoops to be forgiven. In Jesus, there is no condemnation. God loves us… period. We get to become a free child of God as we trust Jesus and engage in an authentic relationship with him – no matter who you are or what your past looks like. And when we invite Jesus to have primary influence in us, that’s called faith, then Jesus will transform us in ways rules and religion could never change us.

Later in verse 6 Paul says – The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. That’s profound. That’s a clear statement about what really matters. That is the result of the freedom we have in Christ. We are free from the boundaries of religion to let Jesus’ love flow through us. Freedom, in terms of personal rights or spiritual experience, was never meant to just be for our own benefit alone, but to allow us to be free to love and serve others.

I sort of wish the official name of the holiday on July 4th was Freedom Day. No, there’s no campaign forming here. But that’s the heart of what this day is about. Freedom! Priceless in value. But it always costs. Our freedoms cost our early founders dearly. Our spiritual freedom cost God his one and only Son. I’m grateful for freedom and those who sacrificed to make it available. Yet, on this holiday, I’m also reminded of how very few people get to experience both personal and spiritual freedoms.

My vacation has ended. I should insert a “sad” emoji here! It was great to unplug for the last 3 weeks. I used some of the time to do major projects at my house that needed attention. Working with my hands is a great way to unplug and refresh. That break and rest gives me energy to jump back in with my all for the next 11 months! And this Sunday I’ll be starting a new series called Trust. Why “trust?”

As many of you know, at the beginning of the year I challenge people to pick one word to focus on for the year. How’s it going with your one word focus? My word for 2018 is “legacy.” What I’ve noticed over the years is that the most commonly picked word is likely the word “trust”. It can be easy to trust God when life is going great and we have everything under control. But will we trust God in the unknown, the obscure, the unsure, the undefined? Will we trust God when things are out of control or where we have little control? Will we trust God when there’s a total lack of clarity and when the future is ambiguous at best?

The Bible says that without faith or trust, it is impossible to please God. In Hebrews 11:6 we find these words: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

What does it mean that trust is essential to please God? Does this mean we must do religious things for God to like us? No. Not at all. God is pleased when we seek him! God wants us to trust him to direct our lives. He wants us to experience that he is worthy of our trust. He wants us to have that kind of deep authentic relationship with him.

Trust goes beyond believing that God exists, as many many people do, to actually saying “yes” to God in both the normal and challenging aspects of life. Trust is the only path to experience a full relationship with God. We trust God that he is for us, he will guide in the right ways, and that he has our best interests in mind all the time. So in trust we say “yes” to God. The more we say “yes” to God the more we’ll experience the depth of a relationship with God.

So, for the next month, we’ll explore what trust means, the benefits of trust, and how we can actually stay on this journey of trust through all the things that attempt to crush our trust in God.

Also, this Sunday we’ll be honoring Robin Blumenthal, our Family Pastor. Robin is completing almost 14 years here on staff. She has clearly sensed God calling her to trust him to lead her to her next challenge. She’ll be sharing about what’s next and how God has guided her to this new ministry. Join us as we honor her!

As Lead Pastor, my head is in what and why we do what we do all my waking hours. So I take a lot of things for granted. It hit me that we do some things on a regular basis that you might not know about. Fact is, there is so much that happens at our church I don’t actually know everything that happening…and that’s okay too! But here some things you might not know about…

Did you know that before folks are baptized we have conversations with them about the meaning of baptism? We want to make sure each person understands the commitment they are making. Sometimes we have long conversations before the day they are baptized. Sometimes they are just prior to baptism. And we take each person’s confession of faith so they can carefully reflect on what they are committing to. We also follow up with each person being baptized. Baptism is a big deal for each person – one with deep spiritual implications, so we do our best to help each person fully grasp the meaning and purpose. And I’ll bet you didn’t know that since July 1st last year we’ve had 316 folks choose to be baptized – that’s about 17% more than last year at this time.

And did you know that we have a special baptism class for children and their parents to help both the child and the parents have a good understanding and be able to determine if and when a child is ready? The next class is Sunday August 5th at 11 AM and it takes place in Towne Hall 5 (TH5). Click here to register.

I love that we practice communion every Sunday. Did you know that we offer gluten free communion bread? It is available in the lobby in the bookshelf by the ushers door or just ask any of our greeters.

Did you know that this year we launched what we call our Next Level Leadership development process? We’ve developed a plan and the resources and training to help our staff mentor leaders who want to grow into the next level of leadership. Leadership development is one the most important things we do to be able to continue to grow and offer great spiritual opportunities for people. I hope that by next year we’ll be able to open it up to anyone who wants to mentor and/or be mentored.

Did you know that in addition to our Pantano online campusthat is live, we also make the sermon available online (usually by Tuesday – without the music for copyright reasons)? And our sermon notes with discussion questions are also available at the same web location. This is great if you forgot a scripture or illustration mentioned. Just go to “watch” at the top of Pantano.churchand to the right there are several options like the sermon notes, downloading the audio message (mp3) or downloading the video (to share with others!).

There’s lots more. I’ll bet you didn’t know that every weekend message is reviewed and the teacher gets feedback from the teaching team 4 different times and we debrief it after we’ve taught. That’s a lot of feedback and review, but so worth it. Just thought you’d like to know!

Every once in a while, I get a comment that I (or we at Pantano) don’t talk about the gospel or at least don’t focus on it enough. I find that interesting because we actually plan to share at least parts of the gospel in every weekend service. The word “gospel’ means good news. It is the good news that God has responded in love through Jesus to our spiritual needs.

There are a lot of significant aspects to the gospel: Jesus came, Jesus died for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead and is alive, God offers grace and multiple chances, he loves and seeks the lost, we have total forgiveness in Jesus, he offers us new life now and for eternity, God adopted us as his very own children, he has come to live and dwell in us and so much more. There is SO much to the good news that a few words or ideas can’t capture the depth and beauty of God’s gift to us.

When I teach on Sundays, I always intentionally find ways to share at least some of the gospel. If you are looking for it, it is always there. So, that’s actually my challenge to you – look for the fresh ways I (we) share the gospel. I try not to only use “church” language that folks who don’t know the Bible or who rarely attend church might find difficult to understand. I try to communicate the gospel in ways that reach where folks actually are. I see every Sunday service as an opportunity to mention that in Jesus our sins are forgiven, and to remind us of God’s love and grace, but say it different ways like this: God is for us, he is with us, and he never gives up on us.

Sometimes I’ll spend a whole message on just one part of the process of responding to the gospel. Back on March 25th, I did a message in our “Bad Ink” series on repentance. “Bad ink” was a way to talk about our sin and God’s grace. Repentance is one aspect of how we respond to the gospel. Knowing that many folks don’t really get the idea of repentance, I spent the whole message focusing on it. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

Approximately once a month we offer invitations for folks to be baptized. In the message the week we offer an invitation, we always share a significant part of the gospel message.

And, every week we practice communion. The very core to the communion experience is the gospel. When we take the bread and grape juice we are proclaiming the very heart of the gospel.

My point is that the gospel is at the heart of all we are and do at Pantano. We don’t exist without the good news. We have no hope without it. We have no motivation to fulfill our mission of “Loving People to Jesus” apart from it. But the good news is alive and fresh, so it may not sound how it was communicated years ago or how it is talked about in other churches. The core meaning never changes, but how we communicate it must be new, fresh and appealing for every generation.

Paul wrote the book of Romans to give what became a 16 chapter explanation of the gospel. I love how he sets up that book in Romans 1:16-17For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…“The righteous will live by faith.”

This year, we are hosting our 10th Global Leadership Summit (GLS). Over the last 9 years I’ve learned so much from the GLS and applied so much of what I learned in my own life and leadership as well as how we do things here at Pantano. I think it was 2011 when I was at one of my lowest points in leadership and there was a Summit talk that ended up helping me form my life motto! The GLS is powerful, inspirational, practical and always has something that I take away and use. You don’t want to miss the 2018 Global Leadership Summit. The theme this year is “Everyone has influence…

We host the GLS for three main reasons:

  • It makes it easy for as many of our leaders and staff to participate as possible
  • As a host church, we can offer you the lowest price possible and it is a bargain for the quality of speakers we get to hear
  • We want to help the leaders from other churches, non-profits, social sector and business world lead better.

Everyone has influence! Everyone can get better at how they influence! More importantly, God has commissioned us to bring his kingdom influence to our world. So, come sharpen your skills with us. And sign up now for the rock bottom price.

Here are the details:

Date and Time: Thursday, August 9 & Friday, August 10, 8:30AM – 4PM (both days)

Locations:
Pantano Christian Church – 1755 S Houghton Rd, Tucson, AZ
Desert Hills Lutheran Church – 2150 S Camino del Sol, Green Valley, AZ

Price: The Pantano rate is $89 until 6/26, then $119 thereafter. You’ll need a discount code to get this price. We can’t give this code out in print or to the general public. It will be posted before and after services or you can call the church office at 520.298.5395 and ask for the code.

The PARTNER rate through 4Tucson is $109 until 6/26, then $139 thereafter.

Student/Faculty/Active Duty Military pricing is $89 (with no cutoff dates).

Registration Link: Pantano GLS Registration Link

Check out the speaker lineup link here.

We hope to see you at the 2018 Summit!

Back in January of this year, we did a series called Making Room. In that series, I did a message in which I talked about how vital it is do develop a system of Sabbaths; the message was called Put the Brakes On. I believe that God made us to need Sabbaths. We were made for pauses, breaks and rest. In fact, God made a series of Sabbaths. There was the weekly Sabbath – work 6 days and rest on the 7th. He made financial and land Sabbaths where debts were to be forgiven and the land was to rest every 7 years. And finally there was a Sabbath called the Jubilee where after 49 years slaves were to be freed and land returned to original owners.

We need Sabbaths. Just like muscles and joints, our brain gets overwhelmed and tired when it has too much stuff to give attention to for too long. The warning sign that we need a Sabbath is anytime we experience “too much, too long.” Add “too hard” and a breakdown is coming.

Here’s what a Sabbath is using words that start with “R” – Rest, Remembrance, Relationships, Replenish and Restore

  • Rest – we all need regular physical, mental, emotional rest and breaks from our routines.
  • Remembrance – we take a Sabbath to remember God, his calling and purpose as well as our identity in him. We too easily forget what’s so important!
  • Relationships – Sabbaths are times to pull away from work to connect with family and community.
  • Replenish and Restore – that is the result of regular Sabbaths.

Here’s my Sabbath system. I share it not that you should copy it exactly, but to get you thinking about how to develop your own Sabbath system:

  • Daily time in the morning to connect with God – Bible reading and prayer
  • Daily time in the evening to be grateful
  • A weekly day off from my regular work routine
  • Every quarter, I take a day to give focus and attention to prayer
  • Yearly, I take 3-4 weeks of vacation and totally unplug from the church and my work there

One of our greatest challenges these days is that we have 24/7 connectivity. We can always check our phone, computer, or tablet. That means we no longer have good boundaries of white space and quiet for a true Sabbath and spiritual pause. It is really healthy to have a regular technology Sabbath as well. Maybe start with an hour a day of no texting, email, social media, etc. Try using the “airplane mode” or turn your phone completely off!

As you are reading this, I’m starting my June vacation/Sabbath. I work non-stop and hard for eleven months and I’m very ready for this month off. I’ll unplug for 3 weeks. I’ll do some projects around the house and go the lake as often as I can. I’ll end the month with a conference. I’ll be back July 1st full of energy, fresh and ready to go!

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All Rights Reserved.

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