Wednesday, November 16, 2011
RISING ABOVE AVERAGE
Last week we looked at three myths about how a church moves from average to excellence. This week I want to zero in on a definition for Average.
Average is: The best of the Worst and the Worst of the best. That may seem a little harsh but it may just rise to the level of scripture in the book of Revelation 3: 16 when Jesus addressed the Loadiceans as “Lukewarm”.
Lukewarm and average have a great deal in common. Average gets the job done at the lowest level of commitment necessary. My father in law was my pastor for a number of years. He had a motto that he wanted printed on our weekly newsletters. That motto read: “God’s business is the most important business in town.”
Maybe that motto would be a good measure of whether a church is moving beyond the “average” label. Once a community can see that a church is passionate about it’s mission, they begin to take note that it is a different kind of church. Not an average one.
The key to moving beyond average is easier than it may sound. When climbing a stair case you focus on the next step. Raising our level of performance one step up. That one step up will move us to above average. That is a huge step up. Invite God speak to your heart about taking the next step at Grace.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
TO MY CHURCH FAMILY AT GRACE CHRISTIAN CENTER:
What an honor it is to be asked to serve as your pastor. Thank you for your confidence in me. As we start this great new adventure together I am aware that respect is earned and I will do my very best to earn your trust and respect. I invite you to follow me as I follow Christ.
God has a great adventure in store for us as we prepare to advance His Kingdom in Central Texas. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This is the DAY God has planned for you! As your pastor, I hope to be your coach, encourager, leader, trainer and biggest fan! My door is always open to you.
My life scripture passage is Col. 3:1&2 "If you then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
That passage keeps me grounded in mission. Keeping my attentions on Christ and the mission He has given me helps me lose sight of the day to day issues that otherwise may discourage, frustrate or distract me from my purpose in Christ. Verse 2 is my daily prayer: Lord help me today to "set my affections on things above, not on things on the earth".
So church family....Let's get Ready, Get Set and Grow!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Accidental or on purpose? Evolved over billions of years or carved out by the finger of God? Did man evolve from the lower forms of life or did God create him from the clay of earth and breath life into him?
Creation or Evolution are they mutually exclusive or could both be at work in a cause and effect type of scenario? Deep questions that have troubled man though out the ages. It is difficult to look at the order of the universe and believe that it is all just a cosmic accident. Push the earth inches one way or another and life cannot be supported. Straighten it out so that it does not tilt on its axes and we lose the four seasons we now enjoy.
The Bible opens with the book of beginnings: Genesis 1:1 In the Beginning God created the heavens and the Earth." Although the unfolding verses and chapters continue the story it is really only a glimpse or snapshot of the massive creative work of God in the universe. A passage in the book of Job 38 that asks: Where were you when I laid the earths foundations?,,,while the morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy?"
Are you seeking answers? Let me invite you to check out a gathering where we attempt to tackle issues like this in the light of what the Bible has to say. We meet each Sunday night at 7pm for directions and other information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 18, 2009
October 18, 2009
LOVE is a four letter word. In the English language it may well be the most misused and least understood of all the words we most commonly use in everyday language.
Think about it. We say that we love chocolate, our spouse, the sunrise, our dog, Chinese food, a special pair of shoes, our children and the color blue. We use that word LOVE to describe all those different kinds of attachments. Surely we love our children more than Chocolate or our favorite pair of shoes. The Greek language has 5 different words for love. One means brotherly love, another sexual love and so on. The highest form of love in the Greek language was AGAPE love. The closest meaning we can capture in the English language for that kind of love is: SELF SACRIFICING LOVE. It is the type of love that Jesus showed for us at the cross. He willingly sacrificed His life to give life to us.
Jesus commands that we show that kind of love to one another in John 13:34 "A new command I give you; love one another, as I have loved you, so must you love one another." When we define Love as selfless acts it brings the true meaning into prospective. Love is an easy word to say but a hard word to live out.
All people are hard to love sometimes and some people are hard to love nearly all the time. With that said we the love we are to live out toward one another is without prequalification. Jesus loves us in our most unlovable state and expects that we do so for one another. The good news is that He fills our hearts with Agape love so that we can love those around us.
The world around you is looking for real love. The kind of love that makes sacrifices and makes a difference. Go show them!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Everyone of us has been wounded by someone close to us. In some instances the wounds are so deep so abusive as to have altered the nature of our person hood. As we seek to recover we often see those who harmed us as having escaped suffering, while we have had to deal with the awful hurt. That makes it seem impossible to forgive. Our nature wants the offender to hurt as much or more than we have.
The truth is as long as we hold our offenders as captive to our revenge we remain the victim and open ourselves to roots of bitterness that will eventually strangle our soul. We become imprisoned to a life of misstrust, suspicion and shallow relationships. We do not open our hearts for fear they will be crushed again. One cannot LIVE this way only exist.
In order to embrace life again we must forgive.
"You must make allowance for each others faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others. (Col. 3:13)" New living translation
So where do we begin in order to forgive? The first step may well be to forgive yourself. Victims often blame themselves for the abuse they suffer even when it clearly it was impossible for them to avoid. Start with the understanding that all people wound and hurt other people. Hurt people will Hurt people. We have all been victims.
The real key to forgiving other is in accepting the forgiveness we have in Christ and offering it as a gift to those who hurt us. In Christ we are not only forgiven but scripture tells us that God also forgets our sins. At first glance forgetting deep seeded wounds seems impossible.
We have spent years Repeating the wounds, Rehearsing them and Reliving them to ourselves and others. The above formula should be familiar to all of us. It is the formula we have used all our lives to help with memorization and study. While in school we prepared for tests by Repeating, Rehearsing, and Reliving what we had been taught.
To begin our journey toward forgetting we have to stop using the formula:
1. Stop Repeating: Do not retell this story or hurt.
2. Stop Rehearsing: Do not act out the events.
3. Stop Reliving: Visualization is a powerful memorization tool but it can be our enemy as we rewind the film of our hurt and replay it over and over in our minds.
Ask God to help you forgive. It takes His divine power to heal us and fill us with the grace we need to forgive these deep wounds.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities" the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
Forgiveness! "It was not the nails that kept him on the Cross it was love" (Tommy Walker) When I was in Bible school I joined a group that traveled and sang across Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. One of the songs we sang was titled "Born Again". It highlighted the new life that begins in Christ as we accept His forgiveness and make Him leader of our life. It is as if we have been born again.
In the passage above there are three important theological words: Transgressions, Iniquities, Chastisement.
Transgression is when one violates the law, whither knowingly or in ignorance. In this case it sets one in opposition to God or against God's Laws. The transgressor finds themselves on the side of self interest, selfishness, seeking personal comfort rather than sacrifice.
Iniquities: Gross Immorality or injustice, wickedness. Continual, wilful transgression against the laws of God opens one up to a corrupting of the soul that seeks to put oneself on the highest throne of earth. In order to do that there one must sear his natural conscience so that empathy and compassion are all but gone. Instead of mercy, one offers quid pro Que. Rather than offer fairness one would offer a lesser seat at the table to those who do not war against his self imposed kingship. Wickedness is viewed as an means to an end.
Chastisement: to be berated, beaten down, humiliated. to punish as by beating. This word is descriptive of the price paid for forgiveness. Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross. The cost of sin is death and Jesus paid it for us. He willingly left the spender of heaven to come to earth to die for you and me.
Our challenge is to LIVE for HIM. Have a blessed week.