Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God Came to the M11 Conference in Louisville, KY

This week I've been attending our denominational M11 Conference.  It's a group of leaders from the Church of the Nazarene in the USA and Canada all coming together for a series of meetings and workshops.

While I expected that this would be a great event, I did not expect God to show up in the way that He did.  For years I've said "You cannot be in the presence of a Holy God and remain the same."  When you truly meet God, you are changed by His presence.  That is exactly what happened this week.  God came - and we are different for the experience.

Right now it's almost midnight.  It's been a great week and I'm excited to get back home to my family.  I'm wondering how I adequately share with them what God has done this week.  I also can't wait to share with my church family on Sunday.  If God would come upon our church service in a similar way to how He showed up this week, things would definitely change.  That's what I'm praying for and looking forward to for this weekend - that God would reveal Himself to our people and that we would be forever changed by His presence. 

Thanks, God, for what you've done in my life this week!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Life is Way Too Complicated

As I am writing this post, there is a light snow falling outside. I love the snow because it makes everything beautiful and simple. Life tends to be put on hold for a few brief hours. Schools are closed, schedules are changed, families spend more time together at home. Then, life kicks back into gear, the busyness of life begins again, and we are reminded that life is way too complicated.

Tomorrow I'm beginning a new message series titled The Simple Life. I've been reading a book by Thom S. Rainer and Art Rainer called Simple Life.  Without giving away too much of the details, it simply challenges us to look at our lives in the areas of time, relationships, money and God.  Are we living a simple life that is focused on our priorities, or are we just living life - full of a lot of stuff, but empty in meaning and purpose?

I would recommend reading the book.  You can click on the link below under My Favorites and purchase it directly from Amazon.  You won't be disappointed.  You might just be challenged...and changed.

For now, enjoy the soft, white purity of the snow and the simple life that it forces us into.  Blessings!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Ministry System In Process

I'm currently working to develop a new system in our church for moving people into places of ministry where they are best equipped to serve as God created them to serve. This will involve working with Trevor Oates as an intern beginning now through the beginning of January 2011. We'll be putting together a reproducible system that will involve online spiritual gift testing, a ministry interview, and matching people with ministry opportunities to try. I'm excited about the possibilities that this system holds for our church. Welcome, Trevor, and I'm glad to have you as part of the First Church team.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The DNA of a Healthy Church Part 6: The Church is Missional

This past weekend we finished our series on the DNA of a Healthy Church. We discussed the idea of the missional church. In a culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith we need to take a good look at the effectiveness of the church. Our methods need to change while keeping our message the same.

In his book "Church Unique," Will Mancini shares three shifts that he sees occurring in the missional church. (1) A shift from "doing" church to "being" the church; (2) a shift from "invitational" evangelism to "incarnational" evangelism; and (3) a shift from viewing people as "prospects" to viewing people as "people Jesus misses most." Although his book is a book about developing God's vision for the church, his comments on the missional aspect of the church are very thought-provoking. (If you want to purchase his book, check the Amazon link on the left column of my blog.)

So, what do you think it means to be a missional church?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The DNA of a Healthy Church Part 4: The Church is a Community

This past weekend we discussed the idea of community. We defined community as "a unified body of individuals: a group of people with a common characteristic or interest [Christ] living together within a larger society."

Real community is what the world is craving for today: that place where you can be real and authentic, where you can let people see the real you. We discussed the three aspects of community which were authenticity, communication, and encouragement. Community is the antidote for loneliness and can be found in a healthy church.

What do you find is the problem with finding community? What is it that keeps you from entering into community with other people?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Great Seminar with Nelson Searcy

I went to another great seminar yesterday. It was "The Top 3 Growth Barriers Live!" seminar with Nelson Searcy, Lead Pastor of the Journey Church in NYC. We spent three hours discussing the 3 common church growth barriers that all churches face, no matter what their size.

The three barriers are space, self-development of the pastor, and sharing. First, the physical space can limit growth. When the church is too full, people stop inviting their friends. Second, growing churches are led by growing pastors. Pastors need to be constantly learning and growing to be effective leaders. Finally, churches will not grow if the people are not actively involved in sharing their faith.

For more information about these growth barriers, check out Nelson's web site at Pastors, you'll find lots of great resources.

Monday, June 21, 2010

DNA of a Healthy Church Part 3: The Church is a Family

This past Sunday we discussed the idea that the church is a family. Family goes the extra mile to work out their differences and bring about unity in the church. Let’s dialogue about a couple of questions:

Which concept of the church as a family do you struggle with the most? Unity? Patience? Kindness? Love? or Forgiveness?

Also, since I didn’t post anything about the first two messages in this series, feel free to dialogue about “The Church is a Place to Celebrate” (engaging in worship of God) and “The Church is a Place of Unity” (setting aside our differences of opinion to further the vision God has given the local church).