Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Proverbs 29:18- Church Planters Version

Proverbs 29:18 says "Where there is no vision the people perish." Vision is vital to the health ad wholeness of the faith community.

But for church planters, especially in the early days this verse is turned on its head. Without people the vision perishes. You may have received the greatest vision from God about the church God wants you to plant but if people are not gathered then that vision perishes.

It has been said that church planting is all about BITS- Butts in the Seats- how especially true in the beginning.

Attitude of Gratitude II

As we all gather for Thanksgiving our focus will quite rightly be on all the wonderful blessings God has given to us this past year. Many of us will no doubt be thankful for our health, for family, for our marriages, for our homes, for jobs and friends and so much more. Every good and perfect gift comes from God above.

Yet, I wonder if we can also thank God for the hardships. That sees funny to thank God for the difficult times in our lives doesn't it? The Bible tells us though that it is through the hard times, it is through the storms of life, it is through the challenges in life that we grow in our faith. So, even these times in our lives are blessings.

I find that these times demonstrate their inherent blessedness most clearly when we are quite removed from them and are looking back. These times in our lives will most times always be seen as difficult but can we find the nugget of blessings in them? Can we find where God was present and working? Can we see where we have grown in relationship to God and others? Can we see where God has grown us so we can help others?

There is something to be said about giving thanks for hard times. Maybe this Thanksgiving we not only can give thanks to God for all the positive things, but even the trials and tribulations of the past year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

There is an old church hymn called “Count your Blessings.” The words go something like this…

When upon life's billows You are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged Thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings Name them one by one, And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings Name them one by one. Count your blessings See what God hath done. Count your blessings Name them one by one. Count your many blessings See what God hath done.

It is hard to count your blessings and be thankful in difficult times. Yet, it is exactly when we engage in such action that our problems and difficulties are put in perspective as we realize how much God has indeed blessed us. Pastor Mark Batterson from National Community Church has written in his book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day that followers of Jesus should not let what is wrong with them celebrate what is right with God.

The holiday of Thanksgiving is really about the worship of God. It is the time when we stop to count our blessings even in the difficult times. By taking the focus off of ourselves and our problems and turning our focus to God and thanking him for his many blessings our attitudes change. We develop an attitude of gratitude.

Perhaps one of the more modern worship songs sums this attitude change and call to thank God even when the storms of life rage. The popular worship song “Blessed Be Your Name” written by Matt Redman says:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name.

Followers of Jesus count their blessings in the good times and the bad always recognizing we are a blessed people. That is what Thanksgiving is about.

Chase the Lion Wrap Up

We finished the Chase the Lion message series a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time with the series. For anybody who missed any of the messages, here they are again.

November 16th Looking Foolish

November 2nd Taking Risks

October 26th Embracing Uncertainty

October 19th Overcoming Adversity

October 12th Facing Fears

October 5th Defying Odds

Monday, November 17, 2008

Faith in Action

Last year we participated in the Faith in Action campaign which I believe is a wonderful campaign to demonstrate the need for the church to get the hell out of the church and out in the community. During Faith in Action we worship on Sunday morning by going out to serve.

Sometimes we forget that worship is not something we do for one hour on Sunday morning but is a way of life and serving others is one way we worship Christ.

So, this Sunday, November 30th, we are going to go serving. Don't come to church at 10AM at Lee Hill Elementary School this Sunday. We will be out serving. We will come back for a dinner at 5PM at the school and have a time of celebration and recap our day.

We have a number of projects planned and there is still time to sign up. If you haven't signed up to participate and would like to then go here.

This Sunday- let's not go to church, let's be the church.


Contrary to popular Internet rumors on the Drudge Report and multiple postings on YouTube reports of my death are premature. I was actually whisked off to a secret undisclosed location for my safety because of a high security threat.

Really though I have been on vacation with my family and got back late last week. We enjoyed taking our boys to Disney World and then for a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. It was a great time with many memories and much refreshing.

No, I did not buy for myself or wear those silly Mickey ears.