Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Gift for the Church from a church

Lifechurch.tv once again unviels a gift for the church. They're latest gift is called ChurchMetrics.com and helps churches track basic numbers using online techonology-for free. Check it out today!

I applaud Craig Groeschel's example as a pastor of a very successful church that is willing to share (instead of sell) their tools. That kind of generosity exemplifies the love of Christ wonderfully!

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." -Jesus

Dear Mr. President...

Dear Mr. President to be:

While I realize you haven't been elected yet and therefore I don't know who you'll be, I can still write to you.

First, know that no matter who wins, I'm going to be praying for you.

Second, know that no matter who wins, God put you there. (That doesn't mean you're a good choice, by the way. See Romans 13)

Third, remember that your primary responsibility as our leader is to protect us. Us is everyone. But it's especially those who are not able to protect themselves. The elderly, children, the ill and disabled, the unborn and the weak. It's also to protect families. And it's to protect our society from chaos and injustice. 

Oh, and if you're going to lead like Jesus would (not taking that one for granted, by the way), you might want to be a servant. 

We have our part to play as citizens too. We're to pray and be model citizens. At least as Christ followers we are. 

So here's one prayer to get me started:

"Father, we lift up our nation and our leaders to you right now. We pray that you'll move us to humble ourselves and follow Your will and Your ways. We pray for humble leaders at all levels of government. We pray for Your mercy as we try to get back on track spiritually. Thank you for Your grace and mercy this far. Revive Your people even now and turn our hearts back to You. In Jesus' name I pray, amen."

For an online community committed to praying for our leaders that is both non-political and non-partisan, see www.presidentialprayerteam.org.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Grieve with those who grieve

G---- and A---- are friends of ours and missionaries in East Asia. As you can imagine, there are many sacrifices that go with living literally half way around the world from your family. Anyway, one of those is not being able to attend the funeral of a dear loved one. 

A---- lost her grandmother recently and is mourning her from a distance. Join me in praying for her and leaving her a comment on her blog. After all, isn't that what we as the Body of Christ do for one another? So you don't half to know her to mourn with her long enough to leave her a comment.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2-Way Communication

In the book Follow Me, the author writes about spiritual growth,

It makes sense that increasing the frequency of time and energy spent in communication with God pays off in an increasingly intimate relationship with him. But what is more subtle, and perhaps more significant, is the increasing two-way nature of the relationship. It's not just talking to God that's important; it's also listening to God and receiving answers to prayer that is vital. It's not just reading the Bible that spurs spiritual growth; it is reflecting on the meaning of Scripture in a way that changes how a person thinks and lives that proves most significant.

Their point is that while early in our walk we tend to just talk to God and admire Him from afar, growth in Christ results in and is caused by a growing relational intimacy with God through the spiritual disciplines of prayer & reflection on Scripture. 

So how would you describe your time with God each week? Is it more distant and passive or intimate and active?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why blog?

www.Wikipedia.org defines a blog as:

blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

While I don't believe blogging is for everybody, I do think that many more could and should. After all, most of us want to make a real difference in our world. One way to do that is with our words and ideas. Where else can you write something and within minutes make it accessible to billions of people for free? Talk about exchanging and sharing ideas freely!

How do I do it? Simply put, find a free blog hosting website (mine are on www.blogger.com), setup your free site (it's quick and easy) and start writing. Don't worry about being profound. Just be real. Below are some tips from one of my favorite bloggers, Seth Godin, to get you started. Blog on!

How to write a blog post

Do it like this: Joel on Software.

An appropriate illustration,
A useful topic, easily broadened to be useful to a large number of readers,
Simple language with no useless jargon,
Not too long,
Focusing on something that people have previously taken for granted,
That initially creates emotional resistance,
Then causes a light bulb go go off
and finally,
Causes the reader to look at the world differently all day long.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Innie or an Outie?

Should we focus outward or inward?

It's easy to find articles today on how inwardly focused most churches are. The truth is that we tend to drift that way. However, outward focused churches can neglect legitimate needs within the church. Obviously we'd like to be balanced: caring for people inwardly and outwardly. Most of us don't want to intentionally neglect anybody.

So what's the answer? I think it comes down to this: Are you walking with Christ. If you are, you'll know when to focus outwardly and when to look inwardly. The truth is that we're probably supposed to live through seasons of inward focus and outward emphasis. The only way to know when to do what is to find yourself faithfully walking with Christ. Check this out:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Friday, October 24, 2008

Add-ons or Major Elements?

Are small groups something we add-on to our church? Check out this link above.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Divine Nobodies

In his book Divine NobodiesJim Palmer writes a refreshing look at how God reveals Himself through ordinary people ("Nobodies") every day if we'll just pay attention. His goal is to "Shed religion to find God" and he does a pretty good job of communicating this to his readers. 

I found myself challenged to think from the other side on several issues.

The page I dog-eared includes the following paragraph:

Sitting in 13D, I uncovered something unsettling about myself. I don't really want a "relationship" with God. Here's what I want. I want to share with God all I feel, all I need, all that grieves me, all that makes me happy, the puzzling things, the fun things, and the hard things, but I would prefer that God keep his stuff to himself. I don't want to hear about his pain and share in his grief. I don't mind listening to God as long as I'm receiving solutions, answers, and advice. Maybe what I really want is a divine vending machine: pop in my prayer, press the button for my need, and I'm good to go. A professional live-in massage therapist and a Starbucks within walking distance would be nice too.

Where this hit me was I would prefer that God keep his stuff to himself. In other words, I don't want to know or hear about Your grief over enslaved child prostitution or orphans in other countries. I don't want to hear God's cry for the lost or that His people would turn back to Him in repentance. I don't want to know about how His heart breaks when His children (the Church) fight with each other instead of "love one another."

No, I just want to hear His solutions, answers, and advice

This was worth the book alone. But read the rest. I imagine you'll find your own paragraph to blog about. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dobson And Palin

The following tells you why you might want to listen to this interview with Gov. Palin today on Focus on the Family. Gary writes:


Dobson And Palin 

Governor Sarah Palin was on Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio broadcast this morning. I strongly urge all of you to listen to this interview. 

They talked about the incredibly hostile media...her deep and abiding faith...and the tremendous pro-life witness that she and her family are to the entire nation. 

Listening to this broadcast was extremely encouraging, and it reaffirmed why I am in this battle. I also have to again thank Senator McCain for his outstanding selection of a running mate...

Please make every effort to listen to this interview on the radio or online, and share this message with friends and family. To find stations listings in your area or to listen online, click here

Bridge Run 2009

To the 2009 Cooper River Bridge Run & Walk. This years run is April 4th 2009 and our Expo is April 2nd and 3rd at the Galliard Auditorium.

Have you started training yet? It's time!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fireproof the Movie

This is a must-see movie if you're married. Make it a date night this week! 

 - Trailer - Add movie showtimes to iGoogle
‎2hr 2min‎ - ‎Rated PG‎ - ‎Drama‎ 
 Remember this location

Monday, October 20, 2008

TAD Time?

I've always been a proponent of TAG time (Time Alone with God). But lately I've been examining mine and have found it wanting. Instead, I think I've had TAD time. (Time Alone with Devotionals)

Doing a daily devotional is a great spiritual habit/discipline. It is part of my "Training regimen" each day where I discipline myself for godliness so that I'll more naturally (or supernaturally, rather) do what Jesus would do if he were in my shoes. But if we're not careful, we can miss the point. I was.

You see, Jesus spent time with his Father--not a devotional book. Mark 1:35 says, 

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

He didn't get up early to read his Oswald Chambers devotion. (they're good, by the way) He got up to fellowship with his Father.

So the question remains: Am I doing my devotions or am I meeting with God? 

If you're struggling with this, I recommend the following:

* Try using nothing but your Bible during your time alone with God.
* Don't try to read too much in one sitting. 
* Pray back to God what you believe the Scripture you just read says. Make it your words back to God.
* Ask God to help you live it out today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is God responsible for our bad economy?

In light of our economy in recent days, this verse is insightful:

Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. --King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 7:14 NLT

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trailer is here!

 We picked up our new trailer Mon. We'll organize the trailer moving our stuff over from the old trailer Friday at 10 AM at Terry Fletcher's house (109 Rookery Ct next to Summerville Airport)

Other items that came with the trailer include puppets and stage, 7 rolling cabinets, tripod for projector, lots of preschool toys and equipment, & wide-screen TV & DVD. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama & Infants

The number one job of our governing authorities is to protect society from anarchy and evil. (Romans 13) The Bible exhorts us to defend the defenseless in society. The unborn are clearly defenseless. I'm simply pointing out Obama's position so you can determine if you think he'll protect life.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Catalyst-first day

Here are a few nuggets from my first day at Catalyst with Brad, Brian and Jan...

For a leader to maintain moral authority, there must be alignment between what a leader says and what he or she does.  --Andy Stanley

"You prioritize the role no one else can play over the role someone else can play." --Andy Stanley

"There's a relationship between Father-Son-Holy Spirit and we're invited into that." --William Paul Young, author of The Shack.

"Good is the enemy of great." --Jim Collins

Jim also said that based on all their research, the signature characteristic of a Level 5 (top) leader is humility. Gee, I could have saved his research a lot of time and they'd be up a Bible too.

A couple other things from Jim...

"We don't have jobs & titles. We have responsibilities."

"If you have more than 3 priorities, you have no priority."

No great quotes from Steven Furtick but he was terrific. Lots of passion, energy and a challenging message that we took to heart. He'll be back. Preached on the space in life between God's promise to us and the payoff of when it comes to pass.

In talking about Acts 1:8, Brenda McNeil described Samaria well when she said, "(It's) hostile to us; we're reluctant to go there. We don't understand the people in Samaria; we're uncomfortable; they don't get our jokes. We'd take the freeway to avoid them." Yep, that's how I feel about my Samaria. Nailed me.

Seth Godin talked about Tribes and gave all 12,000 of us a copy of his latest book. Now that's what I call building your tribe. Who's my tribe? After my family, it's the core group of leaders at Grace. Those who give and serve faithfully and sacrificially. You know who you are!

Craig Groeschel challenged us with checking our hearts to see if we still have "it". What's it? Well, he said he couldn't really tell us but that the Holy Spirit was a big part of it--just not all of it.

My brain feels full so I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Catalyst bound!

I'll be heading to Catalyst today and will be blogging about it in the coming days. If you think about it, pray I'll hear through all the noise just what God wants me to hear.

Monday, October 06, 2008

8 in 08 Review

The Advent Conspiracy was just 1 of 8 goals we had at Grace Christian Fellowship for 2008. You'll be hearing more about the Advent Conspiracy in the coming weeks and months as we finish 2008 strong. Let's see how we did with the rest:

1. Invest in Leaders. This past Sunday we voted in our first ever Deacons and their wives. This adds much needed leadership in our ministry to families where there are gaps in the family support system. These couples will bring much needed energy and resources to the fight for those in crisis. Elders will follow once we get some time equipping our new Deacons and their wives.

We also taught our first Discovery your SHAPE class which deals with discovering your gifts and letting that lead to where you are gifted to serve. 

This week 4 of us will go to the Catalyst leadership conference in Atlanta.

2. Easter Outreach. While we had a good turnout for Easter, we did not organize a special outreach for that day.

3. Be a lighthouse. We challenged our people to take on the lighthouse challenge: Prayer-Care-Share strategy. We did not resource our people on this like we needed to.

4. Train to Remain. We trained our entire church family over more than 16 weeks by preaching through the Book of Romans.

5. Master Planning. Any day we expect to get our first draft of our new master plan for the property from our architect. 

6. Mission: Curacao. Not only did we go, we are planning to go back! We took 13 people and have 19 ready to go next summer.

7. 40 Days of Community. We kicked-off 40 Days of Community on Sunday and it begins Oct. 12th.

8. Advent Conspiracy. We will hear from Gene & Doris Hundley as we learn to give Christmas gifts to...well, Jesus, for His birthday. Video explanation 

Friday, October 03, 2008

ICE: In Case of Emergency

Have you ever wondered what the paramedics would do if they found you at the scene of an accident unconscious, without an ID (stolen?) but still with your cell phone? Perhaps they should call someone in your phone address book. But wait, if you're like me you have dozens of numbers. Your emergency contact is not obvious to an EMT. Who should they call?

Based on a recent email I received, let me recommend you create a new contact in you phone called 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency). I understand this is becoming standard operating procedure for many paramedics. Whether it is or not, if enough people do this many will think to check should the need arise.

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.

On a slightly related note, here is what came up when I googled "Incaseofemergency": http://www.readybooks.us