Category Archives: Church news

Thoughts on the Newspring Leadership Conference

First of all, I know that not everyone likes Pastor Perry Noble.  I think for those who are against him it is because of how God is using him that jealousy causes this attitude against him.  I think he is aware of this being a problem.  I get jealous of him to since I am a small church pastor.  A real small church pastor in the truest sense.  Yet, he was used by God to put together a conference that really was amazing.  Notice I said used by God!

My church paid $99 for a ticket to one of the most impressive conferences that I have been to to date.  I don’t get to go to things like this very often.  There are two reasons for this.  One, they are too expensive most of the time.  Two, they always focus on leadership style that fits a particular type of personality.  Many church leaders, or wannabes, focus on these personality ID’s instead of those who are surrendered to the Holy Spirit.  Leadership has become the idol of The Church world in my opinion.  I would be happier to see pastors focusing servanthood than leadership.  Servanthood glorifies Christ, while leadership becomes a little questionable about whose personality is being revealed. 

Pastor Perry was able to get top speakers, who have been field tested instead of classroom tested, to come and share with us.  These speakers had one message that was communicated in different ways.  Listen to God and do it.  Not only was this their message, but they also took the pressure off of us “simple” pastors by pointing out that not everyone will do the same things they have.  This is big!  This is refreshing.  This is truth!  They suggested that everyone is different and unique so God will have a different plan for each of us than those who were speaking.

These speakers, including Pastor Perry Noble, seem to be the heartbeat of Christ in the American Church.  Yet, they would not accept me pointing this out.  The common thread they all have is that they seemed to be spending a great amount of time with the Holy Spirit instead of focusing on programming.  They would tell you that there is not 12 step model for success.  Yet, curiously, many pastors continue to look for it.  It doesn’t exist.  I think it is because many successful pastors continue to present it. 

Another observation was that this conference was not sold-out.  At least, it did not appear to be.  I have been to Unleash a few times.  This conference was different because Newspring was not sharing about their programming.  Again, the focus of Noble, seemed to be on the Holy Spirit.  Could this be why more pastors were not there?  It just goes with how God does things and many miss Him doing it.  I was impacted by the Word of God that day.  Many were.  So if God was speaking, and He was, it is a shame that more were not there. 

One last observation.  Forgive me for making it, but I think you might get a laugh.  The bird sequence shirts that we saw the last 2 years at Newspring might be running their course.  I remember the 1st year not many but Furtick and Noble wore them.  The next year, half the crowd (church leaders) had them on.  This year the leaders had shirts on with patches similar to merit badges we have in scouting, while on stage.  I predict this to be the new fashion for the next Unleash.

Finally, congrats to Pastor Perry and his Newspring Church.  I mean it.  I am very critical most of the time, which is a character flaw most of the time.  So you know with me bragging in the Lord about this that it had to be very good.  Thank you Newspring for being used by God to bless me and others.  God bless.

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Sunday Ups and Downs

We had a good attendance at Smith Chapel yesterday.  I got to teach about the importance of being connected to church.  Our text was 1 Corinthians 12 and I read from verse 4 to the end of the chapter.  While reading we noted that this chapter is about more than simply trying to figure out what our spiritual gifts are.  The bottom-line is that God connects us to The Church, the church, Him, and connects us (the church) with a lost world so that Jesus can connect to those who do not know Him.  That is it in a nut shell. 

During our service we able to baptize a man, which connected him to The Church, and hopefully to the our church too.  It was a good moment in our worship.  Some of his family was there with tears in their eyes.  This helped us as a Body to focus on Christ and the importance of knowing Him which led to singing praises from our hearts. 

Later, a young man shared with me that he is a universalist.  I hate to admit it, but it is refreshing to meet someone who is honest in the Bible-Belt about their view of God.  Most really do not know what they believe and why they believe.  He challenged me to dig for intelligent answers.  It has been a long time since I’ve focused on Apologetics.  It might be time for a refresher.  Nevertheless, for those who think that there really is not much of a mission out there that requires Christians to share Christ, here is your reminder. 

Finally, I capped off the day going to see someone who might be hours from slipping into eternity.  This person has not received Christ as Savior and Lord.  These are always tense moments for me as a pastor.  There are nurses and family around who do not want you to bother someone who is passing away.  I understand.  However, we must realize that receiving Christ is also how someone can pass away peacefully.  I asked the question, “Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior?”  There was no answer.  We must remember that God gives us all a choice.  I wish I had better news, but I don’t. 

Sunday started out with a sense of victory, but it ended with the reminder that there are still many who do not know who Jesus Christ is.  Further, there are many who choose not to know Jesus Christ.  Yet, God is merciful and longsuffering.  He continues to astound me by trying to save right up to the last breathe.  To Him be all glory and honor forever.

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Sunday Recap

  • 59 in attendance this morning.
  • Several more came to our dinner after church.
  • One thing that everyone comments about our church is that our ladies know how to cook. 
  • It looked good seeing our sanctuary full today.  It is a reminder that we are going to have to move forward by faith to grow larger.  We really do not have enough parking or seating to seat people comfortably. 
  • Our District Superintendent delivered our morning message.  Buddy Rampey taught on the Jesus’ parable of The Mustard Seed.  It was a good reminder that God can grow something large out of something small.  Matthew 13. 
  • We cancelled our PM service since we had a long afternoon eating and a board meeting. 

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Sunday Recap

Here’s the breakdown for our service today.

  • 47 in attendance
  • 30 for Sunday school
  • Rainy Sunday
  • Sermon Series “Encounters”
  • Sermon title “Betraying Christ”
  • Sermon text Matthew 26:14-25
  • Subject: As a result of divided loyalties Judas finally betrayed Christ
  • 3 ideas why Judas betrayed Christ while it was foretold that Jesus would be betrayed, Judas showed that Greed betrays Christ, Christ was of little worth, and he fooled himself.  Greed caused him to dip into the treasury as John pointed out.  Amazingly, Judas desired money even though he witnessed Christ teaching that you cannot serve both God and money.  This desire for money actually demonstrated the little value that Judas had for Jesus Christ.  He betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver!  Mary of Bethany in contrast demonstrated how much Jesus was worth to her when anointed Him with the expensive perfume.  This helps us to see that Judas really betrayed Him for small cash.  Judas ended up fooling himself because he was one of the 12 who Jesus sent out to cast out devils, preach, and heal the sick.  In other words, he was able to perform the works that Christ does.  This means that although Judas heard Jesus teach that when Judgment comes there will be those who performed all these types of things, and yet, the Lord will say “Depart from Me, for I never knew you.”  This means that he only fooled himself into believing that he was squared away with Christ, but was not. 
  • Three questions that all Christians must consider are: Are you betraying Christ through greed?  In other words, loving money more than Him.  Which one has your heart?  Are you betraying Christ by demonstrating that He is worth little to you?  This can be done by chasing whatever divides your loyalty for Him.  Oh, let’s say, . . . not showing up for church when you really can.  Choosing other things over what Jesus has called you to do.  Putting other things like money, family, friends, and the things of this world ahead of Him constantly.  Are you fooling yourself believing that you are squared away with Christ?  This means that you are a Sunday morning Christian only.  You preach Jesus but do not really live for Him.  May be you have taught His Word, but you don’t have it in your heart.  May be you have guided others to Christ but you yourself are really far from Christ.  This sounds like a large piece of the American Christian Church. 
  • We had a song service during PM service since Pastor Jon and I went to a Growing Pastors Dinner. 
  • The trend that I see in our church is that there is a third of our people that are missing on Sunday mornings.  One third is absent, but then the third that was missing the Sunday before returns to take their place. 
  • I felt the Spirit’s Presence again this Sunday.  Praise the Lord! 

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Sunday Recap

Sunday was awesome!  God moved and people responded!  So here is the recap.

  • I took my part in preaching the Encounters Series.  I spoke about Caiaphas rejecting God’s Will.  The Scripture that I used was Mark 11:15-19, 27-33.  Because Caiaphas was ultimately in charge of the Temple, here are three things that he rejected; right worship; caring for others, and God’s Authority.  The problem with worship was that the Jews were not keeping God’s Temple Holy.  The priests had a scam for money going in the Temple.  They were selling pre-approved animals for sacrifice.  The priests rejected that Jesus is the Lamb of God and therefore, rejected His judgment upon the Temple.  Caiaphas was finally persuaded officials that Jesus should be put to death as the ultimate rejection. I asked three What if . . . questions.  What if Christians did not reject right worship of Christ?  What would The Church look like?  What if Christians did not take advantage of others, but really cared?  What would The Church look like?  What if Christians really accepted God’s Authority?  How would we live our lives?  What would The Church look like? 
  • We had 45.  This is discouraging. 
  • We had around 7 come to the altar to move closer to Christ.  This is awesome!  Praise the Lord!
  • I noticed a sincerity in several to win others to Christ.  This is encouraging. 
  • Giving was up. 
  • I pointed out that most Christians give 10% of their income.  The problem with this is that many Christians limit God to just 10% of their income.  What I mean is that they only allow God to God of that much, and they limit His Authority to only the financial aspect of their lives.  Because we don’t want Him to have access to the other 90% of our income.  We also don’t want God to have access to our time and personal lives.  This is the danger of paying 10%.  We clear our minds of any other responsibilities.  Many think, “I’ve done my part.”  Yet, the question remains, “Have you really?”  I think that God is interested in more than money. 
  • Sunday night was mediocre.  We split into men’s and women’s groups.  The men talked about Holiness.  What does it mean to have the mind of Christ? 
  • As I look back at Sunday, I think it was a good time of worship.  Yet, I see that it was not good enough.  We must, as a church, begin to deliberately win Sunday back.
  • I think Sunday has been lost to recreation, relaxation, and retailization.  I had to have another R.  People, let me tell you straight.  God knows if you are really His or not. 
  • If you are cutting church without a legitimate reason, then you are missing the mark.  Please do not respond to this post that you can be a Christian without going to church.  I don’t think so.  Unless you are in a country that does not allow you to.  That talk just makes me tired.  I bet when we all get to Heaven people will enjoy being in a worship service with each other. 
  • Finally, thank you Lord for new believers.  Amen. 

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Sunday Recap

  • This Sunday I finished my series called Survey Says . . . The topic was What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell. 
  • The Bible points out that Heaven and Hell are places where we will exist forever.  The Bible also says that we will choose one place or the other by how we live our lives and put our trust in.  We can only reach Heaven through a relationship with Jesus. 
  • We had 38 today which was good since there was a threat of a snow storm.  Yet, we are not really risking a lot to worship Christ when you consider The Church in China.  They risk it all every time they meet.  And they still meet. 
  • I cancelled the night service.  We finally got about 5 inches of snow. 
  • I received prayers, cards, and support from my church since I had to go to Indiana to do my grandmother’s funeral last Sunday.  I have a good church.  I know pastors who struggle because their congregations do not step up and love them with action.  So all that Smith Chapel did for me meant a lot to me. 
  • I used a picture of Jesus during my sermon.  It is from the 60’s I think.  It hangs in our foyer.  🙂  Wow!  He is in a black robe holding a sheep.  He is in the country too. 
  • Peace.

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Sunday Recap

We are in the middle of our series “Survey Says . . .”  As I think I have mentioned earlier, we handed out a list of topics that the church was able to vote on so that they could hear a sermon about it.  Last week was The Difference Between Wesleyans and Baptists.  That sermon was a very hard topic to preach.  I think that it should have been a topic for Sunday school; but not everyone will come to Sunday school.  So it seems that the pulpit has had to take on some of the Sunday school responsibilities of teaching.  I think that is good in some ways, but I am still a supporter of Sunday school.  So here is last Sundays recap.

  • The topic was Why don’t I get along with others.  The sermon was Harmony with Others.
  • The main point in the message was that our relationship with others reflects the health of our relationship with Jesus Christ. 
  • Scripture was Ephesians 4:15-32; yet, all of Ephesians 4 and The Sermon on the Mount give direction on this topic. 
  • The first point was change brings harmony.  In other words, we must dies to ourselves so that we can truly repent.  Repent means to be sorry enough to make a 180 degree change.  Paul said “Put off the old man.”  Change from who we were before we met Jesus Christ.  That old person was influenced by the way the world sees things.  As Christians we know that the world is against Jesus Christ.  So we cannot please God by allowing ourselves to be influence by a fallen world.  We must die to that way of life.  If we allow ourselves to be influenced by the world, then there will always be conflicts between us and others. 
  • The second point was that we must sacrifice for harmony.  In the world, when there is a conflict between us and others, and if we are not able to find peace, someone will suggest that we sacrifice for the sake of peace.  Yet, when the world suggests that we sacrifice this means that we compromise.  So that type of sacrifice is out of the question.  Paul points out in Romans that we are to present our “bodies as living sacrifices to God.”  This is not a compromise that says, “Okay God, to have peace with You, I will give You this much of Me.”  Instead, sacrifice in Paul’s mind was that we give ALL OF OURSELVES to Christ.  This is “putting on the new man.”  This is how we allow Christ to change that worldly influence in us so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in us which means that He will guide us in what is right and wrong.  This is where most Christians fall short in their relationship with Christ, which reflects poor relationships with others.
  • Some commentary that I gave was that there should be a time in our walk with the Lord that we know that we have died to ourselves.  After this, there should be an experience that demonstrates that we are full of the Spirit.  I don’t mean spiritual gifts, but spiritual fruit.  Before our church can, as our mission statement says, “Transform our community and world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” we must be full of the Spirit.  Everything that we do flows from this central point.  We cannot care for others until we are surrendered to Christ and transformed ourselves by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • The last point was the Paul showed the way to harmony by giving direction about what a Christian life should like after “putting off and putting on.”  After being transformed by Christ, on the inside, we will desire not to do sinful things against our neighbor.  As a matter of fact, other people can do things that would anger others, but because of the love in our hearts for others, we will not want to do wrong to them when they do us wrong. 
  • We discussed Holiness, a.k.a Sanctification, in our Sunday night Wesleyan Men’s group.  I shared what my experience was as well as failures since my experience. 
  • The Wesleyan Women went to a lady’s house who has recently become a shut-in, hopefully not for long, and this is what I think it means to be part of a Christian community.  I endorse this.  We don’t have to always be at our church for a Sunday night service.  We should be in each others homes. 
  • We had 41 in attendance for our AM service. 
  • 31 for Sunday school.
  • 31 for Sunday night. 
  • Could these numbers indicate our relationship with Christ as a church?  We minister to approx. 70 different people.  And these people all come on different Sundays but we never get over 55 in attendance.  And, it was 74 degrees Sunday, very suspicious looking.  I have to say, I was tempted to call in sick :).

The bottom-line is that we are in tough times as a nation.  It is imperative that each Christian be sold-out completely to Jesus Christ.  This means that He is first all of the time.  Every comes after Him.  It is time to quit being luke warm.  He will spit us out of His mouth if we remain this way.

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