Thursday, April 30, 2009
This is my fourth trip here to Ghana, and I'm always amazed at the level of respect I see for authority figures. This is a country with order and protocol. When I first came, I was a little thrown back by all of the pomp and circumstance; but today, I see that respect and honor are a priority in the Kingdom - even if it's not in our culture.
Church government here is not influenced by American culture. They are not democratic. They don't vote on their pastor. They have a Kingdom mentality. It's interesting to me that Jesus was constrained to do miracles in his hometown. The Bible doesn't say that he "would not do many miracles", it says that he "couldn't do many miracles. " He said that "a prophet is without honor in his hometown."
I wonder if many of today's miracles are seen in other parts of the world, while in America, we may only see an occasional back ache or head ache get healed, because of the dishonor, disrespect, and disorder we so often tolerate.
Maybe someone is "out of order" in your church. How do you handle them? Is there a process for church discipline? We must not allow people who have money, political clout, cultural relevance, or anything else keep us from standing for order, unity, and God's peace in our churhces in ministries!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
As a child, my parents fought often. Prior to their divorce, we would spend countless nights in motels and relatives homes. My mom would take us to a local airport and we would watch the planes touch and go. Airports represented peace and tranquility for me. That day in 1985, I heard a loud plane engine in the valley. It caught my attention; and I watched that plane take off. The Lord spoke and said, "the very tool that I have used to bring peace and tranquility will also take you to many places around the world." There were days when I couldn't wait to travel.
As a husband and father, traveling is tough; but I know that I'm a man on a mission! My friend here in Ghana is building a 10,000 seat auditorium. He has planted about 20 churches. He, too, is a world traveler and has written many books. He comes to our church each year; and our families are very close.
What are the benefits of "thinking outside the box"? First, "Divine Connections" are awaiting you somewhere. You are the solution to someone's problem! Second, your family and church need to think beyond themselves. People everywhere in the world live with so much less than we do. For example, here in Ghana, the average household income is under $400 per month. Third, it's eye opening when you see the view most of the world has toward us (Americans). Often, they see us as arrogant "know it alls". I've discovered that some of the brightest people in the world are outside the U.S. We have so much to learn from them.
What's your mission? How are you reaching beyond your local church? What connections do you have beyond the norm? Are you on a mission?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Inquiry Stage was the first thought that hit me. At this stage, I wanted to know everything about my then girlfriend Missy. What time does she wake up? Where does she go for lunch? What does she like to eat? Does she enjoy the same music as me? What perfume does she like? What is her taste in clothes, purses, jewelry, etc…? Then, after we got married, there were some many other questions. Questions like, does she like butter or margarine? What kind of toothpaste does she prefer? Will she sleep on the right or left side of the bed? Does she snuggle or need her space?
Next, I thought of the Investigation Stage. That was the stage that I wanted to know more of the private things about my wife; and vice versa. I had to learn to trust and be trusted in this stage.
Then came the Investment Stage. This was the stage where I realized that there needed to be a willingness to make deposits today for the needed withdrawals down the road.
Finally, you get to enjoy the Intimacy Stage of marriage. Today, after just fifteen years of marriage, I’m learning things about my wife that I wished I’d known fourteen and a half years ago. We’re closer, more loving, more forgiving, more embracing, and more intimate than ever before; but I’m still looking for greater advancement in this stage of our married life.
Here’s the question: Are you still excited about your marriage? Do you give your wife the “first fruits” of your time, or does she get your “leftovers”? What does your “date night”, “date lunch”, or “alone” time with your spouse look like?
Thursday, April 23, 2009
1. Vital organs (i.e., heart, kidney, liver, lungs, etc)
2. Skeleton or bones (structure - internal)
3. Flesh (i.e., covering of the bones - external)
4. Waste (stuff that just passes through.)
When we join the Kingdom of God we have the opportunity to decide if we are going to be a vital organ, skeleton, flesh or waste.
Where do you see yourself in our fellowship (PCG)?
- Vital organ
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
John Mark quit during Paul's first missionary journey when things got tough.
Demas forsook Paul having loved this present world.
If we are to have an effective ministy we must learn to pass through the seasons of suffering. Some things are better learned in the valley than on the mountain top. When God allows us to pass through the veil of misunderstanding we must know that He is doing a work IN us so He can do a work THROUGH us.
While passing through the trial God is building my spiritual stamina so that I don't quit in the middle of what God has called me to do.
I remember this quote from Tommy Barnett many years ago. He said, "You can think about quitting as long as you know you're not going to." That stuck with me.
My friends, can you take a "lickin & keep on tickin?"
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
What is your role in the body of Christ?
Would that role cease if you were no longer the "Senior Pastor?"
I guess my thoughts today on this blog (blog = an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.) is that if God called me to walk in the office of an apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher or pastor - then does it cease if an election says "no"?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Last year I weighed 319 lbs and I was shocked. Although God has blessed my church and ministry I had to be honest that I was being unfair to myself, my family and church. I decided to see a nutritionist and make some changes. I want to be around for years to come for my wife and kids first, and my church second.
To make a long story short today I got back from my monthly appointment and I have lost a total of 39 lbs as I weighed a slim (lol) 280 lbs and dropping. I am not dieting, just eating well balanced healthy meals with the right size portions. On top of that I am excercising 3-4 times a day playing basketball, softball and running 2 miles a day.
I feel better and am excited even more about who I can be to my wife and kids and how this will allow me to be more effective in my relationship with God and in my ministry.
Hebrews 12 reminds us to not only look unto Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith but to lay aside THE WEIGHT and the SIN that so easily trips us up!
I understand the meaning of this text and want to remind each of us that we have a responsibility to take care of the vessel God has given us to operate in for His glory!
I do not know where each of you guys are in this area but hope that each of you will consider examining your physical health so your family as well as the kingdom will have you around for years to come!
HERE'S TO HEALTHY PASTORS INSIDE AND OUT!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I have read the statistics that less than 10% of churches have any form of evangelism and even less teach it as a regular part of their services. The truth is many people like their church. They know who everyone is, where everything is and know from week to week what is going to happen. I think many of our pastors are like this as well. They know who everyone is, they know everyone loves them and they know nobody there will challenge them either. It is one happy family church.
Even though I believe one day I will, it is still hard to imagine pastoring a church Jeff's size or larger. However, it is unacceptable to imagine me pastoring my church the same size 2-3 years from now. When is enough, enough?
Easter is over and most people are recouping and basking in the glory of a great crowd. I am looking to the next day, the next service, the next opportunity to reach the lost.
Why are we in this? A paycheck, a parsonage....not me. I want to reach the lost and hurting. It is not enough to say those words as spiritual as they sound. We must be continual and intentional in our pursuit of the lost. Easter is not the only time of the year when people are open to the gospel. When is enough, enough?
My building is small but I will add as many services or get as creative as I can to make room for more. I pass by vacant buildings and say "God, that would make a great church". But God keeps me where I am for a reason. I could have taken a bigger church with higher pay and more people in a better community but that would be what most would do. I am not like most and neither are you! The lost are all around you and they are waiting for you to come to them and let them know you care.
WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The fact of the matter is the real hard work begins. I have never found it difficult to get a crowd. I have found it hard to keep the crowd. I know, I can hear you all saying "don't we all?"
I think much of this can be attributed to the fact that many churches have no follow up, no plan and no desire to get truly involved. Ministry has truly begun for us. How do we get the 48 that made decisions for Christ to get involved, connected etc. Do we even have much to offer for them to get involved or connected?
Truth be told many churches try putting on a show that they can never follow up with. It is like feeding someone steak the first time you feed them and then offering frozen dinners every time after. Sooner than later they realize you can't give them what they need or deserve and they find it elsewhere.
If you had people make decisions for Christ then you have given birth to babies who must be taken care of or you have abandoned your highest responsibility
We not only have new souls to follow up on but the dozens of families who have expressed interest in connecting with us. The future is bright becasue we have a plan. It did not end on Easter Sunday, it began that day and now that I am rested, it's time to see just how successful we can really be!
What is your plan?
Monday, April 13, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
He Lives Again.
Here we are 24 hours away from the day we Party because He Lives Again. You will have the opportunity to speak into the lives of more UnConvinced people's lives tomorrow in your church than any other time of the year. On Easter more people far from God attend church around the globe than any other Sunday in 365 days.
Are you ready?? Have you prepared?? Sight, Sound & Smell?? Is your mind clear?? Is the message HOT?? Have you prayed, fasted, asked and begged God to give you a harvest. The harvest is ready, He only needs workers to gather. You are the harvester.
As people walk into your church on Sunday, speak with Passion, Power, Boldness, Love and knowing that if you don't touch them it may be another year before they will hear this message of Hope again.
Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready!!!
Friday, April 10, 2009
o If you don’t have leadership that is on fire you can’t expect your church to be on fire
o I am ready to quit; STAY IN THE GAME; if you have not been there, u will
- Who is with ME??
Moses the man of God needed to know the answer. Moses said to God, before I can lead, I must know who is with me.
Lead Pastor; average stay of Pastors in churches is 22 months; you are a church hopper as a Pastor. If you want people to buy into you, then you must buy into them.
Love your staff. You might go to another church and work but you will never have a pastor love you as much as I do.
Satan does not want to split your church, he wants to split your staff. Don’t say, I do as much as he does.
Pastors carry a weight on him you can never imagine.
Your staff is depending on me to: be faithful to my wife, carry the finances & get the vision.
You have got to know who is with ME???
Am I pleasing you??
We must know this because Pastors will be put in uncomfortable situations
Pastors we are Prophets of God; or are we Prostitutes of a message that we speak to get paid for it.
Church work is when you please people
Ministry is when you please God
We depend way to much on our ability instead of God’s anointing
Don’t blame yourself when things are bad, you might take credit when things are good.
God knew all mistakes we would make before He called us. He calls those
If Jesus can’t please them then you can’t either.
Am I placing limits on me that God hasn’t placed on me?
2 Corinthians 4:7…God most often puts His most powerful gifts in His most weakest vessel
What is the vision you have not even spoke yet, because you are afraid it will not happen. He has empowered you, enabled you, His power is limitless
Will we see you??
If your presence does not go with us, we don’t want to go….Moses...Exodus 33:15-18
Do you want attendance or repentance.
Don’t back down from bible.
You must first seek the presence of God
When was the last time you were desperate for God
What is next??
CLC began with 6 people in a living room
April 9th, 2003 had 55; 6 years later we have 335 people; Sunday we are expecting 50 Salvations
Ask God what is next. At the end of the day, we want people to see how awesome God is.
Quit thinking people come to see you or your church. Let them see God and him lifted up.
#1 passion of the pastor/church must be, we want the Presence of God.
Your team will never know the weight the pastor feels, but he will carry it for you, because he wants to carry the ball.
Pastors, be ready to carry the ball. You have to want it if you want your people to want it.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
No really, does the title matter? I say we just drop the titles and pompous attitudes that go with them and be Men called by God to "Preach the Word."
It is Passion Week with only a couple of days left until Good Friday then on the 3rd Day He Lives Again!!! Are you ready to "Preach the Word" on Easter Sunday. Remember the previous blogs, they (UnConvinced people) will be there. Are we ready for them by Sight, Sound & Smell?? But are you ready to do what ONLY YOU can do as the Lead/Senior Pastor??
I have done alot to be prepared this weekend, but there are things i must leave to my team to do because i should not be doing things that others can do, but i should be doing the thing that ONLY I CAN DO, "Preach the Word".
2 Timothy 4:2-5; NLT
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.
Preaching the Gospel of Christ is offensive to men.
If you’re being criticized for your sex talks and creative marketing and never for preaching Christ, something might be wrong with your preaching.
Preaching God’s standards will tick some people off.
If your sermons always make people feel better about themselves and you NEVER confront their sin, they won’t likely see their need for a Savior.
Preaching about the miraculous power of God stirs people up.
If your typical message is five steps to a better life, you may be overlooking the one step of truly taking God at His word.
Preach the Word!!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Remember this is what church is all about, bringing people in that don't know Him. You know we are celebrating the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for these people. So, DON"T FREAK OUT because they are different from you.
i will go back to my original question yesterday, What are you doing about it?? You might say well i don't want to do anything out of the ordinary to try to get them to our church or i don't want to do anything that might be offensive to our charter members or something that might tick off the deacon board. I say tick them off and make them uncomfortable. The problem in the church today is that we have allowed the Christians to get comfortable sitting in our churches seeeeeeeking more of God, when all the time they should be OUT SHARING God with our communities. I don't really give a rat's if it makes the Christians uncomfortable.
Right now God has honored clc by giving us some of these Different people that are attending our church. We have 4 couples living together, 2 homosexuals and a dancer at a Strip Club attending. As a matter of fact the dancer's boyfriend accepted Christ 3 weeks ago, they are living together and they attended our Marriage Intensives last night. We preach the message strong continually believing that those far from God will accept Him. As a matter of fact the Strip Club dancer that attended the Marriage Intensive with her boyfriend, heard teaching and a message on how Pornography can destroy our marriages. She has not accepted Christ, but told Karen my wife, she would be back next week to hear more. They don't look like me or act like me but they do feel welcome and accepted because we DON"T FREAK OUT even though they are different.
Do something different and out of the norm on Easter to reach your community. I have attached a video clip you need to check out. It is a news clip from Fox 2 News in St. Louis. They are interviewing one of the church plants in our District about their message title for this weekend's message, "Easter in the Octagon". Spirit of St. Louis Church, Pastor Tom Skiles is speaking a message centered on UFC, Jesus was the Ultimate FIghter. Because of the title and controversy in the "Church" community, they have got news coverage and lots of other coverage. DON"T FREAK OUT because they are using Ultimate Fighting as a basis to bring people to Christ.
Ck it out: http://www.fox2now.com/video/?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=3627840
Don't Freak OUT, but do something to attract the UnConvinced to Christ. Quit trying the keep the Saved, go after the Lost. Jesus left the 99 to go find the 1.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Do you have any special plans to make the UnConvinced feel welcomed? Have you gone out of your way to train or establish more volunteers that will greet people on the parking lot or outside the front doors? Have you checked the Sight, Sound and Smell of your facility? You know people that are coming Sunday will be checking these things out. When they come on the property and into our facility will they see clutter or even dirt? Will they hear music they recognize or will they hear Sis. Snooty gossiping about someone?? What does your facility smell like?? Is your bathrooms clean and FRESH? What about the kids rooms and nursery?
You might be thinking, Eddie, the only thing i am thinking about is studying my Easter message. You have preached that message over and over for years now, surely you know it. I DO NOT underestimate the importance of being prepared to preach the word, but if the UnConvinced walk into our churches on Sunday and are met by Rude People and no one really cares that they are there and the place looks like you just had a yard sale and somebody just peeeeed all over the floor, then they will be turned off immediately.
Make sure the UnConvinced are greeted with a warm smile and love. Prepare some people to talk to those that no one else wants to talk to because they don't look like, act like and smell like us. And for God's sake, clean up the CRAP around our facilities.
We established a prayer team for this week and are praying that 50 UnConvinced people will make a decision for Christ on Easter Sunday at clc. They are going to show up at your church on Sunday, maybe not for the right reason, but they will be there. The biggest opportunity you will have all year to speak into the lives of more UnConvinced people's lives in one setting is Easter Sunday.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT???
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Why aren't you (really) good at graphic design? via Seth's Blog by Seth Godin on 3/31/09
Ten years ago, you had a wide range of excuses for being a lousy visuals person. Starting with no talent, leading to no skill and going from there.
But now, in a world where it is expected that professionals will be able to make beautiful powerpoint slides, handsome business cards, clever bio photos and a decent website, it's as important as driving. And easier to learn and do, and requiring less talent.
No, you and I will never be gifted designers or breakthrough designers. But there's really no reason not to be really good.
I put together a page with some blogs, books and sites you can check out. An hour a day for a month and you won't have to hide your face in shame. Sure, hire the very best in the world when you need a breakthrough. But you don't have to pay for better-than-mediocre design. You can do it yourself.