I have completely moved my blogging to www.startstuff.net and so don’t really blog here anymore. Last night, I had the oportunity to go speak to a great group of men out at Lebanon Baptist Church between Liberty, SC and Anderson, SC. It was their Men’s Missions Night and the topic that I shared with them is worth sharing here too. In a few words, it was that God has a vision for each one of us! We all have a mission to accomplish in life and as long as we are doing exactly what God planned for us to do, then there is no small or big mission! As Proverbs says, Where there is no vision, the people perish! Have a great day and seek God to see what HIS vision is for your life!
Last Saturday, my wife and I competed in the Savannah, GA 1/2 Marathon. It was a great event in that beautiful city! We had a few pre-race setbacks, when Casper had to be put in a walking boot due to a stress fracture in her foot a few weeks before the race. She got permission to take the boot off to do the race and then right back into it. Due to that, she asked me if I would walk the race with her instead of running it. Along the way I learned some valuable things.
1. Many people take off like madmen at the start…and then our walking pace passed them later in the race.
2. Finishing still felt good!
3. In order to finish, one has to start!
4. There is great room for improvement no matter what race we are in.
I thought those points apply to life as much as to running races. Get started…then persevere to the finish!
Some days, I want to write a book. Others, I just want to be lazy, watch TV, surf the net and do nothing. This war between what I do and what I want to do has been waging in the hearts of men since the beginning of time. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament in the Bible said in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” This is the state that many find themselves in today! Recently, I had the chance to hear Clayton King speak, during his talk, he mentioned that most mornings he is up and studying by 5:30 in the morning. Clayton has written at least 6 books, and we are the same age! This can be either inspiring or depressing. What does it say to you?
One of my friends told me recently that I am the most inconsistent blogger he has ever known. Everyone knows that in order to build up a following/platform in the blogging world, you must be consistent. Here is the thing. I do this for free and have no really need of a platform or following. Writing is fun when I feel like it, and when I don’t have any inspiration I don’t write. This semester is quite busy, so I won’t be writing much. Just letting you know so you don’t worry about me. I am alive and well doing other things I love. When the break comes, I am likely to be blogging every day. Have a great fall!
The number one thing to keep in mind is that Jesus is number one on your list. Is everything you are doing making HIM known to others? If not, ask yourself, “Is it worth doing?”
In church ministry today, many people get caught up with different programs thinking that they are going to help the church grow. Sometimes, all it does is keep church people really busy. I think we have that backwards. When a church planting pastor goes into a community, he doesn’t sit in his office all day and dream up great programs for his as of yet non-existent church. He gets out into the community. As church leaders, we should be involved in areas of the community that have nothing to do with our church! Where else do you meet people who don’t know the Lord and who need to meet HIM? It doesn’t matter what it is. Be a Boy Scout leader, a Girl Scout leader, join a yacht club, speed skating team, car club, bag piper band, gym, rock climbing group, or even a political party. The point is to get involved in things that are NOT church related. Then you have friends who you can invite to church, and they won’t be just skipping church where they attend to come visit yours.
Today, July 24th, is my mother’s birthday. It is a big one for her. (I am of course smart enough not to announce her age on the internet.) She taught me much of what I know about being a servant leader. She led by example in ways that affected the rest of my life. For example: I can’t count the number of times that for one reason or another I got up early and walked into the living room to find my mother sitting there reading her Bible or praying. I knew she was praying for me when I was walking close to God, and I knew she was praying for me when I wasn’t. She was always helping people out. We lived in the country during my teen years. We attended a small country church that had an average Sunday morning attendance of 13! (And our family made up 4 of that count.) I remember mom giving the pastor’s wife a hug when they were ready to quit, and just listening to her cry. We seemed to always be able to make room when someone needed a place to stay “for a bit”, when they were “in between jobs” or take care of the kids for a few weeks when the parents were out of commission. Thanks Mom for being an incredible example! Have an awesome birthday! (And remember that you aren’t as old as Grandnana! When God said, “Let there be light!” She flipped the switch.)
My church is exploding! We are one of those crazy churches that plants new campuses because people are driving from far away. Last night, we announced three new church campus plants. (FYI Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach and Greenwood all in SC) One of the things that is often asked of our senior pastor and the leadership team is, “What is your system?” While there is no doubt that a ton of planning goes into every service and every series, there isn’t a “system” for explosive growth in the church. Well, there is one and it is quite simple. Do whatever God tells you to do. That’s it. Do whatever God tells you to do. There is no guarantee that your ministry will suddenly have thousands of people just because you follow that, but I will guarantee you that if you do whatever God tells you to do, you won’t be wrong. When you stand before the Lord having done what He told you to, having shown as many people as possible the way to a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, it will be a good thing.
As a Christian, we believe that the only way to find forgiveness of sins and be found holy in the sight of God is through belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to earth in bodily form, was crucified on a cross, died, and three days later rose from the grave proving His dominance over sin and death. To say the least, we sell an odd product. To those who don’t believe, it seems to be foolishness. Jesus commands us to be salesmen. (Matt 28:19, Acts 1:8) Some would say, “We aren’t selling anything, it is a free gift.” I would respond by saying it is a free gift that costs you everything! While it is a bad comparison, it is a bit like being given a “free puppy”. The initial gift of the puppy is free, but then come the vet bills, food costs, collars, fencing, water bowls, food bowls, chew toys… When someone gives their heart to God, believing on His Son Jesus to be not only their Savior but their Lord, they are giving up their own will and desire and replacing it with God’s will and desire for their life. Now, nothing belongs to them anymore. While as a believer, I know that it is a great life to serve an Awesome God, the thought crossed my mind this morning that for the unbeliever, we are crazy!
Each week, there are churches who close their doors for the last time. There are pastors who resign never to go back into full time paid ministry. There are those out there who love to dig in and help a failing church revive and become new. It seems in today’s world, most young bible students want to plant a church rather than revitalize one. I am not taking anything away from church planters, it is hard work! There are pros and cons to both. The person who attempts to revitalize a dying church likely has a paid for building, maybe a parsonage, often even some money in an account that isn’t doing much. All that sounds great to the church planter in a rented facility, no money and wondering if they will be able to pay rent next month. The church planter doesn’t have to deal with an entrenched power structure, 100 year old committees, deacons who think they own you and people who claim they actually do own that pew because their family bought it and it has a brass plaque on the end to prove it. So to put that in a nutshell, church planting is more popular than church revitalization because the church planter doesn’t have to mess with church people!