It Has Happened Again!

Through the years, different people have told my wife and I how incredible it is to be a grandparent but I have to confess, I thought it was a bit of an exaggeration. I remember specifically when our friends, Johnny and Janet Hunt had their first grandchild, Katie, I thought they had lost their minds! They went crazy over that baby girl and talked about her non-stop! I have watched the same thing happen to other friends and just did not fully understand it.

Nothing could have prepared me for the love, excitement and intoxication that all come with being a grandparent. I really did not expect the powerful emotions that have been poured out on me through my now 5 grandbabies.

Raising your own children is a joy in itself and I love my kids more than life itself but grandchildren are a different ballgame. Grandkids come with “no strings attached” – you can enjoy them and not have to worry about performance and making sure you do every little thing right.

The patience that comes from nowhere is truly remarkable. You just want time to stand still, you don’t want these little boys and girls to grow up. I’m sure a lot of that comes from remembering how your own children seemed to be toddlers one day and then grew into men and women the next! Time passes much too quickly and grandparents have first-hand knowledge of that from watching their own children grow up.

Grandchildren bring joy in everything they do…watching them sleep, feeding them, their first smile, those first cooing sounds, the first laugh, first step, etc… It is deeply fulfilling and emotional to watch your child have their own child and be a parent.

Last night it happened again…My oldest son, Stevie and his wife had a baby girl – Isla Pearl Flockhart, weighing 7 lbs and 14 oz, 20 inches long with a head full of dark hair! We didn’t get to hold her because the Doctor wanted to observe her in the Special Care Nursery (she is fine!) but we did get to see her through the window.

When the nurse held her up it happened again! The flood of emotion and the tears. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to these grand-babies.I can’t wait to hold her today for the first time!

It has happened again!   Isla

Eruption in Heaven!

Yesterday there was an eruption in heaven! I mean heaven shook! Party favors were used and the streets of gold were full of angels doing a jig. There was a celebration over what was happening at New Season! Yesterday was off the chain and I am still celebrating with heaven!

Luke 15:7 and verse 10 says, – “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The only time that heaven rejoices is when someone who is lost gets found. I encourage you to read Luke chapter 15 in one sitting (it’s not long at all). It’s the only time in the Bible Jesus told 3 parables in a row about the same subject. In all 3 stories we see…
Something was lost.

An aggressive attitude was taken towards that which was lost: (we cannot afford to be passive about our lost family and friends.) We saw yesterday at church what happens when we invite our family and friends!

A celebration took place: When people pass from death unto life and experience forgiveness of sins a party erupts in heaven.

Over 80 people yesterday placed their faith in Jesus! Wow! I really can’t explain it but I join heaven and celebrate! I love an eruption!

Don’t Come Alone

When Matthew the tax collector was saved, he threw a party and invited all of his friends to attend with the hopes of introducing then to Jesus.

When Cornelius was getting ready to hear the gospel, he invited his family, friends and work associates.

When Andrew was saved, he went to go and tell his brother.

When you meet Jesus and have your sins forgiven, you can’t help but tell others about it!

Jesus said I will make you fishers of men….if you’re not fishing, you’re not following!

When is the last time you invited someone to church?                                                                  When is the last time you shared your story/shared the gospel?                                                          When is the last time you led someone to Christ?                                                                              When is the last time you tried?

The biggest day in our church history is this Sunday, two days from now – Friend Day! Who are you bringing? The gospel will be presented and lives will be changed!

The question is will your family and friends be here to to experience it?

Invite a Friend

Do you remember High School dances? Do you remember trying to get up the nerve to ask that person to dance? What if they said no? What if they think you’re weird? What if they tell other people that you are a freak?

Many times we feel the same way when it comes to inviting people to church. We get nervous, we make excuses, we feel rejection and we don’t want to be labeled.

Let me give you four ways to help you invite someone to church for friend day this Sunday.
1. Be specific and clear
“We are in a series at church that is really helping me. I go to the ____ a.m. service. Join me this Sunday.”                                                                                                                                                    Do you notice how specific and clear that was? “You should come to church with me” sometimes is like, “let’s do lunch.” That’s not clear.
2. Invite them to lunch afterwards or breakfast before. Tell them that you will pay. I can’t think of a greater investment!
3. Tell them what your church has to offer. If they have children, tell them how safe and awesome the Children’s Ministry is. Tell them how much your kids love it!
4. Be persistent Don’t give up. Keep on inviting,Someone will show up at church eventually and their life will be changed for all eternity because of your concern and persistence in inviting them!

We shared stories of two different groups of people in our services the past couple of weeks who invited friends to church and they came and accepted Christ.

One was the story of how two of our guys, Zach Dutton and Justin Dills invited some of their co-workers from Applebees to attend a service with them. Those young ladies attended, accepted Christ and are now inviting others to New Season!

The other story was about a young lady named Libby who started attending New Season. She liked it so she invited her friend Sienna who came and accepted Christ. Sienna invited Regan who came and accepted Christ. They are all attending regularly and continuing to invite people!

There is power in a simple invitation. There are people just waiting for you to ask…It’s Friend Day this Sunday! Don’t come alone! It’s not too late. One invitation can change a life!

Walk Through the Door

Many times, opportunities present themselves but fear holds us back from going through the door.We ask ourselves, “how can I pull this off” or “do I have the resources to make this happen”? No doubt, sometimes the timing isn’t right but most of the time it is fear that hinders us from going through the door.

I Corinthians 16:9 says, “For a great door is opened to me and there are many adversaries.”

The Apostle Paul had great dreams. Paul was not content with resting on what he had already accomplished. He believed God had more for him. He knew that we serve a God of unlimited opportunities and unimaginable futures.

Paul was planning his third missionary journey. On Paul’s second journey, God had forbidden him to preach in Asia. When we read this text, God has opened that closed door.

Revelation 3:7 tells us that God opens and shuts doors. What door of opportunity is God opening for you right now? Are you excited or fearful?

Let me mention what an opportunity is:
1. Time that occurs once and if it is not taken, it may be lost forever.
2. Fixed point in time; a distinct time; a significant time; an advantage.
3. A golden opportunity to seize the moment and fulfill your God given dream.

Rest assured that there will be opportunities for you. Those doors that God has wonderfully opened are the same doors that Satan has woefully opposed. The enemy will always raise his ugly head when you are going through the door of opportunity.

The greater the door of opportunity, the greater the opposition. Make sure you are open and receptive to the opportunity. Take action when an opportunity presents itself.

I Struggle!

I have a problem. It’s a really big problem. As a matter of fact, it is the biggest problem that I have. Are you ready? It’s me!

Romans 7:15 says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Paul gives a distinction in this chapter between the flesh and the spirit.

The term “flesh” is used to refer to the part of a person that is not controlled by the Spirit of God. The old nature still raises its ugly head. I still deal with anger, selfishness and pride. Every day is a battle and every day I must remind myself – “I am crucified with Christ.” (Galatians 2:20) I struggle.

I am grateful that Paul said what He said. I too desire to be God’s man and to do God’s will but many times, I get caught up in me, my desires, and my agenda instead of God’s.

Paul is helping us identify with the constant struggle to do what is right and not do what is wrong.

I love how he ends chapter seven. He recognizes and acknowledges that nothing inside of him is any good except Christ. He goes on to say in verses 24 and 25, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! ”

I will continue to struggle but I grateful for Jesus who not only forgives but enables me by the Spirit of God to desire to live a life pleasing to him even in the midst of my struggle!

Two Great Blessings in Life

Jesus said in Acts 20:35 that, “it is more blessed to give then receive.”

This famous statement from the lips of Jesus is not found where you think it may be. It is not in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, it is in the book of Acts. Jesus must have shared this with Paul during Paul’s three year discipleship program in Arabia.

This statement could be called the forgotten beatitude. A beatitude is a sentence that begins with the words, “Blessed…”

Jesus very frequently spoke in beatitudes. He began his ministry by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Matthew 5: 1-6

Later he said things like, “Blessed are your eyes because they see.” (Matthew 13:16)
And, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28)

In fact the word ‘blessed’ occurs 42 times in the Gospels but there is only one time when the phrase “more blessed” occurs. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I believe the Lord Jesus wants to lay this beatitude on our hearts today.

By reading this carefully, we can see that Jesus was really describing two great blessings in life. He was talking about giving and He was talking about receiving. He did not indicate that one is a curse and the other, a blessing. He indicated that both are blessings but one is a greater blessing than the other. He was comparing two different blessings.

First, there is the blessing of receiving. When you receive your paycheck at the end of the week, there is a blessing for which you are thankful. It enables you to pay your bills. It provides food and clothing and the necessities of life.

When someone remembers you on your birthday with a nice gift, that’s a blessing. When someone does you a kindness, how thankful you should be. It is a blessing to receive.

And think of how much we have received from the hand of God himself. All we have is from Him. All that we are and will be – all is from Him.

Our homes and possessions, our families and friends, our souls and bodies, our hope and future – all is from Him. Forgiveness of sin and eternal life, daily peace, His constant, abiding presence…all is from Him.

John 1:16 says, “from the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another.”

Secondly there is the blessing of giving. When you finally get to the point in your life when you not only trust God with your money, but also become a generous giver, it truly changes your life. Jesus was teaching us that when you give, you are investing in someone’s life. You are making an eternal investment.

Giving is a heart issue and helps keep us from being greedy or materialistic.

Do you believe Jesus ? Have you proved Him in this area of your life?

There are two blessings but the greater was is to give!

I’m Dreaming

A few years ago my son Stevie wrote a song called, “I’m Dreaming.” Lately, I find myself dreaming quite a bit.

I can’t help it. I tried and tried but I just can’t. I can’t stop thinking and dreaming about how God wants to use New Season Church to not only impact our community, but the world!

Ephesians 3:20 is still true…”Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Did you just read what that said? God IS able.

He is able to:
Save people from hell.
See people go public through baptism.
Restore broken marriages.
Break addictions.
Meet needs in our communities.
Lead people to embrace generosity.

Allow children and teens to experience an exciting church and be raised up to revolutionize the world for Christ.
Raise up a church with a passion to reach the lost.

I can think and imagine a million more things! God IS able to do all of this and more!

I’m dreaming..won’t you dream with me?

Be Ready For the Battle

I just finished a series in our church called, “This is War.” It wasn’t about men fighting against flesh and blood in foreign countries, it was about the spiritual warfare that every believer experiences at some point with the enemy.

Spiritual warfare is a battle between the invisible, spiritual realm that is being manifested in the visible, physical realm.

This battle affects every area of your personal life and there is no way you can avoid the conflict. It plays games with your mind, tries to alter your beliefs and manipulates your behavior.

The enemy is cunning and he has very elaborate plans in place for his battle against you. Many times we help him out without even realizing it.

For instance, many believers get caught up in thinking of the devil and hell as a fairy tale, something scary and fictional. One of the greatest tactics of the devil is for you to not believe in him or not take him seriously. This gives him an immediate upper hand.

A key truth that I shared in the first message of the series is this: When you’re in a war, you’d better find out all you can about your enemy. We must know who the enemy is, where he is, what he can do, why he does what he does, and how he thinks and how we overcome him.

There is way too much information to share in this one blog. I preached eight messages on this subject and could have preached many more.

We have CDs and DVDs available of the “This is War” series. I encourage you to pick up a set and listen to each message.

We must be informed, we must be armed…we must be ready to do battle! And by the way- we win!

Friend Day–October 19th

19 days from today, I am believing God for the greatest day in New Season’s history!!

We are praying that 100 people will be saved and baptized in the month of October. On October 19th, we are asking all of you New Season people to bring a friend with you to church.  We all know people who don’t know Christ or have been out of church for a very long time. This is your chance to invite them!

Everyone will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Your family and friends will have an incredible opportunity to hear a clear Gospel message on this very special day.

I know we do not like to talk about it. Some people say they do not believe in it. Most people (including Christians) do not act like it is real but…Hell is a real place!

Every person will spend eternity somewhere. For those who reject Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, their destiny will be, their reality will be, their eternity will be in a place called hell.

Hell is an irreversible, irretrievable place. There is no second chance. There is no purgatory. Hell is a closed door that cannot be opened.

The Bible teaches us much about this place of everlasting punishment. Jesus spoke more about hell than He did about heaven. Hell means separation from God’s presence. Hell means punishment.

Hell is not just a figment of our imagination or a concept used to scare people. Hell is a real place where real people spend a Christless eternity.

One of the key passages is in Luke 16. There are many things that we could discuss about hell but the one that I really want you to get is this: The man in hell was more concerned for people who were still alive than we are. He wanted someone to warn his family. People in hell have a greater burden for lost people than we do!

God help us to be concerned. God, give us a passion, a burden and a desire to tell others about Jesus. Hell is hot, heaven is sweet…let’s take as many people to heaven with us as we can!

Bring a friend (or several!) to Friend Day on October 19th!

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