The Next Assignment

Last week, Vickie and I took the week off and just rested. We went on a cruise to Jamaica and unplugged. No phones, no social media, no emails and no work!! We just rested. We all need to rest for the next assignment that God has for us.

We all lead fast paced, time urgent, stress filled lives. From the time that we open our eyes in the morning until we go to sleep at night, we are either in a hurry or in a fog because we can’t keep up.

We are on the phone, on line or on edge! It gets a little overwhelming at times. We are stressed out at home and stressed at work. We are trying to manage work and family responsibilities along with the hundreds of other “little” things that we all have to take care of. Life can be a little overwhelming at times.

Let me give you five things that you need to do to insure you are ready for the next assignment.

1 – Take a nap or get a good night’s sleep.I took a nap everyday last week on our vacation.

Probably not what you were expecting but very needed and true. You would be surprised how a nap or really good night’s sleep would change things.

2 – Take the Sabbath

I know this is a crazy concept and you wonder who would suggest such a thing. God did! God instituted the Sabbath He created human beings with a need for a day of rest. God rested, not because He needed to rest but because we do. He knew we would live crazy, busy lives so He set a day in place for us to refocus, restore and re energize.

Don’t refuse the gift of rest!

3 – Take a vacation

I know many people can’t afford to take a vacation. You may be at the place in your life where you can’t afford not to. Maybe you could just stay home, swim in the neighborhood pool, relax and rest.Last week was a time of renewal and relaxation.

4 – Take time alone with God

We all must slow down long enough to be with our father. Jesus did! Jesus made it a priority to get quiet and get alone with His father. You must do the same. Don’t get so busy that you don’t spend time with Jesus.

5 – Get ready for the next assignment

If you are not properly rested, you will not be prepared emotionally, mentally and physically for the next assignment that God has for you.

Busy Can Be Bad Guest Blogger: Austin Whelan, Student Pastor

Hello everyone! My name is Austin Whelan, Director of Student Ministry at New Season Church, and I have the great opportunity to share with you today!

This past week I went to Orlando for two days to attend a conference for youth workers. It was unbelievable (and not just because it was in Orlando and got to go to Universal Studios for free).

Have you ever had a moment where you walked into a church service thinking it’s going to be the same thing you have already heard before? That’s kind of the same feeling I had walking into this conference. I have been to many conferences over that last eight years and over time they have begun to run together in their themes, but this one was different. I walked away saying to myself, “Did they know that I needed to hear that?” which many of us have said leaving a church service.

I want to share with you today how I walked away this past week with my world wrecked.

I have noticed over the last year or so there’s been one specific word that has come out of my mouth to describe how I am that I have been convicted of stopping to say. You ready for this…busy. I’m busy, is what I tell people all the time.

Doug Fields, one of the many incredible communicators at this conference I attended spoke on this issue. He compared people who described their life as busy as to people on a Nascar track. We’re just going in circles. I have heard this comparison before, but the next statement out of his mouth changed my perspective immensely.

He said, “We’re running around in circles when we are trying to follow Jesus who walks.” Jesus was a walker. He took his time so that he was able to be available.

Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

The last thing that I want to do is to wake up 10, 20, 30 years from now and not have seen the things that Jesus has for me because I’m “busy”.

How can you slow down? How can you begin to walk the way Jesus walked to see the things that Jesus wants you to see? What do you need to quit doing to free up your calendar?

My prayer is that we can stop telling people we’re busy so that we can be available to be with the people that Jesus has brought to us to care for.

My Prayer For Parents: Jack Henry, Guest Blogger

Most all parents have thought, “Why don’t my kids appreciate all the things I do for them? They expect their lives to run smoothly, and when things go well, they think it happens by osmosis!”

This is true to a large degree. It has been said by the experts that kids take what they had as children and that is how they define “normal” throughout their lives. That is not the greatest news for future adults who have drug addicts or abusers or just plain lazy parents. But what about kids whose parents provide well, work hard, and live good, clean Christian lives? They also perceive this as “normal.”

The good news in that is they may push extra hard to provide this “normalcy” for the next generation. The bad news is they may feel that hard-working, responsible parents are like warm breezes on a sunny day or a pretty snowfall on a winter’s night. They just happen.

When Mother’s Day comes around, as it will soon, asking kids to be thankful for mom can be like asking them to be thankful for breathing and walking.

One mom, a devoted Christian since childhood, asked her 18 year old son “Tell me one thing about me that you are thankful for?” Since his birth she had faithfully washed his clothes, cleaned his room along with the rest of the house, cooked his meals at least 5 times a week, and driven him to church youth events, ball games, and all the other things he was involved in. He looked at her for a moment and said, “Well, you make a mean stromboli!” She then wonders with great anxiety, “He is almost an adult and that is what he’s going to remember me for… my great stromboli?”

The fifth commandment says, “Honor your father and mother.” (Exodus 20:12). Some great Christian parents have wondered why the Commandment does not say “honor your children,” as we seem to spend much of our days doing just that. The reason probably has to do with our nature! IT IS WITHIN A PARENT TO CHRONICALLY LOVE AND THINK ABOUT AND HELP THEIR CHILDREN; the reciprocate needs to be the Command, or it might not be fulfilled.

As parents, we need to be extremely giving, but at the same time we need to have extreme expectations. Children need to be taught lessons in both love and respect. You see, what children attribute to their parents is what they will attribute to Christ as well. Faith begins at home.

My prayer for parents is that they will use these days as a springboard to raise kids that will grow up and HONOR and RESPECT them, as well as others, and more importantly… GOD.

The Gift of Memories Vickie Flockhart, Guest Blogger

Have you ever had a loved one pass away? I’m sure that you have or at you have at least been around someone who has lost someone.

I was extremely close to my grandmother, Mary Kirby Calder when I was growing up. She was my hero and a great inspiration to me. She was legally blind but she was a strong and independent woman who did not want to be pitied.

My grandmother passed away on April 15 when I was 16 after battling pancreatic cancer for over a year. I have some great memories of times spent with my grandmother.

8 years ago, my Daddy suffered a mini stroke after suffering from diabetes for years, and he was hospitalized for 3 months before passing away on April 19, 2007.

That totally turned my world upside down. We all know that death is part of life and we expect our parents to die when they get older, but I still was not prepared. I remember going to pick out his coffin and I just felt like I was suffocating and wanted to get out of the room as quickly as possible.

My Dad was a very humble and a very generous man. If he had $20.00 in his wallet, you left with $15 and he kept $5. He was very quiet and easy going. Until you made him mad, that was not a good thing! It took a lot to get him mad but messing with his family would do it. He was fiercely protective over my Mom, my sister and I.

If you know me, you know that I love sports…that came from my Dad. I remember growing up watching Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Willie Mayes and so many other great baseball players. He really loved baseball and had been a pitcher as a young man.

I remember when Steve and I had our first son, Stevie…my Dad and Mom lived about 10 minutes away from us and my Dad would drop by to visit every day on his way to work. I loved watching him hold little Stevie and talk to him. I didn’t realize at the time what a precious memory that would be later in my life.

My parents have always adored our children. All of our kids would beg to go and stay with “Nanny and PaPa” for days at a time. My parents kept our kids when we were out of town. My Dad would play around with them, dance with them and just create fun times.

He was Jeremiah’s baseball coach and he taught him to pitch. Those two on the baseball field were something else!

My son Andrew carries my maiden name “Maynor” for my Dad. Andrew also acts like my Dad and even looks like him…even the quiet, doesn’t talk much, “hard to make him mad” factor!

Almost a year ago, my son Austin and his wife Lindsey had a baby boy. They named him Huntingtyn and they chose to use “Maynor: as his middle name. Lindsey said that she wanted to honor my Dad’s memory because she had heard what a great man he was. That has brought such pride and joy to me and I am so grateful that my children continue to love and remember their PaPa.

They say that losing a loved one is like losing an arm or a leg…you never get used to it but you learn to live without it. That is true. To this day, I catch myself thinking of calling my Daddy to rant about the Braves or tell him something cute about his great grandbabies.

Ironically, seven years ago to the day, on the first anniversary of my Daddy’s death, we lost our Papa Bennie (my Dad’s Dad). He was another incredible man who I loved dearly and have some incredible memories of. He had the best sense of humor and greatest attitude of anyone that I have ever known. Kayla, Austin and Kirby loved spending the night with him and laughing nonstop.

I miss my Dad and my Grandpa. If you still have your parents, please make time to involve them in your life. Let them spend time with their grandbabies and make some incredible memories. Because one day, they will be gone and your memories will be a precious gift.

Tap On Some Shoulders

I have instructed my staff a thousand times to “tap on some shoulders”…to multiply themselves and get people involved in ministry. This couldn’t be more relevant in our current context with three campuses in different locations. 

God has designed His church with clear leadership roles and strategies.

Ephesians 4: 11-13 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

There are specific leadership roles designed by God to conduct ministry. God has called leaders to step in and lead. Our role as leaders is to equip the people of God to do the work of the ministry. We are to multiply ourselves.

One of the truest tests of leadership is the multiplication factor. Most people have the “Moses (Exodus 18) do it all by myself” philosophy instead of true biblical leadership.

Jesus was a master recruiter and developer of people. Jesus empowered the twelve and later, the seventy to do the work of the ministry. He modeled ministry in front of them, showing them how to do it. Then He sent them out and at a later time, He debriefed them. Jesus constantly took time to encourage, rebuke and instruct His team.

Are you multiplying yourself?

Are you investing in other [people?

If you are, that’s fantastic! If not, when do you plan to start? When is the last time you tapped on e shoulders?

Set Sail

When I was a small child, I remember in my bedroom that there were three ships…the Santa Maria the Nina and the Pinta. I can remember thinking about Christopher Columbus and setting sail to discover new lands! Columbus, after 19 years of trying to convince people of his dream set sail. Can’t wasn’t in his vocabulary.

I have said to my children hundreds of times, “If you say you CAN’T, then you are right.”

The moment that you start talking about losing, you have already lost. When you start making excuses before the game, project or task is even finished, then you are already done.

Step out and set sail! Make a move, pull up the anchor and believe God for a great outcome.

People who constantly struggle with failed hopes or dreams and people who have a negative expectancy are people who are usually defeated before they even start. If you are convinced that your actions will not succeed, or if the reward will be less than the risk of failure, you simply will not try.

Do you focus more of your time seeking solutions or do you stay absorbed in the problem?

Do you look for the best in every situation – the opportunity that comes about or do you think about how you will feel when you have failed?

Have you ever seen a monument erected to a pessimist? Do we celebrate the people in history who were negative complainers who never took a risk?

No one would have blamed Christopher Columbus for turning back, but no one would have ever heard of him either.

Set sail and believe God!

Stinking Thinking

Yesterday we started a brand new series at our Georgia campuses called “Come Home.” I spoke about how our choices and decisions are totally determined by our thinking and stinking thinking leads to a messed up life!

The prodigal son didn’t think right. He didn’t know who and what he had. 

Most people don’t know who they are in Christ nor do they understand what it means to be a child of God. Many have believed the lie of the evil one and hold false beliefs about themselves.

Wrong thinking always leads to negative emotions which leads to making bad decisions. Those decisions began in your mind…your belief about yourself.

Let me remind you today what God says about you…

I am free from condemnation: Romans 8:1

I cannot be separated from the love of God: Romans 8:35

I am a citizen of heaven: Philippians 3:20

I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me: I John 5:12

I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit: John, 15:16

I am a temple of God: I Corinthians 3:16

I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm: Ephesians 2:6

I am God’s workmanship: Ephesians 2:10

I can do all things through Christ: Philippians 4:13

I am saved, rescued, delivered, set free, cleansed, regenerated, and adopted into the family of God. I am  justified, sins propitiated and expiated, redeemed, all guilt and penalty of sin is gone, I am reconciled to God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, one of the elect, baptized into the body of Christ, a new man, accepted into the beloved, a chosen one, brought nigh to God, a heavenly citizen, on the rock, Christ Jesus has delivered me from the power of darkness, translated into the Kingdom of the Son, a member of the Holy and royal priesthood, a  member of the family and household of God, in the fellowship of the saints, partaker of spiritual blessings in heavenly places and joint heir of Jesus! Wow…Believe that!

Anything contrary to that is stinking thinking!

Don’t Leave Until the Miracle Happens!

I don’t know if you have ever read the classic, “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. It is an incredible book dealing with spiritual warfare and how the enemy works to discourage us.

In one particular part of the book, the senior demon, Screwtape educates the junior demon, Wormwood on how to tempt a human “client.” Screwtape explains the tactic of using a human’s fatigue during a time of trial to persuade the man/woman to give up.

“Let his inner resolution be not to bear whatever comes to him, but to bear it ‘for a reasonable period’ – and let the reasonable period be shorter than the trial is likely to last. It need not be much shorter…the fun is to make the man yield just when It) relief was almost in sight.”

Did you get that last line? “Relief was almost in sight.” How many times have you been so frustrated and so depressed that you declared, “I’m done, I’ve had enough. I quit.” The enemy will do everything to try to discourage you and make you quit.

People and circumstances will do everything to try and bring you down. You must stay focused and stay on target.

Booker T. Washington said, “I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

People in twelve step programs use this saying that we could learn a great deal from: “Don’t leave five minutes before the miracle happens.” They are encouraging people to hang on and not give up because relief is a moment away.

Let me encourage you today no matter what is  happening in your life, remember that God is working. Try to see the big picture and hang in there! Don’t leave before the miracle happens!

Gratitude…Not Just a Feeling

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul predicted a global problem of ungratefulness… being selfish and being lovers of ourselves.

II Timothy, chapter 3, verse 1 and 2a says, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves…”

Have you noticed when you concentrate on what you don’t have, what you DO have is never enough? When you live to consume or live for yourself, you are never happy or satisfied.

Selfish people really don’t win in the long run. We must give of ourselves and extend beyond our personal interests. We must be givers, not takers; contributors, not consumers.

It’s found in the Bible and it’s one of those laws of the universe where sharing, caring and giving trumps self centered narcissism and selfishness every time. Be that person who invests in others, not the one who always looks out for “number one.”

We must live with an attitude of gratitude. It is impossible to be negative while we are giving thanks.

Seeds of discontentment don’t grow in a grateful heart. Gratitude is not a feeling, it’s a muscle and it needs a workout everyday.

This week I have been overwhelmed with thankfulness and gratitude for all that God did at Easter. It was an amazing weekend at all of our campuses but I know that things would not have happened without hard work and commitment.

I am so grateful to each of our staff for going over and above, working hard and giving of themselves to reach people. That’s why we do it! We have an amazing team in place, God has sent us guys who love Jesus and love ministry. I thank God for our staff!

But I am also grateful for our amazing volunteers! You guys are the best! You worked all week at your jobs, took care of your families and then showed up at church to serve in 7 services across 3 campuses. THANK YOU to each of you for all that you did! God blessed your labor and we saw many people experience new life this weekend because of you!

Hats off to a great staff and amazing volunteers! I am truly grateful and I love you all

Seven Things I Know

1. Everyone Spends Eternity Somewhere

2. There is no other name under heaven by which mankind must be saved.

3. People don’t need to clean up, they need to look up. They don’t need a change of behavior, they need a new heart!

4. Found people find people!

5. Jesus is coming back and we are running out of time to tell people of His great love and gift.

6. I am preaching the gospel this weekend starting tonight! We have 7 opportunities across two states in three campuses to bring people to a service.

7. People will be saved this weekend! Will they be your family and friends?

Page 1 of 7712345»102030...Last »