Let’s Be the Church

Yesterday at our Georgia campus I spoke on being the church! I was in Acts and I shated a top 10 list out of chapter 2 about what the church should look like.

We should be a place for people to get saved! We need to keep the main thing the main thing. It’s not about us.

I have been in church for over 30 years. I have seen and heard just about everything! I have seen people argue over the color of the carpet in the auditorium; I have seen people throw their Bibles at people; I have heard people curse and get belligerent.

“I don’t like that kind of music”; “I don’t like that version of the Bible”; “I think the piano should sit on the left side of the stage”; “People should be more reverent in church”…

I could list a hundred more statements that I have heard muttered over the years in church. I bet you can too if you have been in church longer than six months!

Where did we begin to think that church is all about us? How did we develop such a “consumer mentality”? When did we start thinking that church is a Spa where you come to get pampered?

Every church at some point will fall into the deadliest of all traps – the trap of focusing inward. “It’s all about me, what I want, how I want it and if you don’t cater to my whims and wishes, I will withhold my tithe or even leave.”

Let me remind you…the church is about Jesus! It is about what HE is about – seeking and saving that which is lost. It is about bringing glory to the one who alone is worthy.

Let’s put our personal preferences aside and be the church in which Jesus died for.

Let’s be the church!

 

Don’t Throw In the Towel

We all have been tempted to quit. We have all at times felt, “I’ve had enough.”

To walk away from the difficulties, the emotional stress, the financial burdens, the isolation, the demands of life: family, job…sometimes we talk ourselves into thinking that it would just be easier to quit. It would! It really would be easier to quit and walk away but you were made for better.

Even Jesus was tempted to quit. When you read Matthew, chapter 4, you see Jesus being tempted by the devil to question God. He questioned God, He questioned Himself (the same thing really). He questioned His calling, He questioned His purpose and He even questioned His future.All of us can relate, I know I can!

Life is full of highs and lows. We celebrate one day and we are down in the dumps the next. We all struggle with feelings of defeat. We all have had that towel in our hands, ready to release it.

Did you notice when Jesus faced His temptation to quit, it was at the same point in His life that it is in ours – it is in the desert.

Jesus wasn’t alone in His desert experience. Moses was there, Elijah was there, Jonah was thee, Isaiah was there, Paul was there …and you and I will be there.Many of you are there right now.

God has a plan, even in the midst of your season of doubt, frustration and towel throwing. Stay the course. Jesus defeated the enemy and conquered death, hell, the grave and quitting.

So you don’t have to throw in the towel. Instead, use it to wipe the sweat off your face and forge ahead.

 

Grow Up

Have you ever said to someone.”.Grow up”?

I bet you have and it was because they weren’t acting their age.They said something or did something that was immature.

What about your spiritual life? Do you need to grow up?

The Bible says in Luke, chapter 2, verse 52, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” The Greek word for “increased in” is PROEKOPTERT. It means to ‘advance’ or to ‘keep cutting one’s way forward as through a forest or a jungle.’

Jesus is a perfect example and model of personal growth. He grew in:

Wisdom: Wisdom is skill in living, not just knowing what to do but actually doing it. Wisdom entails living the way God intends for you to live.

Favor with God: You must maintain a healthy relationship with Christ through Bible study, prayer and deep intimacy.

Stature: When you gain favor with God, and you walk in wisdom, your stature will increase in the eyes of others.

Jesus had to grow! We must grow up!

Take the steps you need to grow. Read your Bible, STUDY your Bible, pray and have an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Be active in church, get involved and serve.Start growing and watch what happens.Grow up!

 

Let’s Start Something!

Yesterday I preached at our multi site campus in Arlington Tennessee…New Season Tennessee!

We had a powerful day with baptism, baby dedication and 8 people getting saved! We have been open now for 14 months.I love church planting!

All stats report that new churches consistently reach more people than established churches.

Church plants grow 23 times faster than the average established church.

Church plants also reach five times as many people who are far from God as the average church.

Every church should engage in church planting! We should be reproducing and multiplying. Healthy churches should plant new churches.

New Season Church has helped plant seven churches in our 8 year existence as a church.We currently support 3 of those churches monthly.

Churches are closing down every week. Churches have become stuck in the past and are married to tradition. Churches have gotten out of touch with culture and no longer relate to the younger generation.

Many churches have become irrelevant so the doors close. They would rather experience the pain of the doors closing than the pain of change.

3500 churches close every year and thousands of churches remain non relevant to a lost world.

These statistics are unacceptable to me. I cannot sit idly by and do nothing. We must care more about the lostness of our world than the comfort of our own churches and preferences.

Lord forgive our indifference. We have grown cold and callous to the lost sheep. God help us to be like you, to leave the 99 and go after the one. Lord, change us, break us, forgive us and renew a passion deep within us. Let’s start something!

 

Lazy Boy and Remote

Today I want to challenge you to make something happen! Aren’t you tired of sitting in that lazy boy and clicking that remote?

In order to make something happen, you have to stop being the victim. You have to stop making excuses. You are going to have to be pro active instead of reactive.

Let me give you three simple steps to help you make things happen.

1. Choose or Lose– You must choose what’s important. Everything isn’t a priority. You must determine what is that #1 dream, goal or vision that you want to accomplish. A life in which anything goes will ultimately be a life in which nothing goes. Choose or lose.

2. Organize or Agonize– your plan. Get your “stuff” together – literally. Make sure you have your plan written out, the steps to execute with a deadline attached to it. Organize or agonize.

3. Visualize or Neutralize– Visualization is one of the keys in helping you make things happen. You need to visualize the completion of your goal, your dream, your project, etc…

You need to visualize yourself getting that promotion or reward. Visualize the fulfillment that you will experience once the goal is accomplished. If you are having a hard time doing this, then visualize your past successes and how you felt. Visualize or neutralize.

I’m not saying that if you follow these three steps that everything that you want in life is going to happen. I am just saying if you are tired of sitting in the lazy boy, clicking the remote… Then go make something happen!

 

 

Grow Up

I have five grandchildren ranging from an almost 5 year old to a 20 month old .

One of the joys that I have experienced as a grandfather (G-Daddy) is that I got to feed those sweet babies. I loved feeding them. I laughed I would make airplane sounds and pretend the spoon was an airplane

it was just a fun time for me.I don’t get to feed them anymore because they are growing up.When you grow up you feed yourself!

Part of these babies growing up and maturing is them being able to feed themselves. If they didn’t learn this, there would be a problem.

This is also true in the Christian life.

Too many Christians want to just sit around and be fed by someone else. “Feed me, feed me” is all you hear from them.

Food is not the problem. Food is everywhere. For a Christian to say, “I just want to be fed”, is like going to a restaurant and crying because there is no food.

What you are really saying is that you want someone to feed you. You want to be waited on hand and foot.

Could it be that we are growing lazy and self-centered? Could it be this is really an indication of our spiritual condition?

Today we have way more information than we could ever apply. Perhaps we are using the excuse, “I want to go deeper” when all along, we are really not applying the knowledge that we already have. We are all educated way beyond our level of obedience.

I am not saying that we should not learn more, study more, pray more, etc… Deep isn’t what you know, it’s what you do. Men, ask your wives: “Would you like for me to quote Ephesians 5: 21-30 or love you and take you out on a date?”

When is the last time you served the Lord?

When is the last time you visited the hospital and prayed over someone, besides one of your own family members?

When is the last time you shared your faith with someone who does not know Christ?

Deep is a single mother raising her kids, working full time and serving at New Season Church.

Deep is giving God His 10% tithe and 2% more as an offering.

Deep is praying for and inviting a friend to church for years and not giving up on them.

Deep is going to visit a lady in jail whose family is falling apart and needs encouragement and support.

Deep isn’t about information, it’s about transformation!

If you are not applying what you already know to help others, you are not deep…you are stuck! Grow up.

 

Worry Wart

There are so many things happening today in our world and in our lives that many people find themselves in a state of worry. Have you heard the phrase worry wart? It’s a person who dwells on difficulty and troubles unduly.

How much time have you spent in recent days worrying?

Worry – that emotion in which you feel anxious or concerned about something.

It is the state of restlessness and agitation producing mental disturbance, uneasiness and uncertainty

Proverbs 12:25 says, ‘worry weighs a person down.”

Worry is destructive.  Worry is a destroyer of the soul. If unchecked, it results in great anxiety or even mental illness

Worry in the mind causes shock in the body.

Matthew 6: 27 – 30 says: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.
They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?”

I Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

He says be anxious for nothing – don’t worry.

The word “Anxious” (Careful) to be pulled in different directions – strangle – or to choke you.

Worrying – choke you, choke your joy, peace. Worrying can cause headaches, neck pain, ulcers and even your damage your digestion and coordination.

Paul say, “Don’t worry about anything.” Instead pray about everything.

Pray about everything; give it up to God; surrender control (that’s tough) and trust in your Heavenly Father.

Worry is the opposite of faith and trust. Worry wastes time, steals energy and prevents you from accomplishing anything.

What type of things worry you the most?

What is the biggest worry facing you today?

What is one thing you could do right now to change a worry into a positive action?

Are you a worry wart?

Tight Places

Is your life filled with fear, anxiety, frustration or a sense of just feeling overwhelmed? Do you ever think “I don’t know what I am going to do”?

Everything seems to be coming at you at once…bills you cannot pay, addictions you cannot break, family members who have lost their way and other situations that you cannot control. Where do you go and what do you do?

In Psalm 46, we find a hymn of praise that magnifies God. We see Jerusalem being attacked by Syria and we see God coming to the rescue. Do you need God to come to your rescue? The Bible says here that God is our refuge. He is a place to go for protection. He gives us help. His help is abundantly available.

Are you in that tight place and you need help? The word “trouble” in this text actually means, “in tight places.” Are you in that tight place of trouble right now?

When it seems like the place you are in is getting smaller, trust Him and lean into Him so that you will grow and your faith will increase in size. God is enlarging you in those tight places

Love Letter

Last week I had the opportunity to preach to our students. My assignment was “A nerd for the word.”

I preached on God’s word being a love letter. If you have ever received a love letter, then you know how you read it over and over again.

You cherish it, you are encouraged by it, and challenged by it to be a better person.

God has written you a love letter…His word! I would encourage you to read it!

The Bible is infallible, inerrant, and Holy God breathed. It contains 3,566,480 letters, 810,697 words, 31,175 verses, 1189 chapters and 66 books.

The Bible is a divine library containing the most exciting, dramatic, heart pounding, pulse racing words that are sharper than a two edged sword. Able to increase your faith, save your soul, grow you spiritually, motivate you, rebuke you, encourage you, help you, guide you, and confront you.

The Bible is God talking to you. It is God’s love letter to you. Hold it, cherish it, study it, meditate on it, embrace it, love it, and obey it.

 

Destructive Emotions

We all have been hurt.We all know pain.We all could list the things that have caused up to be bitter and angry.

The trauma of divorce, the sadness of past abuse, the anger of being wronged, the bitterness and unforgiveness towards someone who has hurt us. We all battle destructive emotions…we all have crummy stuff inside of us.

In I Samuel, chapter 25, we have the story of David and a guy named Nabal. When you read this story, you will discover David getting angry at Nabal for rejecting him. Rejection is a powerful feeling that can lead to some very destructive emotions.

The name Nabal actually means “fool.” He acted like a fool and David did not respond well to it. David is ready to go to war, David loses control and he is completely outraged.

Have you ever been so mad that you can’t see straight? Have you ever been so bitter that you could feel ulcers developing? Have you experienced such an unforgiving spirit that it literally makes you sick?

David is angry! He has been rejected. David’s anger traces back to him being rejected by his family. He had not even been invited inside of the house when Samuel came to anoint the new king.

David’s own father did not even consider him when he was told that one of his sons would be king. His brothers treated him as inferior when he brought them food during Goliath’s tirade.

Saul also rejected David and tried to kill him. And now in this story, a foolish man named Nabel has broken the last straw and made David extremely angry.

Anger is caused by a person’s inability to mentally cope with a situation. Anger says “you owe me, you took something from me; I have suffered loss.”

Our emotional state matters deeply. You must be aware of your emotional state or you will end up acting like Nabel (a fool) or you will lose control like David.

Anger is one of the most destructive emotions that we have.Can you let it go today? Can you forgive?  Can you allow God to work deeply in your life and be set free from destructive emotions?