Just Thankful

I love Thanksgiving. I love what it stands for…thankfulness.

I love being with family, eating great food and watching football. We have a tradition in our family of playing a friendly football game. (If you have ever played or watched our family play any type of sport together, you know that it is usually not “friendly” at all!)

I am ashamed to say that many times, I get so busy with life that I take my blessings for granted. I really try to keep a grateful attitude but I know that sometimes I fail. I know that I am a blessed man. I have a million things to be thankful for.

Vickie and I often talk about how our favorite times now are when everyone is together…all of our children, their spouses and our 5 incredibly wonderful grandchildren. Nothing beats those moments when we are all in the same place with everyone talking at once, laughing, yelling at a sporting event on television, babies playing, screaming, giggling and maybe even crying! Those are the best times and I am so thankful for them.

I am thankful for an amazing wife who loves me unconditionally and stands by me, no matter what.

For my 6 amazing “kids” who have grown into incredible adults who love God and love their family. 3 of them are married to women and a man who are amazing people who love our family and add so much to it.

And our amazing grandbabies: Finn, Judah, Isla, Lakely and Huntingtyn. Wow, I won’t even begin or I will write all day. What a joy these babies are to me!

I’m thankful for other family members, great friends, the best church in the world and the opportunities that God is bringing to us. I’m just thankful!

Tomorrow, we will all stop and reflect and thank God for all the amazing things in our lives like family and friends, health and a great church.

May we all have an attitude of gratitude every day. Happy Thanksgiving from the Flockharts

Family - summer 2014

Flaws, Failures and Forgiveness

Pete was a guy that you enjoyed being around but at times, he would drive you crazy.

He was eager, aggressive, impetuous and outspoken. He was inquisitive and was always asking questions. He wanted to be in “the know.” Knowledge is power and Pete wanted to be in the loop.

Pete was very ambitious, full of passion and energy. He was a very driven person. His personality was loud and he talked too much. His mouth got him into a lot of trouble.

I am talking about the Apostle Peter. Peter was the guy who rebuked Jesus; he walked on water; cut off a man’s ear; said that everyone else may run and deny Jesus but was adamant that he never would (and of course he did just that in a very big way!)

Peter’s name is mentioned in the gospel more than any other name except for Jesus.

I am Peter…you are Peter…we are all Peter!

Peter’s life is a wonderful reminder that God CAN and WILL use anyone. No matter what failures you have experienced, no matter how badly you feel you have let God down or what excuses you have, God can take your life and use you.

Peter preached his first sermon and 3000 people were saved. He was used to heal people, raise people from the dead, he was a contributing writer of the Bible and he dearly loved Jesus and served Him passionately.

Stop believing the lie that you cannot be used by God.

He is ready and waiting for you to believe that God loves to take ordinary people, full of flaws and failures and forgive them, and use them for his glory!

Culture Shift

The dictionary would describe culture as “the sum of attitudes, customs and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another.” Its root meaning is shared with the word, “agriculture” referring to “soil that has been tilled and by extension, a set of traits that have been plowed into a group’s way of life.”

A church’s culture is the lens through which they view how things ought to go. If you change the lens, you change the church’s outlook, change the culture and everything changes including the future of the church.

Culture is a hard thing to change. People get in a certain routine. They get stuck in a certain mindset and it is tough to change.

Many people will fight the culture shift. They will buck against culture shift and they will defend their way of thinking.

I did say earlier that it is hard to change culture.

Culture is everything…remember the definition. Culture announces identity. It’s who you are. It’s your spiritual D.N.A. It’s your kingdom values.

The culture of the church shapes attitude and behavior. Church culture does not reside in buildings or programs; it’s not what we say or what we believe. It’s what we live out; it’s what you really are.

Most churches need a new culture.

Does Anything Last Anymore?

We live in a world today where nothing seems to last. Our automobiles wear out…the engine goes and it just stops running.

Many people thought that they would be retiring from their company after many years of working but their job ran out.

So many people today are running out on their marriages. Things aren’t going well and the pressure is overwhelming. Many make the decision to opt out. That couple you know who has been married for 20 years calls it quits. It doesn’t even shock us anymore.

More and more things are becoming disposable:

Paper plates

Paper cups

Plastic utensils

Soft drink containers

Flashlights

Toothbrushes

Cameras

Razors

Contacts etc…

What about you? What about your commitment to Jesus? Will you keep on serving him, loving him and living for him? What about when things get rough and life deals you a bad hand? What about when all hell breaks loose and you can’t make sense of anything happening in your life?

Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus.”

I have been at the point of exhaustion, burn out and complete total frustration. Who hasn’t been at this point?

All of us have come to the same fork in the road where we ask, “What will we do? Will we give in, give up, let go, lay down and play dead or will we rise up, take that situation by the throat and say ‘no,’ I will not go out like this. I will not visualize the regret of failure, I will visualize the reward of success for staying in the game. My commitment will last, my love will last, my determination will last!”

What’s Your Percentage?

Most people have never read the book of Leviticus. It is a book about the law pertaining to the Levites. It contains many symbols. It is a book of laws and vows. It is a book about being holy before the Lord.

In the book, God lays out ethical and moral parameters.

As you continue through the book, God not only speaks about our morals but our money. The tithe is mentioned – giving is mentioned. God makes it abundantly clear that it is about percentage.

What percent do you currently give? Do you live on 98% of what you make?

It is so easy to be consumed with “stuff.” Greed is very subtle. Greed is hard to identify. Well, hard to identify in ourselves but very easy to spot in others. Is it hard for you to give away your money, your “stuff”?

Did you know that if you make $1,800 a year, you are in the top 70% of the world? If you make $25,000 a year, you are in the top 10% of the world, and if you make $47,000 a year, you are wealthier than 99% of all humanity.

The bottom line is…it is all about percentage. What percentage of God’s money are you giving back? Last year and now, this year?

It’s all about the percentage!

Is God Big Enough?

In a survey by a research group, it showed the top four problems among people today:
1. Financial (49% of people)
2. Job related
3. Personal relationships
4. Personal health or tragedy

Almost half of the people surveyed said they are facing financial difficulty.

Giving has gone down dramatically in churches over the last several years.

Giving to the Lord through His church unfortunately did not make the most important list. These bad financial times have shown us what we are really made of and what part God really plays in our finances.Tough times show us what we’re made of and are we going to trust God or in ourselves.

Let’s get back to old fashioned trust and obedience. The hymn writer said it this way, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

Are you trusting God with your treasures? Is God big enough to take care of you?

On December 7th, we are asking God to move on people’s hearts to give the largest one time gift they have ever given to our Kingdom Come offering.

This year our goal is $60,000 plus our regular budget giving. Here is how the money will be used:

  • Starting new campuses in Paulding County and in other states
  • Hiring more staff
  • Upgrading our equipment (specifically in Children’s Dept.)
  • Be involved in ministries including building a Training Center in Uganda, putting computers in schools in El Salvador and partnering with more church plants in the U.S.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to make a difference through your giving! Be faithful and be generous! God IS big enough!

Resources

God led me to launch a non-profit organization called “Over the Wall” that has a commitment to radically transform the spiritual condition of the world and the landscape of the local church through growth, development and impact.

My Pastor put in me a love for other pastors. It thrills me to see a pastor filled with vision for his life and his church. A vision for the kingdom of God!

We started Over the Wall Ministries to give back what God has poured in. As I said earlier, Over the Wall is a non-profit organization. It exists by gifts from individuals and churches, and through the various resources that we offer such as CDs, DVDs and devotional books.

Right now we have three great resources that I would encourage you to get.We have an 8 message series called “This is War” about spiritual warfare.

We also have 2 new devotionals: the first is a daily Devotional called “God is Faithful” written by Dr. Johnny Hunt, myself and many other contributing authors. This is the 3rd devotional in this series which has been extremely popular and is a perfect resource for your daily quiet time. This book costs 24.99 in Lifeway Christian Bookstores but may be purchased at New Season for $15.00.

The other is a Children’s Devotional called “Bedtime Devotions with Jesus” written by myself and many different contributing authors. This book is a must for children and will allow bedtime to become a time of focus and devotion with Jesus that they will carry into adulthood. Lifeway is charging $19.99 for this book – it is available for $10.00 here at New Season.

Please pray for Over the Wall Ministries. It is exciting for me to watch God doing some amazing things through this ministry.

Visit us at: Steveflockhart .com

Preach To Yourself

I find myself preaching to myself every day.

Everyday I have to remind myself of certain things. Just like you, I get discouraged by my circumstances or someone says something or writes something negative about me and I get focused on the outward instead of keeping my eyes on Jesus.

This morning I have been preaching to myself.Here is my four point sermon. Hope it encourages you like it did me.

I. Move Past Your Past
Whether it’s been good or bad, you have to move on. Paul says to let go of the things that are behind and look forward. Let go of the things that have held you back or have held you down.

II. Embrace the Future
Charles Kettering said, “My interest in the future is because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” God has an amazing future for you. The best is yet to come is not just a cute little saying but a mandate. Get excited about your future…God is!

III. Be the Right Person Now
Make the decisions that you know you need to make. Zig Ziglar says, “The best guarantee of a great tomorrow is a good today.” Pray, be in the word, be filled with God’s spirit and dress in the armor of God every day. Deliver what you promise.

IV.Stay the Course
It will get tough. You will feel like quitting! Stay the course. Stay focused. Be committed. Persevere through the obstacles. You can do it.

Proof Again

Jethro Moment

I have been at this point many times in ministry but never has it hit me like it has this week.

Yesterday, we had a 4 and a 1/2 hour meeting about all the details of starting our new campus. This was one of many meetings in preparation to launch our second campus.

Just thinking about the sheer manpower it will take to pull this off is a little overwhelming.

When a church grows quickly and also starts additional campuses, it outgrows the capacity of the Pastor and the paid staff members. It takes a mighty army of high capacity volunteers to make it all happen.

It is that critical point in the life of the church when certain things must happen in order to expand the ministry so that the God given potential can be reached.

In Exodus, chapter 18, we have a great story of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. He was giving Moses the best leadership advice one could possibly receive.

He said in essence that Moses could not do it on his own, that he had reached his capacity, he was “spread too thin”…things had gotten bigger than him! He told him that he must multiply himself or he was done.

That same challenge is still true today. You must equip others, you must train and mobilize the people of God. You must recognize potential and recruit people. If not, the miracle you have experienced will be over.

This model of leadership is seen throughout the Bible…God’s people entrusted with responsibility to carry out the ministry.

At New Season, we are at a serious juncture. We need people who understand the vision, who love the vision and desire to implement the vision.

I am convinced that in order for our church to experience all that God has for us, we must expand the vision and ministry by having a Jethro moment.

I had mine yesterday!!

I hope you will have yours and embrace the God given opportunities that God has placed before us!

Top 10 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 Sunday and your lost family and friends need to be at New Season Church to hear it.

7. God is doing amazing things at New Season and we get to be apart of it.

8. God is expanding our territory with new opportunities to start new campuses in Georgia and Tennessee.

9. Serving God isn’t something you have to do, but rather you get to do.

10.We have an exciting opportunity to be generous in our Kingdom Come offering on December 7!

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