Living the Dream

People ask me sometimes, how are you doing and I answer, “living the dream."

That statement couldn’t be more real in this last few months. My dream is to reach people who are far from God and to watch God’s church change the spiritual landscape of a community.

Seven weeks ago, we began training a group of about 50 people at our South Paulding  campus. We will “officially” open on Feb. 22 to the public. God is at work!

Yesterday, 50 people gathered at the YMCA and we started training our New Season Tennessee campus! It was a great start with much enthusiasm!

None of this would be possible without a great team of people around me…team work really does make the dream work.

In I Chronicles, chapters 11 and 12, we see where David’s “mighty men” are mentioned. The Bible describes these men as courageous, skilled and loyal warriors. These men had the ability to fight a hundred men at a time.

David had a great team around him. With a strong inner circle, David was able to accomplish his dream.

It is true that those closest to you will determine your level of success. David was surrounded by men who made him better. I am surrounded by so many people who make me better!

I love what Hall of Fame coach, John Wooden said, “the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

Great teams fully embrace the vision and intentionally, consistently and passionately make a contribution toward its fulfillment. When God puts together a visionary leader and a great team of like minded people come alongside that leader, great things will happen.

Great things are happening and I get to be apart of it! I’m living the dream because of so many of you!

A Great Team

Tonight, we have an amazing opportunity to come together as a team and be inspired,challenged and trained. Tonight, we train all of our volunteers and it will be a night to be remembered.

Let me say to each one of you who volunteers at New Season…thank you, you are awesome! God is using you to touch countless lives. Many people are being changed because of the time and effort that you invest every weekend.

I’m sure at times that you ask yourselves if it really matters if you show up on Sundays to volunteer. Let me answer for you – YES, everything matters and it is making a difference, both now on earth and into eternity. Everything matters – YOU MATTER!

Our volunteers in the parking lot matter to our guests (they are the first representative of New Season as people drive on to our campus) and they are the key to maintaining safety and order for parking; our Greeters matter to our guests as they enter our building and are greeted with a smiling friendly face and a greeting; our Coffee Bar volunteers matter as they share the gift of hospitality; Ushers, Discovery workers, XStatic workers, Uprising workers, Sound/Lights, Office volunteers, Decision Counselors, etc…you ALL play a part in reaching and ministering to people.

Thank you again for your commitment to Jesus and to New Season Church. It is an honor to serve along beside you.

Remember I Corinthians 15:58, "your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Don’t miss tonight as we celebrate you and take flight for the future!

Mission Possible

I don’t know about you but I am tired of slapping the “mission impossible” label on those things that are merely difficult.

I understand that everyone’s problems and situations are different. I know that my “little” problem in comparison to your “big” overwhelming situation really cannot be compared. Or can it? Big because it involves you, your emotions, your family, your finances and your future.

Have you given up because  it seems to be an impossible situation? Possible or impossible? Who can really say?

I do know that we give up too easily and too soon. We get discouraged way too easily. I also know that if you don’t believe you can overcome, you can’t.

Maybe you need a different perspective. Maybe your emotions have gotten the best of you.

I have heard that the greatest cause of ulcers is mountain climbing over molehills! Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to say, “many people suffer poor health, not because of what they eat but from what is eating them.”

What’s eating you? What have you labled “mission impossible”? What or who have you given up on? Ouch…that hurt! Maybe you’re tired of fighting, tired of praying and just sick and tired of living in your situation.

Today I don’t have three points or seven principles or a host of questions for you.

I simply want to encourage you to believe. Believe the word of an angel of God spoken to a girl who was facing a mountain that she knew she was not capable of climbing; a situation she knew she couldn’t control and a problem that no human intervention could solve.

That angel said in Luke 1: 37, “for with God, nothing will be impossible.”

My friend, with God nothing is impossible. Mission impossible becomes mission possible with God!

Legacy and Leadership

Today we celebrate the birthday of a great leader who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Passion, committed, driven and inspiration are just a few words that describe Dr. Martin Luther King. Just the mention of his name stirs up images of powerful leadership.

He was one of the greatest leaders in history as he fought tirelessly against racial inequality.

Those of you who know me know that I love to read and study anything to do with leadership. I am challenged and intrigued by Dr. King.

Here are quite a few of my favorites quotes below from Dr. King:

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hurting People Hurt Other People

Over the years I have observed and learned that hurting people hurt other people.

People look for someone to blame when something in their life doesn’t work out. Most of the time, you will notice that they become very defensive and critical. You will be on the receiving end of their rants on social media or even in person.They will use their tongue or pen or words in print to try to hurt you.

Have you noticed that you can have fifty positive things said about you and one negative comment, one disloyal friend, one unkind word or one bit of criticism about something can make your whole attitude change. That one word, action or inaction of a person can change your entire demeanor and put you in a terrible mood. It’s so easy to allow hurting people to hurt us.

Do you have any critical people in your life? Have you experienced some unfair criticism lately?

There is no shortage of people who want to line up and take shots at you, especially if you are doing something. Aristotle said, “if you don’t ever want to be criticized, then say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.”

Most of us pretend that it really doesn’t bother us to be criticized but deep down, we know that it really does.

Do you remember the little song we sang as children, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That is not true…words really do hurt!

Remember that critics do what critics do, they criticize! Don’t allow the critics to steal your joy. Don’t allow the fickle opinions of people to dominate your thoughts. Do you deserve or warrant some criticism? Of course, we all do.

Learn from the small truth but remember that people’s opinions or words about you do not define you. God’s opinion and words DO. He loves you in spite of all of your faults and failures. Trust His good opinion of you.

Zephaniah 3: 17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Remember that hurting people hurt other people.

Unfaithful

I have conversations on a regular basis with people who have been affected by adultery.

Adultery is a violation of the marriage vows of faithfulness.

Committing adultery isn’t unforgivable but it is irreversible. Any sexual experience outside of the marriage bond is adultery.

Adultery is the ultimate act of selfishness…"I want what I want.” Adultery is giving in to want, no matter the cost. Adultery is the 7th Commandment.

When you read chapters five, six and seven in Proverbs, you read and learn more about adultery.

99% of all cases of adultery are emotional rather than sexual. Emotional bonding with someone who is not your spouse is the first step towards infidelity.

Let me encourage you to put up safeguards in your life to keep you away from the trap of adultery. The Bible says “be sure that your sin will find you out.”

The emotional chaos caused by an extramarital affair is one of the hardest things to overcome. The feelings of hurt, pain and betrayal are devastating.

You violate trust and respect and deeply wound the person who you took sacred vows with…the one you had promised to love and honor till death and who has always been there for you, in good times and bad.

Why is the big question…Why do people commit adultery?

The love of a third person makes the person feel attractive, appreciated and desirable – perhaps they felt that they weren’t experiencing that at home (never an excuse)

You will find that having an affair has made you lose self respect and develop a gigantic sense of guilt over what you have done to your spouse. This guilt may work in one of two ways – undermine your own sense of self-worth and create emotional turmoil (anger rage acting out) or justify your transgressions and falsely blame everyone else instead of yourself. Or both!

Where do you go from here? Here is my top 10:

1. Immediate counseling both – individual and together.

2. The process of forgiveness (will take a long time)

3. Trust must be rebuilt (will take a long time) Boundaries put in place.

4. Knowing why – what are trigger points?

5. The couple needs to learn the needs of each other and meet them.

6. 100 percent commitment to rebuilding your marriage

7. Your relationship with God must be priority

8. Need support of family and friends

9. Be in church every Sunday (not the cure but will help to be under the word)

10. A 100 percent commitment of never speaking, texting or contacting the other party again.

Hearing or Doing

Yesterday I spoke out of James chapter 1 about not just listening to the word of God, but actually doing it!

It was an amazing day with 135 new volunteers signing up to serve.

I often speak with individuals in our church who are not serving. They attend most weeks, talk as if they love the church and they even tell others about New Season. Yet, they do not serve in any capacity. They tell me that they are praying about where to serve or they are waiting for God to show them the right place to get involved.

Can I encourage you to start moving? Don’t sit and wait for God to flash it on your computer screen or post it on your Facebook wall. Jump in to a ministry and do something! Start serving somewhere. Make a short term commitment . Serve in a particular area of ministry for a month. Check it out and see how you like it. Find out if it is a fit for you…is it your passion? Is it the way God wired you?

If you are not careful, you will become a consumer instead of a contributor. You will be a sponge who soaks up everything, but never gives in return.

God has uniquely gifted & wired you with certain specific gifts, natural talents, & passions. It’s in that area where you need to be serving! Life is too short to be a sponge, a bump on a log or a chair warmer. Step up & step out.

God has an amazing plan for your life. He wants to use you in touching someone else’s life.  
There is a baby whose mother does not know Christ and she needs to hear the gospel. Someone needs to care for her baby so she can attend service

There’s a single mom who brings her little boy every week. He needs a father figure to help guide him.

There are tons of teenagers who need a friend and mentor to share their problems with.

There’s an adult man who lost his job this past week. He needs a friendly smile and a warm handshake. He needs to be escorted to a seat so he can hear a message of hope.

Do you teach the Bible? Can you be a mentor? Can you visit the hospitals or shut-ins? Can you volunteer in our church office to answer the phone? Can you make calls to visitors or new Christians?

Get in on the action, get off the bench, get in the game! You have been called to make a difference!

Don’t be just s hearer be a doer. There is a big difference between hearing and doing.

Press On!

All of the Bible challenges me greatly, but when I read II Corinthians 1:8-10 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,  about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” – I am  reminded of the hardship that Paul went through.

No matter what came Paul’s way he pressed on. He didn’t quit!

People and circumstances will do everything to bring you down. You are going to want to throw in the towel.

I speak from personal experiences, I have wanted to quit several times in my life.

I love this quote by Booker T. Washington, “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.”

I love the story of Florence Chadwick. She was 34 years old in 1952. It was July 4th. The California Coast was covered in fog. Twenty-one miles to the west of Catalina Island, Florence waded into the water and began swimming toward California, determined to be the first woman to do so. She had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that July morning and the fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her own party.

Millions were watching on national television. Several times sharks, which had gotten too close, had to be driven away with rifles to protect the lone figure in the water.

As the hours ticked away, she swam on.

Fatigue had never been her big problem in these swims, it was the bone chilling cold of the water.

More than fifteen hours later, numbed with the cold, she asked to be taken out. She couldn’t go on. Her mother and her trainer alongside in a boat told
her they were near land. They urged her not to quit.

But when she looked toward the California Coast, all see could see was the dense fog. A few minutes later, at fifteen hours and fifty five minutes, she was taken out of the water.

It was not until hours later, when her body began to thaw, that she felt the shock of failure. To a reporter she blurted out, “Look I’m not excusing myself. But if I could have seen land, I might have made it.”

She had been pulled out only a half mile from the California Coast! Later she was to reflect that she had been licked not by fatigue or even the cold…the fog alone had defeated her because it obscured her goal. It had blinded her reason, her eyes, her heart.

It was the only time Florence Chadwick ever quit.

Two months later she swam that same channel. And again fog obscured her view. But this time she swam with her faith intact. Somewhere behind that fog was land.

Not only was she the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, but she beat the men’s record by some two hours!

Press on no matter what comes your way! Don’t ever quit!

Big Mouths, Little Brains

Not a week goes by that I don’t speak to someone who has had their feelings hurt or they are upset with someone about something they said.

Words are so powerful. Words shape people and either build up or tear down.The Bible has much to say about our words.

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

“There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health. “   Proverbs 12:18b

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” Proverbs 12:25

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

Wow…Solomon, the wisest man to ever live outside of Jesus said that the tongue, our words,  opening up our big mouths can cause great harm…death or life.

Do you realize that what we say affects more people than any other action we may take? Words have so much power in them. They can crush a person’s feelings. They can make someone sad, angry, discouraged and even depressed to the point of being suicidal.

Friendships have been fractured, reputations have been blackened, minds have been poisoned and churches have been damaged all because of the tongue.

Once these words leave our mouth, they can never be retracted. All of us have said things that we later regretted. We all have been caught in the heat of the moment and have spoken words out of anger.

But what about those people who know exactly what they are saying and don’t care? You know ‘those’ people that I am referring to? Their mission in life is to cut down, slander and talk badly about people. They have the gift of criticism.

Did you catch Proverbs 12:18 earlier? “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword…”

Solomon said when you talk about someone, it is as if you are stabbing them with a sword. There is nothing innocent about cutting someone with a sword.

Do you know that people who talk to you about other people will talk about YOU to other people? People who talk badly about others are just telling on themselves.

Those kind of people have deep seeded anger, they are insecure and they have to belittle others to feel better about themselves. They are cowards! They are afraid to talk to someone to their face so they find a “garbage dump” (another person who will willingly listen to the gossip) to unload on. By the way, being a garbage dump is still participating even if you do not say anything!

Let’s all commit to be being very careful in what and how we say things.

Good Attitude

What percentage of your day from this past week was consumed by a negative attitude versus a positive, proactive and optimistic attitude?

Take a minute right now and reflect on that question. Go ahead, close your eyes, shut yourself off to the world and really ponder over that question and your answer.

Is your attitude positive enough? Or are you consumed with negativity?

Do you focus on the abundance of blessings God has given you? Such as air, water, food, your health, your family, etc… or are you choosing to focus on that which you feel you are missing? Do you have a long list of things that you want or feel you deserve?

I love the quote by Patricia Neal, “A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug!” Isn’t that true? Just the power of a positive attitude will do wonders.

Irving Berlin said, “Life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.” It really does all come down to attitude.

Do you realize that attitude is the key?

·  Attitude affects our outlook – how we see things, how we look at things.

·  Attitude affects our outcome. How things turn out is based on what kind of attitude we had during the process.

·  Attitude affects our altitude – how high and how far you will go in life.

The question today is, do you need an attitude adjustment?

There is little difference in people but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.”
W. Clement Stone

Page 1 of 7312345»102030...Last »