A Great Longing

 

Last Sunday, we opened up our South Paulding campus and we saw 5 people saved! I have this intense longing to see God move!

I surrendered to the call of ministry because God called me and God wrecked me. I surrendered to win people to Jesus, to reach the lost, to make disciples, to build His church, and to enlarge His kingdom.

I love to see people saved and I love to watch people grow in their relationships with God. I am thrilled to watch addictions broken, marriages healed, and relationships restored. I love watching people “get it” and then develop a desire to tell others.

I love watching people travel somewhere around the world on a mission trip and share the love of Christ. We just got back from El Salvador where we saw 300 people saved!

I desire to see new churches planted out of our church. We have helped plant 7 churches in the last seven years! I want to see God’s kingdom advance and see Jesus receive glory.

I did not sign up for status quo living or “let’s just get by” church. I long to see God do the impossible. I long to see God do only what He can do. I love to say the only explanation for what happens on Sundays is “God”.

I surrendered to the call of ministry with the anticipation that God will use me and that my life will make a difference. I have a passion and a burning desire to see and experience life change.

I have this longing… Do you you have it?

Preparation, the Difference Maker

Do you have a lot going on?

Do you have a lot of "irons in the fire"?

Do you have so many details to cover that you can’t think straight?

I have  found that one of the biggest keys to getting things done is preparation. Preparation really is the difference maker!

Basketball legend, sports announcer and avid tweeter, Bill Walton said, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail!”

If you look at all the great athletes and business people in the world today, they all speak about preparation. You can have talent, charisma and natural ability but without preparation, you will never reach your full potential.

Everyone likes the spotlight and having their name in lights but few people take the time to work at getting truly prepared.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how witty you are or how skilled you are. If you don’t put the time and preparation into “it”, whatever “it” is for you will not be what it could have been. I am not speaking of drive or even hard work; I am talking about the discipline it takes to really prepare.

Many people would rather make excuses then take the time to prepare. How many times have you heard or even spoken these words:  
· We were robbed  
· It wasn’t fair  
· They were just better than we were  
· It wasn’t a level playing field

Maybe we should change our vocabulary to:  
· I wasn’t ready  
· I didn’t pay the price  
· I knew I needed more time  
· What was I thinking

Boxing great Joe Frazier said, “If you don’t show up in the gym in the dark, it will show in the ring under the lights.”

What is it that you have been giving half the effort in your life?  

What is it that you are just “winging”?

Preparation is the difference maker!

Cruising

When you were younger, I bet you and your friends went cruising.

I can remember driving down by the beach just cruising around with no agenda, no plan and really not headed any where. We were just cruising.

If you never went cruising, I bet you drive a car right now that has cruise control. Cruise control is a great feature to have in case your foot becomes tired, if you’ve been driving for a long distance or if you are traveling on the open freeway and you are ready to set a certain speed.

To use cruise control, you set the speed – you determine how fast you really want to go. The system takes over to maintain your selected speed.

Cruise control is certainly handy when driving but not for living. Many people attempt to live life on cruise control…steady, easy and maintaining.

Cruise control is passive. Your mind is not engaged and you just ease through life effortlessly ignoring problems that arise.

We must be fully engaged. We must constantly fight the temptation to allow things to remain the same way. It is much easier to cruise than to live life to the fullest with our foot on the accelerator.

Life is too short and opportunities are too few to live your life on cruise control or to just cruise by with no plan and really not headed anywhere!  Are you just cruising?

Stretch Armstrong

Do you remember “Stretch Armstrong”? If you answered yes, then you are old like me! If you answered no, Google it!

I feel that God has me in a “Stretch Armstrong” time in my life. God wants me to go to the next level, to go beyond myself, to reach past my expectations. God wants to stretch me.

Its the most exciting time in my life but also the most stretching that I have experienced in a long time. I believe God is doing this for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is very easy to get comfortable. It is easy to just hang on for the ride and not be pushed and stretched. God did not save us to be comfortable. God is in the stretching business.

Secondly, because this year as a church, we will be pursuing a different level that will require a deeper walk, more wisdom and radical leadership. I believe God has given me a personal specific calling and I believe He has also given New Season a specific calling. God has confirmed to me the intensity of that calling. I really do believe we can change the world.

On February 22 (this Sunday) we celebrate 7 years as a church. We are opening New Season South Paulding this Sunday! Help us get the word out and come help!

Get out of your comfort zone and stretch with us! Allow God to stretch you. You will  go so much farther, way beyond what you can imagine.

Thirdly, call us crazy but we are opening a third campus – New Season Tennessee. Lord willing, we will open on March 22.You can imagine how stretched we are. We are walking in a deeper level of faith trusting our Father to see us through.

I had a Stretch Armstrong when I was a kid and I pulled him every way imaginable. Even though I abused that toy and stretched him, he never broke. It’s tough at times but being in a Stretch Armstrong season with God is truly amazing.

Who God Uses

I Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 26-31 says, “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.” (the Message)

I love this passage. If you have ever had any doubts whether or not God could use you, this scripture clears that up!

God doesn’t look for the experts or the specialists. He doesn’t have an entry exam. You don’t have to pass any test. There is no IQ requirement or social status needed.

God loves to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. You don’t have to be a champion thoroughbred to run in His race. He loves to use plain donkeys (another word comes to mind).

Your collar doesn’t have to be white; God uses blue collared, normal people with dirty hands to do abnormal things for His glory.

When Jesus chose the twelve disciples, some were fishermen, others were tax collectors, some were husbands and fathers while others were single men. They weren’t smarter or more gifted than anyone else. They simply obeyed when Jesus said, “Follow me.” That is exactly what God is looking for. People with hearts that beat for him. People who will simply follow Him and seek Him.

Maybe you’re more blue jeans than blue blood. Maybe you are more ADD than MBA. Maybe you are more of the high school dropout than beauty contest winner.

I don’t know who or what you are or what you have done or haven’t done. I don’t know if you have grown up in church your entire life or just started attending last week.

I do know this. God loves to change the world with people like you. You may ask, “why”? It is so that no one can take the credit but God! So people can look at your life and know that there is only one explanation for you and how God is using you and that explanation is Jesus…simply Jesus. All glory and honor to the only one who is worthy – JESUS!

It’s All About Change

The world we live in today is so much different than just a decade ago.

Significant changes seem to be happening every day. Technology changes, politics change, economics change and culture changes. The way we did things 10 years ago doesn’t work in our modern day culture.

We must adopt better practices of the way we do things or we will die.

Charles Exley, former CEO of NCR Corporation said, “I’ve been in business thirty six years. I’ve learned a lot and most of it doesn’t apply anymore.”

John Maxwell said, “The question should not be will we ever change, but when and how much will we need to change.”

There are psychological barriers to change. The change makes sense logically and intellectually, but psychologically and emotionally, it brings anxiety. We are afraid of change. We are afraid of the unknown. How will this affect me, my family, my life?

We all must change. You can resist change or embrace change.

Change really is inevitable. So let’s embrace change and change!

One Bold Step

Most people live in the comfort zone of life not the end zone.

Most of us are settled in with the status quo and just getting by. Playing it safe is on the daily agenda and the next day and so on.

Our lives have become boring and predictable. We are so afraid of failure that we are stuck in a time zone of frustration and regret.

We serve an awesome God who is not scared by our BIG audacious dreams and desires. On the contrary, God desires that we live boldly.

Proverbs 28:1 says, “the righteous are as bold as a lion.” God isn’t offended by our boldness, just the opposite. He is offended by our passivity. Bold faith filled prayers bring honor to God and God honors bold faith filled prayers.

What dream do you have that’s been on hold for too long? What vision has God given you for your life? What step of faith do you need to take? You are only one bold step of faith away from your vision being fulfilled.

Are you going to play it safe or take a risk? Abraham took a risk and left what was familiar to him to see a promise in the making fulfilled. Moses took a risk when he said to Pharaoh, “let my people go.” Joshua took a risk when he told the people to march around Jericho. Peter took a risk when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water.

Take a risk! Take that step of faith and believe God for a better day, a better life. Don’t be paralyzed by fear of man or the fear of looking foolish. Dare to believe; dare to soar; dare to live the life that God has for you. It only takes one bold step!

I Can’t Help It!

God is doing so many amazing things through the people of New Season.

With three campuses in two different states and hundreds of people stepping up, I can’t help but talk about it! 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! And yes it’s true…I can’t help but talk about it.

Less Than a Minute

Every week, I receive a text, an e-mail or a Facebook message from someone who is experiencing difficulties in their marriage. Everything from marital infidelity to lack of communication to, “I just don’t love him/her anymore” to “I’m tired and need a change.” People are giving up on the vows they made to God and to each other.

Every 37 seconds, someone gets divorced in America. 50% of marriages are ending in divorce with 75% of all second marriages calling it quits.

Families are taking the back seat on the list of priorities. Strong marriages and strong families don’t just happen by accident. It must be a priority – a priority of time. We must nurture, feed and work on our marriages.

Unfortunately, most people wait too long to do anything to help their marriage/family. The problems didn’t just happen overnight, they have been developing and intensifying for awhile. Most people choose to just ignore the issues, hoping they will disappear or they are waiting for the other person to “get their act together.”

Swallow your pride, seek help and work on your marriage! We all feel like quitting at times and we all go through different seasons. Surrender to Jesus as Lord of your life. Let HIM rule, put Him in first place, ask God to work on you and let Him change you.

Every 37 seconds…it breaks the heart of God. Don’t be a statistic. Work, pray and fall in love all over again! If half the marriages in America are ending in less than a minute, then we better take the time now to start trying to fix it.

Emotional Escape

Unfortunately, every week I talk to someone who knows someone or perhaps it is themselves who are in a mess. They always start off saying, “I don’t know how I got here but…” I think I have said " the secret to life is how you deal with your pain" at least a million times!

God has created us to be emotional beings and when we are hurting, we begin to create outlets or emotional escapes. When you are sad, mad, stressed out or really depressed, you begin to feel hopeless and grow frustrated with your current situation.

When that happens – when you get to that place, where do you run?

Do you run to alcohol or some other type of drug?                                                                                 Do you engage in unhealthy relationships with people other than your spouse or if you are single, do you sleep around?                                                                                                                        What about that pornography that you have to watch or the issue you face with spending money out of control? You fill in the blank.

Do you run to these things or others that only cover up your pain, something that allows you to hide? Or do you run to the only one who can actually ease your pain and bring healing?

We all run,we all escape! The question is where you running?

Page 1 of 7412345»102030...Last »