Summer Slam 2016

We had an incredible week at Summer Slam (VBS) st New Season! It was awesome seeing so many kids learning about Jesus and having fun. At the end of the week, 33 precious children accepted Christ! That is absolutely amazing…Glory to God!

I want to share my thanks with Stephen and Gina Zirpoli, Heather Reeves and every adult/student volunteer who served at Summer Slam. I cannot list names because there were many and I don’t want to leave anyone out. You all worked hard and provided these kids with a fun filled, memorable week. Everything went great and our building looked fantastic! Thank you for all that you did, we appreciate you!

And a special thanks to our great friend Jorge Campos who traveled from El Salvador to be with us. His dances and passion added so much to the week and the kids loved him! I’m grateful that Jorge could be here.

Kids lives were changed this week because of the commitment and sacrifice of these volunteers. Take time to share your appreciation and let’s let these guys know what a blessing they are.

THANKS AGAIN for making an eternal investment in these boys and girls!

 

Can’t Help Yourself

Do you have a case of “I can’t help it”? You know, when you really get the fact that your sins are forgiven and Jesus is your whole life? When you are so consumed with him that you want the whole world to experience what you have!

When Matthew the tax collector was saved, he threw a party and invited all of his friends to attend with the hopes of introducing them to Jesus.

When Cornelius was getting ready to hear the gospel, he invited his family, friends and work associates.

When Andrew was saved, he went to go and tell his brother.

When you meet Jesus and have your sins forgiven, you can’t help but tell others about it!

Jesus said I will make you fishers of men….if you’re not fishing, you’re not following!

When is the last time you invited someone to church?

When is the last time you shared your story/shared the gospel?

When is the last time you led someone to Christ?

When is the last time you tried?

Do you have a case of the “I can’t help it?

 

Going To Your Brother

In Matthew 5, Jesus told his followers, “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (vs. 23-24).

In Matthew 18 he added, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (v. 15).

In the first case, you have sinned against someone. In the second, someone has sinned against you. In both, you are to initiate reconciliation. You are to speak to the person, not about him.

Matthew, chapter 18 gives us some very clear guidelines in dealing with interpersonal relationships. You are to go to your brother (that person one on one first)

There will be people who will reject your confrontation. Nothing is ever “their fault.” They will never take responsibility for anything that happens, they will always blame someone else or throw someone else under the bus.

There are some people that just will not respond the right way, even after you have handled things according to Matthew 18.

Thank God there are those people when confronted, who receive the confrontation. have a teachable spirit. They desire that their horizontal and vertical relationships be right. They repent and you have won over your brother/sister. They understand Proverb 27:2, “wounds from a friend can be trusted.”

Relationships within the body of Christ are essential. But it begins by going directly to the person, initiating reconciliation.

Who do you need to go to today and make things right?

 

Party Going On

New Season Church has been causing an eruption in heaven! I mean heaven has been shaking! Party favors are being used and the streets of gold are full of angels doing a jig.There is a celebration over what is happening at New Season!

We have seen over 100 people saved this year already!! Luke 15:7, verse 10 says,  “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The only time that heaven rejoices is when someone who is lost “gets” found. I encourage you to read Luke chapter 15 in one sitting (it’s not long at all). It’s the only time in the Bible Jesus told 3 parables in a row about the same subject. In all 3 stories we see…
Something was lost.

An aggressive attitude was taken towards that which was lost (we cannot afford to be passive about our lost family and friends.)

When people pass from death unto life and experience forgiveness of sins, a party erupts in heaven. I’m grateful that I’m a part of a church that causes heaven to throw a party!

 

In a Dark Hole

I won’t lie…I have been in a spiritual funk and fog many times in my life. Life happens, circumstances kick us in the tail and we feel as if God has abandoned us.

Most of us can describe our walk with God at one time or another as distant or as a roller coaster ride. We have spiritual mountain top experiences and we have the dry valleys. We know the thrill of victory, but we also know the agony of defeat. Have you ever been so down you didn’t think you would ever get back up?

At that point, you have no energy, no drive and your “want-to” is broken. You feel like God has abandoned you. You feel that God has left you and you will never be able to get out of the hole that you are in.

There is nothing worse than not sensing the presence of God…that divine absence, spiritual loneliness, the feeling when you pray but are not getting through – that dark hole.

We all know too well the spiritual slumps that plague us. When I’m in this funk I have to “will” myself to pray and read. and lean into and trust!!

Even when you’re in that dark hole, you have to believe, “I will come out of this. I will be stronger. God is teaching me…I will survive!”

 

Love To See You Coming

Negative people are everywhere.

Have you noticed that they have a sixth sense? They will sniff you out and find you to complain about something.

Surely you know what I am talking about…Have you ever been around a really negative person? You know the ones I am talking about…they whine and complain about everything!

If you give them just two minutes of your time, they will manage to tell you what is wrong with their job, their family, their kids, their neighbors, their church, etc. Everything in their lives is negative.

I find myself wondering what happened to those people to make them so mean and critical. Why do they look at everything with a dark cloud? Why is their entire life colored gray? Their glass is always half empty and if you give them a chance, they will even pour water out of your glass!

I do know that some people have had a difficult past, a rough childhood or a really negative situation that has left them bitter.

That is the root of their negativity. I understand that there are things in life that we cannot control. But your critical, complaining, grumbling attitude is not one of them!

Do you complain too much?

Do people avoid you because you are so negative?

Do you avoid certain people because you know their critical spirit and negative attitude will pull you down? I do! Really, I do! Life is too short to be consumed by those kind of people.

I try to surround myself with fun, positive, “let’s go change the world” kind of people. Stay away from those people who take away from you or pollute you.

Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. Get away from these kind of people. If you are around that type of negative influence, you will soon become one of those negative people yourself!

Stay positive and be the kind of person that people love to see coming their way.

 

Who Are We?

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.

Every church should have the same kingdom values but a pastor’s unique personality, gifts and life experiences will come out in shaping the values. Example: My passion is seeing people far from God experience life in Christ and becoming fully engaged followers. Our church is very evangelistic and kingdom minded – lost people matter to God!

The leadership must also live out the kingdom values or it will not transfer.

Transformation can never be brought in from the outside; transformation is inside work. You don’t get what you want, you get what you are. You teach what you know and you reproduce who you are. The pastor, the staff, and the leadership must live out the values or there will be no culture shift.

We must hold everyone accountable to the mission, vision and kingdom values.
It’s easy to drift. It’s easy to get off track. We all need accountability in maintaining our culture.

Our vision and values are hanging on the wall but more importantly in our hearts.Seeing them is being reminded of the vision and it also puts it in front of new people so they are exposed to the culture from their first visit. People will figure out real quick who you are.

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 is who you are.

Who are we? What do we really value? What really gets our time talent and resources?

That’s your culture…that’s who you are!

 

A Different Direction

My life and ministry are going through quite a bit of transition. I have been in a reflective mindset now for almost a month. It’s time for a different direction.

Here are a few things to think about to move you in a new direction…

Here are some statements and questions to help you. Which one of these are you?

1. You do not expect to succeed, so you are defeated before you even get started.

2. You always find more reasons why something will not work than why it will.

3. You look forward in resignation and look backward in regret.

4. Your glass is half empty but only for a little while…evaporation happens!

If you find yourself identifying with one or more of these, then try these on for size….

1. Success is never a matter of “if” for you, it’s a matter of when – begin today.

2. You know that anything is possible – now, go do it!

3. You can’t wait until tomorrow because every day puts you closer to your dreams.

4. Your glass is half full, but only for a little while…you are going to need a bigger glass!

What do I want to do?
What do I want to see?
What do I want to be?
What do I want to have?
Where do I want to go?
What do I want to share?

These are simply statements and questions to get you thinking and moving in a different direction.

Have you heard the definition of insanity? “Doing the same thing that you have always done but expecting different results.”

Think of this – if you never move, if you never take a step in a different direction, you cannot expect things to change. Things will remain the same (or perhaps get even worse!)

Take that first step. Move in a different direction and see what happens!

 

The Love of God

God is not impressed by the wealthy, the powerful, the popular, the talented, the religious, the “good,” etc… God’s love is freely given to ALL.

He does not love the faithful missionary any more than He loves the drunk who spends every dime he has on beer and never sets foot in a church.

That is a hard concept for us to grasp as humans. Success and accomplishment are so impressive in our society that we are guilty of attaching them to affection.

That is not the process by which God gives His love. His love is poured out on the “lowest of the low” (according to human standards) to the “cream of the crop.”

Many people today associate the love of God by their performance or by the lack of love and attention they have received from others.

Do you know why some of you have such a difficult time believing and understanding the love of God? Because you have encountered “wishy washy” people who say they love you but at some point decide those emotions have changed. God forbid, but maybe it was a parent…a Dad who abandoned you and the message that sent was “he doesn’t love me anymore.”

Maybe a spouse left you – after speaking the vows and making a commitment “for better for worse” – he hit the road and even told you that he doesn’t love you anymore.

Sadly, we compare God’s love to what we have experienced from humans and because of that, we don’t believe that God really loves us.

Look no further than a blood stained cross where the God of the universe has his arms wide open and declares “I LOVE YOU”!

 

Holy Ghost Interruption

Spiritual power is an anointing from God that cannot be manufactured or worked up.

Many people have great natural abilities and possess many gifts. The danger with that is that it is easy to grow too self-confident and independent. We end up trusting in what WE can produce instead of depending on the power of God.

When you walk with God intimately and have experienced His power and anointing, you do not want to settle for the natural when you can have the supernatural. God can accomplish in one second what could take us a lifetime! I am opting for Him…His power…His touch…His anointing…His hand!

We can settle for average…we can have church with good music and lots of activity. We can check the box and go about our lives. Or we can have the unexplainable, the supernatural!

Don’t settle for the normal when you can have extraordinary. Don’t settle for “business as usual” when you can have Holy Ghost interruption. If you are not careful, your life will be explainable.

Don’t you long for the supernatural, the eternal, the life changing, life altering power of God?

Unfortunately for the most part, people and churches struggle half-heartedly through life hoping that tomorrow will be better than today. That’s not the life that is made by divine activity…that is human predictability.

So the choice is yours – you can settle for what you can do, or you can experience something more amazing, more powerful and more supernatural than you could ever imagine! I choose Holy Ghost interruption!