Saturday, July 25, 2009

Youth Baptisms

The youth, along with Sr. Pastor, Perry Noble from NewSpring Community Church in Anderson, SC went on their annual Florida trip. Catch the numbers and the passion of the youth. I heard there were over 100 baptisms in the Atlantic Ocean. How cool is that!!!!

Check it out . . .

Gauntlet 09 Day 4 Recap from Fuse* Student Ministry on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Accountability Questions - part 2

Here is a listing of 48 questions you can pick and choose from when you think about accountability and your life in Christ ~

John Wesley's Small Group Questions (his original 21):

1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?

2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?

3. Do I confidentially pass onto another what was told me in confidence?

4. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work , or habits?

5. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?

6. Did the Bible live in me today?

7. Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?

8. Am I enjoying prayer?

9. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?

10. Do I pray about the money I spend?

11. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?

12. Do I disobey God in anything?

13. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?

14. Am I defeated in any part of my life?

15. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?

16. How do I spend my spare time?

17. Am I proud?

18. Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?

19. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?

20. Do I grumble and complain constantly?

21. Is Christ real to me?

Wesley's Band Meeting Questions:

1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?

2. What temptations have you met with?

3. How were you delivered?

4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?

5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?

Reference: John Wesley's Class Meetings: a Model for Making Disciples, by D. Michael Henderson, Evangel Publishing House, 1997, pp. 118-9

Chuck Swindoll's Pastoral Accountability Questions:

In his book, The Body, Chuck Colson lists the questions used by Chuck Swindoll.

1. Have you been with a woman anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?

2. Have any of your financial dealings lacked integrity?

3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material?

4. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?

5. Have you given priority time to your family?

6. Have you fulfilled the mandates of your calling?

7. Have you just lied to me?

Neil Cole:

1. What is the condition of your soul?

2. What sin do you need to confess?

3. What have you held back from God that you need to surrender?

4. Is there anything that has dampened your zeal for Christ?

5. Who have you talked with about Christ this week?

HT: Journey (not sure who this is, but included them anyway)

1. Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?

2. Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?

3. Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?

4. Have you been honoring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?

5. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?

6. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.

7. Have you continued to remain angry toward another?

8. Have you secretly wished for another's misfortune so that you might excel?

9. Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?

10. Have you been completely honest with me?

Blessings on a rainy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Accountability Questions

A movement which has gone on for the past 5-8 years in the church is for people to be involved in Accountability groups. These are groups which consist of 2-3 people who you can share your deepest thoughts freely and without judgment being cast upon you.

I ran across a blog which listed John Wesley's original 21 accountability questions. Remember, John Wesley is really the father of the small group movement. This started in the 1700's.

You can find his questions by clicking here.

I thought from all of the accountability questions out there I would list my top 15, with one extra. They are in no specific order.

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?Did I give God time to speak to me today, through prayer and the Bible?
  2. When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
  3. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  4. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  5. How do I spend my spare time?
  6. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
  7. Is Christ real to me?
  8. Have you been with a woman/man anywhere this past week that might be seen as compromising?
  9. Have I been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed my mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not my spouse this week?
  10. Have you given priority time to your family?
  11. What have you held back from God that you need to surrender?
  12. Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
  13. Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.
  14. Have you secretly wished for another's misfortune so that you might excel?
  15. Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  16. Have you just lied?
I hope these may help you in your journey with Christ.

Monday, July 20, 2009

News Story about Alexandria Pool

Click on the title and you will be directed to the story about the saving of the Alexandria Pool. Cool story.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Holy Roller

SUMMARY:
Julie Lyons was working as a crime reporter when she followed a hunch into the South Dallas ghetto. She wasn’t hunting drug dealers, but drug addicts who had been supernaturally healed of their addictions.

At The Body of Christ Assembly, a rundown church, Lyons found the story she was looking for. The minister welcomed criminals, prostitutes, and street people–anyone who needed God. He prayed for the sick, the addicted, and the demon-possessed, and people were supernaturally healed.

Lyons ’s story landed on the front page of the Dallas Times Herald. But she got much more than just a great story, she found an unlikely spiritual home. Though the people at The Body of Christ Assembly are black and Pentecostal, and Lyons is white and from a traditional church background, she embraced their spirituality–that of “the Holy Ghost and fire.”

Michael's Thoughts:

This was a fascinating and easy to read book. I appreciated the struggles Julie went through as she tried to rediscover her spirituality, namely, a faith relationship with Jesus. What is wonderful is that this is a true story, the people are real, and most importantly, the work of the Holy Spirit is VERY REAL.

The book left me wanting more and more of what Julie was discovering. There are some real theological nuggets interspersed through the book. What a joy it would be to enter The Body of Christ Assembly and know that all people, irregardless of who and what they are, are welcome. Another example of what you find in this church were the people who cared for one another and helped one another as spiritual mother's and father's.

I would highly encourage you to read this wonderful, fast paced book. You can purchase it at

Amazon.com - http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Roller-Finding-Redemption-Forgotten/dp/1400074959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247931811&sr=8-1

OR

Christianbook.com - http://www.christianbook.com/holy-roller-julie-lyons/9781400074952/pd/074952?item_code=WW&netp_id=604665&event=ESRCN&view=covers

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Worship

So, this question is on my heart, soul and mind. It has invaded my whole being. I am consumed by this very disturbing yet freeing question . . . what is it? Glad you asked . . .

"What does it mean to love God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind and with all of your strength? Then, what does it look like?"

Francois Fenelon from the late 1600's leads me to ask this, after he asked, "We attend church, we read the Bible, we avoid the biggies - is this wholehearted and passionate worship of God?"

Ouch, he's stepping on my toes!! So, I'm working through the interrogatives. How do I demonstrate my love for God? What does it look like? When do I do it? Why do I do it? As I examine myself, and am brutally honest with myself, I also sense a series of sermons developing on these topics. They, in part, will form the answers to my seeking.

If you were to honestly answer these questions, would God be impressed? Are you impressed? Can you be so honest?!

Jonah

For the next 4 weeks I will be preaching about the prophet Jonah.

The story of a fish swallowing a man, (golly, that sounds like a fish story) and that man living to tell the tale sounds impossible — yet God says it is true! The story of Jonah is very different than the other prophetic


books because it is not full of prophecies by the prophet; instead, it is about the life of the prophet. While most of the other Old Testament prophets prophesied to Israel or Judah, Jonah’s task was to go to the Assyrians in Nineveh and prophesy to them. Learn more about God’s reluctant prophet as I work through each chapter of Jonah on 4 consecutive Sundays.

Jonah remains a very relevant story for us in today's world. Come and ask yourself, "who and / or what am I running from?"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Vacation

We made it home safe and sound. We enjoyed time at King's Island and the Creation Museum (which gives you lots to think about in terms of creation and the timeline).

I decided the single greatest event of the few days we were gone was to see my family smile. The pictures represent some of the smiles and memorable moments. I received great joy from experiencing a loved one's smile. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.




The boys getting into the music with Skillet!














In the Tasmanian Typhoon. Note the wide open mouths on the boys faces on this one.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.










Joshua and Zachary are all smiles on the Sydney Sidewinder.

John Calvin is 500

While relaxing at the hotel pool I met a man and his family who just returned from Boston, MA. Why did they go to Boston? Good question. They went to celebrate the 500th birthday of John Calvin. Calvin is one of the great protestant reformers. His theology, "Institutes of the Christian Religion" is one of the best theologies you will ever read. Yes, it is even understandable, if you go slow. With that in mind, here is a quote from Calvin's Institutes. Enjoy . . .

It is the common habit of mankind that the more closely men are bound together by the ties of kinship, of acquaintanceship, or of neighborhood, the more responsibilities for one another they share. This does not offend God; for his providence, as it were, leads us to it. But I say: we ought to embrace the whole human race without exception in a single feeling of love; here there is no distinction between barbarian and Greek, worthy and unworthy, friend and enemy, since all should be contemplated in God, not in themselves. When we turn aside from such contemplation, it is no wonder we become entangled in many errors. Therefore, if we rightly direct our love, we must first turn our eyes not to man, the sight of whom would more often engender hate than love, but to God, who bids us extend to all men the love we bear to him, that this may be an unchanging principle: Whatever the character of the man, we must yet love him because we love God. -- Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 8

Powerful words from Calvin, even after 500 + years!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Trinity Library

I don't expect anyone to run and go to Deerfield, IL to check out a book, but there is a good book on the shelves. Check out the information below about the author and title . . .

Author: Deutsch, Michael
Title: Leading First Baptist Church to renewal through the introduction of spiritual disciplines / Michael R. Deutsch.
Thesis/Dissertation: Thesis (D. Min.)--Trinity International University, 2008.
Published: 2008.
Physical Description: xi, 242 leaves ; 28 cm.
Includes: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 237-242).

Subject (LCSH): Spiritual formation.
Church renewal.
Spiritual life.

Institution: Rolfing Memorial Library
Location: Project Collection
Shelved at Deerfield Recommended Reading Shelf
Call Number: BV4511 .D488x 2008
Copy: 1
Status: Available

Kind of cool to see a library book with your name on it. I wonder when the movie will be coming out (ha!!)

Monday, July 06, 2009

The 10 Commandments reversed

After preaching for about the 10 Commandments, I ended the message yesterday with these words, and I was asked to repeat them for everyone . . . so here you go,

"As we’ve studied the 10 Commandments, I believe we can turn these commandments into positives, so that we can see not just what sins we should avoid, but what positive qualities God wants us to develop.

1. Instead of worshiping false gods, we worship the only God.
2. Instead of worshiping idols, we worship the Risen Christ.
3. Instead of misusing the name of God, we learn the names of God and praise Him.
4. Instead of ignoring the Sabbath, we find rest in God.
5. Instead of dishonoring our parents, we honor and respect them.
6. Instead of murder, we cherish life.
7. Instead of adultery, we cultivate faithfulness.
8. Instead of stealing, we become a blessing to others.
9. Instead of false testimony, we seek and speak the truth.
10. Instead of coveting, we learn contentment. "

I hope you find these a blessing in your life.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fourth of July History

American history is often something we neglect, so I found this information today and thought I would pass it on as we celebrate a rainy Independence Day.

I'm not nominating all of our founding fathers for sainthood. At the same time we need to be aware of the fact that there is a lot of revisionist history that totally ignores or distorts the faith of our Founding Fathers. A lot of them were motivated by their faith in Christ.

Here's some back story on some of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence. Most Americans know next to nothing about these fifty-six heroes who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the cause of freedom.

John Witherspoon was an ordained minister and authored several books of sermons, as well as editing America's first family Bible in 1791.

Charles Thomson served as Secretary of Congress and was a Biblical scholar. He helped edit the first American translation of the Greek Septuagint into English.

Charles Carroll, the last of the fifty-six signers to pass away at the age of 95 in 1832, wrote out his declaration of faith at the age of eighty-nine.

On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for my salvation, and on His merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.

Another Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, is considered the "Father of American Medicine." He personally trained three thousand medical students. Dr. Rush also founded "The First Day Society" which was the precursor to the Sunday School movement, as well as founding America's first Bible society. It was Benjamin Rush who said the Constitution was "as much the work of Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament were the effects of divine power."

Francis Hopkinson was a church music director and edited one of the first hymnals printed in America in 1767. He also set 150 psalms to music.

Roger Sherman is the only Founding Father to sign all four of America's Founding documents: the Articles of Association in 1774, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation in 1778, and the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Roger Sherman was also a theologian. He wrote a personal creed that was adopted by his church:

I believe that there is one only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the same in substance, equal in power and glory. That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are a revelation from God, and a complete rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

I could share story after story, but the bottom line is this: many of our Founding Fathers were motivated by their Faith in Christ. They wrote sermons and creeds and hymns. They founded Bible Societies and Sunday Schools. They served God's purposes in their generation. And I, for one, am grateful.

I hope that adds a spiritual dimension to your 4th of July celebration!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Priciple of the Path by Andy Stanley

It seems obvious to us, yet our vision becomes so blurred by the very road we are on. Andy Stanley is a great oral communicator, as well as through the written media. The premise of Stanley's book, "The Principle of the Path" can be summarized in this statement from his book,
  • “Every path leads somewhere…and the road I’m on always determines where I end up. Direction—not intention—determines our destination.”
This is the very point of this book. It's not earth shaking material, in fact, it is pretty basic, yet we seem to have forgotten this principle that Andy has stated.

As Stanley explains, we often have great intentions, but it is not our intentions which determine our destination, it is the direction we are heading which determines our outcomes. If you want to pray, that's great, but just having the intention will not get you there. This is a powerful book for those who are seeking direction in their lives.

At times we wonder why our hopes, aspirations and goals have not been realized, and Stanley very simply would point us to look at the path we have taken, and that of course determines our destination, whether you like it or not.

Stanley uses biblical images, especially the wisdom contained in Proverbs to help draw illustrations, as well as real life applications to help the reader.

You will not be sorry if you read this book. This book has potential to transform a person's direction if you are willing to open yourself to follow God's path in your life.

You can find this book at http://www.christianbook.com/principle-path-get-you-want/andy-stanley/9780849920608/pd/920608?item_code=WW&netp_id=555205&event=ESRCN&view=covers