February 19, 2018
This past Sunday was the most encouraging since I started almost 90 days ago. To speak on Matthew 6:19-24 is as one member put it “pretty brave” within the first 11 weeks of becoming pastor. I replied “if Jesus says it’s important, the church should know it’s important”.
I encourage all who read this blog to listen to the message if you were not here this past Sunday. If you do not have the time, let me remind all of us of the “Cliffs Notes” version; Jesus tells us there is only one safe place to invest - The Kingdom of God. Most people see no further than the horizons of this world. To correct our shortsightedness, God prescribes a vision correction to see through the lens of eternity. “Store up for yourselves treasure in heaven” Jesus says. When you sit down with your financial planner he advises not to think five years ahead but think 30 years down the road. Jesus, the greatest financial adviser says “think in longer terms than that… think eternity.”
In the following passage, Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus links generosity with not worrying. Generous people are not anxious people. Why? Because they know they can never out give God.
Thank you Church. The best is yet to come.
just a vapor
February 12, 2018“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away.” ( James 4:14)
Bill Stegall, one of my mentors, once told me, “Life is short, eternity is long. Live like it”.
Time is precious and we are fragile. Every moment counts. “Teach me to number my days...” Psalm 90:12 says. That simply means consider them and appreciate them. Consider how a day is spent, not wasting a moment but as Ephesians 5:16 says “Redeem the time”….. spend it wisely. On things that matter.
All flesh is like grass and its glory like the flower of grass. “The grass withers and the flower fades but the word of our God abides forever” (1 Peter 1:24-25). Spend your life on things that last. That are eternal. The word of God and the Souls of men.
That’s it. Surely God means for our minutes and days on earth to count for something significant. The Apostle Paul said “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” (Philippians 2:16)
As I was writing these words early on Monday, I received a call saying that Jean Simmons had passed away. Ninety years, just a vapor. Life is short, eternity long…..She lived like it. I have known the Simmons family for decades and what a blessing they have been to my family. Jean’s faithfulness, forthrightness, investment for generations and impact on God’s church will only be known in eternity. Today she worships, more alive than she has ever been. Her faith has become sight. Hallelujah. Pray for the Simmons family as they adjust to life without this precious saint.
february 5, 2018
As I write these words the staff and I are leaving for a retreat at a member's lake home. We will plan the rest of the year, fill the church calendar and I will drill down into a vision, the moving forward for our church. It’s a vision about ultimate things. I will share this vision on Sunday March 4th. It will be about ultimate things, not just good things.
Can I ask you to pray for me? To walk with me as we press forward? I am excited about the things God is stirring in my heart. I don’t want it just to be a “pastoral vision." I truly want it to be a vision we all own. I am excited about the future, what God is going to do in and through his church at Liberty Park.
I love you, church!
THE GREAT DEMAND
This past Sunday was a great day as we concluded our Missional Mandate Sermon Series. The highlight was coming to the Lord’s table to celebrate our personal identity with Him. As the cup was being passed, I was reflecting on the sufficiency of Christ, that He is truly all I need.
The Gospel…His death, burial and resurrection is what should permeate every area of my life, my marriage, parenting, work and leisure. A gospel-centered life is an impactful life. So… back to the cup being passed.
As I was thinking of my Savior’s shed blood for my sin, I was overwhelmed with the realization that He gave everything. He held back nothing of Himself that day. That’s what the love of the Father does…..He loves unconditionally.
Then I heard the piano playing a hymn that we all love.. one that I know every verse! I began to sing the words in my heart ... “when I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died”… I worked my way through the verses then it hit me like a ton of bricks… the song extolling the love of God towards me in the first verses now demands of me in the last verse ... “Love so amazing so divine, DEMANDS MY SOUL MY LIFE MY ALL.” The great demand! Total abandonment.
How is this demand being fleshed out in your life daily? “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me”. (Matthew 16:24).. that is a bad word in our society… DENY.. then add..YOURSELF! That’s not the American dream. “Fulfill yourself” is the dream in our culture.
I will end with lyrics from another well known hymn. “All to Jesus I surrender. All to Him I freely give.. I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all.. I surrender all.. all to Jesus my blessed Savior, I surrender all”. Does that reflect your life? A surrendered church, surrendered lives.. that is the great demand upon us all. As you start each day will you simply say to your Heavenly Father.. “I surrender” That is the only life he can use. A surrendered life.
I love you, church -
January 22, 2018
We live in an amazing time of our world. We can almost instantly connect with people anywhere at any time. The technology that the world is creating is incredible. I recently read about a company in Japan that has created robots that you can assemble as kind of engineering toys. Mechanical people! With mechanically engineered emotions, language, response and movements. They all sound alike, walk alike and talk alike…. How cool but how boring!
That is great technology with little creativity. I am so thankful that God did not create us that way... making us look, talk, and all have the same emotions.
That’s what the church is. A community of blood bought individuals doing life together. We are not robots but uniquely created for the purpose of Glorifying his name. We do that by the varying
Again, that’s what the church is. A community of blood bought individuals doing life together. Not perfect, but encouraging each other along the journey. What better way to truly experience “community” than to come to the Lord’s table together this Sunday!
January 15, 2018
Our mid-week family nights began again this past Wednesday. Our adult study is concentrated on the discipline of prayer. Just to give a snapshot of what we talked about this past week, we looked at the legacy of prayer. Examples of Abraham, Hannah, Jeremiah and David in the Psalms. Real feelings, real emotions real words. Some of the prayers these real people in scripture prayed were as simple as HELP! Nothing theologically mind blowing… just an honest cry to our Heavenly Father to intervene.
A hymn we all sing from time to time says, “Oh what PEACE we often forfeit, Oh, what needless PAIN we bear. All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” He is our Father,
He loves us. May we be like Moses, in Exodus 33:11, “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” I pray for that type of intimacy with my Heavenly Father.
Church Family, I’m praying that we all grow deeply, practicing the presence of God through this awesome gift of Prayer.
Come join us on Wednesday!
Mission and Values
JANUARY 9, 2018
January 2, 2018
This Sunday we will begin a series on our Missional Mandate “Identity”. I will simply take our Mandate and Values and biblically walk through them over the coming weeks. The Mandate and Values were formed out of the Study conducted by a special church needs task force made up from members of our church and the staff. Auxano, a team from Lifeway, led the church through the process.
What are our Values?
Speaking His Truth - teaching biblical truth, equipping for life
December 27, 2017
A Baby is Born
December 18, 2017
A Savior is Born
Could you imagine that night? A stable, animals around, the stench in the air? I don’t think this is how Mary envisioned the birth of her child, but this is exactly how God envisioned it. A humble birth, announced to shepherds first, and not to the palace that was just a few miles away. Luke 2 says that once the shepherds told Mary the news concerning the angels' proclamation, she kept it and pondered it in her heart. The child she was holding was God with a heartbeat and kidneys! Immanuel, God with us. A child that would not only change Mary and Joseph’s priorities, schedules and conversation but those of the entire world! This child was simply born to die. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) He experienced the wages of sin… DEATH. The payment, the debt…. Personalize it…MY debt. YOUR debt. He became MY sin on the cross! As we prepare to come to God’s table this Sunday, reflect this week on this indescribable gift to you! Celebrate the gift of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE this child, this SAVIOR, THIS KING brings and offers to a broken world needing not some good advice, not three ways to have a happy day, but a SAVIOR. “And you shall call His name Jesus, For He will save His people from their sins.”
Merry Christmas, Church Family! I love you!
December 11, 2017
It's really beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere I go! Stores are saturating us with the news of BIG SALES. Some stores have dancing guys, twirling signs, wearing costumes that look like Santa and there was a dancing gorilla on 280 pointing the way to the store that hired him. They constantly are competing for our attention. The signs said “50% off til Christmas.” Some stores were touting the “cheapest gifts” in town! Hey guys buy your wife a gift and tell her…. “Yeah it was cheap, that’s why I bought this for you!” Enjoy the couch! We can’t get by with…. “Well it was the thought that counts right?”
December 4, 2017
May this week bring you great joy as you personally worship and be reminded that God Himself, put on our flesh to be our substitute and pay the price for the gift we could never purchase… SALVATION. That’s why Heaven and Nature Sings!!
The Light That Leads Us Home
November 28, 2017