Monthly Archives: March 2013

Hey Peeps: It’s About P-E-O-P-L-E!

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It’s 8 AM the Saturday before Easter.

And it’s raining.

Yep. Raining.

Doesn’t the Lord know half the world is having an Easter Egg Hunt today???

What are we supposed to do?

You know what else?

The forecast calls for rain tomorrow, too.

Yep. Rain on Easter Sunday.

Doesn’t the Lord know that we are supposed to have tents set up for a beautiful day tomorrow – so that we can reach PEOPLE with the Gospel!?!?!?!? Does He have any idea how much I spent on white shoes for Birti to wear her first Easter!?!?!?!?!?

 

It’s raining today.

It may rain tomorrow.

You may not like your outfit for tomorrow.

You may have a lot to do to prepare for Easter lunch.

You may not have been contacted to help with something after you were told you would be.

You may be sick because of the 14 cadbury eggs you ate last night before bed.

There’s alot of things that may throw our plans into a tizzy today and tomorrow.

But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t forget: IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE.

It’s not about plans, ultimately. But people.

It’s not about sunshine, ultimately. But people.

It’s not about having an egg hunt outside or inside, ultimately. But people.

We could have EVERYTHING in order and the best weather EVER – but if we don’t focus on and love people – Pointless.

On the flip side, EVERYTHING could go wrong and we have the worst weather EVER – but if we’re flexible and love on people in the midst of it – Win.

“This is how all men will know that you are my disciples,” Jesus says, “If your plans go off without a hitch and there is perfect weather and everything is smooth.”

No. You know He doesn’t say that. He says all men will know we belong to Him by our love. (See John 13:34-35)

Please don’t forget today and tomorrow FBC Peeps: It’s about people.

Before, during, and after all your plans (changed or not) – intentionally find someone to love on today. That’s who it’s about anyway.

Could it be that the Lord is having it rain today to give us opportunity to really love?

 

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Who Are You Bringin’? Part III

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It’s Good Friday and you know what that means!?!?!?!?!

Two days until Easter Sunday!

[Okay all you theological snobs. . . I know Good Friday means A LOT more than that but for the purposes of this brief series – bear with me!]

Who are you bringin’ with you Sunday morning?

I am guessing you will run into one of these kinds of people; and I assume you know why to invite them.

But maybe you are just a bit. . . what’s a good way to describe it. . . scared out of your pajamas to ask someone to church??????

Believe it or not, I get it. It ain’t the easiest thing to do. Even for us ‘preacher-types.’ It’s much easier to talk about the weather or NCAA basketball or occupation or your weight or Duck Dynasty or bird poop on your car or how much you owe on your taxes to a total stranger than talk about religious stuff. I get it. Religious talk can be sticky and religious opinions are alot like . . . um . . . belly buttons – everybody’s got one.

Being afraid, though real, has GOT to be dealt with and nipped in the bud. Let me give you 3 reasons we don’t have to be afraid to invite someone to church:

1. God says so. 

The most frequent command in the Bible? Yeah, “Do not be afraid.” Over 300 times God says it to His people. (Ed Welch talks a bit more about it here.)

2. It cannot fail. 

Seriously, in our culture and context, what do you have to lose if you invite anyone in El Dorado to our church for Easter Sunday? No, seriously. Think about it. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I cannot think of a single thing. Can you?

3. You get Super Power.

No, really. You do. Jesus promised. Here and here and a ton of other places. Want to experience ‘out of this world’ kind of power? Need it when you talk about God? You got it.

So, go ahead and get out of those pajamas you scaredy cat! Put on some big boy clothes and get to it!

Who You Bringin’?

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Who Are You Bringin’? Part II

The count down is on.

Three days until the big day (no, not opening day of baseball season or the Final Four you sports infested pig . . . EASTER!).

Yesterday I mentioned 4 groups of people we will encounter between now and Easter ‘Eve.’ There is a reason you will cross their paths – God ordains these things.

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WHY?

Why should you invite people you encounter between now and Saturday night to an Easter service on Sunday morning? Why would God ordain these things?

3 Reasons:

1. Their eternity.

Know why some people have never come to church? They have never been invited (read this for an interesting take). If they never darken the doors of a church, there is a pretty good chance they have some understanding of the Gospel, but not a good one. Bottom line: your inviting someone to Easter could mean their eternal fate.

2. Your obedience.

Wanna experience God work in your life? Join Him in what He is doing. I really believe He is working in people’s lives all across our town. I also believe He wants to use you (yes, YOU) to accomplish His purposes. He doesn’t need you. But He has chosen to use you.

3. Cool stuff. 

Okay, so this is a little ‘worldly.’ But it’s a good incentive. See if you don’t agree. . .

A really cool gift bag for all guests (complete with a travel coffee mug; chap stick; pen/stylus; New Testament; coffee; cookies and brownies; sunglass clip for the car; scads of info about FBC; etc.). Heck, when our members see these bags – they will want to ‘unjoin’ so they can get one!

‘2Fifty2′ will be ROCKIN’. College age praise and worship band. Donuts and coffee. Screens. Need I say more?

Simulcast. That’s right. Yours truly will be preaching live in the main sanctuary while those in ‘2Fifty2’ will be watching a live stream on the screens. Where I come from, that’s pretty doggone cool.

Volunteers everywhere. People to help park cars and direct traffic. Guys with umbrellas if it rains. Greeters pointing people to the right entrances (what do we have, 432 ways to enter our buildings?). Nursery workers who actually like children. Ushers to help seat. Smiling faces at guest tents. Senior ladies who made the goodies for the gift bags. Oh. Yeah.

Tomorrow, in Part III, we’ll look at overcoming the ‘Fear Factor’ of inviting someone.

Until then, Who You Bringin’?

[**FYI: Yesterday I invited an employee from Brookshire’s to ‘Easter on Main.’ Guess what? Brookshire’s is CLOSED on Sunday! Employees can come to church! Go and buy a Dr Pepper 10 and invite someone!]

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Who Are You Bringin’? Part I

Easter Sunday is a mere 4 days away.

In 4 days and about 5 hours from now (I am typing this on 03/27 at 9 am) most Christians will have. . .

– Spent way too much on a new Easter sumthin’.

– Mutilated an Easter ham.

– Eaten way too much cadbury cream.images

– Smelt one too many hard boiled eggs.

– Wiped way too much dye on their clothes.

– Wondered why in the world they bought the stupid green grass for the baskets.

– Watched the dog eat one too many chocolate eggs.

– Been past ready for a long Springtime afternoon nap due to being wore slap out from ‘givin it our all’ on Easter Sunday morning at church.

and. . .

– Heard the greatest news in all the universe . . . again.

Ahhhh. . . .

I love Easter!

So, Who are you going to invite to experience this with you?

Okay, not the ‘uncomfortable’ stuff – of course – but ‘hearing the greatest news’ part? Sure, you have heard it so many times you can probably say it in your ‘ham-rolls-and-casserole’ slumber. But there are many in our town who – if they’ve heard it – don’t ‘get it.’

There is no greater time to invite someone to come to church with you than this week (Easter Week).

There are four kinds of people you will encounter between now and and Saturday night. People I believe God is supernaturally already workin’ out some ‘divine appointments.’

1. Co-workers. 

Know anyone at work who needs Jesus? Church? A little Holy Ghost Baptismal Fire???? Invite ’em. There is a reason you work there. . . and it’s not just for money.

2. Neighbors.

Those people you run from when they step outside? Yeah, them too. There is a reason you live there . . . and it’s not just for the friendliness.

3. Facebook Friends.

Got any ‘friends’ who need Jesus? Send ’em a message.

4. Strangers.

Goin’ to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or out to eat? Yeah, them too. It is no accident you are there, buying your pastor a gift-car. .  um. . . I mean getting some groceries. God ordains things, you know.

Tomorrow – in part II – I’ll give you some reasons why. But don’t wait until then. Get busy!

Who are you bringin’? 

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Now THAT’s a Good Question!

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It’s that time of the week where I attempt to answer publicly a question recently posed to me privately.

Being that this blog is called ‘Intentional Pastoring,’ I thought I would make today’s question . . .  well, intentional.

I was asked several great questions this week, especially by a dear friend on Saturday night (you know who you are!) – questions I will probably come back to at a later time here.

Being that FBC just completed – yesterday – the 6 week study of Rick Warren’s What On Earth Am I Here For? I thought I would ask myself (it’s my blog – I can do what I want!) this simple, yet important, question:

What did you take away from this?

In other words, what did God show you from this study? Why on earth did God have you spend 6 weeks of your life reading a 300+ page book???

I challenge you to write out 3 ‘take aways’ from the book you believe God wants you to apply TODAY.

Here are mine:

1. Memorize Scripture 

I confess, I have gotten away from this – crucial, non-negotiable discipline. I think Warren is right when he writes, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture.” He also advises, “I challenge you to memorize one verse a week for the rest of your life.” Great goal.

2. C.S. Lewis Quote

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . . It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” (Day 10 – page 82)

If this is true – and I spent an entire sermon (02/24/13) showing how the Bible verifies this claim – then we would be foolish to not surrender everything over to the Father.

This quote by Lewis from Mere Christianity was a game changer for me.

3. ‘World Class’ Christianity

Warren asserts: “World-class Christians are the only fully alive people on the planet.” I could not agree more. He also says, “While not everyone has the missionary gift, every Christian is called to be on mission to all four groups (from Acts 1:8) in some way.”

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Y-E-S.

 

If I am going to be ‘fully alive’ and if I am going to lead a ‘fully alive’ family and if I am going to pastor a ‘fully alive’ church – then I MUST – not should, MUST – be radically intentional about making disciples of all nations. Starting – TODAY. Oh how easy is it to lose sight of this!!!!!!!

 

Did I learn more than this? Sure.

Do I have other ‘take aways’? Of course.

For me, however, piling up too much stuff means I usually do NOTHING with it. So I am going to focus on these for now. Who knows? Maybe we will go through this again in 10 years?

What about you? What are your 3 ‘take aways’? I would LOVE to know!!!! Comment below.

 

 

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Ignite Your Missions Fire

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Below is a sample of sites and apps to help you grow in the knowledge of and love for the world.

I hope these help you fulfill Purpose #5 (Missions/Evangelism) by adding to your daily, intentional efforts discussed in the book and today’s sermon.

Beware, however. Remember the Bible says, “Don’t excuse yourself by saying, ‘Look, we didn’t know.’ For God understands hearts, and sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”  Joshua Project

Missions Mobile Apps

Great Commission Books

Kids on Mission

International Mission Board (IMB)

Embrace the Ends of the Earth

Global Research for the IMB

North American Mission Board

Why North America?

1 Cross App

South Asia App

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4 Steps to ‘Pull a Google’ at Your Church

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Last week, the world went into panic when Google announced it was shutting down it’s coveted Google Reader application.

Following that, Todd Rhodes wrote a brief post about churches who need to ‘Pull a Google.’

At one point he wrote:

“Google evidently saw something that I (or a few million others) didn’t.  Most people were NOT using Google Reader… in fact, less and less.  And to continue putting leadership and resources into this program did not make sense.

Huh.

Sometimes as church leaders we have to make the same determination.

Canning a program that some people absolutely LOVE… yet it’s taking up too many resources, or has dwindled over the years.

People will be upset.  They will plead.  They will cry.

But you still know it’s the right thing to do.

Maybe you need to pull a Google in your church.”

I think Rhodes is right. But how? How do you do this? It’s one thing for the Powerhouse known as Google to do it. . . . But churches?

Enter my friend Danny Franks, a ‘First Impressions’ guru and a pastor at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. He blogs here.

Today he just happened to talk about this very thing. No, he doesn’t call it ‘Pulling a Google,’ but its the same thing. He helps answer the ‘how?’ question.

He writes: “Many of us have ministries in our churches that are extremely cutting edge…for 1962. We do things the way we do because it was good enough for grandpa, and doggone it, it’s good enough for us.”

He gives 4 ways churches can ‘pull a google,’ so to speak, in order to rebuild the culture in a way that speaks to their current environment (click here to read an explanation for each):

  • Ask the “Why are we doing this?” question. A lot. 
  • Assess the messages you’re sending to your community – both overt and covert. 
  • Confront the “We’re friendly” myth. 
  • Take a hard look at what’s not working. 

Oh. My. Goodness.

I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. For pastors. For staff. For deacons. For Sunday School teachers. For committees. For the lost. For the church to be where it is in 20 years.

What do you think? Is Danny right? What needs to be pulled where you go to church.

Google did it. . . all for money. Don’t we, as churches, have a little bit more at stake than some Benjamin Franklin’s?

 

 

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