Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How To Deal With A Dark, Rainy, Cold & All Around Cruddy day.


Unfortunately, everyday isn't like the picture of my son & his buddy above. Fun, exciting, warm!!! How do you deal with a dark, rainy, cold & all around cruddy day. Today is one of those kind of days. You know, the kind where you call out of work sick and crawl up beside a warm fireplace with an endless flow of hot chocolate. Sounds good doesn't it. What do you do when you can't call off work, you have no fireplace and are out of hot chocolate. So many times we allow the weather, the news or our circumstances to dictate our feelings. We just have bad days because we feel a certain way. Today I was reading the Psalms during my devotional time. One particular portion stuck out to me that I think will help us deal with our emerging emotions on days or in times like these.

Psalm 5:11-12, "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as a shield."

I challenge you, regardless of your current circumstances, to make a decision to be joyful in who God is and to be thankful for his incredible favor over your life. His favor surrounds you today and remember that He defends you! Put your trust in Him and rejoice today. Go ahead, take the leap& give a shout of praise to God and let His joy flood your soul. It's a lot better than hot chocolate and it will last you all day long!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Christianity Isn't Doing Well In America


by Dr. David Foster (www.davidfoster.tv)
Depending on what surveys you read or people you listen to, it becomes hard to assess the impact of Christianity in America.

If you judge our effectiveness by conferences held and churches planted, by sheer activity and money spent, then Christianity is doing very well in America. But here is the problem with measuring our effectiveness that way. We tend to be a small, closed-in industry. We talk to each other and listen to each other and want to be like one another. We judge effectiveness on how well we’re imitating the latest trend, rather than backing up and realizing that following Christ and being the church in the real world is not about forming a Christian ghetto; a Christian market where we write Christian books, Christian songs, and create Christian schools so Christian kids can be saved from the big, bad world.

Our real effectiveness is how we live in the glare of the public spotlight. And it’s not really that difficult to understand that if we go to church and say we believe a certain set of things and then behave in a way that is totally opposite, it stands to reason that it would be difficult to be taken seriously.

One of the reasons Christianity struggles is not because of its truth claims, its historical credibility, or its inability to stand up under the glare of scholarship. It’s simply that those of us who call ourselves Christians haven’t found a way to bring into alignment our beliefs and our behaviors. We understand that the creed must be followed with the deed, but the connection between the two breaks down so easily.

So one way for Christianity to have a greater influence on our country is to realize that our faith is best practiced in public, not in private. Oftentimes people say that your religious preferences are very personal. And they are. But as a Christian, my personal faith is not private. It was Jesus who said we’re a city on a hill, and we are salt and light, that we would be influencers in mainstream culture. Which means that the demise of the Christian booksellers market, music industry, or any other particularly Christian thing labeled with a Christian label shouldn’t be met with too much sorrow. Whatever moves us into the mainstream is the main thing. It’s as simple as loving one another, living at peace, being peacemakers, and bringing people together rather than causing a divide.

American Christianity will be more influential when those of us who believe it with all our hearts practice it with all our lives.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sweetness of Prayer

Great devotional by Ed Young. During your time with God today, take a moment to reflect and reconnect with the Creator!

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

When God gave Moses the instructions for building the tabernacle and for the various forms of worship, one of the things that he ordered was the burning of fragrant incense.
Each morning and evening the priest was to burn incense on an altar, so that "incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come" (Exodus 30:8).
The incense, which had a sweet-smelling fragrance, was representative of the prayers being lifted to God in worship.
Most of us, when we think of prayer, think that it's our way to communicate with God. And yes, that is part of it. But prayer is also a form of worship.
So as you turn to God through prayer, realize that you are offering that sweet-smelling incense to God. And as you lift your requests, joys, concerns and most of all praise to God prayer, see that holy time as a time of worship.

A Prayer for Today
Dear God, It's so easy for me to turn to you in prayer to ask you for what I need or tell you what I want. Help me realize that every time I turn to you through prayer, I am offering you something. I only pray that each prayer brings with it that sweet-smell of incense. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Wave Conference Thoughts

Here are a few thoughts from the different speakers at the wave conference. Obviously there is a lot of great content from the messages but here are a few thoughts:

From Pastor Mark Crow (www.victorychurch.tv)- from the morning session yesterday.
Thought #1- The ruled of God, submit to the plan of God & become the leader's of God.
Thought #2- A.T.A.T.- Accumulated Time Alone Together. Grow your relationship with God, your spouse and others by spending time together.
From Joel Houston (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Houston)- from last night.
Thought #1- When we forsake the lives of others, we forsake our own lives. (1 John 4:7)
Thought #2- God is not asking you to do it all, He's simply asking for you to give your all.
From Bayless Conley (www.cottonwood.org)- from the morning session today.
Thought #1- One wrong thought kept an entire generation out of the promised land & one wrong thought can keep you from your destiny.
Thought #2- Prosperity without an external perspective is dangerous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wave Conference, Day 1


This week I brought some of my team to Wave Conference in Virginia Beach, VA. Last night we had an awesome night. Joel Houston (Hillsong United) led us in worship and it was fantastic. Also, Judah Smith (generationchurch.org) brought the house down and had a great message. He talked about tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. (Psalm 24) Don't be simply an observer, get in and really experience a relationship with God. If you want to follow along with the conference, go online to wavechurch.com and check it out. Good stuff!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rock The Vote!

Watch this message from the series, "Politicked." Ed's timely message will help you evaluate your walk with God and connect with the principles of God's word. When it comes to politics, many times we check our principles at the door. Ed does a great job unwrapping this difficult topic. Enjoy!

Politicked - Rock the Vote from Fellowship Church on Vimeo.

Encourage Yourself

Great devotional that reminds us to focus on the Lord. Many times we look to people to be our resource. Whether it's finances, relationships, love or encouragement. I encourage you to look to God and rise up in the power that only He can give. God will do His part as our source and we need to do our part as well. Enjoy!

Encourage Yourself
Today's Scripture


“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him…But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God”(I Samuel 30:6)

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

It’s good to have friends and family around to cheer you up when you’re down, but in order to truly live in victory, that encouragement has to come from the inside. When your mind is telling you it’s not worth it, when your circumstances seem difficult, deep down inside, your spirit has to have the resolve that says, “I refuse to settle where I am.”
That’s what David had to do. He was facing a major setback. His family was killed, his city was destroyed, and his own people were now against him, but he still managed to encourage himself in the Lord. How did he do that? He replayed in his mind the victories from the past. He recounted God’s faithfulness. As he rehearsed over and over the goodness of God, strength began to rise in his heart.

There are so many places you can see the hand of God at work. Thank Him for saving you today. Thank Him for the miracle of life. Thank Him for His faithfulness. Focus on the fact that God didn’t bring you this far to leave you now. Stir up that inner strength and encouragement. As you do, you’ll rise higher and higher and live the life of victory the Lord has prepared for you.

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, thank You for Your faithfulness today. I choose to focus on You and the good things You have prepared for my future. I thank You for making a way out of no way, and I will bless You always. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

PoliTicked?

One of my favorite pastor's in America is doing a political series called, 'PoliTicked?' As the political race heats up I hope that you will be engaged in the political process. I love politics, the philosophy of it and the questions behind the questions. I love hearing both sides of the story and I have passionate opinions about the entire process. I also think that it is most important to hear God's side of the story. As Christ-followers, we should filter every issue through the truth of God's word so that we can determine who and what we stand for. Here is the description of the series and the link to the message. I'd love to hear your thoughts! I haven't watched it yet but I'm excited to hear what he has to say!

Information about politics is coming to us faster, with more force and from more sources than ever before. And it’s all under the guise of bringing us the truth. But is this information overload really clearing the air? Or is it making us feel even more uncertain about what the future holds?
In this message, Ed Young takes a hard look at the uncertainty we all face in the current political climate. And as he plows through the avalanche of information, he gets down to the truth of who we need to trust, where we need to turn and what we need to do./span>

Click here to watch part 1
http://vimeo.com/1953992

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teen Shot 3 Times During Toilet Paper Prank

SOLON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A toilet paper prank has led to the shooting of a 14-year-old by a southwestern Michigan man who believed strangers were trying to break into his home.

The Grand Rapids Press and WZZM-TV report the victim and four other teens were pulling the prank about 1 a.m. Sunday at a home in Solon Township, about 20 miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

Kent County sheriff's Lt. Jerry Miedema said the teens were intent on draping the house in toilet paper, while the homeowner's "intent was to come out shooting."

Police say three shots were fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, striking the 14-year-old in the chest, stomach and leg. He is recovering at a local hospital. The homeowner was not arrested, but a prosecutor is looking into possible charges.

I'm glad that I didn't get shot for all of the pranks I pulled as a teen and young adult. I'm sure the teens needed that toilet paper when the guy came out with a shotgun. Craziness!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Seemingly Impossible

I received a great e-mail from Ed Young ministries with the devotional below. During these challenging times that we are in, it is a great reminder to look to the one who makes the impossible become possible!

Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. Daniel 2:17-19

King Nebuchadnezzar had a strange and troubling dream, one that he desperately wanted interpreted. The only problem was that he didn't know who he could trust to interpret it accurately. So he gathered all the wise men and counselors throughout the land. And one by one, they failed to tell the king his dream and what it would mean. Then it was Daniel's turn.

As Daniel stepped up to the seemingly impossible challenge, he knew that he didn't possess the ability to interpret the king's dream. But he did possess the faith to turn to the only one who could—God. So Daniel prayed to God for the ability and discernment to tell the king what he needed to hear. And as a result, God used Daniel in a powerful way to reach the king of a powerful nation.

When you find yourself facing challenges, don't look at them as seemingly impossible. Instead, listen as God says to you, "See me in the impossible." And trust that God's strength, wisdom and power will get you through — no matter how impossible the situation may seem.

A Prayer for Today
Dear Lord — As I go through life and face challenges and opportunities, I pray that you guide me. I know that I can't rely on myself to get through everything that life throws at me. So we I come across any situation, help me to look to you, rely on you and trust in you to get me through. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Politics & Money- Mortgaging Our Future


I rarely talk about politics and even rarer do I post about them. Until today. Most of you have probably never heard of the
x-U.S. Comptroller, David Walker. Basically, he was the financial overseer or the certified public accountant for the United States under President Clinton and Bush. Mr. Walker recently came out and shared his views on the current crisis. His views are particularly interesting and non-partisan. WARNING! His perspective is not comforting, but it is at least genuine and steeped in reality.

: Candidates' Fiscal Plans 'Zip' Friday, October 10, 2008 8:40 PM
By: Dave Eberhart


WASHINGTON — David Walker, the outspoken former U.S. comptroller general, gives failing marks to both presidential candidates so far on their proposals to drag the country out of its economic abyss.

Before an intent crowd at the National Press Club, Walker, the no-nonsense one-time certified public accountant for the nation reviewed the various proposals of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama and played them off the “numbers — you know, that’s the bottom line.”

Looking at the first of four parameters — what impact the plans would have on projected deficits — he concluded: “Both would make it worse, significantly worse as compared to current law. Primarily because both want to extend major portions of the Bush tax cuts and neither one of them want to pay for it.”

Second, Walker compared how each proposal would affect the bottom line. One would lose more money through tax cuts, both would lose money through tax cuts, and one would lose more money through spending increases, he said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cool trip on Monday


This past monday night we had the opportunity to take our kids to see the home of the local medical helicopters that service our area. Some friends of ours that work there invited us to come and take the tour. We had the chance to see how they track the copters on radar and meet one of the pilots for some show-n-tell. We learned some pretty cool facts and the kids had a blast! It's hard to believe that a new medical helicopter costs about 11 million dollars or so. Crazy! Here is a pic...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We launch in just a few hours!



In just a few hours we launch back to 2 services!!!!!! Two services means twice the opportunity to bring people, to serve and to connect with others. I'm stoked about what is happening and what is about to happen this fall in the life of our church! If you live in the area, come on out to one of our weekend experiences at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m.! The week we start a new series that we have adapted from Life Church called, "Mind Your Own Business." I will be talking about the 2 things that lurk deep in our hearts that can bankrupt our lives and our finances and how you can defeat them! I hope to see you there!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Value Less

Great devotional that I received today! It is from one of my favorite pastors, Ed Young.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ... Philippians 3:7-8

Value is defined as worth and usefulness. And in today's world, we place value on so many things—possessions, prestige, education, relationships. These are the kinds of things that we want to hold onto. And when someone, anyone, challenges them or their value in our lives, we immediately go on the defensive. We are willing to stand up and fight for them.

Yet, none of these come close to the value of a personal relationship with Christ. In fact, Paul tells us in this passage that these things are actually considered a loss. Not because they are worthless, but because they can distract us from focusing on Jesus.

It's okay to have possessions and prestige and education and relationships. But when these things begin to distract you from your relationship with Christ, they become a detriment. Don't place higher value on the things in your life than you do on the Savior of your life.

A Prayer for Today

Dear God, I know that you have blessed me with so many things. And I thank you for everything you have given to me. But I also ask that you help me remember that those things are not nearly as valuable as my relationship with Christ. Help me to focus on you and to keep your Son and keep him as the true focus of every day. It is through His name that I pray, Amen.