Tuesday, March 31, 2009

God, Love, Sex- UNCENSORED

Tonight @ 6:30 p.m. we will be replacing our normal First Wednesday with a night called, “Uncensored.” This will not be a worship service (no music or preaching), rather it will be a frank discussion answering questions that our church body has sent in over the last few weeks during our current series. If you are under the age of 18 or feel that personal questions related to sex should NOT be addressed in church, this night is NOT for you. We are going to be giving Biblical answers and guidelines to the raw & somewhat offensive questions of our day. Our sexularized culture is ruining lives and families with distorted views of pleasure and this wonderful gift that God has given called, “SEX.” If I haven’t scared you off just yet, make sure to come on out and join us (bring a friend) for a night that will be informational, encouraging, enlightening and enjoyable! Childcare is provided. If you can't make it, we will be making the night available on c.d. in our bookstore.

Monday, March 30, 2009

God, Love, Sex- Part 3 "Turn Up the Heat"


WEEK 3- HOW TO TURN THE HEAT UP

God wants us to keep the marriage bed pure & active.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song 2:15
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality… Ephesians 5:3


IN RELATIONSHIPS, WE GENERALLY JUDGE OTHERS BY
THEIR ACTIONS & OURSELVES BY OUR INTENTIONS.

3 WAYS THAT YOU CAN TURN UP THE HEAT IN YOUR MARRIAGE!

1) IF YOU THINK SOMETHING GOOD, SAY IT.
How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince's daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman's hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Songs 7:1-3

SPEAK WORDS OF AFFIRMATION, AFFECTION, AND ADMIRATION.

The tongue has the power of life and death… Proverbs 18:21

WHEN YOU DON’T TELL THEM SOMETHING GOOD, THEY GENERALLY ASSUME SOMETHING BAD.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. Song 7:5

'acar (aw-sar'); to yoke or hitch; to bind, to harness, a prisoner put in bonds. (in other words, I'm a prisoner of your love)

Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’ Songs 7:7-8
I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Songs 7:10


2) IF I THINK SOMETHING SPECIAL, DO IT.

PURPOSEFUL TIME.

Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Songs 7:11
Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded…there I will give you my love. Songs 7:12

THOUGHTFUL ACTS.
The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover. Songs 7:13

3) IF YOU WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT, BE IT.
If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother's breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me... Songs 8:1

Change is not change until it’s Change. Stop talking about making changes & the fact that you are changing... simply demonstrate to your spouse with your ACTIONS that you are changing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marriage & Men



Above is an excellent message on masculinity, manhood & marriage. It's worth the time to check it out.

Does Satan Exist?


I believe that Satan does exist and I am not him, though some may disagree. The existence of Satan is in debate in many circles and is a worthy topic. I love debates, especially well they are well done. I hate when news programs parade Christians on national television that do not have the intellectual capacity to provide a reasonable, logical and informed position on the topic of choice. I love Mark Driscoll and I'm sure He will represent the Bible & Christ well. For the full debate, click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notes For Evangelism & Outreach Class @ VFCC




Below are the notes for the 4 sessions that I recently shared at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. The general topic is in regard to the need for relevance in the church. Above is a picture of my beautiful family... Michele (my wife), Mikayla (9), Caleb (6), Carter (3), Colby (21 months).

Session 1- Carpe Culture, click here
Session 2- Church 3.0, click here
Session 3- Becoming A Next Generation Leader Worth Following, click here
Session 4- How To Avoid The Worst Ministry Experience Of Your Life, click here

2009 so far!


I'm so stoked about what God is doing! I like to pause and reflect about the past because it helps me prepare for the future. This year has been absolutely incredible so far! Our theme for 2009 is based on a book by Mark Batterson called, “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day.” It is an odd title for a book and it comes from an obscure passage found in 2 Samuel 23:20 that says, “Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.” Our theme for the year is, “Chase The Lion!” The question is, “What will you and I do when opportunity roars?” This year is all about seizing every divine moment. We kicked off this year with a 21 day fast & God has answered so many prayers! Here are some highlights so far...

1. We have seen 43 people make decisions to follow Jesus so far this year!
2. We have had our highest attended services ever with an average of over 500 people!
3. We have seen a dramatic increase in small group involvement & serving!

God is moving and doing awesome things in the life of our church! I wish I could share more of the stories & testimonies of what God is doing. So blessed! I'm so thankful for the unity and vision that God has given our church. In a few weeks, I am asking our church to once again join me in a fast. (April 5-April 12) Together we are asking God to do some incredible things in the lives of our church family and in the life of our community!

God, Love, Sex- Part 2


WEEK 2- How To Avoid The Spring Fling?

THE BEST QUESTION EVER FOR RELATIONSHIPS
What Is The WISEST Thing To do
In light of my past experience, my present circumstance & my future hopes & dreams.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

1) YOU WILL HAVE A SEASON OF PREPARATION.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song 2:11-12

Winter is the season of preparation.
Don’t rush into spring prematurely.

2) YOU MAY HAVE A SEASON OF PERFECTION.
Listen! My lover! Look! Here he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice. My lover spoke and said to me, "Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. Song 2:8-10

During this season, limit: your TIME, TALK & TOUCH

3) YOU WILL HAVE A SEASON OF DISCOVERY.

My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Song 2:14

TALK ABOUT YOUR: PAST & FUTURE
KEY THOUGHT: IN ALL SEASONS, PROTECT YOUR PURITY.
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song 2:15

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR GUARDING PURITY
1. LET THE TWO BECOME THREE. (God into the picture)
2. INFORM OTHERS OF YOUR LIMITS.
3. KEEP EVERYTHING BUTTONED AND ZIPPED.
4. AVOID SWAPPING SPIT.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality... Ephesians 5:3

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who Is Saint Patrick?


Today I read a great post over at Mark Driscoll's website. I've read the history of Saint Patrick before, but it's always great to refresh your memory or learn things for the first time. So take a few moments & discover what St. Patrick's day is all about. Check out the post below.

Vintage Saints: Saint Patrick Mark Driscoll
“I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Patrick

My family name was originally O’Driscoll until it was changed a few generations ago by relatives hoping to more fully assimilate into American culture after immigrating from Ireland. Though I was raised Irish Catholic, I knew virtually nothing about Saint Patrick other than the green beer, parades, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drunken Red Sox fans that celebrated in his honor every March 17th.

Technically, Saint Patrick is not even a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not even Irish. Rather, he was an Englishman who was a Roman citizen that spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh.
Patrick was born around 390 A.D. When he was roughly 16 years of age he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland on a ship where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his masters’ cattle and sheep.
Isolation
Patrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a deacon. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night.
In his early twenties God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile walk without being caught or harmed to find a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, and after Patrick prayed a herd of pigs miraculously ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home. read on

God, Love, Sex- Part 1



WEEK1- Fatal Distraction or Faithful Attraction?

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth- for your love is more delightful than wine. Songs 1:2

Recommended Reading For This Week- The Song Of Solomon & Proverb for the day

THE BEST QUESTION EVER FOR RELATIONSHIPS

What Is The WISEST Thing To do
In light of my past experience, my present circumstance & my future hopes & dreams.

1) THEY RECOGNIZED GODLY CHARACTER.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Songs 1:3
A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Proverbs 12:4


2) THEY BUILT GODLY TRUST.
Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon.  Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected. Songs 1:5-6

3) THEY PRACTICED GODLY STANDARDS.
Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and where you rest your sheep at midday. Why should I be like a veiled woman beside the flocks of your friends?   Songs 1:7

I WILL NOT: 
*SACRIFICE MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
*COMPROMISE GOD’S STANDARDS.
*PLAY HOUSE
.

4) THEY GREW WITH GODLY ENCOURAGEMENT.

I liken you, my darling, to a mare harnessed to one of the chariots of Pharaoh.
Songs 1:9
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance. My lover is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. Songs 1:12-13
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. How handsome you are, my lover… Songs 1:15-16


THE RESULT:
SHE FEELS SPECIAL.

I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys. Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. Songs 2:1
He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.  Songs 2:4

SHE FEELS SECURE.
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. Songs 2:3

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

God Makes Up The Difference!

Here is a great devotional that I just received from Joel Osteen Ministries today. It is a great reminder that God is our source, our provider & our Father. He can make up the difference in any area that you may be lacking in today!

He Makes Up the Difference

“…for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength)” (II Corinthians 12:10, AMP).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

No matter what weakness you think you may have, no matter what inadequacies or setbacks you’ve encountered, God wants to give you His divine strength. He wants to make up the difference and put you further ahead than you ever thought possible. One time in the Old Testament, God simply multiplied the sound of four men’s footsteps and caused them to sound like a mighty army. When their enemies heard them, they took off running. There were thousands of enemy troops running for their lives, scared to death, thinking they were being attacked by a massive army when in fact it was just four people! What happened? God made up the difference.

Friend, God can make you seem bigger than you really are. He can make you look more powerful. He knows how to multiply your influence, multiply your strength, your talent and your income. You don’t have to figure it all out; all you have to do is put your trust in Him. If you will release your faith for a supernatural year and wake up every day expecting God’s far and beyond favor, then you’re going to see God show up and make the difference in every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, today I commit every area of my life to You. I trust that You will make up the difference and supply everything I need to fulfill Your purposes in my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blues Sunday



Jimmie Bratcher will be rocking the house Sunday night for our first ever Blues Concert!
Doors Open at 5:30pm, Concert starts at 6pm. All tickets are free (just show up), seating is limited.
Don't miss this weekend (a.m. or p.m.), it's going to rock! Childcare is not provided for the evening concert.

Daylight Savings Time



Save the world this weekend... wake up early & be on time to serve and bring someone to church!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Take Your Medicine


"A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22, AMP).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

So many people today live with sickness, headaches, digestive problems, lack of energy and so much more because they don't have the joy they should. They aren't sleeping well at night and are living under so much stress and pressure. But the Bible tells us that when we are happy and joyful, it's like medicine to our bodies. One of the greatest stress relievers God has given us is the gift of laughter. It not only makes you feel better, but it actually releases healing throughout your system. In fact, medical science tells us that when people laugh, it boosts their immune system. It reduces blood pressure. People who laugh regularly are 40% less likely to have a heart attack than people that don't laugh regularly. Laughter triggers the right side of the brain, which helps release creativity so we can make better decisions. Laughter activates the body's natural tranquilizers that not only help us calm down, but it helps us sleep better.

If you need to rejuvenate your mind and body, it's time to take your medicine! Make time to laugh every single day. Don't take yourself so seriously. When you approach life with a happy, light-hearted attitude, you'll begin to rise higher and higher into the life of health and blessing the Lord has in store for you.

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of laughter. Help me to see the joy in all circumstances so I can receive Your inner healing. Show me ways to help those around me so together we can live in Your joy and strength. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Take a moment and have a good laugh. I found this to be pretty funny. Worth a chuckle...

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.
Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.
Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.
Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.
The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.
If this made you smile for even a brief second, please rise to the occasion and take time to pass it on and share that smile with someone else who may be having a crummy day and kneads a lift.

...going through tough times?

Are you feeling stressed, overwhelmed or discouraged? God has the answer for every question that we have about the seasons of our lives. If you are feeling down, don't stay down! Here are a few thoughts that I recently read by Pastor Jentzen Franklin that I believe will encourage you...

Meditate on God's Word (Psalm 119:15-16): Meditate literally means to "self talk." When you face the toughest seasons of your life, get in the Word and repeat the promises of God. Remind yourself of God's goodness, love and power. Talk about the victory and blessings that are yours as a child of God!

Stay planted (Psalm 1:3): When times get tough, don't bolt. Stay planted in your marriage. Stay planted in the house of God. Stay planted in prayer and in the Word. Determine that no matter what, you will stay rooted in God. He is the source of your peace and power. God is faithful and He cares for you. He knows your need. He will not abandon nor forsake you.

Raise the praise (Psalm 76:1): When you make the praises of God known, He will fight your battle. When you enter into the place of praise and make the blessings of God known, He will break the weapons of your enemy.

If you want to win, learn to praise. Are you going to let fear and worry rule your life . . . or are you going to speak about the blessings and goodness of God? Are you going to give God power through your praise? When you fill your life with praise and meditate on God's Word, there's no room for defeat and depression in your life. When you praise, you release the power and authority of God. That's when you can be victorious in your toughest times!