Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thoughts from our "Daring" Men's Conference 2011!




Our men's conference was absolutely fantastic! Paul & Brandon Cole from the Christian Men's Network (cmnworld.com), did an awesome job inspiring, encouraging & challenging the men of the house! Our men's team put together an excellent event that represented our church well & blessed the over 100 guys that came out! Here are a few thoughts that were shared in the sessions.

-Victory is always on the other side of the fight!
-Jesus is grace centered & all about your future.
-A champion isn't a man who never fails, A champion is a man who never quits.
-Absence of prayer is a form of hiding from God. (eg. Adam when He sinned)
-Maturity is the acceptance of responsibility.
-Manhood & Christlikeness are synonymous.
-Male by birth, Man by choice.
-When you limit yourself, you limit God.
-God commits to faithfulness, not charisma.
-God never ends anything on a negative, but everything on a positive.
-Create your life on the words of God, not on the words of people.
-Faithfulness is the cornerstone of character.
-God is looking at a man that will keep standing up when everyone else is bowing down.
-Meekness is strength under control.
-Confession of you mouth will create your world.
-Love always appreciates, lust always depreciates.
-To win in life you need wisdom, strategy for victory.
-Whiner's talk about what they are going through & winners look at what they are going to.
-Whatever captures your focus & attention will determine the direction of your life.
-Legacy is never about the past & always about the future.
-Success is to fully satisfy your personal design. (how/what/why God created you)
-Courage is knowing that God is with you.
-Your friends will carry you to your future.

For more information, go to www.cmnworld.com & paullouiscole.com!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PERHAPS-  How We Will Build A Flourishing Church

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This weekend I talked about how what our church is all about, here are some of the thoughts that I shared...
The reason exist to help people experience the freedom & life that only God can offer. We’re all about loving God, loving people & loving life! Our church is all about Jesus & for Jesus! The Bible says in Colossians 1:16, "JESUS is the one through whom God created everything... EVERYTHING was created THROUGH him & FOR him." We're about Jesus & Jesus is all about us (His Church). "... I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."  Matthew 16:18
"The righteous will flourish... planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God." Psalm 92:12-13 Here are 3 things that we will do as a church to make Jesus famous again in our generation!

WE WON'T PLAY IT SAFE.
"One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father."  1 Samuel 14:1
Jonathan was willing to walk away from the safety of the “inner circle” to get things done.  God never called us to play it safe.
Jonathan’s heart was set on fire and he had to move.  He was consumed by a vision.  As a church, we'll always be consumed by the Lord's vision for our church. We will do what God calls us to do. (see Hebrews 11:6)

WE WILL ALWAYS ASK  PERHAPS.
PERHAPS- 1. Used to express uncertainty or possibility:
"Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few.”  1 Samuel 14:6
-why not ask the sun to stand still (healing, restoration, finances, miracles...)
The Bible is full of people who have the guts to say “perhaps”.  We will always ask "perhaps" & believe God for "sun stand still" moments. (see Matthew 7:7-8)

WE WILL CREATE A CULTURE OF PASSIONATE  PARTNERSHIP.
 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”  1 Samuel 14:7
We will have a church that carries the vision & stays in unity around the vision that God has given us.
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."  Romans 12:1

This Week's APP-  The Partnership Process
In his first letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul revealed four distinct attitudes of maturity or levels of involvement among Christians that contribute to and build a flourishing Church. They are found in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.

1.  ENJOY. 
 "(Put) hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:8
The first level of Christianity is enjoyment. We should enjoy the abundant life that Jesus has provided for us. That's the beginning.
2.  SERVE. 
"Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds... " 1 Timothy 6:18 
Christians who rise to this second level are those who have added to their enjoyment by committing to serve in God’s House. The key is to still keep enjoying God’s House (first level), and apply yourself to serve Him with good works (second level).
3.  GIVE. 
"... ready to give..." 1 Timothy 6:18 
 ‘I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing’ (Genesis 12:2). 
‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (Matthew 10:8). 
The third level of Christianity involves a revelation of giving. Some people are happy to volunteer or serve in a role, but they never discover that it is more blessed to give than to receive. If you want to move to a deeper level of involvement in God’s House, you will need to expand in the area of giving.
4.  CARRY THE LOAD. 
"... willing to share..." 1 Timothy 6:18
"for each one should carry their own load."  Galatians 6:5
The fourth level of Christianity is about carrying the load, or as Paul put it, ‘willing to share’ (1 Timothy 6:18). Christians who share the load are the ones who will do whatever it takes to fulfil the vision.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Love At Last Sight, Part 4- The Art of Letting Go!

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“(There’s) a right time to hold on and another to let go.”  Eccl. 3:6b (The Msg)

Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ringtailed monkey. For the Zulus of that continent, however, it's simple. They've been catching this agile little animal with ease for years. The method the Zulus use is based on knowledge of the animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his hand to reach the seeds inside. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it. This he cannot do. His fist is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight the melon for hours. But he can't get free of the trap unless he gives up the seeds, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and nab him. -Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.150ff.

This story illustrates what happens to each of us when we can't let go of our our hurts & hang ups! We become trapped by the things in our past that we can't let go of & let God take care of. I talked about the story of Moses this past week & how everything in his life did not go according to plan. It wasn't until he let go of his past until he could embrace his future! I want to challenge you to deal with your unrealistic expectations, bitterness & need for control! This week, let go & let God! Here are the notes:

1. Let go of Unrealistic EXPECTATIONS.  (Acts 7:23-29 NLT)
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."  Romans 12:18
2.  Let go of BITTERNESS.  (Acts 7:30-34 NLT)
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34a (NLT)
“Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.” 1 Cor. 13:5b (MSG)
3. Let go of CONTROL.  ( Acts 7:35-36 NLT)
" Pile your troubles on God's shoulders—he'll carry your load, he'll help you out.  He'll never let good people topple into ruin. " Psalm 55:22 (MSG)

The Process of Letting Go of Control:    

·      GIVE UP CONTROL 
“Then the LORD said to (Moses), ‘What is that in your hand?’ ‘A staff,’ he replied.  The LORD said, ‘Throw it on the ground.’  Exodus 4:2, 3 (NIV)
·      GIVE OVER CONTROL
“Then the LORD said to him, ‘Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.’ So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.”  Exodus 4:4 (NIV)
·      GET UNDER CONTROL
“Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.’ 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.”   Exodus 4:19-20 (NIV)

Prayer For This Week
“I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God Himself.”   Ephesians 3:17-18 (TLB)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love At Last Sight, Part 3- The Art of Risking Awkwardness

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Last weekend we talked about risking awkwardness. Pushing through awkward moments when when attempting to reach other people & take our key relationships deeper is vital. I shared the story of the 4 guys that brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus. What if we pushed through the awkwardness of our situation & circumstances & allowed God to use us to reach & impact others like that? Read Mark 2:1-12 (NLT)

REACH OUT TO OTHERS  (vs. 2b-3)
One Small Act of Love – A World of Difference.
“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

IGNORE THE DISCOMFORT  
“They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above (Jesus) head.  Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.”    (Vs. 4)

SHARE YOUR HEART  (vs. 5a)

Awkwardness of Asking-  “What do you want me to do for you?”  Mark 10:51 (NIV)
In this passage, Jesus is asked the blind man what he needed. What would happen in your every day relationships if you if you took the time to ask those that you love what their needs were & how you could meet them?
Awkwardness of Revealing-   "Jesus wept."  John 11:35 (NIV)
It's the shortest verse in the Bible that reminds us of the powerful example that Jesus set for us. Don't hide who you are or what you're feeling. Express yourself & trust God through your situation & circumstance. (see also Hebrews 11:6, Jeremiah 29:13)

KNOWING THE REWARD IS GREATER THAN THE RISK
“… Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven…Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’ And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’” (Vs. 5; 11-12)

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!" 1 Samuel 12:16

KEY QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER- 
1.  Who is God calling you to reach out to this week?
2.  What is on your heart that God is directing you to share with those in your life?
3. What do you need to risk & have faith for in reaching out to others?