Saturday, December 29, 2007
Henry was born on 12-24-07 and weighed 8.3 pounds and measured 20 inches in length. Both mom and baby are home and doing well.
There is nothing like having a baby at Christmas - it's definitely the best gift ever! Merry Christmas!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
We need to come together and cry out to God for a miracle this Christmas season as it relates to:
- Those in our community that are far from God - that we can reach them for Jesus this Christmas
- Families in our church that are struggling in their relationships/marriages
- Singles in our church that are dealing with loneliness
- Physical issues for those that are sick
- Financial blessing for the church and church family
- The construction project for our new facility
- Our nation as it prepares for an election in the coming year
I will be sharing an encouraging message on how God's presence is presents enough at Christmas.Hope to see you there,
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
1. Reach the lost at any cost. We want to see 500 new salvations for Christ this year.
2. Make disciples by challenging people to grow to spiritual maturity through the daily disciplines.
3. Recruit, equip and train 200 new ministry volunteers.
4. Break the 1500 barrier in attendance.
5. Grow our monthly prayer meeting, "The Gathering", to 500 in attendance.
6. Sucessfuly move 70% of our Sunday morning crowd from the large group environment to a community group that meets during the week for prayer, bible study and fellowship.
7. Move into our new building.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
1. Maintain a vital and growing relationship with Jesus. I want to know that my staff is cultivating an intimate walk with Christ. If you don't have character, you don't have anything. I heard one pastor say, "I was so busy doing the work of God that is was destroying the work of God in me."
2. Tenacious loyalty. The trenches of ministry require absolute loyalty. I want to create a culture where we all will take a bullet for each other. I tell my staff that I will always defend them even before I have all the facts. That's loyalty.
3. A commitment to excellence. Ultimately, everything we do is for Jesus. So, if we are doing it "as unto the Lord" it better be done to the best of our ability. There is no room in the Kingdom for a half-hearted commitment. Either give your best or don't give at all.
4. A positive attitude. I can't stand being around negative people who suck all the fun and joy out of life and ministry. Life is way too short to not have fun. And although ministry is very difficult and draining - it should still be one of the most fun things you can do with your time.
5. Failure. That's right - I want each of our staff to fail at least once a week. What? Listen, if we aren't failing that means we are trying new things and taking steps of faith. Playing it safe is way too risky. If handled correctly, failure can teach you much more than success. Here's the key though - just don't make the same mistake twice.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Let me just brag on PCC Worship team that opened for Take 6. We are so blessed to have such awesome worship leaders in Derek and Nadeen Edwards. They rock the house and get everybody into God's presence when they lead. What I love about them most is not that they are just the best musicians in the Poconos, but that they have the most humble hearts too. I was so proud of our worship and creative arts teams who did a phenomenal job.
About Take 6 ... these guys were literally off the charts. Their manager said in the 20 years that he has traveled with them that they never had a night like the one they had with Pocono Community Church. I was privileged to meet the guys and pray with them before the concert and I just enjoyed their spirit and their ministry.
Last of all, I want to thank the rest of the team at PCC for everything they did. From Kevin and Mary Ellen and Erin and the rest of the gang who played such a critical role in pulling this outreach event together - you all are awesome.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Please join me in prayer today and tomorrow and ask God to delay the storm until Sunday evening. This snow storm could kill our Christmas outreach concert with Take 6 and also our Sunday morning services.
Planting a church in the Northeast is hard enough without all the snowstorms! If God can make the sun stand still he can redirect a snow storm. C'mon God, do your thing! Help a brother out.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I've got 25 FREE TICKETS for the first 25 people that email me after reading the blog. Just send me your first and last name via email at email@example.com and let me how many tickets you need and I'll have them at the box office for you. The concert is this Saturday night at the historic Sherman Theatre in downtown Stroudsburg. The show starts at 7pm and the doors open at 6pm. Bring your unsaved friends and share Christ this Christmas through this unique outreach.
Merry Christmas to my blogging friends : )
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Are you a day dreamer? I understand Lawrence to mean that we must be people of action, not only wishful thinking. Action, according to Lawrence, occurs under the light of the day. The path to mediocrity and underachievement, on the other hand, is paved with drowsy dreams concocted under the cover of darkness.
Here are some things I'm working on this week to get my dreams down in the daylight.
1. Be clear. Write out my dreams for 2008 with clarity.
2. Think big. If resources were no option, what would I want to accomplish.
3. Get help. List the people who I will need to find to help me accomplish my goals.
Accomplishing the impossible is a team sport.
4. Break it down. Set smaller objectives for each main goal. This helps make progress in incremental
5. Evaluate as you go. Keep tabs on how you are doing.
So, what are your dreams? How will you seem them come to pass?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'd like to write a Thanksgiving Prayer today and share it with you.
Thank you for your love and grace that is new every morning. In the busyness of the holiday season, I am reminded today of how fleeting and fragile life really is.
Teach me today to make the best use of my life and time by loving You and loving others. Your Word tells me to make love my highest goal. Help me love You and others today.
I thank you for the fact that you love me and have blessed me so much. Thank you for my wife, my kids, my family and our health and home. Thank you for filling us with peace and serenity. Thank you for our ministry and for PCC. May you continue to put your hand upon it and bless it.
Be with me throughout my day and help me add value to others. I don't want to take my life or time for granted. It's a gift you've given me. Let me be a clear reflection of your love to others today. Amen.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Today was the opening day of bear season in Pennsylvania. I went out at the crack of "O dark thirty" (4:30am) with a couple buddies from the church.
Here is some friendly bear hunting advice for someone considering giving it a whirl:
1) Don't eat a big breakfast and go into the woods unprepared (yeah, it's what you think - not good.)
2) It's more fun hanging out with your friends and getting some exercise than actually killing something.
3) 4:30 am? What are you kidding me? I didn't even know there was more than one 4:30 on my clock!
4) Does bear meat even taste good? They tell me it's great if you cook it like a pot roast. Anytime you have to cook something that simmers so long with other ingredients that it takes on the flavor of those ingredients to cover its own taste - it can't be very good.
5) What would you do with a bear once you shot it? I think it cost like $500 bucks to mount one of those things. I'd rather get a new 46 inch High Def LCD flat screen.
Anyway, can't wait to get up tomorrow morning and go out in the woods!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Just moments after hearing Ed share this, I received this email from my friend Chrsitopher Alam.
"Christianity began as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
When it went to Athens, it became a philosophy.
When it went to Rome, it became an organization.
When it went to Europe, it became a culture.
When it came to America, it became a business."
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Vince planted Forefront Church about nine years ago and he's reaching tons of lost people who are far from God and bringing them into closer proximity with the God who loves them.
Grace is what we get when we don't deserve it. A wholesaler makes huge amounts of products available to the market. Vince says we need to wholesale God's grace to a lost and hurting world.
How to be a grace wholesaler:
1) Prayer. Ask Jesus everyday for opportunities to interact with someone who needs God's grace.
2) Platform. Build a relationship with lost people. Trust always proceeds truth.
3) Process. It takes time to get involved with people who need God's grace.
4) Patience. Remember that it is the patience of God that leads to repentance.
5) Pain. Become a wounded healer.
I can honestly say I feel completely inspired to keep PCC passionate about reaching the lost. God help us from becoming some spiritual country club for casual Christians.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
1) The people you surround yourself will either make you or break you.
2) Hiring the right people is a learned skill.
3) Timing is everything.
4) Fully engage yourself in the process.
5) Hire staff in your weakest areas.
6) When it comes to top staff, hire leaders, not doers.
7) Go for the absolute best. Never apologize for shooting high.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
If you have ever considered planting a church, here are a few things you might want to make sure you have built into your DNA:
+a radical faith
+an uncommon commitment to a cause
+an entrepreneurial spirit
+a dedicated prayer life and the ability to hear God's voice
+a vision for what God wants to do
+a love for people, especially the lost
+a belief that playing it safe is risky
+a ferocious tenacity to never give up
+a love change
+the ability to lead and develop leaders
Planting a church is the most difficult, yet most rewarding thing I've ever done. There's nothing I'd rather do and no place I'd rather be.
Monday, November 12, 2007
This week I'm going to share some thoughts regarding church planting and give you some notes from the variety of speakers like Ed Stezer and Todd Wilson.
Right now, Pat Ferguson, from Passion For Planting, based in Washington, DC, is explaining how his ministry serves local church planters. Essentially, Pat's organization acts as an Executive Pastor for a church planter. They help the church planter organize, adminstrate and plan the logistics involved in the first year of church planting. They help you nail down your mission statement, purpose statement and they also help you set up a 501c3, marketing and advertising plan and so on.
Man, I wish I would have known about them 4 years ago when I planted. To all you church planters out there that read the blog, check out http://www.church-planting.net - you won't regret it.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Last week, however, one of Dog's own kids released a secretly recorded private conversation (he was paid big bucks from TMZ) where Dog used a racial slur. A&E immediately pulled their number one show, Dog's show, off the air.
Dog is doing some major soul searching and repenting. Dog claims to be a born again Christian, however, he has a filthy mouth. I've watched him share his faith and pray in the name of Jesus with people he's arrested on his show and almost simultaneously use profanity in the same breath. His language is obviously something he struggles with.
He's been an extremely forgiving person on his own show and now it seems he needs some forgiveness in return. Jesus said that by our words we will either be acquitted or condemned. I've watched several interviews where Dog has publicly confessed and asked for forgiveness. He appears to have a contrite spirit and has committed to change his ways. I guess God only knows his heart and motivation. But from where I stand, I say forgive him. You never know when you might need the same forgiveness in your own life.
Also, I am reminded what the Bible says about that which is done in secret will eventually be brought to light. Let's take a lesson from the Dog today and commit to living right regardless of whos watching or listening. After all, God knows and hears and sees everything.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
To celebrate David's second birthday, we're going to take him to Chuck-E-Cheese and play games, eat some greasy pizza, blow out 2 candles on his Elmo Cake (David says Melmo) and just have some relaxing family time.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Bob founded Church Coaching Solutions with the purpose to raise up new church planters and connect them with professionally trained coaches in hopes of empowering them to to excellence and success. Bob is also partnering with CoachNet and Stadia, two incredibly powerful ministries that help church planters prepare and launch new churches.
I'm both humbled and honored to go and teach with Bob, Ed Stetzer and hopefully add some value to the lives and ministries of these new church planters. I believe in the power of reciprocity that basically says, "What you give out will also come back to you." As I invest my lives in others, others will invest their lives in me.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Here are a few reasons why we do this survey:
1. It helps us learn more about who is attending our church - their likes, dislikes, personality, demographics, etc.
2. It helps us learn if we are reaching the unchurched or if we are just ministering to those already saved.
3. The demographic information and preferences information will let us know if we are being effective in our outreach and marketing strategies (i.e., newspaper ads, radio, events, etc.)
4. The survey gives me invaluable information for preparing my 2008 Preaching Calendar. When I ask the question about specific struggles people are having it will give me good insight for upcoming series.
5. It gives people an opportunity to express their opinion in a constructive form. Church is a team sport and this collaborative effort gives everyone a chance to offer some input.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Check out the post, "Reflections of a Consumer" by clicking here.
I feel humbled to contribute and hopefully add value to other pastors as we partner together to depopulate hell and populate heaven.
Monday, October 29, 2007
2. Our attendance was off by about 30% yesterday due to a major stomach virus that is affecting our entire community. We've had half our staff get the virus too - myself included. I'll be praying for everyone to recover quickly. Don't forget to wash your hands regularly.
3. Over 100 new volunteers signed up to start serving in ministry in the past 2 weeks - 17 of which were in the children's ministry area. That's awesome.
4. Grammy Award winning artists, Take 6, is going to be with us for Christmas on December 1st. You don't want to miss this great opportunity to bring your unchurched friends to a cool Christmas concert where they can hear about Christ.
6. Results from our annual spiritual life survey are being compiled this week. I'm really interested in learning the results so that we can discover new and improved ways as a church to partner with you in your spiritual growth.
6. The pain from the Penn State loss on Saturday was eased by the Steeler's beating up on Cincinnati yesterday. Go Big Ben!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here are a few thoughts I have regarding goal setting:
1) Goals are good. They are statements of faith.
2) We should dream big when setting goals. Jesus said, "According to your faith (goals) it will be done unto you."
3) Don't make your goals into gods. Sometimes you hit them and sometimes you miss. Brett Farve just broke the NFL league record for all-time touchdown passes. He also holds the record for most interceptions. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Throw it up there and see what happens.
4) Put your faith in God, not your goals. If you have a big God, you should have big goals.
5) God gives goals to leaders.
6) Goals help you build structure. Structure helps you determine what you need to accomplish your goals. You might have to ask, "What do I need to change, add, or do differently both personally or organizationally to achieve this goal?"
7) Be careful who you share your goals with. Not everyone will agree with your goals.
8) Goals should be out of reach, but not out of reality. Set big goals, but not too big that you demoralize your team if they can't conceive it or achieve it.
9) Goals are good for your soul. The motivate you to go for it.
10) Big goals makes us depend more on God. I've got BIG goals for PCC in 2008. Some people may say, "Dave, who do you think you are?" I say, "who do you think God is?"
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I've actually started feeling like a human being again about 3 hours ago. I've missed two days in the office this week. BUT, I've been getting a lot done from home.
Tomorrow morning the staff and I are headed for our annual staff retreat. Please pray for us as we dream together and set goals for PCC in 2008.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
It's so easy to rely on yourself. We do this unintentionally all the time in the our marriages, work, ministry or any area in our life that requires specific abilities. I heard one preacher describe pride as having a big ego. The ego he was referring to was not defined by a Freudian pop-psychology. Rather it was an acrostic that defined EGO as Edging God Out.
Disciples keep Jesus at the front and center of their lives. Don't push God to the periphery of your life. Stay humble every day and put your trust in Him.
Monday, October 15, 2007
This week I want to share some practices that will help you develop a closer walk with God.
Practice #1 - Get Alone With God
Life is noisy. Kids. Work. House chores. Ministry. And the list goes on. You've got to develop the practice of solitude or getting alone with God each day to quiet your spirit and reflect on your life. The most healthy and mature disciples I've met find time each day to get alone with God and contemplate where they are in relationship to God, their faith, their family, friends, etc.
Jesus daily recalibrate his life and ministry. Reach Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35 or Matthew 14:23 and notice what Jesus did to help him find focus and clarity in order to accomplish the mission of his heavenly father.
What can you do today to get alone with God? How would that impact your life?
Friday, October 12, 2007
My son, David, got his first hair cut today. He was so cute sitting there in the chair. He never cried once. I must admit that I was a very proud dad. David turns two in just a few weeks. The older you become, the faster time moves.
I started to think about all the "firsts" that my son is going to have:
*first tooth under his pillow
*first day at school
*first encounter with a bully
*first broken heart
Of course, the biggest first ever will be the day he decides to be a Christ follower. As a parent, I want to be there for every "first". I want to be there to give a "high five" or a "hug". There is no substitute for the power of your presence in the life of your child or family. Spend time with your family and loved ones every day. You'll never regret it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Here are just a few ideas to create "Wow" factors:
- Parking lot attendants who greet guests, help them with umbrellas if it is raining, assist the elderly, special parking for expecting moms and first time guests
- All first time guest receive a personal note from the lead Pastor and a $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts and a follow up call from a staff member
- Provide clear internal signage in the lobby for guests
- Greeters at all doors welcoming guests into the facility
- Hosts in the lobby attentive to needs of first time guest who "look lost" or others that may need assistance
- Volunteer central / Information Kiosk staffed with a friendly volunteer who can answer questions and provide direction
- Upbeat music in the lobby and parking lot for guests as they arrive
- Exciting children programs with activities such as: multimedia, story telling, bounce houses, games, crafts and more
- Uplifting music to begin the adult service with multimedia
- Practical teaching with life applicable points
These are just a few ideas. If you are not in the ministry, perhaps you can think of creating some "wow" factors in your own home or at work.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Practical Atheism in the ministry is...Believing that God exists and yet behaving as if everything depends on me.
I was told in Seminary to protect my image, specifically to 'guard the pastor's mystique.' The idea is that pastor's should not share their weaknesses, struggles, or deal with their issues. The former generation thought that this was too risky.
Therefore, I began playing the pastor's role', buy my heart drifted from God. I began to serve with my lips but not with my heart. I had become a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ. I began to think that my ministry was dependent on my efforts, my creativity, and my ability to get it done.
Here were the signs of my condition:
I started to believe that my efforts were more important than God's power.
I began believing that my private life did not affect my public ministry. I started neglecting the condition of my heart.
I was believing that it was more important to please people than to please God.
What did God do to deal with me? HE DISTURBED ME! I became bothered by my lack of compassion, my pride, my shallowness, and my lack of real tangible result.
We need to pray this regularly...God Disturb Me! Awaken me to the condition of my heart. Awaken me to condition of the world around me. Make me a full-time follower of Christ.
Monday, October 08, 2007
1. We had an all-time, non-holiday record attendance with 991 people.
2. We had 52 salvations.
3. We could account for 70 first-time guest adults.
4. We had over 130 volunteers serving in ministry.
5. Last Wednesday night, we had 265 people attend "The Gathering" - our new monthly night of prayer and worship.
5. The worship team did a great job leading us into God's presence.
6. It was almost as if a "holy hush" came over the people during both services during the message where I challenged the church to give up nominal Christianity and start being authentic disciples of Christ.
7. Community Groups kick off this week with dozens of groups meeting through the Pocono area.
God is doing great things in and through us at PCC this fall. We thank God for the opportunity to be part of this unfolding miracle in this mountain. Let's continue to ask God for his help as we humbly do His work.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Here are some reasons why great men fall.
1. Fatigue and Burn-out.
When you are depleted of energy, you need something to fill you up. Many pastors fall prey to carelessness. They allow themselves to slip in very subtle areas.
Three things observed in every pastoral moral failure –
- Very limited time alone with God.
- Unresolved conflicts at home.
- No one holding them accountable.
A second observation noted in pastoral failure include:
2. An over-abundance of pastoral counseling.
Pastors must have a good referral system – people who you can refer your parishioners to who are better than you are at counseling. This is no indication of weakness on your part. An overabundance of pastoral counseling can lead to spiritual burn-out. When you see the same people, saying the same things, with the same problems, and you begin to wonder if anything ever will change. You keep getting beat down, and you spiritually burn out.
3. Loneliness and isolation.
Pastors and/or their spouses feel isolated and under appreciated. You seek affirmation in other places, and this leaves you vulnerable.
Ephesians 5:3 – let there not even be a hint of immorality. We need to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6)·
4. The inability or unwillingness to identify areas of weakness.
We need to do everything we can to avoid all areas of personal weakness. You need to have someone to whom you are personally accountable. Someone who you allow to ask you the hard questions. Build safeguards into your life.
If there are unresolved issues from the past, they must be resolved, or they will come back to haunt us.
What is the solution to these things?
1. Intimacy with God
2. Right relationships
3. Adequate rest
4. Honest accountability
5. Meaningful ministry
6. An attitude of joy and thanksgiving
7. A vigilant spirit
Guard your heart, stay pure, love your family, stay very close to God.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
If you are not careful and spend too much time around the joy suckers, you start to buy into their negative perceptions and ideology. Pastors must intentionally surround themselves with positive people who are full of faith. It's not that you want to live in a bubble, but you must choose to think positive thoughts. Paul said "whatever is noble, pure right ... think on these things."
Paul also said, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." It's hard to rejoice when you are walking around with your head down. You can't smile with a frown on your face. You can't rejoice when you are being critical of others. Paul said, chose to be positive. Don't let your circumstances, regardless of how negative or difficult they may be, determine your outlook. When you walk into a room, you should light it up not empty it out. Don't be a joy sucker. Be a joy giver. Thanks H.B.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I look forward to sharing some of his thoughts with you this week. Please pray for me as I find some time to get away with God this week in preparation for an amazing season of ministry this fall. I'm so looking forward to what God is doing in and through PCC.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
say, "Lord, may we be one in you--whether jocks, preps, geeks, Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, freshmen, or seniors--may the world believe that You are real and have sent us to touch other through you, regardless of the dividing lines drawn by a broken world!"
Monday, September 24, 2007
1. We voted unanimously as a church family to move forward with the construction loan on our new facility. It's awesome to be part of a church family that is experience unity and oneness in purpose.
2. Sunday's service was awesome. Special guest singer, Kelly Shannon, did an awesome job singing and sharing her testimony.
3. Community Groups are getting ready to launch in October. EVERYONE needs to be in a community group. This is where we can grow closer to God and to one another. Get involved today!
4. Prayer Meeting begins on October 3! Our weekly prayer meeting is moving to a monthy prayer meeting which will be held on the first Wednesday of every month. Please mark your calendar now.
5. I'm headed into staff meeting right now. I love our team.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tonight PCC will hold a special business meeting at 7pm at the Pocono Summit Fire Hall. The purpose of the meeting will be to make a decision as a church family on the construction line of credit for our new church facility.
We need you there tonight to give us the complete picture of PCC. If you are a member of PCC, please make every effort to attend this special meeting. Your support and prayers are greatly appreciated. Don't be the missing piece.
Refreshments will be served.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Anyway, mommy and baby are doing well. However, the doctor said that Bekah has to take it easy. She's been having way too many contractions this early in the pregnancy. She works so hard on the weekends, setting up and tearing down the nursery, overseeing the pre-school, and then just being there for people in the hallway.
Something cool happened earlier this week. One of the ladies in the church (Robin) who is already serving in the children's ministry team realized (actually, she felt the Holy Spirit revealed this to her - and she was right) that Bekah needed to take a break until after the baby was born. She offered to serve in Bekah's place until she and the new children's ministry director could raise up more leaders. That's awesome!
That's what church is all about. It's sticking together and looking out not just our own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Who can you look out for today? What ministry can you get involved in this weekend?
PS? Any suggestions on names for the boy?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I challenged our leaders to a life of greatness. God has not called us to live mediocre lives or a status quo existence. Why maintain an attitude of survival, when God wants us to thrive. Jesus gave his LIFE for me. The least I can do is give my best for him.
I don't want to be good. I want to be great. I don't want to pastor a good church. I want to lead a great church. I don't want a good marriage. I want a great one. I don't want good kids. I want great kids. Whatever we lay our hands upon, we are to do in excellence "as unto the Lord."
Here are some of the highlights from last nights meeting:
1) Ground Breaking Ceremony - This weekend we'll gather at 4 PM to celebrate the beginning of construction on our new facility. A BBQ picnic will be held so please bring a side dish.
2) Membership Meeting - A membership meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, September 19th at 7 PM at the Pocono Summit Fire Hall to decide on procuring the necessary funds to finance the construction project. Please make every effort to attend. All are welcome.
3) Prayer Meeting /"The Gathering" - Our weekly prayer meeting will be changing to a once-a-month prayer meeting beginning in October. The reason for the change is that we are going to focus on our community groups that will be meeting weekly this fall beginning in October as well. So, everyone will meet weekly in their community groups 3 times per month. On the first Wednesday all community groups will come together at "The Gathering" (formerly known as the prayer meeting) and celebrate and pray together.
All Elders, Ministry Team Leaders, Community Group Leaders and staff will attend as we celebrate in worship, communion, testimony and of course, passionate prayer. The prayer meeting, known now as "The Gathering" will be held at the Pocono Mountain West High School. The Student Ministry teens will also join us in this monthly prayer gathering. Childcare for infants through grade 5 will be offered too.
4) Friend Day - Friend Day is scheduled for September 30. Please begin inviting your friends for this special day where we will have awesome music, worship and a message geared to reach the lost.
5) Community Groups - Community Groups are kicking off in October. If you would like to host or facilitate a community group, please contact Pastor Kevin.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
- Thank you to the 125 volunteers that faithfully served in ministry this past weekend. You guys are the true heroes of PCC!
- A special thank you to the nursery volunteers who had 27 babies to care for and diapers to change!
- The worship team did a great job too! Thanks for singing and playing for Jesus.
- We've had over 50 salvations this summer! We baptized 26 people two weeks ago and 53 are signed up for Membership Class this Saturday. Good things are happening.
- The new JHigh6.8 ministry kicked off this Sunday and they had 52 junior high students. What an awesome start to an exciting new ministry.
- Nearly 850 people were in church this Sunday.
Hope to see you all tonight at 7 PM at the Leadership Meeting on the Third Floor Annex of our office building. Call the church office at 839-3459 for more info.
Together is better!
Monday, September 10, 2007
I would like to invite everyone to come for our ground breaking ceremony at the new church property this Sunday @ 4pm and celebrate this momentous occasion for PCC. We'll have some bulldozers ready and start moving some dirt! I might even be able to operate one of the big pieces of equipment! This will be a wonderful time together to give thanks to God for all that He has done and is yet to do through PCC!
We're also going to have a family-style BBQ. We'll provide the burgers and hot dogs. Please bring a side dish to share. Also, feel free to invite your friends to join in the celebration.
I'm so excited about the days ahead. Thanks again for being faithful and for serving, giving and inviting your friends to experience a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
Hang on for the ride of your life.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Hybels argues that there are certain things in this world that we cannot stand. Once confronted with these social ills or human suffering, we have the potential to respond like Popeye and say, "I've had all I can stand, I can't stands no more." These firestorms of frustrations catalyze the insight and iron will needed to make things that "are not" as they "should be."
Here are some of the things I can't stand:
1)People who are beat up in this world because they have yet to experience the love of God.
2)People that have to go to bed hungry in my community.
3)Marriages that are being ripped apart because of selfish and sinful behavior.
4)People who live purposeless lives because they have yet to find their purpose in Christ.
5)Kids that have to go to school without decent school clothes and supplies.
6)Needless commercial debt and unwise financial stewardship that wrecks marriages and lives.
7) People who live lives of quiet desperation because they've yet to experience Biblical community.
8) Churches that are boring and irrelevant.
9) Struggling pastors who quit the ministry because they don't have a friend or coach that is encouraging them and helping them in ministry.
10) A wasted life without passion to change the world and make a significant impact for good.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I've got two racks of ribs in the oven and Bekah is making some of her special corn bread. After dinner we are headed to the board walk to eat some junk food and go on some rides.
I've got a philosophy about taking breaks from life in the ministry. The longer you are in ministry and the larger your church grows, the more time you need to get away. Time away gives you an opportunity to think, dream and just pray, as well as spend some much needed time with your family.
If you don't take a break from your schedule, eventually your schedule will break you. There is a rhytem to life in ministry. Jesus often took schedule breaks when he got away from the crowds to pray and spend time with His Heavenly Father. If that was important to Jesus, how much more do you and I need that precious time to take a break and be with those who matter most.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
After breakfast we went to a petting zoo and almost scared a horse to death. That was interesting. Then we made our way down to Country Junction, the worlds largest country store. We picked up some fall fest costumes for the kids. They look adorable.
We spent the afternoon working around the house. I piled up sticks from our back yard for about 3 hours and Bekah made a phenomenal meal - pork chops with rice and black beans and homemade salsa. Mmmmmm.
I got the kids showered and to bed and just watched a little of the US Open. I'm a huge tennis fan. Well, the wheels are about the fall off so I'm headed to bed.
I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to spend an entire day with my family and enjoy every minute of it. Life doesn't get any better.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
I also spoke on Saturday for my good friend Pastor Emilio Quinterra at Elim Ministries. Pastor Emilio planted a Spanish speaking church in the Poconos 5 years ago. This past weekend they had a young adults retreat with students from NY, NJ, Maryland and PA in attendance. They are doing a fantastic work for God here among our Spanish-speaking community.
What a thrill to be used of God and to rub shoulders with great people. After speaking 6 times this weekend I'm exhausted. But God is refreshing me moment by moment. Have a great week.
Friday, August 24, 2007
- Pastor Kevin will be speaking on "Willing and Able" - Part 10 our "Do It" Series on the book of James.
- Special Children's Team Guests "Crosswalk" will be presenting a fun, high-impact experience for our children's program. You're kids are not going to want to miss this. There will be lots of great music, games, and Biblical stories through drama and video.
- A special opportunity will be shared to help some needy families in a creative way as families get ready to send their kids back to school.
Please remember to invite your friends to church this weekend and get involved by serving in one of our weekend ministry teams.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I've found that in life, it's often the small things that make a big difference. The extra study time on a message makes a good message a great one. The extra effort in trying to communicate effectively with my wife transforms our good marriage into a great marriage. Working out just 5 more minutes on the treadmill builds stronger muscles and greater endurance.
God calls us to excellence in this life. We are told to do everything as "unto the Lord." Jesus gave me His best so He deserves my best. I refuse to settle for mediocrity and perpetual half-hearted commitment. The greatest things in life (marriage, business, church, relationship, education) will always cost you something. And that little effort in the end - just when you feel like quitting and giving up - will help you realize your dreams.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I'm also having lunch today with a church planter in Philadelphia. God has opened the door for me to work with church planters all across the country. I really feel honored to have the opportunity to speak into the lives of other pastors and help them avoid making a lot of the mistakes I've made in ministry.
In fact, tomorrow I'm flying to Nashville for a one day seminar to finish up my national certification for church planting/health coaching with Church Coaching Solutions and CoachNET. I'm excited about investing in God's Kingdom. I also think that there is a spiritual principle at work when you give your time and resources away to someone else for the sake of the Gospel that God will pour back to you.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Death has a way of making you deal with life. If we handle death correctly, it can actually be a great teacher. Here's a few life lessons that that I shared last night:
- the highest use of life is to love - John 3:16 - "For God so loved."
- the best expression of love is the gift of you - "...that he gave his Son"
- the best time to love is now - "Today is the day of salvation."
If you want to leave a lasting legacy that will far outlive your life, than commit yourself to love. Paul said in 1 Cor. 13 that "three things will endure: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love."
Spend time today loving God and loving others. You won't regret it.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Rudy did an awesome job today speaking on wisdom. Here are a few of my take aways:
- wisdom and knowledge aren't the same thing.
- knowledge is based on information and it comes from earth
- wisdom is based on a relationship with God and it's a divine gift
- wise people experience peace in their life; unwise people experience conflict
- wise people can learn from anyone
- wise people are open about their weaknesses
My prayer this week is that God would help me to walk in wisdom.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
He told the story about this woman stripper who got saved in his church. He explained that on her first Sunday in church she was not exactly wearing "church clothes" and despite that fact, the Lord touched her heart and she gave her life to Jesus.
He reminded us of the story of the Prodigal son and the fact that if he would have ran into the elder brother first he would have never made it back into the father's house. Unfortunately, too many of our churches display the spirit of the elder brother. We want everyone to clean up their life before we welcome them in the church.
Our heavenly father calls us to love EVERYONE. Dary challenged us to love people before they change or clean up their life. That was worth the entire trip this week!
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
- 15 people give their hearts to Christ! (that's almost 30 people now in the past 2 weeks)
- over 100 people were serving in ministry from setup/tear down to children and music and multimedia and first impressions teams
- i don't know the numbers on first-time guests, but there were a lot!
- a gentleman named Gonzalo gave his heart to Christ yesterday - he was visiting family from Columbia and he responded to the altar call with the ASL translator - i'll never forget that moment
- 2 teenage girls visiting from France gave their hearts to Christ yesterday
- the worship band and singers were kickin' yesterday - they rock!
- the testimony Doug shared about his mother being healed on her death bed was simply miraculous. God answers prayer!
If you have a story to share or a cool testimony about what God is doing in your life through PCC, please post a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
I love you PCC!
Thursday, August 02, 2007
When I was 12 years old my dad had to rescue me from the undertow in the ocean right off of a Tampa, Florida beach. I remember the power of the water as it tossed me back and forth with no regard for my need to breathe. It was a very scary experience...no matter how hard I tried I could not break free to make my way to shore. At the point of total exhaustion I finally just gave up.
The next thing I remember was my dad grabbing on to me and pulling me toward a breaker wall. At first, I didn't know what was happening and I found myself fighting his efforts to save me. But, through a series of frantic commands compelling me to relax and let him do the work we found ourselves on the breaker wall, finally reaching a point of safety.
It seems that my near-death experience as a kid has some similarities to our everyday experiences with people who are spiritually drowning. They are caught in an undertow of sinful deception and God has called us to help them. But, what about those people who don't want help. You know the ones - you grab onto them and instead of allowing you to bring them in the boat, they fight you with all they've got! What now? Let me give you a couple of practical things to ponder.
- Don't give up! When we come across these people in our lives, it is so important to remember that we can't let go...we can't give up. No matter how much they fight God's saving power coming into their lives, perhaps because they are blind to the perils that are all around them, we have to hang on tight! As hard as it might be at times, never let go!
- Be relational! We have to continue to nourish the relationships we have with people. One of the most important lessons we learn from Jesus is that He was a friend to those who were lost. People want to know that you care before they care what you know. We should respect them seeing them as people created by the Father, not succumbing to petty disagreements about doctrine. Remember, it's not about who's right, but rather, it's about them discovering righteousness.
- Be prayerful! Praying for them on a daily basis. Ask God to not only give you wisdom as you spend time with them, but also, ask Him to give you opportunities to speak into their lives as they experience the waves that make life so difficult at times. And when we do get those "divine appointments" making sure we are mindful to turn our conversation towards spiritual things, in creative, non-threatening ways. Listen, you don't have to be outgoing or even articulate...you just need to be available as a friend who loves God and prayerfully communes with Him. Just be the person God has made you, because it's really hard to argue with someone's testimony.
- Be patient! Hang on, don't give up, and always keep in mind: the ocean is big, and some rescues take a little more time. I know that we get tired too, but our Father has promised that He would always strengthen us in our time of need.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I have to admit that this experience in contrast to the metaphor of "rowing a boat" that I have been sharing this week, is certainly much more desirable. But, should it be?
It seems that there are so many believers in Christ who really love the thought of God's grace, mercy and power being made active in their lives, and yet, "cruising for Jesus" is the attitude that prevails as a lifestyle instead of "rowing for Jesus". I wonder if there are many who think that the ocean of blessing is found lounging on deck sipping God's gifts at our leisure. Of course, it's true that there are times when God gives us opportunities of rest and relaxation, but how fulfilling would our life be if all our days were spent on a cruise? Consider this before you answer:
The apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:10-11, "I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."
Paul's implication is that the most fulfilling experience on this earth is found in giving our all for Christ, even if it means living a lifestyle that is counter to our flesh! It's then that we experience the life giving, resurrection power of God in our everyday living.
Now, don't get me wrong, taking a vacation is great. In fact, it's essential to make time to get away and be refreshed. But, it might serve us well to remember that the greatest gifts in this world are not found on the "Lido Deck" of life, but rather, on the quiet waters of steady rowing.
If you've been cruising and haven't been rowing...why not give rowing a try? You won't be sorry!!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Please pray that this will be a time of refreshing. In my absence, I have invited Kevin Weaver to be my guest contributor. I know you'll enjoy his thoughts.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Then, during my last meeting at 8:30 pm I received a call from my wife who was noticeable shaken. She is 3 months pregnant and there were some complications so I rushed her to the hospital. After 6 hours in the emergency room we finally were able to return home (2am). Thank God, both she and the baby are doing well. No worries.
As we returned to the waiting room after having some tests done, we saw two of our friends waiting for us. I thought, "Wow, it's really cool that they would come and just be with us during a stressful and somewhat frightening few hours." In fact, some of our other friends were also at our home watching our other children so we could go to the hospital.
The power of someones presence during difficult times is huge. It's so awesome to be part of a community that understands that and more importantly - puts it into practice. Thank you for your continued prayers for my wife and for your willingness to practice the power of presence in the lives of those in need.
Friday, July 20, 2007
4. Unbalanced Living
One of my wife's hesitations to planting PCC was that it would totally consume me and my time. She knows that I'm a recovering work-aholic and that it's very easy for me to skip my days off, stay late at the office, live my life with a cell phone attached to my ear, and just be totally preoccupied with ministry.
Early on in the life of the church, I was working 70+ work weeks and never taking a sabbath. No one can keep that kind of schedule and survive. In fact, one pastor told me that if I don't take a break from my schedule, my schedule would break me. He was right.
I can recall vividly one Christmas two years ago when I had a mini-meltdown backstage right before I had to go out and preach. We were 2 years into the church plant and we literally worked night and day to get it off the ground and my brain and my body pretty much shut down. I knew it was time for a change.
So, here's a few commitments that my wife and I made to maintain joy and longevity in our marriage and ministry.
1. Divert daily.
We make time for our relationship with God and with each other and our kids every day. We eat at least 4 or 5 dinners together each week as a family. I never walk in the door in the evening talking with someone on my cell phone about church ministry. We have devotional time in the evening with our kids before the go to bed.
2. Withdrawal weekly.
Every week we take a day off. That's called a sabbath - a 24 hour period where we do nothing but hang out with each other and with God. Some days we go to the mall or I take my little girl out for breakfast. And some days we just cuddle up on the couch as a family and watch Barney and Friends. The point is: take a break from life and ministry and just practice the power of being in one anothers presence.
3. Abandon annually.
This means several things.
First - a nice family vacation. We sacrifice so much of ourselves by investing in the lives of others that we need to get away once a year and enjoy some extended family time. This summer we are going to the shore!
Second, it also means time for me and Bekah to get away - just the two of us. Let's fact it - going away with the kids isn't always a "vacation." Husbands and wives need to get away at least once a year and spend time cultivating their marriage.
Last of all, I need to get away by myself a few different times a year to: pray (annual prayer retreat), to seek God's direction for the coming year as it relates to the spiritual direction, sermon series, etc., and attend conferences or training to keep on the cutting edge of effective ministry.
The larger a church grows, the more time the senior pastor needs to get away. I thank God for our Elders and church family who understand this and who want me to be around for a long time and not burn out. I learned the hard way that if you burn the candle at both ends, you'll soon discover that you aren't as bright as you think you are.