Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Best Chrstimas Gift Ever

As many of you are aware, I have dropped off the blogging scene for the past few days. I have a good reason: my wife, Rebekah, gave birth to our third child, Henry, on Christmas Eve.

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

The Christmas Gathering

To all the local blog readers (PCC family) ... please join me this evening for a special time of prayer and worship at The Gathering.
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,

Pastor Dave

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Don't Worry - Be Happy

OK. So it's snowing again. The weather forecasters are calling for a foot of snow today in the Poconos and possibly another 2 feet of snow on Saturday night into Sunday. For a church planter - snow on the weekend is killer. Honestly, the snow has been absolutely destroying the momentum at the church. Four out of the past five Sundays we've had snow and ice just wreck our attendance by 30 to even 50 percent. Of course, that impacts our budget too.

Well, instead of sitting around whining about it (and yes, I've prayed and asked for God's intervention) I've decided to redirect my negative thoughts and sophomoric whining into a more positive outlook.

So, here are 7 things I am happy about today.

1. My wife is pregnant and ready to deliver any day. We love being parents and another child only means more great times in the Crosby house.

2. I'm working from home today. Not only because of the snow storm, but now that we have a home with an office. I am able to spend one day home a week working on my message for Sunday. After slugging it out in an apartment for the past 4 years - living in a home is really sweet.

3. My wife just made a fresh batch of Christmas cookies. That makes me really happy! They are cream cheese cookies with a little walnut on top. Yum-o-licious.

4. I've got a great family. Honestly, I'm so blessed. I married way over my head. I've got two great kids and one on the way. I live in a comfortable home. We all genuinely love each other and enjoy hanging out and spending time together.

5. I get to lead a great church. Pocono Community Church is not normal. It's a dynamic church family where we see lives changed every week. It's so cool.

6. I've got a great staff. The team at PCC has been through a lot of transition this year but we are starting to gain momentum as we work hard to build a culture of excellence and fun.

7. Today I don't have to shave. That makes me happy. Oh - and it really makes me happy that I get to be used by God to help others.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2008 Goals

Goals are faith statements. As we approach the new year, here are a few of the goals I shared with our staff at a vision talk yesterday.

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

Christmas Advice

As we gear up for the final days before Christmas, here are some thoughts to help you reduce the stress of the season.

1. Remember that Christmas is all about Jesus. It's way too easy to get sidetracked by all the materialism of our culture - the presents, parties and pastries. Don't lose sight of the fact that we are celebrating Jesus' birthday. You got something for everyone else, what did you get for Him? Give him your commitment and time and energy this season.

2. The best gifts are not always the most expensive. You don't have to spend a lot of money to express your love or appreciation to someone through a gift. In fact, it's been my experience that the best gifts don't come in colorfully wrapped packages. It's when we give of ourselves that we give the best gifts. Don't go into debt for a gift that's going to end up in a yard sale in less than 10 years. Give the gift of self this year.

3. Don't eat too much - exercise more. I don't know about you, but I end up going to a ton of Christmas parties. I love cookies and egg nog way too much. Spend some time on the treadmile this Christmas or park a little further from the mall entrance. Go outside and play in the snow with your kids and make a snow man. Get the old ticker going and focus on healthy eating and sleeping patterns.

4. Be thankful. Break the grip of greed this Christmas by expressing your gratitude to God and others for what you already have. Tell you spouse or kids how thankful you are for what it means to have them in your life. Spend time with God in prayer and give him thanks for what he's done in the past year.

5. Reach out to others. Christmas is a great time of the year to express the love of Christ in practical ways. Most people are even open to an invitation to go to church this time of year if you will just ask them. Reach out through acts of kindness. Serve in a soup kitchen. Get some friends together and go Christmas caroling. Invite someone to church - who knows, you could be the star in someones life this Chrsitmas that leads them to Jesus.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Staff Expectations

One of the key responsibilities of leadership is to lay out clear expectations. You cannot have accountability without clarity. Earlier this week I sat down with PCC's pastoral and support staff and discussed some of the high expectations I have of our staff.

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

Ring Tones

I've got the coolest ring tones on my cell phone. In fact, I set special ring tones for the people that call me most. For example, my wife's ring tone is digital recording of her voice telling me to pick up the phone. It's actually quite funny. I know it's her calling before I even pick up the phone.

When God wants to call us, He's got some cool ring tones too. Jesus said, "My sheep will know my voice." If we listen carefully to the call of God, we can find guidance and direction on the journey of life.

Here are a few of the ones I've noticed in my life as it relates to the call of God in ministry.

1. A Call to a Place - This is a geographical call. Much like a missionary is called to a specific nation or a church planter to a strategic city.

2. A Call to a Position - This is a vocational call. Some of my friends in ministry a called to do something specific for the Kingdom. This could be a call to the worship or creative arts (music or video editing) or student/children's ministry.

3. A Call to a Person - This is a personal call. Sometimes God calls people to serve specific leaders much like the "mighty men of David" in the Old Testament were called to serve him.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Weekend Update

Incredible! That's the one word to describe the Take 6 Christmas outreach concert last Saturday night. I'm not even sure that one word does the outreach justice. The house was packed and everyone enjoyed an awesome night of music and fun. Although we didn't do a formal invitation for salvation, I know many hearts and lives were changed by God's presence in that theatre. We will hear many stories of life change in the days and weeks to come.

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.