Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekend Update

This past weekend was off the charts again. Our attendance was over 1100 with many people returning after Easter and lots of new first time guests. I've got to give it up to Urbane Gospel Choir who sang in both services. They were awesome. You've got to check these young people out. They brought the heat. If you are a pastor, I highly recommend having them for a service.

After second service, the family and I headed out to Harrisburg to be with my family. Bekah and the kids will be there all week while I travel to Virginia. I will be coaching church planters for the week as they prepare to launch their new churches.

Some ask me, "Dave, why do you spend time investing in other church planters? Aren't you busy enough with your own church?" The short answer is "yes." I've got plenty of work to do. It's not like I'm waking up in the morning and looking for stuff to keep me busy. However, I believe in the principal of spiritual reciprocity. That is, whatever I give out I get back. Sure, time is the most valuable commodity we have - whenever you spend it you can't get it back. But as I invest in others I know that God will bring others into my life that will invest in me. Either way - God's Kingdom wins!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Community Groups

My wife and I host a community group in our home every Wednesday night. For the past 10 weeks we've been meeting with the same 8 to 10 couples many of which are brand new to PCC. We especially love getting to know new people in the church and hanging out with those that are either new to the faith or still checking Jesus out.

Last night we were discussing the Easter message and digging into the scriptures pertaining to Jesus' death and resurrection. What was so cool about the meeting was that one of the couples explained how they understood for the very first time what Easter was all about. It was so cool to hear them explain that after months of coming to PCC that they really grasped what Jesus really did and what he was all about. In fact, they prayed together with the group to affirm their faith in Jesus as the risen Savior.

Friends, that's what church is all about. Sure, I love Sundays and the big day with the crowd and the programs and the band and everything. But church is really about helping people come to faith in Christ and trusting in Him for everything. In fact, we hung out with another couple who stayed for a hour after everyone had left for the night and shared with them how Jesus has changed our life. They are still investigating the claims of Christ and checking the whole church thing out. It's so awesome to have a church like PCC that welcome both saint and sinner alike. That no matter where we are on the journey of faith, that we accept one another and do our best to help them get a little closer to Jesus.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


This Sunday we kick off a brand new series that we are calling InsideOUT. The Bible says in Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, (we like that part don't we), according to his power that is at work within us." That tells me that God changes me from the inside out.
If you were a first time guest at PCC on Easter or a regular attender, you don't want to miss this new series. This weekend we are going to look at how God can help us overcome WORRY. Jesus taught some thought-provoking things regarding what we do with our thoughts and He especially challenges us to change from "worry-ers" to "worshipers."

Just for kicks and in the spirit of honesty, below are a few worries that I struggle with:

1. My kids and the future they will inherit.
2. The personal safety of my family and myself. I'm somewhat of a hypochondriac.
3. The lost and the fact that they will spend eternity outside of God's presence.
4. Going bald.
5. Getting fat.
6. What others think of me.
7. The future success and growth of the church.

Confession is good for the soul. As you can see, I'm just a fellow "struggler" and I need this weekends message more than anyone!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Update

Easter at Pocono was simply amazing. Of all the great memories from yesterday, the one I will cherish the most is hanging out with the tear down team after the third service and just celebrating what God did in our midst. Some of these guys have been with with me from day one of this church plant and it was awesome to laugh and reminisce together.

Here are some Easter highlights:

1. Over 130 people committed their life to Christ in all of our three services.

2. We set a record holiday attendance with 1839 people. Of course, this is just a number. But every number represents a soul that matters to God. Every soul has a story.

3. Hundreds of PCC volunteers served in all the services. So many volunteered in our children's ministry area that we had to turn volunteers away. That's amazing.

4. The music team did a phenomenal job. The worship was awesome.

5. Our special guest Alvin Slaughter was incredible. He loved being with us and was just taken back by the diversity and size of a church meeting in a high school.

Thanks so much for making this Easter a special day. Because you prayed and invited your friends, God showed up and did a miracle. I'm so proud of you PCC! You are an awesome church family. Of course, the great success of Easter is what happens the Sunday after Easter. Please continue to reach out to your friends and invite them to come back next week. The best is yet to come!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter 08

Easter is only a few days away. This year we have three Easter services with special musical guest, Alvin Slaughter. I will be sharing a message entitled, “Life Wide Open.” It’s a message where I will give those in attendance an opportunity to open their heart, mind and life to God’s amazing love.

Here are a few tips for an Excellent Easter:

1. Invite a friend to church.
Last week we had 65 people give their life to Jesus Christ. They were at church because you invited them. Bring a different friend to Jesus in each of the weekend services.

2. Pray that many will commit their lives to Christ.
Ask God to send his Holy Spirit and anoint our services and the hearts of the listeners.

3. Attend one Easter Service and Serve in one.

We are asking all of the regular attenders to make space for guests in the 10:45am service by attending either the 9am or 12:30pm service. Also, volunteer to serve in another service, especially in our children’s areas. There will be hundreds of kids there that need to experience God’s love. Call our Children’s Director KyAnne at 570-839-3459 TODAY to volunteer.

4. Please greet everyone you meet.
There will hundreds of guests this year and we want them all to feel welcome. Extend God’s love by shaking a hand and greeting one another with a smile.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekend Update

Yesterday was an amazing day at Pocono Community Church. Every once and awhile I like to brag on what God is doing here at PCC. I also like to give kudos to the many volunteers that make it happen every week.

Here are some cool highlights from yesterday.

1. We had 65 people give their hearts to Christ! What an amazing time of commitment at the altar.

2. There were 19 first-time guest kids in our kids ministry alone. I have to give it up to our Children's Ministry Director, KyAnne, for teaching our kids to have a heart for their friends and leading them to Jesus.

3. The worship team brought the heat yesterday. The band and singers were just off the hook. I love the diversity and unity that God is giving us in our worship team.
Thanks so much for putting the time in to rehearse and do ministry in excellence. It shows!

4. The Setup/Teardown and all First Impressions teams did an awesome job yesterday. I know it was a crazy set up since we couldn't get in the school on time and it was even more crazy trying to break down fast because we had to be out early for the school play practice. But we did it. Thanks everyone!

5. I want to thank everyone for bringing their friends yesterday. It's all about bringing people to Jesus. That's why we are here. Please remember to call your friends and encourage them to be with us again this Sunday for Easter.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I'm headed to Nashville today for some meetings. On my way out the door, my little girl Kate came running up to me with a little pink princess keepsake box (pictured to the left). It's a special toy to Kate and she NEVER lets anyone, especially her little brother, David, touch it or play with it.

She asked me to take the keepsake box on the trip and every time I look at it I was to remember her. I gotta tell you, my little girls request made me melt in my tracks. What she was saying to me was that she loved me so much that she wanted me to think of her while we were apart. That will make any father's day.

It got me thinking about the importance of remembering. All throughout the Old Testament we see God working many miracles for his people. After the miraculous event, God instructs his people to build altars or dig wells or some other physical act of remembrance. Why? So they wouldn't forget the moment in time when God came near and performed a miracle. Of course, the greatest icon of remembrance in faith is the cross. Everytime I see the cross I remember that Jesus died for me and I'm filled with such gratitude and thanks.

As we prepare Palm Sunday in the liturgical church calendar this weekend, let's not forget to remember Christ and his sacrafice of love.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

American Idol

Ok. So I'm a big fan of American Idol. David Archuleta is my pick for this season. If you've been following the show at all, you'll recall that a couple weeks ago David sang Imagine by John Lennon. It was awesome. I think it was the best performance ever in American Idol history. However, David's past two performances have been subpar. And that got me thinking.

So many times in life we fear success, not failure. And here's why: because it raises the bar of expectations. In life, you will always be measured by your best performance, not your worst. Often times people intentionally sabotage themselves for fear that they might actually do well and then be forced to live up to a higher set of standards. It's really unfortunate if you think about it.

The thing I love about God and ministry is that God's power is perfected in my greatest weakness. That takes the pressure to perform off the table. I can swing for the fence and know full well that even if I fail, God can still use me if my motivation is to bring him glory. So go for the high note and take a risk in life. Don't be afraid to fail. Failure to try your best is actually the biggest failure of all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

That's My King!

Check out this message by one of the best preachers ever, S.M. Lockridge. He rocks! Watch this video and let God prepare your heart during this week as we get ready to celebrate what Jesus did on the cross!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Friend Day

This weekend is Friend Day at PCC! Let me encourage all you to invite your friends to church this weekend as we celebrate the ultimate friend - Jesus. We've got some awesome videos for church this weekend, as well as some really cool music planned. It's going to be a great opportunity to introduce your friends to church and Christ. Also, both you and your friend will receive a $10 gift card to one of the best restaurants in town. So, take your friend out to lunch after church on us!

Here are a few reasons to invite a friend to church:

1) Because there is nothing good on tv this weekend anyway.

2) Most people will say they are looking to meet new people.

3) Um, because Jesus commanded us to reach out in love.

4) Did I mention the free gift?

5) The incredible Kid's Ministry at PCC.

6) It's a great place to meet your future spouse. Hey, it worked for me.

7) It's not as smoky as a bar.

8) You don't sweat as much as going to the gym. Unless you're on the set up / tear down crew.

9) The rockin' worship.

10) Three words - Free Starbucks Coffee!

Monday, March 10, 2008

40 Days of Love Report

For the past 40 Days, PCC has focused on demonstrating God's love in a very practical way here in the Pocono Mountains. We've not only discussed love in our community group settings, defined it on Sunday morning, displayed it towards one another ... but most of all we've wanted to help others discover God's love first-hand.

So, here are some practical ways we have helped others discover God's love:

1. Blood Drive - PCC volunteered to give blood to the local Red Cross. Our recruiting efforts were so successful that we had many who wanted to give but we didn't have enough capacity to meet all the needs. That's a good problem to have. But we'll be more prepared next time around.

2. Gas Buy Down - As gas prices continue to soar and with over 25,000 commuters in our community we decided to give away free gas by buying it down by 71 cents a gallon. We were able to give away 4000 gallons of gas and touch 400 families through this unique outreach. Way to go PCC. And a huge thanks to the many volunteers who stood in the rain and helped make this such a huge success.

3. Food Drive - We partnered with the local food pantry and because of the generosity of PCCers we were able to donate enough food to feed 200 families for 3 and half months. That's just so awesome. God smiles down on a church that serves the poor. Way to go PCC!

4. Commitment Sunday - Yesterday many PCCers made faith commitments to our It's About Time ... building fund. I'd love to tell you what the amount is ... but you're going to have to wait until Sunday. Sorry.

5. Community Groups - Hundreds of PCCers met in community groups and also read through the entire gospel of John together. We focus on spiritual growth seriously here at PCC and try to create an environment where people with will take personal responsibility to become all that God wants them to be.

There's nothing like being part of an outward focused church that seeks to be God's hands, feet, arms and love to a community. This is what it's all about. Is this fun or what!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Commitment Week - Part 3

Today I want to just give you an update on some of the commitments that have already been made during our 40 Days of Love Spiritual Initiative.

1. Commitment to Christ - this year we have already seen 100 salivations at PCC. That's a great sign of an outward focused church that makes reaching people far from God a priority.

2. Commitment to Growing Spiritually - presently we have 33% of our church in community groups where we study God's Word, pray together and care for one another. I know there is a lot of room for improvement in our discipleship ministries but we are headed in the right direction.

3. Commitment to Give Blood - we had such a great turnout for our blood drive last weekend that we had to turn away over 150 people. Thanks to all of you who volunteered to give blood and your time to make this such a great success.

4. Commitment to It's About Time Building Fund - already, PCC has committed 1.5 million dollars in over and above giving to our building fund of which over $400,000 has already been given. This weekend we will invite all the new people at PCC to join this journey of faith and giving as well as giving those already part of PCC to reaffirm or increase their previous commitments.
5. Commitment to Pray - last night we met together at The Gathering, our monthly night of prayer and worship. What a great time we had together in God's presence and crying out to him. A church that prays and waits on God is a church where God can do amazing works.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Commitment Week - Part 2

When it comes to commitment, I often hear people say things like, "Some day I will become committed to going to the gym" or "Some day I will become committed to this relationship" or "Someday I will be committed to reading my Bible and praying everyday." Often times we look at commitment as something we grow towards.

Commitment, much like discipline, is not something you become one day in the future. On the contrary, commitment is something you do everyday. We don't grow towards commitment, we grow through them.

People who accomplish their dreams in life have committed to daily investments necessary to accomplish that dream. The marathon runner makes a commitment to run 1 mile a day years before ever entering and winning a 26K marathon. A New York Times best-selling author writes everyday and then re-writes for weeks before ever getting their first article published. The engineer designs thousands of failed products until one day she comes up with a brilliant idea. I think you get the point.

Commitment is a process of mini-milestones that must be met in order to achieve success. What are the milestones you have set in place to help you accomplish your dreams?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Commitment Week

This week I want to share some thoughts about commitment. At PCC, we are praying and asking God to speak to our hearts concerning a financial commitment to our new building campaign, It's About Time.

Here's what I know about commitments: we become in life what we are committed to. I recall a leader telling me many years ago, "Dave, I can tell you exactly where you will be 5 years from now and what you will be like by simply looking at your commitments today." I was like, "yeah, right?" But I soon learned the reality in life that overtime we become the sum total of our commitments.

Here are some of my commitments:

1) I am committed to spending daily quite time with God.
Result: growing follower of Christ.
2) I am committed to my wife and kids and spending time with them every day.
Result: building a strong healthy family.
3) I am committed to becoming the best pastor I can possibly be.
Result: a growing and healthy church.
4) I am committed to reading, listening to best practices seminars, etc.
Result: i will become a growing leader.
5) I am committed to tithing and over and above giving.
Result: financial stability and blessing.
6) I am committed to eating healthy and exercising: NOT!
Result: I am out of shape, get winded walking up a flight of stairs, overweight and loathe my
sedentary lifestyle. You see, it works both ways.

We become what we are committed to. What are you committed to?