Monday, June 30, 2008

Guest Blogger - KyAnne Weaver

KyAnne Weaver is the Childrens Director here at PCC. She is an outstanding leader and one of the most creative, hard-working, and loyal staff members I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

KyAnne overseas more than 100 volunteers on a weekly basis and hundreds of kids that call PCC their church home. She is also the mother of three teenage boys.

While I'm on vacation this week and taking a much needed break, I've asked her to share some thoughts with you regarding Childrens ministry, leadership, and life in general. Have a great week!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Today Bekah and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. It's crazy to think that we have been together that long already. Time really flies when you are having fun.

Just want to thank God for my wife Rebekah. She's the best wife a man could ever hope for - a real Proverbs 31 kind of a woman.

I'm really blessed to have her by my side to walk with me through this journey of life.

Love you Bekah!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Juicy Fruit

Last week we kicked off our new summer teaching series on the fruit of the Holy Spirit called, Juicy Fruit. Check out the video intro that the media team put together. Great job guys! Looking forward to speaking this weekend on LOVE. If you missed last week, click here to listen.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Suffering Church

The Voice of the Martyrs reports that Muslims closed yet another church in Indonesia.

According to VOM, “The sign(pictured left) outside the church building stated, ‘This church building is sealed,’ and it was written on a letterhead belonging to the Tambun Selatan district of Bekasi local government.”

A report by Britain's intelligence service MI6 reveals for the first time an estimated 200 million Christians in 60 countries are now facing persecution orchestrated, in part, by al-Qaida. The report is based on details from MI6 agents stationed in the countries.

North Korea is identified as the world's worst oppressor of Christians. More than 50,000 Christians are incarcerated in work camps because they refuse to submit to the extreme views rigorously enforced by the country's dictator, Kim Jong- il.

An estimated 40,000 Christians are imprisoned in China for their beliefs. Untold hundreds of thousands even millions of other Christians suffer for the cause of Christ in countries around the world.

What can I do?
1) Pray for the my brothers and sisters in Christ.
2) Support ministries that focus on helping the suffering Church.
3) When you experience persecution, thank God that you have done enough effective ministry to bring spiritual opposition.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jesus in China

I was reading Dave Furguson's blog, Velocity, and he referenced a recent article in The Chicago Tribune titled, "Jesus in China: Christianity's Rapid Rise ." It's a definite must read.

Christianity, specifically evangelical Spirit-filled Christianity, is outgrowing every other major world religion. In fact, Evangelical Christianity is growing 2 times faster than Islam and 3 times faster than Buddhism and Hinduism.

A good friend of mine who is a missionary in China recently spoke at PCC. He said that there is potentially over 100 million Christians in China already, with thousands coming to faith each week.

Click on this link to watch a 2 minute report on what God's Spirit is doing in China.

God's Spirit is sweeping across this globe in preparation of a great end time revival. My prayer is that we here in America will not be passed by in this move of God. We must be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is doing and also be willing to learn from other churches and commit to effectively evangelizing the lost wherever God has planted us.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Global Evangelism Facts

Gordon Conwell's Center for the Study of Global Christianity, The Joshua Project, presents some interesting facts on the current condition of unreached people groups around the world.

Here are a few highlights:

Of 235 total countries, 169 (72 percent) are Christian-majority countries. The total population for these countries is 2.32. billion.

77 percent of the unreached/least reached people groups are in the 10/40 window.

The largest least-reached group is the Japanese, with more than 120 million people.

An average of 160,000 a day hear the message of Christ for the first time.

Every hour 3,000 more people decide to follow Christ.

In 1800, 75% of the globe's population had never heard the Gospel. Today, only 28% have not heard the Gospel for the first time. That mean, 1.5 billion people have not heard the Gospel even one time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Statement on Revival

In response to what some are referring to as a revival (Lakeland Outpouring) taking place in Lakeland, Florida - Dr. George Wood, The General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God offers this "Statement on Revival." 

Take a few minutes and listen to this statement and you will learn how to prayerfully and Biblically evaluate the move of God's Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brooklyn Tab

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending some time with Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York City.

Pastor Jim has had a profound impact on my life and ministry through his books (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire; Fresh Faith; Breakthrough Prayer, The Church That God Blesses; etc.) and through the Tuesday night prayer meeting held at BT.

In fact, when we planted PCC 5 years ago about 40 people (just about the entire adult portion of our church at the time) chartered a bus and attended the Tuesday night prayer meeting. This proved to be a life-changing experience for me and our church plant. To witness an entire church calling on the name of the Lord in a corporate experience was so powerful.

Here are a few things I learned from Pastor Jim yesterday:

1. Love God with all your heart and live each day with a fresh supply of the Holy Spirit.

2. Teaching people to call upon the name of the Lord trumps "cute and clever programs".

3. Don't be in a hurry when you are in God's presence. Take time each day to cultivate an intimate relationship with God through the person of the Holy Spirit.

4. Surround yourself with humble, Godly men and women that know how to pray.

5. Reaching the lost and seeing them saved by God's amazing grace never gets old.

6. The most authentic expression of worship is simply saying "yes" to God.

7. God blesses a church that abandons itself to His Word and is desperate for the Holy Spirit to show up in their midst.

8. A church will eventually reflect the inner life of its leader.

9. There is no room for racism in the Kingdom of God.

10. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Juicy Fruit

This weekend we are kicking off our summer message series called, "Juicy Fruit." For ten weeks we are going to take an in-depth look at what the Bible says about the Fruit of the Spirit.

What does it mean to live a Spirit-filled life?

How do I cultivate the character of Christ in my own life?

As a Christ follower, what characteristics define my faith.
We'll answer these questions and more in this exciting new series! Start reading the book of Galatians and John 15 in preparation for this weekend.

Monday, June 16, 2008


When you are in a season of growth in ministry, it won't be long until you start experiencing tons of distractions. Distractions come in many shapes and sizes.

Here's just a few:
  • Internal Conflict - Negative people inside your church who criticize and don't line up with your vision
  • External Opportunities - Invitations from ministries outside your local church who want you to come and speak or be involved in a ministry opportunity that might be good but it's not the best use of your time. Or there is the invitation to the all-expense paid "vision trip" so your church will give their ministry money
  • Personal Temptations - when things start going well - the devil will throw every temptation in your face to make your fail.
  • Missional Opposition - Roadblocks designed by the enemy to intentionally thwart the progress of your ministry.
What's the solution? When Nehemiah faced similar distractions while rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, he said, "I am doing a good work and I will not come down off this wall." Remind yourself what God has called you to do and focus your energy and attention on that work. Don't look to the left or to the right. Be like Jesus, who, in the midst of distractions and people who tried to get him off course, set his face like a flint towards Jerusalem."

Stay focused and ask God to strengthen your hands and then put your hand to the plow and don't look back.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Church Pirates

I saw this post yesterday on Ed Youngs blog and thought it was an interesting take on the inherent dangers involved in church planting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Father's Day

This weekend is Father's Day. My message title for Sunday is, "God: #1 Dad". I wanted to share a post today about some of the characteristics I've learned about my heavenly father through the example of my earthly dad.

Here are just a few:

1. Faithful - my dad is the most faithful man I know. My dad is "Mr. Steady Eddie." Nothing rocks his boat. He's never too happy and never too disappointed. He lives his life on an even keel. That kind of consistency produces stability. One of my dad's favorite lines is, "An irrevocable commitment to continuity produces emotional and spiritual stability."

2. Forgiving - Father's need to possess a forgiving heart, especially when it comes to their children. I thank God everyday for His forgiveness and for the fact that he gave me an earthly dad who has such grace to cover over my multitude of mistakes as a young man. Like the father of the prodigal son, dad's need to have the kind of forgiveness it takes to welcome their son home even when they've disgraced the family name and blown their inheritance.

3. Fun - Dad's need to have a great sense of humor. The Bible says in the book of Ecclesiastes that "there is a time to laugh." I love the fact that I have a dad who knows how to have fun and enjoy life. He's told me more than once not to take myself too seriously. I want to pass that same joy, laughter and lightheartedness on to my kids so they know how to have fun and enjoy life.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weekend Update

What an awesome weekend here in the Poconos. It's been gorgeous and hot as this heat wave on the Northeast swept through our community. Even though attendance was down yesterday at PCC because of the NASCAR Pocono 500 Race, we still had great services. We wrapped up our series Exposed: Expelling the Myth of Evolution. The message will be posted later today if you missed it.

After second service I had the opportunity to go to the race with some of my friends. It was my first race ever and it certainly won't be my last. What a rush! The roar of the 40 race cars with their 800 horsepower engines is a sound that will never get old.

This week is shaping up be another busy one with staff meeting, creative team planning meetings, sermon preparation, construction meeting, and also a trip to NYC for a one day seminar. I'm incredibly blessed to get to do what I love everyday.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Qualities of Leadership - Pt. 4

Character has been defined as who you are when no one else is looking. It's what you really are on the inside that counts the most. You can fool a lot of people in life and ministry. You can fool God, your spouse, your kids, your church members ... you can even fool yourself. But you can't fool God. He knows your heart. Character is a matter of the heart.

The reality is that what's in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. The Bible says, "out of the mouth flows the heart." Jesus said that the fruit of your life will reveal the kind of person you really are. A man/woman of character will produce spiritual fruit by walking and keeping in step with the spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, etc. (See Gal. 5).

As a leader, you must walk with the Holy Spirit and stay connected to the Spirit of Jesus (John 15). If you don't have the character of Christ in leadership, than you have nothing. Solomon said that "a good name is better than a fine perfume." In life and leadership, character counts the most.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Qualities of Leadership - Part 4

Leadership takes self-discipline. Here's a cold hard fact: you cannot lead someone else until you first are capable of leading yourself. And you can't lead yourself until you surrender the control of your life to the Holy Spirit. In fact, none of the other qualities of leadership will amount to anything without self-discipline. Someone once said that before you can conquer the world you have to first conquer yourself.

Look at Jesus. The Bible says nothing of his life between the age of 12-30 other than "he grew in stature and wisdom." The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus learned obedience. Obedience begins with a heart fully surrendered to God. Oswald Sanders says that a leader is someone who has learned to obey a discipline imposed from without, and has then taken on a more rigorous discipline from within.

I've seen so many capable and talented leaders crash and burn because huge portions of their life were flying under the radar screen of the Holy Spirit. Those who rebel against authority and reject self-discipline are not qualified to lead. Before you lead others you must first follow the Holy Spirit. Followership always precedes leadership. Too many leaders who desire to lead fail because they never learned to follow.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Qualities of Leadership - Pt. 3

Meekness is not a characteristic highly valued in our world today. Meekness does not fit well into the desire to get ahead and climb the corporate ladder of success in the this capitalistic society. No, this dog-eat-dog world says that you walk over anyone who gets in your way without regard for others or ethical standards. This "me first" society is driven by the competitive edge and will do whatever it takes to win.

Meekness on the other hand sees others as more important than oneself. Meekness puts others first. Many confuse meekness with weakness. On the contrary, meekness is not weakness. It's strength under control. It's iron wrapped in velvet. In fact, meekness is the pinnacle of self-control. It doesn't fly off the handle and it isn't always "me first." Without meekness- leaders live lives of unbridled emotion which leads to chaos and confusion.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Qualities of Leadership - Pt. 2

A Teachable Spirit
One of the indispensable characteristics of a top flight leader is the ability to learn from anyone. When I think I've arrived or know it all - that's the moment I'm through as a leader. On the other hand, when I give others - either my colleagues or superiors - the permission to speak into my life in order to help me grow - that's when I can soar as a leader.

My staff and I are just finishing the book, "Leadership and Self-Deception." The premise of the book is how to discover and overcome blind spots in our lives. Blind spots or what the author refers to as self-deception is the inability to detect our own character flaws and the unwillingness to let others help us overcome them.

Someone once said, "It's in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost." That darkness or blind spots is the downfall of any great leader. Typically those with an unteachable spirit reject constructive criticism and recoil in anger, blame and betrayal.

Be a leader worth following by maintaining a teachable spirit.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Qualities of Leadership - Pt. 1

Submission to Authority:
We all live under authority. Think about it. I am under the authority of the US government. If I don't pay my taxes, I go to jail. I live under the authority of the local law enforcement. If I speed on the highway, I get a ticket. I live under the authority of physical laws that govern the universe. If I jump off a bridge without a bungee cord or parachute, I go splat.

But there are also spiritual authorities that govern our lives. The man on the motorcycle is one of those spiritual authorities. He's my pastor and friend - Jim Rugg. He holds me accountable as I lead my family and church. I choose to submit to him as a spiritual authority and he holds me accountable theologically, financially, morally and ethically in ministry. He's my covering.

Authority is not a bad thing. It has been established by God himself to help us, not hurt us. We all need it in our life. It's like an umbrella that keeps us dry in the rain and cool in the sun. The protection it offers is invaluable. Those that cannot submit to any authority are reckless and full of pride. The Bible says that God hates the prideful, but exalts those of humility to high places. We choose daily to submit to authority and when we fail to do so, we disqualify ourselves as leaders and open our lives up to the work of the enemy.