Friday, October 30, 2009

Pastor Appreciation Month

October is Pastor Appreciation month.

I want to give thanks today for Pastor Matt (PCC's youth pastor) and Pastor Ronnie (PCCs Creative Arts Pastor). These guys are hard working, loyal and incredibly gifted men of God. I'm blessed to be able to have them on my team and partner with me in reaching the Poconos for Christ.

All you PCCers please be sure to send them a note of thanks and a word of encouragement this month. They give so much of themselves to this work.

I'm also incredibly grateful to lead Pocono Community Church. There is no place I'd rather be and no people I'd rather lead than PCC. I love our church.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Recommendation

My friend Nelson Searcy's new book, Ignite, is an excellent read on creating a culture of evangelism in your church. Nelson is a master at systematizing just about anything. In Ignite, he's done it again by presenting a full orbed evangelism system for your church.

Ignite is packed with practical insight on how to reach out with Christ's love through servant evangelism, big days to break growth barriers and much more.

Congrats again, Nelson, on your new book. I know its helping tons of pastors out there just like it helped me and PCC.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winners & Losers

A Winner respects those who are superior to him and tries to learn something

from them; a Loser resents those who are superior and rationalizes their


A Winner explains; a Loser explains away.

A Winner says, "Let's find a way; a Loser says, "There is no way."

A Winner goes through a problem; a Loser tries to go around it.

A Winner says, "There should be a better way to do it"; a Loser says,

"That's the way it's always been done."

A Winner shows he's sorry by making up for it; A Loser says, "I'm sorry,"

but does the same thing next time.

A Winner knows what to fight for and what to compromise on; a Loser

compromises on what he shouldn't, and fights for what isn't worth fighting


A Winner works harder than a loser, and has more time; a Loser is always

"too busy" to do what is necessary.

A Winner is not afraid of losing; a Loser is secretly afraid of winning.

A Winner makes commitments; a Loser makes promises.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Skunk Test

Apparently a skunk got ran over on main street in our little town of Mount Pocono. Poor critter. I drove over the road kill wreckage on my way to the gym Monday morning. Not a pleasant smell at 6am in the morning - well, anytime for that matter. The nasty aroma of this furry creature known for its stinkyness while alive (much worse once dead) wafted into my car and about made me toss my cookies. Working out makes me nauseous enough. I don't need any help from a dead skunk.

That was four days ago. On my way to the gym today the skunk still laid in the middle of the road. I thought the township crews that have been working right on main street all week would have got rid of the skunk by now. Here's to wishful thinking. I can only assume that "road kill removal" wasn't part of their job description.

This got me to thinking, "how often do we do the same thing in our churches or homes or office complexes all the time." We walk by trash without picking it up. We walk by people without a greeting them and looking for an opportunity to make them feel comfortable in church. We tell our kids who are desperate for our attention, "Not now, later." We walk by the nursery or other ministry area that is understaffed and we say, "That's not on my job description ... That's not my ministry." Meanwhile, whether we realize it or not, our environment stinks. But we are so consumed with our own little world we don't even notice.

Jesus said, "go the extra mile." In other words, don't just do what's expected of you. Go beyond the requirements and expectation. Seek opportunities to serve even if it's not "in your gift mix." Take a cue from Rebekah in the Old Testament who handled a little road kill of her own - well, actually they were camels. But she did more than what was asked. It landed her a husband and put her in under God's favor and blessing. Yeah, roadkill may stink, but someone has to remove it. When you take that initiative you turn a selfishly foul smelling world into the sweet aroma God intended it to be all along.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stress Less

So we are in this Financial Peace series and we're talking about how God wants to exchange our stress with His peace. Nothing will stress us out more than financial pressure and debt. There is no denying that this is a tough economy and a lot of people are feeling the pinch. That can lead to a ton of stress.
Here some recent things I discovered about stress.
  • 43% of all Americans adults suffer stress-related adverse effects.
  • 75-90% of all health care visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints and disorders.
  • 1 million workers are absent each day for stress related complaints. That equals 25 billion lost work days annually. All because of stress.
  • That’s why God doesn’t want you to live with stress. He wants you to experience his peace.

What are you stressing about today? Your financial situation? A relationship? A health issue? Focus less on your problems and more on the solution - Jesus. The Bible says, “God keeps in perfect peace, those whose minds are stayed on him.” Trust more. Stress less.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Night Reflections

Here are some thoughts on another great day at PCC.
  • Financial Peace series is in full swing. Tons of people made solid commitments to become debt free, financially and spiritually.
  • The Hezekiah Walker song at the end of service, "Faithful" was awesome. Thanks worship team for such inspiring worship.
  • The media team did an awesome job today too. The video roll-in was stinkin' hilarious. Thanks for creating such a fun atmosphere at PCC.
  • We are memorizing Hebrews 13:5, "Live your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have."
  • God isn't into get-rich-quick schemes. The reality is the we didn't get into debt over night and we're not going to get out of it overnight. It's going to take time, sacrifice, hard work and a change of heart. But all things are possible with God.
  • There is no true peace in life without Jesus in your life. He IS our peace.
  • Many prayed to make peace with God by accepting God's debt cancellation plan - Jesus on the cross. Col. 2:14
  • So excited about this series and what God is doing in our community groups this fall. So grateful to lead PCC. What a great church!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Men's Retreat

PCC has a great event coming up for ALL men THIS SATURDAY. It’s called ‘Discipleship Boot Camp’. This Discipleship Boot Camp will deliver the power and truth of relevant, life-changing, field tested ministry to men through the form of teaching and multi-media presentations.

It will take place Saturday, October 17th @ Brooklyn Tabernacle and the cost is only $30.00. That price includes your transportation & breakfast! You can register NOW by calling 839-3459. There are only a few spots available, so please act fast for this great time of fellowship and discipleship. The bus will leave at 5:30 AM.

Let It Snow!

It's hard to believe but the snow has already begun to fall in the Poconos! This is the view out of my office window. The weather forecaster is calling for 3 inches of snow.
Things I like to do on a snowy day:
1. Build a snow man with my kids.
2. Make snow angels with my kids.
3. Write my name ... just kidding : )
4. Drink hot chocolate and dunk my toast in it.
5. Build a fire.
6. Make homemade bread.
7. Read a good book by the fire.
8. Eat the bread.
9. Have a snowball fight with my kids.
10. Go for a walk in the woods.

Gotta love living in the Pocono Mountains!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A True Friend

The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a "friend of sinners." Why? Because he was a friend of sinners. Duh! He hung with them all the time. He went to social gatherings and mixed and mingled with some of the most notorious sinners in his community. Jesus said, "For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mt. 9:13)

Pharisees still exist. They still criticize and complain about how growing churches water down the Gospel and are too accepting of those outside the church. D.L. Moody, the great evangelist was once criticized for his style and strategies of reaching people for Christ. In response, he said, "I like my way of doing evangelism better than the way you don't do it."

I've found that most people who criticize me and our church and what we do to reach the unsaved in our community are for the most part not doing a blessed thing to reach anyone for Christ. Andy Stanley says, "People who are nothing like Jesus, like Jesus." It's only the religious and superspiritual "Christians" (modern day Pharisees) that think they are so much like Jesus that don't get it. The more you are like Jesus, the more you are going to like people who aren't like him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekend Highlights

We had a great weekend at PCC. Here are some of the highlights:
  • We baptized 18 new followers of Jesus after the 3rd service. One of them was a first time guest. So very cool to see people respond to the move of God's Spirit.
  • Gave away $3000 to help people get out of debt! How amazing is that. It was our debt reduction gift giveaway with our new series, Financial Peace. One of the recipients actually gave her gift away. PCC get ready for God's blessing. We are developing a radical culture of generosity.
  • Almost 700 people now signed up for fall community groups that kick off this weekend. So thankful for all the community group leaders who are willing to invest in others.
  • Worship team was AWESOME this week. Love that new song.
  • Digital kids check in system is working well.
  • Can't wait until next weekend! We have a something special for everyone at all 3 of our services.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

First Wednesday

You don't want to miss our First Wednesday ... a night of prayer, worship and communion. Tonight will prove to be one of our best prayer meetings ever. Please make every effort to attend. Childcare will also be available.

Also, on a personal note, please keep my wife, Rebekah, in your prayers. She was admitted to the hospital yesterday evening due to pre-term delivery activity. She is 33 weeks pregnant with our son and she is now at risk for an early delivery. The doctors are doing their best to use medication to slow down and hopefully stop the delivery from occurring at least until Monday. All those efforts have not proved successful so far. Also, they are administering steroids to help prevent the baby from bleeding in the brain or bowels and to develop the lungs much quicker in the event of a delivery within the next 48 hours.

I appreciate your prayers and concerns for Bekah and our little one. We are resting assured of God's grace and the power of prayer.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Teams Work

For us at PCC, church is a team sport. And when I say team, I'm referring to something more akin to soccer rather than America's favorite pastime, baseball. We don't operate with the mentality of putting our hope in an all-star, multi-million dollar player that gets up to the plate and with one solitary swing of the bat can change the outcome of the game.

The metaphor that best symbolizes us at PCC is that of a soccer team that works together simultaneously and in sync as they pass the ball to one another and move it towards the ultimate goal.

I love working with my team here at PCC. They are a diverse, multi-talented group of some of the most compassionate and gifted people I know.

Here's why I like working with teams:
1. Teams get more done.
2. Teams have more fun.
3. Teamwork generates greater creativity.
4. Teams encourage each other. If one fails, there are others around to pick up the slack and encourage the fallen.
5. Teams hold one another accountable.

Here's a nice saying to live by: all of us is better than one of us.

Monday, October 05, 2009

On Giving Your Best

Mark 14 tells the story of a woman that breaks up a dinner party to anoint Jesus with expensive perfume. All the dignified guest were disgusted with her apparent disruption and extravagant waste. But Jesus quickly comes to her defense saying, "She did what she could."

I love that story. I love Jesus' statement even more. When we give our best, that's good enough for Jesus. That's hard for me to wrap my brain around sometimes. I'm so driven to succeed and thus focus on results. I'm learning it's more about my brokenness (she broke the bottle as a sign of Jesus' ultimate brokenness on the cross) than bottom lines.

So, for now on, I'm going to do what I can. Lead from brokenness. And leave the results of to God.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

New Series: Financial Peace

This weekend we kick off our fall teaching series, Financial Peace. In this series we will cover topics such as:
*how to find financial peace
*how to get out of debt and stay out
*how to honor God with my giving
*how to set up a budget
*how to discover the joy of generosity
*and much more.

In addition to kicking off the weekend series, we are also offering a $1000 Debt Reduction Gift. Go here to register for the gift.

Also, our fall Community Groups kick off next week. Hundreds have already signed up and you don't want to miss this opportunity. We will be going through the Managing My Money's God's Way DVD curriculum. Go here to sign up for a community group online.