Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What To Do & What NOT To Do

We stumbled on a leadership principle last week at PCC during the water baptism services. After the water baptisms (which occurred during the 5 weekend services), I had to go backstage to our green room to change and then come back out on stage to preach. The services are 65 minutes long and I had only 3 to 4 minutes to change out of the wet clothes and get back out there to preach.

The baptismal candidates entered onto the stage through the green room and were told to exit through the auditorium and then change in the restrooms in the lobby of the church. However, one of the girls decided to go back to the green room and change there - not technically her fault because she was never told not to do that.
Well, you could imagine my surprise when the door to the bathroom in the green room was locked because there was a girl changing in there. We acted quickly and my friend who was with me asked her to remain the bathroom until I finished changing in the green room itself. She was embarrassed and I felt really bad for her too. When I asked my staff pastor what happened his response was, "It's my fault ... I told them all what TO do, but I didn't tell them what NOT to do."
That's a powerful principle of leadership. You need to always tell people you lead what they should AND shouldn't do. Clarity is essential when it comes to setting expectations.
We see this demonstrated by God himself when he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He told them that they could eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told them what to do and what not to do.
The next time you lead people, remember this lesson and it could save both you and the people you lead from some potentially embarrassing situations.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend Update

Celebration Weekend at PCC this past Saturday and Sunday was amazing. We baptized 76 new followers of Christ. Watching people completely surrender to Christ through baptism never gets old. It was so cool to see entire families make a decision to live for Jesus.

We also wrapped up our series, Healer with a time of prayer for healing at the altars. Each of the 5 services was packed with people calling on Jesus for healing. It was inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time. As a pastor, our calling is to see the great needy of people and also to understand the great capacity of God to meet the needs. It's quite humbling to be part of a move of God here in the Poconos.

I want to thank all the hundreds of volunteers who are making PCC what it is. Your dedication to serve Christ by serving others is phenomenal. Thanks so much for loving the people of this community and for playing a huge part in bringing them to Jesus. So many lives are being changed and transformed by God's grace and mercy. I can't wait to see what God does next.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

True Love

I came across this video on my friend Jeff Leak's blog. It was the resignation speech by the Robert McQuilken, President of Columbia Bible College. He stepped down in order to care for his ailing wife suffering from Alzheimers. This is what true love is all about.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Leadership Secrets

"And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem." Nehemiah 2:12

Nehemiah was preparing to rebuild the city walls of Jerusalem. God had put a great vision in his heart that would result in a nationwide spiritual, economic, political and social renewal.
This move of God was going to be huge and Nehemiah knew it.
But wise leaders know when to speak and when to be silent. Every leader must keep leadership secrets. Nehemiah was careful to investigate and gather the facts and pray about the situation prior to inspiring people to join the cause. He showed leadership restraint in not speaking too soon or sharing too much.
Not everyone can handle the vision that God puts in a leaders heart. Sometimes the plans that God has for us seem overwhelming and require too much sacrifice.
Has God put a vision in your heart for the future. Be careful when and with whom you share it. Investigate and study how to make the vision a reality. And when the time is right - cast that vision and watch God bring it to pass.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pirate Monk

Below is a video by Nate Larkin, author of Samson and The Pirate Monks. Nate's story of healing and recovery is nothing but supernatural. His book is also a must read by all men, especially those in ministry.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Highlights

This past weekend God did some amazing works of grace and mercy at PCC. Here are some of the highlights:
+ Darryl and Tracy Strawberry were awesome. I've never met such humble and authentic people.
+Go here for the most recent news media coverage of last weekend. There are some really cool photos too.
+ There wasn't an ounce of pride in Darryl. God has rebuilt this man's life from the ground up. It was so cool to stand next to this man during the worship services and hear him sing and praise God.
+ Tracy is a dynamo. She's an anointed preacher of the Word. We have to have her back and do a women's conference.
+ I stand amazed at what God can do through a totally surrendered life. More people need to learn the Lordship of Christ and live it on a daily basis.
+ I was so proud of our staff and volunteer teams this weekend. You all did an amazing job. We had almost 2500 people here this weekend. That's over 1000 people larger than the same Sunday last year.
+ The altars were completely packed each service with people crying out to God for forgiveness and healing.
+ Our God is Jehovah Rappha - The Lord who heals!
+ The worship experience in the 1pm Spanish services was totally off the hook. The Latin rhythms were so cool and the presence of God was so real it literally brought me to my knees. God really ministered to me in that service.
+ I was so happy to see so many in the Saturday night service - over 400+. I love Saturday nights at PCC!
+ The Creative Arts Team did a great job this weekend with the sound, video for Darryl and the stage decor. Thanks!
+ We have tons of people are going to get baptized in a couple weeks. I can't wait to see and hear these stories of life change.
+ We are literally seeing a move of God in our community. I feel so humbled that God would allow us to be part of one of the greatest moves of his Spirit in the history of our community. What a treasure and honor to be part of this generation and witness this move of God firsthand.
+ I can't wait for next week. God has given me a powerful word on healing and restoration. I can't wait to preach!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Darryl Strawberry @ PCC

Former MLB All-Star and Champion, Darryl Strawberry will be speaking at Pocono Community Church this weekend.

Darryl's achievements on the field were often overshadowed by his struggles off the field. This weekend he will recount the highs, the lows and the lessons of hope and survival he learned along the way.

Once a superstar for the NY Mets (the best baseball team in NY) in the 1980s, Strawberry has since faced many personal challenges, including drug use, tax evasion, solicitation, rehab, and treatment for colon cancer.

His life changed course dramatically in 2006 with his wife Tracy, when they devoted themselves to Christ and to his work. Now, in his own words, Darryl delivers his inspirational narrative.

You don't want to miss this event. Darryl will be with us during the Sunday services at 8:30, 10am and 11:30am services. Be sure to invite your friends!

For those attending the Saturday evening service, we will be giving away a huge flat screen TV and hundreds of other prizes. I will also be sharing a special message entitled, "How God Heals Our Hidden Wounds." I'll see you then.

Here's an article from the Pocono Record.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

10 Questions the Unchurched ARE Asking

One of my "mentors from afar" is Perry Noble, Lead Pastor of New Spring Church. He recently posted on his blog 10 Questions that the Unchurched are NOT asking - a reality check for most church leaders. Great stuff, Perry.

In response, I came up with another question: What ARE the Unchurched Asking?

10 Questions the Unchurched ARE Asking:

1. Is there anyone in this church like me?
2. Will they accept me here?
3. Is it going to be a long and boring service?
4. Can I make a difference with my life and counteract injustice through this church?
5. Are they going to judge me at this church?
6. What do they have for my kids?
7. Will I find meaning and purpose for my life here?
8. Will the roof cave in or lightning strike when I walk in this church?
9. Can I ask hard questions about God in this place and feel safe sharing my doubts?
10. Will someone teach me about the Bible - it's principles and stories - and show me how to apply it to my life because I'm really interested in what it says and I really want to know more about Jesus - who he is and what he's all about.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Little Big Things

I just ordered Tom Peters new book, "Little Big Things". Tom is an amazing leader and business strategist. I've benefited greatly from his insight for many years. Here's a short video based on one of his chapters in his new book. If you are in business and struggling through this recession, this is a must watch video. Be warned though, there is one minor use of profanity.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

First Tuesday Prayer Meeting

To all you PCCers out there I want to remind you that tonight is our First Tuesday prayer meeting and worship service. We had to move to Tuesday nights because the Wednesday night youth service and prayer service grew too large and we aren't able to hold both services in the new building on the same night anymore. That's a good problem to have!

Tonight we are going to celebrate all that God did in and through PCC this past Easter weekend. We are going to sing, testify, pray and be encouraged by the Word of God. Remember, much prayer means much power. Please join me and the staff and volunteers as we cry out to God in thanksgiving and prayer.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Easter Update

This Easter weekend was nothing short of amazing. Here are some of the highlights:
  • The Friday Come and Go Communion was inspiring. Although we had 400+ people come to receive communion, it felt incredibly personal and intimate. Bekah and I really enjoyed connecting with singles, couples and entire families on a very personal level.
  • PCC set another Easter weekend attendance record with 2998 in attendance. Although we missed our miracle goal by only 2 people we are all incredibly pumped.
  • Saturday night service was crazy! We had almost 900 people showed up and over half the adults in the auditorium stood to receive Christ. Amazing!
  • Between the 5 weekend services, over 400 people received Christ. Miraculous!
  • I loved the Saturday night atmosphere. The crowd was early and full of energy. I think Saturday nights at PCC are going to be a huge success!
  • PCC gave a record non-building fund offering! What a great testimony of this church's generosity. Off the hook generous.
  • The creative worship arts team did an amazing job. The music, sounds lights and video was awe inspiring.
  • The Spanish service had almost 300 in attendance. Pastor Emilio and his dedicate team of volunteers did a phenomenal job. Also, 56 people gave their heart to Christ in that service alone. Wow! Yeah God.
  • A huge word of thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who served this Easter!!!
  • Also, thanks to all of you selfless PCC regular attenders who came to Saturday night and the 8:30 Sunday service to free up seats for guests. You are my heroes.
  • Please continue to invite your friends to come back this weekend to hear Daryl Strawberry's story of hope and healing. You don't want to miss it. Come early to get a good seat.
  • This weekend we are giving away over 1,000 gifts this weekend worth $4000 dollars including Sony Playstations 3s and Flat Screen TVs.
  • A huge thanks to all the volunteers that were in the office today doing follow up on hundreds of first time guests.
  • Don't forget tomorrow night is our First Tuesday prayer meeting. Please come out and celebrate with us all that God has done!
PCC it is such an honor to lead you and be your pastor. I'm truly humbled to be part of this great move of God in the Poconos. And here's the coolest thing - this is only the beginning. The best is yet to come. God has been revealing more and more of his vision for our church and I'm so excited about what the future holds.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter 2010

Celebrate Easter with the people of Pocono Community Church this weekend. We are going to have a great time together. Each of the 5 services will have great music, singing, special media presentations, inspiring and practical preaching and much more! You don't want to miss it.

Also, as an act of incredible generosity and just because we love our community, PCC is giving away over 1,000 prizes this Easter at all of our services - including flat screen TVs and Sony Playstations. Don't miss out on all the excitement.

Service Time are Saturday, April 3rd at 6pm and Sunday, April 4 at 8:30am, 10am, 11:30am and 1pm (Spanish).

There is still time to invite your friends. This could be the weekend that their life could be changed by the power of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. See you there!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Easter Confusion

Here's some interesting facts about Easter from H.B. London.

We all know that Christmas falls on December 25 and that our Independence Day celebration always takes place on July 4, but why do we observe Easter anytime from March 22 to April 25, and why is Easter usually after Passover, but sometimes before? And, to add to the confusion, for over a thousand years, the Western Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church have seldom celebrated Easter on the same day.

While both branches of the church calculate Easter as the first Sunday after the first full moon — on or after the Vernal Equinox (first day of Spring) — the Eastern Orthodox Church bases the calculation on the Julian calendar, while the Western Church uses the Gregorian calendar. The date of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is not based on the Julian or the Gregorian, but on the Jewish calendar, which places the beginning of Passover on the 15th day of the month of Nisan. As a result of the differences in the rules between the Hebrew and Gregorian cycles, Passover falls about a month after Easter in three years of the 19-year cycle.

Because of the changing date for the observance of Easter, some Christians feel that, for the sake of unity within the church around the world, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ should take place on the same day each year — such as the second Sunday of April. In 1963, the Second Vatican Council agreed that Easter should become a fixed holiday and, in 1997, the National Council of Churches proposed that the Western and Eastern churches find a unified method of calculating the date of Easter. This year and next, Easter just happens to be celebrated on the same day in both the Western and Eastern Church, but that is not scheduled to take place again until 2014 and 2017.