Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morning and Evening Devotional

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”

— Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves.

When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition.

We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment —it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state!

Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building—and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus—

“For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,

As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.

’Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:

While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Highlights

This past weekend was perhaps the best weekend services we've ever had in the eight year history of our church. I can't really put my finger on it, but God just moved in a extraordinary way.

Here are some of the highlights:

*We kicked the weekend off with a Group Leaders conference. Over 100 leaders showed up and many of them committed to lead a group. Thanks so much to our staff for pulling together an awesome conference.

*Even with a couple inches of snow right before our Saturday evening and Sunday morning services, we still had great attendance. We kicked off the new series, Satan's SexEd. A huge thanks to for inspiring the series and creative elements.

*I preached a message on what Satan doesn't want you to know about sex: Sex is sacred, Sex is sticky, and Sex is serious. Go here to listen to the message.

*You could literally hear a pin drop a few different times during the message which often times was followed by people weeping as the Spirit was ministering among the crowd. Amazing.

*Bekah and I went out on a date Friday night and met a young man, Christian Porter, who was playing some live music. We ended up inviting him to perform at PCC for the new series and he agreed. What an amazingly talented young man. He played "I'm Yours" by Jason Marz and "Collide" by Howie Day. You can listen here at the 34:45 minute mark. Can't wait to hear him next week.

*My friend attended this past weekend for the first-time. He really enjoyed the service and told me he plans on attending for the next two weeks of the series. Really praying for him and his family.

*I took Bekah to see Blue Man Group last night for Valentine's Day. We had an awesome time at the show and dinner with some friends.

*Thanks so much for all those that wished me a happy birthday today. I appreciate all the kind words and sentiments.

*To top it all off, my staff bought me an iPAD for my birthday. Thanks team! You guys rock! Love being your pastor and leader.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Satan's SexED

This weekend Satan is coming to PCC. That's right. We are kicking off a brand new message series called "Satan's SexED". School is officially in session starting Saturday night and Sunday morning.

You do NOT wants to miss one week of this series. The title of the kickoff message is "What Satan Says About Sex" and we will also look at the top 3 things Satan doesn't want you to know about sex.

This series is for EVERYONE - moms, dads, teens, even grandparents.

We've got some great music, videos and worship experiences planned for this series. INVITE EVERYONE you know. This subject is way too important not to address.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Groups Conference

This Saturday PCC is hosting our Spring Groups Leaders Conference.

Groups are a huge part of what we do at PCC. In fact, they are the heartbeat of our family.

Here are some benefits of participating in or leading a group:

+A great place to make new friends.
+ Learn more about the Bible.
+ Receive pastoral care.
+ Develop your leadership skills.
+ Make a difference for Jesus.

If you are interested in leading or facilitating a group, please join us from 8:30 to Noon. Childcare and a continental breakfast will be provided.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Starting Power vs. Staying Power

Passion drives people to start things. People start all kinds of stuff: marriages, careers, businesses, non-profit organizations, friendships, churches, diets, exercise habits and the list goes on. Most likely you've started some new ventures in your life - perhaps even in the form of "new years resolution" last month.

But the same passion that leads you to start something won't be enough to make you stay with something. Starting power is easy. Everybody loves to dream and the thought of starting something new is always attractive. Dreams are free ... in the beginning.

But staying with something is another matter entirely. Staying power is the sacrifice to realize ones dreams. After the going gets tough and the love fads and the passion wanes - that's when the staying power kicks in. Staying with a marriage that's on the rocks. Staying with a church or ministry when it goes backward instead of forward. Staying with a friend who's hurt you. Staying with a sales position after three "no's" and not meeting your quarterly quota. That's tough.

Jesus' promise in Philippians 1:6 gives me staying power: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion." Jesus always finishes what He starts. My life and your life are works in progress. Never give up on your dreams. Opposition is simply the test to discover the true mettle of a man. It builds character and resolve in the heart of a dreamer. And when the going gets tough, call on Jesus to give you the power to stay put and finish what you've started.

Monday, February 07, 2011

PCCs 4G Network

This past weekend I shared the vision of the 4G Network at PCC. Here are some of the highlights:

1. God wants me to GROW.
  • PCC is a place to grow in your faith.
  • 1 Peter 2:2 says "grow up" into your salvation
  • 2 Peter 3:8 says "grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord"
  • We grow through our commitments.
2. God wants me to be in a GROUP.
  • Groups where the heartbeat of the New Testament Church
  • Acts 2:42, 45 says they were committed to community.
  • They met in the temple courts (corporate worship experiences) and in their homes (small groups).
  • Groups are a place for connection.
3. God wants me to GIVE.
  • 1 Peter 4:10 says that "each one has a gift"
  • We are to give our gifts back to God by serving one another
  • Luke 6:38 reminds us that we can't outgive God.
  • At PCC, we are turning consumers into contributors.
4. Go wants me to GO.
  • Jesus told us in Mat. 28:19 to "go and make disciples"
  • The church is commanded to continue the mission of Jesus
  • Jesus cames to seek and save the lost (Lk.19:10)
  • At PCC, it's all about lives that are changed.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Vision Weekend @ PCC!

This weekend is Vision Weekend at PCC. I'm stoked to share the vision that God has given to me for PCC. It's the vision of our house!

Don't miss my vision talk entitled: The 4G Network. Together we will discover what God really wants us to do in and through us as we purpose to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let me share a couple reasons why we talk a lot about vision at PCC.

The Value of Vision:

1. Visions creates CLARITY.
  • That's why we are commanded to "write the vision, make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it." Habakkuk 2:2
  • In a growing church there are many new people who need to know what the church is about, where we are going, what we value, etc.
  • There are also people who have been around for awhile that need to be reminded about the vision in the house. Like Bill Hybels says, "Vision leaks." It's like a tire and we all need to be filled up and fired up often.
2. Visions creates UNITY.
  • It gets everyone on the same page in the playbook.
  • Proverbs 29:18 says, "Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint."
  • Vision gets everyone headed in the same direction. It creates alignment around a unified cause.
  • Many churches, like many families, will often become stale, stagnant and divided because there is no vision in the house.
  • If people don't know what the vision is, they will create their own.
  • When you have more than one vision ... that's called division.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Breaking Growth Barriers - Part 3

7. Get a coach.
  • A good coach will help you be the best you can be.
  • Find a coach that leads a church at least twice your size. You need to talk to someone who's a few steps ahead of you.
  • Every Timothy needs a Paul. Every Paul needs a Timothy.
  • While there are many good coaching networks out there - you would be surprised at how many pastors are willing to give you their time and invest in you for nothing in return.
  • The ministry can be very discouraging. You need a coach and a friend who will strengthen your hand in God when the going gets touch.
  • Some coaching relationships I've had have been very informal. It would consist of a call once a month on the phone and email communication.
  • Other coaching relationships have been very structured and formal.
  • Some leaders I consider my coaches but I've never met them. I read their books, blogs, watch them preach online, follow them on Twitter, purchase conference DVDs, etc.
  • You can learn a lot from afar.
8. Start and/or strengthen your small groups system.
  • Small groups are critical to breaking growth barriers.
  • You need to become an expert in small groups or hire an expert.
  • Pastors need to lead or participate in a small group.
  • They are a great place to provide pastoral care in a growing church, more intense Bible study and spiritual growth.
  • Small groups are a great vehicle to cast vision and raise up new leaders, as well.
9. Think twice your size.
  • You need to get through your next growth barrier in your head and heart until you will have the skills in your hand.
  • I recall learning this when our church was 350. I specifically remember saying to my coach when he told me this: "I can never lead a church of 700 or 1500." He said, "You're right, if you keep thinking like that."
  • Begin to ask: "What kind of leader would I need to be to lead a church twice my current size?"
  • "What kind of staff would we need?" "What kind of budget would we need to resource that?" "How many volunteers would it take?" "How many services would we need?" "How big of a facility would we need?"
  • If you can dream it, you can do it!
10. Go after lost people.
  • It's all about people who need Jesus.
  • Yes, we need programs, processes but it's all about lost people.
  • In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, "Go and make disciples." He didn't say build big buildings. He commanded us to build big people.
  • In Luke 14 Jesus tells us to "go out into the hedges and highways and compel people to come in ... so that my house might be full." Jesus loves a room filled with lost people so that they can hear the good news, repent and be saved.
  • It's no victory if we are simply reaching other Christians from other churches. There will always be an element of that in our churches, but it should never be the focus.
  • We are called to rescue those that do not know God nor the power of his salvation.
  • If that is our motivation, God will see to it that we are leading a growing church.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Breaking Growth Barriers - Part 2

4. Focus on making it Better before making it Bigger.
  • If you make it better, it will naturally demand that it gets bigger
  • Do everything with excellence
  • Excellence demonstrates that what is happening in your church/organization is important.
  • So make the weekend service as good as you can make it.
  • Have the best possible worship service you can have. Pray and fast and plan and prepare.
  • Put together the best possible message you can and preach it with all your guts as if eternity hangs in the balance because it does.
  • Make your kids program an unforgettable experience for the little ones so they can learn about Jesus in an environment that is fun, kid-friendly and interactive.
  • Create a warm and friendly experience for your weekend attendees and first time guests with trained car parking crews, ushers, greeters, guest services hosts, etc.
  • What happens in the local church should be the talk of the town because there is nothing more important to talk about than Jesus! There is nothing more important going on than what Jesus is doing by changing lives!
5. Delegate more and/or hire new staff.
  • Most pastors do way too much
  • We need to delegate as many tasks as possible
  • Find out what you can only do in your church and delegate everything else (For me, the 3 main things I do are: Lead communicator/vision castor, Lead the staff, Resource Development)
  • Delegate doesn't mean dump.
  • Delegate responsibility with accountability and authority
  • Follow the medical adage: Watch One, Do One, Teach One
  • To break growth barriers you will also need to hire staff
6. Make room to grow.
  • Adequate space will often times limit growth
  • Make more room for growth in every area: parking spaces, kids space, lobby space, transition between services (if you are in multiple services), auditorium space
  • Do you have enough room in your auditorium to grow?
  • Remember the Rule of 70% which says, "once your auditorium is 70% full, it is full"
  • Make more room by adding additional seats in your auditorium (if possible), adding additional services, finding a larger space to meet in, etc.
  • Americans don't like to be crowded / they like their space / they will take up 3 seats in a row if you let them.