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All posts in Renewal

Don’t Add the Taco Bar

4 years ago I began to get discouraged because I sensed God changing me and my focus. The more He changed my desire the more frustrated I would become. I began to want something that at the time I wasn't in position to make happen. God was changing my heart and I thought the answer was in living out that change in my church at the time.

So the changes came.

Some were great for the church and some were not as beloved. It was frustrating because I KNEW these were good changes. I also knew that God was doing a work in my heart. What I didn't understand was that God was doing a work of preparation, grooming me for my future while I was becoming frustrated in my NOW. I am still totally convinced that what I did wasn't wrong; a lot of people gave their lives to Jesus during that time; it just wasn't a good fit for the situation that I was in and some people just didn't "get" the vision.

I talk to a lot of Pastors (and lay people) who are frustrated that they can't seem to steer the church they lead in the direction that they feel like God is leading them. Because of all I've been through I find myself thinking:

Maybe God isn't trying to change your church. Maybe God is trying to change you for another purpose.

Remember when Wendy's used to have the all-you-can-eat taco bar? Or when Burger King tried to be a sit down restaurant at night, making you sit down after you order and a waiter would bring your food to your table? Chances are you don't remember either of these instances because they both failed… they were trying to be something they weren't and it didn't work out.

Churches often think that a music change, a visual update or a younger Pastor will change their situation but truth is, before you have true change in a church God must bring true change to people's hearts.

Don't add the taco bar (or the contemporary service at 8:30 am – nobody will visit your church at 8:30 am). If you are in a church and are frustrated in your situation I would advise you help your church (and it's leadership) find out who they are and be the best at doing that kind of church that you can possibly be. You can change a service without changing the whole church. Make it better, help it flow, put more planning into place, pick your songs to go with your sermons and take the quality up to something that people can actually be excited enough to invite someone to be part of.

After you've done all this you may still find that you need to leave and discover that this work was in preparation for the next. If that's the case it's OK because you're a work in progress and God's church is better because you were a part of it. But whatever you do don't add the taco bar -  it never works.

Awaken Our Souls!

I don't know what part music plays in your worship of the Lord but for a number of months this song seems to be playing continually in my heart. If you have a few minutes to stop what you're doing to worship Jesus (and I hope that you do ) I would suggest that you watch the video – pay attention to these lyrics and pray them as you read them… 

"For You and You alone, awake my soul, awake my soul and sing…"

It Always Starts with the Students

Are you Ready?

"I am never surprised but I'm always amazed!". I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around what happened tonite at the BSU house on the campus of UNCP.
The house was PACKED with students, singing, having a good time. There was a good mix – looked like students from many different backgrounds. There was a great feeling to the room – you could tell that people brought their friends with them.

"Tonite I challenge you to live lives that DEMAND an explanation".

Before the night was over we saw 9 students proclaim their faith in Christ for the 1st time and too many to count (I'm estimating over 50) say that THEY wanna live lives that demand an explanation. I'm not all about numbers but I am all about sharing what God has done (and by the way – how do we measure what God is doing in our midst?). That would bring the total of salvations on the campus of UNCP to 18 in the 1st two weeks of school – IS THAT NOT AMAZING?!?!?!

How cool was it to me to come home and see bunches of UNCP students talking about it on facebook? You gotta love technology and the way that it allows you to be part of more lives.

It was such an honor to be the opening speaker for this years Tuesday Nite Church (TNC). I am so excited about what God is doing on that campus and proud of those that He is raising up to serve Him there. History shows that revival often breaks out among students – We better get ready because something HUGE may be around the corner!

Who Would be to Blame?

"Worship demands purity. Over and over we have seen that the prerequisite to the privilege of entering God's presence is the recognition of personal sinfulness and a willingness to abandon that sinfulness. A consuming desire to be pure and clean is the normal result of being with God. The closer we draw to God, the more overwhelmed we become with our sinfulness… if the corporate worship in the church leaves people unchanged, the church is not really worshiping. If what goes on in the church service does not spur the saints to greater obedience, call it what you will, it isn't worship. Worship always results in a transformation, and the church is edified by it." – John MacArthur, Jr. 

What about you? Have you experienced transformation through worship lately? Who would be to blame? Maybe it's time to get to the root of the challenge.

Prayer Conference This Weekend!

Call_to_Me_Large I'm looking forward to being a part of the "Call to Me Southeastern NC Prayer Conference" this Friday and Saturday in Pembroke. The conference is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of NC and features guest speaker, Dr. Henry Blackaby.

Henry Blackaby was huge in my development as a follower of Jesus. His study, "Experiencing God", helped me to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my daily life and guided me to understand what it means to be a Spirit-led believer. When I was struggling with my call to ministry and didn't know what to do or where to go next, my friend Eddy Covil (truly by God's intervention) gave me Dr. Blackaby's study, "God's Call". "God's Call" helped me to totally surrender to the call of God upon my life – I have since suggested this study to others hearing God's call.

It is with honor that I have been invited to lead worship at this conference this weekend and look forward to God once again speaking to me through the ministry of Henry Blackaby.

Do you know what would be awesome??? If you let God speak to you through Henry Blackaby and you can do that this week – the conference is TOTALLY FREE – it's not a "preacher conference" – it's for regular people who want believe in God's power in prayer and are open to diving in deeper. Here's the schedule:

Schedule
Friday, August 28
5:30 p.m.     Pastor & Staff Dinner (invitation only)
7:00 p.m.     Message
8:00             Prayer Time

Saturday, August 29
9:00 a.m.     Fellowship & Refreshments
9:15             Prayer Time
10:00           Worship
10:30           Message & Prayer Time

Remember, God has promised, 

3 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' (Jeremiah 33:3 – NIV)