Just got this in an email – Doesn’t that just read beautifully? "Perfectly pulled espresso…Swirled with steamed milk…a drizzle of pure, delicious honey." You know, more people drink coffee today because of the fact that Starbucks made coffee more than an ordinary experience – they made it EXTRAOrdinay! Should we not do the same thing for the most important message in the world?!? Excellence in presentation – JESUS deserves that kind of excellence from the church. That’s not even what I’m writing about today…
…as you can tell I am definitely in a "Friday State-of-mind" (regular readers KNOW what that means): Random, Excited, Planning, Praying, Coffee, Fun, Frazzled, Challenged (by my Bible this morning), Loved, Loving, Thinking. And it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t admit that i was kinda PUMPED about the weekend. Check it out:
- Week 2 of "Mad Money" will be slammin’ – can’t wait for you to be a part of this service! Pastor began last week by helping us to understand that "God has blessed me with more than I need – i AM rich". You know, being rich is not a financial situation, it’s a mindset. Are you rich?
- One more thing about that… the scripture that the series is based on explains "WHY?" a series on finances. We want you to do as the scripture teaches that you may "take hold of the life that is truly life." (1Tim 6:19)
- And another thing about that… Don’t EVEN think Satan won’t use finances to distract you from that which is truly life… Craig Groeschel caught it on tape
- And just one more thing about "Mad Money" – next weekend will be the last week of the series and we’ll have a Guest Speaker, Joe Sangl. Joe will be speaking at all 3 services and then will lead the "Financial Life Experience" at 3pm. HAVE YOU SIGNED UP FOR "FLE" YET? Getting your finances in check are one of the most important things for a disciple of JESUS – don’t wait until you have to deal with this. I don’t know that there will ever be a greater opportunity at hyde park (nor more affordable)! Most experiences like this cost at least $75!!!
- Getting ready 4 tonite – me and my gang (drop a little Rascal Flatts on ya this mornin’) are gonna be leading worship at the men’s conference at Arran Lake Church tonite and tomorrow morning. Pastor Jeff is a great friend and i’m lookin’ forward to being with them this evening. God is gonna rock some men’s worlds.
- Tomorrow nite is gonna be awesome – Dan Breeden (also known as "Dan the Animal Man") and some of his "wild friends" will be with us for the AIM (athletes in Mission) Night of Champions. Dan is great – he’s taken his animals all over the country and was even recently on Regis and Kelly! All AIM Kidz will receive their awards. A great night for me as i was an AIM Coach on Matt’s Tiger Team.
You know, I could go on-and-on today…It’s REALLY kickin’ – but got lot’s to do! Love ya’ll – thanks as always for reading – God is preparing you to do some amazing things – do YOU actually believe it? I do – I believe in You! See you Sunday!
Did you even know i was gone?
On Tuesday, Pastor Dennis and i took a short 1 day roadtrip to Greensboro for the BSCNC Evangelism Conference. Our goal was to get there by 10:10 am to hear "firethrower" Ergun Caner but that goal was demolished on the way through Southern Pines – as Pastor said, "the local Starbucks moved into the middle of the road and wouldn’t allow us to pass until we went in!" (We did manage to catch the last 10 mins of Caner’s message – as usual, what a challenge!)
We stayed til the evening as we both wanted to support Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) as he gave his "church-planting testimony" (i chuckled when i read that ’cause i was like, "right! Furtick’s gonna preach!). So, after a trip to the mall, Starbucks (again) and the BoneFish (we love us some Bang Bang Skrimp) we hurried back for the evening session with Furtick. As always, love this dude – great leader, great preacher, but more than anything i know that he knows that what he’s in the middle of at Elevation is a God-thing – there is no way that they can take the credit for it. I believe that God wants to make the "sun stand still" in our context in this reason, not because Steven said it convincingly, but because
GOD HAS PLACED A VISION, PASSION AND DESIRE WITHIN ME THAT HE WANTS TO DO MORE THAN WHAT "WE KNOW"…HE WANTS TO DO SOMETHING SO HUGE THAT WE CAN’T TAKE CREDIT FOR IT – SOMETHING THAT WE CAN’T DUPLICATE (the definition of a miracle according to Pastor Dennis in week 3 of "Miracles").
Among other things, had the priviledge of sitting in with Dr. Thom Rainer, King (er, i mean President) of LifeWay. Dr. Rainers consulting work and writing has taught me much in the past few years. Most of the stats he gave were ones that I was familiar with but he presented 3 trends that just really hit me:
- the dropout rate of 18-22 year old "church-kids" after high school is 70%. 70%!!!! Their excuse is that they "simply wanted a break" from church. As Dr. Rainer said, the bottom line is that church is not essential to them. Why is the church not essential to them? Something is missing. You can point all the fingers you want, but remember, when you point there are 3 pointing back at you. We must take responsibility for not looking beneath the surface to discover what’s truly missing in their experience with the church!
- Our younger generation is seeking Relevant worship, Deeper Bible Study and 3rd Place Relational areas. These are the ways they "connect" and find it essential. It’s why i listen to some preachers podcast who are strong teacher/preachers, some of which preach close to 50 -60 mins. The young people want the truth and as long as it’s connecting…
- The Multi-Venue trend shows no sign of slowing. No one around here does it, but many churches around America have multiple Venues or campuses in different areas. I’ve been saying for a long time that "we won’t reach Fairmont from Lumberton – if you wanna REACH Fairmont we’re gonna have to GO to Fairmont."
I finish by saying thanks to Marty Dupree, Evangelism Team Leader with the BSCNC (one of my favorite people in the world). Great job, as usual.
On Easter Sunday morning we will kickoff a 40 Day ChurchWide Study titled, "MADE". Have you ever been a part of one of these?
A few years ago we did a study called, "40 Days of Purpose" which asked (and helped you to answer) the question, "what on earth am i here for?". The study was a life-changing period for our church, definitely a turning point for many. You might be asking "what does this mean?"
- A church-wide study is one where the whole church is focused on the same thing for a 40 day period.
- In a church-wide study you will have a short daily devotional that will help you to grow in the area of teaching…
- Every week, Pastor’s message will expound upon what you’re learning in your reading…
- Every week the BFG’s will go deeper with the message. Because of this YOU’LL WANT TO JOIN A BFG so you will benefit for the study.
- These studies will be a great way for those who are currently not connected to connect.
- Some of the groups will meet on campus on Sunday mornings. Other groups will meet in homes all across our region.
- We are looking for people to host groups in their homes. Are you interested in hosting a home group? Let me know.
- Home groups are a great way to get that person you’ve been inviting but hasn’t yet come to "plug in".
You can sign up to be a part of the study this weekend during one of our 3 worship experiences. More to come on this!
You know today (Monday) is one of those days where I’m just reminded of how great life can be… I know, i know – i shouldn’t say anything because I’ll probably be crying about my newest "storm" soon…
BUT WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD YOU SHOULD SAY IT – WHEN THINGS ARE GREAT YOU SHOULD EXPRESS IT – WHEN YOU’RE FILLED WITH LOVE YOU SHOULD EXPRESS IT.
I’m really excited about the direction we’re moving at hyde park – I’m convinced that this Easter is the beginning of a great move of the Lord!
I’m really, really proud of the team i work with in our worship department. Yesterday our musicians hit a GRAND SLAM! It would be absolutely impossible to be any more filled with joy and excitement towards Rhonda (Lovin) and Steven (Easterling) today. They are both growing as worship leaders and I love to worship with them. As usual the band was so good…Yesterday I saw an excellent hyde park worship without me and i LOVED IT!
Had a great lunch with my friends Johnny and Brandon (Johnny is over our BFG’s – and Brandon, well, you know…). We talked about our BFG meeting last night; our excitement about "MADE" and best of all, Johnny shared some great things that got me to thinkin’ about where we’re at right now!
This period also has me thinking how much better we can be at everything we do… that usually means "trouble" – get ready because the solution probably involves YOU.
TODAY was an awesome day!!!
It didn’t start out great – Today’s drummer left a voicemail really early that he had been sick all nite long (get better James) and our other drummer was in Charlotte. I thought about going with our young Justin (who can play anything) because I really wanted to lead…After a brief discussion with the band, they requested that I play drums at 11 minutes til the start (for those who don’t know, I’ve been a drummer most of my life – it was my major instrument – i’m a "metal drummer" at heart.) Don’t tell anyone, but my fingers are blistered – guess i’ve gotten "soft".
So – Rhonda stepped up and led, I played drums, the band rocked and everything was just "off the chain"! Week after week our worship ministry gets better and deeper. It truly pleases me when they are great and I’m not "up front".
And…Tonite we had our "Night of Worship" which was really, really great! We decided this year to gather once per quarter on Sunday evenings to glorify God and to worship with people we don’t normally get to see (as we are split over 3 services).
As you can tell I’m pretty excited and refreshed at the way everything went. Here’s what else is on my mind tonite in the Sunday nite recap
- Our God Saves is a great anthem for the church! Today was our 1st day using it and I COULDN’T WAIT – i KNEW that the church was gonna love it. Whenever I hear that chorus I just wanna lift my hands and sing at the top of my voice…and sure enough, tonite when we reached the chorus hands went up in holy abandon to the Lord – it was obvious that I am not the only one inspired by those powerful words.
- Almost a year ago we went to our new 3 service schedule. When we did we abolished Sunday night services and there was a little rumble from those who thought we should have church on Sunday night. You know…many of the people who had a problem when we quit having church on Sunday nite didn’t come to our Night of Worship tonite – do you find that as Interesting as i do? In the famous words of Forrest Gump, "That’s all i gotta say about that…"
- "Mad Money" – the figures that Pastor Harrell dropped on the church about where Americans stand financially compared to the rest of the world were staggering. That was the talk of my lunch table…
- …then tonite, Our Senegal Mission Team showed and reminded us how good we have it!
- Met with BFG leadership tonite – talked about the big "40 Day Study" kickin’ off on Easter. Big things are right around the corner. Honestly, those that were there thought we should get rid of those who chose not to attend i defended those who didn’t attend because i know that they WOULD me. Right?
- Joe Sangl will be with us in 2 weeks – we’re gearing up for the "Financial Learning Experience". Can i let you off the hook about something? Most people are ashamed to admit that they need help in the area of finances – some people are great in this area, most are weak. That room will be full of people like you who just want to make a positive turn financially. Joe is SO GOOD in this area – his passion for biblical finances is so contagious. So register already!
- Not saying that anyone is, but…why would people get mad about us talking about money? You know, when I became a Christian all anyone wanted to talk about was what you’re supposed to do with the 1st 10% – with "MAD MONEY", we’re gonna help you with making good decisions with the other 90% – you can do way more with that when you allow God to be a part of that percentage as well.
Check back tomorrow – we’re gonna start talking about the Easter Series, "Made".
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