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Archive for April, 2009

“We’re Gettin’ Piggy With It!”

There are 2 things that you must know today, Friday, April 17th…

1st Thing:

Piggy Are you planning on eating today? Silly question isn't it? How about
allowing your food intake to do good at the same time? Today at hyde park we're "Gettin' Piggy With It!" as we are raising money for our slammin' Crossover Middle School Ministry!

BBQ Plate Sale here are the details:

Today, Friday, April 17th
Lunch 11am – 2pm / Dinner 4:30 – 7pm
Walk-ins allowed (so bring a friend)
$6 per plate (includes 1/2 lb BBQ, baked beans, cole slaw, bread, cake and drink)

2nd Thing:

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD (Psalm 102:18)

The Gathering is This Sunday Nite and will be the last Gathering of this school year, OUR 1ST SEASON, THE 2008-09 SCHOOL YEAR – LET'S BLOW IT OUT THE BOX!!!! – AND IT PROMISES TO BE OUR BEST!

Gathering is a place where Christians from different groups – BSU,
Campus Crusade, FCA, and area churches – can come together for the
purpose of worship, community, glorifying God, and evangelism – All
specifically aimed towards college-aged students. It is also a place
where non-Christians can come to experience who God really is.

3rd Thing:

So you're dead Don't forget that we're beginning our brand new Series this weekend, "So You're Dead… Now What?" and we'll begin by talking about the one thing that people most often avoid talking about, DEATH. This is gonna be interesting… you better talk about death now, because "he's" coming for all of us. Check out the video below (facebook readers – go to the main site to see attached video)

So You're Dead… Now What from hyde park on Vimeo.

Do You Ever Think About Dying?

Death. It is the one thing that everyone of us reading this post have in common. As my pastor has said so many times, "statistics show us that 100 out of every 100 people will someday die".

The thing that often bothers me is how ignorantly people brush off the fact that death is inevitable; not only do people not think about death but what they do know about death is often faulty. Turn the channels on your tv… listen to the people talking about the afterlife… they're talking to the dead… (some are even excited to be on a "highway to hell"). The statistics tell the truth: 91% of Americans say they believe in God, 87% believe in heaven; Yet when asked, fewer believed in hell (74%) and even fewer would ever place themselves in the group who will go there.

It's like I heard Pastor Perry Noble say in a message yesterday, "not one wants to sign up at the 'go to hell' table".

So you're dead With this in mind, we have a brand new series beginning this weekend – "So You're Dead – Now What?": The
afterlife is cloaked in mystery. What happens moments after we die?
What is Heaven really like? What about Hell? Does what we do in this
world really matter in the next?

Honestly, it's shocking what people think about death. Check out the video below for yourself and be reminded how imperative our mission (yours and mine) is to those who don't know the truth.

through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14


Sunday Nite (on a Monday Nite)

Yesterday was Easter and we had a tremendous day at hyde park. Sorry for posting my normal Sunday Nite on a Monday Nite but…

  1. I was BEAT last nite…
  2. I was off work today and actually decided to be "off"
  3. I AM SICK! Don't know what's wrong exactly, ear infection or even a sinus type thing, but I feel like junk!!!

Anyway, yesterday was off the chain – here's some things you gotta know about it…

  • Our services were strong – Pastor's message was strong – the "Cardboard Miracles" were strong – the music was strong – attendance strong…
  • It was so exciting to have so many in attendance with us yesterday – so many new faces in the house!
  • Attendance wise (unofficially) would put yesterday as being our biggest Easter ever. Unbelievable but true. It didn't seem as crazy because we didn't have to put out chairs at 9.51 (even though it was packed to the gills) but we had a much bigger crowd at the 11.11 than normal for Easter. Like I said, great day! Hope to see many of them this week.
  • Brandon did a great job on our "Easter Stage", bringing our "Cardboard Miracles" set up to life. He's definitely got an eye for that.
  • We had over 60 people participate in "Cardboard Miracles" yesterday! Their stories were amazing and SO encouraging to so many.
  • We went kind of simple with the music yesterday: Set opened with "Jesus Messiah" as a video special (which is why we were off stage – people were like "where were you?", the focus was supposed to be the awesome video). We then went into "Alive Forever Amen" (Travis Cottrell), Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Praise Charts Arrangement) and "Saviour King" (Hillsong). Huge, huge song – love hearing our church sing out on this one. After Pastor's powerful Easter message we used Chris Tomlin's "I Will Rise" during the Cardboard Miracles which was an amazing background song for all that was happening.
  • Really proud of our Greet Team on Sunday – Wonderful job that they did to make sure that people felt at home with us.
  • Had the opportunity to meet many new people this morning and reconnect with some others… totally enjoyed myself.
  • ROC Cafe' wasn't open – told Hubert that I sure was missing that Chocolate Espresso.
  • The Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday was GREAT! Andy did a great job
    putting that together. We had a really good crowd. The funniest thing
    for me is seeing literally thousands of Easter Eggs disappear in less
    than 5 minutes. Our kidz are ruthless when it comes to egg hunting.
  • Like I said, I'm sick and was Sunday morning. Very unsure of what my voice would/could handle Sunday morning. It held out nicely and I will say, "Praise Jesus!". Thank You, Lord.
  • It looks like we had around 10 salvations Sunday morning. One of the professions that I personally received was really close to my heart. More on that one soon…
  • We announced a new series beginning this coming weekend titled, "So You're Dead… Now What?". Pastor will be tackling the subject of life after death. What a great subject to have people who are curious about heaven and the afterlife to be a part of, right?

One of the things that just totally pump me up week after week is hearing/reading about what has gone on in churches around the country. So many are speaking doomsday about the condition of the church – I'm telling you that "the Church" is alive and well, just not in the same ol' places. There are churches across America that God is using to turn people's lives upside down. Never are these reports more encouraging than Easter. Here are some of the Easter highlights from churches I follow:

  • Newspring Church had over 15,000 (yeah, that's thousand) for their Easter services and about 350 salvations! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Elevation Church saw over 7800 in attendance (three years old ya'll and still no buildings) and 740 Salvations! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Lifepoint Church had over 1200 in attendance! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Pine Ridge Church had over 650 and 40 + salvations! Thank You, Jesus!
  • C3 Church had over 5000 and many decisions for Jesus! Thank You, Jesus!
  • Mars Hill had over 10,000 in attendance, thousands more with them online and they baptized 325 yesterday – Thank You, Jesus!
  • I could go on… I'm tired of typing… Thank You, Jesus!

God is doing amazing things all around our country and throughout our world – and He gives you and I the opportunity to join Him in this work.

So amazing!

I Know it’s a Crazy Thought…

I don't think we have enough churches in America, much less in our region.

The region that I minister in has more churches per capita than anywhere in North Carolina. I know this, however, I still say that we don't have enough churches. Let me clarify…

I don't believe we have enough different, evangelistic churches in our region. I don't think that we have enough churches that are willing to say "I don't care what we've always done, we're no longer reaching people who aren't 'church people', we MUST do something!". We don't have enough churches who have made it their mission to reach people that normal churches probably won't reach – churches who have decided to structure to reach the lost rather than placate the found.

Here's a thought/prayer/vision that I have been dealing with for a long while that deals with one way that the mission could boldly move forward…

There are many churches in our region who have very few people attending. They are old in age and unless something drastic happens they are less than a generation away from closing the doors because they won't have enough attenders to continue. These churches have property that is basically unused (except for a weekly service). The building was built for the Glory of God – a place to worship Jesus and to reach those who don't know Him with His message of salvation. However, the sad fact is that "they" don't visit anymore. And when "they" occasionally do with a parent or friend "they" don't return the next week. "They" make comments like, "it was just the way I remembered it"; problem is, while "they" were gone society changed, the demographic around the church changed, technology changed and the way we receive information has changed while that church remained exactly the same. Exactly.

Most church attenders don't care that their church is basically the same that it was 10 years ago – they may even use the lazy excuse, "the church should be the one place that doesn't change because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever". The sad part about attitudes like this is that they aren't even honest: they don't acknowledge the fact that they used to not have electricity (they do now); They used to not have indoor restrooms (they do now); They used to not have electric organs (they do now); They used to not have air conditoning and would raise the windows for air (they do now); Even the hymnals they sing from have been changed to a newer edition. Many have made the building handicap accessible for their aging congregation. There have been changes made to their buildings – it just happens that those changes are changes that they liked, changes they were interested in making.

Many of our older churches have money in the bank that has been sitting there earning interest for many years for such a time as this. Many are afraid to spend the money because they're saving it for a rainy day; The problem with that is God didn't give them that money to save, He gave them that money to do ministry with, to make a difference with, to win souls with! What if Jesus were to return tonite? What would happen to that money? It would cease to be effective for the purpose that God has entrusted them with.

Meanwhile, their communities are changing around them.

My prayer: That some older churches in our region would choose to give it away for the glory of God -  give it TOTALLY away. I pray that some churches would remember the reason that God placed them in that area and that they would recognize they could make a difference by doing what most would never do – allow someone else to reach the people in their community in a different way than they are used to. I pray that they would say:

"We want to make a difference in our community – we want to see Jesus changing lives in our community and we believe that God can use YOU here. Here is our building – we have returned it to Jesus and we're asking you to come in and use this building as a tool to reach our community. We've got money in the bank that God gave us for the purpose of winning souls and doing ministry in our community – we want you to have it and use it for the glory of God! We believe in you and fully trust God to do through you what He has called you to do! We will pray for you, support you and get behind the work that God will do through you".

I'm not crazy – I know that this will probably not happen. It would take the most extreme condition of humility and sacrifice, more than I've ever witnessed, for a church to do this, but isn't the mission of Jesus all about humility and sacrifice? This seems like an impossible dream – but I am reminded that with God nothing is impossible.

Could you imagine how our region would be affected if  5 churches in different portions of our county were willing to take this step?

I can.

Losing His mind over the President

As I scanned the radio stations yesterday waiting for Madison to get out of dance I heard a talk-radio guy going crazy over a statement President Obama made that  "America is no longer just a Christian nation…". This dude was flipping out and on a rant. While I appreciated a lot of what said dude was ranting about it made me think about an article that I recently saw.

A recent article in USA TODAY based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008 (ARIS) was titled, "Most religious groups in USA have lost ground, survey finds". If you didn't you might want to take a moment and read it before you finish this post. The story opened like this,

When it comes to religion, the USA is now land of the freelancers.

The percentage. of people who call themselves in some way Christian has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The faithful have scattered out of their traditional bases: The Bible Belt is less Baptist. The Rust Belt is less Catholic. And everywhere, more people are exploring spiritual frontiers — or falling off the faith map completely.

You may be alarmed. You might be disturbed. But if you are surprised I have to ask the question, "Where have you been?".

The president is right about this one: America IS no longer just a Christian nation. I knew this before the article came out; I knew this before Obama said it. I wish that the church would wake up and see it ourselves. I hope that we will accept the fact that we no longer live in a "Christian nation".

“According to George Barna: “With its 195 million unchurched
people, America has become the new mission field. America has more
unchurched people than the entire populations of all but 11 of the
world’s 194 nations.”*

Why does this anger the church? It's our fault (the church) that this happened. Christianity is not a title nor an entitlement – it is a surrendered relationship with the Saviour King, Jesus Christ. Christianity is  not so much a religion, but a mission. My prayer is that we will begin to realize that we currently are living in the mission field and must approach what we do in the way that foreign missionaries do. Check me tomorrow as I share a dream I have for centering our local mission.