As much as I like to write and express myself on this blog, I have come across a video that I think is simply awesome. It is Missionary Steve Wiloughby preaching at General Conference in 2006. Bro. Wiloughby is the United Pentecostal Church, Int. missionary to Singapore. Cornerstone Chapel has recently started to support Bro. Wiloughby's efforts to reach Singapore.
I believe that you will be blessed by this video...
I am currently reading (one of a few books) the book King of the Cowboys. It is the autobiography of Ty Murray who is billed as the world's most famous rodeo star. The book begins with Ty describing being interviewed by a reporter. The reporter asks why he is a cowboy. Mr. Murray gives his usual answer, but quickly realizes that that answer was not what the interviewer was looking for, so he finally gave an answer that I found to be very interesting.
He said a cowboy is a cowboy no matter how he makes his living. Not all of us wear chaps and hats. You'll find plenty of cowboys wearing Brooks Brothers' suits on Wall Street, or playing in the NFL. Those real estate developers who borrow millions to build big office towers, a lot of them are cowboys. The cowboy way is about how you approach things whether you're talking about a businessman, an artist, or a housewife. Being a cowboy is in your DNA. You either have it or you don't.
I do not want to interpret this wrongly or put words in the mouth of the author, but I believe that Mr. Murray is speaking of an attitude or determination to accomplish what you have set out to do. What are we determined to do? The Apostle Paul states very clearly of his intentions in the following:
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Although, Ty Murray did not mention Christians or Christianity in his comments, but I believe they can apply. The cowboy way can be applied in our vision to reach the lost. We are not building towers or playing in the NFL, but we have the goal of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to a very lost world. The mountain that we climb has eternal consequences and is the greatest calling that a man or woman can follow. Please look at your community and determine that you will reach it for Him and although it seems like a very daunting task remember this scripture:
In reading and studying the book of James, I have found him to be a very wise and articulate (I looked it up and it can refer to writings) writer. His words are full of wisdom and it speaks to the average Christian. Who among us cannot appreciate when James speaks to us in the most basic of terms and sayings. Consider the following:
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
The word submit means to make one subjectto and resist means to stand against. Simply, we need to subject ourselves to the most Holy God while standing against the father of lies. It sounds simple enough, but Christians often find themselves in situations that show they are not submitting or resisting.
Another scripture speaks of our attitude toward God. James writes it as if he were just giving sound advice to a friend that is perhaps struggling with their Christianity. He states:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Our God is faithful, but he expects us to approach him in a humble manner. Throughout the gospels, many were healed because of their approach to God. Perhaps, the best example is the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus was in the crowd and being touched by many, but the woman with the issue of blood TOUCHED Jesus through her faith and humility.
God will lift you up. He loves us with the greatest love and just wants a relationship with His creation, and His Word stands as a manual to approaching and living for Him.
It is the responsibility of every Christians to go and minister the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do this through many different formats, but the most effective is simply "one on one". Nearly 85% of those converted come through the witness of a friend or family.
We are commanded through scripture to be witnesses. It is not an option or something for only the ministry, but everyone that calls themselves a Christian is obligated to tell others of the love of Jesus.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
In our duty as witnesses, God has not left us alone for He is always faithful and with our commandment to compel He has given us the power to change our world.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
What stands between us and reaching our world? Is it money or resources? Is it power and influence? The biggest roadblock in reaching our world is us! Our excuses and needs stand in the way of impacting our world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I found a video online that speaks to what I am writing of today. Although, some of the content is a little over the top, the principle is there and it speaks of it effectively. You may also get a chuckle or two. Enjoy.
I was reading an article today and it referred to urban legends. We should all recognize these as the often emailed stories about some strange event that we should concern ourselves with. I recently received one about some gang initiation and then promptly received an email about how the email was "totally false", but the truth is people believe these legends and it stirs fear. Perhaps, you remember the urban legend that said if you flashed your lights at the wrong car then you would be followed and killed or do you remember the HIV laced needle in the gas pump? The article that I read spoke generally about how we need these legends and how they reflect current society.
What I find most interesting is that people do actually believe what they hear and often pass this information as the truth. They are easily swayed by what they read and hear. Perhaps, we believe this because we are ignorant of the subject and feel that the legend could be true.
In John the 24th chapter, Jesus was asked by the disciples Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
We often think of the end of the world having famines, floods and major catastrophic happenings, but Jesus said something that I have always found very interesting. He said take heed that no man deceive you. Like urban legends, there are many sayings and doctrines based on the scripture that is spread throughout Christianity and it is often misinterpreted or false. We as Christians must not be as an ignorant society and believe every wind of doctrine, but follow the direction of Paul when he wrote:
II Timothy 2:14 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside downare come hither also;
The book of Acts church was an active and dynamic church that had every intention of evangelizing their known world. They did not fear persecution and they moved with purpose.
I often speak to my son about moving with purpose. It simply means to act like you have somewhere to go and move with enough energy and speed that you will make it there in a reasonable amount of time. The church needs to move with purpose in reaching those that are in need of Jesus Christ.
Is it possible to turn our world upside down as they did in the book of Acts? Do we have the ability to preach the gospel with an authority in ways that may make us uncomfortable? Are we willing to step outside the box and reach for those that seek to fill a void in their life? The Bible states:
...verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
The term vanity means emptiness. Simply, man at his best is empty, but the scripture is so beautiful when a couple verses later it states:
And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
There is a world that is empty of hope, and we have what they are in need of. They are waiting for a church that moves with purpose to turn their life and their world upside down.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and it is truly only by the grace of God and His blessings. Please be careful as you travel and may God bless each of you.
How often have we sang a song in church or in our car and even as we bellow out the lyrics at the top of our lungs, we simply do not comprehend the lyrics. We may worship, praise or simply just sway to the music, but the words mean nothing to us. How sad because there are many great hymns that have become extinct in most churches that have powerful messages. They speak of the blood of Jesus Christ and its redeeming power or perhaps how we will eventually fly away. Perhaps, their sound does not appeal to the masses as they once did, but the words were powerful messages to a lost world.
Many songs that are written today are accompanied by very powerful videos. They give the words meaning and power through our sight rather than our hearing. One such video was produced by one of my favorite groups, Casting Crowns. It has a message that will stick and is relevant to us and to those in the future. It speaks of the Christians duty to minister to those that are lost and looking. I hope that you enjoy the video and become convicted by its message.
The whole homeschooling concept is new to my wife and I. The concept of home education is quite popular in the part of Virginia that we live and there is a network for which we subscribe that is there to help in the social aspects. The resources are available to give a child an excellent education from home, but I have found it to be a learning process.
When it comes to teaching and/or assisting my son with his school, my lovely wife has exhibited the patience of Job. I am the substitute teacher and often do not share the same opinion as my son. He is now nine and knows everything. I do not remember being that way, but of course I was always right. Please excuse my really bad attempt at humor.
In my own mind, I have often asked myself if we are doing the right thing. My wife loves having the kids with her 24/7 and she is absolutely a fantastic mother (and wife). I love her dearly, so I follow her lead. Then something happened today that reiterated my thankfulness for the things of God and homeschooling. As my son and I were entering the grocery store, my son made a comment about someone that was standing near the door. He was only stating the obvious and what I had already observed. He said that boy is dressed up like a girl.
It is time that Christians know that we cannot be like what the world accepts as moral and decent. We need to teach our children the principles of holiness or purity (separation from the world). It is not a matter of shielding my children from the world, for the Bible states:
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
It is all about doing what God would have us to do. Moses had the finest things in life and the very best education, but that was not enough for the scripture states:
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
I hope and pray that I can choose living for God and his righteousness every time.
Cornerstone Chapel will be conducting its 2008 planning session in about an hour. As I sit here and contemplate the future, I can not help but thank God for where he has brought us from. In August of 2006, we were holding our first service in the conference room of the Comfort Inn. We had a total of seven in our first service. In the month or two following, I preached twice to my family with a total of four in service, but then God started to give the increase. This morning our total attendance was 38. Although, I have preached it is not about the numbers, the 38 people in church today represent souls. The vision of the church must be about souls and seeing lives changed through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible states:
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish...
As we look to 2008, there is still much work to be done for this is the last days. Although, we race the clock in accomplishing the work that God has given us in reaching our community. It is the very fact that we are in the last days that we have hope. The scripture states:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh...
We can be comforted by that the fact that God continues to pour out his Spirit and people can be delivered from the sin that binds them. There is hope for the hopeless, a friend for the lonely and peace in the turmoil of life, but it can only be found through Jesus Christ.
Am I the only one in the whole wide world that believes that the holidays are the most stressful time of the year? In my mind, I feel that it should be the most joyful time, but that was before I started to shop for a Nintendo Wii.I was eating lunch a few weeks ago with a brother in our church and we went to the store next to the restaurant that had them in stock and at that time they told me to buy it. Of course, my listening skills (as I said a few days ago) need to improve and I decided to wait.
The closer it gets to Christmas, the harder it is to find a Wii. I stopped by one shop and they actually laughed when I asked if they had any. My son is going to face the most traumatic time of his life and require counseling (kidding, of course) when the only thing I can find close to a Wii is an 1981 version of Atari purchased on Ebay from some guy in Alaska.
It is starting to become a challenge. Perhaps, the greatest challenge that I have faced as a father. I can change diapers, play catch and help with homeschooling. Thus far, I have been able to bring home the bacon and provide a home for my family, but it is the elusive Wii that will shatter my record as the go to dad.
Oh, the joys of fatherhood. My son may never know the challenges that I went through to get the game system of choice this Christmas season, but when he hugs me on Christmas and tells me how excited he is to have the Wii then I will know being humiliated by a store clerk laughing at me was all worth it.
I would like to first wish my father a happy birthday. I am not sure if he reads this blog, but just in case I wanted to thank him for his guidance as my pastor and bishop. We all need mentors in our life that we can lean on to teach us the finer points of our faith and how to be a leader.
Although, we can often look at multiple people in our lives as examples of how to become a leader that people will follow. I believe that for many of us there is that one person that we would like to emulate. We can also look to education, reading and watching people from afar to accomplish and enhance our leadership style, but must remember "garbage in, garbage out". It may be a stretch to use this cliche' in the manner that I did, but I think the principle is there. Simply, we need to be careful of who and what we follow. The Bible explains to us in I Timothy what is expected of a pastor/leader:
1Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
1Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Timothy 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Timothy 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
God is looking for men and women that have integrity and that are willing to conform to what He expects of a leader. Peter wrote that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Religiousleaders are adime a dozen, but holy men of God are rare. Everyone has someone they follow, please be sure they are heading in the direction you want to go.
1Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
Reading is essential for my growth as a person and it helps me in all my different responsibilities. I encourage anyone that wants to develop their Christian walk to read the Bible, but also books that develop their intellect.
I am currently reading three books and they are all good, but one book that I am reading stands out from all the others. It is called The Fred Factor and I purchased it at the General Conference of the United Pentecostal Church. It is not a thick book with lots of pages, but a short book with a big punch. It is on passion. It uses the tag line How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary. The author Mark Sanborn is a motivational speaker and used the passion that his mailman Fred put into his job as a platform to explain how to put passion into our lives.
I enjoyed this book so much that I have purchased it for the leaders of Cornerstone Chapel. The church's vision to build leaders means to build people and with these people then God will build a church.
I was reading the book of James and he writes something that strikes me as essential for all Christians, but even more important for a leader within the church. It is a simple statement that has profound consequences. If we apply this very important Biblical principle to every relationship and aspect of our life than I believe that we would enjoy a peace that only Jesus can give.
James wrote in James 1:19 ...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Imagine if this principle was applied to you family and your spouse and kids know that when they speak that you listen. My wife often tells me that I hear, but I do not listen. She is right. I can repeat what she says, but do not comprehend her conversation. As my wife, I need to LISTEN to her the most.
Patience is another Biblical principle that we need to practice. This is very important when it comes to our speaking and our attitude. It can be difficult to fix what is said and done in anger. Although, time heals all wounds, the time it takes to heal can be miserable and frustrating.
I realize that officially that yesterday was Veteran's Day, but so many are celebrating today because today is the federal holiday.
I would like to take this time to thank those that are currently serving and those that have served. Your sacrifice is appreciated and you alone preserve our freedom. I found this video on http://www.godtube.com/ and I believe that you will enjoy it. It honors those that serve.
As a pastor, I have a great interest in the concept of leadership and what makes a leader. What qualities does a leader possess? Are leaders born or are they created through training and environment? Do the talents of an individual placed in the right position become leadership skills and what if that person is never placed in that position? Do they seek out a place to use their talents or do those talents just remain dormant?
Today, an article in the Free Lance Star (Fredericksburg, VA) caught my attention. The article entitled What makes a hero? Loyalty, along with bravery speaks of the qualities of a hero. It states veterans who had been awarded medals tended to rate themselves higher for qualities like leadership, adventurousness and adaptability.
The church is looking for heroes. Like the heroes that have served our country, the spiritual heroes are those that are willing to sacrifice to further the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are leaders that teach Bible studies and Sunday school. They are prayer warriors that seek the face of God with a burden to see lives changed. They are the preachers of the gospel that stand in pulpits and declare the Apostolic doctrine. Simply, they are willing vessels that allow themselves to be used of God.
I have returned from Encounter 2007. I appreciate the fellowship of the men that went from Cornerstone Chapel and also then ones we fellowshipped with from other churches.
Cornerstone Chapel is affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church, International (UPCI). It is the organization of ministers that number around 9000 preachers and 4000 churches in North America. We are privileged to be a part of such an organization.
This weekend, we were part of an event that was hosted by the Men's Ministry of the Virginia District. It is important to understand the need to participate in these functions for the spiritual health of the individual and of the church. They strengthen and bless us.
The vision of Cornerstone Chapel is knit to the vision of the United Pentecostal Church. Through the United Pentecostal Church, we are able to support:
In addition to supporting these ministries, our children have the opportunity to attend Bible Colleges that will train them for the ministry. I am not able to list all the benefits to being a member of the United Pentecostal Church, but I want everyone to know that we stand with the organization and pledge to participate in its ministries and support its causes.
Encounter 2007 is the men's conference of the Virginia District of the United Pentecostal Church. It is important for men to come together to strengthen their walk with God and to come to understand the calling that is placed upon a man to lead his family in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our families are a gift from God. My wife and children are my greatest joy and the Bible gives us instructions on how we are to care for them. Perhaps, the greatest commandment given to men concerning their wives is found in:
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
I underlined the section that requires sacrifice. Jesus not only loves the church, but died for the church. This level of sacrifice is a gut check for men. Do you love your wife as much as Jesus loves the church?
Evangelist Steve Grimsley preached at the morning service of Encounter 2007. He made a call for unity. It is important to have unity within every aspect of our life. We need unity within our families, our churches and among Christians. The Bible speaks very plainly of the anointing that is brought by unity:
Psalms 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psalms 133:2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments.
Please pray for unity for the church. We can impact our community with the gospel of Jesus Christ with a unified front against this world.
I came across a video on Godtube.com. This video was taken at a United Pentecostal Church Conference in the Netherlands. I know that you will enjoy and be blessed by it as I have. It is uplifting and a testimony of how wonderful God is.
Yesterday, I was privileged to have my son to observe the whole process of voting. I explained to him the honor that it was to be an American and to have the right to cast a ballot. As we were leaving, the electioneers handed to us a sticker to wear that simply said "I voted". I was proud to wear this sticker and continued to wear it for the rest of the day because very few people on earth have the opportunity to declare that they participated in the democratic process.
Thomas Jefferson stated When the people fear the government, there is Tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is Liberty. Liberty is often taken for granted. When we gather to worship each week, we stand protected by the Constitution of the United States, but much of the world worships under the scrutiny of their tyrannical governments or some may not have organized worship at all.
Christians around the world understand the true source of liberty. Although, we do enjoy liberty from our government, true liberty is granted from Jesus Christ. The Word states:
2Corinthians 3:17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Those that have a relationship with Jesus Christ understand this liberty. They are free from the sin that binds the world and worship with a freedom that governments cannot control. This liberty has survived persecution and many attempts to silence those that worship in Spirit and in Truth, but unlike a constitution, the Word of God can never be silenced.
Psalms 119:89 ... For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
I have decided to join the millions that "blog". The church is mandated to be witnesses of the love of Jesus Christ and I pray that I am able to do so through this blog. This is an exciting new adventure for me and I hope that you will join me on this page as I travel this new path.
It is my desire and vision to post thoughts on our vision, leadership, faith and being a pastor, husband and father. I am humbled each day by the thought of God's calling in my life to pastor such wonderful people. I take very seriously the thought of being "the watchmen on the wall" as in:
So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
Recently, when my lovely wife and I were at General Conference in Tampa, we saw a video of a song that was produced by Christian Life Center in Stockton, CA. I found it to be a very anointed and powerful video. It has been viewed as of this morning over 132,000 times and another posting of it has been viewed over 28,000 times. It is a declaration of what being Pentecostal is and I believe that you will enjoy it.