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Showing posts from August, 2012

Led by the Spirit?

At Hesston MB, we have the CHRIST acronym which describes who we are.  The H stands for Holy Spirit Empowered.  As we as leaders reflect on whether or not we are Holy Spirit Empowered, it is difficult to evaluate.  Because of this difficulty, I thought it might be helpful to share one way I am seeking to be more Holy Spirit led & empowered.

Often in Scripture, we see the words "led by the Spirit".  What does this mean?  Galatians 5:25 says, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."  My understanding and application of this is simple.  Instead of relying on J.L. in decision making, I seek God's wisdom before a conversation or activity.

What does this look like?  For me, it is as simple as seeking God's wisdom and guidance in prayer at the beginning of the day for each planned and unplanned meeting or conversation.  It also includes talking with God as I drive to the meeting or location.  I ask for His words and wisdom as I talk.…

Frustrated by sin?

Have any of you ever had a sin in your life that keeps reappearing?  Have you tried and tried to resist it?  We know we have been forgiven because of Christ's death on the cross.  We know there is a battle between being led by the Spirit or by the flesh.  But how can we experience victory over our reoccurring sins?

I was praying about a particular sin in my life this week that continues to be a struggle for me.  God led me to a particular Scripture while I was praying.  It is Romans 7:14-25.  I will include it here for your convenience.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual,soldas a slave to sin.15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot…

Fall Ministries begin tonight!

Tonight, marks the beginning of our Wednesday night ministries at Hesston MB Church.  I look forward to the parent's meeting for Hide N Seek (4 year olds through 4th grade) & fuzion (5th/6th grade) tonight.  I anticipate God doing some amazing things through these ministries this school year.  If you have a child in this age group, I invite you to Hesston MB Church (610 W. Randall) at 6:45 p.m. for a meal & registration night for Hide N Seek and to Hesston Middle School for a meeting to discuss fuzion.

Here are a few reasons I am excited:
Lessons about Jesus & the Bible to help children know who God isDevotions that families can work on together at home to pass on faith Prayer group that will be praying each Wednesday for these ministriesExcitement of children coming from the church and communityPrayer & Bible Memory being encouraged throughoutChildren making a decision to follow Jesus as Lord & SaviorWorkers who use their gifts to serve God and children!

The Gospel Project

Have you heard of the new curriculum published by Lifeway called The Gospel Project? 

For the last few years, I have been looking for the right curriculum for our children's Sunday School.  What we were using was fine, but I was looking for more.  I wanted a curriculum that was Bible-based, Christ-centered, helped children understand God's Big Story rather than just isolated stories, & definitely a connection to the home where parents/grandparents could discuss what is being learned during the week.  I looked and looked and never found anything that fit everything I was looking for.  Each publishing company had some of these things, but not all of them.  I was beginning to think I needed to write my own curriculum.  Unfortunately, I don't have the time.

However, I came across The Gospel Project while attending the Orange Conference in Atlanta.  I checked it out online and started to get excited.  I had some teachers "try it out" over the summer.  I finally ma…

Morning Prayer for You

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Here is a morning prayer for you today.  This was shared at The Global Leadership Summit sponsored by Willow Creek.  It is a good reminder for how we need to approach each day.

Who Am I?

Several months ago, I preached a sermon based on Ephesians 1 about our identity in Christ.  I am thankful for this short video clip reinforcing in a creative way what God says about you and me.  This was created by Elevation Church where Steven Furtick is the pastor.  Be encouraged and remember who you are today!

Elevation Creative: Who Am I? from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

BOAM Retreat

Today, our leadership will be gathering for a retreat to begin our year together.  We have several new members on our leadership board so it is a great way to kick off the year.  Our leadership board is called BOAM (Board Of Administrative Ministries).  It is made up of the chairperson of each committee, the pastors, a moderator, secretary, & treasurer.

Please pray for BOAM as we meet together.  Here is our agenda:
Prayer (multiple times throughout our 3 hours together)Relationship Building ActivitiesEvaluation of Church MinistriesGoals & Dreams for the Future I am excited about this retreat and look forward to how God will use it in the future!

Generosity and Sacrifice

I have enjoyed Sunday School classes based on materials from Chip Ingram.  But Ingram has a great resource to teach us about generosity called  The Genius of Generosity. Our D6 Dads group will be going through it this year.  I finished the book (it is a quick read) on Thursday.  Here are a few quotes from the final chapter:
"On the contrary, it's (sacrifice) a lifestyle.  It flows out of a heart of worship." "He knows our needs and wants to bless us.  That rubs off on us. We want to bless others as well." "Our material possessions are just the start.  Our sacrifice and worship get really serious when we start to offer our time, reputation, future, dreams, and everything else we cling to." "God is not a harsh killjoy; He is a kind and benevolent Father who always has our highest and best interests in mind.  If and when sacrifice is called for, it is always linked to God's intention to give us far better than we could ever imagine." "…

#D62012 is about a month away!

It is almost time for D6 2012.  This is always a highlight of my year as I believe this to be one of the best conferences on family ministry.  This will be my fourth year attending.  I thought I would highlight some previous D6 Conference blog posts today.

2009-Darren Whitehead & Reflections from 2009
2010-Doug Fields & 2010 Video
2011-2011 Favorite Quotes & 2011 Highlights & David Platt

I have much more content on my blog about the D6 Conference, but this will whet your appetite.

If you are a senior pastor, family pastor, children's pastor, student pastor, young adult pastor, parent, Sunday School teacher, youth volunteer, you should attend this great conference.  Go to their website to register today!

But if you are unable to attend, you can view some of the sessions live here.

Check back in the weeks ahead for more information about the speaker's schedule and how you can interact with me live during the conference.

What Your Pastor Can Never Do For You

Watch this clip from Steven Furtick of Elevation Church about pastors and the church. 


Remove the obstacles to prayer

I am reading through Prayer Coach by James Nicodem.  His book starts by discussing the obstacles we face in relation to prayer.  Our D6 Dads groups at Hesston MB will be going through this book this school year.  Here are a few thoughts to help remove some obstacles in your prayer life.
"We can't talk sweetly with God while we're growling at others." "it seems as if we pray somewhat casually." "Sometimes we forget that God is for us." "God wants us to always pray and not give up. If we throw in the towel too soon, we'll miss the opportunity to see what God would've done had we persisted." "make prayer a regular habit with your spouse." "One final way to make prayer happen with others is to initiate it on the spot with those to whom you've been speaking."

Does sin interfere with our prayer life?

I have been pondering this question over the last several weeks.  Does unconfessed sin cause God not to listen to my prayers?  Before you give me your gut level reaction.  I want us to focus on what the Bible says, not personal opinion or preference.

I want to share some Scripture that led me to believe the answer was yes.
"Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2) "18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,the Lord would not have listened;" (Psalm 66:18)  "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect . . ., so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7) After reading these passages, I concluded sin will hinder my prayers. But as I have been studying what Christ has done for me on the cross and how that impacts how I li…

Blessed to be a blessing

As you know if you read my blog regularly, I am reading The Genius of Generosity by Chip Ingram.  This very short book is packed full of challenge and encouragement.  Here are a few quotes I read this week:
"That's why the average Christian only gives about 2.5 percent of his or her income to the work of God's kingdom. Giving feels risky." "Generous people give proportionally to the way God has blessed them." "It's much better to drop our assumptions and expectations and ask God to lead us to the proportion that best reflects our heart and our income." "God always blesses those who are generous, but it isn't always a material blessing." "I firmly believe that the perception that stewardship and giving are guilt-laden responsibilities is depriving most Christians of one of the greatest joys of life." "In the big picture, generosity is not deprivation. It's a shrewd investment for today and tomorrow." "…

The Explicit Gospel

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Yesterday I was reading The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler.  In Chapter 1, his focus is on God & in Chapter 2, he focuses on humans.  Here are some quotes to make you think:

"This means that truth is never our enemy, ever." "We think to question God when bridges fall but not to wonder at his grace that every bridge does not."

"We want to live as though the Christian life is a 50/50 project we undertake with God, like faith is some kind of cosmic vending machine."

"We can read it as a reference book about us. Or we can see that the Bible is a book about God."

"The root of Christian worship, then, is acknowledging, submitting to, and enjoying the supremacy of God's glory. In all things."

"It is still idolatry to want God for his benefits but not for himself."

"You can scare people into coming to your church, you can scare people into trying to be good, you can scare people into giving money, you can even scare …

Praising God for answered prayer

Yesterday was a day when I was blessed by God's amazing answer to several prayers.  Rather than forget about these, I decided to share them with you.

God, you are awesome!  You hear our prayers, know what is best, and have the amazing power to bring to completion. 
Thank you for the words to complete this year's family devotions for Hide N SeekThankful for a great school system and a great start to the school year for all four of my kidsPraising God for working out our church facility shortage with another great optionCompleted many of the notebooks for our Wednesday night ministries. Thankful for great help from Carol, Joanna, & Vicki!Continual provision for my family while we make double house payments May we always remember the faithfulness of God in the past and trust His goodness & greatness for the future!

Feeling condemned today?

Are you feeling unworthy today?  Condemned?  Watch this brief clip from Steven Furtick, pastor at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC.

My baby goes to school

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So, today my baby went to her first day of Kindergarten.  She was excited and ready to go!  I, on the other hand, was a little sad.  I don't remember feeling this way about my older kids, but I think this was different with her being my youngest. 

This was a reminder to me about the importance of teaching our children at home from the earliest age.  Not only are we teaching them about manners and behavior, but more so we need to be teaching about their spiritual lives.  I am reminded of familiar words shared during parent/child dedication:
" 4 Fathers,do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."  (Ephesians 6:4) " 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5 Love the Lord your God with all your heartand with all your soul and with all your strength.6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you w…

Numb

I have spent the last two days sitting in dentist offices while my kids have had teeth filled.  During that time, I have tried to play on my cell phone while waiting, but have decided dentist offices must have something that interferes with cell phone signals.  Since I couldn't play Angry Birds or check email, I just prayed and thought. 

One thing that struck me was the process of numbing your mouth so a cavity can be filled.  Why do dentists do this?  Because we want to avoid the uncomfortableness.  I began to wonder how this applies to my spiritual life.  Two things came to mind. 

First, are we numb to sin?  Are there things in our lives that are hurtful to us that we dismiss because we like it or think we know better than God?  I can recall several examples where sin was before me and I did not flee or ignore it because I was numb.

Or, are we numb to the Holy Spirit?  Today, I was talking with someone and we were talking about the Holy Spirit's role in our lives.  It is int…

Are you generous?

I received a free book at the MB Convention in Omaha.  This book is written by Chip Ingram and is called The Genius of Generosity. The MB Foundation provided the book and I can say that the first chapter has been an encouragement to me.  Here are some quotes to get you thinking:
"I would learn then that generosity has little or nothing to do with how much money you have or how far along you perceive yourself to be on your spiritual journey.  In fact, I was shocked to learn that being generous has much more to do with being smart, shrewd, wise, and deliriously happy.  In a word, I discovered that generosity is genius!" "Money is the mirror of our hearts before God." "Our stewardship of His resources  isn't just an assignment. It's relational." "We get our greatest treasure by giving and sharing rather than hoarding and accumulating.  When we let go of the temporal and quit focusing on ourselves, and when we embrace instead the eternal treasure…

Looking for someone to coach you in prayer?

This past week, I attended our MB Convention in Omaha.  Our speaker was James Nicodem.  He has written a book called Prayer Coach. In it, he offers practical tips to get you praying.  Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite for more:
"One of my major objectives in writing this book is to convince you that praying is not just for the pros." "And the spice of praise is what gives flavor to our praying."  "But Jesus' intention was not to give us an incantation to repeat word for word.  He was providing us with a pattern to follow when we pray."

What I Am Reading

It's August 1st!  I have not been reading as much as I would like, but picked up two new books at the USMB Convention in Omaha.

Here is a list of books I am currently reading:

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler
Prayer Coach by James Nicodem
Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham
The Genius of Generosity by Chip Ingram