Friday, February 29, 2008

The Perfect Pastor...

A recent survey compiled all the qualities that people expect from the perfect pastor:

1. Preaches less than 15 minutes

2. Frequently condemns sin, but never those inside the church

3. Works from 8:00 until midnight each day, and is also the church janitor

4. Has taken a vow of poverty becaues he's not "in it for the money"

5. Makes $100 per week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives $150 a week to the poor.

6. Is 28 years old and has been preaching for 35 years.

7. Wonderfully gentle and good-looking

8. Has a burning desire to work with the teenagers but is always with the seniors

9. Makes 15 daily calls to church families, visits every sick and shut-in, as well as the hospitals, evangelizes the lost, and is always in the office when needed

10. Smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a good sense of humor which keeps him dedicated to the work

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Changed Lives!

Here's some of what has been going on at PCC the last three months:

  • One couple has saved their marriage by the power of Christ. I do not exaggerate when I say they were at the breaking point. IE, Drug abuse, police involvement, divorce lawyers, the works! Now they are in love again, active in church each Sunday and participating in a small group together!

  • Another couple in our church had separated and divorced. Now they have remarried, are in love again, and sitting in church together! Oh yea, they are active in small groups.

  • I attended a men’s group Wed. night. Our topic of discussion was on friendship (from the Sunday sermon). One of the men shared a personal story about a recent cancer surgery he faced. His eyes filled with tears as he recounted certain friends that were with him during that time.

  • There is a man in our church who is a commercial airline pilot. His normal route-of-travel takes him to Rome Italy. Just this week, on Monday, he was sitting in St. Peters Square, the Vatican, in Rome Italy, reading his small group lesson in preparation for being in my wife’s small group this Wednesday night! Can you believe it? Here’s a guy sitting on a park bench in Rome Italy reading his small group lesson because he knows he’s going to be back in Santa Rosa County Florida on Wednesday. God has to be moving.

  • One lady received an invitation card in the mail from our church back in December. She started coming to PCC. The Lord impressed her to invite her neighbor to come. She did. He started coming, then committed his life to Christ, got off drugs, and has landed a new job. God delivers and God prospers!

  • Another gentleman, an elderly man, was recently widowed. He has been sad and lonely. But he started coming to PCC. Now he’s finding friendship, fellowship, and the love of Christ to be real. His heart is opening and is very responsive to the possibility of God.

  • New volunteers are signing up each week for places of service. These are people who are happy, enthusiastic, and a joy to serve with. They are so gifted that I just know (deep down) they are going to do great things for PCC. God has sent us these people.

  • One small group leader told me how much his heart is growing in fondness for his group members. Even more than the curriculum they are discussing, he enjoys the people in his group.

  • Every single Sunday people commit their lives to Jesus Christ! Every single Sunday. It's not about me. It's about God and the people He is sending to this church - He sends lost people to those places where He knows they will find compassionate help.

  • One lady was praying for her husband to find work. Within two weeks her prayers were answered. A mini-miracle in today's economy.

  • One person wrote this in a letter to me - "I reached a place where I knew I needed to commit my life to Christ. I began reading the Bible and listening to the Word more. I found out the more I learned the more I wanted to know. I was going through a rough time in my life but began making changes. I started to 'clean house.' Eventually I committed my life to Christ. I could then sense my life turning around, and awesome changes were taking place. I realize now that these changes are from God's grace and mercy. I thank God for PCC being such an intricate link to my new life in Christ. I look forward to a long, fruitful journey."

Friends, this is only the tip of the ice-berg. What God is doing in our church right now is amazing. There are scores, I mean scores, of other people who have similar stories. I am now actively searching for these life-change stories and will tell you about as many of them as possible.

Life-change is the best advertisement a church has. Any church that has marriages being put back together, souls saved, drug addicts delivered, prayer answered, and lives changed is a church that will never hurt for growth. In fact, you'll have to close the doors to keep from growing!

Can you believe what God is going to do? My faith meter is pinging in the red zone right now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Accepting Responsibility for Your Life

You are accountable for your own life. Good or bad, happy or unhappy, successful or unsuccessful, fair or unfair, you have to own it. That may not be how you want it to be, but that's how it is.

If you don't like your job --- you are responsible
If you don't like your relationships --- you are responsible
If you are overweight -- you are responsible
If you are not where you want to be -- you are responsible

If you don't accept responsibility for your life, you will misdiagnose every problem you have. If you misdiagnose, you will mistreat your problems. If you mistreat your problems things won't get better.

For example, if you believe your present state of affairs is someone else's fault, then you will spend all your time trying to fix or correct someone else instead of yourself! By convincing yourself that you are a victim, you guarantee yourself to have no progress, no healing, and no victory.

You will never fix yourself by blaming someone else for your cause-and-effect. That is for losers. No matter who you want to blame:

--You made the decision
--You said the words
--You copped the attitude
--You bought it
--You jumped ship
--You signed on the dotted line
--You bought it on your credit card
--You listened to what they had to say
--You opened the door
--You chose the feelings
--You quit
--You sold out your dreams
--You disobeyed
--You wanted to move
--You took the job
--You said yes
--You said no
--You ate it
--You smoked it
--You snorted it
--You believed it
--You drank it
--You ran
--You left
--You quit
--You started it
--You let him come back
--You married her
--You settled for it
--You let them talk you into it
--And you were the one who wanted that stupid dog!

Now own it. All of it.

You cannot change what you don't acknowledge. If you hope to have a better life, you have to be honest with yourself about where your life is right now and how you got there. Denial is destructive while confession brings healing and restoration. Your life is not too bad to fix - just be honest about what needs to be fixed. By looking into the Word of God it shows us what manner of person we really are; much like a mirror reflects our true image back to us (James 1:22-25). It's there that a true diagnosis can take place.

Make a deal with yourself right now:
--That you will not give in to negative momentum
--That you will require more of yourself
--That you will take the moral high ground
--That you will always trust Christ

You'll be the better for it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Defying Reality TV...

Is it just my imagination, but does it seem like the only thing on television these days is "Reality TV?" You know, those cheap programs where individuals are pitted against each other and the ultimate goal is to simply "vote them out of your life."

I suppose this trend is an indication of the times we live in; voting people out! This person doesn't quite measure up... that person is a threat . . . . cast them aside. All of this is definitely wrong for the Christian mind-set.

Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment in all of God's Word is to love our neighbor as our self (Matthew 22:39). If reality TV is any indication, we are completely in love with ourselves. We are thinking constantly of ways to advance ourselves, to make our world comfortable for ourselves, and to do whatever it takes to fulfill our own agenda. Seems a far cry from what Jesus had in mind, doesn't it?

Ever wonder what our world would be like if we really began to live the life that Jesus told us about? What would happen to us if scripture came alive in our hearts and we truly began to think of others more than ourselves? If that happened, what would become of world hunger? What would become of social injustice? And what would become of reality TV?

Pace Community Church, and its people, are here to offer a counter-cultural view to this worldly mind-set. My heart longs to become the person that Jesus taught about. A person that loves the God with all of my heart, and all of my soul, and all of my strength. And a person who puts self to the side and really begins to serve and love my neighbor...

Remember, "it's not about you. It's about those we are called to serve."

Empowering Women....

Women are not equally represented in leadership and managerial roles in organizations around the world, especially in churches and other companies that depend so much upon their financial support, not to mention their spiritual and physical contributions.

Jesus felt differently. His first appearance after his death and resurrection was to a woman, whose mission it was to go and convince more doubtful men. One man was so skeptical that he actually had to plunge his fingers in Jesus' wounds before he would believe. God spoke first to Mary about the birth of Christ before He spoke to Joseph. So, in the beginning of the New Testament gospel, God gave some primary leadership roles to women. It was women who supported Jesus and His staff financially while they were on their mission; and it was Mary Magdalene and Martha who were the first to recognize the miracle of the resurrection when it happened. Although Jesus spent many hours walking on the road to Emmaus with his male disciples after his resurrection, they did not recognize him. Mary, however, recognized him almost instantly.

Consider this - Women currently own or operate 55% of the new businesses starting up today. Women ultimately control men's wealth because they outlive men. Women's ideas and methods are causing revolutions in countries, in companies, in churches, and in a variety of professions.

Men who fail to acknowledge and enlist feminine energy suffer for their arrogance. Pontius Pilate's wife, for example, tried to warn him not to be involved in the trial of Jesus. "I have a dream about him" she said. Pilate ignored her and signed Jesus' death warrant, as well as his own unenviable place in history.

Jesus said to both men and women, "The kingdom of God is within you." He delegated equally to anyone who asked.

"There is neither . . . male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28)

Jesus empowered women - so does Pace Community Church.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What Do You Talk About?

It only takes a few minutes. When I listen to someone talk I can tell where they are headed. Their words reveal their heart and state-of-mind. By their words they give an accurate picture of their future.

I once read these words found hanging on a businessman’s office wall:

  • Big People Talk About Ideas (vision, dreams, goals, etc)
  • Average People Talk About Things
  • Small People Talk About Other People


It only takes a couple of minutes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Teen Youth Group - This Wednesday

All students, grades 5-12, are highly encouraged to attend youth group activities this Wednesday, 6:30-8:00, in PCC's youth wing...

Paul Thornton will be speaking about overcoming obstacles and living a life for God... his message of faith and obedience is sure to bless all who hear it...

Our teen praise band is growing weekly, both in number and giftedness, and teaching us new music nearly every time we worship together...

Come out and enjoy fun and fellowship with a GREAT group of teens... even better, bring a friend for a game of air hockey, foosball or ping pong, or just to hang out and talk...

Make the commitment to be there this week, and be blessed!

Sunday Debrief...

The band was awesome today! Spontaneous worship in the congregation. Standing, hand raising, loud clapping, crying. Lot’s of good things there.

All our ministry teams pulled off another successful day of volunteerism and servant-hood.

We learned the importance of friends (affinity & loyalty) in the morning message. Seen in the life the apostle Paul and two of his closest friends, Timothy & Epaphroditus.

There is so much fellowship (that gets beneath the service) going on in our church family that I am amazed. Only God can do this.

Four people committed to Christ today! Another four firebrands plucked from the burning.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Want......

Longer church services….
Longer worship sets….
Longer sermons....

People who ask for those things are usually the ones who haven’t brought anyone else to church with them; certainly not someone who is lost.

Ten Reasons to Attend Pace Community Church

Each Sunday I stroll around our campus and through our building just to soak it all in. It’s exciting to see so many happy people walking up our sidewalk in anticipation of the start of service. It's a joy for me to also see so many of our volunteers, cheerful servants, at their post of duty diligently carrying out their tasks. From the parking lot, to inside of the building, there is so much laughter, excitement, and enjoyment that fills the air. Something is really happening in our midst.

Though I might be a little biased about our church, here are ten reasons to attend.

1. Lives are being changed by God's power.

2. There is a sense of excitement the moment you walk on the campus.

3. We have more than just mere members, we have enthusiastic fans!

4. Our children's ministry is one of the best in the area!

5. Our student ministry is what you would call deep impact.

6. Our preschool and nursery areas are safe, clean, and staffed with loving people.

7. Our band leads us into vertically-focused worship of God.

8. I know it's not about building, but man what a building!

9. Our greeters and parking attendants actually love to greet!

10. This church is headed somewhere.

I am grateful for the people of PCC who make it happen. We have a Biblical mandate, a Christ-exalting vision, a God-centered theology, and a people-targeted message. It’s a privilege for me to serve here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Creative Pastors Conference

The C3 Conference was held at Fellowship Church in Grapevine Texas this week. Here are some quotes by a couple of the speakers:

“Great men are just ordinary men who would not quit.” Tommy Barnett

"We shouldn't give leadership to people who have never been broken." TD Jakes

"I hope you can understand my accent, because when we get to Heaven...we'll all sound like me." Brian Houston (from Austraila) the Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church

"You don't have to like someone to forgive them." Ed Young

This Sunday - Feburary 24

Sunday's message is: How Friends Make Life More Meaningful
Text: Philippinans 2:19-30

Our series through the book of Philippians has been very beneficial. Going verse-by-verse with life-application.

Bring a friend with you.

Word-of-Mouth Evangelism...

Last Sunday I met a family in the atrium who has been attending with us for two months. I asked them, “How was it that you first began attending PCC?” The answer they gave me is the one I hear most often; “We were invited by some friends of ours who already attend here.”.

Sure, some people come because they saw the building. Others found us on the internet. Some may have seen our ad in the local newspaper. But the number one reason Pace Community Church grows each year is because our members invite their friends.

This speaks volumes about our church and our members. It means the people who call PCC their church home are not embarrassed of their church and realize their friends can find spiritual help here.

Nothing makes up for a satisfied customer who turns into a spiritual evangelist.

Thanks PCC! You make it happen.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Inside Our Church Service...

A packed house!

"And the Lord said unto his servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be full."

Jesus - (Luke 14:23)

Recovery ..... Towards a Life Well Lived

Pace Community Church has an exceptional Small Groups Ministry. Under the umbrella of this department we offer Recovery Groups specifically tailored for those who are in need of recovery from life-controlling issues.

Under the leadership of Ann Lewis the recovery ministry at PCC is flourishing. The rate of numerical growth has tripled in 60 days. More importantly, the members in these groups have experienced real life-change that is reflected in their behavior, attitudes, character, and conduct. Additionally, the results are verifiable. Most importantly, people are experiencing freedom from their life-controlling issues by the power of Christ!

This is not the result of slick programming or even a specific curriculum. The real benefit derived from any type of group is the group itself, the quality of friendships being formed within the group, and the effectiveness of the leader. In other words, authentic affinity.

You see, people don’t care how much you know until they know you care.

You can teach what you know, but you will reproduce what you are.

Ann is the sectional leader over our Recovery Small Groups. Hats off for a job well-done and leading your members towards a life well lived.

Corking the Whine...

Whiners. Don’t you just love them?

I used to think that people complained because they had problems. But now I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain. It almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, or a self-imposed crisis. Complaining doesn’t change circumstances or feelings, nor does it improve one's situation. Rather, it amplifies frustration, spreads discord among brethren (which God hates – Proverbs 6:16-19), and invites the destroyer to cause more havoc in our lives.

  • Complaining gives place to the devil – I Corinthians 10:10
  • Complaining is not for Christians – Philippians 2:14
  • Complainers are ungodly, to be reserved for judgment - Jude 15-16

In contrast, the Bible teaches us to dwell on good things – Philippians 4:8

Turn the page. Take responsibility for your present situation. Move on. You can have a new day and see your situation improve by the things you say. Or you can be condemned by your words.

  • Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt. 12:36-37).

Your choice.

It’s time to cork the whine.

The Benefits of Belonging to a Growing Church

Did You Know? The median size church in America has 75 participants in worship on Sunday morning (according to the National Congregational Study). 50% of Americans who attend church are active in the top 10% largest churches, (churches 350 or larger). There is a reason why growing churches are growing… they offer benefits you can’t get elsewhere. Here's my insight:

  • A growing church can reach certain people that smaller churches cannot.
  • Growing churches are growing because lives are really being changed, attracting more people.
  • Growing churches are mission-driven rather than inwardly focused.
  • They offer multiple points of entry.
  • They can sponser ministry seven days a week!
  • A growing church can minister to its members at different stages of need by offering specialized ministries.
  • A growing church offers high quality programming to its members.
  • A growing church has more financial resources for outreach - making a noticable contribution to evangelism.
  • A growing church offers quality teaching – from a team of gifted teachers.
  • A growing church offers more opportunities to make friends, develop deep friendships, and experience Biblical fellowship simply because there are more people to choose from.
  • Large churches are warm and friendly.
  • Growing churches provide a lift for smaller churches in the surrounding area.

It's not just the size of a church that matters, it's the spirit that matters most. It is loving, friendly, positive, upbeat, and accepting. The services are exciting, the presence of God in sensed in the place, and people feel deeply that their pastor and congregation love them.

Look around you. The religious landscape is dotted with thousands of gothic, steepled-topped, cathedral-like edifices that are empty on the inside... while down the street churches that meet in storefronts or movie theaters are packing-them-in with the love of Jesus.

There is a reason why growing churches are growing....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jesus' Ministry Agenda...

When Jesus preached in the synagogue in His home town, He announced what His ministry agenda would be. Based upon Luke 4:16-19 it's easy to see what His ministry agenda was:
  • Preach to the poor
  • Heal the brokenhearted
  • Deliverance to the captives
  • Recovering of sight to the blind (physical and spiritual)
  • Set at liberty those who are bruised (or hurting)
  • Preach the acceptable year of the Lord (liberation, not legalism or bondage to sin)
What do all those things have in common? Meeting the needs of people, healing their hurts and practical preaching.

Jesus never bogged anyone down with Hebrew rhetoric, Greek root-words, mysterious meanings, deeper-life elitism, or pious platitudes. He spoke in plain, simple language and simply began with people where they hurt, and with what their needs were (both physical & spiritual).

There was something about Him and His ministry that attracted people; and a Christ-like ministry today will do the same. You won't have to use games or gimmicks. Nor do you have to water it down and compromise the message. All you have to do is learn how to minister as He ministered. Whether it was a person with leprosy, a bent back, or a guilty conscience, Jesus ministered to that need.

That's why Pace Community Church exists.
We are here to do the work of Christ, whatever that may be. We are not here to have a private country-club for spiritual fat-cats. We're a hospital for the poor... the brokenhearted... the captive.... the blind and the bruised.

Beginning today... go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in so that God's house may be full.

Easter Direct Mail - 15,000 Pieces

In mid-March we will be mailing Post Cards to more than 15,000 homes in the Pace area! This represents approximately 50,000 to 60,000 people. We are inviting them to join us for Easter Sunday.

Only God knows the spiritual or human needs that exist in each of these homes, and perhaps some of these invitation cards will find the right people.

Help us to pray to that end. There are a lot of hurting people who need Jesus Christ.

Can you believe what God is going to do through the ministry of this church?

1000 Hits in 10 Days!

One thousand hits in ten days. Looks like we're off and running to a good start.

Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Entering a New Season at PCC....

We can sense the winds of the Holy Spirit blowing upon our congregation in a fresh way. Almost everyone recognizes something new and seasonal in the air. It is time for us to plow new ground, plant, cultivate, and reap.

God has shown Himself mighty in the last ten years, bringing us to such a time as this. The things we have seen accomplished thus far are well beyond mere coincidence or simply the result of hard work. Rather, they are the direct result of God's favor.

This is what we are praying and believing God for in 2008:

1. An average weekly attendance of 800
2. Fulfillment of our 20-20 Maturity Vision
3. C.O.R.E. Classes to be offered this summer
4. Leadership Community
5. Elder Ordination
6. To baptize 100 people in a single day
7. A fresh harvest of lost souls - the irreligious, unchurched, or de-churched
8. "Low maintenance" believers who will get on-board with our mission
9. Hilarious, generous givers
10. A fresh outpouring of God's Spirit

I am hopelessly optimistic and believe that with God all things are possible. My excitment is almost too much to contain.

Monday, February 18, 2008

What I'm Thankful For....

My wife, Renae. Took her to the high school prom. Held hands a couple of years. Married her. Been married twenty-seven years.

My mother. Wouldn’t be here without her. She prayed for me when I was lost, running from God. Now I serve God.

My two sons. They make me proud.

The U.S. Army. They taught me leadership. They taught me that I can always accomplish more than what my mind tells me I can do.

My small group. I like hanging out with the guys. I like talking Bible stuff with them. We’re doing the spiritual journey together.

My three dogs, Jack Russell Terriers to be exact. The never get mad at me, criticize me, or talk about me behind my back. I hug them and they hug back.

The Bible. It has completely shaped my values and world-view.

Other pastors, especially church planters. Nobody, but nobody understands the work of a church-planting pastor like that of another church-planting pastor. I spend time with other pastors and what it does for me is beyond description.

Jesus Christ. For salvation. To be called. To be a part of His movement.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Debrief...

In spite of it being a holiday weekend and tornado warnings in effect, we had good attendance today. The worship was exceptional. Alex did a great job on the violin. The singers were on-pitch and in strong-voice. Lots of new faces; something we experience each Sunday at PCC and never take for granted.

The morning message was timely. Today's subject was "Working It Out & Being Poured Out" based upon Philippians 2:12-18.

Three (3) people committed their lives to Christ.

One lady (a second-time guest) wrote this testimony: "I've been hoping to find a church where I could grow and be nurtured in my spiritual walk. I think I have found the right church."

Another person said, "After hearing today's message I now know what it means to be fed."

Let's take an inventory: Three people got saved (evangelism). Others are being fed and nurtured (discipleship). There was vertically-focused music & adoration (worship). Dozens of volunteers were at their post of duty serving cheerfully (service). And there was a great sense of community in the house (fellowship). Who would have ever thought you could fire on all eight cylinders at the same time! Guess we hit a home run today.

As I drove onto the PCC campus this morning with tornado warnings threatening to keep people away, my heart overflowed with gratitute. I kept thinking what a privilege it is to have served God for the last decade in this place.

I was not disappointed once I walked inside.

Ten Ways to Keep Me From Attending Your Church

2. Yell a lot
3. Talk about something I don’t understand
4. Teach on something I don’t give a flip about
5. Preach about everything you stand against
6. Be outdated and insist on a dress code
7. Have no mission
8. Never share any encouragement
9. Criticize other churches
10. Be inwardly focused

10 Reasons I Avoid Chronic Complainers

At the risk of sounding like I'm complaining, (I know, I know), let me offer some follow-up to today's sermon which addressed this subject, and was based upon Philippians 2:14-15. Here's ten reasons I prefer to avoid chronic complainers:

1. People who complain all the time are unhappy people. If you hang out with a complainer it will suck all the life right out of you.

2. Complaining takes no talent and no skills. Anyone can do it!

3. Complainers never see the positive in anything only the negative. Everything is always bad.

4. Complainers can always "one-up" you and always have something worse than you. If you tell them that you had a tooth pulled by the dentist, it just so happens they had to have a root canal and an IRS audit - all in the same day!

5. It's un-Christ-like. That says it all. Doesn't it?

6. People who complain all the time only tear people down, and never build anyone up (
Ephesians 4:2).

7. When a complainer has a legitimate complaint you can't take them serious, because they complain about everything. You don't know when it's a serious complaint or just another gripe.

8. They are no fun to be around.

9. They are always willing to point out the problem, but never willing to be a part of the solution. Do not ask them to help, it's just their job to point out what is wrong.

10. Complainers feel like their "gift" came from God.

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure,
children of God without fault
in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you shine like stars in the universe..."
Philippians 2:14-15

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday at the office....

We have an exceptional team of volunteers who show up at the church each Friday to help us prepare for Sunday. These people clean the building, the atrium, and bathrooms. They stuff bulletins, replenish pens and registration cards, realign chairs, clean windows, vacuum carpet, prepare the kitchen, set up the hospitality station and maintain the flower pots. This is truly behind-the-scenes-work. All done by volunteers.
I love the people of this church.

The Worst Preacher I Have Ever Heard...

This is without exception the worst preaching I have ever heard. If I didn't know this guy was from Arizona, I'd swear he was from Santa Rosa County Florida.

Just click the link below to view the video from YouTube.

After viewing, if you want to get back to this blog, just hit your "back" button. If you close the video page, you'll close my blog site too.


What is spiritual maturity? Maturity is not measured on your words, but on your deeds. A maturing Christian does not really need to attend another Bible study as much as they need to apply what they already know. People tend to think that discipleship is “going deeper” in knowledge. How silly is that? Any educator can tell you that the highest form of learning is application. That's why we attempt to put Christian people to work by serving, volunteering, and leading.

If the so-called mature are not willing to serve, we don’t allow them to mentor anyone else or be in a position of influence. We don’t want bad DNA to be embedded into others.

Christian Labels... This Camp or That Camp?

I am often astonished at the propensity of Christian people to identify themselves with a certain “camp of theology” or denomination believing such a group best represents the mind of God. I must admit, I too, once struggled with this, identifying myself with (what I thought was) the elite.

There are 33,000 protestant denominations in America. Is God really that confused? Which one do I have to belong to so I can go to heaven or be a better believer? Do I have to be a Baptist? A Pentecostal? A Charismatic? A Lutheran? A Presbyterian? Who do I have to be a follower of? Do I have to belong to the Emergent Church? The Reformed Church? This camp or that camp?

Why do we think that aligning ourselves with a certain view or camp of theology will make us better believers, bring us closer to God, or better represents truth?

This was the very reason Paul wrote the book of Galatians. He said, “You fools! You have left the simplicity of Christ and thought you could perfect yourselves by some other means” (Galatians 1:6; 3:1,3).

I figured it out a few years ago. I don’t have to belong to any of those groups. All I have to be is a Christ-follower. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

My wife....

Yesterday was Valentines day? Bought her some flowers. What do I think of her? I think the word “ooh-lala” says it all.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recent Book........unChristian

I picked up a book a few weeks ago entitled "unChristian."

The sub title is: "What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christians... And Why it Matters."

This book is very insightful because it explores the attitudes of outsiders between the ages of 16-29 years old. The information is the result of a three year survey involving millions of people.

The jest of the book? Christians are known more for the issues they stand against rather than the hope they stand for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's Happening at PCC?

I just got home from a men’s small group I attend on Wednesday evenings. I’ve got to say there are some exceptional things happening with our small groups ministry right now:

1. Today (Wednesday) some 90 people participated in group life.

2. Yesterday (Tuesday) some 50 people participated in group life.

3. Tomorrow it will be the same.

4. Yesterday a friend of mine, a local pastor, stopped by the office to ask me about our small groups ministry. By the time he left I had given him a full packet of material. He and his Executive Pastor are going to review it and (possibly) borrow some ideas to implement in their church. The church he pastors is larger than ours, so it made me feel good that he felt like we had something to offer.

Our MUSIC & WORSHIP Ministry
Aside from offering our congregation an exceptional opportunity for vertical worship each week, our church band is downright good. Exceptional leadership, gifted singers, talented musicians, new people, and (finally) real team chemistry.

1. We now have three drummers.

2. Get this, our #2 drummer used to play with CHRIS TOMLIN! Yes, the nationally-known Chris Tomlin. And this guy is our number-two drummer. What do you think that says about our current talent level?

3. The new violinist is jaw-dropping good.

4. The percussion section (bonga/congas) is about to expand with new talent too.

5. The brass section screams with excellence.


You can teach what you know, but you will reproduce what you are.

The More Things Change the More we Remain the Same

PCC is now ten years old. It has been interesting to see the many changes that have taken place in this ministry. Yet, at the same time, most things remain the same.

We first began our church in a middle school cafeteria with seven people and no staff. Today we meet in a 17,500 sq ft facility on 25 acres, with multiple staff, two dozen ministries or groups, and experienced an all-time record attendance of 920 on Easter Sunday 2007!

Despite all the changes and growth, our vision and mission have never changed. From day one our church has always focused upon reaching the lost with the timeless message of salvation and developing people toward spiritual maturity to become God-honoring fully-devoted followers of Christ.

Yep, the more we change the more we are becoming what we have always been.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Love Pastors

Here’s why:

On any given Sunday morning across America, more Americans will attend church services than will attend all major sporting events for an entire year combined.

No, that’s not a typo. I wrote it correctly.

The pastors of all these churches influence a myriad of believers, who are living healthy lives because of their godly example. Often their work is not even acknowledged. Yet this world would be much worse off without them.

They are heroes.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Memo

Okay, it's Monday and I've had a chance to de-tangle after yesterday. I'm glad to report that we had an exceptional weekend.

--Attendance jumped 50-something people over the previous Sunday.
--Four people committed to Christ.
--Two asked to be baptized.
--Twenty-four people joined our church.

I don't know, but I think we are entering a new season for Pace Community Church.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

MYTH - God is Not Interested in Numbers

All my Christian life I've heard super-spiritual types say that God is not interested in numbers. Wrong. The fact is, God is very interested in numbers. In fact, God is so interested in numbers that He named an entire book of the Bible after them. Can you guess the name of the book? Do you know why?

I think heaven will be too big for some people.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

I am Siked! Or is that Psyched?

Either way, my mind is running at very high RPMs right now. The excitement factor is off-the-chart at Pace Community Church.

We had a full class for our Membership Seminar last Sunday afternoon. And get this, it was the night of the Super Bowl!!! People actually skipped the Super Bowl to attend Seminar 101.

Our winter semester for small groups is in full swing right now. More groups, more to choose from, more leaders, more people. Discipleship is on the rise too.

Sermon CDs are flying off the shelf each Sunday. It’s not about me. It’s the open, receptive hearts that are craving more.

Attendance is up 25%. In the months of December 07 & January 08 our attendance actually increased 25% more than the previous two months. In the month of January alone, we had 47 visiting families.

Volunteerism is on the rise. We don’t have to beg, plead, or look for “warm bodies.” Maybe it’s the new people. Maybe it’s a move of God. I’m not sure. One thing I am sure of, it’s refreshing.

New leaders are coming out of the wood-work!
Where have these people been all this time? These leaders are filling key positions in all areas of our church. I don’t know what we would do without them.


God speaks to me in the silence......

Why I am a Pastor

I became a believer at twenty-four. Within six months I was volunteering for anthing I could in my church. Within one year I was teaching. Here it is two decades later - and then some - and I still love the work.

Here's why:

1. This is what I was created to do.

2. My life has greater meaning when I see others given hope through the teaching of God’s Word.

3. It is an honor when someone calls me their pastor.

4. I am investing my life in something that will out-live and out-last me.

5. I am responsible to God for the people He has given me to shepherd.

6. I want to join Christ in His work.

7. I love the challenges of leadership.

8. It forces me to grow as a person.

9. God uses me.

10. The office of pastor is a God-ordained office.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Philippians Series

Our current series from the book of Philippians is a big hit. The series name is The Secret of Contentment. We're going verse-by-verse. Many people are responding favorably. We're getting down into some of the bedrock of the passages.

Part 1 - How to Get Over Being Miserable

Part 2 - The Benefits of a Christ-Controlled Life

Part 3 - The Submitted Mind and Diffusing Conflict

Part 4 - Working It Out and Poured Out

Other parts will follow.

I am Ramped Up!

Amazing things are happening at PCC! Attendance is up, giving is up, membership is up, enthusiasm is up, and commitments are up. Our band is better than ever, the worship meter is pinging in the red zone, and our new violinist is awesome.

Let go of Whatever is Holding You Back

Momentum - we all need it. Without it we lose ground. I believe God's will for you is to move forward and gain new ground. He wants you to let go of whatever is holding you back, and to grow, increase, and to be more than what you are today.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in your will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

Many people fail in life because they believe that mediocrity is normal. But success always eludes those who follow such a philosophy. The dreams that come true are those that did so because people stick to their ambitions. They refuse to be discouraged. They never let disappointments gain the upper hand. Always remember, you will be judged by what you finish, not by what you start. If you don't see results right away, don't give up. God does not pay by the week, but He pays at the end.

Ninety percent of all failures result from people quitting too soon. "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9). Many people who quit did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. The road to success runs uphill. So lean into the wind and don't expect to break any speed records. Hang in there.

Avoid following the crowd. Be a leader, not a follower. Average people would rather try nothing and succeed rather than try something great and risk failure. You are destined to be different than the crowd. You are supposed to be who God made you to be.

How to Get Along with People at Work

No workplace is perfect. Some are better than others. All have people who don't get along.

How we get along with our coworkers has an effect upon the quality of our personal relationships outside of work. People who develop and maintain productive rapport in the workplace tend to enjoy better relationships outside of work.

We spend more of our waking hours interacting with our coworkers than with anyone else. Our work relationships have more time to shape our attitudes and affect the general state of our emotional fitness than any other single relationship. And, given enough time, even the most bizarre relationships become accepted as being ordinary.

The bad news is that, if left unchecked, difficult personalities multiply as fast as laboratory mice on fertility pills, especially during turbulent times in a company. A healthy work environment can become contaminated and counterproductive. Intimidation, fear, and anxiety are the personalities that await you each day at work. And if that's not bad enough, trying to get along with these people can create enough anxiety and stress that you will carry it home and into your personal lives.

The good news is that there are practical ways of getting along with almost anyone. This includes people who are so obnoxious that their mere presence can be emotionally draining.

Here are some practical tips for everyone:


Communicate. Give your associates your undivided attention when you are talking to them. Be accessible. Never demean. Be willing to discuss frankly any sensitive issues that may need attention. Always keep confidences confidential.

Stand by your associates. Cheer for them when they do well, encourage them when they are struggling, and stand by them when they are being criticized by those who are higher up or lower down on the totem poll.

Show appreciation. A sincere expression of your appreciation to your peers and subordinates will do more for your workplace relationship, and job productivity, than perhaps any other single thing can do. Never underestimate the value of a simple "Thank you" in welding together relationships that will withstand great trials.


Be an ally. Everyone has enough foes and enemies to keep them on guard. When your peers consider you to be their ally, they will let down their guard and become more open to you. And make no mistake about it: just one ally can help you succeed in situations where you could fail on your own.

Don't quibble. It is far more common for a relationship to break down over continual petty bickering than as a result of a heated disagreement over things that really matter. Therefore, arguments with your peers should be reserved for matters of consequence. And when all has been said that really needs to be, let go and move on.

Compete fairly. Peers compete with each other in the workplace. People who compete fairly and win fairly earn the respect of their peers. Although it is often said that "winning is everything," no prize is more valuable than your dignity.


Do your job. Nothing will endear you more to your manager or coworkers than simply doing your job and doing it well. Be dependable. Be thorough. And never overlook the fact that being good at your job is the quickest way to climb any career ladder or achieve personal goals.

Be cheerful. A cheerful attitude attracts people to you and gets a lot of your shortcomings overlooked. No one likes a contrary personality, but virtually everyone appreciates those who bear their trials well. And don't be a burden to your manager.

Abide by the rules meant to be obeyed. The reality is, that when you break the rules, it causes other people to have to rein in your behavior, and usually lands you in the penalty box.


Be the happiest person in the place. How do you overcome the inevitable drag on your spirits of doing tasks you hate but that have to be done? Simply this: reward yourself at the end of the day. If you have to do something you don't like, I mean really hate, be especially nice to yourself later that day. The same day. Go buy yourself a new tennis racket, have dinner out (no, not Burger King or Captain D's), get a cup of coffee at Barnes and Nobles and settle in with a good book for a couple of hours, or whatever mad and whimsical delight that strikes your fancy at the moment. Reward yourself.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Ebbs & Flow of Life - Psalm 57:10

Norman Vincent Peale tells the story of a struggling businessman who reached a turning point in life after seeing a picture of a boat stuck in the sand. The caption said, "The Tide Always Comes Back."

There are two mistakes we make in life. When things are good we tend to think they will always be good. When things are bad, we tend to think they will always be bad.

Both ideas are wrong. Life tends to go up & down, in & out, ebb & flow. This includes our marriage, ministry, relationships, and finances. Even our “approval rating” goes up and down.

There is one constant in all of this: God is faithful to us. And our ability to thrive depends on our faithfulness to Him.

Today, whether your tide is in or out, just lean on the faithfulness of God.

"For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds" (Psalm 57:10).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Good Things Happen to Postive People

You should remember you are blessed and highly favored to just be alive. If you believe that God is good all the time you develop a sense of expectancy. Good things have a way of finding their way to positive people. "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again" (Ecc. 11:1).

We all have the power to choose whether we are going to tap into the negative lower self, or the higher positive self. You can talk and think yourself into dullness and unhappiness or you can use the same process to build up inspiration and a surging depth of joy.

It is not our position in life that makes us happy, it's our disposition. Attitude counts for a lot. For example, some people freeze in the winter and complain about the long nights, short days, and stiff joints. Others ski.

This is a direct correlation between our passion and our potential. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 31:21, "He did it with all his heart and prospered."

Many people think that prosperity and success come from having power with men. That may be partly true. But all good things come from God above (James 1:17). Be positive, have faith, and watch good things come. God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Beginning today you can have better relationships, be a better parent, change jobs, communicate more effectively, gain respect, improve your memory, increase your creativity, sell your ideas, reduce stress, achieve personal goals, make better decisions, discover your hidden talents, wear nice clothes, improve your appearance, speak eloquently, deliver compelling presentations, overcome writers block, control your anger, cope with a break up, lead productive meetings, stand out in meetings, increase your job security, survive a job loss, ace an interview, simplify your life, improve your life, make more money, save more money, give more money, spend more money, or whatever.

Change your disposition and watch your position begin to change.