Monday, March 31, 2008

Racial Diversity at PCC

PCC is becoming more racially diverse.... it's exciting to see.
If you don't like it, you probably won't like heaven either.

Thought of the Week

Those who can, do.
Those who can’t, tell others how to do it.


FIVE THOUSAND HITS! Amazing! And get this -three thousand of those hits came in the month of March alone! Looks like traffic is picking up.

Thanks for checking in often - and help spread the word. I'll do my very best to keep my postings informative, accurate, and insightful.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Debrief!

1. Today’s message was entitled “Misplaced Confidence” and based on Philippians 3:1-11
We looked at the wrong things people put their confidence in – such as legalism, getting caught up in false doctrine, trusting in your personal accomplishments and blindly following men. We also learned that CHRIST ALONE should be the focus of our confidence

“We rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (v.3)

Teachers of legalism would like for you to believe that something is missing in your Christian walk, and that you would become more spiritual if you would only follow their rules or theology. Rather than improving your spiritual walk, man-made rules/theology actually dilutes the gospel resulting in making Christ of "no effect.” Very dangerous indeed. We understand that we are "complete" in Christ - period.

2. Thirteen people committed to Christ today!

3. We had twenty-two first-time guests!

4. One man came to me after service and said this - "I attended church here last Sunday and today. This is the second time I have been to church in the last twenty years. I used to belong to a religious system that emphasized rules/legalism. Now I understand what God wants. I committed to Christ today and your church has a new member."

5. Another man came to church, attending the early service. He was so amazed at the music, God's presence, and the plain, practical Word that he went home and got his family and brought them back for the second service! You should have seen his excitement.

6. What an awesome day!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holy Smokes - BREAKING NEWS - Teen News


I am pleased to announce that PCC has a NEW YOUTH LEADER for our teen ministry. RENAE CHRISTIAN will be assuming those responsibilities – effective immediately.

Renae has served in this capacity before - she was was our former youth leader and will now be reassuming this role again. She brings a wonderful mix of extensive experience and spiritual gifts to this role. More importantly she is passionate about youth, always has been, and remains so to this day. She enthusiastically takes the leadership reigns of our youth ministry and looks forward to sharing life together with the teenagers.

We continue to appreciate the amazing job that the current team of leaders and teachers have provided over the last four months during our transitional period. Through their dedication and standard of excellence our teen ministry has remained viable and even grown. In fact, they have been experiencing a new momentum. It really is a new season for PCC.

As a parent of a teenager, you can have the full assurance that our youth ministry is strong, has clear leadership, and will continue to thrive.

Spread the word – awesome things are happening!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Four Lessons I've Learned at the Ten-Year Mark

This week PCC is now 10 years old. That’s a decade. But I still feel like we are just getting started. Today I want to begin a four-part series entitled “Four Lessons I Have Learned at the Ten-Year Mark.” This is the first installment.

LESSON ONE: Maintaining Our Focus on Reaching the Unchurched is still a High Priority.

I believe in church growth and I also believe the focus should be growth by conversion, not transfer growth. We have had numerous attempts made by people over the years to get us to redefine who we are, and what our mission is, but we have never wavered. After ten years, I’m convinced we’ve got it right.

The first indication that we are successful at reaching unchurched people is THEIR OWN TESTIMONY. When people come to PCC I often hear them say things like, “I haven’t been to church in 20 years,” or “I gave up on church many years ago but have found a home here,” or “my teenager is sixteen years old and she has never been to church.” This is very exciting to me because I know we are reaching our target group.

It’s also messy. When irreligious people cross the line of faith and make a commitment to Jesus Christ, they are not mature overnight. They have issues. Old habits die hard. Worldly values have to be reshaped into spiritual values. This takes time and it takes patience on our part. But it’s worth it.

Most enjoyable to me is to watch these new converts grow in the faith and mature. These very people often become our best leaders, small group leaders, ministry leaders, and volunteers. They become real tithers – (not tippers) – but ten percent tithers! They also have the potential to become some of our best staff members.

The simple truth is this: reaching spiritually lost people and maturing them in the faith, then plugging them in for ministry is much easier than re-training Christians from other churches. I am very proud of the people of PCC. They prove that the number one thing happening here is life-change.

Another indication that we are successful at reaching irreligious people is that RELIGIOUS PEOPLE CAN'T STAND THE WAY WE DO CHURCH around here.
They have all sorts of complaints of why we are doing church all wrong. But that’s okay. We weren’t trying to reach them anyway. The people we are reaching are perfectly happy. Besides, the only people who criticized Jesus in His day were religious folk – so I know we are in good company.

So after ten years I have learned that our mission is effective and successful. Why? Becaues it is:
  • God-honoring
  • Christ-exalting
  • And life-changing
We're going to keep the main thing the main thing around here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Genesis 1:1

1. In the BEGINNING…..

Whenever that was, no one knows. Certainly it was more than 6000 years ago. Billons and billons perhaps. There is no date, so it must refer to the dateless past and the point of origin. God has not revealed to us the point of beginning, so it cannot be discovered.

If geologists and scientists can prove the age of the earth and the universe as being older, why disagree with them. It is what it is. If they are right, they are right. If they are wrong, they are wrong. Either way, it does not contradict the Bible.

2. In the beginning GOD……

God is the point of beginning. He is the point of origin. God is a superior being who exists and always has. If you can get over this hump, in the first verse of the Bible, all the rest of it will make sense.

3. In the beginning God CREATED….

God is the creator of it all. Obviously He is an infinite being with superior intelligence and capabilities. They are so far above and beyond our limitations that we cannot fully grasp His creative abilities.

4. In the beginning God created THE HEAVEN…..

This means the entire known universe, planets, galaxies, solar systems, stars, and everything that is beyond them, including the unknown universe and different realms of existence.

5. In the beginning God created the heaven AND THE EARTH.

When was the earth created? Not 6000 years ago; but “in the beginning.” i.e., Somewhere in the dateless past, perhaps billions of years ago – if not longer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Is God Real?

Is God Real? Does He really exist? Here are two simple common sense peices of evidence:

1. We can know God exists because He actively pursues us.

The very fact that you, and all people in general, constantly talk about God is evidence that God is pressing the issue of His existence. Atheists constantly talk about God trying to disprove Him. Believers talk about God attempting to prove Him. Even unbelievers, though not living for Him, talk about God as being literal. God is cursed, exalted, denied, proclaimed, blasphemed, worshiped, debated and argued about by the entire human race. Everyone talks about God in some manner! This is God Himself pressing the issue of His existence on mans conscience, which manifests itself in the form of human dialogue.

Consider the atheist – Why would an atheist spend so much time talking about something or somebody they don’t even believe exists? Because God is pressing Himself upon their conscience and they cannot escape His pursuit.

2. We can know God exists because men actively seek Him

There is a natural instinctive desire within all men to reach out and worship – something or someone. No matter how primitive or advanced a culture is, you will always find worship in some form. It may be misdirected, but worship is present.

Here are four simple promises of God for those who seek Him:
  • (Acts 17:24-28 NKJV) "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. {25} "Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. {26} "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, {27} "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; {28} "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

  • (Luke 11:9-10 NKJV) "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {10} "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

  • (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

  • (James 4:8 NKJV) {8} Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Why do men actively seek God? Because they instinctively know of His existence. This knowledge is imprinted upon every human being. And God’s promise to us is we will find Him when we seek Him.


Let me summarize. Everyone talks about God; atheist’s, believers, unbelievers, saints and sinners alike. Men seek God all across the planet and have done so down through the ages. Therefore, if God is not real this tendency of man can only be attributed to an accidental mechanism of evolution.

Or either it is God Himself pressing the issue.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday debrief..

Holy Smokes! Where do I start?

This is been one of the busiest weeks of my life, and one of the craziest weekends ever!

The Good Friday Communion service was very cool. I loved the laid-back mood without all the pressure we typically feel with a Sunday service

The Easter Egg Hunt & Spring Fest for the kids on Saturday was awesome

Today was one of the most incredible days in our church’s ten-year history. The parking-lot was jammed full with cars. The parking shuttle team provided an invaluable service for those facing a long walk – and they drove their carts “enthusiastically.”

I think about twelve people committed to Christ. Our weekend total attendance was 1231.

The band, singers, and musicians were insane!. I mean the singers brought the house down – and the musicians, oh man, they provided the perfect platform for the singers to exalt Christ in a God-honoring way

The sound and projection teams were on-target today making it so easy for everyone in the congregation to follow along and keep up. Great job guys

The ushers never missed a beat. It looked good to see all of them on duty on the same day

Hospitality “took it up a notch” and made a good “first impression.” The refreshment display was impressive

And the kids ministry – you talk about doing a “jam up” job – they pulled it off with the “Easter Path.”

The nursery was staffed by trained, competent workers who provided a clean, safe environment for the babies freeing up the parents to be in the adult service. Thank you for your sacrifice so that others could attend. Your efforts do not go unnoticed

The landscaped grounds are beautiful because of your hard work

One lady in our church takes care of the large flowerpots at the front doors – beautifying our entrance. This unnamed servant strives for a standard of excellence and it shows

I almost fell out today!!!!

I am so proud of our staff, ministry leaders, and volunteer workers. They have worked so hard the last couple of weeks and it showed this weekend. If you are part of the PCC family, take some time this week to let them know how much you appreciate their efforts

I am shocked at how little stress there has been in the last few weeks – even this weekend. There really is a feeling of newness right now that confirms we are entering a new season at PCC. There are so many faithful, loyal, dedicated people in this church family... they love their pastor, their church, and their ministry. Most importantly, they love God and serve Him like they do.

PCC volunteers, ministry leaders, and staff. What can I say? I could not be more proud of a group of people than I am of you

Later this week (about Wed) we'll have pictures

I think we are becoming a "destination church." i.e., the kind of church that people will drive long distances to attend.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


Holy cow. What a turn-out today. About 250 kids and adults showed up for the egg hunt and spring fest. This was an important bridge-event for us – building a good rapport with those in our community – letting them know we have one of the most awesome children’s ministry’s in the area. Then there was all our church family that showed up too. Awesome. Hat’s off to Cathy Denny and her entire team for such good job today.

double click the pictures to enlarge

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holy Moley - What a Communion Service!

It's 11:00 PM Friday night. We had our first-ever Good Friday Communion service this evening and I can say, without exception, that it was one of the best communion services we've ever had.

  • The singers nailed it!
  • Renae did an excellent job with the selection of songs
  • The crowd was ENORMOUS!
  • The sound and projection teams made our job very easy
  • The fact that it was Good Friday held special meaning for us
  • Authentic worship was experienced - we were all deeply moved
CAN'T WAIT for tomorrow.
CAN'T WAIT for Sunday.

Help Me Pray....

This weekend is usually our highest attended day of the year. A lot of planning, preparation, and praying have already gone into this single event. We have done all we know to do. But there is one final request I would like to make of you – help us pray for the hurting people that will be with us this Sunday.

Undoubtedly, there will be people with us who are hurting, desperate, and searching for answers. Someone will walk into service this Sunday who has decided to give God one last try. We’ve got to get it right!

  • That our church will be a warm incubator for spiritual receptivity
  • That everyone does there part
  • That I get it right… that I say it right
  • That God’s Word, like a sharp arrow, will find its target

Someone is going to show up this weekend genuinely searching for God. Let’s help them find the way.

Here's Some 411 About this Weekend

This is our first ever Good Friday service and it’s going to be intimate and contemplative. We will sing a couple of worship songs to get focused. After that, we’ll share communion together. Finally, we will pray for the lost and our Sunday services. My comments will be minimal.

1500 eggs. Games & activities. Lunch provided. Workers arrive 11:00 AM.

• Sermon
- Can I Believe in a God I Can't See?
Children’s Program – “THE EASTER PATH.” A special Children’s program that helps kids understand the true Easter story by walking the path of the last days of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday at the Office...

The church is a beehive of activity today. Extra help has shown up helping us prepare for Easter weekend. It's really amazing. Some are preparing the projection slides for the song service and message, running extra bulletins, folding, stuffing, etc. The housekeeping team is here (as usual) but today they are putting forth an extra effort. One man is outside mowing the grounds - and doing an excellent job I might add. Extra name-tags and badges have been made for the nursery workers and ushers. Other volunteers are setting up props for the "Easter Path" children's program. The sanctuary is being spruced up - extra pens and cards are being put out. Easter Lilly's have arrived. You get the idea.....

The building is filled up happy, laughing people.

The people of this church are amazing.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Size Matters

Some churches erroneously believe that the proof of the quality of their church is reflected in their low attendance. The reasoning goes like this; the smaller the church, the more spiritual it is. That is, "We want quality people, not a quantity of people." The assumption is if a church is attracting lots of people, it must be shallow and lacking commitment.

Jesus attracted large crowds and He never compromised the truth. Peter preached an uncompromising word and converted 3000 people with his first sermon! The apostle Paul had followers all over Asia and he never watered it down. The reason they had so many followers (yes, large crowds) is because the gospel is GOOD NEWS, not bad news.

In fact, the only people who ever accused Jesus of watering it down were the jealous priests who criticized Him out of envy. I suspect the same ministerial jealously motivates some people today to criticize growing churches that attract large crowds.

In any church where lives are being changed, marriages are being put back together, and people are being liberated from life-controlling habits, you’ll have to turn people away if you want to remain small. People are attracted to places where there is quality preaching, quality music, quality programming, quality worship services and real life-change. People will turn out in droves to a church like that. On the other hand, why would God send a group of prospects to a church that doesn’t know what to do with them? In most instances, He doesn’t.

Having spent a great deal of time in smaller churches myself, I have observed that one reason churches remain small is because of a LACK of quality. There is little quality in the music, in the singing, in the nursery care, the children’s ministry, the preaching, and in its discipleship training.

On the other hand, the bigger a church gets the more the quality improves. You get better preaching, better teaching (from a variety of teachers), you have better music, better singing, worship, age-level ministries, small groups, discipleship training – all of it. In a growing church more people commit to Christ, are baptized, grow in discipleship, and volunteer for ministry service.

Any church that has no interest in increasing its numbers (under the misguided assumption that it is more spiritual to remain small) is saying to the rest of the world, “We’re saved, but you can go to hell.”

The MOST UNSELFISH thing a church can do is to DECIDE TO GROW.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Random Facts about Me

Some of My Favorite Movies:

  • Shaw Shank Redemption
  • The Borne Identity (the series)
  • Open Range
  • Dances with Wolves
  • The Firm

Favorite Restaurants:

  • P F Changs (last time I ate there was in California)
  • Bone Fish Grill (Pensacola)
  • La Hacienda (wish the cops hadn't raided that place)

Bands/People I Have Seen in Concert (in the 70’s)

  • Alice Cooper
  • ZZ Top
  • Elton John
  • BB King
  • Johnny Winter
  • Edgar Winter
  • Willie Nelson
  • Leon Russell
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Bocehpus (Hank Williams Jr)
  • Sly & the Family Stone
  • There were a lot more, but uh, like uh, I can’t remember them man.

Some Places I would Love to Visit

  • Grand Canyon
  • Yosemite and Yellowstone
  • Italy & the Mediterranean coast
  • Ireland
  • New York City

Some places I have been

  • Hawaii
  • Germany
  • Panama (Central America)
  • Mexico
  • Chicago - WIllow Creek Church
  • Mission Viejo California - Saddleback Church
  • Key West

What I'm Most Pleased About Right Now

  • My family
  • To be part of PCC
  • The team of volunteers who serve each week
  • Our church staff

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Debrief - March 16, 2008

1. Went to the beach today after church. It was good to be outdoors in the sun, in wide open spaces, and breathing the salty air. Walked a couple of miles along the Gulf. Good therapy. Helped detangle my mind.

2. Had good services today. Attendance was good. Giving was better than normal. Lot’s of visitors. Very exciting.

3. Team Chemistry - Our band has sounded better for the last 3 months than they have in a long, long time. Now I know why – team chemistry. The people serving together right now genuinely enjoy each others company and are capable of working together.
The team now sings with joy (making for a much better sound).

4. The number of guests & visitors each week is off-the-chart. Something big is building at our church.

5. Do you know why I feel so passionate about reaching the lost?

(a) They have no one to speak for them in the church.
Everyone else in the church has a voice; and they let their voice be heard. The lost have no voice unless someone stands up in front of the congregation to speak for them. It’s easy to overlook lost people.
(b) The consequences are too great. People who die lost go into eternity without God and end up in a place of eternal punishment. This is a reality we cannot ignore.

6. Easter Weekend is a three-day event for us this year:
  • Good Friday Communion Service - 7:00 PM
  • Saturday Egg Hunt for the Kids – 1:00 PM
  • Easter Sunday – two services - 9:30 & 11:00 AM

7. Check back every day this week for daily posts.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dumb Dogs...

What would you think of a watch dog that remained silent and did not bark if an intruder was breaking into your house late at night? That dog would be good for nothing. No warning, no barking – just dumb, mute, and silent because he preferred to sleep.

This is what God says of preachers & prophets who do not warn His people of dangers….”His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all DUMB DOGS, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Isaiah 56:10 KJV).

It is very important that pastors teach their congregations God’s standards in regards to lifestyle and doctrine and warn them of false doctrines, false teachers, worldliness, and encroaching sin. Hebrews 13:17 (KJV) says they “…watch for your souls....” If not warned, danger may be lurking at your door.

God promises to judge pastors harshly if they fail to warn His people, Ezekiel 3:18 says, “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand” (NKJV). I fully realize that one day I will stand before God at the judgment bar, not only to give account for my own life but also for my responsibility as a minister. This is very sobering to me.

God also promises to give His people faithful pastors. In Jeremiah 3:15 God says, “I will give you pastors according to my heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (KJV). Men like these are gifts from God. If you have a pastor (or any spiritual leader) who is after God’s heart, you are fortunate.

In contrast, some people “do not endure sound doctrine but after their own lusts heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3). If people want a false teacher in their life, I think God let’s them have it. The blind follow the blind and both fall into the ditch (Matt. 15:14).

Dumb dogs… the danger is in what they DON’T say.

Married.....with Children

A wedding is a ceremony, but a successful marriage is an achievement. A wedding is a ritual observance that begins a journey, whereas a long-term marriage is hard. Marriage involves putting someone else’s need ahead of your own, having to consider someone else’s feelings, putting your wants on the back burner – things like that. Then there are the kids who demand our time and attention. Fortunately for me, my wife and I enjoy doing things together and that’s one of the ways we work on our marriage – by spending time with each other.

Marriage isn’t easy, but when we do it God’s way it is the best way to have a happy one.

Renae and I have been married for 27 years. That’s more than half my life and hers. And for 10 of those years, we have served at Pace Community Church. That’s a decade of serving other people, while trying to serve each other at the same time. The realities of ministry and marriage are tough. But the journey has been worth the effort – especially on the home front.

I still get a quiver in my liver.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why do I Need a Church Family?

I can’t claim to be a follower of Christ if I’m not committed any specific group of disciples (John 13:35). When we come together in love from different backgrounds, race, and social status, it is a witness to the world. No one believer can be the body of Christ on his or her own.

The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along with other believers in God’s family. It is a laboratory for practicing unselfishness and the maturity process (I Corinthians 12:26). It is only by having regular contact with regular, imperfect people (just like myself) that I learn real fellowship and sacrifice for others.

None of us are immune to temptation, falling prey to false doctrine, or cooling off spiritually. Given the right situation, any one of us is capable of sin – even returning back to a life of sin. God knows this, so He has assigned us the responsibility of keeping each other on track, (Hebrews 3:13).

  • A related benefit of a local church is that it also provides us the spiritual protection of godly leaders. God gives us shepherds and overseers to guard, protect, defend, and care for the spiritual welfare of the flock. Hebrews 13:17 (KJV) says they “…watch for your souls....”

Satan loves detached believers because he knows they are more vulnerable and less protected.

The Christian life is more than just a commitment to Jesus Christ; it includes a commitment to other Christians. 2 Corinthians 8:5 states that the believers in Macedonia understood this principle – “…but they first gave themselves to the Lord, AND UNTO US by the will of God.”

Isn’t it time to come home again?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Holy Cow - I'm Pumped!

4The offices are full of people today helping us with a large mailing in preparation for Easter. Awesome volunteers!

4Tomorrow more than 16,000 pieces go into the mail. (15,000 invite cards will go to the community at large. 1,200 letters will be mailed to those in our records).

4We will be repainting the walls sometime this week too.

4Easter Sunday is our 10th Anniversary.

4This year is going to be an awesome year at PCC.

4I am very proud of our age-level ministry staff & workers (nursery, children, teens) who do such a great job.

4Our small groups ministry is a smashing success.

4Several stories of life-change have came in this week.

4Lot’s of big things planned for this year.

Holy cow, I’m pumped!

Monday, March 10, 2008

3000 hits

THREE THOUSAND (3000) hits!

Thank you ..... 3000 times.

Our Amazing Volunteers

I can honestly say that one of single most encouraging things I see every weekend are our volunteers. When I drive onto our campus each weekend my heart swells just watching volunteers assist in parking, sidewalk greeters, patio pals, door greeters, atrium hosts, sound techs, projection team, welcome center, nursery, children, teens, ushers, singers & musicians, and hospitality.

Then there are people who help during the week prepare the projection slides for the songs and message, those who copy the bulletins, folding and stuffing, housekeeping, realigning the chairs, and nursery staff who help us get ready for the weekend.

Then there are the teachers who spend time during the week preparing their lessons for the children’s ministry and teen ministry.

Then the are the small group leaders and small group hosts who spend time during the week preparing for their group.

Then there are those people who show up for specially called work days. Just had one last Saturday. Some 50-plus people show up to help us mow the entire campus, spread pine straw in the flower beds, pick up limbs, clean the inside of the building and touch-up (paint) the walls.

Why does this mean so much to me? Because I have dedicated my life to God and this church. I want to spend the rest of my life here. And when I see people pouring their lives into the church I have dedicated my life to – I know they get it.

When church people get it – lost people get found.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Choosing My Battles

Some battles are not worth fighting. They cost you more in wounds than in spoils received. Every hill is not worth dying on; there is nothing strategic gained. Not all things are worth going to the mat over; they simply drain your energy. On the other hand some battles must be fought; the stakes are too high to ignore.

As a church leader, I have learned these are the battles that are NOT worth fighting:
· Trying to justify our vision and mission to people who just don’t get it
· People who criticize our church, yet have never attended it
· People who think evangelism and reaching the lost is shallow
· Arguing about Bible translations, dress codes, or music styles
· Arguing about preaching styles
· Trying to explain every decision that is made

Here are the battles I WILL fight: (in a New York minute)
· Defending our mission & protecting our vision
· Standing firmly on our Essential Beliefs and maintaining doctrinal integrity
· Outreach
· Those who are disloyal, or who have their own agenda
· Troublemakers who do attend our church
· Those who are living in unrepentant sin
· For myself, my walk with God, my family, and my time

Romans 16:17-18 (KJV) 17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Q & A with the pastor...

I am asked questions all the time. I think people have an interest in this strange world of being a pastor. The following list of questions are some I hear the most. Hope you find it insightful - it's revealing.

Who are you key staff members?
Those people who I have disappointed and they stayed with me anyway.

Who are your key leaders? Those people who defend me to the people who get mad and leave. That’s who they are.

Who are your future leaders? Those who are supportive and loyal. When I find myself going through seasons of intense criticism, all I have to do is look around and find out who my supporters are. I have just identified my future leaders and staff members.

How does it affect you when people leave the church? Sometimes it bothers me, but not always. Sometimes more than at other times. But I can deal with it. Moses didn’t get everyone into the promised land and Jesus didn’t get through to all of His disciples either, so I’m in good company. I know I’m going to lose people along the way. That’s life. I deal with it. I move on.

Besides, the wonderful thing about people is that God is making more of them.

What do you look for in a church leader? Character and Chemistry. Character means integrity, loyalty, honesty, things like that. Chemistry means we click – are on the same page, I like the person. We can work together and get along. It’s relational.

Does it take courage to lead? Yes. Serving on church staff is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes courage and strength to lead a church. If I’m afraid of people I can’t lead them, much less influence them. The ironic thing is we preachers tell stories of Daniel in the lion’s den after he stood up to the king, and we won’t even stand up to church elders or our critics. What’s that all about? We talk about David & Goliath, Jesus & the Pharisees, and other heroes of the Bible and we’re afraid to confront people. Yes, it takes a lot of courage to be a Biblical leader.

How do you handle problem people? I don’t think it is good to allow problem people to have any room or authority. Once it is apparent they are a liability to our mission, I deal with them quickly, directly, lovingly, and firmly. I care so much about advancing the kingdom of God that I will do anything, even to the point of not being nice, for the sake of the gospel. I look to Jesus and the apostle Paul for my example in this matter.

Who do you dislike? I think Christian “poseurs" (an insincere person) bother me the most – those Pharisee-types who are self-righteous and believe they have a corner on the kingdom and all truth, and put themselves above other believers.

These Bible-thumpers have no heart. They forget that knowledge puffs up (I Cor. 8:1) often making them arrogant and condescending. In contrast, the Bible teaches that but love builds up (I Cor. 8:1).

What do you think about church growth that occurs through sheep transfer? That’s not growth. That’s pathetic. Since day one of PCC our mission has been to target the irreligious for evangelism and then grow them in discipleship. After ten years, the mission is still the same. God has blessed us in that effort and He still is. That's why we have grown so much and that's why so many lives have been truly changed by Christ's power.

I would be embarrassed (as a pastor) if I could not reach people for Christ myself. Any pastor who is building his church through transfer growth is impotent. He's shooting blanks when he preaches the gospel because it's all theory - he's not making it work for himself. The proof is in the pudding; either you are reaching people for Christ or you are not.

Please get out of the ministry if that’s all you can do.

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

A Church Planter who has not built on another mans foundation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Distributors of Leaven

Matthew 16:6: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.’”

Leaven is yeast added to bread dough which makes the whole lump rise. Only a little leaven is needed to affect the entire loaf. Jesus used the analogy to warn people of the false doctrine of religious teachers. Likewise, an entire congregation can be infected with the corrosive nature false doctrine or false teachers if only a small foot-hold is gained. This is exactly why godly pastors and overseers should be diligent in protecting the flock and rooting out these distributors of leaven.

These people “creep in unawares” supposing to spread their deceit. These “wells without water” need to be exposed and driven away because “the truth is not in them.”

Paul said these people “preach another gospel” (Gal. 1:8-9; I Timothy 4:1)

Peter said they “secretly bring in damnable heresies” ( 2 Peter 2:1)

Jude called them “dreamers who defile the flesh” (Jude v.8)

And Paul summed it up well when he said, “they are wolves who desire to enter in and will not spare the flock” (Acts 20:29).

False teachers:
Lack authority…. so they dislike those who have it
Lack integrity….. so they rely on secrecy to gather followers
Lack sympathy… so they will not help the hurting, only the good enough
Lack humility…. so they set themselves up as pillars of truth or revelation

These distributors of leaven masquerade as those who represent God. The sad truth is they lead the souls of men and women into bondage while promising them freedom, and in some cases lead people into the fires of hell while promising them heaven.

These distributors of leaven must be confronted with all seriousness and by godly leaders.

Jude said they ”separate themselves” (Jude v.19) - probably because they consider themselves to be the spiritual elite.

Early miners were able to tell the difference between pyrite (fools gold) and true gold by simply looking at it. They were so familiar with the authentic that the counterfeit was obvious.

You don’t need to be aware of every false doctrine out there. All you need to know is your Bible, and the false become obvious.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Great Team I Serve With...

I have the privilege to serve with some amazing people at PCC – a group of self-motivated individuals who demonstrate initiative, a “can do” attitude, and a willingness to shoulder the heavy end of the log.

This group of people is mixture of full-time staff, part-time staff, and volunteers; all of whom I consider staff and colleagues and fellow laborers in the ministry.

What’s so great about them?

#1 – They See the BIG PICTURE

A good staff member or ministry leader sees the big picture and how all the parts fit together as a whole. While its important for a ministry leader to have a passion and ownership of his/her ministry area, it’s more important they have a passion for the church as a whole! Such a person will gladly lay aside his/her plans if it’s in the best interest of the church.

When a ministry leader begins to focus on his/her ministry area more than the church as a whole, the church has a huge problem. It is probably time for that person to be corrected or removed.

PCC does not operate as a federation of sub-ministries with each one having it own agenda and pulling in its own direction. We are one body made up of many parts and fit together for the same mission. The team I serve with understands this principle and that’s why it is such a joy to be the lead pastor at PCC.

#2 - They Succeed with Limited Resources

The team I serve with is creative, resourceful, and innovative. They get a lot of kingdom work accomplished without complaining about the need for more money or funding. They gather help, inspire their teams, and use their gifts to advance the ministry. Like the Marine Corps, these people Adapt, Improvise, & Overcome. Thanks for a job well done!

When people begin to use resources as an excuse for a stagnant or failing ministry I know they are in trouble and have lost the art of being innovative. Most likely they are spoiled, expecting more and more; which is never enough.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

2000 Hits in 26 Days!

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