Friday, October 30, 2009

This Sunday - Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse

The Great Tribulation - Going from Bad to Worse

We'll be looking at Revelation Chapter Six - the breaking of the sacred seals and the resulting judgments that are unleashed upon earth-dwellers.

If you have an interest about how the world is going to end, and how the Bible describes these calamities, you are in good company. The disciples of Jesus could not contain their curiosity, so one day they asked Him, and He answered their questions (Matthew 24).

If you are looking for clues and insights to the end of the world, I would suggest that you consult the most reliable source available to mankind - the written Word of God. This Sunday we will open the pages of God's Holy Writ and explore this topic together.

PS - This Saturday night is time change

Thursday, October 29, 2009

God Has Not Forgotten You

Have you ever gone through such a difficult situation in your life that you have felt forgotten by God? Maybe you thought God, where are you? or Why did this happen to me? or When is it ever going to get better? Maybe it is an illness, a financial difficulty, loss of a loved one, relationship conflict, divorce, or a combination of things.

There have been many times in my life, as I’m sure have been in yours, when I did not feel delivered from a situation as I wanted. Such times leave me wondering WHY; and it’s here that the deepest lessons of faith are often developed. We simply learn to trust the wisdom of God’s will, and we develop a stiffer spine in the process.

What I have learned is that we cannot escape trials. James chapter 1 reminds us to be prepared because we will face many trials in this life. As someone once said, you are either IN trouble, have just COME OUT OF trouble, or are about to ENTER trouble.

If you are in trouble right now, you are not alone. God’s choicest saints have had such seasons of darkness in their lives that lasted days, weeks, months, and even years. But God always comes through. He has not forgotten you. Don’t try to get off the train while you are going through a tunnel; if you get off the train too soon then you’ll get more scars than if you stayed on.

Hold on. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 Message)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Messy Stalls

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest (Proverbs 14:4 NLT)

When it comes to owning oxen there are certain disadvantages. They eat a lot. They are expensive and time-consuming to keep. Plus, they make a very big mess in the crib. If a farmer does not own any oxen to plow the fields he will have a clean stable, but he won’t be able to make a living. On the other hand, even though they are messy, there is an advantage to owning oxen – they are essential tools for having an abundant harvest in the fall. In other worlds, their cost and inconvenience does not compare to their productivity.

This is a lesson in agriculture that also offers us certain principles of spiritual truth – i.e., don’t cut corners, do the hard work, and it will pay off in the end.

This principle has all sorts of applications. Just use your imagination.

Take church work and the Great Commission for instance. We are mandated by Jesus Christ Himself to “go fish for men and make disciples.” That’s messy, hard work. Sinners are messy. They have all sorts of issues and unresolved stuff going on in their lives. Nevertheless, that is the clarion call of the church. Unfortunately, the tendency of church leaders and church people is to cut corners, avoid unnecessary work, and keep the stable (church) clean. The end result is no harvest of souls. Such a church is barren!

  • Because of what is at stake, I think it is important for me to call our staff and ministry leaders to a higher standard of conduct and productivity. I think it is important that people work hard and be accountable

  • We can never allow ourselves to slip into a posture of mediocrity

  • Because of the kinds of people we reach, their kids may not act right all the time or know all the stories in the Bible. For that matter, the adults we are reaching may not know the main stories of the Bible. So we will not assume they do and will explain it to them in a way they can understand

  • We will not spend nickels-and-dimes on evangelism and discipleship because if we do we will only get nickels-and-dimes results. We want to see a bumper crop and harvest of souls

  • At the same time we will learn how to do more with less money. We are very frugal and wise at PCC – from top to bottom – and it is amazing what our ministry departments are able to accomplish on a shoestring budget

  • We may offend a few Christians - especially the self righteous kind. I’m okay with that. We are not deliberately trying to offend anyone, but neither will we shy away from the work God has called us to because we are afraid that we ‘might’ offend someone. When a church targets the sick, those who are healthy and self righteous will sometimes complain they are not getting enough attention.

  • We can’t lead a church or effectively conduct ministry via Facebook, twitter, blogging, or from behind our computer screens. We have to be in the field, plowing, planting, and dealing with oxen. Helping people requires that we have real conversations with people.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dear Church Hopper

You were in church with us last Sunday in the second service. As the band was playing and the singers were leading in worship, you snatched up your Bible and rudely walked out… making yourself noticed. You didn’t last ten minutes in the service before you stomped out. What gives? I have thought about this and have come to some conclusions:

1. There is nothing that was done or said by any of us that could have possibly offended you. Nothing.

2. Unless you received an emergency phone call that prompted you to leave, your departure must have been because of a dislike for us. I guess we were not the flavor you were looking for.

3. Instead of being polite and remain in service with us, (and worshipping God yourself), you chose to leave and be "seen” doing so. That speaks volumes about you.

4. Our church did nothing to you except be nice and warmly receive you. The greeters, the ushers, the hospitality team, and the good members of PCC virtually rolled out the red carpet for you. Yet you rejected us and gave us a slap across the face by your actions. You were rude and hurt the feelings of some of our people.

5. By the way you were dressed and the fact that you were carrying a Bible, I presume that you are a church-going person. So, why weren’t you in your own church last Sunday? Have you left it, and if so, why did you leave? Did they not “measure up” to your standards? How many churches have you been to recently? Why are you so easily discontented? Apparently it is easy for you to find problems with the church’s you visit. If that accurately describes you, you are nothing more than a church hopping church shopper who treats the Body of Christ like a menu item on a buffet line. Shame on you!

6. For the record, I would rather have an unlearned sinner attend our church (who is genuinely seeking God and probably doesn’t even own a Bible) than to have a professional Bible-toting church member with the kind of attitude you have. Lost people are curable, self righteousness almost is not.

I know 499 other people who do not share your opinion, and I am glad you left. With such a chip on your shoulder, you would have only caused trouble for us if you had stayed. My only regret is that I was not standing by the door when you walked out, because if I had been nearby I would have opened it and held it for you…..

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Kindest Form of Leadership is "Truth"

When leading a team, supervising subordinates, managing a business, or providing oversight in the ministry, the kindest form of leadership is “truth.” By that I mean, TELLING the truth.

  • If a worker is doing a good job, tell him/her so
  • If a worker is doing a bad job, tell him/her so

  • If changes need to be made, tell him/her so
  • If changes don’t need to be made, tell him/her so

  • If budget cuts need to be made, tell them why and when
  • If budget increases are on the table, tell them how it will be used

  • If you need to let someone go, tell them so quickly
  • If they deserve to be promoted, do so quickly

Misleading people (for any reason) is just downright wrong.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Mind Dump

  • Very good day at PCC. Music was exceptional. I especially enjoyed the song “Let Your Glory Fall” – Chris P. had the solo part and nailed it.

  • You may have noticed a new singer on stage today. His name is Wade. Renae and I have known him most of our lives. He had a solo on the last song – with a voice as smooth as velvet. BTW, Wade has also catered some of our membership banquets in the past.

  • How about the Rapture video? A lot of people jumped in the service. One lady actually yelled out loud!

  • In the second service today, a visitor got up and walked out on the second song. That’s a new record - ten minutes or less. He snatched up his Bible and rudely left. I guess we were not what he was looking for. He looked to be in his thirties and formally dressed. I know you can’t always judge a book by its cover, but looking at his general demeanor he appeared to be wrapped up so tight that he had no joy.

  • The ironic thing about this experience is the contrasting experience I had with someone else after the first service. I was in the atrium and an elderly lady, who appeared to be in her 70’s, walked up to me and said, “I would like to formally introduce myself to you.” She told me her name and continued, “I have been attending this church for six months and I have never felt as close to God as I do now. This church has changed my life.” I said, “Thank you so much for the encouragement” and she replied, “No, thank you. This church has changed-my-life!”

  • We can’t make everyone happy, and don’t. Our church is NOT for everyone. But it really encourages me when people share these kinds of positive testimonies with me – it reminds me of the steady kingdom impact we are having.

  • We offered Discovery Seminar 101 tonight. It was a huge success. About 38 people were in attendance. The hospitality team and the 101 team really out-did themselves. Great meal, great presentation, and great hospitality. They demonstrated a true servant’s heart by draping a towel over their arm and serving.

  • I’d also like to give a special shout out to the teenagers who manned the nursery for us, providing child care so the parents (and potential new members) could attend the seminar. Outstanding job.

  • Of the 38 who attended it appears that most immediately committed themselves to the PCC family. Awesome.

  • After the seminar one man said to me, with emotion in his voice, “This church has such an amazing strategy. I have been to churches in the past that were not a ‘safe’ place to be. I would walk out feeling condemned; beat up, and with little hope of measuring up. Now I get it and understand why PCC does what it does. My life will never be the same.”

  • I could go on and on like this. At least 2 dozen people spoke to me like this tonight after the seminar. THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO!

  • I could not do this alone… and thank you to everyone who helps make this happen!

  • A lot of people tonight immediately signed up for seminar 201! Wow!

  • One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 14:4 that says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by strength of the ox.” What does it mean? It means this: if you have no oxen to plow the fields you will never have to worry about mucking the stalls (cleaning out the poo). But if you do have oxen, you’ll have to shovel it out…. but the benefit of having these messy oxen is having a harvest in the fall. WHAT’S THE SPIRITUAL APPLICATION? Evangelism is messy. If you want to have a harvest of souls, you’re going to get your hands dirty (mucking the stalls). But if you want a clean church, (with clean stalls and clean hands), just leave sinners alone. Myself, I don’t want to lead a church that is only concerned with having clean stalls; I would much rather lead a church that is more concerned about reaching sinners.

  • Last Sunday a man was in church with us, whose wife has attended PCC for ten of our eleven years, and who has been praying for her husband that entire time. He walked through our doors and committed his life to Christ on the spot. And he was back again today! THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. His wife is so excited… and so am I.

  • Ladies, don’t try to nag your husband into church. I have never met a man yet who said, “I didn’t like church before, but my wife nagged me so much that now I love it.” Instead, do what I Peter 3:1-2 instructs you to do.

  • This Wednesday night is UNITE FAMILY PICNIC & BONFIRE. Be sure to come. 6:00 PM.

  • Important upcoming events: Baby Dedication Service… Volunteer Appreciation Banquet…. Baptism Service (all in November).

  • I am encouraged about the future of our church.

  • Did you know that 90% of the people who enter the ministry do not last in the ministry? That means that 9-out-of-10 who enters the ministry will QUIT, BURN OUT, or have a MORAL FAILURE!!! That means the stakes are high, and I don’t want to be one of those causalities. That’s why I take my spiritual health, emotional heath, and physical health so seriously.

  • I want to be at PCC for a long time. That’s why I make myself accountable to others, get plenty of exercise, plenty of rest, and draw near to God.

  • I can’t believe that God has brought us this far… and I am looking forward to where He is going to take us next. We are not a perfect church, but I will promise you that we will always be a church that seeks His heart and tries to do our best to fulfill His will.

  • Okay, my voice is as raw as sandpaper. I’ve been going all day long, have been speaking for six hours, and I’m sick of listening to myself.

  • PS - there are some nice comments on Facebook about today's service at PCC.

Sunday Mind Dump....

Sunday Mind Dump will be posted later this evening. I'll be teaching Seminar 101 this afternoon, beginning at 4:00 PM, and will have to write afterwards.

Friday, October 23, 2009

This Sunday: The Rapture & Blessed Hope

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13 KJV)

According to the Bible, an event is going to take place in the future in which Christian people from across the world will be taken out of the earth... suddenly and without warning. It's called the Rapture of the Church, or the Blessed Hope. Jesus Himself has declared that His return will be like a "thief in the night" in which teeming millions of people will be caught unaware and left behind.

We will attempt to answer two questions:

1. What is the Rapture?

2. When will it happen?

Halloween Smack Down

You must watch this!

Ten Things That Won't Matter Next Year

1. The person who cut you off in traffic on your way to work today
2. Failing to clean your house when your mother-in-law comes to visit
3. Not returning a phone call
4. One of your kids acting up in public
5. Offering your family fish sticks
6. Not cutting your grass last week
7. Your child’s team losing the game
8. Reality TV programs…. any of them
9. The 1.2% cost of living raise your company graciously gave you (... probably doesn't matter now)
10. Facebook

So lighten up.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Why Christ Must Return

The Scriptures have predicted a time when skeptics would mock the very notion of Christ’s literal return to earth: “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?’” (2 Peter 3:3-4) There is no shortage of voices raising that chorus today.

The irony of such scoffers is that we now live in a time when even the scoffers themselves live in a state of fearful expectation. The frightening potential of worldwide destruction exists on several levels – nuclear war, a nuclear accident, an energy crisis, various natural disasters, new killer viruses like AIDS (or worse), or even a cosmic collision of some kind. In fact, most people recognize that the world cannot exist forever.

How will it end? Can we know? The Bible gives us a very clear, direct answer. The world as we know it will end with the return of Jesus Christ. He will return literally and bodily to planet earth. This is as certain as any other truth in Scripture. Here are five reasons from God’s Holy Word by which we know that Christ is coming again:

1. The Promise of God demands it (Zechariah 14:4-9)
2. The Teaching of Christ demands it (Matthew 24, 25; Luke 21)
3. The Corruption in the World demands it (Jn. 5:25-29; 2 Thess.1:7-10; Rev.19:11-16)
4. The Destruction of Satan demands it (Rev. 20)
5. The Hope of the Saints demands it (2 Thess. 1:4-7)

From all these reasons (and others) Christ must return. We are taught throughout the New Testament to look for His coming, to long for it, and to wait patiently and expectantly for it.

As certainly as John 3:16 is true, so also is the certainty of His Second Coming.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting the Gospel Right

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. (I Timothy 4:6 KJV)

The gospel matters. Getting the gospel right matters. If a minister gets the gospel wrong, then he is NOT a “good” minister. If a minister does not clearly articulate what the gospel is then his preaching, at best, will simply restrain the hearts of people, but won’t transform them. Preaching and teaching that does not communicate the gospel will actually inoculate people to Jesus.

For instance, I can teach on debt management, family life, parenting skills, peer pressure in school, substance abuse, addictions, and finding a sense of purpose in life and be TOTALLY CHRISTLESS in my presentation! If I am not expounding the scriptures (of good doctrine and words of faith) it is emptiness. On the other hand I can stand in the pulpit and say, “In Jesus Christ and His cross I have been set free from the slavery of sin and trap of materialism, and have a new identity in Him. ‘For me to live is Christ.’”

See the difference?

Paul is pleading with Timothy to be trained in the gospel, to get it right, and to put your people in remembrance of good doctrine and words of faith. By doing so you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ.

This is essential because the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (I Tim.4:1), and that superstitious wives fables (v.7) will find their way into the church. To that end, the gospel of Jesus Christ must be taught faithfully to root out that which is false.

These things command and teach (v.11).

We cannot be cowards when it comes to teaching the commands of scripture. The temptation of every minister is to soft-sell the message of Jesus Christ in an attempt to hold on to people. But in doing so, it robs everyone who is listening of correct, deep worship.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee (v.16).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When Bicycles Were Condemned

In 1896, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church condemned bicycle riding on Sunday (click the link to view) because it was believed to entice Christians away from church attendance and violated the Fourth Commandment. Here’s a quote:

The Sabbath, the Lord’s Day of rest for the body, and of worship for the soul, is especially threatened by many unscriptural innovations…Sunday bicycle pleasure riding…

Hard to imagine in our modern world isn’t it?

This bit of history is more than something to be amused by. It speaks volumes about how the Church today still reacts to innovation. Instead of embracing it and looking for ways to leverage it, we feel threatened. Instead of learning how to adapt and minister in our culture, the church clings to the past believing yesterday was the golden era.

Can you think of some examples in which the church still reacts this way today?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ministry is Also About Rescue

I am reminded every week that many of the people who walk through our church doors may look okay on the outside, but are dealing with some personal crisis. Addictions. Marriage in trouble. Kids rebelling. Health failing. Financial crisis. Lack of purpose. These people show up searching for answers and seeking God.

When we address “felt needs” in the Sunday sermon, we are not watering down the message. We are helping people find forgiveness, healing, and a new direction for their life. I enjoy preaching through the Bible and I like using the expository method (through a book, etc) because it teaches a broader view of the scriptures and helps our congregation grow collectively. But that is not always the most practical or beneficial thing to do when talking to hurting people who need to undertand how the Bible applies to their lives. I mean, does such a person really need to know the finer details about the goat in Leviticus? My point being, let's never loose sight that ministry is also about rescue - we are here to resuce the perishing.
  • When the person sitting next to me in the pew is dealing with a marriage crisis that is leading to a crisis of faith, it makes personal preferences of musical style and the volume setting seem pretty small.

  • If you neglect the mission field in your own neighborhood because of your desire to help people across the ocean, it makes me think that you might be choosing the path of least resistance. It’s easy to stack cement block in South America to help build a church building, then get on a plane and come back home, and not have to deal with the people you left behind. Makes you feel good about yourself. On the other hand, it’s much harder to deal with the mess that’s going on in the lives of people in your community.

  • When you choose to focus on your theological differences – at the expense of helping people find healing and hope – could it be that you have not spent enough time living out your faith because you are so busy defending your faith?

I don’t have the corner on God’s kingdom, but each week I look into the eyes of real people who have real issues going on and they need God.

Let’s not forget why we do what we do.

Ten Things I Just Don't Get

1. People who drive slow in the left lane

2. Dr. Phil

3. People who spend $5 on a cup of coffee and keep adding more ingredients so it won’t taste like coffee

4. Snuggies

5. Kenny Chesney

6. Potted meat.

7. Male cheerleaders. Is there even such a thing?


9. Eating at Ryan’s during flu season

10. Cats.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Mind Dump

  • Church was good today. The weather was fantastic, which had everyone in a good mood I think.

  • Today’s sermon – Birth Pangs & the Beginning of Sorrows – was an introductory message to the new series. It was a good start because it laid the foundation for all the other messages to follow. It was important to establish the fact, with Biblical certainty, that the world is currently experiencing labor pangs waiting for the dawn of a new era.

  • Next week’s message: The Rapture & The Blessed Hope

  • We did have some serious challenges in both services today – in the form of distractions – that I attribute to a “conspiracy of interruptions” by the enemy. The stage lights were not cooperating, there was a crying child, the wrong scripture came up on the power point presentation, and the sound system was askew. It got me rattled for a few moments…. but we overcame and God did some good things in service.

  • I am totally amazed how unchurched Sam & Pam keeping coming to PCC, then get their life on tract with God, and eventually grow in discipleship. It is very exciting to see God moving in this way.

  • This is why we do what we do.

  • I heard today, after first service, that a man attended today whose wife has been praying for him for more than ten years. It appears he is now ready to make things right with God.

  • Can I say it again? This is why we do what we do.

  • I’m loving this weather. I will be getting up early tomorrow morning and taking a good, hard run.

  • Someone from PCC was asking me today about Calvinism and predestination. Had a fruitful talk (and hopefully a teaching moment). I probably need to write about it some more… soon.

  • I think all leaders are readers. How can a person stay fresh and keep growing if he/she doesn’t read?

  • I ordered ten books from this week. Half of them were devotional in nature, the other half about church systems (growth, etc). I will read them all over the next 3-4 weeks.

  • Pace Community Church needs an OVERHAUL in some of its internal systems. Our systems are overtaxed and undermanned. Ch-ch-ch-changes are in our future.

  • There was a man in service today who, I think, has the potential to be unpredictable and dangerous. Our ushers and security team was monitoring the situation very closely.

  • Renae and I are still working on the remodel in our home. A lot of painting, new flooring in the kitchen, countertops, new appliances and kitchen table, etc. I also had a shed built this summer which has enabled me to move a lot of junk out of my garage. The last thing we need to do is have a new carpet put down. But we have to save up more money first.

  • I think a lot of people are going to discover that Pace Community Church IS THE CHURCH FOR THEM! All they have to do is walk through the doors one time and it’s a closed deal.

  • About fifty (50) have signed up for Discovery Seminar 101 next Sunday.

  • About thirty (30) are taking the trip to the youth concert in Destin.

  • About twenty-five (25) has signed up for water baptism.

  • Our current small groups semester is going well. Not as many groups as I would like to see, but the groups we have are healthy and the leaders are trustworthy and reliable. There is some good stuff happening.

  • I’m glad that PCC is a safe place for me to worship.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This Sunday

This Sunday we begin the new message series - Future Shock - about end time events.

The message is entitled, BIRTH PANGS & THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.

Find out what the Bible has to say.

Why I Love My Church

Let me begin by saying that PCC is not the only church in America. There are other churches, good churches, which are as loved by their members as PCC is by ours. This is not about making comparisons with other churches – that’s for losers. PCC has been good for me and this is my own experience. BTW, I wrote a related article a couple of days ago, here.

I love my church because:
  • A move of God is taking place here and lives are being changed every single day!

  • We are on fire for God!

  • My life got rearranged through the ministry focus of PCC

  • New believers are being grounded in the faith and growing up towards maturity. Christians are being discipled… deeply. Kingdom stuff is happening all the time.

  • Some of my closest friends attend there…. people I did not even know a few years ago

  • You can ask for nearly anything and there is always someone ready to say “yes” and help out

  • This is a body of believers who go out of their way to help others who are sick or hurting

  • Our members love to invite their friends to services with them

  • My family looks forward to going to church here

  • The truth is always taught here

  • The atmosphere is great… not creepy

  • We have fun….. (and no, having fun in church is not a sin)

  • We affirm the essentials of the Christian faith, while granting liberty in the non essentials

  • We believe the Bible is the WORD OF GOD and have a high view of the scriptures

  • We sometimes teach hard doctrine

  • The people of this church family actually like each other… and we share in each others weddings, funerals, births, and baptisms. I love it that there is a prayer chain, that, at any moment, has people praying for different needs within our church.

  • We have so many cheerful givers that enable us to carry out the mission of the Church

  • Of the character, integrity, and humility of our leaders

  • It’s made up of a wide diverse group of people from all walks of life; young, old, students, lots of kids, blue-collar workers, professionals, teachers, even a Ph.D. or two. We come together in our diversity and worship Christ together.

  • I love my church because it cares about my spiritual walk

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meetings Vrs Ministry

One of the reasons that many church members are not active in ministry is because they are so busy attending committee meetings that they don’t have any real time left for actual ministry. The average church would be much healthier if it eliminated half of its meetings to allow more time for ministry and relational evangelism. One of the reasons church members don’t witness to their neighbors is because they don’t know them! They are always at church, attending meetings.

Several years ago, the Roper Organization conducted a survey of leisure time in America. They discovered that Americans today have less discretionary time today than they had in the 1970s or 80s. The average American has about 10 hours a week in leisure time.

The most valuable asset people can donate to their church is their TIME. Since people have less discretionary time, church leaders are wise to make sure that this donated time is used in the best possible manner. If a layperson or church member comes to me and says, “Pastor, I have four hours a week of free time that I would like to offer in volunteerism,” the LAST thing I would do is put that person on a committee. I want him/her to be involved in an actual ministry, not bureaucracy.

A common mistake made by many churches is to take their brightest and best people and turn them into bureaucrats by giving them more meetings to attend or more committees to chair. You can drain the life out of people by scheduling a constant string of committee meetings. We have no committees at PCC. We do, however, have more that twenty-five different lay ministries.

What is the difference between a committee and a ministry? Committee members discuss it, but ministries do it. Committees argue, ministries act. Committees maintain, ministries minister. Committees talk, ministries serve. Committees discuss needs, ministries meet needs.

Committees also make decisions that they expect other people to implement. At PCC, the implementers are the decision makers. The people who do the ministry get to make the decisions about that ministry (within the boundaries of our vision/doctrine/structure/mission). It has always been that way. We do not separate authority from responsibility, but trust people with both. This makes committees irrelevant.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

An Argument at the ATM

I go to the bank on Yesterday. The bank is closed because of Columbus Day or something. So I drive up to the ATM to get some cash. There is a pickup truck in front of me already at the ATM. Inside the truck are a man and woman. He’s in the driver’s seat, she is the passenger. They look like husband and wife; perhaps in their 50’s. After sitting there a few minutes, it appears he is having trouble with the machine. It looks like she is getting impatient and begins fussing at him. He starts fussing back. It gets very animated inside the cab and now the truck is rocking from side-to-side. I’m sitting there witnessing all this through my windshield while listening to Fleetwood Mac, when suddenly the passenger door flies open and she jumps out, purse in hand, and starts out on foot across the parking lot. I’m thinking, “Uh oh, she’s ticked off about something.” I’m sure the people in the car behind were thinking the same thing too! Then the man starts punching the keypad on the ATM through his pickup truck window. It looks like the situation is escalating. I’m thinking, “Uh oh, he’s ticked off too.” About that time he drops the gear shifter into drive and pulls out… catches up with his wife in the parking lot…. pulls up along side there… and they start having a shouting match right there in the parking lot! So I pull up to the ATM, reach out through the window and attempt to insert my ATM card into the little slot. But it won’t go in. I’m thinking, “Great, this guy has smashed the machine with his fist and I can’t get any money.” But then I notice on the view-screen these words, “Would you like another transaction.” I press the “no” button. Out pops this lady’s ATM card that she had left behind. Then out pops a personal check that he was attempting to deposit for her – a check for $8.47!

Then I started getting the picture….

Like most men, he was ATM illiterate. She wanted to deposit a personal check. Since he was on the driver’s side, he was the one who had to conduct the transaction. He got frustrated with the machine. She got frustrated with him for not doing it like she told him to do. It resulted in a major argument and a public spectacle. All this over eight dollars and forty-seven cents.

By now the shouting scene has stopped because he scratches off leaving rubber in the parking lot. She takes off on foot again. I honk my horn to get her attention. She looks back at me and I’m waving her check and ATM card up high for her to see. She walks over to my car window and says, “Thank you sir,” then takes off on foot down Hwy 90.

All this over $8.47. It was kind of sad. I felt sorry for both of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Fish sticks and tater tots are not even on the radar!

New Movie - 2012

Hollywood is releasing a new movie in November entitled 2012. It has to do with the ancient Mayan calendar which predicts the end of the world in the year 2012. Of course, we know that only the Word of God is reliable in these matters. However, the timing could not be better for our upcoming message series, Future Shock. It seems like everyone is thinking (intuitively knows) about the possibility of a dreaded future.

Here is a link to the movie trailer. The images are fantastic. Be sure to turn on your speakers. Just click and go... the film will load and run automatically.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Mind Dump

  • Today was a good Sunday.

  • After the first service, I didn’t think people were going to leave. The atrium was still fully crowded when the second service began. It’s good that people like to hang out that long. I’m glad that church is not a bummer for them.

  • In some ways I love the rumors I hear being spoken about our church. Some of them are so off-base that there is nothing to do but laugh.

  • On the other hand, there are more good things being said about us than bad. I’m glad God has given us favor among men. I’m glad the devil is mad too.

  • We got some new faces at PCC who are helping make things happen. Always glad for this.

  • I was thinking this week how important it is to be around people who make you laugh and you can relax around.

  • Our newest drummer - Greg G - is nailing it right now. FYI, a major rule for a musical band is this – no drummer is better than having a bad drummer. Here's why: Because a bad drummer will throw the timing off and the whole band will sound like a train wreck. Better to not have one than have a bad one. But Greg is nailing it. His timing is good and he adds a lot of cool elements (like drum rolls and quick turn arounds). Most amazing of all is he taught himself!

  • Have you ever had that feeling like something big is about to happen? I can’t put my finger on it exactly (yet), but I feel anticipation rising in me. Do you feel that way?

  • Some people think I’m kidding when I tell them my last name is Christian and they know I am a pastor. Some actually think I had my named legally changed.

  • There are some people who left PCC in the past who need to come back. I’m thinking of those who were collateral damage in our Ten Year Hiccup. They were not the instigators, but followers who got caught up in the junk of others. Some of these victims have stopped attending church altogether. Someone messed with their mind and messed them up to church. They need to come back. This is their home. This is where they belong.

  • We are going to be conducting a direct mail campaign soon and plan to penetrate more than 15,000 homes with a message of encouragement from PCC. It’s good we get a non-profit discount (just mere pennies each) or we would not be able to afford. In fact, we hope to do this twice before the end of the year, and then again next year just before Easter. People in this are need to know PCC exists, what we are about, and that God is the answer for whatever challenges in life they are facing.

  • Next April PCC will be twelve years old.

  • I think PCC could very likely become a regional church, instead of only being a neighborhood church.

  • This Sunday starts the new message series, Future Shock.

  • Renae is out of town for a few days. She left after church today and will be back Wednesday about noon. She is visiting friends in our previous church near Gainesville FL.

  • That means I’m a bachelor for the next few days……. I guess it’s fish sticks and cold tater tots for me!

  • You can’t out give God. That’s not just “preacher speak” – it’s a principle for managing your life and finances. When we do our part, God promises to do His part. In fact, the only time in the Bible that God says PROVE ME or TEST ME is in regard to the giving of tithes to Him. See Malachi 3.

  • For now, I'm chillin in my easy chair.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When Marriage Gets Tough....

When your marriage begins experiencing strain, the last thing you should consider doing is leaving your spouse – not to mention the children. (Of course, if your life is in danger, or you are experiencing physical abuse/beatings, you need to get out quickly and call the police. Or, if all hope is lost and the problems are insurmountable, then separation, legal or otherwise, may be the only option left). Beyond that, the problem with just walking away when times are tough or when your expectations have fallen short, is that you take your unresolved problems with you into the next relationship! The answer (most of the time) is to stay together and work it out. Here’s how:
  • Let the dream (or illusion) of “someone out there is better” DIE and realize that GOD IS BIG ENOUGH TO MAKE YOUR CURRENT MARRIAGE WORK. Yes, your current marriage can be successful and you can be happy. God is big enough to restore joy.

  • Spend time together each day – uninterrupted time. Turn off the cell phones, hang out, take a drive, eat dinner, whatever. Keep it simple. It’s not the activity that is so important as much as it is “time together.” Find something the two of you can do together; cut grass, paint a room, prepare dinner, take a walk, or simply exercise together. When you do something together, as a couple, it feels good and builds cohesion.

  • As a sacrifice to God, (if not an act of worship), begin serving your spouse, immediately, even if you don’t feel like it. This kind of surrendered obedience to God’s Word – expressed towards your spouse - reaps enormous dividends for both of you.

  • Agree together to never bring up divorce as an option.

  • Sever, cut off, or distance yourself from, all relationships (even friends and family) that encourage you to get a divorce. The last thing you need to hear when you are in the midst of an argument is, “If it were me…. blah, blah, blah.” Instead, find someone in your church family who has been married for 10, 20, or 30 years, and ask them how they made it work. They will show you battle scars, tell you it wasn’t easy… and will be able to offer you reliable advice for a hopeful future.

  • If you need a marriage counselor, go see one. It’s less expensive than a divorce attorney.

  • Finally, remember the 20% - 80% rule: A successful marriage is 20% knowledge, but it takes 80% discipline to make it work.


Renae and I spent the day mowing a piece of property we own. We hope to build here one day. It's a five acre parcel.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Younger Than Me....

I now realize there is an entire generation younger than me because they don’t remember:
  • Hood ornaments
  • Family Pictures at Olan Mills
  • Corduroy pants
  • The Cold War
  • Sanka Coffee
  • Glass Coke bottles
  • Tube socks and short shorts
  • Mullet hair cuts
  • Foghat & Slow Ride
  • Only three television channels... with no remote control
  • Sony Walkman
  • Nothing open on Sundays
  • ZZ Top & Cheap Sunglasses
  • Letters actually written with a pen
  • Mork & Mindy
  • Feathered hair
  • The Doors & Riders on the Storm

I guess a rocking chair is in my near future..... and we probably need a few 20-something-year-olds in leadership positions at PCC too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Love the Church & My Church

I love the Church (universal) more than I can say. It is a joy to meet Christians in other places, or other cities, and feel an immediate kinship with them. This is something only God can accomplish – we are one body by the Spirit of God.

I also love my church – that is, the church where I attend and worship. It is one of the ways God meets some of my deepest needs. My friends are there. Brothers and sisters in the Lord are there. We share a “like precious faith.” We do life together, share one another’s burdens, and rejoice in one another’s victories. On and on I could go, but you get the idea.

Bill Hybles has often said, The local church is the hope of the world.” I believe those words with all my strength.

Many people today specialize in criticizing churches. The internet is alive with hate-talk. It is really appalling. While I do acknowledge that churches in America have a lot of room to improve, I also see many good things:
  • More and more churches are becoming decidedly deliberate in fulfilling the Great Commission
  • More churches are putting more emphasis on building people than on building buildings
  • More and more churches are actually working together
  • A lot of churches are on fire for God
  • I love it that many churches are becoming passionate about worship, holiness, and knowing God through His Word
  • I am thrilled to see so many churches that are fervent about reaching those who are far from God with the gospel of Jesus Christ

Sometimes I bump into people in town and they will say, “I go to your church.” Others will say, “I just love OUR church.” There’s a big difference between the two. When they say YOUR church I know they are not fully engaged in the life of PCC. In most cases they are not serving, participating, or giving. They are simply attending a church that is not yet “theirs.” But when someone says “I love MY church” they are usually very involved. The church doesn’t belong to someone else. It is THEIR church.

I am asking God to empower people to move from “going to church” to “being the church.” When they stop going and start being, the church goes from yours to mine.

The local church - it really is the hope of the world. I love the church.

What do you love about the Church? Your church?

Personal Update

  • I’ve been keeping a low profile this week - haven’t attended any meetings or groups, no visitations, and have had little contact with people. Too much stuff going on. Quite honestly, I am in need of some down time. We are in-between message series and it is very difficult for me to jump from one series to another without a mental break in-between. I’ve been maintaining office hours this week – but nothing more. I have used the extra time to detangle in my mind, get plenty of rest, and have some alone time. Plus, pulling back this week has also given me a chance to begin focusing on the next message series.

  • The comment incident messed with me a little bit too. It occupied too much of my thinking. I guess I’m not on his Christmas card list any longer. Oh well.

  • Took a run real early this morning. It was H-A-A-A-R-R-R-R-R-R-D. The humidity is a killer. It seems like a mass of humid air has settled on our area and won’t move out. I may as well be jogging in a sauna. When the weather is cool and dry I can run almost effortlessly. But when it is wet and humid like has been for the last week, it drains my strength quickly. But hey, I’m not complaining. At my age, I’m glad to be able to get out of bed in the morning.

  • I think a drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway is in my very near future.

  • PERFECTION: Demand it of yourself and you’ll always be dissatisfied. Demand it of others and you’ll always be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Out of Writing Rhythm

Okay. You've noticed. I’ve been in a writing quandary for a few days - since about Saturday. I did not write a “Sunday Mind Dump”, and Monday’s posting was just a few “Sound Bites.” Yesterday I wrote four short articles. Not the usual diet. The reason for this is that I had to wait for my emotions to settled down a bit before writing the post that you will find below. I didn’t want to write it while still agitated.

I’m better now.

The Purpose of this Blog

1. To Teach
. The primary reason I use this blog is that it provides me with another teaching tool for the PCC church family. As a teacher, I have more to communicate than I can possibly offer in 30 minutes on a Sunday morning; so blogging gives me an additional outlet. Furthermore, I can address a wide range of topics, such as - church leadership, doctrine, false doctrines, devotionals, current events, elaboration of the Sunday message, in-house news, etc – all of which can be beneficial to members of our church family who log on.

I am not interested in this blog becoming an online forum for doctrinal debates or arguments – especially from people who do not attend this church. Since opening my comments section several weeks ago a few people “out there” (who do not attend PCC) have left me comments in an effort to start an argument. Some of these comments even contain insults. Of course, this junk is immediately deleted and is never published for anyone else to see. I'm not going to allow some person out there to use my blog as his personal stump. If they've got something to say they can set up their own blog and write there. Better yet, go start a church and leave this one alone. Most of the time I just let it go, but sometimes I respond by writing the person back.

Which is exactly what happened last weekend.

Last week a certain individual left me a couple of comments on this blog. He doesn’t attend PCC, but he used to. I guess he is miserable at his current church so he keeps lurking and hovering over this blog site to see what’s happening in our church. Or perhaps his current ministry is so unfruitful that he doesn’t have enough responsibility and joy to keep himself busy – giving him time to be preoccupied with our ministry. I don’t know. What does he do? He reaches back into my blog archives and finds something written nine months ago that he doesn’t agree with and wants to argue about that. His comments were also inflammatory in nature. Think about it - he reaches back NINE months to find something to disagree with! NINE months! Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Well, I wrote him back. I said what needed to be said and was brutally honest with him. It was a harsh and difficult conversation. He got the message. I think it is over.

I don’t get it. If someone doesn’t believe in the mission and methods of PCC, then why concern yourself with us? Why not concern yourself with your own church's mission and methods? If someone doesn’t agree with the content of this blog site, then why do they keep coming back? What business is it of theirs what I am writing to the PCC family? If you made the choice to leave this church 24 months ago, why are you still hanging on? Just let go and move on. This blog is not for you… it is for the PCC family. Get it?

2. To be known personally. Another reason I write on this blog is to be known personally. The congregation of PCC hears me teach a lot on Sunday mornings, and is probably the main way most people know me. This is good – it’s my job. But it is not ALL of me. You already know this, but let me state the obvious - I am more of a person than the sermons I preach. I am a husband and father. I have friends. I have enemies. I have some unusual quirks that make me unique. I have hobbies, likes and dislikes. These are the things that make me who I am, and that make me the person who leads your church. They are windows into my personality that may stay shuttered when I’m teaching the Bible. I can’t be personally accessible to everyone – there’s just not enough of me to go around – but through this blog it’s another way for people to know me as a human being. That’s why I often write about personal matters.

Letting people catch a glimpse of my personality through this blog is one way of adding authenticity to my teaching and depth to my ministry.

PS – To the PCC family: The rules of conduct apply to you too when choosing to leave comments here. Don’t be ugly towards anyone (even those who attack us) or you won’t be published.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Smells Like Skunk

People who like spread slander will usually go to anyone who will listen, but not to the person they are talking about. Why? They want to avoid a face-to-face conversation at all costs because they know what they are saying is false, and an open meeting would expose them as liars.

If an accuser does not follow Matthew 18 by first going in private to the person he has an issue with, then his accusations must (under God) be rejected as being unbiblical. Anyone who receives such accusations is sinning by simply listening to the gossip and is just as guilty.

Someone asked me once, “How can you tell the difference between a slanderer and one who is speaking the truth in love?” I replied, “If he looks like a skunk, acts like a skunk, and smells like a skunk, he probably IS a skunk.”

Feed the Sheep, Rebuke the Swine, and Expose the Wolves

It is a mistake to form a view of Christianity that is based upon the puritanical standards of Victorian era straight-laced genteel refinement. Neither do you lead a church that way. You take the Bible as it is – hard hitting and to the point – and use it as your guide.

1. Feed the sheep.
The Bible instructs us to deal with people differently, and the first thing we have to do in that process is DISCERN who goes in what CATEGORY. When we are dealing with Christians, repentant sinners, or eager seekers of God, our efforts should be to show love, encouragement, have patience, and help them grow. I love people and have given more than half of my life in service to others. Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-18).

2. Rebuke the swine.
These are people who are habitually unrepentant in their sin. They are not acting like sheep, though they claim to be. Some people in church simply need to be confronted about their lifestyle and told to shape up. This cuts against the grain of our genteel sensibilities of sugar-coated sentimentality in Christianity today. But this kind of action is called for in order to maintain a healthy New Testament Church. Jesus said, “…. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6).

3. Expose the wolves.
These are false teachers or purveyors of false doctrines. With the wolves you cannot be too severe. You expose wolves to protect the flock. You call them by name. You kick them out, run them off, and expose them for what they are – purveyors of death. You don’t even be nice to wolves; they are undeserving of courteous treatment because they are predatory by nature. The most scathing words ever spoken by Jesus Himself were directed to false teachers. Read Matthew 23, noticing how “un-nice” He was. Also take note of the derogatory (but accurate) names He called them! Even the apostle Paul calls a false teacher by first name – “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds” (2 Timothy 4:14). The only thing you do with wolves is stand up to them.

Misplaced Ministry Priorities

I’m astonished at the people who will spend $4000 for an overseas mission trip so they can simply stack cement block…and the trip only lasts about one week! But the same people won’t even bother to invite anyone from their own community to attend church with them. What's that all about? Just think what $4000 could do in regards to outreach in your own community instead – one hundred percent of the funds go straight into the field without the overhead expense of travel, food, lodging, or an airline ticket - and with longer lasting results.

The Great Commission begins in our own backyard.

A Shepherd Cannot Simply Walk Away

Leading a growing church is not easy. It will not permit laziness nor allow for an inordinate amount of time for recreation. In fact, it is more demanding than it should be. It requires early rising and working late, often. Responding to impossible demands requires enormous amounts of energy. Ultimately, this takes its toll on ones physical and mental well being. A pastor must learn to manage his time well.

The pastor cannot opt to simply walk away and change churches for greener pastures. Others have that option, and many use that option. It’s an option that I don’t have. A dream is involved. A vision is involved. More people than me are committed to this dream and vision. I cannot desert the people who believed me when I shared the dream and declared that I was willing to pay the price if they would join me. Therefore, the pastor must find a way to preserve his health, to save his family, to safeguard his soul, and still pursue the vision God gave him - to which the people have so faithfully responded. Such a pastor will stick with it when the demands become too demanding.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sound Bites

  • People tend to believe the parts of the Bible they like & ignore or deny what doesn’t fit their system.

  • Sex is far more than a physical connection. It’s more than skin-on-skin. You are 'giving yourself' to another; and it may even touch your soul. Tell teenagers they don't make a condom to protect your heart.

  • Kingdom-minded leaders give children & student ministries top PRIORITY. If you are a pastor and you neglect age-level ministries, you do so to the determent & decline of your church.

  • It takes about 10-15 years of actual pastoring (in the real world) to lose the arrogance you develop in seminary. If you haven’t been humbled by then, you never will be.

  • Your creation cost you nothing. You salvation cost God His Son. Your sanctification will cost you your ego.

  • Any time I teach about giving, the generous smile, the stingy squirm, and misers get miserable.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Minister of GSD

What are the best kinds of staff members for a church? What should be the first or second position key position in a new church plant? I’m eleven years in at PCC, and I think I can articulate an answer. Do you have any ideas?

The very first position (second and third) that churches need is a Minister of GSD – that’s short for Getting Stuff Done.

Notice I didn’t say a Minister of GTT (Getting Thoughts Thunk), or HLM (Having Lunch Meetings), or DNE (Do Nothing Elder), or Minister of LIT (Lofty Ideas & Theory), or a SGO (Second Guesser of Others). The most important positions in a church context are people who can GET STUFF DONE! A good GSD Pastor is willing to be your children’s pastor, administrative assistant, executive director, and church custodian – all in the same day. A natural born Getting-Stuff-Done-person will live for the thrill of accomplishing tasks to free up the lead pastor so he can do what only he can do.

Over time the needs of a church become more complex and sophisticated. Then you have to select specialists for leadership who are experts in their field. There is never any room on the payroll for theorists or committee member bureaucrats. If you have to, fire the show horses and hire folks who know how to execute and produce.

This post is dedicated to the first class GST Team at PCC. You Get Stuff Done!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Women, Slaves, and the Progress of Scripture

In the Bible there are a lot of scriptures we don’t practice and commands we don’t obey today… simply because they were first given within a certain “cultural context.”

For instance…

  • Is the command to multiply and fill the earth still in force (Gen.1:28)?
  • If a woman commits adultery today, should she face the water purification ritual of Numbers 5? Or be stoned to death?
  • What about the Bibles instructions of men wearing long hair or getting tattoos?
  • And what about the command that forbids the wearing of two different kinds of material for our clothing (Lev.19:19)?

Consider the subject of SLAVERY and WOMEN and what the Bible has to say regarding these topics. Are these commands still in force, or do they have “movement” in them? – that is to say – were they applicable when first given, but not necessarily intended for all people of all generations?

  • Slaves, be subject to your masters (I Peter 2:18)
  • Slaves, be obedient to them that are your masters (Eph.6:5)

Are those commands still in effect? What about these:

  • I suffer not a women to teach (I Timothy 2:12)
  • Let women keep silence in the church (I Corinthians 14:34)

These passages (and others like them) seem to support slavery and subordinate women. Is this the intention of scripture? Is this the will of God? Or were these instructions written simply because the institution of slavery and the subordination of women were practices ALREADY IN PLACE, and the Bible was simply teaching Christian slaves & women HOW TO HONOR GOD WITHIN their CONTEXT and CULTURE? It appears so, because the progressive nature of the Bible ALSO SUPPORTS the LIBERATION of slaves and women!

We know that slavery is morally wrong. It always has been and always will be. We know that the subjugation (forced submission) of women is also wrong. So what is the point of the above passages? Are they intended to preserve the institution of slavery and oppress women for all generations? Do the meanings of these passages transcend all cultures and mean the same thing to us today as when originally given? Or is there another way to look at these passages?

Consider Galatians 3:28…

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

According to this passage all class distinctions are wiped away in Christ. In God’s eyes, there is no room for racial bias, slavery, social bias, subjugation of women, or gender bias, and seems to suggest a ‘progressive movement’ away from the other hard-line passages. Could this be the intent of God - the eventual liberation of slaves and women? It appears so.

WHY IS IT THAT SOME CHURCHES TODAY STILL INSIST ON SUBJUGATING WOMEN? Women are excluded from essential roles simply because of their gender and kept down, much like they were thousands of years ago. If such people want to enforce the scriptures about the subjection of women and their role in the church, then let him also enforce the scriptures about the institution of slavery. Consistency demands it! If you conform to one, you must conform to the other. If you demand submission from women, demand it from your slaves too. Or either admit that your interpretation of the scriptures might need to be reexamined!

Admittedly, it is difficult to interpret some texts as having an ‘original culture’ application only and conclude they are less applicable today, because all scripture comes ‘packaged’ with a ‘divine’ authorship.
But these troublesome questions will not go away.

An honest handling of the scriptures demands that we wrestle with these issues to arrive at a sound conclusion in our systematic theology. On the subjects of women and slavery, it is safe to view these passages as being intended for a specific cultural context, while also recognizing that other passages in the Christian Bible also point towards ‘movement’ away from the institution of slavery & the subjugation of women. By taking this approach you might be closer to ‘rightly dividing the Word of truth.” I think church leaders should think long and hard before advocating any kind of patriarchy in the church or the home.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Bloated Church Calendar Diffuses Energy

From time to time we are asked if we have a particular ministry. Or sometimes people will ask when we will be starting such-and-such a ministry. Sometimes they ask because their last church had it. Sometimes they ask because they are passionate about it.

We don’t try to do everything. That burns people out and gets the church running off into too many different directions at once.

We are decidedly and deliberately simple at PCC when it comes to the church calendar and ministry programs we offer.
In my opinion, many churches (and well-intentioned church workers) try to offer too much. This is one of the most overlooked barriers to building a healthy congregation; we wear people out! Instead of concentrating on a limited number of initiatives, they dabble in forty different things and miss being good at any of them.

The older a church gets, the truer this becomes. Programs and events continue to be added to the church agenda/calendar without ever cutting anything out. Remember, no program is meant to last forever. A bloated church calendar diffuses the energy of a church. It is essential to the health of our church that we periodically “clean house” – abandon programs that have outlived their purpose. When the horse is dead – dismount!

Understand, mere activity does not equal productivity. A church can be well organized and maintain a full slate of programs, but that doesn’t mean they are effective. Effectiveness means DOING THE RIGHT THINGS and letting the other things go. When energy is wasted on unproductive programs, it is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; everything looks nice and organized, but it doesn’t matter because the ship is still sinking!

God wants churches to be effective.