Very good day at PCC worship services. Attendance was up in the second service – something I’m thankful for.
I met about five our six people who are new to our church, all of whom have been attending for a few weeks. I just love meeting new people; they are always so nice and friendly. Plus, it is very encouraging to me to know that God is always active in His work of drawing people to Himself, and many of those people He sends to us.
God is untiring in this regard. He never slumber or sleeps. Psalms 121:3-4
Preached on Jonah chapter 3 – “Failure is Not Final.” This message was very encouraging to me and many others.
A quote from today: The victorious Christian life is a series of new beginnings.
Another quote: God loves to give people second chances.
The best part of chapter 3 to me is v.1-2. where it says the Word of the Lord came to Jonah a “second time” and God said “Go to Nineveh.” In other words, God said to Jonah this second time the SAME THING He said to Jonah the FIRST TIME. God doesn’t change His mind about His Word.
We also talked the “gifts and calling of God” being “without repentance.” God doesn’t change His mind about that either.
I’m still enjoying the series immensely. Apparently others are too - I’ve gotten more feedback from this series than I have from any other in recent memory. I think everyone can see a little bit of themselves in the life of Jonah.
Next Sunday will be part four (on chapter four), and will conclude the series.
Last Friday night a group of us gathered at a coffee house on Woodbine Road. My oldest son and another guy were playing acoustic guitar there, which added to the ambiance and mood. It was real nice. (My son is on the left in the picture above, and the other guy helps leads worship at a church in Pensacola). I think they both got embarrassed when I shouted out a request, "Play some Olivia Newton John!" You should have been there.
PCC CHILDREN’S MINISTRY has a FACEBOOK page. Check it out. I think we have one of the best age-level ministries in the area!
After service today (after both services in fact), I stood in the atrium and was very impressed after noticing how long people stay after church visiting with one another. It’s really is a sight to see. The conversation was SO LOUD and lively. You would think these people hadn’t seen each other in years.
The people in our church eat out together, visit in one another’s homes, go on boat rides together after church on Sunday, take motorcycle rides together, and some even vacation together. It’s amazing.
And to think, none of this existed twelve years ago.
I had a very deep time of reflection this afternoon about our church. I was thinking about how happy, healthy, and successful PCC is and it dawned on me how faithful God has been to bring this about. LET ME EXPLAIN. About 27 months ago our church experienced (what we now call) a ten-year hiccup. A small group of people left our church family which was a sad and painful time for us. But the miracle of it all was how quickly God sent other people to our church family to take their place. I mean almost as quickly as they left, others came in. These new people quickly proved themselves as “God sends” that were a great encouragement to us – not to mention an asset to the ministry. They were friendly, easy to get along with, willing to pitch in wherever needed, and have turned into great friends. In fact, even to this day they continue to labor at PCC simply because they love their church. They have all become personal friends of mine too.
What I’m trying to say is that in the hour of our greatest need, God sent the right people at the right time… and we never missed a beat. I marvel at God’s faithfulness.
This gives me great assurance because I absolutely know that God has His Hand on this church and a vested interest in seeing it prevail. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. This church does not rise and fall on me, or anyone else’s agenda. It’s all about God and we have seen a demonstration of His handiwork.
ANOTHER LESSON I LEARNED: A church grows as much through subtraction as much as it does through addition.
I received a testimony from Karen Smith this week. Here is an EXCERPT from HER LETTER:
I just want to say Thank You!!! In the beginning of me becoming a Christian 3 years ago, during one of your teachings, you made the statement that a major part of new Christians will not last more than a year; that they start out strong and on fire, but within a year they will give up and go back to their old lifestyle. This statement really resonated with me.
As time went by and I would be going through struggles, I have to admit I would get to a point where I would think 'this is too hard. I can't do this.' I would start to weaken and want to give up, but then your words would echo over and over in my mind. Those words (your statement) would be the motivation that made me determined not to be one of those statistics. I would then dig my heels in and push harder to find a way to draw closer to God in any and every way I could, feeling I was holding on for dear life. Needless to say, because of this, my life has changed dramatically.
Now three years later, I realize how blessed I am to have become a part of the PCC family. I have learned so much and continue to learn daily. For the first time in my life, I have learned what it means to have a true relationship with Christ. It's not perfect by any means, but my life is more than I could have ever imagined it could be. And more than ever, I want others to know and even more so, experience how life changing accepting Jesus into your life is. I know God gets all the glory and I am truly thankful. But also, THANK YOU for staying strong and preaching the truth. Karen
This is why we do what we do… and it never gets old.
After church today I made a pot of red beans and rice for the family. It was the perfect meal for a cold, windy, March day. I’m a good cook…. Ask my wife if you don’t believe me.
We had my mother over for dinner after church today. It’s her birthday tomorrow. She’s still 53. I’m glad Renae thought to invite her. I’m too boneheaded to think of stuff like that. I should be tied to a whipping post and beaten.
This WEDNESDAY NIGHT – Unite Family Picnic and Egg Hunt for the kids. Grills hot by 6:00 PM. Bring your own meat. Good hang time and fellowship.
Some good things are happening in our small groups right now.
We don’t have as many groups this semester as we normally do, but this is a good thing. We now have an opportunity to restructure and reorganize this ministry. We are raising the bar for any future leaders.
Here’s a blog I read about protecting your pastor. Pretty good stuff.
I’m starting a new blog series tomorrow. I might call it "Lighten Up" based upon Jesus' invitation "Come unto Me... for My yoke is easy and MY BURDEN IS LIGHT." This series will be designed to CHALLENGE many of our modern-day, widely-accepted, and deeply entrenched IDEAS about what it means to know God and what it is that PRODUCES TRUE SPIRITUALITY. Quite frankly, in our zeal to know God better, we have raised the bar with definitions that are beyond the reach of the common person - and more importantly, beyond the heights set by God Himself. Don’t miss it.
I am getting so much out of this Jonah series. So many times when things aren't going right it is because we aren't doing what God wants us to do. I am so thankful that he gives us many chances. Keep up the good work of bringing Gods word to us each week.
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