Thursday, July 31, 2008
One is my Assistant/CCF's Director of Operations...JAYE LINDO!!! Happy Birthday, Jaye. She is turning 21. Very special to me. Yall wish you knew.
The other is my nephew GABE CAMPBELL...my first nephew born the same time I left for college. Happy Birthday, Gabe! He is turning into a fine young man.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Come and let your voice be heard...TONIGHT at 7pm in the church lobby!
Hope to see a few of you this evening for Extreme Makeover: CCF Lobby Edition!
Anyway, she cleans alot and is a killer cook! Looking forward to her stay. We are going out of town next week and Abuela is coming with us too. Gonna be fun! Welcome, Abuela!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
But, check this out. There is sometimes a very fine and dangerous line between real and fake. Dealing with U.S. dollar bills, fake and real look and feel exactly the same, but fake can cost you jail. I think that in our lives there is also a fine line between being real and being fake and the difference can be as important as life and death. People are watching you. Are they getting the real deal or a fake? The difference...the line.....could be their deciding factor between life and death.
Watch this video to illustrate this. I used it last weekend in my message. It is a clip from one of the One Prayer messages.
Walk in the grace of God, the love of His son, Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit! The God that made the heavens and the earth is crazy about you...TODAY! Now.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Looking for the perfect church? Look no further; it doesn’t exist. The church is made up of people. Until we get to heaven, we can assume churches will have problems.
Regardless of church size, denomination or location, pastors are often troubled by how easily many members leave their church families. When someone leaves, the body is injured. Think of losing a finger or a kidney. You would feel the loss, and so does the church.
Most of us would not leave our biological families, but this doesn’t always translate to our church families. Members frequently leave without a word or with vague answers when contacted by a church staff member who misses them. This is personal for pastors and ministers, evoking emotion, passion, confusion and hurt.
There are both poor reasons and good reasons for leaving a church. Make sure you know the difference.
4 Poor Reasons to Leave:
- Things in the church are changing, and I don’t like it. Your pastors recognize that the world and the church globally are changing, and they want to stay relevant. As your church adapts, it is critical to realize what is biblical and what is cultural. Your pastors feel they can give on some cultural issues, but they also believe in holding the line on fundamentals.
- I don’t like the music anymore. Drums and electric guitars moved into spaces where pianos and organs traditionally ruled. A good way to look at this issue is to realize that, in a church of 400 people, if you have the music the way you want it on one Sunday every 7.7 years, then you have had your turn. Let others enjoy their turn as well. Music style should never be more important than relationships.
- An unresolved difference of opinion or hurt feelings. The church is a living parable on forgiveness, mercy and grace for a watching world. How we treat one another speaks loudly. The Bible is clear on dealing with problems: Go first to the person with whom you have the problem and try to resolve it for your own good, his good and the good of the church. Many times the real reason never surfaces. Instead a run around of easily repaired excuses are given.
- Another church has more to offer me and my family. If your church is lacking in an area, pray to be able to fill the space or for God to send someone who is able. Make the shift from consumer to producer.
- I feel a clear call from God to begin another work. Starting a new church, going into missions or a new ministry, or changing location are good reasons to consider moving. As we grow in Christ, He is able to use us in different areas. Your pastors would like the opportunity to grieve over losing you and rejoice at your new opportunity.
- I have lost confidence in the church leadership. Major doctrinal differences, vastly different values and priorities, unclear direction or compromised leaders may call for a change. Praying for your leaders, pastors and their families is good preventative medicine. If you cannot support your leadership, pastors agree that leaving is better than staying and spreading discontent. Don’t worry about convincing other churchgoers of your need to leave; God is perfectly capable of revealing to others what they need to know and do.
- I am more comfortable reaching people for Christ who are from my own generation or culture, and I need to be in a church more like me in order to be effective. As long as you are reaching the lost, encouraging new believers and continuing to grow and mature in your own spiritual life, most pastors would want you to be where you will best use your gifts and abilities.
If you do decide to leave the church, continue to pray for your former church. In the meantime, be cautious of what you say to others about the congregation you left; the Enemy will happily use whatever we say to cause harm. Use wisdom and discretion about any information you pass on to friends.
Last, but not least, please know that your pastors are only human. They will err, misspeak and otherwise blunder from time to time. The church is one of the best places to find mercy and grace and to extend it to others.
You are an important, valued part of the church on a mission to transform the world.
Determine not to be tripped up by trivial matters.
This article first appeared in the May, 2008 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2008 Gail B. Houston. All rights reserved. Gail B. Houston has worked in church administration for 14 years. She lives in Tucson, Ariz.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The video of what took place this morning will be available in 2 places:
- First, right here on my blog in the next few days. (yeah, blog readers!)
- Second, there will be DVD's available for you to purchase at the Welcome Center next Sunday.
With a full heart and tired eyes,
This morning at 4:00am, Pastor Nelson received a call from his father indicating that his 31 year old sister, Lillian had died last night while giving birth to her 3rd child, a baby boy. The baby lived, but Lillian passed away through childbirth complications and no medical facilities. The newborn, needing to survive was taken to a local Catholic Mission Hospital. It is a very heartbreaking story that has unfolded for Nelson and his family.
Nelson will be flying out for Kenya at 8:15am tomorrow and returning on August 7th. Jessica and Barak (his wife and 19 month old son) will remain home here in Maryland. Our congregation rallied around the Okanyas this morning and supported them with love, prayers and enough money to not only fly Pastor Nelson to Africa, but also to pay for the funeral expenses. Praise the Lord for that!
Thanks to each of you for your continued prayer support and love for the Okanyas and their family in Africa. Let's reach out to Jessica and Barak these next 10 days as well. If you still wish to donate money, you may still do so all week and next Sunday.
[Just spoke with Nelson and they are absolutely blown away at the love and support of our church family already!! Go team! Keep it up!]
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my savior; my God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
Thursday, July 24, 2008
- Awesome meeting this morning with Glenn Kaufman. He will be our new overseer/Bishop as of September 1st! I am really looking forward to his friendship and mentoring and to the entire family connecting to our church! I love being under good leaders.
- Wrapped up my message -- although it is never finished until 12:30pm on Sunday. Looking forward to finding new ways to keep it real...at new levels.
- Had a super duper Small Group tonight. I know I always rave about them. That is because they are always good! I believe it more every day...life transformation happens in circles not rows.
- A great friend of mine prayed over me today and blessed my socks off. He prayed that God would sing over me, hold me and quiet me like we do our little babies. I pray that for you tonight. God loves you and wants to sing over you! He delights in you! Be blessed with that tonight as you lay down.
Zep 3:17 - The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
That said, I want to acknowledge something VERY SERIOUS that we need to pay attention to...
- Last week there were salvations and renewed connections to the Lord made in our service. The Holy Spirit was at work.
- This coming Sunday is going to be thick! I am telling you with every fiber of my being that the Lord has big plans for us this weekend! I am praying that lives are transformed in our midst.
- We are just finishing a series on unity. What better time than now for the devil to get busy.
Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
I will tell you this....our God is always on time!! I received one phone call and one email today that were just what I needed! I am telling you, the caller ID and the "from" line of the email should have read "heaven". I just knew it was the voice of God speaking to me. He is always on time.
I love each of you. Thanks for reading this and thanks for your support. I may not blog a lot in the days to come. Sometimes sharing too much can create more harm than good. This may be a time where I need to chill a bit. Everything will be fine. Sounding no alarms, just being transparent. After all, it is my blog, right?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Please come and bring people to church this Sunday morning!
(Also looking forward to hosting about 20-25 guests from Mountville Mennonite Church in PA for our service and a time of Q & A with the staff after church. They will be here to check out how we do ministry at CCF.)
Monday, July 21, 2008
2 that Stand out to me this week:
- Incredibly thankful for a young lady that was radically saved on Sunday Morning. Totally broken before the Lord and committed herself to Jesus for the very first time ever! We are excited to get her plugged into a Small Group and beginning her discipleship journey!
- Got an email tonight from another person who was incredibly impacted by the last 2 Sundays at CCF....after having been out of any church for 12 years! God called this person back to themselves over the last 2 weeks (and used a couple ladies in our church to do it). That is what I am talking about, baby!!! Praise the Lord!
Not to us, oh Lord, but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness!
11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
- I thank Jesus for handing off and entrusting His ministry to us!
- I thank Jesus for his advocacy to the Father!
- I pray that we would ask for things that would bring glory to the Father through the Son!
- I pray that we would actually begin believing that we can do greater things...
Friday, July 18, 2008
Sunday's message is entitled "Father, Make us Effective" and is the second message in our series of 3 messages! We will take what I hope will be a fresh look at what it means to be effective as a church. Our main example and case study will be Jesus. In my opinion, he was the most successful and effective person to ever walk earth. He accomplished the most urgent and important mission that there ever was and did it in such an exemplary way! If you want to prep for our time, read John 14:11-14.
Jesus himself says that we are supposed to do greater things than HE did. Do you think that YOU are doing even greater things than Jesus? Think about that one!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I realize that I am learning something recently. We often make things bigger deals than they are. I think that (for many of us) it would go a long way to relax, lighten up, chill and assume the best, not the worst! That is my word for today.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Author David McCullough stated that the reason people love to read a good book is because writing requires clear thinking…it’s also the reason people don’t like to write.
McCullough said that Universities should require their students to write to express themselves. He said a person that can express themselves with the pen and on foot will be successful. After years of his notable career, McCullough still keeps a discipline of writing 4 typed pages a day! And I thought writing sermons and blogging was enough!
I’ve been challenged by McCullough’s comments. And maybe similarly that’s one of the reasons God called King David a man after His own heart. Why? Because, King David expressed himself clearly to God. David poured out everything…he didn’t hold anything back. David was refreshingly authentic before it was hip. David knew how to write and consequently he knew how to express himself.
I started journaling to God several years ago and blogging less than a year ago. I’m just curious, do you journal? Do you blog? How has it helped you to express yourself to God in ways beyond words?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
One child's prayer requests was "that the church would be ONE". The same kid hugged me at the end of the night and told me that it was a great message on Sunday. He must have been listening. What a joy!
Jesus said in Luke 18:16, "Let the little children come to me...the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these!"
Monday, July 14, 2008
- Have been doing it longer than I have
- Are doing ministry in new and creative ways
- Are fresh thinkers
- Blog and make their journey easy to track
- Have passion for the things of God and the hearts of people
- Have fruit/success in their ministry context
It may interest you to see some of the guys that I enjoy following online via blogs, twitter, articles, etc.:
- Mark Batterson
- Ed Young
- Perry Noble
- Craig Groeschel
- Greg & Geoff Surratt
- Ben Rainey
- Andy Stanley
- I try to follow older guys like Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, but the older the leader (typically), the less they put online. Instead, they write books and sell them. Smile. Man, they are smart!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
- Share a testimony of something that the Lord has done in your life.
- (You will share this testimony in a few words and you will NOT HAVE TO TALK...trust me--it will be more powerful than words!)
- Be present at church on Sunday, July 27th.
Message today was "Father, Make us One"....if we had one enemy, one heart and one purpose as a church....we might just be able to become the answer to Jesus's prayer in John 17 to be a unified church!
Friday, July 11, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
- Plan a service that you would attend if you were not the Pastor. Is yours a church you would attend if you were not the Pastor?
- Have a service that passes the cost/benefit analysis for men. If you get the man, you often get the whole family! Men need to feel like its worth it...and a "nurturing environment" is not enough for them.
- Services should be well planned. Certainly weeks, if not months in advance.
- Train your team to recognize the urgency of winning on Sundays! It is so urgent that every staff member and key Sunday volunteer knows and feels this!
- Know your service goals and stick to them. Don't let issues hijack your services. As long as their are people, there are issues. And don't let your own issues with people bleed on the innocent. Make a list of service goals so you reach them.
- Appoint a service coordinator and create a service planning team to work at planning services. The Pastor brings topic of upcoming messages and the other thinkers make it creative, run with it and execute it. Gerald says that you can/should do this even if you are a church of 30 people.
- Have an appealing, fresh and highly communicative stage. Use whatever you have (even limited budget) to get some cool decor and some variety. The platform is BY FAR the most influential place in your church. Entire buildings are designed to bring attention to the platform. From the moment that people arrive their attention is directed where?
- Keep your communication simple and relevant. Intelligent people don't want to preached at but communicated with. Watch what America is watching. Watch Jay Leno one night. We walks out and talks. Millions tune in.
- Make sincere affirmation a consistent ingredient of your services. Not bogus flattery, but genuine love and value from your heart. Anyone that takes the stage should see "10" on every persons forehead in the room.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Dear Pastor, we are doing the work of the Lord effectively among the Hindus and the church leaders. A couple of weeks ago we had a prayer meeting in one of our believers houses and a Hindu family accepted Jesus as their savior. To their amazement and wonder when they went home all the idols in their house had fallen on their face and they said that they know for sure that their living God is truly Jesus!! Praise the Lord! Lots of people are getting healed just by the laying on of hands. How wonderful our God is. Keep us in your prayers. Satan wants to prevent us from doing the lord's work and we are in constant spiritual warfare. Pray for us and hold us without ceasing in your prayers. We pray for you and the good work that the Lord has started in and through you in Greenbelt.
Pray with me for Rabindra and his wife and kids. I am sensing the Lord's leading to consider how else we can become involved with him and his ministry. He, like Anna Mae are in the field because of a call out of CCF to the world! This is something that we ought to rejoice in!!
- Enjoyed a low-key 4th of July. Chose an on-time bedtime for Davis over fireworks. First 4th in years that we did not see fireworks, but we didn't mind, actually.
- Funeral for Edna Custis was Saturday. It was a very meaningful time. First two and a half hour funeral I have ever attended. It was at 10th Street Baptist church....a very different church culture than I am used to, but man do they get excited about God!! Listening to the different people share just solidified the quality of person that she was. Looking forward to continuing to walk with the Custis family as the days ahead may be tough. Grief is a journey that is lived, not planned.
- Good services yesterday. Lots of people on vacation, but Lew brought a good message. Also, had the chance to speak with numerous first service attendees about a service merger and received a unanimous positive response from those I spoke to. People were fine with transitioning to a 10:30am worship service. Still working on those details.
- Said goodbye to Tricia and Davis this morning. They flew to Albany to spend the week with Tricia's family. I am glad they can go, but wish I could be with them. My boss only gives me so much vacation. Smile. It will be well spent time for them.
- Looking forward to a good week I hope that you have a super dooper looper week!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
- There will always be change! 2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds of it and that it is God's will! The one constant in all of our lives is change.
- People react to change most often in one of these 3 ways; resist, resent or run!
- I mean, just think of small things like what aisle you find items in the grocery store, how you log into your computer, what time a show comes on TV...when those things change, we react. Now imagine the things that really matter....
- Here is why most people resist change...because our value and/or security are placed on those temporal things that will always change! We react because either our value or security are being threatened.
- Now, I would add this observation....feel free to disagree. But, I think that for young folks, they find their value in stuff (position, job, church, health, looks, money). For older folks, they find their security (because this is a greater need the older you get) in Stuff (house, family, church, health, position, etc.).
- We need to embrace and accept change! Things will change! At home, at work, at church.....things will be ever changing!
- If we refuse change, we refuse growth!
- So...I would suggest that our value and security needs to be placed on our God, the one constant that never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). He is stable and solid and is the ONLY answer to true value, meaning and security!
- If we place our value and security on the things of this world, we will spend our lives feeling threatened. If we place our value and security in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will spend our days feeling rooted and protected!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Awesome passage. The Word of God is life!
- We dream of a haven where hurting broken and confused people come and find healing and hope for their lives and relationships.
- We dream of a place where people covered in guilt come and are bathed in forgiveness.
- We dream of a community where authentic love and relationship is felt through the entire church experience and throughout the entire week.
- We dream of Weekly worship services that are anointed with the presence of the Holy Spirit and guiding people to new places with Jesus.
- We envision expressions of worship among us as various as our names!
- We dream of realizing ways that we can embrace the foundations of our faith tradition and begin bringing hope, peace and reconciliation to the hurting people of PG County and beyond.
- We dream of seeing children discipled and trained to know that God wants a life with them!
- We see youth coming out of our children’s ministry and local schools to enter into a discipleship journey that prepares them for colleges, careers, and a life with Jesus!
- We dream of continuing growth in numbers and discipleship!
- We see tens of thousands of people being impacted by the ministry of Capital Christian Fellowship every week!
- We dream of the day when our Worship Center and building are way too small to accommodate us!
- We dream of purchasing and zoning together several more pieces of adjoining property around us, building on this building or building new ones on our lot to accommodate what God is doing. We see us needing 25-40 acres to do what God is calling us to do!!!
- We see CCF becoming a powerful force of love, peace and discipleship in the MD suburbs of the DC AREA!
- We dream of this being the place in which an uncountable amount of people discover or rediscover Jesus Christ as their savior and friend
- We dream of Small Groups meeting inside and outside of our church walls…from coffee houses, to restaurants, to chat rooms, to living rooms, to class rooms to board rooms, to parks….We dream of these small groups being the primary means of discipling people! These groups will be life-giving and life-changing and people connect more intimately to each other and to God than they ever have before!
- We dream of becoming a church where every person that attends large group worship services also attends a small group and partners with us in ministry for the goal of accomplishing our purpose as a church!
- We dream of us opening up many more locations of CCF stateside (multi-siting) and planting new congregations overseas! We will be one church with many locations and a one purpose.
- We dream of a church that breathes missions! We will fund, pray, go and send...reaching thousands of people all over the world!
- We dream of maintaining our uniqueness and diversity as we gather as a church where all people belong! We dream of being the most culturally, denominationally, economically and generationally diverse church in the state of Maryland.
- We dream of the day when we can see many realizations of our purpose being lived out…where at every turn we see people Loving God, Loving People and Living as Disciples!
"Loving God, Loving People and Living as Disciples!" What are you doing today to live that purpose? Seriously. Answer the question...every day!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The Church Retreat is in October, but tomorrow night there are a few of us gathering at the church to put some thought into planning the weekend. We are looking for people who might be willing to come tomorrow evening at 7pm to help out. We will need creative ideas and “doers” that will help implement stuff and make it happen. Do you have any interest in coming? If you do, just come! We could use your help and…it will be fun!
Edna Custis Funeral Information:
Location: 1000 R street NW, Washington DC
Time: This Saturday, July 5th-- 9am-11am viewing, 11am funeral service, followed by burial, then repast
Thanks for your continued prayer and support for the Custis family.