Saturday, February 28, 2009

E-Book (best of the best blog posts)

The folks at Exponential Network just gave the church world a huge gift. They sifted through thousands of blog posts from some great church leaders and compiled an e-book of the best of the best. The e-book contains articles authored by...

Ben Arment
Mark Batterson
Chris Elrod
Dave Ferguson
Mike Foster
Seth Godin
Craig Groeschel
Alan Hirsch
Scott Hodge
Michael Hyatt
Gary Lamb
Will Mancini
Tony Morgan
Perry Noble
Bob Roberts, Jr.
Ed Stetzer
Tim Stevens
Jud Wilhite

If you like to read about church or ministry, you ought to print and read this!! You can get your free PDF copy right here... Download Leadership-learnings.

What I appreciate in a friend

Friends have always played an important role in my life. Connecting with several friends this week have reminded me of the blessing that they are. Here are some of the things (most special to me) that I appreciate and look for in a friend:
  1. Fun! I want to and need to laugh, cut up and carry on with a friend. I feel like I have to be serious too often in my role. I need the therapy of good laughs with good friends. We even laugh at things we probably shouldn't. Oh well. I'll grow up one day.
  2. Real! Can say whatever about whatever. There is no untouchable territory. We do it in love, but we do it! The best friends that I have will say what they think without filters or fake.
  3. Integrity! Pastor or no Pastor, integrity matters to me. I will have friends that are who they say they are and do what they say they'll do. If there is no integrity, there is not trust and there will be no relationship worth working at.
  4. Have a pause and play button. For me, a friendship must be able to pick up where it left off. We may need to hit pause....and then hit play again in 18 months. (precisely what my buddy Tim and I just did this weekend). Contrary to some people's opinions, I do NOT believe that time apart MUST equal drift apart. A real friendship will be able to resume when you reconnect.
  5. Guilt Free. I cannot do friendships where unmet expectations lead to guilt. If I have to call you, do this or do that to avoid your guilt trip, we aint gonna be too tight for too long.
  6. Pure Motives. I do not appreciate people wanting to be my friend because of my position. You'd be surprised how many people want to be overly friendly just because I am a Pastor. I'll pass. I want you to be my friend because of my person, not my position.
There are more...but these are certainly some qualities at the top of the list for me.

What are a few qualities that you look for in a friend?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I know that this is my 10th blog today, but this is funny!! I laughed and laughed. It is NOT Davis, but I saw some connection, unfortunately.

Financial Peace

I changed one word in my message title for this classmates talked me into it. Instead of fundamentals, it's peace. People need peace in the area of finances today and that was what I was planning on delivering, but the title did not capture that. I know that the Lord will speak to us Sunday!

Valley Forge Memories

With each passing year, coming on the campus of Valley forge Christian College becomes more nostalgic. I made so many memories here!
  • God became real to me here.
  • My leadership took shape in innumerable ways here.
  • I grew in knowledge, wisdom, character and competence here.
  • Was trained to preach here.
  • Was mentored by great leaders here.
  • Got a degree from here.
  • Worked here!
  • Had my faith shaped in many memorable chapel experiences.
  • Formed lifelong friendships here.
  • Met the love of my life here!
The entrance to the college:

The room that I lived in and led as an RA from for 2 of my 4 years:

This was my floor (4 down) and this is what we called PPU (Ping Pong's all we did):

God spoke to me many times in this room about my call...very special place to me:

This is where Tricia and I would sit and smooch when we were dating and hope not to get caught:

Staying Connected

Last year at CCF, we did a coinciding Small Group and sermon series entitled "Making Connections."  We certainly heard stories of how it helped people connect to God and others in new ways.  Well, this year, we are going to do a sequel of sorts and it will be entitled "Staying Connected."  

Starting Sunday, March 22nd we will preach and do Small group on "Staying Connected" to God and to others no matter what life delivers.  Stay tuned for more.  Pastor Nelson is hard at work completing this unique CCF series!

If you are not in a Small Group, why not let March 22nd serve as your goal by which to join one so that you will not miss this.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

American Idol and the Church

There are currently 3 worship leaders/church music dudes on American Idol. CLICK HERE to read this post about it! I hope that these guys represent Jesus well.

Drinking from a Fire Hydrant

Guys, I am doing some serious learning here!  I am drinking from a fire hydrant, though!  The class is about Missional ministry.  I do not know where to begin to tell you about it.  I will need to just let it set in and sift out.   Here are a few things I'd share:
  1. The list of books I want to read has grown like crazy this week.  My Professor who is also a Lead Pastor reads over 200 books a year!  So, every 3 minutes he is recommending another book that is a must read.  And I want to read them!  (Just let me know if you want to buy your Pastor a book or 2!!)
  2. I really like the prof in this class, David Crosby.  He is in his 30's and a really authentic, educated and gifted leader and he is IN the ministry (it's a noticeable difference to be taught by a practitioner than a professor).  He planted a church in the Poconos 6 years ago.  They are running 1,200 today.  Here is his here.  And here is the church here.
  3. I was also VERY impressed with Herbert Cooper (click here for his blog) today.  We had a skype video interview with him and it rocked.  He is the Lead Pastor of the People's Church (click here for the church website) in Oklahoma.  Black Pastor, white wife, 4 kids, diverse church of over 2,000.  Cool place with similar vision to CCF.   Their vision is "Connecting people to God and to others."
  4. I've seen our good!  CCF is an incredible place!!  There have been many moments this week where I have seen how God has done amazing things at CCF!  I am not sure we even see the greatness of God in the light others would looking in from the outside.  Fish cannot tell you about water.
  5. I've seen our need for growth.  Man, do we ever still have some road to cover.  But, God will be with the very end of the age. (Matt. 28:20)


Nelson, the Poster Boy

Look at this good looking Guy on the Eastern Mennonite Seminary literature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Job

As I am preparing to preach on $$$ these next 2 weeks, someone told me about this crazy video. This YouTube video has been getting a massive volume of hits. It sheds light on a very real thing that we are facing. Warning: if you are racially sensitive, you may not appreciate this video. Don't watch it. I think that it is telling and provokes me to think. In my estimation, it was worth posting here (instead of showing it in the service Sunday).

Juggling this week

This week is a bit of a juggling act for me.
  • Came up to Phoenixville, PA yesterday for a Master's Class.
  • Spent the night here with old college friends.
  • Leaving now (6:30am) to head back to CCF to do the funeral of Walter Young.
  • Tonight, I will spend the evening with my family.
  • Tomorrow morning I will travel back up to class.
  • I will be in class Wednesday-Friday.
  • Friday I will drive back home, pick up Tricia and Davis and we are headed back to a different part of PA near Harrisburg to visit some friends we have not seen in a long time.
  • Then, we'll see you at church Sunday, and things should get back to normal.
Anyway, you did not ask for the whole itinerary, but for those that follow me on Twitter and stuff, I though I would share about how I am juggling this week.


May Psalm 91 Speak to you Today

You who sit down in the High God's presence,
spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

Psalm 91 (Message)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Corn Hole Pics from Yesterday!

Look at some of these facial expressions and forms! Are these people serious or what?!?!

Celebrate This With Us

After doing some quick research and running some rough numbers with the staff over the last few weeks I am thrilled with 2 findings. I wanted to share them with you.

50% of our Sunday Morning Attendance is connected faithfully in a Small Group.

50% of our Sunday Morning Attendance is serving in a ministry somewhere.

This is great growth for us! This is up significantly from 2 years ago. This needs to be celebrated. It needs to be especially celebrated because it is direct realization of the vision! Will you thank God with me and pray for it to only get better…for the glory of God!

From this, we will be setting new goals and measuring next steps ahead as we love God, love people and live as disciples!

--Pastor Noah

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Financial Fundamentals

Beginning a series this Sunday on finances. Thanks to my friend Ben, I now have a title and a graphic. Been working at these messages, have plenty of meat, but was lacking the packaging. So, tonight we roll it out.

Title: "Financial Fundamentals in Uncertain Economic Times"

Dates: Sunday, March 1 and Sunday, March 8 at CCF

I am sure that we are all going to learn and be challenged over the next Sundays.


I like to report on what I am reading on my blog. I have read 4 books in the last month. This reading was school driven, but they were some GREAT books!

I reported on "Simple Church" in this post!

I reported on "Pop Goes the Church" in the post!

I will be reporting on "Breaking the Missional" Code this week.

I will also be reporting on "Church Unique" this week.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

See You Tomorrow at CCF!!

EntryPoint at 9:00am!

Cookies and Coffee at 10:00am!

Worship & Missions Message by Pastor Nelson at 10:30am!

Corn Hole Event for Missions at 12:30pm!

See you tomorrow!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Divine Hope

Off to visit a friend today. 3.5 hours up, a 3 hour visit and 3.5 hours back. Although this friend is in jail, he is special to me, we have story together, and I believe in him! That's why I make this trek. I try to go every 3-4 months. Cannot believe that it has been over 5 months since my last visit.

I wrote more about this in a previous post. You can read it here.

If I could share one core value with you this morning before I leave....

Keep believing in people and holding hope for people. God is not a God that gives up on you and me. He will be cheering when everyone else is jeering! Let's represent that quality of God's character in our relationships.

Who have you stopped believing in? How about asking God to restore to you divine hope?

"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." Galatians 3:20 (The Message)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some Bullets before Bed

Just checking in with my faithful readers. Thought I would drop a few bullets on you before bed. Random stuff, but here we go:
  • I think that our new Executive Board is going to do a great job and serve the church well. We had a great first meeting with us all together tonight.
  • The Conference affirmed me for ordination yesterday and the Board did so tonight. Very honored and blessed and humbled. You will hear more about that later.
  • I am dealing with a list of pastoral care issues right now that's a mile long! It is a real wave. But, God is moving, He's faithful and He will sustain! I am praying for a word of peace from the Lord for us this Sunday.
  • My heart is so heavy for Lisa Savoy tonight. Pastor Nelson and I visited her today in ICU and we both knew that it may have been our last visit. So broken for her. (Read my earlier post about Lisa HERE.)
  • Still have a mother load of reading and writing to complete before Monday morning! I will make it. Probably should be doing noting but schoolwork, but....I'd rather blog. ;-)
  • Excited about this Sunday....Missions Sunday.....Pastor Nelson preaching......and CORN HOLE AFTER CHURCH!!
  • Then, March 1 and March 8 I will be doing a 2 week series on finances and what the Bible has to say about what is going on around us. You will not want to miss those messages. But, you may not like me when they are over. God is asking me to say some things that I am freaked out about. But, I will obey. There is no nice way to preach Haggai chapter 1. Oh boy!
Alright, enough rambling. Good night. I have another early morning tomorrow, so off to bed.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Danielle Wood is Famous

Danielle made it on the home page of the NASA Website. It is a cool video. Check it out by clicking HERE!

Pastor Bishop Author Friend Dave

Just had lunch with David Eshleman. Former a CCF Pastor and Bishop. Now Author and Church Consultant. Always friend! He just told me his book will be released in April. Also found out that he wrote an article in the Mennonite Weekly Review (this is a Mennonite Newspaper). It's good. Click here to read it. Keep praying for he and his wife Helen. There are few dearer people you could meet!

Steps toward the Call

Today is a special day for me. Actually have some butterflies in my stomach. I am leaving in a few minutes for Lancaster, PA (our headquarters if you will) to sit before a committee that will interview me this morning for ordination.

There have been many steps along the road to fulfilling my call. These steps have been moving me in the direction of responding to the call of God on my life to serve Him in full time Christian Service...a call that I have had since a boy. Today is a special day because it is another one of those steps (a final step of sorts...a step saying "I am in this for life.").

I enter this process humbly and by invitation of my Bishop. I am humbled and thankful for it. But, at the end of the day, I know that it is just man's way of symbolically sealing what God is already doing. And I am thankful that it is the sovereign Lord who calls!

I appreciate your prayers today (in case they really grill me).


(Yes, the church will know all about this at the right time.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Being a Student (too)

Love being a Husband!

Love being a Dad!

Love being a Pastor!

Love learning new things!

Not so thrilled about being a student. I think I just prefer to learn because it's desired, not required.

Well, I AM A STUDENT! I am a Masters student at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary. I have thought of transferring a few times, but it has worked great so far. (Leaving the AG to Pastor a Mennonite Church cost me my license with the AG, but my money is still good enough for their seminary...oops....did that just slip out?) Anyway, great classes with just a few students, conveniently scheduled and located. I mainly take one-week intensives. They go like this:
  1. Read a whole heck of a lot to prepare for class
  2. Write a bunch of papers to submit on the first day
  3. Go to class in PA for one week M-F 8-5 (at my Alma Mater, VFCC)
  4. Do a project or two in the several months following
  5. Mail it in to the Prof
  6. 3 credits down
Well, next week I am taking a class called "Missional Ministry; Growing Churches in the 21st Century."

Have more reading and more papers to finish by Sunday! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...


Monday, February 16, 2009

Deposits and Withdraws

Okay, so this was one of those days that I came home from work and announced to my wife that I gave it all away! I told her I was on "E". It was just that kind of day. I had nothing left to give. Spent the first part of the day holding the hand of a dear sister in our church (Brigitte) whose Husband died during the night, dealt with several other heavy issues and ordeals, juggled meetings, juggled tasks, phone rang off the hook and then lead a counseling session and walked in the door of the house after 6pm. Exhausted. Low on energy. This is one of the many things that I have to protect against as a Pastor. It is easy to leave the leftovers to your family after giving the best of you away to everyone else.

Why am I sharing this?

Nights like this remind me of the rule of deposits and withdraws in relationships. I need to be making regular deposits into my marriage and into my kids. If I am, nights like tonight won't be a big deal. If I have sown in, it makes a big difference. Making regular deposits into our relational accounts gives us the relational equity to make a withdraw when we need to. Thankful that I have been doing better in this department over the last few years.

How are you doing with this? Are you spending adequate time with those you love so that you can check out when you need to without it being earth-shattering?

Davis Explains Where Daddy Goes Each Day

According to Davis, Daddy goes to work for "money in pocket" and Daddy works for "Jesus"! Too precious! Oh, one more thing. He cannot pronounce an "s" without adding an "h" behind it. And he is constantly asking us to "SIT" next to him. Sit, mommy! Sit, Daddy! Except there is an "h" involved. What are you gonna do? Oh, the joy! Thought I would give you a Monday morning smile.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Disease to Please

Some notes from the message this morning:
  • My parents always said to me… "Son, you can please all the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time."
  • Paul knew about this in Galatians 1:10 when he said….. Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
  • Read these words of John 12:42-43 by clicking here. It nails it too!
  • One of the biggest problems with people-pleasing is that people’s expectations are always changing. As soon as you hit it, it may have changed! But, God’s expectations never change, they are the same yesterday, today, and, and forever. "I am the Lord your God and I changest not!"
  • The problem comes when I begin doing what I do in order to please you, in order impress you, instead of pleasing God.
  • That, my friend, will stop revival. That will remove God’s hand of blessing…when we begin to do what we do to get “attaboys” from people instead of God.
The symptoms of the Disease to Please:
You might be a people pleaser if…

1. Frequently comparing yourself to others

2. Asking the wrong questions
  • Which of these 2 questions do you ask more often?
  • “What will God think?”
  • “What will they think?”
  • Becoming obsessed with what people think about me is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about me.
3. Using deception and making excuses
  • You obsess with covering you butt because you just cannot stand the thought of someone being displeased with you.
4. Regularly boasting
  • Proverbs 27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.
  • It is far more impressive when others notice your good qualities without your help.
5. Poor at accepting criticism
  • People pleasers take most criticism personally. Any suggestion feels like a personal attack.
6. Often beat around the bush
  • People pleasers find it hard to express their feelings because they have to “please people” and are exceptionally careful to never upset anyone.
7. Can’t say NO
  • You'll be surprised; the world will not collapse around you just because you draw a line! People will take offense more rarely than you think.
8. Crippled by fear:

How can I heal from the Disease to Please?

1. Repent – It’s a sin. Admit it. Confess it. Ask for forgiveness. God I want to put your opinion first from now on!

2. Pray – Ask for help.

3. Don’t overcompensate with arrogance
  • You can easily react to this disease by becoming belligerent or arrogant. “Ok, well I am tired of pleasing people. The heck with all of them.” That attitude lacks care and is REACTIVE not PROACTIVE!!
4. Protect against YOU pleasing!
  • Do not fall into the trap of “ME” centered living. Bible calls that PRIDE!! Secular opinion is do what YOU want and what makes YOU happy. Not so for the Christian! Do what makes GOD happy and you will get more than happiness, you will get JOY!
5. The main medicine to this disease: start pleasing GOD and Fearing GOD!!
  • Serve for an audience of One … and your audience will be WON!

Some related verses to read:
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6:1-4
Proverbs 29:25
1 Thessalonians 2:4-6

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What did we do?

So, what did we do last night?

My wife rocks! She is great at planning special things! Last night, she booked us a nice, but inexpensive hotel room up near BWI Airport (highly recommend the Hyatt Place on weekends....way cheaper than during the week because of business travel). I wondered why we needed to bring the card table and chairs. It was because she had chosen a restaurant that she knew I loved for us to carry out dinner. It is called G & M and they have killer crab cakes and cream of crab soup! Awesome dinner in our room, watched a movie and had an all around great night together.

Well, after a great day, I need to head to bed. Need a good night sleep for tomorrow. Preaching requires rest. Really looking forward to our service tomorrow. Come, let's worship and also find out whether we've got the disease to please.


Oh, by the way....Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Logging Out

I am logging out of texts, calls, emails, twittering and blogging for the next 24 hours. My wife has planned a romantic one night getaway for the two of us to somewhere (who knows where?). All I know is...we need it, I am excited and you will NOT be hearing from me. Hopefully, I will not be hearing from you either unless it is an emergency! It's time for some relationship building! ;-)

See ya!

International Sunday 2009!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Family Pictures

Had my Sister take some pictures of us as a family tonight. Need to capture these moments. If we are not careful, we can let months and months pass and not have a picture together as a family...and at this age their look changes quickly! Here are a few. Thought we'd share. The wife is hot and the son is handsome, huh?!

Love to Travel

The weather over the last few days has given me the itch to travel! I love to travel. Why?
  • Love to see new things.
  • Enjoy meeting new people.
  • (The relaxation isn't too bad!)
  • I am fascinated by transportation--anything that moves
  • Travel broadens my perspectives on what is back at home.
  • It widens my worldview. (especially International travel)
  • Deepens my sense of awe for God! He made all of this?
  • Makes me feel smaller and God look bigger. And I need both!
For the last 10 years, I have kept a running tally of where I've been. Here's the list if you care to know:
  1. 30 US States that I will not list :-)
  2. Puerto Rico
  3. Bahamas
  4. Mexico
  5. Canada
  6. Lots of the Caribbean Islands (St. This, that and the other)
  7. Guyana
  8. Belize
  9. Belgium
  10. Holland
  11. Germany
  12. China
Well, I am entering into a season of travel for the next 6 months. Traveling once a month for the next 4 months (mostly church travel) and then heading into our Sabbatical June and July.

Starting to get really excited about it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Seeing What No One Else Sees....YET

Sunday, Pastor TC made a sub-point in his message about vision and I thought was strong. To paraphrase it, it was something like this:
The hardest season for the visionary is the early stages of seeing it and sharing it. It is hard to move into and toward a vision that YOU sense and YOU see, that no one else does (or they only see slivers of it). If it is a God ordained vision, everyone else will see it soon enough. Then, they will believe it and champion it. But in the early stages, they will question it. And that can be hard!

Oh, how I can relate to this. Even through my journey here at CCF. I have learned so very much about what clear and corporate vision can do in just the last 18 months! There are many signs around us that this CCF vision is God's and that it IS working! However, in the early stages of casting it, the confidence tank would get low. But, we held on and kept believing. Now, it is easier to see. Being a visionary is more "funner" once others see it's results. It takes a lot of courage to lead into it in the early stages!

So, what do you see God wanting to do in and through your life that others may question? I encourage you to hold onto it. It will be way easier when the truth of that vision is more fully revealed and noticed!


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sermons on the Website

We have been having some problems in our recording department. Technical difficulties with the CD burner and stuff. Anyway, we are getting back up. Got word tonight that our sermons since the first week of 2009 are updates on our website. Just wanted to let you know if you wanted to check one out or send the link along to others. We are considering moving to all web, no CD's. We shall see. The work and cost of the CD's really adds up and so few people have a computer now. Will let you know where we land.

Want to hear a sermon? Click here.

The Wait of Glory

Our Youth Pastor, TC preached this past Sunday. Message was entitled "The Wait of Glory"! It was a fantastic message with excellent delivery. So blessed to have good preachers on the team each with our own gifts and styles. I love the diversity.

(This is him in the pic on the right. I know it is a poor quality pic, but you can see it on his face...his preachers face.)

Here are some takeaways from his sermon:

2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

We never have enough time. But, God stands outside of time. From everlasting to everlasting he lives. From before the beginning to after the end, He lives. He is the Alpha and Omega, so even infinity and eternity cannot contain God.

But, time bothers us. Nobody likes the word “WAIT”! If you say it your kids will look at you crazy, people will roll their eyes, they may stop being your friend, and others will walk away and leave you. When God tells us this word, some of us cry, scream, and yell, or flat out disobey.

We don’t like to wait. If the light turns green, and the driver in front of you takes more than 2 seconds to start driving, we are checking to see if our horn still works. If the person at the ATM takes more than 60 seconds we feel like they’re doing their taxes. Fast food restaurants are too slow, the microwave takes forever, instant coffee is not instant enough, email is too slow, so I need you to text me right back!

We don’t want to wait until something is finished, until people are developed, for relationships to be revealed, for opportunities to come together, until we’ve been mentored, until we finish school, to get married, etc. We don’t want to wait! Not even for God.

But, God uses time to do 3 things in the life of the Disciple:

1. Time Shows. It shows what you are made of. It shows what relationships are made of. It shows the character that may be lacking. It shows the angles you need to approach a decision with the greatest wisdom. It shows whether the house was built on the sand or on the rock. Time lets a few storms swing into town to reveal what we’re really made of.

2. Time Seasons. Just like a good cut of meat has the most flavor when it has marinated, so will our lives. We have an absence of flavor today in our jobs, stability, romance and relationships. The seasoning of time brings about perseverance and character!

3. Time Strengthens. Endurance strength more that power strength. Delayed desire creates the intensity that strengthens your endurance! You can look at Joseph, Job, Abraham and others in scripture to see the truth of this!

Isaiah 40:30-31 says “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Ps 27:14 says “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Monday, February 9, 2009

May this video...

...Remind you to pray for our friends Jon and Danielle Wood in Boston. Jon and Danielle are special to CCF and are in Boston as Danielle finishes her studies at MIT. This video is the view from there home during a recent snow storm. Too cool! Jon is actually having knee surgery this week. Pray for him.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Diversity Everywhere

Maybe it was this recent political season, but I have been noticing expressions of diversity abounding all around. People and things that you would have never seen next to each other are now becoming accepted and even common. As a Pastor of a diverse congregation, I am always looking at expressions of diversity and trying to learn from them. As I was watching the Grammy Awards, I noticed crazy amounts of diversity in people singing together that just break the norm. Examples:
  • Al Green singing with Justin Timberlake (20's singing with 60's)
  • 4 Hip Hop artists on same stage together which is a BIG deal
  • Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers (black and white)
  • Cold Play and Jay-z (rock and rap)
  • Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift (pop/rock and country)
  • Adele and Sugarland (European and American)
  • Many, many more...
It just seems that the separating lines and dividing walls are breaking down more and more. Not sure what to do with that, but I think that it needs to be leveraged for the glory of God. So, how can we? What can we do to take this shift in our culture and leverage it for God? Ideas? Please leave a comment. Seeking to shape this as a "kingdom responder" to cultural realities.

(Tim Stevens would be proud of of "Pop Goes the Church" that I posted about here.)

Why I Watch the Grammy's

Here are a few things about me that usually shock people:
  • I do not watch stuff that is fiction. If it cannot happen in real life, I usually do not have any interest in watching it. Not against it, just don't prefer spending my time watching it. It's more torture than entertainment. That applies to both TV and Movies. Don't read fiction either.
  • Never seen Star Wars.
  • Never seen Lord of the Rings.
  • Never seen Star Trek.
  • I am really, really stupid when it comes to pop culture in general. I MIGHT be able to name 1 in every 10 "famous" actor, actress, TV Star or singer that you showed me a picture of.
Not necessarily proud of all of this, but it is what it is. So, where am I going with this? Every now and then I try to connect into pop culture. Something like the Grammy awards is a great place to do that. Here's why:
  • Get to see what people are resonding to and how they are responding.
  • Get to know the people that most of my mission field are in tune with. I am certain that many of the unsaved people that God is calling us to reach know all about this music.
  • As a pastor, it gives me a window into what people are searching for. You can see the themes in the songs.
  • Since I do not regularly follow this stuff, watching the Grammy's gives me a good fly over on popular music and artists.
  • I cannot tell you how many times knowing about a musical artist or the tune or a song have connected me to a young person who is shocked that I know about "their music." If that is all it takes to build a can bet I am going to build it! If singing Beyonce's "Single Ladies" builds enough connection with our youth that they allow me to speak Jesus into their life, let the singing begin!
"...I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." I Corinthians 9:22

Always remember to check your kids homework!

You have to click here for the explanation behind this picture. It is not what you think. If you are easily offended, you may not like it. Me, on the other hand...not so easily offended. I laughed till my stomach hurt. Too cute! This is one of those "kid things" that is just too funny! Click here to read the story behind the picture.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I pray for you!

Hundreds and hundreds of people read this blog. Most of which I have no idea who you are. But felt inclined to tell you that I pray for you. I do. I often pray for those that read this blog. Here's why...
  • I consider this blog a place for digital discipleship to take place. I know some people who read this blog who do not even go to church. Others that are not plugged in too much to God or Church and there may be things that you read or see that plant a spiritual seed in you. I pray for you that the seed grows.
  • I know that many CCF members and friends read this blog. I pray for you that this will be a place that you feel God calling you to deeper love for and involvement in your church!
  • I never know where you are when you visit, who you are, why you care to log on, but I know that you are a child of God created for divine purpose. I consider YOU an extension of who I am Pastoring. Seriously, when I think of my influence as a leader, I think about several audiences. This is certainly one of them. And a growing one.
So, I pray for YOU!!


Friday, February 6, 2009

Temptation; Call it what it is

I said that I would revisit this topic of temptation as a follow up to last Sunday’s Sermon. First of all, this is an original concept. Someone has though it before, but this is the first I have thought it!☺ (Only saying that to say most profound stuff is ripped off. Not this!)

Premise: I do not think that Christians understand or react to temptation biblically!

First of all, temptation is not an ACT of sin! It is an ATTRACTION to sin. We need to learn to call temptation what it is!

Hebrews 4:15 says simply and clearly that JESUS was "tempted in every way, just as (in exactly the same way as) we are….yet without sin." This word “tempted” is not a different word in Greek. It means what it means!

This makes me think of something profound that Bishop Glenn has recently shared with us at our Christmas Eve Service. “Our God did not avoid earth afraid that we would corrupt him, but rather came to earth knowing that he would transform us!”

However, we treat temptation like it IS sin. We are afraid to share it with others as if we have already sinned. And others often react to the fact that we were tempted with such shock and emotion that we might as well have done it! Don’t believe that? Try telling your spouse that you feel tempted to have an affair at work. (I know that is a harsh example with lots of implications but it gets at my point.) For some, the reaction from the spouse will be just as if they had the affair. So, why would we share the temptation?

My Theory: If we could create safer environments and relationships where temptation could be shared, we would avoid a whole lot of sin, darkness and destruction in our lives.

Listen to this: “When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:13-15

3 Stages:

1. Desire
2. Sin
3. Death

We need to catch ourselves at the DESIRE stage! Get help at the DESIRE stage! Share with someone you trust in the DESIRE stage! I think that the odds are stacked against you to be able to dig out of strong temptation alone!

If we would truly understand the definition and nature of temptation and then respond to it quickly and wisely, then we could avoid quite a bit of destructive and secret sin.

Further Reading:

I Cor. 10:13
Romans 6:12-14

What are your thoughts? I am still developing this. What would you add?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What is Life?

Watch this video. This lady was interviewed in 2007 for a sermon series called 30 days to live. She was already diagnosed with a life threatening illness. She died 3 weeks ago. Read more HERE! As you watch this video, strive to remember what's important!

Staci Mcauley Interview - Part 2 from on Vimeo.

Corn Hole for Missions

Do you know what Corn Hole is? Well, if not, you are missing out on one of life's most simple pleasures. It is a fun game that anyone can play. Basically, you throw a bag of corn into a hole in a board and it is really, really addicting. My friends and family enjoy playing and we even played at the Church Retreat last year and it ended up being a highlight of the weekend for many.

So, back by popular demand.....we will be having a CCF Corn Hole afternoon. Not calling it a tournament, because that sounds too intimidating! And yes, you can just come watch if you want to.

When? Sunday, February 22nd at 12:30pm (which is also our Missions Sunday)
Where? In the CCF Gym
Why? For fun and for Missions
Cost? Free to enter and play, but accepting donations that will go toward missions for those that will give A small amount can make a big difference.

Here is some guys playing on our very own CCF Corn Hole set. See you on the 22nd!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Family Worship Days

This Sunday is a Family Worship Sunday at CCF!

Every Sunday at CCF our kids are securely checked into Capi's Kids before their parents even head into worship. Then, the 5th through 12th grades are dismissed a little later in the service. We are so thankful for our Capi's Kids and R.E.A.L. Teens leaders and are proud that we offer excellent age appropriate ministry at CCF. The only challenge to our current model is that we are never worshipping all together as a church. To remedy that, we decided that in 2009 we would introduce 5 Family Worship Sundays where we all stay together in the "big church."

I will share this on Sunday, but here are the purposes of family worship days:
  • Families to worship together.
  • Younger generations to know what an adult worship experience is about and to participate in serving in ministries that make a service happen.
  • Help bridge and connect generations to each other.
  • Older generations to experience some of the elements of the younger generations worship experience.
  • The value of seeing “all of CCF all together all at the same time!”
  • So as to keep the kids unhidden. (Because of the decision to have kids check in before service....without these FWS’s we would never see the kids in 52 Sundays.)
So, this Sunday some youth will join the worship team, some Club 56'rs will assist in ushering, the kids will sing a song and Pastor TC will be bringing the message. Should be a great morning!

--Pastor Noah

Family and Ministry (Warning: Long Post)

I see my blog as a place to process and to share. I figure the more real and juicy the blog is, the more inclined you will be to read it. Ok, well maybe not that...but....I DO consider this my place to do some real sharing. Today, allow me to speak to an elephant in the room (for some). Family and Ministry.

This summer will be 5 years that I have been here at CCF. Over those 5 years I have navigated some very unique waters with my family being in the church (or should I say me leading in their church). Together, we have experienced drama, pain, joy, confusion, excitement, fear, honor, uncertainty and passion for God and Church! We began attending CCF in 1995 at Capitol College. We have been involved and committed through the years (with the exception of time when I was at college and my family was at another ministry). As you may or may not know, some of my family is involved in volunteer ministry (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law) in various ways at CCF and others have recently been hired as part time Staff (Caleb and Tricia).

For some, this is difficult to embrace. I know that. I knew that years ago. I knew that when we made the hires this year. My family knows that. Some people have been hurt in the past by churches run by a family that felt like a dynasty. That left them with a bad taste in their mouth and hesitation when they see lots of one family in leadership. I understand that. We have actually experienced that ourselves in a previous church experience. Others may be afraid that too many decisions will be made at dinner tables and holiday gatherings. Others may struggle with trust. If I confide in one family member, will they all know? These are real questions that do not deserve to be ignored, but rather paid attention to. They, however, are not questions that should disqualify a call, but they should serve to provide increased accountability and wisdom.

Allow me to say that throughout the last 4.5 years myself and my family have put a lot of effort forth into seeking wisdom on the most healthy ways to navigate family and ministry. I have read books, articles, had phone calls and even traveled to South Carolina to a church with 12 family members on one staff and sat at their feet to learn. I have remained convinced that it CAN work and that it WILL work and that we will use our journey of navigating family and ministry to help other families in similar situations.

So, understanding that I am still learning, growing and changing in this area, I have resolved the following things as of today:
  • I am ONE BLESSED MAN to have a family that loves me, loves Jesus and wants to serve in the church. I will not and should not apologize for it. What Christian under the sun should be ashamed of that?!
  • I will strive to Pastor my family as I would anyone else in this ministry. Just as I want to call forth and release gifts in other members, I will do so in my family. Ephesians 4:11-13 defines every member ministry. NOT, every member ministry...except the Pastor's family.
  • I will honor my family, not hide them. I will celebrate them, not conceal them. (They know that this is a big step ahead for me as I used to try to keep them on the DL so no one would get upset because my family did too much.)
  • We will strive to be sensitive to the needs and contributions of others in this great community.
  • We will guard against monopolies and be cautious of excessive ownership. This church is God's...His people...His community. It will never belong to a Staff, a Board or a Family.
  • We will guard against engaging gossip, practicing pillow talk or taking sides by trying to live as Disciples and according to Scripture.
  • We have established accountability relationships with non-family members who are Christian leaders and will assist us in achieving the highest level of integrity in these unique ministry/family relationships! Don't think for a minute that we did not put a lot of thought and prayer into this first!
I thank God for raising my family up, filling them with a love for Jesus and calling them to serve in the local church! If you have questions on your heart or something to share, I welcome hearing from you. In addition, if you hear people expressing their concerns about any of this, direct them to this blog post, please. It may help them feel better just to see it discussed!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Taking Down the Wall

Two weeks ago, we discussed some reasons for why you may feel far from God at times in your life. We outlined why a WALL may form between us and God. You can scroll down on this page right now and read it. I posted notes last week.

Yesterday, we moved into the second part of the question. Okay, if I feel separated from God, what can I do about it? Here is what I shared Sunday that may help us remove the bricks and remain in connection with our Father.
  1. Presence. If we would would learn to thoroughly believe the presence promises found in scripture, we may often find Him nearer. I think that we accuse God of playing hide and seek many times when he doesn't deserve it. See Jeremiah 29:13-14, Matthew 18:20 and John 14:16-17.
  2. Quality and Quantity time with God. If you are not spending time with the Lord in prayer and the Word and you feel far from God, NO WONDER!
  3. Properly define and respond to temptation. James 1: 13-15 says "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." I will post about this in more detail later, but here is the bottom line. If we would stop treating and reacting to temptation like it is sin (because it is not, see Hebrews 4:15), we would avoid a whole lot of mess in our lives! More on this later.
  4. Confession. To God...Acts 3:19. And to others...James 5:16.
  5. Accountability. I believe in personal accountability, communal accountability and layered accountability. I could write about each, but this post is getting too long and you won't read it. This is my theme verse as I personally navigate accountability: Proverbs 27:17 says, “As Iron sharpens iron; so one man sharpens another.
  6. Obedience. If disobedience builds the wall between us and God, then obedience takes it down. John says 3 times "obey me" and I will reveal myself to you.
May we all say no to Sin and yes to God more this week! Because here's the deal...

You sin!

And sin separates you from God!

So, may we listen to scripture and start lessening that separation. Some call it sanctification. :-)


Sunday, February 1, 2009

CCF Ushers...WOW!

I was soooooo proud of our Ushers today. They were impressive on many both appearance and performance. They wore matching black and white today for the first time. They served communion with great reverence, care and a personal touch (made possible by the fact that we all wear name tags on Communion Sundays). They were full of joy, meeting needs and making each of us feel well cared for. Thanks, Ushers for helping CCF have a positive worship gathering each week. Your ministry does not go unnoticed.

One more thing....don't they look lovely?!?! Here are a few of them posing for a quick snapshot that Pastor Noah could not resist. :-)