Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What If? (Old Church, New Church)

What if older, struggling churches making little impact on their neighborhood handed their church buildings over to church plants and church planters to start fresh works?

I know that some will not like my assertion that struggling churches are dead churches. But, I am sorry..."being a tight knit family of the same people for 20-30-40 years" is NOT CHURCH!! The church has a mission and that is to spread the gospel and make disciples. If that mission is not happening, than it is not the church Jesus commissioned. Very clear to me.

(I am also aware that some church planters do not have "owning a building" in their plan. That's cool too.)

So...

What if churches that have passed their fruitful season, handed the keys over to a work that is entering their fruitful season? What would that do for total kingdom harvest?

What do the people in the releasing church do?
  • If they are mature enough to release and realize that it is not "theirs" anymore....never was....then, they could stay and give their whole hearts to the vision of the new ministry.
  • If there is too much emotional baggage and territorialism, they they'd be best suited to find another ministry that they could pour themselves into.
What if? You have any thoughts? Maybe you agree? Maybe you disagree? Push this out with me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Confidence (Big Head) and Humility (Big Heart)

Confidence, humility, confidence, humility. I see both in the Bible. I see both in Jesus. I see both in Paul. I long for both in me. This is by far THE BEST work on this that I have ever heard. And it is said in 10 minutes. Watch this!! The key to a BIG HEAD is a BIG HEART! The solution to a BIG HEAD is a BIG HEART! Yes!



What If? (Less Sermons)

What if we only had 1 or 2 sermons a month and devoted more time and effort toward LIVING the messages we hear?


Here’s what could/may be happening for some Christians today:

  1. Hear a sermon on Sunday.
  2. Do little to nothing with it during the week.
  3. Hear another sermon the next Sunday.
  4. Do little to nothing with it during the week.
  5. Repeat 52 times a year for the rest of your life.


Is it possible that people need some time to put sermons into practice?


Is it possible that people need some practice to make the truth they heard a reality in their life?


Is it possible that it takes longer than 6 days for these things to happen?


What if:

We preached one sermon a month and then spent the rest of the Sundays in conversation, accountability and action. Kinda like a lab. Learn, do, learn, do, learn, do…


What if? Any thoughts?

(I am also wondering what it would be like for Pastors to preach only 12 sermons a year? Hmmmm. May be quite challenging.)

Ralph McGill's Testimony

Ralph played on the Worship Team at CCF for the last 7-8 years. He loves to play and loves to worship. A few months ago, he was diagnosed with very advanced cancer throughout his body. Last week we filmed him giving his testimony. Sunday, we showed it in our worship service. I wanted to share it here too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The MAN Song

We played this at our recent Married Life Live event and thought it was pretty stinkin' funny!

What If? (Churches Combining)

What if small, struggling or stagnant churches in the same areas began selling and combining into one church with a new vision?

What if...
  • The Pastors and leaders united their hearts to reach the lost.
  • Swallowed their pride.
  • Sold the least useful facilities.
  • Kept the one facility that is best suited for growth.
  • Combined all resources (which would in most cases leave a heft sum of money).
  • Developed a fresh team vision to take their city.
  • Learned to sacrifice their minor doctrinal differences to work together.
  • And took their city for God.
Imagine 4 churches of 50-100 people collapsing into one church of 200-400? They were all struggling to keep their doors open and lights on. Now, they have more resources than ever before and a fresh start...

What if? You have any thoughts?

Pursuit Message 1

We printed in the notes yesterday that you would be able to access some of the sermon content on my blog this week. Well, here are some of the key verses and takeaways:


There are many places in the Bible that we see God going after people. He goes out of His way to seek and save people. But, what about people going after God? Are we supposed to? Are we doing it?


A.W. Tozer: Come Near to the holy men and women of the scriptures and you will soon feel the heat, of their desire after God. They mourn for him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found him, the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking period.


Moses: In Exodus 33 and 34, he used the fact that he knew God as an argument for knowing him better! Show me your glory, Lord!


David: David’s life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his Psalms ring with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder. (Psalm 42:1, Psalm 63: 1 and 8)


Paul: Paul confessed the main spring of his life to be his burning desire after Christ. “That I may know him” was the goal of his heart- Phil. 3:10. And then, Phil. 3:8 is also amazing!


Then, there is Jesus…In Matthew 16: 24, Jesus says to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my FOLLOWER, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and FOLLOW me.


Some key concepts:

  • Journey of discipleship is ACTIVE, not PASIVE!!
  • We are not called FOLLOWERS of Jesus for nothing!!!
  • Too often, when we find things we no more SEEK them.
  • Believing in Him and Following him are 2 different things!
  • Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth.
  • Jesus seeks lost! But, the found are called to seek Jesus!
  • Pursuing God is about HEART transformation, not MIND information. We can fill our heads with the words of scripture and our hearts be as cold as ice.
  • God is not interested in our programs! He is waiting on us to be hungry for his presence.
  • If we fill up with junk food, we will not have room for dinner!!!
  • Satan’s ploy is to keep us so FULL OF JUNK, that we are not hungry for GOD….and it has worked magnificently for centuries!!!

(Next week, we will discover the things that are filling our "spiritual bellies" and robbing us of an appetite for God!)


Some more verses about going after God:

  • Deuteronomy 4:29 "But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him."
  • 1 Chronicles 16:11 "Search for the Lord and for his strength;
 continually seek him."
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14
 "Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land."
  • Psalm 105:4
 "Search for the Lord and for his strength;continually seek him."
  • Isaiah 55:6
 "Seek the Lord while you can find him.Call on him now while he is near."


A prayer for you: Oh God, I have tasted your goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. Oh God, the Triune God, I want to want you; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me your glory I pray, so that I may know you indeed. 

Father, I want to know you, but my cowardly heart fears to give up its toys. Please root from my heart anything that I have cherished that has become a very part of my living self so that you may enter and live in my heart without a rival! Begin in mercy a new work of love in me. Say to my soul, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." Then, give me the grace to rise up and follow you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What If?

What if we got what if type of people together and asked what if questions about how to be a church radically impacting the world? And then what if we actually believed for the possibility and probability of the what ifs?

Today was a special day. 4 hour drive to Williamsport, PA for a conference gathering, and then 4 hours home. My time with Pastor Nelson and Harry Pereira in the car would have been worth it alone. These dudes...

Well, at the meeting today, we grappled with some deeply provoking questions that just catapulted me into even deeper thinking. As my mind wandered, I began a list of crazy, out there, what if questions about rethinking church as we know it.

This coming week, I will be posting about some of those what ifs. Some will be wacky! But, this should be fun. Now, only IF, you will come back to read them....

;-)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Empty Aisles and Straight Rows

More and more, I am hungry for the move of the Holy Spirit in my life and church!! This weekend, as we begin this series called “Pursuit”, I am praying that the Lord will substantially increase our hunger for him! I read this again today. It’s an excerpt from a book I read this past summer.


“The Almighty one is out to restore the sense of his awesome manifest presence in our lives and places of worship. Over and over again we talk about the glory of God covering the earth, but how is it going to flow through the streets of our cities if it can’t even flow through the aisles of our churches? ...Since we don’t want to be too radical we line all our chairs up in nice rows and expect our services to conform to equally straight and regimented lines as well.” –Tommy Tenney, “God Chasers”


I have no desire to force something made of man, but an intense and growing desire to prepare and welcome something made of God!


Frankly, I am growing weary of empty aisles and straight rows!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Your Job or God's Job?

How do we best figure out what is OUR job and what is GOD'S job? This could apply to lots of areas. Here is one that I find quite difficult (in my own life and the lives of those I Minster to as a Pastor):

It is clear in scripture what I am supposed to do if I have a problem with you. If I have "ugly" in my heart toward you, I need to love you, and go to you in the spirit of Matthew 18 and work it out. I am not supposed to sit on it and let it stir and grow. That is NOT the will of God. Soon enough, the Holy Spirit will grab ahold of me and straighten me up.

BUT....and this a BIG BUT (not a big "butt")...

What if you think and sense that someone else has a problem with you, but is not sharing it. You feel it, you smell it, you see it...but they are not telling you what's up.
  • What do you do?
  • What is your job?
  • And what is the role of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do you get your relational fishing pole out and start fishing for the problem that you "sense" is there?
  • Or do you pray and leave it to the Lord?
  • Do you dig it out with your relational shovel?
  • Or do you let them let it out when the Lord gets them ready for that?
  • But they are in sin if they are harboring bitterness!! Yes, BUT...is it ALWAYS your job to point that out, or might the Lord possibly have other channels through which to get to them?
Here's where I am at on this (for today):
  • If it is YOU that they are upset with, than YOU just may not be the best person to come at them about it. The chances that they will be receptive to you are slim.
  • The best thing that you can do is PRAY about the situation and for the person! Prayer moves the hand and heart of God in all things.
  • Do not let your pride deceive you, you are not the savior. It is not your job to fix everything. The Holy Spirit is the expert on convicting and changing people when they have "ugly" in their heart.
  • (Oh, and there may be nothing wrong at all or it may have nothing at all to do with you. We need to be careful about what we imagine!!)
Basically....

Instead of forcing and pulling, how about trying prayer and trusting the Lord to do what needs to be done!

Oh, and chill out!!! Read yesterday's post HERE about the need to please people. If you are waiting for everyone to like you, you got a LOOOOOONG wait!

(Note: the preceding words are for me as much as they are for anyone else!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trying to please people? Good luck with that!

Am I the only one that has to relearn some things over and over and over again? Some things I get...and I get them good! Other things I get, forget, get, forget....

Recently, I am re-learning this:

No matter how hard you try, how "good" you do, how pure your heart may be, you will never please people. You may please some, but not all! Heck, sometimes you may please most, but never all! No matter what you do, somebody is going to have some issue with it (especially if you are in the leadership spotlight).

I am finding this:
  • Do not focus your attention on who you let down or disappoint. That just leads to despair and discouragement.
  • Do not focus your attention on who is "proud of you" and applauding you. That just leads to pride and self attention...putting the glory where it does not belong. And besides, in a month from now, they may be the very one that has a problem with you.
  • (Note: both of the above are geared toward PEOPLE!)
Instead....
  • Place your full attention on pleasing the LORD!! Obey him! Make choices that please him! Do what HE is prompting you to do, and say what HE is prompting you to say. Worry most about his approval and his opinion. I know, I know. This is hard! But...
  • The more that we live to please the Lord, the more clearly we can tell who in our lives has the heart and mind of Christ. People that are upset with you for seeking the Lord, are not people you need to be allowing to shape you.
My love language is words of affirmation. As a Words of affirmation guy, this is extra hard stuff for me. But I am learning. Slowly.

Jesus was a "Father-pleaser", not a "man-pleaser"!! If anything, he was a "man-ticker-offer"!! (I made that word up...wow!)

And then, the Apostle Paul said this....

"Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant." Galatians 1:10

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Noise (external or internal?)

One of the things that I will share in my message this morning is that NOISE is one of the things that prevents us from hearing our God. But, what is noise? What we commonly think of is external noise. I am more closely referring to internal noise! This captures it best:


Noise isn't just the deafening sound of an airplane, a concert, or a police siren. Noise is the dishwasher, garbage disposal, vacuum cleaner, and air conditioner. Noise is the television, radio, and sound system. Noise is traffic, the office, and a restaurant. Noise is your computer, cell phone, MP3 player, the crowd around you, and the instant replay of your life looping inside your head.


Noise is you replaying your day over and over, late at night, regretting that you should have said or done something differently, agonizing over what you have to do, what you have to say, tomorrow, and whether it will be your best, or whether you can even do it. Noise is an incessant din inside your skull that rolls in on itself, dissolving into confusion and chaos.


Noise is outside you, pushing in...and noise is inside you, yelling to escape.


May God QUIET the noise around us and in us so that we may hear him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. Blog

2 years ago today, I posted my first blog. So, that makes today the 2nd birthday of my blog. Or the 2nd anniversary of the day I started blogging. 1,060 posts later, and I'm still at it. I guess it's not a fad for me. On the contrary, this blog has pushed me to think, taught me to write better, prompted me to capture the journey, assisted me in communicating and opened all kinds of doors to deeper ministry.

I'm not ashamed to ask this question, because I believe in it's results:

How do you think I can get more people to read it? Primarily at CCF, but even in general? Any ideas? That's the only thing that my blog wants for his birthday.

I see this blog as a tool for digital discipleship, increased unity, and forming community. I keep asking the Lord to check my motives so that there is no pride or selfish gain. My heart is for you, and for all of us who want to keep growing in faith and connecting to our church.

Thanks for visiting. I welcome your feedback.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The B.I.B.L.E....by Davis

video

Flapjack Friend Day THIS SUNDAY!!


This is a big weekend at CCF!! After MLL on Saturday Night, we have Flapjack Friend Day on Sunday morning.

See you this Sunday at 10am. And bring someone with you. Come expecting from the Lord....and stay after for a free "breakfast for lunch"!

Married Life Live at CCF THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!

Married or Engaged? Want a great date this Saturday night? See you at Capital Christian Fellowship at 8pm! It will be a great evening for love birds. Or those that need to become love birds again!

Release it to the enemy or redeem it for the Lord?

Something has been bothering me for a while now. It leaked out again as I was preaching last night. Here it is: I am troubled when the Church seems to be handing so many things over to the enemy so easily. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like through the years, too many believers have run from too many potential kingdom tools and surrendered them to the forces of darkness.


Alcohol hurts people when abused, so let’s hand it over to the enemy instead of redeeming any possible value. Jesus turned the water into wine and Paul encouraged it for the stomach’s sake, but now it is evil?


Movie theaters play sinful material, so let’s hand the cinema over to the enemy and lose our potential for kingdom impact there.


The Internet is wracked with garbage and pornography, so the Internet is bad. We better leave it alone too....nevermind it's immeasurable kingdom potential!


Yoga is rooted in Eastern religions, so you are a bad Christian if you participate in it. Never mind the call to meditate on scriptures, the value of contemplation and reflection and the strong biblical connection between our physical and spiritual man. Let’s just hand yoga and anything that smells like it over to the enemy for him to use.


I could keep going and make similar statements about the radio, TV, music, technology, dancing, and many of the arts.


As for me…

  • I want to participate in redeeming the things of this world back to the creator of it all!
  • I will not play dead and submit potential kingdom tools over the punk enemy!
  • I will fight for the kingdom redemption of contaminated possibilities.
  • The church needs to rethink how to reclaim creation for the creator.
  • I feel this strongly. I need to work it through more in my mind, heart and Bible.


I know this is some touchy stuff. And I know A LOT of how we approach this needs to be connected to our spiritual strength. The further you feel from the Father, the more careful you need to be in flirting with things that carry greater possibility of temptation.


What are your thoughts? Leave a comment…

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Off to PA...Lanham Christian School Retreat

In a few hours, Tricia, Davis and I are leaving for PA. I was invited to be the speaker at the High School Retreat for Lanham Christian School. Honestly, I would probably decline this offer if it was just some random school. I just don't have the flexibility to leave my post for 3 days with ease. It comes with some cost.

But...this is not just some random school. Not sure how to explain it, but I have a special place in my heart for Lanham Christian. Maybe because:
  • I am a graduate of it. So is my brother. And my sister. And many of my friends. Many memories!
  • I speak there often and love the kids.
  • I have a friendship with many of the staff.
  • I am good buddies with the Senior Pastor of Grace Brethren Church, Paul Mutchler.
  • CCF is just a few miles away. Not every day that you get to Pastor in the town you graduated from. So many connections here in the area.
  • I see great potential in the positioning and future of LCS. God has a plan for this school that is bright!
I just have an affinity of the heart with LCS. So, off we go. We're about to spend the next 3 days with High School students in the boonies in PA! Looking forward to it. Going to speak 4 different sessions and am pretty excited. Hope I can keep their attention as this is not my normal audience. I think Davis will be spoiled by the students. I am really, really glad that my wife no longer works full time and her boss is letting her come with me this week!

Will blog and twitter there (if I have service). Surprised?

Love God, Do What He Says!

I came across this passage the other day and keep going back and reading it. I want this promise and blessing in my life! And yours!

"Then the LORD said: "I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you. 11 Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites." Exodus 34:10-11

Notice, that this passage is all about what the LORD is going to do. The only job of the people was to OBEY! That's it. Obey. God will show up, blow up and jack up the enemies that stand against you. You just need to obey Him, stop living for yourself and your own agenda.

Makes me think of John 15. If you love me, you'll obey my commands.

The more I read scripture, the more I see the incredible power and value of obedience.

You wanna love God? Do what he says. What is he saying to you today? Do it!

Love God, do what He says! Love God, do what he says!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daddy, let's read the Bible together!

Davis is 2.75! He will be 3 in January. Ever since this summer, he has had a big interest in the Bible. It does not matter what book I am reading, he thinks it is a Bible. Well, recently he has been getting up as soon as I get back from the gym (he hears me come back home and the stupid dogs bark). This means...I am doing my devotions the first hour he is up. He is taking more and more interest in it.

Well, he blessed my heart this morning in a BIG WAY when he said, "Daddy, let's read the Bible together!" He got his "Little Warrior Bible" and I got mine and we read the Bible together. He stayed on my lap for 15-20 minutes and we alternated reading his, then mine, then his, then mine (as he dictated, of course)!

I am learning so much about influence and legacy as I raise this little guy.

They like what we like.

They act how we act.

They say what we say.

We read, they read.

We talk about Jesus, they talk about Jesus.

I am proud of my son! I pray with him and for him every single day.

I hope that this morning was just the first of many more times that I hear him say:

"Daddy, let's read the Bible together!"

(Tricia wanted a picture of this. Here it is.)



Thursday, September 10, 2009

65 Money Saving Tips

  1. Bed, Bath & Beyond owns Harmon and Buy Buy Baby. Can use BBB coupons there.
  2. You can use a BBB coupon AND a manufacturer coupon on one item!
  3. If there is a specific coupon in the Sunday paper that I use more of, buy a lot from eBay for $1.00.
  4. Buy gift cards/store credit from eBay and save loads of money (especially on large projects like remodeling a kitchen). Call first before you purchase to make sure the amount is really on the card.
  5. www.travelzoo.com- the internet's most popular list of the best travel deals of the week.
  6. www.dealseekingmom.com- Mother of 5 kids who find the most exclusive deals, discounts and good free stuff and lets you know about them. Sign up for emails.
  7. Sign up for favorite stores (email) and restaurants to receive coupons and be the first to know about sales.
  8. Make your own coffee.
  9. Brown bag lunch at least a few days a week.
  10. Use grocery store bags to line trash bags (for small garbage cans of course).
  11. Tips for saving money at the grocery store: Go shopping alone.
  12. Have a budget and stick to it.
  13. Make fewer, larger trips.
  14. Don’t shop hungry.
  15. Plan your meals in advance for the week.
  16. Scan your cupboards, pantry, and fridge before leaving.
  17. Keep a running list of items you need on your fridge.
  18. Plan your trip through the store to minimize wandering the aisles.
  19. Don’t be afraid of store brands.
  20. Double check your receipt. How many times have you gotten home only to find a mistake on your receipt? And how many times have those mistakes resulted in you overpaying? Occasionally items are scanned incorrectly, or don’t come up with the sale price, or are even scanned twice. It can be easy to miss these pricing mistakes thanks to the numerous checkout distractions. There’s a reason the screen is right in front of you. Don’t talk on the phone or get distracted by the tabloid headlines! Watch as each item is scanned. If you think something is rung up incorrectly, ASK the cashier.
  21. Subscribe to the Sunday paper (coupons are FREE money)
  22. Keep an eye on the weekly store circular
  23. Clip (and use!) coupons for name brand items, most grocery stores double coupons, sometimes triple coupons.
  24. Check the store’s website for printable coupons.
  25. Stock up (within reason) when things are on sale.
  26. Bring your own reusable bags.
  27. Get rain checks when sale items are out of stock.
  28. Visit multiple stores to get the best deals, or…
  29. Joins the store’s affinity program and flash your savings card.
  30. Cook large batches and freeze for later.
  31. Don’t waste leftovers.
  32. Eat less – seriously, many people eat way more than necessary. (yes, me)
  33. Hit the local farmer’s market.
  34. Drink more water, fewer costly beverages.
  35. Be on the lookout for pricing errors at the register.
  36. Always fill out and send your rebates.
  37. Disconnect landlines if possible. Unless you have small kids in the house or older people to take care of, it is more than likely that you will be able to survive with only the mobile phones and can get rid of the land line.
  38. Credit cards should be used as the cash-management tool they are, not a borrowing tool. We're spending tomorrow's money when we put things on a credit card. You keep locking yourself up and losing your freedom. My bottom line on financial health? Stop spending.
  39. Call credit card companies and tell them you are not satisfied with your interest rate. They do not want to lose you, so that means you have the power. You may run into some resistance at the start of the conversation, but if you remind them how reliable a customer you have been and that you have no problem walking away, you may get what you want.
  40. Anytime you are about to eat or shop, Google the place you are headed to. For example, I recently had to go to Sports Authority to buy camping supplies. I googled "Sports Authority coupons" and many legit websites come up that have printable coupons. I printed out a coupon that saved me $25.00 off a purchase of $100.00. Another example, I knew I was going to Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner one night, and before I went, I googled: "Longhorn Steakhouse coupons" and printed out a free appetizer coupon.
  41. Eat out less.
  42. If someone likes to shop online, tell them to go to www.retailmenot.com. It's a website that has coupon codes for nearly every store we shop at.
  43. For car repairs or maintenance, go to the car repair shop's website before getting the work done because most of the websites offer coupons you can print out and bring with you to the car place. Sometimes they have a frequent oil change card.
  44. If you have "AAA", check online to see what discounts they offer.
  45. Replace regular light bulbs with "Compact Fluorescent Lamps" (CFL's). You'll use 66% less energy.
  46. If takes a lot of discipline, but consider unplugging every appliance in your home (except the fridge). Keeping items plugged in, consumes so much energy- even if they're not in use.
  47. Computers are energy hogs so don't leave yours running when it's not being used. Set your computer to enter "sleep" mode when not in use for 20-30 minutes. If your computer is less than five years old, it uses 95% less power in sleep mode.
  48. If you cannot afford to purchase brand new windows (to save money on heating and cooling), buy energy efficient window drapes. They will reduce your heating and cooling bills, while making a fashionable statement.
  49. For ladies who use eye make-up remover, use baby oil. It's very inexpensive and lasts for a long time.
  50. Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to think that the house temperature is hotter and cause it to run longer than necessary.
  51. Move furniture away from air vents. You'll improve airflow and help your heating/cooling system work better. Save an easy $20 a year.
  52. Unused refrigerators and freezers cost about $130/year to keep running. If you don't absolutely need that second fridge, unplug it.
  53. Use glass/ceramic pans in the oven. Glass and ceramic heat faster than metal pans which means, according to the American Council for Energy Efficiency, that you can cook your meals at a temperature 25 degrees lower in the same amount of time.
  54. NO peeking! Every time you open the oven door to check on what you are cooking, the oven temperature drops by 25°F to 75°F (and has to heat back up again). Use a timer if the oven door does not have a window.
  55. You can lower your shopping gas bill with gasbuddy.com and fuelmeup.com.
  56. Join NetFlix. If you regularly rent movies from the video store or go to the theater, joining Netflix could save you a hefty sum. If you REALLY like going to the movie theater, go before 6:00 p.m.
  57. Use your own bank's ATM! Last year consumers spent nearly 4.5 BILLION on ATM fees.
  58. Sell your gift cards. How many times have you been given a certificate or gift card to a store where you don’t shop or that’s nowhere close to your home? Don’t let that card take up space in your wallet- sell it! You can turn those gift cards into cash by selling them on eBay or www.plasticjungle.com (a secure website where you can buy, sell or trade unwanted or unused gift cards).
  59. For college textbooks, the bookstore can cost you an arm and a leg. I never bought books from my college bookstore. I bought it from www.half.com, or eBay, or Amazon.
  60. Consider the library for books, music and movies. It is FREE.
  61. Eat out less often.
  62. Price check. If you have your eye on ANY product, including specific model appliances, visit www.pricegrabber.com or www.smarter.com and compare prices from both online and offline retailers.
  63. Hold the mother of all garage sales. If you haven't used it in six months, chances are you can do without.
  64. No pet pampering. Does your dog need those pricey snacks? Does your cat need acupuncture? I don't think so.
  65. Never pay full price. If you must shop, discover the online world of discount Web sites. EBay, half.com and craigslist.org are excellent sources of "lightly used" goods-everything from books to cars to clothes to office furniture.
(Adopted from an email that a friend of mine sent me today! Thanks, Marjorie Findlay! Good work!)

Lame Excuses for Missing Church

It's my blog, so I can say what I want, right? I am growing tired of the lame excuses that people have for missing church.

I think that people miss church way too often and way too easy!!

I think that there is limitless value in being faithful to the community of faith that you are a part of. It builds unity, keeps you connected, allows you to serve consistently and it keeps your spiritual heart beating with the heart of your church.

I hear so many reasons for people not being at church. Most of them are just lame. Period! And then they wonder why they don't feel connected or feel far from God?!?! We have many twice-a-monthers at CCF and I am fully aware that we are not the only church with this.

So here's my feeling. I have been saying this for years now. In my opinion, there are 2 good reasons to miss church. (They both involve your body):
  1. Your Body is sick. (or your young kid)
  2. Your Body is out of town.
Now, there may be a few other rare ones, but my point is still the same...if God called you to be at your church, then be at your church!

If this is a word for you, then receive it. If this is a word for someone else you know (at our church or another one), then considering having the courage to send this to them.

--Noah

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

God's Time. God's Topics.

I think that one of the things that we need to learn as we learn to communicate with God is this:

God chooses the time and the topic! His desires need to trump ours. We are playing by his rules. He is God! I think that we can get too familiar with the Lord sometimes and think that we are setting the agenda.

God may not always want to discuss the same topic as you.

You may want to talk about your occupation. He may want to raise an issue about your attitude.

You may want to discuss your future. He may want to strengthen your faith and talk future later.

You may want a WHY and he may just want you to TRUST!

You may want OUT of what he wants you IN!

In fact, I even think that there are times that you want to talk, while he just wants you to be quiet.

Oh, and one more thing...

I believe that God always reserves the right to remain silent. He may just want you to sit and be quiet. He may just want you to BE!

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10