Monday, March 14, 2011
* Kicked off the season of Lent last Wednesday with an "Ash Wednesday" service @ Quest. Kind of a different kind of service for many people. We always have folks at that service who tell me they've never been to an Ash Wednesday service - so cool! Glad they can experience something new and meaningful at Quest. Powerful service. Talked about pausing and RE-ORIENTING our lives toward Christ and the Cross. That's what the season of Lent in the church is all about.
* This past Saturday was the much anticipated "RISE ABOVE" Mental Health fair @ Quest. Purpose was to explore the role of spirituality in mental health. Our group organizing this event hit it out of the ball park! It was really incredible. Over 100 people showed up - most from outside in community - and a few who ended up coming back and worshiping with us at Quest yesterday morning! Many thanks to Jennifer Reynolds and her entire team for organizing this event. Phenomenal!
* Started a new series yesterday in worship --- called "DANGEROUS FAITH / pursuing an unsafe God." That whole theme really has gripped me in the past couple years, and we're exploring it in this series. Really talking about how we want safe, easy, comfortable Christianity .... but God is calling us to step out into an unsafe, radical, uncomfortable life where we die to ourselves so we can live for Him. Nothing comfortable about carrying a cross. We so need to hear this message in the American church. We've made Christianity something far from what the Bible teaches. Praying this series makes a big difference in my own life, and the lives of those in our church community.
* 16 young people are on a journey right now at Quest --- we call it "Confirmation." A time where these young people "confirm" the choice to follow Jesus that their families have raised them in. Year-long process.... but really looking forward to November when these young people will stand before our church community and say "YES" to Jesus! Doesn't get any better than that, does it? We as a church are called to invest in this generation and pass our faith along to them!!
* Over 70 women from our church went to a local concert last night! So thankful to Cindy Wilson and her team for organizing this. They had a great time and I'm sure there were alot of relationships formed and deepened!
* Excited about our upcoming mission to Belize. We commission the team in worship on March 27. Can't wait! Sending over 40 people to Belize the first week of April to continue building the relationship we've establish with German Gallardo and The Evangelical Quest Church there (yes, they took our name! How humbling and cool is that!!??)
I am so excited about the movement of God's Spirit at Quest. Thanks for being a part of this incredible journey with me!
Monday, February 28, 2011
* Was so excited headed into worship yesterday. Knew that God was going to move and change/transform people when we entered into His presence yesterday! Could just "feel" it. Others felt it to before we even started. Awesome stuff!
* Music is SO POWERFUL. Did a new song yesterday by Jesus Culture called "Your Love is Everything" and I was so impacted by that song! Singing to Jesus that His love is everything to us - whether things are good or bad -- His love is everything!
* I just love our band and the way they serve God and our church community through their spiritual gift of music/worship! They were incredible yesterday.
* Hearing a TON of feedback about the message yesterday. Preached 2 Cor 10:3-5 about capturing our thoughts/words and making them submit to Jesus Christ. That message got in me this week and I just had to release it! So glad that many many people heard the message. Now let's let it CHANGE and TRANSFORM us! Can you imagine life where we don't listen to what the world says about us, but only to what God says? Imagine it.... it can happen!
* One more week on the STICKS AND STONES series. Been a very practical and life-changing series for me and so many others. So thankful that God led us into this series!
* Met with the Imagine Team Leaders yesterday to discuss future land/property options. Pray for us - this is an incredible team of people who take very seriously their responsibility to be sensitive to God's leading as it relates to facilities. More information will be coming soon....
* Great Worship Design Team meeting yesterday. What an incredible group of people who meet and plan and design worship! So thankful to them! Things are changing in that group - but it's all good and God will use it to grow Quest even more!!
* Had a couple premarital counseling sessions yesterday. I absolutely LOVE meeting with these young couples and speaking into their lives as it relates to the incredible covenant they are making. What a privilege!
* So thankful for the 40 something people headed to Belize in a few weeks! They met again last night and the excitement is growing as they look toward GOING to Belize in April. I'm praying for you all and look forward to what God is going to do!!
* Had another "GroupLink" last night at Quest. Several folks and families showed up to learn more about community groups and connect with groups. I LOVED being able to spend a few minutes talking to folks. Love the relationships at Quest. GroupLink nights are always great!
Big week and month coming up at Quest. Lots of stuff going on, missions to prepare for, weddings, etc.
Love our church community! Honor to serve as the pastor of this incredible community!!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Tomorrow I'm preaching on "gossip." Defining it as --- "speaking or hearing anything that can hurt another person" --- and of course, that person is not in your presence when you are speaking or hearing something that would hurt them if they were.
I've realized this week that this one issue is so TOXIC to both our relationship with God, and with others. Gossip erodes our intimacy with our Creator because it is a SIN. It is listed in Romans 1 among sins like murder, etc. Obviously, when we say or hear things that can hurt others, God takes it very seriously (even if we don't). In addition, it erodes our relationships. Certainly with the person we're speaking about (or hearing about - as we begin to think differently about them after hearing negative things about them), but in addition - it erodes our relationships with the whoever we're talking to or listening to (the gossip itself). Think about it - when you hear someone talking about someone else - don't you realize that they will do the SAME THING to you? So we put up walls, etc ... to protect ourselves ... when God would have us taking walls down and striving for more depth and intimacy in our relationships.
I cannot think of one positive reason to gossip -not one. Yet I have participated in it - by speaking about and hearing about others. In doing so, I have sinned against God and people.
I am resolving to NOT gossip. I will not speak hurtfully about others. I will not listen to conversation that could be hurtful to others.
Won't you join me in resolving to NOT GOSSIP? Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in if we made the resolution?
The tongue has the power of life and death....
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I've always heard that, but didn't practice it. Decided to change that and really get into reading over the past year. Love hearing what others are reading, and sharing what I'm reading as well.
Here is my completed list so far for 2011:
1. RADICAL by David Platt
2. COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE by Andy Stanley
3. THE HOLE IN OUR GOSPEL by Richard Stearns
4. BLINK by Malcolm Gladwell
5. THE NEXT CHRISTIANS by Gabe Lyons
6. CHAZOWN by Craig Groeschel
7. THE MILLENIALS by Thom and Jess Rainer
8. NECESSARY ENDINGS by Henry Cloud (actually in middle of this one)
-----What are you reading these days?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
As a United Methodist pastor, I'd like to host this event, but make it ecumenical in approach. Meaning I don't just want people to come who have an interest in the Methodist Church. In reality, those who come could be called to many different denominations, missions, para-church ministries, or secular vocations where ministry is lived out every day.
Been thinking on this for some time and hoping to launch later this year or next year.
Monday, February 7, 2011
* Was back in the preaching "saddle" yesterday. Great to be away the Sunday before with my wife for a wedding and some sabbath time, but I always miss preaching! Was busting to share the message yesterday as we began our new series called "Sticks and Stones" ....
* Our band was incredible yesterday. They always are, but just really felt the energy yesterday as they led us in worship. Such talented musicians who share their spiritual gifts with our church community. We are so blessed to have such great worship leaders!
* Record attendance the last 4 Sundays at Quest. On average, largest worship attendance we've ever had 4 weeks in a row. Love that people are connecting with God and relationships in this community. That's why we exist.
* Had over a dozen new folks come to "Starting Point" yesterday - a one hour "get to know Quest" lunch thing after worship. Love love love being able to sit down and talk with visitors about their experience at worship. They have such valuable things to say and we have things to learn from them!
* A highlight for me personally was my oldest daughter being in the first 30 minutes of worship for the music. She and the other "tweens" sat right behind me and loved hearing them sing and be a part of the worshiping community before they headed down to the Tween Extreme space for spiritual teaching.
* Had a couple other great meetings yesterday in the afternoon. My favorite part of the church environment is getting to know people and sharing life together. Such a privilege!
* I LOVE our church community. It is such an amazing group of people who come together to love and serve God and our community and world. I and my family are so blessed to be a part of what God is doing at Quest!
Thursday, February 3, 2011
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
The reality is that words hurt much more than we realize, and cause long-lasting pain and destruction in someone's life that can paralyze them from becoming who they were really created to be.
Ancient wisdom literature challenges us by saying:
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
What a challenge! To think that every word I speak bring death or life (and I would say in our tech-savvy culture - every word I write, text, email, blog, facebook, etc).
Starting a series this week at The Quest to explore this idea - that our words are powerful and can build up or tear down. Very practical series. One that we all need to hear and grow from.
May our words be words that build and heal and encourage. May our words be filled with love and compassion. May our words challenge and convict, but not condemn. May our words be His Word.
Monday, January 31, 2011
* I wasn't in worship yesterday morning! Was actually traveling back from a wedding I officiated in Orlando. Shauna and I went a couple days early and just spent some time together by ourselves. After 16 years of marriage I still encourage all couples to get away and spend time together - for a few days once in awhile - but even more than --- date your spouse every week! It will only make your marriage better. Dare you to try it!
* Was telling my wife, Shauna, yesterday - I love it that we can be away and things just roll on as normal! Demonstrates the strength of our leaders and team at Quest. So thankful for so many who serve so sacrificially to make Sundays happen. Was a big day --- 2 morning worship services, a Belize Training meeting, kids and youth ministries, and a prayer service to end the night. Awesome!
* In worship yesterday we gave away thousands of dollars! One of my favorite things to do (really missed not being there for that part!). So thankful and consider it a real privilege to be able to partner with amazing organizations like The Golden Harvest Food Bank, When Help Can't Wait, UGA Wesley Foundation, Mike Freace and his Mission to Africa through Westminster Schools of Augusta, and our on-going Belize Mission. Thank you for giving regularly to The Quest Church ---- your offerings are making an impact locally and around the world - enabling us to give to such great Kingdom minded missions like those we had in worship with us yesterday!
* Started working on first message of new series while flying home yesterday from Orlando. Series is entitled "Sticks and Stones... the power of our words." It's going to be incredible ... but in the sense of challenging us to think about how every words we say (or text or email or put on facebook or blogs, etc) have the ability to bring LIFE or DESTRUCTION to others. Been thinking about this series for months. Very passionate about it. Seeing my own failures in this area... and know that we all need to hear from God's WORD about our WORDS. You need to be here for this!
* Lastly, ran by the Belize Training event last night for a few minutes and prayed for our 44 Quest missionaries headed to Belize in April. What a privilege!
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Doing a stage renovation @ The Quest this week. Gotta admit - just blown away by the team getting this done. They have worked tirelessly this week to build this new stage, add artwork to our walls, etc. I AM SO THANKFUL for those who love God and demonstrate that love through sacrificial service like this. The Church would not be what it is without servants, following in the footsteps and example of Jesus, the Greatest Servant of all.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Beginning a new series this coming Sunday (1/16) at The Quest. Been thinking and praying on this series for some time now, and stoked that it is finally here. Just really feel like this is a series we need to hear and respond to. Calling it "The Irresistible Invitation." Must give props to the idea being sparked by another pastor named Steven Furtick doing a message called "The Invitation" last year. Loved the idea of God issuing us an "invitation" to know Him.
The series will have three themes - one each week for the next three weeks:
The invitation to know an irresistible God
The invitation to become a part of an irresistible community
The invitation to live for an irresistible mission/purpose
I've said it before and will say it again --- This series can be life-changing. It truly can. If we will not only listen to what it being said, but cooperate with God's Spirit to make it true in our everyday lives.
I'm praying for everyone who comes, that we'll be open to hear from God in a fresh way and to apply His Word to our lives.
See you around!
Monday, January 10, 2011
* Seriously amazing day in the life of our church community. Celebrated God's FAITHFULNESS to our church over the past 5 or 6 years since we began! So many great stories to tell of all God has done and is doing. If you missed it, you can check it out here.
* Loved listening to the Steele's share their story of life transformation! A testimony to God's faithfulness and moving in the life of this church community!
* Our band is simply amazing. Great worship yesterday.... as it is every week. So thankful for an amazing group of dedicated and gifted musicians who share their gifts and talents with our church community!
* Bob and Beth Farris showed up for one of our services. Bob is our consultant for the Imagine Building Campaign we are in. He and I have established a close friendship. Joy to have them worship with us yesterday!
* Grand opening of our new facility "The Gathering Place." This facility is incredible and a huge blessing. We are very excited about its use for our youth and other groups, and also to be a place of outreach to the community around us. Join us this Friday night, Jan. 14, for our UNPLUGGED CONCERT SERIES, 7 pm. Bring a friend, especially if they don't know Christ or have a worship community they are a part of. Great opportunity to introduce them to an informal and safe environment to connect with others.
* Speaking of our new facility - we have an amazing team that serve so selflessly and pulled off our grand opening and day of celebration. I am SO THANKFUL for servant leaders who love God and people and do whatever they can to demonstrate that!
* Mentioned to the church about a new series that begins this coming Sunday, Jan. 16 - called "The Irresistible Invitation." I am STOKED about this series. It is going to be powerful, beyond just hearing, though ... it is going to challenge me and our whole church community to become more IRRESISTIBLE to the world around us ... as we live out our lives for Jesus. The Gospel is missional and outwardly focused. Our lives must be the same. Don't miss this series!
Have a great week!