Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Celebrating Recovery

Last night at the creek, we celebrated the power that God has to set people free from their hurts, hang-ups and habits. The Celebrate Recovery ministry (CR) had an open house of sorts for people to come and see the many examples of changed lives, who I like to call trophys of God's grace. Like our pastor preached on Sunday, these lives, changed lives are some beautiful decorations of God's power and mercy in our church. The scene last night was so electric, as people from all walks of life poured into the creek. People who were hurt, confused, changed and all kinds of backgrounds came together to celebrate the Lord! With 4 20 lb turkeys, and all the trimmings, we ate a delicious meal, which by the way took several people to prepare. There were people who came early just to help the band and media dept set up. People came just to greet those who came. People came to help usher, and clean up. There were around 200 individuals that came, and it was amazing. People came to CONNECT to God, RELATE to people, SERVE both, and PROMTE Jesus. People came to CELEBRATE RECOVERY!

Monday, October 22, 2007

No pain No Gain

These words equating gain due to some kind of major discomfort are sometimes very accurate, but not in the worlds version. The world uses this statement to describe working out in the gym and gaining muscles. I remember running with a buddy of mine in high school that tried to encourage me when I complained (after less than 1/2 a mile) that my stomach and side was hurting by saying, "it just burns because it is helping. Keep running and it will stop." In my mind I thought "yeah right, when I fall over from a heart attack." But the principle of was right! My side was hurting because I was out of shape and my body was adjusting and becoming more healthy. Sometimes in our spiritual lives, things hurt and bring us much pain, but those are the things that the bible tells us produce perseverance, and perseverance helps strengthen our faith! This past week I have counseled with several people facing many types of problems and pain ranging from death to financial loss and other personal problems. In all of these situations, I know that God will use them for His good to strengthen character, integrity, ministry, love, and many other characteristics in each persons life. In my life, God has been using even the stories and problems of others to teach me many things and I am thankful. I have hurt this week for the one who lost a loved one, I have been concerned with the one who is having a hard time with finances. Sometimes I take other peoples problems to heart and make each one a personal concern. The one thing God has spoken to my heart is without the test, God can not build a testimony. The pain comes, but after the pain, you gain those things which shape us more and more into the image of Christ! No pain No Gain? You bet, and I am thankful even as I look back at the trials God has brought me through. And though I know I will face many more tough days, it is good to know that I am being made to be more like Jesus! Ultimately because of His pain, we gained everlasting life, through Jesus!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The buzz

October has been a very busy month and November promises to be another month to be remembered! God has continued to bless things at the creek in almost every ministry. The children's ministry is running over 100 and many of those are new faces who have given their hearts to Christ. The student ministry is ever expanding and the church as a whole is seeing many peoples lives changed by the power of God. It is something awesome to be known as a church that is on fire, exploding, vibrant and unique. As I write this, I think back on today when I met about 5 different people all over our region who upon finding out that I was at the creek, proceeded to tell me all of the great things they hear about the church. It is so great to know that God is using us in such an awesome way, but with all of those blessings come lots of responsibility. My prayer is that we will be faithful to always give God credit, love people unconditionally, preach the gospel, be humble, and lift Jesus so high that nothing we do will shift the glory from Him to us. The buzz is that the creek is doing some amazing things, and it is all because of Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Theres a New Day Coming!

I just wanted to ask all who read this blog to be in prayer for the creek in upcoming days! It is so exciting to see what God is doing around here, but I believe that a new time of blessing is upon us, and with more blessing comes more responsibility. Thank God that He is using our church to do such a work in our town and region! I am humbled as I think of the great responsibility that God trusts us with, not only at the creek but also other churches who name the name of Christ. May we never get distracted by comments, current events or an other flash bomb that Satan puts in our path, but may our eyes stay focused on the one who has called us to serve Him!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why you do what you do

Have you ever thought about why you so what you do? Why do you go to certain stores and not others? Why do you write with your left hand? Why do you speak with an accent? There are several things in life that we ask why, but what about our christian life? Why do we treat others with respect? Why do we chose to be honest on our income tax? Why do we tell others about the one person who can change their life? Do we do these things because we are trying to be "good" or because it is what is expected of us? Is it because we have been trained to be a christian? Do we function out of tradition? Only each individual can answer those questions, but let me give this challenge. If we do what we do to attract others, please people, or out of habit, then the heart of obedience that God so much desires will not be the drive behind the action. I am so thankful that at the church I serve, we do not sing the songs we sing to attract people or to coerce them into being faithful to church, but we sing to worship the Lord and lift worship to Him. We don't have activities for children to out-do any other church in the area, but to serve children a sweet plate of the gospel and share the good news with them. The next time you share your faith or even go to church, ask yourself...why? I pray it is not the product of years steeped in tradition but rather a heart that longs to serve Jesus Christ and serve others! "Jesus answered "the greatest commandment is this; love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself"-Jesus