Month: January 2011

Church Growth

Make no mistake, Farmington Baptist Church is growing. Why? Because of the providence of God. He is sending people our way and we are thankful for that. If it wasn’t for the providence of God a church would not grow. You can have the best strategies, the best pastoral staff, the best leadership and still be stuck in the mud.

It really all depends on Him.

Now, He will show up when people pray for His kingdom to grow and His will to be done in the church. Its not our kingdom, our traditions, our way of doing things. Instead when we pray that prayer, we are looking for Him to show us what to do. And for most of us, it is not the same as what we have done in the past. The question is, are we willing to follow even when the change makes us feel uncomfortable?

Point 2 – Numerical growth is not an automatic indecator that God is the one behind the growth of a church. Churches can, have and do grow without God’s help. But when a church’s goal is for people to experience God in new ways, grow in their faith and reach out to the commuity in order to show them the love of Christ, (looking to Him to lead the way) chances are their growth is God given.

Question –

Are you apart of a fellowship, a church, that is made up of a group of believers that really desire God’s kingdom to grow and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?

If so, you are in the right place.

Over the next few days I will be posting thoughts based off a book I am starting to read called…

“10 Stupid Reasons Why Churches do not Grow.”

My prayer is this book will help us be a better steward of the people God has sent our way and that God would give us wisdom as we go forward in the days ahead.

Please keep in mind as you read the post, that if God is not involved a church does not work. Therefore as we discuss these things, do not take it as a man made system or formula for church growth. Just know we reconcgnize the sovereignty of God in our personal and corporate lives.

He chooses who to bless and how that looks.

Also, if you get a chance to pick the book up, do so. But regardless, comment on that day’s post and lets grow together.

I Love Winter

I love Winter, I have no reason to hate it. I think each season is great. If it was Spring right now I would love it. If it was Summer I would love it, and if the leaves were turning I would love being apart of that as well.

Winter is no different.

We hear voices all the time saying, I hate snow, I hate the cold, I wish spring was here.

Why not be content with the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it?

Maybe God didn’t mean rejoice in the Winter season. Maybe the real translation is the Lord makes the days in only 3 seasons of the year (Spring, Summer and Fall) and those are the ones you rejoice in. Satan has the rest, and his days are called Winter. (Maybe we should move Halloween to Winter and Christmas to the Fall!)

Now of course I am being sarcastic with the last paragraph. The point is just rejoice in the day God has given you whether it is cold, snowing or blistering hot. There is so much more in this life that we have to deal with. Snow is really no problem.

So here is a list of reason why I Love Winter.

1. God made it, even the snow flakes came from His creative hand. (and each one of those is unique)

2. I think people look better with clothes on. Some people look better in the winter time because of this. I am one of those.

3. Hot chocolate tastes better in the Winter, and so does soup.

4. My birthday as well as my children’s birthdays are in the winter. We also celebrate Jesus’ birthday in the winter. And frankly some of the Christmas songs just would not work if it was celebrated in another season. (Furthermore Frosty would be no more.)

5. Snow slows us down, and we need that rhythm in our lives at times.

6. Kids love the snow. Sledding, snowball fights and snow angels are at the top of their snow activities. It is cool to see them play in it. When it does snow the trees and landscape is beautiful. The snow reminds me of purity (until of course it gets dirty)

7. Winter reminds me there is a resurrection on the way, a resurrection of all living things.

8. God has given me another day to live and be with my family.

Other reasons? Basketball, skiing, snowboarding, the winter olympics, building snowmen, gathering around a fire place, its a season to plan for the future, its darker outside so it is easier to sleep longer and relax on the days we can, and there are less tractors on the road on the way to work.

Winter is awesome, I am glad to be apart of it.

Confessions and Reflections of a Pastor

I really enjoyed yesterday, there is no doubt about it. However as I reflect this morning about it… here are a few confessions and reflections.

Yes, I am shy. (See the message from yesterday “Just Stick With it”) I have trouble talking one on one with people, visiting people, shaking people’s hands, etc… but I know I need to. So I discipline myself to step out and get to know people. This is not because it is my job to do so. It is because proverbs teaches us, to get through this life you must have friends. The person who lives alone is a fool. Now don’t take this wrong…. I love people and care for people deeply. It is just expressing that one on one is difficult for me. But with diligence and discipline I will work through my tendency to back away from one on one encounters and continue to meet, greet and talk to people… Its important!

Yes, yesterday’s message was 54 minutes long. I aim for 30 minutes, for each message but for some reason time flew yesterday while I was preaching. I had thought before hand that “it was going to be a short one” about 20 to 25 minutes. Boy… was I wrong.

Sorry about all the I(s)… its hard to use we and you in a post called confessions and reflections of a pastor.

My children repeated the points of both of the sermons that I preached yesterday (I also preached at Greater Mount Mariah Missionary Baptist Church in the afternoon) back to me at lunch and last night. That was awesome. There was one point in “Just Stick with it” that wasn’t clear to them and that was a learning moment. (They were not clear on the rock badgers, conies, shephanim, in proverbs 30:26)

The people at Farmington Baptist Church are awesome. I look forward to being at church and seeing everyone each Sunday. God is at work in that place!

I love Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. They are so gracious to me. Really, He should not use me in ministry. If you would look at my life, and the times I have fallen and have struggled, there is no merit or worth in me. I do not deserve to be a pastor, but He gives mercy , and never demotes me from the title He bought for me…

“Child of God”…

and that is Grace.

Science Project

Yep, my daughter and I are doing a science project together. She is doing the work, I am just helping. Now the “normal science projects”… the Brande’s… well we can’t seem to do those for some reason.

So…. what does my Daughter want to do for her science fair project?

She wants to test the effectiveness of a bilge keel, both in length and design.

Yep you heard it right, a bilge keel.

Now if you were like me, I had to google it to see what in the world she was talking about.

Currently we have made a boat out of a Pepsi bottle and glued marbles in the bottom of it so it will have weight when we place it in the water. We also placed a dowel rod in the middle of the boat (that is glued to the marbles) that will enable us to “rock the boat” during our experiments.

We haven’t made any Bilge Keels yet, but that is our next step… I think.

What ever happened to seeing how far an egg would drop with out cracking? Or what do you have to do to make an egg float in water? Or testing a parachute? Or planting seeds and testing fertilizer to see which was the best and determining why?

But a Bilge Keel?

I now know why my wife said… “Aurora I think it would be good for you and your dad to work on this science project together.”

Needles to say I am proud of Aurora….

… she’s so much smarter than her mother. 🙂

Just shake their hand.

Do you ever hear people talking about their church and they make a statement like:

“No one ever shakes my hand at church.”

Here is what they are saying…. my church is not friendly, I do not feel like people like me or want me there anymore.

Now we all want our churches to be friendly and everyones hand to be shaked ( this isn’t a word by the way) . We want people to feel welcomed.

but what if everyone just stood around in the room waiting for someone to approach them to shake their hand? Everyone wanted someone else to approach them before they felt welcomed?

Well… no ones hand would be shook… and everyone would feel unwelcomed (this isn’t a word either).

When this is said, the first thing that comes to my mind is…. whose hand did you shake on Sunday? Who did you approach to extend a gesture of welcome to?

Maybe… no one ever shakes your hand because you never shake anyone else’s.

Don’t let the devil continue to lead you to think this way… instead this Sunday when you go to your church, just walk up to someone and shake their hand and don’t worry about anything else.

A shout out of thanks to “someone”, who was gracious and teachable and allowed me to post this today.