December 24, 2008

Glory to God

I am not sure what to say. It's almost surreal. We had our first service in our building tonight. I was blown away! God is just awesome. It's only by His Grace that we were even able to be in that building tonight.

The band, the drama, the sound, the production...everything went without a hitch. We even had working heat :)

Here are some pictures:

Well - Merry Christmas Ya'll!

December 23, 2008

Monroe Inspection

Hello one and all,

I just finished talking with the fire marshal and the building inspector. We have Temporary Occupancy - praise God!

We have a short list of minor issues to resolve - we will have our services tomorrow night as planned.

Thanks to everyone who played a part in making this a reality!

Merry Christmas


Christmas Eve in Monroe

Here it is! The day before Christmas Eve.

It's hard to believe we are having our first service in our new location TOMORROW night! I want to invite one and all to one of our Christmas Eve services. Services will be held on Wednesday, December 24 at 3:30 and 5:30.

We have a great evening planned, with great music, some drama, and we will also celebrate communion as a part of our candlelight service.

I hope you can make it - and don't forget to invite a friend!

See you tomorrow!


December 22, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe - 12.21.08

Despite being back in the school auditorium for one more week, our service yesterday turned out to be pretty amazing. I told Nancy I think it is one of the best services we've had since I've been serving as the campus pastor in Monroe. Here are some highlights:
  • The band rocked! Way to go Zach - you guys did an amazing job!
  • There was a buzz of excitement in the room. You can feel it all around. Everyone is pumped about what is coming next.
  • Thanks Alan & Alan & Mike, our production crew! The projector we've been using, along with the 100ft cable, are already installed in the new building...but you guys were able to improvise and really came through despite several roadblocks.

December 21, 2008

So Close - Yet...

It's been a whirlwind of a week for me. I was reminded Friday night that I have failed to keep you up to date on the latest in Monroe! I left you hanging! I apologize.

We were supposed to have inspections on Wed, which we moved to Thursday. We had two inspectors walk through the building and point out a couple of very minor issues (which we have already taken care of). We were unable to have the fire inspection because our friendly HVAC company dropped the ball and failed to install the duct sensor smoke detectors (which they insisted had been done weeks ago). Finally on Thursday they admitted their failure and fixed the problem.

Now all we are waiting on is the Fire Alarm company to come back and finish testing their system - and for the electricians to finish their work.

We are scheduled to have our final inspections on Monday. Please be in prayer for this. And I will do my best to update you with the good news!

December 14, 2008

It's Coming

Well, it's coming! We are days away from our first service in our Monroe campus location. We packed up gear in the school for the last time. This week we will be setting up things for our first service which will be held on December 21st - and then our Christmas eve services at 3:30 and 5:30.

Pray for us - the inspectors will come in on Wednesday. If all goes well we will have a certificate of occupancy.

I will update you when I have more information - for now here is the plan for this week:

Monday & Tuesday: work will begin on the floors, it is supposed to take two days.
Monday eve: carpet in the children's rooms will be laid
Wednesday: inspections...pray all goes well
Wednesday & Thursday: production install (lights, projectors, and sound)

I feel like a kid at Christmas...

December 08, 2008

Peace on Earth

We've kicked off the Christmas season at Southbrook:Monroe. Here's a recacp:
  • We had several first time guests - Praise God!
  • Our worship team is growing - we were up to three yesterday. They sounded great!
  • I charged our leaders to start thinking about what the 'next level' looks like - we need to be at the top of our game, ready to welcome and serve new guests as we transition into our new location.
  • I gave the message yesterday - Christmas is about reconciliation. Jesus came at Christmas so we could have peace with God. Jesus came at Christmas so we could have the peace of God. And Jesus came at Christmas so we could have peace with others.
I am pumped at what God is doing. We are going to have our Christmas Eve services in the new building (3:30 & 5:30). Grab a friend and join us!

Signs Of Progress

Check it out!

This past Saturday we had another amazing workday in the Monroe building. The sign is up on the front - looks official!

Here are some pics of progress on the inside:

November 30, 2008


We loaded up the pickup truck, packed our bags, and headed to the mountains with the popup in tow. Pulled in to the campground and setup camp...two days of junk food, xbox, movies, cards and risk. That's right - Garren and I "roughed it" for two days last week. We did nothing productive for two days. Unless you count Daddy-son time as productive - which I do. We had a great time. He beat me at NCAA football on the Xbox. I beat him at risk. We had a great time together.

When's the last time you had some good old fashioned quality time with one of your kids?

November 21, 2008


We had a good turnout Wednesday night for painting. Here are some pictures:

November 20, 2008

Southbrook:Monroe Campus Update 11.19.08

Prayer Time - Join us Thursday evening at 7pm for a time of prayer. We'll meet at the Monroe building. We'll spend some time praying for the building, finances, and God's will and direction for Southbrook:Monroe. Will you be there?

Got Turkey? - Our Thanksgiving outreach to the Monroe community is in full swing. We are distributing the meal boxes this Sunday at Benton Heights from 4-6pm. If you can be there to help we'd love to have you there.

We also need some help getting turkeys. If you can make a donation to help purchase turkeys, let me know ASAP - we've got a lot of turkeys to purchase before this weekend!

Construction Work - We'll be painting at the new building this Saturday. Bring your paint supplies and some clothes you can get messy in. Again, we need all the help we can get! We've got a Christmas Eve service to plan!

Monroe Christmas Parade - 2pm on Sunday. I know several who will be going to the parade on Sunday. We will have Christmas Eve invite fliers to pass out. Pick some up on Sunday and feel free to pass them out at the parade, or in your neighborhood for that matter.

I am so pumped to be heading up our ministry in Monroe. I hope you are as well. We are moving as quickly as we can to get into our building by Christmas Eve. Please remember to pray about this. Also, consider how you and your family will contribute to the Christmas offering on Dec 7. The collection will help fund the construction in the Monroe building.

See you Sunday!

Pastor Geoffrey

November 18, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe - 11.16.08

We had a great service this weekend:

  • Our attendance is holding steady. I see new people drop in - but a lot of these are people from the Weddington Campus who just want to see what's going on. We have started to see people from the community start popping in.
  • Sara Scott did a great job leading worship. I can't wait till we are able to build up our worship teams. It must get lonely for Zach and other up there by themselves.
  • Pastor Rob's teaching on the Son of Man was dead on. Jesus, being fully God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped - or clung to. Instead He became a man, wrapped in human flesh, so that He could live a perfect sinless life, die on a cross, and rise from the dead - all because He loves us so much. It is because He did this that we have the right to become children of God.
  • We stopped after the first worship song to video tape a short announcement message for the Christmas offering that will be taken in Weddington on December 7. We are praying that God will provide the funding we need to get into our building.
  • We celebrated communion. I can't wait till we get into our building and can celebrate baptism as well!
  • Our volunteers are doing an amazing job. They are stepping up in every area. They are putting in lots of extra time - going above and beyond in every area to make this happen.
Praise God for all that He has done and is doing.
Have a great week!

November 11, 2008

Got Soccer Cleats?

Two years ago we traveled to Ethiopia were we met some special girls.  Some of them play on a soccer team and are in need of soccer cleats.  If you have some used cleats that are just taking up space in your closet, maybe you can help!

Please bring any soccer cleats size 5 1/2 and up and/or shin guards you have outgrown or no longer use to church on Wednesday night (11/12) or Sunday morning (11/16). Kara and Garren Janes will have a box at the entrance of the Student Ministries building for you to put these in. These cleats and shin guards will go to two soccer teams in Ethiopia that are made up of disadvantaged street kids.

They will truly appreciate your old soccer equipment!
If you have any questions email me.
Thanks for your help!!

November 09, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe - 11.09.08

As we continue to look forward to launching in the Monroe building, there are already a bunch of cool things happening. Leaders are rising up. Volunteers are continuing to step up. Yesterday was another great day in Monroe:

- Our worship leader Zach had a bass player with him today; our worship team is growing!
- Pastor Rob spoke on Growing Small - a big push to help people get connected in Home Groups
- We have several outreach opportunities coming up: block party on Saturday, Thanksgiving dinner outreach
- We will be painting in the new building this coming Saturday

What to volunteer?
We are looking the following volunteer positions immediately:

- Children's Ministry - work with infants, preschool or elementary aged children
- Production and Sound - learn to "run the show" from the back of the room
- 1st Impressions - smile and greet those coming in the doors each week

If you would like to serve - let me know - I will get you plugged in.

November 08, 2008

Saturday Work Day - Monroe

Wow! We had 16 hard workers show up this morning to help out in Monroe - Thank you all! And thanks to all who responded to my email letting me know you couldn't make it today!

We got piles of trash cleaned up and moved outside to the dumpster. It is really starting to look great!

For those who couldn't make - and would like to join us the next time - we will be gathering Wednesday evening around 5:30 to get started on hanging some doors and working on some other miscellaneous things. Then on Saturday morning, grab a friend and come on out - it's time to start painting! I know you want to be a part of that!

See you there!

November 07, 2008

Monroe Prayer Night

Last night a few of us gathered at the Monroe Campus to pray. Here are the things we prayed for:

1. 1st Impressions Ministry
- Pray for the impression we will make as people enter this building.
- Pray that we will have the attitude of Christ Jesus -that his love will shine through each of us.

2. Children’s Ministry
- Pray for the children that will be taught in these classrooms.
- Pray for the teachers that will teach them.
- Pray for volunteers to serve in Children’s Ministry.

3. Worship & Production Ministry
- Pray for the production and sound equipment that needs to be installed.
- Pray for those who will be working behind the scenes to make the services a success.
- Pray for volunteers to serve in Worship and Production.

4. Worship Services
- Pray for those who will sit in the worship services.
- Pray for the worship leaders who will lead these people.

5. Teaching/Preaching
- Pray for the messages that will be taught from this stage and on this screen.
- Pray that God will use this stage for His glory – for the growth of His kingdom.

6. Community Outreach
- Pray for the outreach in the community.
- Pray for the Thanksgiving outreach.
- Pray for the Christmas outreach.

7. Finances/Building completion
- Pray for the finances that are needed to complete the building.
- Pray for the hearts of those who will be giving to God’s work.
- Pray for the volunteers who are doing the construction work.

November 04, 2008

Sunday 11.02.08

After celebrating the grand opening of Southbrook's new building in Wedding, we got back to our regular schedule in Monroe this week:

- Zach did a great job leading worship (again)
- We had a visit from a group of student missionaries from Youth With A Mission
- Pastor Rob taught part 1 of his God Sized Dreams series called "Growing Big"
- The outreach team passed out lots of boxes for our Thanksgiving dinner outreach
- We have had several people stepping up to serve in different areas - very cool!

I am looking forward to the message this weekend - "Growing Small." One of the things that makes Southbrook so great is our Lifegroup ministry. Every member needs to be in a group-in community with other believers. We will have a big push to make sure everyone is plugged into a group this Sunday.

See you then!

October 21, 2008

Southbrook:Monroe Vision - Part 2

Here is another of the questions I received last week about our vision and direction for Southbrook:Monroe.

"When speaking about kingdoms, you made a comment stating that we’re not about building individual kingdoms but that we’re working together toward (or within) one Kingdom
. How would Southbrook:Monroe demonstrate its belief in that principle?"

Our desire is to cooperate and work with anyone who is willing to partner and join us in the spread of the Gospel in our community. How can we demonstrate this? We will invite other churches to join us in outreach efforts. We will continue to work with para-church organizations to be a presence in the community. It is not our goal to reach out in the community so that more people will come to Southbrook:Monroe. The goal is to lead people into a life changing experience with Jesus Christ, and to help them join in fellowship with other believers, whether in our church or some other local congregation.

October 19, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe - 10.19.08

Here are a few highlights from today:

  • Meeting in a school means we have no control of the heating/cooling system. The air was running inside, it was about 55 degrees outside. It was cold in church today!
  • Zach did a great job leading worship today. He brought back a couple of older songs. I especially enjoyed "I Surrender All." That never gets old.
  • I preached the second part of the series on Haggai: God is calling us to obey Him, to be ambassadors for Christ in the context in which He has placed us. Let's not get discouraged when things don't work out the way we think they should. Let's be faithful to do what God has called us to do - in the context in which he called us to do it.
  • I'm watching some Panthers football, relaxing, and getting ready to head over to our Home Group meeting this afternoon.
I hope you have a great Sunday!

October 17, 2008

Thank You, Stranger

Today I walked in to Starbucks where I was planning to get a little work done this morning. I put my stuff down, went up to the counter to order. There was a lady in line in front of me. One of the people behind the counter said "I'll be right with you Geoffrey" (they know me by name now.)

When I ordered the usual (tall coffee) the lady in front of me said "O, you could have just had my free drink." I looked at her, she looked at the girl behind the counter, then said "I bought a pound of coffee beans, can he have my free drink? (you get a free cup of coffee when you buy a pound of coffee).

So they handed me a cup of!

Thank you stranger - whoever you are!

October 16, 2008

Southbrook:Monroe Vision

I had a couple of great questions come to my inbox earlier this week. With permission, I am posting those, along with my answers. Hopefully these will prove helpful to others who may be asking similar questions.

“We’re doing something in Monroe that no one else is doing”.
If you were to give someone a 15 second “pitch” on what we’re doing, what would you say that would convey our unique work in Monroe?

First - I would restate it this way: “We’re doing something in Monroe that no one else in Monroe is doing”.
There are three things (at least) that make what we are doing in Monroe unique:

1) Video Campus - As far as we know, there has been no attempt to plant a video campus/multi-site campus in the monroe area. One church did try at a high school in the area a couple of years back, but they did not stay long. Having leased a building, we have no plans for moving out of the area.

2) Community Outreach - Our outreach pastor, Daryl Sutherland, has been partnering with several para-church organizations in Monroe for a little over a year now. He has not seen any substantial involvement in community outreach from any of the many churches that currently exist in the community. This is not to claim that we are better...simply an observation: there is no church doing community outreach to the extent that we plan on doing - as far as we have seen.

3) Worship Style/Method - although several existing churches advertise a 'contemporary' worship service, there are no churches that have the DNA that Southbrook has. We are primarily attempting to reach the un-churched and de-churched - those who have been turned off from church in the past, or those who have never even been to church. We are careful not to use church language, or do anything that would discourage a 'tire-kicker' from checking us out.

I'll post the next one in a couple of days...

October 15, 2008

Thoughts on Church Methods

I listened to a conference session by Ed Stetzer called "Kingdom-Focused Church Planting." While he covered a lot of information, I was especially challenged by this statement:

"Too many church planters plant churches in their heads and not in their communities - then you're a cultural mismatch because you're not focused on the message of reconciliation, but you're focused on a messenger that God has sent to a different context."

He went on to say that "the biggest problem in church planting is not focusing on the message of reconciliation, but instead focusing on the model of the church."

How true this is. How many people try to start churches, or make their church 'better' by copying or implementing something they read in a book or hear at a seminar, or see at another church. Now, there is nothing wrong with learning from others, using methods that we think will work in our own context. The problem is when we think that just because it worked somewhere else, then if we follow the steps, if we get the formula right, then we too will experience the same results.

We are not called to follow the methods of other churches in other contexts. We are called to bring the message of reconciliation through Jesus Christ to the context in which God as put us.

October 13, 2008

Sunday @ Southbrook:Monroe

I woke up yesterday absolutely pumped and looking forward to what God had in store for our Sunday morning service. Here are the highlights:

- I spoke on Haggai chapter 1. A solemn reminder to the people of God, that if we get comfortable, lazy and self-absorbed, then God will not bless our efforts. But if we step out in faith, obey His direction and follow His guidance, we can do great and amazing things for the glory of His name!

- We had a leader lunch meeting at Mexicali Rose. This is the first time I had pulled the key leadership team in Monroe together. We talked about our successes and our frustrations with Southbrook: Monroe. I have to say I was encouraged. There were very few frustrations. Everybody there is excited and ready to follow God on this adventure.

- After lunch I took the team over to our new location, which is being renovated. This was the first time some of them had even been inside! I could see the excitement as dream gets closer to reality.

- Then Garren and I met a few others for a pick-up game of flag football. I can feel the soreness setting in.

Praise God for an amazing day. I am blessed to be a part of something that God is clearly leading. By the way - we meet every Sunday at 10am, in the Benton Heights Elementary School auditorium. You should come check us out!

October 07, 2008

Triple Overtime

Last night I got to watch one of the most exciting football games I've ever seen. It was the Porter Ridge 6th grade team playing Holy Trinity. They had to make up their game from two weeks ago that had been canceled because of the rain.

Garren is the quarterback. Their record this year so far: 1-3. That is until last night. They started out really well. Holy Trinity scored, then we scored: 6 to 6. Then Holy Trinity scored again. We got the ball back, tried to drive down the field, tried to score one more time before the end of the half, but that wasn't going to be. We went into halftime down by 6.

They came out after halftime and scored on their first drive, tying the game at 12 - 12. The rest of the second half was a battle for the ball. Nobody was able to score, so we went into overtime. Each team gets the ball on the 10 yard line and each teams get a chance to try and score. We got the ball first. We scored, but failed to get the extra points. Holy Trinity scored, no extra points. The score: 18 - 18.

Second overtime, we got the ball first again: no score. Holy Trinity took their turn: no score. So we headed into the third overtime. We got the ball first again. Garren took the snap on 2nd down. Two defenders took him out in the backfield. One of them rolled their helmet over his left hand, leaving him squirming in pain on the ground. Garren is taken out for the next play. 3rd down, they run the ball to the 2nd yard line. 4th down...touchdown! The score is 24 - 18. Then they scored the crucial extra points, bringing the score to 26 - 18. Holy Trinity got the ball on the 10. They score a touchdown but fail to score the extra points. Porter Ridge wins! What an epic game! A win that was well deserved and well fought for. Way to go guys!

Moving Forward

It seems like so much is happening at once. And in reality, I guess it is. We had a great service in Monroe this past weekend. We were challenged to spread God's anointing and movement throughout the community, wherever we live and work. Am I willing to trust God with what He has entrusted to me, even if it doesn't work out according to my own plans?

We are getting closer to moving into our permanent location. Benton Heights has been so gracious to let us meet in their auditorium until our building is completed. We are looking forward to all that a permanent location has to offer as well.

As we move forward, I am going to kick off a short series on the book of Haggai. There are some great things we can learn - as a church and as a nation - from this Old Testament prophet.

I hope to see you this Sunday, 10am!

September 29, 2008


Think about this quote:

"Any church that does not affect real change in its community, country, and the world is severly neglecting its true purpose."

Read it again. Do you agree? Do you really believe that if a church is not having a life changing effect outside her own walls, that she is neglecting her true purpose? I think these words are pretty convicting. I think you would do well to take these words to heart.

What is the purpose of the church? In order to understand the purpose of the church, we must understand the mission of the one who sent the church. The church is not a country club. The church is not a social gathering. The church is a group of Christ followers who have been sent by God on a mission - His mission. And what is that mission? To make disciples of all men (and women). God sent the church to accomplish His mission. The purpose of the church is to fulfill that mission.

Now, read the quote again: "Any church that does not affect real change in its community, country, and the world is severly neglecting its true purpose."

If the church is going to fulfill her mission, she must be about the business of life change.

Are you part of a local church? Is your church doing anything outside its own walls? Are you involved in the community, in the world, going about the mission of God - making disciples, affecting life change in the world around you?

September 26, 2008

God is...what?

This morning on the way to drop Kara and Garren off at school, I passed a church with one of those signs out front, you know, where they put little cutsie sayings to try and get attention? Now, sometimes I read those signs and just can't stop laughing. For example, here's one I saw the other day:

"Where will you spend eternity? Join us this Sunday."

Hmmm, not sure I want to spend eternity in your church. Does your pastor just preach a really long time? Will you be serving the Kool-Aid? What does that mean exactly...join you this Sunday...for eternity?
Here's another one:

"Don't let worry kill you. Let the church help."

Again...I don't need the church to help kill me. I am doing just fine on my own. Well, this morning I saw one that has the potential to be damaging doctrinally. Here's what it said:

"God is...Everything"

Now - at first reading one might think this is just a harmless statement of our belief that God is eternal, everalsting, all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly holy, loving and merciful. But the problem is that this statement can also be taken to mean that God is everything - that God and the universe are one. This is properly known as pantheism. This is the belief that all is God and God is all. This view assumes that the universe is eternal, because God is eternal. This view implies that God is not the creator, because there is no creation if everything is eternal - has always existed.

Maybe I'm being nit-picky, maybe you're thinking "Come on Geoffrey, you know what they meant." Yes, I know what they meant - because I was raised in a church culture. I speak the language. But for most people who do not know "christianese," this statement will be taken literally - God is all and all is God - God is everything.

God is not everything. God is a lot - but He is not the universe. God is the creator of the universe. He cannot be His creation.

What do you think?

September 23, 2008

The Familiar Road

Have you ever thought to yourself, "You know, I think I'm going to change _____ tomorrow." And then tomorrow comes, and you end up doing the same ole thing, no change happens.

As I left the house this morning, I thought I would drive to work a different way, just for a change of scenery. There are about 4 different ways I can drive, all about the same distance. But, for some strange reason, I ended up driving the same ole familiar way. I didn't deviate from the norm. I failed to make a simple change.

Often in life we discover things that need to be changed. Sin, or bad habits, creep in and we get so used to them they hardly seem to bother us. But we know they need to go. We know that we need to change certain behaviors. We say "Today I change. Today I will avoid ______." And then before we know it, we are still behaving the same way. For some reason, we just like the way things are.

Paul complained in Romans 7:18-19
"And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway."

He describes so well the battle each one of us deals with daily. So what do we do? I know I need to change. I want to do the right thing. What do I do? One of the keys is found in Romans 12:2. Again Paul, the same one struggling with bad behavior says this:

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

We must allow God to transform our behavior. Admit your problem to Him, daily. Give it back to him, daily. Read His Word and pray, daily. As His words begin to sink into your heart and mind, He will begin to transform you in ways you cannot even imagine.

September 22, 2008

Following God...

God is awesome! If we will listen, He will direct and guide us in our daily lives. This past week God led me and my family into a new arena of ministry.

Several weeks ago, Pastor Rob asked me to consider becoming the campus pastor for Southbrook: Monroe. We recently started a church campus in Monroe with the goal of reaching that community for Christ. A great group of people have been meeting there already for several months. I began to pray about it. Nancy began to pray about it. We visited the campus on a Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to preach live (the teaching is primarily by video). We left that Sunday pretty sure in our minds that this was not where God was leading. But I just couldn't let it go.

For various reasons, Nancy was not comfortable with some of the circumstances, and how they would affect our family. Fair enough, I totally understood. But I still just couldn't let it go.

We wrestled some more with the idea. We prayed some more. Pastor Rob invited us to dinner after a Saturday night service to talk about it some more. The message at church that night was "You're an Idiot." We were asked to consider 3 questions:

1) In what area of mnistry have I become dangerously secure in my own knowledge and abilities?
2) What faith risk is God calling me to take?
3) What painful decision have I been avoiding?

Pastor had shared these same questions several weeks earlier at our staff retreat. I had already begun wrestling with them. Nancy was now faced with these same questions. On the way to meet with Pastor Rob, Nancy said "I felt like I was supposed to stand up in the service and say 'OK, I get it, we'll do it!'"

And so - God moved our hearts, change our thinking, and called us to take on the challenge. We are excited to be in this position. Yesterday the service was just amazing. From the worship, to the message, to the buzz of excitement in the air. There are quite a few challenges ahead. There are a lot of unknowns ahead. But there is also a great group of people committed to see this thing happen in Monroe.

We are looking forward to seeing God work in and through Southbrook: Monroe.

September 18, 2008


I have three children. Each of them has my DNA. They have inherited certain things from me. When each of them was born, people would try to figure who they looked like, me or their mother. "Oh, he has your nose," or "Look, she has her mother's ears." This always irritated me a bit - why couldn't they just be who they were, having their own noses and ears? Why did they have to have mine?

Another thing that irritated me was when some would say "There's no denying him, he is definitely yours!" Did they think I was wanting to deny my own children? Whatever, back to the point. The thing is, because my children have my DNA, they automatically assume similarities to me.

Check out 1 Corinthians 4:16 - "I urge you then, be imitators of me." Paul, the one sent by God to preach the message of Jesus Christ, is writing this letter to the Christians in Corinth. He is in the middle of telling them how far off track they are in their Christianity. And he follows that up with "be imitators of me." In order to understand what Paul means, we have to make a distinction. Paul doesn't want the Corinthians to become carbon copies of himself. He doesn't ask them to duplicate himself. He says "imitate me." In other words, take my DNA, learn from me, and act like me. You be you, but live as I live, love as I love, and serve as I serve.

I can't expect my kids to become carbon copies of me. (What a scary world this would be if they did!) I do know that their behavior is learned from watching me. Some of their personality traits are inherited from me (like my good looks and great sense of humor, for example). I must strive to be a model for my children to follow. Paul was a model for his spiritual children, the Christians at Corinth.

Why was Paul a good model to follow? Because Paul was imitating Jesus Christ. Paul's life goal was to become like Jesus Christ. And so should our's be! Everyday we should be striving to be more like our Lord and Savior - Jesus Christ.

Are you imitating Christ? Follow Him, learn from Him, and live like Him.

September 04, 2008

Signs of Maturity - Part 3

Last time we looked at three things to help us determine if we are maturing believers, or if we are stuck in the baby phase as Christ followers. Today, let's take a look at how to G.R.O.W. Just as an infant needs certain food to develop and grow, so a believer needs spiritual sustenance to develop and mature.

We're going to use an acronym for the word GROW to give us a guideline for growth.

G - Go to God in prayer every day.
If you want to grow, you have got to pray. Take everything to God in prayer. Paul said to "pray continuously." This doesn't mean you lock yourself in a room and get on your knees all day and all night. It means that you just talk to God, all the time (please do it quietly in your head if others are around...). Just tell Him what you're thinking. Pray for the needs of others. Praise Him for all the wonderful things He has done. If you want to grow, you have to pray.

R - Read God's Word (the Bible) every day.
If you want to grow, you have to feed on God's truths. God's truths are found in the Bible. We must not neglect the reading of God's Word. Set a time, every day. Find a quiet place. Spend just a few minutes each day reading and listening to what He has to say to you. If you want to grow, you have to read the Bible.

O. Obey God's Word every day.
It's not enough to read it, you have to do it. God gives us His truth in the Bible so that we can listen, learn, and obey what He is calling us to do. Don't read for the sake of reading. As you read, pray. Ask God to reveal His directions to you. He will. He will bring thoughts to your mind, He will help you clarify decisions to be made. God wants to lead you, but you have to listen, and obey His Word everyday.

W. Witness for God every day.
A part of growth is producing fruit. If you want to grow as a believer in Christ, there must be evidence of your growth. That evidence is displayed in your actions. Are you telling others of the love of Jesus? This doesn't always have to be with words. You can tell others about the love of Jesus with your actions. Love others by helping others. Serve others, not because you have to, but because you love God and you want to. If you want to grow, you have to witness for Christ, being a light that shines in a dark world.

So let's ask ourselves a couple of questions. Are you a mature believer? Or do you need to grow? Are your growing? If you're struggling with growth, remember to Go to God in prayer, Read God's Word, Obey God's Word, and Witness for God....everyday.

Signs of Maturity - Part 2

As we saw in my previous post, there are a lot of Christians who are acting like babies. They act like babies because, well, they are. They haven't matured in their faith. They haven't developed, they haven't grown in their walk with Jesus Christ. So - how can I know if I am a mature believer? How can I know if I am developing, or if I am stuck in the baby phase?

First of all - I tend to think that if you have to ask - you probably are still one of the babies. On the other hand, if you are confident that you have matured, there is a chance you haven't. Let's look at 3 signs that you are maturing spiritually:

1] I show a readiness to humbly receive God's instructions from His Word.

Are you open to listening to what God's Word has to say to you? Are you ready to receive God's instructions, not just for the sake of hearing them, but humbly willing to do them? Are you obedient to the truths of God's Word?

2] I patiently allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct my path day by day.

As you listen to God's instructions, are you open to the gentle guiding of the Holy Spirit? Do you allow Him to direct your paths? Are you sensitive to His direction and prodding in every situation?

3] I show evidence in my life that I am making progress in expressing God's love.

Are you bearing fruit? Are you showing God's love to others in words and deeds? Are you putting others ahead of yourself? Does God's love shine through you in everything you say and do?

These are the tough questions you need to ask yourself. If you are serious about your growth as a follower of Christ, then honestly answer each of these questions. And if you discover that you are not as mature as you thought you were - don't despair. That is the first step in the maturing process. Once you recognize your need to grow, you are on your way. In my next post we will look at how to go about growing as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Signs of Maturity - Part 1

In 1 Corinthians Paul is writing to a dysfunctional church - a church he started. He is writing to chastise them. His main complaint with them is that they are acting like babies. They are immature. They have not developed spiritually as they should have by now. Chapter 3:1-3 says

"Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-- mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?"

Paul is concerned with these baby Christians. He feels they should be ready for the deeper truths of Scripture, but they still haven't mastered the basics. This same problem still exists today in churches all across America. I wanted to let you know, since I am sure your church doesn't have this problem! The problem is displayed in the actions and behaviors of people in the church - people who claim to be believers, followers of Christ.

There is jealousy - people want what is not theirs to have for themselves. This could be positions in the church, the color of carpet they prefer, the abilities and gifts of others that they have not been given. Strife arise out of this jealousy. People start talking, complaining, gossiping. People use words to try and get what they want. And the result every time is division. People will take sides. People will choose their favorite.

It ends up looking like the nursery school room, where every toddler wants their own way, right now. Every kid in there wants the toy, nobody wants to share, nobody wants to put themselves out of the picture, allowing someone else to go first.

It breaks my heart (and God's heart too) to see people who profess to be believers fighting and quarrel over things that don't even matter. In my next post, we're going to look at the marks of a mature believer. Are you acting like a spiritual baby? Or are you maturing in your faith?

August 28, 2008

You Have to Get Wet

Some will go way above and beyond to try and attract people to their method, while losing the message. Watering down the gospel story, leaving the name of Jesus out for fear of offending someone. Some will go to the other extreme, being extremely careful not to have any appearance of the world and culture around them. Should the church use culture to reach people? Or should the church remain completely isolated, never having anything that even has the appearance of the world around it?

We have to find the balance. We have to meet people where they are. If people are drowning in this culture, we have to be willing to go to where they are.

Think about it this way... You can't rescue a drowning victim without getting wet. Imagine trying to save someone who is drowning by shouting to them from dry land. "Hey, move your arms like this! Kick you legs! Come on, you can save yourself if you will just listen to me! I used to be drowning just like you! I made it out - and I know you can too!" That would be ridiculous! If you see a person out in the water drowning, you have to swim out to them, grab them, and help them find their way back to the shore! You don't join them in the drowning process, you've already been saved from that. But you have to use methods that meet their current needs. You have to do what it takes to get their attention, to swim and lead them out of the danger they are in. At the same time - you don't go swimming out with fancy strokes, showing off your amazing ability to survive in the dangerous waters around. No - you go in with one purpose, one focus - to get out to them and help them find their way safely back to land.

Should the church use culture to reach people drowning in this culture? The church cannot avoid getting wet if she intends to help people find their way safely to Jesus. It will be messy. You will get wet. But we have been commissioned to go into all the world and make disciples of all people.

August 21, 2008


Walking through the wilderness gives one lots of time to think. As I led my daughter Kara through Yosemite National Park, packs on our backs, down wilderness trails, I had to remind myself constantly of several things. First, I had to constantly remind myself that Kara is not as big, as in shape, as strong as I am. I have spent years working out, training, and trying to keep myself in decent shape. She has not (she's only 13, she hasn't had the years that I have had).

As I would head up the trail, I would look back and see Kara sitting on a log resting...after less that 10 minutes of walking! At first I would encourage her to get up and keep walking. Then after a while I had to realize that it was ok for her to stop, as much as she needed to. We were not in a hurry, it was not a race. To me, everything is a race, the destination is the goal. I really had to force myself to slow down and enjoy the journey.

Then it hit me. I had planned this trip. I was passionate about completing it a certain way. I had asked her (and talked her into) coming along with me. this trip was not her idea. It was not her plan. It was not her vision. She did not have the same goals and expectations that I did. She just wanted to follow me because I was her dad!

This same thing happens in all walks of life. A person will have a vision, or a goal. He or she will begin recruiting others to follow them, to help them to accomplish that goal. Then the leader heads off down the trail. The problem is this: the leader is passionate about this goal. The leader has dreamed about it, planned it out, though it through. The leader is prepared, mentally, physically and emotionally for what lies ahead. But how often does the leader forget that his/her followers are not where they are? As a leader, we must slow down, and bring those who are faithfully following alongside. We have to be prepared to stop and rest with our followers. We have to be mindful of where they are on the journey.

This doesn't mean that the leader shouldn't push those following to their limits, and even beyond at times. You can't grow as a follower if you are not pushed beyond your limits. But it does mean that the leader should recognize that those following are not at the same place as the leader.

Are you leading? Are you aware of where your followers are? Are you encouraging them, bringing them along?

August 20, 2008

Epic Yosemite Adventure!

Well, we made it! I dragged my 13 year old Kara 21 miles, on foot, over two of the highest peaks in Yosemite National Park - Cloud's Rest and Half Dome - in two days! We pushed ourselves to the limit - and even to tears a couple of times. She fought a tough battle, and we finished strong. I am so proud of Kara - she was amazing!

You can check out pics here. I will be sharing some of what I learned about myself over the last several days.

August 13, 2008

Summer's been quite a summer. I have been missing from blogworld for a while...I guess it's time to get back to it!

And I will - sortof - slowly. I am actually getting ready to fly to the west coast on Friday. Kara and I will be flying to San Francisco, then driving to Yosemite National Park where we will spend 4 days and 3 nights backpacking in the wilderness. I cannot wait! It is going to be a great time to get away - refocus - spend some quality daddy-daughter time - and just have fun.

For those that are interested - I purchased a Spot Tracker - a satellite tracking device that updates my location every ten minutes. It even has a 911 button in case I get stranded and need help. If you want to check on us in the next several days - you can follow this link, and see updates of our progress, beginning on Saturday, August 16, thru Tuesday, August 19.

Well - happy tracking - I'll post more after the trip!

June 24, 2008

How Can I Know God's Will?

I am so excited about the service we have planned for Wednesday night this week. Andy and Sara have some amazing worship songs prepared. I am going to tackle the question How Can I Know God's Will for my Life? Then we are going to share together in the Lord's Supper. I hope you'll bring a friend. It's going to be awesome!

June 22, 2008

Read Any Good Books Lately?

I've added a couple of lists on the right side of my blog. You can check out a list of books I'm reading now. Below that is a list of books I've read. I use to manage my books. Check it out!

June 16, 2008

Work Out

Philippians 2:12 says "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but more more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Many will read this and think that it means we have to work for our salvation. Of course, this is impossible. No one can do enough good works to earn salvation. We receive salvation as a free gift from God, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

In my quiet time today, I came to a deeper realization of what this really means. It is not about following a set of rules, or keeping up with a certain code of conduct. It is about spiritual exercise. If I want to have a healthy, fit body, I have to work out physically. If I want to grow up in my salvation, and have a healthy, fit spiritual life, I have to work out my salvation.

How does one do this? Spiritual disciplines: prayer, Bible study, solitude, silence, meditate on God's Word, fasting. There are quite a few disciplines a believer in Christ can use to develop and grow - to work out their salvation.

Are you working out? Are you growing spiritually? Engage - plug into a church, a small group, a Bible study. Get into God's word and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.

Need help? Leave a comment - I'd love to give you some guidance.

June 15, 2008


Nancy and I spent the weekend near Boone, NC. On Saturday we hopped on the motorcycle and went for a ride. We rode up the Blue Ridge Parkway, and stopped in Boone for lunch. Murphy's restaurant seemed like a good place. We parked the bike, walked inside and sat down to order our lunch.

As we ate, we noticed dark clouds forming, and we heard thunder over the ridge of the mountains. We knew that wasn't a good sign, but what can you do? Nancy noticed a car with the windows rolled down. She asked out waiter if he knew whose car that was. His response sparked a rather interesting conversation:

Waiter: "Yes, that's my boss's car. We're not going to tell him!"

Me: "Why not?"

Waiter: "He was mean to us today. He cursed at us for basically doing what we were supposed to do."

Me: "Hmm, that's too bad."

Waiter: "Yeah - that's karma. When you do something negative, that negativity comes back on you."

Me: "Really? So by doing something negative (not telling your boss that his windows are down and it's about to rain) aren't you worried about karma coming back on you?"

Waiter: "No, when someone is mean, exudes negativity, then it comes back on you. I'm just not telling him about his windows, I'm not actually doing anything negative to him."

Nancy spoke up: "But if you know something bad is going to happen, and you don't say anything about it, then you are doing something negative."

I added: "If you know to do good, and you don't do it, that is not a good thing."

He smiled, with a bit of a perplexed look on his face, turned and walked away. A few minutes later he came back by the table with a big smile on his face. "I told my boss about his windows."

June 12, 2008

Has It Come to This?

Last Friday we decided to drive up to Concord Mills Mall for a day of window shopping. We stopped along the way to fill up with gasoline. We hit the road again, and within about 5 minutes the engine shut down. I pulled off on a side street, tried to restart, nothing happened.

So I called the tow truck, had the van towed to the shop and waited for the devastating news. How much was this going to cost? What was wrong?

About 3 hours later the call came in. "Mr. Janes - do you have any known enemies?"

"No, I don't think so. Why do you ask?"

"Well, it appears that someone disconnected a fuel line. There is no way this fuel line can come undone on it's own. It had to be done manually."

"And why would someone disconnect a fuel line?"

"They may have tried stealing some gas."

So, it's come to that. People are stealing gas out of my car in my driveway. What is wrong with you people? Are we so desperate for fuel that we have to steal it? It's not that expensive!

O well, what can you do. Maybe I'll buy a dog and chain him to the car at night.

June 04, 2008

Who Should You Blame?

I've been reading a book recently called "Do You Know how to Shut Up?" Michael Staver offers 52 short lessons on ways to improve yourself as you interact with those around you, whether at work, home, or wherever you are.

Today I read chapter 11 - Who Should You Blame? I'd like to share that with you today:

From the time we are very young, we engage in a game of blame. As a child, you probably answered your parents' questions about why you did something with "Everybody does it!" or "Because so-and-so did it!" or "So-and-so made me do it!" If you have kids of your own, you've probably heard the same words. And it's not only kids. How often do we hear adults blame their environment, the market, their significant other, their heredity, or some other entity for their problems?

I suggest that this is an enormous waste of energy and, in most cases, it doesn't matter who is to blame. I love this statement: "It's not your fault, but it is your problem!" I heard those words from Doug at Long Realty Company who thinks it might have come from his coworker Theresa. I am not sure who to blame (or credit) for this phrase, but I like it! I would counsel you to forget who or what is to blame and get on with the business of dealing with the problem.

What do you think? Should we find someone to blame, or just take responsibility and concentrate on getting the job done?

May 23, 2008

Obey His Commands

Last week I started looking at a very key verse in the book of Joshua:

Joshua 22:5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

This is a warning that Joshua is giving to all the people. His cautions them to keep the commandment and the law that Moses had given to them. This was the law that Moses had received directly from God. Joshua then broke it down for them into 5 simple parts. He told them to first love the LORD your God. Then he told them to walk in all his ways.

The third thing was to obey his commands. God has given us His Word as a guidebook for our lives. There are principles for living throughout this book that will only lead us in the right direction. But what good is reading and memorizing God’s Word if we don’t obey? We must faithfully obey his commands – no matter what. I guess it must seem obvious that keeping the commandment would include obeying his commands. But for many, this must not be so obvious.

Many look at the Bible, and Christianity, and think it is just a list of a bunch of rules, a list of do's and dont's. How can a Christian ever enjoy life, if all they ever have time to do is try to obey all the commands. They say Christianity is too restricting, a joy-killer, all about taking fun our of life.

But the reality is, rules are good. Rules actually give us freedom. Let me explain. I drive a car, on the road, just about every day. I noticed a solid double yellow line down the middle of the road. I'm sure we all know what that is there for. But suppose I decided one day that the double yellow line was just too restrictive - a joy-killer! I don't have to follow that rule, I just want to have fun! In fact, I don't even have to stay on this road! Who made these rules anyway? I just want to have fun!

Of course we all know what would happen. I, or someone else, would certainly get killed or seriously injured when my car collided with another, or a tree, or a house...

Rules are not there to ruin our lives. They are there for our own good, our own freedom. God knows what we need. God, the creator of the universe, has given us commands that are for our own good. He wants us to be successful…and we will only experience victory through obedience to Him.

May 22, 2008

Answering Oprah

We had such a great night last night at church. I started a new series called "Answering Oprah." We are taking a look at the teachings that Oprah has been promoting lately - the teachings of Eckhart Tolle in his book A New Earth.

Oprah is a powerful woman. She has accomplished a lot in her lifetime. She has come a long way, overcoming many obstacles to get to where she is now. I admire her for several reasons. She is a great communicator, a wonderful giver, and she has the ability to lead many people. She has a huge influence.

My problem is not that Oprah has this kind of power. The problem is what she is teaching. The philosophies and ideas that she is putting out and promoting are not new. They have been around for centuries. And sadly, they are all a lie. She has deceived many people. She has herself been deceived.

Oprah's teachings are largely based on the New Age Movement. There are many suttle, underlying elements to this that most people who call themselves Christians are going to buy right into. The things she says sound right at first. But just lift the covers, and underneath is a world of deception.

I hope you'll try to join us over the next several weeks as we take a look at what the NEw Age Movement is really all about, and how deceptive it all really is.

May 19, 2008

Luke Worm

I love it when my kids pay attention in church. It is so great to watch them learn. It gives me a sense that Nancy and I are doing something right. So when Garren (11) came home from church yesterday with the notes he had taken, it was really cool.

Pastor Rob spoke on Tough Choices, a new series about making everyday choices as Christ followers that can make a huge difference in our lives and in the world. He talked about 'fence-sitters,' and 'fat Christians.' He talked about the dangers of being lukewarm.

Garren apparently heard 'luke worm.' Here are his notes:

Walk in All His Ways

The natural result of love for God is a desire to walk in His ways. Joshua reminded the people to walk the all of God’s ways (Joshua 22:5). Love Him, and walk in His ways.
This is what it means to be in God’s will. If God is so good and loving, why does He allow such horrible things to happen? We look at the senseless murder of two innocent children and we say “Why God?” We may never know the answer to such questions. But if we love God, we must trust Him. If we trust Him and love Him, then we must walk in all his ways, wherever those ways might lead. Wherever that takes us.
We tend to look at our lives and think: “I did everything I was supposed to do, why did this happen?” That is not trust in God. The correct, and I’ll be the first to admit, most difficult thing to say is this: “I love you Lord, and I lift my soul to worship you. I trust that you are in control. I wish I didn’t have to go through this pain, but because you are God, I will trust you, and I will walk in the way that you lead me.”

Remember the words of the beloved Psalm 23:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

The Great Shepherd leads and guides us, not just through good times, but through the tough times as well. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will trust in Him. Even when life seems to be caving in all around us, God is leading us. Trust Him. Follow Him. Lean on Him only. There is no hope anywhere else. No other religion or system of belief gives any hope in troubled times.

We must not only love God, but walk in all His ways. And this can only truly happen when we obey His commands.

May 13, 2008

Love the LORD Your God

What does that even mean? Especially if you are a regular church goer, or seasoned Christ follower. Of course we're suppose to love God! Duh! But have you ever thought about how? What does this really look like?

Whenever I try to understand the how of my relationship and interaction with God, I often try to think of it in terms of a relationship with another person. My wife, my children, my family, or even friends. How do I show my love to these? I think one of the most important things to do here is to get to know the person you are trying to love. How could I ever say that I love my wife, if I never even knew her? You can't love someone without knowing them. And the longer I know my wife, the more I love her. Why? Because I continue to learn more about her, about her amazing personality, about her hopes, and desires. And the more I get to know about her, the more I love her.

How well do you know God? Of course, we're supposed to love Him. But you can't really love someone you don't know. Think about God for a moment:

He is our hope. He is our creator. Without Him we have nothing. Without Him we cease to exist. We owe Him everything, and more. We cannot repay Him for who He is or what He has done. Love the LORD your God with all you heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. Trust in the LORD with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding. Seek Him first. Love is trusting Him. Love is giving sacrificially, with no regard for self. Love God first and foremost.

“How do I love God?” – learn more about Him. Study His attributes. When you begin to discover the immensity of this amazing being, you will be blown away. When you realize that He gave everything just to have a relationship with you, you can do nothing more than love and worship Him with everything that is within you.

Study God. Meditate on God. Read His Word, over and over. Consider some of His attributes: God is omnipresent. That means that He is everywhere - all the time. There is nowhere God has never been. God doesn't go places, He's already there. God doesn't show up, He is everywhere all the time.

God is omnipotent. God is all-powerful. He created the universe out of nothing, just by speaking. God can do anything. Nothing is impossible. God holds the universe together. Without Him we cease to exists. God is perfect and complete power.

God is omniscient. He knows everything. God never learns anything new. God never forgets anything. His knowledge is complete. He has perfect knowledge. There is nothing that God doesn't already know.

On and on we could go. I challenge you to get a book and begin to study and meditate on the characteristics of God. As you get to know Him, your love for Him will grow. Nothing is as important as your love relationship with God.

We want to know God’s will for our lives. But we don’t even know God! Before you can know God’s will for your life you have to get to know God. As you align your desires with His, His desires will become the desires of your heart, and His will for your life will become apparent. Study God, study God’s Word. Get to know Him in a deep, intimate, personal way. That is how you begin to love God.

May 08, 2008


Monday I received a call from Conrad Sherland. His children, Alyssa (7) and Ryan (9) had been discovered Sunday night, murdered in their beds. I immediately went to his home, where I spent several hours with a very broken man. I and several others from our church have been ministering to Conrad and his family this week. It's been a rough ride.

I covet your prayers. Please pray for Conrad - for comfort, that he would truly trust God through this tragic time. Conrad is a believer in Christ. Please pray for me, for Mark and for Rob as we continue to meet with Conrad and his family. Please pray for the community, that healing would come quickly.

Here is the link to a website that has been set up in memory of these precious children.

The funeral will be held on Monday, May 12 at Southbrook Church. Visitation will begin at 1:30, and the service will begin at 3.

Joshua's Warning

When the Israelites conquered the land that God had promised to them, under the leadership of Joshua, there were two and a half tribes who opted to stay on the eastern side of the Jordan. Moses and Joshua had given them permission to do so on one condition – they were to help the rest of the nation conquer the entire land before they could return to their inheritance. So they did. They faithfully followed and fought alongside their brothers.

Once the work was done, and the people had all received their portion of the inheritance, it was time for the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh to return home. In Joshua 22, Joshua sends them off with a warning and a blessing.

Joshua 22:5 But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul."

Joshua warns the people to "keep the commandment" that Moses had given to them. They must never turn away from the Word of God that had been given to them. They must never forget all that their God had done for them up until now - bringing them to victory over their enemies time and time again. "Be very careful to keep the commandment." Don't turn away from it.

Joshua then breaks it down into five things they are to do. Five things, that if kept faithfully, would continue to bring victory throughout every area of their lives. And these five things are as applicable to us today as they were 4000 years ago. They are:
  1. Love the LORD your God
  2. Walk in all His ways
  3. Obey His commands
  4. Hold fast to Him
  5. Serve Him with all your heart and all your soul
Over the next few days we'll be taking a look at each of these commands. If we will take them to heart, and apply them every day, God will truly do amazing things in and through each of us.

May 01, 2008

Night of Worship Reflections

Last night we had Night of Worship. We do these once a quarter. The purpose is two create a worship experience that will connect us with God in a special way. Last night was great.

We focused on the idea of treasures - what we value most. We looked at the story of Mary, when she anointed Jesus' feet with very costly perfume. The value of the perfume was equivalent to one year's wages. Today, in America, that translates to about $48,000! And she poured it out on Jesus' feet! What a waste?

That's what some of the disciples said. "That could have been sold and the money could have been used to feed the poor!" Jesus rebuked them. He said "The poor are always with you." If you want to feed the poor - go feed the poor. Mary had done a beautiful thing. She poured out what was most precious to her, and gave it all to Jesus.

What is most precious to you? What do you value? What can you pour out to Jesus? Is it money? Is it a relationship? For me, it was pride and self-righteousness. That's right - God showed me some people that I needed to apologize to. Some relationships that I needed to fix. So I did.

What do you need to pour out? What do you need to give up? Give it to Him today. He's waiting.

April 24, 2008


We're getting close to finishing up our Wednesday night study on the book of Joshua. Joshua was commissioned to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, to conquer the land, and to inhabit the land. As long as they were obedient to God, things went well, and eventually we are told that they took control of the land.

However, a phrase that occurs more than once left me thinking. The phrase is this: "but they failed to completely drive out the Canaanite from the land." Apparently, small pockets of the enemy were allowed to remain untouched in the land. The Israelite armies destroyed most of the enemy. They never got them all.

This would later come back to haunt them. They would later be influenced by the wickedness of their enemy - the very one they failed to purge from the land.

Our personal spiritual lives are similar. When we have a sin in our life that we mostly deal with, but fail to deal with completely, it will lay dormant in our heart or mind, but will eventually resurface and wreak havoc. Sin left unattended will eventually destroy us.

Have you dealt with the sin in your life? All of it? Don't make the same mistake that the Israelites made. Don't make the same mistake most of us make. Don't leave small pockets of sin in your life. Purge it, deal with it. "And do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4:27)

April 22, 2008

ACS Training

I just spent the last two days with several of our staff learning how to use a new database system for our church. I'm really excited about some of the features that will make this tool very useful for us. One might look at the last two days, all the information that was presented, all the work that was produced, and wish we didn't have to deal with it all. It is a lot of work, but it will be well worth it in the long run.

Think about it this way. This new system (ACS) will enable us to capture information about individual people who matter to God. With the tools available to us in this system, we will be able to track individuals as they journey with us here at Southbrook. We will be able to stay on top of things, and help people progress through classes and small groups. If we use it correctly, we will keep from letting individuals who matter to God slip through the cracks, or out the back door.

People matter to us, and this new software system will help us keep up with all the people God has gifted us with at Southbrook Church.

April 16, 2008


We were discussing Luke 18 in our staff meeting earlier this week. The story of the rich young ruler who approaches Jesus with a very important question.
Luke 18:18-23 ¶ A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-- except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'" 21 "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
I started counting the commandments that Jesus was quoting to the young man. Do not commit not not not five false testimony...four...honor your father and mother...five. Then Jesus stops. What about the rest? There are ten commandments, yet Jesus only mentions 5 of them here. Are these the only important ones?

So I flipped back to Deuteronomy 5 to check out which ones had been left out: You shall have no other God before me, you shall not make idols, you shall not take the LORD's name in vain, observe the Sabbath. These are the first 4 commandments.

I thought about these for a minute - the first 4 commandments deal with our relationship to God. The next 6 deal with our relationship to others. So maybe Jesus only wanted to list the 6 that deal with the young man's relationship to others. There's just one problem. He left one out. In Luke 18, Jesus only listed 5, not 6 commandments.

Deuteronomy 5:21 says "You shall not covet..." Interesting. What did Jesus tell the young ruler was missing? He said
"You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
This young man seemed to have an attachment to stuff. He did know all the commandments. He had kept them all...except one - do not covet. To covet means to desire something or someone that is not your to have.

Jesus told the young man to sell all his stuff and give the money to the poor. Does that mean we all should sell all our stuff and give the money to the poor? Of course not...maybe.

Jesus wants all of you. He doesn't want you to just keep some commandments and do good. He wants your heart. He wants you sold out to Him. If stuff is keeping you from following Him, the you need to get rid of your stuff. If time is keeping you from following Him, then you need to free up your time. Clear out your busy schedule and make time. Unfortunately many of us are not willing to give up the things that are important to us. It's these things that keep us from completely following Jesus.

What do you need to get rid of? Stuff? Busyness? May you take the steps to do whatever it takes to separate yourself from whatever it is that is keeping you from God.

April 10, 2008


I am reading the book A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. It's the story of Saul, David and Absalom. The following quote about authority was interesting to me:

"As far as David's having authority: men who don't have it talk about it all the time. Submit, submit, that's all you hear. David had authority, but I don't think that fact ever occurred to him!"

Are you in leadership? Do you have to demand those under your care to respect your authority? A good leader has authority, but does not demand it. He doesn't need to. If you see a leader who has to demand authority, I would wonder what the real problem is. My guess is that the problem doesn't lie with the followers.

April 09, 2008

Word Play

We have a pond in our neighborhood. It's just a little pond, but there are two ducks who live there. One of Kelsey's highlights in life is to go feed the ducks. Last night she was getting a little cranky, so I took her to feed the ducks, which of course cheered her up immediately!

After we ran out of stale bread, we began walking around the edge of the pond. There was a bunch of green gooey stuff floating along the banks. Kelsey said "Look at all that poop!" I said, "That's not poop, that's algae."

Without even hesitating, she looked at me and said (remember, she's 3) "I have allergies too, and my medicine is at home."


I went to visit my son Garren at school for lunch today. He's in the 5th grade. I thought it might be fun to drop in and hang out for a few minutes. While I was there he decided to tell me a story. He said "Do you see that lady over there?" "Yes." "The other day we were sitting at the table next to the microwave for lunch. That lady came over and put her lunch in the microwave to warm up her lunch. The kids at my table dared me to stop the microwave. So I turned around and stopped it right after she walked away. When she came back everyone at the table started laughing. So she said 'What's everyone laughing about?' She checked her food, it wasn't warm enough, so she started the microwave again."

Garren was having so much fun with this, he actually stopped it again! The poor lady came back and found that her food once again was not warm!

Very funny stuff. After being pressed, Garren confessed to stopping the microwave, and was sentenced to 'silent lunch' the following day. His teacher even told him later that it was pretty funny.

What makes this even more hilarious to me is that it sounds exactly like the kind of things I did when I was his age. Maybe I'll share some of those soon...or maybe not!

April 04, 2008

If I Were A Dog...

If I were a dog, I would be a Bulldog. At least that is what the quiz at revealed. What kind of dog are you? Take the quiz and let me know!

What dog breed are you? I'm a Bulldog! Find out at