March 29, 2009

Sunday @ Southbrook Monroe 3.29.09

As the pre-service music started I looked around. Things were gearing up. The service was about to start. People were streaming in the doors. New faces everywhere. I love seeing new smiling faces. I love seeing those faces still smiling when they are leaving. God continues to bless us with new faces each week. Lord, help us to be faithful in welcoming and following up with those new faces!

Pastor Rob joined us live this weekend. He continued our walk through the book of Hebrews - "Christ our High Priest." Here is a quick recap.
  • We can boldly approach the throne of grace. We do not need to go through any man to get to the Father. Jesus is our great high priest. He is the only way.
  • The OT high priest's job was to go to God with our sin, like a defense attorney.
  • Jesus has bridged that gap. He did the work of the high priest once and for all.
  • We cannot hide our sin from God. Your junk will eventually catch up with you.
  • For more background information on the high priest, read Leviticus 6-10 & 21
  • Jesus, our high priest, is the source of salvation for everyone.
  • There were 4 requirements to be a high priest:
1) You had to be a man
2) You had to be called by God
3) You had to understand the guilt of humanity
4) You had to be beset with weakness yourself
  • Jesus met each of these requirements. Even though He was God, he became a man. He was called (sent) by God. He understood our guilt. And yes, He was beset with weakness Himself.
  • Jesus suffered, Jesus cried, Jesus felt pain. Jesus was forsaken by God the Father. Jesus had to become obedient to death, even death on the cross.
I am thankful for a church that is not afraid of the truth. If we have to water down or sugar coat the truth, then it's not worth believing.

Have a great week!

March 28, 2009

Let's Go To Peru

Peru Missions Trip from Geoffrey Janes on Vimeo.

I hope you'll consider partnering with me. Here are two ways to send donations:

US Mail:
Southbrook Church
c/o Peru Missions Trip
5607 Monroe-Weddington Road
Weddington, NC 28104


Trip Info:

March 25, 2009

Fashion Statement?

If you were at Southbrook Church this past Sunday I'm sure you noticed Pastor Rob's new shirt. Pretty classy, huh? Well, apparently this has created quite a stir among people. Several stories are circulating out there. Here are a few:

Pastor Rob has a new toy - Did Pastor Rob purchased a new BeDazzler? It certainly is possible. After all, he has admitted that he is often up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. He may have purchased it in a weak moment for a really great deal from an informercial! If it's true, I just want to know: "Hey Rob, can I borrow your BeDazzler?"

Pastor Rob is starting new style - He's calling it "TinkerGrunge." It may not have caught on yet, but as soon as it hits the streets your going to wish you had gotten in on this one early! Are you "with it"? Make sure you sport the latest TinkerGrunge-ware...check with the Southbrook Store and pick up yours now!

Pastor Rob is writing a new song - "Rhinestone Rob-boy" is set to hit radio stations later this week. How will it do? Will it sweep the nation like it's predecessor?

There are other rumors floating around. We have yet to get to the bottom of this. I will share one last possibility with you all. We recently overheard someone say "Come on guys, let's not be so hard on may have been dark in their room...maybe he accidently went into Michelle's closet."


What is God's Will for my Life?

I remember one of my first jobs as a software engineer. I was hired after a long and tedious interview process. I was so excited! I was on top of the world! I finally knew what I wanted to do. I was ready to get going. I showed up to work on the first day, was introduced to everyone, sat down at my desk, and waited. There was the computer in front of me. I started playing around, looking at things, looking around the room at all the busyness. It seemed everyone had something to do...except for me. I chatted with the guy who was sitting across from me when he wasn't on the phone. I surfed the internet. I messed around, I waited. I wondered when I would be given something to do.

Finally my boss came out to see how things were going. He apologized for being so busy. He told me to sit with another guy and listen in on his tech support phone calls so I could get familar with the system. I did. I have to be honest though, I was quickly losing interest. The only thing that kept me interested was the paycheck!

I was given passwords, sketchy instructions, and told to learn the software. I needed to understand the software before I could be expected to code any enhancements. So I did the best I could. I fumbled through documentation. I listened in on tech support phone calls. I surfed the internet. I went home. Day after day for several weeks this went on.

I began to question my boss's desire to have me there. Why am I here? You're paying me to sit here all day? I have more to offer! I have gifts and talents, not to mention a degree in computer science! Why was my job simply a matter of showing up, and waiting for time to go home to come?

The question of God's will is probably the most commonly asked question in Christian circles.
People ask it all the time. What does God want me to do? How can I know? I think I'm supposed to be doing this, but I feel unsure. How can I know what God wants me to be doing?

God created us with a purpose. He designed us to do something. But how often do we sit through life waiting? People wake up each morning, think to themselves "There's got to be more to life than this" and wait for the end of the day so they can start all over again.

The problem is this: we know deep down that there is more, but we don't know how to figure out what 'more' is. With my job, I had to read the documentation that was given to me. I had to study it and apply it to the software on the computer. I had to learn to ask questions of those around me. I had to be free to investigate, to talk to those who knew more about the software than I did. I had to learn how to talk to my boss. I had to be free to tell him what I was feeling, to share with him my frustrations, and to share with him my passions and dreams!

How can I know God's will for my life? We have been given access to all the answers. God is not going to send an email with step by step instructions on what to do every step of the way. He has however given us a book to read, the Bible. The Bible tells us everything we need to know. And when I come across things that I don't understand, I have to be willing to ask those around me who are more familiar with the Bible: "How can I apply this to my life, or to my current situation?" I have to begin applying what the Bible teaches to my everyday life. And finally, I have to take everything to my Heavenly Father. He's the One who created me. He knows me inside and out. He knows what works and what doesn't. I have to learn to go to Him, free to tell Him my feelings. I am free to share my frustrations, as well as my passions and dreams.

When we learn to study God's Word, talk to other believers, and talk to God, then we will begin to see God's will unfold very clearly in each of our lives.

March 23, 2009

Sunday @ Southbrook Monroe 03.22.09

Here are a few thoughts from yesterday:
  • We had a week off from ministry training this week.
  • In our pre-service devotional I challenged our people - we are all ministers, are you ministering where God has placed you?
  • Zach was back leading worship, with yet another great set. It sounded good. It was great to see our people responding and following in worship.
  • I met at least 15 first time guests, and I didn't even meet them all!
  • The message was great. Are you resting in God?
  • Still running into a few programming glitches. Working on getting those cleaned up.
  • I used my GM Motor Club membership for the first time - someone had locked their keys in the car.
  • We had our first Fireproof group study after the service. Great turn out - a great study!
Have a great week!

March 19, 2009

Are You Killing Cockroaches?

I recently received a free copy of Killing Cockroaches from Tony Morgan.  (Thanks Tony!)

As I read, I couldn't help but think of Killing Cockroaches as a book of blogs.  It is filled with 1-2 page snipets of thoughts.  Great thoughts.  Easy to manage thoughts.  Everything from church leadership tips to embarassing moments that we really didn't need to know about.  

This conglomeration of thoughts challenged me in certain areas of my life and minsitry, and affirmed me in others.  A few of my favorite quotes:
  • What would our churches have to look like in order to transform people’s lives so completely that their excitement could not be contained?
  • I love churches that aren’t about helping people become churchy. 
  • All leaders and volunteers must believe that it is their responsibility to ‘tap the shoulders’ of the folks next to them and invite them into ministry.
  • My first thought was this: “Dear God, I will never make fun of people who listen to country music again."
Tony obviously has a deep desire to see people's lives transformed by the power of the Gospel.  His unique insights and provocative thoughts are a great challenge to any church leader (whether you get paid for it or not).  If you haven't read Killing Cockroaches yet, check it out.

All Or Nothing

I recently started reading my way through Matthew.  I am taking just a portion each day.  Today I started chapter 5...The Beatitudes.  As you read through Matthew 5:1-12, you will see Jesus listing off what we call the "beatitudes."  Jesus goes through a list of promised blessing to people who have certain characteristics (or attitudes).

As I looked closely at this today, I asked this question: "Is there a 1 to 1 relationship between each of these?" In other words, can I do the first and fourth, while not having any of the others? Does this mean I receive only some of the blessings?

I don't think so. In fact, I think the point here is that it is all or nothing. One cannot have the kingdom of heaven and not experience comfort. One cannot be filled with righteousness(justice) and not experience mercy. They are all interwoven. On the flipside, one cannot hunger and thirst for righteousness (justice) and at the same time not be merciful. Nor can one be pure in heart and not be a peacemaker. They are all interwoven. It is all or nothing.
The problem is that to become all of these things is not easy. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work. It requires discipline on my part. What are you doing to become those things that Jesus lists in Matthew 5:1-12?

March 18, 2009

Is Your Marriage Fireproof?

I don't usually rave about movies.  Actually, I love watching them, but when it comes to reviewing them I don't really feel qualified.  But I saw a movie tonight that every I believe everybody needs to see.   Married or not, this is a must see.

We watched Fireproof tonight at church.  I do quite a bit of marital counseling for people in our church.  As I watched this movie I noticed a couple of things.  First, the marriage depicted in this movie was a carbon copy of many of those marriages I've dealt with.  The objections from the husband, the disinterest from the wife, the hopelessness, it was all there.  It made me wonder (again) how many families out there are struggling with this stuff. 

The second thing I noticed was this: the daily tasks given in The Love Dare are the exact challenges I give to couples when I am trying to help them work on their relationships.  And I've even heard all of the objections there too.  She's not responding.  He's trying to butter me up for the divorce.  It's as if someone was sitting in on my counseling sessions!

But here's the thing.  Given enough time, enough effort, enough sacrifice, these 'dares' do work!  A marriage will never work unless it is founded on Jesus Christ (you may think it's working, but there is a very important part missing).  Once you are able to put your faith in Him, trust and follow Him, experience and understand what love really is, then you will be able to change your marriage.

If you haven't yet watched this movie, I would highly recommend it.

March 17, 2009

Fireproof Your Marriage

Tomorrow night - Wednesday March 18 - 6:30pm
We will be watching the movie Fireproof at the Southbrook Weddington Campus.

In a time when so many are facing stressful situations from all sides, we need to make sure we take care of our marriages. Finances are crashing down. Jobs are are getting tougher. Kids are demanding more from us. So how in the world do I find the time to make sure my marriage doesn't completely fall apart?

Why not join us tomorrow night. 
Watch the movie Fireproof with us. 
Then sign up for a Fireproof My Marriage group.

After seeing Fireproof, couples will contemplate the state of their relationship. The Fireproof Curriculum provides the opportunity for couples to work through these important relational issues.

Featuring clips from the movie, this six-part study challenges couples to look at love as a lifetime commitment. 

Study topics include:
  • Forgiveness
  • Marriage as a covenant
  • God-designed differences
  • Unconditional love
Groups will be offered at the Weddington Campus on Wednesday nights, and at the Monroe Campus on Sunday afternoons.

I look forward to seeing you there!

March 15, 2009

Sunday @ Southbrook Monroe - 03.15.09

Today we tried something new.  I like trying something new.  I love it when we change things up and do things differently.  Today Pastor Rob came and spoke live in Monroe.  It was different seeing him in 3D.  As a video campus we are pretty used to seeing the message on a screen.  So it was a refreshing change to see the teaching live and in person.

We also enjoyed some amazing worship led my Gal Friday.  They did a great job as well. 

Pastor Rob finished up a two week series on generosity.  The challenge today was to stand by Southbrook church in our giving.  We had the opportunity to fill out a commitment card - to make a tangible commitment to what we are going to give this year.

This afternoon I taught our first membership class for the Monroe Campus.  It was great.  We had 10 take the class, and 7 commit to join Southbrook church.  Praise God.  

It was a great day - and now I am worn out.  A huge thank you to all those who made this day happen!

March 09, 2009

Are You Replicating?

One of the things I've learned over the last several years while on staff at Southbrook Church is that I cannot do everything that my job requires of me.  My best work happens when I have someone who buys in and takes ownership alongside of me.  Things work out much better if I can let go and transfer ownership of something to someone who wants to run with it.

It's not always easy.  I like things done a certain way.  You might call me a perfectionist (you wouldn't be the first).  And when someone doesn't do something the way I invisioned, the tendency is to pull it back, to correct the 'mistakes', and make sure it gets done 'properly'.

This weekend in our pre-service meeting I challenged everyone to try something in the next couple of weeks.  We always complain that we are short on volunteers.  There are so many people sitting while so few are doing the work.  How do we get people to move from their seats and start serving?  So I challenged everyone.  Identify one person who is not currently serving.  Introduce yourself and ask them to join you in your ministry.  Do not plug them into an 'empty slot'.  Do not ask them to serve in your ministry.  Ask them if they would simply join you, follow you around, and help you out with whatever it is you are doing.  

There are several reasons why people don't get involved in church ministry (at any level).  They may feel like they are not needed.  After all everything seems to be working just fine.  They may be afraid that they have nothing to offer, they aren't good enough to do what needs to be done, they are inadequate for the job.  Ot maybe they don't know how to get involved.  My goal is to remove all of these fears and excuses.  If you are already serving, invite someone to see what you do for a couple of weeks.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens next!

March 08, 2009

Sunday @ Southbrook Monroe 03.08.09

Today was full of surprises.
We had our First Impressions training. The crew showed up around 9:30 and we got started. We covered our purpose and mission. We talked about "clarifying the win" and spent some time sharing some wins and losses in First Impressions from the last couple of weeks. The Alan took the group around and walked through each position. We talked about things we can and need to improve on.

The service got started at 11am. Everything was right on schedule. Everything was moving along as planned. Until the worship ended...and the video message began. We could see Pastor Rob, but there was no sound. I jumped back up on stage, pulled out Pastor Rob's transcript and began working my way through it. Whoa - that was crazy. About 20 minutes into it, I got the thumbs up from the back. They apparently had figured things out. So I transitioned and Pastor Rob took over (via video). Everyone started clapping, I'm assuming because they were glad we had gotten the video working.

The message today was great. We are working through a 2 week series on generosity. We were challenged to make God the priority in our finances. It all belongs to Him anyway. We seem to forget this all too easily. Is God a priority in your finances? I would challenge you to put Him first, and allow Him to use you and bless you in amazing ways.

March 05, 2009

Water please?

When I go out to eat, I tend to be shall I say  I hate spending lots of money on something I can get cheaper at the grocery store.  Often Nancy and I will just order one meal and share.  Why pay for two meals that we will never finish?  In addition to my cheap eating out habits, I prefer to drink water.  I don't like soft drinks (soda, coke, or whatever you call them).  They are full of carbonation and sugar...bleh!  So I order water.  Just plain water.  Not even bottled water.  Just give me a glass of water.  

And wht do I get?  I get a small cup...a cup so small that I'm lucky if I get two sips of water!  I have to get up every other bite to go refill my water cup.  Panera Bread is one of the worst.  Their 'water' cups are about the size of those small cups you use to give liquid medicine to kids!  

So, why is everyone so opposed to water drinkers?  Maybe you think water drinkers don't get as thirsty?  Of course, I know the real reason.  You're punishing me for not paying for your overpriced drinks.  Well - what you are saying to me is "you don't matter to us because you happen to like water."

Every now and then I happen upon a restaraunt that will actually give me an adult sized cup of water.  To you I say "Thank you."  The rest of you?  You annoy us water drinkers.  Maybe I should just bring my own cup?