September 30, 2009

Behold Stories - Mike Harvey

This past weekend, while the staff was away doing community service, we had three people from our own congregation share their story of life change. We video taped it, and although the sound isn't the greatest, you can still hear pretty well. Today's video is Mike Harvey. Mike is the principal at Benton Heights Elementary School, and we are blessed to have him as a part of our campus.

Check it out - leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Mike Harvey - Behold Story from Geoffrey Janes on Vimeo.

September 29, 2009

Staff Serve - Part 2

Sunday, as awesome as it was, just wasn't enough! We headed out Monday morning to Camp Canaan near Rock Hill. Camp Canaan is located on a 150 acre island on the Catawba river. Just minutes from the busy city of Rock Hill, is a secluded, quiet getaway. It was so peaceful. It was very beautiful.

We had some breakfast, then Nick gave us a tour of the island. They have some great cabins and dining facilities. The vision for the future is pretty amazing as well. Then we got to work. We picked up sticks (more like tree limbs), moved rocks to create some landscaping, pulled weeds, and moved a bench and a sign. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time working together as a staff to get some things does for Camp Canaan.

Here's a picture of the crew (at least the ones that were still there when we took the picture. There were others who had to leave early!)

And guess what? This weekend you get to take your turn! We're all going out to serve in our communities. Pastor Rob will tell you all about it here.

Staff Serve - Part 1

What a weekend! For church this past weekend we decided to step out of the norm and do something a little bit unexpected. As a staff, instead of going to church as usual, we went and served in the community. We pre-arranged for several volunteers in our church to handle things while we were gone. It turns out - things ran fine without us there!

As a staff, we traveled to the north Charlotte area - to the Harvest Kitchen. We worshiped at their church service. When we got there, some served in the kitchen preparing lunch. Others helped out with the clothing ministry, while others helped assemble toiletry bags. You see, most of the people that attend this church are either homeless, or are very poor, not sure from day to day what they will even eat or wear.

What a blessing it was. I was honored to preach. Now I've never preached to a predominately African-American crowd before, but I sure had a blast. After I got done Nancy told be I "got my groove on." She even told be that I said "Can I get an Amen!" What? I don't remember saying that!

After the service we cleared the room, set up tables, and served lunch. It was a very cool experience. I look forward to continuing our relationship with this ministry.

September 21, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Yesterday turned out to be quite a day! To be honest, when my alarm went off, I didn't really want to get out of bed. I was hoping it was Saturday, or even Monday...but was Sunday. (Is it weird that a pastor didn't want to get up on a Sunday?)

But I did, I got up and made my way to church. We were "uniting" our campuses for a very special baptism celebration. The anticipation began to build as the beginning of the first service approached.

We ended up baptizing around 50 people in the first service. So cool to watch. Second service I got to be in the pool. The Monroe Campus was there in the second service as well. It was so fun to look out and see all the blue "Southbrook Monroe" shirts. You guys are awesome!

The time to baptize came at the end of the second service. We have to pools at the front of the room. Pastor Rob in one, I in the other. We began baptizing, and the lines continued to grow. Then I baptized someone from the Monroe campus. "I didn't know you were getting baptized today." "I didn't either." I heard that from several. God was moving in hearts, calling people to obedience. One after the other, they kept coming! I think I had baptized about 10 from Monroe when I looked up to see who was next...I was taken aback. There stood Garren (my 12 year old son). He smiled at me, climbed in the pool, and I baptized him. So cool!

All total we baptized over 100 people (112 is the latest number I've heard). Some were brand new believers, others were finally following Jesus Christ in obedience.

What an amazing day. I will not soon forget what happened there.

September 16, 2009


I knew this would happen...eventually. And now it finally has!

Work on the children's wing has finally begun! We've been talking about it all summer - we had 30 elementary kids stuffed in their current room this past Sunday. This is a much needed and anticipated improvement.

One more thing - we still need to collect about $10,000 to complete this project. So be praying about how you can help us out!

September 14, 2009

The Center of the Universe

In our study through the book of Ephesians on Wednesday nights, I came across a pretty cool thing. Last week we looked at the second half of chapter 1. When we got to verses 20-23 I was blown away. Here it is:

"he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." (Eph. 1:20-23, ESV)

Now, read it again in The Message:

"God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven,21 in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever.22 He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything." (Eph. 1:20-22, MSG)

Jesus has been placed in authority over everything, from galaxies to government...He is in charge and in control!

And now, check this out...

"At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.
23 The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence. He tore down the wall." (Eph. 1:22-23, MSG)

Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed and stressed out when I think about growing a campus. I feel responsible when our attendance drops or remains the same. I feel disappointed when first time guests don't come back. (Please understand, I am not just going for more numbers...however, each number represents an individual, a life that God cares about very much. The higher the numbers, the more people we are reaching).

But if what Ephesians says is true - that the church is not peripheral to the world - the world is peripheral to the church - if it is true that church is at the center of all that Christ rules - that means that everything Christ rules, from galaxies to government, all centers on the church, the body of Christ!

If this is true, then we are a part of the most important thing in all of creation. We are a part of the center of all that Christ has been placed in charge of! He has chosen to put His church at the center of His rule!

Here's the thing. We could easily sit back right now, and pat each other on the back, and talk about the "good 'ole days" of Benton Heights. We could look back and remember the days of unloading the trailer each week and having church in a cozy little elementary school auditorium. We could easily look at all that has been happened and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. (After all...we've managed to grow from 60 to 130 so far this year. That is pretty good growth!) We have amazing servants, people working hard in every area of ministry.

We could easily put things on cruise control - and we might continue to grow some, we might stay the same - we certainly would continue to get better at what we are doing right now.

But I don't believe we as a church are called to coast. We have room in our building to grow. We have the opportunity to reach so many more people for Jesus! But its not just going to happen. We will have to work at it.

I hope - I hope that each of you is actively inviting people to come to church. I invited 5 or 6 people just this week. If we believe the Bible, then we must believe what Ephesians says - that the church is at the center of everything Christ does. If we believe that is true, then we had better get on board and start bringing people to be a part of it.

All I can do is praise God for allowing me to be a part of the very center of everything He rules! Thank you Jesus.

September 09, 2009


We began a study of the book of Ephesians last Wednesday night at Southbrook Monroe. We are going to work our way through this book in about 12 weeks...the more time I spend in this book the more I realize - there is no way we will cover everything in this short time. Ephesians is so packed with great information. We could spend years on this one.

So we kicked it off last week. We'll continue tonight, by the way, 6:30pm.

I wanted to share this little piece with you from last week. Ephesians 1:7 says "In Him we have redemption through His blood..." Jesus redeemed us with his blood. You may have heard that phrase before. It sounds like a church thing to say. It sounds like something you would expect to hear in church. Actually it's very true - it's the very center of what we believe about Jesus Christ. But I don't think we always get it. I think we have become so used to the words, that we kind of brush over it. So let's think about what it truly means.

Jesus (who is in essence God) had to leave he glory of Heaven. He had to become human, he became his creation. He had to live on this earth a perfect, sinless life. He had to suffer a cruel and painful torture. He had to face the horror of being made sin for us. He had to face the torment of God's wrath, and ultimately he suffered death.

Still - this may sound a bit routine. This is the Easter message. So let's try to make it personal. Imagine what that would be like for you or for me:

Suppose you wanted to save someone from the penalty of their sin - let's say a murderer. Even though you are innocent, you set out to save someone who is guilty. In order to save them, you must enter into the prison system. You would have to face the shame of being kept on death row. Everyone would know you are a murderer (even though you're not). You would have to face the wrath of the legal system. And ultimately you would have to face death...not because you did anything wrong, but because you decided you wanted to save someone from their sin.

Now think about the person you died for. If they truly understand what you sacrificed for them, how do you think they would respond? Go out and kill again? No! Not if they truly get it. I think they would be much more likely to change their way of living, telling others about you, and what you did for them!

Now - you can only save one person, one time. What Jesus did was enough to save all humankind. Because he is infinite his saving power is infinite. So our message is infinite as well. Not only should we be sharing relentlessly what Jesus did for us, we should be telling people that he has the power to save them as well!

So - knowing what Jesus did for you, will it change the way you live your life?