Monday, December 17, 2012

Sunday's Sermons

Yesterday morning at CLBC we continued our way through Galatians. This was our seventh sermon in this book. The message was, "Perfected by the Spirit" from Galatians 3:1-9.

Last night we concluded our series through The Gospel of Luke. This is a fantastic book! There are 102 messages recorded in this series (and several others that didn't get recorded for one reason or another). My last message is from Luke 24:36-53, "Jesus Appears and Ascends."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Five Areas I have Focused on for Revitalization

When I first came to CLBC in September 2010 I was told the road ahead would be difficult. There was much change and refocusing that needed to take place. If I'm honest, I came into this more blind than with a particular plan. In fact, after 27 months I really don't know that I have a plan at this point! However, I did consult several friends to ask for advice. I read books and articles, and talked with pastors, church planters, church revitalizers, and church re-planters. Through the process I was connected with Joe Thorn, whose story and situation is different than mine, but he suggested 5 areas to focus on that were of great help. Below are those five things. I feel fairly confident that he and I would apply these differently given the fact that our contexts are different. However, I found them extremely helpful. By the way, I found advice from others very helpful as well. These just seemed to sum up where I felt I should focus.

I have been asked by several people through email, Facebook, twitter, or phone calls to share what I have focused on in attempting to revitalize our church. In the upcoming posts I plan to share some of what I did in an attempt to implement these things, but for this post here are those 5 areas.

1. Gospel Recovery and Centrality

2. Missions Emphasis and Strategy

3. Worship Culture and Structure

4. Leadership Development and Deployment

5. Community Life Defined and Implemented

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday's Sermons

Here are the two sermons from this past Sunday:

AM - Justified by Faith - Galatians 2:16-21

PM - Burning Hearts - Luke 24:13-35

Get your Beard On!

I thought I'd have fun with this post. I'm blogging about my beard. That's right, my beard. Last October I commented on a picture of Joe Thorn about his beard on Facebook. I'm not 100% sure of how it happened from there, but he encouraged me to grow out my beard. So I thought I'd give it a try. I honestly wasn't even sure if I could grow a full beard! Throughout the next several months I took weekly (or almost weekly) pictures so that I could track the progression. Here are a few over the first 7 months or so:

November 15 (about 3 weeks in)

January 17, 2012

April 3, 2012 (I had it trimmed, but I wasn't all that happy about it!)

June 13, 2012 (Just before I made a HUGE mistake!)

The mistake right after this was to go in for the second trim. For some unknown reason the barber decided to take me back to about a 6 week beard. I was devastated! But I didn't give up. I started the process over again. Without going back through the process again, here is a picture from today. 

Why did I blog this? Let me say two things. First, I realize I am still quite the novice in beard growing. There are many, many, beards that are bigger and healthier than mine. Second, I want to encourage more men to grow out their beards. While many people will not like it. Many will think you should shave. I can honestly say the process of growing (and regrowing) your beard is worth it. In the words of Charles Spurgeon:
Growing a beard 'is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.'
So I say, get your beard on!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Recommendation: God at Work

In 2007 (I think) a friend told me I should pick up a book by Gene Edward Veith, Jr. called "God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in all of Life." This is one of those books that came to me at the right time and is one I often think about. Here is what the publisher review says on the Westminster Bookstore website:
When you understand it properly, the doctrine of vocation--"doing everything for God's glory"--is not a platitude or an outdated notion. This principle that we vaguely apply to our lives and our work is actually the key to Christian ethics, to influencing our culture for Christ, and to infusing our ordinary, everyday lives with the presence of God. For when we realize that the "mundane" activities that consume most of our time are "God's hiding places," our perspective changes.
Culture expert Gene Veith unpacks the biblical, Reformation teaching about the doctrine of vocation, emphasizing not what we should specifically do with our time or what careers we are called to, but what God does in and through our callings--even within the home. In each task He has given us--in our workplaces and families, our churches and society--God Himself is at work. Veith guides you to discover God's purpose and  calling in those seemingly ordinary areas by providing you with a spiritual framework for thinking about such issues and for acting upon them with a changed perspective.
This morning I was reminded of this book as my 6.5 month old woke up around 6:00 ready to play. In that moment the Lord reminded me that I am a husband and a father. In that moment (and I don't do this nearly as often as I should so this is not a 'look how awesome I am' type of thing) I knew I could better glorify God by focusing on my calling as a husband (by allowing my wife to get some much needed sleep) and as a father (by getting up with my son).

Oftentimes it gets difficult to realize that the numerous 'vocations' you have are all to be used to glorify God. Whether it's as a father, husband, son, pastor, wife, mother, child, or job, we can and should see every opportunity as an opportunity to glorify God.

I highly recommend you pick up this book: God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in all of Life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012