Saturday, October 30, 2010

Things I love

  • God.
  • My wife.
  • My daughter.
  • My family.
  • My church.
  • My Bible.
  • To pray.
  • My parishioners.
  • My staff/team
  • My friends.
  • My city/community.
  • My neighbors.
  • My job.
  • My right to vote.
  • My right to worship God.
  • My right to free speech.
  • My dog.
  • Sweet tea.
  • Vacations.
  • Quality leadership.
  • Peanut butter.
  • Elegant dinner parties.
  • Clean vehicles.
  • Freshly painted rooms.
  • HD picture quality.
  • My mother's corn bread.
  • The fragrance of Spring.
  • A cool fall day at the apple orchard.
  • The Smokey Mountains.
  • The big city feel of Chicago.
  • Seeing new believers grow in Christ.
  • A church full of expressive worshipers.
  • Connecting with new families.
  • Testimonies of healing.
  • Laughing till my sides hurt.
  • Old hymns.
  • Football.
  • Smart phones.
  • A fireplace in the winter.
  • GPS.
  • My truck.
  • A chair that reclines.
  • Soulful singing and gospel music.
  • Technology that enhances worship and ministry excellence.
  • People who show initiative and take ownership of the ministry.
  • Seeing people succeed.
  • Elliptical machines more than treadmills.
  • Chicken salad salads.
  • The smell of cinnamon.
  • Fresh cut grass.
  • Golf.
  • Bottled water.
  • Shiny shoes.
  • Harmony.
  • Unity.
  • Good movies.
  • Fast Internet connection.
  • Fresh baked bread.
  • Krispy Kremes.
  • Fruity Pebbles.
  • Reece Cup Ice Cream
Maybe you love the same things. It doesn't sound "weird" when someone says they love "Big Mac's or Cotton Candy"....but if someone says "I love my church" you're looked at like a a crazy fanatic who's gone overboard!

For the record...I love my church! (SMILE) I enjoy it...I don't endure it.

My parents raised me in the church. I guess you could say I'm a product of the church. I'm not ashamed of this. My life was changed at eight years old when I met Jesus. He moved inside my heart and altered my destiny.

Our church matters. It must matter - God built it.

If you say you love Jesus but don't go to church or support it...then you're no different than a guest at a wedding who boos the bride. The groom don't take to kindly to that.

I have often said "there is no perfect church." Our church is full of imperfect people who have lots of issues, problems, hang ups and personality conflicts. BUT WE ARE STILL A GOOD CHURCH!

God built this church. Just year BFWC will celebrate 50 years of ministry in Indianapolis! AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL! (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus is the head of His church. He died for I would say it matters to Him. You are not called to ATTEND a are called to BELONG to one.

If I want to make sure Kaitlyn drops out of church one day then all I need to do is force her to attend a church that I secretly wished I didn't attend. She would sense whether I truly loved the church or not. I LOVE THE CHURCH! I have received a new life in Christ and I'm not ashamed to DECLARE it!

Isn't it time WE GET FIRED UP about our relationship with Jesus? After all, He died for us so that we might LIVE. The least I can do is GIVE HIM A SHOUT OUT so the world can hear me!

BFWC we have a bright future ahead of us! Just imagine what God can do through us in days to come. Let's live for Him like we LOVE HIM! He isn't coming back for an audience...He's coming back for an ARMY!

Next year Beverly and I will celebrate 12 years at BFWC! I'm in it to win it! I loved this church when we had 22 people and I certainly do love it now as well!

I love the people of this church family (community of believers). Thank you for investing your time, talent and treasure by taking ownership / responsibility. It is an honor to's an honor to's honor to LOVE!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Toughest Job in America

Since working is an exchange of your time, energy and talent it is best to find a job that you love and enjoy.  However, many people are working in tough job fields.

The National Institute on Workers Compensation and the American Institute of Stress put together a list of "10 Tough Jobs". (1988)
  1. Inner-city high school teacher
  2. Police officer
  3. Miner
  4. Air traffic controller
  5. Medical intern
  6. Stock broker
  7. Journalist
  8. Customer service/complaint department worker
  9. Waitress
  10. Secretary
I agree that the above list contains some tough jobs.  I want to add one: 


Being a pastor is one of the toughest jobs on the planet.  Pastors must correctly teach God's Word, confront false teaching before it spreads, proclaim the Gospel to non-believers, pray for all people, train and appoint leaders...and they must do all of this while serving as an example of what it looks like when you're maturing as a follower of Christ.

I have great respect for pastors. 

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:13 that we should "Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work."

Although pastoring is tough, one of the joys that keeps me motivated is found in 3 John 1:4  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

My reward is to see those I have taught walking in the truth.  This is the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment for pastors, teachers, preachers, mentors and spiritual leaders

Paul said "I have no greater joy."  This is the the goal of every pastor, whether in the home, in the church or in the ministries of the church.  We want to see people walking in the truth.

We teach the truth that others might hear and believe the truth.  Having heard and believed the truth, the next step is to appropriate that truth into our daily lives.  The truth is to be applied to the practical decisions and priorities of our lives.  Next, we want to see them walking in the truth on their own as they live for Christ and obey His commands.

It is one thing for them to obey in our presence or under our direct supervision; it is another thing for them to follow the right paths when we are not there to guide.  To hear that our spiritual children are continuing in the direction we helped steer them toward is the greatest encouragement we can receive.  For the parent, there is "no greater joy" than this.   The joy of seeing our children living for Christ is the greatest fulfillment we can have.

What is disheartening for any pastor is to know that you've poured yourself into someone; taken them under your wing; bailed them out of every problem imaginable; counseled them; loved them; instructed them and believed in them...only to have them "throw it out the window" as soon as some problem presents itself or the desire to sin resurfaces.

Temptation does not "creep up" on us.  The desire to sin must be crucified and dealt with so that temptation has nothing to "hold on to" in our lives.

James said "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin:  and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15)

We're tempted as long as there is
something inside of us to be tempted.

I meet people all the time who say that they want to live for the Lord, get involved in the ministry, set their life in order, turn over a new leaf, etc., (you name it...I've heard it).  They may even start out good for awhile, but unless they KILL that OLD MAN and his DESIRES it's not long till they're back to the same old WORLDLY practices.
  • Back to the bars.
  • Back to sleeping around.
  • Back to their old friends and lifestyle.
  • Back to their worldly way of surviving life.
  • Back to lying, cheating and manipulating.
They just DON'T WANT to let go of that lifestyle.  Something in them keeps hanging on to it.  Even though they've ended up in the ditch, lost everything they have and are on a head-on collision with HELL.

That something is called

I believe it also comes from the desire to be INDEPENDENT from God or to be equal to God.  This is, in fact, a root issue with sin.  Certainly, if we did not desire to be independent from God, a vast majority of sin would never occur.

Friend, until we kill the DESIRE to will occupy our life and cause utter destruction. 

As a pastor, I've tried to help people who say they want help.  But I've learned that I can give them instruction, biblical guidance, 24/7 attention and continual prayer...but I can't make them OBEY. 

The will to obey has to come from within.
It has to come from a heart that is contrite
and a spirit that is broken.

Paul said "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17)

You can make a big deal about obeying and submitting, but keep in mind that our number one objective is to become one with Christ, who is one with the Father.  In other words, we want our hearts and minds to line up with God's heart and mind.  We submit to God's heart and mind, and we show our love for Him when we obey Him.

If your pastor is walking toward oneness with Jesus, who is already at one with the Father, then it's perfectly reasonable for us to move toward that same oneness with Jesus, meaning we swing into alignment behind our pastor.

This places a huge amount of responsibility on a pastor.  He has to keep in line and then encourage you to keep in line.

Pastoring is tough.  But it's worth it! 

Pray for me today, that I may continue to walk in the truth, and purpose to bring me personal joy by walking in the truth with me.  (3 John 1:4)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NPN - Dallas, TX

Spending time in Dallas, Texas this week at the NPN Conference.  I'm getting connected and reconnected to a group of PCG pastors from around the nation who are sharpening me. 

We've discussed areas such as:
  • Leadersnet website - a place for PCG leaders from around the world to connect for resources, etc.
  • CPI - Church Planting Initiative.
  • Conflict Resolution & Restoration process.
We were also blessed to meet with Robert Stearns from Eagles Wings Ministry for a couple of sessions.  Our hearts were challenged by the insight we gained concerning Israel and the end time events that are unfolding.

Pastor Jon Jennings
Fountain of Life, Phoenix, AZ
Pastors Kevin & Cynthia Jerls
Northland PCG, Kansas City, MO

Wayman Ming, General Secretary

Charles Scott, General Bishop

Joe & Teena Skiles, National Youth Directors

Daniel & Rhonda Davis,
Messenger College Presidents - Joplin, MO

Joe Skiles Sr., Solid Rock Family Church
Jefferson City, MO

Robert Stearns, Eagles Wings
Clarence, NY
While in Dallas, I was blssed to visit with Kyle, Sierra & Anaya Reed.  They are doing well and enjoying their studies at Christ For The Nations and life in Dallas, TX.
Kyle, Sierra & Anaya Reed

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bishop Ron Mosier sings "He Chose Me"

While at District Convention, my friend, Bishop Ron Mosier, blessed us with the classic song "He Chose Me." 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My thoughts

It has been a long week.  On Wednesday we left Indianapolis to attend the 53rd Indiana District Convention at Christ Church in Lafayette, Indiana.  Bishop Bob McGee (Southern Missouri District) was our keynote speaker and convention chairmen.

I was blessed by Bishop McGee's message on Wednesday evening - "Right Person, Right Place, Right Time."  A good word and a timely word for our fellowship.  Then on Thursday morning he brought the mail with an insightful look at District Connection.  GOOD STUFF!!!  (wish we had these on CD)

Convention is a great time to reconnect with pastors and leaders from around the state.  Our "productive" lives can prevent us from connecting like we should.  I regret that I've not done as good as I had hoped this year in staying connected.  I did reconnect with some brothers who I admire and respect.

My heart was ready to bust Sunday morning as I shared on "Moving From Success To Significance."  This was the second message in our series on "Favor Factor."  The real emphasis was placed on allowing God to grow you spiritually even in the work place.  I was thrilled by the response in the altar and the decisions to GROW, DEVELOP and PURSUE that process.

God will grow you at work through:
  1. Problems
    • God is far more interested in my character than He is my comfort.
    • He's far more interested in perfecting me than He is in pampering me.
    • He wants me to GROW UP!
    • So along comes the problems in life that teach me character.
    • God wants to develop character in me so I don't end up being a character you read about in the funny papers. (Loony Tunes)
    • While you're working on your job, God's working on you.
  2. People
    • He uses people to cultivate, teach and deepen the love that I have.
    • He will put people around you who are the exact opposite of you.
    • His purpose is to get us to LOVE the unlovely.
      • Demanding People
      • Dishonest People
      • Disagreeable People
      • Defensive People
      • Demeaning People
    • The more I learn to love unlovely people, to respond like Jesus would to people who don't deserve it, the more I grow spiritually.
  3. Pressure
    • Almost every time that we get under pressure, it's a direct result of not having our priorities in order.
    • So God uses pressure to clarify my priorities and teach me to live a responsibly, balanced life.
    • How can I improve at work?
    • Here are some practical ideas:
      • Keep your promises.
      • Meet your deadlines.
      • Work without supervision.
      • Practice cost control.
When you know Who you work for it makes the job much easier!

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for people.

I love this church!  I'm pumped up about next Sunday's "FALL HARVEST FEST!"  We still need volunteers to help achieve our vision!  Sign up at the HUB this Wednesday night or click here.

Also, we have 101 kids enrolled in our Fall UPWARD Basketball & Cheerleading league! I am so excited about this!

I'm headed to Dallas, TX this evening for the NPN conference (Navigational Pastors Network)!  I'm gonna reconnect with some of my friends and sharpen my perspective.  I appreciate your continual prayers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm so glad to be out of that mess!

Those who know you the best tend to respect you the least. 

In Mark chapter six, Jesus returns to His hometown.  At this point, Jesus has gained notoriety and  a large following.  However, He doesn't receive a hero's welcome back fact, His friends and family seem to ignore Him. answer the call to ministry, begin to exercise your gifts and calling, witness miracles, signs and wonders only to find that your family and friends cannot see past their familiarity with you. 

When you step up to lead, it will draw out the best and the worst in people.  You cannot control negative reactions from others but you can choose to respond positively.  This is an important lesson that I have learned over the years. The difference between a REACTION and a RESPONSE will either make you or break you.

With a reaction, ordinarily, you act in haste and usually end up regretting your actions.  However, with a response, you give yourself more time to consider how you want to react.  One of the worst things a leader can do is REACT when negativity comes their way.  It is better to let the dust settle and the water recede before you end up saying something that you will regret later.

Even when you attempt to do your very best, with the purest of motives, you will face assumicide from those around you who choose to become offended.

Some people "hate ya" because they "aint ya!"

Don't become discouraged when the people you expect to celebrate you merely tolerate you.  This is the reality of leadership.  Jesus' own family and friends saw Him as nothing more than "the carpenters son" in spite of His wisdom, miracles and healings.

The choice is now yours.  You can remain in your comfort zone and keep trying to please everyone around you who has accepted the status quo or you can press beyond the limitations and restrictions of mediocrity and charge ahead to your destiny. 

When you decide to press forward, do not be shocked when you're now labeled, ridiculed and scoffed.  It comes with the territory.  Anyone who has ever done anything noteworthy for the Kingdom of God has done so at the RISK of their reputation.

Their ceiling will become your platform when you begin to climb.

Ask yourself..."what do I want to be...a 30, 60 or 100 fold Christian?"  The choice is yours.  You have the same seed in you that I have in me.  The difference for some people is that they choose to plant their seed in better soil than others.  That's why they yield a better harvest.

Where are you being planted?  You have the seed of God's Word in you.  Make a responsive choice to plant that seed in the fertile soil of productive ministry rather the infertile soil of dysfunction and barrenness.

To do this, it will require a CHANGE.  Change is inevitable.  If you don't embrace change, you'll be bypassed and become irrelevant and obsolete.  That's why I love Jesus' leadership example.  He was a WORLD CHANGER.  Everywhere He went, He brought about a change.  And guess who usually got upset at His changes?  You guessed it...the religious. 

On that note, any church that refuses to change will become a place of the past.  Everything they say will sound like "yesterday, yesterday, yesterday."  It will become a place of territorialism, it will be performance driven and it will justify being EXCLUSIVE rather than INCLUSIVE.  And anyone who questions "the system" will be labeled a trouble maker, rebellious and a heretic.

Aren't you glad that God delivered you out of that mess?

Friends, go ahead and do what God has called you to do. 
  • Take the risk. 
  • Live the dream. 
  • Get under the arms of a visionary leader and step out of your comfort zone. 
  • Refuse mediocrity.
  • Refuse exclusion.
  • Refuse mind games. 
  • Refuse silent treatment. 
  • Refuse mood swings. 
  • Refuse lack of vision and strategy. 
  • Refuse excuses. 
  • Refuse discrimination.
  • Refuse prejudice.
  • Require vision.
  • Require planning.
  • Require personal responsibility.
  • Require a support system.
  • Require new ideas.
  • Require restructuring.
  • Require commitment.
  • Require humility.
  • Require self-sacrifice.
  • Require non-defensive learning.
  • Require sound decisions.
  • Require time.
  • Require energy.
  • Require persistence.
  • Require prayer.
  • Require rewards.
Dream your best dream!  Stay undercover and stay under authority.  Yoke up with like minded people who will carry you out of the chicken coop so you can soar like the eagle you were destined to be!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Beverly!

Happy Birthday to my sweetheart!
We had a great time visiting Chicago - great weather; great food; great family time; great shopping; great scenery; great accomodations; great memories!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Cares About Numbers?

"Great Crowds" followed Jesus everywhere He went.  (John 6:2 "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.")

Did Jesus care about numbers? He must have...there is a book in the Bible called "Numbers."  Evidently God must consider numbers a factor at least to some degree.

I realize that numbers aren't everything.  However, numbers do count and can be foretelling of the fruitfulness or the fruitlessness of ministry. 

I find it interesting that the people who don't consider numbers a factor are the people that don't have any.  The truth is ... NUMBERS REPRESENT PEOPLE

One has to ask themselves..."Do the people who don't want numbers really care about bringing people to Jesus at all?"

Rick Warren makes a statement that is bold and true.  "A church that has no interest at all in increasing its number of converts is, in essence, saying to the rest of the world, 'You can all go to hell.'"

I've heard Pastors speak about their lack of church growth and say "We're a remnant" or "We don't want to be like those 'wordly' churches that are using gimmicks and compromise to grow their churches."  "We're happy with our four and no more."

It's as if there is a criticism of churches that are actually seeing measurable results...and then classifying them as "worldly" or "full of compromise" because of their growth. 

What is the real issue?  Believe me...there's more to write about here than this one blog can receive in one setting.  :-)
  • Why would anyone want to make a negative comment about a church that is actually seeing results? 
  • How can you "knock" their method if the message is coming through?
  • If you're not in the game - quit criticizing the people who are.
I have an issue with people in ministry who constantly critique others but they themselves bare no measurable fruit.  I also tire of the "status quo" we tolerate from them just because they've at least been "faithful."  Friends, we can be faithful to something that isn't fruitful.  Jesus said whatever bears no fruit should be cut down and cast into the fire.  (Ouch...did I just say did.  I believe His words are true even if they make me evaluate my life, ministry, relationships, etc.)

When the horse is dead, it's time to dismount.

Jesus Himself was criticized.  Some chose not to believe in Him even though they had witnessed His miracles.  (John 14:11 "Believe me that I (am) in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake.")

I was raised in smaller churches. (No negativity intended)  As I look back over my shoulder I can see that there were certain mindsets that trapped and even shaped my thinking.  It seemed that we spoke about evangelism but really did very little of it.  We even called our Sunday night service "Evangelistic Night."  However, what was so evangelistic about it?  We weren't evangelizing...(just by having another church service)...we were simply preaching to the same group of people that had been there that morning.

It seemed that our idea of evangelism was "Lord send them in!"  Isn't this opposite of what Jesus said to do?  He said, "GO YE." 

"Go ye" the opposite of "Lord send them in!"

I realize that numbers aren't everything.  You can have 100 people in your church but that doesn't mean they're all living sold-out lives for God or growing in their relationship with the Lord.

Any church that is doing "something" progressive (i.e., discipleship, evangelism, etc.) is going to be labeled and even ostracized for doing it.  The truth is, we can't get to our destiny point with out taking a risk.

I have taken the mindset that "numbers do matter" - but not because I'm trying to build a kingdom or empire unto myself.  Numbers matter because we need both QUALITY and QUANTITY to accomplish the GREAT COMMISSION.

Quality matters.  Quantity matters.  Everything matters.

Here's a question:  How many staff members would our church need if we grew to 1000, then 1500, then 2000?  Do numbers matter?  Indeed.

The same question could be asked to a church that is already running 2000.  How many staff members would we need if our church attendance slipped from 2000 to 200?  Would we be able to keep all the men/women who work on staff employed?  Numbers do matter.

Lets keep it real...those who really argue against numbers could be doing so because of an inability to see results.  They can either face up to it or continue to hold to a mindset that "numbers don't matter."

If we had our choice between having three or thirty people accept Christ, which would we choose?  We would choose thirty.  Why?  Because numbers matter to God. 

Why in the world would any pastor desire to see fewer people get saved than more people?  They would not and should not.  Numbers matter.

I'm so thankful for the number of people we've been able to reach...but I can't stop thinking about the numbers of people that still need to be reached.

BFWC must continue to grow!  Healthy things grow.  I'm not satisfied with where we're at.  I'm thankful for what's been accomplished for the King...but I'm not satisfied.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not see a soul saved.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not connect with a new family.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not see the altars full of holy hunger.
  • I'm not satisfied preaching to empty seats.
  • I'm not satisfied with being satisfied.
To all my friends who are enlisted in the army and fighting the good fight...keep doing what you're doing!  Reach more NUMBERS (people) - go ahead and fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION in spite of what your critics are saying!  Shoot for RECORD NUMBERS this weekend and BUST THE DEVIL IN THE CHOPS!

To BFWC - we haven't converted all 1.3 million residents of Central Indiana yet.  Is there anyone out there as hungry as I am to make a KINGDOM IMPACT?

Fall Harvest Fest '10 Promo Video

Saturday, October 2, 2010

20/20 Retreat

20/20 Group
Front Row (L-R): John Akers, Michael Morris, Eddie Shonk & Don Brinker
Back Row (L-R): Vincent Thomas, Jabes Moreno, Bill England, Russell Hylton
Unable to Attend: Rodney Smith & Derek Smith

 Had a great time with one of my 20/20 groups at the Kings Ranch this weekend!

These gentlemen have completed one year of mentorship and I'm extremely proud of their accomplishments!  20/20 is a one year mentorship program that emphasizes leadership principles from the Gospel of Mark.