Saturday, May 30, 2009

A little contest

Get ready to worship at NRN! Will plan to begin the worship experience tomorrow at NRN with this song:

Let lift our voices to the Lord!

- I know - we don't have a person to play an electric guitar at NRN... but I really like this version from Third Day!

There will be a great time of worship and celebration tomorrow at NRN. I am "pumped" about my message from 1 Peter - Chapter 3.

By the way - here is a little contest: the first person to answer this question by posting the correct answer will receive a free gift from me at church tomorrow. The question is simple:

Fill in the blank: At North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene we call people to a _________________ relationship with Jesus Christ.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bryan Swaringen comes to NRN this Sunday!

Make your plans now to attend the FIFTH SUNDAY FAMILY EVENT
this Sunday (May 31st) at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.

We will meet in the Community Room at 6:00 p.m. for a family-style potluck. Bring a family meal, including dessert and drinks to share. We will provide the paper products, tables and chairs.
Our guarantee: A night of laughter!

Our special guest will be Bryan Swaringen, an award winning entertainer from Charlotte, NC.

Bryan is an Illusionist, who has performed in other countries, in multiple TV appearances, on Norwegian Cruise Lines, and at numerous private and corporate events. He's had standing,
weekly performing “gigs” at various businesses throughout the Charlotte area for the past 6 years. Now, having been in this field for over 17 years, he continues to share his passion for
providing fun, positive, clean entertainment.

Here's a taste of what we will experience:

I first met Bryan several months ago at an event in Charlotte, NC. At the conclusion of his show I was so impressed by his talent and his testimony that I asked for his business card and told him I would call him sometime in the future. I now consider Bryan a friend and really look forward to introducing him to you this Sunday evening at NRN.

Family Get-A-Way

Sharron and I arrived back in Raleigh this afternoon. Josh and Steph have allowed Alyse to come home with us to spend the weekend with "Papa" and "Meme". We are thrilled. We spent Thursday playing tourist in Atlanta, Ga.

We began our day in Atlanta by going to the World of Coca-Cola. It was way cool as we heard the history and story of Coca-Cola. The 4D exhibit was fantastic!

It was a fun day as we experienced the world of Coca-Cola.

The tour concludes by letting you enter the "tasting room" to taste Coke products from around the world. We that part was over - we found our way to the station for North America and enjoyed a cold coke. As we departed the room they gave us a bottled coke from that day of production. Then we concluded the experience with a stop at the product store.

Alyse fit right in...

Then we paused for a short lunch break at the food court in the CNN building. Soon we were off to the Georgia Aquarium - the largest Aquarium in the world!

Alyse and her dad enjoyed the opportunity to "touch" some of the animals:

Alyse enjoyed pointing out many sights. We heard her use new vocabulary to say things like "LOOK" and then give her signature pose:

The day seemed long after the hours of walking and seeing so many new things. Alyse knew where to go - in her father's loving arms...

We departed Atlanta after the rush hour traffic and made our way back to Charlotte shortly after midnight. Sharron and I, along with Alyse, made out way back to Raleigh in the late afternoon. Our family get-a-way was over - but many new memories established.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Worship from the inside out

This afternoon Sharron, Josh, Stephanie, Alyse and I arrived in Cummings Ga. to attend the Hillsong concert. WOW! It was fantastic! They began their American tour in Miami over the weekend and tonight was their second concert on this tour. I have several pictures I wanted to post however I am setting in a business center at a Holiday Inn Express and do not have access to the computer to place my memory card from my camera. So disappointed....

It was great to see Alyse raise her hands in worship. I had tears in my eyes as I worshipped the Lord. Josh and Steph shared with me that on Sunday they heard a great message about worship. They shared that our worship to the Lord should begin inward. Then our worship should share outward. Then our worship turns upward to our Great God.

I saw the evidence of this tonight. As the "concert" began the worship leader made it clear they Hillsong was NOT here to entertain or perform but to lead us in worship. The first song spoke to my heart and I sensed the presence of God in a powerful way. There were tears in my eyes before the first song came to a close. As I looked around I was taken back by the large crowd - well over 5,000 gathered in the outdoor amphitheatre. I could tell that our corporate worship was turning to a witness of our common love for the Lord. It is powerful to hear the voices of thousands singing praise to our mighty God! It did not take long for our hands to be lifted in worship and the focus of the evening directed upon the God of our salvation.

I am so glad that we had this opportunity to hear Hillsong live. Since I was unable to post the pictures I had for this evening I will at least leave you with a clip to experience a taste of Hillsong.

Here are the words:
A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise
Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
In my heart, in my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Chorus 2x
Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart is to bring You praise
From the inside out Lord, my soul cries out

My prayer is that on Sunday at NRN we will enter into a worship experience as we enter into the worship center. Let us prepare our hearts for God to invade our presence in a powerful way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hillsong: Tear down the walls

This afternoon Sharron and I will be travelling down to Charlotte to meet with Josh, Stephanie and Alyse. On Wednesday we will be travel to north of Atlanta, Ga. to attend a concert of the current Hillsong United tour.

This is going to be a GREAT concert where we can sing out our praise to the Lord. Here is a clip already posted on YouTube from a person who attended this concert in Australia:

If the song is a little loud for you - here are the words:

AUS Release: May 9, 2009
US Release: May 26, 2009

Tear down the walls see the world
Is there something we have missed
Turn from ourselves
Look beyond
There is so much more than this

And I dont need to see it to believe it
I dont need to see it to believe it
Cause I cant shake this
Fire deep inside my heart

Look to the skies hope arise
See His majesty revealed
More than this life there is love
There is hope and this is real

Cause I dont need to see it to believe it
I dont need to see it to believe it
Cause I cant shake this fire burning
Deep inside my heart

This life is Yours and hope is rising
As Your glory floods our hearts
Let love tear down these walls
That all creation would
Come back to You
Its all for You

Your Name is glorious
Your love is changing us
Calling us
To worship in spirit and in truth
As all creation returns to You

Oh for all the sons and daughters
Who are walking in the darkness
You are calling us to lead them back to You
We will see Your spirit rising
As the lost come out of hiding
Every heart will see this hope we have in You


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009 - We will remember

Memorial Day 2009 - We will remember...

Written and performed by Jeanie JaeCie Cunningham.

1. How can we look in youreyes, and not feel the pain ofempty broken hearts...Aching with hope for anotherday, for one more hour.In matter of moments,the world turned upside down,and the Shattered and stolendreams will never be found,but...

WE WILL REMEMBER!For the rest of our lives...WE WILL REMEMBER!Through the tears in our eyes...WE WILL REMEMBER!Those who gave up their lives...With every breath, we'll neverforget, WE WILL REMEMBER!

2. Now let the spirit of love, andthe healing touch of time, mendyour broken hearts...Let hope be your guide,to light the way,through the darkest of nights...We're in this together, United and Strong,...We'll lift up each other, And Go Marching On

3. One day in the future,we'll look back in time,And we'll think of this day,'n silently pray that this,"Way back when",never happens again...

Here is a blessing from the Gaither Vocal Band ( Russ Taff, David Phelps, Guy Penrod, and Bill Gaither) sing "America the Beautiful":

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pumped to preach

This evening I went to the church for my time of prayer. As I drove in front of the church I noticed the new flowers in front of the main doors.

Thanks to Phil and Joanie Richards for spending this morning planting these flowers. They are in honor of celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary!

Several people have shared with me that they expect a below average attendance at church tomorrow. I am praying and believing that who is suppose to be there - will be there. God has placed a message in my heart that I am pretty pumped to preach. Usually I say the more people there are - the better I preach - but I already feel an anointing of God upon my message and plan to go to church tomorrow expecting to experience God in a mighty way.

Though several members of the worship team will be away - I look forward to raising my voice on the first song tomorrow - here is my preparation clip:

And in preparation for our time of prayer we will sing a very familiar and favorite hymn. Listen and also read the ways God uses His grace upon a broken people and a broken world.

Following this song - we will pause for a moment of silence on the Sunday before Memorial Day to pay tribute to those who have given their life for our freedom to worship. I have been stuck by the simple saying this year - That all gave some - but some gave all.

If you wish to take 1:00 minute in silence - here is a simple guide similar to the one that we are using:

Alyse swimming

Thinking back over the last few weeks I think often of the quick trip Sharron and I made to Charlotte last week. We arrived just in time to meet with Josh and Stephanie to witness the first swimming lesson for Alyse. Here are the reflects of my mind:

Enjoy this video that brings joy to my heart:

Thanks Steph for posting this on your facebook page and allowing me to "steal" it from you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An extended learning curve

I’m Back! Sorry for the long delay in my posting on my blog. Over the last three weeks I have been overwhelmed with my learning curve. You probably know what a learning curve is. According to Wikipedia the term learning curve refers to a graphical representation of the "average" rate of learning for an activity or tool. It can represent at a glance the initial difficulty of learning something and, to an extent, how much there is to learn after initial familiarity. Example:

It began on Tuesday April 28th as I attended the Thr3e Conference in Charlotte, NC. This was an outstanding day for several reasons. I enjoyed the day with Danielle, my daughter. I made a great connection with a new friend from Raleigh. I was there to assist Stephanie and Josh with Alyse following Stephanie’s automobile accident.

Here are some of the truths I learned and are applying to my life from Thr3e:

1. Thr3e was not really a conference. On the website it read:

On February 5, 2006, 118 people showed up at the first ever Elevation Church worship experience. Three years later, with three portable campuses, over 3,000 salvations, and a regular attendance over 5,000, we’re ready to unload everything we’ve learned. Say hello to the first (and only) THREE event.

It’s not a typical conference. No frills, no screens, no lights, no music. This is it - one day, one microphone, and three sessions with one of the nation’s top church leaders. You don’t want to miss Pastor Steven Furtick, as he gives a behind the scenes look at the top three things he has learned in the first three years of Elevation Church.

The concept is simple. As Elevation Church approaches three years of age, we want to share some of what we’ve learned while its still fresh. And we want to do it in a setting that is small enough to have maximum impact. Registration will be limited so act fast. The entire Elevation Staff will be there and we’ve built in time so everyone can connect with our staff and have a chance to meet Pastor Steven Furtick. We’ll also be downloading all attendees with all of our operational documents (worth the trip!)

2. The church needs to have a spirit of audacity about it. Churches aren’t supposed to be shrinking violets but instead be revolutionizing, audacious, in your face organisms that happen to love you enough to want you to go to heaven.

3. God doesn’t step in until you step out! You have got to go do it. It won’t happen if you don’t try.

4. Church leaders need to be themselves. Don’t imitate others or try to do it their way. Be yourself and let God use you. The thing that makes you unique, makes you POWERFUL. I love this one.

5. Think inside the box. That is to say, look at what you have to work with and WORK IT! It’s easy to wish for things you don’t have but all too often we let that stop us.

6. You can never build a church on the people who have left. Invest in the people who are there!

7. The space between Hope & Change is PAIN!

The next Big Curve came on Monday May 11th - when Pastor Ryan and I traveled to Cummings, Georgia to attend a one day conference called “The Sticky Church”

The featured speaker was Dr. Larry Osborne.

Larry is the senior pastor of North Coast Church, recognized as one of the most innovative churches in America for its pioneering work in the area of multi-site, video venues and for 80% participation in adult sermon-based small groups. Larry is the author of the new book Sticky Church.

Another great speaker for the day was a friend that I met a number of years ago at a conference in Orlando. He is the founding pastor of a great church in Charleston, SC. His name is Greg Surratt and is a friend on Facebook.

My mind was filled with great ides and encouragement after attending this time in Georgia. The insights were great and the time with Pastor Ryan was worth the trip.

THE THIRD BIG CURVE - came today as I travelled the 12 miles from my house to Raleigh First Church of the Nazarene. It was great to connect with some friends but expecilally to see Dr. Stan Toler a friend of over 20 years. I once again heard his presentation on the Five Star Church.

The past three weeks have been packed with connecting with new friends and friends from the past. I must admit - I am loving life! Now that I have finally paused to post this blog - I think I shall post again soon! Hopefully, I am have gotten my "groove" back after such a long term of learning curve. Now - just to apply all this "stuff" to my life.....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day 2009


On this Mother's Day 2009 I am missing my mother who passed away several years ago. I am so sad that she never saw my grand daughter Alyse. I cherish my wife Sharron who is the mother of our children. I thank God for Danielle and Stephanie and wish Stephanie a happy Mother's Day.

Here is a short clip that Pastor Brittany will be using today at NRN. Enjoy:

Here is the copy of the front page of today's worship folder - a tribute to moms:

On May 5, 2009 Amy Grant released her first new, non-Christmas music in five years, a four-song EP in celebration of Mother’s Day called She Colors My Day. In the current issue of Today’s Christian Women the mother, philanthropist, author, and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter spoke about the holiday and the people she’ll celebrate today.

Here is a portion of that interview. Amy Grant says” One day a dear friend asked, “What are you afraid of?” And I said, “I don’t even know.” She challenged me to just let it go.

It inspired me to write a song called “Unafraid,” basically about being a woman. The first verse is about my relationship with my husband, Vince. The second verse is about my children. And the last verse is about my mother. I wrote the song in a hotel room somewhere in Illinois, and I have never cried so hard writing a song in my whole life. It made me think of 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out fear.” So if you’re motivated by love and trusting in love, you’re unafraid.

How has your faith played into this struggle with fear?

Right here, right in the middle of watching my children and watching my parents, is a great vantage point on life. It makes me have more confidence in eternity. For all my mother’s confusion, she’s most lucid when she’s praying.

So from a faith perspective, I’m thankful. Hard times kind of simplify your faith. You realize it’s really just about believing. Do I believe God loves us? Do I believe that in good times or bad times we’re never alone? Yes. Yes, I believe that. And that belief changes how I maneuver through these situations—and through life.

Today we wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all moms who are present and express our appreciation to all the women of our church. Pastor Brittany Cottle will bring the message this morning.
Pastor Rick begins a new series of messages next Sunday.

Friday, May 8, 2009

NRN Core Values and Mission Statement

On Sunday morning, May 3, 2009, I revealed the results of the recent refocus process and presented the newly-defined core values, mission statement and logo for North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene. The core values of North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene are as follows:

Bible-centered preaching
Reaching people who are away from God
Fellowship and community
Strong pastoral leadership
Godly servant leadership
Celebrative and relevant worship

The logo design

The logo design is intentionally simple, but has been created to reflect these concepts:
The circle/ring is a symbol of entirety, wholeness, completeness;
The heart relates directly to whole-hearted commitment;
The cross in the center communicates that Christ is at the center of all we do;
Orange is the color of fire, a symbol of the Holy Spirit;
The borders around each element are rough to imply that we are not perfect when we make a whole-hearted commitment to Christ, but that is where the work of wholeness begins.

Listen to the sermon