Monday, October 25, 2010

A day at the NC State Fair

On Saturday - October 23rd - Josh, Stephanie, Alyse and Breeley came to Raleigh and we went to the NC State Fair. It was a great day and I was amazed by the big crowd. On that day the attendance count was 110,567! There were times when I paused and looked at the "sea of humanity" that stood before us.

This was truly another memory making day. Here are some of my reflections:

Alyse spent much of the day in her dad's arms.

We paused for a quick picture as the day at the fair was beginning.

Josh and Alyse enjoyed playing games and then jumped on the rides in the midway.

As you can see - Alyse was having a great time!

And by 10:00pm we were on the shuttle bus on our way home. A wonderful time was had by all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Top Ten list for Pastor Appreciation

According to : Pastor Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people.

As I sit in my office day I am so thankful for the privilege to serve the Lord through pastoral ministry. I took a piece of paper and begin to gather my thoughts to make a a "Top Ten" list of what I would really like for pastor appreciation. Here is my list for your consideration:

Actually listen to your pastor's sermons.

Better yet, apply the truth of your pastor's preaching to specific areas of your life and then say "Thank You Pastor, for helping me spiritually".

Take notes of your pastor's preaching, hopefully of the sermon.

Say "amen" when the pastor proclaims spiritual truth, because "amen" means "so be it!" and "right on!”

Say "amen" real loud but be careful because it will shock the pastor and some will think a spiritual revival is beginning.

If you hear someone say "Praise the Lord", stand up and actually do so! People will be convinced spiritual revival is taking place.

Give a good report about your pastor, bragging about your pastor in such a way that your relatives and friends just might want to attend church just to meet such a wonderful person.

Show up at church early on Sunday mornings for Sunday school and then spend a time in prayer before the worship experience. Enter the worship center before the countdown reaches 2 minutes.

Sit near the front of the worship center during the worship experience. The advantage is that you don't have to arrive as early as usual in order to get a back seat.

Invite friends and relatives to attend your church worship experience, introducing them to your pastor and better yet, introducing them to Jesus (they will be eternally grateful).

Here is a video of appreciation to pastors from the Church of the Nazarene:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

We are so blessed!

This past Saturday was a special family event as we attend the dedication service for Breeley May. It was a fun experience as the worship center at Elevation Church in Charlotte was decorated with tables covered with child friendly items and the platform decorated with transportation devices from a car seat to a motorcycle and things between. They represented the stages of growth and development as a baby grows to adult hood.

An excellent presentation was made about role and responsibilities of parenthood. It was a moving time when Josh took Breeley into his arms and began to pray for her and then as Stephanie and Josh prayed to dedicate Breeley to the Lord.

We were so glad that Danielle could join us for this family event. It brought joy to my heart to see her smile and enjoy the moment as she held Breeley in her arms.

The Saturday morning event was very special to us. Sharron and I are proud parents and grand parents. God has so richly blessed us! We are thankful.

For more insights about this special day - check out Stephanie's blog.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Whenever you serve others

This past Wednesday evening I gathered with a small group of people for our weekly corporate prayer time at the church. It was a heart moving experience as we prayed for many needs and petitions for others. I shared from my heart how I was encouraged and moved by the number of volunteers that worked this past Sunday for 10.10.10. It was amazing to see so many people serving the Lord. I mentioned a few in my last posting - but I wanted to just reflect with thanksgiving for those who serve the Lord. Here is a snap shot of what I mean:

Here is the devotional I shared on that Wednesday evening for our prayer time:

All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)

One reason why you need to be connected to a church family is to fulfill your calling to serve other believers in practical ways. The Bible says, "All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it."

(1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)

Your service is essential to the Body of Christ—just ask any local church. Each of us has a role to play, and every role is important. There is no small service to God; it all matters.

Likewise, there are no insignificant ministries in the church. Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable. Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. In my home, the most important light is not the large chandelier in our dining room but the little night light that keeps me from stubbing my toe when I get up at night. There is no correlation between size and significance.

Every ministry matters because we are all dependent on each other to function.
What happens when one part of your body fails to function? You get sick. The rest of your body suffers. Imagine if your liver decided to start living for itself: "I'm tired! I don't want to serve the body anymore! I want a year off just to be fed. I've got to do what's best for me! Let some other part take over."

What would happen? Your body would die. Today thousands of local churches are dying because of Christians who are unwilling to serve. They sit on the sidelines as spectators, and the Body suffers.

As I said when we began this study, God calls you to a service far beyond anything you could ever imagine. He created YOU for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for you to do. (see Ephesians 2:10)

Whenever you serve others in any way, you are actually serving God.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh what a day at NRN on 10.10.10

Oh what a day at NRN last Sunday!
It was time for our annual "pig-pickin'" event at NRN. This year we chose the theme - 10.10.10 - since the event took place on the 10th day of the 10th month of the year 2010. We moved our worship time to 10:00am and encouraged everyone to invite at least 10 people.

The preparation work began early in the week with many people working behind the scenes to make Sunday at great day. Elvin Barwick and Phil Richards were the first on the scene at the church early Sunday morning - hours before sunrise - as they cooked prepared the pork barbecue.

Then came the job to slice and dice the pork:

Meanwhile - in the kitchen - many were working. Special appreciation goes to Rodney and Pam Rhoads for their leadership and hours of labor for the Lord. This year's event went so well largely because of the work effort and servant spirit of Rodney and all those who worked behind the scenes in the kitchen - setting up tables - and preparing for the day.

The worship experience was awesome! The worship team led us in several hymns of our faith and an great time of worship. We paused to express our appreciation to Marty and Paula Lewis. As they made the final preparations to relocated to Nebraska, we sent them out with a prayer and our support for the days ahead.
At the time of invitation during the message many people responded and made life changing spiritual decisions.
The it was time to move to the parking lot for a great meal and time of fellowship.

The weather was awesome as the temperature reached into the high 80's. The meal was enjoyed as well as the inflatable bounce house for the children and the snow cone machine was enjoyed on such a hot day.
A favorite tradition has been continued at NRN. I believe this year will be remembered for years to come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tickets for Dave Ramsey Live Event

Discount tickets are available this Sunday at NRN. There are limited tickets available. This is the last Sunday for the tickets to be sold through the church.

In the near future we plan to launch the Financial Peace University classes at NRN!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A preview of 10.10.10

This coming Sunday will be very exciting at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene. Our annual outreach event will take place featuring our annual southern style pig-pickin’. This year we are calling the event 10.10.10. This is to remind of the 10th day of the 10th month of the year 2010. The worship experience begins at 10:00am

Elvin Barwick, Phil Richards and others will begin the cooking process in the early morning hours in preparation for the delicious pork barbecue. Rodney Rhoads and a team of volunteers have worked throughout this week in preparation for the meal to be served. Pastor Jordan and a team are prepared to set the tables and chairs outside for the meal and great fellowship following the morning worship experience. Many others are demonstrating a servant spirit and generosity as we prepare for an event to bring honor to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Here is a short preview of some of the worship planned for this event:

The worship experience will also feature our children singing songs from children's church and a special song from the worship team of our sister church IECON (a French-Africian church).

Remember - the worship experience begins at 10:00am. The Connection Cafe' opens at 9:00am with a limited offering of coffee, teas, water and delicious home made food.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Brand New Day

Today is a brand new day – a delightful opportunity to begin again.

I will not be held hostage by yesterday’s pain. If my heart remains open, and my spirit is right, yesterday’s pain becomes today’s gain. I will grow into a better person through the sufferings.

Today is a brand new day – and it needs to stand on it’s own.

I will not allow myself to be seduced by yesterday’s success, nor frustrated by yesterday’s failures. I shall fulfill my duty this day, and never look backwards for an excuse.

Today is a brand new day – and it’s the only one I have.

I refuse to let tomorrow’s concerns steal today’s joy. If tomorrow is going to be bad – why should it destroy the day I have? That would mean two bad days instead of just one. I want to make the best of what has been given to me.

Today is a brand new day – God’s gift for life investment. It is not to be squandered by worry or regret.

Consider the moments. Moments are the stuff life is made of. They march by us briskly in an unceasing parade. We can join in the march – or slump sullenly on the sidewalk, wondering why nobody throws candy anymore.

Today is a brand new day. Sunrise reminds us to practice resurrection.

No problem is greater than the God who holds this day in his hands. Each day breathes new life to broken dreams, shattered hopes, and rending disappointments. Somehow, situations always look better in the morning.

Today is a brand new day – so I’m going to go out and live it.

“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Thanks to my friend - Mark Wilson for this post.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Prayer of Jesus - Part 2

Today I continued in the teaching series about the Prayer of Jesus. As the worship experience was coming to a close I was moved by the many tears from people throughout the worship center. It was every evident to me that God was moving and lives were being changed. Amazing things happen when we choose to worship the Lord with others and are sensitive to His presence. I began my sermon with this simple introduction:

Jesus Christ is the progeny of the Creator, God of the Universe. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. Jesus we completely Divine – God in the Flesh – who humbled himself obedient unto death – even death on a cross. Today as we participated in the sacrament of communion we acknowledged the time when the created killed the Creator. As we explore the Prayer of Jesus together let us remember that prayer is the privilege of communication between a child and THE FATHER. It’s not a human right. Not a non-negotiable demand. It is a privilege – a privilege made possible only by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

It is amazing that God allows us to address Him as Father. In the Bible we are told we can even call Him - Father or Papa! An powerful illustration I shared today states the following:

A few years ago, a German scholar, Joachim Jeremias, was doing research in New Testament literature and discovered that in the entire history of Judaism—in all existing books of the Old Testament and all existing books of extra biblical Jewish writings dating from the beginning of Judaism until the tenth century A.D. in Italy—there is not a single reference of a Jewish person addressing God directly in the first person as Father. There were appropriate forms of address that were used by Jewish people in the Old Testament, and the children were trained to address God in proper phrases of respect. All these titles were memorized, and the term Father was not among them.

With the help of my assistants, I have examined the prayer literature of ancient Judaism…The result of this examination was, that in no place in this immense literature is this invocation of God as “Abba, Father” to be found…No Jew would have dared to address God in this manner. - Joachim Jeremias

The first Jewish rabbi to call God “Father” directly was Jesus of Nazareth. It was a radical departure from tradition, and in fact, in every recorded prayer we have from the lips of Jesus save one, he calls God “Father.” It was for that reason that many of Jesus’ enemies sought to destroy him; he assumed to have this intimate, personal relationship with the sovereign God of heaven and the creator of all things, and he dared to speak in such intimate terms with God. What’s even more radical is that Jesus says to his people, “When you pray, you say, ‘Our Father.’” He has given to us the right and privilege to come into the presence of the majesty of God and address him as Father because indeed he is our Father. He has adopted us into his family and made us coheirs with his only begotten Son/

And it is awesome to think that our God also makes available to us the resources of heaven itself. How great is God? Consider these words:

"Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling. O nations of the world, recognize the Lord, recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come to worship him. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor."
1 Chronicles 16:23-29 NLT

My friends, every day this past week I prayed the Prayer of Jesus. I discovered afresh and new this week that my job in praying is NOT to inform God; but to ENJOY God.

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down . . . you did awesome things that we did not expect, . . . Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:1-4

How long has it been since God “did awesome things that we did not expect?”

If you would like to hear this message, it is posted on the church web site. Simply click HERE for a direct link.