Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
How a commitment to love people as they are brought growth to Creekside Church.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Saturday, January 26, 2013
As I prepare my heart for church I love to take the time to sing the worship set with no one but the LORD listening:
As I continue in the current teaching series, here is the theme of the message:
Friday, January 25, 2013
Here is another mix arranged by David Crowder:
Here is the traditional mix for those who prefer a more traditional - classic mix:
The mix may vary but the truth is proclaimed -
Hope you enjoyed them!
Check back tomorrow morning for the worship set planned for NRN this coming Sunday!
Thursday, January 24, 2013
POINT: This lesson speaks to you and those you serve. Have you put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6)? Have you prepared yourself to fight the good fight?
POINT: The fundamentals of the faith, such as prayer, Bible reading, stewardship, and a heart for the lost are essential if we are to mature as a body of believers.
POINT: This is especially true in the church. Pastors will come and go. The look of a congregation will change over the years. The one constant in a successful church is unity. The second chapter of Acts becomes our playbook.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As we walked out door of the prayer room I was surprised by a short conversation about the TV show Duck Dynasty.
Here is a clip from YouTube that I found very interesting:
This clip was recorded on a FLIP recording device. Here is the transcript:
This footage was captured on November 8, 2012 at Phil's duck blind near his home
I'm sorry for the poor audio quality. I was recording this on a flip cam. Here's a transcript of what Phil said:
PHIL: Last night was the first time from all the episodes, cause I kept ragging them about it, because every time I would offer a prayer, you know, in Jesus name, amen. I noticed they always cut out in Jesus name and I thought, so I told them, I said, now I know you boys is just hired by A&E to film us doing what we do here. I said, but, we're all counting time by Him. I would think of all the individuals ever to walk on planet earth, the way it turned out, we only count time by one of them, ONE, I said Jesus of Galilee. I said I would think you wouldn't mind using His name in any situation since you're counting time by Him. And they're all really looking at me like we've never thought about that. I said well, I'm just sayin. If you're counting time by someone I would think He would be at least worthy of investigation. A lot, been a lot of characters on planet earth, I said you know, what did they call all of the years before He got here? I said you call them before He got here.
BRENT: And so last night they finally included it right?
PHIL: They included it last night so we're makin' headway.
Tonight at 6:30 we will gather again for prayer. You are invited to join us or send us a prayer request via a comment. Please know that when we pray - the trust and believe in the power of God and we conclude our prayers "...in Jesus Name...Amen."
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Premiers March 3, 2013, on the History Channel
Here is a glimpse into this series:
Another moment to be remembered: Featuring Roma Downey as Mary.
The miniseries will begin on March 3, 2013 and conclude on March 31 - Easter Sunday
Many times I am concerned that the History Channel is re-writing the Bible for our generation. I hold the conviction that HISTORY is in fact, HIS STORY. I believe God is in control. I hope this miniseries lives up to it's claims!
Monday, January 21, 2013
More and more I am growing perplexed about if people coming to our church for the first time are really "guest" or "visitors". Here is an article that make me think - and felt I should pass it along:
Church may simply be another option, or it may be the only option, but these are the true unchurched. These visitors are a mission field. If we introduce them to Christ, they become forever loyal to the church where they found Him.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Here is the worship we have planned for tomorrow:
We will pause to take our petitions and request to the Lord. It is good to pray to God. He longs for His people to come before Him in prayer. Then we will sing of His greatness.....
My message is once again from the Old Testament:
Friday, January 18, 2013
First: The first trend observed is a transition in the church that has forced us to reconsider the definition of “regular” church attendance. Irregular church attendance is the new regular. To put it simply, because people attend less frequently, it takes more people to average 100 than it did 10 years ago.
Second: A second observation is that because of the age group churches are attracting (under 35) and the lack of church background for many, the typical giving patterns are also different. What motivates this age group to contribute is not a commitment to the institution but rather a response to investing in people and causes. Giving levels are further impacted by high debt loads and other factors. This means that leaders must work more diligently to develop resources because it takes more people to generate a basic monetary amount than it did 10 years ago.
Third: The third issue has to do with measuring ministry. Traditional measurements have focused on “bodies in the pews and greenbacks in the plates.” In other words, the number of people attending and the amount of money they were contributing were two key indicators of a church’s health and vitality. In fact, in the 1970s and 1980s, pastors and churches were introduced to the “science” of church growth in which statistical formulas were used to predict results. Now it seems that most of those formulas are obsolete and leaders have the difficult task of determining what is true of the setting in which they minister. The following is an attempt to define normality for my setting.
The New Normal for Attendance
Someone asked me recently if I was upset about our attendance patterns. Quickly, I confessed that I was perplexed and perturbed by the erratic attendance patterns. The composition of the congregation that I came to pastor 15 years ago is different today. My sense is that there is not a single factor but rather a constellation of changes that reflect the complexity of defining what is normal and an emerging new reality.
Some of the trends I have observed include:
- Church is increasingly on a list of competing options for Sunday mornings.
- Some people attend multiple churches depending on programs offered, personal needs, and schedules of family members.
- Participants who had been driving a distance are struggling to afford the gasoline.
- An increasing number of families are gone during the summer months.
- Many people who may not have been able to take week-long vacations are opting instead for a number of weekend excursions, extending well into the fall.
- While older, core Nazarenes have held fairly consistent attendance patterns, their numbers are dwindling due to deaths and major health changes. With that reality, we find that it takes more than one person to make up for their attendance. While there has been a wonderful influx of new people, particularly younger families, their attendance patterns are much less consistent than those of the older members.
In the second decade of my ministry, Elmer Towns reported that the average church attendee missed seven times a year. More recently, Bud Reedy, pastor at Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in York, Pennsylvania, shared that as they have studied attendance trends, they find average attendance is about 1.8 times a month, with a 40 percent turnover in the children’s department every week. While this may vary in each context, frequency of attendance has changed dramatically. Regardless of the particular formula used for a church’s situation, it is readily apparent that it takes more people to average 100 in worship than it did when attendance patterns were “more normal.”
The New Normal for Giving
While the traditional Nazarene gives tithes and offerings, and is even willing to make a weekly commitment to Faith Promise, those new to the church, as well as younger families, are not as consistent. Despite the fact that we are living in a weak economy, the evidence suggests that other factors are at play and will require a long term strategy.
- Many people have been impacted by the economic downturn. Tight budgets have become tighter. We have responded to more needy families in the congregation this year than I can remember in any of the last 10 years.
- People under 35 tend to give to people and causes instead of to institutions.
- Debt load for the under 35 generation is incredibly high due to life style choices, educational loans, credit card debt, and mortgages.
- Some retirees, dependent on income from investments, have found themselves with less discretionary income than they had anticipated.
The New Normal for Measurement
While living in the shadow of mega churches where comparisons are often made, we are also aware that many churches are either in decline or have hit a plateau. In my setting, we have noticed several important changes.
- While attendance and financial giving appear to be at a plateau, changing attendance and giving patterns simply reflect that we are ministering to as many or perhaps more families, but our measurements are not as effective because of the previously mentioned changes.
- As we look at the Great Commission, “To go and make disciples,” the changes in attendance and giving patterns may serve to create a new definition of normal. The trends, over which we have little control, force us to wrestle with the more fundamental questions. Are people coming to faith in Christ? Are people experiencing life transformations as they respond to the message of holiness? It is this focus that continues to energize me and helps me view the future optimistically.
This is a period of unprecedented transitions that are not necessarily initiated internally. I would compare this period of my ministry to what I observe on a popular TV program where folks risk their lives to fish for king crab on seas that are unpredictable and deadly. Within the context of one fishing season those workers experience changing seas and unpredictable conditions that spawn a wide range of emotions from exhilaration to panic and fear. Why would anyone do that?
Personally, there is no greater joy than when I look around me during the Sunday morning service and see twentysomethings sitting in the front rows, praising God because He has delivered them from sin and its enslaving addictions. The joy on their faces reveals that God is healing brokenness. When that happens, my anxieties about what is normal are calmed, and I am at peace with God’s incredible grace that is bringing lost children back home. I confess that I do not know what is normal about attendance and giving, but I do know that when lost people find God, that is “normal,” and God is pleased.
Russ Long is senior pastor at Bel Air Church of the Nazarene in Bel Air, Maryland.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Front row(l-r): Nickette, Hillbilly Hogette, Stonyette, Spiggy, Hog Ed, Porkchop
Back row(l-r): Big Mac, Big George, Mikey T, Howiette, Jovette, Mikette, Edette
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
that is according to his will.
- Your Kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10).
- Give us our daily bread today (Matthew 6:11)
- Forgive our sins as we forgive others (Matthew 6:12).
- Bless your people (Numbers 6:23-27).
- Build your church, Lord (Matthew 16:18).
- Revive us, Lord (Isaiah 57:15).
- Send out more workers, Father (Matthew 9:38).
- Bring (fill in the blank) to salvation (2 Peter 3:9).
- Spread the gospel to every ethnic group (Matthew 24:14).
- Give us victory over the forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-20).