Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mama, the cat ate the Gaithers

Tonight we gather for prayer at NRN.  I usually post about the importance of prayer, but I also felt I should share a clip that DJ and some others from our church would really like.  Here's the clip:

Now that you have enjoyed a good laugh... consider joining us for prayer at NRN at 6:30 this evening.  I my reading this week - here are a few quotes that touched my heart:

“Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God."

"Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit praying. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens."

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chonda Pierce - What a friend we have in Jesus

Another person came up to me immediately after the service on Sunday and recommended a clip they wish I had shown.  Chonda understand humor, she grew up in a Nazarene parsonage. 

Here is the extended version of the requested clip that I really like.   Here it is:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Humor that is really Good News!

Yesterday was an awesome day at NRN!  Many people have already placed pictures of the event on Facebook.  Over the next few days I plan to post some funny clips that I did not use on Sunday but thought you would like.  enjoy!

The first clip is from Matthew Farmer.  He sent me a link to a Christian comic he recommends. 
Now I am a fan also.  Enjoy the message from Brad Stine:

Need a little humor?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Reflections from my messge at NRN July 28 2013

Today our worship center was filled with a wonderful season of singing praise unto our great God and then a time of prayer that was blessed by God.  Then the time for the message came and BOOM!

Laughter was heard across the room and the Word of God was presented in a unique way today.

 “The One enthroned in heaven laughs.”                        Psalm 2:3

 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”                               
                                                                                    Proverbs 4:23

 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”                    Nehemiah 8:10

Here is one of my personal favorites that I placed into my message...

This is a very surprising intro from a stand-up comedian. 
This  is Steve Harvey, a comedian, addressing a secular audience.
The subject is: "How Would You Introduce Christ to a Room Full of People?"
It's hard to imagine that this is a comedian and not a preacher, and this is an audience and not a congregation.  At the close of this presentation, he broke into tears overcome by the presence of the Lord and ended the show!  Jesus is a show stopper!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Preparing for worship on July 28 2013

As I prepare for worship tomorrow at NRN I am filled with excitement about my message and our time together.  God has spoken to my spirit recently about my sermons and sermon preparation. I have had the privilege to preach in front of thousands of people at one time or hundreds of people at each of three services on a Sunday morning. I now preach on Sunday morning to less than 100 people each week.  I have resolved to prepare my sermons for the proclamation of the Gospel, to glorify God and extol the name of Jesus Christ!  I spend as much time or more each week preparing my sermons, knowing and believing that God will be pleased by my study and preparation and will anoint His Word!  I preach to less than 100 people with a sermon that could be preached before thousands.  In fact, I believe our church is on the verge of explosive growth in the days ahead and I will be preaching to well over 100 people each Sunday before the snow falls in the Triangle Area of NC this year.

My audience is not those who come to listen, but God and God alone.  I pray He will be pleased. 

This Sunday we will feature a time of laughter and fun followed by our church picnic. We are in the heart of the summer and I think a perfect time to laugh in church.

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…
a time to laugh.”                                                    Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
 The Bible says “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”    Proverbs 17:22a

G.K. Chesterton once wrote: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. Never forget that the devil fell by force of gravity. He who has the faith has the fun.”

Here is the revised order of worship for tomorrow at NRN:


Following the morning worship and a time of laughter ... we then gather in the worship center
for our annual church picnic.  Plenty of great food off the grill and favorite dishes being carried in to share.  YOU are invited to join us!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our new pastor...

A preacher transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service....only 3 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food....NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told the ushers he would sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.

 As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation........"We would like to introduce to you our new Pastor"....The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up.....and started walking down the aisle.....the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him....he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment....then he recited

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

This is a great illustration... but what if it really happened? 

Click HERE.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How Much Time Do Pastors Spend Preparing a Sermon?

 Christian Post Contributor
Most church members give little thought to the amount of time it takes a pastor to prepare each sermon. In reality, sermon preparation is a large portion of a pastor's workweek. Unfortunately, this work is invisible to typical church members. They don't realize the enormous amount of time it takes just to prepare one sermon.

I recently conducted an unscientific Twitter poll to ask pastors how much time they spend in sermon preparation. For this question I asked for the amount of preparation time for one sermon. Many pastors must prepare more than one sermon per week, so their workload to prepare to preach is even greater.

I am pleased and appreciative for the number of responses I received. Here are the results of the poll by three-hour increments:

·        1 to 3 hours — 1%

·        4 to 6 hours — 9%

·        7 to 9 hours — 15%

·        10 to 12 hours — 22%

·        13 to 15 hours — 24%

·        16 to 18 hours — 23%

·        19 to 21 hours — 2%

·        22 to 24 hours — 0%

·        25 to 27 hours — 1%

·        28 to 30 hours — 2%

·        31 to 33 hours — 1%

The results were fascinating to me. Here are some key points I found in the study:

1. Most pastors responded with a range of hours. I took the midpoint of each range for my data.

2. Seventy percent of pastors' sermon preparation time is the narrow range of 10 to 18 hours per sermon.

3. Keep in mind that these numbers represent sermon preparation time for just one sermon. Many pastors spend 30 or more hours in preparing messages each week.

4. The median time for sermon preparation in this study is 13 hours. That means that half of the respondents gave a number under 13 hours; the other half gave a number greater than 13 hours.

5. Most of the respondents who gave a response under 12 hours indicated they were bivocational pastors.

6. If the sermon was part of a series, the pastors indicated they spent even more upfront time to develop the theme and preliminary issues for the sermons to be preached.

7. Many of the pastors are frustrated that they don't have more time for sermon preparation.

8. A number of the pastors indicated that finding consistent and uninterrupted sermon preparation time was difficult.

Most pastors have workweeks much longer than we realize because of the invisible nature of sermon preparation. As for me, the results of this poll have caused me to pray even more fervently for my pastor. His work is long. His work is never-ending. But the work he does is vitally important.

I pray that we all will remember to pray for our pastors every day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Power of Prayer....

As we prepare for a time of prayer this evening I am trusting God for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon us.

"If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith."
                                                                                                       -- Martin Luther

Tonight I want to gather and pray audacious prayers before God.

Here is a short primer for our time with God:

What are you praying about?  Join us for corporate prayer this evening at 6:30 at NRN!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A time of personal prayer and worship.

I recently spent an extended time in personal worship and prayer.
Here are some of the elements of my worship:

I prepared my heart and entered an fantastic season of prayer:

And of course - a message from the Word of God.  This is the third time I listened to this message.

It is worth the time for a message from the Lord!

I am so pumped to preach this coming Sunday at NRN.   Get ready for an awesome visitation of the Holy Spirit! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another message that spoke to my heart - Note the challenge....

Here is another video from the Convocation at Liberty University. 

On October 5, 2012 at Convocation, North America's largest weekly gathering of Christian students, Kirk Cameron shared his personal testimony as a "recovering atheist" with students and alumni during Homecoming Weekend.

Cameron is an actor/producer who first became famous when he starred as Mike Seaver on ABC's "Growing Pains" in the 1980s. He is also well known for his role in "Fireproof," the highest grossing independent film of 2008 that focused on the importance of Christian values in marriage, as a star in the "Left Behind" movies, created from the bestselling books by longtime Liberty supporter Tim LaHaye, and as producer of the new documentary, "Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure." He continues to impact the world for Christ through marriage seminars and speaking engagements across the country, as co-host of The Way of the Master television series, and through interviews with major television news networks

By the way.  I do own a DVD of the movie Monumental - In search of America's National Treasure.

Challenge:   If 15 people from the Raleigh area comment on this posting I will plan to host a FREE viewing of this DVD within the next 90 days. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A reflection from my message today at NRN July 21 2013

Here is a simple reflection from my message this morning at NRN.  I shared about how NOT to discover God's will - then six principles to discover God's will. 

Last Sunday as I sat in a church with over 3,000 people present I could not help but think "if this music was our worship set I know many people would get up and walk out.  It was so loud that several people around me asked for ear plugs.

I sang as loud as I could knowing no one around me would really hear me. Then, the tears flowed down my face as the words of the songs spoke to my heart.  My prayer that morning was sincere and earnest - Oh God, keep me faithful to call upon my life to serve as a servant leader and lead pastor of the church I serve at this time in my life.  I love being pastor at NRN.  I cry out to God to grow our church and bring people to fill each and every chair.

 My sermon is dedicated to God and I preach to His glory and honor!  I want to be found in the very center of God's will, faithfully serving HIM!

If you enjoyed the Jeanne Robertson clip I used this morning - get ready to laugh at this example of right brain - left brain.

When it comes to discovering God's will - here is a reinforcement of what I shared this morning:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Preparing for worship on July 21 2013

Tomorrow at NRN I plan to bring the current teaching series to a close with a message that I prepared for last week but found it God's will that I not preach it until this week.  I am even more excited about this message for this week, believing God has something awesome planned for our time together this coming Sunday at NRN.  Here is the worship set we have planned for tomorrow:

The greatest day in history, death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty Cross, The empty grave
Life eternal, You have won the day
Shout it out: Jesus is alive
He's alive

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

When I stand in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours, Jesus You are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive
He's alive

Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That You have saved me
Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious Name

Each Sunday, we have taken the lids of several favorite board games such as Trivial Pursuit, Risk and Monopoly. Tomorrow, we take the lid off the game of LIFE. 

God’s will for life is not a mystery. He has made His will plain. He has given everything we need to know His will for today.  Author, Beth Moore has said, “When we choose to walk with God rather than off the path to handfuls of other options, we find His perfect will for our lives.”

Join us tomorrow at NRN for an anointed message from God about discovering His will in life. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

How should the church respond to the Zimmerman Verdict?

Here is a post I borrowed but fully believe:

I’ve been watching with great interest the happenings surrounding the Zimmerman trial and verdict.

Here’s five things that I think:

•No one won - A 17 year old is dead, a 29 year old is sentenced to a life of watching his back, one family grieves, both families are forever changed & our nation is more polarized than it was a year ago. Everybody loses in a situation like this.

•Only two people really know the truth - You may think you do, but you don’t. Think about what I just said. Some people are spouting off as if they have an inside scoop. They don’t. I don’t. You don’t. None of us do. Only two people know and one of them is dead.

•Our justice system worked – Six ordinary people devoted several weeks of their lives and came up with a unanimous verdict after hearing all the evidence. Our system is based on presumed innocence, which means the prosecution will always be at the disadvantage. I’m glad they are. Personally, I’d rather see an occasional guilty person walk rather than an innocent one go to prison. I’m not making a judgment on Mr. Zimmerman’s innocence or guilt. I didn’t sit thru a trial and hear all the facts. I’m just saying the system worked, whether I agree or disagree.

•The Trayvon Martin family were incredibly gracious and respectful in their response. I cannot imagine their disappointment and pain. I could only hope to be as courageous if I was in their shoes.

•God can bring good out of anything. His promises are true regardless of circumstances. He could use this to draw people to him who are looking for truth, open up conversations on race relationships or do any of a number of things that my mind cannot conceive. I know that he cares and is a loving impartial judge with all knowledge and wisdom. I know that he is at work on solutions before we even recognize that there are problems.

What if we all prayed for His kingdom to come and his will to be done? We if we all acted with humility rather than hubris? What if we saw the world thru lenses of “we” rather than “us versus them”.

What if?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”              (The Gospel according to Matthew 5:9 TLV)


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cammie Lynley and mom are home from the hospital

We are very excited about the birth of our new grand daughter - Cammie Lynley.  We are celebrating that Cammie Lynley is now home from the hospital.  Stephanie is doing well. Cammie Lynley continues to gain weight and show improvement in her health. 

Ready for some much better pictures? It was awesome to see the photographer at work as she is such a good friend of Stephanie and Joshua.  Here is some of her work:

Alyse and Breeley help feed Cammie Lynley

Celebrating a job well done!

Time for a "sisters" moment

Cammie Lynley poises for her first picture without a cap or bow.

Alyse is going to make a great big sister!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When the prayer meeting becomes the most important meeting, revival is just around the corner.

Tonight at 6:30pm we will gather for prayer at NRN.  Here is a truth I read today:

When the prayer meeting becomes the most important meeting, revival is just around the corner.

In preparation for prayer - Here is the skinny on prayer..... 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The message at NRN from July 14 2013

Many times I have shared that my priorities in life are simple.  My relationship with Jesus Christ is first and paramount in my life.  This past year I have focused and spoke to my church family about the importance that Jesus be in the center of everything.  More than ever, I strive to place Jesus in the center of my relationships, my finances, my everything.   Following my faith and relationship with Jesus Christ comes family. The importance of family have shaped my life more in the past six years than ever before. God had blessed Sharron and I with grandchildren as our family continues to grow.
This past week we received a phone call from our daughter Stephanie that she was diagnosed  with preeclampsia. On Friday July 12 she was taken into surgery for the birth of Cammie Lynley.  Stephanie and Cammie Lynley remain in the hospital as we wait for Cammie's weight to increase and for Stephanie to stabilize from the eclampsia. 
On Saturday I faced a major decision.  It was really a no-brainier as I had prepared for several weeks a message on the Game of Life with an emphasis on knowing the will of God.  I quickly worked on a plan to not be at NRN on Sunday and to remain with family during this time.  With the help of several good friends I was able to provide the power points and materials I usually prepare each week for the worship service.  I also provided a video of Dr. Stan Toler to bring the morning message.
On April 25, 2012 at Convocation, Dr. Stan A. Toler spoke to Liberty University students about renewing their minds to the things of Christ. He urged students to choose a positive mindset over seeing everything in a negative light. After sharing a heartwarming story of a girl who used the word "fantastic" to describe every day, he asked students to find a word and share a smile with the world.

Dr. Toler is general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. After serving 40 years as pastor in four different churches (Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, and Oklahoma), He was chosen for this highest elected office in 2009 at the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. Stan has written over 80 books, including his best-sellers, God Has Never Failed Me, But He's Sure Scared Me to Death a Few Times; The Buzzards Are Circling, But God's Not Finished With Me Yet. He is gifted leader, author, and inspirational speaker.  In June 2013 Dr. Toler became general superintendent emeritus in the Church of the Nazarene,
In case you missed it - or want to see it again.  Here is the message presented at NRN this past Sunday:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Results of the pastoral review July 2013

 I thought I should provide you with the text of the letter read regarding the action of the church board last week about the pastoral review and my decision.  This letter was read to the church family at NRN last Sunday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Introducing Cammie Lynley

On July 12, 2013 Cammie Lynley came into the world at 8:53pm.  She weighted in at 4 lbs. and 7 oz. and a little over 18" long. 

As Sharron and I held her in our arms it flooded our minds with memories of Danielle and Stephanie who weighed 4 lbs. 2 oz. and 4 lbs. 3 oz.

Cammie is as beautiful as a doll baby.  See for yourself:

Today Stephanie remains in the hospital.  Here is a portion of the prayer request we sent to our church family over the weekend:
Stephanie was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and is now being treated for symptoms of postpartum eclampsia. Visitation at the hospital is limited to immediate family only. Please pray for Stephanie's recovery and health of Cammie. 

Preparing for worship at NRN on July 14

As I prepare for worship on Sunday God is moving in my heart.  I am preparing this post on Tuesday evening after my wife Sharron has departed to Charlotte to be with our daughter Stephanie.  There is a real possibility that when this post becomes public that I will have a new grand daughter.  I am already giving praise to God for His wonderful provisions upon my family.

Here is the order of worship we have prepared for Sunday:

I hope these songs will help you enter into a time of praise and worship to our great God!

Be sure and be in the Lord's House on the Lord's Day ~ translation ~ go to church today and worship the Lord in the Spirit of holiness!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Join us for Comedy Cafe' at NRN!

When was the last time you had a good, spontaneous deep-bellied laugh? Do you laugh when you’re feeling happy, and do feel happy when you laugh? Are you drawn to people with a good sense of humor?
 Laughing helps us to experience joy in the everyday and be present in the moment. So, come out to the COMEDY CAFE' this Friday and Saturday night for the Laugh you wanted to experience since....well... the last time you laughed and that was probably at the COMEDY CAFE'.
Come and see us at our new home. North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene. 7:30pm. 9200 Strickland Rd. Raleigh NC. The same great players and same great Cafe' and we even have POPCORN...
By the way....when you come into the parking lot of the church...just follow the signs and the balloons....
This is going to be a great show. SEE YOU THERE!!! Visit our new website  for more information and click on our Players page to read all about us....and it is all true!!!
 For additional information you can also click HERE


Worship is NOT all about the music...Part 2

Here is the conclusion of the interview with Christ Tomlin featured yesterday on my blog.

Chris Tomlin is one of the most prolific worship artists in the industry and he has enjoyed success beyond his wildest dreams . He was in Toronto recently on the Canadian portion of his "Hello Love" tour and Cheryl Weber sits down with him to chat about his songs crossing denominational and age boundaries, the new church he's planting in Atlanta and how he keeps worship fresh night after night.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Worship is NOT all about the music... Part 1

As I am working on sermons today I came across an interview with Chris Tomlin.

Chris Tomlin is one of the most prolific worship artists in the industry and he has enjoyed success beyond his wildest dreams . He was in Toronto recently on the Canadian portion of his "Hello Love" tour and Cheryl Weber sits down with him to chat about his songs crossing denominational and age boundaries, the new church he's planting in Atlanta and how he keeps worship fresh night after night.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The prayer I pray each day

1 Chronicles 4:10 contains one of the shortest, simplest, most powerful prayers ever prayed:

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”

I pray these four prayers every morning:

1. Lord, would you bless me today in every way YOU want to bless me.

2. Would you increase my territory so that I can be used more effectively by you.

3. Would you place your hand upon me, and use it to touch others.

4. And would you keep me from harm and harm from me.

 These are prayers God wants to answer. God wants to bless his people. But various reasons, he often waits until we ask. So ask! (Key: ask him to bless you in the ways he wants to. You have some ideas; give him permission to initiate his ideas for blessing you.)

God wants to increase the size of your responsibilities. Jesus came to build his church. Ask him to entrust as much of the building of it to you as you can handle. Then ask him to enlarge the territory of your heart and character so you can handle more. Life on earth is about training for reigning with him in heaven. Grow as big as you can.

God wants to place his hand upon you. Invite him to do so every day.

And God wants to steer you towards significance and away from pain (unless that pain will result in your gain), so ask him for that as well. – Jabez did, and “God granted his request.”

I not only pray this prayer for myself, I pray it for Sharron and my family and my church family,  every day.

I have discovered that there seems to be a cumulative effect to this prayer. It could be that prayers are like seeds sown in the ground. You pray them and tend them, and after an interval, they begin to sprout and grow.

 I’d be interested in your feedback about this.

“I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and my prayer.”
                                                         – Psalm 17:6

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Church Rebounds With a Change of Heart

How a commitment to love people as they are brought growth to Creekside Church.

During its heyday during the Jesus movement in the late 1970s, Creekside Church—known then as Christ Church of Northgate—was afire with 2,000 members.
But the Seattle church declined precipitously in the ensuing years, dropping to 350 members by 1995.

“By the time Pastor Don Ross came, we were a pretty hurting church,” says church elder Rick Hertzog, 60, a Seattle resident and travel agency owner. “We had undergone a church split. So we were definitely not reaching out to other people.”
In his first decade at the church, Ross worked to address many of the issues behind the decline. Nonetheless, attendance continued to fall, reaching 175 in 2004.

“We were like a leper colony for Jesus,” Ross says. “Nobody wanted to be with us, but at least we had each other.”
In 2005, the church sold its four-acre, 80,000-square-foot campus and relocated to a 10-acre elementary school campus in nearby Mountlake Terrace, Wash.

Then, during a leadership meeting, Hertzog made a poignant remark: “Nothing is going to change in our church just because we’ve had a change of address. Our hearts have to change.”
Inspired by the comment, Ross asked God to transform his heart. Not long afterward, Ross realized the change he needed to make was to “just love the people.”

While praying one day, Ross says the Lord asked him, “If this church never grows by one more person, will you love the 175 that are here and lead them to heaven?”
“At that point, we had not had a new visitor in over two years,” Ross says. “After that conversation, when I started promising to love people just the way they are, visitors just started showing up.”

As Ross loved his flock, a “genuine change of heart” spread throughout the congregation. As the church grew, Ross says his congregation started praying and caring for others at a deeper level.
In 2009, shortly before the church finished remodeling the new campus, Ross asked everyone to write on an unpainted wall the name of a friend, neighbor or co-worker they wanted to come to Jesus.

On Easter, Christmas and other major holidays, Ross also encouraged his flock—in what became known as “3-1-1”—to write down the names of three people they wanted to receive Jesus, and to pray for them each day at 1 p.m. for a minute.
In short order, more and more people came to the church, and many received Christ and got baptized.

“It created a ripple effect as more people began to bring their friends to church,” Ross says. “Now, we have three or four generations that have come to our church, meaning three years ago they brought a friend and that friend brought a friend and so on. You can track back three or four spiritual generations of people who have brought their friends to church.”
Today, Creekside Church has about 1,500 people who call it their “church home,” with about 600 attending on any given Sunday.

Ross, founder and coach of the Turnaround Church Coaching Network, works with pastors to teach them the principles, both internal and external, to help them lead a turnaround in their church too.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Show you believe by belonging

"Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
                                                                                             (John 13:35 NLT)
The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. The Bible says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19b LB).
Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans—“bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.
The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “Christ loved the church and gave his life for it”                                                                (Ephesians 5:25 GW).
Except for a few important exceptions referring to all believers throughout history, almost every time the word "church" is used in the Bible it refers to a local, visible congregation.
The New Testament assumes membership in a local congregation. The only Christians not members of a local fellowship were those under church discipline who had been removed from the fellowship because of gross public sin
                                                     (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Galatians 6:1-5).
The Bible offers many compelling reasons why you need to be committed and active in a local fellowship.
A church family identifies you as a genuine believer. I can’t claim to follow Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35 NLT).
When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race, and social status, it is a witness to the world          (Galatians 3:28 MSG; see also John 17:21).
Talk About It
- In what other ways do you identify yourself as a church member besides having your name on a list?
- How do you respond to people who say they've stopped attending church because of an experience in their past?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © Copyright 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Reflections of my message today at NRN - July 7 2013

Today, I continued in the current teaching series:

with a message about:
What Does the Bible Teach about Material Possessions?
The Paradox of Our Time in History
 is that ...

we spend more, but have less;  
we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
more medicine, but less wellness.

We read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

These are the times of tall men, and short character;
 steep profits, and shallow relationships.
 These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce;
of fancier houses, but broken homes.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life;
we've added years to life, not life to years;
we've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul

 Check out the church web site to hear the podcast this afternoon... click HERE

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Preparing for worship on July 7 2013

As I prepare for worship tomorrow at NRN I am very excited about my message.  I hope our church family will invite friends and neighbors to join us for this time of worship. 

Here are the songs we are preparing for this Sunday:

We will gather for a time of communion around the table of the Lord.....


I will continue in the current teaching series:

Friday, July 5, 2013

13 Terms for "Pastor"

I guess “pastor” is the more common name used in congregations. You can say, “pastor,” and most people know what or whom you are referencing.

But the times are changing. And so is the name.

To be clear, there are some denominations and religious traditions that have never used “pastor” to describe the spiritual leader of the church. I know of more than one denomination and Christian fellowship where “minister” is the only term used.

But as local congregations across America continue to experience significant changes, we are seeing the more common term of “pastor” declining in favor of more expanded, or even totally different, terms. And I am not even speaking of all the others who serve on a church staff. The multiple terms for those different roles seem unlimited.

If you spent your entire life in one denomination or fellowship, you may think the names used for church staff are uniform. The evidence, though, points to much variety.

But let’s take a moment and look at the different names for the leader of a congregation. I found these examples in just a few minutes of searching:

  • Pastor – still the most common term, at least for now.
  • Senior pastor – typically is used when the church has more than one minister or pastor on staff. The senior pastor oversees the other staff members.
  • Lead pastor – most of the time this phrase is used synonymously with senior pastor.
  • Teaching pastor – in some churches, the name refers to someone who preaches or teaches in a primary worship service, but who is not the senior pastor. In other cases it is synonymous with senior pastor.
  • Preaching pastor – same as teaching pastor
  • Teaching elder – same as teaching pastor in the context of a plurality of leadership.
  • Preaching elder – pretty much the same as teaching elder.
  • Vision pastor – already located this term in several churches; in all cases it is synonymous with senior pastor.
  • Campus pastor – typically used in churches that have more than one location. This person has leadership over one of those locations.
  • Minister – see pastor.
  • Teaching minister – see teaching pastor.
  • Preaching minister – see preaching pastor.
  • Bishop – in some cases it is synonymous with senior pastor; in other cases it is used to describe a leader over pastors in multiple congregations.

I have no doubt I’ve missed several other names for pastor. What names can you add to this list? What do you think about the multiple terms that are being used?


Taken from: Thom Rainer