Monday, September 30, 2013

What you are about to suffer - a message to the church....

As I begin to prepare for my message this coming Sunday I am made aware that the message of the Church at Smyrna is about suffering.

 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’    Rev. 2:8-11

Here is a clip I have watched in speaking to my heart about the suffering of Christians today:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Reflection from my message today at NRN

Today at NRN I launched a new teaching series:

The first 3 chapters are about things that happened in and around the first century. The rest of the book, chapters 4-22, I believe are primarily future events.  So in our time together, in this series, we are going to look at the messages to the 7 churches, because even thought they were written to these churches in the first century, their messages are valuable for us today. Valuable for NRN!
 Sometimes people only want to look at the book of Revelation for end-times events and get into all of the imagery, and skip right over the early chapters.
 The key to understanding Revelation, the key to understanding the Bible, is to understand that it is all about Jesus.
Matthew He is our Messiah
Mark our Miracle worker
Luke the Perfect Son of Man
John the Perfect Son of God
Acts He is the Ascended Lord
Romans He is our Righteousness
1 Corinthians He is our Resurrection
2 Corinthians Our Comforter
Galatians the One Who sets us free
Ephesians the Head of the Church
Philippians the God Who meets Every Need
Colossians the Fullness of the Godhead
1, 2 Thessalonians our soon coming King
1,2 Timothy He is the Mediator between God and man
Titus our blessed hope
Philemon our friend who is closer than a brother
Hebrews the blood that washes away my sins
James the Great Physician
1, 2 our Chief Shepherd
1 John the Way
2 John the Truth
3 John the Life
Jude He is Our Security
Revelation the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God,
the Bright and Morning Star, the King of Kings and Lord of
 So, as you are studying and reading Revelation, keep asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” “What does this teach me about Jesus?” “Where is Jesus in this book?”
 Our conviction is that the whole Bible is about Jesus . . . that every book ultimately points to Jesus, because it’s all the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And by revelation it means something that was unknown and is now made known. It’s God revealing himself to us. Its God working through the Bible writers . . . it’s God working through history . . . working with people like John.
 In fact if you want to know the difference between Christianity and other religions, here’s a big one. We believe that everything that needs to be known about God has been made known in Jesus. We don’t believe that we can know God apart from Jesus, but in Jesus we know everything that we need to know about God.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Preparing for Sunday at NRN

Over the last two weeks I have been away to enjoy vacation.  My goal was to be Pastor Beach Bum for five days.  Goal was accomplished and Sharron asked "When are you going to shave again?" 
I enjoyed visits to two churches while away and posted about this earlier this week. 

Tomorrow I plan to launch a new teaching series.  Over the past two weeks God has been speaking to my heart about this series.  I have made a major change on the emphasis of this series.  Instead of a teaching series which is an in depth Bible study, I have decided to go deeper and apply the timeless truths to our church today.  Here is the newly designed logo for the series:

I am looking forward to a great time of worship tomorrow. 
I encourage everyone attending NRN tomorrow to come early and enjoy the healthy alternatives at the Connection Café this week provided by the Young Professional Group. 

We begin with a welcome and enter into the Lord's Presence in prayer and loud praise:

We continue in an attitude of thanksgiving as we bring our prayers to the Lord.  God is so good. He is mighty and deserves our worship and adoration.

We pause for a few announcements about the ministry of our church and opportunities to serve the Lord.

I appreciate Pastor Jordan and the worship team working on this song for the time of offering our financial gifts to the Lord.  It is a song that I believe is so powerful to remind us of the Love of God for each of us.

We draw our attention to the preaching of the Word of God. 

 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:          to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. ”                                                                                                                      Revelation 1:10
Over the next several weeks we will attempt to unpack Revelation Chapters 2-3 and the messages of Jesus to the seven churches.  These messages to the churches should be a wakeup call to our church today. Jesus commends the Ephesians for how they serve faithfully, endure hardship, have sound doctrine, and hate heretics, but his big criticism is that they are not very loving. Instead of merely criticizing the Ephesians, we must read Jesus’ words humbly and realize how we could become like them.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vacation is coming to a close... time for re-entry.

Sharron and I returned from vacation today.  I am preparing for the weekend and have lots to do!  My post today is behind due the amount of growing responsibilities I have faced since returning home. The slow pace of vacation has now been replaced by the fast pace of ministry. 

We had an awesome time at Topsail Island, NC as I rested and met my goal as becoming Pastor Beach Bum.  We returned last Saturday as I made an appointment to meet a pastor and visit his church.  I posted about this earlier this week but I really enjoyed my visit to Transformation Church near Ft. Mill, SC.   You may remember Derwin Gray as I have used this clip at our church:

Derwin Gray is a man of great passion. For six seasons in the NFL he played with a contagious passion that led to two Pro Bowl nominations. For the last nine years, he has communicated the Gospel of Grace around America and abroad with an intense passion that is both contagious and inspiring. Dewey is a 2004 graduate of the Billy Graham Institute of Emerging Evangelists and a graduate (with honors) of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he is being mentored by world-renowned theologian, philosopher, and apologist Norman L. Geisler.  We are now good friends and sharing emails and insights about ministry.

Last Sunday morning I attended Elevation Church for a great time of worship.  I am so honored that my daughter Stephanie provides us with awesome seats.  We were on the second row of seat.  Stephanie sat beside the pastor's mother. Pastor Steven gave one of the best messages I have ever heard on the sovereignty of God.

Last Monday was the first day of school for Alyse as she began First Grade.  I posted about this yesterday.  On Tuesday we joined the family for a trip to the mountains to Sky Top Orchards
From the beautiful beaches on North Carolina to the awesome mountains we travelled.  Here are a few pictures of our day:

 The mountains near Flat Rock NC reminds me of my very first ministry appointment when I served as Minister of Youth and Music at the Bethel Wesleyan Church in Flat Rock NC. I served there from 1974-1976 during my first two years in college.  I would drive the 3 hours to the church each Saturday and return to college on Sunday evening. My home was a small travel trailer during the summer months while I served at the church.

Our first trip with family to Sky Top Orchard.  Here is Breeley:

Here is Alyse:
Alyse also enjoyed her time on the big tractor:

Breeley always likes to look at her younger sister - Cammie.

The day ended in the early afternoon. 

Sharron and I departed with a peck of apples for Sharron to use for pies; a gallon of apple cider and a dozen of apple sauce doughnuts (which we watched them prepare) and are now consumed....

The last several days we have enjoyed some down time to prepare for re-entry into our normal routine.  Sharron plans to be at the Women's ministry event tomorrow morning and I am teaching a class for Supervised Ministry for ministerial students in our district.  My mind this evening is on the thought: "This is Friday - but Sunday's coming."

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alyse begins First Grade

Sharron and I are on a much needed time of vacation.  We only have a few days left before we return to Raleigh and jump into ministry responsibilities.  One special day was spent last Monday at Stephanie and Josh's home as our grand daughter Alyse began first grade.

The classroom was prepared and ready on Sunday evening:

On Monday morning school began promptly at 9:00am.  Before school began I was moved as I saw Josh read the girls a book and then the Scripture reading for the day.  Then the family prayed as they began a new year of school.
Here is the official picture for the day:
And of course, some "unofficial" pictures located in Papa's camera:
Papa got a big smile
Alyse's favorite...
 It is now official - Alyse's journey of First Grade is underway.......

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Preparing for prayer at NRN this evening

As Sharron and I are on vacation there will be a group of people at NRN this evening to pray at 6:30.  This group of prayer warriors meet each week to share prayer request and intercede for the ministries of North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene.  As I have listened to the messages from the past two weeks at NRN I am seeking God's face about my message this coming Sunday.  I am trusting God for a moving of His Holy Spirit in our midst.

As a short primer for this evening I hope you will enjoy this version of a classic gospel song "Have a little talk with Jesus"  This clip was posted on YouTube on July 16, 2012.
Music video by The Oak Ridge Boys performing Just a Little Talk With Jesus (feat. Bill & Gloria Gaither) [Live]. (P) (C) 2012 Spring House Music Group. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Did this pastor make the right choice?

Did this pastor make the right choice?

A wedding officiant left a couple visibly stunned when he scolded their photographer, saying: ”This is not about the photography, this is about God.”

“Please, sirs, leave,” the minister said. “Please.”
The photographer asked, “Where do you want me to be?”

“Anywhere other than here,” the minister said.
“This is a solemn assembly, not a photography session, please move or I will stop,” he said as the couple exchanged nervous looks. ”I will stop the ceremony if you do not get out of the way.”

This was posted on YouTube on Tuesday Sept. 17, 2013.

Source: First reported by RNS
What do you think about this?

Monday, September 23, 2013

A sign with a message

A sign with a message...

While on vacation this past week I took a picture of a sign with a message.   Take a few moments and reflect upon the message.....

Want to see another?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reflections of worship this weekend

Today I am Praying BIG for Pastor Carlos and the family at NRN for an awesome time of worship and praise to our Great God!  This morning I am excited about a time of worship at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Sharron and I continue a much needed time of vacation. 

Here is a little about this great church from the church website:

So that people far from God will be raised to life in Christ. That was the vision of Elevation Church when it began in 2006 with a group of eight families led by Pastor Steven Furtick. Over the past seven years, that vision has remained the same as our church has grown to seven locations in the Charlotte, NC area with multiple extension sites around the U.S. and Canada.

We are a church fueled by great faith and we’ve seen God do things that only He can do – thousands of lives changed, marriages restored, families healed and hearts made whole. And as God continues to increase the size of our platform, we are aggressively pursuing opportunities to reach more and more people with the life-saving message of the Gospel in both our city and our world.

Through the use of preaching, worship, and creativity, we strive to present the timeless message of Jesus Christ in a clear and fresh way. And although our approach to church is anything but traditional, we believe in and maintain a conservative theological position.

Click HERE  to hear more about this move of God.

Last evening

I attended a service at Transformation Church located near Ft. Mills, SC. 

I posted earlier this week about the Lead Pastor of Transformation Church - Derwin Gray

Derwin L. Gray is the founding and lead Pastor of Transformation Church (TC), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community with two campuses in South Carolina (Indian Land and Rock Hill), both just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as the second-fastest-growing church in America by percentage for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. In 2011, TC was recognized again as one of the top 100 fastest-growing churches in America.

Pastor Derwin and his wife, Vicki, have been married for 21 years and have two children: a daughter, Presley, and a son, Jeremiah.


After graduating from Brigham YoungUniversity, Pastor Derwin played professional football in the NFL for five years with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-1997) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1998). During that time, he and Vicki began their journey with Christ and experienced God's faithfulness and direction as He moved their hearts to know Him and make Him known.

Pastor Derwin went on to graduate magna cum laude from Southern Evangelical Seminary with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, with a concentration in Apologetics. He was and continues to be mentored by renowned theologian and philosopher, Dr. Norman Geisler.

In addition to his role at Transformation Church, Pastor Derwin speaks at conferences nationwide and is recognized by many as the
"Evangelism Linebacker." He is the author of Hero: Unleashing God's Power in a Man's Heart, published in 2010, and Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future, released September 3, 2013. I had the privilege to spend some time with Derwin following the service.  We had a short discussion about our churches and then the laughter began as we compared barbecue spots near Fort Mill, SC compared to in Raleigh, NC.  Derwin has an open invitation to visit Raleigh and enjoy a memorable meal at my favorite barbecue restaurant!

Here is a short clip I thought you would enjoy to hear the depth of Derwin's thoughts about the CHURCH:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Preparing for worship on Sept. 22 2013

Tomorrow at NRN Pastor Carlos Tavares will bring the message.  Carlos is graduate student at Duke University. He is also a newly licensed ministry in the NC District of the Church of the Nazarene.  Carlos and Heather are members of the church and highly involved in our ministry. 

I believe the ministry of Pastor Carlos will encourage your faith.  I encourage you to invite friends and neighbors to hear the preaching ministry of this young man.

Here is the scheduled songs for worship tomorrow:

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Enjoying vacation at Dolphin View 2013

Sharron and I are truly enjoying a time away on vacation this year.  We enjoyed a time away this past June with Danielle and the Bolder family.  This week we are with Stephanie and her family at a favorite get away - Dolphin View on Topsail Island, NC.

Sharron especially loves the time at the beach.  She does work hard with Stephanie to prepare many of our meas and is on laundry duty every day. 

Sharron does time time each day for her favorite activity at the beach:


I hope you will enjoy this picture I took today. It is a beautiful day to spend time at the beach.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Power of Prayer

A group will be gathering at the church this evening at 6:30 for corporate prayer.  Each Sunday we announce a time for the church to gather for prayer.  Is corporate prayer important in the local church?

As we gather tonight - let us think of the power of prayer.  Here is a short primer:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Encouragement in ministry - Derwin Gray

Each week I attempt to draw from resources to feed my soul and encourage me in ministry.  Each day I have a time in the Word of God and I have an active prayer life.  I say this because I am more and more desperate for God to move in my life and in the church I pastor.

This week I turned to a great resource. Church Leaders Live provided a free webinar.  Here is the insights from the session:

Derwin Gray is the founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, South Carolina.  Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 19 fastest-growing churches in America by Outreach magazine.

Gray wrote Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future and is a highly sought-after communicator.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A renewed friendship!

This past week I made a phone call and was so pleased to re-establish a long time friendship with a pastor who has served as a major mentor for me.  Dr. Jay Ahlemann has a powerful ministry record.

This year he begins his 50th year in pastoral ministry.  He has recently returned to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to pastor a church.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Sunday Reflection

Today I am on vacation in Topsail Island, NC.  I hope to blog later this week about our week of rest and recreation.  Here is the house we have rented for the 7th consecutive year.  Dolphin View always lives up to it's name as we stand on the upper deck and see the dolphins at play.  My goal this week is to be  known as Pastor Beach Bum.    
I thought I would share something fun with you today. 
Take a few moments to read through these 10 Fun Facts:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Preparing for worship on Sunday September 15

Tomorrow at NRN Pastor Jordan and the Youth group will be leading the worship and Pastor Jordan preaching while I am away with family for a much needed vacation. I am excited for this Sunday knowing that God has spoken to Pastor Jordan about his message.  I look forward to hearing the podcast while I am away.  Here is the music set list prepared for tomorrow:


As we present our financial offering to the Lord I pray that the offering will meet the financial needs of the church in order to see our ministry and outreach reach beyond our current limits.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Youth Sunday is coming...

This coming Sunday will feature our youth ministry at we pray for students who are back at school.  The youth worship team will lead us in worship.  It is going to be an awesome day of worship and the Word.

Don't forget about the big event tomorrow evening at NRN:

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Plan to join us for a special evening of laughter and fun at North Raleigh Church of the Nazarene!

     We celebrate our new partnership with the Unintentials and the new home of Comedy Café .

Saturday, September 14, at 7:30pm in the Community Room
Raffles! Give-a-ways!  Proceeds will go towards relocation expenses
and Comedy Café improvements. Help us keep the laughter alive for FREE.

Here is the promo clip for this special event:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Preparing for Prayer - Real Prayer

Tonight we gather for prayer at NRN.  Each week I try to post a primer for our time together.

Here is the primer for this evening:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I have drawn a circle of prayer...

It is hard to believe that we are already into the middle of September.  I have drawn a circle of prayer around a plea that I am crying out to God about.  Each Sunday I stand before  our church family to preach the Word of the Lord.  I find it more and more difficult to preach each week to less than 100 people.  I am crying out to God that our people will invite their friends, work associates, neighbors, and relatives to join them at church on Sunday morning.  My prayer is for an average of over 100 people each Sunday over a period of 4 Sundays before the first flake of snow falls in the Triangle area. 

A recent graph made me begin to cry out louder and with more passion:

Though the almanac calls for North Carolina to be chilly and wet - we are extremely close to the cold, wet and white area on the map.  I am praying for a miracle of God in our midst!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Road Trip to ENC

A modern miracle of God took place last week.  I shared at church on Sunday September 1st that we were on the verge of a miracle.  As the Labor Day activates came to a close the following day, I received the phone call  the God had opened the door for a young man in our church to go to college.  The testimony of this young man is moving and the Lord opened a door to impact his life forever. 

I became aware that our youth pastor - Pastor Jordan was going to take this young man to college.  The 12 hour trip from Raleigh to Quincy, Mass. is a large undertaking, especially the return trip home if you are alone.  Late Monday evening I sensed God speaking to my heart that I should go on the road trip.  We departed my home at 5:00am and arrived on campus at 5:15pm.  The welcome on campus was awesome and the people were so gracious and helpful.  It was a great trip.  Here are a few pictures of the campus and our time there:


By Wednesday afternoon the registration process had concluded, the placement test taken and finally the class schedule established and the dorm room assigned.  Time to move Esdras in:

As we prepared to depart for the journey home a few last pictures to mark the occasion:


This is his "sad" face.  As soon as the picture "snapped" he bent over in laughter.
When I asked Esdras if he was nervous - he said "Excited"! 
It's going to be an awesome semester for him....

Here is a brief campus tour:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reflection from my message today at NRN

Here is a short reflection from my message today at NRN:

Faith is the Victory

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the  world.         John 4:4


Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.                                1 John 4:7-8

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.                                 1 John 4: 9-12
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.                                    1 John 5:2-5

A confident faith leads to confident prayer.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.                                                  1 John 5:14-15
John 14:13-14 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “
 Eph. 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
Phil. 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
 John 16:23 Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.                                                   1 John 5:20b


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Preparing for worship on September 8, 2013

As I prepare for worship on Sunday September 8th my heart is challenged as I am preaching over two chapters of Scripture from the book of 1 John.  The truths are so powerful and the message from God is so amazing, I can hardly contain it.  Here is a sampling of just the introduction of my message:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.                                         1 John 4:4

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

We love because he first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Here is the prepared song list:

We will begin with a video countdown and welcome clip then enter into a time of worship:

Now we quiet our heart before God to enter into a time of prayer:

We continue in our worship by bringing our financial gifts to God.  God is so faithful and is preforming miracles before our very eyes.  I will share of a miracle that took place this week and then we will thank God by presenting our gifts to him. 

We will sing to the Lord as we present our offerings to Him:

Prepare yourself for worship tomorrow at church.  Plan to come a little early to enjoy some refreshments and connect with others.   Who will you call to invite to join you tomorrow at church?  DO IT! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why doesn't God answer my prayers?

At 6:30 tonight we gather for prayer at NRN.  We pray with faith and conviction.  Here is a primer to consider before we gather tonight:

Join us this evening as I share a Biblical answer to this question and then we pray....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pastor throws a "hissy fit"

On May 19th, 2013, Jim Standridge stood in the pulpit of Immanuel Baptist Church of Skiatook and did this.

Dr. Jim Standridge, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook, Okla., preaches on May 19, 2013.

This is an excerpt of a sermon by Jim Standridge, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook, Okla., has gone viral on the Internet, inspiring hundreds of comments about the Christian minister storming from the pulpit during his message to admonish a congregant for falling asleep and then calling out other worshippers, one of whom he decries as "the sorriest church member I have."

The five-minute excerpt was posted earlier this week YouTube with the title "Jim Standridge Throws a Hissy Fit." The video has about 83,000 views and well over 500 comments from offended, outraged and concerned viewers, some of whom have suggested that Standridge's words to congregants lacked love, failed to represent God's grace, and reflected arrogance.

However, Pastor Standridge, who has been serving Immanuel Baptist Church for the past 24 years, told The Christian post Thursday that he could not care less what a few strangers on the Internet think about his message. The minister insisted that he held no anger toward online commenters.

"It was a family meeting, not a national meeting," he told a local reporter, adding that his May 19, 2013, sermon was full of grace and love. "But you can't judge a man by one message."

"If you knew me, you'd know that I'm a loving, caring guy," he said, adding that he did not expect complete strangers on the internet to know that about him.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day 2013

Monday - September 2, 2013   
Happy Labor Day!
 Today is known for time with family, cook-outs, T.V. show marathons on cable stations.  It is also a time not too forget our values of forgiveness and grace.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A reflection of my message today at NRN - Love in action...

Here is a reflection of my message today at NRN.  I tired to reduce the words of my message however the passage of 1 John chapter 3 is filed with such powerful truth that I had to declare it:

Here is a summary: