Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Contagious

I was at a wedding on Saturday night when an old friend came to tell me goodbye. "I think I may have the flu," he said, "I'm need to get to bed." Rather than embracing him, I stepped away. As glad as I was to see him, there was no way that I wanted what he had, and we all know how contagious the flu can be.

But, did you know that attitudes are contagious as well? Think about it, when you get around a group of people who are really excited about what God is doing in the church, it is easy to get swept away in the excitment. As a matter of fact, when I get around those people, I sometimes find that I need to tame my excitment before it gets out of control...I'll have us going to Timbuktu on a mission trip next month, for instance, if I'm not careful.

However, the wrong kind of attitude is contagious as well. The old saying goes, "one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel." Well, I don't know much about apples and barrels, but I am learning more and more about people every day, and one bad attitude can definitely spoil a whole group of people. You see, bad attitudes are probably more contagious than good ones, and if we aren't careful we find ourselves wallowing in the feeling of accomplishment we receive by spreading a bad attitude.

An old Aerosmith song said, "sometimes it kinda gets like feelin bad looks good." Well, if we aren't careful we will find that doing the bad thing in the church begins to feel really good. Gossiping, backbiting, and generally doing everything you can to spread a negative attitude causes division and hampers the growth of the church, not to mention it is not Godly.

The Bible tells us that the Spirit of Christ is the spirit of unity. Let us seek to be contagious Christians who spread positive attitudes faster than flu patients spread germs. Glorify God in your speech, and all of your conduct, it will be amazing how much you will be blessed.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Brand

In an on-going (all-be-it new) attempt to brand our church, you now have the opportunity to visit here. Please enjoy!


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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

God, More Than The Nice Guy in the Sky

This is not my forum for preaching. Most of that comes on Sunday mornings, but it is a wonderful forum for teaching. In my reading this morning, I could not help but be moved by a passage in Zechariah 10:3. God says, "My anger is hot against the shepherds." Here, God is speaking of his anger toward the leaders of Israel because they had not led as God desired. However, God's anger is not limited to the leaders of Israel.

God, because he is God, is holy and righteous and detests anything that is not holy and righteous. For that reason, it is absolutely proper and appropriate for us to speak of God's anger--even hatred--toward sin and sinners. Scripture itself testifies to God's wrath and to the eternal punishment that all who do not call on the name of the Lord will experience. Our society is bent against punishment and responsibility for wrong actions, but society's bent does not change God's eternal decree.

We live in a world that likes to refer often to God's love, and we should always refer to God as a God of love, for he is love according to 1 John. But, Jesus is more than our "homeboy" as hats and t-shirts claim today. God is more than a nice guy in the sky or a genie in a bottle. God is holy and righteous. The gospel is good news only because it is the means by which men, women, boys, and girls can be saved from God's wrath.

Though we like to be loved and to know a God of love, we as the church must never lose sight of the God of wrath. Without a just and wrathful God, there is no need for salvation. When we refuse to teach and focus on the wrath of God, we refuse to teach the gospel as it is taught in the Scriptures. We speak of hell and God's wrath, not because we are fire-breathing dragons, but because we love God and people. We love God enough to speak of him as he truly is and we love people enough to warn them of God's justified punishment for their sin. God is more than a nice guy, and we should all be glad. A God who is nice and nothing else could never be holy and a God who is not holy is no God at all.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Who Would Have Guessed?

It never fails. If I haven't found enough application for a sermon in my life in the week leading up to the preacching of it, I always find plenty of application later. Last night, I talked alot about fighting for joy and to maintain the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. I believe I even talked about the necessity of fighting for joy when you did not even feel like getting out of bed. Lo and Behold (to use some of my parents terminlogy), this morning getting out of bed was nearly torture. I just could hardly pry my body from under the sheets.

So, for those of you who may think that fighting the fight is only difficult for people who aren't pastors, let me just tell you from my personal experience today that living a sermon is sometimes more difficult than preaching it. I am a fellow sojourner with you on this journey of faith, and I struggle with you in the constant battle to bear the fruit of the Spirit abundantly. May God bless and help each of us as we labor together to see his glory displayed in our lives daily.

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Monday, July 16, 2007


I've just got to brag a little on our church. Yesterday we had amazing services. Even though we were without half of our regular praise team, we had plenty of people to step in and fill the gaps. It is a blessing to know that there are so many people ready and willing to serve the Lord in our church.

Of course, it was also exciting to have our World Changers group back with us last night. It was awesome to hear of all the work that our group was able to do last week and of all the work that God did through them.

I'm already enjoying my vacation, but it was great to have such a wonderful send-off yesterday. Malvern Hill, you guys are all amazing! Thanks.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Don't Stop Praying!!!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 commands us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing." So, I say to you, keep on praying. Never stop praying for your church. Never stop praying for your pastor. Never stop praying for your family. Never stop praying for fellow Christians, here and around the world. Never stop praying for God to continue to help you grow in your own life.

To pray without ceasing does not necessarily mean that you are praying 24/7, it means that your default mindset is one of prayer. When nothing else is going on, you are talking to God. It means that you regularly and consistently pray and that you never give up.

Fleetwood Mac sang, "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow." Well, they were right. We must never stop thinking about tomorrow, but more importantly, let's pray for tomorrow, and today. Only great things can come from prayer, so keep up the good work. Please, DON'T STOP PRAYING!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Well, I don't usually even open forwards, but since this one came from my mother-in-law, I gave her the benefit of the doubt on this one. I think it's worth reading so I pasted it here for today.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.
1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.
How did you do?
The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners .
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with .

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care. The people who make the largest difference in our churches aren't the big names either. Rick Warren has done wonderful things at his church, but I can't find him anywhere in Camden. I can, however, find greeters who meet 3 and 4 year olds at the door on their way to Sunday school. I can find members who visit nursing homes and hospitals. I see praise team members who stay late and come early to practice and prepare for worship. The list could go on and on, but the point is still the same. YOU make the difference in our church as you work and volunteer to accomplish God's purposes through our church. THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, I'm late to the office. Here it is, 8:33 on Tuesday morning and believe it or not, my blog is the first thing I'm attending to this morning. Why am I late? Well, the truth is that I just couldn't let Wyatt go. I love that kid, he is absolutely amazing. I wish I could bring him into the office with me and just hang out with him while I work. Of course, the largest problem with that is that I would get nothing done; I would just hold him and stare at him (It's amazing how you can stare at your child for hours on end).

However, all of this talk brings me to an important point in the life of our church and in the life of individual Christians. I have to admit to you that this morning I am a bit off schedule. As a matter of fact, that seems to happen to me a lot lately since Angela and I have been in transition, but I have to move beyond that. You see, just as I wrote about last week in Samurai Christians, discipline is one of the key ingredients in the Christian life.

Somehow, we as Americans have dummed down the Christian life to be nothing more than showing up on Sunday mornings. We have even dummed down the church on many occasions, reducing it to a series of meetings throughout the week with no real commitment outside of those scheduled services (Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and various meetings of course). Instead of reducing the church to a series of meetings, what if we began to see church involvement as our life...the way that we related to Christ and others, not the country club to which we are a part.

The Normal Christian Life, as Chinese author, Watchman Nee wrote about many years ago, is not the lackadaisical life of many Christians today who warm the pews of our church. The normal Christian life is one of self-sacrifice for the kingdom of God. So, what in the world am I talking about in all of my "jibba jabba" (as Mr. T used to say) this morning? How much time have you spent alone in the Word of God in the past week, or on your knees in prayer? I'm sure that many of you have spent time in your church this week, but how much time have you spent trying to bring others through the doors with you? Have you shared your faith in the last month, year...ever? Where's the discipline and the commitment?

We must tread lightly lest we begin to equate church membership and attendance with commitment. You see, the committed church members aren't just the one's who show up, they are the ones who SHOW OUT for the KOG (Kingdom of God). But remember, showing out will only be possible when you have been disciplined in the little things...look here at what Jesus had to say. Do the small things first, and then watch how they affect the big things in your life. I've got to stop looking at Wyatt some of the time and get busy about the Father's business. What do you need to do...or stop doing?

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Monday, July 09, 2007

What Are Friends For?

You know, I've been pondering all day what to blog about, and then it came to me. I just got off the phone with a friend and I was reminded how much trust we invest in those people closest to us. The book of Proverbs 27:6 says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Thats the epitome of trust right there. Good godly friends are so trustworthy that even when they hurt you, it can be a good thing. We need more friends like that.

The Bible talks about friends all the time. David and Jonathan were the closest of friends; (and no, they weren't gay no matter what your college professor might have told you) their relationship serves as an example of what true friendship should be. Jonathan even opposed his father, the king, to protect David when David had done no wrong. Even more amazing, David had such faith in his friend that he was willing to trust Jonathan's commitment even when he opposed his father.

We all need a few friends like that. You know, the kind who will get up out of bed to meet you somewhere in the middle of the night when you need them. But even more important than meeting you in the middle of the night when you need them, they will confront you in the middle of the day when you don't even realize that you need them. You know, that guy who will call you out to your face when its necessary, even when they know it will make you mad. How many people do you love enough to hurt their feelings if it is in their best interest? Better yet, how many people love you enough to hurt your feelings when it needs to happen?

If you can't name friends that close, you need to work to be a better friend and to become a better friend. Cultivate friendship, it's not politics, its love and it is godly. How awesome would God's church be if we were more than brothers and sisters in Christ, but were truly friends to the end?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Samurai Christians

So, it’s time for an off the wall entry. Last night I spent (wasted?) a couple of hours watching The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. Obviously, recent history has turned me off to Tom Cruise, but I really got caught up in this movie. Well, regardless of all that mess, let me just let you know that these Samurai warriors in the movie were incredibly disciplined. They were people of one thing…discipline. Incidentally, the Samurai comes from a word that originally meant "to serve." The Samurai warrior was disciplined to serve their rulers. Their discipline enabled them to become all that they wanted to be, and all they wanted to be was available to their lord, the emperor.

Strange as it may seem, as I watched the movie, I was struck with the overwhelming sense of conviction that my life is not one of incredible discipline. The apostle Paul says, “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” The Christian life must be one of discipline. If you are like me, you still have a long way to go.

But, I’ll issue a challenge for you as I have issued for myself. We must pursue discipline. You can be a Christian Samurai (if you like that analogy), but it will not happen without work. A Christian is called to service of his or her Lord above all else as well, but our Lord is intrinsically greater than any earthly ruler. Discipline brings about freedom; especially freedom in Christ when we live in obedience to his authority, allowing his rule to rightly restrain us. Essentially, when we submit wholly to Christ, we experience all that Christ has to offer.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

July Sermon Series

No Time better than July to take a deep dip in God's love and mercy. Come join us this week and throughout the month of July for our latest sermon series at Malvern Hill. In Flood, I will help you to explore God's desire to overwhelm you with his love in a flood of his grace. He desires more for you than the parched heart that we tend to settle for, come get washed away with us this week!
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Big Word of the Day

I just learned a new word…a big theological term. The word is Aseity, and essentially it means that God does not need us. God created us, not because he needed us, but because he wanted to create us to display his glory. But you know, that aspect of God goes even further than God’s act of creation.
God does not need us even today. God, if he so chose, could bring about the salvation of the world miraculous acts that involve no one but himself. However, God loves us so much that he chooses to use us as his agents for bringing salvation to the world. We are God’s messengers of hope. WOW, for those of you who continue to believe that Christianity is some sort of stiff and stodgy religion, consider the relationship that we share with the Creator of the universe. God desires to redeem the world, and he uses his relationship with us, the redeemed, to carry hope to the world.
I know my readership is small, but I do hope that as you read today, or whenever, that you will be blown away by the opportunities that God graciously gives to his people. For goodness sakes, I sometimes don’t even trust other people to take care of my dog, and God trusts us to deliver his plan to the world. Don’t tell me that Jesus isn’t the most extreme leader the world has ever seen; he has enabled us to carry his message across the globe. He did not and does not need us, but God chooses to use us.

Somebody scream…this is awesome!
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

How Do We Get There?

I am still so very excited to be a part of everything that is going on at Malvern Hill, but I’m not satisfied with where we are. I have to admit that I am a blog junky. I read blogs for fun and for information. Many of the blogs I read are of other pastors and even church planters. Reading these blogs, I have to admit that I get a little jealous sometimes at the number of people some people are reaching.

I just read about a church that had more than forty people give their lives to Christ this past Sunday. WOW! That assures me that it is possible. God is still working in our day and he desires, just as he always has, to draw sinners unto himself. God is an awesome God, let’s get as many people to him as possible.

How do we get there? We get excited, stay excited, and keep working for our church, sharing the great news of Christ and sharing the story of the exciting things going on at our church. I’m convinced that our greatest responsibility as a church is living out the Great Commission—that means winning people to Jesus, not anything else. Regardless of where we’ve been, where we need to be is winning people to the Lord. So, how do we get there? Open your mouth, practice what you preach, take Jesus to the world and bring the world to Malvern Hill, and then hang on for God’s blessing, it is going to blow you away!

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