Friday, August 31, 2007

Talent is Never Enough

Talent is Never Enough is the name of John Maxwell's latest book. I started reading it last night (which, for those interested, is about the sixth book I am currently reading). Though I am just into the very beginning of the book, I was reminded of something that I probably need to be reminded of very often...Good enough is never good enough.

Maxwell presents a stark reminder that it doesn't matter how good you are at anything if you are unwilling to put in hard work. The same is definitely true of God's church, regardless of where it is that you are serving. We should never settle for mediocre churches because we do not serve a mediocre God.

What does all of that mean? It means that you better be working your tail off if you plan to be better than average. Your talents/skills/strategic location might give you the head start you need to be the best, but unless you are willing to work harder than the rest, you will simply be one more waste of talent.

Potential is what you aint done yet. So, let's get busy making potential a reality.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Should We Be Innovative?

Well, most of you who know me know my answer to this question, but I discovered this morning that Perry Noble has a better answer to this question than I could have provided. Instead of ripping off his ideas and plagiarizing his blog, I'm just gonna post a link to it. If you don't go and read Perry's article, at least read these Scriptures:

Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.-- Isaiah 42:9

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. --Isaiah 43:18-19

If God is willing to make rivers in the desert, shouldn't we be at least willing to do something new in our churches...after all, nothing we could do would be as dramatic as a river flowing through the Sahara.

Click Here for Perry Noble's blog

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Big News

OK, so maybe its not all that big, but for anyone interested in subscribing to my blog, you can now have it emailed directly into your inbox when there is a new post. Subscribe using the box on the left (<-- It's over there). Just my attempt to make life a little easier for those of you interested.

You will have to disable pop-ups to subscribe.
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I Can't See...

It's raining outside right now and that reminded me of the drainage problems here in Camden. I've only lived here for a few months, of course, but the main road leading to the church is a nightmare when it rains. Water stands (well, it doesn't actually stand, it more or less runs like a river) so deep that when you run through it, it covers your windshield and you can't see. I personally like doing it, I guess its the little boy in me still trying to get out, but my wife reminds me that its dangerous--I guess she's right, but it is still fun.

Now, raise your hand if you've done anything like that in your Christian life lately...You know, stepped out on faith into a puddle where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I know, its scary, what if there's something there that you were not anticipating. But, it's also invigorating. It's like the thrill of a roller coaster, you aren't sure what comes next and while its happening you might not even be sure if you like it. That rock that sits in your stomach that makes you think about puking because you are so nervous can drive some people to never set foot on a roller coaster, but for everyone who has ridden a roller coaster, the nervousness is well worth the pay off. During the ride, you scream that you'll never do it again, but when its will stand in line for an hour just to experience the thrill one more time.

It's like that with God and faith. You step out on faith to tell someone about Jesus and you think about puking and you really don't want to do it because it makes you so nervous. In fact, it makes you so nervous that you might not even do it...but if you do, and that person listens, or comes to church with you, or comes to know Christ as their Savior, then you will know that the puking was well worth it. Who knows, you might even stand in a roller coaster line one day and be more excited about the thrill of sharing Jesus with the guy behind you than the excitement of the ride!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Whats It All About?

I mean, seriously, have you asked yourself that question? What is church all about? What is Malvern Hill supposed to be about? Obviously, the glory of God, Jesus, and all of that stuff, but is that all? Is it about preaching and singing...yes! But surely, there must be more.

There is more! Church, THE church is all about changed lives. Its all about people who are far away from God being drawn closer to God. Thats doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it all out. We NEED to be about changing the world, one life at a time. So, who has been changed recently? Seriously, who have you reached, who has been impacted so dramatically by your testimony and your witness that they have come to know the Lord. Maybe you brought them to church and they heard the pastor or maybe ya'll prayed in a parking lot. It doesn't matter how it happens, it only matters that it happens.


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Monday, August 27, 2007's Godly

Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." As great as it is for us to apply that to all the big things in life, like poverty and injustices, but what about the smaller thigns in life? You know, loving your neighbor as yourself means doing to your neighbor the things you would want your neighbor to do for you.

What in the world am I talking about? Hey, why not making loving our neighbor our mantra in all of the aspects of life? Give a pat on the back or a word of encouragement, thats a great way to love your neighbor and you will be shocked to discover how impactful that will be. Drop a card in the mail, give a call, do the squishy stuff of telling someone how much you appreciate them.

I know I talk alot about how we love people by being serious about church discipline, but there's more to love than that. Don't just talk about love, live it out in the small things of life. Take it old school and remember DC Talk...Love Is A Verb. So, what can you do? Be creative, bake a cake, visit a shut-in, send a note to your teacher or your favorite Sunday morning vocalist. Watch how love can take over the church when you live it out.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Be Honest...It IS Almost Unbelievable

Angela and I were talking the other night, and I was reminded of just how out there Christianity really is. We talk alot about how much "faith" it takes to believe in evolution, or how insane it seems to be to believe all that is claimed about mormon theology. Of course, for our western mindset, the beliefs of hindus and buddhists seem way out in left field, but just how plausible do the claims of Christianity seem to be against a scientific and rational backdrop.

Let's see...the Red Sea parts and then closes up over a whole army, the walls of Jericho fall because the Israelites march around them for seven days, a child is born of a virgin and that child becomes a man who we discover to be the Son, not of Joseph, but of God, who is eventually crucified and buried and rises from the grave three days later. Honestly, that stuff is just about unbelievable as well. Why then do we believe, and what is our basis?

Hebrews gives us the answer, For without faith it is impossible to please God. God is not pleased for us to have all of the answers, but rather in that we beleive without always having adequate explanations. So, I go out on a limb and say that what I beleive does not make good sense to the world in which I live, but I do not care. I did not make this up, as an old song says, it is this belief in my God that is making me more into his image everyday. So...step on out there, trust God even when it does not make sense to you. God has been doing things that seemed impossible ever since he SPOKE the world into creation.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


With hurricane season upon us, I am inclined to write about problems.

What is a problem? That question could be answered in many different ways, but at MHBC we strive to answer that question like this: A problem is an opportunity for God to work. Do we have problems, of course we have problems, but I'm glad for it. When we do not have the answers, we are forced to turn where we should have been looking all along, to God.

Right now, I'm most excited about the space problem that we have. We are not running out of space for our children, we are out of space for our children! But, what an exciting opportunity to watch God work as we strive to open up more space in our facilities. But for those of you wondering, what is our plan for the future?

Well, I anticipate many more problems in the future and I pray that we will soon have space issues driving us crazy. I hope that we continue to run out of space. But, having faith that God will bless us as we strive to offer him our best, we must work now to put systems in place to handle the blessing that God has in store for our church.

Back to the hurricane--of course, when a hurricane is predicted, people board up their windows and leave town. It's time for us to prepare for the storm of God's blessings, but we're not boarding up our windows and leaving town, we are preparing to handle the overflow of people that we expect to join us soon.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Mark Teixeira!

Because I am an avid Braves Fan, this is my contribution to the blogosphere today. Enjoy!!

Four and a half games back and I don't Te-care-a
You know why we got Mark Teixeira
Got a new Braves jersey that I'm gonna wear-a
And written on the back is Mark Teixeira
The Mets are scared cause their lead's gonna narr-a
They're lookin' over their shoulder at Mark Teixeira

We got Fred McGriff back in '93
Hampton's out cause of injury
Schuerholz smiles cause he is happy and Bobby says,
"Let's go Mark T."

The National League it just ain't fair-a
The Atlanta Braves got Mark Teixeira
Chipper and Andruw make a mighty nice pair-a
Let's make it a trio add Mark Teixeira
A side effect is mild hysteria
The medical reason is Mark Teixeira


Scott Thorman stinks and Julio is old
What did Shuerholz do? Must've sold his Sooouuulll

Pitchers beware cause he's gonna scare ya
Throw him a strike now if you dare-a
He could probably steal on Yogi Berra(NOT Yogi Bear-a)
Biggest thing in Georgia since Scarlet O'Hara
If I were a woman I'd probably Marry ya.

And that's not Gay cause its Mark Teixeira (more)

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ya Gotta Believe...

I think it is probably human nature to doubt and question. We doubt ourselves, we doubt others, we even doubt God. Some doubt that God exists, others doubt that he is all he claims to be in the Bible. Of course, Christians deny this doubt, but I believe the doubt often continues to exist. We say we believe, but we believe in a limited way...believe as much as is comfortable to believe. But, that's not God's way.

The book of Mark gives us a great example of a man who doubted the ability of Jesus to heal his child. The man looked at Jesus and said if you can do anything... I love Jesus' response, If you can! All things are possible for one who believes. Tom Hanks is famous for saying "There's no crying in baseball," but we need to remember that there is no "if you can" in God. God is capable of all things, and the minute we say "if you can," we reveal our own doubts of God's ability.

God is capable of healing, of blessing, and of growing a church. God is capable of saving the souls of thousands, if we will just believe and live like we believe it. I heard a pastor the other day say that we should not be surprised if the number of baptisms continue to drop..."eschatologically speaking, it is just a sign of the times. A drop in baptisms shows us that the end time is near." PLEASE!!!

I wish this guy would act more like the dad Mark's account. When his unbelief was uncovered, he did not try to cover it with theological jargon or make big excuses, he was just honest. I believe, help my unbelif, he said. In other words, Jesus, I believe in you, I have faith in you, help me to beleive even more. Christians, you already believe in Jesus, that's why you are a Christian, now pray that he would help your unbelief when you are tempted to believe that the world is right and the church can't grow. Pray that he would help you to believe even when others in your own church tempt you to doubt, pray that God would help your unbelief and change the world!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

True To The Word

I'm always searching for things about which to write on my blog. Today, I want to take just a minute to emphasize the importance of being true to the Word of God. As we strive to honor God and to reach others, we must be certain that God's Word, the Bible, is the centerpiece for our efforts. It is never enough to look into a text of Scripture to determine "what is it saying to me?" The most important aspect of Scripture is not "What is it saying to me," but rather, "what is this saying to everyone? "

The Bible is objective truth, not subjective truth. The very minute we reduce the truths of the Bible to what they mean to individuals rather than what they mean universally, we undermine the overarching authority of the Bible. Let's all work to be sure that we are true to Scripture, not merely our version of Scripture.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Don't Lose Focus

I heard someone say something yesterday that is worth posting here. He said, "Churches that are really focused on missions and evangelism avoid many problems that churches not focused on those activities face." Imagine that, when we focus on God's directives and when we have clear purpose, people tend to line up behind that purpose and get busy about changing their world rather than pursuing their own purpose and staying busy trying to change God's church to suit their own whims.

It's a challenge for all Christians, but I say especially for pastors. We have to keep our focus, no matter what else may happen. Just because the world may seem to be falling down around us does not mean that we abandon our vision and lose our focus. Our God is the only answer to this dying world, so when it seems to be falling down around us, we have the answer if we will simply remain focused.

Don't get so busy putting out fires that you forget to sow the seed and fertilize the soil.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007


I try to give credit where credit is due, and I think that Steven Furtick at Elevation in Charlotte hit the nail on the head with a few things in this post. Check it out for the things they are doing to grow a church...and by the way, they are growing HUGE!!

One thing that might strike a chord for some of my readers, and maybe some of his, is the number five thing on his top five list of things they are doing right. "It's all about the numbers." I gotta admit, I get pretty tired of hearing "Well, i'm not really worried about numbers, just about spiritual growth." I wonder if we are going to get to heaven one day and hear God say, "Well, Craig, nobody got saved, but everybody stayed while you were at Malvern Hill...Good Job." I don't think so, it's all about the numbers! It's all about the number of people we take with us to meet the Lord, and so, by extension, it is all about the number of people we bring into our church.

The "it's not about the numbers," game is a cop-out. Pastors don't like to say it is about the numbers because then there is a definitive way to hold them accountable for their goals. Well, I guess if I say its about the numbers and we don't grow, I'll fail. I believe we all fail if we don't take folks with us to meet the Lord. Let's be successful.

Bring 'em in!!!!

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Evidence Continues to Support the Bible

So, everyone who knows me knows that I am not a world-reknown scientist. I did consider majoring in biology in college, but after responding to God's call to ministry I went with Christian Ed. instead. And, as a Christian, I admit a certain level of bias. However, recently published scientific findins relating to so-called pre-historic man will certainly upset the theory of evolution in our society today.

AP reports that according to the old theory of evolution Homo habilis evolved into Homo erectus, which according to the old theory of evolution was supposed to be direct links from knuckle dragging apes to brief case toting men as depicted in illustrations in science books for years. However, the new evidence proves that Homo habilis did not evolve into Homo erectus because the two different species existed simultaneously. Fossils of each species dating from the same period have been found in close proximity to one another in Africa. Specifically, the report says:

those two earlier species lived side-by-side about 1.5 million years ago in parts of Kenya for at least half a million years, Leakey and colleagues report in a paper published in Thursday's journal Nature.

What does this mean? In the words of the researchers, It's the equivalent of finding that your grandmother and great-grandmother were sisters rather than mother-daughter, said study co-author Fred Spoor, a professor of evolutionary anatomy at the University College in London.

And so, what for the old classic theory of evolution? Of course the religion of evolution is not willing to abandon their belief systems just yet. A religion!? you may ask, isn't evolution science? In his book Darwin on Trial, Phillip E. Johnson quotes Stephen Jay Gould's quotations of Teilhard's "inspiring vision" this way:

Is evolution a theory, a system, or a hypothesis? it is much more--it is a general postulate to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must henceforth blow and which they must satisfy in order to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow--this is what evolution is.

So, based on that definition, I assert whole-heartedly that for man, evolution is not merely a scientific theory, but is the "god" to which the universe must bow. Of course, if my God were proven futile, I might look elsewhere for the true God, but fear not, the church of evoltionary science is different. As the AP report cites, Overall what it paints for human evolution is a "chaotic kind of looking evolutionary tree rather than this heroic march that you see with the cartoons of an early ancestor evolving into some intermediate and eventually unto us.

All the changes to human evolutionary thought should not be considered a weakness in the theory of evolution, Kimbel said. Rather, those are the predictable results of getting more evidence, asking smarter questions and forming better theories, he said.

But, hey, don't take my word for it for yourself here and form your own opinion.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Which Part?

You know, it seems like there are so many people who do nothing but complain about their church (thankfully thats not the case at Malvern Hill for the most part). But for those of you who might want to complain, I've got a word for you.

You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. And, chances are, if you are complaining, you are part of the problem. If the church has too much gossip and you are talking about it...then guess what, you are part of the gossip. But, if there is too much gossip and you refuse to listen to the gossip, then you have just done your part to begin the process of fixing that problem in the church. Of course there are probably a million examples I could share, but I wont.

I know that nothing in this short post is world-shattering knowledge, I just want you to think about it. Which part of the church are you, the problem part or the solution part?

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Monday, August 06, 2007

The Heart

What drives a great church? I've often thought about that. Some say prayer, others preaching, and the list could go on and on. However, I believe there is more to the equation. Most churches pray, some better than others. The Brookly Tabernacle is known for its extended prayer meetings. So, is it the preaching? Well, just as prayer is an integral part of any great church, good preachign is a necessity. However, I think that the answer may be a little more simple than even those things.

A great church is made up of great people. God has chosen in his infininte wisdom to use people to accomplish his purposes. He uses the prayers of his people to bring about his intended ends. He uses the sermons of his people to bring about changed lives. And he uses the services of his people to grow the kingdom of God and make his church great.

So, do you want to have and be a part of a great church? The answer is simple, work hard to be a great church member and encourage those around you to do the same. A great church is made up of great people of God. Never succomb to the belief that a great church makes great no, great people in love with God make a great church that glorifies his name!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


OK, time to be a dork. In 1951 Ray Bradbury wrote "Farenheit 451." It is a science fiction book about the future that focuses primarily on firemen. However, the firement it portrays are very different from the firemen that we have grown to respect an appreciate. In his novel, the firemen do not put out fire, they spew fuel onto fires to burn houses that contain books.

I'm not going to outline or critique the book. You can go read it if you'd like, its a quick read. What I do want to do here today is to talk about the church. Unfortunately, in most churches, we have plenty of firemen who work to stoke the flame rather than put it out. You know how it goes, we do it under the guise of "informing" or requesting that an issue be put on the prayer list. For the record, "Johnny and Susie need prayer b/c they couldn't pay their bills and had their cable cut off yesterday," is usually gossip and not a prayer request.

Don't indulge in the fires in your church, work to be an extinguisher. The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of unity, so rest assured, as you work to quelch gossip and extinguish harmful fires in your church, God will be pleased.

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