Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Problem for Church Soundsystems?

The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is considering a new law that would allow new devices (PDA's, cell phones, etc.) broader access to existing wireless channels - a move that would put every church wireless microphone or hearing assistance system in jeopardy of major interference. This will be in front of the FCC within two weeks, so time is short.
Several of my peers in the industry have been following this even more closely than I have. My friend Doug Gould of Shure, has forwarded me a letter for churches to sign and send to the FCC urging a change in this potential law. There are other frequencies that could easily be utilized that would not affect wireless audio systems.

Click here for more information:
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Morning Devotion for You!

In trying to constantly keep my blog worth reading, this morning I post a prayer that I believe we should all be praying daily. Angela and I had this in our wedding, it is without a doubt my favorite version of this song! Sing and pray this morning.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's Nothing Personal...

I have no doubt that a personal relationship with the Lord is essential to the Christian faith. As a matter of fact, I believe it is the cornerstone of Christianity. However, I believe that the emphasis on "personal" faith has hindered the evangelical church. I have a 15 pound dumbbell sitting on my desk with a plaque that has Proverbs 27:17 written on it: "As iron sharpens iron, so wome man sharpens another." Who ever said that the Christian faith was supposed to be lived alone?

I encourage you to be careful that you do not so personalize your faith that it ceases to grow through the outside influence of others. We've got to sharpen our skills regularly and that happens through the influence of others in our lives. In other words, relationships are key to spiritual growth. You must surround yourself with people who are going to challenge you to be more spiritual every day. And, in turn, you must present the challenge of deeper spirituality to others as well.

Growing in the Lord is, at the same time, personal and communal. It is imperative that you grow personally, but that growth is going to be the greatest when it is influenced by other people. Find some folks you can lean on, let them lean on you, and then get to sharpening. It's OK if sparks fly, it just makes a sharper edge!

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


It is safe to say that Johnny Hunt is one of the most amazing pastors and preachers in the world; and I love to listen to him. Yesterday, I listened to one of his sermons and not only was it great, but he reminded me of some things that I had not thought about in a while (On a side note, that's one of the great things about preaching and teaching. Even when you don't learn something new, you get reminded and re-energized about something you knew already). Here's what Johnny said, 97% of people who come to Christ do so because they were contacted by one of the following people:

What does that mean? That means that if you really want your brother, or your sister, your boss or your employee, your workout partner or your neighbor to come to the Lord, there's only a three percent chance that a stranger will introduce them to Jesus. People come to the Lord because one of their FRAN's either shares the gospel with them or loves them enough to invite them to church. So, don't go to your pastor and ask him to witness to your sister, it probably won't work. But, if you grab her by the hand, tell her you love her, and invite her to church, you just might get the opportunity to hold her hand as she accepts Jesus.
So, let's make every Sunday a "bring a FRAN" day. Can you imagine how the churches of America would explode if Christians would do simple things like inviting people to church?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Formula For Success

I do not know who left the comment on yesterday's blog, but it is worthy of further extrapolation (big word of the day). God is ultimately responsible for salvation. I think we could all agree with that statement. It is also true that God is ultimately responsible for sanctification, for church growth, and for healthy churches. The Bible makes it plain that God is in control and God is sovereign.

The Bible also makes it clear that we are responsible. We are responsible for all of the things mentioned above as well. God alone saves, but God requires us to repent and believe. Regardless of your theological convictions about election, everyone should be able to agree with that brief statement. But the same is true of growth (spiritual and numerical) as well. Both God and we are completely responsible for seeing the church grow.

The Bible really does not sort out this complicated scenario for us, we just take it at its word knowing that God is in control, but we are his hands and feet in the world responsible to make a difference in his name. So, to quote my anonymous friend (I would love to know who posted this, so send me an email) "If we pursue every challenge in life and work as if every aspect relies solely on ourselves and pray everyday as if every aspect relies on God, the results are astounding. Personal accountability and drive matched with the power of God and the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ - the formula for success"

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pursue Excellence

When I was in college, I had a professor for history that really got on my nerves with the tests he would give. First, he would never call them tests, but rather, opportunities to show what we had learned. Next, at the top of every test was the phrase, "pursue excellence." And did I say that the tests were grueling?

Well, even though in my slacker college days, I was not always in the business of pursuing excellence, I now see great value in those words. As a Senior Pastor, it is my job to pursue excellence in all that I do. It is also my job to push others to pursue excellence in all that they do. Notice I didn't say pursue excellence in our "Christian lives."

Often, that is the problem with Christians. Our lives are segmented into the "Christian" parts and the other parts (business, family, etc...). The result is what people outside the church call, hypocrisy. Galatians says that we are to die to ourselves and live only in Christ. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:31, "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." Pursue excellence in everything you do and you might just be amazed at how quickly people begin to notice your love for God oozing out of your life. It's not going to be easy, but who said it was supposed to be. Jesus had to go to the cross, why should we expect to get to sit comfortably on our couches?

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Bluetooth Technology

OK, so let me brag. I have a new Blackberry Curve and I love it! I've been a Blackberry guy for a while now, but I had no idea how much fun the Curve would plays music and videos! But, one of the coolest features is the Bluetooth. I've had phones with Bluetooth before, but never one that would play music wirelessly like the curve will, I think that is awesome.

Not to be cliche` or goofy, but I got to thinking this morning about how that relates to our communication with God. Bluetooth is good for a distance of like thirty feet, but the Bible tells us that we can't get away from God no matter where we go. He is always there with us. I know that the metaphor does not work out perfectly, but thats fine. After all, who would want to serve a God that could be reduced to a headset?

Our Heavenly Father has promised to never leave us or forsake us. You know, regardless of your situation in life, you are never out of God's range. He is always as close as a whisper. Call out to God today, I promise he's listening.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Britney Spears

OK, so this definitely goes down in history as the one blog title I never thought I would use. I seriously never thought I would write a blog about Britney Spears, but I just can't resist it. If you have watched news recently, then you have definitely heard that Britney bombed at the MTV Video Music Awards the other night. I did not see the show, but I did catch some highlights on, and she did miss some dance steps, but that's not what I'm writing about. I have great concern over the fact that commentators had as much to say about Britney's body as they did about her missteps.

What did they have to say about Britney’s body? Not some trashy lust-filled garbage, instead, commentators were talking about just how “out of shape” she looked on stage. Let’s be honest, she had no business wearing the clothes she was wearing, but it was not because she was fat, it was because she looked trashy. I guess most women who have had two children would love to have her body.

Our media has created a culture of “skinny” for young girls that is incredibly dangerous. Angela (my wife) and I were appalled that a woman in the physical condition of Britney Spears would be considered fat or “out of shape.” So, it is worth saying, Britney is not fat, Paris is WAYYYYY TOO SKINNY, and it is not healthy to be bony.

What does all of this mean for Christian women? Buck the system and be who you were created to be. Your body is not a sex symbol; it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Treat it that way. Find godly men who are interested in loving you because of your love for the Father. Stay in shape, but don’t buy into the mess the media is trying to sell you, Paris Hilton is not normal and neither are Victoria’s Secret models. If you don’t wear a size zero, you aren’t fat, you are normal, and that's not bad!

Oh yeah, and for you guys, let's help out a little here. Girls like fries and burgers too and they should get to enjoy them. We have a responsibility to turn the tide. Be bold and take a girl to eat ice cream instead of salad, sure there are more calories, but it is also twice as fun, and fun is gorgeous!

I could get into a lot of other stuff here, but let’s just leave it at this. If you looked at Britney and thought “gross, fat,” you have been brainwashed by the media. She is smaller than Marilyn Monroe and no one ever called her gross. If you are interested, I could scream about this, but I won’t. And for the record, when you get to have an adorable child (like Wyatt), he or she will appreciate you for being healthy rather than depriving yourself of the nutrition needed for you and for that child.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You Gotta Work Out!

I am really excited. I've found a home gym on E-Bay that I can afford and I should be able to get it to my house in the next couple of weeks. I am in desperate need of some serious strength training. Since Wyatt was born and we moved I've not had access to a gym so I've begun to shrink...and yes, even get a little flabby. I know I'm weak as water now, but gimme some time and I'll be back to my fighting shape.

As I was thinking about that this morning, I was reminded of just how necessary it is for us to be working out spiritually as well or we will become spiritually flabby. In strength training, it is necessary to increase weight to get stronger, similarly, it is necessary to push yourself spiritually to grow spiritually. Don't expect to grow in your faith because you say "God is Great, God is Good," before every meal. Get in there and sweat with your Bible and in your prayer life.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Three Essentials

Of course We could make an incredibly long list of the essentials for Christ followers, but I've chosen to reduce my list to three items that are of absolute necessity. Of course, a personal relationship with Christ is the beginning point and is the mark of a Christian, but from there, here are the three essentials; they also happen to be our three areas of focus here at Malvern Hill.

1. WORSHIP--Bob Dylan once wrote a song with these words: "You're gonna serve might be the devil or it might be the Lord, but you're going to serve somebody." Bob Dylan is definitely not on my top ten list of theologians, but in this case his words ring true as starkly biblical. The Bible shows us that worship is not only something we should do, it is something we will do...worship is what we were created for. God is the only proper object of our worship. You will worship something, it might be your bank account or your work-out schedule if it isn't God, but if you claim to be a Christian, the number one essential of your faith is worship. That is why we are committed to creating excellent worship experiences at Malvern Hill, because God deserves our best and he desires our worship.

2. WORD-- Christians should be people of one book. I'm not advocating ignorance or illiteracy here, you can read things other than the Bible and I encourage you to do so, but Christians should be biblical people. The only way you can hope to be biblical is by understanding what the Bible says and the only way that will happen is by studying God's word. At Malvern Hill, we encourage everyone to be involved in study of the Word through Sunday School and other Word Study opportunities.

3. WORLD-- Christianity is meant to grow. When new churches start, we use the term "plant" because churches (all churches, not just "new church plants") are intended to grow. Jesus gave the great commission so that we would obey it. If we are not working to reach our world, we are not honoring God fully. Understand, that does not necessarily mean packing up and heading to the African Bush (it might, and if God calls you to that, then praise His name), but it does mean that we should all be intentional about sharing the love of Christ within our own world. The Bible tells us that it is God's will that all should be saved and he chooses to use us to carry the gospel message so that people can be saved. At Malvern Hill, we are serious about reaching our world and we will do more than give lip-service to this idea.

So, there you have it, my three essentials and the three basic building blocks for our church. I hope that this helps you as much as it helps me to keep my priorites properly ordered.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Choices Revisited

You might not always realize it, but much of your Christian life (your life in general) has more to do with the choices you make than anything else. Yesterday, we talkeda bout how choices and Spiritual Warfare go hand-in-hand, but choices also have much to do with your Christian maturity and many other facets of your life. Just as you make conscious decisions to engage in sin, which has a negative affect on your life, you also can make conscious decisions to seek God and to engage in Spiritual disciplines that will benefit your life and your relationship with God.

Of course, I'm not trying to remove the supernatural aspect from the Christian life, God is the author and perfector of our faith, but we have responsibility as well. Do you want a closer relationship with God, then pursue God through prayer and Bible study. Do you want to understand worship better, then engage in worship and tithe to your local church. Do you want to have a godly marriage, then work with all of your heart to be a godly husband or wife and trust God to work in your partner's life.

Life takes work. If you want great relationships, then work to be certain that you are an equal partner in all of your relationships. If you want great friends, then don't sit at home and wait for the phone to ring, become pro-active. If you want to know God better than you ever have, then get to work. No one ever said it would be easy, but if you will make the right choices and choose to pursue God, guess what, you will find him and you will find greater fulfillment than you ever thought possible. So, as I ended yesterday, I end today, Choose Life!

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Are You Sure You Are Being Attacked?

I was talking with a friend yesterday about Spiritual Warfare. You know, that's one of those concepts that we kinda tiptoe around because we don't always know what to do with it. We know its real because the Bible speaks of it, but we also know that it is not what alot of people make it out to be...There's not a demon behind every bush.

As real as I know Spiritual Warfare to be, however, I am convinced that many things that get labeled as Spiritual Warfare are really not that at all. Let me give you some examples. If you choose to cheat on your wife and that ruins your marriage, you cannot say "the devil just ruined our marriage." The devil did not cheat on your wife, you did. If you do not do your job properly and you lay out of work for three days in a row, you do not have the privilege of saying "I'm just under attack," when you get fired. You are not under attack, you are reaping the rewards of your actions.

So, you see, a large part of any war doesn't involve guns and a large part of spiritual warfare does not even involve the Enemy. A large part of Spiritual warfare is simply choices...putting up a great defense (and defense, I might add, wins championships). So, make wise choices. Protect your marriage by being smart about where you spend your time. Do your job and you won't get fired. Choose to obey God's Word and you will find yourself in the middle of his will. Moses said it this way, Choose life or death.

I choose life.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

You Can Be Invisible Too!!!

I heard someone say this morning, that when we get wrapped up inside our own little world, we assume that it is so big that no one on the outside could miss it...but instead we are almost invisible to the outside world. You see, something going on in your life can seem so huge that no one could miss it, but to the outside world, it's just another day. It's like having the greatest hair day of your life and getting zero compliments.

Well, the same can absolutely be true of our church and even our Christian lives. You see, we've convinced ourselves that because of the awesome things going on inside of our lives through the love of Christ, that people see us mowing our lawn and automatically assume that Christ has transformed our lives and our church rocks our world. WRONG!!! Folks, face reality, unless you are blunt honest and transparent with people, they rarely figure out whats going on in your life, good or bad.

We've got to find ways to tell the world how Christ changed us. We've got to be blunt honest about why people need to be in church. Watching you go through the doors on Sunday will not convince them to be there, but hearing you rave about it on Monday might spark an interest. So...mow your lawn to the glory of the Lord, but don't assume that cutting a cross into your grass will convince anyone to be in church or to follow Christ. But, if you put down that weed eater long enough to share with your neighbor how awesome things are at Malvern Hill (or wherever your respective chruch is) they might discover that they need the Lord too.

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