Rise Up, Church!

March 16, 2014 — 1 Comment

I wrote this a while back…

Rise Up Church

Rise up Church
Don’t sit on your cans
Give Jesus your hands
Give Him your plans
Allow Him to be your only stance
And don’t be afraid to feel what you say
Don’t ever shy away
From the gospel of grace
Take it with you wherever you go
May your smell be so sweet
So that all my know
That you follow the Christ
The Messiah your King
To only His cross may your life cling

So Rise up Church
Don’t ever be afraid
Because you and I know
That with His life He paid
For your freedom of relationship
The dream of our unity
Your destiny of community
To love each other so deeply
In this world so uniquely

So rise up Church
Because when the world sees you
They should encounter the One who has sent you
Be ever so humble
But love with all might
Because you’re attached to the One
That gives blind men their sight
Don’t forget who you are
You’re a child of the King
And over you He sings
Songs of praise and adoration
Because He loves you beyond comprehension

So rise up Church
And make a difference for Him
By loving each other
And most of all Him

Thanks to everyone who participated in The Locust Effect book give-away! The winner is Kristin Himmler of Pittsburgh, PA.

If you didn’t win, please go to Amazon and purchase Gary Haugen’s new book now. If you purchase it before midnight of February 8th, a generous donor will give $20 directly to International Justice Mission for every book sold (paper or digital), up to $80,000. Thank you for supporting this great work of fighting the war of poverty.

Watch this video and discover the greatest factor in world poverty according to IJM President, Gary Haugen.

LocustEffect bookAngle-GalleryPageErica and I are on International Justice Mission’s launch team for Gary Haugen’s new book, The Locust Effect. This is an incredible eye-opening book about the hidden global effect of everyday violence against the poor in our world. To raise awareness of this issue, I’m holding a book giveaway.

To be eligible to participate in this giveaway, you must answer the following question from the website: What reason does Gary Haugen explain for why there is so much violence against the poor?

Once you have his answer to this question, contact me HERE. From those who email me with the correct answer I will choose one winner on Thursday, February 6th at 5:00pm. I will then notify the winner via email.

 

Catch the d4 Vision!

January 20, 2014 — Leave a comment

I want to invite you to join me at d4 this summer! I have the privilege of speaking at this Lionshare conference at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN June 26-29, 2014. This is an interactive learning opportunity that highlights the importance of disciple-making in today’s world.

d4 is a 4-day discipleship conference that is designed to ignite a new generation of disciple-makers. This is unlike any other conference as all main session speakers are proven disciple-makers that have third and fourth generation fruit as described in 2 Timothy 2:2. d4 will also feature panelists from all over the country who are leaders in their field and are actively pursuing transformation of their workplaces through discipleship. Both the speakers and panelists represent the Dozen Domains of Society and believe the time has come to ignite a new generation of disciple-makers!

d4 is an interactive conference designed to impact society by equally envisioning and equipping participants.  This interactive approach is why d4 is not your typical conference. Regardless of your season of life, this conference is for you and will challenge and provoke your ways of thinking.  Come prepared to do more than just sit, as d4 will provide you with the opportunity not only to receive, but to give!

Ruined in Haiti

January 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

One of the guys I’m discipling decided to go to Haiti on a last minute opportunity with the Chaplain of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came back ruined.

He’s now ruined for the ordinary things this world has to offer. As my friend relayed his story, he had to fight back the tears that were real evidence of his brokenness from what he experienced in just a few days in Haiti. His encounter with Haiti’s orphans put a lot of things into perspective for him. He said, “There’s no vision for the future for most of these kids. They’re just fighting to make it to tomorrow.” This shook him to the core and refreshed a conviction I know to be true.

I believe every member of the church (I lead) should go on a short-term mission trip to a developing country. I believe the American Church needs to be shocked at our way of living and our way of practicing Christianity and following Jesus. There is a clear distinction from the Church in America compared to how I’ve seen the Church live and operate in the developing countries I’ve visited on mission trips.

There are pros and cons to each, and there will never be a perfect church. However, there is a massive difference in how the Church in the developing worlds approaches Jesus and the ordinary things this world has to offer compared to the majority of the people in my church (including me).

If you’re reading this…I think you should consider going on a short-term mission trip to discover what God wants to teach you.  Warning: You may come back ruined!

4,346 candles

January 1, 2014 — Leave a comment

This picture was taken at one of four Christmas Eve services at North Way Wexford. 4,346 people lifted a candle that night. 4,346 is the number of people that came to celebrate Christmas Eve at North Way Wexford. 4,346 doubles the average weekend attendance at the Wexford Campus.

Christmas Eve at North Way

4,346 represents three different groups of people that were in attendance. Several hundred of these people were from out of town visiting family, and it’s always great to have them. Many of these people are North Way members and are deeply invested in the mission of my church. The rest of the 4,346 are those that will visit again at Easter and then again on December 24, 2014. And it is SO good to have them! I just wished they realized how much I’d love to have them with us consistently.

I want to be clear that this post is not a “where have you been all year?” kind of post. That’s not my style. This is not intended to cause guilt or anything like that. This post is a sincere invitation to all those folks that live near North Way Wexford but only visit once (maybe twice) a year.

I’d love for you to join me at North Way Wexford! Seriously. At least, I’d like to hear your reason(s) for not giving my church a try during the rest of the year. I can guess why, but I’d really like to learn from you. I don’t want to assume anything. I think it’s fair that you shouldn’t either, right?

Would you take the time to answer some of these questions? Leave a comment. Facebook me. Direct Message me on Twitter. Email me from my church website. Call me at the office. The point is, I’d honestly love to hear from you. Really.

Why don’t you want to be a part of my church? Why don’t you come to our services? If you were me, how could I best serve you? What do you wish my church did that we’re not doing? What do you wish my church would stop doing that we are doing? Let’s pretend there was only one thing you’d change about my church…what would it be? What would it take for you to come back and join me before Easter or Christmas. I’m being sincere here. I’d love to hear from you.

I love Christmas!  I really do!  As a pastor, however, this month adds a layer of stress and ticks up the pace of my life like no other.  I celebrated the birth of Jesus yesterday (Christmas Eve) with 4,364 people at North Way Wexford, and I’m exhausted today. I really wanted to lead everyone into the perfect Christmas Eve experience. I believe we accomplished this for mostly everyone (there are always a few that let you know when you fall short of their expectations).

If I’m not careful, with the pace I keep near Christmas, I can lose the reason for this entire season because I lead a church.  Sounds ironic, I know. But if I don’t slow down and focus my heart on Jesus, I’ll lose.  I do not want to miss Jesus, so that’s why I’m writing this as my family is enjoying the gifts they received today.

My focus right now is Jesus (not that it wasn’t yesterday, but leading people to Jesus can cause me to have one eye on Jesus and one eye on those I lead). Today is the day Christians chose to celebrate his birthday (even though scholars believe it was probably in the Spring). My family and I started today by reading Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. It put this day into perspective. Everything we celebrate today (even the calendar we use) flows from this historical event, and I’m glad to rest tonight in the promise that God came to be with us…Emmanuel.

I love Christmas! I really do! I hope I was able to strike that fine balance of leading North Way Wexford yesterday and resting with my family today.