Saturday, April 28, 2007

The New Ecumenism

One thing that was clear from attending the National New Church Conference is that there is a "new ecumenism" that is developing amongst people who want to see disconnected people become connected to Christ.

Steve Childers mentioned this new ecumenism in his talk at the Best Practices pre-conference intensive and this was especially lived out there. At that intensive we heard from the Evangelical Free Church, Southern Baptists, General Baptists, the Presbyterian Church in America, Assemblies of God, Four Square and probably some I am forgetting. All were sharing because they had a kingdom mentality and kingdom approach to church planting and recognized that no one church, one denomination, one church planting network can reach the world or even one particular community.

This new ecumenism is not characterized by three churches getting together to have a Easter Sunrise Service or to protest the state lottery (as important as those things are) but is instead characterized by a heart to continue Jesus' mission to seek and save the lost.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To Keep Up with the National New Church Conference


These guys are doing a great job blogging about the NNCC in ways that far surpass anything I could possibly do. Thanks guys for these valuable posts that let people who were not there discover and those that were there remember.
And no doubt more!

New Season Ministry Network Podcast

Have you heard that we have started a New Season Ministry Network? It is right up there with Catalyst and the Willow Creek Association :)

Actually I started it as a way to communicate with ministry volunteers at New Season to pour into them the DNA of a church that has as its focus engaging its community with the life changing and transformative message of Jesus Christ so that radical followers of Jesus Christ might be made and empowered. I stole the idea from Mark Batterson. I have actually recorded two podcasts. Here they are:

Lost People Matter to God

Servant Evangelism


Five years ago my lovely and gracious wife gave birth to our first born Robert! My how time flies! I thank God every day for Robert (and Jack our 2 1/2 year old) and the joy he has brought to our life. He is a handsome, smart, and energetic little boy with a great heart. He takes after his mom. Happy brtihday Robert! Daddy loves you!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

National New Church Conference Intensives

On Monday and part of Tuesday I had the privilege of being a part of Ed Stetzer's preconference intensive "Best Practices Forum." I learned a bunch and it was great to be with so many people from different tribes sharing how they do some things real well. I am also thankful for the old guys that have blazed the path in church planting before church planting was "in". I am talking about guys like Steve Childers of the PCA who has such a passion for redeeming North America for Jesus Christ. Or, Bill Armstrong from the Church Multiplication and Training Center, Steve Ogne and others. These are men of God and men of wisdom.

Ed Stetzer started the intensive off with sharing some research he and others have conducted about church plants from different denominations. While there were many learnings here are a few that stood out:
  • Funding does not necessarily correlate to higher attendance.
  • If we do not have church plants fail then we are not taking enough risks.
  • Church planters and people supervising church planters must have reasonable expectations. (Most church plants are not wildly successful so quick like the stories you hear about and that are celebrated at conferences like this).

Steve Childers from the Presbyterian Church of America and Global Church Advancement shared best practices next.

  • A Gospel centered church will be concerned with Good News for the lost (evangelism), Good News for the found (discipleship) and Good News for the city (community transformation).
  • No single church in a community can fully live out all that is necessary to be a Gospel centered church. It will take all kinds of churches.

...more to come

National New Church Conference

I am at the National New Church Conference this week in Orlando hearing from some of the brightest and best of people who are starting new faith communities. I will be blogging more about it in the next couple of days but I can tell you that so far it has been great and inspiring.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pray for Virginia Tech- Go Home Media!

It is in times like these that our only hope and comfort comes from God. It is in the midst of senseless tragedy that we come to know the grace of the Almighty. To that we must cling. We pray for all those affected in all ways. The sinking feeling in my stomach is similar to the feeling of 9/11.

Perhaps equally sad is the swarm of lmedia that have descended upon the campus of VT in Blacksburg. Should they be there? Yes- it is a newsworthy event. I have no problem with that. What they should not be doing in a difficult and tragic time like this is assessing blame. There may be a time for blame or for a review of how the tragedy could have been handled better, but now is not the time. It is irrelevant at this point! However, we have a media in our country today that has been taught and has as its reason for living to be the next Woodward and Bernstein and find the scandal, the cover up or where to asses blame. This is what is happening today and happened yesterday as people have sought to make sense of this tragedy. You in the media are no help when you engage in such irresponsibility. Again, there will be a time to assess. But gosh darnit- just report the news for once and stop stirring people into a frenzy. It is to be expected that people directly affected by this tragedy would have a need to assess blame and seek answers and accountability as a way of dealing with this tragedy. However, we don't need a media to fan the flames.

So, unless you are going to report the news then go home. We know your angle has been written now- the talking points are out. Have some compassion and let the students and people of Blacksburg, VT, Virginia and the nation grieve before you play your blame game.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Credit Card Challenge

Yesterday I issued a credit card challenge as part of my message "Are You Leading the Charge?"

I have challenged our church to pray about cutting up one or more of their credit cards as part of our worship celebration experience next Sunday. Not only that, but we are also asking people to bring all those credit card solicitations and refinance mortgage solicitations and we are going to shred them with paper shredders in our worship space as a way to say we trust God in this life.

Our actions are a way to say that we do not receive worth from the things we can buy with credit cards but from the God who created us in his image and the God who took on flesh through Jesus Christ and through his life, death and resurrection gives us worth. We will be saying through our action that when we are hurt, wounded, facing troubles we will trust in the one who has promised to meet all our needs and not rely on things we can buy and credit crack to make us feel better. And by our actions we are going to say that we understand who God is- that he owns all things and lends them to us to watch over and that if we follow Christ then that makes a difference in every part of our life including our financial life.

So bring those credit cards and solicitations and lets do some cuttin' and shreddin'.

Are You Leading the Charge Podcast

Please find below the podcast for the first message in the Discover Financial Peace series at New Season Church called "Are You Leading the Charge?"

To listen now, click on the podcast icon below.


High credit card debt and consumer debt is a plague in our society. Statistics bear our that excessive debt leads to such maladies as marriage and relationship strain as well as depression. What does the Bible and faith speak to such issues? How we manage credit and debt is really a faith issue. It touches on issues such as where do we get our self worth from, who do we trust when we face our brokenness, and who do we understand God to be.
For people who are followers of Jesus Christ and have made him Lord (CEO, Director, Supervisor) of their lives then faith in Jesus Christ touches every aspect of the follower's life including how they handle their finances. For those who are not yet followers this series allows for them to explore what the Bible, faith and the Jesus journey offer for managing finances. We will see how God who owns all things provides guidance and direction through scripture when it comes to managing what he has given to us.
Subscribe to this podcast via Apple iTunes by following this link.

Get Apple iTunes for PC or Mac here.

Opening Day

This past Saturday we had our opening day for T-Ball. We ended up in a tie after three innings of play- 33-33. Actually we do not keep score, the kids get to run the bases even if they are out, and the last player to hit in the inning gets to run around all the bases. This brings a different dynamic to coaching. Like, how does one teach an infielder to throw to second base to get the force out when there is a man on first if they are going the runner is going to stay there anyway because there are no outs! What I have found though is that if you can get your infielders to realize and throw it to first base or to run around the bases in the right direction that is a victory.

The kids did a really great job paying attention, hitting, running the bases and fielding. I also have some great people helping me out and we have our systems in place. I am looking forward to a great season!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

He Makes All Things New Podcast

Please find below the podcast for our Easter message at New Season called "He Makes All Things New."

To listen now, click on the podcast icon below.


Jesus Christ conquered death not only for the life to come but conquered those things that are like death to us in this world. Easter means more than just getting a ticket punched to go to heaven after we die. Easter has implications for this life. Easter means God is in control, there is more to life than living in quiet desperation and Easter serves as a call to serve others and share the joy of Easter.

Subscribe to this podcast via Apple iTunes by following this link.

Get Apple iTunes for PC or Mac here.


I guess the truth is out now and you know that I am not the father of Anna Nicole's baby. Though I heard this morning that Don Imus is now claiming paternity. Congratulations Larry Birkhead!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Discover Financial Peace

We are starting a brand new series this Sunday at New Season called Discovering Financial Peace. One of our beliefs at New Season is that the Bible and being a follower of Christ affects every aspect of our lives including how we handle his money. So we are not going to shy away from talking about it. For those who think it is worldly to talk about Biblical principles for handling God's blessings read your darn Bible man- it was talked about all the time. We are going to be leading off with with talking about credit card debt and debt in general and how our drive to consume is just an attempt to fill the God sized hole in our heart that can only be filled by Jesus Christ.

So invite someone to church this Sunday- their life might be changed!


We have it going around in our family these last couple of weeks. Thankfully it seems to be a twenty four hour thing. Robert got it first and had to come home from school early after throwing up. Then Jack got it this Sunday and threw up at church. Last night Diana got it and was out from work today. I hope and pray I do not get it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Nelson Searcy Resources

Nelson Searcy, founding pastor of the Journey Church in New York has produced some great resources as part of his Church Leaders Insight website. The resources are geared toward church planters but can be of use to a variety of ministry settings. On their podcast page you can download some free training resources. They also have a newsletter you can sign up for and are offering coaching networks in N.Y. and Florida. It is worth checking out.

Battery Give Away Servant Evanglelism Event

This March when the clocks were changed forward by an hour we did a "Battery Give Away" servant evangelism event. I originally intended to get a break on buying some batteries in bulk from Duracell or EverReady but to no avail. So, we ended up buying ours at the dollar store(s) for about 50 cents a piece.

We took the batteries put them in plastic bags with a short note saying "Just a friendly reminder to turn your clocks ahead and change the battery in your smoke alarm. From your friends at New Season Church. It is our practical way of saying God loves you no strings attached. Let us know if we can be of more assistance."

We then spent the Saturday before daylight savings time delivering them.

Servant evangelism is a good way to be incarnational in your community and spread the love of Christ. It is cheap, it is easy and people love doing it.

The God of Order and Counting

I decided at the beginning of the year to focus on reading through the Old Testament and have done so with the help of a reading plan. These people have really good Bible reading plans in different translations that will be delivered to your email inbox.

So I was doing pretty well trucking along through Genesis and Exodus but man Leviticus and Numbers has been a challenge. Yeah, I know all scripture is worthy for teaching and reproof but I sometimes have to dig for it in these books. I often tell people never to read the Bible cover to cover but to start with 1 John or the Gospels or read chronologically because of this very struggle. How many well meaning people have gotten stuck in Leviticus!

One thing that is for sure that Leviticus demonstrates is that God was a God of order. The laws God gives were for the people's well being not just for the sake of having laws. And, Numbers shows us that counting mattered to God.