Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Did These Tricksters Come to Your Door?

Robert as Spiderman!
Jack as Fireman Sam!
Nolan as a hungry and tired baby dressed up in a cute Halloween outfit!

Spiritual Thuggery and Other Gems

In Outreach Magazine's 5th Annual Special Issue: America's Largest and Fastest Growing Churches there are a number of churches from the list that are highlighted. In reading through a couple of the articles I came across some great quotes I wanted to share.

In the article about Salem Baptist Church in Chicago one of the members highlighted from the church who was saved from an addiction to crack had this awesome thing to say about his pastor...

"My pastor is a spiritual thug, a mighty man. He knew how to show me my pain would be my purpose, and that my pain would be my promise. He would not let me go until I realized that." Wow!! We need some more spiritual thugs in the church!

And then in the article about Mariners Church there was this gem that shows why we put our hope in Jesus Christ and not in Republicans, Democrats, Democracies, Autocracies or any other -ocracy.

"I believe that churches have a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty than government programs because, as mine and Darrell's experience shows, it's not about programs and artificial goal-making. It's about sharing the love of Christ and letting God work magic by having a friend in Christ."

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray that God would overcome any obstacles to effective ministry, and that we would be transformed in our attitudes and actions that hinder God's well being among us.

18 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harvest Parties and Fall Festivals

Can someone tell me what is up with church's having Harvest Parties and Fall Festivals. I mean it is great and all to have people come together for fun but let's call them what they are- Halloween Parties. Somehow I guess we think by calling them Harvest Parties or Fall Festivals it is not as bad as calling them Halloween Parties and we appease the people who say that Halloween is a Satanic holiday that the devil uses as an opening to get kids to play with Ouija boards and consult mediums. (And, save your emails I know the pagan roots of Halloween and have read about that but to me the blood of Christ is more than sufficient to cover our children who dress up in costumes with no intention of devil worship!)

And, I really like the Harvest parties and Fall Festivals where it is stipulated "biblical costumes only please." So, I guess that means you could dress up as the devil (he is a biblical character), the witch of Endor who Saul consulted, and the monster Leviathan the Psalmist speaks of.

Happy pre-Halloween everyone!

Love Takes a Detour

Please find below the first message from the Faith in Action message series "Love Takes a Detour."

To listen now, click on the link below.
Love Takes a Detour
The Faith in Action message series is a series of messages challenging the church to puts its faith in action by being open to divine detours, seeing other people through Christ's eyes, and working together to make a difference in the community. The series culminates with the cancellation of morning worship services in the fourth week where participants go out into the community to serve. Throughout it all the challenge is not to go to church but BE the church.

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

Get Apple iTunes for PC or Mac here.

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray that God would give us a growing love for our neighbors, a burden for the things that grieve the Spirit in our community and around the world and the courage to act.

19 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

In Memory of Grace Oughton

It is with deep sadness that I learned today that little Grace Oughton passed away after her long and courageous fight with cancer. Her family posted this announcement on her website earlier today. We at New Season Church have been praying for healing for Grace for some time and back in 2006 we did a benefit concert for her and her family.

Grace was diagnosed at 19 months and though she was only three years old when she passed away she has influenced many. This little girl was a fighter. She was so very brave. She experienced more in her three years than any child should ever have to experience.

I also remember how this little girl brought people together to fight on her behalf and to support her and her family. As the months went by and she battled this awful disease people's kindness and generosity was on display. Grace brought out the best in people in the midst of her unfortunate sickness. She brought together many communities. She brought together so many different people. She brought together churches who prayed for her, loved her and supported her and her family even when they did not know them personally. Grace as a uniter. It is amazing how God can use such a little girl who spent far too little time with us to change the world. I somehow recall a scripture verse about that..."and a little child shall lead them."

In the midst of deep sadness, questions, and anger there are no easy words or simple explanations and there never will be. Yet, Grace has inherited the promises bought for us all and is with the one who said "let the little children come to me." It is to the promises found in Christ alone that we can only cling in our sadness and bewilderment.

Please continue to pray for the Oughtons. For those who want to stay up-to-date with arrangements and such please visit the Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation website here.

2007 World Series Champs

What a privilege to see the Red Sox win two world series in my lifetime! I think I am starting to heal from watching them blow it in 1986. Way to go Sox!!!!

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray that our church would be guided by Christ's example: that we would imitate the sacrificial compassion of Christ, see our world through the eyes of Christ, serve in the power of Christ and rejoice in seeking God's kingdom with the faithful obedience of Christ.

20 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for a spirit of unity, humility and boldness around our church's mission (Philippians 1:1-2).

21 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for New Season's next steps in ministry as it considers how to follow up on the Faith in Action experience.

24 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I give thanks for all God is doing and will do through this campaign and beyond, in the church and in the community.

25 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for the church's relationship with its ministry partners, giving thanks for their contribution to people's well-being.

26 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Worship Matters

In all the talk about worship "styles" and the friction and fracture caused by different worship styles in the same church, it is necessary for pastors, worship teams, lay persons and others to spend some time thinking and reflecting theologically on the purpose of worship.

Before congregations go like a bunch of lemming off the cliff and into the peaks and valleys of what is called "contemporary worship" they do well to look again and reflect from a biblical and theological perspective about what worship is about. In a work by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. and Sue Rozeboom’s called Discerning the Spirits: A Guide to Thinking about Christian Worship they refer to this theological work as “discerning the spirits”: “…what we clearly need is a particular gift of the Holy Spirit, namely, the ability to discern spirits- to identify them, to tell them apart, and to disentangle them from the Spirit of God” (1).

As many new churches seek to make worship relevant, meaningful, and experiential, it must be recognized that expressions of worship cannot be divorced from the cultures in which they are practiced. However, not all in culture is worthy for worship and it is imperative for the church, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discern what spirits are of God and what needs to be disentangled from the Spirit of God.

Instead of jumping on the anything but 19th century pipe organ sucks view of worship, or the let's play AC/DC and show video clips from Spiderman 3 to illustrate Gospel truths bandwagon; pastors, worship leaders and those charged with leading God's people in worship do well to ask some hard question before diving right in.

Questions like- What is the purpose of worship- to glorify and exalt God or to help people come to faith? Can't it be both? Do we do what we do to be "cool" or do we do it because it helps persons become worshippers and bring glory to God? Who is the "audience" in worship? Do we seek to please God first or people first? It is worth pondering.

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for those outside the church who are invited to participate in Faith in Action- that they feel welcomed and useful, that the joy of service is contagious, that they "catch" the Good News of Christ by seeing it in action; that they work well together- and have fun!

27 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for the volunteers participating in Faith in Action- that they deepen their faith and grow in Christ's love as they discover new ministry interests and make new friends; that people would see Christ's love through their faith in action; that they work well together- and have fun!

29 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for the service projects- that they would go smoothly and safely, and that God would bless the church to be a blessing to its neighbors near and far. (Genesis 12:2)

30 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray for those who will use the devotional during the campaign - that God's word would be living and active (Hebrews 4:12), leading people into growing fellowship, spiritual insight, and steps of faith.

31 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

I pray that church leaders would have vision and discernment in making ministry decisions for Faith in Action and beyond- that the church would be led to do God's will in God's way. (Colossians 1:9-10)

32 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Faith in Action Prayer

Today I pray for those who are planning and executing the logistics of the Faith in Action campaign at New Season Church. Give them wisdom, endurance, faithfulness, teamwork and a sense of humor. Amen.

33 more days until Faith in Action Service Day!

Faith in Action- Spiritual Preparation

I continue to be exited about our Faith in Action series and campaign coming up. If you missed the post about what Faith in Action is all about then you can go here.

Prayer is at the heart of Faith in Action. In prayer, we join ourselves with God's work of transformation in our community, and we ourselves are transformed. Prayer empowers us to do good works, guides our ministry decisions, gives life to our witness and renews our hope. Therefore we will prepare for God to work through Faith in Action before, during and after through prayer.

Beginning today and continuing until November 18th when we cancel church and go serve I will be offering a prayer here on the blog. I invite you to take a moment each day to pray the prayer. Along with the prayer will be a countdown.

Nolan Update

Baby Nolan is now 11 days old! Time flies. He is doing really well and doing all the things little babies are supposed to do. He did have some jaundice issues but that has all cleared up now. Thank God for the miracle of life!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nolan Phillip Almy

Here is Nolan Phillip Almy born on October 5, 2007 at Memorial Regional Medical Cener in Mechanicsville, VA at 4:00 PM weighing 7 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 21 3/4 inches. And yes that is a Red Sox hat he has on. He came out with it on and and his first words were "Manny, Manny" and "Big Papi!"

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Relationship Rescue Messages

Please find below the first three podcasts for the message series "Relationship Rescue" at New Season Church. To listen now, click on the links below.


Relationships– we all got ‘em, we all want’em, what do we do with them? This series explores how to establish, maintain, grow and heal the different relationships we have with people by applying practical wisdom from the Bible.

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

Get Apple iTunes for PC or Mac here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Faith in Action

Don't go to church- be the church! That is the message of the Faith in Action Campaign at New Season Church. On Sunday November 18th we are cancelling church and going to serve in our community. Faith in Action will continue to cement the idea at New Season that the church is not a building, it is not what happens inside four walls on a Sunday. Instead, the church is the mighty army of God! The church is Christ's hands and feet in a lost and hungry world! The church exists not for itself! The church is called to take its place and be ready to storm the gates of hell because not event he gates of hell shall prevail.

New Seasoners should be on the lookout for their opportunity to sign on to one of the service projects.

Make plans now to transform this community!!