Archive for August, 2008

27
Aug
08

Why 2 services?

On Sunday, September 14th we’re starting a second worship service.  Our new service times will be 9:15 and 11:00 AM.  This is an exciting time to be a part of the Victory’s Crossing family as together we stretch, reach, experiment, and grow as a church.  Here are a few reasons why we’re starting a new service.

One – We’re following the instruction of the Apostle Paul given in 1 Corinthinas 15:58.  He writes, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  There are three important words in this verse to highlight.  The word steadfast means to make steady, consistent progress.  It’s not record setting or breath taking.  It’s not growing by leaps and bounds over night.  It’s steady but sure movement forward.  The word unmovable is stationary.  When everyone else is thrown back on their heels, ready to throw in the towel, the unmovable person remains constant, like a rock, like a tree deeply rooted.  The third word always abounding means to always grow, always develop, always experiment, always try something new for the Lord knowing our work is not in vain.

Two – God wants us to try new things for him so we’ll trust him more.  Our church began when God led us to try something new, in faith.  Five years ago when we held our very first service at Nokesville Elementary School we had no idea who would show up.  We didn’t know who our volunteers were going to be for the long term.  The only children’s volunteer we had was my lovely wife Wendy.  The only worship leader was me.  As we look back God has always provided every step of the way.  We’ve always had enough volunteers.  For five years we’ve had just one service.  We can do one service with our eyes closed.  It’s time to believe God for more, and trust him that he’ll come through.

Three – Space is becoming an issue.  Research has been done to try and discover what prevents churches from growing.  One problem that can prevent a church from growing is lack of space.  Current research says that if a church is 80% full new comers visit and think that it’s just too crowded for them, and they don’t return.  We’re getting close to being at the 80% mark in our adult service and in our children’s ministry.  On special days and on regular Sundays from time to time its way overcrowded.  By adding a new service we make more room for those who want to belong to our church family.

Four – It’s easy to get stuck in a rut.  You know what a rut is?  It’s a grave with both ends knocked out.  When you’re in a rut you get used to the humdrum, the status quo.  You get comfortable with the sameness of life.  It bothers you at first, but then you get used to it.  Churches can easily get in ruts, not wanting to change, comfortable at rest with the safe and predictable.  God doesn’t want us to live our lives in a rut.  He wants us to live life on the edge, risking, reaching.  One way to get out of a rut is to try something new.

Five – In adding a new service we offer people options.  Options are huge in our culture.  People want their choices.  They don’t want just a latte, they want a carmel latte, extra hot, with skim milk, and extra foam.  Offering two services, one early and one later, gives people a choice.  They can get up early and have more of their Sunday to spend as they please.  Or, they can get up late and enjoy the morning with their family, and then come at 11 AM.

Six – Those serving in children’s ministry won’t have to miss Sunday worship.  Our children’s ministry volunteers can serve during one service and worship at the other.

Seven – I think the most important reason is that adding a new service gives us a greater chance of reaching the lost in our area for Jesus Christ.  We’re creating another time for the Gospel to be proclaimed.   Isn’t that what it’s all about?  The Bible tells us the harvest is ready.  God only needs laborers who will get out there and get busy reaping.  In John 4:35 Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

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20
Aug
08

A Great Night for the Church

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, has started what is called the Saddleback Civic Forum.  Their church and political action ministry hosted a question and answer night with the two presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain.  The event was televised live on CNN.  This was the first time the two candidates met publicly to openly discuss the issues, and it was at a Christian church.  This was a history making moment.

Rick Warren began the night by saying something like, “Welcome to Saddleback Church.  I want you to know that we believe in the separation of church and state, but we do not believe in the separation of faith and state.  We all have a worldview, and faith is simply a worldview.  The candidates that are here tonight and myself, we disagree on a number of issues.  I think it’s time that we are allowed to disagree without demonizing each other.”  He then went on to introduce Senator Barack Obama, and he had what I thought was an informative, friendly, revealing time of discussion.  Then came John McCain, who answered the exact same questions.

I remember an earlier day of political engagement that was much different.  The men who led the church to become more politically active are men that I admire.  Often though at times, they took their stand on issues in such a way that it repelled others.  It was, “We’re right and you’re wrong!”  Never would we allow a liberal democrat in the doors of the church to speak publicly about the issues for fear vulnerable Christians might be led astray.

Rick Warren made me proud to be a Christian.  He’s helping re-image the evangelical Christian. There is no doubt that he is a conservative and a Christian.  He preaches the Bible and believes in the authority of God’s Word.  But, he’s not angry.  He’s willing to listen.  He’s not afraid to let the church hear both sides speak, trusting them to make up their own minds.  He’s given us room to disagree without demonizing.  

 

12
Aug
08

What does it mean to be “Spirit-filled”?

During our Kids Going Bananas Day Camp I drove the bus.  Our bus was a generous gift that God has used in wonderful ways.  There are a few problems on the old ’84 International.  One big one is the gas gage is broken.  You never know when you’re running low.  The previous owner placed a bright green sticker on the dash, “Gas gage does not work.  Fill up after 100 miles just to be safe!” 

Driving the bus with all those kids on board, I didn’t want to run out.  Maybe I had enough to get me through the day at times.  Just to make sure, regularly I would pull into the station to fill up, and praise God we never ran out.

Like that old bus, you need gas.  You need the Holy Spirit to keep going.  You don’t have an exact gage to let you know, “Hey!  You’re going to run out today!  You’re going to stall, and leave you family, your kids, you wife, your co-workers hanging!”  It’s important to get regular fill ups just to be sure.  You can’t drive a bus without gas, and you can’t operate the Christian life on your own strength, without the Holy Spirit.

I think one of my constant challenges is just making time to stop and spend time filling myself up with the life, and presence, and power of God.  In the morning when I first get up, my first instinct is to exercise, read the paper, read a book, check my email, check my voice mail.  All those things can crowd out the free space in my life for the still, small voice of God.

Living the Spirit filled life is daily asking Christ to be the Lord of your life.  You continually yield yourself to him.  It’s taking time to submit yourself to your Creator each day.  As we grow closer in our relationship with Christ we’ll always find more areas we need to surrender over to him.  Being Spirit-filled is yielding all of myself, as much as I know how, to all that I know of Jesus at that moment in my life.

Ephesians 5:18-20 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,  20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 

06
Aug
08

The Final Week of KGB Camp

As the winter season was ending earlier this year, during my quiet time, I came across this passage of Scripture found in Proverbs 10:5 – He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. 

God spoke to my heart that the summer should be a time of harvest and growth for the church.  I had a choice to make.  I could sit back and take it easy, enduring the “summer lull” that happens as churchgoers vacation and travel.  As this verse says, I could choose to sleep.  Or, I could see the summer as a season of work, sacrifice, and an opportunity for greater ministry.  I asked God to help me be a “wise son”, gathering crops while the harvest was available.

It was around that time that we began to press forward with our plans for the second year of Kids Going Bananas Day Camp.  We’re now finishing up our final week of camp, and looking back it’s been a fruitful summer!

Matt Gallant has done a wonderful job directing the camp. This year we’ve had almost 130 different campers.  We were able to provide many scholarships to kids who could not afford to come.  We were able to offer summer jobs, and volunteer opportunities to young people, getting them out of the house while school was out.  We’ve had the chance to share the message of the gospel with the campers every week.  And, instead of seeing our attendance go down on Sundays, we’ve watched it go up.

Here’s a video that will show some highlights from week 6.  Enjoy!

You Tube Camp Video