Friday, December 6, 2013

Book Review: ENEMIES of the HEART by Andy Stanley

ENEMIES of the HEART is a great book. In this work, Andy Stanley deals with Four Emotions that Control You: Guilt, Anger, Greed, and Jealousy. Each negative emotion is dealt with in terms of debt. Whether you owe someone else or they owe you or you owe you or God owes you, there is a clear message communicated of how each of those mentality negatively impact an individual and robs people of the true intimacy God desires they have. Additionally, Stanley provides simple practice antidotes to each one of those enemies of the heart: Confession, Forgiveness, Generosity, and Celebration. It is my opinion that everyone should read this book. In fact, I have distributed this book to several people and purchased another dozen to share as I feel so led.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Joining Jesus


It is easy to get busy or distracted by the happenings of life in general. This sermon, based on Luke 24:13-35, raises the questions of where are you in your walk with Jesus? Does your knowledge of Jesus dictate your actions in this life? Are you in line with God’s will for your life? Jesus calls us to Join Him daily. My prayer is for this message to resonate in the hearts and lives of His people so they join God daily in His work around them. Listen to the message here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Living FAITH (2 of 2)

On October 27, I preached the second sermon in the Living Faith series. This sermon focused on the idea of Faith. This message looked at Fundamentals, Assets, Insights, Truths, and how to Hone biblical faith. This message was taken from Hebrews 11:1-3. You can listen to the message here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

LIVING Faith

October 20, I had the opportunity to preach on the idea of a LIVING Faith. There is a distinct difference between living and being alive. Galatians 2:15-21 highlights the idea that Christians are born to live through Jesus, to God, to live in Jesus. This passage highlights the fact that we must examine ourselves to see if our faith is living or just alive. Listen to the message here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gone for God, Gone for Good


Sunday, September 15, I preached a message called, "Gone for God, Gone for Good." It was a great message to share, because it spoke on the truth of Psalm 67, which is known as the missionary Psalm. It talks about how and why God blesses His people, so that He may be known. Included in this message are three stories from people who have been to Kenya, Mexico, and SE Asia this past year sharing the love of God with others. The main thought of this message is, God Works Through people to make Himself known To people. Listen to the message here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Dirty God by Johnnie Moore



Every once in a while I obtain a book I would never buy, and typically never get around to ready. On a recent trip, I packed one of these books in my bag just in case… The name of the book is, Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches. In Johnnie Moore’s work, there is a refreshing view of grace and our lives in accordance to the grace Jesus has given to those who believe in Him. There are many great things about this book. First, the content is great. Second, it is very easy to read. Thirdly, it grabs your attention and is a true page-turner. Fourth, this book has great research. To that point, many books lack high quality quotes and reference just the author’s point of view. Dirty God uses quotes from contemporary and past men of influence. Fifth and beyond, it has an interesting/intriguing title. There are other things, but that is all of this review. For me this was a book I read just because. If you have no real agenda (or have an agenda to get a fresh perspective on grace), you should read this book too!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick



This May I had the opportunity to go to Catalyst Dallas, a conference of innovation and challenge for ministers. One of the books I chose from the selected giveaways was one called The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick. This book has 8 essentials for becoming a change maker.  This book provides insight into Lomenick’s accession to the leader of Catalyst. Each of the 8 essentials are described in detail, and matched with stories from how the lessons were learned and implemented. For me, I am glad I picked this book out and happy that I made the time to read it. This is a good book that I would gladly recommend.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chloe's Baptism

video

Chloe received Jesus as her savior on June 21, 2013 (Christy & my 10th Anniversary). On July 28th (my birthday), I had the incredible privilege of baptizing her at First Baptist Jenks, where I serve as the Executive Pastor. It was so great to experience this, and have GiGi & Pappa, Grammy & Grandad, MawMaw & Bubba, Micheal & Anne with Josh, Sam, Drew, Caleb, and Angelina there to celebrate with our family as well. This was a great day!






Monday, July 15, 2013

Freedom in Following



Freedom is typically seen as the ability to not have to answer for anything or to anyone. In this message (Freedom in Following) preached on July 14, the Scripture teaches that freedom is found in following Christ. In fact, the best way to live our best life to its best potential is to follow, which can be understood as making ourselves slaves to Christ and others. Included in this message from Galatians 5 are 5 steps to following Jesus in a way that will indeed set us free. Listen to the message here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: Death by Living by N. D. Wilson.



Instead of writing a typical book review, I am just going to share the thoughts on this book while reading, Death by Living by N. D. Wilson. Here we go:

Random stories. No connection or link. Random thoughts. Feel like I'm reading an ADHD writer. Page 62, God falls short? Chapter 11 had a clear thought process; it was strange for this book. Why is this author insinuating curse words, then giving me the greatest commandment and the next? What is this dude talking about... and why did I waste my time reading this book!

In short, this is either the worst book I have ever wasted my time reading or the second worst book I have ever wasted my time reading (see The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay for the competition to this book).

Monday, June 24, 2013

Barriers to Following Jesus

Sunday, June 23, I had the opportunity to preach a sermon based on Luke 9:57-62 called, Barriers to Following Jesus. As is the sermon, this message is based off Kevin Idleman's book, Not a Fan. Basically, this message focused on the barriers of poverty, priorities, and pursuits. To follow Jesus we must be willing to let go of our comfort, conditions and control, and deny, abandon, and refuse ourselves. Here is a link to the sermon: Barriers to Following Jesus.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dealing The The Pressure Cooker Reality of Ministry


I read an article by Carey Nieuwhof and wanted to share it online. It details the biggest mistake/struggle a longtime minister has made. He described it as “knowing how to handle the pressure of ministry.” Here are some exceprts and major points from his post:

Ministry brings pressure that seems to be unique to the calling. I love ministry and am so thankful to have been called into it, but with it comes pressures that is well, just different. Here’s my theory as to why ministry is such a pressure cooker for many. Ministry combines three areas of life that are intensely personal:
  • Your faith
  • Your work
  • Your community
Because of that, it gets confusing. 
  • What you do is what you believe.
  • What you believe is what you do.
  • Your friends are also the people you serve and lead.

Throw your family into the mix (because they believe what you believe and are friends with the people you/they lead and serve) and bam — it’s even more confusing. Due to this, things that normally happen "at work" very seldom stay "at work." The pressure can lead to problems that impact your home, your life, and even your faith.

Here are six habits that have helped me learn to handle the pressure of ministry well:  
1.     Understand the perfect storm of work/faith/community: Church world is the only place I know of where what you believe is what you do and the people you serve are also your friends. You need to understand this. Understanding why something is emotionally confusing is the first step toward untangling the confusion.
2.     Find friends who aren’t in your church or organization: Be friends with the people you live with and serve, but find some friends you can talk to about anything.
3.     Don’t base tomorrow’s decisions on today’s emotions.
4.     Seek a Christian counselor.
5.     Develop a devotional life that has little to do with work: One of the casualties of serving in the church is your devotional life. You get too busy or you "cheat" and make your sermon or lesson prep your devotional time as well. Don’t. God loves you for who you are, not for what you do.
6.     Develop a hobby or interest outside of work.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chloe Asked Jesus to Save Her!


June 21, 2013 was Christy & my 10th Anniversary. It was a Friday, the Friday of VBS at our church. All week long Chloe had been asking about Jesus, something she had actually been doing for a couple of years (but I kept thinking she was too young for the talk). Anyway, on this Friday morning, Christy and I made a point to sit down with Chloe and talk about Jesus together. We asked her why she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart, why she thought she needed it, and why should would not do it.

With boldness and confidence our sweet Chloe girls calmly explained her need for Jesus. She told us she knew she was a sinner and need Jesus to wash away her sins. She told us she knew that Jesus needed to the boss of her life. She expressed a genuine child-like faith in God and His Son Jesus... then she asked Jesus to save her and her eternity will never be the same! (The picture was taken by Christy while we were praying, I love it!)

This was one anniversary and moment Chloe, Christy & I will never forget!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Old Reader





Google is killing my favorite website, Google Reader. All I have been able to discover on the rationale is that the service simply is not popular enough to justify continuing the free service (anyone else amused by my irritation the free service is going away). The funny thing is that there seems to be a bunch of people hacked off by Google's decision, which has not mattered to them (and why should it, will people actually go back to aol).


Personally, I have drug my feet on making a change until this morning's reminder from Google told me the service would be dead July 1. After reading through some blogs (tons of people hacked off at Google), I found the perfect answer to my problems: THE OLD READER!

The Old Reader is just like Google Reader, except it is not being killed off July 1. My favorite part of the website is the irony of the people who created it... they are running the website on Google's Sites. Hey Google, Good call to Kill Reader... Said No One Ever.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Book Review: Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley

-->

This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to become a better communicator. Although I have not read other reviews on this book, my guess is that there are some pious people who dislike Andy and thus discredit his in your face reality about preaching and dismiss this book as nonspiritual. Regardless of naysayers might communicate about this book, it is indeed a great read for preachers who want to be more effective in their communication skills. Through a story and then detailed explanation, Stanley provide 7 Imperatives of Communications. This is worth the read for any preacher, especially ones who would like to improve!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Overcoming the Hurdle of Pride

Sunday, April 28, 2013 I had the opportunity to share a message about Overcoming the Hurdle of Pride in our series on Hurdles. Philippians 2:1-11 was the focal passage, concentrating on verses 3-4, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to you own interests but the interests of others." The central idea of the message was to Kill the I in me and live for He who died for We. You can listen to the message here.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

TOP 10 SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE PRIDE

10.When you the subject of pride, you immediately think of others who have a problem
9.    You feel slighted when other people are praised
8.    You hear others share a story and follow it up with, “oh that’s nothing, let me tell you what happened to me
7.    You think “Lowly tasks and responsibilities” are below you: like answering the phones, grunt work, and helping in general
6.    You gladly share your success, accomplishments, and abilities with others
5.    You think you are the perfect person to address pride with others
4.    You know more than everyone else: includes rejection of suggestions, inclusion in decision making, dismissal of others, isolation
3.    You take a lot of pride in your humility
2.    You cannot believe people struggle with sin
1.    Your list would have been much better than this list!

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Role As Executive Pastor


Recently, I read a blog and saw a leadership video on the role of Executive Pastors. Being in that role of I have often been asked, “What does the executive pastor do?” According to Dr. David Fletcher, there are three different kinds of Executive Pastors: Overseer of operations, Ministry Strategist, and the Second-in-Command.
                                
My pastor, Rick Frie, explains my job as, “being responsible for everything that happens outside of the worship service (except for building and grounds).” With that being said, the overseer of operations (writing checks, maintenance of facilities, dealing with insurance) is outside of my job description and I rarely have to do anything with that. The closest responsibility I have to that role would be my involvement as an ad hoc member of the finance team, but my role is for ministry and budget oversight responsibilities.

For my is a combination of the Ministry Strategist and the Second-in-Command. I work with the pastor to clarify and fulfill the vision God has given him for our church. My duties include goal setting and constant evaluations, while overseeing ministry and church functions to free the pastor to shepherd the church. Oversight of our spiritual development, ensuring that we have a process and measurement system in place. When the Senior Pastor is out, I am the one held accountable for the daily operations of the church, staff oversight, filling the pulpit, etc. Additionally, I oversee our spiritual development, small groups, missions, evangelism, discipleship, and assimilation of lives into our church family… and other tasks assigned by the pastor. For example, I have been responsible for three capital stewardship campaigns in my time at First Baptist Jenks, with a fourth campaign looming as we are preparing to expand our children ministry facility.

I am not sure that there is an ideal job description for all executive pastors, but I do believe the key is to make sure the person in that role understands his job. Equally important is for the Senior Pastor to provide his executive pastor with the authority to fulfill the responsibilities he has been given and will be accountable for. Another key component is for everyone on staff to understand what that job entails and the how that affects working together as a team.

For me, I find great joy in being able to preach (about 8-12 times a year on Sunday mornings) and weekly on Wednesday nights. I love the leadership development aspect of my job. God has given me an outlet for my passion of missions, being able to oversee that area of the church. I thoroughly enjoy being able to critically think about our ministry strategy and evaluate how we are doing.

While there are times where the executive pastor role can stretch you, it is in those moments where I find my effectiveness increase as I naturally depend more on God. And be sure about it, God is the source for anything good that comes from my job performance. He provides the ideas, strength for execution, and a heart to fulfill His mission in my ministry setting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Agents of Blessing

February 17, 2013 I had the privilege of preaching a message called Agents of Blessing from John 9. The central theme is based largely off of Bruce Wilkinson's "You Were Born for This." As Christians, we must understand God wants to use us for his glory, to work the works of Him who sends us! This was a fun message that is applicable to Christians in all ages and stages of life! Here is a link to Agents of Blessing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Walking with God

Saturday, January 19, 2013 I received a phone call around 9:00PM from my pastor asking me to fill in for him the following day, Sunday, January 20, 2013. The funny thing is that I had been contemplating calling him at that exact time to call in sick as well. Instead, I did what was necessary and put together a message from my heart on Walking with God. The whole message is an act of God, from how it fit together to even being able to deliver it at all. Although 2 Corinthians 12:19 had nothing to do with this sermon, God proved His grace is sufficient for me for His power is made perfect in weakness. Here is the sermon based off of Genesis 5:21-24 and Hebrews 11:5-6: Walking with God.