Youth Camp Starts Tonight

I was so fortunate to have youth camp experiences in Jr. High and High School that changed my life forever.    I am so glad my seventh grade daughter will be participating in the Getaway 2012 at Panama City, Florida the next four days.

Exit Seven Youth Ministry, led by Pastor David Huff, is putting on the Getaway.   The chartered bus leaves town at midnight, so pray for the group as they travel.  Two of my very close friends will be leading the services.  Phil Zarns will be speaking, and Jonathan Lee will be leading our worship.   I couldn’t imagine a better speaker / worship leader combo, and I couldn’t imagine a better group of kids.   It’s going to be special!

As the Spirit brings this trip to mind, pray for these teens and leaders now through Monday  night (June 4) when they return.

God is going to change lives and hearts forever!

Honor Their Memory By Stopping War

War has taken too many lives too soon.  When King Jesus returns to rule this world:

they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” – Micah 4:3 (ESV)

As we remember on this Memorial Day those who sacrificed their lives in war for the United States, I wish they all had lived longer.  War is evil.

Are you ready for the Summer Olympics?

I can’t believe it’s 2012, and the Summer Olympics is happening again!    This year’s game will be in London, and I’m really looking forward to watching the competition.

This Sunday will be a special time to worship together for our “Family Sunday.”   All the elementary children will be in the sanctuary, and we’ll worship and take communion together.  I’ll be sharing a message called Olympic Living.   The Scriptures and illustrations I am going to share will be inspiring to both the kids and adults.

Make sure you make church a priority this Memorial Day weekend!

Should A Christian vote for a Mormon?

Yes, if that is the candidate they feel aligned with on the issues. On Sunday I preached a sermon that strongly pointed out the difference between Christians and Mormons. You can hear the sermon here.

However, I hope my sermon also communicated that despite very certain theological differences, there can be solidarity on family and moral issues with Mormons. There are many things about the Mormon family life and values that I respect, despite their erroneous religious views.

A few years ago, we had a candidate for governor in Tennessee make a last ditch effort to secure votes by stating in an exaggerated manner that he had “Christian values.” While those are my values also, the commercial communicated, “Hey I am a Christian, so vote for me.” I think politicians should be judged on substantial issues, not simply religious affiliation. Christians have a wide variety of views on political and social issues, so simply riding our religion would be an incomplete presentation.

There are times when a person’s faith could override civil judgment, so I do think an evaluation of one’s religion has some merit. However, if a Mormon politician has a record of unbiased decisions, than that politician shouldn’t be judged any harsher that a practicing Catholic or Protestant.

Observing religion is an act of humility. Though I would love for every person in the world to believe just as I do, I think the power of believing something makes a leader more humble, even if they believe a delusion.

Teaching on Mormonism this Sunday

With the pending presidential election and the two candidates established, you will be hearing a lot of noise about religion, and specifically the Mormon religion.   I want to share with you about Mormonsim, and how it relates to Christianity.  I want you to make this Sunday a priority, because this message will be a tool to help you discern the times, and relate better to people in the Mormon faith.

Also, make sure you attend a 242 Group Sunday night.  We have to “invest” in Christian community.

Tonight’s Teaching – “Distinguishing Between Spirits”

Isn’t it comforting to have the Holy Spirit, who helps us discern right from wrong?   More specifically, the Spirit helps us determine what is of God, and what is from demons.

Tonight, I will be teaching on “Distinguishing Between Spirits” as we continue our Wednesday night series on Manifestations of the Spirit from 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.    As always, we’ll have passionate worship and solid teaching.

You’ll be stronger by attending church tonight.

Visit to World Outreach Church

On Thursday, a few of us took a visit to World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro. We spent some time with the amazing Jim Wideman, who has been the leader in innovation for children’s ministry for over 30 years. He was part of building the incredible ministry to children and teenagers at Church on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In recent years, Jim moved to Murfreesboro where he oversees the massive children’s ministry at World Outreach. In addition to this, he is personally leading the high school ministry, which meets on Thursday nights.

Spending time with Jim in his context was a great way for us to be stretched in his areas of his expertise, and to increase our vision for reaching the young people of our community.

We are thrilled that Jim Wideman will be doing a training event for all our children’s and youth workers on the evening of Sunday, August 26. This is a huge opportunity for our church! If you care about kids and teenagers, mark your calendars for that evening.

Beth Allison Speaking This Sunday

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we will have a treat to hear my wife bring the message in both the 9:00 and 10:45 services.  Beth Allison is a passionate and humorous speaker, and she puts a lot of heart into her messages.

This Sunday, she’ll be sharing a message called Parenting with Purpose.    With our crazy life with three kids, that should be an interesting talk.

You can connect with her on Twitter and through her blog called Poison & Fruit for spiritual insights, cultural observations and simply fun stories.

Male of female, parent or not, you will enjoy this Sunday’s service.

More Teaching on Prophecy Tonight

We’ll spend more time on the important subject of prophecy tonight during our  mid-week service on May 9.   The Scripture encourages us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 to:

Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.

If you have had a negative experiences with prophecy, it would be the natural reaction to despise this gift.   Evidently, that was happening among the church at Thessalonica.  Paul encouraged them and us not to despise prophesy, but simply test everything.

If the prophecy is good, hold on to it!   If the prophesy is not good, let it go.

We’ll be discussing this during our teaching tonight, so plan to attend at 6:30 p.m. so we can grow in the Spirit.