Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday Flashback

OK. Better late than never...

Sunday God reached down deep into a lot of hearts. Our series on Moses prompted me to tell my own story of being in the desert, feeling like a failure and wondering if I had been put on the shelf. It happened over 20 years ago, and I had never shared it to a group before.

Sharing it was harder emotionally than I thought it would be. Opening up old wounds and baring failures isn't easy. But we're convinced here that when our leadership is transparent God uses our frailties to build up the church.

It's up on our podcast if you want to hear it.

Our band did a Third Day song ("Revelation") that worked incredibly well with the message. It was better than awesome.

It looked Sunday like a lot of people chose to sleep in and wait for 11:00 to go to church! Once again, lots of new faces. A visiting pastor remarked to me about the size of the crowd and I had to admit that I couldn't identify half of them there. And that's a good thing!

This coming Sunday we'll go with Moses up on Mt. Horeb as he's confronted with God's plan for his life.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poll: Obama More Popular Than Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

Story here.

Before we blow a self-righteous gasket, maybe we should honestly stop and think about how many times Jesus comes in second in our own lives.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Scary picture

This is my granddaughter's dad at age 5 months.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Flashback

Winter was back today!

This time of year finds a lot of folks out sick. But it's always a joy to watch others putting in overtime to fill the empty spots of ministry. I saw some of that happening in Kidmo this morning.

We returned to our series "The Journey - Start to Finish" today with Moses' encounter with his future wife and her family at a well. On this detour" in his journey Moses is about to learn who God is and some vital lessons about leadership.

Thanks to Exodus, a worship band from Liberty University for leading our worship this morning. They're a great group of guys. This was their second visit to NHC, both times here for The Call. Not only talented, they are passionate about God's people worshiping our Creator. LU can be proud of these young men.

Welcoming new partners in our fellowship is always a great time of celebrating. And today there were 10 to introduce. All have different stories of how they came to Christ and then to NHC. But they all have the common thread of hearing the Good News and then believing in Jesus.

Amber Elwood's art work is an awesome way to compliment our worship. Thanks Amber!
If you have a holiday tomorrow I hope you enjoy the day off!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love is in the air

I hope your Valentine's Day is awesome. I got my sweetie some flowers and maybe we'll go out on a date tonight.

But there are lots of opportunities in our lives today to show someone who wants to know what love is. (I know that's bad grammar, but it's the way the song goes.) Not romantic love, but God's love.

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth£ but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. 3If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;£ but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8Love will last forever...

(1 Corinthians 13 NLT)

I've got an idea, myself.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ed and Edith's Church - How to Mold Your Pastor

(If you are a long time reader of my blogging, you’ll remember Evangelical Ed and Edith. They are fictitious characters based on years of experience around American evangelicals – not just my years, but the years of others I’ve met. Their stories are real and happening across North America every week.)

After a long – 14 years - and what could be considered successful pastorate, Ed and Edith’s pastor is leaving – moving to a congregation nearer his elderly parents. During his tenure the church has not grown much, but neither has it suffered great loss. His philosophy has been “Don’t make waves”, and so, being quite the politician, he carefully avoided the pitfalls that plague so many in his position.

When he was called to their church he was told by the board that their expectations were for him to visit the sick, visit the membership, preach the sermons and attend board meetings as an ex officio member. To them that Latin term mean, “You can interact, but you have no power or authority to make decisions”. Because Ed is a respected business man in the community, he has served multiple terms on the board.

Ed likes the new pastor. So does Edith. At least that’s what they say. Yet she is the first to make critical remarks on the ride home Sunday after church about the sermon, or how his children were dressed, or that somehow he neglected to notice her new coat. Edith remarks to Ed that this young minister has some things to learn. And she’ll see to it that he is properly schooled.

At first the young pastor was a bit frustrated when he attempted to suggest new ideas for ministry or outreach. But because he needed this job, he learned quickly not to assert himself too strongly. Quickly he discovered that behind the smiles of those listening to his new ideas were the power brokers dissing him. Not so subtly he was told that he should leave all those things to others. After all, pastors are not all that hard to replace. So before long he finds himself a chaplain to a flock expecting him to give them good pats on the shoulder and complimenting the ladies on their fine chicken salads and pecan pie as he visits for lunch.

In the mean time, the neighborhood around their church is growing. New homes are being built rapidly, bringing in new, young families, a new elementary school and a new mall. Yet, Ed and Edith’s church fails to grow with the community.

It’s not that the occasional new family doesn’t come to visit, but as they look around they don’t see anyone like them. The church has grown older, but they’ve been well cared for by their pastor. If they sneeze in church on Sunday, he’s at their house on Monday to pray for the sick.

In a business meeting someone once suggested that perhaps they should consider hiring an associate pastor to minister to young people. But, someone else countered, "How can we afford that?". The roof would need replacement in a few years and you never knew when the furnace was going to give out. And shouldn’t we think about putting new padding on the pews? No, there just wasn’t the money to think of additional staffing.

Then came the Sunday when Pastor announced his resignation. Although there was sadness, the church understood the need to move closer to his parents. After all, most of them now were his parents’ age, and could easily relate. Immediately the board assembled a pastor search committee. Edith was voted in! She was confident she knew exactly what to look for in a minister; so confident, in fact, that the committee selected her to be the chairperson.

At the first committee meeting she quickly suggested (after being given the gavel) that the best bang for the buck would be to bring in a new seminary graduate. His inexperience won’t demand much salary, which would allow for the new flower beds to be tended seasonally. But more importantly, being wet behind the ears, he will be teachable. And Edith knows how to mold a pastor.

So the search begins. The future of the church, as envisioned by Ed and Edith, looks bright.

You can read my previous posts on Ed and Edith. Look for the label to the right that says, "Evangelical Ed and Edith".

Disclaimer: I have no idea who those people in the picture really are, but I found it and it looks like it came from a church pictorial directory. They look like nice people, just like Ed and Edith.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Seems to me...

Now, I'm no genius, but I have stayed in a Holiday Inn. It seems to me that the way to stimulate the economy is to put $ into the hands of the businesses that generate the economy and into the hands of homeowners who are losing their investment.

Why does it seem this stimulus package seems to be putting a lot of money into government agencies that can't generate income, don't pay taxes and create more of a drain on the taxpayer?

Seems to me that if Richardson was going to oversee the census as Commerce Secretary, why is the new guy nominee going to see the census taken away from Commerce and given to the White House? It couldn't be that his political leanings are different than the president, could it? (I smell something like seafood down here.)

Seems to me the mantra is "Do something, even if it's wrong". We're told that if we don't do something NOW we're just making it worse. Worse than what? Worse than making a huge mistake?

Seems to me hurrying up rather than getting it right only condemns our kids and grandkids into a national debt and inflation we've never known.

Seems to me you don't want to talk about it. Seems to me you just turn your pretty head and walk away.

But I'm no genius.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Flashback

Every so often we get to sit down with members of our global team and hear what God is doing around the world. Today was one of those opportunities. Don and Mary DeHart have given their adult lives serving God by reaching out with His love to First Nations people. Their particular field of service is in BC, Canada.

In recent years we've used our Sunday mornings to do interviews with visiting missionaries and hear them share their hearts. The missionaries enjoy it and the congregation gets to see and hear their passion.

The MP 13 Band made sure our songs today focused on the theme of giving our lives to love the world through Christ. The DeHarts also used a short video that gave us a glimpse into the horrors Native Canadians endured because of a joint effort of religion and the state for generations to eradicate their culture.

After church our elders and wives had lunch with seven new folks who are ready to commit to Nags Head Church. Thanks Hospitality Team for providing a fantastic lunch!

And thanks to all who stayed a little late to remove all the chairs in the auditorium and clear the stage, getting ready for The Call this coming weekend. Mike and Nate stayed even later making some adjustments to our stage lighting. It looks to be a great week ahead!

Next week - back to The Journey. And Exodus will be our guest worship leaders. Don't miss it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

If we always do what we've always done...

The above axiom used to end with these words: ..."we'll always get what we've always had." And while that is still true, these days it's been changed to say, ..."we'll go out of business." And that's true as well.

Read this article in today's Virginian Pilot newspaper. I could write a book in response to the reasons why these churches are "going out of business". Maybe I will.

Do these churches pastors even wonder why their churches are about to close when other churches in the area are exploding with growth? Is there something to be learned from the growing churches? Could it be that a lack of vision (so eloquently stated in the article) has something to do with it?

When you're conducting more funerals than you are baptisms you are in trouble. But to resign yourself into accepting there is nothing that can be done to right the ship is a sad commentary on an institution about which Jesus said, "The gates of hell will not prevail" against.

This article touches really close to home here. I want to grab these churches and say "Change or die - but don't blame it on demographics or the economy. You're going under because you've lost whatever relevance you had to the culture in which you're planted."

I'll step off my soap box for now.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Flashback

A busy day today at NHC.

Apparently our parking lot was full for the 11:00 gathering. I saw a number of cars parked along the street. And it's January, not July.

This afternoon our Divorce Care is meeting early so they can all catch the Super Bowl this evening. Then 50+ students will gather for Contagious.

Today was the second week in our teaching series on The Journey- Start to Finish. At age 40, after murdering an Egyptian overseer, Moses was under the impression that the Hebrew slaves would welcome him with open arms as their deliverer. But they didn't. They weren't ready to follow him, and he wasn't ready to lead. Not yet.

Patience is key to living out God's will God's way. That kind of patience is the result of being under the guidance of God's Holy Spirit. Moses would have to learn some tough lessons as his journey takes a detour in Midian for 40 years.

The band was awesome today. The songs fit well, especially the one about waiting on the Lord.

Next Sunday we'll interview a new bunch of potential new partners in our fellowship. These are exciting days.

See you Wednesday night for First Wednesday.