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Category Archives: New Developments

Getting Ready For Company

Our theme as a church in 2015 is “Getting Ready For Company”. This means that we are preparing ourselves and our church so that people can feel safe and at home with us. This is going to work out in three particular areas of our church: our Life Groups, our Facilities, and our Structures. I just want to take a moment and talk about some of the exciting ways that we are preparing this year so that we are ready as we continue to grow.

Structures

What I mean by structures is the way in which we do things at New Life. In established churches and especially small churches it is often hard for new people to feel welcomed, or sort of break into the social fabric of our community. So we are developing practices, and ways for New Life  to be as welcoming as possible and for people to get connected as quickly and easily as possible.

The first way we are doing that is with our Connector events. Connector events are times when we can get together to just connect, to get to know each other, to grow in relationships and build community. We currently have an on-going youth connector that happens the first Friday of each month, and a regular men’s connector is in the works. We have plans for other connectors both on-going and single events to make it as easy and enjoyable as we can for all of us to connect at New Life.

The second structure that is helping us get ready for company is our new volunteer orientation. We will be rolling it out in the next month or so. If we don’t have a clear way for people to get involved many people may never get involved, even if they want to. The volunteer orientation helps everyone know what to expect from the church, and what will be expected of them as a volunteer. It will be a great entry point to further connection.

Facilities

We will be making some major and not so major facilities updates and improvements in 2015. Our biggest project is water proofing our basement. This will be a major undertaking but will help to make our basement a much more usable space. Other projects like painting, carpeting, and decorations are already in the works. We will also finish work on the bathrooms.

Life Groups

This is really the most important feature of our preparations this year. Outside of our leadership team we only have two Life Groups now. Life Groups help New Life be much more connected and in a much deeper way. Life Groups are also our means for making disciples at New Life. The success of our church at accomplishing the vision God has given us ultimately will be won or lost in our Life Groups.

Our goal this year is to triple our Life Groups. Each Life Groups is full with about 10-12 people. So if we triple the number of Life Groups through New Life from 2 to 6 it  will give us enough room for 60 adults to be in Life Groups. That means 60 adults at least 30 families maturing in Christ, connecting with people and God. This isn’t enough to continue growth but as the numbers of Life Groups increase the speed at which they increase will also grow. In other words it will be quicker to go from 6 Life Groups to 12  than it will to go from 2 to 6.

What Can I Do?

The most important thing you can do is get in a Life Group and make sure you are growing in your walk with Christ.
Secondly, when we have volunteer orientation make it a point to be there.
Third, get involved. Pray and think about where you could serve. The Volunteer orientation will help with that.

Finally, Give! Givve your time, Give your prayers, Give your abilities and Yes, Give your money. Preachers don’t like to talk about it any more but it will cost money to do some of these things we need to do to make our church welcoming.

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Furtick’s Haters

Steven Furtick is a hugely popular preacher. He is pastor of Elevation church in Charlotte NC, where he is lead pastor of a church of 8,000+ persons and has seen thousands come to faith in Christ over the churches short history. I believe largely because of his success in ministry and his youth Furtick has received many accusations in regards to his genuineness. I can’t say I know everything there is to know about pastor Furtick or elevation nor do I have a desire to. And I won’t say I endorse everything he says because their probably isn’t a person on this planet that I would endorse everything they say. However, what I will say is two things 1) I believe that Furtick is not a heretic and does preach the gospel. I believe that Furtick is a genuine Christian with a genuine love for scripture and people and desires to see the two connected. 2) I believe what Jesus said in Mark 9:40 ‘For he who is not against us is for us.” and that he was right.

With that being said watch this video from Furtick addressing those that have accused him:

Call me weird but I really do believe that we are all in this together, Christians that is. If one ministry or one church or one pastor or one person is successful it is not our job to point out how they aren’t perfect or how I would have done it differently. It is our job to celebrate some more people in the kingdom, or more orphans placed, or more hungry feed, or more Christians discipled  Why aren’t we celebrating and more importantly working with each other. I know that a large reason for this is denominations and I am no fan of denominations in a general sense. I believe they serve some good purposes but they also serve to bring much division. However, I believe that the Evangelical Free Church of America has it right on at least one point of their distinctives. They state that:

The Evangelical Free Church of America embraces a humble orthodoxy in partnership with others of like faith.

We believe in the spiritual unity of the Church though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like, precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit.  Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians. Check out there statement of faith to see just how humble their orthodoxy is. They are foundational and that is about it.

They are right and Furtick is right. It is time for us to stop “Hating” each other and start loving each other for the sack of the world. It is time to stop negatively pointing out how every other church isn’t like us and start celebrating the diversity of the work that God wants done. I would like to call on all those reading this blog. All those at New Life and around the world to be known by your love for other Christians. To be labeled as the church and the people who work with other Christians to see this world changed. Plenty of Churches say they would work with others if a situation came up and will if there is a big crusade or something. That is not what I mean. What I mean is we ought to start seeking out how we might partner with others. To deliberately search for opportunities to unite the body of Christ. I want to see more and more and more partnerships that don’t find differences but seek out similarities in the same missions to see people saved, lives changed, and the kingdom of God grown and strengthened.

We are in this together, lets start acting like it.

 

Capital or Community?

As many of you did I stayed up pretty late last night watching the election coverage. But I went to bed long before the results were in. And as many of you I looked this morning to see who had one. I know some of you are excited and others are disappointed. But allow me to begin by saying that I believe the church has no place in politics. God did not call us to change legislation. God did not call us to make our nation pass laws requiring people to live a moral life. If Jesus is our example for how we are time live then Jesus gave us no example that should lead us to believe that we should try to control Washington and Christ lived in Rome a much more pagan state then our own. Yet Christians still hold political rallies, and Christians still hold get out the vote campaigns.

My question is WHY? Is the word of God not your authority, guide-book, and direction? Then where do you see that in scripture? Are you worried about the detrimental state of our nation? Well then that is where the church has a major issue.

The detrimental state of our nation in regards to the Christian values, or lack there of, within our political system has been prevalent for a very long time. Though abortion is a hot button issue for social conservatives there are numerous other teachings in scripture that our country has flagrantly disregarded yet Christians have had little or no response to in the public arena.

To just point out a few: Our God speaks time and time again in scripture to be good stewards and to lay up an inheritance for our children yet our nation is 16 trillion dollars in debt. Our God calls us to live at peace with all men when at all possible and that little thing about “do not murder” yet our nation maintains troops in all corners of the globe, is fighting numerous wars, and entering new ones daily. Our God has called those that love him to bless Israel yet for multiple administrations (not just the most resent) of our country have sought “peace” for Israel by instructing them what to do, at times instructing them to give away some of their land. Our God calls marriage to be a holy institution and covenant before him. Our country believes they have a say in the matter.  Our country has no place in marriage whether Hetero– or Homo- it is a covenant with God.
I could go on but I believe I have made my point. If we desire for America to be a Christian nation there is a lot more to change then just the so-called “Social Issues”.

However, it is not voting or politicians, or policy, or governments that make America Christian or not, it is people, and commitments, and individuals, and culture. America was a Christian nation because its people were primarily Christian. That is no longer the case, and it hasn’t been for sometime now. And it will not be until the church wakes up and starts caring more about souls in their own neighborhood than they care about papers in Washington.

 

SOMETHING TO GIVE?

Ephesians 4:28  Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

How odd of a verse is this? Paul is instructing the thief to stop stealing. Why? So he doesn’t break one of the ten commandments? So that he doesn’t sin against his brother? So that he doesn’t get caught and have to go to jail? The answer is “yes” to these questions but these ideas aren’t the ones that Paul brings to the forefront. Paul’s instruction is to stop stealing so that the former thief can GIVE. What? The one that is taking things that aren’t his for his personal use is now not to just stop doing that but to turn 180 degrees and now give what is rightfully his to others. What a turn of events that would be.

If we study out the whole passage here we find instruction to others as well. Paul says that a liar should stop lying and speak only truth to his neighbor. He instructs the one that gets angry and sins to stop. Paul says to not let a corrupt word proceed out of your mouth. The bigger picture here is that we should be a “new man”. If we are following Christ, if we claim to have God’s Spirit within us, if we claim to belong to Him, then we too need to turn 180 degrees from our former ways. After all, true repentance isn’t just to stop what we are doing that is sinful, but to make that turn in the opposite direction and bring glory and honor to God.

Ephesians 4:20-24 says, “ But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”

Be renewed today. Put on the new man. True righteousness and holiness awaits the one who is willing to stop walking toward sin and corruption and to turn towards Christ.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Individual Growth, Life, New Developments, Other

 
 
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