Monday, January 28, 2008

God is Amazing

This weekend, God did some amazing things at in our kids church. 15 kids were saved in our children's church this weekend. I talked with several parents about kids getting baptized. Thanks God for allowing me to experience this.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Passion Experience

Easter is fast approaching this year. Its actually in March and only about 7 weeks away. We are getting prepared for the outdoor passion play and its going to really be good. Sign-up for helping begins this weekend, but things have already begun to take shape. The sound system this year will blow you away. You'll feel every nail hammered and whip crack at the crucifixion. We are also putting in bleachers that were donated to increase our audience size to about 500-600. I'm in the process of reworking the soundtrack we used last year. It will have some background music and sound clips from the Passion of the Christ movie. A new logo is in the works and the advertising will triple what we did last year. We think we had about 2,000+ people come last year and are expecting and praying for 5000+ this year. We're showing a promotional video for those interested in serving this weekend. It has pictures of the cast and crew getting ready from last year all set to the song "Open Up The Gates" by Planetshakers.

All this excites me because more people will have the opportunity to experience what our Lord Jesus did for them. We are working really hard on the followup process for those who make a decision to follow Christ this year. That's the key. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime March 17-21.

Monday, January 21, 2008

God Has Everything We Need

The father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." And they began to be merry. —Luke 15:22–24

Have you ever searched for something only to discover that it was there the whole time, right underneath your nose? You name it, I’ve lost it - keys, phone, wallet, remote. I searched everywhere, blamed everyone, and retraced every step. Then, there it was. After lots of searching (I could have changed the channel the old fashioned way, but no…) it was right where I left it, right under my nose.

If you have ever done that, and I’m sure you have, you have a lot in common with the Prodigal Son from Jesus' parable in Luke 15. The parable tells of a young man who left his father's house in an attempt to find fulfillment in the things he thought would make him happy. Apparently from the young man's actions, he believed nice clothes, fine food, and big parties would bring him happiness. He soon had lost everything and his “riches” turned into wearing rags, dining with the pigs, and the feeling of loneliness.

It's noteworthy that after the Prodigal Son lost all he had and returned to his father's house, he realized that everything he was looking for in life was at home. He understand real success, true worth, and genuine purpose was found in his father’s house. What did the father do when the prodigal son returned? He said, "Bring out the best robe . . . and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet" (Luke 15:22). Essentially he gave his son nice clothes. "Bring the fatted calf here," the father said (verse 23). He gave his son fine feast. "Let us eat and be merry," he exclaimed (verse 23). He threw his son a big party.

In reality, the son could have done without the gifts and party. He had tried that before. What he truly wanted was love, acceptance, and purpose from his father. Everything he desired in life was in a relationship with his father.

Have you ever come to that realization? Are you searching for true happiness and genuine fulfillment in life? The finest clothing, jewelry and parties will not do it. Everything that we need in life to be happy and fulfilled is found in a relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

Stop searching for happiness and fulfillment. Its right under you nose in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Why not trust in Him today? God the Father is waiting for you with open arms, ready to say, “Welcome home son.”

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Angel Food Ministry

Our church does a ministry called Angel Food. It provides a family enough food for a week for $30 (one person could eat for a month on it). Its not just for people in need. Its for people who want to save money! We've been doing it for about 15 months and everything is going great. I decided to video the people serving in Angel Food today as they unloaded the truck, organized the food, and distributed it. They put together food for about 380 people today. I was amazed.

I got there about 7AM and the truck was late (it didn't arrive till after 11AM). When it did, our people went to work. It was a well-oiled machine! They had the truck unloaded and all the food organized in about 30 minutes. Now that's teamwork. Even though the truck was 4 hours late, our people never complained and worked harder than I've ever seen them. They greeted people as they came to pick up their food, prayed for needs, and joyfully carried bags out to the cars. There were several kids working alongside their parents as well. What a great ministry! It was a Saturday morning well spent. I'll post the video on our Angel Food web page as soon as its finished.

By the way, we got our sermons on the home web page now. Before, you could subscribe to our podcast, but you had to wait several minutes or longer to download each sermon. Now, you can see every sermon in the player and you can listen immediately while you download the file.

We also added a link to the baptism videos. There are 5 or 6 people's baptisms on there now and after this weekend there will be about 7 or 8 more! God is doing some amazing things at Family Church!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Who? Me?

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”
1 Corinthians 1:27

I'm glad God has chosen me for ministry. The sad thing about that is some people think "God can't use me in ministry". They think their past, failures, mistakes, etc. exclude them and God can use only the "perfect" or "holy" people. I've got news for you - great news! God wants to use you in ministry.

The people God chooses to do His work are plain, simple folks. All you have to do is look at the twelve men Jesus chose to be His disciples. Fishermen, a tax collector, a “zealot.” What a bunch of misfits! But they ended up “turning the world upside down.” Once in Acts 4:13 the people said about the disciples: “Why, these are ignorant and unlearned men!” (Acts 4:13).

Maybe you didn’t make the “Who’s Who,” or worse still, you made the “Who’s Not”! That’s all right. God has a plan for you. God knows what He is doing. He turns the table on the world’s idea of success. Wealth, fame, acclaim none of these are necessary for you to be used of God.

What God is looking for is humble, ordinary people who don't depend on their abilities or accomplishments to achieve success. He's looking for people who know their limitations and that a faith in Christ is the only way to do ministry. If you've had a rough past or even one filled with sin, Christ can set you free from that and give you purpose and a place in ministry if you'll just ask Him.

The bible says he chooses(which means selects, hand picks, singles out, desires, etc.) the foolish (which means ordinary, not expected, common, etc.) things/people of this world. He chooses the weak (in the world's eyes) things over the strong (which is weak in God's eyes).

God has chosen you. After all, he made you. Stop thinking you don't matter or can't make a difference. Repeat after me, "God chose me." Now, walk in that. Grow in it and allow God to flow through you and use you for the minsitry He so desires you to do.

What a glorious truth for you to share with someone today who may be feeling like they’re not worth much. Ask God to lead you to that someone right now.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What a weekend!

I had a blast this past weekend. We went to WalMart Friday night and Kylee picked out her Hot Wheels car to race at the Awana Grand Prix the next morning. We practiced our "game face" and her acceptance speech (just kidding - maybe). Anyway, she raced the next morning and WON! I know, its not about winning, but when your kid wins, its cool. She was excited.

The other kids had a blast. It was fun watching parents and kids interact together and having fun. That was what it was all about. Grand Prix is a tool to bring families closer together. I was proud of all the kids and their Christ-like attitudes, no matter who won or lost. They had fun, and so did I.

We had to leave early to go to a family luncheon in Conway. After lunch, the girls went shopping and they guys were left to do what guys do best - put up a trampoline and keep the kids. I was experienced at trampoline physics and it only took about 45 minutes (it would have been shorter, but we didn't read the directions. Imagine that!).

Church was realy good. I taught Elementary Kids Church Saturday night and we had about 40 kids. Sunday morning was about 50 kids in elementary. I got to video tape a baptism this weekend also. Abby was absent from church because she decided to throw up on me right before church - at least i hadn't gotten dressed yet.

Sunday night was really good and packed - it was on marriage. I pray God brought marriages closer through it.

I got to meet several new folks this weekend. One new family talked about getting 2 of their kids baptized and another his three kids. I met 4 Chinese gentlemen who visited the church with one of our Chinese families. Several guys volunteered to help with the remodel of the house someone gave our church. I got to pray for several people from our Life Group this weekend as well.

I love my church. I love my calling. I love my ministry. I love my God.

Watch this video. we played it in church this weekend. Before you do, sit down because you'll need to jump up and shout during it.

i think i like this one better

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Against All Odds

“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” —2 Chronicles 20:3–4

Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, faced a dilemma. His enemies greatly outnumbered him. To make matters worse, his enemies had joined forces with the other enemies of Israel and were coming to destroy him. One day, someone came to King Jehoshaphat and warned him that a gigantic army was headed his way, ready to destroy him. Everything seemed hopeless. There was no way that he could meet this army with what he had. His forces were much smaller than the opposing armies who were very close by. All signs pointed to his destruction. What was Jehosaphat going to do? Panic? Worry? The Bible says that he "set himself to seek the Lord." He prayed, "O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chronicles 20:12).

The Lord told Jehoshaphat, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's. . . . Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you" (2 Chronicles 20:15–17).

Jehoshaphat and his army went out to meet their enemies, but they put the worship team out front. The Bible says that when they began to sing and praise the Lord, the enemy started fighting among themselves and destroyed each other.

Have you ever felt like Jehoshaphat? You get the news something bad is headed your way – a late night phone call, a notice in the mail, an unexpected meeting with your boss, a bad word from the doctor. How do you react? Where do you turn? What are you going to do?

Maybe you are facing what seems like an impossible situation right now. Like Jehoshaphat, you may be afraid and not know what to do. People may be depending on you during this trying time. You may not be able to see a way out. But God can.

You may be tempted to panic or worry. Fear may be creeping in. When was the last time you “put the worship team out front” when you were faced with trouble? Will you take the time to pray to God? Will you gather your family and tell them not be afraid, but to trust in the Lord?

Sometimes, it takes impossible situations of life to remind us that only God can truly give us help and strength to overcome. Position yourself. Call on Him. Then stand still and see what He will do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

God our Healer

Yesterday, Haley took Abby (11 months) to the Dr. and found out she has an ear infection. We knew something was wrong because she had fever and felt terrible. Kylee, our 3 year old, was worried about Abby and kept asking "when is Abby coming home."

When she did come home, Kylee prayed for her to be healed by Jesus. That was really moving. We have prayed for Abby since before she was born to be healed from her heart condition and this past December we felt confirmation for that and the Dr.s didn't want to see her for a year.

Jer 17:14 - Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

I was home all day yesterday spending time with my family and updating our church website some. I went to our piano and began to play some old worship songs - Heal Me O Lord; I am the God that Healeth Thee; I Stand in Awe of You; When I Look Into Your Holiness; etc. I also played a newer song by Jared Anderson - Hear Us From Heaven. I did this to worship but to also remember to run to God to even in the "smallest" problems. An ear infection is common in kids and medicine usually knocks it out pretty quick. Kylee reminded me to pray for the smallest things.

God wants us to run to Him for everything. That's my prayer today.

Psalms 19:14
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Our Life Group began tonight and it went really good. We had 22 people - wow! and 2 couples couldn't make it. We don't plan on "multiplying" to split the group anytime soon. We want to focus on building relationships with everyone and whenever we need to make the group smaller, we will. (I did some study and the 1st century NT house churches were about 30 people strong according to several Bible historians). Sometimes we multiply too quick and it has a reverse effect.

Anyway, 2 of the couples are engaged to be married and 3 have been married less than a year. (what's weird is that i married 3 of the couples in the group). Pretty neat.

Church was good this weekend. We are talking about "A True Church". I pray that in 2008 we become just that and find out what FC is supposed to be like.

God did a really cool thing and gave our church a house. We plan to fix it up and sell it. That will put us over the $1 mil mark on the building fund. I'm in charge of the fix up (i'm delegating most of the work if anyone is interested). God is good.

It would be neat if we could get a house and use it for ministry needs - families going through tough times, abuse shelter, people getting out of prision, etc. Maybe we can incorporate that in the next build. Now that's real ministry.

I've been praying for a while for God to show me another ministry to sow into financially. Haley and I tithe faithfully and give to our building fund. I want to do something above and beyond that, but there is so much out there. I'm considering Livada Orphan Care ( If you aren't familiar with it its orphan care to abandoned kids in Romania. Brian Briley is the U.S. Executive director and recruiter/intern trainer. He and his family lived here a little over a year and move just about a year ago to rejoin that ministry. We'll see what God wants us to do. In the meantime, I'm praying for the Romanian government to lift its restrictions on adopting its kids and for more workers/aid/money to be funneled into this wonderful minsitry.

Thats it for now.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Skip You - now that's stragegy

Last night we had a few couples over from our Life Group and played Phase 10. I came in 7th place but I'm not bitter. When you play with 8 people, it takes FOREVER to end the game. We were through at midnight - a 4 hour game. It was a blast though.

On another note, I got a call from a friend from church that they had their baby girl today. They already have 3 boys. Congrats Squires family!

Oh where, Oh where has my winnie dog gone! Oh where, oh where can she be. Winnie has been missing for a week now. We had her for about 6 years and she just ran away without even so much as a thanks.

Anyway, here is what I read in the Word today:
“…and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’ ” -Hebrews 13:5-6

What comforting words that Christ will never leave us - true companionship, true contentment. God will provide in the midst of testing and trials. There is true true confidence and courage in his presence.

Lord, with all my heart, with all I am, I want to know you. I want our relationship to be close and my faith to grow. Cleanse me and make me new that I may be all that You want me to be this year.

Friday, January 4, 2008

chuck e cheese please

Last night, Haley and I took Kylee and Abby to Churck E. Cheese to meet her three cousins. It was Abby's first experience there and they had a blast. We had two coupons that gave us 120 tokens for $10. Oh, Yes. The power of coupons.

On another note, I called to check on a couple I married that had their first baby about 4 months ago. The baby has been in Children's Hospital since she was born. She finally came home yesterday - praise the Lord. God has done some miracles in that little girl's life.

We're getting excited about our Life Group starting. I pray we can reach several young couples. We don't want to fill it up with "church folk". We really want to go after those not in church much or in a Life Group.

Go Huckabee!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

God's supply

Yesterday, I read and wrote about God's supply from the Holy Spirit and I really needed that. I talked with 3 people who lost their jobs yesterday and was able to pray for and encourage them with that verse of scripture. One young man I talked with was searching for direction in life and had faced some great dissapointment recently. Another had just gotten out of jail and came to church to find some answers for his life.

God's word is on time. Each of them were encouraged by that scripture and it helped me as well because I didn't know what to tell them myself - what could I say? - It will be ok? Don't worry? Everything will work out? God truly gave me the words to say at the right time. I'm thankful that I could be a funnel for His Word and Holy Spirit to help people.

John 7:37-38

Jesus once said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said,out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:37-38

Do you consider your life stagnant or would you consider it overflowing? Maybe it’s time to stop enduring religion and start enjoying a relationship.You’ll find then you will not just merely become a reservoir, but become a river.How does Jesus address this issue and what does He say about how to accomplish this?

Jesus watched as the Jews celebrated one of their great feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles.At the climax of the festivities, the priest went down to the pool of Siloam and filled a golden pitcher with water.The people followed him, leaping and dancing.As the priest came back to the temple, he poured the water on the altar.

They didn’t realize that this Old Testament ceremony prophesied the Lord Jesus. In fact, Jesus Christ Himself was that Well of salvation, yet they were paying no attention to Him.In their midst was the very Water of Life, but they were too busy going through their ritual and religion to notice.

Jesus saw the ceremony and their ecstasy, but He knew it was only a ritual and religious exercise. Jesus knew after it was over, they would go back to their homes,and it would all be a memory. He could contain Himself no more, and He stood and literally shouted, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.”

You must drink, and you do it by faith. There comes a time when we need to believe Him and say, “My heart is thirsty for the blessing. I will receive the Lord Jesus. I take Him by faith.”

Don’t come so close,yet miss Him. Stop enduring religion, and start enjoying a relationship. Come and drink from the Living Water. Once you drink, there will be in you a river of living water. And when the river begins to flow out of you, there will be life where there once was death. There will be fruitfulness where there was barrenness. The Holy Spirit in your life will cause you to be a blessing and to receive a blessing.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Philippians 1:19

For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
— Philippians 1:19

Paul wrote here that that the supply of the Holy Spirit was just in time and more than enough to help him in his present situation.

Do you feel like you need God's supply to make it through another day? Another situation? Another encounter?

It almost sounds like an infomercial trying to sell that next boost of energy. Only problem is, human energy runs out. Human supply is limited. Human resources exaust quickly.

God's supply from the Holy Spirit will give you the boost you need to endure and persevere - to overcome and be victorious.

God, you are more than enough to help me fulfill every assignment and task purposed for me today. Fill every part of me with your supply Holy Spirit. When i hit the wall, you give me the power to break it down and use the bricks to make a path to success.


I have lots of goals for 2008.

1. Haley and I are excited about starting a new small group in our church directed at those in their 20s. We want to reach young couples for Christ who are currently not in a small group. We start our first group this coming Sunday Night and have 4 couples hopefully coming not connected in a small group at all!

2. My personal goal for evangelism is to reach 5 people for Christ. This doesn't include any salvations that happen when I preach in Kids Church or Adult Services. I want to reach 5 people for Christ outside of our church building.

3. Deeper walk with Christ. I truly desire to grow closer to Christ this year.

4. Make new friends. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life and that allow me to be in theirs. My goal this year is to get outside my circle of friends and develop relationships with some people I don't know.

5. Spend more time with my family. Last year, I probably averaged 60 hours a week at work - not to mention i built a house myself, took on another job position at work, had a second little girl, and tried desperately to work on my Master's degree. People are my life - I'm a pastor, but I have to build my family life. I want to be closer to my wife than ever before. I want my kids to know me as daddy, not Bro. Stephen. No more cell phone on vacation or cutting vacation short. Family has to be a huge priority this year.

Those are the big ones. I pray I'm humble enough to see the other goals God has for my life this year. God, make me your servant this year.

Here goes nothing!

Ok, I've resisted the temptation for months now - I'm finally creating a blog. Excuses kept me back - time, etc. My blog will exist for one thing - giving honor and praise to Jesus. I'll try and post frequently and hope someone will read.