Mission Tour Diary- Day #5

  • We had an INCREDIBLE day of ministry today. We started the day off with Dunkin’ Donuts (America runs on Dunkin’) and drove about an hour to Rochester, NY. Our students performed at a Teen Challenge and it was amazing. God has blessed our group by allowing them to hear amazing life-change testimonies, and He continued that today. We heard from several men who spoke about how God had freed them from their addiction. About how God was sufficient for them. One 20 year old male shared at the very end of the service. It rocked our students because he looked just like them. He came from a well-to-do family, he just searched for fulfillment in the wrong people and places. Last week he overdosed on herion and his friends threw him out of a moving car in Syracuse. I reminded our students that LaGrange High and Troup High are full of students like this- desperately seeking fulfillment and purpose in thier lives. It was awesome!
  • After Teen Challenge, we went to a mall for lunch. I really wanted one of those Chinese massages, but didnt have time. 😦 Maybe soon, haha.
  • AFter lunch, we decided to take the scenic route to our evening concert to that our whole group could see Lake Erie. So we went about an hour and a half out of the way to the state park, only to find that they wanted to charge our group an exorbitant amont of money to look at the lake for 10 minutes. I figure that it cant be much better than West Point Lake. 🙂
  • On the way to the next concert, our whole group pulled over on the side of the road at a fruit stand in Waterport, NY. It was so random, but really cool. Everyone bought fresh fruit that was really good. They had cherries, grapes, watermelons, plums, etc. Even homemade pies. Praise Jesus! Here’s a picture of the fruit stand:

 

 

 

 

 

  • This evening our students performed for a Celebrate Recovery service and it was awesome. We were able to establish some great relationships during a fellowship time after the performance. One woman wanted us to pray because she had brought several non-believers who are on the verge of giving their hearts to Jesus. Pray for them in your quiet time today. We also want to ask for you to pray for a young lady named Shawnee (the area we were in had a high Native American population). Shawnee has a serious liver disease, and unless she gets a transplant soon, the odds are not good. We also loved on a precious little boy name Ray. (or Lil’ Ray-Ray as I called him.) Lil Ray-Ray was a precious boy with autism that wanted to sing for our group as we were leaving. Our group loved him because he was in the back of the church doing the moon walk during the song “Living Water,” and liked to wink at the girls in our group.  Here’s a video of Lil Ray-Ray singing for our group:
  • Tomorrow (Friday) our group is singing at Niagra Falls! How exciting! We will leave about 9:45 a.m. Pray for a fun and safe day, and many chances to share the gospel. We miss you all. Love you Katie and Charlie!
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The Latest…

  • Our Wednesday night service was rocking last night! The band was awesome.
  • We started the “One Prayer” series last night. The series is based around this question: If you could pray one prayer that God would answer for the church at large, what would it be? After a lot of praying, last night I preached that my one prayer would be that GOd would make us DIFFERENT. The reason our churches aren’t growing is because there is nothing special (or peculiar as the KJV version says) in our churches. Church people act and behave just as the world acts and behaves. We must be different. Jesus was attractive to people because He was DIFFERENT!
  • Next week the message will be via video from one of my favorite communicators- Steven Furtick.
  • Paul Hendrix from PDH Systems is coming in today to give us a quote for a sound, lighting, video, etc. package for our new Sunday morning contemporary service. I am excited about meeting with Paul.
  • Pray for our student ministry this weekend. We are beginning seperate guys (EQUIPPED) and girls (PURE) ministries. Equipped is taking a camping trip, and Pure is having a girls based BIble Study and doing some really fun things at the church, Pray that these ministries will have a huge impact on our students!
  • Katie and Charlie came home yesterday from thier trip to visit Uncle Matt. I missed them so much and I’m so glad they’re home. I think Charlie was a foot taller. He is growing TOO fast! It kind of makes me sad!

One Prayer Begins Tonight!

 

 

 

 

  • We have an awesome series beginning tonight called One Prayer. One Prayer is a nation-wide thing. Here’s how is works. The permise of the series is, “If you only had one prayer for the church,  what would it be?” The first message will be given by me. The next 3 will be presented by 3 awesome pastors from across the country. Go check it out at www.oneprayer.com.
  • We have a rocking set list tonight. We’re doing All Because of Jesus by Steve Fee, Awesome is the Lod by Chris Tomlin, What About Now by Daughtry, Mighty to Save by Hillsong United, and Glory in the HIghest by Chris Tomlin.
  • Don’t miss tonight- it will be  great!
  • I fished a tournament last night with Michael Oleson. Once again, we caught fish, just none with good size. One of these days, I’m going to start winning money at these tournaments! 🙂
  • Katie and Chalie have been in Douglasville visiting Katie’s brother Matt for a couple of days. They’re coming home today and I’m glad- I miss them bad!

Recap from Jr. High Mission Tour day one

  • Good morning everyone! It’s 7:15 a.m. and I’m sitting in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Columbia, SC. Just know that I really love Jesus and students to voluntarily go anywhere near Columbia. I saw plenty of Gamecock stuff at the mall last night. It was sickening. 🙂
  • Yesterday afternoon the students performed for the first time. They performed at a Boys and Girls Club. It was neat beacuse it’s not a “Christian organization” per-se, and so many children got to hear the Gospel, hopefully for the first time.
  • AFter the performance was the neatest part. Our students went out in the crowd and loved on the children. We saw lots of hugs and picture taking. Some of the children were even asking our students for autographs, haha! It was like American Idol. They are now famous with the Boys and Girls Club.
  • The Boys and Girls Club director got on the bus before we left and told them what a great job they did and how well they interacted with their kids. I believe our students were really roud that they made a difference.
  • After we were packed up, we went to A MALL! If you’re familiar with mission tour, I’m sure you’re shocked, haha. We spent several hours at the Columbiana mall. One of our students lost a cell phone and another students lost a shirt he bought from Hollister. But fortunately, good hearted people turned those items in to lost and found. They were relieved to say the least.
  • We got checked into the hotel about 9:00 p.m. and then had a share time. It was great to hear students’ comments about the day and see their heart for service. We have a lot of leadership and a lot of love for Jesus in these junior high students. I am grateful to be their youth pastor.
  • We are about to leave to serve at a local food bank. Pray for us as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus today. We love y’all- check back for an update tonight!

Off To Myrtle Beach With A Bunch of Middle Schoolers

  • We are leaving this morning to go on the junior high mission tour to Myrtle Beach. 5 days with middle schoolers? To most people, that sounds insane. To us, that’s a good time. I’m looking forward to watching my junior high students minister in South Carolina. With all the Gamecock fnas up there, there’s plenty of unsaved people. 🙂
  • Pray for safety and great chances to share our faith this week.
  • Our Wednesday Night Student Worship Service will continue on without me or the junior high students. David Phillips, one of our college students, will be sharing. He just returned home from a mission trip to Kenya and will be sharing about what God did while he was there. I hate that I’m missing it!
  • Katie is going with me this week. I am excited. But we will miss our little boy who is staying with Nee-Nee and Maw Maw. We miss you Charlie!
  • I willl update my blog from Myrtle BEach to let you know how we are doing.

Wednesday Night Highlights And Church Update (as promised!)

  • Before I get to the “meat” of today’s post, I wanted to post a video of our worship team playing Everlasting God last night. I am so blessed to have a faithful team that is not only committed to leading in worship every week, but they are also really good!
  • Our set list last night was All We Need by Charlie Hall, How Can I Keep From Singing by Chris Tomlin, My Drink by Charlie Hall, Majesty by Charlie Hall, Everlasting God by Brenton Brown/Chris Tomlin, and Forever King by Todd Fields. I just realized we had a very Charlie Hall-heavy set list last  night. That’s interesting, because we don’t play that much Charlie Hall stuff.
  • My message last night was called Together. I talked about the importance and Biblical example of walking through life and the Christian journey “Together” in a small group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • And now, the reason you’re really here. As mentioned yeaterday, it’s been a LONG week. Since I’ve been at First Baptist, I’ve been on 3 staff retreats. We’ve gone away and talked about the health of our church, and things we needed to improve on. And to be honest, we’ve never really done anything about it. That all changed several weeks ago when our staff went to the Drive Conference at NorthPoint Community Church in Alpharetta. My comment to Katie when I got home was, “I think we’ve finally been knocked on the fence.” God began to move among our staff and give us clarity.
  • By that, I mean God made us painfully aware of our shortcomings. The biggest shortcoming being we are not reaching the unchurched, hurting, and disconnected. And because of that, we are not seeing families joining our church. We are not seeing baptisms. We are doing what the church was created to do. Once we had clarity in that area, then God was able to give us clarity of vision.
  • Our staff met Thursday night. After many prayers and discussions, the staff reached an uninanimous decision on the next page in the history of our church. One that hopefully will make an huge impact on the spiritual climate of our city. The Thursday night meeting lasted 3 1/2 hours, by the way. 🙂
  • The staff took the proposal to the deacons on Monday night. Our pastor umcompromisingly shared with the deacons what he thought God’s direction for our church was. And they responded. The positivity and excitement was great. They really seemed to embrace the true Biblical concept of what being a deacon is all about: following the staff’s vision and making ministry happen.
  • There are many proposed changes in this plan. The biggest is adding a third worship service specifically designed to welcome the unchurched and disconnected. I’ll give more detials about the service after Sunday. Dr. Baxter is sharing the vision with the church Sunday morning, so you definitely want to be here. But just know this service is gonna stinkin’ ROCK.
  • According to Thom Rainer in The Bridger Generation, 96% of 13-30 year olds are unchurched. I want to change that. I want you to be a part too- be here Sunday!

Lessons Learned From Drive (Part 3) and Wed. Night Stuff

  • This will probably be the last of my comments on Drive. And this comment may be more directed towards North Point than their Drive Conference. One of the things I love about North Point is their strategy. Everything they do has structure and vision behind it. How many Amerian churches have a strategy for making disciples? Most churches just hope it kind of happens somewhere along the way. I would encourage you to sit down with your staff today and “map out” strategic processes in your church. Start at the end (the goal) and work your way backwards. Thank you North Point for daring to lead with razor-sharp vision and strategy.
  • Pray for our church today. Our pastor is having a staff meeting tonight to introduce some changes that we can use to reach the lost in our community.
  • We had a great service last night in spite of the fact allergies had wreaked havoc on my voice. I sounded like a 7th grade boy going through puberty. God spoke even through that, though. OUr message last night was called, “Read the LARGE PRINT,” and I spoke about the cost of following Jesus.
  • Our set list for last night was All Because of Jesus by Steve Fee, Let Me SIng by Todd Fields, Inside Out with the Came To My Rescue tag by Hillsong United, God of This CIty by Chris Tomlin, and We Shine by Steve Fee.
  • To any students/parents who read the blog, don’t forget: whitewater rafting money is due immediately!