Monday, September 24, 2012
Our all-church study called WALK began yesterday with an invitation to take a first step in the journey with Jesus and several responded! One deeply touched me. A lady that I knew because our sons played basketball in high school came forward in third hour with tears in her eyes. I hadn't seen her in at least four years, but her name came to me immediately and we prayed as she was broken before the Lord. She spent time after service talking with my wife and it was a glorious conversation. Again, God never ceases to amaze me at His ability to get everyone's attention. My soul was deeply touched by this encounter. Then I met a great man in the airport as I was flying to Dallas. He introduced himself and told me he has been going to Eastview for a year or so and is involved in a men's Bible study group. He even went to the Dominican Republic in April on a construction trip. As we were boarding, the woman at the ticket counter brightened when she saw Sara and I, she goes to our church and actually said "Great sermon today Pastor". That means she had been at the 8:00 a.m. service and then gone to the airport for work (love it!). Well, when this man heard she had gone to Eastview, he said, "You go to my church" and to which she replied "you go to Eastview?" She went straight to, "You in a study group?" To which he replies "yep". It was a regular revival right there as we were boarding. Later as we picked up our luggage in Dallas. This man revealed that four years ago he was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer, but he's still going, feels good and the cancer has actually spread. I wish I could paint for you the expression of joy on his face as he literally lives one day at a time for Jesus! Inspiring.
at 11:23 AM
Monday, September 17, 2012
A bunch of things fill my mind as I get ready for the kickoff of our all-church study called WALK. I'll get to that in just a minute... Got my weekly dose of humility from the anonymous who really doesn't like me and usually gives me a mean-spirited response to my blog...it's o.k. Me and Jesus have talked and we're cool. Please pray join me in prayer for a bitter, yet anonymous person. I love them even if I don't know them. Now for some good news. Hundreds of small group leaders showed up for training for WALK campaign...excitement in the air! That was followed by hundreds getting plugged in to their small group for this study...nearing 500 new small group participants. Many kudos to the small group staff and volunteers who are doing all of this crucial assimilation! Another bit of Eastview celebration. WE made the Outreach Magazine top 100 for fastest growing churches in America. There are over 350,000 protestant churches in our country and this is a huge honor. We're number 91 on the list. TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY FOR THIS. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS ALL HIS DOING AND MY DESIRE IS TO CELEBRATE HIM BY SHARING WHAT HE HAS CHOSEN TO DO AT EASTVIEW. Eastview family, chant it with me, "We're 91", "We're 91". Finally, let's walk. Beginning Sunday we will start a six week journey breaking down the following spiritual growth definition by our own J.K. : "God, the Holy Spirit takes te initiative through various means in cooperation with our response changes us to look like Jesus in order to serve others for the glory of God". Each week a sermon, will follow with six daily devotions (hope you've got your book), and a video teaching in your small group setting! Ready to grow in the faith with you all. If we are obedient to study and follow God's will...He will bless our desire to grow in Him. Let's go for a walk together.
at 10:52 AM
Monday, September 10, 2012
Well, by now many of you have probably heard what happened in Normal this past weekend, but for my international readers, a brief recap. A young man brought a gun to NCHS last Friday and took over his classroom firing a few shots into the ceiling. He was apprehended by the teacher and when the school was locked down, the students made their way through rain and mud to our church building where our staf and some Eastview members showed incredible love to the staff, faculty and students during this emotionally draining and scary time. By God's grace no students were hurt and everyone got home safe...but it was a wake up call! What to do as a Christian when this stuff happens? Well, this is where I've landed and some thoughts on what God seems to be saying to me: 1. Life is fragile, short, unpredictable and not promised...so how does that affect my love, my witness, and my walk with Jesus today? If I knew today was it...what's different? 2. God is generous. The only thing I know to do when something good happens on a grand scale is to think how God must have covered that school and that classroom with his grace because of the prayers of the hundreds of parents who pray for their kids all the time. 3. The church is beautiful. When stuff that absolutely shakes the world goes down, the church is seen as this place of safety and reassurance (I love that the church was referred to in the news as the "reunification" place). And you know how the church does it? By being itself. God designed the church for times such as this...absolutely beautiful. 4. God works in mysterious ways. God will use this event to bring some people to His Son and will also light a fire under some of us who are just too complacent in our walk. God has already turned this very crazy scary event to change hundreds of lives! 5. The preached word always makes a difference. There was talk of doing some different things in our service yesterday but my spiritual instinct was to simply do what we do. Assure people of God's word for our lives and praise him in song. What have you done with this experience?
at 10:47 AM
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Well, it's dangerous week around here. Seems inconsistent that "dangerous" week is a shortened work week, since the workplace is where most of our "dangerous witness" takes place, but God can do in four days what he can do in five. The memory verse from Colossians 4:5 has really inspired/convicted/messed with me...especially that phrase: "make the most of every opportunity" - the Greek word "agoradzo" has to do with shopping in the market (agora). You could translate this, "buy the opportunity" - KJV says "redeem the time" My father-in-law is famous for going to flea markets and finding great deals on a variety of collectibles (or junk as I call it). Often, he walks away from a great deal without buying only to find that when he changes his mind later and goes to purchase the item he now wants; it is too late...someone else already bought it. I wonder if we are the same spiritually. Does God give us unbelievable opportunities to share our faith, start conversations, get into people's lives only for us to say, "that was weird"? What if we looked for a chance to buy (redeem) every opportunity in our day for Jesus? Here are the questions I'm obsessing on? 1. Is there any truly chance encounter with another human being in my life today? If not, why did it happen? 2. How many opportunities have I asked God for? 3. How many will I get today? 4. How many opportunities to talk about Jesus will it take for someone to respond by following him as Lord? 5. What if a non-Christian friend is looking for an opportunity to talk with me about the faith they see in me? 6. Does everyone I meet today see Jesus in me? Why or why not? 7. If God "you tubed" a video of all the people opportunities I've missed in my lifetime, how many would there be and how sad would I be to see those I've missed? We'll stop with seven...very holy number.
at 11:06 AM