Last week we started the brand new message series "What We Believe" by talking about John Wesley. Wesley rode 250,00 miles on horseback and preached 40,000 sermons in his lifetime so that others might come to know the love of God through Christ and follow Jesus. What are we willing to do? While not necessarily called to ride 250,000 miles on horseback or preach 40,000 sermons are we willing:To give up having to know everybody in worship and allow our churches to grow?To give up "our" pew?To give up our wants, desires and preferences in terms of worship style so that our worship style might change and resonate with those who are not yet following Jesus?To move the location of our church in order to reach more people?To gain all we can, save all we can, and give all we can in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?To let someone else lead?Jesus said those who want to gain their life must first lose it.
Last Saturday I had the great opportunity to be with the fine people of the Lynchburg District of the Virginia Annual Conference to present at the their District Leadership Training. Their Superintendent, Larry Davies, gave a great opening message to the day- How Big is Your Dream- How Good is Your Team. The class I taught was Evangelism- It Is All About Relationships. You can find the PowerPoint here.
This Sunday at New Season we are starting a brand new series of messages where we will be getting down to the basics of our roots and talking about "What We Believe." This Sunday we will be talking about the founder of Methodism John Wesley.Starting at 10:30AM at our Four Mile Fork location in Spotsylvania.
We finished the Life, Money, Hope message series a couple of weeks ago at New Season Church. You will find the messages from the series below. For those wishing to explore these topics further I encourage you to take advantage of the Financial Peace University class we will be offering at New Season beginning next Wednesday June 16th. You can sign up here.The Basics of Biblical FinanceBreaking the Bondage of DebtThe #1 Myth About Money
I stumbled across this free HTML Newsletter resource via the good folks over at the 8 Bit Network. I have already begun using it and it seems to do the job if you have a list under 500 people. I would recommend you try MailChimp for your e-news or event announcement needs.I have previously used Constant Contact which did the trick as well but of course was a fee based system though I am sure they too have a free or trial component but perhaps not as generous as MailChimp.You can sign up to start using MailChimp for free here.
According to research by Ed Stetzer from Lifeway Research and Warren Bird more churches were started than closed last year. This is good news though there is more to be done according to this article here to see church planting move from fad to multiplication movement. I would be interested in the numbers for United Methodism and for the Virginia Conference as to the number of churches started this year versus the number closed. Here are some highlights from the article:"[C]hurch planting is on the mind of North American Christians at unprecedented levels," they (Stetzer and Bird) write.That means, church planting must move from being a fad or "the next big thing" to a "passionate pursuit of the lost."Another obstacle is getting past the "don't we already have enough churches?" mentality. There may be a hesitancy to having a church planting emphasis because "the thinking seems to be [that] there's a church on every corner and most of them are empty," state the authors, who have led and studied church plants. But research shows that new churches fare better when it comes to drawing new people and they have a higher ratio of conversions and baptisms compared to more established churches, according to Viral Churches.Ultimately, Stetzer and Bird are hoping to see a multiplication movement, similar to what occurred between 1795 and 1810 among Methodist and Baptist churches. Within that time span, some 3,000 churches were started. "If church multiplication like that happened again today, it would be characterized by a 50 percent conversion rate (new believers) and a 50 percent reproduction rate (new churches) sustained for at least three generations of churches," they explain.Read the full article here.
We are beginning brand new series of messages tomorrow at New Season. Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen? If God is so loving then why doesn’t he just make things good all the time? Come and explore biblical answers to these questions at New Season Church during the upcoming message series “How Could God Allow Suffering and Evil.”Please join us for worship at 10:30AM on Sundays at the Four Mile Fork Shopping Center (next to Hard Times). Come as you are to discover why there is suffering and evil in our world. Invite a friend, relative, co-worker or neighbor to this message series by clicking here.
I am working on putting together the Church Planting and Revitalization Breakfast at Annual Conference this year. The breakfast is coming together and we are lining up some great speakers again this year. Please find he details below. You can register here. The Church Planting and Revitalization Breakfast at Annual Conference sponsored by the Church Development Team and Office of Church Development will be Tuesday, June 15, 7 a.m., at the Marriott Waterside. The cost this year is $15.45 and is inclusive. The Church Planting and Revitalization Breakfast is an annual event held at Annual Conference. The breakfast is held to celebrate the ministry of church planting and revitalization across the Virginia Conference. There will be speakers who will talk briefly about works they are currently engaged in by either planting or revitalizing churches. The breakfast is open to all clergy and laity and children are welcome. If you want to hear some dynamic speakers and be inspired by how Christ is working in the Virginia Conference as we seek to begin new faith communities and revitalize existing faith communities, then this breakfast is for you.The breakfast will include scrambled eggs, skillet potatoes, country bacon, breakfast breads, orange juice, and coffee or tea.Registration and payment this year is being handled online through the Conference website. Please follow this link.
This past Sunday a number of people took their credit cards and credit card solicitations and we enjoyed some plastic surgery in the midst of our worship time as we held our plastectomy as part of the Life, Money Hope message series. Each credit card cut and each solicitation shred was a statement of faith that:All we have comes from God.God is our provider.We will have one Lord- and it is not debt.We will trust God!So good bye American Distress, Master Fraud, and Discover Bondage and all the other store cards and hello to freedom in Christ as we begin and continue this journey. I am so proud of the people of New Season Church!! Way to Go!!!
I am excited to announce that New Season Church will be hosting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University Class beginning June 16th at 7PM at New Season Church.If you...are sick and tired of being sick and tired when it comes to your financeshave had a student loan so long you have given it a name like a petwant to be done with Master Fraud, Discover Bondage and American Distresswant to learn biblical principles for managing God's resourceswant to learn how you can do the most fun thing of all with money- give it awayThen...Sign up for Financial Peace University today. It will change your life. You can sign up here.
On Monday May 24th I will be playing 100 holes of golf to raise funds for Westview on the James, a camp ministry sponsored by the Ashland District of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church. That's right 100 holes!! For those who have been with me to play 18 holes you know this will be an adventure. I bought a bunch of X out balls the other day for all the balls I will lose because I won't have time to go look for them.If you desire, you can sponsor me per hole. Example: if you sponsor me 25 cents per hole you would give $25 if I finished all 100 holes. Please use this form to make a pledge. Collection will take place after the golf is played.You can learn more about Westview on the James here and the awesome things that go on there.Thanks!
Some time ago I was at a meeting and someone mentioned the feeding of the 5,000 by Jesus where he multiplied loaves and fishes and there were still a bunch of leftovers. This follower of Jesus mentioned that they preferred to view this event as miraculous because what probably happened was that the people just shared their food. Implicitly, I guess this person was saying that Jesus did not multiply the loaves and fishes. I wonder why some of us as followers of Jesus just have a hard time accepting that Jesus (God with us), the one through whom all things were created, the one raised from the dead, the only Son of God, the Messiah, the leper cleanser, blind man healer of Galilee can perform miracles? Why is it so hard? Good grief! Call me a rube, or maybe I did not go to seminary long enough and become sophisticated enough, but if Jesus was who he said he was, if the Bible can be taken with any certainty, then why can't we say that Jesus took some bread and fish and multiplied it to feed five thousand plus? Or, that God parted the Red Sea or any other miracle. I for one am glad that we can move from the "modern" skepticism of the power of the divine and accept the mystery of God's power and resulting grace.
On Sunday May 23rd we will be having a plastectomy at New Season Church. No- no one will have any work done on their nose and there won't be any bodily enhancements but what we will do is perform plastic surgery of another kind.As an affirmation of faith in a God who provides and whose word says "the borrower is slave to the lender" we will be cutting up credit cards during our worship celebration experience. As we cut the card we will be saying that we only want to serve one Master and it is not Master Card but our Master, Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ.Also, bring your credit card solicitations too and we will put them through the shredder!I am excited for some plastic surgery at New Season on May 23rd!! We'll provide the scissors.
A couple of weeks ago we finished the I Have a Friend Who... message series. You can find the audio below.I Have a Friend Who... Isn't Sure About this Whole Resurrection ThingI Have a Friend Who... Struggles with DoubtI Have a Friend Who... Struggles with WorryI Have a Friend Who... Struggles with Guilt and ShameSubscribe to receive messages at New Season Church via Apple ITunes here.
This Saturday is the Saturday of Service at New Season Church. In this season of sacrifice and preparation known as Lent we are preparing for new life in Christ through prayer, fasting, worship and SERVICE at New Season Church. While we strive to demonstrate a lifestyle of service we will be having a time of focused service this Saturday, March 20th. There are a variety of projects to get involved in. If you haven't signed up yet, then go here and do so.The projects include:Helping to plant a summer garden at the Thurman Brisbane Homeless Shelter.Assisting Eastland UMC with their Angel Food Ministry.SPCA Un Birthday Party (Youth and Children's project).Volunteer at the New Season Thrift Store
A couple of Sundays ago we finished the Wild Goose Chase Series here at New Season Church. Here is the audio for most of the messages. Remember you can always access the audio and text of messages from the "Message" page of our website and you can subscribe to receive the audio via Apple ITunes here.Cage of ResponsibilityCage of FailureCage of Assumptions
Craig Groeschel, a former United Methodist pastor, and lead pastor at Life Church in Oklahoma was recently asked by a United Methodist leader to give some suggestions for the United Methodist Church. He has done so on his blog. You can find links to the posts below. In addition to being a dynamic, effective, and thriving church, Life Church, is in my opinion one of the most generous churches in Christendom. Here are Craig's suggestions:Part 1 On Rethink ChurchPart 2 On the Itinerant SystemPart 3 On Young Leaders and the Ordination ProcessPart 4 On ApportionmentsPart 5 On Merging ChurchesPart 6 On Parting WaysYou can agree or disagree with Craig's suggestions but they are food for thought! Enjoy!
I am re-reading Sally Morgenthaler's book "Worship Evangelism." I read it pretty early on as we started New Season Church and it helped to form the vision and direction for worship for us. Sally will be coming to Virginia to speak in a couple of weeks and thus why I wanted to brush up on what she wrote.She talks in one part of her book about "sinner friendly churches." She asks, "How has the church typically responded to people's mistakes, hurt, and pain? Judgment. Guilt. Yet I do not know anyone who wants or needs more of either." She then goes on I believe right on target to say, "...what most of us desire is truth in the context of God's unconditional love in Christ." She cites the woman caught in adultery in John 8 where Jesus famously told the women he did not condemn her (THE GOSPEL) but go and sin no more (THE LAW). To use Morgenthaler's phrase this was "God's standard in the package of grace."And that to me is a sinner friendly church- God's standard in the package of grace. It is a place where I and all of my sinner friends can go that is not overly permissive, overly condemning, but instead offers the Gospel (forgiveness, Christ's love) along with God's standard (a call to repentance and holy living). It reminds me of the idea that God accepts us where we are but never leaves us where we are or Martin Luther's rubric for preaching to balance "law and Gospel."
Here are some words from William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, and former Methodist. I have used these words as part of my devotional life. Maybe you will find them helpful as well. It helps to shake your fist at the devil as you say them, give the devil the middle finger (the Christian kind of course- the raised index finger!), or imagine you are kicking him in the teeth. :) WHILE WOMEN WEEP, AS THEY DO NOW, I'LL FIGHT;WHILE LITTLE CHILDREN GO HUNGRY, AS THEY DO NOW, I'LL FIGHT;WHILE MEN GO TO PRISON, IN AND OUT, IN AND OUT, AS THEY DO NOW, I'LL FIGHT;WHILE THERE IS A DRUNKARD LEFT, WHILE THERE IS A POOR LOST GIRL ON THE STREETS,WHILE THERE REMAINS ONE DARK SOUL WITHOUT THE LIGHT OF GOD,I'LL FIGHT- I'LL FIGHT TO THE EVERY END!---General William Booth
This Sunday 10:30AM at New Season Church we will be starting a new message series called Wild Goose Chase. You seriously won't want to miss this series if you are interested in becoming all God has wired you to be. Invite someone to come here.Watch the series trailer here.Directions to New Season here.Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something… Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure. —Introduction to Wild Goose Chase. Mark Batterson